Saturday, October 5, 2019

Are You "Healthy"?

(ed. note: By request, the following is a short overview that you, the reader, will hopefully find useful. These ideas are currently being expanded upon and will be available soon as a short e-book).

There are various types of health/wellness and I've seen interesting "health" break-downs over the years, but recently revisited the concept. I rather like the one listed below (which I have, admittedly, altered to how I best process information and attack goals).

Hoping you will find something serviceable, if not out and out useful, below.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

This Day in Music - August 3

THE DAY COLUMBUS set sale in 1492 with three ships; World War I begins when Germany invades Belgium & declares war on France (1914); the NBA officially forms in 1949; and births include Martha Stewart & some guy named Tom Brady.

Also.....1958, the Billboard Hot 100 chart is founded.

1963, the Beach Boys release the first song Brian Wilson ever wrote, "Surfer Girl". The album on which the song is found (also "Surfer Girl") stays on the charts a phenomenal 56 weeks and peaks at #7, while the song itself also peaked at #7 and went on to be covered by artists as diverse as Paul Simon to Maroon 5.

1968 saw the Doors with TWO songs simultaneously in the top 5 - their own version of "Hello, I Love You" hit #1 while Jose Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire" hit #3.

1971, Paul McCartney announces the formation of Wings; 1973, Stevie Wonder releases the now classic "Innervisions"; 1985 sees Tears For Fears hit #1 with "Shout"; 1987, Def Leppard releases "Hysteria" (which goes on the sell over 20 million units - among the biggest albums of all time); 1996, "Macarena" hits #1 and stays there for 14 weeks and sells 11 million units, and is later voted the best one hit wonder of all time; 2007, Brian May of Queen officially hands in his PhD thesis in Astronomy.

Born on this day.....Tony Bennett (1926), the Byrd's John York (1946), bassist BB Dickerson of War (1949), multi-instrumentalist Johnny Graham of Earth, Wind, & Fire (1951), Lee Rocker of Stray Cats (1961), and Metallica front-man James Hetfield (1963).

Monday, July 29, 2019

This Day in Music....

587 BC, the Babylonian Empire (in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II) sacks Jerusalem and destroys Solomon's Temple.....904 AD sees the sack of Thessalonica, second largest city of the Byzantine Empire.....and in 1588, Howard & Drake crush the Spanish Armada.

In happier news....

Born on this day: guitar wizard Carlos Santana (1947), Rush bassist and singer Geddy Lee (1953), guitarist & gun-for-hire John Sykes (Tygers of Pan Tang, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Blue Murder - 1959), country star Martina McBride (1966), Boyz II Men vocalist Wanya Morris (1973), producer & Gnarls Barkley co-founder Danger Mouse (1977).

Also on this day: 1965 - the Beatles 2nd film "Help" premiered.....1966, John Lennon's interview hit the stands and caused a stir when he said "The Beatles are now bigger than Jesus"; Eric Clapton's band Cream made their live debut; and Bob Dylan suffered extensive injuries in a now famous motorcycle crash (ironically, he had been injured in a car accident exactly 5 years earlier).......1967, the Doors "Light My Fire" hits #1 in the US.....1968, the Beatles record "Hey Jude".....1974, Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas dies in her sleep.....1978, the soundtrack for the movie "Grease" goes to #1 in the US....

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sam Cooke

(editorial note: Inspiration to write this article came from the sad fact that so few of the younger budding musicians I come across seem to know of Same Cooke, and so this is my small step to rectifying that condition, as I will be referring them to this article henceforth.)

DURING HIS LIFETIME - 29 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (and on the R&B charts, 4 of those landed at #1 and 20 of those were top 10); inventor of a musical style that opened the door for the rise of artist like Aretha Franklin to Al Green, Curtis Mayfield to Stevie Wonder; helped popularize James Brown and Otis Redding; composed his own songs in a pop music world typically separating writers from performers and demonstrated a business savvy that not only rivaled the label owners & management companies (he started his own label in 1961, a move unheard of for an artist at the time)....and all this in an all-too-brief 8 year career.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

David Bowie & the Guitar

I've been either teaching or performing various Bowie songs as of late, and since I teach primarily guitar, discussion of Bowie's guitarists has come up a lot. It occurred to me that I should jot all this info down for anyone & everyone who may find it of interest.

