Song Of The Day: The Beatles ‘Rain.’ Ahhhh…The Beatles. Breath of fresh air in a haters world.
‘Redemption Is A Bitch Too End On’
Lately, I’ve been listening to Matt Pryor’s podcast ‘Nothing To Write Home About.’ Every week he interviews a musician and ask questions about the stories they have from the studio and the road. Most come from the punk rock scene of the late 90’s/early 00’s that unfortunately have awful genre labels attached to them. With the popularity of mediocre bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, the scene that was once underground and special to those who loved it has blown up into the mainstream. And with the MTV population eating it up, it seemed to lose all meaning. It was no longer special; it was now for everyone.
My biggest musical influences come from generations past. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, etc; I got into these bands due to my parents influence. Music was always being played, so obviously I was attracted to whatever my folks were playing. Luckily, they didn’t listen to crap, so I’m forever grateful for their taste in music. Then came the onset of early 90’s R&B and the alternative wave of rock from Seattle; directly influenced by my older sister. She was always had the radio playing; switching back between Boston’s favorite stations Jammin’ 94.5 and WBCN 104.1 (R.I.P.) Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains became my newer favorite groups. Mix that with the onset of pop-punk, and my pallet changed thoroughly; making me search out newer music I could put my stamp of discovery on. Looking back now, perhaps this was my generations first influence of discovering music differently. Not by parents, siblings, or radio, but by word of mouth between people. And the internet.
When I started to get into underground music, people’s original mindset was basically a lyric taken word from a line in a Big D & The Kids Table song: ‘Want everyone to see that they did it first.’ Let me make something crystal clear: I went to punk rock shows for the music. Never to meet girls, get drunk, or be seen. I’m not straight edge; in fact, I love beer, but it just doesn’t feel right drinking at these shows; even today when I legally can. I rocked out in the pits with friends and sang along as loud as I could. I never wore tight pants or spiked bracelets. I wore band t-shirts to shows, jeans, and sneakers. During the week, it was collared shirts, sneakers, and jeans. I grew my hair out REALLY long once because my mindset was: ‘I might as well while I have the hair to do it.’ If you saw someone from a band in the club, you may say hello and tell them thanks for making such great music, and then walk away. It wasn’t big enough that you couldn’t talk to someone you saw play to a few hundred people 10 minutes ago. It was nice. You felt like you were part of some beautiful secret. Then the overground started to take notice and sink their poisoned fangs into it. Now I know how Seattle fans felt when Nirvana released ‘Nevermind.’
My buddy Mark really got me into a lot of music; especially at a certain point in my life when I needed it. Jimmy Eat World, (pre-‘Bleed American’) The Get Up Kids, Hot Rod Circuit, The Movielife, Saves The Day, Alkaline Trio, The Format etc; were always in heavy rotation. While I really enjoy punk rock and hardcore, I’ll always be a sucker for harmonies and melodies. That’s why I was more attracted to bands with a more melodic frame. We would drive all over New England seeing shows: The Worcester Palladium, Lupos and The Met Cafe in RI, Toad’s Place and The Hawks Nest in CT, Bill’s Bar and Axis in Boston, and The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. One of my favorite travel stories was the time a bunch of my friends and I drove to the Worcester Palladium for Day 2 of SkateFest (we were also there the night before). It was a great show, until The Movielife played there last set. Right before ending their set with ‘Jamestown,’ they basically stated they were done. We were heartbroken. We left immediately; bummed out to say the least. What did we do to cheer ourselves up? Drove 70 miles to see Big D & The Kids Table play at the Hawks Nest in Hartford. Then drive over 100 miles back to our suburban homes. It was an interesting day that definitely had it’s ups and down, but one I will always remember. If it hadn’t been for Mark, I never would have heard some of my favorite bands of all time.
There are few current musicians/songwriters that continue to impress me and respect them. Vinnie Caruana, Chris Conely, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, Andy Jackson, Ben Gibbard and Matt Pryor. These guys could release anything with their name on it and I’m going to gobble it up. Why? Not only are they talented, but I have a deep respect for what they do.
While I don’t attend many shows anymore, I always keep an active interest in the music. I’ll see bands like Silverstein and Hawthorne Heights releasing new music; which I don’t really care for, but appreciate their effort in continuing to do what they do. In the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of bands reuniting and/or doing anniversary tours of albums. It’s strange; I feel ‘Something To Write Home About,’ and ‘Sticks and Stones,’ came out a year or two ago. In a lot of ways, I still feel like a 16 year old kid, hiking to see The Starting Line and The Benjamins (remember them!?) at Skatefest 2001.
These are some of the feelings and memories I get from listening to Pryor’s wonderful podcast. Not all musicians/songwriters are douche bags; Pryor proves this week after week.
