Tag Archives: The Eagles

Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part One)

So a couple of general thoughts hit me as I was writing my Iron Maiden posts. I knew I wanted to do something about Metal in general…the history, the different styles, etc.

Then my buddy Jason posted something that I thought was worth exploring, specifically about Maiden. And then my friend, fraternity brother and other Metal Mentor, Barry gave some awesome insight into his love of the genre… and Boom!

Since neither are guest blogging, you’re stuck with me. But these are the two who Metaled me up… And hey, look, Boys! Thirty some odd years later it worked! I’m hooked!

METAL MUSIC
So where does one start when looking for info. on any given subject? Wikipedia, of course.

“Heavy metal… developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.”

“In 1968, the first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Beginning in the late 1970s, bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.

A couple of things stand out for me. First, it amazes me how things that are on the fringe become so mainstream at a certain point in time. Zeppelin and Deep Purple are Classic Rock bands to me! Granted I came to them later in their careers, but that was normal FM Radio/East Coast listening. And let us not forget that The Beatles started off as the enemy to many a parent. Then the Stones came out as the even more evil rockers! And of course, speaking of Metal, Iron Maiden was cast as devil worshippers.

Some folks consider AC/DC a Metal band, but to me they are just hard rock and one of the highlights to come out of Jason’s Boom Box. Same with KISS. And while Judas Priest was always blasting that summer, I never really listened to Metal on a regular basis. In fact, when people asked me what musical genres were the ones I knew the least about, I would always say Rap, New Country and Metal.

Now Rap and Hip Hop come pouring out from behind my daughter’s closed bedroom door (No, that is not really it!!!), along with a fair amount of Show Tunes! Though I am also happy to say that her playlist has a heck of a lot of Classic Rock on it!

I will admit that I got into NWA, Dr. Dre, Tupac and others all “after the fact.” Way before my daughter, but after the fact…and I will also admit that I do get “parental” from time to time, as I hear certain lyrics being sung by my kid. Ugh.

And I always had a soft side… and I guess I still do… as my favorites of the time were Steve Miller Band and The Eagles. My first concerts were more Classic Rock than anything else, too. Chicago and Orleans was my first. Then The Eagles, Heart and the Little River Band

Usually as people get older their musical tastes get smaller and more “refined”.  Not me! My tastes have been growing and expanding for a long time now. And as I said, I seem to come to certain things late… like Metal! Which also has friends accusing me of doing to try to stay young. That’s not the way I work. I listen to what moves me, what grabs me and I do not care where and who it comes from. More politicians need to do this with good ideas! It should not matter what side of the aisle it comes from! A good idea is a good idea, and the goal must be to problem solve, help and create joy.

But this post is about MUSICAL JOY! So what is it about Metal that has taken such a hold on me? Iron Maiden is in regular rotation. I love the new Metallica album, and the Judas Priest 30th Anniversary CDs are kicking me into gear. I wrote about how studies have shown that this music can actually relax people. I can actually see that, but for me, it just makes me happy and energized, and I love to CRANK IT! To 11!!!

Barry wrote:
“It’s all about the energy. Metal still motivates me and gets me pumped like no other genre. And the metal bands that I like best – the ones that exhibit extreme technical precision like Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, etc. – appeal to me from my early years as a classically trained pianist. (Which is probably why I enjoyed grunge, but never got into it as much as I did metal – the precision was always a little lacking for me.) I am also a huge fan of guitar virtuosos like Reb Beach, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, John Petrucci, George Lynch, et. al. – their craftsmanship and precision continue to astound and inspire me.

Right on, Barry!!!

Robert Walser (author of Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Musicsaid that Metal’s “most influential musicians have been guitar players who have also studied classical music. Their appropriation and adaptation of classical models sparked the development of a new kind of guitar virtuosity [and] changes in the harmonic and melodic language of heavy metal.”

 

And specifically on Maiden, Jason wrote:
“I think another thing that is important to mention — for the uninitiated — is to not pre-judge Iron Maiden because of Eddie (their mascot, who is on all their graphics). Maiden is not what you might hate about metal — in fact it’s quite the contrary. Musically, their material is high-energy and rocks hard (and they are great players), it’s mostly very melodic and their lyrics are unobjectionable (no cursing, no objectifying of women, and many have historical context, e.g., “The Trooper,” about the Crimean War, “Aces High,” about the WWII air wars and Battle of Britain, “Where Eagles Dare,” based on the great WWII film, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, etc). They are all smart individuals, family men, and their lead singer actually flies the band plane (a fully loaded 747 with the band gear, not a little prop plane.). With streaming services, it’s easy to sample their music or their bio-pic, “Flight 666.” Enjoy the journey and Up the Irons!”

So you can see how and why these two are my Metal Mentors… Jason on a Teen Tour, and Barry as my Frat House roommate in College! We listened to a hell of a lot of great stuff back then, Boys! And this does not even include all that Al Jarreau and Spyro Gyra, Barry! What? We needed to charm the ladies!

Come back next Monday for Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part Two) when we talk about all the different sub-genres of Metal and more!

 

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The Week The Music Died… Goodbye Again, Bowie And Now Glenn Frey

images-3Just when we were all still digesting David Bowie’s death, comes yet another major blow to Rock n’ Roll.

Our Rock n’ Roll… MY Rock n’ Roll.

It has been a mere nine days since Bowie passed at age 69… and yesterday, we lost a musician who was much more of a personal connection to me… Glenn Frey left this world at the age of 67.

