The Ryan Report – Episode 207 "Famous Last Words" Ryan's Bio
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So, I have to admit I got a bit of a late start getting into music. While everyone else was getting obsessed with Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, I was pretty much just checking out Casey Kasem's Top Forty. I guess I was a little too focused on other things… like speculative science fiction and girls. Yes, I know, those two things do NOT usually go together. That's what I spent my teenage years figuring out.
But when I moved to New York, I really started discovering music. And, unlike in my teen years, I could actually afford to buy it rather than just taping songs off the radio and hoping the DJ didn't talk over it ( that's what we used to do before iTunes).
This city is a mecca for music – it's like you soak it up by osmosis. There are buskers in the subway, concert violinists on street corners, and jazz trios crowding whatever cafï¿½ you hit up at 2 am.
I've gone from having only seen a couple of concerts before I lived in New York (AC/DC was my first, obviously) to seeing a concert every week or so. Partly it's because there are so many places to see them at. It's not like back home where all we had was the Pink Floyd laser show at the hockey rink.
I was able to check out Wilco at the Roseland Ballroom – Jeff Tweedy played a solo while crowdsurfing and I was more than happy to hold him & his guitar up. I had far so much fun at Modest Mouse at Irving Plaze, that somehow I came home with the setlist, a guitar pick and an extra pair of shoes. And of course, I've seen the Rolling Stones three times at Madison Square Garden. If the Jumbroton is to be believed, Jagger's started to pull a Benjamin Button and looked younger in '06 than he did in '03…
But this is a great city in that not only can you go to performers, but performers will come to you. I was taking a subway ride recently and in between 14th street and 34th, a group of teenage b-boys came in with nothing but a boom box and a piece of cardboard. They only had a couple minutes, but they managed to pull off a full routine of the most incredible dance moves – and all within an extremely small space. I was actually a little sorry that I had to get off at 34th… and that I only had a few dollars to give them.
Sometimes you can have a cool time just walking down the street in the middle of the night and finding a drum circle set up in the patio of a closed restaurant. And of course, then you have to grab a nearby bucket, flip it over and join in. It's a cool little bit of random magic that seems to come out at 4 in the morning.
All that said, I do have a rule – no buying their CDs. They never sound as cool at home as they did on the street, especially if you'd had a few drinks that night. Naked Cowboy guy, I'm looking at you. I mean, not looking, but pointing.
In any case, all of this has inspired me to look into perhaps picking up an instrument. I'm thinking the harmonica. It's cheap, it's portable, it's relatively easy to play… and it would annoy Esposito out of his mind. Right, now I know what to bring to our next stakeout…