Sep 072012

On second thought...

[Suburban kid suggests we discuss the following topic. Welcome to The Main Stage, my friend. – Mr. Mod.]

I have a lot of these, but off the top of my head I can think of:

The Smiths – I saw them open for The Fall in 1983 and thought they were very boring. Then I had to listen to them as my record store co-workers played them over and over again in 1985-86. I thought Morrissey was a pretentious drip, which prevented me from even trying to like the music. But after an extended period of this immersion technique, I grew to enjoy Moz’s defiance and eccentricity, his vocal ticks and his camp posing. Some of his lyrics were actually quite funny, and the band, if you listened, seemed to play rock and roll sometimes. I decided I quite liked them, but that I probably would have loved them if I were 17 and not a few years older than that.

There are other examples, but what about you?


  17 Responses to “On Second Thought: Bands You Originally Thought Sucked But Later Learned to Enjoy”

  1. Some big ’70s artists of my high school days first come to mind:

    Led Zeppelin, who I did like in very small doses but who I resisted investigating further because I associated them with the numbskulls who thought they were the bee’s knees. A few years into college, after hearing them enough times on drugs I understood where the numbskulls were coming from.

    Yes, who I thought were pretentious twaddle despite liking “I’ve Seen All Good People” a little bit. I saw them in concert – in the round, no less – and they were really good in a circus act kind of way. I went on to buy a handful of their albums and like them for a long song or two at a time.

    Joni Mitchell, who terrified me when, as a 15-year-old, she entered the stage in The Last Waltz in a blaze of womanhood. A couple of years into living with my wife coupled with tales of Zeppelin digging her turned me around more than I ever would have imagined.

  2. 2000 Man

    I never liked Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had a lot of friends that loved them, but I thought they were a bunch of redneck republican assholes with a racist flag, and proud to be just that kind of special asshole. When I got a new turntable (mine had been out of commission about five years, but I still kept my records), I looked in a box of records I had picked up at an auction for when I got a new turntable, I saw a couple of them were Skynyrd albums. I figured “what the hell,” and put on the first album and besides getting bored with Freebird and thinking Gime Three Steps is hoedown music, I had a feeling that Ronnie Van Zant may not have been what I thought he was. Further investigations seem to point out that I was mostly wrong about them, and I’ve been eating that crow.

    The current Lynyrd Skynyrd is the exact thing I thought they were. Racist assholes.

  3. Black Sabbath comes to mind. My awareness of them was really only Iron Man and Paranoid and the occasionally T-shirt worn by the perpetually stoned kid in my high school who threatened to beat the shit out of me for liking that “punk rock new wave fag shit” (this was the late 70’s and 80’s). When those Ozzy solo record albums came out, I dismissed Sabbath even more thinking that is if this clown was the singer (based entirely on the packaging and still to this day, I can’t get myself to listen to those).

    Later (thanks in part to the great vinyl purge of the late 80’s), I would acquire many peoples record collections they were tossing out as they went all CD and the occasional Sabbath record would materialize, combined with the fact that the band was getting name checked more and more as an influence by some bands I was digging on at the time. I finally gave them a fair listen and really enjoyed those albums from the classic lineup.

  4. Suburban kid

    And then there’s the other side of the coin: Bands You Originally Enjoyed But Later Decided They Sucked.

  5. I tend go back and forth with those bands. There are groups I liked at one time and then later changed my mind, but then will revisit them and go….in the context, why did I hate you? They are sort of like old girlfriends whom I am friends with now.

  6. The entire Redd Kross early-90s 70s revival (Jellyfish, Plasticland, etc.) annoyed me to no end, but in the last 10 years I’ve really grown a pop-rock bone and really appreciate them.

  7. Slim Jade

    The kids in the hall have already heard this story, but I once went to a New Year’s show in the Peppermint Lounge in NYC, and I watched about 30 seconds each from 3 different bands.

    I decided they all sucked, and then later when these bands: The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, and Einsturzende Neubauten all hit it big, I kicked myself for my lack of patience.

  8. trigmogigmo

    In the summer before my senior year of high school, through the financial help of a parental acquaintance, I was able to join a school-arranged two-week trip to Europe with other kids from my school. We landed in Rome, returned from London, and spent the intervening days making our way through Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France, on a tour bus. At the back of the bus was a kid who took charge with a boombox and a cassette of the new Rush album Moving Pictures.

    My snarky opinion of Rush up to that point, from very limited exposure, was something like “they’re the Bee Gees of heavy metal”, due to Geddy Lee’s vocal range on “The Spirit of Radio”.

    Well, after two weeks of non-stop repeat Guantanamo Bay style exposure to Moving Pictures, I became a fan and could really air drum Neil Peart’s intricate drum parts quite well.

  9. misterioso

    Good call. If you’d asked me in any of my first 35 years of life if there were any virtues in Sabbath (other than what I felt was the guilty pleasure of “Paranoid”) I would have laughed. But I, too, have come to appreciate the first few records, esp. Black Sabbath and Paranoid.

  10. misterioso

    Zeppelin, definitely: although I think in my heart I liked a lot of their songs I heard on the radio growing up, I also associated their music with lunkheads and losers. Then at some point–and no drugs were involved in this shift–it hit me that in fact the music was terrific and it doesn’t matter how many lunkheads and losers are of the same opinion.

    Joni Mitchell falls in the–for me not unsubstantial–category of “artists I never much liked, have tried repeatedly to like out of a sense of guilt or responsibility, could never learn to like, and have basically given up on other than few songs.” See also, Ramones, the.

  11. misterioso

    Actually this is a clear illustration of the concept of “first thought, best thought.”

  12. Me three.

    The Great Vinyl Purge of the Late 1980s is a topic in itself that we might have to explore.

  13. bostonhistorian

    The great vinyl purge was very very good to me.

  14. Did not like REM or U2 when I 1st heard them in the early 80s. Not a fan of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden until long after their big years.

  15. mockcarr

    Though REM was boring too upon the first couple of listens then bought their jangly stuff until the major label deal reverb and hype took over.

    I couldn’t stand (and still have a problem with) Andy Partridge’s voice and the goofiness of some of it for a while, but I like a lot of XTC now. That Dukes of Stratosphear EP very much turned me around.

  16. Happiness Stan

    I’ll third Zeppelin, also second Joni Mitchell in the way which you describe. The more I try the further away she seems to get, like Van Morrison.

  17. Happiness Stan

    I took some time getting into The Fall and Captain Beefheart, but it was worth it in the end.

    I’ve previously documented my ex’s Laura Nyro brainwashing regime which won me over in the end

    Wasn’t immediately taken with the Incredible String Band, whose music I now love, even though on the two occasions I’ve been in his presence Mike Heron has behaved like a complete ass. (Robin Williamson on the other hand is one of the nicest people to ever walk this planet).

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