Here I Go Again: Music Post 006

 

Here I Go Again by Whitesnake was a pinnacle song of the 80’s hair band invasion. I considered Whitesnake a Heavy Metal band but looking back maybe they weren’t.

My criteria for a band to be Heavy Metal was for memebers to have long hair, wear spandex pants, sing in falsetto, have one song that rocked with shredding guitar solos and one song that was a ballad. Whitesnake met that criteria.

Having Tawny Kitaen sprawl across the hood of a moving car put the cap on the needed criteria for the band to solidify their Heavy Metal status. It also helped with the popularity is this song.

I did not included that bit of criteria with my version of the song; thus, keeping it from solidifying my spot in the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.

I had not posted a song in a long time. I was supposed to be posting weekly a song I learned in a week. I got caught up in trying to make the recordings sound close to perfect. That totally defeated my purpose of posting songs with mistakes included.

I had practiced this song for a bit longer than a week; though, it doesn’t sound like it. I still seem to get too distracted with thoughts about how I’m playing while I’m playing and it screws me up. Fingers don’t go or move where I want them to.

Well, at least I posted.

The prompt for this post was born at lunch the other day with my brother and sister-in-law. The conversation turned to my plans for the rest of the day. I didn’t have an answer. We had been talking about our creative endeavors and my blog, so this primed me to think about posting a song.

Thank you, guys, for helping me get motivated to post this. As I say, warts and all.

Nate

 

Music Post 005: A New Game

Music Post 005: A New Game

It would seem this learning a song per week has petered out. But I haven’t let it discourage me. I have a new game.

This new game is to practice a handful of songs that I could play at a given notice or while out and playing with others.

I’ve been practicing Plush by Stone Temple Pilots. I keep practicing Times Like These by Foo Fighters. I’ve started to learn Here I Go Again by White Snake.

Some other songs I have learned in the past and want to practice more to get better are:

Promise by When In Rome
Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town by Pearl Jam
Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins

If I can get to know between five and ten songs I will be better about my attempt to learn more songs this year.

I’ll post the songs when I record them.

I may even throw in a few of my own. To play my own stuff live will be fun, too.

Nate

Music Post 004a – My 20’s Soundgarden

Music Post 004a – My 20’s Soundgarden

I recently read the Pandora write up on Chris Cornell. I like to read up on the history of bands and other music artists. Whatever is available I’ll soak it up. So, in reading up on Chris Cornell, I was reminded that Soundgarden released an album in 2012, King Animal. I wondered why I had not purchased it or at least try to listen to it.

As I recall, a lot was going on at that time in my life. I believe, I had mentioned it in my post about the Foo Fighters (see Music Post 002). I was busy with life, family and career.

I decided to listen to the excerpts from King Animal on iTunes. The tracks rocked. I enjoyed them. And I felt a pull. A pull back to the 90’s, alone in my dark bedroom with just the light from my TV to illuminate things. Sometimes, I would listen to my CDs on my Sega CD system because I liked the screen saver. I spent many nights like that, alone, pretending to be a drummer, guitarist and lead singer. I’ve been dreaming that dream since listening to Beatles records in my bedroom in the 80’s.

Being taken back to those nights in the 90’s, I realized I wasn’t that kid anymore. Not that I don’t have those same dreams of being a rockstar, at times, but I’m not that kid, now a man. A man who cannot afford to waste my time wallowing in my own self-pity and depressed mood. There was a time I could soak up that music and bathe in the anguish and angst that was so prevalent in my generation at the time.

I wouldn’t have been able do that in 2012. The Nate of 2012 was married with two kids and had a career. As much as I enjoyed listening to the Soundgarden of my 20’s. The Soundgarden of my late 30’s wasn’t a good fit. I just wasn’t melancholy about my existential self anymore. And especially now in my mid-40’s, I don’t think I could grasp existentialism. I’ve got bills to pay and kids to feed. And not only kids to feed, but kids to maintain a healthy relationship with, and I can’t maintain a healthy relationship if I’m wallowing in some type of self induced misery.

At this point in my life, I’ve listened to and read books on ways to get shit done in life. I listen to podcasts like The Art of Charm, James Altucher, Tim Ferris and Marc Maron. The guests and authors of those books and podcasts are people who have chased their dreams and made them a reality. Or they just plain did the things they wanted to do and ended up doing those things for a living. I’ve heard their successes and how they got there. There is no room for quitting (which I do a lot) if you want to succeed.

So, I cannot wallow anymore. That is a form of quitting.

The demons I fight are my thoughts with the voices of others. My fears sound like people I know telling me, “You can’t do it. Life sucks. There is no way out. Nothing will change.”

I fight those voices everyday. The thing about having other people’s voices in your head is they start sounding like your own voice. So you start believing all the negative you are telling yourself. I never told myself I couldn’t do something. We never tell ourselves that originally. That notion doesn’t happen naturally. That shitty advice comes from others. It is their fear injected into us. And once I listened, I let that fear in. It is a bitch to shake. It doesn’t want to let go. I’ve held back doing a lot of things I’ve wanted to do because of it.

