As you know, I am musically inclined. I’ve been playing guitar for a very long time in several different iterations of bands – some quite good and some that never made it out of the practice room.
I’ve had a break from it for a little while. Too many other factors in my life and some changing circumstances that ensured that my dear Fender Tele stayed tucked away in its hard case.
I got a text from a friend I used to jam with in another band a few years ago. They have a spot for a lead guitarist and they asked me to learn some songs to see how it goes. I’m excited, it feels a bit like the musical shot in the arm I needed to get off my arse as far as guitar playing goes…
So, there you have it, I guess I will be rocking the suburbs all over again!!
Anyone that has read any of my blog posts know that I am a music lover – a listener, a performer etc.
So one day I was listening to CBC local radio (hey Saskatoon!) and these guys happened to be travelling through town. They were being interviewed and they were playing a show in our city that night.
It perked my interest, because, like me, these guys are from Australia. Nice to hear some familiar accents on Canadian radio.
My only regret – I didn’t go out to see them. At the time I had too much shit on my mind like working and getting sleep and a bunch of other stuff.
But please, put your ear buds in and watch the video. It’s really beautifully done. I hope these guys get all the credit they deserve. I listen to CBC radio 2 a fair bit – national broadcast radio playing alternative and non commercial and really good music, and these guys get on pretty regularly!
Disclaimer, I ‘m going through a lot in my life. This post isn’t directed at any one or any situation, its just a celebration of music. Now let’s enjoy!
So when I was growing up, as a child born in ’75, my mum played a LOT of Rod Stewart. She thought he was great, and I guess I kind of absorbed it. Inhaled it, was infused with it.
Rod Stewart is simply awesome. I do need to clarify though, the later (let’s say second half) part of his career was dominated by commercially packaged musical garbage, in my humble opinion.
However, his work in The Faces and later as a solo artist was much to my liking. It’s worth noting that being a rock star, in the early 70’s or whenever in the UK, he mixed with a lot of other rock stars, and I read the book by Keith Richards, and our Rod turns up in that book. As it happens, Rod ends up recruiting Ronnie Woods of the Rolling Stones and you can see him in the video for Stay With Me. I attached the video link to that raucous celebration of rock and roll below.
But back to the topic – I was only joking. I love this track because its Rod ‘pouring his heart out in a song’ in a way that is both honest and kind of irreverent. You can just tell that he’s a genuine hopeless romantic, bumbling his way through life and living and loving and making mistakes, and having various relationships along the way. It’s sweet and a bit nasty at the same time how does he get away with that?????
Ok, I also want to draw attention to the guitar parts. Its almost perfection. The acoustic intro and solo are sweet like classical music, but when the electric guitar comes in after the acoustic guitar solo, I have a kind of audio aural canal orgasm, and that’s what we listing to music for, right? Perfect!!!!!!!
The verse after the guitar solo is especially bitter sweet. Just beautiful…
Now you ask me if I’m sincere
That’s the question that I always fear
Verse seven is never clear
But I’ll tell you what you want to hear
I try to give you all you want
But giving love is not my strongest point
If that’s the case, it’s pointless going on
I’d rather be alone
‘Cause what I’m doing must be wrong
Pouring my heart out in a song
Owning up for prosperity
For the whole damn world to see
Hi Bloggers, I went to the dragon boat races today in Saskatoon. I was in a team from my work and we competed against a bunch of other teams in three different heats. It was fun and a nice warm day and a good way to mix with work colleagues and others.
As I was leaving, an iconic song came over the loudspeakers. It was Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark. It’s got such an infectious groove. I was a kid of about 10 when it came out in 1984. I remember it well. I remember hearing it on the TV or the radio. That, along with Born in the USA, and some other stuff that was getting around at that time.
Hearing it reminded me of what are really well crafted pop/rock song that it is. I watched the video too (link below). The first thing you notice is how fresh faced our Bruce looks. He was 34 years old when he recorded this. On the video you could be forgiven for thinking he was maybe 25.
He’s got that swagger, that cheeky arrogance. A handsome face and suggestive smile and a pair of snug jeans. Women no doubt were just taken by the whole thing, and why not? But that’s not all, he was kind of approachable. He had the whole blue collar down-and-out working dog kind of image that people across the US and the world could relate to, because, well, maybe he’s just like most of us….
Reading up on the net, I learned that the film clip was recorded over two nights at St Paul, Minnesota. The girl that he pulls up on stage, that’s Courtney Cox, as in Courtney Cox who later went on to star in the 90’s sitcom Friends. I had no idea!
I like how the song has a kind of double entandra with the one side of the coin being about a guy who’s kinda lonely, and just wants to have some company, while the other side of the coin hints at a lusty young man with a gun for hire…. And the dancing in the dark, is that like, actually dancing, or is this some loaded suggestion about what happens when the lights go off after bedtime????
