Music and Ink…..and blogging
I woke this morning with full awareness that my mind and spirit were connected, attached to my body that was hurling through space on a giant rock. That rock was spinning in a beautiful dance of gravity playing a part in an endless universe … which may be just a drop in a vast ocean of countless other universes.
Yeah baby, I’m back!
It makes all the mundane connections with people I know seem nothing short of miraculous.– I mean,… to make “me”— all these weird connections of people, places and things over the eons of time since before we even got to living in the caves – I just think about that — everything had to line up or this “me” that is writing would not be here—- and that goes the same for each person that reads this — and also the same for the lady at the deli that I will let cut in ahead of me because she has two screaming kids and needs to get her maple ham and American cheese.
Which makes the connections that are truly “special” nothing short of divine because ….. I mean, …. What are the chances that you and me have a conversation?
It just causes the brain to ignite and fire countless neurons to not figure out.
You may think that this is a strange —- but I think like this all the time —– and have not thought like this in many weeks.
Because I was not connected.
My mind was in severe pain – my spirit was lost and whirring out of control – and my body seemed to disconnected.
They said I was depressed – I don’t know if that word fits – but I will go with it because it and me were so similar that you could not tell us apart even at a short distance.
So we go to ink –
A thought in my mind – that becomes a sketch (in fact, many sketches before it was right) – that goes into illustrator to become a vector – that sings to me in a perfect riot of frenzied negative space.
My mind thinks it – my spirit is at peace with it – the tattoo artist inks it to my body – we are all together again. One happy family that is the trio of the Wayne. I am here – I am validated.
My first tattoo – and already thinking how to add to it.
And as I ran through the chords of “Key to the Highway” last night on my acoustic guitar — I understand what Big Bill Broonzy was saying – I understand the feeling – I understand the blues.
I get it – there are things and feelings that we all share – that are the human condition – It’s part of jamming a spirit in a body and having a mind trying to figure out what to do with it- how to make a way – how to rise above and move forward.
Isn’t that part of why we blog? This need to connect and validate our existence.
I play a lot of guitar and I sing all the time – this is new – but was always there.
I just could not put in the work to access it – I don’t feel like that anymore.
I feel that I have nothing to fear – I feel that I better get whatever is in there out.
Be dammed if it is good or bad or indifferent.
Just get it out!
So I feel better – And the only reason I am writing instead of playing right now is because it is too early and I will wake the kids.
I leave you with a new song that speaks to me – attitude and blues – I need it.
Sad to report that I lost my wife this morning.
We are coming up on three years since she was diagnosed and I refuse to say that she lost her battle with cancer.
She did not lose anything.
She fought, she kept her spirit and she cared for those around her more than herself.
She was an amazing woman and I am lucky to have met her – she took a wreck of a human being and made him happy.
Truly happy and truly blessed.
There is no more that a person can do in this world – and no more can be expected.
She turned the light on in my soul –
The last great buffalo herd was shot in 1898 yesterday.
I saw it on the news before I went to work – 15 bison running next to the highway in frantic formation.
A taste of what we lost.
I know this is a just a small glimmer of what these beasts once meant.
In a former time they were free to roam and they were legion.
And now we got a few “escaped convicts” from a local meat farm answering their instincts and on the run.
They swam across the Hudson River. They ran across interstate highways.
They moved as one – the adults and the young – these tremendous artifacts of a bygone era.
I have to admit when I saw them running – it made me feel good.
This is what they are supposed to do – run from place to place – in a big country that lets you go forever – they are made for this – battering-ram-monsters of freedom.
“Give me a home where the buffalo roam”
This is friggin’ awesome!
But the wheel has turned
Their time is done.
The farm they escaped from employed a few hunters to gun them down (as was their right, according to officials on the scene) – The State police called it “an ugly affair” – with one hunter possibly facing criminal charges for refusing to “finish off” a wounded animal. In all, 22 animals were slaughtered if you include a few shot earlier. All agree– there was no other choice – these animals are too big to contain and too dangerous to let run free.
The meat could not be cared for and got to the buffalo butcher for three months, (not many buffalo meat cutters around, I guess) – so it was deemed no good for human consumption.
This is shades of Buffalo Bill and the other wranglers that forced the land to submission by killing and leaving the skinned carcasses to rot where they were dropped.
No food and clothing – no life for the native people that depended on this animal for countless generations.
Build the railroads and build the new America.
The wheels are turning – progress – industrial might and other stuff all coming to a suburb near you.
But first the buffalo had to go.
