Jim's Blog - Where Were You When Music First Changed Your Life
by Jim McGorman
Jan 2013

My mother is working on an article about music and recently asked me to write about the first record I ever owned. This is my response:

For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. Though the exact details of the origin of my recorded music education are fuzzy, I have a vivid picture of a collection of records that I used to play in the basement of my grandparents house. That basement, underneath the house at 106 Greenhill Rd. in Springfield, PA was the ultimate sanctuary for a child of divorce, and the launching pad playground for a life of music and creativity. I had no way of knowing at the time, but that space wan an escape pod for shutting out the outside world and diving into the sounds of solace - in the form of rock n roll.

The shoe-box shaped room housed a drum set, keyboard, guitar and most importantly - a working stereo and record player. I can still see the multi-colored lantern lights hung like a smile from the shelves. The glow in the dark Cobra poster from Spencer's gifts simultaneously scared and fascinated me. The linoleum floors were scattered with Matchbox cars and the rest of the space was dedicated to my monumental Star Wars figure collection. Because my grandparents were former dance teachers, they had covered one wall with floor to ceiling mirrors (years later, I found out that they snuck down there late at night to dance with each other amongst the cornucopia of toys). All of these memories are instantly triggered when I hear one of many of the songs that I used to blast over the speakers. Songs from Journey's Escape, Foreigner 4, Hall N' Oates Private Eyes and Kiss Alive were among the many 33's I wore out down there. Records, not mp3s, were big. Big in physical size, picture and sound. The covers were intriguing. There was a mystery to it. Who were the guys playing these songs? Were they 20 years old or 50? American or English? Married or single? The unknown is what made it cool. Before the internet, the only thing we knew about bands was what we heard in stories told by those who saw a band live, or read an obscure article. It required work on the part of the listener to seek out information and create the persona of the band, like the way we create characters in our mind out of letter on a page. It was an interactive experience, before we ever knew what the word interactive meant.

Though I was not able to (technically) play any instruments at that age (5), my friends and I would air guitar and sing and play along for hours on end. Time stood still in what now stands as the first stage I ever played on. As a professional musician for the past 20 years, I have had the good fortune of playing on stages at Madison Square Garden, The Tokyo Dome, Giants Stadium and others around the globe,. Those buildings pale in comparison to the hallowed walls under the kitchen at 106 Greenhill. It was in that basement void of sunlight and rain, where my musical seed was planted and watered. Thankfully, it's still growing.

Music can be a glimmer of hope that is capable of pulling you out of the deepest depths of your darkest hour. It can be the voice of our soul and the answer of angels. Where were you when music first changed your life?

Jim McGorman 38
Professional rocker

Link to the article