Number 82 – Do You Wanna’ Just Breathe, or do You Wanna’ Live?

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The song is old now…

It’s been put away on the shelf collecting dust. Once an avenue in so many ways, for so many, including the band. The video at this point in time is a little hokie, and we have moved so far away from the over indulgences of 80’s, the “Whatever you do, do a lot” years. The meanings have faded quite a bit, but as old as I am, I will give this one a spot in the “80’s”, if for no other reason, than what it once meant to so many…

Some will say; this is a typical Aerosmith ballad. Me, I’m gonna give it a different label… A bit loftier than the word “typical”, for many different reasons among the listeners, then again, I’m sure, many the same.

I say it’s a classic, for a few different reasons. The first one is obvious; “Hey Generation number 2!!! Let me introduce you to America’s favorite rock band!!!”

This song was a big part of the beginning of a 2nd life for this band. A whole new generation discovered them. Hell, even that generation has kids now being introduced to them because their mom and/or dad rediscovered the guys via this song. This could very well be a lot of that 2nd generation’s “Dream On”, per se’…

Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I’m sure you get my point….

The band was on there last breath when this song came out. With Hangman (in ’87) being the only song off the album to reach into the Billboard Hot 100. They had great success with “Dude” and “Rag Doll” on the Rock Charts, but still weren’t quite cracking the glass ceiling. Then with the release of this song, as a single in ’88 they got a whiff, and a taste of the pie, reaching farther up the charts than any other song they’d previously recorded. Even farther than “Dream On”, although similar in such a way, that neither song is hardly representative of exactly who these guys are at their core.

None-the less, this band knows how to do a Rock Ballad, enough so that millions of fans would come to recognize them for these types of songs. The songs with just enough guitar to call them Rock n Roll, just enough expanded vocals to keep them on hard rock stations, but enough… well, for lack of a better word, just enough “wetness” to categorize them in the “Yacht Rock” genre! These are the songs, that get the attention, not just from such a narrow audience as The famous “Blue Army”, They needed more than that. They needed to reach further. These are the songs that get the housewives, the young girls that shy away from that true hard driving, head banging, back beat rhythm, the songs that enter the Fraternity and Sorority halls across the country, the songs that sell! Yep, this song skyrocketed Aerosmith to success previously never achieved, all the way to  #3 on Billboards Hot 100…

Maybe way more important than any of that though, the reason why it’s such a classic to me, is that you can still feel and hear all the way through it, that true Aerosmith chemistry, Steven trying to slow Joe down a bit, along with the rest of the band. You can hear all the way through it, Joe wanting more from the song, wanting the band to go deeper, harder, faster… It’s almost as if you’re in the room, and you can hear, and feel Joe’s distaste for “another fucking ballad”, saying; “okay, we’ll do this, but we’re gonna’ go deep on this damn it!” then just listen to the “Holding Back”, the edge of almost…

Such a very, VERY classic Aerosmith song… Joe’s lead pushing Steven’s vocals, Steven’s vocals meeting Joe and Brad’s pitch, and tension note for note! It’s got Steven’s piano as a background, foreground softness, to Joey’s hard hitting rhythm. It’s more than a ballad, it’s a fucking hit record!

Written with Desmond Child, it’s a song that captures all the femininity of a magical romance, and all the serenity of masculine protection. It captures the fragility of the human spirit both with, and without a connection, a simple bond to another. It speaks to couples, it even speaks to family, it speaks to friendship, if that’s what fits… It bleeds Aerosmith emotion… I’m not much of a ballad guy, and as “Songfacts” says; “There certainly is a “wuss factor to it”.

Maybe it holds a place for me, for other reasons, as you will soon read. It’s said that “Steven knew he was compromising, with this one”, as Kolodnar says in “Walk This Way”, but when it becomes the biggest most successful song of an almost 20 year career (at the time), you’ll take it, compromise or not.

But the reality of the song comes from a darker place, in my opinion, and I don’t think I’m going very far out on a limb here. To me personally, it speaks of the need for a helping hand out of the binds of addictions, a lifeline, so to speak. The one who can show you a different picture, than the one you’re used to seeing, a different “reflection”. It’s true you can’t accomplish, or even quit anything in life, if the inner desire isn’t there, but damn… Those are the times we all need most to lean on someone that won’t let us fall, someone who will catch us. Even if, as in their cases, and more specifically Steven’s, not to mention my own, we continue to fall at times, so much so that people would think we practice it, angels are still needed.

When it’s just you and a couple of “close” friends and a mirror full of white, it’s all real cool until it’s gone… Then those “friends” are gone, and not just gone for the night, but fucking “GONE”! It’s at that moment, you realize you’re whole connection to each other, to the people you call friends, is nothing more than the small mound of white powder on the mirror, from last night, last weekend, last month, last year, and on… next weekend, next month… You realize the powder, the mirror controls all that is expected, and even the unexpected… these “friends” start to dissolve, whether that be from their own doing, or because of, not necessarily the withdrawal, but the “withdrawn”… You mourn the loss of those who didn’t just quit the drug, but quit the whole fucking game…. But you go back next weekend anyway…

The song to me, is representation, it’s admission… FINALLY admission!!!, to asking for help. It’s not about being lonely, it’s about being alone, and needing that someone who can help you “see the light”, to not have to go it alone…

That Angel, and I have a few in my life… We all do, it’s just sometimes we don’t know when to reach out. And sometimes we reach out, and don’t even know what we’re reaching for, just reaching… It’s at that moment, you realize who you’re angel is.

Mine happened at the birth of my daughter Samantha Jo Michaela. She was my angel, She became the reason I live… The reason to live instead of simply breathe.

All of my girls are angels to me, both before Sammy Jo, and after, but that moment is when I saw the light.

It may not be one of the best songs Aerosmith has ever done but it’s definitely Classic Aerosmith…

Love you Mary, Cristina, Sammy Jo, and Natalie

This is “Angel”

 

Number 78 – If You’ve Heard It Before, Take Another Listen For The 1st Time…”

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Come on Joe, It’s Pretty damn Good!

