When my mom told me she had hired a babysitter for the weekend, it stung my conflated 11-year-old ego. Thankfully she picked a cool one. “Hey man, I like your KISS shirt!” was the first thing Pam said to me. She wore black denim bellbottoms and parted her long brown hair down the middle. “I can bring over some records this weekend when we hang out.” Of course I instantly trusted Pam and her taste in music. The following Friday she arrived with a grip of vinyl including AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Heart and Alice Cooper. Every song blew my impressionable young mind. As each track faded out, I couldn’t wait to hear what she would play next.
By the end of fourth grade I owned my first electric guitar and there was no turning back. An insatiable appetite for discovery put me through many phases over the years — skate punk, mod, shoegaze, country rock, proto metal — though my interests are broad, they’ve somehow boiled down in the form of two working bands. In Hot Lunch, we blend new ideas into our love for ‘60s hard rock with an equal adoration for ‘70s punk. Sweet Chariot leans more on classic Americana and UK pub rock with an emphasis on multiple vocal harmonies. I prefer older music, but my current tastes orbit around new releases by artists like Queen Crescent, Sturgill Simpson, High On Fire, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, Chris Stapleton, Earthless and Alabama Shakes (to name a few). The anticipation of finding out what’s next still excites me now as much as it did back when Pam first babysat…er…hung out with me.
At Pandora, my position as Lead Curator has me taking on many different responsibilities. But I feel that the most important part of my job isn’t about sharing what I like — it’s helping listeners find the music they’ll love and remember. Somebody once told me, “Art is how we decorate space and music is how we decorate time.” And that’s why I think that the next song matters — because your memories need a soundtrack.