Category Archives: music

Last Christmas – George Michael Dies Young

‪”I’d say love was a magical thing. I’d say love would keep us from pain. And I don’t live. And I don’t live.”‬

George Michael has one of those voices that get inside your heart with ease.  His beautiful voice ended much too early today on Christmas Day.

2016 really has been an annus horribulus with so many icons dying – and my wife’s father – and the truth of American politics and people revealed as shallow and reactionary. 

Careless Whisper and Last Christmas were my two favorite George Michael / Wham songs. Father Figure, Faith and Freedom were up there, too. As well his voice is distinctive and the highlight of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – perhaps the best charity record of all time. 

Don’t ever say it can’t get any worse because often you will be proved wrong. Greatness comes in overcoming troubles, pain and chaos. But all that still has to be endured. 

Carry on. 

While My Dad Gently Weeps

[and mom, too]

So that was attempt two.

Jack, 6, has now ended his guitar lessons for the second time. Here’s some of the story why.

“Jerk.”
“You’re boring.”
“You don’t teach me anything.”
“I hate the guitar.”
“ I like Mr. Tracy, I don’t like you.”
“Chords are way easier than tabs.”
“It’s too hard.”
“No.”
“I dooooooooon’t liiiiiiiike Smoke On the Waaaaaater.”

Many angry moments, 99.99% of them coming from 6-year-old Jack. He loves his classes with his teacher Tracy, a guy with a Mohawk who has a surfer dude vibe and is, in fact a really nice guy. But no matter how sweetly or calmly or reasonably we talked to him, he would refuse to practice. (“Tracy wants you to practice.” “He wants to teach someone who’s trying.”)

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this but the more you try to reason with your kid the more upset you become because, goddamnit, who can’t see reason? That’s logical, right? Yup. Correct, and it should be no surprise that kids are not always the most logical of animals. Still, it should work and it’s good to try, right? Sure.

When we said the lessons had to end unless he could practice (because we couldn’t just stand there trying to get him to do his lesson all evening) he got angry, as well.

Ultimately he was being verbally abusive to us. So much so, I went to a couple of lessons because I had no frame of reference to help him with his lessons, and Carrie was taking the brunt of it all. So now instead of him just calling her names, I got called names, too.

He’s really good at insults. Advanced. It was a power battle of wills just for a 10-minute lesson, and we were being made miserable having to deal with it. And, of course, the whole point is for him to have fun and enjoy. And he wasn’t.

His last practice was Sunday when he actually did a double lesson to make up for refusing to do one Saturday.

Monday we talked to his music teacher asking if it made sense for us to stop lessons as he wouldn’t practice. Tracy said he’d talk to him about it. Tuesday we had his actual lesson and Tracy weaved in the importance of practice more than usual, and even taught him a new song, Happy Birthday because Jack said he wanted to play it on my birthday, next week. Sadly, that’s pretty unlikely to happen right now though a Jack-guitar, Eddie-flute duet was something I was looking forward to.

At the end of Jack’s lesson, his teacher showed him a practice schedule and went through it, 1) Name the strings 2) Go through chords at least 2 times, both up and down 3) Play Smoke On the Water 4) Misc., anything he wanted.

Wednesday, he refused to do his lesson.

With Eddie and Carrie at his flute lesson (he did great, apparently) I was home by myself for awhile cooking dinner and trying to stop Jasper, 2yo, getting into everything. Jasper lost his mind and wouldn’t stop crying – very loudly – because he got into (What, really? Yeah, I know.) candy and I took it away.

I could not pull enough emotional strength from the reserve to sit down and talk with Jack at all about his lesson. I did say he would do his lesson in the morning, instead and, recognizing that I was at my emotional end, I said he could just play so I could just cook dinner (a dinner, which was delicious if a little too spicy for the kids; easily fixed next time.). Yeah, I folded a little but it was survival.

Thursday dawned with promise. I woke up early and, after he got dressed, Jack sat down fairly quickly with guitar in hand and with negligible complaint, he named the strings, and he got through the chords. He made his own checkmarks and seemed to be, pretty much, having fun. And then he wasn’t. He didn’t want to play Deep Purple’s opus. He hit some invisible wall. It was at this point he moaned, the line above, “I dooooooooon’t liiiiiiiike Smoke On the Waaaaaater.”

Tried that reasoning thing again, but guess what, ain’t no one gonna beg:

“Mr. Tracy wants you to play it because it has the building blocks to better songs.”
“Go ahead and play Happy Birthday instead then.”
“You have to start again. You haven’t played a note in 5 minutes.”

