Music & Words

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Today I send a grateful shout to my blog buddy Fearsome Beard for the nomination. Fearsome is the type of guy I wish were my neighbor. You know, the one you wave to as you leave for work, have over for a BBQ, share beard products…I’ve gone too far haven’t I?

Let’s unlock some of the doors that reveal why music is so special.

1. What does music mean to me?

Music, quite literally, is the soundtrack to our lives. It is extremely rare that I choose not to kick out the jams on the way to work, while I blog, or while I do work around the house. Music is always playing.

Music makes connections. We run into the most beautiful people through music (some lovable rascals too). A couple of years ago I was up to Toronto Canada with my concert going partner in crime Farley at Riot Fest. Some locals mistook Farley for someone (almost) famous. Now we have a place to crash every time we visit as we continue to build our friendship.

We judge people by the music they like. We shouldn’t, but we do. Someone cuts in front of us in line somewhere, they’re wearing a faded early 80’s Cure t-shirt…it’s cool.

Music is an escape. We can put on an old album, close our eyes, and in our minds we’re right back in that place and time we first heard it. And the irony is, we don’t always choose the music that coincides with the ‘good’ times.

2. What is my first music related memory?

The Boss. As soon as I was old enough to drop a needle, I was dancing around the living room. Born In The U.S.A. was on repeat from the time dinner ended, until I went to bed. What little did I know, was that it was a crafty energy expending exercise my mum used to get me to sleep well at age four!

My father wasn’t big into music, but he left me a few gems to discover in his milk crate full of vinyl: Hot Rocks (Rolling Stones), Verities & Balderdash (Harry Chapin), Life and Times (Jim Croce), and the Rocky II OST.

It was also at this early age that I learned about responsibility and care. I needed to be careful in how I handled the vinyl to make sure I didn’t scratch it. I never stacked a pile of 45’s or LPs to drop one after another on those turntables that would allow such a vinyl destroying mechanism! Later, my cassettes, CDs, and even later Vinyl would always be stored and kept in immaculate condition.

3. What was the first album I purchased?

Rush – Counterparts (1993)

In the fall of 1993, I heard the last 30 seconds or so of a song as I hopped onto the school bus. Back then, the drivers were actually allowed to play music, and my driver’s station of choice was WZZO out of Allentown-Bethlehem, PA. I asked the driver what it was, he wasn’t paying much attention but he told me he thought it was a newer song. WZZO played mostly classic rock bands.

Each morning before I left for school, I would put in a blank Maxell cassette into the stereo and hit record on my way out the door. Each afternoon, I’d run upstairs to my room to review the 45 odd minutes I had been blindly recording. It was the percussion hooked  me, you just knew it when you heard it.

Finally, after a little over a week of failed attempts to capture the song, I’d rediscovered it. The song was, “Cold Fire.” The band was Rush. The drummer was Neil-fucking-Peart, relentlessly riding the shit out of those cymbals. That song was on Rush’s 1993 release Counterparts. It was the first album I purchased and it would start a multi-decade love affair with one of my all time favorite bands.

4. What is the latest music you purchased?

This is going to sound horrendous, but I honestly don’t know. As a former music promoter I was used to getting everything for free. Now that I’m out of the business I pay retail with few exceptions. I no longer buy CDs (unless somehow it’s exclusive). I do have a membership to Spotify and if I love an album, I buy the Vinyl.

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I bought one of these at a show two weeks ago, does that count?

Murder By Death – Big Dark Love (2015) 

Again, I rarely buy an album unless I love it. Murder By Death are always worth the price, whether live or recorded. If you haven’t heard this band, as I mentioned, they are worth the time. I don’t know if I want to refer to them as underrated or under appreciated, but I think they deserve more love, more renown.

Murder By Death have built a sizable and loyal fanbase over the years and they’ve done it by being a relentless touring band and consistently putting out great music. There are no four year gaps between records. A new one pops up every two years or so, always with a tour between them.

A little geeky fact about Murder By Death is each winter they dress up and perform three sold out nights at the famed Stanley Hotel in Colorado.

5. What is the very last song I listened to before writing this post? Honestly?!

Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon (2012) “Anna Sun”

Bonus!!!

“We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” – Jermaine Stewart

I grew up with in the 80’s with Casey Kasem’s Top 40, so I’m a sucker for a good pop song. Here’s one I recently rediscovered!

My nominee for the Music & Words Award. My great friend, Farley!

Thanks again for the nod Fearsome!

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