Monthly Archives: August 2011

This is My Art

I have to confess that a lot of times, I don’t listen to new music.  I don’t turn on the radio, visit utube, or click links on Facebook nine out of ten times.  Instead, I simply head to the music store.  I pick an album that has a cool name, or neat graphics, I buy it, and I take it home.  I sit by my computer when it’s quiet, and I play it.  Loud.  Lately, I’ve been disappointed by a lot of the so-called greats that have been resting on their diva reputations, and releasing crap to the masses who lap it up like it was water in the desert. 

March 11 of this year, I picked up an album on the new release rack titled Vices and Virtues, by a band called Art of Dying.  Honestly, I’d never heard of them before.  In fact, I wouldn’t have, since they are a relatively new band.  I liked the title though, so I bought it, and brought it home.  I put it into the computer, sat back, and prepared to be bored.  Truly, I was not prepared to hear the incredible music that lilted through my ears.  I was impressed by the intelligent lyrics, the get-to-your-feet riffs, and the sometimes gutteral, sometimes melodious voice of the singer.  I may critique the album for you all one of these days.  But, suffice to say, I haven’t been this impressed by a band since Feeding the Wolves was released last year by 10 Years.  (I argue this was the best hard-rock album of 2010, just for the record)

For the length of an album, I started to believe in things again.  The power of music once again proved to me how worth it everything is.  All of the bullshit, all of the drama, all of the pain, and all of the good are WORTH it!  I started to believe again, thanks to a group of guys who produced a kick-ass album their first time out.  When I found out that they’d be playing at Uproar, I was sold on the idea of going again.  In fact, I bought my tickets the day they came out. Last year, the big draw at Uproar for me was Avenged Sevenfold.  These guys will always hold a special place in my heart.  But, this year, a relatively no-name band was what I was after.

Uproar is a really good time.  It’s a festival that celebrates hard rock/heavy metal, a genre that sometimes gets a really bad rap. A lot of people don’t consider this type of music art.  I beg to differ with those who would argue otherwise.  To me, art is something that makes me feel something.  Anything.  Music of all types can be art.  Anyway, at Uproar, nine or ten bands, big headliners and small no-namers come out, play the shit out of the place, and meet their fans.  For others, it may be just one big party.  For me, it’s like taking a dip into the rejuvenating power of heavy chords, and powerful lyrics.  It restores my faith in the power of music, and in the belief in something bigger than us all. 

I stood in the crowd and damn near cried when I got to see Art of Dying perform.  In fact, a few tears did escape during “Best I Can.”  I can’t describe the feeling of peace that comes over me when I realize that I still believe.  After all of the crap, I still believe in something.  Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be here blogging for you all.  My life has been a series of events that have bloodied my body, mind, and soul.  I stand in a crowd, watching a band that I believe in, and it all goes away for a little while.  That’s the best way that I can say it.  I have peace for a while.  Maybe that’s all we can hope for. 

After the show, in the pouring down rain, I actually got to meet Jonny Hetherington, front man, and bass guitarist, Cale Gontier.  They both signed my shirt, and I got a chance to tell them that their art mattered.  I got the chance to say, “You’ve made something great.”  It lifted me incredibly high to be able to say that.   The rest of the show was good, but nothing topped the realization that art and heavy metal or hard rock can mesh together.  Nothing else could top my being able to tell those guys that their album is art to me, and that it contributes to my own art.

Find something you believe in, and check out Art of Dying!  I promise you won’t be disappointed!       

Dream come true


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Life, Music


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Power of Rock

Every night, my two-year-old daughter asks me to sing her to sleep. We go through my limited repartee of age-appropriate songs like “Twinkle Twinkle” and the ABC song, I watch her face relax into a dreamy smile, and I think to myself: she’s me all over again.

She is my past, present, and future. She is the reason I fight every single day to better myself. She makes me want to be a better person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my children, but CC is different. She adores me in a way that the boys don’t. We have a special bond, and that bond comes in the form of music. From the time she was born, she has loved music. At five hours old, I was singing Beatles tunes to her, and at three weeks old, she’d cry when I’d turn off the radio.

This morning, she asked me to sing. After awhile, I ran out of toddler songs, and handed her my IPod. As Robert Plant’s voice started to croon “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,” she started to sing too. It was a startling realization that my daughter’s rock and roll education has already started, and that I am responsible for it. Really, I was awe-inspired. The iPod now belongs to her.

Never underestimate the power of music. It’s a powerful force in our ordinary world. It can make us love, laugh, bleed, scream, move, and break. Sometimes, it can be responsible for a life-long bond. It can be the strongest influence in a life. It has the power to heal, and change a life.

Rock on!

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Music


Tags: , , , , , ,

Live for the Living

The old cliche’s are all true.  That’s why they become cliche’.  They get over-used, to the point of becoming ingrained into our minds.  We’ve heard them all at least once; maybe more, if like me, you lived with an elderly family member as a kid.  Two things I always heard from my grandparents: “This too shall pass,” and “Life goes on.”  Well, I hate to admit it, but they were right.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the night my brother-in-law, Donnie, was killed on his Harley Davidson.  Truthfully, today is really no different for me.  I think about him every day, sometimes with a wry grin, other times with tears and regrets.  I remember the day of his funeral, my husband was on his knees, trying to breathe through the pain that crushed him like a car crushes a squirrel, and myself saying, “Life goes on, Chuck.  Live for the living.” 

At the time, it was the only thing I could think of to say.  But, in actuality, it was the best, and most true thing that anyone could have said. We settled back into our routines, back to school, work, diddled with our projects, cleaned our houses, and so on.  One day turned into another, and before I knew it, a whole year had passed.  The pain is still there, the sharp sting when I see the leather jacket he used to wear, or when I hear his laugh ring through my mind, or when I think about the race tickets he handed us, the day before he died. The pain is still there, but it does fade, just a little, especially when I remember that Donnie was so full of life, so full of attitude, and filled with a strength that could stand stubborn in the face of  disapproval.  He’d tell us the same thing.  Life goes on, so live it!

So, in honor of Donald J. Kinney (1968 – 2010), I would like to celebrate the living today.  There are so many people that have touched my life.  Some have picked me up when I was broken, some have held me up when I lost my strength, and some have pushed me forward into the unknown, when I might have gone backward into the safety zone.  Some have shown me love, others cruelty, but all have influenced my life, and have helped on this long, winding road that we call life.  I’m grateful for the living, and happy that I am among them.  I hope some day I will be able to influence someone else, the way that I have been influenced, guided, and inspired.  Live for the living, and cherish the ones you love.

RIP Brother, I’ll always love you and miss you like crazy!

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Life


Tags: , , , , , ,