The Music Blog: Hello Its Me Again

You have to say this in your best Sean Penn stoner surfer valley voice.

“It’s better than death man, you now they’re mega. Megadeth brah.”

Dave Mustaine and his band Megadeth.

I am sure you know the story. Dave Mustaine was the original guitarist for Metallica but his drinking and drug use got too much for them so one night they tossed him and his gear out of the van. He was angry and certainly felt his behavior wasn’t any worse than any of those other guys. So he made a vow, sort of a vow of revenge do it better faster harder than Metallica and he named his band Megadeth to send that message. Some say that feud is long over some say it isn’t. He wasn’t invited to Metallica’s Rock Hall of Fame presentation and felt slighted. I have always wondered why Metallica made the hall of fame anyway. It’s ridiculous to say they are some sort of legendary band. They aren’t. They are sellouts, every last one of them and it aggravates me a little that Dave Mustaine, who I love so much, would want to be affiliated with them anyway.

Sellouts? Really Samurai Mike? That seems harsh. Are you drunk? Excuse me have you seen the title of my page.

First if all this isn’t a blog about Metallica which by the way in my home is pronounced Metal-Licka. I am not a fan of theirs. Don’t for a second think I resent them or call them sell outs because of their black album which was clearly a successful attempt to give them access to a wider audience and make a little money. Bands are entitled to make money anyway they want and anyway they can. Believe me if I felt or thought for a second I could make money writing plays I would do so even though I don’t particularly like plays. I would do it just so that it might give me a little inroad into getting something I do love published. So I don’t fault Metallica for changing their music a bit. Dave Mustaine actually followed their lead and did the same. Metallica doesn’t quite reach my hate category because of some of those more commercially successful songs several of which I love. I still think their Whiskey in the Jar cover is drop dead amazing. My issue with Metallica is their position on Napster.

Now before you go all nutsy on me I will explain. When the big downloading craze hit many people jumped in enthusiastically. I know I did. Then one day this realization hit that what I was doing was stealing. Even if I were downloading an Aerosmith album and those guys are gazillionaires it was wrong. I know how hard it is to get something published and I know what those repeated rejection letters do. It’s why I don’t like the term one hit wonder. People say that in some mocking way not realizing how much work how many rejections went into that one hit song. Those artists should be enormously proud. I feel about the same when people tell me to keep putting myself out there or chastising me because I complain because no one is reading my blog as I do when people minimize my vision impairment. Just get out there its easy just do it. They aren’t the ones who have to deal with the falls the running into things with getting lost 2 miles from your house and not being sure how to get home, the fear I have of crowded places, the fear of getting on a plane. Just like that they don’t have to deal with the heartbreaking rejection that eats away at your confidence and at your heart and your soul. Being told how long it took Stephen King to get published or JK Rowling doesn’t help it just adds pressure and they don’t have to deal with that either.

I don’t blame Metal-Licka for wanting to be paid for their music, for their work because they are entitled to get paid for their work. I am angry with them for being the face of the stance against Napster. Metallica had to work their ass off almost double what other bands had to because when they started it was all spandex and hairspray and that’s what clubs wanted. No one wanted speed metal. Venues were few and far between and because of that Metallica built their fan base brick by brick, fan by fan through the underground, which meant young people who loved that style of music handing bootleg tapes to their buddies and saying, “listen to this.” It made them look petty, clueless and unappreciative to their fans to be bashing Napster. They should have left that to another band or bands, other artists. They were right but they should have realized better who their fans were and they didn’t.

Of course this isn’t a blog about Metal-licka. Oops! My bad!

For the record I am not a big fan of speed metal. If you know me then you know that for the most part speed metal violates one of my rules that music should be easy to digest, meaning it has a melody and speed metal just doesn’t meet this requirement. I have some too, beyond Megadeth and Metal-licka. I became interested in Metal-licka because of a seminar I went on about the evils and dangers of rock music and part of that seminar dealt with album covers, Master of Puppets a Metal-licka album was one of those covers. So naturally since the entire seminar was comical I had to have the album. I have other albums by metal-licka because of the very human story of Cliff Burton. Megadeth was not a band I was interested in until the Cryptic Writings album which was really Mustaine’s response to Metal-licka’s black album. On that album there is the song Almost Honest and I fell in love with the guitar riff. Because of that song and album which I bought I wanted more and so I bought more. I bought everything up to that time and discovered something unique about Mustaine. Sure he has some music I just don’t care for, but he also is incredibly intelligent and witty which comes out in his lyrics. He really had a lot to say a lot more than what I ever expected. He had some genius songs and I think he is a brilliant guitarist. Countdown to Extinction, Peace Sells But Who’s Buying and Symphony of Destruction are amazing songs. Hangar 18 is a speed metal masterpiece. My favorite though is Sweating Bullets for the absolute absurdity of the song, the brilliant conversation with himself. There is a tremendous depth to Mustaine as a songwriter.  Mustaine has fought demons including a serious drug addiction. He has fought through injuries related to a serious accident where he was told he wouldn’t be able to play again. He found God, lost his sister to cancer and then had to fight his own cancer. I have followed him on Twitter and I find him honestly a lot like Marilyn Manson, witty, sometimes charming, sometimes humble and sometimes snarky as he can be. He is not almost honest, he is incredibly honest something you don’t get from a lot of other stars. I have enormous respect for him. Megadeth isn’t for everyone. You can say that about any band. The Beatles aren’t for everyone. Beethoven isn’t for everyone. Zappa isn’t for anyone, seriously, Zappa isn’t even music. I am certainly not going to suggest that you run out and buy all of his music or even spend time listening to the music I will share on facebook over the next couple of days. I expect that most of you know what you like and what you won’t like. Me? I will listen to anything once and most things twice except for, oh we don’t need to go there again.

If you think though that Megadeth is just heavy speed metal then you will be right and a little wrong. There are many songs that are just good old fashioned rock and roll songs. Mustaine has clever riffs and hooks can really play and has a really rare ability at tongue in cheek lyrics that will at times leave you chuckling. I always love an artist that doesn’t take himself too seriously. I think Dave Mustaine is one of those guys.

Mike out

The Music Blog: McCartney

McCartney

Even if you don’t love the Beatles, you probably have your favorite. Maybe it’s John, the anomaly or at least to me. He is a man who sang of peace and love yet was cold hearted mean, passive aggressive, a horrible bandmate, a horrible husband and worse father. He was abusive. Maybe it’s quiet George you love, he of the impish grin and a quiet spirituality that vied with the burning rage he sometimes felt. Maybe it’s loveable Ringo, comic relief not as cute as the others and a bit of a goof who provided the band with the steady hand of rhythm they needed. He too had his demons.

