Friday, December 28, 2012

Steve McQueen, cool.

Steve McQueen was some sort of a cool dude, and the fact that he was an avid motorcyclist makes him even cooler in my opinion.  

Honda apparently paid him a million bucks for this add, a million dollars in the 70's to ride in the desert. Dirt biking was something McQueen probably would have been doing in his spare time anyway as he was passionate about motorcycles. He competed in the Baja 1000 Rally and was good friends with Bud Ekins and Malcolm Smith also avid and accomplished riders so he was no slouch on a bike.  Watching the clip and you begin to understand the allure of riding; the scenery, the hidden places and the camaraderie of the ride.

I also love the tag at the end of the video….'for a man's ride. HONDA.'  I guess in the '70s your bike made you a man and not your gun. Or, more simply, people where less concerned with their Second Amendment rights and more concerned with having good times.

Finally his mention of safety gear…his helmet, back when men were men, and bones where broken.

Just for comparison…

Not as cool….but still cool, a good life.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

we used to play live

where….is rock and roll? 
I met an old friend who is busy being a rock star, selling records and touring the world and he said something disturbing.
'you'd be surprised how many band run pro-tools rigs on stage. We used to view playing well live as a point of pride.'
'what bands'
he shakes his head, 'big ones, you'd be surprised.'
So Britney Spears is not the only one (i posted that video before really don't want to hurt you again) but rock bands using 'lip sync' while performing?  Common really?
Makes sense I guess, it's big money after all.

ahhhhh…. i feel better now….

Sunday, March 4, 2012


 Went for a walk today.
 I haven't gone on a morning walk since the dog left, so it was a little lonely but I didn't let that dampen the mood, it was a beautiful morning after all.  (that's a photo of Cain from one of our last walks together back in October)

I walked a beach and a stretch of road…the music that accompanied me was classic rock (AC/DC, Def Leppard - Pyromania, and Yo Yo Ma may favourite Bach interpretations for solo Cello).
Music really didn't set the mood today, it was nice in the background but not essential..which is weird if you know me.  It was the light and colour today that was the song, the sound the world around me and the silence of the morning.  The beach shots are about 10 minutes from where I live but it might as well be a 1000 miles from anywhere for how quiet it is there at 6am.

Friday, February 24, 2012

alone with the headphone...

Picture: the Canadian Prairie at sunrise
Driving with a good pair of headphones to bring on the morning, these are the times I love classical music. In the quiet parts you can hear the audience moving in their seats and the players turning pages. Choose the right music (I love Copeland's Appalachian Spring it's perfect for the way it builds and crescendos) and you disappear into another world… you only hear the music, not the car or the wind from the open window, not the person snoring in the seat beside you. 
It’s what your eyes see and your ears hear; the smell of summer flowers, dew and cool grass, blowing in the breeze, the air moving through the horns, and the bow across the strings.  You mind is blank your senses heightened and you are alone and focused on the music…there is no better way to listen to music and not be distracted; alone with the head phone.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jazz, Classical and waking up, thanks Dad.

For a family that was primarily an visual arts family it is a little odd (maybe) that I ended up playing music.  But then I think back to some of my earliest memories;
Life has been tied together (beginning to present) by a place call 'The House of Doors' an oasis in lower Muskoka that I have been privileged to have access to.  Many paintings and stories have come out of the cottage over the years and I will continue to love, learn and live up there. Since home is where the heart is I guess that's home...but I digress.


As far back as I can remember Saturday mornings where ushered in with the smell of bacon in the pan and the sound of Jean Sibelius 'Finlandia' on the hi-fi.
Do yourself a favour and listen to the whole thing....close your eyes...and imagine;  
You're a kid in the 70's lying on the top bunk and the sun is forcing it's way through the white pine and oak into your bedroom. The door is open and the sound the water, the breeze in the trees and the morning birds follow in with the sun.  Not far above your head is a cedar ceiling, redwood beams patina'd by time to a warm red, the sounds of plates and cutlery as the kitchen prepares, and bacon hits a hot pan. Someone asks if you are going for a swim before breakfast... and the fist long notes flow on the air mixing with the smells of pork, pine, water, and you climb down from the bed.  

