It’s been a long time since I’ve done an everything/nothing post. So…the Simpson’s quote is in the title, and we’re ready to go!
- In follow-up to my last past, and for anyone who might be wondering, Becca’s funeral was lovely, as far as funerals go. I was honored to be asked to play guitar as a prelude for the service. I opted to play some stuff I wrote. I adapted parts of “Suspended” off my “New Year’s Eve” record with two new pieces that I wrote in the couple of days immediately following Becca’s death (and plan on using again later). “Suspended” was there just as a framework to give me something to build on and to give me a starting-point to get comfortable. Played for about 35 minutes, so it was good to have something I’ve played a lot to bounce back to after meandering through new melodies. And it felt very special to play for an angel. As I was walking into the funeral home that day, I was speaking with Allen, who thanked me for agreeing to do it. I was saying, “Thank you for asking me to…” and felt myself tearing up saying it. “I didn’t know THAT was going to choke me up,” I said. It’s a gift to be asked to do that kind of thing…it transcends music and musicianship and is everything music should be. My favorite record store frequently puts the phrase “Music is the Healing Force” on their marquee. In times of loss, I really do believe that. I’ll miss Becca every time I think of her, and the mourning is far from over for all who knew her…but I’m so glad I got to play for her that day.
- Okay… Something happy… My brother got a new dog. Her name is Sally and she’s very much a pointer. Jake’s death was sad, but you quickly get to miss having a dog almost as much as you miss the dog itself, so in came Sally. I met her for the first time last week. She’s very sweet with a lovely coat and seems very docile and well behaved. Jake’s opposite in many ways. Going to enjoy hanging around with her, I think.
- Something even happier that I can’t believe I didn’t put on the blog yet… Last month, I got to hang out with my friend Amanda twice. She lives in Springfield, IL, but twice had reason to find herself in St. Louis and called me up. We’re old friends…we go back 16 years. We’re kind of old shoes for one another, I think…but why is that the expression? Who wants to be called an old shoe? Maybe something nicer…like old blankets or old sweaters. Something warm and enveloping and comfortable. It’s good to have friends like that. We don’t get to see each other a ton, but when we do it’s like we saw each other YESTERDAY. And that’s lovely. Hung out on Halloween. She almost talked me into getting a tattoo. If I were still a drinker, it probably would’ve happened. Narrow miss.
- I had a really good slice of rainbow trout the other day. Skin on. Never sure what to do with that…but it was nice!
- I also failed to write about the fact that a couple of friends who I care about a ton moved to Georgia last month. I love Brandon and Kaylene like they’re family. Like on the level that if one of them said they needed a kidney, I’d say, “What’s your blood-type?” before they finished the sentence. And it’s not the end of the relationship or friendship or whatever…but y’know…a 10 hour drive sounds like a long way sometimes, and I miss them. But they’re doing something they feel like they need to do, so goddamn it, I hope they do the hell out of it. But I’d better get an invite to a housewarming to give me an excuse to finally try Zaxby’s sometime soon… (I know you’re reading this, Brandon!)
- So Ferguson went batshit crazy, huh? I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of the sadness and the anger. And I’m tired of being tired of it…but my black friends are way more tired of being pulled over while they’re doing the speed limit and being followed through stores. I’m “tired” of it and it’s really only been small distraction in my life. The people protesting are concerned with how they believe their entire LIVES have been going and how they’re afraid they might END. That sounds EXHAUSTING. I can deal with “tired.” But still…peace, forgiveness, and understanding trumps hate, burning, and fighting any day of the week. I’m hoping for real change to take place…and that starts with loving your neighbors. That expression “be the change you want to see in the world” seems a good fit in this town these days–for cop, citizen, and anarchist alike.
- Speaking of “Peace, Love, and Understanding,” Elvis Costello is coming to St. Louis! At the Pageant! And tickets seem to start at $75! What the fuck??? The Pageant isn’t worth $75. Costello is…but the Pageant is worth like $40, tops. If they’re willing to meet me at $55, I’ll consider it…but otherwise, sorry Elvis…play the Fox and we’ll talk about that ticket price. (What bothers me is that despite my outrage, I’m STILL kind of considering it, just because I’ve never seen him…but it seems unlikely. That’s just so much to pay for a venue I barely tolerate…)
- Quick Music Roundup:
- Pink Floyd – The Endless River — WAY better than I thought it would be. Not the best thing you’ll ever hear, but far from the absolute failure it probably deserved to be. There’s some really beautiful stuff on here. Some of it feels a little “unfinished,” but that’s because it WAS–Rick Wright died and there were only unfinished ideas left on a lot of what ended up here. And with that in mind, and keeping in mind that it’s meant as an end-cap and a closing statement for the band, it works really well. Surprisingly, the song that works for me the least is the only song that has vocals on it, just because I REALLY can’t stand the way Gilmour’s wife writes. (It’s 2014…why is PINK FLOYD using the word “diss” in the last lyric we’ll ever get from them???) But in general, on a scale of 1-10, I give it a B+.
- Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways — Meh. There isn’t a single on here, and the lyrics/lyrical themes are so repetitive I thought it was a concept album, but it isn’t. It was an interesting experiment…but it would’ve been great to have a record that focused more on the songs than the recording of them. Maybe “Wasting Light” was just so good that this one was a letdown for me…but it’s not going to make my top 10 for the year…and that shocked me and bummed me out.
- …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – IX — EXCELLENT. Exactly what I want out of the band. Long time fans that have stuck with them will like it a lot and there’s probably some stuff that newbies or “I stopped listening at Century of Selfies” can dig into, too.
- Prince – Plectrum Electrum & Art Official Age — Both great. His Royal Badness stepped up his game again. Hard to think of them as separate works, even though they definitely ARE… It’s just that you get done with one and IMMEDIATELY pop in the other. Every time. If I had to pick, I’d say “Plectrum Electrum” is a little bit better…but why the fuck should I have to choose???
- Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter — Really good. Strong, dark, and a fitting tribute to deceased bass player Paul Gray, in my opinion. I could’ve used a little more low-end in the master…but with a double-bass kit in the foreground, it’s always tough to know when to cut the lows. The album doesn’t SUFFER for that–it’s just a personal preference. The songs are really strong. It’s pissed off and fun and angry and great.
Okay…that’s it for now. I’ll try to write again soon, but no promises… And I hope no funeral recaps next time. I’ve grown very, very tired of those this year.