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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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You Always Remember Your First
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A couple of months ago I sent out a message to my subscribers that I was planning on starting a column where I’d answer any questions that they had for me (just one of the many benefits of being a subscriber). I had no idea what to expect. The result was folks wanted to know about a lot of my firsts (no, not that first, you pervert). What was the first album I bought? Who performed at the first show I attended? Who was the first artist I interviewed? All very good questions and not only will I answer them today, but I’m also going to toss them your way, as well, so after reading my replies hit me with your firsts and let’s compare notes.

First Album (any genre): Michael Jackson's Thriller - I honestly have no idea when it was bought, or which one of my parents bought it, but I remember Michael Jackson’s Thriller as being one of the first, if not the first, albums (that wasn't a "kids" album) to have landed in my collection. After hearing “Beat It” on the radio I pleaded to have Thriller in our home. I couldn't have been much older than six at the time. What a way to start a musical journey, with one of the ten greatest albums ever made. Sometimes I feel for the current generation of music listeners because I was lucky enough to be born at one of the handful of perfect times for music. If you started off your life with the likes of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or Frank Sinatra, you were incredibly lucky. I was incredibly lucky.

First Hip-Hop Album: DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper Just like Thriller this album also falls under the heading of “I was born at just the right time.” The year was 1988, I would turn ten that October, but before that birthday DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince helped rap invade the suburbs with their classic hit “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” These two guys were cool, talented, and seemed to know everything about what we fought our parents over. After “Parents Just Don’t Understand” came “Nightmare On My Street,” a witty horror story involving Freddy Kruger told over a SICK beat. Throw in “Charlie Mack (1st Out Of The Limo) and it was the perfect introduction to Hip-Hop. After that purchase I spent A LOT of time watching Video Music Box. I still have no idea how my parents put up with a nine year old rappin in the house, but I’m glad they did.

First Live Show: Heltah Skeltah at Hofstra University in 1996 – In a bit of irony I wasn’t really a concertgoer until I hit college, but within the first month I was at my first show as Duck Down’s dynamic duo Heltah Skeltah came to Hofstra University in the fall of 1996 on the heels of the release of their debut album, Nocturnal. I’m not sure how the guy who invited me to the show knew I was into Hip-Hop, perhaps I was talking about it with a friend, but I was invited and since I was familiar with Heltah Skeltah’s music I went. In a crowd of 500 I was one of maybe a dozen white people there (to be fair, it was hosted by a frat that dubbed themselves “the last of the angry Africans”). It was my first of what now seems like an endless stream of “I’m the only white dude” experiences… and it was a pretty darn good show, too! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and hanging out with the entire Duck Down crew in recent years and they’ve all been especially hyped by this story.

First Artist Interview: Hi-Tek in 2001 – The exact date of this interview escapes me, but my first artist interview was with Hi-Tek, done around the time he was preparing to release his first album, Hi-Teknology, in the spring of 2001. At the time I was working a nine to five I couldn’t stand where I was writing about media planning and buying (so dull) while freelancing doing local sports for a major Connecticut newspaper (which was pretty cool) and doing album reviews for a website on the side (yes, everyday I was hustlin). I finally started getting on press lists in 2001 and when Hi-Tek’s album arrived I noticed the press release said he was available for interviews. I emailed Rawkus, set it all up and did the interview during my lunch break. It was great.

OK, so those are some of my firsts, now hit me with some of yours. What was the first album you bought? Who performed at the first concert you attended? Share your thoughts and a little bit of your history. Hey, I just did.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:45 AM  
  • At 8:55 AM, Blogger JG said…

    Thriller was my first album ever as well (as I'm sure it was for countless other kids in the 80's). My copy was actually purchased during a school trip to Mexico, and I think most of the liner notes had been translated to Spanish.

    First hip hop album: Run DMC's Raising Hell. I probably listened to it at least 10,000 times.

  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger Sketch Tha Cataclysm said…

    first album- unknown... there was soooooo much music getting rocked in my house. . . pops used to play Ice Cream Castle by The Time alot, moms played Whitney Houston, it could have been anything

    first concert- Chuck Berry at Lake Compounce. . . the best shit is that I don't have to be 62 years old to say that. . . first hip-hop concert was Kris Kross, The Pharcyde, and Ed Lover at the Oakdale (to get to see the whole original Pharcyde rock was a blessing)

    first hip-hop album- also a distinct unknown. . . I do know that the first record I ever cut up was Big Mouth by Whodini lol

  • At 3:27 PM, Blogger Mongo Slade said…

    First album ever was a gift actually. It was Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full.

    The first concert/show was a Lyricist Lounge with KRS-One. Didn't understand why his shows were so talked about until after that day.

  • At 7:49 PM, Blogger Claudia Alick said…

    First Album- Prince "Purple Rain"
    First Hip-hop Tape- "He's the DJ I"m the Rapper"
    First Concert- Violent Femmes in Missoula MT
    First published interview- Chuck D for Bust Magazine

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