Maybe things are starting to change for the better, maybe it’s just a rouse…
Is one’s character something you’re born with?
Or is it a combination of that, and the experiences one has in life, that create what people believe in, what they “stand” for, what they are inside?
How do we start to hate? When do we start to hate?
Why do we even start to hate?
There’s that ridiculous saying again;
“We all make our own choices in life”, right?
I believe that people can change their behaviors,
but I believe that character is infinite.
To wake up from the 70’s and even parts of the 80’s, from a drug induced fog, that left you incoherent to what was going on around you, to wake up and realize that you have a conscience, can be like emerging from total obscurity. To feel, once again, that you’re relevant, and things matter, can be a profound experience. And because of what you’ve been through, both in sobriety and intemperance, your conscience can, and often does feel the gravity, the burden of obligation. And when you have a voice that can be heard by millions, it’s often necessary to effect that obligation onto others who are willing to listen. The art though, is in the delivery.
Are you going to chastise? Are you going to judge? Are you going to reprimand the wrongs, or are you simply gonna say; “Hey; take another look from the other side of the fence”? Try a different pair of sunglasses… You may want to call attention… But to what exactly? Is it specific? Is it something we can touch? Or do you just say; “Pay attention, it’s starts with you, it starts with me. It’s a culture, not a law. Not a religion. Not a tradition, it’s a fucking culture!” Continue reading Number 6 – I See the World through a Different Pair of Sunglasses
Maybe Because Of The Last Year I’ve Had, Maybe Because The More I Hear It, The More I Love It! Maybe because of the year I’ve already had, Maybe because the more I hear it, the more I love it!
This one has really climbed my list… this one right here, just goes to show how deep my appreciation is. Not just the 70s or 80s, it’s all encompassing.
As I’ve said numerous times already, when someone takes on a book, or even list like this, it’s so very difficult to even start to comprehend where each of your favorite songs should be ranked with a catalog so large. And in that huge catalogue, there are so many iconic, meaningful, and just plain cool songs.
When almost any number of the songs listed so far, could be number 1, or number 25, or any other number, on any given day, based on your mood, or mine, or just the way the sun set that night. Keep in mind, any 1 of these next 5 songs could be number 1, and you know what? They probably are, but that might get a little bit confusing saying something like; “my 5th number 1…” So with that said, let’s start with number 5.
Maybe because the older “I” get, the less sane “you” are. Or the crazier I get, the less I relate to this very methodically robotic world. Or maybe it’s just the crazier the world gets, the more I’d love to cope, but the less I’m capable of coping. Everything is a fuckin’ struggle! EVERYTHING! The more the days come, the more the new stresses come, sometimes taking the place of the one’s that I forgot I was dealing with yesterday. Sometimes they just pile on like an old game of “Kill the Guy with the Ball”, and I can’t let go of the ball…
With that, I just want to escape, I’m tired of getting killed. Whether it be having a smoke that I haven’t had in 9 years, or having another smoke that I haven’t had in 7. Or having a sniff I haven’t had in 16 years, or having the shot I had last night, or just wanting to fuckin’ get back to the real nitty gritty. The more I hear this song, the more I relate to it, on not just one level, but every fucking level!
People have often said that this is Steven’s admission of addiction, as it comes and goes throughout his life. The admission, of falling off the wagon, and getting back on it, both meanings set forth in the title and chorus of the song at the same time. Fucking Genius!… I’d have to agree, but saying that, I will never chastise the “addict’, or the “addiction”. And with all that said, we have to remember that this truly a Mark Hudson masterpiece, more so than Steven. That’s not to say these tow long time friends and partners in crime didn’t write with each other in mind.
I may go up against the enablers, or the empty souls who cannot comprehend the sheer grasp of addiction, but also the embrace, and therefore they tend to condemn the addict, without a valid suggestion for resolution. It’s a part of who he is, It’s a part of who all of them are. Maybe some more than others, but never-the-less, who am I to judge? With their struggles though, come our own struggles. I mean if you are a deep fan of this band, as many who read these writings of mine are, we connect. It would be absurd to think we could protect them, or one of them from who they are. It’s absurd to be disappointed with someone who has bled his heart out telling us; “This is me!” You either accept a man for who he is, or you don’t.