Through the brief conversation the day before, and as many times as I could repeat it Thursday morning we talked about us having to stop practice AND lessons. It was clear.

Because: Because he was being nasty mean to us and we weren’t having fun, either.
Because: Because he was not practicing
Because: Because we can’t do this every night
Because: Because you can’t just do parts of the practice
Because: Because we didn’t want to waste everyone’s time and money.
Because: Because it was taking time and energy away from other things – and brothers – we also needed to do of equal importance.
Because: Because sometimes the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the oil.

I’m blinking back tears a little as I write this because it seems like such a failure as a parent not to be able to get your kid to enjoy something as awesome as a guitar. Though we had two Steinway pianos at home, my parents never pushed learning musical instruments on me, at all. At all. And, for whatever reason I never asked, even though I love and loved music.

This background adds to the sense of failure because I know, now, that I regret not being able to play anything and I don’t want Jack to have that regret. He’s 6, it’s not the end of everything but as I watched him put his guitar back in its case for the final time, heard him mumble, “Now, I don’t have to practice” …. [almost lost it there]

… and didn’t make a big deal but just put it away and let him have breakfast, I felt extremely sad, that we’d done something we tell the kids is never good – we’d given up.

This one doesn’t have a happy ending … … … … … … … … … yet. I can tell myself we’re doing great even trying to get him to learn the guitar at such a young age. Someone said that at the Meet the Teacher night, Thursday evening. I can tell myself a lot of things, but the sting of failure has inflamed things to a point where none of it helps. A few more days are going to have to pass, before I can reason … with myself.

Still, “Chords are way easier than tabs.” … Jack didn’t know that a couple of months ago.

Leslie Gore – Forgotten Power

In the early 1960s, Lesley Gore released a song called, You Don’t Own Me. This song is hard to listen to often because even the title is just painful to think about.

It’s painful to think that this song, with this song had a place in society. It’s painful to think that more than 50 years later it still rings true int today’s society. She nails this plaintive plea (mp3 here, but not a straight link) that really gets across that people then and now really do live this life and struggle to push through the cocoon. It also becomes a confident voice where you can tell the voice in the song will eventually find the strength to turn her back and walk away.

In fact, if you look at the list of songs on that mp3 link above, you see a complex approach to society and relationships: Bobby’s GirlI Will Follow Him …. My Boyfriend’s BackThen He Kissed MeTo Know Him is To Love Him. And then in 2005 she announced she was gay. So, there’s that.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to? Yeah, even that one had a counter-intuitive spin. Turns out though that’s the song she’s most famous for, it’s really one of her weakest songs, sung when she was 16. She came to embrace You Don’t Own Me more, as a personal mantra, though she also said she envisioned a guy singing it to his girl as easily as the other way around. She died yesterday, February 16th, aged 68.

You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys
You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys
And don’t tell me what to do
And don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display, ’cause
You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me, don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay
Oh, I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

A-a-a-nd don’t tell me what to do
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display
I don’t tell you what to say
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To life my life the way I want

She wasn’t a success overnight, it took a week.

Jack Sings – You Are So Beautiful To Me

Last night at dinner Jack broke into song, looking a little at me but mostly at Carrie:
Imagine the sweetest little boy voice ever, slowly singing, accompanied with a shy smile, ending with self-applause (and applause from parents a beat later).

“You are so beautiful I see.
You’re everything I see.
You are everything to see.
You are so wonderful I see.

I had no idea who sang it originally, or how he got that song in his head. I was a little too stunned to remember to ask. I found out it was Joe Cocker and the actual words are below. I have now bought the song to put on my iPhone.

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

You are so wonderful
To me
You are so wonderful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so wonderful
To me

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

Learn Music With Two Sites. Then Rock. Or Strum. Or Whatever.

You can learn music using these two websites together, just sitting at our keyboard. Right?

This one tells you the basic of musical notes and reading music.

This one is a Google Doodle that can let you hit the keyboard letters for the right notes A B C D E F G

It’s Hard to Find Good Metal

Gun Shy assassin is the podcast / site I just found. I’m going to plug in the podcast in a few minutes (picked at random #13) but the site is so full of enthusiasm I recommend it to find some jewels. No one can like it all, but there will be some guitar crunches, symphonic vocals or actual meaningful lyrics that you won’t forgot. – Gun Shy Assassin

Everywhere We Go – The Unit

Ah, I’ve been humming and starting to sing this for a few months now and then I stop because I don’t know all the words. Then I resolve to look up the lyrics and then I forget. But I remembered less than a minute ago:

(Leader sings a line and all repeat)

Everywhere we go-o
Pe-ople want to know-o
Who we a-are
And where we come from
So we tell them
We’re from [name of town]
Mighty, mighty [town]
And if they can’t hear us
We sing a little louder

(Repeat, get louder each time until you reach your limit)


And if they can’t hear us
They must be DEAF!!!!