David Bowie had an incredible career full of splendid musical challenges (and much more, but remember our focus is on guitar), and he had an entire stable of incredible musicians with whom he forged this path; his '70s work saw players from Mick Ronson in the early days to tag team Carlos Alomar & Earl Slick to Robert Fripp to Adrien Belew as well as guests like John Lennon, followed by his '80s output with the likes of Nile Rogers & Stevie Ray Vaughan to Peter Frampton (with Carlos a constant traveling companion) as well as guests like Charlie Sexton, to his 90s catalogue featuring the introduction of Reeves Gabrels (with a brief return of Rogers & Ronson & Alomar) and guests like Lenny Kravitz. The 2000s saw a collaboration with David Torn and Gerry Leonard, and guests ranging from Pete Townsend and David Grohl and more as well as a return of Earl Slick and, for his final album, Ben Monder.

And the list is longer than this.

But even so, the above list is far too dense for this medium. As such, I'm going to trim it down to only a half dozen so we can focus with greater depth the players on the brief roster. Apologies in advance, as I'll be leaving out some amazing guitarists....including Fripp (who created the long sustaining guitar soundscape of "Heroes"), SRV (who played on much of the "Let's Dance" album), and Bowie himself, who handled much of his own guitar duties throughout his entire career (including the lone 12-string of "Space Oddity", the amazing chord riffing of "Ziggy Stardust", and the iconic electric signature riff of Rebel Rebel").

That said, here we go....

Friday, January 4, 2019

Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps

I first read this a few years ago when it went viral. It is among the best fitness pieces I've ever read. Right up there with Henry Rollins' piece "The Iron".

Check it out:

I’ve spent the past year losing 80 lbs and getting in shape. A lot of people have been asking me how I did it; specifics like what diet I was on, how many times a week I worked out, etc etc. So I thought I’d just answer everyone’s questions by giving you guys step by step instructions on how you can achieve everything I have… IN JUST 4 EASY STEPS! Ready? Here we go!!!

This is a big one, and one that you’ve probably heard before. Every time you drink a beer, it’s like eating seven slices of bread. That’s a lot of bread!

This is especially true when you go out to eat at restaurants. A good trick to do is when your meal comes, cut it in half and right away ask for a takeout container, so that you can save the rest for later — and even better, if you start your meal out right by ordering lean meats and veggies, you’ll slim down in no time!

And not just broken; shattered. Into itsy bitsy tiny little pieces, by a girl who never loved you and never will. Join the gym at your work. Start going to the gym regularly, and even though you don’t know that much about exercise and you’re way too weak to do pretty much anything but lift 5 lb weights and use the elliptical machines with the old people, do it until your sweat makes a puddle on the floor. Then go home and go to bed early and the next day do it again. And then again. And then again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

50 Years (Again)

1969 was an incredible year in music. It was the year of Woodstock....of Aisle of Wight....and (sadly) Altamont. The year "Space Oddity" put David Bowie on the map....that debut albums came from such a diverse range of acts as The Jackson 5, King Crimson, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, the Allman Brothers, MC5, Led Zeppelin, the Meters, Blind Faith, Leslie West & Mountain, Neil Young, Santana, John Denver, Crosby Stills & Nash, Yes, and more.

It was the year of the final live performance by the Beatles....that CCR releases 3 different albums, all bearing hit songs....that Elvis plays a string of 57 sold-out shows in Vegas....that "Classical Gas" won 3 Grammy Awards....that the Newport Jazz Festival featured performances from George Benson, Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Sly & the Family Stone, Dave Brubeck, and more....that Johnny Cash records and releases his "Live from San Quentin" album, sees his TV show debut on ABC, and has the longest running number 1 hit of the year (6 weeks) with "Daddy Sang Bass"...that John marries Yoko, Paul marries Linda, and George and Pattie are arrested....Brian Jones is found dead in his pool and Mick Taylor joins the Stones....Elvis has his first number 1 hit in 7 years, cementing his comeback.