The synth riff, and the dreamy sax solo at the end really top it off!
Anyway, enough of my bullshit, let’s allow Bruce to lay it down…
So back in the day – 1987 to be precise, a bunch of hard rocking, hard drinking, hard living mother fuckers released this album on the world. If you don’t know this band, or this album, it would make me think that you either come from an undeveloped part of the world, maybe without electricity, or you are under 25, or both, and in any case, there’s no excuses, you should just know this shit!
When it came out, I was in grade 10 high school. It was a big influence on me, and just about every other young soul on the planet. Thirty years later (hard to believe I know) this album still stacks up as a very high quality excursion into rock and roll. I can put my earbuds in, and listen to these tracks today, and still really appreciate how well these songs were put together. Like a punch in the face. But a good one!
Fuck it, the album is all good, like really, its all just good.
What’s interesting, as a comparison, is the apparent kind of misogyny in the themes of the song. It was flat out disrespectful to women, and, well pretty much everything else in society, but, it was also beautiful, in parts.
What else is interesting, is that these were different times. It made me reflect on the whole thing. It makes me wonder if today this was released, would it get a bunch of shit from the feminist brigade? These were the days before cell phones, before Instagram, before facebook, before everyone was so fucking caught up in being righteous and inclusive and politically correct. Before there was a platform such as social media for everyone with a half baked opinion to express it and rally a bunch of support and have a parade about it.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I’m not about disrespecting others, this is not a hate blog on anyone, just saying, the world has changed, and these guys rocked with attitude, unapologetically. As for the chicks, don’t worry, they were busy rocking out in their flannel shirts and stonewashed jeans, most likely without some bullshit agenda.
The indicator for any good rock album, is whether subsequent generations can appreciate this music as we did in our youth. In the city I live in, there is a tribute band called The Night Train, and, they rock! Really, I’ve seen their show, its awesome and they have the outfits and the attitude and everything. Poetry in motion, when a generation of early 20’s kids with guitars and stuff decide that this stuff was important enough, to celebrate all over again!
Hi bloggers, I want to talk about my first album I ever bought, and a very important band in the evolution of um, the entire world and history as we know it. The Clash were everything that a teenage me needed to hear. They were groovy, with a mix of rock, jazz, pop, reggae, and whatever else, and their subject matter was punk.
It could be fair to say that some of the songs on this record a mildly obnoxious, even a little hasty, but it is a really good listen. It spoke to me. It kind of let me know that you could be a bit of a bad arse, even if you were white and growing up in the suburbs. My parents had a record player and I spent many hours getting this one on the turn table with the needle ***** the fucking dog just puked on the floor so I had to stop to clean that up ****and dancing around my family lounge room or whatever.
So for the kids out there, I’m going to put it bluntly. Most of the music that is produced today is fucking crap. Ok, there are some good bands out there, but I think you know what I mean. The Clash, in my humble opinion is essential music listening homework. It was well done, intelligent, kind of political, certainly anti establishment. It was kind of like, well Green Day, except, it was um, realistic, credible and better to listen to.
But if you really want to do your homework, and impress your good old mum and dad, get your iPhone earbuds filled with this tasty stuff: London Calling. This is the quintessential Clash record. Again, no musical education could really be complete without a few good listens. One day, when the world wakes up from its Justin Bieber fed diet of bullshit, the dust will be blown off the Clash recordings, and true human enlightenment will be realised.
Those already enlightened souls will be nodding their heads right about now, and if you are over 40, and don’t know what I’m talking about, its time to ask yourself “What the fuck have I been doing with me life?”
I kid you not.
**** Was just about to publish my blog and my son is asking me to unplug the blocked toilet. Fuck can’t a guy get a frikkin break? LOL ****
Hey Bloggers, I’m back. I had a quick trip to Iowa this week. I am super excited to share some awesome pics that I took, but, fek! I left my camera in J’s handbag. Damn.
Not to worry, she’s gonna send the pics to me and I will download them for you all to see.
Meanwhile, I went and played the jam at Drift – in my man tights. Ok, why is that important? Well:
I really like wearing them. They are comfy, athletic, allow freedom of movement, and are, well sexy as fk!
I like to jam, but, well, I don’t normally combine the man tights thing with jamming or whatever – its normally a jeans affair. I did rock the knee length bike shorts for one outdoor gig, but that was a ‘one-off’.