For me it’s always been Paul McCartney. Many still blame him for the breakup of the Beatles. They would be wrong and they would also be a little right. All of the fab four had a bit of responsibility. If you don’t know the story then I will summarize. The festering began with the recording of the White Album when John allowed an outsider, a disruptive horrible outsider, Yoko Ono into the recording studio. It was the first time and John passive aggressively allowed her to wreak havoc on the band offering criticism and suggestions because she called herself some sort of an artist. Meanwhile John wanted to quit but sat idly by when he did show up usually high on heroin. When the Beatles began recording the next album anger boiled over. Paul had said to George that on Hey Jude he didn’t want any of the ideas for fancy guitar riffs that George suggested and rehearsed, It was Paul’s song and he wanted it done his way. George got angry but he was angry anyway as he was sitting on a cache of songs that he couldn’t record because John and Paul wouldn’t let him.  So he drank. So did Ringo and the sessions disintegrated. Ultimately these sessions would be gone through by Phil Spector who somehow some way managed to create Let it Be out of the mess. Before that the Beatles found their way back together for one more album, the compromise album Abbey Road. Paul was thrilled and thought it was the solution to working their way out of the issues they had and so he suggested another album. There was no polite response from John, Ringo or George and the four Beatles went their separate ways without breaking up. Paul retreated to his country estate. He made numerous offers to return to the studio and get back to work. He had ideas and he had songs. No one was interested. Meanwhile Phil Spector began cleaning up the mess and creating Let it Be. Paul began recording on his own. He wanted to work, wanted to record. Since no one else was interested he recorded an album, what would become the Bowl of Cherries album, or the Cherries album, named for the cover. The actual title is simply Paul McCartney. He set a release day which unfortunately coincided with the release of Let it Be. Suddenly everyone was interested with what Paul was doing. They asked him to change his release date, to delay it. He said no. They offered to go back into the studio and record again. Paul said no. They sent Ringo to his house to plead the band’s case and Paul said no. Now it was Paul who was realizing that he could have a life outside of the band. I truly believe if John had gone to speak with Paul it would have changed things but John Lennon was not that kind of bandmate, not that kind of person. When the media asked Paul about the solo album and if the Beatles had broken up he said that he guessed they had.

I remember what a big deal it was. I remember driving around one night, the entire family stuffed into a Volkswagon and going from store to store looking for Let it Be but nowhere could that album be found. Ultimately we settled on a single of Let it Be. I wish I still had that.

I was born in 1963 so the Beatles were introduced, thrived, and ended without me being overly familiar with their music. I remember the song Hey Jude playing on the radio my mother ironing and that ending that never ends na na na na. It’s not my favorite song however it always brings that cherished memory with it, one of my earliest. I remember the breakup only because we went searching for the album. I remember Paul McCartney and Wings though. I loved Paul and for the longest time I wanted the album Band on the Run. I loved that song and I loved the song Jet. I make up songs for my dog Rosco and one of the songs I use to do that is Helen Wheels. I remember that so well especially considering that I didn’t own the album for a very long time. Paul wrote pop songs, songs that you could love and songs you didn’t have to do a lot of work with to figure out. They were simple and enjoyable and they make people happy. They make people sing along. It is the best kind of music.

In junior high I fell in love with the album London Town for that song but more for the hit song With a Little Luck. I still love that song. In college I discovered Venus and Mars and played it all the time loving the song Magneto and Titanium Man which still makes me smile. The title track and Rock Show make my heart skip a beat when I hear them. These are fond memories, songs and music that I love. Later in my life I grew to really love George Harrison and gained so much respect for him, his deep spirituality and the fact that he didn’t dwell on the past. He was always asked to play Beatle songs, songs that he wrote and performed with the fab four but he just didn’t and I loved that about him. Paul loves being a Beatle to this day and why shouldn’t he? A lot of the Beatles favorites are his songs. Certainly a lot of my favorite Beatle songs are Paul songs. You can tell which ones he wrote for the most part. John always disliked those simple songs and always had something to say but that’s the very reason why I have always loved Paul. His music has always matched his spirit, his smile and almost laughing personality never taking his self too seriously.

I am discovering that one of the worst things about being born in the 60’s is that so many of the great rock stars I grew up on and loved are slowing dying. No matter how much people joke, Keith Richards will die, and so will Mick and so one day will Ringo and Paul. While they will leave a huge legacy of music their deaths will be huge and the world will be a lesser place. For now we get to still enjoy them as they all remain active and touring. Others have not been that lucky. Until that day…

Mike out

The Music Blog: Jim Ellison

Jim Ellison

I can almost sense you staring at the title of this and wondering if you know who the person is. I am guessing most of you won’t and that’s okay. I have a friend who seems to think it’s her life mission to know every band member of every band and she throws the names around like she knows them personally. I have a few bands that I deeply love some still active some gone and most of these bands I know at least most of the members. Some of that comes from when I was a kid. A good example is the band KISS. They were an important band to me in my youth for a while but while I can name the classic line up of Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace I cannot name any member who has been in the band other than them. Ace was still the best.

So it doesn’t surprise me that you would know Jim Ellison. It also would not surprise me at all if you didn’t know his band Material Issue. We think of bands who made it and those who don’t and some of you even throw a few other categories in there, tragic bands, one hit wonders but the truth is not all bands are created equal. I have some bands I genuinely love who made it big, think Pearl Jam. There are other bands I love a lot and some I think might have even been better bands, like Urge Overkill or Screaming Trees but it would be ridiculous to suggest that those bands are equal even though they play roughly the same kind of music.