It is the year that saw the creation of Hall & Oates, the Faces, Humble Pie, Judas Priest, Seals & Croft, Little Feat, Kratfwerk, and Hawkwind.....and albums released included "Yellow Submarine" (Beatles), "Soul '69" (Aretha Franklin), "Yer Album" (James Gang), "My Way" (Frank Sinatra), "Songs From a Room" (Leonard Cohen), "After the Rain" (Muddy Waters), "Tommy" (the Who), "Age of Aquarius" (5th Dimension), "Beckola" (Jeff Beck Group), "In a Silent Way" (Miles Davis), "Let It Bleed (Rolling Stones), and so many more.

Top 5 songs of the year? "Get Back by the Beatles, "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, "Year 2525" by Zager & Evans, "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies, and "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley.

50 years ago..... what will this year bring?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2019 Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame

The 2019 Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2019. The inductees are (with bios from the website of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame):

The Cure
The name The Cure has stood for a group of teenage musical schoolmates, a legendary act commanding 10 million television viewers during a live performance, and everything in between. The band’s sound has been called post-punk, gothic rock, new wave, and alternative – but as front man Robert Smith says, it’s all just “Cure music.”

Def Leppard
The most commercially successful New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, Def Leppard ignited the 1980s reign of metal. Their anthemic hooks, melodic but powerful guitars, larger-than-life drum sounds, and sexy swagger created the ultimate stadium experience.

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson has built a career so groundbreaking that she’s immediately identifiable on a first-name basis. She explored social issues, themes of empowerment and self-confidence, and influenced generations with her stylized music videos with innovative choreography.

Stevie Nicks
The unmistakable vocal timbre of Stevie Nicks's voice has dominated rock. Nicks brought velvet and chiffon into the leather-and-denim world of rock, infusing sounds she admired from the acid rockers and Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters with a hint of black magic.

Never settling for genre archetypes, Radiohead incorporated a wide variety of musical influences - from Pink Floyd to R.E.M. - that challenge even the most dedicated fan. They flipped the music industry on its head.

Roxy Music
Roxy Music added elements of modern fashion, cinema, art, and the avant-garde into rock and roll, and pushed listeners’ perceptions about the essence of pop music. An experiment that envisioned the future of rock and roll and, in doing so, changed the course of music.

The Zombies
Innovative arrangements, gorgeous choral harmonies, and impeccable musicianship made the Zombies one of the most admired and influential groups of the 1960s.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

This Day in Music History

December 8 was quite a day in music history. Probably the first on everybody's mind is its the day that John Lennon was shot and killed in NYC in 1980. Very sad day indeed.

Also on this day....Beatles release "Magical Nystery Tour" (1967)....Whitney Houston wins Billboard Music Award for "The Bodyguard" soundtrack (1993)....folk legend Jean Ritchie is born (1922)....rock legend Jim Morrison is born (1943)....rock legend Gregg Allman is born (1947)....rock/fusion guitarist Marty Freidman born (1962)....pop sensation Sinead O'Connor born (1966).

In addition to John Lennon, the world also loses Marty Robbins (1982), and Pantera guitarist and metal icon Dimebag Darrell.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Barlow's 25 Principles of Adult Behavior

John Perry Barlow was a giant of a man. I'll simply leave it at that.

Below are his 25 Principles....with link at the bottom to read more about bim and this brief list.


1. Be patient. No matter what.

2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, never blame. Say nothing behind another’s back you’d be unwilling to say, in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.

3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.

4. Expand your sense of the possible.

5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.

6. Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.

7. Tolerate ambiguity.

8. Laugh at yourself frequently.

9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.

10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.

11. Give up blood sports.

12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another.

13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)

14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.

15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.

16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.

17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.

18. Never let your errors pass without admission.

19. Become less suspicious of joy.

20. Understand humility.

21. Forgive.

22. Foster dignity.

23. Live memorably.

24. Love yourself.

25. Endure.

Here’s what these principles meant to Barlow:

"I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However, I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of my friends or colleagues catch me violating one of them, bust me."

Read more here.....