Category Archives: punk rock

Musical Eclectic Tastes: A Quartet of Choices

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When you hear this comment, “Life is sweet,” I bet you would not have pictured it

coming from Billy Idol. He showed gratitude for his family, roots and his fans. I was

in awe of the interview, felt I finally understood him. I remember when I first saw him,

on MTV, seeing his punk hair style and his sneer. I never was repelled by his appearance

and every one of his 14 major hits were beloved by me. I did not see him as ‘sinister’ or

mean looking but saw him as confident and defiant.

I am grateful that Billy Idol lived to reach age 58, which is what I am for another month.

I am so happy he is exploring a ‘comeback,’ which is not quite true, since he never left

the musical scene totally.

Billy Idol was born to middle class roots, in England. He respected his parents but he

could not follow their paths of being a professional, his mother was a nurse nor a

businessman selling power tools, like his father. Instead he decided to chase his dream

of being in a rock band. His comment, which is a little ‘explicit,’ but true of his tastes

goes like this, “If you cross rock and roll with punk rock, you get a cross-pollination

bastard type of music: mine!”

Bill Broad, Senior died in August, they had made peace and there was no animosity

between them. He had not financially supported his son, Billy, but he did love him.

It was mutual respect, shown in the interview, which captured my interest. Also, his

mentioning the power of what a teacher said to him, negatively, that impacted his

famous name, “Billy, why do you have to be so idle?” He just changed the spelling,

with a positive twist, becoming an ‘Idol’ in more than name only.

My favorite song is, “Eyes Without a Face,” since I could slow dance to this, while

thinking about its meaning. The other ones you will recognize, include:

“Rebel Yell”

“White Wedding”

“Dancing with Myself”

Re-make of “Money, Money” which he made his own a great rendition.

What happened to him during the 90’s?

He had a serious motorcycle accident in 1990.

This brought him down. Far down.

In 1994, he overdosed at a night club. This bad action on his part, saved his life, ultimately.

It brought him back on the path to recovery. It made him want to have purpose.

I will look forward to hearing new songs, since Billy Idol has always been in my eyes,

a True Showman.

 

 

Another person who has caught my interest lately, is Jenny Lewis. She is age 38, many of

you have already heard of her, let alone heard her unaware it was she delivering the music.

She has a fun style, light-hearted style of singing. She is familiar in many ways, since she

has been around for awhile. One recent radio song, “Just One of the Guys,” makes me smile.

It became a big hit almost instantly, according to a DJ on my way to Cleveland over Labor

Day weekend.

Her life has been all about music, being a ‘backstage daughter’ to a group that performed

in Las Vegas, “The Voyagers.”

When she was young, she was the cute, attractive girl who had her first kiss in a movie

called, “Wizard,” with Fred Savage. She admits, they were just kids and grew up together.

 

When you used to hear the song  for Toys-R-Us, there was a popular upbeat lift to the song,

with Jenny Lewis singing that she was a Toys-R-Us ‘kid.’

In her live shows, she likes to build rapport, she has a lyrical tone to her voice, reminiscent

to some of my all-time favorites like Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Jenny sings like popular and current,  beautiful voices found in Colbie Caillat and Ingrid

Michaelson.

In Jenny Lewis’ ‘wheelhouse,’ there will be one you will relate to. I liked “She’s Easy, But

She’s Not Me.” It is not the way you think of ‘easy,’ she is defining it as not very deep.

So Jenny is saying in her lyrics, ‘I may not be easy to understand but I am worth it.

The other girl may be easier to figure out; but she’s not Jenny.’

Her album, “The Voyager,” is worth a peek. Here are the two rcent girls

I recommend, “Colbie Caillat’s songs, “Bubbly” and “Try.”

I recommend, “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”

 

With the name of “Keb’ Mo,” you could possibly mistakenly picture a rapper or a

younger man, but this man is a three time Grammy winner who plays the Blues!

What inspired his newest album, at the age of 62? Marriage counseling! He and his

wife were going to therapy and he realized, while thinking on the way home from

a heavy session, how love is a struggle and you have to keep putting work into it.

In his deep thought, you can find his heartfelt passion for his wife. He feels that

love is important after all to fight for, continue but it is typical blues material,

when you hear that “Love hurts.” Marriage has been a ‘battle field’ subject matter

before but this man’s interpretation was ‘new’ and interesting to me.

Keb’ Mo and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore live in Nashville. They participated

in an intense weekend of counseling. This became the theme for his new album,

“BLUESAmericana.”

He addresses commitment, love, pain, changes, and forgiveness. Relationship

‘stuff’ that he admits they had avoided for years, in an “AARP Magazine” article.

When Keb’ Mo started out singing, he used the name of Kevin Moore. He adopted

his bluesy stage name in his early 40’s to allow listeners to see his dedication to

the subject of the Blues. He is not changing hit style, just created a whole new

batch of songs with, “If Somebody Hurt You,” a gospel-driven tune with zappy

sound and divulging roots of pain.

In “Move” and “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” you will see how love made him a

renewed and changed man, with upbeat tempo, good lyrics. These songs

include Moore playing a variety of guitars and includes some organ ‘grooves.’

Sam Chamon’s song, “That’s Alright,” will be familiar to you. The rest are all

new and exciting. I have to laugh at his attitude, when his wife worried what

“people might think.” He said so aptly, “Honey, this is not a business for caring

what people think!” Humor, gospel, upbeat, sad and you have Keb’ Mo’s music.

 

If you don’t know Patty Griffin, you need to listen to her! She has a relatively

new album called, “American Kid,” on New West Records. She is one you can

easily listen to again and again. I am confident, if you are like me, who embraces

a wide variety of musical tastes, you will enjoy this one! Patty is bluegrass and

country, a combination that is a pleasure to listen to.