Fear doesn’t want to let go because it will die. I wish it would die, but wishing won’t make it die or go away.

I have to keep kicking at it and pushing it. I have to stop feeding it. My body needs to reject it like a transplanted organ. That donor of this fear and bad advice gave me something toxic that my body/brain should be rejecting.

My brain should be screaming, “These are not my thoughts! These thoughts do not belong here! They are killing us! Get them out of here!”

. . . Wow, I didn’t know that is where this post was going. But here I am.

I will go back and finish listening to the King Animal excerpts and most likely not do more than that.

The three Soundgarden CD’s I own from the 90’s will continue to be my Soundgarden. I think I’ll learn one of those songs to include in my year of Learning a Song per Week (sort of).

Music post 002 – Times like These 9/2/17

You ever have something serendipitous happen, like when you are into a band, movie, comic book series, TV show, podcast, and then there is a tour and it comes to your town just at the right time because you’re so into what is happening with it you gotta buy a ticket? This has been happening to me for the last 6 years or so. I  listened obsessively to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast for a year. On his 2012 tour he stopped by Philly, so I got tickets and went to see him. With that obsession satiated, I’ve since moved on to other podcasts.

This “listened obsessively to” happened with the Foo Fighters back in 2015.  I have enjoyed the Foo Fighters’ music since “This is a Call” hit the air waves back in the 90’s. “Finger nails are pretty/Finger nails are good” hooked me in. It was silly. It didn’t make sense, but if you really wanted to you could plug the lyrics into your own “make sense machine” to decipher meaning. “Big Me” was another good one, especially with the video’s mockery of the Mentos commercials.
I didn’t own the first album and I still don’t. Not for any specific reason. It’s a great album. My first Foo Fighters’ album was The Colour and the Shape. My favorite song off that album was Everlong. It was the first Foo song I learned to play and sing. I tried my hand at learning Walking After You. I was able to play a rough version. It was the first time I tried to play the guitar by picking the strings. It was difficult and I got frustrated. I should go back and try it again.

For many years, I had no favorite band. The Foo Fighters have been in and out of my life. Until In Your Honor came out, the only albums I had of their’s were The Colour and the Shape and Nothing Left the Loose. I skipped over One by One for some reason. I think it came out when I was in Grad School. I had other priorities. I had stopped watching TV at that time.  Between school and my internship there wasn’t enough time. When Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace came out, I made the purchase. But for some reason, it didn’t draw me in. The Pretender totally rocked and Long Road to Ruin was catchy. Ha! Catchy. But I didn’t appreciate the album as a whole.

Flash forward many years, Wasting Light dropped in 2011. I had heard songs from it infrequently over the next few years. Nothing really stuck. I was busy in my career, raising kids, and just listening to what the radio played. I was into audiobooks and podcasts at the time and listened to them mostly on the short 15 minute drive to and from work. It was the only time I had to myself. Then one day in 2015, at least it seemed like it happened one day, the song Walk got stuck in my head. I don’t know why or how, but there it was and I was singing it to myself. So, I wanted to check out the album, but I didn’t want to commit to buying it. Not just yet. Thank goodness for the inter-library loan system, I was able to get it from the local library. From the start of track one “Bridge Burning” I was hooked all the way to the last track “Walk”. I became obsessed. It was the only album I could/would listen to. I had never loved a whole album in forever. I couldn’t even tell you then or now the last album I had loved completely. In my obsession the radio bored me. Nothing on the radio rocked as much as the songs on Wasting Light. I started listening to my other Foo Fighter albums to get more Foo. I came to love more if not all the songs on Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. I watched music videos and interviews on YouTube. I rented the documentary Back and Forth. HBO came out with Sonic Highways.

In the middle of my Foo obsession, they came to the Philly area for a second round, two night event. When I heard tickets were still available, I called my wife, she said buy and I was able to secure tickets. This was the tour where Dave Grohl sat upon his throne of rock, due to having broken his foot a month or so earlier that summer. That concert satiated my Foo obsession and I’ve since moved on.

Though, there are many Foo songs that I’ve attempted to learn, it was “Times Like These” that I chose. When it came time to start this trip on learning a song per week, this was the Foo Fighters’ song that was playing in my head. I remember finding it difficult to learn years ago. I wasn’t used to pulling my finger off and on during a song. And I found the coordination even more difficult when I would try to sing at the same time. I’ve had some practice since and I felt more confident I could pull it off this time.

I used a printout of tablature that I’ve had for years from Ultimate Guitar. I decided to play it in the clean amp effect on Garage Band to give it more of an acoustic feel. I recorded my voice several times singing in a low, soft tone, but I kept sounding too whispery. The final version is me singing in as less a whispery voice as I could get it.

Enjoy.
Nate