I once had the honor to see this man in a club for a 3 dollar cover charge during a big snowstorm when the place was almost empty. It did not matter if it was 20 people or 50,000 to Mr. Johnny Copeland. He went to work.
Stays with me today.
When I first heard “Take me to Church” – I completely lost it – “What is this crap spewing forth from my new favorite radio station?”
And it kept spewing:
It made the song of the day
It made the song of the week
It made the friggin’ song of the year
Hozier is the anointed saint of music for 2014 and I hate this song!!!!
A hymn about sex – and it is not subtle
Not even a little bit
It blends two things that don’t blend well in a clunky and brutal manner – like say — one of those weird Japanese desert flavors.
Grab two scoops of == Whale Shark Ice Cream ==
I love Whale Sharks – soothingly beautiful giants gently coasting in pristine blue tropical waters —- and who doesn’t like ice cream?
But together? – I get a reaction like I get from this song. It is a queasiness in my spirit.
And this fish is not even cooked – just chopped up and mixed in.
Yuck! Stop it!
I hate this song and all it stands for.
And now for something completely different:
Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene – Hozier
This is soulful and rich. It has nodes of gospel and blues. It is intense – this dude is from Memphis, right?
No—-Ireland? —- And it is that same guy who perpetrated the gratuitous crime of a song detailed at the start of this post?
Color me with a big ol’ paintbrush of converted to this beat.
This is a great song.
Yes, it mixes genres up – but the blend is tasty this time around.
This is ===Raspberry Swirled Vanilla with a Chocolate drizzle === [or whatever epic flavor you want to add].
Bitter raspberry on cool vanilla with quality rich cocoa – does not get better than this.
Cheers from the Cave!
Notes on the title for this post:
Wondier is “Wonder” with that Hozier “i” added. (I know, hilarious wordplay)
Wankier is “Wanker” with that Hozier “i” added. For further explanation of the word “Wanker” – I suggest you move to England or simply watch “Spinal Tap” —in fact, everyone should watch Spinal tap at least once every 5 years to remind themselves of the beauty and tragedy with humor in all of rock music.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Here starts the “one hit wonder” phase for the hall.
“Hey dude-Joan Jett rocked and she was hot-I know she had another song after I love Rock and Roll – I just can’t think of it –hang on let me google this.”
If that is the typical reaction- I ask you – Hall worthy? – I think not.
Bill Withers – at least his “one” hit was so good that I almost don’t have to list it. Ain’t no Sunshine is something else –but again –I have to google to find something else.
Before you say that I am not a dedicated music fan because I don’t know the catalog of these important artists — really —- seriously —- Music fans are crazy and subjective —but find me one – just one— that had either of these “classic-serious-music-stars” tattooed on them anywhere – I don’t care how drunk they were!!!
It has not happened.
Now let’s get to serious Artists:
In the spirit of: We need to add Ringo because all the other Beatles are in separately and we need the complete set.
“Let’s make up an award that will fit him.”
Hey- I got it – he always chooses excellent musicians to hang out with- how about AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE—Really RRHOF? If Joan Jett gets in for her insightful lyrics—why not man up and put Ringo in for his great writing like … “no no no no I don’t smoke it no more, I’m tired of waking up on the floor.”
I blame the Kiss induction of last year for these “treasures” going in. It lowered the bar and declared open season in Cleveland for all the flash.
The others I have no problem with:
Lou Reed and SVR are icons. If you ever heard “Sweet Jane” on the radio or were ever lucky enough to be there when Stevie stepped on a wah wah pedal—MAGIC BABY, MAGIC!
Paul Butterfield is good honest hardworking blue-collar blues.
Green Day is an actual successful rock band in an era devoid of actual successful rock bands.
I don’t know -The “5” Royales – but I will give the hall the benefit of the doubt.
BUT-deny “The Smiths”? Whatever you think of Morrissey- this band was a game changer.
I also would have put Kraftwerk in ahead of that first batch I mentioned.
But hey- I am just a simple blogger.
Cheers from the cave!
This is a picture of me with my son on the site of the original Woodstock stage where Jimi once famously played the Star Spangled Banner. We were swept up in the moment. What better place for a jumping air guitar salute? “None more better place” is the answer.
Starting a series on icons of rock- I am starting with Jimi Hendrix.
There were guitars that screamed and guitars that jangled. And then came Jimi and the guitar would speak clearly of pain and of joy…..huh?….what?
Jimi and the guitar were one-he slept with his guitar because he was his guitar. When he had nothing as a small boy-he had a broom that he pretended was his guitar and it was his only friend.
Like Tom Hanks in Castaway with Wilson-unnatural bond of person to object.
