Happy birthday Kane

Last updated 08:23 05/12/2008

Kane is my brother. And today is his birthday. So by way of a very cheap present – since he does not live in the same country as me – I thought I’d dedicate this post to him. (Hey, if I could announce my own birthday, this is no biggie right?) But don’t worry, as you have come to expect, it’s about music…

I figure there’s no better time to thank my brother than now – here, with this post – for the influence he has had on me with regard to music. Being the older brother, he introduced me to a lot of music; so much of it stays with me to this day.

Last week I touched on it with this post about the Rolling Stones; Kane bought Rolled Gold and it became the soundtrack to our South Island family road trip. And a while back I referenced the “introduction” to music that would occur when Kane had a new CD and I, the younger brother, was invited in to listen to it. Cast your eye back to this look at the music of The Who for that story…but, if you can’t be bothered clicking there the thing is that was not an isolated event…the “introduction” occurred when new music made its way in to our house; I must have been a beyond-eager student, always keen and ready to learn.

When my brother, nearly five years older, moved away to university and I started high school we really started to bond over music. He went to Auckland, where the range of music was just a little bit larger than what was available in Hawke’s Bay. He was still buying cassette tapes, to start with, but moved on to CDs pretty swiftly. We shared an interest in the Stones, Santana and Pink Floyd and had picked up on our dad’s love of The Beatles and mum’s enthusiasm for jazz.

That first Easter holiday break my brother returned with Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, a best-of compilation that very much changed my life. I knew the title song and the album Mistrial (mum had bought that at the time it was released; and I loved it) but hearing Satellite of Love, Sweet Jane, New York Telephone Conversation and Coney Island Baby was so huge for me; I can actually recall the precise moment when I first listened to that tape. I was hooked…

Always a fan of the definitive Greatest Hits/Best-of compilation Kane has introduced me to not only Rolled Gold and Who’s Better, Who’s Best – but also Bob Marley’s Legend, Led Zeppelin’s Re-Masters, Bob Dylan’s Masterpieces and The Best of The Doors. He got there first by virtue of age, in most cases I would have found my way there, but still…

He also – and this is huge – bought me for Christmas one year the three-tape set of Volumes 1-3 of Dylan’s Bootleg Series. If you go back to my post about Dylan albums you’ll see that compilation of rarities has stayed with me. It was the first box-set I ever obtained. I remember devouring the information in the booklet that Boxing Day.

We were also able to share a few key, formative, live gigs: Eric Clapton and Dire Straits; Guns N' Roses, Michael Jackson and more recently The Police; a hark back to those days of Kane introducing me to great best-of albums (The Police’s Their Greatest Hits was another).

So many of those “classic” artists I like to think I would have discovered, even if it took some time…but I can’t thank my brother enough for introducing me to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme – way back in the early life of Blog on the Tracks I confirmed that as a Desert Island Disc – and it’s still an album I play most weeks. Another life-changing album. Ditto: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. Formative stuff.

But if I had to pick one act I was very pleased to be turned on to by my brother it would be Schnell-Fenster. This Split Enz-offshoot features a post-Swingers Phil Judd reconnecting with Noel Crombie. I think Kane’s art teacher probably introduced him. But that tape of The Sound of Trees went round and round in my blue Volvo and I remember being so stoked finally finding it on CD many years later. The Sound of Trees is an underrated, under-discovered, under-appreciated album, an antipodean Oingo Boingo and it always made me sad to think of Phil Judd’s reluctance to play live when I would listen to those awesome songs.

I like to think, now, that I have passed a bit of music back to my older brother. For his birthday – I’m not actually cheap enough to just offer this blog-post, okay, okay, not now anyway…there were years when I prayed for a blog to pass posts off as presents – but anyway, as part of the real present I gave Kane a copy of SJD’s Dayglo Spectres (you may remember I was excited about this album when it was released). I figure he will really dig it, since I put him on to Songs from a Dictaphone last year. LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver was another I passed on last year.

We don’t have any sisters or other brothers (that we know of) so I was never the older sibling passing music on to a young, keen mind. But perhaps you were? Or maybe, like me, you had an older brother and/or sister who gave you so many ideas about music and opened doors, provided starting points…

So, today’s plan is for you to recall the music you have either proudly passed on to a sibling and/or the music (and wisdom) you received from your older sister or brother.

And Happy Birthday Kane; look forward to seeing you and Frances for Christmas.

18 comments
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Sam   #1   09:04 am Dec 05 2008

My brother once gave me the album Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble... It didn't make me love SRV, but at the time i was listening to Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and early U2, so it certainly broadened my ideas...I now have quite a range in my album collection, although some of my favourites remain.... so I thank him for giving me the chance to look outside the RTR top 20 before I was 16!!