David Bowie Has New Music – Where Are We Now

The Thin White Duke must be using the royal “we” to access where he is right now. The guy is 66 years old !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But he has new music, he still epitomizes cool and doing your own thing – in a classy, fairly graceful, way.

You can listen to his new single, “Where Are We Now” from the vimeo link here (too lazy to direct embed right now) – and what do you think? He has quite a mixed record of records. My personal favorite – and I have not listened to a lot of his CDs – is “Outside” from 1995. It tells a Queensrychean tale of drama in the brave new world of connections. And thankfully not R. Kelly’s sap opera (not a typo).

 

 

These WP Themes, Too

(Not for this Templestark.com blog, but for Soundlust.com

(And yes I want to get and even pay more for a custom design – just need to make the money at Sound Lust to cover it.)

http://osc.template-help.com/wordpress_26647

http://theunstandard.5thirtyone.com

http://demo.woothemes.com/?name=backstage

http://www.nice-layouts.com/preview.php?p=24316

http://www.obox-design.com/demo-theme.cfm?theme=selecta

http://www.wpzoom.com/demo/yamidoo-pro/

http://www.wpzoom.com/demo/technologic/

http://organicthemes.com/demo/bold/#blank

Getting Out There In Trouble

G.O.T. I.T.

When it comes to the tech side of setting up Websites I’m one of those people who sometimes knows just enough to get into trouble. I can always work it out when I have time, but currently do not have that time to dig in and enjoy finding the solution.

And I’ve got two Web sites jumping now. One will get more social media interaction and attention than this one.

Other things going, so much.

1. Daddyism – I’m discovering all the things needed to attempt to be a good parent; one who is always attentive without giving the boys everything they think they need. Unbidden kisses and hugs in return more than make up for the strange feelings of only being able to push a point so far without trying to rely on logic. THIS does equal THIS in my brain or any non-politically crazy mentally intrenched adult, but the 4-year-old brain doesn’t work that way. Last weekend. Played catch – yup, I did – with a new glove I bought just for the occasion. A lot of fun, I kept it fun, not making it strict “we need to do” this.. I would say a situation of GOT IT, but i don’t even know enough and still getting in trouble. ;-)

2. Music. Envelopment. Last two albums bought were Disturbed’s “Asylum” and Heart’s “Red Velvet Car. both for review purposes though I also have songs coming out of my nose of review copies from everyone. All part of SoundLust.

Going going. Got It?

Latest iTunes agreement 6/21/2010

The language is below. I do this for historical purposes and in case they decide to screw things up.

A. ITUNES STORE, APP STORE, AND IBOOKSTORE TERMS OF SALE
B. ITUNES STORE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
C. APP STORE AND IBOOKSTORE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
D. PRIVACY POLICY

THE LEGAL AGREEMENTS SET OUT BELOW GOVERN YOUR USE OF THE ITUNES STORE, APP STORE, AND IBOOKSTORE SERVICES. TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS, CLICK “AGREE.” IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THESE TERMS, DO NOT CLICK “AGREE,” AND DO NOT USE THE SERVICES.

A. ITUNES STORE, APP STORE, AND IBOOKSTORE TERMS OF SALE

PAYMENTS, TAXES, AND REFUND POLICY

The iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore services (“Services”) accept these forms of payment: credit cards issued by U.S. banks, payments through your PayPal account, iTunes Cards, iTunes Store Gift Certificates, Content Codes, and Allowance Account balances. If a credit card or your PayPal account is being used for a transaction, Apple may obtain preapproval for an amount up to the amount of the order. Billing occurs at the time of or shortly after your transaction. If you are using 1-Click purchasing or your PayPal account, your order may be authorized and billed in increments during one purchasing session, so it may appear as multiple orders on your statement. If an iTunes Card, iTunes Store Gift Certificate, or Allowance Account is used for a transaction, the amount is deducted at the time of your transaction. When making purchases, content credits are used first, followed by Gift Certificate, iTunes Card, or Allowance Account credits; your credit card or PayPal account is then charged for any remaining balance.
Read more »

Dennis Hopper Does Photography

And he does it well.