A lot has been written about this song, as far as what people think the meaning of it is, or could be. Some of the strangest ones I’ve read say it’s about government mind control. They say that’s why there are lyrics relating to The Wizard of Oz. What do I know? Maybe it is… It’s really kind of ironic when you think about it… Reporting for Jury Duty, only to follow the “yellow” lines on the walls and floors to get to the place for someone to convince us to think the way they want us to think…
But really, the song, like the majority of Aerosmith songs ever written, has double, and maybe triple meanings. It’s about escaping reality, then wanting to escape, the escape… The Farm is fantasy and reality both. The Farm is Lake Sunapee, It’s Yosemite, It’s the Looney Bin, and Re-Hab, It’s West Marin County, and It’s The Tenderloin District, and It’s Malibu Beach… Or what the hell do I know? Maybe it’s the third meaning in the trifecta of innuendo, which is nothing more than getting back to the legendary “Long View Farm Recording Studios” to make music, rather than fall off the wagon out of boredom…
Very much in the culture of a Beatles classic, the song streams exotic and dramatic orchestral cellos and other instruments, and the just plain odd sound effects, echoes reminiscent of “The Walrus”. I realize maybe the only one person, by the name of Rose Nishikawa, will really grasp this tiny bit of trivia, but from Nine Lives, whose original name of the album was to be “Vindaloo”
I absolutely love the frenzy of this song! The almost out of tune sounds of Joe and Brad’s guitars, give the melody a sense of chaotic anxiety that explodes , and yet comes right back around with the strings symbolizing the cyclonic spinning house the song is meant to represent. And of course, not only such lyrical freakness, uniqueness, and genius, but also capping it off with that signature Tyler-esque Primal Scream, this song screams Aerosmith!
Written by Steven and Joe, and Mark, and Steve Dudas, The song never charted. At least not until I charted it myself right here…
Trippy song right here…
“I got terminal uniqueness… (yeah) I’m an egocentric man… (ooh yeah) I get caught up in my freakness But I ain’t no Peter Pan A get me to the farm…”
“Buckle up straightjack Insanity is such a drag Jellybean Thorazine Transcendental jet lag Sanity I ain’t gotta Feeling like a pinata Sucker punch blow lunch Motherload pigeonhole I’m feelin’ like I’m gonna explode….”
“(Yeah)… I’m gonna shave my head I wanna be a Hare Krishna (I’m gonna…) tattoo a dot right on my head Heh heh heh heh… (Huh a)… and the prozac is my fixer (Yeah)… I am the living dead’.”
Besides, If You Haven’t Shown The Respect By Now… I’m Pretty Sure You’ve Blown It Upside Down… And Now… You’re Just a Little Too Late!
When you watch these guys on stage, it’s easy to see why Joe and Steven get all the attention, and deservedly so. I mean, they are the heart of this band, right? Maybe it’s a blessing that the “LI3” are not the jealous type, and it seems to me that the other guys are absolutely comfortable with that too. The two of them, Steven & Joe that is, have an onstage “Showmanship” “Ownership” presence that is rivaled by no one I’ve ever seen. It would also be easy for a casual fan to look at this band and believe that the LI3 might just be a little more comfortable in the shadows of the Toxic Twins. I can see how too. In comparison to the Toxic Twins, the LI-3 may even come off as subdued, but just because their individual styles of stage presence may be different than Steven and joe’s, one should not assume that they’re more passive when it comes to music. They are absolutely just as passionate as their more popular brothers in the band.
One of these guys is the very talented and hard rocking member of the L-I3, Brad Whitford. Brad has Aerosmith song credits as a Co-Writer and Lead Guitarist on such songs as “Last Child”, “Home Tonight”, “No More, No More”, “Vacation”, and “Saddle”, “Sight for Sore Eyes”, and more. In fact, Brad did most of the work on “DTL” and “Ruts”, because already checked out, if not physically, at least mentally. Even his recent work, and performances with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and his past and present work with Whitford – St. Holmes shows real rock and roll fans just how important this guy is to this band. Continue reading Number 4 – Show The Man Some Respect…
If only I had the key… I could trade all of it, for me…
The man is a trip… He’s like an absolute blue-collar dude… I mean at least he gets it… well, maybe… not really, but honorary for sure. He can rub elbows with the “Nouveau Riche” at the same time, too. On one hand, he could take you to the cellar with the rats, on the next you’ll be partying with Armani in Gay Paris’….
