I was listening to the Gin Blossoms on the way home from work tonight, and it suddenly struck me that the desert was a catalyst for growth in my musical tastes.
I was sent to Phoenix in 1992 for an IBM OS/2 Technical Exchange — probably one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. I rented a car out there, and after the conference, stuck a mag-mount antenna on the trunk, hooked up my HF radio (probably an Icom IC-757 GX II, I’d bet), and headed west toward Palm Springs. I was gonna meet up with someone I’d talked to on the radio for years, but hadn’t met in person.
As I tooled across the southern desert on I-10, I listened to an FM radio station out of Phoenix called “The Edge”. They played a kind of music I’d never heard in Chattanooga (which is where I was living at the time), and called it Alternative Rock.
I can’t remember all the music they were playing, but it was all new to me. 4 Non Blondes, The The, and The Gin Blossoms are all ones I remember hearing for the first time during that trip.
How appropriate that, upon the eve of our trip to the desert, I’m reminded of one of the impacts that stark landscape laid upon me.