THE SECRET TO SUCCESS IN MUSIC

Jimmy Buffet said something 20 years ago that (in retrospect) I believe is BS. But for the sake of argument, I’ll repeat it.

  1. You need to have talent.
  2. You need to be persistent
  3. You need to be Lucky

#3 helps, but Mr. Parrot head said you had to have all three. 2/3 doesn’t work.

I call BS on #3. Yes, #3 can be what you owe your success to, but I wouldn’t make it a part of my business plan.  If you have a following, you’re doing something right and success will find you.  Even if it’s just one song or painting.

If I wanted to make this article really long; I would have written on things that kill a career in the arts.

So here’s the secret. (Something I learned too late in life).  So here it is.  This will probably be the most important post regarding a career in music and I think the principles apply in general.

  1. You need to have talent (*Buffet rule #1)
  2. You need to be Passionate about your music or art.
  3. ***MOST IMPORTANTLY ~ You need to focus on ONE AREA or GENRE.

I don’t care if you’re Barry White or Rammstein. #3 is the MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT.

What sucks is if you are a really good singer, chances are you Love Frank Sinatra and Luther Vandross as much as you do Freddie Mercury and Luciano Pavorotti. If you’re a music lover; you Love Glenn Miller as much as you do The Ramones.  A true Music Lover has the worst chance of being a successful musician.  It’s fine if you want to be the next Lee Ritenour. (A studio Musician) But you’re not going to be the next Ramones if you want to play “Rage against the machine”.

One thing Dan Baird, the Lead singer of the Georgia Satellites said was when he decided to play roots rock, (Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly) He had to put away his “YES” albums.

A Brand name is probably more important than skill. Take Buddy Holly for example.  And Buddy is a roots rocker that I love, but his songs are mainly 3 chord songs in A.  But what he was doing was HIS.  (His other amazing contributions to music notwithstanding).  Buddy Holly is arguably the most important person to affect modern music.  Sure he did what Les Paul was doing, but Buddy changed the Industry. But I digress.

Very few bands can pull off the Chameleon reinvention genre that Queen did. I doubt anyone else ever will.

If you love Metal music AND you can appreciate Johnny Mathis, you’re going to struggle gaining a following. What’s worse is, even if you have the skill to be the next guitarist for Metallica, if you still love The Eagles, you’re never going to be happy.  Let me give you food for thought.

Look at Weird Al Yankovic. He’s creative.  But if he ever tried to go legit, he would lose his loyal audience.

Metallica cut their hair and their audience started calling them sellouts.

I’m not saying you need to be the musical equivalent of AC/DC or the Ramones or even James Taylor. But when you hear the name James Taylor, you know what you’re getting.  I doubt John Fogarty would be successful today if not for CCR.  If he had kept doing the Bayou music, he would have been “The Man” at Gumbo festivals.

As long as your musical style is consistent, you can be George Thorogood and play a Hank Williams song (Move it on over) and have a hit. You can be Little Richard and play a Hank Williams song (Love sick blues) and have a hit.  When both artists did their Hank Williams covers, the song sounded like them, not Hank Williams.

Can you imagine going to see Stevie Ray Vaughan and having him come out and play Barry Manilow?   Or go to a YES concert and sit through 2 hours of country music?  Anyone that’s ever made it, made it because they were associated with a genre.  Even if you were the Rolling Stones playing Robert Johnson blues songs, you were a British invasion group.

As for Jimmy Buffet’s rule #3, tell Kurt Cobain he was lucky.   He was brilliant.  Kurt and other coffee addicts in Seattle created a genre that hit the charts like a cruise missile.  Then Hollywood had to find their own clones (or clowns) to mimic the grunge sound.  And in 3 years you had Grunge in the music rack with Glenn Miller and Elvis.

Pick one genre and stick to it. Give the people what they came to hear.  The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the less like work it will be and you will become the definition or Icon of that genre.  When you start your career, approach it like you want to be the new “King of _____ music.  BB King was called the King of the Blues.  James Brown was the godfather of soul.  Elvis the King of Rock.  Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. Nirvana  is the King of Grunge. Sinatra was the king of the Standards. Hank Williams is the father of country music.

Pick a sound you love and go with it. Live it.  If you’re a punk; wear a leather biker jacket to weddings and Levi jeans with holes in the knees. (And always wear a spiked wrist band) BE THE FIRST GROUP OR SINGER THAT PEOPLE THINK OF WHEN THEY MENTION YOUR GENRE.  THAT’S THE SECRET TO SUCCESS.  Be Monet’s Lilly pads.  Be Michael Jackson’s “Moon Walk”.

When someone asks: “What kind of music do you play?” Be able to answer it in less than 3 words and 5 seconds. Preferably one word.

Nothing Fails like Success

 

Stephen R. Covey said it. I can sum it up in one word.  Pagers.  Or if you need another example; Video cassette recorders.

But this conversation is about MUSIC. Being a musician from the age of 6, I’ve followed every new trend that was introduced.  I’ve listened to everything from the blues sung in the cotton fields of Mississippi, to German Thrash Metal and Neo-Classical.

In 1956, the genres of blues, rock and country had a serendipitous collision with a guy named Elvis Presley at the wheel. More important than Elvis was a guy named Sam Phillips.  He’s the father of Rock and Roll.  Sam was a recording engineer that loved recording music.  All sorts of music.  He even went into the Oklahoma State Prison to record a quartet of black inmates that could sing.