It seems to me, everything this man does, he does with a passion and driving fortitude, and yet at the same time, he comes off as the coolest, calmest man on the planet! This could very well be some of what the original “Toxic Twins’” in-fighting was about. Steven always had to work, and work hard. Not saying that Joe didn’t, he did, he just always seemed to make it look easy. Steven wanted to work, Joe wanted to have fun. Joe would sit down and jam out a riff, and it would turn into a song. Steven always wanted to tweak it, and then tweak it again, and then maybe one more time, and a time after that. And we’re all thankful for that, we truly are. However, Joe was good with what it was usually from the start. Steven had to really work at the lyrics, I mean the words often came easy, but the delivery was always a piece of work, more than that though, it was art. Steven was reciting, he was practicing delivery, the message, the tone. Joe was improv. It was hard for them when Joe and the rest of the best band would have their work done, and they always seemed to have to wait for Steven.
I’ve often thought of the Toxic Twins this way;
If you were lucky enough to be at a party that they were both going to attend, Steven would walk in and absolutely own the room, with his persona and charisma. The whole room would want to be in his presence, as he would be more than happy to tell you all how much “YOU” love the fact that he is there and the center of attention! One of those; “I’m glad you all got to see me”, type of people. I only say this, because, I know the type and the phrase well. And no doubt, we would all actually love that about him…. BUT, then Joe walks in… Doesn’t have to say a fucking word… Not one word! And the room’s full focus changes from Steven, who we all thought was the coolest, and then Joe defines “Cool” just by walking in the fucking room! It’s almost wrong… Someone with so much character, so much personality as Steven has, to then see Joe, who is one speed, one tone, but it’s a tone that draws people in, absolutely effortlessly.
Steven, today, after all the hardships, fighting, drugs of their younger years, he gets it. He now understands who Joe is, and more importantly, he knows who he himself is, WHAT Joe is. It took the breaking of the band, and not just once btw… and then many more years to figure that out. But I have to hand it to Steven, it takes a big man, especially one with an ego the size of Russia, to step back, and just be in the light this guy gives off. As accomplished members of the Toxic Twins Songwriting Duo, they have written over 85 songs together. In 2013, Tyler and Perry were recipients of the ASCAPFounders Award, and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Joe Perry wrote this song, and also sang lead – his first lead vocal on an Aerosmith recording (Steven sings back up). He has said many times that “the song is about heroin, cocaine and me.” … ‘You can’t part the three of us once we got a hold’.
With the sudden flow of cash running through the band’s fingers, and more specifically through his hands, he could (at the time) now afford luxuries like designer shoes and suits; “Walking in Gucci wearing Yves St. Laurent…” and that also meant he could afford better drugs, and more of them; “Barely stay on ‘cause I’m so God Damned gaunt…”
Damn if that ain’t familiar! I know some of you know exactly what I’m taking about. Maybe not on the same level, maybe so… But I know damn well, some of you remember when the money spent for “fun” went from $30 a weekend, to $300, to $500, and… And that it had nothing to do with the normal expenses of a night out. I know some of you may even remember when the nights became the day, and the weekends would go into the week…
However, as good as Aerosmith and he, were doing financially, his family life was suffering. To know what this man is about, you can imagine the tensions that he was creating for himself. The opening lines to the song give that age old dilemma; you know what you’re doing is wrong, and destructive, but you do it anyway.
“The street is cold the dawn is grey My heart says no, but my head says stay…”
Anyone, ANYONE who has ever put their face down on a mirror, knows that lyric right there to be truer than true can be! Imagine if you’re parents witnessed what these guys’ parents witnessed. Some of you may even know that feeling. Some of you who are in your 50s now, 60s even, will remember back to when you knew it all, you had it all, you were all that, only to realize what you really were when your parents found out the truth. I know I do!!! If you were lucky, that was enough to exact a change, but many of us were too fucking ignorant, and just kept riding the train…
This is a man who grew up to value family more than life itself. Upon seeing her son in this state, his mother decided she couldn’t stand the sight of him as an addict, an emaciated junkie, so she moved out of Massachusetts, to Arizona. Heartbreaking when you think about it.
