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A Tangerine Dream Come True

Wow, I am excited! I am writing an article for a magazine that is interviewing Steve Joliffe of Tangerine Dream! The unlikely story of a young man growing up in East Tennessee listening to bluegrass and country music becoming an electronic music fan and even learning to play a version of the genre seems unlikely, but it starts with the influence of Tangerine Dream way back in the early eighties. (Yes, I’m that old!)

My cousin Jeremy was the one who inspired/corrupted my musical taste when he played cassettes of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream on his little one-speaker Panasonic cassette player. I remember camping out under the stars and listening to this strange new kind of music I had never before heard; it was like a door was opened into a new musical cosmos! It also helped my mind to expand and mentally explore both the depths of physical space and my mental and emotional spaces. I didn’t even need any psychedelics to get there! The music itself was enough to carry me to meditative and free-flowing states of consciousness where images would burst onto my mind's eye, and all that without any conscious constructs like you have when you are daydreaming! The music was such a powerful catalyst; the floating expansive chords and ambient sounds that created a wall of sound, and of course the hypnotic percussive riffs of the sequencers, and then the acoustic icing on the cake: the ethereal melodies played on the synths, organs, or guitar. Man! How could that huge collection of wires and circuits so completely transmute popular music into something so religious feeling or at least spiritual feeling? Needless to say, this German band really impacted my musical world and stimulated my imagination as it still does today.

I never got to see any live shows of the early lineups of T Dream with Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke and others, but I did get to go with Jeremy and see the latter group with Edgar Froese at MoogFest in Asheville a few years back. It was a great show with a mixture of new and old songs as well as new and old technology. That concert truly was a dream come true getting to finally see this famous band live and in person! Somewhat skeptical of the added instruments of that lineup I was quickly sold on the ability of this group to honor the traditions of this band but also to reinterpret for the present day. I came away very pleased with this modern permutation of my adolescent heroes.

Today I’m glad Steve Joliffe and company are keeping the name alive and continuing to explore the galaxy of electronic music; in my own small way I’m glad to be out there exploring that universe myself with my electric guitar and whatever sounds I can throw in the mix. Won’t you join us? Thanks, Tangerine Dream for opening that door and letting a lot of others follow through, and continuing to blaze the trail.

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