Though I was born in Philadelphia, I actually grew up in New Jersey. That's hard to admit, but I feel better now that I've cleared the air. Too bad New Jersey can't do the same.
We had a boat in Avalon and spent a lot of time "˜dawn the shoar' (that would be "˜down the shore' or "˜at the seashore' with a thick South Jersey/Philly accent). Asbury Park wasn't too far away (that's the home of the The Stone Pony, among other beachy venues), and we were well aware of the Jersey Shore success stories, like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi (real name John Francis Bongiovi, if you didn't know). We were also aware of Sinatra, who hailed from North Jersey, and was always on the radio as you flipped through the dials. There were even stations that devoted entire days to nothing but Sinatra.
But growing up in New Jersey in the "˜80s, most of us were looking beyond state lines for inspiring tunes. Jersey was something we were embarrassed by. This was, after all, the era of Joe Piscopo doing that character on SNL: "I'm from Jersey! You from Jersey? What exit?"
Cooler states were producing cooler music. California had San Fran and LA and Journey, The Eagles, and the Grateful Dead. Further up our own Jersey Turnpike, (but through the tunnel, of course, across the state line) CBGBs in Manhattan was incubating The Talking Heads, Blondie and the Cars. The Beastie Boys weren't too far off, either.
But here's what I'm learning: the older I get, and the further I get from New Jersey, the more those bands mean to me. For instance, I didn't own a Springsteen album when I was growing up. I eschewed all things E Street. It wasn't until I moved way up to Connecticut that I bought my first Springsteen CD. Now that I live in Los Angeles, I own most of the records.
So my theory is: the further one gets from home, the more one appreciates the music that reminds him of home. This is probably also influenced by age, meaning, the further one gets from the age/time period the tunes were released, the more nostalgic one becomes for said music.
The summation (distance + age) = appreciation, big-time. Who agrees? Are there bands or artists from your home towns that you feel similarly about?