6/24

Hearing music for the first time is always an adventure.

You may end up not liking it, but it can always be fun to hear a new way of looking at life, or a new beat with which to dance through it. It’s amazing to me how music is basically all the same and yet so different. By how just one little change in tempo or beat can result in an entirely new creation.

The only thing that can diminish the joy of hearing new sounds is when you realize that the songs being listened to were “new” many years ago – when you were a much younger, more relevant, person. Similar to the feeling you get after your first good sexual experience – one where you think to yourself “now, I wish I had known about THAT before!” – hearing an album that you never heard as a youngster can make you think about how much time you could have enjoyed it, but didn’t. Of how many years you and your friends could have dissected it, memorized it, assigned the songs in order of superiority and gone to see the band perform it live (and become upset when they simply REFUSED to play what you KNEW was the best track on the entire album).

Of course, your t-shirt purchased at this concert would surely be old enough by now to be worn with pride. Confident in the knowledge that no one in the shopping mall you happened to be wearing it at even knew who the band is. Except for the cool people, of course.

Of course, those of you who don’t care a wit about music won’t get it. But for my part when an experience like this occurs, i also invariably think back to where i was, who i was, and (most importantly) what i was wearing around the time the new-found album came out. So in short – and i’m not sure how or why this works – hearing an old album for the first time helps me to remember a time when i never knew it existed.

Strange, no?

 

6/20, pt 2

i’m sitting in a huge house of worship. And i mean flippin’ HUGE. This place is a lot more like a shopping mall for Jesus than a church.

And yet, there’s an air of purity about it. Of peace. Tranquility. There’s something here that is not elsewhere.

i’m not sure if it’s the staff that makes this so, the parishioners, or maybe even the building itself. i do know, however, that this feeling, this peace – this is what i wish i had more of in my daily life. This is what i wish i could provide more of.

i also wish i knew – Jesus, why does it feel like You’re calling me to greatness, to something “more” – but when i answer, You won’t tell me what it is You need me to do?

6/20

The new Peter Murphy album isn’t as good as it should be. And that’s almost a bigger shame than when an album is just outright bad.

It’s not like his talent has decreased, but this time ’round he chose a style that was far too “heavy” for him – full of the type of bravado you typically expect from a much younger man – and yes – Mr. Murphy is several years past being a “younger man”. Don’t get me wrong, there are several tracks that are rather good, but nothing that seems to “stick” (or as my wife stated, “if this was anyone else besides Peter Murphy, you’d have turned it off by now”).

So why would it be so important to have “age appropriate” material? i mean, i still walk around in a Clash t-shirt and Chuck Taylor’s during my off hours and don’t feel that it makes me look odd or  in any sort of denial about my age – so why should it matter if an older man wants to play a younger man’s sound?

Well in part, i feel that by doing so the older man appears to be trying very hard to “keep up” with the younger man, but he is trying to keep up with a time and place he has already been. He also is forced to throw away that lifetime of experience, knowledge and wisdom in order to achieve the younger mans sound. In short – he’s selling himself short.

Understanding this is only one small example, it does cause me to wonder: when the older start looking back and imitating the young, then who do the young have to imitate and look up to?

i hope Peter Murphy’s next album is age appropriate. i hope it’s filled with the wisdom of his age. i hope it’s better.

6/14 – Dear Jesus

Dear Jesus,

i came to have a chat with You last night, but all the doors were locked. Guess that whole “turn the other cheek” rule doesn’t really apply when it relates to waiting room couches, eh?

Just kiddin’.

