Is that black metal or death metal? … And btw those are some bangin’ gauges.

I had to ask- I could not let it go-There was this kid listening to his music and I had to ask.

As a music fan who prides himself on not discounting any genre, (even something sounding still warm from being forged in the bowels of hell) this was a valid question.

The answer, a somewhat indignant – “This is death metal”

The difference as explained to me: Black metal is more rhythmic with complex guitar work while Death is more smash and thrash.

I will have to go with that because I am swimming a bit out of my depth here.

And I understand that part of the attraction is to reinforce the alienation that the listener wants to bathe in.

If that is your deal dude—go for it.

It just surprised me that I could insult someone by simply suggesting this sacred (or more correctly “anti-sacred”) death metal is associated with that whimpy-assed-candy-coated black metal.

Excuse me – I am a stranger here in electric land.

I got away with it mostly because I am just a curious and amicable middle aged person with all the malice worn off me at this point in my life.

I want music that inspires me and touches me- I do not want to summon up demons.

Mostly because they tend to want to hang around and don’t fall for those subtle hints— like…..”er hey guys, yeah it was real fun dancing around the fire and all but I got to put some ointment on these burns and crash, big day at work tomorrow—-so—er see you later?”

They tend to get under your skin and move right in.

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The Pretenders

The Pretenders first record is one of my favorite records of all time and a capstone to my collection. I am throwing on a song from it because another blogger was talking about this album and fired me up!

Thanks to stephan1001 over at http://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/the-pretenders-the-pretenders-1980/ for getting me motivated to do a short post

You can’t pick a bad song-even my least favorite “Brass In Pocket” is better than 98% of all commercial rock music produced since 1950- and it is only my least fav because the rest of this record is so damn strong.

The power and energy in this candy coated but bittersweet melodic punk music is unrivaled.

Chrissie Hynde is the Queen of Rock Music.

The Pretenders first record is nothing short of brilliant.

I love it and all it stands for.

It has got me working on a post to unveil my top 10 records ever made (long overdue) and will come out on a blog near you real soon.

And just in case you need to see this song in a softer light to feel the genius of it- I offer you this:

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS ONE THAT MADE THE LIST

Cheers from the Cave!

My Body is a Cage

Embed from Getty Images

 

“My body is a cage that keeps me

from dancing with the one I love”

 

Doctors search for the devil in the details and are happy when they find him

They are quick to judge and quick to blame

They have to be

Our lives depend on it (apparently, as I would find out)

Nurses save angels a ton of work

They do, as a matter of routine, things that defy the reasonable imagination of what is possible

I have respect and admiration that is beyond words

 

“I’m living in an age

That screams my name at night

But when I get to the doorway

There’s no one in sight”

 

Those haunting lines from an Arcade Fire song fire my imagination as I reflect on a week in the hospital.

Thankfully, I am on the mend; the possibility of some surgery looming but that is still up in the air as I write this.

We occupy only temporary frail vessels as we scratch our way across the surface of this planet.

Last week taught me that in a big way.

I am so glad to be back at the cave.

 

I am enjoying each breath with renewed hope and appreciation.

All that really matters is the way we treat each other.

Everything else is the filler and stuffing required to get us through the day.

I want to thank everyone that sent well-wishes while I was in the hospital, nice to know that I am not alone.

And as always, cheers from the cave!

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow in the Dark Deconstructed

rainbow-in-the-dark-22234

 

1983- This is heavy metal

Before we argue over clean and dirty vocals-before we get into speed metal or death metal or black metal.

If you reached for the pure stuff back then- you reached for Ronnie James Dio

The keyboards sound like trumpets to usher in the new age.

“When there’s lightning – you know it always bring me down
Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me
Who’s lost and never found”

From Zeus to Thor to the Almighty himself-lightning has been used to signify a supreme deity in all cultures since the beginning of time.

The special relevance we put on this force of nature does speak volumes about what is rejected in this song. He is alone in the dark and wants to keep it that way.

