Tag Archives: heavy metal

What Skeletons are in Your Musical Closet?

I was raised on rock and roll.

Being born in 1960, and having four older brothers who were already teenagers, well on their way to becoming full-blown hippies, my musical education began while my peers were still enjoying the tune played by their jack-in-the-box.

I was the only kid in my third-grade class to know who Jimi Hendrix was.  hendrix woodstock

I had trouble understanding why the rest of my friends didn’t know about Woodstock, and I could sing Born on the Bayou like nobody’s business (today, not so much).

It’s safe to say that my taste in music is predominantly rock and roll…or classic rock if you want to be more specific, but as I grew older my tastes expanded. In my early twenties I discovered the blues (which would also include soul and R&B). As I approached thirty I took a liking to jazz and classical and during my forties I got into country. rock and roll

I can honestly say that I at least try to appreciate all forms of music to some degree.

I’m not a really big fan of rap, mostly because I think it is often inspired by anger, hatred and violence – three things for which I have no use in my life. Even still, there are some examples of rap that I do appreciate and enjoy.

Disco…since dancing and the whole nightclub scene was never really high on my list of favorite things, I never had much use for it, but again, I have developed a taste for a small sampling of disco songs.

I also enjoy some good funk.

airplane disco

So, with all that being said, there is another category of music I think we all share…something that goes beyond “like and dislike.”

Each of us has music we like, and we’re usually not ashamed to talk about it. Likewise music we dislike, and these we are usually less ashamed to advertise.

There is a third category…the one we keep to ourselves…the one we refuse to acknowledge…the one we hope nobody finds out about.

I call it “skeleton music” – as in the skeleton(s) in your musical closet.

teach them to dance

A friend of mine is a huge metal fan, which is not only to say he is a fan in a huge way, but also that he is a huge guy. To look at him you’d think he would just as soon kick your puppy as look at you (he wouldn’t, but he looks like he would). Somehow, during a recent conversation, he revealed to me that he loves Bon Jovi. He even told me a story about him standing in line at Dunkin Donuts singing a Bon Jovi song out loud while he scanned the menu…drawing some pretty interesting looks from the other patrons.

Yet he doesn’t talk openly about his “secret affair” with Jon and the boys…

Why?

I don’t know, but to paraphrase the famous Life cereal commercial – “I’m not gonna ask him – you ask him.”

On a nine hour road trip with some friends back in the early 90s (all guys) we were in a remote part of Pennsylvania where there weren’t many radio stations available, so we were forced to listen to an Easy Listening station.

Imagine our surprise when one of the guys started quietly singing along with Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs.

After several miles of relentless torment from the rest of us, he finally copped to it (but, not before trying to blame his mother for listening to it so often that the lyrics were embedded in his brain).

“Hey,” he said in his own defense. “I don’t like him, I just think this is a good song.”

A co-worker of mine was born and raised in Nassau. Naturally, being from the islands his musical tastes lean heavily toward reggae with a healthy scattering of R&B and rap. He also has a fondness for 80s synth-pop.

One day a few of us were having a discussion about old time TV shows when somebody mentioned Hee-Haw. My island-native friend’s brain wasn’t fast enough to censor his own response…he blurted his love for the music on the show and even confessed to begging his parents to buy him a banjo when he was eight-years-old. (They didn’t, but if they had he would have been a pioneer of the rasta-billy scene.)

hee haw

When he saw the looks on our faces (mostly stunned confusion) he laughed and tried to pull the old “just kidding” defense – unsuccessfully.

They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes…

Despite my love of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Willie Dixon, Miles Davis, Dwight Yoakam and Mozart…when I’m alone in the car I will crank the hell out of an ABBA song (until I get to a stop light).

abba

There, I said it.

I’m out.

Laugh if you will – but they have some great songs! (I even attended a live performance of Mama-Mia in Rhode Island and was blown away!)

So what are the skeletons in your musical closet?

Come on – you can share it with us, we’re all friends here…

 

As always – thank you for reading

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Are Independent Authors like Heavy Metal Bands?

A very good friend of mine plays guitar in a heavy metal band in Denver.

BTDSince I really don’t care for heavy metal, I won’t get into my personal opinion of their music. What I would like to discuss comes from a recent thread he started on facebook regarding the lack of air time that metal bands receive from radio stations. He claims that metal bands don’t get air time because they “refuse to follow the ‘code’ and ‘rules’ of radio.”

His comment implies that the reason we don’t hear bands like Anvil, Dream Theater, Slayer and Sepultura on our car radio, is that these bands refuse to cave in to “the man”. Furthermore, it could be inferred from his other comments that the only reason Metallica is heard on the radio is that they sold out.

What does this have to do with writing books, you ask?

Bear with me…

There are a few possible answers to the question of what keeps these bands off the air;

It could be that they just plain suck and they are blinded to that fact because they are lost in what they are creating.

It could be that, although they are talented, there is just not a big enough audience out there to warrant a radio station devoting serious (and expensive) air time to them.

Or it could be a grand conspiracy by said radio stations to only play that which they deem “worthy”.

Whatever the answer is (probably a little of each) I think this example can be carried over to the book world also.

The book industry used to be dominated by the major publishing companies. Back in those days, would-be authors would literally have to beg for a chance to get published. I don’t know the actual statistics, but the chances of an author getting published were somewhere between “don’t quit your day job” and  “not friggin’ likely.”

The recent upsurge of small press houses, vanity presses and self-publishing has thrown all of that out the window. Nowadays anybody, literally ANYBODY, can write a book and have it published.

Going back to our metal-band analogy…this is the equivalent of a band recording their own CD – which is also much easier today than it was 20 years ago.

