10/06/2009

The Music Geek's Guide to Dating: A "5" PSA

Like those of other persuasions, and as a byproduct of their devotion, music geeks end up dedicating an inordinate amount of time to the chronicling and retention of minutiae that the average person has neither the time nor inclination to delve into. Let’s face it, your everyday music fan has no interest in rare French Captain Beefheart bootlegs or much use for the fact that noted guitarist David Gilmour had once been a fashion model before he joined Pink Floyd.

But listening to all that music and amassing a prodigious amount of musical trivia can lead to a dearth of time and opportunities to socialize and potentially hook up. However, this being music and not video games we’re talking about, concerts, parties and dive bars can be fertile ground for that romantic encounter or fling that will get you through the despair of hearing The Cure’s "Pictures Of You" in a camera ad or not getting tickets to the Pixies reunion. Plus, you might finally have a reason to sing "God Only Knows" to some hottie who aside from their predilection for spending time with you is actually pretty sane.

So, let’s say you’ve put down your dog-eared copy of the Trouser Press Record Guide, finally left the house and somehow managed to meet someone smart, witty, attractive and crazy about you.
Good enough to bring home to Ma, right? Maybe for the rest of the world, but the curse of the music geek is having to dig deeper and uncover the real test of compatibility: musical taste. Forget smoking, drinking, pets, or being a veggie--this is the real litmus test.
After all, no matter how fascinating they may seem to be, do you really want to spend your free time with someone who owns Celine Dion records and/or thinks the world of Elton John’s post-Goodbye Yellow Brick Road output? Didn’t think so. In the end it’s just going to bite you on the ass, anyway.

Before we go any further, an apology for the misleading title above. This is not a guide per se, but a small collection of red flags and/or warning signs you may encounter along the way. So with that in mind, here are 5 key signs that they just might not be the one for you if he/she...


1 - Pronounces the name of U2’s singer the same way as the surname of Cher’s late ex-husband and singing partner.
We once met a smart, interesting cutie at a party who was prone to doing this. Bummer. She was also a "foodie." Music geeks and foodies generally don’t mix, since we are creatures that subsist on junk/fast/comfort food, for the most part. Hey, who can afford good food when there’s box sets of Os Mutantes b-sides and outtakes to feast on? And unless you’re a drag queen you want to stay away from anything that even remotely smells of Sonny and Cher.

Move on, there’s other fish to fry. Or rather, cans of tuna to open.

2- Refers to Green Day as "old school".
No one over the age of 25 can get away with this one. No. One.

Although, in their defense, now that the mid-90s so-called "Gap punk" of Green Day is now akin to The Beatles when compared to such tripe as Blink-182 and the subsequent avalanche of dreck that passes for punk these days, you might have to cut them some slack. (Kinda how the fey, Talking Heads/Paul Simon-circa Graceland wannabe, pathetic, hipster-driven nonsense that is Vampire Weekend will eventually make The Strokes seem really good. Some prize that would be, though. Anyway...)

If you feel like saving them from their punk rock ignorance–-and if we were able to turn a former spouse on to The Minutemen, whose landmark Double Nickels On The Dime album became her frequent apartment-cleaning soundtrack, this should be a piece of cake for you-- just refer to High Fidelity (the movie, in this case), break out your Sex Pistols, Ramones, Buzzcocks et al if you think this person might be worth it. Your call.

3- Thinks "smooth jazz" is actually jazz.
During our days in the lowly record store clerk trenches we were befriended by a group of old-timers who worked in the jazz department of the store. These guys had been around when Miles Davis released Kind Of Blue in 1959, caught John Coltrane live, and witnessed Dizzy Gillespie practically invent Latin jazz. Walking encyclopedias of the genre they were. The real deal. They took us under their wing and opened our ears to some really wonderful stuff.

Then one day, in one of our little musical round tables, we made the mistake of professing our admiration for an album by Yellowjackets, a modern jazz quartet who didn’t shy away from synthesizers, big drums and assorted electronics. The silence was deafening.
The kindest one among them gave us a "Boy, haven’t you learned anything?" look, while the rest reacted as if we’d just proclaimed a yearning desire to bone 3 year-olds. Thankfully, they let us back into the fore soon after. (And no, we never backpedaled on that Yellowjackets disc. Still love it. The second Spyro Gyra album, too.)

But most, if not all, "smooth jazz" is just Satan incarnate.

4- Pronounces INXS as "inks".
Years ago, while waiting in line to get into NYC's Madison Square Garden’s then-Felt Forum theatre to see these Aussies on their Listen Like Thieves tour, roaming fans of Neil Diamond--who was playing the main arena that night--would approach us asking if we were on the Neil Diamond or "inks" line. This was at least a decade before it was hip to be into "The Jewish Elvis." Draw your own conclusions.

5- Can’t tell Nick Cave and Nick Drake apart.
If they’re confusing a very much alive, snarling Australian poet of the dark, with a depressed, standard bearing English singer/songwriter who died more than 30 years ago, look at the bright side: they might be listening to those guys already! You should be so lucky. (But you probably won't be.) Be careful, they could very well be latter-day Jeff Buckley bandwagon crashers/posers. Proceed with caution.

Bonus tip:
Loves emo but has no clue who Sunny Day Real Estate are.
Run for your life!

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