Well…almost alone…

“Do your demons – do they ever let you go
When you’ve tried – do they hide – deep inside
Is it someone that you know”

He knows his demons and knows he can’t escape them. (I hold out hope in the belief that everyone can get to a place where the hounds of hell will stop their pursuit and give each person some peace-it goes beyond the scope of this post and they don’t ever stop until we make a choice to face them down—-but I digress…)

 

“There’s no sign of the morning coming
You’ve been left on your own
Like a Rainbow in the Dark
A Rainbow in the Dark”

Rainbows need light to exist or more accurately they need light to appear to exist since they are more optical illusion that actual entity.

Often seen as a sign of hope and renewed spirit after a storm has passed.

There must be some light in Dio’s dark place to make a rainbow-even if it is just the light of creative energy——-that wonderful thing that happens when pain and struggle produces an artistic array of spirit.

The force that turns inspiration into magic.

A power so great that it can take depression and form a wave that a whole crowd can be swept up in.

Power to take many who feel alone and connect all the dots to bring them together with one voice.

This music seems to emanate from depression and anger.

Emotional anguish turned and polished until it shines clean.

Dio makes metal out of rock.

 

We need a hero

Heroes fail to do anything amazing-they just do what is needed.

Right time –right place-right action.

Every time you see one on TV-they all same the same thing.

“I am not a hero-I just did what anyone else would do.”

Not exactly

Have you been paying attention? We humans have a large capacity for doing the wrong things-In fact there is a good chance that someone doing the wrong thing created a situation that required a hero.  A hero to do what is required and bring an elegant solution to an inelegant situation.

Heroes spend time being prepared to step in-they are trained and they are compassionate. They are ready, willing and able.

There is a mindset about them that makes them feel part of the world-knowing that they can make a difference.

If you feel that way – you are a hero sitting latent and sooner or later you will get a chance to prove it.

It may be a small or big contribution- you may have already done it and not even realized it.

Doing the right thing in the right time and right place brings a certain lining up of the power in the universe that is bigger than all of us.

Maybe that is why heroes don’t even comprehend what they have done-they just see it as playing a small part in the general scheme of things. They see the action as a simple yes or no to answering the call of humanity.

We need more heroes.

This quirky song by the Crash Test Dummies sums it up for me.

And it also makes me think of this Little Feat classic.

Just doing what is necessary without complaint.

[mini rant ahead]”Little Feat’ without Lowell George should be called “Tiny Feat” and “Queen” without Freddie should maybe be called “Princess”–you can not remove the heart and soul of a band and pretend it is the same. [end of rant]

I am still willin’ to keep on bloggin”

Cheers from the cave!

[this is not the post I am writing-I am finishing up an illustration for a piece on Ronnie James Dio and “Rainbow in the Dark” that is wearing me out….I don’t mind writing on some of the dark in our souls but this song has taken me for a bit of a ride—it should be my next post—-this one is just to let you guys know that I am still out here]

 

 

Dio.Rainbow in the Dark-The religion of anti-religion

Dio.Rainbow in the Dark-The religion of anti-religion

This song is an anthem of metal. It is also a signature song of an artist.

Ronnie James Dio is iconic in the world of metal. If you are a fan of rock music- you know this song–if you are a fan of metal-this song is probably branded to your soul and you are baptized by fire with it.

“That is a little strong Mr. Cave Guy”

Whoa…there!… casual music person that was searching for climbing gear and somehow found my website and then clicked on a couple things because you were intrigued by a Radiohead song.

I am not blaming the song. 

 “When there’s lightning – you know it always bring me down

‘Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me

Who’s lost and never found

I cry out for magic – see it dancing in the light

It was cold – lost my hold

To the shadows of the night.”

Blaming Dio for someone indoctrinating themselves in the world of metal and all it stands for is not what this is about.

It is about us and how we turn everything we like into a religion.

From Star Wars to Marijuana to “My little Pony”—-we as humans have this need for spiritual structure and instead of abandoning it altogether; replace it with anything we find lying around.

Going to church is like going to shows-you meet up with other followers-you throw up your hands in exaltation and you get some more metal religion.

You dress the part – you walk with the other lost souls and convince yourself that the rest of the world just does not get it.

Now –we are getting a little “culty”

In this age of making no money from actual musical product-Bands are forced to market as the whole experience—they have to sell the tickets and the merch in order to make any money.

The music game is becoming like pro wrestling-the W.W.E business model is the future of music. We already have the V.I.P experience and special limited edition boxed sets- Look for action figures and candy bars arriving real soon….can’t wait to bite into a chewy Marilyn Manson!

