By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
None of us nerds started out with an encyclopedic knowledge of late-1980s Manchester bands or record collections that fill entire rooms. Before we really acquired our knowledge, we faked it. Back in the 20th Century, this required actually walking into record stores, purchasing physical albums, and buying magazines imported from the UK. These days, it's a lot easier, but the steps you'll need to take are essentially the same.
Here's how to become a music geek in four simple steps.
Fake it. Back in the late 1970s and early '80s, there was a band called Bauhaus. These four mopers had a single called "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (you likely hear it every Halloween), they did a spot-on cover of "Ziggy Stardust," and they appeared in the David Bowie/Catherine Deneuve vampire flick The Hunger. If you have any interest in spooky alternative music, you know about Bauhaus. They basically pioneered what we now call goth.
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When I was in middle school, I had never heard of the band. I wore all black, however, so older kids at the mall assumed I was a Bauhaus fan. I played along, which wasn't that hard because I was into Peter Murphy, the band's former frontman, and Love and Rockets, a band formed by the other members of Bauhaus.
In the age of the smartphone, faking it is even easier. Just pretend you're returning a text from your mom and look up the group on Wikipedia.
Run to the record store, uh, iTunes. Once you lie about knowing a band, it's vital to actually listen to some of the music. After faking my way through a Bauhaus conversation or two, I went to the record store that was across the street from my school. They didn't have the band's first album, so I started out with a cassette of its third release, The Sky's Gone Out.
The Internet makes this step much, much simpler. Between iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and a host of other sites, you'll likely be able to find what you need. If you don't want to buy the music, hit up Spotify. And even if it's not there, it's likely on YouTube.
Realize this album is actually one of the best things you've ever heard and purchase the entire catalogue. When I sat down and listened to The Sky's Gone Out on my Walkman, I knew I was in love with the band. Bauhaus was better than Peter Murphy and Love and Rockets combined! So after I got all the cassettes and CDs, I moved on to vinyl. (This is a vital step for any aspiring music geek.) I searched head shops for T-shirts and stickers. Years later, I caught Bauhaus on a reunion tour. The music-geek cycle was almost complete.
Obtain actual knowledge. Use it in conversation. Often. It might take a few years. But one day, you will wake up and realize you don't have to fake it anymore. You will have a vast repository of music-related trivia at your disposal. You'll be able to carry on an hourlong conversation about obscure B-sides. Your friends will gawk when they see that you own vinyl usually found only on record store walls.
Your poseur skin has been shed. You are a music geek. Congratulations, and welcome to the club.