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Music is such an integral part of my personality, I dare say I can’t imagine going without it for an extended period of time.  Even in environments that lack immediate access, there is always a song, in part or in whole, in my non-literal “inner ear.”

While it is true that “metal” commands a large (the largest?) part of my repertoire (hence its inclusion in the name of the blog), there is a wide array of aural delights in my library. Some were my own discoveries, but many others are there because of a recommendation by a friend, acquaintance, coworker or family member.

To that end, I would like to give a nod/shout out to some folks who have contributed to my musical awareness over the years.  PS – I’m using real names as I don’t believe there is anything incriminating, slanderous, scandalous, libelous, etc. in doing so. In no particular order whatsoever:

Pete Countouris, former coworker: regardless of our very different approaches to life and living, Pete is responsible for sharing with me the following artists – Blues Traveler (self-titled debut and “Travelers & Thieves“), Indigo Girls (self-titled debut and “Nomads, Indians and Saints”), and Michael Hedges (“Live On the Double Planet” and “Taproot“).  There may be others, but those were immediate standouts.

Steve Scherling, former coworker: to the best of my recollection, Steve contributed Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine,” Soundgarden’s “Louder Than Love,” and a western PA regional gem known as The Earthquakers.

Frank Carr, street/dek hockey teammate: Frank is 1/3 to 1/4 of a group of teammates that shared similar interests, musically. Frank gets partial credit for bringing Frank Zappa into my sphere. Sure, as a kid in the 70’s I had heard “Yellow Snow,” but little did I know then how much more there was.

Charlie Coughlin, street/dek hockey teammate: Big Chuck gets partial credit for Zappa, too, but what I really recall from Charlie is the first two Kansas albums. I’ll also give Big Chuck an honorable mention for the deeper Peter Gabriel catalog.

Bill Paljug, street/dek hockey teammate: Bill also gets partial credit for Zappa. I’m sure there were probably other artists from Bill, but they aren’t surfacing at this time.

Richard/Rich/Rick Borner: the final part of the Zappa collective, but also so much more. In addition to that, it is because of him that I know French electronic artist Jean Michel-Jarre. It began with “Oxygene” and “Equinoxe,” and I took it from there.

Michael/Mikey/Mike/Cux Colantoni, high school classmate and friend: over the years of high school and beyond, Mike and I bonded over music. He provided my intro to Journey, via the live “Captured” double album (yes, honest to goodness vinyl albums). Later, he would turn me on to Level 42 and the Richard Thompson classic “Rumour and Sigh.”

Dave Weisser, friend:  Dave really is responsible for my Parrothead past. While I haven’t kept up with all the latest, it was Dave who shared Jimmy Buffett in abundance, creating a whole host of memories along the way.

Andy Krulia/Tony Leone, high school acquaintances: you learn a lot on a vo-tech bound school bus. Between ’83-’84, these two are the likely culprits behind the METAL. Daily “boom box” cassette (yes, that’s right) selections included Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” and “Ride the Lightning,” Ozzy’s “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman,” Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance, and Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast,” just to name a few. Of course there were others, but those right there are kinda foundational.  I’m also pretty sure Andy really set me up with Anthrax’s “Among the Living,” which I didn’t initially care for, but now stands as a cherished classic. Come to think of it, I’m thinking Andy was responsible for White Zombie, too.

Bill Diehm, pastor/colleague: I don’t recall how Bill and I initially discovered our mutual musical passions, but over the past 5 years, he has delivered some quality recommends, most notably 10 Years and Nothing More. Bill has recommended more than those, but those are real standouts for me.

Ted Knickerbocker, former coworker: what would my music catalog be without Big Bad Teddy K (aka BBTK). Top of the list is Dream Theater. Ted has always been an avid fan, but the hook wasn’t set until “Train of Thought.” Suddenly, he and they had my attention. Also, Ted is responsible for my awareness of Metalocalypse and Dethklok…and Oh! So many others. Oh yeah…original Evans Blue that led to my discovery of Parabelle.  Jointly, BBTK and I found our way into Blind Guardian, In Flames, Iced Earth and what seemed a whole crap ton of others.

Josh Chamberlin, my awesome son: after his late appreciation for German power-metallers Blind Guardian (I tried to get him to like them earlier), he returned the gesture with a couple of other power/progressive acts like Dragonland and Anubis Gate.

D Eckert, nephew extraordinaire: this almost seems like an ongoing competition between the two of us, and it makes for some great music and stories. Among the many treasures he has steered my way, Chromeo has to be near the top. I will also give him props for drawing me fully into Amon Amarth. I knew them, had listened a little, but D got me to really pay attention to them. Similarly, Daft Punk, Empire of the Sun, Dark Tranquility, Sonata Arctica…

John Chamberlin (aka YaJagoff), my brother: siblings do have a tendency to influence for better or worse. Earliest memories are of Kiss’ “Destroyer” (on 8-track!), and early Elton John (on vinyl). BUT, in his varied career background, there was a brief period he spent on-air with a small radio station. While not direct recommendations by him, from that experience I latched onto the Sisters of Mercy and John Wesley Harding.

Michael Augustine, former coworker/supervisor: Two of Mike’s biggest contributions are King Crimson’s “Three of A Perfect Pair,” and a pair of amazing instrumental collections by Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford – “Music For Piano and Drums” and “Flags.”  I can’t share these with anyone without implicating Mike A., and I am grateful.

No doubt, there are others who got left out or miscredited; I hope they understand.  If you happen to know any of these folks, greet them from me and let `em know they have contributed to my musical well-being.

Thanks to those named and unnamed that have fed my music consumption over the years!