You all know the story of Buddy Holly and the Beatles, if not, I’ve written a few articles on the History of Rock and Roll. Just use the search button.  I want to take a very close look at the British invasion as I believe it was the British I hold responsible for a mongrel genre called “Classic Rock”.  What Elvis and Buddy Holly, even Chuck Berry and Little Richard were singing is now called “Roots Rock”.  As in “The beginning or foundation of Rock and Roll”.  It was this blend of Blues and country that gave us the musical ideas for The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

If you look at the first albums of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many of the legends, they were all covering Robert Johnson blues songs, in fact the first recording the Beatles did as a demo was “That’ll be the day”. (Buddy Holly)

But the longer a Genre is bastardized, the more abundant it becomes. It’s hard to write a Rock song that doesn’t fall into the washed out category of classic rock.  For those musicians that scored hits in the 70s and into the 80s, they saturated the Genre until it was a cup of worms.   Frankly Classic Rock was pushed to the point of decadence.  In the 90s, grunge came in like a cruise missile and bands that were in the top 10 on the charts were losing their contracts.  Labels were catching direct flights from LAX to SeaTac airport and were signing bands they hadn’t even seen. (Just heard about) “There’s gold in them there hills”.

So what happened to the stable artists that could be relied on for a Platinum album? They were told not to let the door hit them in the ass.  One hair band artist from L.A. that belonged to a Spandex/Aquanet band that still had an album on the charts (Falling like a meteorite) was reported as saying he couldn’t get a job at Tower Records.

This article is about a very legitimate Classic Rock artist that was shown the door because of a change in the music industry. He was the first “Victim” of the music channel MTV.  In 1980, MTV was basically the only game in town.  MTV made and MTV took away.  It had that much influence. Up until 1984 MTV videos supported music released by the artist.  (Until the “Rock Me Tonight” Video by Billy Squier).

Before MTV, most music videos where live recordings, or even studio recordings of bands or singers performing. Then they became little movies and the song became nothing more than a soundtrack.   Before MTV, you heard the song on the radio and you made your own movie in your head.

Before MTV, Billy Squier had two Albums that would have made any record company fight over. “Don’t Say No” and “Emotions in Motion” were both double platinum.  Squier had 28 hits songs that charted.  Then he was forced, perhaps coerced to release the “Rock me tonight” video.  Rock me tonight was a hit on the radio .  The video was a hit, but more of a left hook that took Squier down, career and all.

Fast forward 24 years. Billy Squier in a recent interview said He listened to his first Album that didn’t chart.  “Tell the Truth” (1993) was the 3rd album after the atrocious video that soiled the mind of concert goers and 12″ vinyl buyers.  1993 was the height of the “Grunge” movement in Seattle and Squier was told that Capitol records was not going to support the album.  No ads in rock magazines. No MTV interviews, don’t let the door……..

Squier said after decades he listened to “Tell the Truth” and he had such verve as to say that he put on The Beatles’ “Revolver”, Led Zeppelin’s “2nd album” then “Tell the Truth”. He then said: “I felt that “Tell the Truth” stood up well next to those Iconic Rock Albums.

“In short, “I agree”.

In Squier’s defense, I had been given a copy of the cassette back in 1993. I remember playing it a lot.  But “Revolver”? Zeppelin’s II”?  Is he crazy?  So I went on Amazon and bought a copy of “Tell the Truth”.  I had forgotten how good this album is.

There is not a thing wrong with this album. I won’t review it as I don’t do album reviews.  I will say this: “Had Kurt Cobain not been discovered in an obscure club in Seattle; I believe this album would have charted in the top 10.

If I can use an analogy? Billy, this is one of the best radio pagers ever made.

On a deeper note; be thankful for what you have or had. Life is too short for regrets.  I’ve been saying for the last 30 years, if the Beatles were an unknown band in Liverpool playing the music they wrote.  Songs we call classics such as “Strawberry Fields” or “Yesterday”; they would never see a record contract. However; if they made the most dreadful “dissonant” unheard of noise and talked trash about a politician, added 16 bars of hate, I’m sure it would go viral.

This is one of my favorite songs on the Album.

 

 

 

Repetitive Times Revisited

 

The following is strictly my anecdotal observations on the repetitive time phenomena.  If you want to read how rare it is that you will glance up and see a time of 1:11, 2:22, 3:33 etc… and specifically 11:11, go back to my original article on repetitive times.

https://acescafeamericain.com/2014/12/05/dates-times-and-repetitive-numbers/

On May 1st, I saw 2:22 and took a screen shot.  I told myself that every time I saw a repetitive number that I would take a screen shot.  Today is the 1st of June and I knew by the 3rd of May that something was going on.  I was correct.  By May 3rd I had 4 repetitive number screen shots.  (Remember these do not include the kitchen digital stoves or other LED clocks around the house).

Once again; I knew by the 3rd of May that something was going on.

Major fires started in May.  It was a month I would describe as full of misunderstandings and poor choices of words misunderstood verbal forest fires were blazing.  I will go so far as to say that, like many articles on the net, repetitive numbers are your angels Or as some call them, “Spirit guides”, are trying to get your attention.  Unfortunately, I went back over my phone to see if any major impact calls corresponded with any of these repetitive times.  They did correlate to several phone calls but not enough to create an “aha” moment.

My non-scientific observations lead me to this conclusion.  If you start seeing multiple repetitive digital times on your IPhone or LED clock; know that something of importance is going down and you need to (as they say in the godfather) “Go to the Mattresses.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/159900.html

 


The Christian Church

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Sunday Sermon 2/5/2017

 

“I believe in God, but not religion.” ~ Gil Grissom

When I was single, I used to date women that would say: “I’m not religious but I’m spiritual”. It’s not the same.  We are all spiritual.  As Teilhard De Chardin wrote: “We are not humans having a spiritual experience; rather Spirits having a human experience”.  Religion is a belief in an afterlife based on stories passed down through history.  Spirituality is the energy force that powers your physical vessel it occupies while existing in this dimension.

Yeah, heavy, I know!

