Crunch and Drive

In my vehicle on my way to work in the morning and on my way home in the afternoon, I can hear rumbling, sometimes rattling.  I usually have something with a full bass, something with intense and concerted vibration like John Lennon or Keith Richards rhythm guitar. The grip of the sound out-ignites even Led Zeppelin for me.  This kind of sonic integrity – as I have found – is best captured with nickel strings.

I do not know why, but I have a terrible time of listening to music that graces the charts nowadays.  Nothing from the refined quarters of high-end recording studios excites me anymore.  It’s as if all of the stops have been pulled again and again, and there is only so much one can copy hi hats and then press and hold control V. For me, all of the instruments are far too “clean” both in sound and in appearance. I’m out for a real sound and I want to ignite like the rich sound of nickel strings in the morning, like the sound of tribal drums and nickel stings…

I’m trying to make an album with crunch and with drive.  I’m having an easy time with the music now that I’ve switched to nickel strings though I’m having a hard time with lyrics, as I’ve convinced myself they’ll come. I often second guess myself.  I – as do so many musicians – need to remember my craft and my roots. It very well may be that the content of the aforementioned riveting vibration is born of some tribal urge. I take stock in the 12 – bar blues.  I can always return to the 12 – bar blues.

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Music Blog

I’ve settled on music — may shift into politics ’cause after all, it’s my internet. Plus, music has permeated all aspects of my life thus far, at least the aspects that seem to have mattered.

Months ago now, I was made slave to advertisement.  This common and usually demeaning experience can, more often than one might expect, be beneficial.  I saw a commercial for the Brian Wilson biopic and was immediately thrust back to the time I’d first heard the work of the broken-legend-wizard-genius and his group of fine harmonious Boys.

It was Junior year of High School at five o’clock in the senior parking lot.  I can smell the gravel. I had been through a couple thousand music “phases” up until that point and had burned a CD for my 2009 Jetta that had 10 songs: 80% Biggie 10% Tupac (kinship is sometimes found in the strangest of places). I generally stuck with 10 songs – a digestible number. The final 10% of the particular CD from puberty stuck in my brain like a fly in a spider web of neurons.  It was simply fixed there as if the brain had captured and kept it for a sacred future meal.

Here’s the whole flimsy off-kilter (offkey) carousel ride I witnessed after randomly burning that Beach Boy’s track on there.  Wouldn’t It Be Nice  BAM! All the women of my dreams flashed in front of me in a harmonic Yawp.

Upon hearing Rubber Soul, Brian Wilson purportedly claimed in complete reverence, “That’s it! That’s all folks!” What a charming gentleman. He made magic with the echo chamber, revamped wall of sound technique, and then spent a hundred or so hours and $50,000 to produce an album that blew the socks off both Lennon and McCartney in May of 1966 to the extent that John Lennon actually rang up Brian Wilson to thank and congratulate him.  The Beatles, inspired by this new found neural bug, went on to create Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the music goes on…

But this was about me, remember?! Or are you already off on your own musical journey across the antipodes of the mind where Brian sent you?

Thought so.

I forced a close friend to listen to the Beach Boys.  I cranked the volume and encouraged him to really get down inside the speaker.  His response: “this is menacing.”

The sort of thing Wilson and his Boys were involved in can be all summed up in one word: MENACING. There is a childish fervor that boils up in the brain after the first few words. Bob Dylan calls it “ruthless” or “ruthlessness”.  It’s what we go through when nothing seems to matter but restless energy – the primal fire of creation within us that speaks down through the genetic line.   The creative spark  that lights this fire is a menacing, messy, ruthless thing and it’s a damn shame to lose it.  Hold on to it when you feel it.  Often it is even out of key.

For a different aspect of the same Beach Boys, I’d suggest: Til I Die

Fora separate angle, In My Room