Thursday, May 30, 2013

24 hours

Stones 89The reign of terror is finally coming to a close.

For a solid month, I have subjected my family and friends to endless posts and videos of the Rolling Stones as we got closer to tomorrow night’s show in Chicago. There will still be a few tonight, but then I’ll let up. At around this time tomorrow, the Stones should be taking the stage.

Who will be the special guest tomorrow? I am really hoping for Buddy Guy. I thought that’s who it was going to be for the Tuesday show in Chicago, but it was Taj Mahal. I still think Eddie Vedder will make an appearance and sing “Wild Horses” with them...but will that happen tomorrow night when we’re there, or will it happen Monday at the third and final Chicago show? I would love to see Eddie, too, but I really hope they bring out Buddy for a fired up Friday night crowd. I’m thinking “Champagne and Reefer.” If that happens tomorrow, I’m going to go batshit crazy. You have been warned, people.

I appreciate everyone being tolerant of me, and some friends were kind enough to say that they liked seeing my excitement and enthusiasm, and many are wishing me well. They know how much this means to me, and how much I am going to enjoy this show.

I saw them back in ‘89 with Cousin Shane in Indianapolis, on the Steel Wheels tour, and it remains my favorite concert ever. I made a poster of that experience, with my ticket stub, my armband, and pictures and articles from the Indianapolis Star. I suspect that the two Stones shows I’ve seen (after tomorrow) will be my #1 and #2 favorites of all.

There will soon be a 2013 companion poster to the ‘89 one.

I know it’s only rock and roll, but I like it. *sssss* I LIKE it.

Uh huh. Here comes the Inner Lizard.

Stones Chicago

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beth’s Music Moment: Rolling Stone Archives

Beth's music moment5Boy, I’m sure doing a lot of Music Moments lately! That’s because I’m having a lot of really good music moments these days!

Today’s came when I was sitting out on the deck catching some rays and catching up on some back issues of Rolling Stone that I hadn’t gotten to yet. Lots of good stuff. One of my favorite features is the back page, where they list the top 40 albums and a few other charts. The part I love the best on that page is the “From the Vault” box, where they show a past cover, a brief quote from whoever was on it, and the top ten singles at the time. Today’s just slayed me. Since I’m a subscriber, I get full access to their online archives, and I spent a brief time there today. I have to be careful there because I could easily get lost in reading old articles!

The issue in “From the Vault” was RS 250, from October 20th, 1977, and it was Johnny Rotten on the cover, with the headline “Rock is Sick.” But what really made me grin was seeing the top ten singles from that week:
  1. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life”
  2. Carly Simon “Nobody Does It Better”
  3. Shaun Cassidy “That’s Rock ‘N Roll”
  4. KC & the Sunshine Band “Keep It Comin’ Love”
  5. Heatwave “Boogie Nights”
  6. Foreigner “Cold As Ice”
  7. Commodores “Brick House”
  8. Donna Summer “I Feel Love”
  9. Meco “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”
  10. Johnny Rivers “Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancin’)”
Sex Pistols Rolling Stone coverNow, I don’t hate all of the songs on that list. I think I even had a couple of the records (and “Brick House” is still a blast!). But all in all, it’s a pretty anemic list, and it brought back memories of how boring much of the radio was at that time, and how excited Shane and I were by punk rock and New Wave. We felt like, “YES, this is IT!” Punk was and is always my first love in music, and part of it is because of how exciting it felt to be caught up in it. That is the music of my young adulthood and college years, and they say that’s always what you love the best. That makes sense, because it sort of helps form who you are. Man, I remember that freakin’ Debby Boone song being at the top of the charts for weeks, and it was just so sappy and gagworthy. Shane and I were like, “Screw it, play the Clash and blow the pictures off the walls!” (We really did that once...”Death Or Glory” was the song, and we still laugh about it.)

I won’t argue that it was the most revolutionary change in music ever, because I’m sure people have said that about rap, hip hop, many other genres, and probably even Mozart, for that matter. But it was certainly revolutionary for me, and opened my eyes to a whole different world, one far beyond my small town. I think it’s fair to say that it changed my life. The juxtaposition of that cover and the top ten list brought all that back to me in a flash. Shane and I and our friend Steve were very much in the “Disco sucks!” crowd, although there weren’t too many of us at our school. In fact, I think we might have been it!

Also interesting and pertinent was this quote from Sid Vicious:
“The Stones should have quit in 1965. You never see [them] walkin’ down the street. If it gets so you can’t see us that way, then I don’t want it. But the entire American music industry is poised to turn you into the next big thing. They’ll suck out any integrity the band has.”
The Pistols were essentially a band manufactured by Malcolm McLaren, sort of the Monkees of the punk era. Sid couldn’t play for shit, although Steve Jones, the guitarist, could. The band flamed out in almost record time. But the music still stands up and it still rocks. Of course, Sid is long gone, and Mick and Keith and the guys are still out there making music. There might be a lesson there, but I’m not sure what it is. It’s more than a little ironic, though. Don’tcha think?