I Usually Hate These, But This Was Fun
List 10 random musical artists you like in no specific order. Warning: Do not read the questions below before listing your favorite artists.
1.) Pearl Jam
2.) Death Cab For Cutie
3.) Pink Floyd
4.) The Beatles
6.) Jimmy Buffett
9.) The Grateful Dead
10.) The Get Up Kids
Song Of The Day: Toad The Wet Sprocket ‘Stories I Tell (Live).’ There were many bands that made me want to play music: The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, etc; Bands like the Gin Blossoms and Toad The Wet Sprocket made me want to dip my toe in good, solid pop rock writing. I was lucky enough to share a stage with the Gin Blossoms many years back, so who knows, maybe there is still hope for Toad. Amazing group and easily one of the most heartfelt songs they ever wrote.
The Beatles: Through The Years
Top 25 Albums That Have Changed Your Life
1) The Beatles ‘The Beatles’ (better known as ‘The White Album’)
Released November 22nd, 1968
First and foremost, The Beatles are my favorite group of all time. I have John Lennon’s self portrait tattooed on my arm. I even have an Abbey Road shower curtain. When I was 6 or 7, my father would wake me up super early on Saturday mornings to watch the Three Stooges, but if ‘Hard Days’ Night,’ or ‘Help,’ were on HBO, we would always watch those instead. Pancakes, chocolate milk, time spent with Dad, and the Fab Four.
They are the ultimate group in my eyes. All of their albums have a significant role in my life, but The While Album seemed to have the biggest influence. I started to become obsessed with them in the 6th grade-while other kids were listening to Korn and Coal Chamber, I was going through my Dad’s albums listening to everything I could, including Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Blind Faith, and the best of all: the 4 lads from Liverpool.
‘The White Album,’ in all reality, should have been one solid album, but I don’t think it would have been as charming. ‘Dear Prudence,’ is one of softest and most beautiful songs ever composed by John. George Harrison began to hit his stride as a songwriter which included ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’ and one of my underrated favorites, ‘Savoy Truffle.’ The album, despite it’s hiccups like ‘Wild Honey Pie,’ or ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’ flows like a great book you can’t put down. After Pepper’s flower powered psychedelia, they went back to their roots; 4 guys in a room beating it out over their instruments, which they adapted fully until their demise in 1970.
I would often listen to this in bed before going to sleep. I always hoped to fall asleep during the 1st album, but found myself getting up and switching on the 2nd album. It takes me back to carefree time: no money, no bills, no car, no drinking, no worries at all; where having to go in when the streetlights came on was your only concern. But it didn’t mean it didn’t have it’s emotional grip on me. Listen to ‘Yer Blues,’ and tell me you don’t get goosebumps from John’s angst, I dare you. Or hearing ‘Revolution #9,’ and freaking out- trying to figure out if you could actually hear ‘Paul is Dead.’ It’s amazing to think in only 5 short years how much they transformed into different people and more importantly, different songwriters.
I easily could have picked ‘With The Beatles,’ for the reason I lost my virginity while listening to it. Or ‘Rubber Soul,’ for memories of one of the first times I got high. But ‘The White Album,’ is just special in itself. I may not have ever appreciated music the way I do had it not been for this album. And I am forever grateful for it.
Magical Mystery Tour
This was properly released last week on DVD. Last night, I finally got around to watching it. If you’ve seen it before, pick up the DVD; the quality is much better than what you originally saw. If you haven’t seen it before, pick up the DVD because it’s a brilliant, beautiful, and trippy film.
- Worst Songs From Great Bands/Artists:
- (in no particular order)
- 1) The Beach Boys 'Kokomo'
- 2) R.E.M. 'Stand'
- 3) The Beatles 'Don't Pass Me By'
- 4) Weezer (anything after 'The Green Album')
- 5) Def Leppard 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'
- 6) Eric Clapton 'Wonderful Tonight'
- 7) Ozzy Osbourne 'Crazy Babies'
- 8) Saves The Day 'Freakish'
- 9) The Eagles 'Love Will Keep Us Alive'
- 10) The Smiths 'Frankly, Mr. Shankly'*
- * I use the word 'Great' very lightly here.
The ‘Man’ Crush
The ‘Man’ Crush……what is it? I’ve thought about this after hearing some of my good male friends claim their undying love or desire to be a specific male. Obviously they’ve all been pretty heterosexual conversations, (stating they respect or ‘dig’ someone) but it made me think…..If their said male was a female, would you date them? Or if opposite sexes didn’t matter, would they be with that male? And I don’t care what anyone says…….they would be. I myself have trouble trying to differentiate between the idea of actually being these people or being beside these people.