Kirsty   #2   09:06 am Dec 05 2008

My sister and I have very diverging musical tastes; Madonna was blipping on her radar about the same time as I discovered Bruce Springsteen and since that time she's always preferred female artists of the easy-listening kind while I've tended to go for mostly male-dominated hard rock.

My stepbrother and his mates were into AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath and Metallica. It was from hanging out with them that I developed a taste for some of this classic heavy metal (though AC/DC probably doesn't fit into that genre). They weren't into the hair-metal of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard like I was, but it was nevertheless through them that I was introduced to some bands that I still listen to now.

And Happy Birthday Kane.

Peter   #3   09:52 am Dec 05 2008

My brother & I have similar tastes 9or lack thereof), he's not as big on KISS as I am but we have shared many great concert experiences together, most recently the Leppard - whose t-shirt I see Simon is wearing with pride this morning.

Have a good one Kane.

Blind Boy   #4   09:57 am Dec 05 2008

There was a large gap between my brother and I; we were effectively different musical generations. He did me a favour by ringing me one afternoon and asking me if I wanted to see Joe Pass and Oscar Petersen (it was the late 70's). It was a great concert and later on he and I arrived at a similar place when I discovered Django, Miles, Coltrane, Blue Note and a love of jazz (although my partner insists they just sound like musicians playing the blues badly). I later warmed to Frank Sinatra, but he never got the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc. I actually arrived at these bands via my friends older brother's record collections. We pillaged these endlessly for a good time and musical education. Still love Zeppelin as Zeppelin 2 turned my head on, building on the "damage" done by the Beatles Australian tour and radio. Happy birthday Kane, I hope Simon bought you something decent that you won't end up using a novelty drinks coaster....

Simon Sweetman   #5   10:20 am Dec 05 2008

@ Peter - and I must say you are looking resplendent in your finest Stalker apparel mate...

MsM   #6   10:29 am Dec 05 2008

My big bro has similarly ecclectic tastes in music to me. He introduced me to Janet Jackson & Mariah Carey, Daft Punk & The Prodigy, then we clashed over his poor taste in rap & slash metal, and now have a mutual respect for classics like Clapton, Pink Floyd and some jazz stuff. Music is the one thing that we can have a conversation about (with differing views) that doesn't result in a full-blown barney, so thank christ for music. Miss you Pickle, can't wait to see ya on the 23rd...

Tim Possible   #7   10:43 am Dec 05 2008

Just the one sister (not Kim!), 2 years apart in age, but we’re chalk and cheese. We shared the love of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and early Tom Petty, usually before and after school when “home alone together” and I think I turned her onto Tears For Fears for a brief time, but as we’re a dysfunctional family and I never see her I couldn’t be certain whether or not she even listens to music today. After Tears For Fears, I suspect not, and couldn’t really blame her. I’d love to share my passion for music with her, but that is now a forlorn hope. I once forced her to see 'The Kids Are Alright' (at the cinema, no less!) because Mum wouldn't let me go alone, and I think that was the last time she ever indulged my tastes. You are a very lucky man Simon to have achieved what you probably consider a simple pleasure. Not just with yer bro, but with your Mum and Dad.

H   #8   10:55 am Dec 05 2008

My brother and I are very close (both age-wise and personally) and we spent most of our formative years exchanging music. This was around the era of grunge, and so I put him on to Angel Dust by Faith No More, he put me on to Incesticide and In Utero after we both got into Nevermind, and so on. We spent a few years exchanging BDO tickets for Christmas, and even now we tend to recommend and exchange a fair bit of music.

Now we have two much younger half-brothers, and have taken the opporunity to indoctrinate them into decent music - sometimes it sticks (they like the Pixies) and sometimes it doesn't (TV on the Radio was a long shot). It hasn't stopped them listening to crap like Chris Brown and less crappy but no less commercial stuff like Fall Out Boy, but that stuff has also helped them transition into decent stuff like Led Zep, the Clash and the Roots.

(not regular posting) Don   #9   11:09 am Dec 05 2008

My brother and I both prefer the Rolf Harris version of Stairway to Heaven to the original.

Scott   #10   12:08 pm Dec 05 2008

My elder sister single handedly changed the music I listened toin late 1989. She knew I loved music, but she also saw that I was stuck in the bogan rutt of my Upper Hutt teenage years and not being exposed to anything apart from hair or thrash metal.

So she slipped me two tapes for my birthday. One was a C90 copied from some vinyl records she owned, one side was The Clean's <i>Vehicle</i>, the Headless Chicken's <i>Stunt Clown</i> was on the other. The other tape was the recently released <i>Doolittle</i> by The Pixies.

Those three albums changed the way I thought about music, from that point on. They woke me up to guitar-based music that didn't have to be dumb rock or generic heavy metal, they woke me up to seeking out 'the alternative' music. Two of the albums, <i>Doolittle</i> and <i>Stunt Clown</i> remain favourites to this day.

I owe her a lot for those little gifts.


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