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]

 

 

Top 5 Cool Splash Songs about Swimming…Welcome Summer!

This might be slightly cheap- but this is from a year ago when I had few visitors and my stuff just might have been a bit funnier (I know, how is that possible!). I still love these songs for the start of summer. Cheers!

Cave of Fame

swimming-header-cave

I don’t care if it’s 37 degrees fahrenheit or 2 degrees celsius outside- Summer is here and let’s go swimming…and I got to sketch a little cartoon! (I will hold off on calling this an art blog for the moment)

5. MGMT. Electric Feel

Great vibe and great song. I don’t feel too bad that I am too old to be invited to this party with the cool kids, because to be honest….I had no shot of going even when I was this age. I could have showed up with 100 dollar bills taped to my forehead and a case of good tequila under my arm and I still was not getting in (I may have, however, been instantly mugged). But if I was ever that cool, this is where I would have loved to be, splashing in the Amazon and getting shocked like an electric eel !

4. B-52’s.Rock…

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All is connected- A Post-Apocalyptic friendly post.

As I was creeping around the blogosphere– I came across a post about art and spirituality on http://awaywithwordsblog.com/ which got me thinking. Tony usually writes about mental illness as it pertains to faith and his blog is always a fulfilling visit— Although he might veer off with references to music or art if the spirit is willing. Bloggers tend to freestyle and often get off their own narrow track in order to make a point or two.

This got me thinking about writing, music, art and photography—in fact—- all the forms of creative expression and how they are connected.

How they seem to follow the same conduit from artist to spectator.

And more importantly—what happens when they finally hit you.

“When you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.”
― Cormac McCarthyThe Road

Cormac McCarthy just might be our *greatest living author and “The Road” just might be the most perfect book I have ever read. This book brought me all the way to the coastline after the world was gone and left me staring out to sea… He writes about the tangled beauty of violence in a way that sanitizes pain and leaves only awe. I cannot explain it-like a Stevie Ray solo or a note sung by K.D. Lang that dances with you before zapping you to dust.

*this is the opinion of one guy in a cave, as is every other opinion on this site.

It leaves me feeling cool and isolated=but not in a bad way.

Sort of like Peter Gabriel.Redrain

Cool and isolated in an end of the worldy sort of way.

The music is slightly menacing and and red is a warm color-but this is a low temperature song.

Like Edward Hopper Art.

Hopper always gives me this relaxing frosty vibe-It changes the way I feel=not in a bad way=in a slightly strange soul stirring way.

When art can freeze you and make you actually feel the coldness without being cold- that is what we say is  “good stuff”.

And when any creative thing drives right down to your soul to say hello—-that is what we say “has hit you”

Something is being tweaked on a spiritual level here—-isn’t that the whole point?—-isn’t that why concert halls get filled and prints get framed and plastered on walls—chasing this weird feeling,  whether it be cold, heat or comfort—-whatever you are in to…you want to keep hounding it.

I will leave with the king of suave coolness and another post-apocalyptic gem.

Morrissey is cool.

How does music, art and that other creative stuff make you feel?

As Peter Frampton once famously sang with his voice-box-guitar-thingy “Do you feel like I do?”

 

 

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”

Wax Tailor.How I Feel

Wax Tailor.How I Feel

They call it trip hop and I call it old guy suave- this dude is almost 40 which is about 120 when you translate rock music to regular years —— it goes the opposite way in jazz —the older you get-the cooler you get. I like this music. It does not pound you in the head; it seeps in the brain like a rising tide of sophistication. Must be a French thing.

This is closer to bebop than hip hop-

Rock music is young people being inspired and all over by the time you hit 28 (or don’t hit it). That is largely true because even the geriatric rockers are still playing songs they wrote when they were young. The typical fan is yelling “play the good stuff—-from the first two records—-not that crap you guys did when you got older!!”—- O.K. they don’t exactly say it like that—-but that is what they mean.

Then you have this guy making good music and even new music that you want to hear even though he is not still a puppy. The paradigm has shifted in a cool way. Art should improve as you gain experience. It happens in folk music—–it used to happen in country music (Country music adopted the young and gun model from rock and added the “have to be good looking- no exceptions” clause to it for new country).

Wax Tailor and a really cool frozen

Disney is ubiquitous and that song about the cold never bothering a true princess bothers me a ton. It bothers me because it is and cookie cutter emotion. It takes kids and unsuspecting adults on a journey that makes them feel emotion just to feel emotion. There you felt something so you can say that you felt something. I love animation but I hated the few minutes that I was exposed to this “Frozen” movie—-That is OK because it is not for me-Wax Tailor is for me and when he does essentially the same thing as Disney and manufactures fake emotion in an alternative slightly edgy but mostly the  same cute way as Disney—I am eating it up—I am a little princess myself!

Wax tailor and the girl with the really bad henna dragon tattoo

I figured I would leave you in a jazzy strip club to finish up this post. It also has dragons in it which seems to be a new theme around the cave.

I am glad I found this dude and this type of music.

Music that old dogs can dance to without having to learn any new tricks.

Thank you Mr. Jean-Christophe Le Saoût.

 

 

Why does KD Lang get no respect?

KD Lang. Hallelujah

If you list the greatest singers of my generation-that list has no validation if her name is not at the top.

She gets no love and I never understood why.

I liked her as a country singer and as a pop singer.

She is more than that.

She is a pure voice with pure talent that should be strong enough to break through all the barriers that narrow minded genres and narrow minded people place in her way.

Because this Chick can flat out bring it. All the time- anytime.

Here she is with a song from fellow Canadian- Leonard Cohan

This version wrecks me every time.

If it does not hit you like a sledge hammer to the heart then I feel sorry for you-because great talent is a gift that should be felt by everyone.