That's was mornings on Saturday at the cottage, and believe me (ask my brothers) I am not romanticizing this in the slightest, that was how every saturday began.  Dad always wanted to come up on friday, maximize the time on the river so Saturday wake ups where the norm  We cut down trees, we piled wood, we shingled, we raked, we dug, we played 'war,' built some amazing forts in the bush, and swam in the river and had lazy lunches on the dock. 

The music was amazing; 
Shostakovich,BrahmsMahler, Beethoven (Symphony #7 not the pesky pop music 5th), Chopin... then there was the classical that I brought up; GrofeCopelandBach, classical is meant for long drives and lazy days, it's perfect in the background because you can give it your attention, or not.  I learned to love classical music driving across the prairies in the Gluebus, sunrise behind me heading west on an empty road.  Serene moments like that are often also found in a Muskoka chair on a dock.

At the House of Doors music was often in the back ground. I'm not sure what drew my Dad to music, I should ask him.  After all not everyone had a constant flow of music in their childhood, let alone one with such a generation gap.  But Dad loves his music; he once told me that when he was alone at the cottage he would push the hi-fi over to the window and turn the music up load, then swim, sit on the dock and read, scotch and cigar in hand.
There was Oscar Peterson, 
Clark Terry 
                 Dave Brubeck
                                 Carmen McRea  
Oh man... and Miles, Ella and Sinatra....
Saturdays where for Symphonies and Sundays where for the Jazz wake up call....and boiled eggs usually with toast, a fruit salad sometimes kippers, maybe Nasi Goreng if there was left over rice... I wish I drank coffee back then, that would have been perfect.

I find rock has it's endearing qualities, but it doesn't have the same type of ebb and flow that Jazz and Symphonic music have.  There's a frantic nature to modern music that (to me at least) doesn't flow through nature the same way as older music does...maybe it's the lengths of the songs or the attitude behind the music.  Sure there is beautiful and timeless rock music (the Beatles, Springsteen, Johnny Cash, U2...) but for me those songs are attached to specific moments in time, a simple snap shot of a memory... not of my long personal wanderings. 


I guess that is what makes all music the soundtrack to our lives, it's the songs we sing in our heads and the ones we hear when we wake up. It accompanies smells, tastes and experiences good and bad, it motivates us and sings us to sleep. 

So modern music is the snap shot and Symphonic and Jazz are the movie, that's my angle at least. I should note that for all the years I have dedicated to rock no one song is a cottage song to me...but when I hear Finlandia, I'm taken there...and when I arrive, I usually look for that album.

I blame my Dad for my obsession with music.
Thanks Dad.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bieber revisited ('Never Say Never' review)

All right look at this;
Now I'm no drummer, I can do that... But I am a hell of a lot older, that this cat was around four when this was filmed blows my mind. As a Dad I'd like to think I have a little experience with 4 years olds. Like I said in my other post this kid has something going on.  

The movie is a fairly straight ahead concert/biography movie, it's not all that special but what I have come to appreciate is Justin's talent; he sings, he dances, he plays drums, he plays piano, and what the hell? He actually seems like a nice grounded kid. 

He seems to make time for his fans and appears to be genuinely appreciative of the people around him and his fame. Ya he's a cheese bag but I am sure we all where at 14...damn, I'm still a cheese bag.
I like the movie: 
What the hell?  It's like a universal requirement that if you don't fall into the demographic for kiddy/teeny pop you supposed to hate it, why is that?   As I mentioned in my other Bieber blog so many 'older' more 'mature' folk get on the hater band wagon on stuff like this....bah!  I know the words for NKOTB songs and bought Britney CDs (before she lost her mind) and oh ya... Spice Girls *gasp* Durran Durran, The Beach Boys and The Beatles...oops said to much.

On top of all that rebellion again's my metal roots I love behind the scenes movies.  Seeing back stage and into the lives of rockstars is entertaining and often humanizes a person who has been propped up to 'god' status by popular media.  Justin is just a kid with an incredible talent, he has to do all the crap kid stuff on top of the adult crap.  He has a tutor (you have to watch not to miss it, but there is the obligatory shot of books, pencils and studying) he pranks his co-workers, hangs out with his friends and has awkward girl moments

This cracks me up...I love her reaction ('they'll take me to jail').

The movie is basically the lead up to the Madison Square Gardens show, sold out of course, so you get all the drama of an artist getting ready to play a very important show.  Not many artists get to sell out the Garden (and they remind you of this constantly) so it is kinda cool. Watching him you gotta note that he sounds like he is really singing, nice.