2017 years ago the Messiah said, upon this rock I shall build “My Church”.   I believe He did.  To quote Agent Mulder: “The Truth is out there”.  During the first Century A.D. the teachings of Christ were already being distorted.  The 12 Apostles were spreading the teachings as they understood them, but the people in the assemblies were making their own rules.  It’s Ironic because the Pharisees loved rules and felt that all they needed to do was “follow the rules” and they were in the heavenly Que.

The Church of Californians

In Corinth, the church became divided amongst the apostles, as one contingency would say I am of Paul and another would say I am of Peter.

The division had begun. People were of Christ through someone else.  That’s sort of how the Catholic Church works today.  Catholics are of the Pope.

Some are of Martin Luther. (Lutherans). Some are of John the Baptists. (Ad prefix + Baptist Church).

Some are of John Smith. Some are of Space Aliens.

As I study the Bible, neither Peter, Paul, Martin Luther, the Pope, John the Baptist or John Smith died for your sins.

Somewhere on this planet, Satan was able to divide and attempt to conquer.   He used Sal Alinski’s rules for radicals.  Turn Christians against one another.  Hang suspected witches.  Yet Christ said: “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone”. I don’t blame the decline of culture and mores for the lack of attendance in the Church.  I blame the lack of Truth being taught in the church to accommodate today’s moral decay.  Why is the Rock Band more important than Holy Communion?  Why do those who are invited to come forward for Baptism, done so in the presence of a Hammond B3 Organ playing major 7th chords?  Does this make the commitment seem more righteous? I love God, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  But what were once secret living rooms, are now concert halls/503Cs.  Baptism is now an inconvenience rather than a public show of faith.  So most churches avoid the numerous verses in the Bible about being baptized.  I call that Burger King Christianity.  “Have it Your Way”.  It doesn’t work like that.

In the end; your salvation is between you and The Creator.  None of us are perfect.  It’s getting harder and harder to worship in a church that interprets the Bible as it was taught in the first century. IF you are not a Christian or a self-proclaimed Christian and read the New Testament in search of the requirements of salvation; you’ll find 5 basic indicators throughout the New Testament and finally, a wink and a nod in the book of Matthew.

  1.  Hear the Gospel
  2. Believe that Christ is The Messiah (Sent down as the Son of God to die for your soul)
  3. Confess that you are a sinner
  4. Repent or try to stop sinning. The trying is the important part.
  5. Be Baptized. If you want to have fun, take a Bible program and look up how times Baptism is mentioned and how many times it is directly associated with salvation.If you are not a member of a Christian Church, find 3 believers and one who knows how to baptize.  Ask them to explain the Gospel to you (Hear) Tell them with open mouth that you believe Jesus died for your sins.  Admit that you are an imperfect human that sins.  Say that you will repent from your earthly sinful direction.  Then find a hot tube, swimming pool and if needed, get down to the “River” and have one of the believers proclaim that they are baptizing you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Then submerge you in water.  If you do this. (Including the full submersion part) you will begin your relationship with Christ.  He will know you.  You will not hear Matthew 7:21.  You won’t be perfect which is why when we pray; we ask for forgiveness of our sins.  Remember in Driver’s Education they say you break the law every 7 seconds while behind the wheel without knowing it? (Hyperbole I’m sure), Your life as a new Christian will be somewhat of the same nature.  So when you pray, always ask for forgiveness AND never hesitate to forgive those you have put one over on you.If you are on life support in an ICU ward; remember that God can save whom ever He wants.  Don’t wait until you’re on a respirator in intensive care.

 

The Wink and the Nod: Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

The key is the part in BOLD. I never knew you”.  This goes back to my statement about your salvation being between you and The Creator.  Sitting in the back pew every Sunday for 52 weeks a year will not save you. You have to exercise trust and faith and reach out for something that is not directly visible.  By doing this, you are making an appeal to Christ for a relationship.

You have no proof of what lays ahead of you after this life. So you need to decide if this story that’s been around for over 2000 years is as real as the miracles written about; or if you want to go on living in a point and shoot existence.  We already accept that there are forces that exist which are not in the visual field of the human eye.  We have discovered that everything in this consciousness is energy.  Finally we’ve been given an example of two humans who died and came back to life.  Christ brought Lazarus back from death after 3 days.  Then Christ Himself was risen from the dead after 3 days of death.  He did this to prove that there was life in another place. Another dimension not visible to us.  We need to use faith and love as our ticket to this dimension.

In closing let me just add this.  You can not lose your salvation.  But The Creator will not force you to love Him.  He respects your free will enough to let you walk away from your salvation.

Circadian Rhythm

brain

clock

The Rhythm of Living

Did you know that there exists within your brain a particle called the “Suprachiasmatic nucleus”?  It’s often referred to as your body’s Master Clock.  It tells you when should hit the sack and also when to wake up.

The concept of Circadian Rhythm is more than just your body’s time clock.  There are other mysteries in life that are related to the SCN that “Chronobiologists” are just beginning to understand. (And not).  The power of suggestion is so strong it can often over-ride your SCN.  For example, the SCN uses surrounding environmental conditions to tell you to wake up.  The sunrise is a great example.

 

sunrise

 

When I first started touring the U.S. I had trouble on the east coast having come from Pacific Standard Time.  For me, waking at 6AM was like waking at 3AM.  I soon learned that the natural way to not sleep through your wake up call was to leave the curtains open.  Yes the Sun would wake me at 3AM PST if I needed to be up at 6AM EST.

Add the power of suggestion.  I was told that if I had been drinking on that long flight from LAX to Logan, to take 2 Tylenol and tell myself that I was going to awaken at 6AM feeling refreshed and full of energy.

It works.