Beth’s Music Moment: Should I Stand or Should I Sit?

Beth's music moment6[4]When I was waiting for Ken to get home last Friday so we could head out to the Smash Mouth show, I was getting psyched for the show and started to post a few Concert Rules. I don’t know what made me think of that, but I had fun with it. Hell, I’ve been to enough of ‘em over the years...I think it’s fair to say that I’m a seasoned concert-goer!

Some were just for fun, like “It’s not cool to puke anywhere other than the bathroom,” “It’s not cool to yell political rhetoric at the band” (Shane and our friend Steve and I still laugh about seeing REM at Notre Dame, and some guy by us yelling, “Michael, what about the Contras?!”), and “Guys, don’t push up against a girl...boners in the back are SERIOUSLY uncool.” Others were more serious, like “If someone is in distress, like if they get pushed down or hurt, HELP THEM.”

A couple were related, and are the subject of this entry. “Show the band some love. They’re working hard up there, and want to hear you’re enjoying the show” and “Don’t be a dick and tell the person dancing in front of you to sit down. It’s a concert, not high mass.” The latter generated a lively discussion. Some of my friends who are very much into music knew exactly what I was talking about, but a couple of others disagreed. (I would like to point out NOW that this entry is in no way a slam against was an interesting discussion, and they had some valid points.) One said that no, they don’t pay a ton of money for tickets to have their view blocked by someone don’t be a dick and block others’ views. One said “Dance on a dance floor. Sit in a seat.”

I just couldn’t disagree with this more. Certainly, there are some shows where you sit. I didn’t stand up and dance at Harry Connick, Jr., for example, except for the few times when everyone did; plus, we were in the balcony. But this was Smash Mouth, a band that I would put right up there at party level with the World’s Greatest Party Band, the B-52s, and we were in the third row. I feel that it goes back to the “show the band some appreciation” rule. I said that I doubt that any rock musician wants to see the crowd sitting politely. They want the crowd up and on their feet, having a great time. They’re rockin’ out up there, and they want us to rock out with them! So I decided to ask some musician friends their feelings on it.

Jim (My good pal from the lab days, and the guitarist for the local Cornerstone Blues Band...they’re great!) gave a thoughtful answer, saying that if you get seats on the floor for a rock show, you should expect that people are going to be dancing; but the only guy in the mezzanine standing usually is right in front of Jim. Haha! He also said that when he’s onstage, he wants to see the dance floor packed and people having a good time. My friend Cindy, who sings as Alice in an Alice Cooper tribute band (Malice Cooper in Winnipeg...judging from their videos, they’re great, too!) was also thoughtful, but more succinct, saying that it’s supposed to be a party, and that if the band is sitting, you’re allowed to sit...otherwise, get up off your ass!

I mentioned here that the guitarist for Smash Mouth, Sean Hurwitz, was a super nice guy, and we had exchanged a few messages. Since he is my new “pal” (Okay, I just follow him on Twitter and his artist page on Facebook...but he’s very willing to answer questions and interact with fans.), I thought, “Hey, maybe I can get his take on this!” The guy has had some real national exposure with several artists, and is doing an extensive national tour this summer with Smash Mouth, so I’d say that’s some serious cred. I sent him an admittedly rambling message explaining all this, and he messaged back something like “Beth...I’m not sure I understand what your question is. Did I miss something?” LOL I realized that I never really had asked a question. I had to laugh at myself, and responded:
As a performer, would you rather see people in the audience getting up and dancing, or do you think it's more important that people in the audience who DON'T want to stand up and dance have an unobstructed view? Like, is it cool for people to tell those in front of them to sit down at a rock show?
He very kindly sent me back this answer:
Look, my perspective is that it's all about what kind of show you're at. Gotta match that energy.
If I'm going to a Foo Fighters show, I BETTER not be sitting down, and if someone got up and started dancing in front of me, well then, that kind of comes with the territory. 
Now if I'm at a Jazz show where all the musicians are sitting down and the vibe is SUPER chill...well then that's a sitting down vibe (except for the couple dancing on the side). 
As a performer, I like to see MY energy, OUR energy, take over the crowd. 
If I'm jumping around all over stage during a rock performance and the crowd is just sitting there...that doesn't really work for me. It's a back and forth energy.
Ya feel me?
OnstageYES! I DO feel ya, Sean, and that’s exactly what I was getting at about showing the band some love. They’re up there working hard to entertain us (My friend Rick, Cindy’s husband and the drummer for Malice Cooper and a few other bands, says that it’s not unusual that he drops eight pounds during a show...holy shit!), and I feel it is my sacred duty (now for the future) as a fangirl to let them know that I appreciate it and I’m lovin’ what they’re doing. Part of that is getting up, getting crazy, and shaking my booty. Interesting that he mentioned a super chill jazz vibe...I responded that yes, I’ve been to Preservation Hall, and that’s an atmosphere where you sit and enjoy the musicians and no one gets up and dances. I also loved that “couple dancing on the side” remark. Very evocative and kind of dreamy. That’s a short story waiting to happen. [writing it down in my idea book]

