The Music Blog: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

The first thing I have to say is that I don’t really have anything to say but I feel the need to mark the occasion with a music blog entry. Maybe you expect some witty take on Alice’s Restaurant but when have I ever been witty other that to myself. I think I am hilarious.

Nope I have nothing pithy or thought provoking. I hope everyone stays home and stays safe. With a vaccine so close it seems oddly irresponsible to get Covid now. I am cooking a small meal and calling my dad and kid who is spending the holiday with his mom.

If you have been following along musically with me then you know we are well into the letter S. We are way more than half way. In fact, the letter S is the largest letter left. There are a couple of moderate sized letters but nothing like some of the past big letters. You might think that with a letter so large that there would be more blog entries but its really a long way to what I expect will be the next blog. There are not that many blogs in the letter and here are the reasons why. For me to write about something at least one of two things must exist preferably both. One, I have to love the band or in some rare cases hate them but mostly it’s a love thing. Now I can write about an artist simply based on how much I love them, but it’s a lot better when the other thing exists. I need a hook, something about me or a story to really get engaged.

The letter S is full of bands I like but I don’t love or I love but just don’t feel that passionate about. Here is an example I love Simon and Garfunkel and I have quite a few albums but I don’t have anything to write about. That’s the letter S; a lot of artists with one or two albums and then on to the next one. Its fun to listen to but not exactly inspiring.

I also have a few things going on. I am converting to Judaism. That’s not up for discussion. I have already dealt with a friend and their anti-Semitism so I am not allowing it on my blog for sure. That takes up some time, in fact its my primary focus. I am writing a novel. Don’t get all excited I have written novels before and they remain unpublished, but still it takes some of my time and being vision impaired I have a small window to write in or do anything in before my eyes just get exhausted.  The election had taken some of my attention. I have an entire imaginary love affair going with Zola Jesus. Don’t laugh. Don’t judge.

For the first time I missed two artists back to back that I intended to write about so let me catch you up with at least a small bit about them both.

First the Sex Pistols. Now let’s consider a few things. They only had one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols. An entire industry now has cropped up around the band and you can find concerts, live recordings and other things out there but one studio album is all they have. Before their reunion tour they had never played in front of more than five hundred people. Yet I consider them one of the five most influential bands of all time. Literally a hundred bands were inspired to form up and play music that they felt was right. Without them there is no Clash. No Joy Division/New Order, no Generation X or Billy Idol. Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees formed because of them. So too did the Pogues and those are just the big bands. I could name more. There are not many bands who influenced more than they did.

The second artist I intended to blog bout was Charlie Sexton. I bought Charlie’s first album in 1986. I associate that album with graduating college, with the most active love life I had ever had and with being on my own. He was already a legend in Austin when that album hit and its sort of a new wave album. I love every song. His career is a head scratcher to me, all that talent and yet few albums and not major success. He is probably best known for the band and album Arc Angels. He has small tours and actually is probably most busy with his work as Bob Dylan’s guitarist.

So that is my catch up hodge podge blog for you. Since its Thanksgiving it seems like such a good time to thank any of you who follow and read my blog. If you have your own blog on wordpress I have tried to follow you back and have done my best to read what you have to say because I know how hard it is to bare your soul and write for others. I adore and cherish every one of you. Keep it up.

Stay safe my friends

Mike out

The Music Blog: Klaus and the Gang

Late in my college life I started to hang out with a guy I played a lot of basketball with. It was that last time-period of a person’s life before adult life started to infringe on all the fun. You know, before college life was put behind you and you started to find your way into a career. While I know many of you were already married and juggling adult responsibilities, I had mostly stayed away from serious relationships. I had the same problem then as I do now, very shy with the opposite sex and girls were not crawling all over me.  It seemed that every girl that thought I was attractive wasn’t attractive to me. I also didn’t work a lot outside of summers and times like spring break which I never got to enjoy like other college students.  Jim was completely different from me. He was very tall and he was from the Chicago area of Illinois.

One of the things that I became aware of was that there were regional differences in the music people listened to. I think a lot of this had to do with Texas radio being a little conservative, They played all the big huge bands but not a lot of the smaller bands until they hit it big, REO Speedwagon is a good example although by that time they had hit the national scene.  Jim’s dad was the contractor for the Charlie Clubs and he was building one in Arlington which is how Jim ended up there. Jim got me a job working at Charlie Club as it was being built. So Jim and I would come to work about 4:30 PM and work til about midnight. Every evening Jim’s dad would give us a list of tasks to complete, mostly clean up with the secondary role to watch over the place. Jim had this big boom box and we would play cassettes of music awhile we were working. There were always some construction guys around mostly ceiling guys who needed space for the lasers they used to put up the ceiling framework and we would shoot the bull with those guys and they liked the music we played. One night Jim brought a band I didn’t know and I really think that it was more a Texas radio thing.

The Scorpions had not hit it super big yet. They were a German band that played good old fashioned rock and roll to me with a leaning towards the metal or hair band type of music that was popular in the 80s. I fell in love with them and it coincided with their release of the album Love at First Sting. Now the other thing about the Scorpions is that they were really a guy’s band. If there is any doubt look at their album covers to see just who they were marketing to. Their album covers were part of the allure, the overt sexuality to it all.  Mostly what I liked and still like about the Scorpions is that they are just a fun band. They are not pretending to be shaking up the world. It is not their goal to make you think about the world around you. Instead they want you to sing their songs to enjoy the music simply because its straight ahead rock and roll.  I saw them twice. The first time was during that Love at First Sting tour. Klaus Meine seems like the most unlikely of front men.  Being German, his English is less than stellar. In fact sometimes you can’t understand anything he is saying. He is having so much fun though that you have to enjoy it and that’s why I love the Scorpions.  They take your mind off every day worries and stressors. You can hear their music and not feel its some sort of political statement. They likely don’t care if they ever win a grammy or make it to the rock and roll hall of fame. They just want you to enjoy what they are playing.

Isn’t that what music is supposed to do?

Mike out