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The deaths… and those of the great actor, Alan Rickman, also 69, and another icon of my youth, Pat Harrington, Jr. at 86… hit me on many levels.

Three of the four are younger than my Dad, which forces me to realize the end is much closer than ever before. It is scary and makes me want to crawl under the blankets and not come back out.

And yet… we need to… we need to live and fulfill and bring a whole heck of a lot of light to this world!

Speaking of my awesome and beloved Father, he took me to the second concert I ever went to… The Eagles, Heart and the Little River Band at Giants Stadium. My best friend at the time, Harry Atlas and I wanted to go on our own, but my Dad would not allow it. So there he sat for hours and hours… asking the woman in front of us, who was sick from smoking some yellow laced cigarette, if she was okay… and making us leave during one of the Eagle’s encores.

It was odd and strange and funny and frustrating… but I will never, ever forget it.

These artists, especially the musical ones, had a huge impact on my life. Their songs and albums spoke to me and my friends… made us laugh and cry… and kept my sometimes lonely bedroom alive, and filled with such amazing music and lyrics. We were, perhaps, the last generation who sat on their shag rug carpets with a huge set of headphones, listening to records on turntables… vinyl… cassettes… and yes, even 8-tracks.

My stereo was and still is one of my most  prized possessions… but circumstances has forced the use of a small Bose system and an iPod or iPhone. I long to get a Sonos, so I can fill every room of the house with a deep bass and beautiful treble… or go back to the real Old School set up I once had… Boston Acoustic speakers… a Denon tape deck and receiver… CD player… and of course my record player.

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The platter… the arm moved to the side… the record down…
The needle… the drop… the crackle… the hiss…
And then… oh, so many things… Everything.

I had a huge coil cord, so the headsets would reach my bed, which was in the opposite corner.

Eyes closed… mind and ears open… and oh what came through in stereo… Bruce, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles

Don’t think I ever knew that “New Kid In Town” was about Bruce. Or maybe I am at the age where I am starting to forget… Hell, I know I am at that age… Another sad and scary reality.

Marc Eliot’s piece on CNN.com is worth a read. He has great insight into the band AND why we are all in such mourning. And yes, clearly I need to read his book on the band.

The Eagles seemed to be a love it or hate it kind of band. For me, it was always love… from listening to trying to play them on the guitar… and always… always singing along.

When words became important to me, I seized on the lyrics that Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote. It was not simply about the music and the notes and signing along any more… It became about stopping… taking in… really listening and thinking.

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Hotel California remains one of my most favorite albums of all time… Dessert Island stuff for sure…

Some college friends and I were lamenting on Facebook… and we all seemed to go to that record… and especially the title track and “Wasted Time” and “The Last Resort”.

The lyrics so much more potent for the age we’re at now… where mortality is not only a reality, but thrust in our faces, especially these last nine days…

As I play that one in particular, over and over, I am moved to tears… because of what it was and is on its own… but because now, like listening to Bowie, it will never be the same…

The joy will always be tempered with the knowledge that they are gone.

From “Wasted Time” (Glenn Frey & Don Henley)
“You never thought you’d be alone
This far down the line
And I know what’s been on your mind
You’re afraid it’s all been wasted time.”

“The autumn leaves have got you thinking
About the first time that you fell
You didn’t love the boy too much
No, no, you just loved the boy too well
Farewell
So you live from day to day
And you dream about tomorrow
And the hours go by like minutes
And the shadows come to stay
So you take a little something to make them go away
And I could have done so many things, baby
If I could only stop my mind
From wonderin’ what I left behind
And from worrying ’bout this wasted time.”

 

From “The Last Resort” (Glenn Frey & Don Henley)
“They call it paradise
I don’t know why
You call someplace paradise,
kiss it goodbye,”

Biting… accurate and so powerful. Damn…

 

“Already Gone”, while not written by either Frey or Henley, it was written by Robb Strandlund and Jack Tempchin, this song has two sets of lyrics that are amongst my most favorite ever written and is one of those band-defining tunes for me…

“Just remember this, my girl, when you look up in the sky
You can see the stars and still not see the light .”

“Well I know it wasn’t you who held me down
Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.”

Luckily I had seen The Eagles live many times… but it’s ironic…
I missed this last tour due to concert budget restrictions, and was upset because everyone who went said it really featured Joe Walsh and let him stand out more than ever before. But like so many other things, I figured there’d be another…

Life ain’t like that sometimes, and we are once again reminded… “If not us, then who? If not now, when?”

I leave you with the prophetic and all too meaningful and painful song that is, of course, getting the most play right now… the Mexican tinged beauty “It’s Your World Now” that Frey wrote with his other major collaborator, the aforementioned, Jack Tempchin,  for Long Road Out Of Eden

“It’s your world now
Use well the time
Be part of something good
Leave something good behind
The curtain falls
I take my bow
That’s how it’s meant to be
It’s your world now
It’s your world now
It’s your world now.”

It is our world… so let’s make the best of it… for ourselves and for the generations to come…

The universe seems to be in an odd spin these days… crazy politics… world on fire… death and destruction.

The last thing we need is the loss of our music… and of our artists.

So listen while you can… on your stereo… at the local club… at the arena…
Sing out loud.
Dance… not as if no one was looking… but knowing that they are… be free… be alive.
Bond… embrace… and let the music play… NOW… and ALWAYS…

RIP dear friends… RIP…

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