 

 

 

Roxy Music- the edge of gay

Roxy music is a straight band

Roxy music can be enjoyed by discerning heterosexuals all over the world.

It also has a few tags associated with it like Proto Punk? … Really?, Is this art history with you music critics? And sort of gay? – Which is what I will try and write about next-

I think it means if you play “Avalon” at 3 in the afternoon in a random gay bar somewhere in the world- they are not going to throw beer bottles at you.

As a proud straight man that likes women and loves one woman very much, I feel the need to write what nobody else will write. I have loved art and loved great music my entire life-and I have been suspected of being gay because of that for my entire life. This may be just my baby boomer generation that likes to pigeon hole everyone based on the few attributes that they see on the surface. I pray and hope that kids now can let other kids just follow their passions without making general assertions.

Like the stranger that rolls into town in an old west movie who everyone assumes is a gunfighter and wants to give him a try. “I am not pulling out my six shooter to go one on one with other dude —-I am not that cowboy!”

This is going to sound bad and it is going to sound a tad homophobic of me and I want to dispel that. I don’t have a problem with people loving who they want to love. I admit not understanding it completely, but that does not mean that I automatically hate and fear it. When we fear another group and give them a name to remove any connection to us as humans –bad things always happen. Bad things are happening.

It may be a good thing that I only have 10 nor 12 regular readers at the moment.

Music should always bring us together and not separate us-

Roxy music gets forgotten among the great bands of all time. Brian Eno and Brian Ferry have both achieved much success on their own. They are a pop band with clean sophistication. They don’t break up when they go on hiatus-they simply choose to arrange other things in their lives and then rejoin when it is agreeable for them to do so. They don’t try to put out re-heated weak new music, their catalog is good and Avalon is a good place to stop.

From an artistic point of view-this is also one killer album cover

Avalon_album_cover

This one is an old favorite:

I will end this post with a song that went the other way and ended up in the pop world.

There is cross-pollination among music all the time and that is a good thing.

Bronski Beat.Smalltown Boy.

And as always- Cheers from the cave!

Alternative Rock- Winter games

Alternative Rock- Winter games

This is how I think of Alternative music: mainstream you >transplanted. You feel the same but something edgy and slightly frightening is going on. You can see a world others can’t.

You are in a different club.

Maybe you start to dress with more swag and maybe you let your mouth form words that seem alien and leave a weird aftertaste.

But I am getting ahead of myself because it might not take.

There is more to being cool than finding a different band  or two, but coming to the Cave for a visit is always a good place to start!

Bronze:

Squeeze.Pulling Muscles from a shell.

I just love this happy song. In fact, I love the whole record.

I am way behind picking my 10 favorite records of all time. {Spoiler Alert} ArgyBargy is one of them.

You could classify this as pop, but wait minute—–pop stations did not and will not play this.

Pop radio did love it when Paul Carrack joined:

This is another great song- just in the other universe.

The Silver:

The Pixies.Where is my mind

They invented grunge as far as I am concerned. I will throw grunge in with alternative because it came from there and returned there after a little brush with mainstream.

The Gold:

New Order. Blue Monday

This one holds up well.

If I did this next week –this list would be different….Hell, if I did this again IN 15 MINUTES –this list would be different.

In fact I am changing the bronze right now.

In the words of Paul Westerberg when I saw him play this as a warm up band for a Tom Petty tour-

“Here’s one more, if anybody cares”

The Replacements.I’ll be you

Would anybody argue if I made this the gold?

And some of us do care Paul.

Cave Olympics-Indie

olympic-rock-2

Indie Music – The miscellaneous cool file of Rock since…since… The Smiths?

And the only reason this genre goes back this far is they were added in after the fact.

There was no indie music in the early 80’s-all the cool music was thrown into that big “alternative music” pile and sorted out from there.

Listening to this song now-I can see why the indie crowd wants to claim it as their own.

“Hang the D.J- because he does not play anything good.” Is the basic premise of this uplifting little tune.

To get to indie music you have to go under the surface. Like those old movies when you swim underwater to emerge in a secret cave below the depths; another world that only the cool kids know about.

I think of indie music as the new growth of rock music after the big forest fires of excess wiped out all the old guard. The geezers still pretend to hang around with nostalgia tours featuring 2 original members if you are lucky, but it is a joke. Is just a quick stumble from this to the final walk of fame: selling reverse mortgages and walk-in bath tubs to the last few who still remember.

So as I try to finish out my medals category because the stray dogs of this Olympic site are looking at me with an angry growl-I just run out of bones.

Here we go.

The Bronze:

Arctic Monkeys.Do I wanna Know?

The riff is what makes this work. Psychedelic Led Zeppelin with this great high harmony  “Do I wanna know” in the chorus… this puppy works-this puppy will crawl up to you, sneak on the end of the bed and get comfortable in your rock n roll head.

Infectious and Indie.

The Silver:

Silversun Pickups.The Pit

Good Indie music always has this quiet scream to it. It does not yell at you but instead it keeps nudging and nudging until you find yourself getting swept away with it. Silversun getting the Silver [see what I did there?…Do you hipsters?…course you did-you guys are too smart for me]

The Gold:

Bon Iver.Skinny Love

Bon Iver  is French for “Good winter”- This song is so cool that it is below zero cold just like it is going to be again tonight here at the cave.  I don’t know what the French word is for endless brutal winter but I am hearing a ton of non-french words around here to describe it.

I know I have featured this song before….but damn-it is good.

And one more for the road:

The Black Keys may be indie but I can’t call them that anymore because they are too big.1

You can only be indie for a small amount of time- A time when passion for the craft of music does not always equate to success. A time when you do what you love and let the chips fall as they may-a time when struggle is life and life is struggle but so what-Let’s rock anyway.

Cheers from the cave!