Monday, December 6, 2010

[Blogging] Music

Over my head, I hear it loud and clear
Music, music, over my head, I hear music- King's X, Over My Head

My recent post asking for advice on a gift of music for TheDude has pushed me to post something I've had in the "rumination stage' for well over a month; a post about music.

I've meant to talk about the sounds in my head (no, I'm not crazy!) as well as tell you that every lyric, quote and riff I put on here is for a reason. I try to create a mood, evoke an emotional response, or offer something relevant to the content of the post when I put quotes up- and I hope you enjoy.

The fact that talking about music inspired TheDude to comment on my blog for the very first time does have a little to do with this decision, but not a huge amount. [Hey you!]

When talking about music, it's important to note that TheDude & I have some pretty different tastes. I swear, that man loves anything loud, crass, tasteless and offensive- just because it is all of those things. In addition to loving punk and metal (which are generally loud, rude, crass, offensive and/or tasteless), he's a HUGE GWAR and ICP fan and searches out the Psychopathic Records stuff on a fairly regular basis. And, as Christian can attest- his biggest "failing" (at least in my book) - he loves DEVO. (Someone take pity on me, please. It's terrible.)

He's also something of an amateur rock historian, so he has some very strong roots in old school stuff. One of his favorite "joke Jeopardy" categories is "musical trivia only I know for $800, Alex". The man is amazing when it comes to knowing who played in what band when and where they went after that. He knows the names of SESSION players.(For real- who does that?)

Our first date involved music very prominently. We went to all three of the local CD vendors- a pretty standard afternoon for the two of us. He wound up buying several CDs (again, pretty standard-he'd often drop half his paycheck at the CD shop). One of them was 247 Spyz Gumbo Millenium. He read the liner notes while we ate, in a desperate attempt to figure out how to talk to me (his best friend).

For a while early in our dating/marriage history, we didn't go on dates, we went to concerts. For my high school graduation present, we went to Queensrych, with Suicidal Tendencies opening (THAT was a crazy show). My earliest "scrapbooks" were ticket stubs from all the shows we saw.

We took TheBoy to see Weird Al as his first concert. His second? Judas Priest and Anthrax with the classic lineups as a Boy/Dad only affair. The kid was 10, 11 and we made sure he was exposed to Halford.

When we got a dog, we decided to name him after someone or something musical, and among the possible names were Joey, Mastadon and Cash. We named our dog after The Man In Black, folks.

I am still thinking of what to get The Dude for Christmas, as he's dang near IMPOSSIBLE to shop for anymore. Any time I think I have an idea, he's already scored whatever I wanted to get him. So I'm thinking music. I know he likes it, and I know what he does (and doesn't) have very well.

TheDude chimed in a bit with some of his favorites - here's a recap:

Monster Magnet, Opeth, Bad Religion, Clash, Ramones, and Voivod

Pop Will Eat Itself
Faith No More
Transmetal (Mexican Thrash Metal)
Sisters of Mercy
Siouxsie & the Banshees
24-7 Spyz
House of Freaks
Midnight Oil
Hunters & Collectors
Johnny Cash
Chuck Berry
Big & Rich
Alice In Chians
Pink Floyd
Planet P Project
the The

[Hey, where's the Blondie? And My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult? Machines of Love and Grace? What about your love affair with Adam and the Ants? Police? Yaz? And no way you can leave out Big Audio Dynamite. Or Soundgarden. AND WHERE IS IN FLAMES??? You completely glossed over the Clowns and Brockie. Never fear, -I- remember that you like them.]

I'm looking at his list, and for having said that we have fairly different tastes, I like pretty much everything on there. (Well, except Devo. That's not music- it's arty noise that I just don't like at all. Also, I just don't "get" ICP or GWAR. The rest I like pretty well.)

The Dude and I were talking about what elements we like - what draws us to specific bands or musicians.

For him, he likes -words that paint pictures.   Queensryche's Operation:Mindcrime is a perfect example of this sort of thing. So is every album by The Clash, and a majority by Midnight Oil as well.

He likes : immersive music- Stuff that he can "swim in". Completely left off his list, but an absolute favorite in this vein: Smashing Pumpkins. Siouxsie & The Banshees and Planet P are more of the same.

And last thing he considers is : rhythm  He loves a good bass line, a thick drum beat, a good sense of direction from the 'back of the house'. Pretty much everything on his list has a specific sonic direction provided by the bass or drums.