Sometimes I wonder if Mary and I are the only ones that liked this album. I mean I know it sold 240,000 copies the 1st week, with a little help from this song, and another off the record, which no doubt helped it debut at #2, but the reality is, it’s actually hard to find a favorable review of the record. We can’t be the only ones! Can we? Shit! It’s sold 1.3 million copies as of 2007, I would imagine it has to be close to 2 million by now!

So, why was this album so disliked by so many? Maybe because it lacks the depth? Matter of opinion, if you ask me… Maybe because of the commercialism of the record, with Dodge being the driving sponsor of the tour? I’ve seen worse sell-outs, and even then, I’m not sure they sold out, as much as cashed in. The album, like many others through the band’s career, didn’t receive too many favorable reviews. I sometimes wonder if the critics let the music even sink in, before inking their pen.

Even if those reasons, and more are the case, this is not new for Aerosmith. These guys to me, are like an old worn in pair of your favorite blue jeans, or boots. When you first try them on, sometimes they’re a bit harsh in a lot of places. Sometimes it just takes a bit to let them form to you. And when that happens? They’re all you want to wear. Continue reading Number 78 – If You’ve Heard It Before, Take Another Listen For The 1st Time…”

Number 73 –1974 Was a Good Year for Some, Namely the Boys from Sunapee, But Not This Boy

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Namely the Boys From Sunapee…
Not So Much for This One…

Creating what they would later call their “1st True Record”. They were starting to get an idea of what they wanted to do, what direction they wanted to take. For me, I was an 11-12 year old boy with nothing left.

Still just a young boy, the “Last Child of 9”, it was a little rougher than most others I knew. It would be a few years still, before I would even know what a Gibson Guitar was, or the difference between a harmonica, and an accordion… Well, I knew, but I wasn’t much interested, I really didn’t care. All I cared about was what I lost. Probably a bit too involved in my “Ma tellin’ me about her ordeal, and her soul she could not feel”, after all…. in her eyes, Papa diedContinue reading Number 73 –1974 Was a Good Year for Some, Namely the Boys from Sunapee, But Not This Boy

Number 72 – The Tear In Her Eyes, Makes Me Fall To My Knees…

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The Beauty of a Boy’s Mother,
Is Unequaled by any Other…

Let’s see what it should be…

Number 72 is an off the wall choice, at best. Again, one of those songs forgotten by many with less than stellar reviews. Shit, you’d almost be hard pressed to find one at all. At least a positive one anyway. Who knows, maybe they’re right. Maybe that’s why this one is more in the rear view mirror, rather than the windshield.

The song comes from a dry time in the career of the band. Ironic to the title I guess… a period of years without real and substantial new material. Maybe the lack of decent reviews are because the song is so very, very far off track of who this band has always been. Maybe that’s why I have a fondness for it. It’s a different side, a different look. Maybe the word “side” is the wrong term or word to use, but more like a glance, a trait. Another interest, like we all have. Is it our inner desire to paint, to build, to write, to create something different?

There are many stories out there of who, and what, this song is about, whether it be about Steven and Cyrinda, or Teresa, or some other unknown girl. But the truth is probably a lot different than we all assume. Sure, I realize Steven will always put sexual or relationship connotations to a song, in order to sell its appeal, and that works, so why not? But the reality and beauty of this song is not as mysterious as one might think. In fact; although Steven and Valance will get most of the lyrical credit, the true meaning belongs to Joe.

Let’s go back to “Walk This Way”, The autobiographical book of the band, Let’s go back to “Rocks”, My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, let’s go back to the lyrics in “Combination’; “Walking in Gucci, wearing “Yves St. Laurant, barely stay on, ‘cause I’m so God damned Gaunt…”

What was written and realized, was that Joe’s mother couldn’t stand the sight of the junkie he had become. After Joe’s father died, his mother moved to Arizona, because she needed a warmer place to retire, but also to create a distance between herself and what he had become. There were times in my life, before this song’s existence that I can relate to. In many ways, I’m sure similar to Joe’s original intent…

In the spring of 1981, the year after I graduated High School, and already almost 3 years on my own, I found myself as an 18 year old  kid in a constant state of paranoia, living alone with no direction. “So God Damned Gaunt” the word ‘malnutrition’ might come to mind. And you know what? You’d be right. In my little apartment in Bennett Valley, Santa Rosa, I was very much alone. While my friends at the time, were busy taking classes at the local JC, giving an effort to start life, and partying on weekends, yet always returning home to mom and dad, for meals and laundry, maybe even asking Pop for a few duckies for the weekend, I was sinking, falling further and further.

There was no school, no college, only darkness walking into walls. My minimum wage job was nothing more than a means to afford my habits. I know, you’re 1st thought is; “Minimum wage, living on his own, how much of a habit could he have had, and still paid rent and eaten food?” Well the truth is, some of you may be old enough to remember the days of Full Service Gas Stations, and instead of swiping the magnetic strip of the credit cards, we had to take imprints and carbon copies. We also had to often get authorization over the phone inside an office, out of view of the customers. By running “Double Slips’ in the machine, and getting authorization for twice the amounts of actual purchase you can begin to see where a kid, without direction, without parental guidance, but a keen artistic hand, can easily afford a habit way beyond his means.

Knowing I was completely lost to the drug, with the lyrics of “Combination” haunting my paranoid psyche on a daily basis, I continued down this very dark road. Even friends tried their best to bring me straight. Telling me stories of the FBI watching me at work, watching my every move at home. Countless nights of peeking through the curtains in wonderment of just who was watching me, but at the same time always getting more… It was during that previous year’s Christmas that my mother came to visit. My mom, my ever loving beautiful mom. A mother with a ton of “fire in her eyes” toughness, and yet all for the “tear in her eyes” love of her son, she saw the world I was living in. Although she never addressed it, she knew… But with that knowledge, insisted I leave where I was, and once again live with a parent who cares, to finally make a break, to accept help, to accept love.

I took my mother AND my sister up on that offer in the spring of 81. I so desired “real”, “normal”. I leaped at the offer, as if someone was throwing me a life preserver in the waters I was drowning in. The truth is though, it’s one thing to want to be rescued by someone, it’s a whole ‘nother to not dive right back into the waters you were pulled from.

Over the next 15-16 years, I would continue my ways, never a full blown needle using addict, but definitely a weekend binger, with a habit that was hard to afford, and even harder to break. I like to call it controlled addiction. Although the truth is, if I really had any self control at all, I wouldn’t have fallen as often as I did. And it wasn’t unusual for the weekend binge to follow into Monday, Tuesday, or start early on Thursday.

I’m not sure what’s worse, a person in denial of what he is, only because he has a schedule, or the guy who admits it, but never asks for help. The point I’m getting at is this; Although my mother never lost faith, never gave up, I continued a path of self destruction for many years to come. However, upon my true and real emersion from the dark, my mother and I were as close as ever. I wished that I could have been the son she always wanted me to be, but I’m so happy that she was the mother I always wanted, and although my path that I was walking was severely shaken at times, my mother always kept faith that I was a good person, and that I would come out the other side, someone she could be proud of and respect.

During my mom’s last years, I spent the time that a son needs to spend with his mother. I had nothing left to regret in our relationship. Pure love. Sure, there were annoyances as most have. Sure there were disagreements, but all was said. All was felt. And that alone is the beauty of the bond between a mother and her son. You might say; “I found the key, the key to the vault.”

In the sobering years of 87-89 Joe and Billie visited his mother in Arizona, which is where the inspiration for the song came from, according to Jim valance. It was Joe’s song, but it didn’t fit on “Pump”. It was a song to, and about his mom. Living in this place, so very different from home, but the beauty of it all. A boy’s mother in his eyes, in a setting, that accentuates that beauty, that different kind of love. It’s a song about coming full circle, and being okay with where she is now. It’s a song about apology without saying sorry. It just says love. Joe and Billie were so impressed by the serenity of where they were, and the serenity his mother had found, that the he was influenced to put those feelings of his mother and their relationship to music. The embodiment, the contrast of what he once was, to where he had once been, and to who and what they were now.

The song was never finished that year, and sometime just weeks before “Devil’s Disguise” came out Jim valance got a call from the band’s receptionist at their management office, asking him if he remembered any un-released songs he might have wrote with Aerosmith?’ Thinking the question was odd at the time, he answered with “Legendary Child”, and another… but the receptionist asked him again if he remembered “Sedona something” specifically. At that point he remembered, but also states they never finished it. However Aerosmith still gives credit to him, for his assistance. Jim has true respect and appreciation to Steven and Joe for remembering him, on a song that was almost forgotten. A song that just never fit anywhere, at least until the right time.

I would be remiss, If I didn’t give the obligatory bad Rolling Stone Magazine review… But hey… this time, I’ll side with them. The record really was a contractual obligation… but without it, who knows if we would have ever heard this beautiful gem of a song, dedicated and written to a boy’s mom in her after years. Amazing, the feelings of serenity after the storms have passed.

Rolling Stone Magazine; The album’s two new tracks are a nice addition, but they don’t really merit a real reason to buy the CD if you already have a decent collection of the band’s hits. “Sedona Sunrise” features the band’s signature guitar sound and Tyler’s voice screeching out a quasi ballad. Sadly, “Devil’s Got a New Disguise” starts out as a hard guitar “classic” Aerosmith song, but quickly changes into an up tempo “pop rock” song that is easily forgettable.

Look, RS Mag, has never been a friend of the band’s from day one. So, even with such a beautiful song as this is, with the meaning behind it obviously lost on shallow critics, I ask that you listen to the music again, listen to the lyrics again, for the 1st time…

And if you’re wondering how your mom feels, ask her… and then tell her how you feel. That’s what it’s all about…

“It’s as clear as a sunrise in Sedona
Just what it is that’s blowin’ in the wind
It’s the fire in her eye’s
It’s the tear when she cries
It’s the heat when I fall to my knee’s
That I’m thinkin’ of…”

Love you mom,
This is; “Sedona Sunrise”

NUMBER 70 – How Much Is This Ride Gonna’ Cost Me?

AMERICAN IDOL: Aerosmith performs during the season 11 AMERICAN IDOL GRAND FINALE at the Nokia Theatre on Weds. May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. CR: Michael Becker/FOX

Take a Walk Outside Your Mind…
We all heard the starter’s gun…
Oh wait, that can’t be the right one…

Last year’s #40; probably sit’s a little more comfortably closer to where it belongs…

You ever have one of those days, when you put on your shoes to go for a walk, and you don’t get 25 feet from the door, and your left foot is soakin’ wet on the bottom of your feet, because your shoe has a hole in it? Oh wait… nevermind….wrong sole?

Anywayyyyys…..

This Is another Aerosmith Power Ballad, written by Steven, Joe, and Desmond Child. It’s probably right where it should be on the list… sometimes that happens. It’s songs like these though, that are really, really good, but then I say to myself; “Self, you’ve lost all credibility with “Hangman”. Maybe it’s because of the emotion that comes through when I hear it. But let’s do this… Continue reading NUMBER 70 – How Much Is This Ride Gonna’ Cost Me?

Number 67 – Aerosmith Sacrilege

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Used to be great… Now it’s just late…

Some Pay More Dues Than Others, and Sometimes Others Reap the Rewards of the Dues You Paid

Get ready for Aerosmith sacrilege…

I wrote most of this last year, and it’s okay just the way it is. Enjoy, or don’t, the choice is yours to make. Don’t shoot the messenger even if he wrote the message.

I’m sure a lot of you thought maybe this might make the top 30, 20, or even 10… And I’m positive you all think it SHOULD BE at the top, or close to it. I would never argue that in somebody else’s list. Just not on mine, for whatever reason.

I do give this song a ton of respect, the respect it deserves. To know that Steven wrote the song, or at least most of it, when he was 17 or 18 years old, with his parents in mind, and the sheer genius of those lyrics and the Melody, at such a young age… Well it’s just amazing!

My take on it comes from various different view points. First I remember hearing it on 610 KFRC AM, San Francisco at the age of, what?… 10, 11, 12? I can remember liking it a little bit. But being the youngest of nine, it haunted me. I didn’t like it, with the fact that I was watching the woman I loved more than air getting older, the lines on her face getting clearer. I was watching my dad dislike her more every day, for no other reason than vanity.

