Confession Time: I Was a Teenage Tolkien-Head, Guys
Rachel Darnall

I never had it quite that bad, but by my second reading through the four-volume Hobbit/Lord-of set (before high school), I spent as much time flipping through the appendices in V4 as reading whatever section of the text I was on. And naturally I read the Silmarillion before anyone else had ever heard of it.

And I can SO relate to the anti-cool thing. I was the kid who preached about how the Beatles were like SO over-rated, unless of course one wanted to talk about the White Album. But then of course there was that Yoko thing. I remember prevailing in an argument at around age fifteen over whether Keith Emerson or Chick Corea was the better pianist. Of course my opponent had never even listened to Chick Corea but once he did there was no argument any more (of course, I had never listened to Oscar Peterson or Vladimir Horowitz, so I had no idea how bush-league the whole dispute was.)

Meanwhile my peers were switching from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath (from “meh” to “epic yawn” in today’s terms, although there was a reference or two to Tolkien in Zep’s unnamed “Four”, which was like borderline anti-cool-ish) while I was insisting that Pink Floyd’s was the true revolution in rock-n-roll, if one simply must lower oneself to listen to it at all…

Years later I discovered Miles Davis and Duke Ellington and Jerry Mulligan and Bill Evans, and realized that my passion for Stan Kenton had been a tad sophomoric too, but then when all the jazz-band kids in the seventies were obsessed with Maynard Ferguson, even saying “Kenton” (I even met the man once, honest, he played a request for me that he lip-read off me from the stage at Disneyland) made a guy like SO sophisticated.

Et cetera.

And no, Jimi Hendrix was NOT the greatest rock-blues guitarist ever. That would be Stevie Ray Vaughan. Of course there is always Satriani, but he was a tad one-dimensional, don’t you think?

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