There are so many things I could go on about this guy. I guess it’s easy to say I have a total “Man Crush” on this dude. I mean Jesus! The man had his own fucking BBQ Sauce line! “Rock Your World” BBQ Sauces. How can you not love that?!? He’s an absolute devoted husband, and family man, with a love and appreciation, and respect for his wife and kids. He is a philanthropist for Cancer Research and a huge supporter of the arts. Being a Gun and Knife collector and enthusiast, he promotes safety to the fullest all the while standing for his rights, but not losing sight of others’ rights to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, whichever way they see fit. He believes in “Don’t Tread on Me”, but he also believes in your right to disagree.
Back to the song… It’s dark. It really is. But the music doesn’t take you down, it just takes you on an “almost”, but not quite uncontrollable, and yet uncomfortable ride. The melody tells you they’re having fun, it’s fast and sometimes furious, almost like a carnival ride type of fun, but the lyrics… the lyrics are telling you it’s wrong, so wrong. And then there’s that “key” again. But even with the darkness of the song, it’s absolutely one of my favorites! Even with the fact that my own memories are parallel to it’s message (to an extent). My own sense of knowing right from wrong, and yet choosing wrong, and the constant struggles that entails. It’s intense, and It has one of my own favorite sayings / lyrics from it. I still use it today…
I’m lucky enough, and frankly old enough I guess, to have seen and heard this one live more than once, and that will have to be cool. But before I give the video attached, I just want to say; “Thank you Joe for this song! This song, that means so much”. Both, for the times that once were, and for being able to look back on it as just a page out of the handbook…
If only I had the key, I’d trade it all for me….
Until then, “I’ll find my own fun, sometimes for free…”
I give you the Coolest Guy on the Planet, and “The ‘Rock Star’ in the band!”
Joe Fuckin’ Perry!
“I traded you for me I took it all and said…”
“I found the secret the key to the vault We walked in darkness kept hitting the walls I took the time to feel for the door I found the secret the key to it all…”
These next two songs are the reason for the season… OH wait! I got my gods, and holidays mixed up…
Since I was a very young boy, I did things differently than what my parents, siblings, and even friends expected. If everyone was cardboard sliding on their asses, I would go head first. If we had to play baseball on the blacktop, because the fields were muddy, I would still steal 2nd and actually slide (on the black top) to avoid the obvious high tag, leaving a lot of skin behind. Maybe because I was the Last Child of 9, my parents stopped trying to protect me so much… You know; 9 kids, they’ve already done all that shit so much. It probably gets a bit tiring trying to tell another one to just “stay in line”. But then, maybe it was just the age and time, maybe it’s just my god given character.
My dad would often get upset with me because I did something “stupid”. He’d say; “You don’t see your brothers and sisters doing that!”… Sometimes I felt like saying maybe something like; “That’s because nobody else in the family has a sense of adventure like I do”…
Later, around the age of 12, 13, & 14 he’d say; “Mike you are so egotistical!”. I’m thinking he said these things to me, because I always felt I could do whatever I wanted to do. When others were busy saying; “Why would you want to do something like that?” I was saying; “Why not?”, and of course, I’d often respond to my dad; “Dad it’s not ego… it’s confidence.” These types of responses by the way, never really seemed to go over well. Maybe that’s why I never really had the favor from my dad that many of my siblings did, I don’t really know. Then again maybe he was just a dick. That probably sounds more harsh than it should be. I was never abused, just never really paid attention to, and then later just left alone. Very alone! Not sure that makes someone a “dick”, it may just mean they were done being a dad.
Whether I was a young child of 9 or 10, taking on the bigger waves in Oahu, and Kauai alone, rather than with my siblings on the smaller waves, or standing on the edge of the cliff at the Halona Blow Holes in Oahu, or swimming across the lagoon, just because someone said I couldn’t, or taking on the face of Homewood my first time on skis, and even “Gun Barrell” at Heavenly Valley my first visit, or any number of “stupid” things someone might dare me to do in my life, I did. Not always successful, but I would usually give it a shot.
