Music is As Music Does

Music is the main thing that drives me. And my opinions are apparently important enough to subject the rest of the world to. So deal with that.

Also (as I’ll mention until someone smacks me in the head), I’m starting the process of moving my blog(s) from Blogger to WordPress. Maybe I’ll blog about it later. Probably not.

In the meantime, I’ll shut up and play my guitar.

How Not to Become a Bass Player

Here’s the problem that every school-age rock band faces: There’s about 15 guitarists, a drummer, and no bass player. So you pool your cash and buy a piece of crap bass and amp (or better yet, run the bass through a guitar amp) and then play “rock, paper, scissors” to see who gets bass duty. And somehow, I almost always lost that game. No, wait. Come to think of it, I always lost that game. I think maybe the fix was in all these years. Anyhoo.

This is all great in high school. It just doesn’t translate so well later in life.

It's a bass! It's a weapon!

Problem is, a bass is not a four-stringed guitar, one octave down. Or in my case, a seven-stringed guitar, one octave down.

The fundamental rules for guitar and bass are different. Am I the only guitarist to ever notice this?

When playing guitar, there are four primary functions:
  1. Power Chords.
  2. Rhythm Chords.
  3. Arpeggios.
  4. Solos.

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You know how they say, “It’s just like riding a bicycle!”? Meaning that once you’ve done something, you can walk away from it it, come back at a later time, and it’s just like you’ve been doing it all the time.

The people who say that are stupid. That never happens.

Take, for instance, Blogging.

I like to write. I like to share. And, in the case of this blog, I like music. So I write and share about music. Not my music, mind you (because that would require WRITING and RECORDING, and really, who has time for all that? Leave that to the kids.).

Except that I’m so sporadic (and my brain has turned to swiss cheese) that I just today realized that somehow a bunch of album reviews I’d written in my own smarmy manner seem to have disappeared.

Hm. Isn’t that weird? I know how to write. And I know how to post. And I know all about back ups and data and backing up data and all.

And yet there it ain’t.

I guess I need to go out tomorrow and buy a bicycle. In the meantime, listen to this.

All Kinds of Free Music at Epitonic (but you get what you pay for)

I’m all for checking out new music. Come on over and check my iTunes playlist. And I’m working on seeing how far-reaching my Pandora playlist can get.

Used to be a site called the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA). It was an awesome respository of MP3s from all over the world, mostly unsigned bands and garage recordings, along with a healthy sprinkling of unauthorized recordings of Big Names covering songs of other Big Names (got the the Perfect Circle live version of Ozzy’s “Diary of a Madman?” I do.).

Anyway, that has nothing to do with anything. BUT I’ve recently found an awesome music site that has streaming playlists, in addition to letting you download just about everything there. Let’s face it, at least 95% of what’s on the internet is crap (especially when it comes to music… and videos… and politics… and… ) but it’s that magical 1-5% that makes it all worth it.

Click here to get over to Epitonic and start checking things out. Those gems are waiting for you!

The Mother of All Funk Chords

I loves me some funky music! I almost said some “funked up music” but I’m raising small children and might not always be able to get away with that, so I’m doing my best to keep things clean.

As one of my interns at work put into words, “Gosh, I wish I had the time to do something really cool like that.”

Yes, I do, in fact, live in the 1950s. He actually says “Gee willakers” and “Aw, shucks.” Really! And his name is Chad, but we call him Scooter.

Without further ado, here’s The Mother of All Funk Chords.

A Psychology of Music

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a…shall we say, eclectic taste in music. From rock to jazz to electronica to bluegrass, my collection may not be deep but it certainly is wide.

One thing I’ve discovered, especially through being married to someone who doesn’t share some of my musical tastes, is that although we can agree on what she (and most people) call “relaxing” music, my personal view on that is a little different.

The common cultural view is that some nice jazz, perhaps an old-school rock ballad, maybe some smooth R & B, or even some Jimmy Buffet, along with a glass of wine at the end of the day can really take the edge off.

Ignoring that fact that wine’s out in my case, my current choice of “unwinding” involves a band called Meshuggah. I’ve gotten two of their albums: 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve and the 2005 concept album (for lack of a better term) Catch 33. Best I can do to describe their sound: imagine flooring the gas in a 1000-hp dragster with no mufflers, no ear protection, being beat over the head with a jackhammer, and having the car’s crew chief screaming in your ears from time to time.

The Wife doesn’t understand what I see (or hear) in this “music,” which is why it generally gets skipped over on the iPod when we’re in the car together in favor of Elton John, Mike + the Mechanics, or Pat Metheny.

Seeing as how she’s a student of sensory development (more on that some other time, I’m sure), I think I’ve gleaned enough from her book learnin’ to get an idea of why this is relaxing to me. Life piles up on me (indeed, on all of us!): bills, work, responsibilities, schedules, idiot drivers (you know who you are…or maybe you don’t!), and all manner of stupidity from Washington DC, Sacramento, and the local government. I’m overloaded, as are most of you. And most people choose to return down the easy slope of placid music, enjoying the blue skies, fields of daisies, and happy skipping bunnies in the grassy fields.

I, on the other hand, take that last step or two up the mountain, and then fling myself over the musical cliff to land in the vast pile of dirt, rocks, and bits of jagged metal that lie on the other side. Of course, I’m still speaking metaphorically; don’t go looking through my closet for the whips and chains. I’m not one of those.

Mostly I’m fascinated to see where our son ends up on the musical spectrum. He enjoys the typical two-year-old staples of Elmo and other kids’ CDs, along with Kim Hill and Celine Dion. But I still take pride in that one of the first songs he sang along with in the car CD player was the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You.” Where will he be in fifteen years? Stay tuned…