My mom was 36 years old when I was born into a family who already had 8 mouths to feed. A mistake my father would remind of over the years. As I grew into my pre-teen years, with the whole world in front of me, as confident as a boy could get, I was often immune to the heartaches happening around me, or maybe I was just blind. Too young to see the effects of what is being lost along the way. Maybe confidence was just a word used to mask the ego that insecurity saw in the mirror…

At the exact time in a boy’s life where every boy in the world should be doing nothing more than being a boy, I couldn’t help but notice, that maybe my own carefree and often unbothered nature was being challenged by family with stresses that I didn’t understand, and yet being asked too… No, forced to understand before being ready. Now I don’t want to make this into more than it was. It was divorce, and at the time half the marriages in the country did the same, and maybe my parents’ divorce wasn’t a lot different than any other, but for me, it was total destruction.

Over the course of a few years I watched my father become more and more absent. It meant nothing to me at the time, and yet my older siblings always knew something I didn’t. Maybe they knew where he really was, I still don’t know. Probably doesn’t matter. But what I saw, what I noticed was my mother’s love for her children, her happiness of just being a mom and a wife turn into a job. And it seemed to me at least, it was a job she no longer reaped the benefits from.

I can clearly remember many trips to Little League games before the actual divorce happened, my mother asking me, almost in a girlish manner I f I still thought she was pretty. I can remember her looking in the rear-view mirror worried about the wrinkles appearing more clearly on her face. I can remember her telling us how the sun, which she worshiped her entire California life, could and would cause us harm. They same sun she used to be the Beautiful Tanned Blonde woman my dad always wanted her to be. I can remember her complaints, mild as they may have been of her years and time spent working the ranch or backyard to create a better home for all of us, and yet take time away from herself being pretty. In my mind, my mom was beautiful, so I didn’t really understand.

The truth is though I remember this song coming on the radio, and my mother wiping a tear. I remember those questions of lines on her face after the song. I remember her turning the station because of how it made her feel. I remember my father’s girlfriends so much younger, so much less weathered, so much more taken care of. The song for me was beautiful, but also hauntingly imminent, in a way that will stay with me for generations. I remember as clear as day, almost like a book we were reading in school, the chapters of a happy wonderful life, a great childhood, a happy family, changing with each turn of the page into the past. It was slow, it was methodical in a sense to see the life you once led, become a past life, and yet when it was done some 3 or and 4 years after the questions my mom asked me in the car, it seemed as though it went by with a blink of an eye.

I heard it again when Toys came out, but again didn’t really get it. Hell, I think I might have been about 12 or 13 when Toys came out. Before I heard the 1st album, I didn’t really get Toys either. So again, the song was sad to me, and being a kid of divorce, and a kid who just wanted to have fun, it didn’t leave much of a mark, at least not yet.

A few years later, when I became a true Aerosmith fan, I got it! I loved it. I played it over and over, and over again! Maybe even too much… I kinda’ started to feel like Joe feels towards the song. “You have to do it… it’s who you are”. I have to like it, I’m a fan, but the reality was, unless I was hearing it live, I wanted to hear something deeper from “my band” on the radio.

The lyrics though, the lyrics and melody always stuck with me, “lived and learned from fools and from sages” you know that’s pretty true for me, and damn if I haven’t paid my dues by now. Yeah, I relate, it’s just not always a feel good song for me.

This song was a peek into the genius level of the lyricist Steven would turn out to be. This video and performance of the song is the best I’ve ever seen, and frankly makes it hard to only rank it at 67. But again this is my list, right?

I have a friend, Jamie, who I want to thank for showing me a different side of this song. It’s not that I’ve never seen it before, I think I just never noticed it like I did until after she shared her story with me, of the love between her and her mother, and a bridge of sorts, that this song provided them. A truly loving relationship, in which they often sang together, and of course this song was one their very favorites. I’m touched deeply by her story, which is much deeper than I’m at liberty to divulge. I can say this though; there are songs in life that touch us on almost spiritual levels, almost as if someone is touching us from beyond through the melodies and lyrics. This is something I can not only appreciate, but also envy in Jamie’s case. Further, it makes me truly happy that she has that connection, and others have much more enlightened experience with this one than I.

Funny though, the different lines our tears follow, for different reasons…

So, as long as I put this one where I did, I value everyone else’s desire to put it much higher.

If you go undefeated, what did you learn? Even so, some pay more dues than others,

This is “Dream On”

Number 65 – Hey Hit the Light, Would Ya’…

 Mike 2204 (7)
We’re about to get to the meat of the beat
of Joey’s drum
Pretty soon its going to be time to take a seat
And get some….

There’s a lot goin’ on here!!!!

True, we’re getting; to the meat of this band. Never being one to shy away from the sweet desserts before the main course, but alas, we don’t have many ballads left in the countdown, Although there are still a few of those left, and the bulk of them will come sooner rather than later, I’m hoping ya’all can at least see that we’re turning the first corner, So let’s pick up some much needed “speed” to get the inside “rail”, so we can “slow it down and make it last”, then let the horses loose again on the far straight-away. Continue reading Number 65 – Hey Hit the Light, Would Ya’…

Number 64… Have You Taken That Ride?

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It’s Not the Friend That Leads You Down the Wrong Path, It’s Your Desire to Have a Friend That Will Go With You.

Thank God they’re still alive –

And “The Handbook” continues… It’s as if they have a window into my soul, into my life. That’s not necessarily a good thing by the way… Or, as if I am somehow connected. I’m not writing this as if I’m alone with this view, or concept, this perception. I’m writing this, on the behalf of not only myself, but many, many others, who have similar experiences.

It’s not unusual for a person to relate, on an extreme level, to a song, or two from an artist or group… But catalogues upon, catalogues? You have to admit, it’s as if it’s a kind of soundtrack in a sense. Maybe it’s because of the subject matter that almost everyone can identify with, at least at some point in their lives. Although even with that said, I’m still not sure if some of their biggest fans really understand some of this stuff.

This is such a beautifully sad, and frankly pathetic song. I don’t mean pathetic in a sense of artistry, rather pathetic in the sense of character understanding. It’s pathetic in the sense of what some of us do to “feel”, to give “feeling”, and sometimes even though there was never any harm intended, just a matter of caring that probably went too far. Farther than one is qualified to care.