Although I quit drinking several years ago, I still use this if I have to wake at 3AM PST to catch a 6AM flight.   But let’s go deeper into the SCN’s influence.  A study was done about 40 years ago on young ladies in sororities. The results would make Esther Williams proud.  In a house with 6 females, in time, they would all have synchronized menstrual cycles.  Again, the theory of external ambience would alert the SCN that it was time to cleanse the uterus.  Be it the subconscience smell of menstrual blood or the Tampon wrappers in the trash can.

toilets

The same function as the sun coming through the Hotel window would trigger a chronobiological response.  Did you ever wonder why you could hold your bladder on a long car trip, but as soon as you got through the front door of your home, you practically had to reach down to hold your urethra shut?  Your body knew the spot of urination was close.

Fascinating, yes?

Try explaining mutually synchronized orgasms.  Try and explain the Pavlovian response to the smell of garlic, onions, oregano and Olive oil.

trinity

 

Finally, and I can’t begin to explain this last example.  When spouses in long-term relationships or “LTRs” (I don’t know if they have to be close relationships, meaningful or just proximity) pass; the average time left for the surviving spouse is 2 – 9 years.  It’s easy to understand that if we’re talking about a couple in their 70s, sure it’s not unusual for anyone to die in that decade of life.  The problem is it happens earlier.  (Sometimes in their 50s).  I will admit 7 years is a long spread but most close LTR couples tend to pass on the 2 year end of the time period.

At this point in my life experience, I feel that we die when we are ready to die.  When we lose a spouse or friend that we included in our daily lives, and they pass, it leaves us thinking we should go with them if we have no reason to continue living.  Often when the other spouse continues past 9 years, we find that their work was their reason for living.  This could be a reason why so many veterans with PTSD pull the plug on life.  For that matter anyone who has had a life altering event.  A beautiful model who had her face scared in an automobile accident and is no longer acceptable as a cover model falls victim to depression and then suicide.  Much can be written about the many child stars that would grow up only to outgrow the cute 7 year old sitcom star.  We see these young talents committing suicide as a result of feeling that their life has no purpose.  They stop getting outside attention and lose that inner love for themselves. (Which turns to depression etc….)

 

kirby

Perhaps one of the greatest Baseball Players the state of Minnesota ever saw was a fantastic center fielder named Kirby Puckett.  He was an annual All-star and a pillar in the community.  In 1995 Puckett took a fastball in the eye from opposing pitcher and friend Dennis Martinez.  Puckett was at the zenith of his career.  He was winning batting titles and took the Twins to the World series twice.

During the following spring, Puckett was putting up impressive batting numbers once again hitting .344 in the Grapefruit league.  On a morning in March, Puckett awoke to blindness in his right eye.  He had developed Glaucoma which was left untreated over the off-season.  In 1996 the phenom center fielder could no longer play the game and was forced to retire after 3 unsuccessful operations on his eye.

Leaving the game he loved was a sudden and traumatic turn for the all-star.  Puckett would live another 9 years and die at the young age of 45 due to a Stroke. His life after early retirement was not one of bliss.  He would divorce his wife and later go on to gain weight which was a concern to those who knew him.  He let himself go.  His weight was estimated at over 300 pounds  He was the Youngest Hall of famer of modern times to die.  (2nd all time to only Lou Gehrig).

kirbyobese

 

What does the SCN or Circadian rhythm have to do with life?  It seems everything.  We have free will and our nucleus time clock responds to our intentions.  When we stop loving ourselves, we have nothing left to live for.  When we feel or tell ourselves we have nothing to live for, we die.

Guitar Slingers of Today

Guitar Slingers of Today are like Peak Oil

shredxsetzer todd1trin

 

Very few True “Guitar Slingers” exist today. At the same time, there has never been more Wal-Mart guitarists on the planet.  Most fall into the “not bad”  category.  Many fall into the proficient/extraordinary category.  But both the not bad and proficient to exceptional lack what it takes to be a guitar slinger.  Impressing yourself with a five minute solo is the easy part.

 

What makes a True “Guitar Slinger”?

 

 

Today’s Guitar Slinger’s include but are not limited to:

  1. Dave Edmunds
  2. Brian Setzer
  3. Todd Rundgren
  4. Ace Andres
  5. Trevor Rabin

There exist 3 types of guitarists:
1. The Guitar Slinger: He sings lead; However, plays guitar better than most.

2. The Singer who plays guitar.  His guitar skills are negligible.  (Think John Fogerty)

3. The Guitar Alien. (See Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani) their guitar performance is spoiled by the mere presence of vocals.

Your guitar playing should set you apart from those who have done their homework and play “rehearsed” solos. When the Guitar Slinger plays, He takes the audience to the far side of the galaxy in which the Slinger never imagined he could go.  To quote Pete Townsend; “The guitar is at its’ best when it is slightly out of control.”   The term, “Astral Traveling” comes to mind.  If you’ve rehearsed your basic scales for hours, you can get to that point of the:

“Out of body experience”

solobb

Once you get to that point; remember this, it’s not you. Perhaps the highest accolades I’ve ever received, and theses weren’t one off comments; but many owners of establishments commented that when I solo, I seem to be in another dimension. “He looks like he’s left his body”.   The question: “How does he just throw his head back and solo? “ Is not uncommon.  Personally, (and stick with me) I think the music has a soul of its own and if you’re good enough and you allow it to; you become (As Eric Clapton said about SRV) a conduit for the sound of the music.  It’s like giving birth to the music.  Playing “Eruption” or “Cliffs of Dover” is an accomplishment, yet so is working on an assembly line, that’s not what the Guitar Slinger does.  The truth is, the Slinger never knows what he’s going to do.  My solos have become random pieces of subconscious recall.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t practice or rehearse.  I’m saying practice to command your guitar until it becomes a living part of your body.  It gets mad when you refer to it as an instrument or even an extension of your body; rather an equal part of your body.  Your guitar wants to go out of its body with you on your out of body experience.  Respect your guitar like a Major league Pitcher holds a baseball.  He holds it like an egg. When you’re done with your guitar, put it back in its case or its womb.  How dare you let a drunk knock it over.

