The first record I remember buying was a 7″ – Men At Work / Down Under. I was 9 or 10 years old and glued to the Top Forty Radio shows – both Dick Clark (RIP) and Casey Kasem. “Down Under” was a huge hit. I just liked the way it sounded. Music was completely fascinating to me.
(EDITOR’s NOTE: Men at Work’s Greg Ham found dead)
Close on the timeline were Michael Jackson/Thriller, Def Leppard/Pyromania and Loverboy/Loverboy. I would get odd jobs around the neighborhood. Mow a lawn or split some wood for my mom. My brother-in-law had a big record collection too. He was 15 years older than me and had all the rock records that were popular at the time. So, I’d go over to their house, play some Atari and rock out with Ted Nugent, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Pink Floyd and Loverboy records. There was also a kid in the neighborhood who would get 11 cassettes for a penny from Columbia House. He’d sell ‘em to the neighborhood kids for $1 each!
I’ve always been a fan of melody over anything else. I can still appreciate this stuff all these years later! These bands probably influenced me as a musician. My guitar playing is still pretty rocking even though I write folk songs. And, I’m big on hooks. I know it’s a brave thing to admit, but I learned a lot about song structure from reading the lyrics to the Keep It Up (Loverboy) album. The lyric sheet with the album had all the various parts of the songs labeled -Intro vs. vs2 pre chorus bridge etc. I was really into that for some reason. And the pink leather was pretty cool. Let’s hear it for neckerchief headband music!
Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter and music producer, Sam Densmore, has been a musician his whole life, teaching himself guitar and eventually earning a BA degree in music composition in 1996. A self-proclaimed rock n roll renaissance man at heart, he started out playing in south coast clubs at age 14. Since then he’s performed on bills with a diverse array of indie artists including Frank Black, Richmond Fontaine, and Mike Watt among others.