As far back as I can remember, there was always music playing in my house. My father always had the best in stereo equipment, with the grandest of turntables for the records, the warmest of tube amplifiers to make it all round, and the sweetest of speakers filling the room with many of the greatest albums ever recorded. His collection varied from 50s, 60s, and 70s rock to the folk giants to some of the most violent classical music I’ve ever heard. When I started buying records for myself, we added metal, punk rock, and early hip hop to the mix. Much of what I am today as a person comes from the fact that there were always warm tubes running in my home.
Apparently, the Escovedo family was much the same. Mario spoke of his family, the mighty Escovedo musical family, always having music in the house. Dan asked him if his mother was a musician, as everyone else seemed to be. Mario told him that perhaps she was not a musician herself, but her love of music kept the tubes warm in their home as well. How much did that music playing in the background have to do with the mighty accomplishments those Escovedo kids would go on to achieve? Their mother is still with us, holding strong at 93 years young. With two boys playing percussion for one of the finest latin rock bands of all time, with one boy responsible for bringing punk rock to California, another boy blazing the world of Americana music, another boy spending 13 years rocking the world, and a granddaughter who took the world by charge in the 80s drumming for Prince, that matriarch of that family did much for us all with that music playing all them years ago.
My own mother has told me stories of resting her headphones against her belly while she was pregnant and giving me my first dose of John Bohnam and Led Zeppelin. She did the same with Pink Floyd. She did the same with The Beatles. How much did that influence my life’s decisions? She tells the same story every time, of how I would kick back as hard as Bonham when I heard the sound of the music. It was clear, I loved the rock and roll even before I was born.
Having music playing in the home is so important for a child’s growth. It taught me individuality. It gave me the chance to learn from one set of sounds, take in what I loved and discard what I didn’t. It allowed me to then branch off and find my own self with other forms of music. It then gave me the courage to stand up and showcase what I had found to my family and friends. Singing along to all those Beach Boys albums as a kid made me realize I could sing, and I could make music just like what came from the warm tubes of the stereo. For a kid who had nothing, lived not knowing where the next meal came from, seriously lacking in self-esteem, I can always remember be over-the-moon happy when the stereo was on and playing great music. It is the gift that is universal. Get out there, as soon as you can, especially if you have young children in your own home, and get some great music. Turn off the television and leave it off. Crank up the old tube amplifier, drop the needle on a great record, and fill your house with the future; a very warm future indeed.