What this did for me as a child, was to create a character trait of, not necessarily a “can do” attitude, but damn if I wouldn’t give something a try! However, like most young kids, and teenagers, we often find out the hard way what we can, and can’t do. Those lessons for me though, especially as a kid, without much supervision, and then none as a high school teenager, gave me a sense of knowing myself. While others were slowly turning into their parents, I was becoming the exact opposite. I was also realizing that I had my own ideas, my own thoughts that were often not the status quo. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of “peer pressure”, well maybe not “pressure”, as much as “peer, sure why not?”, but If I really didn’t want to just fall in line, I didn’t, and there wasn’t anyone around to tell me I should.
I’m not sure if I’ve always been this way, but I can remember as a kid, just doing what “I” wanted to do. And often times I got branded as arrogant, or a dick, or an asshole, or stuck-up, or “whatever” description fit the age I was, at the time. But really I think I was just busy being me. Not that any of those adjectives and descriptions are wrong, I own them all, but I also own the good ones.
I paved my own road, often without signs to show the way. I learned to question… I learned to look at things in different ways than others do. “Through a Different Pair of Sunglasses”, so to speak, and I found later in life that I don’t fit into most of the status quo, whether it’s politics, or social. I started to turn into the guy that will tell you the truth if you ask for it, and sometimes even if you don’t. The guy who will call you out if you’re fakin’ it, and the guy that will simply ask you to look at it from another view, whatever it is you’re looking at.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that; I often see the gray, in a black and white world. I look beyond the typical. I don’t buy into the guy on the radio. I ask questions of the various religions. I want to know the why’s, the where’s, the when’s. I’m not saying I need proof, or that I necessarily want to prove anything, I just want to have the discussion.
When I became a father, I made a decision as most men do, to always protect my kids. However, I decided to do it out of education and respect, not just for me and my wife, but humanity in general, but more than just that… I wanted them to have the same respect and appreciation for nature, and people. I don’t mean just the fuzzy animals, but the cliffs, gravity, water, etc. I did this because I believe, without respect and appreciation; you can not have a relationship with any of them. I never want my kids to fear me, or my neighbors, or the river, or the mountains, but rather explore each of them. And with that, to always have a sense of adventure with responsibility. I also never, ever, ever wanted to lose my memory and memories of being a kid. If there’s one thing I’ve mastered in life it’s that!
There are many, many parents in life who strive to be their kid’s best friend, and then struggle with the responsibilities that come with being a parent. I say to those people; “try trust first.” Mary has taught me more than anyone else in this department, and for that I’m so grateful. It took awhile. While I was busy trusting the neighborhood, I didn’t start off trusting my own kids. I’m so happy that she has had the patience, and forethought that I lacked in the early years. Now, I couldn’t imagine not trusting them. And although I think my daughters are my friends, and I truly have a great time with them, I am not so naive or arrogant, to want, or even think that I am their best friend. I am their dad, pure and simple. But more than any of that gibberish, I found that it’s more important to just be “family” rather than friends.
I’ve taken a long way around, to tell you about my number 2, number 1 song. This song goes all the way back to my Step Brother, Ronnie’s apartment. This is one of the original 5, and it stays with me today at the top. This song is me, every verse! Although it may be written about a relationship gone bad, I see it as my relationship with society, main stream religion, and many other things in general. I’m not saying this is a good thing, I’m just sayin’ it is. I’m not sayin’ I’m a rebel. I’m saying I’m naturally rebellious. I’m just sayin, it’s hard for me to just “do” as others do. And with that comes so much social confusion in today’s age. Conversations, whether they be political, or religious, people often expect me to fit in one box or another… it just doesn’t work that way, ever! And believe me, sometimes I wish I could. Sure seems like it would be easier than pissing so many people off as I do, because of their frustration in difference.