However the same road block that exists for heavy-metal bands also exists for Independent Authors…getting air time – or in our case, shelf time. Book stores, even though they may be going the way of the dodo, still make it nearly impossible for Indie Authors to have their books presented in large quantities to the public.

So we have to rely on other methods. Just as a local band will play in bars and clubs to garner a fan base, authors will usually hold book signings at small venues, where they might sell a dozen books, and consider it a success.

The other tool we have at our disposal is the internet – a (basically) free outlet which has the potential to connect us to millions of people – instantly.

So here’s where you come in…

You may not realize it but you have great power to help your favorite Indie Author (like me)!

It is soooo helpful to us when you do simple things like sharing facebook posts, retweeting us, talking about us on Goodreads and LinkedIn and posting reviews on Amazon after you’ve read one of our books.

I’ll use myself as an example…

Currently I have almost 1,000 fans on my facebook page (thank you, by the way!).  If I post something about the upcoming release of a book, it will be seen by most of those people – let’s say 500. If half of those people (250) share it with their friends, and we assume that they each have 250 friends, that post has now been seen by 62,500 people.

That’s just facebook…

Numbers like that can really, really help.

I know you’ve probably heard all this before, but since Independent Authors are their own marketing assistants, we have to periodically remind the world that we are here. So consider yourself reminded!

Unfinished Business will be released in June, 2013

Unfinished Business will be released in June, 2013

 

And by the way, my next book, Unfinished Business, will be released in about 2 weeks (on or about June 30) – so spread the word!!!

You can read the first two chapters by clicking this link.

As always, thank you for reading.

Thanks to Chris Tucker and Beyond the Descent for being my example!

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s the Same Old Song – But Can We Clean Up the Lyrics?

In 1985, Tipper Gore, wife of then Senator and later Vice-President Al Gore, and three other women formed a committee called the Parents Music Resource Center with the goal of forcing record companies to place “advisory” labels on certain records/CDs containing objectionable content.

Legend has it that after watching several music videos, including one by Prince called Darling Nikki, Mrs. Gore said – “The images frightened my children, they frightened me! I am frightened! Way frightened! The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle.”

Come on…seriously???

The PMRC was successful in its mission; before long CDs (especially those in the heavy-metal and rap genres) were rolling out of factories with a black and white label warning all who would read it that the enclosed content contained “explicit lyrics.”

Image

(I assume that this process was helped along by the fact that all three women were married to very influential members of the Washington set.)

From day one of this fiasco I was pissed.

Who in the world, thought I, has the right to do something so friggin’ fascist?

I suppose it was an attempt to sanitize our young people in hopes that they would grow up to be squeaky clean adults, with nary a disparaging thing to say.

It’s an old concept…

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

Does anybody know who spoke those magical words? Anybody…anybody…Bueller?

It was none other than Adolph Hitler.

Hell, yeah – what better man to emulate in the efforts to “cleanse” our society of its woes?

Amazingly enough – Tipper wasn’t the first one to object to music’s un-Godly influence on young people. It’s been happening since Elvis first threatened to corrupt America’s youth by swiveling his hips on national TV. (point of interest; weren’t the teens who clamored over Elvis despite their parents’ fears the same people who became parents in the seventies and eighties?)

Then came the sixties…forget it.

With all those songs about peace and love…what good could possibly come from that? Parents were pulling their hair out, screaming at their kids to turn it down. Even the government got involved. The FBI actually conducted an investigation into the supposedly obscene lyrics of Louie Louie after concerned parents contacted them to see what could be done to restrict distribution of the song. Fortunately the FBI’s investigation came up empty; in fact, the report stated that the lyrics were “unintelligible at any speed.” (I wonder if they stole that from Ralph Nader or vice-versa?)

So the question is this – If the lyrics are unintelligible – how did the parents know they were obscene. The answer is sad – They didn’t.

They were acting out of fear that their children were being corrupted.

When the seventies saw the birth of disco things hardly improved – all that disgusting dancing was surely a sign of the deterioration of our society.

Next came Heavy Metal…this stuff was the voice of Satan himself.

Rocker Ozzy Osbourne of heavy metal band Black Sabbath has reportedly been sued 25 times by parents who allege that their children committed suicide after listening to his song “Suicide Solution.”

Really?

I’ve heard the song and read the lyrics and I’m sorry – but if you listen to it and give it some thought it becomes obvious that the song takes an anti-suicide position.

Sadly – these parents were despondent over the loss of a child (and rightfully so) and needed someone to blame – because it certainly couldn’t be their fault.

So that brings us back to Mrs. Gore, et al and her plan to restore moral integrity to this country one song at a time.

The goal of the PMRC labels is to warn parents, not children, of the content of the music, thus enabling said parents to make sure their children aren’t being corrupted by the music in question. I’m no expert – but when you tell a kid that something is bad for them, what usually happens? You got it – they race out and try it.

So my question is this…Who determines what is objectionable, explicit or detrimental to the kids?

Tipper?

A Senate sub-committee? (it worked to halt the spread of communism)

Perhaps the clergy? (we all know they have the best interest of youth at heart.)

No! No! and No!

Each child has two people responsible for his mental health, safe upbringing and moral development…they’re called parents.

It is the duty of every parent to teach their children right from wrong and all the other important stuff so that when they do hear a singer telling them to do something questionable they will be armed with a moral compass strong enough to guide them through it.

The kicker is this – even if this is done successfully, it is still no guarantee that kids aren’t going to do stupid shit. It’s what kids do. You did it, I did it, we all did it…

The thing that really mystifies me is this; when kids grow up and become parents why do they expect their kids to be any different than they were?

Once again the PC Police are trying to enforce the values of a minority onto the majority. This is unacceptable and should piss everybody (parent or not) off.

History has shown us time and again that it can’t and won’t work…so what the hell makes us think we are any different?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized