My neighbors must hate me. If not to my face, then they surely do when the mass of sonic energy rolls across the yard, crossing the boundary into their territory and rattling their walls as rapid tremors run through the ground, causing glass vases to tremble precariously and shaking pictures on the wall so they hang slightly off kilter. But I can’t help it. I need my guitar like children need to eat an entire bucket of candy on Halloween night. It’s an insatiable itch that can only be satisfied by scratching until the skin bleeds raw. Continue reading
I don’t know if I can speak for everyone, but based on what I’ve seen in my sixteen years, it seems that there is not a single teenager out there who has never struggled with finding themselves, figuring out their identity. It’s really scary, standing right there on the edge between child and adulthood without a buffer, preparing yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally to be pushed out into the real world and be a grown up. You’re supposed to have it all figured out — have a dream school, a dream job, and a plan for your dream life. You have to know what decisions you need to make to lead you down your chosen path, but how do you know what’s right for you? Then you start thinking about yourself to try and figure it all out. Let’s see, I like listening to concept albums, participating in habitat restoration, reading Kurt Vonnegut novels, drawing zentangles, and going on spontaneous adventures. I don’t like the commercial corruption of art and someday I hope to be the lead guitar player of a protest band and live in a house covered with murals that I have painted myself. Well, now that that’s settled, how is that supposed to help me figure out what I want to do with my life? What the heck does all of this even mean about me?
Like the paranoid and confused Holden Caulfield, I was worried about choosing a path that would change who I am and that I would lose the essence of my identity in the process of growing up, but I soon found myself pondering an even deeper question: how do we even know who we are? Obviously, identity is more than just what’s on your driver’s license. But trying to figure out what actually constitutes a person’s identity only lead to more and more questions. Continue reading
I’ve never been much good at sleeping. From the hours of 8:00 am to about 8:00 pm, I’ve got weights tied to my limbs and head, I’m dragging and exhausted. But once the sun goes away and it’s dark and cool outside, my brain is filled words and ideas and melodies and it overflows until I have to lay in my bed writing all over my hands and arms to get everything out, and to make sure that I won’t forget when the sun rises. By about midnight, I itch to play my guitar so badly that it feels as though my insides are on the verge of tearing open and exploding, but facing the wrath of my family, recently awakened by a late-night jam session, would probably be worse than self implosion. Since I can’t make my own music at this time, I do the next best thing: listen to other people’s music.
When I’m like an accumulation of hyperactive, excited gaseous particles, I need a steady beat to crawl into my ears and liquify me. I need to bathe in vibrations, and come out fresh and clean and enlightened. Continue reading
The first time I listened to Mother Love Bone’s Apple, I was fifty percent sure I was coming down with a fever. Hot blood washed through my body like the hydrogen fumes on the surface of the sun, while waves of chills flooded my nervous system when I heard the guitar and bass lines — wah-wah infused eloquence with undertones of not a walking, but rather a marching, parading bass — by itself so familiar but in context part of something I’d never heard before, an energy that made me want to laugh and cry and scream and pound my fist in the air with this new and charismatic voice that had reached deep into me, grabbed my soul, and pulled it up to dance . It was like listening to something that could have been, or maybe is, somewhere in a parallel universe where things turned out differently and the future was more forgiving. Continue reading
I guess it’s about time that I posted some of my own stuff and maybe give a little peak into the bizarre mish-mash of ludicrous confusion that I call my brain. Here’s just a couple of free-verse poems that I will hopefully be able to turn into song lyrics someday, when time decides to allow me to. Continue reading
Most people think of the relationship between the individual and the community as one of struggle — the nonconformist rebelling against social injustice while the community oppresses the rebel’s voice in an attempt to keep the peace. But that is just one phase of the cyclical, symbiotic relationship shared between the community and the individual. They need each other like how clownfish need anemones and anemones need clownfish. One without the other would lead to the death of both.
What happens when a community discriminates, ostracizes, or condemns an individual and what is the impact on society as a whole? Continue reading
It was dark, probably about half past 12:00, but sleep was not an option. At times like these, there is only one thing to do: play some music.
I pulled out my phone and scrolled through the thousands of songs on my playlist and then I found it. I sunk back into my pillow and closed my eyes, listening to the pops and crackles of recording technology from a time when my grandpa was a boy living on a farm in Alabama. Electricity buzzed through the atmosphere and I was in a rickety wooden shack in the deep South, maybe on a cotton plantation or maybe in the middle of nowhere. The air was no longer chilly but hot and humid, as a man with so many troubles that he sold his soul to the devil sang about standing alone at a dusty train station, crying for an unrequited love. Continue reading
There are plenty of people out there who play music. Every once in a while, you might find someone who plays pretty good. If you are lucky, you might come across a great musician. But very rarely do you find someone who is the music. Someone who, when they pick up an instrument, becomes possessed by the sound and vibrations and enters a trance-like state in which an outpouring of raw emotion in the form of sound waves flow out in powerful currents, sweeping away anyone who listens.
Every so often, the ground shakes beneath your feet. Usually it’s just a little tremble, testing your ability to stand upright while all that surrounds you shakes. But every once in a while, your entire world is shaken to its very foundations. All that has been built over last few decades, maybe even centuries could be uprooted, shaken, and crumble to the ground. During the 1960’s the world that had been established by generations previous — a perfect little world with definitive lines to divide right and wrong — experienced a violent earthquake that shattered the validity of previous belief systems.