“Oh… when you cross that line that ’choo know you can’t erase
To fall in lust not love ain’t no sin at all…”

Chris Willman of “Entertainment Weekly” said;
“The songs to not listen to on the album are “Fly Away from Here”, “Luv Lies”, “Avant Garden”, “Just Push Play”, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, and “Outta Your Head”, but the rest of the songs on the album are tolerable… and thinks, the album overall is good but not great”

Who knows, maybe at the time it came out, I felt the same way. But now-a-days, there’s just too much depth, to not give notice. I will agree, that structurally the song doesn’t give us much, but lyrically, for me at least, I think its top shelf… Maybe it’s because the majority of the people that listen, really can’t relate. Maybe it comes across as “shallow”, and cheap to some… I don’t get that… I mean sure, it’s there, if that’s where you wanna go with it, but for me, It’s about crying out. Crying out to feel, and doing, and going, and giving the feeling that you want in return, and the lengths you’ll go to not only give it to someone who wants it,  and needs it, but to hopefully receive it…

In this world we live in, we don’t have a comprehension, an understanding, of what’s in the “middle”… How do you say to someone, you don’t want to love them, you just want to fuck them? But you don’t really wanna “just” fuck them, you want to “experience” them, on a level that’s not just lust, but it certainly isn’t love either.  And maybe it’s not about sex at all, but more about a deep caring connection, but you don’t understand how to do just that…

Sure we’ve all been there, some of us more than others. However, it is most often the case that it was never as easy as we thought it would be. And almost always is way more complex than we ever could have imagined. It’s often the case, that those three words we have the hardest time saying to those closest to us, come out easily to those who will never be that close…

“So much for mind games you play to win
‘Cuz first you lose your heart’s desire
Then you get it back
But ignorance ain’t bliss
There’s so much more behind the kiss… I’m feelin…”

David Fricke of Rolling Stone, said;
“They’re still a good band and it is lucky for them to still be around, but he also said that they “had not made a ‘great album’ since ‘Rocks’”

I’m not sure who wrote the following, but for me, this sums up the aftermath of this song… Some say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… You know what? Maybe it does you, but for me, and my experiences, it takes an awful lot out of me and those around me. I’m not sure if I’m stronger, or that it’s even given me more character… But I do carry on the best I can, the best I know how, with what’s left in the middle…

“Count your blessings — and theirs. By now, after thirty years of big rock, hard drugs, wasted fortunes and seesaw chart rides, singer Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer should either be dead or babbling incoherently. Instead, Aerosmith are our most treasured and reliable warrior clowns, the original Ol’ Dirty Bastards. They don’t carry on with the dignity of old blues buddhas — Aerosmith just plain carry on.”

However, whoever wrote the above, also wrote the following… I guess my point here is that, yeah sometimes the ballads suck the “Rock” right of the “Roll”… But then sometimes I’m not sure that people like the guy who wrote this, ever really rolled at all…

“Frankly, whenever Aerosmith get sentimental on Just Push Play, I wanna push fast forward…  “Luv Lies” comes with a dash of blues-cough harmonica and a lyrical twist — it’s basically about the kind of people who say “I love you” just to get laid — but never surges beyond cigarette-lighter la-la-la.”

Maybe that’s true to some, but I choose to believe different. Aerosmith has plenty of songs about “just getting laid” and doing whatever it takes to make that happen…. But this… this song is different on much deeper levels. This is a song about connections made that people don’t understand, and because they don’t understand it, there is confusion, frustration, and pain… and lies. Lies because you don’t know the truth, and if you do, right or wrong, you care enough about the people involved to try and protect them from truths that don’t even matter. And the aftermath of that… that mistake… That lack of understanding of yourself… the lack of comprehension of what you’ve done…

Maybe from my own introspect, maybe from trying to justify some of the life long paths I’ve followed, as if they were somehow different than the way society sees them, I’ve come to terms with mistakes made out of compassion. In my lifetime I’ve learned that people as a whole “feel’ on so many different levels. It’s difficult to comprehend just how many levels there are, and what one person wants or needs doesn’t even scratch the surface of another. Maybe that’s why some people come off as cold, or unemotional, and then others so warm and caring. Maybe that’s why some are regarded as prudish in their acceptance of intimacy, while others need to take it to the extreme. I don’t judge.

For me personally though, the intrigue is when you cross paths with someone who just wants to feel, and be felt. Intriguing as it is, it’s also so very confusing in so many ways. Our society is so quick to judge, so quick to categorically compartmentalize people’s actions and needs and wants turn it into whatever fits their comprehension best.  For so many of us, it’s difficult to navigate the alley-ways between what is acceptable, what is shameful, what is freedom, what is empowering, and what is simply satisfying. We as a society have demanded more from the intimate encounters we might have, when in fact, maybe there just isn’t more than the feeling of intimacy.

We manufacture a reason behind a need, we will say things to give credibility to nothing more than a connection of souls. And yet at the same time, while we are desperately trying to build on nothing more than maybe a moment in time, we don’t acknowledge a simple greeting on the street. How we interact in our lives on a daily basis, whether it be, intimate, discreet, or social, carries weight in the make up of our self worth. It leaves a mark. And sometimes without understanding the depth of our own interactions, that mark can leave scars.

I’ve noticed through my time, that many of us, sometimes often in our lives, reach points of loneliness, and yet want to be alone, and yet don’t want to be alone at all. That in it’s self can be a very strange concept to understand, even for the individual. Moreover as a person of compassion, we often want to help that person not feel lonely, and yet have no clue really how to do that, other than help them “feel”. This is the area where we often find ourselves crossing, and even asking the individual to cross into, and over emotional boundaries that we may not even realize exist, all for the willingness to “feel” and give “feeling”. It’s a dangerous path, but also one that many of us would take, and do take, just to show someone they matter. To help someone feel wanted, needed… And even more so, when that person is already close to us in some way, by friendship, or maybe acquaintance. Realizing what you may give up beforehand though, is another story.

It’s difficult for me to judge anyone who has crossed that line, with the integrity of nothing more than compassion for another. It’s hard for me to judge the individuals who allowed themselves to cross that line, of course given these are their true motivating factors. However, it’s when those lines that were crossed, it’s when these people have found themselves in a state of “what do we do now”, that is the most difficult area to navigate. This is when the pain of expectation without reason comes. This is when the pain of rejection because of inability to follow through comes. This is when the pain of not understanding the differences between compassion and passion hit so very hard. This is when the pains experienced of those around you, are in ways never imagined. This is when the realization of your own lack of comprehension remain.

