The earliest music I remember liking was the Scottish group, 'The Bay City Rollers' when I was around four years old. My world, like all children then, was a little small and dark. Elvis was in his final years and my dad loved his music, I heard it all of the time, but none of it clicked with me or mattered. It was fluff and without depth and did not trigger something in me. My world was normal as a young child for the most part, uninspired and average, but this will change rapidly in a few years' time.
When I was a little kid in the 70's I had three powerful influences on me, each of these directed my imagination and therefore my thinking away from the norm helping me find myself at an early age. The first was Godzilla. Strange but true, but the movies were only second to the short run cartoon. The very first thing I chose to draw as an artist was him and I remember doing it and what it looked like too. I saw my first episode at a friends, Shawn Black's, one Saturday afternoon and it blew my mind. I don't know why but the image of the massive dragon-like monster stepping into the sea caused a shockwave in me. I HAD to replicate it in the best way I could, by drawing it.
At first, this was a sporadic thing, art, but it was my beginning because I realized at the age of around of five that I could re-create the things I saw and have them on me at all times. With Godzilla came monster movies and there were lots of them in the 70's. But it was Count Gregore, our state's legendary Horror Host, that I watched loyally as a little kid as often as I knew when it was on. His movies and mystery entranced me. I was at that age that everything seemed real on TV and his vampire-like persona was what I needed.
Slowly my life was coming together and I wasn't even a teenager yet. Next in my influences was KISS. At the height of their fame in the mid-70's I found them, but it was accidental. I had caught Mono or the flu severely and had to go to the hospital for a few weeks. It was a boring time spent there by myself for much of the time in my room and bed. I doodled as an artist, not knowing many things to attempt drawing and quickly ran out of stuff to try. One afternoon, I think a Saturday, while at St. Mary's, I crept out of my room, avoided the nurses and made my way down to the game room. Old men, pool tables, and a jukebox were there. I was a small thin kid and did not know anyone there and kept to myself.
I sat in front of the jukebox on a stool while the men played pool behind me and looked over the album covers for the art. As I rolled over them one caught my eye, the KISS 'Destroyer' album. It spoke to me of wondrous and unimaginable fantasy. The make-up and costumes (which seemed real to me then) were like superheroes and beyond Human and awed me. So I took what change I had and played some songs hoping they would sound good. Detroit Rock City and God of Thunder played and it changed me on the spot. I knew that THIS was the type of thing I wanted to be involved in, and I must have ALL of their albums! Soon! Disco was just becoming the fad then and unavoidable, and everywhere I went it was the Bee Gees and those whiny, high pitch, 'funky' sounding songs, they sounded wrong to me. It was then that I was 'seeing' sounds as shapes in my mind but did not understand what it meant except that it brought me a strong creativity when it was just right. This Disco and Funk nonsense was not right. I needed something with a certain tone and theme to it, it was the only way that I could create.
At that moment I took to my art and frantically began drawing them and Godzilla attempting to replicate the same sensations I first felt seeing them. My interest in Dinosaurs also started in this time, and I quickly began drawing them. My mind went wild with ideas, it was great. At home I desperately wanted any monster magazine (Famous Monsters) or book (The Traveler's Guide to Transylvania), dinosaur book and KISS album I could find. I read comics such as Devil Dinosaur, Sgt. Rock and the Savage Sword of Conan/Red Sonya by the late 70's. Not only was I searching out neat and fantastic things, I was studying them too, at my own level on my own terms. This is the best way to help a child want to read and learn, let them find their interests and set them free. It is what helped me.
By the end of the 70's I was truly beginning my venture into art with a horror/fantasy angle. Music was the start of a long relationship that I will feed upon more and more in my creative future, but this is barely the beginning. My young mind was wild now with heated interest and it wasn't a passing thing as most kids experience with occasional interests, this was the first step into a large world that I alone will go. No one else will alter or prevent me now that I have found it - no one.