And I forgot to mention-the best rock guitarist ever to walk the face of the earth. Period. No discussion needed.
[Since this is a blog –allow me to go on a bit more]
Especially for you kids that are new to rock music.
Rock is blues based.
For purists only-this can sound a little rough as we cannot go back to the 1930’s and imagine how it would feel. We can’t walk on those dusty roads and hitch a ride to the next town with 12 cents in our pocket.
Robert Johnson arrived and let the world know that something was going on in the delta. The best blues music is always someone going on a rant with their guitar about how things are in their world. You could say that about the best rock music, the best country music or the best hip hop music.
The truth thrown out there in a compelling way.
T-bone Walker added some fire to the guitar- he started doing things that no one else could.
“They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday is just as bad.”
There are other songs that I should pick to show off the virtuoso in action—-but this is sooooo smooooooth. It just dances and tickles the music palette before seeping gently into your soul.
Jimi ran all that energy and inspiration in one big liftoff that reached orbit. We got great guitar players now-we don’t have a name that I can place next .
Jack White is close if you make me force a choice. Close still does not fit. Like a giant stone used in the pyramids-it has to ease in there perfectly. I am still waiting.
And here is where we finish for now.
I am going for less fire and more heart in these tunes and want to end with one of the greats in that next group to follow. SVR spent his whole career chasing down Hendrix-he even carried one of the master’s wah wah pedals on this journey. I am not going to throw a link here-but I do write about a show where I was lucky to catch him with his boots on this pedal early in my blogging days.
Maybe lucky is not the right word- Let’s try blessed.
He is a virtuoso guitar player and evangelist of the blues- I have an unnatural and possibly not quite legal love of the blues myself.
I should love this guy and all he stands for.
He is from Upstate N.Y where I call home…and not just “everything 12 miles north of NYC” Upstate but close enough to me in Upstate that his town gets on my local weather map.
I should love this guy and all he stands for.
I should love this guy and all he stands for.
I can’t watch or listen- he is too close.
If he was from Mongolia, I would love him…I picture him riding his horse over the grassy plane to meet the tribe leader who happens to be his Dad to tell him that he is done herding Yaks and going to N.Y to follow his dream –“Dad, I will play a searing blues guitar that will make beautiful women scream and strong men cry.”
Then I would listen.
If he grew up on the streets of a post-industrial working class city like Pittsburgh, Cleveland or maybe Newcastle and was full of angst and rage that needed an outlet, then like the proverbial oyster forging a pearl, he transformed that pain into reverberated and distorted beauty that would conjure the ghost of Jimi.
Then I would love him.
Even if he changed his name to some kind of alter image- Like Johnny Ace or Joe Bomb or Alice Samobon. Anything to remove him from that regular guy down the street image of him stuck in my head.
Then I would love him.
So when I flip channels and find Joe Bonamassa live in Vienna as a P.B.S special- I should be all over it. I should be clicking to it and cranking it up. I should live and die with each perfectly sustained bent string of gleaming purity that emanates from this master of his craft. I should be almost to tears before the first pledge break.
But alas- he is too close to me and I cannot separate my preconceived feelings about him and just enjoy the show.
Joe Bonamassa this and Joe Bonamassa that, I get it but I can’t go there.
This is my problem.
I wrote my favorite post a few months ago. https://caveoffame.com/2013/02/20/the-devils-music/
And since then I have goggled around and have found no boot tracks to mark the consecrated ground of the “Seven Wonders of Rock”. None have attempted to single these out: from the big guys of Rolling Stone and Spin all the way down to the insignificant little-guy blogger in a cave like me.
I am starting at The Crossroads-There is a marker at the intersection of U.S. Routes 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi that is the tourist spot to go. This may or may not be the place of legend and it does work …but…I have this idea of a more rural deserted crossroads at midnight with a full moon(devil optional). Robert Johnson made a choice that night and played guitar like he was chased by the hounds of hell for the rest on his days on earth. Rock n Roll was born here! So when I go I will be taking pictures at both places…the one that is marked and the one that I have in my mind as yet unmarked.
My plan is to roll these out one by one until we have all seven- Then create a separate page- and just maybe another site where people can send pictures and opinions because that would be awesome! There is still time to change my mind on these wonders. I will entertain any suggestions and give you full credit if you can convince me of an error.
And lastly I am not enforcing the “be nice” WordPress decorum if you want to leave opinions. These 7 wonders are for all of us and it is more important that I get this right (or close to it) instead of feeling warm and fuzzy all over with tons of like buttons.
As of now I have no actual pictures because I have visited none of these sites, I hope to change that in the near future!