Tag Archives: Hard Rock

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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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: .  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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There’s Healing in Those Riffs

My twenty-ninth birthday just passed this week.  This was the first birthday without him.  Without the bottle that was a standard birthday procedure.  Without that joke about me getting older, and my old stand-by response, “I’ll never be as old as you,” while smiling sweetly.  Without that playful interaction that made me feel like part of the family, instead of an outsider.  I miss him, more than anyone could ever have imagined.  Though the blood wasn’t there, the bonds of family were placed upon us that very first day we met.  He was never afraid to be mad at me, just as I never hesitated to tell him what I thought.  We never pussy-footed around like the rest of our family does.  Maybe I wasn’t his blood sister, but he treated me just like one. 

Tonight, I’m going to see Avenged Sevenfold in Wilkes-Barre.  The tickets were a part of my birthday present, although I got them well in advance.  It seems fitting to me.  After all, A7X holds a very special place in my heart.  I bought their album, Nightmare, the night Donnie died.  I watched this nightmare of a scene unfolding, while thinking how ironic it was that I just bought an album with a startling connection to what I was experiencing.  Any Avenged fan knows that Nightmare is a tribute to The Rev, who also died a senseless death.  The things you think of at a death scene.

A month after he died, I saw them at Montage as part of Uproar Tour. The fourth ticket, meant for him, went to my niece.  I spent that night missing him; the kind of missing someone that makes breathing impossible as the weight of every heavy thing you’ve ever said sits down in the middle of your chest.  But, when Avenged came on, some of that weight went away. The energy and honesty in their music is how hard rock should be.  They’ve always displayed an intelligence in their lyrics that question some heavy things, like politics and now the absence/presence of God.  They are the type of band that makes you believe again.  Believe in the music, and the power it has to heal you, to change things, and to make a difference.  I wish I could explain how connected I felt, through the raw feelings they displayed on stage.  They were missing a band member, and I was missing a brother, and for a moment, I felt as though I could reach out and touch the music when they put it out there.  It was real.  It was healing.  I’m looking forward to that feeling again.

Donnie, I’ll be thinking of you again tonight, and the night after, and the night after.  I wish you could see the impact that you’ve had on others.  I think you’d be amazed at how much difference you really did make.

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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Life


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