Artists paint, or sculpt, or write stories or songs because they have an urge a drive to do so. I have no doubt that there are likely some brilliant songwriters out there who will die without being discovered without making it, or maybe they sell a song and it makes it to someone’s album and that album never does well or the song is never a single. All artists have dreams, maybe that’s what separates us from everyone else; the kinds of dreams we have. Everyone wants to be paid for the work they do. Think about your job, do you love it. I hope so, but if you don’t get paid for it you will find another. It’s why social workers do what they do, they love it and they do get paid but not their worth. Some of that you can live with. I have always missed the sincere thank you’s I got from people or knowing I made a difference even if it was only for a day or even a brief moment. Now as a writer I am going to write. I have dreams though. I would love to write a best-selling novel, have it be made into a movie have people talk about it and yes receive a lot of money for the work. Of course I would. It’s always a part of that drive, but I write anyway knowing it’s unlikely I am going to be published. I would love to have a successful blog something that more than two people read and have those people be people I don’t know that leave me comments about how much they enjoyed it, how meaningful it was how it made them happy or sad or cry or want more because it was that good. Hopefully that makes sense to you. One thing that drives me nuts is when people tell me to write for me. Of course I write for me, I write because that drives tell me to. I don’t have to share it at all but I do. It’s that sharing, that sending something to a publisher or magazine like stepping on to a ledge and leaping. You hope someone reads it, you hope they catch you. When they don’t it’s a horrible feeling, like being hit in the gut. I don’t write just for me. I write for you. I want you to smile and this blog is about striking a chord, pulling an old memory off a dusty shelf and seeing it still resonates with you, still matters.

Jim Ellison was the ringleader, guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter of a pop rock trio out of the Chicago area. They had a little punk to them for sure as well. They wrote quirky 3 to 4 minute rock songs and began making a name for themselves in the Midwest. Like many bands they released an EP and then were lucky enough to get their big break and were signed to a major label where they released International Pop Overthrow and scored a hit with the song Valerie Loves Me. Now there is a pretty decent chance if you were into the post grunge alternative scene and listened to a lot of radio at that time that you heard that song and probably a couple of other of their songs. They had a few hits. Critics loved them, their fans loved them only there just never seemed to be enough of their fans for them to sell enough records to stay with a label. So they were dropped and another label signed them. In 1992 they released Destination Universe which was better than the first album but had poorer sales. It did have the song What Girls Want, which I probably need to listen more carefully to and take notes but that’s for a different blog. Again they were dropped and signed by still another label. In 1994 they released what is absolutely their best album Freak City Soundtrack and the song Kim the Waitress was a fairly big hit. There isn’t a bad song on that album. Personally I love the song Goin’ Thru Your Purse which is about a man who goes through his girlfriend’s purse and he is apologizing while he is doing it.  Regardless the band was dropped again.

In 1996 Jim Ellison had a break up of a long term relationship. That coupled with the lack of success despite critics loving the band is suspected to have been too much and he committed suicide. While he left a suicide note the contents of that note were never released by police and family which I believe is a good thing. Sometimes fans or even just nosey people believe they have the right to know everything, even the most intimate time in a person’s life; their death. I always get a little upset when I see that suicide letters have been released because it’s not our business whether that’s your neighbor or Kurt Cobain or even Jim Ellison. They deserve our compassion and their families deserve peace, whatever peace they can manage.

When Material Issue comes around on my playlist I am always a little happy and a little sad. I miss that band. I miss a lot of bands and a lot of artists. I believe Jim Ellison and Material Issue deserved better but we don’t always get what we deserve. The nice thing about music is that it’s never too late to fall in love with a band. Material Issue released an album after Jim’s death Telecommando, songs they were recording and working on. You can still find their albums. Honestly, if you like power bands like the Ramones, or the Smithereens or Urge Overkill there is a very good chance you would like Material Issue. I would like to think Jim would appreciate a few fans or even just to be remembered. As I have written before sometimes I feel like it’s one of the reasons why I am here; to remember and to share the music that I love so much in the hopes that you might love it too, I relate to Jim pretty well. No matter how hard I work on this blog or wish that people would read it they don’t and so it’s not too hard to believe that you just don’t matter and that what you do does not matter. I know it does but it never hurts to have someone say I really loved that.

So here’s to Jim Ellison gone way too soon and way too long.

Jim Ellison 1964-1996

Mike out

The Music Blog: Nesta

Think about this one. Don’t argue or spend your time trying to think of why I might be or even are wrong. What I want you to think about is rock and roll, the music, the genre. Think of that one artist who defines that entire genre. Can you do it? You might think of the Beatles, but is that all that rock and roll is and is that the universal answer. What about the Rolling Stones? There might be a few of you who define it as Pink Floyd or Queen maybe a few weird people who think the answer is The Who. There might even be one or two disillusioned souls who somehow someway think its Frank Zappa. Yea probably not.

What about country music? That has to be much easier. Hank Williams am I right am I right? What about Haggard? Or Willie Nelson? What about the Statler Brothers? Yes made you laugh or maybe chuckle. I am sure there is some moron who thinks its Blake Shelton. And you wonder why modern country music makes me nauseous.

You can do this for any genre. Blues? Well Eric Clapton thinks he’s god so why not? Well to start with he is white and an Englishman and overrated to boot. I have given you my thoughts on this I have three number 1’s and I have probably listened to more real blues music than most of you. Why should I be right anyway? Who put me in charge.?

The truth is you cannot do this for any genre of music including Classical music. You say you love Mozart? I give you Beethoven’s nine great symphonies.

You also have to consider what’s included in that statement. Take rock and roll music since most of you, at least the two people who read my blog, love rock and roll. There are more than a few sub-genres within rock and roll so how do you pick one artist who can define and symbolize all that. You see, I say you can’t. Then there is the genre of Reggae

See I know who you think about when I mention the genre Reggae music. For most of you Bob Marley is the only reggae artist you know. Some of you might know two, a very few might know three. At least four of you who read my blog on this artist are squirming in their seats and doing a Horschak imitation, “Ooh, ooh ooh.” I see you and your Burning Spear answers. Even if you love reggae, and because of that know many artists like I do you would say that Reggae begins and ends with Robert Nesta Marley. Bob Marley is the face of Reggae, considered a prophet by many Rastafarians, and a symbol of Jamaica, a national treasure.

 

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Bob Marley was born in the mountains, in a small town. His father was a white man, an overseer on a plantation. The myths of Bob Marley, of which there are a few, say that as a young child he could read the future from the palm of your hand. For many reasons but mostly opportunity Bob’s mother moved to Kingston which meant as a black mother, a common worker at that they lived in one of the many shantytowns in Jamaica, in fact the most notorious of them all where the burning embers of revolution, equality, freedom and Rastafari were born. They moved to Trench Town. There both small of frame and stature Bob learned to fight, to defend himself with the knife common to Trench Town, a steppin’ razor. Later Peter Tosh wrote a song of that name and could have been describing Bob for he was a steppin’ razor, dangerous. Fighting wasn’t all Bob learned, music was another way out and there were many places to gather and learn. The music of the day and of Jamaica was ska and Bob learned it well. Bob’s best friend was Nathaniel Livingston. Livingston’s father had married Bob’s mother and they had a child together which only brought Nathaniel and Bob closer. Together they shared and explored their love of music and one day came across a tall gangly young man named Peter Tosh. Together they formed the Wailers and began writing and playing songs together. Livingston would change his name to Bunny Wailer. They began playing and recording songs around Kingston.