W.W.E as religion? Farfetched? Have you talked to a 35 year old wrestling fan—-please don’t— and there are plenty of them out there.

I could go on but I am getting off base.

This is a great song-I like this song.

We all have times that we feel abandoned and have lost all hope so we all can relate.

I just don’t think we have to live our lives like that every single day and believe that that is the correct way to view ourselves.

Because-it is a bloody miserable way to go.

\m/ from the cave!

You know I love you metal guys and girls out there- so please tell me how wrong I am with this post-would love to hear from you!

Mayday! Mayday! What happened to May Day?

*Warning-no goggling was done to research this-this is all from my brain….and no animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

 May Day used to be a holiday and now it isn’t. 

This is like the Pluto thing which I learned was a planet and then all of a sudden-not so much.

Maybe I was just dreaming about dancing around a Maypole as a kid? I have a fuzzy memory of meeting in a village park somewhere in the English countryside and doing this-but it could have been some stale porridge or bad pork pie giving me a hallucination from childhood.

Maybe all the communist countries in the world got sick of parading all their new tanks and missiles down the street to prove they were powerful to all those waiting in line for bread and toilet paper. That used to happen,….right? I don’t know if they still do it.

May Day had something to do with medieval or pagan rites of spring. I also think it had something to do with workers’ rights.

But that was another era and it is all gone. The only time we use it now is when a ship is sinking or a plane is going down……or do we?….Mayday! Mayday! My holiday is missing.

Anyway the workers’ rights deal got me thinking about Woody Guthrie, which got me thinking about Pete Seeger and then Bruce Springsteen.

So here is Atlantic City for May Day.

This is a workers kind of song—Bruce is talking about being a working man and then having to “break bad” in order to make a go of it. He knows what he is doing and he knows it ain’t right—-but here we go baby. Bruce at his best, he sings of the common man in a desperate situation. All solid, salt of the earth, workingmen and women have wondered—if only for a moment—if honesty is the really the best policy- and if hard work alone will get them where they want to go.

The compromise of a workingman leads me to this song.

A sad song- get what you want but not want what you get. The authentic cowboy dressed up in rhinestones for the crowd and gaining the world by losing his soul. After a ton of work and compromise.

Yeah…I know….Glen Campbell-but I like this song.

Why not- another working song from Glen.

And finally kids- back to my alt rock roots for my favorite wasting time by working for the man tune.

R.E.M.Rockville

You may have a different interpretation and that is fine.

Music is subjective and everyone celebrates holidays in their own way.

Even recently demoted holidays.

 

 

Evolution-Growth-Adult Music

This song took a while to grab me…I bought this record when it came out and really wanted to like it-I was OK with “Killing the Blues” and I knew the music was good but I just did not have a taste for it. It was not the music that needed to change-it was something about me that was missing it. This is not a crisis –there is no way a person can get everything on first or even 100th listen-music is the universal language but sometimes we just have trouble with dialects that are strange to us.

Then something changed about me.

I love beer-I love good beer-Beer is the tonic of the working man-Beer is what I almost started a blog about (and still might)-I do not trust people who do not drink beer-I do not like self righteous people that tell me beer is bad.  My hero, a Mr. C.S. Lewis, once drank beer down the pub with his buddy J.R.R Tolkien as they exchanged stories….yes bitches-beer was helping make “Lord of the Rings’! I love beer!

Then I stopped drinking beer and started going to the gym a few weeks ago. I am not going to list all the reasons this happened (I truly do need another blog or two of an anonymous nature to really crack this egg and make a web omelet)-lifestyle changes can be difficult and necessary-and often changing one thing leads to changing eight more things-

Let’s go forward.

I am on the elliptical working out and “Nothin” plays in my headphones…It was like liquid lightning fueling my brain….Wow!!!!….Crank this up-this is an amazing song-This is electric bluegrass-this is organic hard rock—-this is like the best Led Zeppelin song ever written for a grownup-this is talking to me!!! I can hear it now.  “I’m not using nothin’” tell my friends in the hall-I’m not using nothin’. I was blown away and blasted to bits—I get it now.

My level of addiction is not comparable to what destroyed the life of Townes Van Zandt who wrote this song. My stormy sea of troubles is nothing compared to some who have suffered much more. But the growth and evolution of my being is enough that this song slays the dragon of repressed emotion in me with every listen.

