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
David Bowie during the filming of the music video for his “Blackstar”. Photo credit: Jimmy King, September 2015
“News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying…
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there.”
– “Five Years”, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust”
When I first heard the news, it didn’t make any sense. There was no way that the star at the center of my solar system could have blinked out of existence — so quickly, without warning. Without it’s gravitational pull, all of my planets flew out of orbit and asteroids collided with moons and made craters so deep that I don’t think they could ever be filled again.
And that’s when I started crying.
David Bowie had left us, late Sunday night, losing contact with ground control forever to drift into deep space and take his place among the stars. 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
It’s the holiday season again, meaning that the same “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman” have been blaring in department stores since November 1st. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas music is great and definitely puts people in the holiday spirit, but even the best things can grow tiresome if played enough times. So, as my Christmas gift to you, here are my top five Christmas songs by artists who aren’t quite so traditional but still classic nonetheless. Continue reading
Rain. It is both beautiful and melancholy, life-giving and destructive. Even its sound is full of juxtapositions: it can be a soft pitter-patter or a violent, thunderous roar. It is the perfect muse for poets, painters, and musicians alike. Rain is used as a metaphor for many things: humanity, society, balance, and even life itself. I have been inspired by the rain that is currently falling here in southern California (which hardly ever happens) to write about my top five rain-inspired songs, what they mean, and how the nature of rain allows it to be interpreted in so many different ways.