 

The Alpha Musician

 

It’s not an issue of control. It’s an issue of leadership.  In the big band days and even today orchestras need conductors.  That’s the Guitar Slinger.  A good Alpha Musician will give the other musicians the respect and acknowledgment they need.  You never want to hear: “Who the fuck does he think he is”?  Instead; if you come together like a synergistic organism, your bass and drummer are going to anticipate the unanticipated.  I have video where I can see myself looking back at the drummer and giving him a wink because we both knew the song would sound better with an accent at a certain spot.  A tight band with a strong leader will communicate telepathically after a while.

Lastly ~ Singing
ace-tom1

Let me quote Jimi Hendrix: “I liked the Idea that guys like Bob Dylan could be successful and not have to be the best singers”.  Jimi’s biggest hit, (believe it or not) was not Purple Haze, rather “All along the watchtower”.

Let me quote the musician that penned the song “Old Time Rock and Roll: “Yeah I took six years of my life trying to play guitar. No!  I wasted six years of my life trying to play guitar. ~ Bob Segar

Let me quote Joe Satriani when asked by Guitar Player Magazine why his album “Surfing with the Alien” was an instrumental album.  Joe replied: “Oh I can sing, but just listen to this”.  He then played a beautiful instrumental part of his new album. (Sans vocals).

 

There you have it. A response from one of the GREATEST Guitar Slingers ever ~ Jimi Hendrix.  A regret from the singer and writer of the Iconic song “Old Fashion Rock and Roll confessing he wasted time trying to be a “Guitar Slinger” ~ Bob Segar.   Finally, a response from a Guitar Virtuoso who thought his music would be ruined by adding vocals ~ Joe Satriani.  As you can see, the Guitar Slinger today, more than ever, has become an anomaly.

If you were a blues guitarist, you weren’t if you couldn’t sing and play (Throw down).  Just die, go to music heaven and ask BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Healy, Gary Moore, Robert Johnson and Johnny Winter. If you really want to know if you’re worthy of the “Guitar Slinger” moniker; try and entertain an audience while playing “Scat”.

 

The Guitar Slinger part 1 History

The Guitar Slinger part 1 History

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(Definition, vernacular, Guitar Monster who sings lead vocals and astonishes audiences with guitarmanship)

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Examples include: “Chuck Berry”, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Ace Andres

We’re a dying breed.  (So I’ve been told)

The story starts with a trumpet player named Louis Armstrong.  Armstrong is in the Smithsonian Institute for creating the format which would be followed by the “Guitar Slinger” for decades to follow.  What was his invention?

He was the first to establish the songwriting style which began with two verses, a chorus, a solo, a third verse, a chorus then an end.

chuck-duck

Perhaps the first true “Guitar Slinger” was Chuck Berry.  His hit song Johnny B. Goode was one of his 27 hits in which the Father of Rock and Roll would open with a signature guitar solo then sing two verses, a chorus, then perform a guitar solo, then a final verse and end on a finishing solo (often called the outro).

The original Guitar Slinger who may or may not be the creator of the discipline was a young blues singer named Robert Johnson.  His 29 songs became material for Early Rock bands who had not yet become comfortable in recording original music.  Many of these songs still exist today.  Songs that have no known writer such as the Blues standard “Boot Hill”.  (Last made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughn)

In the early days of Rock and Roll, before Classic Rock, before the Beatles, before progressive rock, punk rock, new wave and pop rock, (etc.…) There existed only one sound in the genre of Rock and Roll.  It was “Roots Rock” which we often refer to today as “Rockabilly”.   Rock music at the time was personified by artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley (AKA: The King of Rock and Roll) and more importantly Buddy Holley known as Buddy Holly.  The spelling of his last name was a clerical error that was never corrected. Although Buddy Holly’s importance is not derived from his guitar prowess; he is historically important as being the first musician to create a major paradigm shift in pop music.  Holly composed, recorded, produced and performed his own music.  Elvis sang songs that were written by songwriters, produced by men like Sam Phillips and the King was often accompanied by studio musicians with various backgrounds.  Although The King was always seen with a guitar around his neck, he does not meet the prerequisites as a “Guitar Slinger”.

The guitar slinger is known more for his prowess as a guitarist first then as a lead singer.  Even though one of the greatest singers of our time played a Fender Telecaster on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Freddy Mercury also does not meet the prerequisites as a “Guitar slinger”.  Early guitar Slingers like Chuck Berry were known for their guitar solos as well as the songs they wrote and sang.

The Day the Music Died

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1959 – 1960 was a bad year for the Guitar Slinger.  Rock music lost both Buddy Holly (That’ll be the day) and the young up and coming, Ritchie Valens (“La Bamba”, “Come on Let’s go”) in a plane that crashed shortly after takeoff in a cornfield in Clearwater IA.  Then in 1960 a young rocker from Minnesota named Eddie Cochrane (Summertime blues) would die in an automobile accident in England.
Between 1959 and 1963 the only Guitar Slinger still making music was Chuck Berry.  Sadly, “Race” Music had not been fully accepted as main stream entertainment by the world.  Players like Chuck Berry and Little Richard would be confined to the “Chitterling” circuit.  Their music was being covered by socially acceptable Caucasian entertainers like “Pat Boone”.

