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Category Archives: Music

No Fear Cavalier

Is there anything better than laughing about how silly you were as a kid?  I recently bought the greatest hits album released by R.E.M. and while I was listening to “It’s The End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine),” I started thinking about the times we listened to that song as teenagers.  I even wrote a new poem about it, complete with the No Fear Cavalier.  Anyway, it got me curious about how the change in my listening habits affects my writing…

We all know I’m a metal-head, a fan of the hardest rock out there.  Ripping riffs and clashing chords, chilling melodies and harsh male voices dominate my playlists on my computer and IPod.  I guess this makes sense, since I’m generally a serious person.  I haven’t had the easiest life, and I’ve felt alienated from my family, friends, and the world for a really long time.  However, I have also had a lot of really good times, and good friends.

For my senior project, I’ll be completing a book of poetry about loss.  Is there any greater-felt loss than the loss of childhood?  It’s a universal theme, even though it can be good or bad.  I have to admit, I love being older.  If I had a chance to go back, I’d never take it.  I can’t accomplish anything back there.  I can only accept it, and move on in the now.  I’ve learned a lot, and I’m such a different person now, but it’s still fun to remember.  I’m looking forward to the poems about growing up.

I’m also looking forward to hearing a lot of great tunes that I’m embarrassed to admit I know every word to.  I’ve recently bought a lot of albums I used to own before my mom went on a religious spree and burned all of my music and books.  (That’s for a different blog, else I sit here all day accomplishing nothing!)  See the weird quirk about me is I have to have music to write.  I can’t come up with an idea to save my life without it.  When I start to write about something, I have to have the perfect music to accompany it.  I just made a new playlist especially for these poems about childhood/adolescence, and honestly, I can’t believe how eclectic my tastes were then.  I mean, I know a lot of songs, and bands, and genres, and listen to a lot of different stuff, but this playlist is just incredible to me.

Picture it:  I’ve got Tupac Shakur after Meatloaf but before Nirvana…Collective Soul next to Van Halen and Mariah Carey…and Alanis Morissette with Nine Inch Nails before Cypress Hill.  My God, how crazy is this?  Each of these songs/bands/artists have some memory, some significance to me, and I love it!  I love remembering how I felt, and how far I’ve come. I wouldn’t go back for anything, but I don’t think I’ll forget to remember how much fun I had either.  Maybe there were a lot of bad times, but I always had some pretty cool tunes to see me through. I’m really excited to see where this project takes me, and how different my views of life now are from those back then.

How far have your listening habits come?  Have you broadened your horizons or are you stuck in a rut?

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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Music, Writing

 

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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

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Life, Music

 

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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!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Music

 

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The Music Lives On

I finally got to see Def Leppard the other night.  I have followed this band and their music for the better part of 24 years.  They are part of the reason I’m still here today; their music has gotten me through a lot of hard stuff in my younger days.  I really enjoy all of their music, but in my humble opinion, their best stuff came out with Hysteria in 1987.  That album just does it for me.  It lifts me up, rocks me out, and takes me away to a better day.  It always has.

Anyway, seeing them in concert was like a milestone for me.  I finally got to see these guys put on a show, after believing in them and their music for most of my life.  And man, what a show!  Their energy after 30+ years is incredible.  Their music is still amazing without the over-dubs and studio layering; in fact, it’s more honest and real in concert.  It touched me deeply. 

I was also amazed to see a lot of the younger crowd there, crowding the stage, hovering on the lawn, excited to see a band that started before they were born.  It’s neat to think about how some bands develop a following, and live on, while others who have had the same success go into the wind.  What keeps these bands living on?  I was thinking on that when I ran into my cousin, Al, at the concert.  I told him, “I should have known you’d be here.”  After all, he’s the one who introduced my sister to Leppard, way back in ’83 with Pyromania, and she in turn introduced them to me.  I remember the four of us, (Al, his sister Lesia, Becky, and myself) rocking out to Leppard in the back room of the trailer where their dad would let us play it as loud as we wanted.  Even when they went softer and more mainstream, the four of us kept on loving them.  It was awesome to remember those good times, even though they layered over the bad stuff that is not my intention to blog about.  It was also really awesome to get to talk to his son, and hear him tell me that he loves Def Leppard.  The tradition of the Fidler family and Def Leppard lives on!

