Re: Your music background?
I grew up listening to a lot of stuff from the 50's and 60's. My mom was into the Beatles, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, some folk stuff, etc. and my dad was into Motown, James Brown, Otis Redding, etc.
In high school, I got into the popular bands of the day--Guns n' Roses, Metallica, Pantera and heavier stuff like Morbid Angel and Deicide. In college I studied classical percussion and jazz.
Most of my playing is dedicated to jazz these days, but I still love listening to just about anything. My Itunes contains 21 genres. I think hearing and appreciating as many different types of music as you can makes you a better musician and a better human. Like Buddy Rich said, "There are only two kinds of music--good and bad."