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Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

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In the second of our ‘Why I Love Music’ season of articles, BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna recalls how the 1990s pop-punk of Green Day first opened his eyes to the world of music …

Music has always been a major, compelling force in my life and I’m not sure why. Why do some people love music more than others? Why have I fallen in love with music the way that I have? It might have to do with loneliness, or, putting it differently, with community.

I was a lonely only child who wished he had siblings and always wanted to be with friends, but those were unrealistic desires. When I couldn’t be with friends I would find other ways of escaping being by myself: hanging out with video game characters, getting to know TV personas, or, letting myself get swept away with music. I quickly recognized bands, and musicians as friends with whom I could familiarize myself and count on whenever I needed them.

Green Day’s “Basket Case”, and really, all of Dookie, was the impetus for my love of music. It struck a cord deep, deep in my body, and I knew I needed more of the feeling. From that point on, at 8 years old, I started my true path of music discovery. I eventually tried to learn to play many different instruments, and found out that my love of music doesn’t extend into playing, but remains in appreciating, and supporting.

Eventually, I found myself deeply involved in the Atlanta punk and hardcore scenes, where I met most of my best friends from my childhood, some of which are still besties to this day. Somehow, I even convinced my very patient, very cool parents, that my friends should have their bi-weekly band practices in my bedroom (since it was abnormally big for a small home). That lasted a good six months until my parents exercised their own right to not love punk rock.

My taste has evolved since then, just as my appreciation for other things in life. Just as it’s easier for me to make friends with a more diverse selection of people, so am I able to recognize and appreciate much broader scopes of music. I realize now, that yes, the reason I love music is friendship, the escape of loneliness, and the desire to be a part of and create community. Music gives us unique identity and allows us to be a part of something outside of ourselves. Music is friendly because it is familiar and relatable. Not everyone needs that company in life, but I sure do.

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