I consider myself a heterosexual male and I have no problem with men being with men or women being with women. Love is love. But I also believe in the idea of falling in love with a person; not a sex. If sex wasn’t involved, I’d probably be with one of my guy friends (I’m just trying to make a point, humor me) and I’m not afraid to admit that. I’m very secure with my sexuality where I can say that. It’s funny even when I’ve talked to women about this. It seems that every women I breached this topic with has some kind of desire to be with Angelina Jolie, where I, a hetero-male, wouldn’t touch her with a 10 foot pole. Everybody is different. Everybody is attracted to different aspects in a significant other. It’s human nature.
Freud would probably have a field day with me right now, but I’m gonna lay my cards on the table and show who my ‘Man’ Crushes are.
I don’t know if it is my crush on “Cusack” the man or the characters he plays. He always seems to play the hopeless romantic failure and I can’t help but love that about him. Whether it be Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything… holding a radio over his head or Rob Thomas from High Fidelity bitching about “WHAT FUCKING IAN GUY?!?!?!” he remains the image of women’s hearts and men’s desire to be him. I find myself watching his movies and saying things like “Ione Skye, you suck. What the fuck did you do after this movie? Play a small role in Wayne’s World as Rob Lowe’s whorish fuck buddy? You had your chance at ‘the Sac’ (what I sometimes refer to John Cusack as; No there is nothing sexual about it) and you blew it. Slut!” I blame the woman, Ione Skye (who plays Diane Court) for fucking with the man John Cusack (who plays Lloyd Dobler) John Cusack drags me into his movies like it is actual reality. Not many actors do that for me either. The guy just rules and deserves a nice girl who will treat him right. Or me!
Lennon was my definition of someone I wanted to be someday. Musical, good looking, funny, smart, and a bit of a trouble maker. He was the kind of guy that would meet you at a pub, keep you laughing all night, bring you back to his place, have hot passionate sex with you, walk you outside to get you a cab, and never talk to you again. Looking past the fact that his music and lyrics were incredible, he had a great sense of humor. If you really want to see Lennon in his element, rent the movies A Hard Days’ Night and Help! You’ll see exactly what I mean. A lot of people said he died to soon, but I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I DO wish he was still around, but I think he would have gone nuts with our society today. I mean, if Ozzy didn’t do a reality show, maybe Lennon would have; you never know. This way, he stays young forever. At least, in my mind he does.
A lot of people feel that James Dean or Elvis were the definition of ‘cool.’ Those are the same people who have never read anything by Kerouac. He defined ‘cool’ before it even wanted to be defined. How rad would it be to travel the country multiple times stopping at every bar, every party, every significant little aspect of life? Totally fucking rad. He’d appreciate you. He’d write you sonnets and letters from all aspects of his mind. He open his heart to you and let you in. He was also a bit crazy, which could make traveling across the country a little more exciting. Like Lennon, he also died too soon, but I honestly think he lived to long. He should have gone out with a blaze of glory “on the road” instead of passing out after his ump-teenth bottle of whiskey in Florida. Someday, we’ll have great conversations and endless bottle of wine together in heaven.
He’s a great song-writer, he’s got a cool accent, and kind of looks like a chick. He’s the fucking rock version of Taylor Hanson. You know, the idea of thinking he’s a girl and then realizing he’s not and questioning why you found a guy attractive. Silverchair has always been one of my favorite groups of all time. Daniel John’s fucking rules! Australia did a pretty good job with this cat.
This kid is the bass player/front man for the pop punk band The Starting Line. My second punk rock show was Skate Fest in 1999 at the Worcester Palladium. Skate Fest was a punk rock day in early September which involved music in the club and skating ramps outside. It was awesome. I was going through a rough relationship and I needed some angry music to help me get through. Punk rock, thank you! After seeing bands like The Benjamins and the RX Bandits, I needed more straight truth lyrics; not lyrics hidden behind reggae beats and The Get Up Kids wannabes. Anyway, a still very underground band known as Thursday, who had since ‘undergroundly’ exploded, was playing upstairs. I opted to stay downstairs and watch a band whose name I didn’t know. It was the Starting Line and they fucking blew my mind. All my friends were trying to tell me that I should get with someone else to ease the blow of my relationship, but I knew I wasn’t ready. And then Kenny grabbed the mic. and said “This tune is for anyone who can’t move on yet.” I was awe struck. The dude was speaking right to me. And they played a song called Three’s A Charm; the chorus lyrics state, ”Forget me girl, I’m still recovering from her. It hurts so. I’m sorry girl, I’m in no shape to love. It’s not you, it’s her.” I felt so connected and like I should have written this fucking song. After, I got a chance to talk to him about music, relationships, and how much girls suck. He gave me an autograph, a hug, and told me to keep my chin up. Ever since then, all my punk rock friends teased me about having a huge crush on him. Jokes on them, I’m almost over him now.
I’m still a real man!