Various Elvis manifestations would be force fed to the youth of America when Elvis enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1958.  Hollywood saw this new genre of Rock and Roll as “musical sex”.  The default formula for Hollywood when a drought of Rock talent would arise would be to find a harmless pretty boy and put a guitar in his hands.  (Playing was optional).  Among these pretty boys that arose after the loss of Buddy and Ritchie was Ricky Nelson.  Ricky Nelson was the product of an early 60’s television show called Ozzie and Harriet.  The band Queen would go on to perform “Mary Lou” up until Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991.

It wasn’t until the British Invasion during the mid-sixties that we saw the Guitar Slinger make young kids want to do more than strum chords on their guitars.  As fate would have it; Elvis Presley’s manager Tom Parker had a fear of flying.  This phobia gave a huge advantage to Buddy Holly and his band the Crickets.  Holly, Cochrane and Gene Vincent did tour the U.K. transforming British pub bands that were playing a “blue grass” style of music called “Skiffle” to American rock music.

The British Invasion

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Eric Clapton

The “Crickets” spawned English bands with similar names such as the “Beatles”.   The absence of Elvis in England can explain why England produced the most “Bands” while the U.S. produced the most “Solo Artists”.  The Guitar Slingers that would blossom from an English band, would often relocate to the U.S. and enjoy a career as a “Solo Artist”. Guitarists that could sing, like Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton would eventually leave their bands and come to the States to enhance their careers as “Guitar Slingers”. However; the true Guitar Slinger has been mainly an American character due to the origin of Blues or Rhythm and Blues music.  Again, it all goes back to Robert Johnson.

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One U.K. band did back an amazing Guitar Slinger by the name of Alvin Lee.  Alvin Lee was the front man for the U.K. band “Ten Years After”.  Alvin Lee was Chuck Berry on steroids in a Ferrari.  Many will remember Ten Years After as the band that stole the show at Woodstock.  Lee would share the stage at Woodstock with one of the greatest Guitar Slingers to touch 6 strings.  A young up and coming guitarist who got his start with Little Richard named Jimi Hendrix closed out Woodstock but it was two years earlier in Monterey California that Jimi Hendrix would be re-introduced to America.

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One of the first major outdoor festivals that made Rock Music main stream entertainment was at the Monterey fairgrounds in 1967. (The summer of Love).  Not only is the recording of Jimi Hendrix live at the Monterey Pop Festival still a classic, but many guitarists still have the poster of Jimi burning his guitar on stage.  Jimi was the 2nd great Guitar Slinger to be celebrated.  At the time, there was nobody playing like Jimi.

In the late 60s, many solo artists would make attempts at playing guitar solos during their songs, but most of these artists were known more for the song and their vocals.  Johnny Rivers (Secret Agent man) comes to mind. They had guitar skills but were not known as guitarists.  Speaking of Johnny’s; in the late 60s and early 70s a phenomenal Guitar Slinger from Waco Texas would surface as one of America’s best Guitarists.  Johnny Winter had a Rock and Roll voice and was a Guitarist’s Guitarist.

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Although Johnny wrote little original music, he made a living off of recycling Rolling Stone hits. (A band that made a living off of Robert Johnson songs.) Whenever there would be a “Night of the Guitars”.  Johnny Winter would always end up making others turn their volume knobs down.  Nobody played like Johnny Winter.  There is a session recording of Johnny and Jimi before Jimi died out there in bootleg land.

In the late 70s, bands like Led Zepplin , Pink Floyd, and Aerosmyth would feature lead singers and carry a phenomenal guitarist as a side attraction.  (Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Joe Perry) Then, many great guitaraists that couldn’t sing, would tour under their name, but would hire a lead singer to sing for them. Examples include Robin Trower, Ronnie Montrose and Van Halen.

Blues Guitar Slingers

The concept of the Guitar Slinger was carved out of Blues Music.  Gary Moore who spent a great deal of his career playing “Hard Rock” became a blues solo Guitar Slinger. B.B. King spent his whole career singing and playing blues.  His prowess appears to be divided along racial lines. I’ve found that his black audience loves his guitar playing while his white audience enjoys that deep blues voice.  I like them both.  Jeff Healy, a Canadian made a name for himself as one of the best “Shredding” Guitar Slingers.  He played better blind than most guitarist with the help of YouTube videos.

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Finally the last great Guitar Slinger of worldwide fame was Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Stevie was just a kid from Texas playing along with Jimi Hendrix records.  Like so many talented Texas Guitar Slingers, the Stars aligned just right for Stevie, who decided to do the singing himself, and he was noticed by an English Artist named David Bowie who asked him to perform on his hit Album “Let’s Dance”.  Stevie died tragically in a helicopter accident after playing a blues concert in Wisconsin that featured several other Blues artists that included Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Vaughan and BB King.

Knowing Jesus, Understanding God & Trusting the Holy Spirit

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Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.

A recent article by Erin Pavlina, (a self-proclaimed Psychic) wrote this article about

“Praying to God.

Since I know my audience has an 8 second attention span; The link above in red is to Erin’s article and I’ll give you my thoughts on her point of view on the Great Almighty.  In short, she refers to God (The monotheistic one and only true God) as source Energy.  I don’t want to add words to her article as I want to be fair and accurate.

Source energy is a new age and perhaps semi-Buddhist view of the Creator of all things physical.  I walked away from her article thinking: “Yes God gave us a brain to figure out and deal with our own decisions”.

It’s like the parable of the flood (It’s not in the bible) and how the evangelical sits on his rooftop and turns away a raft, a boat and a helicopter because he’s convinced that God will save him.  When he drowns, the evangelical said: “But God I waited for you on my rooftop! Where were you”?  God then replies, I sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter. What were you waiting for the Queen Mary”? (I improvised at the end)

You get the point.  And this was the point of Erin’s article.  God is not our own personal genie.  Then she starts talking about vibrational matches and the law of attraction.

