Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Whole Thing About Music

Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar.Image via Wikipedia
I was watching VH1 this weekend and I saw one of their documentaries, this one about the Monterey Pop Festival. It was maybe the coolest thing to ever happen...ever. Just think; nobody in that crowd had ever seen a band destroy their instruments before. The Who did it at the end of "My Generation." We take for granted how cliche it's become (For instance I decided to give Fall Out Boy a chance thinking "maybe I'm just a music snob and they are good." So I watched their new video, although I'm not sure what it was called and I don't care to look it up, but there were monkeys involved. And I was right. They do suck. But that's beside the point. The bass player started destroying the set and his bass and it was the worst display of a pissed off band I think I've ever seen. He looked like a total bitch. Very sad. People actually like that?).

Jimi Hendrix played to an American crowd for the first time (through the lobbying of Paul McCartney, who was on the board to decide the acts for the Pop Festival). He proceded to simulate sex with his amp and set his guitar on fire. You know, something none of those people had seen. The Who didn't want to go on after him like they were supposed to so they switched places.

Otis Redding played to a mostly white audience for the first time. In his blueish-green suit, which made him stand out among the hippie crowd, he walked on stage with maybe the greatest backing band of all time (Booker T. & the M.G.'s, who also backed Sam and Dave, Jackie Wilson and most of the Stax artists, as well as having their own records) and said, "So this is the love crowed, huh?" And then he proceded to just go off on "Shake," which they played in double time, effectively blowing everyone's mind.

Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who taught George Harrison, also played. If you ever get a chance to see video of him playing, you should watch it. He is incredible.

Jefferson Airplane had just had hits with "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." They, of course, played those songs, but their performance was notable for what the cameraman did during their set (oh yeah, there was a documentary made by D.A. Pennebacker). He did not take his camera off of Grace Slick the whole time because she is so damn beautiful. Even when someone else is singing the camera is on her.

And there were so many acts that included people as diverse as Hugh Masekela to the Mama's and the Papa's, Johnny Rivers to the Grateful Dead and a number of blues based, psychedelic-tinged rock acts.

The look on the people in the audience was beyond words. There was so much going on that was new and revolutionary (for pop music at least), I'm not sure if they could grasp how big the event was at that moment while their jaws stood collectively dropped.

Or it could've just been the drugs.

I said I might put up some of my remix'ed songs I have been working on sporadically . So here's one of my favorite songs (also from 1967, the year of the Monterey Pop Festival) and the remix I made (listen with headphones on, I made it for the headphone enthusiast):
Alone Again Or (Original) by Love
Alone Again Or (Remix) by Love

And I'll put up my "Yellow Submarine" mix later. So stay tuned for that.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I've got nothing to say and it's okay

I find myself wanting to write a lot recently. Whether it be a blog, journal entry (something I haven't done since, let me check...a couple of years), or song or something, I want to do something creative but it never comes out right. For example, every song I write comes out as some really bad copy of "It's Only Love" by The Beatles. I pretty much gave up creative writing just like I gave up art when I realized I wasn't going to be any good back when I was twelve, after years of filling notebooks and drawing pads trying to be an artist. I'll leave that to other people. Other people do writing and drawing better than me. I do them badly.

So now I'm trying photography. I haven't actually taken any pictures yet (it's only the fourth class), but I will be later this week. So we'll see how that goes. Hmmmmmmm.

I've gone to the movies a lot more than usual recently. I've seen Spiderman 3, Meet the Robinsons and Pirates of the Carribean 3: At World's End. Take into account that in an average year I might go to the movies four times and these past three weeks have been a whirlwind of movie-going.

Spiderman 3 sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked.

It was nearly the worst movie I've ever seen. If it wasn't for the final fight scene, it would have beaten the worst movie I've ever seen, "Mona Lisa Smile" (strangely enough, both Kirsten Dunst and Topher Grace were in that movie also). And I don't even remember that stupid movie, other than the feeling of dread of having to sit there and feel more bored every second.