Change the term “lady” to society, or politics, or organized religion, or education, or rules, etc. take your pick, even pick another, and you’ll see my point. It’s about how people will turn on you for a dime. I met a friend Frank about a year ago, while visiting some ancient High School buddies, and something he said to me made this just as clear as the 1st day that I realized it. I’m paraphrasing here; “people will give you to the dogs, just to save their own skin”. I have a saying in life; “I didn’t throw you under the bus, you crawled under there yourself, and the bus has to go!”
However, if we’re both under there, when the bus is leaving… we should at least try to help each other out, rather than using each other as a kick off point.
“There’s nothin’ over here I never showed ya…”; This is me, what you see is what you get, don’t go lookin’ for something else! It’s funny to me, that it’s often the guy who speaks up; who is said to have a bad attitude, but it usually comes from somewhere, or someone else in my experience. Maybe that’s what they mean by the “meek’ will inherit the earth. Because I ain’t inheriting nothin’!
The song is about attitude, but its attitude from experience… It’s a chip on a shoulder, not to be knocked off, but to be carried around as a souvenir to remind him of getting out from under the rock. It’s an attitude that says; “I can see you, and your type comin’ a mile away… Do whatever the F*** you want, nobody gives a shit anyway! And if they do, they’re lyin’, Just don’t expect me to lap it up!”
One of my closest friends in life, Kevin Douglas often jokes around with me and says; they name streets after me, in every city in the country “One Way”. I know it’s a joke, he’s said this since we were teenagers, but damned if I don’t resemble that remark. It’s not that I’m the One Way Street though, it’s that I have an incessant desire to go the other way… life of a contrarian, maybe… I don’t know. But I’m thinking it’s more of a desire to just be me.
Love Brad’s solo on this one, but this is one of those dueling “Lead Guitar” songs, that Joe was looking for from the moment he was good with two guitarists in the band. The song is only played once or twice per tour, it’s that much of a gem. It’s truly something special. I’ve been lucky enough to see it once in my life, and it was worth living for, maybe lightning can strike twice, but I won’t hold my breath.
This one is close people… Look at it from the other side of the title, sometimes you just gotta go the other way…
“Hey look a yonder what’s that I see Ain’t that old bogus honey comin’ after me I thought’cha told her I was outta town I wonder how she knowed I was hangin’ around
Say listen baby don’t go wastin’ yo time You keep a comin’ round you’ll hear the same old line You got a thousand boys you say you need’em You take what’s good for you and I’ll take my freedom…”
“Uuhh… there’s nothin’ over here I never showed ya I made it pretty clear I’m glad to know ya You know your brother spike he’s on the level But’choo always lookin’ like your mad at the devil Don’t say I cop a ‘tude it’s all forgotten It’s just you’re much too rude your fruits are rotten…”
Everyone has their own reasons for that song too. Sure it can change day in, day out, and even get replaced with something new over the years, but there’s always something about that song. It always comes back. It always surfaces. It speaks to you. It gets inside you.
Sometimes someone comes along and even tries to cover it, and sometimes it comes close… But rarely is it ever better. This particular band has done that often in their career, they’ve taken a song, and done it so well, that they’ve made it their own.
A version of this interpretation was handed to Joe, in an envelope at his book signing inside “The Passage” Book Store, at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, October 18, 2014. I like to think he read it….
It’s funny when we look back on some of the old time favorites the band has done. Certain covers come to mind. I was actually talking to my new landlord just before Mary and embarked on what would be the culmination of this book. Francie apparently is a pretty big Aero fan herself. Imagine that! We were talking about mine and Mary’s trip to Tahoe for the culmination of this thing I’ve been writing. The concert on July 3rd. 2015 at Harvey’s South Lake Tahoe. Fran was telling me how much she would love to go. I really tried to get her, and her husband Pat, to come along and get tickets there! As hard as I tried, I just wasn’t successful. Man that would have been a lot of fun though…
Fran told me of her favorite Aerosmith song, “Come Together”. Aerosmith’s cover, not the Beatles’ version. She went on about how she just loves them, especially when they do that song! I’ve heard others say the same for Big 10 Inch, Train, Walkin’ the Dog,Baby Please don’t Go, and others that they’ve covered over time. The key is that they took songs and not only Aerosmith-ized them up, but made them their own. They kept the respect for the song the way it was, but they put their own signature on them, and actually made them better.
