Man, 2016 has sucked for music! David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, and now PRINCE?!!
Okay, Alan Rickman wasn’t a musician, but if you aren’t still mourning the loss of Severus Snape/Hans Gruber/Alexander Dane/The Metatron you are no longer ALLOWED to read my blog! So GET OUT!
***Note: Please don’t get out, I was just being dramatic – I need you guys. You’re the kernels that make up this popcorn bowl of love…too much? Okay, back to the post then***
How can I even describe what music is to me? It’s woven into everything! It’s my fuel! I hardly ever sit down to write without my earbuds in or with the volume cranked for the whole family to listen. My iTunes is packed with everything (except for the bulk of country music…I can’t do it…I’ve tried…) and as I’ve been researching and writing tonight’s post, my shuffle has taken me from the Eagles (*sigh* oh Glenn) to Ben E. King to Lady Gaga to Dean Martin to Eminem to John Legend to St. Paul and the Broken Bones. If I ever experience writer’s block, I just stop trying to write and listen to music – sooner or later the right song will pop up and I’ll be back on track. Sometimes I find one song that does the trick and I put it on repeat (I once listened to The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” for nearly six straight hours while I wrote a play).
My wife and I have raised our boys with a plethora of music – avoiding the mental vacuum of Top 40 pop radio. Not that everything released nowadays is garbage…
***Note: I’m not that grumpy old guy who talks about how kids today don’t know music…except “Stitches,” that song is poop…and Nikki Minaj…any of her stuff…any of it…especially “Anaconda.” Excuse me Ms. Minaj – the song was called “Baby Got Back” and is was pleasantly dirty enough without taking it to your level and giving us aural STDs***
…but there is no reason to forget the old just to keep up with the new. Trust me, I can listen to “Uptown Funk” all the live-long day (and I usually have to because it’s my toddler’s favorite song and he’s not big on “moderation”) but he also loves singing Bob Marley and listening to instrumental music by Danny Elfman and, yes, he has been known to wail the “sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-knees” part of “Welcome to the Jungle.” My oldest has had those awkward moments at his lunch table surrounded by One Direction and Justin Bieber fans but chimes in with his fandom of The Rolling Stones and AC/DC (side note: so help me God, Axl Rose, you better not screw this band up, too).
More and more, listening to music is becoming bittersweet. We’ve lost SO MANY amazingly talented individuals WAY before their time! Besides the ones I mentioned above – we can never replace Michael Jackson or Freddy Mercury or Whitney Houston or Elvis or Janis Joplin. Sooner or later, another great is added to “The Great Gig in the Sky.”
Except Keith Richards.
How the hell is Keith Richards still alive?!!! Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish any ill on the man, but damn dude, how many lives do you have?!! The Nazi’s dropped a bomb in his crib during the London bombing in WWII – he lit his bed on fire in his sleep TWICE – he was electrocuted – he snorted strychnine and ended up catatonic – he fell out of a palm tree and needed brain surgery – and he quit doing drugs for a while, not because he was turning over a new leaf, because there was no longer a drug strong enough to have any effect on him at all! He built up a tolerance to EVERYTHING and is just waiting until someone creates something more powerful so that he can willingly fall off the wagon! THE DUDE SNORTED HIS FATHER’S ASHES!!! Read that last sentence again and let that little conscience of yours scream it into your brain and may you realize that no matter what crazy-ass things you’ve done in your past you (hopefully) never snorted your parents’ remains…no, let’s make that ANY relative’s remains…nay, shall I be so bold as to say ANY remains of ANY deceased creature! This guy is still rockin’ and rollin’ and Prince supposedly got taken out by the flu?!! Scientists should quit studying sharks and reptiles for the keys to disease immunities and start tapping into Mr. Richards because that dude is friggin’ immortal! When the end of the world comes all that will be left will be Keith Richards and cockroaches…until he snorts all the cockroaches.
Now, as David Bowie and Freddy Mercury’s timeless duet pops up on my iTunes (which is kinda freaky considering what I’ve been writing about – and NO I didn’t pick it), I encourage you to listen to your Prince tributes (check out his Superbowl halftime show and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame performance with Tom Petty) – but don’t stick to just him, I mean even he covered other people’s stuff; your favorite musicians have their own favorite musicians, you know (Mind. Blown.). Put your playlists on shuffle and see what pops up. Do some time traveling and find old favorite you’ve forgotten and download them. Push yourselves out of your norms and find the new up-and-comers and show them some love (speaking of which, check out Brielle – good stuff). And I can think of no better way to end this post than with:
“Music is music, ultimately. If it makes you feel good, cool.” ~ Prince