So there you have it. I truly do get where my “don’t dance” friends were coming from, and I agree with it for certain shows—it can even depend on where you’re sitting. But for rock shows, especially a party band like Smash Mouth, the band feeds off of our energy. The crazier the audience gets, the better their show is going to be. It’s synergy, man, and who doesn’t love some good synergy? It’s a positive thing. Show the band some love. Get up, get crazy, come on, get happy! It will make the show even better, and we’re all there together to rock the joint, right?

For me, concerts can be a communal experience. I never felt that more than at the Springsteen show at Wrigley Field last September, where I really felt like I was part of a group of thousands of people experiencing over three hours of sheer bliss and everyone just grooving on the band and connecting in a very profound way. I try to approach every concert like that, and I get off on the crowd getting into it! I don’t doubt that I’ll feel that way this Friday night when we see the Stones in Chicago. So I totally get my musician friends’ remarks on this, and how they love to feel our energy as much as we love to feel theirs.

I got permission from Sean to share his response here. A major “thank you” to him for the nice response. You’re a peach, Sean! *mwah*

Monday, May 27, 2013


Boondock SaintsI have no idea how I missed out on these movies all these years, because after watching “Boondock Saints” and the sequel “Boondock Saints: All Saints Day,” they are instant favorites of mine.

I guess it’s just one of those things that flew under my radar until I became a big fan of “The Walking Dead” and one of its stars, Norman Reedus. I had always heard good things about the Boondock movies, so I picked up the movies recently.

Holy shit. What a blast. I wouldn’t say that these are deep movies, for the most part, but they are fun and violent and badass. The interaction between the twin McManus brothers is fantastic and had us both cracking up several times. It’s meant to be over-the-top, and a lot of the violence is played for laughs. (For those who want to say “violence is never funny,” calm down. REAL LIFE violence is never funny. Movie violence sometimes is.)

Some friends said that the sequel wasn’t quite as good as the original, and I would probably agree with that, but I still loved it. There was one scene that made me laugh so hard I said, “Let’s play that again!” and we did. (That one wasn’t a violent was a drunken, funny one.)

They reminded me a lot of Tarantino movies in their combination of violence and humor and excess. I suppose some might call them “derivative” of Tarantino, and to those people I’d say, “Get off the cross, Mary, we need the wood!” It’s a fun ride. Just enjoy it and quit thinking so hard. Or as I said recently about something else, “Just shut up and dance.” Sometimes I don’t want to be wooed...I want you to show me a nasty good time. Both Boondock movies do that, and some serious eye candy with Norman and Sean Patrick Flanery doesn’t hurt, either! But I loved these for many other reasons than the eye candy, and I will watch these multiple times.

And guess what, guys? A quick search turned up news that a THIRD MOVIE might be in the works, and it might have something to do with the Boston Marathon bombing. Murphy and Connor take on terrorists? THIS MUST HAPPEN! As late as 2012, it looked like it wasn’t happening, or at least Norman and Sean (yes, I’m on a first name basis with them!) wouldn’t be a part of it...but more recent news says that it might be in the works. *GASP* That would definitely be a theater movie for way I’d wait for the DVD to come out! It would sure be a good time to do it. “The Walking Dead” is super popular right now, and Daryl is absolutely a fan sure seems like a good idea for Norman to capitalize on that.

But only if they don’t kill off Daryl so Norman can do the movie! Don’t do it, AMC! If he needs to be away for an extended time for movie shooting, have him get separated from the group or something and come back later, but pleeeeeze don’t kill him!

Wow, two MAJOR thumbs up for these movies. Like I said, instant favorites for me, ones that I’ll go back and watch many times. As I mentioned on Facebook, I almost feel cheated that I missed out on these for so many years. I could have been enjoying them all this time! AGH! I also said that they made me want to blast some Dropkick Murphys and bust some heads! (Hmm...are the Dropkick Murphys named after Murphy McManus? I will check into that. No, they were not. They formed three years before the first movie was released. So was Murphy McManus named for the Dropkick Murphys? Enquiring minds want to know!)

Here is the trailer for the first movie. Badass!