“When loneliness and paranoia feeds me
God help the person… fff… who needs me… yeeaaah…”

We revert back to the original reason for the connection in the first place… we manufacture what needs to be heard, words, actions, feelings, to create a reason that we care, as if it needs further definition. This is what this song is about. This is not only about those connections in life, random as they may be, but also the ones that we have cultivated over years and years of time, when maybe the passion is gone, but compassion remains. This is about the guilt, the realization of what a partner, friends, society will label you as, without knowledge, or even the slightest understanding of what is real, of what or who you actually are. It’s about knowing who you are, or better yet, “what” you are, and also knowing that it is not generally accepted.

No this isn’t about “Just getting laid”…

If you ever find yourself in a position to “Tell I Love You Lies”, try real hard to just recognize the moment, recognize the consequences, recognize the future pains that are sure to follow. When the lies start, they can’t be fixed, they might be forgiven, but they won’t be forgotten. Not by you, not by those involved. Careful what you give up, careful of those affected.

“If Ignorance is bliss, take me off the list”- Simply meaning, nobody needs that kind of bliss. The pains that follow loves lied, are promises never meant to be kept. You can’t fix that.

There are a few people I know that have disdain for Marti Frederickson, and Mark Hudson, because of the baggage they bring, and although I don’t know Joe personally, I do know that he is one of the people who have expressed those views. However, I choose to take a different stance… It’s not the friend that leads you down the wrong path, it’s your desire to have a friend that will go with you.

Enough of the lectures earned on lessons learned. Enjoy it for what it is, it’s when we make more out of it than it is, is when we make mistakes.

“And tell me when your wit’chor best friend’s friend
Do you still feel outta place
No thanks I took that ride
God only knows I tried believin’…”

Simply put, these guys can write a song! I’m not one for ballads all that much, but sometimes…
Sometimes!

No thanks, I took that ride…
I’m not going to give up what I got…”

Number 63 – LET’S IMPART SOME FLOOZE TO THE BLOOZE…

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Please don’t walk out that door,
There’s got to be some more…

Timing is fucking amazing!
Maybe sometimes it’s better to just let ‘em go

Okay, we’re really getting somewhere now. We’re starting to turn the corners and get to what this band does best.

This song has been done by “EVERYBODY”, and most have done it really well. I really like the way “Them” did it, but their version is a bit too 60’s for my taste. Then again, Van’s vocals are almost made for this song. Wait, that might be a stretch Van Morrison, Don Henley, people like that are born to sing almost anything they want… The Heartbreakers did a really good version. That is until Tom started singing. That kinda’ ruined it for me. There’s a few things Ted does well, but this song IS NOT one of them. Bon Scott and AC/DC actually do one of my all time favorite versions. Bon Scott though, unlike almost any other rocker of his time, had a style all his own, without even being a great vocalist. It was his spirit, that came out in the songs he sang. And I know this sounds sacrilegious, but I’m not a fan of Muddy Waters’ version at all.

The song is commonly called; “One of the most played, arranged, and rearranged pieces in Blues history” Wikipedia says that the song was first recorded in ’35 by Big Joe Williams, and that it dates back to the 19th century in the times of bondage and slavery. There  also seems to be an awful lot of “loose” credits to the originators of the song. Kind of a shame really, someone should get some major credit somewhere for this one. It’s that good! It’s one of those songs that even today, take us back to kind of a yesteryear.A time of festivals, and even small town revivals, whether it be annual Fireman’s dance at the local Town Hall, or something as big as the U*S Festival or even Woodstock, this one gets your feet movin’ and your hands a clappin’.

Aerosmith puts their own touch on this song that is so uniquely “The Boys from New Hampsha’” that it’s absolutely unmistakable when you hear it, just who it is. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. They don’t just play tribute to a song when they cover it, they “Fucking OWN IT!” They “Aerosmith it up”! Aerosmith-ize, so to speak. But what that word means, is that when you hear this version, you have to do a little more than clap your hand and move your feet… You gotta’ feel it!

Part of what pulls this one off for them, is an absolute true return to where they came from. This song is 1973 all over again. It maybe someone else’s song, but not while they perform it.

The “Honkin’ on Bobo” Tour was an all time favorite of mine. There’s just something special about these guys when they’re having the time of their lives, playing the songs they truly like to play. The Bobo Tour, easily ranks number two with me of all the ones I’ve ever seen. From Boston.com News in a 2004 review of a hometown ‘Bobo’ concert, their show was reviewed like this;
An astute friend describes Aerosmith’s 25th album, “Honkin’ on Bobo,” as arena blues, and indeed, there was nothing back porch or down home about the generous selection of songs Aerosmith played from the new disc. They were lighter-raising, feel-good, slick, and super-size blues, and interspersed with cherry-picked favorites, they inspired the sort of bar-band energy and meat-and-potatoes riffs that hearken back to the days before hit soundtracks became a priority.” “The entire back end of the set amounted to a killer run: the obscure Fleetwood Mac track “Stop Messin’ Around,” dripping with Tyler’s dirty harmonica licks, fed into “Dream On” and “Draw the Line,” which sparked the vintage tunes “Baby, Please Don’t Go”…”

I think some of my favorite remarks in that review is about the lack of the overly syrupy IDWMAT,  and the fact the “Boston” Concert was a meat & potatoes type of set. This is what True Blue Army has come to expect from these guys, not concerts filled with overly Pop Hits like some kind of album from “K-Tel Presents”! But alas, at this stage of the game, we take the shows we can get, and as Poppy as some of the songs they play now are, which in no way what-so-ever represent their nickname “The Bad Boys from Boston”, they have a way of even making them sound good… But, oh the times I could reminisce…

But getting back to Aerosmith; Steven writes from scratch. It’s a sound, a feeling from deep within his soul. He starts scatting sounds that turn into words, that turn into lyrics, that turn into verses, that turn into songs. Many Aerosmith songs were just Steven and Joe Jamming and Scatting, until something came out the other end. No, of course Steven didn’t write this one, but it’s the type of song that he very well could have, and the lyrics work so well with his writing style.