So how did this come about? Well, T has always encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and wear tights, or what I like, and this time around J encouraged/dared/empowered me to give it a go. Maybe not a big deal to all of you, but for me a significant step in my uber-liberation movement for men-who-think-its-ok-to-wear-Lycra. I’m probably now in a very small sub-set of a society who actually perform music, in such apparel, and of course its not 1986 and I’m not in Motley Crue or whatever, so that makes it somewhat unique, and honestly, fun as fuck! If there are any others out there, please, give me a high five, but somehow I think maybe there’s more chance one of those radio antennae’s beaming beeps into space and listening for ET’s reply will get a better shot at a response than my call out.
For a while, T and I were getting singing lessons, and I often wore a pair of long black man tights over to our tutor’s place. Our tutor saw me in them and said, ‘hey do you perform in those? You probably should’. Actually, I have worn the long tights for a couple of band performances but I don’t do it a lot because honestly, its a bit of a freak out, but fun.
But I don’t want you to be distracted by this diversion, this visual teaser on your collective imaginations, I’m a sort of serious singer/musician type. But I’m so enthusiastic about wearing my man tights, I didn’t know whether to be happier about that, or singing and playing the guitar, so I guess for me, I had reached a new level of self-realisation. I was just enjoying the moment!
So again, something wonderful happens when you take a chance, get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and say ‘fuck it I’m going in’. And that is, nothing. What? No, I mean it, like what ever your fears may be – getting heckled, weird looks, disapproving tsk tsk’s, whatever, it just doesn’t happen. People either don’t care or they are just respectful enough to not really bother with nonsense.
So in this instance, I was out of the comfort zone for more than one reason, I fucking forgot my song book. So I pulled up at the venue, got out of the car, grabbed guitar, and oh-fuck, the song book is not here. What to do? Here I am – at the outer limit of my comfort zone in man tights about to go in and perform a few new songs that I didn’t even remember all the words to. I almost got back in the car to return home.
Normally, I don’t use a lyric sheet when I perform, because, well, I left all that behind when I was a total fucking amateur. But times have changed, and now I don’t normally read from a lyric and chord sheet – except when I take on new songs, knowing that I don’t know them that well, and need a little prompter for when I get that blank mind thing when you cant remember how the next verse starts…
But as the pictures serve as testament to my commitment to get out of the comfort zone, I got up, and played and sang my little heart out, after making an impromptu set list from some stuff I know well and some I don’t know so well. How did it go? Well, I think it went well. I met some new people and watched some fun performances. I had a coffee and a beer. All around, it was WAY better than hanging out on the couch watching TV!
I grew up in Australia. I am a ’75 model so that placed me well to hear a lot of good, what is now ‘classic’ Aussie rock. Of course in an international forum such as this, it is tempting to rattle off a roll call of great Aussie bands. There are plenty, but you will have to take my word for it, because, well, its true.
Anyway, who are/were the Hunters? This band came together when some Uni of Melbourne students started jamming or whatever in the late ’70’s. That would launch a career that kept them very active through to, well, the late ’90’s but they have apparently reformed for some one offs.
Ok, all that is by the wayside. If you grew up in Aus in the 80’s and 90’s you KNOW what I’m talking about. H&C were a mainstay of commercial radio and video hit shows (like Rage). Like Cold Chisel, INXS or AC/DC you could bet that any time you turned a radio on for many years you would hear them some time.
So I got to see H&C at the Mansfield Tavern in Brisbane. The year was probably about 1992 or ’93. The venue was packed. It was very exciting. I ended up watching the show from front right of stage – right in front of the speaker stacks. I have some hearing loss these days – and I’m sure that H&C contributed just a bit of that.
I went to the concert with my sister, my cousin, her fiancé, and his brother and some other random people. As an indicator, we came from a kind of broad range of lives but everyone was into them. They were just that good.
So if you haven’t heard of them, by now you are probably drifting into a state of general disinterest. Why were they so good? Because their music reached into you with a kind of desperate drive that just kind of slapped you and made you groove and held you close at the same time. They combined heavy, heavy bass and groovy guitars with a brass section, and the lyrical content and singing delivery, is very powerful. Very powerful.
I know this stuff is good, because I have a CD, called ‘Under One Roof.’ It’s their live album. So on my recent road trip to Regina, I put it on. Holy shit. It’s amazing how you can like something, leave it be for a few years, and come back to it and appreciate it all over again. If you are the inquisitive type, and are interested in checking this out, google these tracks: Throw Your Arms Around Me, Turn a Blind Eye, Holy Grail, When the River Runs Dry, Do You See What I See, etc. etc.
If you think I’m bullshitting, ask Eddy Vedder, from Pearl Jam, he covers Throw Your Arms Around Me, so does Neil Finn (of Crowded House) and Neil Young. That’s some big support right there! I don’t think you’re going to catch them live any time soon, but gee, its nice to remember them.