Anywho, what i was hoping to talk to You about was the stress that has come into my life, especially as of late. i’m really not to cool with it, and Your whole routine of “God never gives you more than you can handle” is starting to wear a little thin. In case You’re not keeping score, i am currently dealing with:

– a wife with multiple health issues

– strike that, a wife with multiple health issues who refuses to admit that i need to worry about any of them…

– a father dying from cancer

– a father realizing he’s dying from cancer

– watching my parents relationship (finally?) crumble after almost 50 years

– a “career” going absolutely nowhere, and no Flippin’ way to get out of it

– a co-worker who is OFF. Her. Nut. (seriously, You know her – i am Not making that part up)

– knowing (KNOWING!) that my best efforts are not good enough to keep my family above the poverty line

– and me, going back into therapy, simply because i’m so damned tired of feeling wrong all the time.

i know, i know – You’ll tell me that a lot of people have it a LOT worse. And You’ll tell me that a lot of the above i either brought on myself and/or am “stealing” from the rightful owner. And i’m pretty sure that You’ll let me know once again that one chapter does not a book make. And i will lower my head in resignation when You do, because of course – You’ll be right.

But don’t you see?

That’s a big part of the problem. Did you ever have a “big brother” who was always right, always Daddy’s favorite?  Pretty hard to follow that kind of act, i’ll tell ya. i mean, Jesus Christ! (no pun intended), i get the whole “pick up your cross and follow me” thing, but how long did your cross-bearing last any way?

Well?

As long as all that, eh?

Still carrying it, 2,000 + years later, and all because of people who are like me?

People who ARE me?

Well, thanks for that, at any rate (see – told Ya You’d be right). Hey, next time, could you at least have the doors open?  Those couches really do look rather comfy.

6/8

So what daddy? I’m proud of my nerdiness.

This from my 1o year old son, after I had called him a nerd.

“Why’d you call him a nerd?

Well, because he likes things like Dr. Who, Star Wars, Godzilla AND legos. And i mean he really LIKES these things. Half of our supper can easily be stolen away from us listening to him describe how the original Cybermen would be no match for the newer versions of the same. He even entered his lego creation into a TARDIS competition – it was really quite impressive.

“So? Why’d you call him a nerd?”

Well, because i was playing with him, and well, because a good portion of the things on his list, he picked up from me in the first place.

“And…?”

And, well, i thought it was just going to be funny… i mean, it was.

“But only after…”

After what?

“After he made it funny, with his comment.”

I suppose… but we were just playing. Just good fun.

“But how many times while you were growing up was your dad ‘just playing’ – only you didn’t think it was very fun at all?”

Well…

“Exactly. So maybe you should think a little bit next time, because your ‘just playing’ might not be perceived as such by a boy of 10 years. A boy who is on his way, but still not totally sure of himself. A boy, who might in fact, even see it as hurtful. You think?”

i think.

“Good, then prove it next time. OK?  Now, go out – play n’ have some fun!”

6/7

In my family, we have a habit of rubbing our hands together briskly whenever we’re excited about something or really enjoying ourselves. And when i listen to Stan Getz, my hands damned-near catch fire.

i don’t actually know that much about Getz, besides the fact that i believe he was somewhat of a junkie, he screwed around with his friends wife, and oh, he used to dabble in music a bit.

The junk is almost the stuff of legend in certain circles. And time after time i hear it being credited with the key to his genius. Now don’t get me wrong, that cat could Blow!, but i have to wonder, did the drugs add to – or actually hinder – his genius?  i mean, what would he have produced had he stayed “straight” instead?

Now again, i’m not clear as to what was his drug of choice was (nor do i care, really). But i can tell you, during my little foray into “substance experimentation”, never did i try one that compelled me onto greatness of any sort, let alone moments of “genius”. In fact, the only real compulsion ever experienced during those times was simply towards consuming as many beef and cheese burritos as possible.

The microwavable kind.

That being said, as a wiser and older man (well, older at any rate), i no longer feel that drugs are necessary “for growth”, “fun at parties” or are even “cool”.  Much like many before me, i grew out of it, i moved on. In part because of stories such as the one concerning the death of Jimmy Hendrix (i won’t repeat it here, but you should look it up – definitely not the way i want to go…) and also because of people like Stan Getz. i read that he ended up moving to Copenhagen to “escape” his drug habits, and quite frankly, i just don’t have that kind of cash.

The first time i heard “Jazz Samba”, i almost fell asleep. The second time i heard it, i almost fell out of my chair. Despite the fact that Getz had a drug problem, despite even the fact that he turned down Juilliard for a career in jazz, he was a genius. And that cat really could blow!