There is a little auto tune on the acoustic bit while he hovers above the crowd at one point, but is it an effect or is it a repair? Don't care, live artist used to be forgiven for vocals that where slightly out, now it seems unforgivable even when a excellent singer mess up. Then there's Britney...
Watch it if you can....I  can't.  Granted she's running around and dancing like a show monkey but it's rough for sure.  Still... she's gone through a lot more then Bieber has, hopefully his people will keep his head where it should be.
There is one point on the movie where Scooter tells a story of Justin turning to him during a Michael Jackson tribute and pointedly asks a favour of the guy that found him on YouTube; it's noted the world took Michael's child hood away, Justin asks Scooter to not let that happen to him.  The kid is aware. 

There is no spoiler here...he plays the Garden and does so as any pro would.   And that's just it, he's a pro, professional artist, professional money maker. 

Nay-sayers give it a rest.
If your jealous get over it.
Like any artist he deserves to be where he is, he traveled in a van, some said there was no market and some hate him...although I can't understand why.

If you like concert movies, you should like this.  It's no Last Waltz but it's a good way to kill a couple of hours.  Of course it is kids safe, marketed correctly and all.

'Live(Evil)' Black Sabbath just came on the Radio....DIO, we don't do live like that anymore.  We've done it to ourselves, damn you pro-tools, damn you to hell!


This race is what road racing used to be and 'street racing' still is. Mad speeds public roads.  At least on the Isle of Mann they close those roads.
Amazing to say the least.
Pointless post really...but that's what this blog is for: enjoy!

I love the music, so appropriate, to often it techno or metal. If you know the Isle Of Mann TT then you know how insanely fast thees guys are going, especially the air at the end of the video.  The way the bikes move, unload and load the suspension, the distortion of the tires...amazing.

Just a quick clip for comparison (it's a longish clip, but it is cool)... and on board;
the music on this is in the motor....errrrrr,errrrrr,errrrr,bwaaaaaah....eerrrrrrrr.....

Monday, January 2, 2012

riding music.

that can be read a few ways, and I'll let you worry about that.  For me (for now) it's about two wheels. What does a riding song have to be like?  What do want it to achieve?

First day back in the saddle;
Frankly I want it to kick my ass....Ok so take this song 'Heart Attack America' by the Bronx; I love this song, it's so balls out that... well you get the picture. I'm thinking a nice down hill rip on a MTB or a tear along a particularly tight road, sport bike, knee down, wheelie out of the corner...maybe a motard...don't care; fast, crazy, outta hand, against the law.

But the epic ride, oh buddy;
oh oh oh ha ha heee he he....epic...damn these guys can play, I hadn't seen this live vid yet, it's shorter then the album version but wow...I saw these guys live and they are probably just like this all the time, note to note perfect.  Neil Peart digs these guys and you can see why.
Alright you and your ADD...get back on topic. This is for a ride that is a little longer.  Maybe a twisty road just short of full warp factor 8, you now where you are actually looking around as opposed to just looking through the next corner. Sooth pavement, flowing from turn to turn slowly amping up to a crescendo and coasting down to the pub as the song ends....summer at about 8 pm after a long day.  A patio, a lake and a bench to race on.

Amp it up now...we're just getting going;

If this song doesn't make you drive faster you have stones in your butt.  That's, and god forbid you are on a proper sport bike that will try to eat you (think '99 R1). All bent in half and flexed up like some WWE star.  This song is like a blunt trauma to your head...

Pounding, cranking...fighting till the end;
Ok...sorry about the video but this band is a little out of the past, sorta pre-internet (remember that?) so the footage is really at odds with the song.  I love this song for 'beating myself up.'  The last few miles,  tired, worn and ready for a shower...not at all like the ending above, after this kind of ride I want to sleep, or hide by myself, or lie on the sofa and stare at the cracks in the ceiling.  Spent, done, down for the count.  Try jumping jacks on tempo for this whole'll kinda get what I mean.

There, you feel that? Should I go on? Oh I could keep going but it's kinda pointless as you can kinda see where I am off to with this....sorry no Jazz, Hip-Hop, classical, folk, whatever, I am sure there is a ride and a road for all of that, but that is for another day and another useless ramble.

