It was Black Friday yesterday. We did most of our Christmas shopping online because I prefer to not deal with malls, traffic and waiting among sniveling, rude and annoying people. However, I managed to peal myself out of pajamas while stuck to the couch, into a coat & santa hat and drove over to a local record store called DISC REPLAY. Many times I just like to walk up and down the aisles and browse through all of the musical treasures. They do sell movies and video games there too. But I tend to gravitate towards music. While they don’t sell vinyl at the one I go to, I still like looking. Mostly it’s because I tend to get “ideas.” A discovery happened and it wasn’t what I thought I would stumble upon.
First of all, I am a jazz fan. I love the classics. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and John Coltrane (to name a few). So when a department store, a coffee shop or a used cd/dvd store starts playing jazz; my ears start to perk up and I go into “curious mode.” Essential elements of jazz require three major instruments, in my humble opinion. Bass Guitar, Drums and Piano. Anything else is bonus musical gravy. My ears heard clapping, announcing, drums, bass and the most amazing piano playing I have heard in quite a long time. The inquisitive inner voice inside my head needed to know “who am I listening to?”
I asked an employee, “What record are you playing over the P.A.?” The bearded beatnik looking dude was quick with his response. He told me that he is streaming a live show from The Blue Note Jazz Club in Chicago, IL. The artist was The Oscar Peterson Trio. He said they don’t carry it but he wanted to play it . I am glad he did. I wrote it down immediately and went home to read about him and listen to some more. Now I have a new Jazz musician to obsess about for awhile. Mr. Peterson is a terrific pianist. He’s from Canada. Unfortunately, he passed away about 6 years ago (just before Christmas of 2007). His music lives forever.
Oscar has played thousands of concerts, released hundreds of recordings and he was a rather large black man with a Fats Domino kind of appearance. But he redefined the famous “Jazz Trio,” by taking his members to the highest level. He wanted those drums and stand up bass to just knock people off their socks! Imagine Charlie Parker’s improv sax playing being applied to the keyboard, backed by tight snares tapping away and bass solos that melt you in a trance of ooohs and ahhhs. What a treat. To walk into a store and not come out with anything purchased. Instead, I left with a revived sense of melodic spirituality.
The Cranberries are actually a band from Ireland. They are to the 90’s what bands like, The Police were to the 80’s. Something brilliant about them set the mood for this unique generation I belong to. They entered my life during senior year in high school. I wanted to experience love in many ways and this song, Linger, evoked that for me. Dolores O’Riordan is an outstanding singer. Her voice sends chills down my spine. Soothing, deep, passionate and even frustration comes from her voice. She is also a very stunning looking woman.
So let me take you back to 1993. I had my first car, a red Dodge Omni. A piece of crap is what it was but it was my first car. But while taking drives around the block, across the river in town, or out of town to an ice cream stand with friends in my car I discovered this song…Linger. What an awesome experience it was hearing this play on the radio for a 17 year old kid with no direction. But he knew one thing for sure, this song rocked.
The first time I remember hearing it was at a party after a high school dance at a friend’s house. A bunch of us were sitting around talking and laughing. Some were drinking. (I wasn’t really one of those people drinking on that night….cuz you know, I was underage) It was dark and it was late. Someone brought out a small stereo and played The Cranberries. I paid particular attention to the violins, the peaceful sounds of the guitars, the meaning it had for me in that moment and the beautiful sound of Dolores’ voice. What a voice. “Do you have to let it linger?” I got in trouble for being out late and not calling my parents to let them know where I was but I’ll never forget my first encounter with that magical song.
Why was it magical? Why did I turn the volume up in my stupid car every time I heard it? Quite simply, the desire for love found me. I had the urge to scream to the top of my lungs! Poetry entered my brain that made me feel alive. Passion was something that I finally felt. I would carry this feeling with me for almost 20 years. Wow! That song made a difference in my life. Go find it and listen to it! It blows me away every time I hear Linger.
The Cranberries are still together in 2013. They have had a number of hit singles over the years. They released a brand new album and continue to go on tour.
“I don’t think I ever heard this song being played on the radio before”–a passenger said. I replied,”Consider yourself lucky!” Another passenger declared with laughter, “Why?” My natural reply was, “Because it’s Syd Barrett. Only the most obscure musician in Rock History.” Silence followed and then the topic changed. But I continued to listen to 93XRT (my favorite Chicago radio station) play “See Emily Play,” which was a true Pink Floyd pocket symphony created by Syd Barrett.
Part of what I do at my job is provide daily shuttle service to the local train station for some of the commuters. I tend to have that station on in the background. Today it was in the foreground this time. As I have indicated before, Pink Floyd is perhaps my favorite band of all time. It is actually unusual for a radio station to play any of the Syd material. Kind of unheard of actually. Radio personality, Frank E. Lee, played it because he wanted to. Although the humor for me was after the song ended, The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside ” followed. Kinda weird if you ask me. Anyways, what am I saying here? Well not much I guess. I love 93XRT because the DJ’s are cool with their choices and insights. Syd Barrett was a mad genius of 60’s pop music and I found it rare to hear that song on a cold Friday night in the van out of the clear blue. Kinda like this post. Later…..C-Note
I dig a loose category of music known as Indie Rock more so these days. WHY? Because it is different. Plain and simple. I can get easily tired of all that overplayed music. So many bands sound the same now days and you don’t find that as often in Indie Rock Music.