So when you listen to this version, in my biased opinion, the best version ever, listen to the tradition of the song, and listen to the unique sound Aerosmith puts on it, listen to them feel it, breath it, live it… ooze it! I love Joe’s quote about the album, so tongue in cheek. Knowing Joe, he’s saying the sentence backwards from the way he means it. Forever the High Road, but we get it Joe;
“I can’t believe this is the same band that did ‘Don’t Wanna Miss a thing’”

The quote I like best from Allmusic.com on ‘Bobo’, without the rest of the mess, is;
“Other rockers who have cut full-length blues albums have always played the music with a kind of scholarly reverence, taking care to pay tribute to their influences. Not Aerosmith. They turn up the amps and cut loose, playing slick and sleazy blooze-rock that feels indebted to second-generation blues-rock instead of blues forefathers.”

You know what? I’ll take that. I’ll take exactly that! I don’t wanna hear what everybody else does. I wanna hear Aerosmith, even if is your Grand Pappy’s song. I want to feel Aerosmithized!

The boys recorded this song for their Blues Covers album, Honkin’ On Bobo, which, as I’ve said, was their “baby”… Their pet project! What they hold dear. Billboard Magazine describes the song as;
“the kind of straight-ahead, hard-driving track that always typified the band’s [1970s] records”.

It was the first single to be released from the album, and it reached number seven on the mainstream rock charts. The video, directed by Mark Haefeli, really captures the feel of this song and Aerosmith’s mark on it. If you’ve never been to an Aerosmith concert… well, this is pretty close.

Listening to Tyler just “go” on this, you get a feel… and understanding of how he creates lyrics for so many other songs. You get a feel of the musical and lyrical genius. This, in my opinion is the heart of why, and how they make this song their own. No, he didn’t write this, but it flows through his blood, like water down a favorite river, and then exits through the fingers of Brad and Joe, and Tom, and Joey, as they impart the ‘Flooze’ to the Blues, while Steven keeps the sleaze ,that is the essence of the way they do this song, lingering from bridge to bridge with harp play that can only be described as sexually inspirational.

They don’t just pick, they slide, they roll, they groove, speed it up, they energize this song, with fever that just keeps getting hotter and hotter and hotter as it goes.

They are the one and only, with the sound that embodies their spirit of the coined description of “Bloozy”. Watch Joe, watch Steven, they feed off each other, they receive from each other the fuel that makes this band go. 3 and a half minutes of ‘ooze’

I hope you like this, from the squeeze to the sleaze…

“Stop bein’ the dog
Stop bein’ the dog… yeah
Stop bein’ the dog… get’chor way down here
Make you walk along
Baby please don’t go…yeah”

This is “Baby please Don’t Go”

 

Number 62 – Set it Free… If You can

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 Set It Free… If You can

This was originally written during a time of my own indiscretions. Yeah, that’s the best word I can use I guess. Some call it cheating. Some call it being a pig, a dick, or whatever name they want to use that helps with their lack of understanding of what my version of the truth is. Either way, the pains of those I love most in my life, seem to be the constant payment of my relations with them.  I don’t & won’t ever ask anyone to forgive me. I won’t ask them to see things the way I do. I won’t make them understand. The only thing I will ask; is that they try to see things through a different window once in awhile.

By the time you finish reading this little book. You’ll maybe learn some useless trivia about a band and a bunch of songs. On top of that, you’ll learn a few things about the author. You may or may not agree, condone, or have compassion for him at all, and that’s cool too, I just ask while you’re looking through that other window, that you see a man, a human being with flaws, but who’s main intention in life was to do good, be good, and have fun. 2nd to those things, he was a man who had a lot of love to give, a lot of compassion, he just wasn’t really clear on how to present those things all the time…

Tough to write,
With what it incites

Man sometimes this shit is just plain hard to write… I thought about just skipping the frickin’ song altogether… Then I thought about trading it out with some thing like “Painted on my Heart”, or “Loretta”, or “Bridges Burning”, and I really like “Biscuit Blues”, but I have to go back and say to myself. There’s a reason, why those songs never made an album. There’s a reason why this song was chosen. There’s a reason why this song was as big as it was…

Sometimes we go through some shit, and it just makes everything hard, fresh, and… well, it’s just hard… Sometimes you just gotta’ let that shit go…. And sometimes you just can’t

UltimateClassicRock.com lists the song as number 9 all time of the band’s… Obviously I don’t agree, since I’ve got it here at number 62. And as a side note, if you’re really paying attention, you can quite possibly get an idea of what this list’s Top 10 might look like, but you really gotta’ look…. Then again, things can always change, right?

I’ve said this before; I’ll say it again… It’s not always the beginning, or even the end, that is most important… It’s what’s in the middle. It’s what happens along the way. Sometimes there are things, places, people, that we can’t ever forget, won’t ever forget… can’t let go, won’t let go. But there’s always the middle…

How do you become the biggest rock band in the world? Expand your audience… You have to appeal to more than just teenage boys in blue denim and navy blue derby jackets. You need the chicks too. No not just the hardcore rocker chicks. They’re a dime a dozen, and they’ll be at door after the show. And as fun as they are, and they are a lot of fun, they’re a minority presence in the world of record sales… So whadda’ ya’ do? Where do ya’ go? You look for the middle….

They already line up… You need the girls that would listen to Heart, and Pat Benatar and Journey. You need the girls who were looking at Bon Jovi and Poison…. Not necessarily as a gimmick, like those bands were doing, but rather to go after their desire. You need to let them believe that they have a hold on you. You need to get the girls that wouldn’t give this band the time of day 15 years earlier. Make them feel like they’re more than just a “Ragdoll”. That’s for the Hardcore Rocker Chicks, they like the whole Ragdoll thing… These girls, are the ones that will grow up and never know the meaning of WTW, or Cheesecake, or Walkin’ The Dog, or Get it Up, the girls that have no clue what a “Wet Nap Winner” is. And that’s cool, maybe they don’t need don’t need to know… They need the girls who want Angel, and Dream On, and IDWTMAT. They need that crowd. That’s the crowd that’s gonna’ buy 7M records! The crowd that will learn the term “The Bad Boys From Boston”, but then ask that they don’t play the songs that gave that nickname.