I suppose what I’m saying in my round-about, random sort of way, is that it is beyond describing how much it meant to me to be able to see Def Leppard in concert.  It touched me deeply, and even helped me to see a little bit through all of the bad things.  It connected me to my past in a good way, and for that I’m grateful.  This band means so much to me, and I hope they continue to create music and put on shows until, (as my husband puts it) they are onstage in their walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen masks!  Rock on!

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Music

 

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All I Need is Just a Little Patience

I’m one of those people that needs to be kept busy, else she tends to over-analyze, over-think, and generally drive herself nuts.  I’ve been on summer break for close to a month, and I have been going insane!  I feel like I should be doing more.  More writing, more reading, more running than I’m already doing.  I’ve been literally driving myself crazy.  I find myself thinking about the fall semester, impatient to get started on my Capstone project, (whatever it may be!) and to try my luck at the GRE’s.  I want senior semester to be over at Keystone, so I can start applying to graduate programs that specialize in Creative Writing, which is my first love.  I’m eager to start my life. 

But wait… Didn’t I do that already?  I’m twenty-nine, I’ve got three kids, will be celebrating a tenth wedding anniversary this year, and I’ve been published a couple of times.  Hasn’t my life already started?  I guess it did, somewhere between Great Themes in Literature, “Wonderful Tonight,” and ten thousand dirty diapers.  I was just too busy to notice it.  Isn’t that an ass-kicker?

I need to slow down.  Guns N’ Roses had it right.  “Sad woman take it slow, things will be just fine.  All we need is just a little patience.”  I love this song for so many reasons, but now I have one more.  It reminded me to slow down, and enjoy things.  It reminded me to stop driving myself nuts.  Thanks, Axyl, Slash, Izzy, Duff, and Steven for writing and performing such a great song!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Life, Music, Writing

 

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I Don’t Want that Photograph!

I rarely listen to the local mixed station, 98.5 KRZ.  You can read my essay in Word Fountain about the night pop music was killed for me here:  http://wp.me/pTXg0-1D .  I’m more of a 97.9X girl.  Killer station, awesome bands, (hot DJ’s!) 🙂  Anyway, last night, we borrowed my sister-in-law’s truck to go pick up my father-in-law from the hospital.  He just had two knee replacements, and needed to be brought home in a vehicle that he could stretch out in.  My truck wouldn’t fit into the parking garage, so we took the Ford.  Big mistake; I should have stayed home.

As we’re driving down the road, the radio (tuned to KRZ because the truck has a stereo that is confusing to simple minds like myself) starts blasting out this horrible assassination on my ears.  Def Leppard’s “Photograph” has been covered by Chris Daughtry and Santana.  I begged my husband to turn it off.  “Turn it off before I need drugs to recover from this,” I pleaded.  No dice.  He got some kind of sick enjoyment out of watching my face, cringing like I’d just been told I had six months to live.   Twisted, isn’t he?

This cover is a sacrilege!  Chris Daughtry and Santana have just killed this icon rock song with their candy-coated voices, and poppy “I’m-on-speed” kind of rhythms.  Don’t get me wrong.  Carlos Santana is an icon himself, and Chris Daughtry has got it going on with his last album, Leave This Town.  They are both awesome, in and of themselves.  But, what possessed these talented singers to team up, and ruin a song?  What the hell were they thinking?  They mainstreamed a hard rock song, and sold out in a big way. If you are a Leppard fan, I beg you, don’t listen to this.  It will burn into your brain, and leave you writhing on the floor, with bleeding ears as you try to forget it!

In my humble opinion, cover songs are ok.  I mean, some bands improve the original version.  Look at Seether’s cover of “Careless Whisper.”  They can be proud of that!  Red did a cover about two years ago, of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World,” and far surpassed the original.  What Daughtry and Santana have done is just plain wrong!  They took a fabulous song, and turned it into pop.  For once, I don’t even have the words.  Thanks guys, you just ruined an amazing song for me, and for the millions that will be subjected to this trash.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Music

 

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