I have similar tastes, but my list has some stuff on it that his doesn't. Here are some of my rock/modern favorites: (I am avoiding repeats such as Faith No More, Ministry, Sisters of Mercy, Live and Clutch. I also did not include much jazz as that's a whole different list, bigger than this one.)

Beastie Boys
David Bowie
Peter Gabriel
Dave Matthews Band
Indigo Girls
Melissa Etheridge
Charlie Parker
Suicidal Tendencies/Infectious Grooves
Stuck Mojo
Mary J Blige
Missy Elliot
Justin Timberlake
Linkin Park
Garth Brooks
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Skindred (a new find made via a friend)

and of course, no list of mine is complete without Mr. P.R. Nelson. That man is a tiny package of brilliance better known as Prince. I will not lie- I am a FREAK for His Royal Badness. I have loved this man longer than I've loved TheDude. I have it BAD for him and his music. His music, to me, is just about perfect for what I like the most. I understand he's not for everyone, and in the past 4-5 years, he has gotten more and more eccentric. I'm aware of his failings as much as his brilliance, but I could not make a list without talking about The Artist.

Here's a snapshot of what a "perfect band" looks like to me: sonically complex, quick, lyrically effective, flexible vocal range, and a GREAT rhythm section. Break it down further, and here's what I look for:

Melody: I enjoy stuff has a good melodic tune, something that might make me sing. I tend a bit more towards the "pop" end of the spectrum due to this proclivity.

Lyrics: Whether it be the words themselves or the way they're sung, lyrics matter to me. Beastie Boys and Melissa Etheridge are pretty different, but they both have great presentation of the words.

Rhythm: As discussed previously, I sort of have a thing for drummers. Having played in the rhythm section of an ensemble for well over four years, I understand the importance of the background guys (and gals). I actively look for great beats and enjoy checking out the folks that lay them down. To me, nobody beats Clutch and Mastadon in this category- Jean-Paul and Brann are outstanding crafters of cadence.

I do enjoy checking out new stuff, but I have no idea how to find it. I don't listen to radio and music on tv is a joke. I use Pandora pretty frequently, but have found that the search engine usually picks familiar artists rather than something I've never heard before.I usually get my new music through friends' reccomendations.

I'll freedly admit to stalking Dethtron in hopes of picking up some fabulous nugget. I'm older enough than he is that he has a younger viewpoint that I enjoy, and his metal tastes are pretty awesome.

TheDude? He'll try anything, even if he hasn't heard it before. Most of the time, buying for him is pretty easy. He has so many bands that he's expressed an interest in that I can usually pick up something he hasn't bought, but wants. I can always fill out "holes" in his collection (he still has 2 or 3 Kiss albums he wants,  a couple Rush albums to get, more Zappa, etc) - but I do like to find something different that might trip his trigger. I love surprising him more than just about anything else. It just makes my day to completely blindside him with something he didn't know he wanted, but now can't live without.

I've really enjoyed the recent discussions I've had with you guys. I hope you've gotten a better sense of what I'm all about, and I hope you've found something to talk about.

Be Well,



  1. I must say I approve of TheDude's music selection.

    Now the question is, has he heard Devo's cover of Head Like a Hole? :)

  2. The question is: why did I not know that Devo covered head like a hole until just now?

  3. Or from the other side: Fu Manchu's cover of Freedom of Choice?

  4. Dave G: Yep. We have it.

    We also have the Devo cover of "Satisfaction". It's absolutely baffling that I like it because it's both Devo AND Stones- both bands I don't like.

    Biopunk: I am pretty sure we have that too.

  5. Hmm you could try some Cranes (Dreampop, dense, electronic sound) or some Buzzcocks (jangly, noisy, catchy, Early Brit PunkPop)

    both stuff I like, and I'd also pull out some Husker Du (Bob Mould rocks my socks). Heck, maybe even local boys Braid, or Sarge (for local girlz)

    C-U had a pretty interesting Music scene for quite a while. a lot of good local bands.

  6. How much of a Devo fan am I?

    Let me put it this way... Loq and I own the soundtrack to the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers movie because there is a Devo song on it.

    As for the "Head Like A Hole" cover they did, that was a surprise to me when I bought the "Supercop" soundtrack back in 1996 looking for the "title" song they did for the movie. It was an unexpected (and pleasent) bonus.

    the Dude

  7. What about music storage of some kind?