Bob actually left Jamaica for a while and moved to the United States where he worked in a factory. He continued to write songs. When he returned to Jamaica he quickly hooked back up with Bunny and Peter to share the songs he had been writing. Music though had changed to what became the Reggae beat and Bob struggled at first to adapt, but adapt he did. Bob also discovered the growing Rastafari faith and was soon converted and began growing his dreadlocks as did Tosh and Bunny. Reggae music had always been affiliated with Rastafari and the themes of Reggae are Rastafari themes. The Wailers not only caught up but they began forging the ground of Rastafari. Songs like Get Up Stand Up, People Get Ready and albums like Soul Rebel, Catch a Fire, Burnin’ and Natty Dread. Peter Tosh left in 1973 to pursue what would be a tremendous solo career of his own. Tosh and Marley disagreed on a peaceful movement to equality and they were often pitted as antagonists. I can tell you they loved each other but they did have different beliefs. Bob advocated peace and Tosh wanted even demanded equality immediately. The three had always been equal members in the Wailers but more and more Bob had come center stage. Many, Tosh included believed it was due to Bob’s lighter skin. Bunny Wailer left in 1976. Both Tosh with Legalize It, and Bunny with Black Heart Man had debut albums that are among the greatest Reggae albums of all time. Sadly Bunny is the only surviving member of the Wailers.

Bob reformed the Wailers with new personnel and continued to play. There was a failed attempt on his life and Bob left Jamaica for a while due to safety concerns. He released the album Exodus in 1977 a masterpiece, Kaya in 1978, Survival in 1979 and Uprising in 1980. For most of you, if you have any album at all, it’s likely Legend which was released after his death and is essentially a greatest hits album. It’s a great album and I think everyone should have it. For me though it’s difficult to see people who post on facebook how much they love Bob Marley without owning any album other than Legend or no album at all. It’s easy to love any artist if you only listen to their hits. If you want to really learn about the man you have to dive deeper and buy one of his studio albums. You hear how deeply religious he was, you hear his thoughts his emotions and you get a tremendous sense of the man. Regardless, saying you love Reggae because you love Bob Marley is ridiculous.

Bob was an avid football (soccer) fan. It’s the one thing that in poor nations that is easy to play, you just need a ball. Bob almost always played barefooted. One day Bob injured himself. It was a cut and like most of us he didn’t think anything of it. Things like that had happened before. Bob went about his business playing his very busy concert tour, writing and taking care of his enormous responsibilities. When he went out to play again he found he couldn’t. The pain that it brought in his foot was severe so Bob like most of us went to have it checked out. Why wasn’t it healing, why was it worse? Bob was diagnosed with Melanoma; however it was still localized to his big toe on his foot. The treatment plan was amputation. Bob refused, and he refused because of religious reasons. Rastafari faith believes that you have to leave the world with what you came into it, meaning complete. Amputation violated this belief. Bob was advised it would get worse and it would spread. Bob sought other opinions and received the same treatment plan. Bob kept touring until he collapsed on stage some time later, the cancer having spread just as he was told. He tried alternative treatment, traveled to other countries and was willing to try anything all the while growing more ill. Eventually he agreed to have the toe amputated but the cancer had spread. He underwent chemotherapy and his beloved dreadlocks, such a powerful symbol to Rastafarians and Jamaica fell out. He grew frail, until there were not any more options and he returned home. One of the last things Bob said to family was that money can’t buy you life. Robert Nesta Marley died on May 11, 1981 In Miami, Florida.

You might guess based on me writing this blog how I feel about Bob Marley. Your thoughts probably barely scratch the surface. There are artists I grieve over, feeling the loss like I would a dear friend or family member. Music lifts me up and is my companion in good times and bad times. Many of these blog posts I cry over. They take a lot out of me as this one has. Like most of you the only way I could know Bob Marley was through his hit songs through the album Legend. When I wanted to dive into Reggae I didn’t start with Bob Marley. That was too easy. I still feel that way. Reggae is a rich very textured genre. It’s like most women I know very hard to get to know. It has a language unique to itself a beat unique to itself. When I got around to Bob Marley I started with Soul Rebel which came out in 1970. It was not his first album but it was pretty early. This was the Bob who was alive. He recorded that album as a living breathing soul. Knowing Bob Marley isn’t the easy thing you think. It really is like picking up a book on Abraham Lincoln and trying to discern who he was, what he loved. You can get glimpses but you will never get the full picture. Listening to an album is like hearing the beating heartbeat of a soul. The album Legend is clinical, it’s posthumous even though all those songs except for Buffalo Soldier were released when Bob was alive. It’s still a carefully put together clinical look at an artist. Listen to Natty Dread, or. Burnin’ and you get something different. Bob is the only artist who I believe should never be covered unless your last name is Marley. I love him that much. It’s very difficult to see and hear David Marley sing (Ziggy) because he sounds and looks so much like Bob.

There are many images of Bob all available all easy to find. With the exceptions of him frail and dying I love them all. My favorites though are of two types. The first is Bob sitting, smiling. He never appears as if he is posing. It’s like taking a candid shot of someone and capturing them perfectly. The other is later in his career when he had the really long dreadlocks and the pictures are all live performance shot. Bob playing or singing those dreadlocks flying around his head like some strange Medusa, so free and so joyful.

Nesta

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Mike Out

The Music Blog: The Golden Age of Grotesque

A Master’s Degree in Social Work is a 64 hour program. That might seem long to you especially if you have a graduate degree. The reason for the length is that many social work students do not have Bachelor’s degrees in social work so the first year of graduate school is for learning what Bachelor’s graduates know already. So a person with a Bachelor’s degree in social work the program is reduced to 32 hours if and only if you attend graduate school within a certain time frame. I missed that time frame but received credit for the work I had done in social work already and the fact that I was a Licensed Social Worker already. My program was reduced to 59 hours. Now, this was actually good because that 5 hour reduction was one of 2 field placements.