I also have a tiny issue. I’ll introduce a song to a friend and they’re like “Man, that song sucks.” Then their main stream popular radio station plays it like a year later and they’re like “Have you heard this song, it rocks.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Major Label music. There’s an enormous amount of it. However, I hear a lot of cookie cutter songs all the time. Sure I can choose to not hear it. And that’s what I actually do, in fact.
Indie music is done on independent labels or aren’t even attached to one at all. A “do it yourself” mentality. Just like when someone publishes a book by themself. Rather than going through the process of hiring someone to do it for them. The grassroots process is something to be respected. To make it on your own steam is an achievment.
For people like me, i guess it’s because it offers diverse, new and interesting music for people who grow weary of hearing the same thing over and over again. It gets kind of boring to listen to the radio all the time because you hear the same old stuff. Not the case with indie.
It’s quite simple. I enjoy the lyrics, the type of singing, the beats, the melody, etc etc. All people will listen to what they enjoy.
Channel 35 XMU is one of my favorite stations on Sirius XM radio. It is essentially known as THE UNIVERSAL INDIE ROCK STATION that plays bands that I listen to more today. Bands like Arcade Fire, Broken Bells, Radiohead, Dum Dum Girls and Palma Violets. A lot of great talented bands that put their heart and soul into their work.
I like this kind of music and experiencing this categroy of sounds because they are precious gems and even hard to find their t shirts. Like a scavenger hunt discovering these talents. It’s unique. When I hear this music in the morning, I wake up! Remember back in the day when songs would wake you up? A beat kicks in, the guitars strum, the keyboards fire up, then a voice (unfamiliar) sings and then I get curious because I am now hearing something new. I like fresh sounds.
And Indie rocks more with less bublegum (plus I never liked chewing that stuff because….well everyone was doing it back when I was a kid)
Lou Reed died on October 27th 2013. I don’t believe rock and roll bands change people’s lives. But when I was 19, in college, one of my roommates was listening to a song by Lou Reed that really resonated with me. Coney Island Baby is the name of it. We were smoking cigarettes and talking. I asked to play the song again. I went back home during winter break. I bought a compilation record called Different Times: Lou Reed in the 70’s. That song was on there as well as many other of his hits. I bought this compact disc at a strip-mall in Aurora, Illinois. Northgate, the neon sign read. The mall isn’t as pretty as it used to be, kind of a dump actually. But I loved it when my discman leaked a tiny reproduction of Reed’s voice into my head all day, every day for most of 1996. I enjoyed listening to him. His music is out there to be experienced any time you want to hear it. He made lots of records.
When you’re a teenager, rock & roll has a gravity that it can never have again. In the summers of my college days, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground were sort of my emotional life. I have blogged before about his music and I have been still listening to his stuff. When I heard the news, I listened to Coney Island Baby right away. I tried, but could not recapture the intensity of feeling that song had for me in another time. I wouldn’t want to, however. But the spaces in that song are certainly planted in my DNA now. (paraphrased) Man, I’d swear, I’d give the whole thing up for Lou.
to be misunderstood
is not so bad
brutal honesty in New York City
crossing his legs
holding a guitar
on his lap
writing a sad song
with sunglasses on
(better artistic impressions)
but not regret or change
but stay the same
a story teller
a man who will be missed
enjoy the twilight
as its reeling
I prefer to escape into the world of music. I am a geek about it.
When people ask me “so what kind of music do you listen to?” Or “who’s your favorite band?”or “what’s your favorite album?” That one is not easy to answer. What do I say?
I get that question asked often and I figured I’d develop this blog entry into that subject to give you an idea and get people inside my head. For one I could say that I have eclectic interests so I appreciate rock & roll and jazz mostly. Those are the foundations. But I would say that those two are only the major things because there’s punk rock, indie rock, metal, acoustic ballads, folk, blues, there are just so many facets to listen to. Like I listen to AC-DC & Alice in Chains but I’ll listen to John Coltrane or Miles Davis or the Grateful Dead (yea I know some of you don’t like them), Pink Floyd, the talking heads, the cure, smashing pumpkins, the beastie boys, tool, led zeppelin, the Beatles, the Who, and I could think of all the concerts I’ve been to. Like I’ve recently been to a show featuring this band called Savages and I’ve blogged about them a few times. So go check it out!!!
But I listen to artists like Neko case, which she’s a country, noir kind of alternative, indie punk-ish sound and then I listen to Colin Hay who was once with MEN AT WORK and he’s got that 80’s poppy background (WHO CAN IT BE NOW?) but now he tends to do more of the acoustic melodies. Perfect story teller. So yea I love going to concerts. Not just the big arenas, the lollapaloozas, where there’s a gigantic festival and a bunch of stages and you’re like an ant among the sea of people. Not just that. Those are fine. But I like the intimate small gatherings to get in touch with the performer on stage.
