Teacher picks: Beastie Boys, Kanye, and The Minutemen

Music plays a huge role in people’s lives and we know the type of music people listen to can say a lot about them. So what are our teachers listening to?  I decided to ask: 

First up was Mr. Harris, recently spotted DJ’ing the pep rally and known to many as the music aficionado of VHS. He says he has been a “hip-hop nerd” since he was in high school and collects records, real records – vinyl. When asked his all-time favorites, he of course needed a few minutes to think.

“ I would probably have to go with the Beastie Boys and Velvet Underground Railroad. I think this accurately describes (the range of ) my taste. The Beastie Boys because it’s kind of punkish rap and Velvet Underground because it is soft rock.

Mr. Harris explained that these two groups also had a hand in shaping what he would listen for the rest of his life, as well as having an impact on the style of music he would make.

Mr. Swajkowski is one of the youngest teachers at VHS so I was unsure what his answer was going to be. When asked the question, there was no hesitation.  He boldly stated:

“Kanye. He’s the best ever. “

“Kanye came out when I was in high school and his first album really resonated with me. I loved the samples he used and the way he incorporated classic funk and jazz into his music.”

While Mr. Swajkowski spoke highly of Kanye`s production, he says also fell in love with his personality.

“Back then Kanye was all about polos, backpacks, and changing up the accepted wardrobe in the world of hip-hop and I loved polos in high school so I was really into that.”

Finally, I spoke with Mr. Bresnan to see what his take on this would be. Mr. Bresnan is a lover of rock and alternative music and this can be seen through his attire. He is almost never seen without his go-to school outfit: rolled up shirt sleeves, tie, khakis, and most importantly, Vans. Unsurprisingly, his answer was a punk band.

“There were these two guys in the 80s called the Minutemen. Dee Bone and Mike Watt. Their music was so off the wall it was unlike anything I had ever heard. They came on the scene and completely changed the mindset of what punk music was supposed to sound like.”

Mr. Bresnan also mentioned that they were the outsiders to punk because they did not follow the rules of the genre. They dressed differently, acted differently, and performed differently.  He also says they had a huge understanding and respect for the music that came before them.

All of these teachers’ favorite musicians not only reflect who they are as a person, but also illustrate the kind of effect that music can have on people.