A field placement is a course that includes some classwork but mostly working in the field. You are required to interview like you would for a job with a select number and it’s quite a few social work agencies in the area and do a certain amount of hours. There are a lot of hours and it can be really difficult if you already have a full time job. Getting one of these 2 field placements removed from my requirements was a big deal. I only had one and was very lucky to get mine at the Tarrant County Probate Court Guardianship program. Now the guardianship program was really one of the best in the country. Lots of people need guardians. There were people with traumatic brain injuries, developmentally disabled, a few kids who had no relatives and so a family friend had become their guardian, elderly with Alzheimer’s. Essentially anyone who was unable to make decisions for themself was eligible for guardianships. Some had guardians who were their parents, a developmentally disabled adult who could not make decisions for themselves. Some were guardians for a parent. Some were in group homes, some were in nursing homes and some lived at home. Some worked, some were in vegetative states. Part of the guardianship program consisted of a yearly visit to both the guardian and their charge. The purpose was to ensure that all was well and that guardianship needed to continue. There were other aspects to this program that are not pertinent to this blog. After all, this is a music blog and not a blog about my social work career. Remember music? We’re here for the music.

Now I loved doing yearly visits. I could grab a handful of files and knock them out easily in a week by doing visits in the early evening or on weekends. I learned a lot about all sorts of things and sometimes it required challenging my pre-conceived notions like the best nursing homes are in the best areas of town and cost more. I found that to be incredibly untrue. I found sadness. I found joy. I found hope sometimes in the most hopeless of situations. If you knew me back then you would be surprised that my cocky nature, really a façade, had also found humility. I was humbled by all that I saw and experienced.

I had great visits, visits that made me laugh, that made me happy and visits that made me sad and mournful. They ran the gamut of emotions as varied as the many paths I saw that a human life could take. One of my favorite visits was with an adolescent. Of course, adolescents have always been one of my favorite groups to work with. This kid was about 16 and had no living family and so a family friend had taken on the role of guardian for this young man. He was distant which was not surprising and had been under guardianship for a year or two. As I walked into his room the first thing I noticed was a poster of Marilyn Manson. There was an album on the bed that was also Marilyn Manson.

Now almost immediately the guardian said that she had heard everything this kid listened to and had heard all of Manson’s music and said that she even liked some of it. All of his friends listened to the same music and there was no way she could keep him from listening to it. The kid also chimed in telling me how Manson had something to say and that yea some of the album covers and videos were pretty shocking but to please not let it affect his guardianship. I did my interviews and I told this adolescent to remember that I had been a kid his age once too. I thought about my mom listening to Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies to make sure that my soul was not going to be endangered or that I wasn’t going to go out and become a mass murderer or something. I talked to my field supervisor and she was concerned about the kid listening to such disturbing music. I asked her if she had ever listened to a Marilyn Manson song. She said no. I asked her when she was in school if she had ever been exposed to shocking music that her parents would not approve of and she said of course. I defended this kid and I defended Marilyn Manson and I told my field instructor that this kid was in a great home, that he had been through enough and had somehow come out with hope for a better future and to mess with his guardianship which his mother had arranged when she was dying seemed wrong and so we took it to the Director of the Guardianship program who listened to the argument and said that I was right. I felt pretty good except for the fact that I had never heard a Marilyn Manson song and was repulsed by his looks and his outrageous videos which I wouldn’t watch.

In 1999 Marilyn Manson was heavily criticized even blamed outright following the Columbine shootings along with video games and anything else to deflect the blame onto something tangible. Marilyn looked evil therefore he had to be evil. Modus ponens logic if today is Monday the moon is made of green cheese. Today is Monday therefore the moon is made of green cheese. It was ignorant and yet it continues because there are many who would rather judge him for the weirdness, for the album covers than accept him as an artist. Marilyn Manson responded with intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity to youth, which is how he is in every interview.

I didn’t listen to Manson until after my guardianship visit. I had seen him interviewed. I did not think he was the devil’s child out to spread evil. I did not think I would like his music. I was surprised. I first downloaded a selection of songs, most of them his bigger songs, The Fight Song, The Dope Show, Cake and Sodomy. It wasn’t a mess. It was not what I expected. There was and is intelligence behind his music. Like Alice Cooper before him though it was the presentation. That’s the point though. There is some work to be done to become a fan. A younger person gets through that easier, and the music and lyrics feel more at home than someone older. That doesn’t mean it’s beyond understanding but you have to want to. I loved his covers. Sweet Dreams is absolute genius. Another though Suicide is Painless again drew heavy criticism which he never responded to probably because he was laughing so hard. That song is actually the theme song to M*A*S*H. That’s right, the actual title of the theme song is Suicide is Painless which was actually sung and has a special moment in the film if you ever saw the movie starring Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould which came out in 1970 as a dark comedy. That’s what you find with Manson’s music. I mean seriously he named himself for a beauty queen actress and a notorious cult leader and mass murderer; one of the most loved women on the planet and one of the most feared men. He has a sense of humor and it’s throughout his music.

I bought Portrait of an American Family, the first full length Manson album, first and absolutely loved it. I have most of his albums if not all and love them more or less as you would any artist you love. I don’t need to go into all of the songs. Some of you won’t be able to move past your own revulsion, your own judgment and that speaks more about you than it does him. Some of you are going to love him, and some of you are going to like him. There will be others who dislike him and some even will hate him. Come on he is not Zappa. What I would hope is that if you are one of those in the last two groups that you have at least moved beyond your own fears and listened to a few songs.

Mike out

The Music Blog: That Material Girl

Some things wear you down, and some things wear you out. This is in music as it is in anything else, maybe more so. One of the things I really love about music is how it transforms the world around it. Take my favorite genre for example, Grunge. It was something to walk into a department store in Texas in late August with temperatures in the 100’s and see back to school sales that included flannel outfits just like all those Seattle rockers. It’s more than genres though, what I really love is how some artists reach iconic status. Elvis, Hendrix, Michael, Prince, The Beatles, The Stones have all reached a status that no other artist can be compared to them. It’s fascinating to watch, to experience.

MTV changed the music world. It ended careers because music became a visual art as much as a musical one. If you were not photogenic enough, if you were overweight, unattractive then your career never got off the ground. It made careers too, a great video could significantly enhance album sales or get a career started and in some cases it could help make you an icon.

