people often ask me how or why i got into music. (here's where you ask me and i answer in the following paragraph.)
my folks weren't really into music. my dad is a tone deaf trucker and my mom gets her fix in the church choir and, as i have later come to appreciate, has the art of shifting tonal centers mastered. they bought an out-of-tune upright piano from a local auction house for my sister and i when we were young, and provided us with the opportunity to take regular piano lessons. i spent about two months playing guitar, screwed around on my mom's autoharp, and liked learning michael jackson tunes on the casio keyboard that i bought with my paper route money. i never really fell in love with the saxophone at first sight. in fact, my dad told my mom (after the 5th grade band meeting) that i selected that horn because it was the most expensive of the bunch.
as a kid, i was really into the radio. Q102 was my jam. they would play all of the hits, and every sunday morning they would run casey kasem's american top 40 (i'm humming the jingle as i type). he would run down the week's top songs and offer the occasional tidbit about the performer. that man had the smoothest voice, perfect for this kind of stuff. i would sit poised in my room, with the blank cassette tape in my boombox and my index finger hovering over the record button, in hopes that casey would play the full version of kyrie by mister mister (which fit my range perfectly at the time) or higher love by steve winwood (featuring jr robinson on the drum intro and chaka khan on the backgrounds). he turned me on to great songs like the rain by oran juice jones, we built this city by starship (with that radio dj guy), and rhythm of the night by debarge (i still have the sheet music somewhere).
casey also hipped me to a bunch of slow jams too, usually prefixed with a long distance dedication. i always wondered if people actually sent letters to casey. i never felt my life was in similar disarray as those whose stories were read on the air, so i opted to live vicariously through whoever they were. lovers that are struggling to make it work get every time you go away by paul young. lovers that are optimistic about their future got meet me halfway by kenny loggins (from the incomparable movie over the top). lovers that evidently sat by the phone, head in hands, got right here waiting by richard marx (which i quickly learned how to play on the piano and sing in my falsetto ... for the ladies ...)
as goofy as this sounds, i give the birthday boy casey kasem a lot of credit for shaping my early ears. i don't search the radio stations when i'm on the road for jazz classics. i dig around for 80's music, the soundtrack of my youth.
casey also had a pottee mouth. hey - we all have our moments.