So it’s about a live experience too and growing up I collected cassette tapes, particularly the blank ones I would record stuff off the radio or even burn……well not burn because at the time you would just have the CD player which in 1990 was definitely the year that I caught onto this concept. That was 23 years ago. So WAAAAAY BACK IN THE DAY, 23 years ago I started to play CDs but I didn’t have my own cd player and I didn’t have my own CDs either so I would play my dad’s CDs and I would make cassette tapes off of them. My favorite tracks. And I distinctly remember listening to a radio station called 105.9 WCKG and it always like played the classic rock music, mostly the stuff from the 1970’s in general. I mean yes the 60’s too I guess mid to late 60’s thru the late 70’s. Like a decades worth of all kinds of anthem, acid rock! You got Alabama, Boston, Yes, and like I said Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, The Doors all that stuff.
And I listened to it all but I distinctly remember on Sunday nights there was a program called the SEVENTH DAY and they would play entire albums. They would play vinyl LPS. SIDE A and SIDE B.
So I would get out my cassette tapes and every Sunday night depending on what bands they announced, I would record those particular albums. So usually it would work out that side A of a cassette tape would correspond to side 1 of an LP or well that’s not entirely true. That depends on the length of tape and everything so it was a dependent thing, so anyway I would record those things. I would listen to them. Several Pink Floyd records like The Wall, Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon and then for the Beatles I remember recording the White Album and building a model rocket with my dad this one time, hanging out in my room. Even the antenna fell off and I had to scramble to fix it, giving this one song a static interruption. LOL. And then also for the Doors, I recorded this whole “absolutely live” kind of thing. Which was like a double LP.
I remember I had like 2 tapes devoted to that Doors show. I played it in my dad’s truck one time driving up to Monroe, Wisconsin. So anyway that’s what I grew up with. I mean if you go back to the 80’s, I just remember listening to pop radio, the American top 40 from the 1980’s. It was all about the “radio.”
My parents also played the oldies stations. MAGIC 104 was their calling tag! The 50’s and 60’s bubble gum popping stuff from the hay day, the dawn of Rock and Roll. What my parents grew up with. And I actually still don’t object to that stuff. But you get burnt out and you always explore. Anyway I ventured on as I got into high school. Got into other bands. As I mentioned earlier; Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots and Depeche Mode. I simply got into bands like those. The early 1990’s was a special time for me in high school. I really just branched off.
So to take this all back home. This blog entry is gonna be devoted to the “types” of music that I listen to. I’ll invite you into my rock soul. I am going to share with you a playlist that makes people understand Chris Noe. Volume One is where I will naturally begin. I was making these ” tape mixes” over the summer but now I need to focus some more on my second book of poetry and prose, for one, but also musically I wish to share different aspects from various eras to help the audience get properly introduced into my head space and where it’s at.
Get into my mind. What is it about this playlist that when someone listens to it that they get to understand ME better? Will it simply be the musicians like the ones that I saw live in concert? The Rolling Stones perhaps? Eric Clapton? Joe Cocker? Is it those artists or is it really just the lyrics or a certain area in my life or do we just take the 37 year old Chris Noe right now and for somebody who just met me. Getting to know me through music. What are those songs? What are those titles? What are those albums to get YOU through the doorway and be able to scratch the surface of Chris…..that kind of mix.
I have chosen 10 MTV MUSIC VIDEOS that I grew up with to represent volume ONE:
I took a little break from blogging, due to the recent Halloween festivities. Then Lou Reed; the amazing musician, singer and songwriter; passed away. He was a great guitarist and storyteller from Brooklyn. I posted a couple of small blog entries on this man. His death reminded me about how precious life is. Now it’s November and it is time for my “playlist of the month.” The crumblings of summer are quite apparent, saying goodbye to what has been and what we must prepare for: Old Man Winter. He is coming. Although this entire month is still Autumn; here in the Midwest, we tend to get that winter chill somewhat early.
Lou Reed’s death inspired the theme for November. Of course we must remember our Saints, our soldiers and be thankful for our families and friends. We sit around and drink. Turkey raffles are won! Children learn about Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims and Indians. Of course, many football games are played and we eat chili and drink beer to celebrate all of this American nostalgia. Yet, it is still a melancholy time. Today we remember the dead, for it is All Souls Day. Or in Mexico, we call it Día de Muertos. So this playlist, which I have assembled, is a tribute to our changing weather, embracing what we have remaining of our Autumn season and finding comfort and understanding through loss.
Here is the list (and played in this order)
1. Type O Negative = Everything Dies
2. Guns N Roses = November Rain
3. Tom Waits = November
4. Kansas = Dust In The Wind
5. Led Zeppelin = Ramble On
6. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions = Blanchard
7. Smashing Pumpkins = Soothe
8. Pearl Jam = Indifference
9. The Beatles = A Day In The Life
10. NIN = A Warm Place
11. Neko Case = Don’t Forget Me
12. Hole = Dole Parts
13. Johnny Cash = Hurt
14. Lou Reed = Sad Song