How I award my music…..and trash the shows


I have lost interest in Award Shows. It’s trash. Yet, Movies are a thrilling form of entertainment. Driving to the theatre and gazing at characters going through adventures on a giant wall to wall screen is really cool. I absolutely love music in pretty much all forms. The music courses I took in high school and college were highly influential in my appreciation for quite a number of genres. Attending rock concerts, attending a theatrical musical, standing around at a small club and rooting for your favorite band to just lift you up emotionally are all amazing things that I reap awesome benefits from. But; when it comes to awards programs like The Grammy’s; it’s all about sensationalism and sex!!! It’s just a circus show! Besides, the music I listen to, for the most part, is never truly represented at these award shows. A trophy does not really indicate greatness. Great Speeches are cut off too. How annoying! Tons of artists are crammed on stage together in this bizarre amalgamation trip! Yikes! It’s just not all that great! They have lost sight on the artist’s struggles. No behind the scenes efforts or stories involved. The Grammy’s only point out the “Main stream” artists….the “showy….look at me” ones. Politics get involved. Tributes are weird and are glossed over loosely. Lou Reed…ahem!

I like to read about up coming musicians from various sources. NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast, Pitchfork’s music site, Rolling Stone Magazine, random obscure blog sites ( such as this one) and attending concerts that feature curious opening acts are some of the places Where I gain this musical knowledge. Word of mouth is a key factor as well. I soak up musical trivia like a sponge. When I grew up in the 1980’s, I watched MTV videos and focused on game shows like Remote Control and Rock & Roll Jeopardy hosted by Jeff Probst! In December, I listed my top 20 favorite albums of 2013. Daft Punk actually won the Grammy for best album. It was number 7 on my list. They certainly did entertain and it was a cool thing! But that translates to basically 5% of what I listen to being represented at a show like this. But even so, the award show is all about marketing, advertising and (s)exploitation.

Why do I watch the show? To catch a live performance and see who wins. But it gets boring seeing the same old thing every year. It’s getting redundant. I like Katy Perry. I am going to see a concert of hers at the end of the summer. I am glad she performed at the awards show. It was neat. She was nominated for a few awards but she didn’t win. But that’s okay. Maybe I just needed to get this off my chest. Awards do not validate the quality of music that I enjoy listening to. The circus show of politics should not be mixed together with music. It seems out of place. I am proud that I have opened up my mind over the years and I discover all sorts of hidden musical gems. Maybe that’s why most of my friends have no idea what I am talking about, half the time.

My ears do the listening. If I like what I hear, I explore it further. iTunes and Amazon are good, in the sense that they have SMART software that gages your interests by suggesting artists that you might like and what others like that are similar to a recent purchase. I was hoping this post would sound better and more credible without feeling redundant. The POINT is…..award shows like The Grammy’s do not satisfy me. Too many categories get confusing. Not all of them are televised. Most of them aren’t actually. Lots of groups meshing on stage…it just annoys me so much! Why was Chicago Transit Authority there playing with Robin Thicke? I don’t get it. Nothing but fancy dresses and only the poppy, catchy songs get awards. Award shows are an abomination of the music industry, in my opinion. No respect for the artists. It’s like they only focus on the Billboard charts top 40 and draw the names from a hat or something.

I’m not saying that what I listen to makes me cool like I am a rebel or something. I feel that the Grammys don’t belong in my life anymore. I no longer care who wins. I will just keep collecting music in all forms and just appreciate what my friends and I listen to. I will go to record stores, attend live music shows, talk about music and most importantly just enjoy the ride! I will take out the trash and award my music by talking about what I listen to and buying them on record. To own and appreciate much hard work and talent spinning around a turntable to become dazzled by the wonderful sounds is reward enough.



Playlist for COLD Days


My songs here represent the feelings I have during this crappy January weather.

Holy Cow has it been cold and really snowy!!! It is a desolate, FREEZING cold and boring month. Kids went back to school, after their long winter break. Some college students didn’t go back until MLK’s Birthday recently. Nothing else really happens unless it snows…..and it certainly has been BELOW FREEZING, snowing and blowing. Then all sorts of outdoor activities pop up. Sledding, Skiing and snowball fights to name a few.

But what about the music? No holidays really. It’s cold and we just want to be warm and comfortable. So I have comprised a list of 20 tracks about winter, the cold, snow and some random ones that just “feel” good this month. Here they are:

1 Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow [Single Version] – Frank Zappa
2 Black Night – The Dodos
3 Sweetness Follows – R.E.M.
4 Aspenglow – John Denver
5 Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
6 How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
7 The Cave – Mumford and Sons
8 White Winter Hymnal 97 – Fleet Foxes
9 Winter – Tori Amos
10 Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
11 Winter Ghosts – JBM
12 Hidden In Snow – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
13 Winter Time – Steve Miller Band
14 Cold Blows The Wind – Ween
15 Snow & Taxis – Gold Panda
16 Too Many Miracles – Badly Drawn Boy
17 Doughnut for a Snowman – Guided by Voices
18 White As Snow – U2
19 Snowblind – Black Sabbath
20 Steal Softly Through Snow – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band