You also have heard of her long-time boyfriend, Robert Plant. He is embracing

his “mountain roots,” while accompanying Patty Griffin on this album. Plant

co-wrote, “Highway Song” and added musical touches and arrangements to

“Ohio.” This is a great combination of two musical talents. (If you wish to

listen to Robert Plant check his popular songs, “Net Worth” and “Rainbow.”)

If you want to know a song that is unique and has a lot of character, try:

“Wild Old Dog.” It is about the sad story of someone dropping off a mangy

old dog on the side of the road. If he had turned around and looked at the

car leaving him behind, it may have reminded you of “Old Yeller,” Chuck

Yarborough, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, music critic fame says. No,

instead there is a different way of taking this song:

“He tore off running

Like we’d set him free

And just disappeared right in front of me.

God is a wild old dog.”

(Which reminds me of an English high school teacher, weirdly enough, who

had us write a poem about dogs and God.)

Can you believe this prolific artist, Patty Griffin, probably already has another

album out called, “Silver Bell?”

 

Dave Mason played with the group, Traffic. In 1967, the band was formed with

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Dave is a songwriter/artist whose

song, “Only You Know and I Know,” for his newest album. In the old days, he

had written, “Feelin’ Alright” for Joe Cocker. What a great song that was!

He has played with Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, among many other

legendary musician icons.

His group while recently featured on a talk show includes first name basis

singers, he introduced simply as, “Debby, Bonnie and Friends.”

Check out the songs, “Sad and Deep As You” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

I enjoyed this philosophical perspective in his saying, (I did not use a tape

recorder, so this is the ‘essence’ of what I heard him say):

Quite simply, the songs are about human relations and that’s never going to

change. Colors change, seasons change, clothing styles and time passes.

This changes, that changes.

But leave that shirt in the closet long enough, it’ll become fashionable again.”

 

What are you listening to, lately?

 

Little Treasures

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Little bits and pieces of information come across my mind, that

may not compose a complete post. I enjoy sharing some of these

sources of inspiration, motivation and representations of three

areas of the Arts. One is in literature, one is a true story made into

a movie, and the last one is a belated tribute to a band member,

the last of his group to die. These special examples of writing, film

and music are ones that meant a lot to me. Hope you find a nugget

of gold, a treasure among this trio!

 

My youngest daughter had me check out a children’s book called,

“The Little Soul and the Sun!” I recommend your reading this to

your children, grandchildren or share it with your Sunday School

class teachers. It is a sweet book with the powerful message within

that it quite profound. I will share it with you, since you may wish

to know why this one is worth finding on Amazon, at your library,

or at Half Price Book Store. Neale Donald Walsch’s simple but pure

message lets you feel good about God. Walsch helps us to understand,

through the words he shares; that under all that we label, “Good” or

“Bad,” is love and understanding.

 

I think the actress, Taraji P. Henson, who portrays an African American

college golf coach, who served and helped young athletes for nearly two

decades, will be the one to watch in a movie being filmed.

The title of the movie is, “From the Rough.”

Her name is Taraji, which means “Hope,” in Swahili. Her middle name

is Penda, with means, “Love,” in Swahili. She has played a favorite

character, a police woman in the show, “Person of Interest,” along with

being in “Hustle and Flow,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,”

and other movies.

Who is she playing? The character in the movie is based on the college

men’s golf team at Tennessee State University for almost 20 years.

This amazing woman is Dr. Catana Starks, which was supposed to be

released in select movie theatres after April, 2014. Has anyone seen this

movie? I did not see it come to Columbus, unless I missed it while up

at my Mom’s over a Spring weekend…

I enjoy a movie about a woman who broke down class and traditions

with most golf coaches at college level being men. This movie will

motivate and inspire, which I may have to get at the library, since I

may have missed it at the theatres!

 

Even though it has been a couple of weeks since Tommy Ramone died,

I wanted to mention that the last of the “Ramones” band passed away.

Tommy quietly passed away of cancer’s after effects, on July 11, 2014.

The band members were not related, but all adopted the last name of

Ramone. Wasn’t that both funny and clever of them? They made it into

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Their 80’s style “punk rock” includes a few songs I remember and

enjoyed including, Baby, I Love You” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” They

were ones that when you analyze the lyrics, you may not like them.  I

don’t know why their catchy and driving music, had me singing along

with the Ramones! One  that my brother liked was, “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

The group started out in a garage in New York, made it to the top in

their own uniquely styled genre. They were quite popular in Europe and

around the world!

Gotta love that ingenuity and creativity, man!

Tommy Ramone was only 65. He was not even supposed to be in the

band! He took the place of someone who was trying to play the drums

and sing, to become one of the lead singers. I have written one other

post, with a short mention of the Ramones. I don’t wish to write a whole

article about them but wish to give a small tribute to the ones who felt

they were and changed their last names in respect for their

group. In the Ramones, they had three of the band members die of

cancer and one of heroin accidental overdose. None made it to 70 years

old.

It is a sad fact of some of the hard rockers and other band players, who

start out from simple roots, get ‘hooked’ into the culture of drugs and

partying, not to make it long in this life.

“Only the good die young…” (Billy Joel) reminds me of how long other

rockers have beaten the ‘odds’ and have kept on going. They must have

decided to exercise, cleanse and try for longevity.

 

Each of these ‘treasures’ could be considered to have been following

this quotation:

“If there is a faith that can move mountains,

it is the faith in one’s own power.”

By Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian author.

 

Have you any recent news ‘treasures,’ you wish to share with us?