Sort of a similar feeling to the one I got watching Spiderman 3, combined with sickness to the new emo-ization of Spiderman with Peter Parker wearing eyeliner and crappy clothes when he "turns bad." It was probably the worst way to make him a badass. One scene in particular, where Parker goes dancing around, actually physically dancing around the city, for what felt like hours, emasculating my favorite superhero for the sake of humor (I think that's what they must have been going for), really pissed me off. The movie has so many storylines that just seemed to be thrown in haphazardly and there should have been no time wasted with such an annoying, pointless scene at the expense of character development.

And what was with all the crying? In almost every scene someone's crying. And Tobey Maguire can't act. I don't usually care about someone's acting ability, but he sucks. At least in Spiderman 3 he did. He makes this stupid face when he's crying, like he's trying really hard to be sad and cry (I'm pretty sure that's what's happening). And the neck fat. Ohhhhhhh, the neck fat. Isn't Spiderman supposed to be skinny? Tobey Maguire has this flabby double chin going on that grossed me out the whole film, especially becasue of all the close ups in the movie.

And one more thing, the score was terrible. About halfway through the movie I realized I hated the music. The other two movies had a good score, but Spiderman 3's music was bad. Oh, and the special effects didn't look real to me during the first fight in the movie, as if we regressed 15 years in computer animation.

That made me very sad, the whole Spiderman experience. Like I said before, Spiderman is my favorite superhero. It's the whole easily relatable factor of Spiderman that's made me like him since I was a little kid jumping off of my bunk bed and the couches and climbing in trees and crawling like Spiderman along the wall that seperated our yard from the neighbor's (although only on top of it, not sticking to the side). And then people clapped at the end of the movie! I hate those people! It was so bad how could they possibly have liked it! I read positive reviews and I want to go all Gene Upshaw on them (look it up on Google, just put in NFL Players Association and threat and break neck).

Man, that went on longer than I thought it would. That's not what I wanted to write about at all. I'm not a movie critic. I couldn't act my way out of a paper bag. I wanted to write about how I fall in love with stupid things too easily. Then I obsess over them. It's sickening to tell the truth. So, to save time I'll just make a chronilogical list (leaving out anyone I could possibly meet beacuse that's just embarassing) starting with last fall:

1) Love (the band)
2) Sam Cooke
3) Joan Jett
4) Lynn Shawcroft (she was married to Mitch Hedberg and writes all these incredible stories about their life on her website lynnshawcroft.com...she's great, I love reading her writing, it ranges from funny to nostalgic to heartbreaking)
4) Arrested Development (the t.v. show)
5) Patti Smith (my jaw drops whenever I hear "Gloria" or "Free Money" and "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" is great)
6) Richard Hell and the Voidoids
7) Everybody on Arrested Development (it's a really good show)
8) The Clash (the record)
9) The Apples in Stereo
10) Craig Ferguson (not in a gay way, the guy's just really funny...his show's better than Conan's...yeah, I said it, he's funnier than Conan-freakin'-O'Brien)
11) Every line from Arrested Development (I'm not kidding, it's really good...and msn.com puts all the episodes online for free with only 15 second commercial breaks)
12) Jenna Fischer (Pam on The Office...really...wow...wowy, wow, wow (anyone remember the old SNL sketch with Christopher Walken, The Continental, cause that's how you should read the "wows" immediately preceding this)...and this is not actually chronologically correct, I end up remembering how perfect she is whenever I watch The Office or read one of her online journal things)
12) 30 Rock (another funny show)
13) Tina Fey (she's incredible on 30 Rock, just like she was on Weekend Update, she was also the first female head writer for SNL)

I really like lists.

Oh, I have been trying to remix songs I like, having been inspired by the Beatles "Love" record. So far I've finished "Alone Again Or" by Love and "Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles. I think they're pretty good, although I'm probably the only one who can hear the difference. Maybe one day I'll put them up on my page.
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