I mentioned a while back that Vernon Reid has a podcast now and it's been an interesting listen. Hearing anyone's take on the Marvel universe is always fun but it pushed me toward his music again and I've been doing some listening. When you mention Living Colour the first track that comes to mind, probably, is Cult of Personality. It starts off with a recorded sample (less politics, more guitar) and then lets fly with one of the most recognizable and kick-ass guitar licks I've ever heard. And that lick takes me back to where I first heard it.
When I was in junior high school I started playing the guitar rather seriously. As a serious student of the instrument, I was all about the monthly magazines because, well, there was no real internet outside of the BBS community I screwed around with and as such there was no other source for current information. I remember that a buddy of mine who played bass came over with the latest Guitar $something magazine and on the cover was a guitar that looked like it had gotten the Jackson Pollack treatment. There were painted hands over it too. We opened it up and, as was the custom of that mag, there was a plastic record stapled inside like a subscription card. We tore it off and put it on the record player. That sample started and then the lick kicked in. I think we listened to that track a dozen times before we said anything.
Google tells me that would have been 1988. Fuck.
Climb into my head for a second and realize that what's upsetting here is not that I feel old or whatever. It's that I can probably count on my fingers the number of times I've been hit by music like that. That one is particularly Vivid (HA! See what I did there?!?!). Another was finding the King Crimson live album they recorded in Asbury Park. That one that in vinyl had an ingot of something with something like "USA" stamped in it - I got it for $0.99 in a bin at RevCo (the dead drug store). That live jam? The one where Bruford starts off with the drum roll and everything starts to slowly come into play? Gave me chills then. Wish like hell I still had that piece of vinyl. Maybe at my mom's place. I don't know.
Still inside my head? Cool. One more thing.
Running down these musical moments as I tend to do from time to time it occurred to me while cycling the other night that I am not, in fact, a music lover. I'm a musician. The two sets don't overlap entirely. I really, really love playing music. Making it. Creating and organizing sounds. That totally gets me off in a way that makes no sense. It's my thing. But listening to music isn't all there for me. I have tons of music that I really, really dig listening to but I don't turn on the radio or grab random shit off of the internet and blow a load every time. I know people who love music for whom every new track is something awesome. I'd liken it to the way I never get sick of Pringles. The idea of a single chip is absurd. They are eaten in stacks. In a way, I envy the music lovers who can dive in like that. Part of me feels that I would be a better musician or even a better person if I could be more of a music lover. But I'm not.
And pay attention here! I'm not a music snob! Well, I am, but that's not the deal here, I don't think. I'm not out there sifting for great new stuff all the time (only once or twice a month, really) and only keeping the nuggets of gold and talking shit about everything else. I just don't dig a lot of stuff. And the stuff I do love is suspect. The last time you screamed along to "Space Age Love Song" during your commute was...? You have included "Laid" by James in how many playlists? Do you keep a stash of a-ha lying around for just the right moment when you're home alone and want to see if you can hit that pitch? Didn't think so. And don't start my on my Rush collection (yes, I have them all and I do plan on getting the 2112 guitar hero game thingy).
And yes, in all of that I have about a gig of good jazz and plenty of stuff that would make people think that I'm a connoisseur of the best music - but there's probably a fair chunk that I can listen to and relate fine stories about but don't really want to rock out with. This is why I'm a horrible failure when it comes to talking about music with other people:
friend: "Hey! Did you get the new album from $hotIndieActWithBeardsOfJustice?"
me: "You mean those dudes with the hats?"
friend: "Yeah! It's awesome, right? Way better than ArcadeDeathCabGrizzlies, right?"
me: "Yeah...yeah...great stuff! I really like that one with the riff."
friend: "Yeah! You should check out the band that opened for them. I think they're called $ironicNonName."
me: "Cool! I'll see if I can hit 'em up on emusic."
It's embarrassing. Almost as bad as someone asking me to play a song without the chart because I never learn other people's tunes. Just ask technician or littlestar - without a chart or a quick run through, I'm worthless!
Wow. So this is a long way of saying that I put Cult of Personality on my kettlebell playlist along with Stone Temple Pilots and Linkin Park (see that? DO YOU SEE?!?!?!). Oh and kettlebells are a good workout. Almost two weeks in and I'm feelin' it!
And there ya go.
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