That is what great art can do if we understand the language which gives it meaning to us. And it does not have to be the exact meaning that the writer intended. “I’m not using nothin”

T-Rex and T-Rex and (what the hell) Photo Challenge and (double what the hell) an almost poem.

T-rex-WP

On Top

Top of the food chain

Top of the heap

I was a big deal

I roared – I ate you up

Now- I am an exhibit

A quiet dry relic

Time goes fast

Grab you some before it’s gone

 

On vacation in the nation’s capital this week and took a ton of pictures (wish I took more). This one fits the photo challenge of “on top”. For someone like me that loves history, words and great images- D.C. is like crack cocaine flowing directly to my cerebral cortex. And coincidentally there are tons of great places to buy the aforementioned drug, if you choose, in the District of Columbia.

I was in awe at every turn- even in the biggest house of bones ever assembled known as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

I still have a blog about Rock n’Roll relics- here is Marc Bolan and the boys, Tyrannosaurus Rex with a classic. T-Rex may have started glam rock but this does not sound too dry and historical yet.

Enjoy and cheers from the cave!

Dancing is life

Dance-1

What if one high school in America held a dance every year to raise money for people around them facing catastrophic medical hardships? I am talking about life altering things like cancer, lost hands and A.L.S; just to name a few-just to get you an idea of the battle that has become the lives of these families.

They call it the Marathon Dance and they dance for 27 hours straight. They also call it “The Greatest Dance on Earth”.

It is both these things.

http://shmd.org/

Here is the magic part- This dance is run by the kids themselves and they are not messing around. They are in the business of lifting desperate people up. They are serious about bringing real changes – they are going after difficult things head on. They are not just saying that we should live better and care more……they are doing it!!!…

I will go on because I have to with this post (it is close to my heart) – These kids are not asking someone in need how they are and adding a polite….”O.K, well if there is anything I can do, just let me know”.

Please don’t do that if you are close to someone facing dark days with these life threatening issues.

Do not do that. Here is how they are: They are in a deep hole-they are suffering emotionally, they are suffering financially—-and they have cancer or A.L.S or cannot use some of their limbs. They are not good- you know it and they know it —-so please —-please—- either pick something and do it for them or leave them alone. (I am not kidding) The last thing they need or anyone in the family next to them needs is another person asking for an update. They are dealing with that 10 or 20 times a day, every day.

If the best you got is “How is your Mom or Dad, or sibling, or [fill in the blank], please tell her or him that we care”. Keep that to yourself. The kid in the house is trying to make it through a school day because he needs to finish and pass the grade. The spouse in this same family is trying to make it through a day of work so he or she can provide some money. It is that simple and that difficult.

O.K, if you are still with me….Let’s get to the good part.

These kids from South Glens Falls High School rock! They take a family and sit them on a couch; let them speak about what is going on and then figure out how to get the resources they need to them. Yes, we are talking about “paper” here. They get the whole community involved – Adults will catch this bug and return every year- Kids and parents of not just the high school but also the middle schools and the grade schools pitch in. And it spreads out from there like a tidal wave of good will. Everyone is dancing. It works on local businesses and even a senator was so moved that she had to make an appearance. This senator was not at the dance to provide help; she was there to see how an organization should be run in order to make it work correctly. Kids get together and put differences aside to all pull on the rope at once—-and mountains are moved!   It is possible to flood a region with good will-I live here and I am not making this up.

My name is Wayne Law, my wife Marie was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer in June of last year. We are continuing the fight and are not giving up. Marie is a fighter and she will keep kicking this thing in the ass until she beats it.

I can’t tell you what it means to my wife and family to be chosen as a recipient for this dance. They lifted us up out of the pit we were sinking in. They brought us back to the community and back out into the sunlight.

dance-pan-web

We still have a big struggle ahead. That struggle is eased with the knowledge that bills can be paid. This whole process keeps adding weight and stress on you ‘till you feel like you can’t take anymore and then 800+ kids bring you to a gym and  lift that burden from you by taking it and dancing it away.

Dancing is life.

I am not the same person.

My family is forever grateful for what you did for us.

Thank you Bulldogs of South Glens Falls!