It’s more than just a favorite song though… Everyone has at least one song that they can relate to. A song that invokes their spirit, touches their soul. Sometimes the lyrics mean something, sometimes they don’t mean anything at all. Sometimes it’s just the music, sometimes it’s a combination of the two. Whether it’s a Stairway to Heaven, or Sweet Home Alabama, or Sympathy for the Devil, or Dream On, or countless others, these favorites are often a peek into the listener’s character. Is that person truly “Free as a bird”? Or do they just want to be? Did that person truly “Dream until his dreams came true”? Or is she just a dreamer? I’m not sure the answer really matters. The key is that a group of musicians created a piece of art, and with that art, they connected with “somebody” or a bunch of somebodies, whom they will probably never meet, but they gave a substance to that person’s character. Sometimes it’s difficult to even put that substance into words of description. It’s easier to just feel it. That’s when, as a musician, you know you’re successful. Did you leave an impact? Did you leave a mark? Did your creation matter?
These guys mattered…
Sometimes in life there are alternate endings. Sometimes we even get to choose them, like in the way of a DVD rental, or a different path ‘up’, or‘down’ the mountain. Or, how we might wish to change for the better as we get older, or for the worse… Or, how we decide that the path we’re on isn’t the right path, and if we continue in that direction, the ending could be tragic, or and in no way am I trivializing such a loss of extreme impact, but when someone so loved by all, is on a path to live a complete and long life, respected and cherished by so many, but then decides to alter that path, by ending it in a tragic way. R.I.P. Robin Williams.
I believe wholeheartedly in destiny. But I believe destinies are optional, yet still specific to the individual. I believe in predestined occurrences. I believe in karma. I believe that we learn from where we’ve been, although where we’ve been was destined. Where we go from there, is a matter of weight. To choose what we have learned as a tool, or simply a memory. But I don’t believe we have a guide, although there are plenty of “guides” (hello Theresa!) that we meet in life. The trick is to recognize them when they’re there, and recognize who, or what the distractions are. I feel that we usually meet our destiny; it’s just that some reach it earlier than others. I am not saying that there’s no trying to change your direction, but I am saying that each of us is given a series of paths, options, opportunities, in life that are specific to his or her possible destinies, and that we don’t all get the same choices.
We need to do the best we can, with the choices we are given. It is truly a gift, for some who recognize, that they are on the verge of two destinies, one tragic, one triumphant. Then to have the where-with-all, the good fortune, to recognize it and make the right decision… Wow!
This song represents, for me, an “Alternate Ending” to my Top 100. It represents the beginning, without direction. A beginning with the whole world in front of them. A beginning with so many paths to choose from, unknowing where each will lead, and then…. And then, the “Alternate Ending” which, represents a look back to who you are, who they were. To reach deep inside and touch the root, but to change it, to fine tune the good parts, and discard the bad.
This song is transformation from young to old, from inexperienced to experienced, from unknowing to wise.
This song is my #1. It still tells you to be true to yourself, it still tells you to hold your home close to the vest. It still tells you not to let those who will do you harm, too close. It tells you to stay focused, and you’ll arrive to your destination. But it’s a journey getting there. So, if you need to pick up and go, just to stay home, then c’est la vie… But it also tells you to notice what needs to be fine tuned along the way.
This song has impacted me on a level I can’t describe. I can’t really tell you if it’s the lyrics, or the energy I feel from the raw, bloozy, almost bluegrass, but not bluegrass, feel of the music that gets inside me the way it does, but it does go deep. This is just a couple of guys reaching down deep inside of themselves, and finding a sound that would define the unique quality of who they are. It’s a mixture of other influences rolled into one. It’s got the deep, and delayed, at times, groove and feel of the blues. It’s got the rough edge of a new American Rock and Roll band, blended with the sleek polish of the British Invasion. It’s got a touch of that Muscle Shoals feel, like a southern vibe. Two guys just writing a song, no damn clue how good they are gonna’ be. One guy comes off as real serious, but really just wants to have fun. The other guy, who always comes off like he just wants to have fun, is absolutely serious. Opposites attract, right?
