NOT FROM THE STAGE
Let me quote a musician that plays music I enjoy. His name is DAN BAIRD! Most of you have heard Dan on the song “Keep your hands to yourself”. His music is entertaining and very desirable for the simple minded. But although he acts like a redneck, Dan is smarter than his music makes him appear. Dan once said in an Interview: “Once I put away my “YES” albums and other progressive rock albums and stuck with (as he calls it) Runka Runka songs. (Chuck Berry style). I was on my way.” He had direction. A few years later, “Keep your hands to yourself” became a hit. Remember hits?
….Todd is the Irving Berlin of our time.
When I recorded my first album in 2002, it was called “Cowboy Hat Blues” it was a power blues album that was comparable to Pat Travers, Gary Moore and yes, Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the songs on that album that I like the most are the songs that sounded like an obscure artist (obscure to the public) named Todd Rundgren. To me, Todd is the Irving Berlin of our time. He made a name for himself in 1972 with AM hits like “Hello it’s me” and “I saw the light”. The first song I ever recorded was a blatant rip off of “I saw the light”. (BTW the song is harder to play than it sounds) All of Todd’s songs are really hard to play especially if you’ve been playing Chuck Berry songs all of your life.
In 2005 I released my 2nd Album called American Infidel. It was a Rockabilly Album with a few original metal protest songs on it and the Wave Magazine reviewed the Album and gave me the moniker: “The Guitar god of Los Altos”. It’s a label that’s impossible to live up to. But American Infidel is my favorite Album that I’ve recorded. Especially with songs like “Sleepwalk” and “Viva Las Vegas” on it.
…..I kept my monster locked in the cellar
In 2008 I released an album that was a little of this and a little of that. There’s not a cover song on it, but it’s sort of a religious album with a heavy personal growth back beat. There’s funk on it. There’s even a little rap on it. (Only one short song). There’s a two part song that has a Prog Rock (YES/Close to the edge) intro then a song that sounds like Dave Edmunds wrote that it transitions to. I have a song with a Hawaiian title called “Ho’Oponopono”. The album was recorded as an attempt to be used in the Sequel to the underground movie “The Secret”. The music is directly from my heart. I went into the studio and wrote and recorded as I went. It’s a fine album but as for my musical prowess, the Guitar god only makes a few appearances. I kept my monster locked in the cellar for the third album. I was more dedicated to the message and beautiful chords. The lyrics are hard to understand unless you’ve read Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, the Bible or other motivational speakers like Matthew Kelly and Stephen R. Covey.
….what the hell had I done to myself
Where am I now? All I can ask is what the hell had I done to myself. I wasn’t the guitar shredder I was on American Infidel or during the 2002 tours. I said to myself as I’m getting up there in the years: “I’ve got to cover my favorite Todd Rundgren song “A Dream Goes on Forever”. Todd is not an easy musician to cover, believe me when I say that is a gross understatement. In this video Todd has problems playing his own brilliant creation. If you only listen to one lyric; Listen to the last line.
….I WAS PLAYING FROM THE RIGHT SIDE OF MY BRAIN
I learned how to play that damn song and it made me feel like the guitar Fod. (Fodder). It was like learning to play Mozart’s Belleview concerto. (That’s Belleview as in the mental institution in New York) I was so proud of myself. Big deal. I can play a song with 17 different chords in it. (Blues songs usually only have 3 chords) I played it in front of an audience and I think I was the only one that could really appreciate it. It was more work than fun. I was playing it with the right side of my brain. (Not good) To me music should be subjective. Even when I covered Viva Las Vegas, you can’t tell what the song is until the chorus.
So what’s the message? Play what makes you feel good. Club owners who have seen me play say that when I play, it looks as if I’m having an out of body experience. When you watch my videos, I just throw my head back and let the music come out through my fingers. To quote Bleeding gums Murphy:
Bleeding Gums Murphy
“Music is like a flame that comes out of your heart and when it does, you better put a guitar in front of it. But I’ve seen the other side. I’ve seen beyond the curtains. On one side of music is your soul. Dr. Covey would call it your inner voice. On the other side is your creative genius. I’ve learned to write lyrics like Todd Rundgren (also known as one of the greatest songwriters ever) and I’ve found that his influence has been reflected in my songs. On my first album I wrote a song called “Coming home” which has 11 chords and I was so proud of this song. Since I’ve been down the rabbit hole; I could never bore an audience with some cheap 3 chord version of “Mustang Sally”. (Or was that 2 chords?) So after incorporating all of my favorite material from Queen to Steve Vai, I’ve become myself. Some say I sound like Brian Adams, some say Warren Zevon. I was once told in Florida that Jimi Hendrix was dead. I responded: “Not until I say he is”.
…..PLAY WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.
In the end, if it’s 2 chords or 17 chords, play what makes you feel good. It’s like being on a roller coaster ride. (If you love roller coasters like I do) Why do you put your hands up in the air on the descent? Because others doing it appear to be having more fun. If you’re having fun on stage the audience will sense it and start playing air guitar with you. But that’s just my experience. Playing music without emotion is like riding a flat rollercoaster and trust me, your audience with not be throwing their hands in the air.