But if you truly know God, the prayers that get answered are the ones that will make you a better person and often after you have exhausted all of your options.  If your prayer is not answered delivering the result you wanted, do not be disappointed.  There’s an old saying that when God shuts a door, He usually leaves a window open.

More importantly:

God tends to come through when you are facing a situation that is out of your hands.  In this case, we are talking about faith.  If you’ve done all you can, and even gone so far as to be proactive and made the reminder phone calls, God will often wait until the 11th hour to see if your belief system is firm.  Again; If you don’t get the desired result, don’t be disappointed.  Ask yourself what you did or didn’t do that put you into this situation.  Or think outside of the box.  Ask yourself if God is trying to get you to look in a different direction.

When things don’t go your way, don’t blame God; rather question yourself.  NASA missions have been scrubbed for the “want of a nail”. (A scrubbed launch is better than 10 dead astronauts)  When you are in your 11th hour, all you can do is be humble and believe.  In the back of your mind (not the front) have a plan B.  If that raft doesn’t show up as the water is rising; think about the closest roof top you think you can swim too.  There may be someone there God wants you to meet.  Yeah, God works in wonderous ways (Job 37:5).  Here is a deep bit of advice.

If you know God, you know that there are no such things as coincidences.  If you know God’s principles, you know that He helps the humble and admonishes the haughty (conceited).  Finally, everything you have is from God.

Nothing on this spinning blue ball is worth losing your faith for.  Remember, Christ said: “He who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven will enter”.  He finishes off the warning by saying, in spite of all the good things you’ve done: “I will say depart from me you who practice lawlessness for I never knew you”.

If you’re right with God then you’ve got “No worries mahn”.

SIN CITY & 2 Legends

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Rick Wakeman, Ace Andres, Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson

 

I don’t know how to keep this epic Odyssey short because it really consists of various people and getting to meet 2 Heroes and 2 cents worth of advice on American Airlines.

I’ve flown 200,000 + miles on United Airlines.(In one year) I’m no stranger to air travel.  I’ve flown from LAX to Atlanta and back on American Airlines and wanted to kiss the ground each time I got off the plane.  For some reason, on my recent trip to Las Vegas (Sin City), I couldn’t just fly from Reno NV to Las Vegas NV.  (Like SF to LA or Seattle to Portland) NO!  I had to fly from Reno to Phoenix (2 hour layover) then to Sin City.  The return trip was in reverse. I have a new least favorite airport. (Atlanta being the first) But avoid McCarran International if at all possible.

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Viva Las Vegas

There are 3 things I’m annoyed by in airports. (not counting TSA)

Trains/shuttles.  If you need a tram or subway to get you to ground transportation or your gate, the airport is too damn big.
People movers aka flat escalators. If you need a moving track to stand on the airport is too damn big. (Only exception is O’Hare because of the PRETTY LIGHTS)

Last are gates that are a mile apart. In Phoenix, they have two long people Movers to get you from Terminal A to Terminal B.  (Note* don’t touch the handrail unless you’ve brought hand sanitizer with you (3.5 oz. of less)

This works for all destinations. If you have to use a Taxi (Über not withstanding) call the concierge at the hotel and ask what the meter reads from the airport to your hotel.  This way you don’t get “literally” taken for a ride. If the round trip Taxi fee is more than the price of a car rental for the whole time you’re there, rent the car. (Check to see if Hotel parking is free first)

 

Viva ARW

When you get older, you realize time is more valuable than money. (If you have enough money) yes, I know the word “enough” is ambiguous. Some say you can never have enough money. If you can pay your bills and not have to borrow money to do something, then I recommend reading King Solomon’s book, Ecclesiastes.  For you pagan hippies, it’s the book in the Bible the Byrds’ song Turn, Turn, Turn came from . *Hint; It’s in the old testament.

I Posted This on Facebook’s Todd Rundgren Radio on September 10th 2016. There are only three living Musicians that I would pay to see perform. Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman and Todd Rundgren. In a recent interview shortly after David Bowie’s death, Rick Wakeman talks about recording “Life on Mars”. He said he was really impressed by David’s key modulations.

I had just performed “A dream goes on forever” written by Todd Rundgren (18 chords?) live for the first time. So I asked Rick what his thoughts on “Todd’s” songwriting were.

Expecting to hear tremendous accolades, Rick replied: “Sorry, I do not have any Todd CDs”. Oh well. Most of my songwriting mentors put Todd at the top of their list of best song writers and producers.

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As you can see I not only met Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin but we posed like the Beatles from the “Meet the Beatles” album (back cover) All of us had fun pretending to be the Fab four.  John made the funniest comment of the night.  When I moved Jon Anderson from the middle of the group to the far right, I said: “OK, Jon you’re Ringo.  Trevor I need you to put your left outstretched hand on Jon’s right shoulder”.  As I moved Rick Wakeman (Who appears to be 10 feet tall and bullet proof) he gave me that look of “How dare you touch me”.  I must confess, I think a few drops of urine came out when he gave me the look.  Rick, however; was cordial when I said: “Rick, you’re Maca and I need you to hold your chin with your hand”.  Jon Anderson then said: “Well who do you get to be”? (Like little kids playing make believe)
I responded: “I’m going to be John Lennon. Wouldn’t you want to be John?”  Jon said: “Well of course”.  I think we all had fun and “Played” like little kids for just a few moments.

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Todd Rundgren

Now it’s time to meet Todd. Then who knows?

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Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku? The Theoretical Physicist?  He’s a modern day Einstein that believes in the possibility that we are not alone and the “Truth is Out There”.

