Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Determining Your Favorite Band

Anyone but anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of the rock band KISS. I’ve loved the band since junior high school and they’ve been my favorite act since high school. I’ve spent countless hours reading about them, listening to their music, studying their history, and learning all I could about every member (even Vinnie Vincent). I know more useless knowledge about the band than anyone I’ve ever met. I worshipped the band for quite a long time.

As I grew older, my musical tastes evolved. I segued from hard rock/hair metal, to classic rock, to jam bands, and in my twenties, I developed a taste for my ten favorite bands and left them at that. I never gave it much thought after rounding out the top 5. They were my favorite bands and that’s how it would stay.

Over the years, numbers 4 (The Rolling Stones) and number 5 (Aerosmith) may have switched positions, and recently Aerosmith has even slipped out of the top 5, but that coveted number one has always belonged to KISS. To me, there was no way that would ever change. We had been together for too many years. Too many people knew me as a KISS fan. It had become part of my identity.

Bruce Springsteen was always going to my second favorite band/performer, because when I wasn’t listening to KISS, I was obsessing over the E-Street Band. And when neither of those two were being played, good old number 3 (Pearl Jam) filled the slack.

Then a strange thing happened. About 5 years ago, I re-discovered Dave Matthews Band after a long hiatus. I started listening to this band with an intensity that had not hit me since discovering Kiss in junior high school. I began to collect all of their studio albums. Then I moved on to their live albums. Then I was grabbing their bootlegs by the handful. Slowly they crept into my rotation on a very heavy basis. I couldn’t go more than a month without listening to at least one Dave Matthews Band album. I found myself tracking their concerts and making plans to attend as many of their shows as possible. I didn’t do that with Kiss. I hadn’t done that since my 2003 Bruce Springsteen Giants Stadium run. What was happening to me? Was Dave Matthews Band creeping their way to the top spot on my favorites list?

And that’s when I had to ask myself if KISS really was number one anymore. I love them as deeply as I ever have. If they released a new album tomorrow, I would own it, but I still find myself spending more and more time with Dave Matthews Band. This leads to the question of my post. How do you determine who your favorite band is? Furthermore, can a favorite band ever be thrown out of the top spot? As funny as it sounds, I almost feel guilty for spending all that extra time with DMB when I could be listening to KISS. It’s like having an affair with a really hot mistress.

Now, I know that sounds comical, and that a person can enjoy as many bands as he/she wants to, but there can truly only be one number one. For as long as I can remember, that number one has been KISS. Lately though, I’ve been spending much too much time with Dave Matthews Band, and it’s made me question who is the true number one on my favorites list?

Is it that hard to separate the bands? Does being number one vs number two or three really make that much of a difference? To me, as a music freak, it really does. Holding the number one slot on my favorites list is a highly coveted position. It’s rare that this stronghold is loosened, let alone replaced. And the fact that a band came along and in 5 short years is threatening to knock the hottest band in the land from their perch, well, that says a lot about Dave Matthews Band and their ability.

So, how do you determine your favorite act? Is it based upon how much time you spend listening to them? Is it based on how much you study their history? Is it based on how the music makes you feel, or is there more to it than that? Could Dave Matthews Band share the top honor with KISS, or is that a cop out? These are the questions I ponder as I determine who my real favorite band of all time is.

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