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Music Time Capsule ---- Log # 1 ---- Point of Know Return

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Music Time Capsule ---- Log # 1 ---- Point of Know Return

29 April 2017

Mark Antony Rossi

I came to Rock and Roll on my own. My parents are Italian-American and only listened to Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra and various opera singers. They thought Elvis and Buddy Holly were music for rich, snobby Americans. I remember ordering three albums for one penny from a record club. A box was delivered to my home and I opened it up quickly like it was a gift under a Christmas tree. The albums where Kansas {Point of Know Return}, Styx {The Grand Illusion} and Kiss {Love Gun.} My mother laughed and said the "real music is in the living room." She was referring to Connie Francis whom she played 17.000 times a day. My father, on the other hand, nearly had a heart attack upon discovering I ordered the albums. He came up to me with a twisted face and said, "the only reason I don't break that record over your head ----is I probably still have to pay for it!" Once I heard that I was relieved, because at first I thought he was going to accuse me of cultural betrayal by not listening to Frank Sinatra, and now I realized he was only suspecting me of fraud. It was a load off my shoulders and I preceded to listen to Kansas and slip away into an entirely new musical experience.

My very first concert experience was Southside Johnny and the Jukes in 1981 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. I helped my father and his work crew at the US Air Force base nearby in New Jersey. We got free tickets and decided to check it out. My father wasn't driving, could drink beer and didn't have to pay admission. This was his kind of evening. I didn't exactly know what my kind of music was yet, but the live experience of the show was thrilling. And having my father present was a minor miracle. In the 1983, I asked my father to drop me off at the stadium in New Jersey to see Kansas play. Though six months earlier I got my driver's license I decided not to purchase a used car with the money my parents gave me. I was enlisted in the US Air Force and was leaving in a few months. Seemed a better idea to spend the money on a new turn table and concert tickets. The giant mosquito killing people some dude video of Kansas's "Fight Fire With Fire" was all over MTV and the Drastic Measures tour finally came to my town two months before I had to leave for basic training. I had the feeling I needed to see them because I might not have an opportunity for many years to come. (That was the first and last time I saw Kansas, but I did see and meet Kerry Livgren when he went solo.) I bought a ticket for my father and asked him to join me. He listened to the show and remarked how much he liked the violin player and just thought 'he could use a haircut.'

I lost my father to liver cancer shortly after I got out of the US Air Force. As we reconnected we laughed about the music and he secretly confessed he started listening to Electric Light Orchestra while I was serving overseas. And I secretly suspected he thought there was an opera singer in ELO because they had an "orchestra." But the whole thing hit me hard because I knew I was losing him more each day and irony was: he was finally becoming an American. I listened to ELO with him every day after he told me and it helped me hate the cancer less and love my father more. When he passed, relatives came from all over to pay their respects. They drew comfort from the bible verses, Italian sayings, special flower arrangements and later good homemade food. Yet none of them recognized that last song played at the end the burial: it was a muzak version of Kansas's "Dust in the Wind." It seemed fitting.

Mark Antony Rossi


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