The Worst Concert Ever

“Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.” Michael Bolton (Office Space)


While many of our comments on and anecdotes about music have to do with music merely as sound, as the score for charged moments in our lives or the cue to dial up vivid memories, music also surrounds us in tactile and physical ways. The Younger J and I have, at different points in our lives, attended many and varied concerts (and too few together). Seeing an artist live and as part of a community of listeners can drastically change the way you engage with music. The live performance returns music to the breathing pulse of the living from the frozen state of recorded sound.

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Songs for a Busted Muffler

This is one of my favorite songs and I happened to stumble upon this bluegrass version accidentally and I am stoked with the results. I’ve loved this song a long time and always felt like I am sort of a “Mr. Wrong”.  Although, really I only lacked a muffler for a short time and I have no tattoos or a particular aversion to meeting any significant other’s parents.

I’ve really grown attached to my new job and, luckily, things are going pretty well. My students are good this year, my co-teacher is incredibly on point and my bosses are supportive as well as enthusiastic. They decided to send us to a workshop last Monday so we could work on project-based learning, which is something we plan to do a lot in our classes. That Sunday prior was the first big snow storm of the year, the first real sign of winter for us in the snow removal business.

As some may remember, I have done this in the wealthy neighborhoods of Portland, Maine for almost a decade for my hippie neighbor as the winter arm of the landscaping company. Because he neglected to plow out the end of my driveway, I chose to bust out and my 99 Subaru Impreza’s exhaust severed right in the middle of the whole system. I didn’t know this though and drove an hour north and spent 8 hours shoveling snow.  It actually hung together until I started it up Monday morning to head to this workshop with my tie on.

This choice probably seems pretty obvious for why I chose it. You may not know it, but this song is actually about the other fluffy white stuff, cocaine, which the boys in Sabbath did pretty hard for a good chunk of the seventies. The imagery of the sun no longer bringing you peace and the snowflakes on the trees is very apt for our particular form of snowy white stuff but I can assure you none of our shovel crew is on blow.

Here I was, getting my nice clothes all wet, trying to push through yet another shitty Monday. Why do so many bad things happen on Mondays? I suspect it’s the higher power’s message to get your ass in gear, it’s time for the work week, but in this case it was just the weather and a neighbor’s negligence. I was lucky because I was able to call my vice principal and get put down for a personal day so I could deal with this issue. Then, like clockwork, my friend who works overnights appeared and was willing to give me a ride, After a few phone calls, I was able to drop the car off by nine am.

My brother and I have different views on religion, polar opposite in some respects. However, I think that we could both agree that if angels did exist, they would sing like Emmylou. The woman sounds just like she did in the 70’s and I am always looking at ways of getting her music out there. Also, I’m on a  serious bluegrass kick as anyone whose been reading can see and it doesn’t seem to be letting up.

Ultimately, it all worked out. My wonderful co-teacher was at the workshop and got all the materials so I was able to slide right in there the next day as if I never missed the first one at all. My car was an easy fix, although band-aid is more apt at this stage in the vehicle’s career, and the only further drag was that I had to pick it up mad early the next day when the high temperature was -2. The day off was actually very relaxing and I watched the beginning of a shitty Marky Mark movie called Contraband which started with the following song.

I hate having videos which have ads on them but I prefer this version so much that I had to drop one on you all. This band really blows my horn and it’s been on a constant revolution since that day last week that my muffler fell off. Their sound is unique for the time and they are so enthusiastic about what they doing. I will be watching this band.

I couldn’t get through the movie but this song really hit me and even if that is the only thing I got out of the broken muffler Monday, that it’s a good day. This was a little over a week before Christmas which is now over and that’s something I’m thankful for. I perked up at times but generally, the holidays are a drag and I have to pull myself through them with mostly fake enthusiasm. Another year gone and a new one to begin, something else I’m thankful for, another year to perfect my version of the human existence. Things are pretty good and things I’m waiting for seem to be right around the corner. So, on that note enjoy this little ditty from J Roddy and I truly hope all of your holidays were a time of love, relaxation and a realization that life is pretty good when you look at it that way.

I just discovered this song last night and it’s so different from the other one but equally as awesome. The sparseness of this recording is amazing and their harmonies make me wish I knew how to sing. Keeping going J Roddy, I need you and so does America!

Another sort of birthday list

My earlier take on birthday songs was a bit morose. Here’s a different one.

Recently my wife and I decided that we weren’t playing enough music for our children—we’re worried about both the frequency and the variety of the music they hear. So, in addition to our frequent radio games in the car, we’ve added sessions with the pre-fab music channels on TV, alternating channels and genres by day.

I also got some new speakers for my computer or iPod—when the wife isn’t around and I am in control, I try out new albums or old ones on the kids (much to what I can imagine will be my brother’s horror I think they really enjoyed Mumford and Sons and thus allowed me to think about the band in a different way—a subject for a future post).

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My Musical Mentors: Hippie Neighbor # 1

 

The only people who influenced my musical knowledge and appreciation more than my parents and my brother were my hippie neighbors. Until recently, the house the Elder J and I grew up in was the only house in the midst of a few thousand acres of old logging land that had largely grown back. Now, there are some encroaching neighbors along the road and elsewhere but until about 8 years ago, this was our domain. It was so private, that not only did my father routinely walk the dog in his underwear when we ere very young, I also used to shoot cans with my .22 from my bedroom window.

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On the Radio (Flashbacks): Banditos

One unintended consequence of listening to the radio so much recently is that I still often hear songs that played on the radio when I was much younger. The popular format of many stations (modern rock) seems to allow for music at the roots of the modern era (as far back as New Wave, sometimes punk). As a result, listeners get to hear new music and the sounds of our youth (for those of us who are older).

(Just think, our parents had to listen to oldies stations)

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The Worst Concert Ever

“Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.” Michael Bolton (Office Space)


While many of our comments on and anecdotes about music have to do with music merely as sound, as the score for charged moments in our lives or the cue to dial up vivid memories, music also surrounds us in tactile and physical ways. The Younger J and I have, at different points in our lives, attended many and varied concerts (and too few together). Seeing an artist live and as part of a community of listeners can drastically change the way you engage with music. The live performance returns music to the breathing pulse of the living from the frozen state of recorded sound.

Continue reading