Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Who?

I've never been really into the Who--even when I was hanging out with the mods in San Fernando Valley, CA back in 1985 with our thriftshop clothes and peace symbols. Certainly not the way I'm into Pink Floyd, the Beatles, John Mayer or Coldplay (really the only four acts that exist right now--and yes, the Beatles will always exist!). But when my 10-year-old, Dinky Jr., and I got 20th-row floor seats to their show last month, I became a convert. So did Dinky Jr., I think. He recognized "Who Are You" which is the theme song to C.S.I., possibly the worst show on network television right now.
People tell me that this concert was nothing like the last time they were here, well over 20 years ago, when they were strapping young (well, at least younger than they are now) lads who could jump around on stage without losing their breath, but all I have to say to that is, I'm glad I didn't see that show. This one far exceeded any expectations I had. It was a tad loud (even Daltry plugged his ears at one point) for my taste but Dinky Jr. had earplugs in so I wasn't worried about him.
We were told that the show was being filmed for a DVD and I saw some cameras trained on us, so we might show up in it. Dinky Jr. is pretty cute, after all, and for a 10-year-old, he was gettin' down, as they say.
The light show was pretty good and I loved the images that appeared in the flat screens behind the band. I loved the nostalgia of said images and was touched by the last song, which seemed to be a look back to all they had been and a lament on the fact that there's only two of them left.
They're old men, sure, but they can still rock. Pete, if anything, has gotten better on guitar. I did notice, though, that on the intro to "Pinball Wizard," rather than playing an accoustic, he played a Strat through an accoustic sim pedal. What that implies is that his fingers aren't as strong as they used to be but that probably isn't true. He probably just likes the Strat better. At any rate, it sounded fabulous, perfect, and it gives me hope that the technology is out there that makes great sounds easier to create.
It was a smart move getting Zak Starky on drums. I didn't realize who he was until Pete introduced him. As soon as I heard the name, Starky, I knew. I hate to say this but it's the truth: He rocks harder than his dad!
You can't ignore the age thing, though. As we were walking toward the arena before the show, I told Dinky Jr., "This band was popular when your Grandma was a teenager!" Imagine that.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jack the Dripper

The Rat in this photo emailed this url to me. It's very relaxing and makes you feel like an artist.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A thought I had when I couldn't sleep...

Since its earliest conception rock & roll has been about one thing: Excess. How far can you push the volume, the tempo, and the envelope. Nigel Tufnel's volume knobs that go to eleven ring eerily (and hilariously) true. Rock lyrics have been a symbol for how much you can violate taboos, sexual, racial, religious, among others. Then life began imitating art with the artists living out the extremes represented by the music. There have been excesses of alcohol and drugs, overdoses, suicides and attempted suicides, insanity, and even a surprising number of murders. Styles of dress have gone from one extreme to the other: Drugs and Alcohol to Straight Edge; Hair ultra long and ultra short (and ultra pink); Clothing suffocatingly tight to so baggy you could drown. And it goes on. The music has even gotten so excessive and extreme at times that very few could tolerate it. So whether you listen to Extreme or INXS or any of the countless other line-crossers out there, if you're into rock music you're pushing the limit.
It's been a year since my last real post. A year. Worse than that (maybe "worse" isn't the right term...) I haven't drawn seriously for over 4 years. Four Years! But the forces have been gathering. An almost pre-war energy has been swirling around--the kind of energy you read about in The Lord of the Rings. Something's going to happen. I almost said finally, but that would suggest an end to the long creative lull I've had. That kind of thinking is destructive because when I hit the next wall I won't be expecting it and it will stop me for a longer period next time--or even for good.

All this isn't to say that I've been doing nothing. I've actually been extremely busy and, looking back at it, a lot of that effort has been well-placed...preparatory. To create there has to be something to draw from. I've been playing my guitar every day for over five years now. Last night I watched Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival on PBS and played along with most of the acts. (When John Mayer came on I put my guitar on my lap and just stared in awe at the young punk. How can you have a hero that's 13 years younger than you?) Inspiration was oozing out of the television and I was catching it in the palms of my hands. I started playing guitar about 5 years ago (I've been playing drums for 20) and I've never held any real hope or belief that I'd be any good--I just love it. What happened to me last night, though, gave me a little hope. I noticed that my finger know where to go for the most part. Armed with my basic knowledge of chords and structures, I'm able to intuit form and play along. I still have no illusions about being any good at guitar but there's a reason, now, to keep pursing my other creative goals.

I just read a paragraph on Mayer's Blog that says all this much better than I can:

"I can't really explain what happens when, as an artist, you get that message from the inside that says "time to make another one." One day you're sitting around, living off the fat of the land, and then as if from out of nowhere, it taps you on the shoulder. The slate goes shiny and clean. Those colors come back - it all starts as colors - then moods, then settings, then sounds, then words. And churning beneath that the entire time is the doubt; doubt that you'll find the rhyme, doubt that you'll ever connect that verse with that chorus, doubt that you have anything left to say that matters."

I can't make any predictions about how long this will last or how long I continue to post to this blog even. But something is in the works and for the first time in a long while, I'm feeling the excitement.