I, like anyone my age, in the early to mid 80’s when I was home would have MTV on instead of the radio. It was the best place to hear new music. Like radio video hits were played every hour so. If you had a favorite video there was a good chance you would see it and not have to wait long. Remember how this opened some things wear you out and some things wear you down. The first time I saw her and her video I thought it was a train wreck and laughed. I wondered if she were trying to be funny. She dressed strangely, not weird strange, just different, all those bracelets, the way she wore her hair. Every day it played every hour and every time I watched, and it wasn’t long before I wasn’t laughing. She was cute, and she did have something even if at the time I might have been unwilling to share that with my basketball buddies.

The song was Lucky Star and the artist Madonna.

It didn’t take her long. Pretty soon you could see girls on campus who dressed just like her or some version of how she dressed. Girls wore more bracelets for sure. Madonna had other songs that followed and all of them were hits. She took the 80’s by storm, grabbed hold and never relinquished it. You might not like her, either personally or musically but you can’t ignore her and she deserves respect. There has been no one ever to come close to her and what she did, what she continues to do almost 40 years later. That alone commands respect. Not many last that long and still stay relevant. In 2019 she released the album Madame X.

I have never thought she was gorgeous but she has always been able to give me those funny feelings. I thought I was a bit beyond feeling that way and then the movie Die Another Day came out. It’s a James Bond film and Madonna not only sang the theme but also had a small role. When she turns around in that movie my heart skips a beat and it doesn’t matter how many times I have seen it. Don’t think the director didn’t know what she could do and would do. It was calculated. She has always been one of those wow girls to me. When I was in college I wanted a girl who had that look. I had a friend who I attended social work classes with and she made me a party tape, just a 90 minute cassette with 2 songs from different artists and Madonna was on that cassette. She laughed at me when I made a face but later when we were over her house listening to records I told her I loved Madonna. She just had something about her, that material girl.

Long ago I stopped worrying about whether people loved the music I did. I used to call these guilty pleasures and even recently used that term and then realized I am not guilty about loving any of the music I have. I bought it all for a reason, to listen to. There are some that I discovered were not as good as I originally thought, some I just got tired of but feeling guilty about liking them I just don’t. I bought Swing Out Sister because I found myself singing the song Breakout all the time. I bought Madonna because I loved the song Papa Don’t Preach and once I did that well it opened the door to buying a little more. Then I just decided I wanted all of it. Now I don’t love every song. I don’t have to. I don’t love every Beatle song. I mean seriously Revolution #9? There are bunches of Rolling Stones songs I just don’t like but they are still the greatest rock and roll band to ever walk the planet. I love Elvis. There are many who don’t. That does not make him less of an icon. I am shocked when I run across people who don’t like, in fact don’t love the Beatles but they are still iconic. Your like or dislike, your love or hatred of an artist doesn’t make them less iconic. If you read my blog all two of you then you just had an a-ha moment. Yea Mike what about Clapton? I like several of his songs, even like a few of his albums but I don’t like him as a person or even think he is that great. It doesn’t make him less of an icon. So however you feel about Madonna doesn’t actually matter much in the big scheme of things. Madonna is an icon.

Mike out

The Music Blog: Evan Dando

I have said it before, Grunge and the British Invasion did more for music than anything else. Both introduced us to bands we otherwise would never have heard and kept them from being relegated to local club obscurity or they would have remained underground struggling to exist in the mercenary world of big labels and 80’s hair bands. For goodness sake people we could still be listening to Warrant and liking it.

Bands and artists began popping up everywhere in the early 90’s and many had been around putting out albums for a few years. Some would have a single moment of glory, one great song and others would have a great album with a few. Others would put out multiple albums and their fame would last, at least for a while. Some are still popular today. There would be horrific deaths from suicide and drug addiction which would damage rock and roll and actually make labels fear signing bands from Seattle. No one wanted to sign the next tragedy.

At first glance or even a second look the Lemonheads might not be a big band to you. I came across them the way I have come across a lot of bands I love; completely by accident. I bought It’s a Shame About Ray shortly after it was released. I had no idea what they sounded like, who they were. They had yet to have a big hit on the radio. In fact the first song of I heard on the radio was Confetti which is on that album but they had a bigger hit song, a cover of Mrs. Robinson which was not on the original release but added to the album after it became a hit. It’s a Shame About Ray was not the band’s first album. This band from Boston had struggled mostly being heard on college radio and then Grunge happened and opened the door to any band anywhere alternative.

In the beginning the band was about three guys but it quickly centered around only one, Evan Dando. Dando was the principal song writer, the singer. Dando has a quirky, free spirited, fun loving personality which you can hear in his songs, in the interviews with him. He was always smiling. The songs are quirky, Confetti, Rudderless, Alison’s Starting to Happen and the title track. It’s a Shame About Ray brought Dando instant rock stardom and he seemed perfect for the roll, still does. Rock and roll has always had characters and Dando fit that mold. He freely admitted to liking drugs but denied having any problem. Eventually he would. There was also the quirky relationship with Julianna Hatfield. Were they a couple or were they not? Both denied it, saying they were just friends, collaborators. Turns out, that’s exactly what they were, friends and remain so to this day.

The Lemonheads followed up on the success of It’s a Shame About Ray with the album Come On Feel and it paid immediate dividends with the song Into Your Arms and follow up singles Big Gay Heart and the Great Big No. Both albums are the very height of their popularity. Dando had it all, great personality, free spirit, good looks and one hell of a great singing voice. He has the perfect range that rock singers dream about.

In 1997 the Lemonheads, aka Evan Dando went on hiatus. There had been declining album sales and the toll of the road, drugs and everything that came with rock stardom just reached a breaking point. In 2006 Dando came back and has put out a few more Lemonheads records. He is a wonderful performer whether you see the band or just him in an acoustic setting.

There are a lot of reasons why I post and share the music I listen to. There are a lot of reasons why I blog on a select group of them. Believe it or not, selecting topics for me to write about is something I think about a great deal. I really enjoy reminding you about bands you may have forgotten about, or introducing you to bands you may have never heard. To me, that’s one of the real joys of music and collecting it and why I don’t just stick the things I have in a closet. I play everything I own. Some I hate (Zappa) some I love like the Lemonheads. They were an important band to me and I can remember driving around with my mom and listening to it with her because she always listened to the music I was listening to. Listening to It’s a Shame About Ray makes me feel good every time it comes around. I have nothing but fun, fond memories of that time and of that band.

So if you have never heard of them before or if you are not sure or can’t remember, buckle up. If you don’t like them, oh well at least I don’t have 10 albums of their music you will have to slog through.

