Number 2 – I Just Can’t Go There With You…

10374063_249919838528849_2052896894432161873_n

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…”

This is; “One way Street”

Number 1 – Sometimes We Get a 2nd Chance, The Trick Is to Know The Difference…

ATU14aa

Everyone has a favorite song in their lifetime…

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, but It 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.

Then again…

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…”

This is; “Movin’ Out” Alternate Version

A Night in Heavenly Valley July 3rd, 2015

July 2nd 2015

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

Joe Perry on the Yardbirds’ twin-guitar attack: ‘That was proto-Aerosmith’

Aerosmith’s familiar twin-guitar attack was borne out of a moment of awe for a young Joe Perry — though it came during a 1966 murder-mystery film, rather than a concert. Continue reading Joe Perry on the Yardbirds’ twin-guitar attack: ‘That was proto-Aerosmith’

‘Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014’ Trailer


Get theater & showtime information

Relive Aerosmith’s legendary performance captured live from the Download Festival in Donington Park, England on June 15, 2014 in ‘Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014.’ Don’t miss this one-night only event coming to select U.S. cinemas! Continue reading ‘Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014’ Trailer