Meeting Rick was like kissing the King’s Ring. Meeting Trevor was like meeting a long lost Twin. We had so much in common.  It was wonderful to see him on stage using the Slide I gave him that “I” used on my recording of “Sleepwalk”.  To me, they were just performers like myself only much more experienced and polished.

coveyDr. Stephen R. Covey

Meeting Trevor and Rick wasn’t the spiritual moment I talked about when I wrote the article “Meeting Stephen Covey”. Perhaps it’s because Stephen changed my life and I owe my adult core values and character to the late Dr.Covey. Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin are fellow musicians that I greatly admire. They didn’t change me. It was an honor to meet them. Dr. Covey was a blessing.

If I ever have to go to Sin City again, it will be too soon and I will have to think about it twice.

 

 

 

Believing in God Part 5

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THE 10 COMMANDMENTS

1.“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

This part sounds easy but since it is the first if must be the most important.  Believe me when I say it is the most important and the hardest to adhere to.  The line “You shall have no other gods before me”.  What does that mean?  If you believe in only one true god how can I have other gods before the Creator?

Whatever consumes your focus in life can be your god.  Money is a huge god.  Facebook status (How many friends I have) can be your god.  ANGER can be your god.  Sex can be your god. ~ cut it out!

2.“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

To make sure we understand the first, we are not to build a “Carved Image”. Huh?  We are not supposed to create a Temple or a Sculpture that we worship.  Has anyone ever seen this before?

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3.“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Reverend (yuk) Wright?  GD America?  Naw, this man is what is referred to in the Bible as a false prophet. He’s more of a profit.  But taking God’s name, Taking Christ’s name, AND taking the name of the Holy Spirit in vain. (Using them uselessly) is wrong. Don’t do it.  It’s number 3 on the Top 10 list.  It is that important to our Creator.  It’s so important, you capitalize the pronoun when referring to Him.  So cut out your OMGs.  Don’t shout Oh god.  NO Jesus H ……., are you getting it?  Personally I think it triggers an Omnipresent God that sees all, hears all, and knows all.  When you take God’s name in vain, you cry wolf.  So when you pray for God’s help, after a day full of OMGs on-line, perhaps you should wonder why your prayer isn’t answered on YOUR time frame. Show some respect for the God that keeps you alive.

4.“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

I have trouble understanding this one.  Dogmatic organized religion got in and changed our calendar.  You can lay this one on the Catholics.  Constantine (the supposed first Christian emperor of Rome) Changed the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday.  Here we see politics at its lowest.  At the time Constantine converted, a popular competitive religion, (since Christians were being murdered) was “Sun worshipping”, thus the first day of the week was called “Sunday”.

In Mark 2:27  Jesus gave the Catholics a reason to change the Sabbath day. In Mark 2:27 Jesus says: “The Sabbath was made for man.  Man was not made for the Sabbath”.  I hate to say it, but the Catholics are known for manipulating the word of God.
In Romans 14:5 Paul wrote: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind”.

There is NO scripture that changes the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st.   In the new Testament or new “Covenant”  The first day of the week, many reference the practices that were done on the 1st day of the week.  If you’ve read Genesis, God rested on the 7th day.  Today that is Saturday.  Ultimately, I say worship God everyday.  This is one of those Commandments that God says that he will know those who are keeping His covenant.

5.“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

This appears self explanatory.  As an adult who lost his mother at the age of 11 due to Alcoholism, and my father at the age of 20, I can only wonder life would have been like had I had the gift of parents who would have wanted the best for me as an adult.

6.“You shall not murder.

What you need to know about this commandment is that the translation is a word that specifically means “murder”  It is often read: “Thou shall not kill”.  This is the “Anti-war/Anti-death penalty” that is sold to try and give their agendas legitimacy.  It’s not.  It says: “Thou shall not MURDER”.

7.“You shall not commit adultery.

Adultery is defined as a married person having sex with a person they are NOT married to.  Although it is not a commandment, fornication is condemned in Revelation along with homosexuality and a number of other sex acts.  Premarital sex is not part of the definition (sex between two unmarried singles). It is considered fornication. (by definition.) However, Adultery is considered fornication.  Homosexuality is also considered fornication.

8.“You shall not steal.

This is self-explanatory. To take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

9.“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Originally this literally means, you don’t perjure yourself against your neighbor or tell your neighbor you saw his wife with another guy, etc…   I’m looking at the last 3 words that say “Against your neighbor”.

On the other hand, remember, our God is a God of truth.  Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the light”.  Does this mean telling your kids that “Santa Clause brought their Christmas presents”.  Or that the tooth fairy left the money and took their tooth is a sin?  In short, yes.  If you practice white lies, then white, in time becomes grey.  Harmless white lies causes you to grow with the habit of believing some lying is OK.

10.  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

This again in its own context is like the 7th & 9th Commandments.  If you study the parable of the good Samaritan, the question is asked: “Who then is my neighbor”?  The answer is whoever shows care or Agape love for you is your neighbor.  I will say that “Covet” and “Lust” is not the same as having a healthy appreciation for whatever it is you admire that your neighbor owns.

If my neighbor is married to a beautiful blond, and I go out and find a beautiful blond, that is not coveting.  If my neighbor has a Ferrari 328gt and I start a savings account for my Ferrari, that’s not coveting his Ferrari.  If I want HIS Ferrari, then YES it is coveting his property.  If I am lusting after his wife and can only have HIS wife (Like David and Bathsheba). Yes it is coveting.

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If I see Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated and am aroused, am I lusting for her?  I don’t think so.  I am appreciative of her appearance.  If Kate Upton is my neighbor and I see her sunbathing in her backyard and I go over to borrow a cup of sugar with a condom in my back pocket am I lusting?  Oh yes. Probably.  Only God knows your heart.

Intention becomes the definition.