Two ideas come come to mind viewing these photos. One, inevitably, is does the blog post author use these photos – and perhaps quotes – with permission? Two is, some photos are made amazing amazing by the accident of just being in an iconic place at at an iconic time. Ross Halfin and Linda McCartney photos both have that whiff about them. These Hopper photos have that air about them, though they are undoubtedly rocking photos. I really iike Hopper’s ethos of full-frame shots and the black and white natural lighting images are an important study in contrast.

Coming Home from Home: Tucson-Phoenix playlist

I drove from Tucson last night, cruising for two hours listening to .. well, no bum notes. It hit the best of several bands, and coming home from a very special day with Carrie (yup, midweek; today is when she flew in from Montana (via drive to Spokane and layover in Denver) it just truly fired – on all cylinders .

Not all music plays well when driving, when cruising or when trying to stay full of energy.

With the window down, the playlist was.

Metric – Lou
Soul II Soul – Back To Life
The Might Mighty Bosstones – Someday I Suppose
Lily Allen – Back to the Start
Madonna – Secret
The Donnas – Don’t Break Me Down
The Raveonettes – Wine
The Airborne Toxic Event – Some Time Around Midnight (timely)
Lacuna Coil – Our Truth
Tor / Sufjan Stevens – The Tallest Man / I like it
Will.I.Am – I got It from my mama
The Gits – Precious Blood
Deftones – My Own Summer
Love Me Nots – You’re Really Something
Ke$ha – TiK ToK
Flyleaf – All Around Me
Lacuna Coil – Spellbound
Lisa Stansfield – All Around the World
Justin Timberlake – Senorita (Thick Dick Mix)
Barenaked Ladies – One week
Social Distortion – Ring of Fire
Lily Allen – Nan, You’re A Window Shopper
Surfside IV – Surfari
The Airborne Toxic Event – Wishing Well
Karen O and the Kids – All Is Love
The Gits – Rose (Live)
Incubus – Drive (I Swear)

And after I got home and closed the door, it continued.

Johnny Cash – Cocaine Blues
Prince – Sign of the Times
The Gits – Italian Song
Poe – Hello
The Raveonettes – Gone Forever
Deftones – Teething
Bassnectar – Heads Up
Cake – Never There
Sade – Bring Me Home
Ben Harper – Walk Away
Rademacher – On Yr Marks
Paul Simon – Homeless
Scars on Broadway – Serious
Deftones – Shove It
Jane’s Addiction – Sex is Violent
The Gits – Social Love
Rehab – Last Tattoo
Love Me Nots – Shuffle
The Gits – I’m Lou
Poe – Angry Johnny
Bassnectar – Kick It Complex

2005-2010 UNOFFICIAL SXSW Torrents

In 2007 SXSW released an official torrent of songs showcasing the bands that had showed up. I’m unclear whether this is the same official list (though 2009 does have the same 737 number of artists so that’s a good sign), though the page here presents itself that way. archives going back to 2005.

In other words, a music lovers overdosed overload — UNOFFICIAL SXSW Torrents.

Big James At Blues Blast, Mesa

IMG_9717

One of many many many photos I took at the Phoenix Blues Society’s Blues Blast Feb. 27 (and the Rhythm Room the night before). The rest are coming along.

This here is Big James of Big James & The Chicago Playboys on stage on the trombone. Photo is uncropped.

Scott Biram, last night, Rhythm Room



I took video with a Blackberry Storm, kneeling down in front of the stage with a mosh pit starting to form behind me for Scott Biram, who kicked off his tour last night at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. The guy was just amazingly talented. The Dirt Daubers (also) are touring with them and they completely smoked the place, as well. And when Colonel JD Wilkes isn’t making faces and hitting the hiiiigh notes, (his wife) Jessica can sing her ass off something beautiful. The band who led off were great, as well, but I’m going to screw up their name so I’m not even going to try. It took about 40 minutes to send this via uberTwitter, but it didn’t crash out. It worked.

(Probably wait for the whole thing to load then press play would be best.) Pics to come, as well … at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, an online gallery near you

Lily Allen Back on Twitter

I saw it live (ooh) as Lily Allen rejoined Twitter after a four-month haitus. Love her, we need new music. I’ll buy:

I remembered part of her goodbye on Sept. 28, 2009:

I am a neo-luddite, goodbye.

lilyallentwitter01

lilyallentwitter02

Poe, A New Discovery

Courtesy of Rachel, I am a new fan of Poe, who writes, hilarious, deep, catchy, thoughtful songs.

That is all –

Website and her “tour.”

poepoe