My wife and I were driving around on a Sunday afternoon discussing music (of course!). We were trying to come up with a playlist that has a good “driving” feel to it. Like when you’re just cruising around the city not speeding but not crawling either. Its as if you own a really cool car and you’re looking to just take an hour or two with the kids, you’re best friend or anyone really and just relax and go for a casual drive experience. This isn’t very easy to describe but I’ll give it a shot. When I was a kid, I used to go for drives on the weekend with my dad. He would take me to the hardware store or to run an errand. I enjoyed rolling down my window and sticking my right arm out and feeling the breeze run through my bones as great music would play through the stereo in his pickup truck. He wasn’t whipping around corners and tearing the town up or driving real slow either. He had a focus but he enjoyed looking around, smoking a cigarette and enjoying his “Led Zeppelin,” “Pink Floyd,” Rolling Stones,” and “Creedance Clearwater Revival” music. He was in a chillaxed state of being.

So nowadays, we live in a more digital world. So its fun to watch some of these car commercials that evoke a new kind of sound while driving. There are plenty of car chase films and ones about roadtrips too. What really kicked this “playlist” into high gear was the soundtrack to the film Drive with Ryan Gosling. The music just sounded good on the way to work or late at night on the way to a restaurant or heading out into the city. Here is a sample of the playlist I am posting below.

So as you might have gathered, some songs have a certain sound that belong on a car stereo. The following list is one my beloved wife and I coined as Ignition Zone. It’s all about that feel of being in an automobile and not having a care in the world. Just you and the road and being transported into another dimension.

Night Call…….Kavinsky Feat. Lovefoxxx
To Go Home……M. Ward
timber……Coldcut and hexstatic
A Real Hero……….College Feat. Electric Youth
The Distance……CAKE
Qué Onda Guero……Beck
Drive…….The Cars
In Motion……….Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
In Limbo………Radiohead
midnight city………M83
Under Your Spell…….Desire
Another World………..The Chemical Brothers
End of Line………..Daft Punk
Electric Feel………MGMT
Tick Of The Clock………..Chromatics


Gee Tar


Last week, I dusted off my “Oscar Schmidt” acoustic guitar and tried to play some random songs from my memory bank in front of my nieces. I failed miserably and I immediately lost their interest as they became focused on whatever else was entertaining them and I felt rejected, emotionally.

I enjoy listening to the sounds of the guitar. Its a great noise that comes from those strings as they are strummed, plucked and picked. In high school I wanted a bass guitar because it sounded cool and I had some friends that liked to play those funky backbeats. My parents rented one for me as a gift and it came with a small amp. I had fun messing around with it but I never really got anywhere. I even took advantage of a free lesson, but still, I got no where. Then about a year later, mom and dad tried it again. They rented an electric guitar for me to satisfy my interest once again. I cheated and played guitar solos on my cd player in the background in my bedroom and pretended I was playing. I ended up fooling my mother, but that wasn’t any fun. I lost patience and the guitar and amp was returned to the music shop.

College came. Various room mates and friends in the dorms had guitars. Electric and Acoustic. As much as I enjoyed hearing the guys jam away, and believe me they were impressive, I just didn’t have the time, patience and skill to jump right in and start playing with all the pedals and knobs, etc. However, when I listened to this one guy with a beard during my second year in college, I suddenly found a way to do this. He was reading tablature from a Smashing Pumpkins song, I think. Its a way of notating music. But tablature made it more simple for me to grasp. It lays out the frets and strings in a more elementary sort of way. At that point my interest in music was soaring anyway. I was experimenting with a lot of bands and hanging out with all kinds of friends that showed me a thing or two with the acoustic guitar. I find that going back to the roots of music with that kind of instrument and those kinds of easy guitar tabs made my experience a lot easier.

I would occasionally pick up my roommate’s, “Hotsauce” was his nickname, acoustic guitar and start jamming based on trial and error. I would hear the sounds on the cd player or sit and observe others, like the bearded man from earlier, and just go by feel and sound. But, of course, the tabs helped a lot when I returned home from college. My parents finally BOUGHT me an Oscar Schmidt guitar. I found myself enjoying it a lot more and growing much more patient with it. All through the late nineties and early naughties, I played frequently. I was able to mess around with the styles of bands like Monster Magnet, Type O Negative, Pink Floyd, Jewel, Mazzy Star and Smashing Pumpkins. But then it really started to collect dust, until I met my wife. I tried to impress her but my efforts weren’t so great because I started to rust out a little. My lack of practicing showed, unfortunately. But lately, since my encounter with the nieces, I decided to try and master a couple of songs and spend more time with it.

Sure I love to listen to music, write about music, go to concerts and review them. But I wish to bring back the acoustic instrument back into my life. I seem to know so much about music and who my favorite guitarists are and I love to write poems that are very much musical. So why cant I get back up on the musical horse and start riding again? That is one of my goals this year. To become connected with the music on a deeper level. Who knows maybe I’ll even post a video of me playing in the future. We’ll see. Later.


Time for some Tom and Jerry……..