This is that song. Hook line and sinker! Reel them in. Generation number two, “Welcome to the Show!

Steven and Joe and Desmond wrote this little piece of lyrical and instrumental genius, to capture a whole new audience. An innocence not before seen, or heard by this band, at least not by these types of kids. Don’t get me wrong, if I didn’t like the song it wouldn’t be on my list. I truly believe it’s an absolute work of art.

The group recorded two official videos for the song…. Very clever, especially for such a Honky Tonk type of song. My favorite is the link below, where after they finish an Arena Concert, and then go do a show at a Dive Bar behind chicken wire, and all Hell Breaks loose… I love the heavy drum beat, and super sliding fingers on guitar, along with an almost country solo by Joe, give me the harmonica, the accordion, and Brad and Tom’s smooth rhythm to just keep pace, all the while listening to Steven’s total sense of loss, as he portrays it in lyrical fashion…

How do you forget? How do you let go of something so huge, a part of you, part of your self…. You don’t! In a way, it’s relatable to grieving. In my opinion that’s where the song goes… A love that dies… how do you move on? How do they move on? How do you not think about me? How do I not think about you?

Is this what the middle was? Just a place to jump off from? Who’s next?… Fuck me… This is what’s left from just one word out of a 1,000? 10,000? This is what’s left from the toss… What the frickin’ hell? Well baby, I’m “bettin’ on the dice I’m Tossin’” that “you just lost everything that was good in your life…” Yeah??!! Well, you’re the Boss of the Toss, right?

Seriously though, such a well written song, how so much love, so much life can turn on a dime. The touch of another that’s missed, but no compromise, the jealousy of the thought of another guy, but no forgiveness….

There were times in my life…

Some of us, throughout the course of a lifetime, get the opportunity to experience real love, true love, connected love. And sometimes we experience that kind of connection more than once in a lifetime, even more than twice.  There’s an old saying that goes back, at least to the mid 70’s, maybe further, I don’t really know, but that’s my first recollection. The saying was; “If you love something or someone set it free, if it doesn’t come back, it was never meant to be”.

Not sure I believe in that crap all that much. Matter of fact I’m more inclined to say we all are given specific destinies in life, and during the course of a lifetime, we’re given choices to alter that destiny, choose a different one, or stay with the one you’re on. The trouble is, there is very seldom a map, or a guidebook so to speak. And if in fact you choose to “set it, or them free” you may have just offered that special someone a different path than yours. Good, bad? I don’t know. I just know that if that person was one of those connected loves, connected souls, you may have set them free, but you also put your whole life in a state of “what if?”

Out of all the loves, lusts, and just good time “carnival ride” type girls and women I’ve had in my life, and I’ve had way more than my fair share, or even unfair share, I’ve only had 3 of those types of love that touch you beyond explanation… Maybe 3 is too many, I don’t know. I’m just not sure how to ever really do that, let go that is. And that’s not without tryin’! I guess in an odd way, some of us are just a little more compassionate, if that’s the right word.

In my opinion though, that’s not always a welcome characteristic when it comes to this stuff. I envy those who can just move on, without looking back. I envy them and despise them both, at the same time, for having the ability to just toss it all away, as if it isn’t any different than an old t-shirt they used to wear, all ragged and torn. To me compassion is often a curse that we stumble over in the presence of others way too often. We trip, we fall, and / or clumsily walk through life with this view of people, places, and things so very different than the rest of society, that we often just look kinda’ foolish.

This song for many of us, brings the pains of love not completed, except maybe by someone else standing in your shoes. The hardest and saddest part though, is the realization, that he or she is actually one of those people with that character trait you both envy and despise. She can move on, she doesn’t look back, she leaves you wondering… even twice as hard for those of us, that do keep a shield up, who do go through life with an exit plan, knowing our passion and compassion can sometimes be hard to bare for the partner, we keep a distance from that 4 letter word. It’s a huge investment to commit on that level, but an even bigger commitment to ask for it in return. So, if “the word” is said, it’s said in a way to last forever. I don’t understand, and never will understand the people who can simply move on. It’s almost as if they never really dove in. You can’t help but feel it was all, in the immortal words of Don Henley, “Just Wasted Time”.

How does one throw away everything that was once good in their life? How does one accept another in the bed that they made, without the thought of another, at least once in awhile? How does one not miss a touch that lasts a lifetime? Is it as if it was all a lie? Or is it simply some of us don’t know what it takes to let it go. Some people are really good at letting go. “Don’t live in the past”, they say. Me, I say the past is the foundation of who I am, it’s the building blocks of me, I can’t let that go…

Maybe some just lie to themselves and each other, I wouldn’t really know, I’ve never done that. But maybe some are better at saying goodbye because it never meant that much anyway. Maybe they just tell themselves a different truth, easier to accept than the alternative. Three women, all beautiful inside and out. All loved deeply enough to last a lifetime. They left there mark on me, with a simple touch, a simple kiss, a simple smile, a simple presence. Not so different from more than a hundred others, and yet on a level so very few ever really feel. The effects of each, burned deep into my soul, letting two go, towards that different destination, never completely letting go, just continued love.

The third who was brave enough to let me go, and accept my return, and love me deeper than any other. The third, who didn’t ever completely let me go. The third, who saw the opportunity for a different destiny and stayed on the same path. Karma is a funny, funny thing.

i like to believe, and I think I’m right, that none of it was wasted time. That my mark was left on them as deep as theirs on me. That, although they may been able to move on and give themselves to another without thought of the other, that thoughts were had. Thoughts were often, and they were visited with a smile of what was once true love.

I hope you like it. Hard to write a review on a song that doesn’t need one. Hard to write about relations to a song like this, we all have one… maybe more. Hard to write about a song that is as classic as “Emotion” itself.

Have fun, listen loud, and then just say goodbye… if you can.

“Girl before I met you I was F.I.N.E. fine
But your love made me a prisoner
Yeah my heart’s been doin’ time
You spent me up like money
A then ya’ hung me out to dry
It was easy to keep all your lies in disguise
‘Cause you had me in deep
With the devil in your eyes…”

Different video, even better