Ok January, piss off...I wanna go for a ride.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

10 Cheesy hair metal videos....yup.

So some cheesy hair band cheesy.
Last night, New Years Eve was spent with my son (we went to the Zoo and watch the animals try to figure out how to eat us) not a kiss at the bell. Sure it was a little lonely after the boy was in bed but it made me realize that I miss writing this blog and truthfully I was in bed by 11 pm.

So as I wandered around the internet I found myself looking at 80s Hair Metal videos and giggling to my self.  So here is 10 good servings of 80's cheese. This is in no way a definitive list, it's just a bunch of videos that make me laugh and shake my head.
Pretty Boy Floyd: Rock and Roll
Really? look at the make up on these dudes.  Tammy Faye Baker would be proud, love the start with the guns into the guitar part.  And these guys studied at the school of Motley Crue, at least Crue where the first.
Ok....This is for comparison; it is cheesy (love the silhouette of the girls getting the bath and lots of fist waving) but consider this; PBF is '89 to Crue in '84 so you have to give Crue a few props here for setting the stage stylistically.  I'm particularly partial to the terrible fight sequence, what a great video.  Devil signs everyone!

Skeleton hand....nice.  Blackie Lawless is an ugly dude, grey hair? Always thought that was weird.  Notice the pelvic thrusts, they are a genre requirement I am sure, and fist waving and scowling...
And why are they standing on their toes?
White Lion
Oh ya....who didn't like this song? More wide spread legs and tip toes... did all these ladies want to be ballerinas?  Mike why do you looks so sad?  Pretty girls are dying to get your hair secrets and... ah.... your pelvic thrusts.  Then there is Vito; he was a good player, weird eyes...kinda like a frog, wonder is all the young girls thought if they kissed him he would turn into a prince. Speaking of kissing; pouty lips! Forgot about those.
How could I not include this?  The bathing suits alone are awesome....and really, are you even aloud to make a video like this any more?  I mean motor oil on the beach has got to be an environmental crime.  Super hot s&m chicks on the's crazy but I remember walking to high school in black leather in June and almost passing out from the a leather bikini, why no?  Volley ball, nice touch.
Ah the perm....and look at the special effects, state of the art.  Medals, I had medals, I got them at a head shop (not at war, kinda a mockery in hind sight) and they got caught on everything, but things like that do go better with rock.  Japanese Kamikaze head bands... he he he.  I'm having fun can you tell?  Van Halen tapping... but who's play while they're all pumping their fists?  I can hear the director 'just stand there...closer oh oh...pump you fist....oh this is so cool, you guys rock hard metal ya ! YA!'
Where did these guys fit in?  Ok they are German....Not a pretty boy in sight, you know maybe they where ahead of their time? No wait, wide leg poses and choreographed lunging and head banging till the wall comes down, all things are possible with metal.
We had Germans so now we need an Italian, where did Stephen Pearcy get his moves?  He must have seen Roth on sunset...but that kick, lame. Not cheesy?  The doubled guitar, always loved that. No I take it back, it's cheesy.  Priest and Maiden nailed the double guitar thing before these guys anyway.
I just an epiphany...did Pearcy have a little foo-foo dog with hair in front of it's eyes? That is all I think of when I see his hair in this video, some poor sappy dog walking around an old ladies living room smacking into furniture.

Def Leppard
Wizards, Perms and white pant ass shots....still a great song.
When we dressed like this did we actually think we looked good? And who's ideal was the sword?  Oh ya....axe,  Breakin' the Chains...
George Lynch, did he ever wear a shirt?  Don Dokken, buddy, you can punch whatever you want but you will never look tough.  Oh my....the upset girlfriend, that is cheesy.  More wizard crap...and more chains, more breakin' chains.

I can sit here and beat this crap up but I am sure I owned all of this at some point and there is so much more of it, Poison, Warrant, Winger, it didn't get better it got even worse.  Then you enter the power ballad era and that took whatever 'tough' there was in metal and threw it out the door.

Don't get me wrong there where some good songs but it was all to slick and exaggerated and when 'Smells like Teen Spirit, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, and Rusty Cage' came out this posturing disappeared overnight.
Not a bad thing...cause in hindsight the kitsch was,

Still fun....Glad it's in retrospect, no wait Buck Cherry.