I give you The Lemonheads

Mike out

The Music Blog: Zeppelin

I guess it was inevitable. Sometime in the last ten years or so I began to forgive. I didn’t forget. I just forgave. I had enough musical grudges and it just wasn’t worth carrying around another. Led Zeppelin simply had too many songs from my junior high and high school years to make it practical and while it was a similar grudge to the one I have with the douchebag it lacked the depth of anger and disgust. Technically they had not done anything wrong, or had they?

Since I graduated high school in 1981 it’s not a reach for you to see that the music of Led Zeppelin colored my Junior High and High School years, my formative years when it comes to much of the music I love, how open I am to new groups and new genres. All of this originated from those years. The underground stuff I got from college but my well-formed attitudes towards what was good rock and roll and what was bad rock and roll developed in those years. While my tastes have matured and there are many more bands that have importance to me, many of my favorite bands are 70’s bands.

I never loved Led Zeppelin, certainly not the way many people did. I didn’t hate them either. I didn’t have every record but I did have a couple. Listening to the rock stations of the day you could not avoid Led Zeppelin, but generally speaking they were not a band I changed the channel on. I did not wail, threaten to cut my wrists or refuse to go to school out of grief when John Bonham died. Led Zeppelin was not that important to me. The bands and artists who I would grieve over were still well beyond the horizon. Zeppelin had quite a few songs which received regular airplay and quite a few songs that I loved. It was and still is impossible to hate the song Kashmir. My son still sings the song Whole Lotta Love just the way I do because he heard me sing it that way, which is complete with sound effects. The first Led Zeppelin song I fell in love with was not Stairway to Heaven, it was Over the Hills and Far Away. So the first album I bought from Led Zeppelin was not IV, or even the debut but Houses of the Holy. I now have all Zeppelin on either vinyl or cd but back in the day the only other album I had was Presence because of the song Nobody’s Fault But Mine, which later would prove ironic.

As I said they were never my favorite band. I liked a few songs. I recognized the greatness of Bonham but I have never liked Robert Plant’s vocals. I am just not that crazy about him and his solo work has reinforced that opinion. I always thought based on nothing at all that Jimmy Page was terribly overrated but I couldn’t tell you why I felt that way. What I can say is that I don’t think or believe that any longer. I see him now as an innovator but that doesn’t really change my opinion of the band.

It was after I graduated college with a pesky bachelor’s degree that I began to be exposed to more and more music. The Blues, that’s what I dove into. I bought everything blues. If it had blues in the description I bought it and then I started realizing over a long slow time period the weight of what I was seeing and more importantly what I was hearing. I won’t go into great detail again about my beliefs of what blues music is and is not. What I saw were a whole lot of white artists many of them not even American calling themselves blues men or being described as bluesmen many with the word great thrown in there for good measure. Blues is uniquely American and while many will say the blues ain’t nothing but a good man feeling bad that isn’t true. It was born in terror, born in defiance, born in a hopelessness that no white man could possibly understand, especially a damn Englishman. They can play the notes but they just can’t go THERE.

In this discovery of the blues I came across a song on a compilation by Blind Willie Johnson. I didn’t see the title I heard the song and then I looked at the title. It’s Nobody’s Fault But mine. I pulled the album Presence out Side 2 first song Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Page-Plant). It’s not the same exact song, but then it is, that chorus. Now the song is a Public Domain song but my question then just like my question now is why not give that credit, why not have it in your liner notes why not tell the world where you got it. Nope. Page-Plant wrote that song its right there on the album. Do you really think they wrote the line a big legged woman ain’t got no soul? That’s a line in another song that they stole. They stole liberally from an African American culture that they neither care about or understood. So I stopped listening to Led Zeppelin. They were not the only ones. White Englishmen still do this. White Americans do this so why do I punish one band? I don’t. Whether I listen or don’t listen to Led Zeppelin affects them not at all. Bonham is gone. Led Zeppelin will never perform again.

Their music is different than that of Clapton, aka the douchebag. I like some Clapton songs too. I don’t like Clapton the person. I don’t need to rehash it here. Some of my forgiveness of Led Zeppelin came about because of social media. Jimmy Page just seems like a good guy. He seems so humble and I have never really heard him say a harsh thing. I don’t like Robert Plant’s voice all that much but he is human, oh is he human. Whatever they did or didn’t do I can’t find it in me to be angry and maybe that has as much to do with me as it does them. If Led Zeppelin had a stronger place in my heart then maybe I would feel differently. They didn’t and I don’t. It’s hard to stay angry and it requires a lot of energy and I have a musical grudge that I won’t let go of. Heck I even have a couple or three or five. I am not passionate enough about this one. So put your earplugs in. It’s time to go back to the 70’s and crank some Zeppelin.

Mike out

The Music Blog: Oh Yeah, You and What Army?

I have never really been a joiner ever in my life. In high school the only club I was involved with was Spanish Club. I played football, wasn’t very good but I was determined to stick it out and letter and I did, about the only meaningful thing I did. I always kept my grades at a certain level, not ever wanting to be in the National Honor Society which probably took more energy than actually being in the National Honor Society constantly trying to figure out what grade I needed in each class so that I could stay out. I attended a few Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings, but always felt like I didn’t belong because I wasn’t really a believer or a church attendee and because it was the same group of guys who spent their time picking on people like me and generally being assholes. I could only put up with so much hypocrisy.

Some time in my 8th grade year Pete moved into my neighborhood. It was a local move and I knew him. With the move though came new friends. Pete had two step sisters that were gorgeous so going to his house just so you might say hello to one of them was a good thing to do. I never said hello, too shy and they were way over my skis. Pete lived in a hastily built room in the garage with no insulation. It was freezing in the winter time and burning up in the summer time. It always seemed to me as if he wasn’t really welcome in his own house but you could always hang out in Pete’s room coming through the side door. It was around this time that the group I hung out with started to drink on weekends, usually splitting a six pack of tall boys which usually was Schlitz. Yea yea I know but it was cheap and we were not rolling in the dough. Pete always got sick even if he drank just one beer.

Pete and his friends loved Kiss. I wasn’t into them at all until I started hanging out with them, then it sort of became something you had to do. I really got into them and strangely enough Pete started to be into other music. So one day while sitting around he asked me if I wanted his Kiss records. Naturally I said I did but if he changed his mind I would give them back. So I acquired two albums Kiss Alive, and Love Gun. I still have those albums. I listened to them all of the time and acquired a few more on my own.

