The Who

A not-so-brief introduction to me.

Who I am is a middle-age white guy from the Northeast United States. I have a 9-5 job rather than a career, no wife, no kids, and no real responsibility outside of basic survival. I’m an amateur actor when the fancy strikes me (which is often) and a bit of an obsessive sports fan. Everything else you need to know will most likely become abundantly clear as we go forward.

I bought my first album in 1983 at the age of 11 (ok technically it was a “cassette”): Def Leppard’s Pyromania. Since then I have accumulated over 250 cassettes and well in excess of 2000 CD’s. There’s a couple of vinyl albums packed away somewhere as well. Needless to say, music has been a huge part of my life and my obsession with my collection is the main reason I sit here at 40+ years of age mired in credit card debt and unable to mature past the age of 16 on an intellectual level. So be it. Over those years it has also provided me with endless hours of entertainment and in the age of internet-ADD-DVR-iPhone-giveittomeNOW madness, I remain one of the few people on the planet who still sits down and listens to an album without a dozen other things going on simultaneously.

I’m also a bit of an obsessive/compulsive collector. It started with baseball cards, which was reasonable since in a given year there was a finite number of cards in a series and you could actually collect each one within a reasonable amount of time if you were persistent (and willing to steal quarters off your father’s nightstand. Sorry, dad.). That compulsion transferred to music soon after, bringing to light the rather excruciating reality that try as I might I would never be able to own every album ever released. That’s the problem with compulsion though: even when you know something is impossible, you still have to try it. So while I’m not out there buying everything that I can get my hands on, I am victim of a hard-to-fight need that says once I find a particular band or artist I like I must get everything else they’ve released. Something about listening to the progression of a band over time really interests me. It’s still an impossible situation, but it’s a little more reasonable on my psyche (if not my wallet). All of which (I hope) explains why I have such an enormous collection of music currently taking up so much space in my apartment and in my life.

Now one of the questions I occasionally get asked is, “when do you listen to all this stuff?”. A more appropriate question might be, “when *don’t* I?”. First off, I drive everywhere. My current commute is about a half-hour each way to work and most nights I’m heading out to a theater for a rehearsal or a performance, sometimes as far away as an hour’s drive. I don’t generally listen to the radio unless it’s a ballgame or assorted sports talk (a blessing considering if I *did* listen to the radio it would just mean that much MORE new music I’d want to own), so on average I spend close to two hours a day in my car, by myself, listening to CD’s. I’m also lucky enough to have a job where I can sit at my desk with headphones on all day and generally not be interrupted. In the course of a typical 8 hour work day, I’d say I’m listening to music no less than 5 hours, often more. Then there’s the fact that in living alone and having no real responsibilities outside of work and theater, I have a lot of “down time”. So if I’m home, there’s probably a good 60% chance that I have a CD playing (the other 40% – sports on the TV). A lot of the time that’s ALL I’m doing. Headphones on, liner notes in hand, music in my head. It’s how I gear up, wind down, kill time, and in all ways – exist.

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