They sat down on the edge of a bed to jam and write a song. What comes out of it is a sound, no not just a sound, but a feeling, a character that I’d never heard before, and I’ve never heard since.
Now even better… Can you cover your own song and keep its purity, yet make it better? Sure you can, butIt Has to Be Better! If you create something that is somehow “less than”, you not only didn’t succeed, but you also possibly displace, and trivialize the original. In my opinion, they not only accomplished what they set out to do with this cover of their own song, but they immortalized the song in this rendition…
Each song written leaves its own impression on the listener. We can all, as you’ve seen me do over the last 100+ songs, come up with our own meanings, our own interpretations, our own connections. I’m not positive any of mine are absolute truth, but I’m real sure I’m close. And if I’m not, well… they work for me, and I hope they’ve worked for everyone who has spent the time to read my rantings, of nothing more than a band, and their songs.
Funny how so often my life parallels the songs these guys wrote. If I didn’t know the truth, I’d say I know these guys well. Truth is, I’m just an old kid who liked a band, maybe more than some would say is healthy. But as you have read, these guys wrote “The Handbook”, I just tried to pay attention. It’s ironic, in such a non surprising way, that while I wrote this, I was once again was packing the pick up truck, as I’ve done no less than 35 times in my life, and actually moved as many times as I am years old. Each time getting further away… Not always by choice, not always by lack of choice… But this time literally right on the very edge of town.
I’ve given you all a peek into their lives and mine, and how they have intersected at times. Maybe it’ll become a book someday.
But I want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to read these, with some special thanks to Natalya for allowing me an International Forum to just write. I also want to thank Kary, and Karen, and Jamie, and Rose, and Johnny, and Wanda, and Kim, for allowing me to publish these in their fantastic, and maybe the best FB Group site out there, We AeroNuts Love Aerosmith. I also want to say thanks again to my wife Mary, and my daughter Natalie, for putting up with my constant typing… It’s over. And last, to all my other friends who have indulged me with their patience over the years.
Yesterday I gave you a song that I related to as the blood that flows through my veins, the air that I breathe… Today, in this version, in this form, This song defines my spirit, it defines my soul… It’s the same sound, the same banging on Joey’s drums, the same delicate, and yet driving guitars, the same lyrical symphony that Steven sings into my ears, as I get when I’m chasing waterfalls in Yosemite, and other parts of the Sierras… This is my number 1. I hope you like it.
It was a fantastic show! How could ity not be? They’re just that good!…
The following is a video I made of my Number 1.
Remember; sometimes you can choose an alternate ending… Next week, it could all change…
“Level with God and you’re in tune with the universe Talk with yourself and you’ll hear what’choo wanna know Gotta rise above ’cause below it’s only gettin’ worse Life in time will take you where you wanna go…”
Upon checking into our room at the Station House Inn, in South lake Tahoe, we truly found that this little 3 day/2 night ride was in need to be savored, every little sip, like a cold Pyramid Beer on a Hot Summer’s day. The room was awesome! Small, but definitely a few stars more than Mary and I are used too. A welcome sight for sure… And a hot summer’s day it was, with unusually high temps for Tahoe in the high 80s & low 90s, guess I won’t need my Aero Sweatshirt tomorrow night… Continue reading A Night in Heavenly Valley July 3rd, 2015
The following is a letter I handed to Joe, along with a few other writings… The discussion you see the pics, is this letter…
October 16th, 2014
I hope you don’t mind…
I’m sure you get millions of people who just want your attention for a bit, and that’s hard. Yeah, I’m a huge fan, but I also have tremendous respect for your privacy, and private life. I don’t want to take superficial time for my own joy. So with that said, I just wanted to give you a few things. Keep them, share them, toss them, whatever you wish, I just ask if you wouldn’t mind taking a look.
The picture is from a hiking trip that my, 17 year old daughter, Natalie and I took this summer, just outside of Yosemite. It’s close to where we live. We do these things a lot. The point of the picture is the lyrics on it. At one time in my early life, these lyrics meant exactly what they were written about. Now later in life though, they mean something entirely different… I can appreciate where you’ve been, and better… where you’ve been since. Continue reading The meaning behind the pictures…