For a short time Kiss was one of my bands. I loved them. For awhile as the intro to their concerts said, they were indeed the hottest band in the land. It was the show too more than the albums; that incredible stage show. They were masters of the four minute rock song churning them out. They were not sophisticated, not deep just rock and roll played hard and fast. They didn’t have the greatest musicians but in their heyday there was always the question of who the best was, Gene, Paul, Ace or Peter. I was always an Ace fan, and once he was gone I stopped listening but truthfully I was already moving on. Perhaps they were a rite of passage band or maybe just one of those trendy things we had to love.

In the early 80’s with the makeup off they released one of my all-time favorite songs and certainly my favorite Kiss song Lick it Up. Truthfully I still like much of their music; Love Gun, I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night, Black Diamond, Shout it Out Loud, Detroit Rock City and a host of others. Kiss has their place in rock and roll history. Are they the greatest band ever? Of course not. The Rolling Stones will always be the greatest rock band ever but music needed a band like Kiss, still does, We always need bands that play to the masses who play music you can take in easily and even get buddies together to play it in your garage.

Kiss will never again be my favorite band but they will always have a place in my heart. For a brief moment in time they were the greatest band ever. Whenever they come around on the playlist I drift back in time 40 years or so to Pete and other friends, to two step sisters that I wished had noticed me or maybe if I had just had enough nerve they could have really abused my ego by the cold shoulder of rejection. The arguments rattling around my head, Gene is the best, no Paul and no again it’s got to be Ace. It was deep philosophical questions under the influence of Schlitz beer “Do you think Gene really breathes fire?” No, you’re a moron for thinking that. “Yea but that blood is real right?” Sigh. “Do you think they walk around in that make-up?” Yea dude they do, all day every day it never comes off.

That’s the beauty of music. We will always make heroes of our rock stars, give them supernatural powers and believe the world begins and ends with them. Music is powerful, takes us back not always to good times but mostly. Regardless, if you are like me, one whose memories all revolve and are catalogued musically then music of all sorts is no doubt special to you and always will be, even the hottest band in the land.

For the record I never joined the Kiss Army either. Did you really have to ask?

But Ace was the coolest.

Mike out

The Music Blog:Did Someone Call for a Priest

I remember the night, remember it well. I was going to college in Arlington, Texas but summers were spent in Nocona, Texas a small town north and west of where I grew up not too far from the Oklahoma border. You know, where vegetation ends Oklahoma begins. It was small town life, where you went to town, did the drag and hoped you found something to do. Occasionally you got a group together to drive east to Meunster, about 30 miles away where there was a small club called The Ranch which for being a small town managed to pull in some pretty good local bands to play some live rock and roll. It was a dive, a place to see people you knew, meet people you didn’t and drink beer. You never knew what you would find to do in a small town.

One night I was there with a friend of mine. I can’t remember what we were doing. There were not many people out as it was one of those Texas nights when it was raining cats and dogs. My friend came to me and asked if we could give another friend of ours and his girlfriend a ride. I said sure since there wasn’t much going on anyway. It was raining hard and there was a 5th person and for the life of me I cannot remember who it was. I do remember by the time we piled into my Trans Am we were soaked, the windows were fogged and we still had to get home. Water was standing on the street and I considered going backroads home but decided against it since most of them were dirt and gravel roads so it was the highway or bust. I figured the highway would be better so off we went. I also thought that there would not be many cops about so I went fast and inevitably I turned up the tape I had in my car. The girl ridng with us asked for different music so I switched cassettes to the same band different album and turned it up. I was flying, water was going everywhere, the defoggers on high and Judas Priest Screaming for Vengeance was blaring. The girl was screaming at me to slow down turn the music down and that our friend was about to puke. No one tells me to turn down Judas Priest. Up the radio went, down went the accelerator. It was a fast trip home, the rain stopped, no one got sick and the girl just got mad at me. Such is life. She wasn’t my girlfriend.

Judas Priest

I say it again.

Judas Priest

If you love music and even if you only just like music you probably have that band that you will follow no matter what; through bad albums, lineup changes through anything. You mourn them when they disband like any loss and if a member dies there is real grief attached to the loss. The band and the songs they sing evoke memories, songs you remember when you were in love or when you went through a breakup, good nights bad nights, milestones hit were celebrated or lamented with the band you love. I have more than a few of these bands. Judas Priest is one of them.

Long after my single days ended and I had a kid of my own I was surprised to find my kid singing the song Grinder. It’s a Judas Priest song that I have changed the words to a thousand times and since I make up a lot of songs that I sing when I am mowing the yard or cleaning the house my son thought it was just one of those songs. He was surprised to find that it was real and that still makes me laugh. Yes I still make up words to that song.

I have every album. I have bought Screaming for Vengeance three times and Defenders of the Faith four. I spent two years following them around and driving anywhere within driving distance to see them live. I loved those twin guitars of K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton and now as they have gotten older and Downing retired from the band and Tipton struggling with Parkinson’s so that he is only a part-time player it sddens me. That’s what happens what is happening all the rockers I love so much are aging and slowly fading away.

Not too long ago I was channel surfing and came across a concert of the band. It brought up the same old feelings, the same ones I had the first time I watched them. It was interesting to see the entire band leave the stage except Tipton and then watching him mesmerized with just an acoustic guitar pretty much blow me away. By the audience’s reaction I suppose they agreed with me.

Judas Priest continues to play music today. Rob Halford still belts out vocals with arguably the greatest heavy metal voice of all time. I have every album and it’s always fun to see how a band develops over time over the course of a couple of decades. Their music gets your blood moving, makes your ears ring and sure not everyone loves heavy metal music so they are not for everyone.

I realize this blog entry is a little short. For the past month I have been moving and it’s only been a few days that I have had my stereo back up and all of my music organized. I had intended to write about Journey but I am still organizing and so I decided that writing about those bands that we all have would be just as important. I know there are some people that don’t love music the same way I do. I know there are some that don’t have and have never had that band that they just cherished. It’s just hard for me to understand. It always seems to me that when my music has taken a down turn and I just get a lot of blah music back to back to back that something pops up on the horizon to get me excited. No different than when your favorite band is announced as coming to your town and tickets are going on sale, How do i get them? It just drives you and will do so until those lights go down and start swirling on the stage and the opening notes hit you no matter where you are. Maybe it’s the sound of a motorcycle revving up. Hell yea. The Priest is back in town.

Mike out