Hope eveyone is enjoying the end of another week. In just one more week the girls start school already. It seems like the Summer breaks go by faster and faster each year 😕 Not only do my women get one more free week, but it means only one free week for me too before I get back to making lunches, waking up cranky kids and having to get up earlier to sweat it out in the basement before all this happens. It was fun while it lasted 😐
Since things on the #HEAL front are more of the same (seems I'm at another plateau lately. I'm sure last week's shenanigans didn't help. By the way thank you all for the kind words last week it was a tough one to delve into personally and hit that publish button) I actually thought about another topic this week I wanted to write about anyway.
I noticed this week I was delving more into the stressful and panicky feeling again since things were a little stressful at my job. I stared thinking back to my prior entry on numbers, how I could help myself calm down and not worry so much. Meditating has helped (found a great new app that I throw on sometimes after yoga which is a nice 3 minute mental cool down) and yes even prayer has come back into my life a bit, but one thing that struck me which was odd was I realized "dude, you haven't been listening to any music this week at all!"
I noticed on my 3 hours in the car daily during the round trip commute instead of throwing on the Spotify I've been delving into podcasts and talk radio instead which I do really enjoy but it was odd not listening to any music at all. I think between listening to the pre-masters of HEAL over and over for awhile I just switched and although the topics are interesting, between the thoughts constantly running through my head and work stuff all I've been hearing is talk and talk and blah and blah blah so I quickly started putting on some music and as always, music was the cure but it also made me think even more if you can believe it.
i made a playlist awhile back that is kinda a "soundtrack of my life so far" and in cronological order it plays songs and artists that I started with in the beginning, through my whole life all the way up to now. It has all of the styles and sounds that have influenced me and kind of made me who I am both musically and personally. It was really fun to do and I encourage everyone to give it a try!
Here's mine. "Kinda Famous" was a book I was writing ages ago 😉
Now it doesn't start with Sesame Street (Although it would be funny if it did) but it starts with the music I was surrounded with as a little boy growing up in the 70's in Brooklyn and my dad's awesome record collection. Elton John, Neil Young, Steely Dan, The Eagles, CSN, Chicago even stuff like Bread and that silly Barbara Streisand/Barry Gibb duet my mother used to crank on the 8 Track over and over as a kid. Such a simple innocent time or as I like to call the "smoke coming from the basement" music in the apartment that I wasn't allowed to go down to.
Then it moves to the early 80's rock and metal I was obsessed with when I could make my own decisions and tastes as an early teen. Stuff like Motley Crüe, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard, Quiet Riot, Van Halen and of course Kiss. Seeing that 1976 poster of them when I was 8 and getting Dressed To Kill soon after merged my love of comic books and music and made me want to be a musician. Sure Gene hates me now but I do owe the fellah
Then as the hormones kicked in it got a little more heavier. Bands like "The Big 4" of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Exodus, Overkill, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motörhead then even heavier like Kreator, Sodom, Merciful Fate, Celtic Frost. For a fat little kid obsessed with comics and D&D that's the shit you wanna have as a soundtrack for Game of Thrones not lutes and pipes.
Then it got real. Growing up as a teen in the early to mid 80's hardcore music was at its zenith and it's this music that made me start my own band. All of the music before was and is still awesome, but hardcore was fast, furious and you didn't have to look like a long haired model and have a stage with big beasts and slaying dragons. They were people who looked like us and was all about expression and getting your feelings out. Once again growing pubes, chubby and not getting laid wearing chucks and jeans bands like Circle Jerks, DRI, Black Flag, Agnositic Front, Cro Mags, Murphys Law, Bold, Gorrilla Biscuts, Minor Threat, Descendents, Dead Kennedys, Sick of It All really, really appealed to me and made me part of a community that was just like me and felt the same way. Even our peers were starting bands like Up Front, 4 Food Groups, Rambo Smurf and later on Sub Zero showing the slightly younger that you can do it too. It's the DIY approach to music and even merch that I still look back at to this day as a blueprint.
Speaking of hormones, the next phase was all about hormones. The sounds got softer and more left of the dial with "real" alternative bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, the Smiths, Love & Rockets, REM, The Pixies, They Might Be Giants, The Psychadelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnnymen. These bands were about real feelings, but more about the love and lust type. Getting close to getting out of High School this music felt like it was speaking to me cause it's all about love, lost love and very sexual. I lost my virginity with The Cure's masterpiece "Disintegration" blaring in the background and all of these songs were soundtracks to my making out and dry humping years. I owe just as much to Robert Smith he got me laid before Gene did!
Plus what's more attractive than a goth chick? Pale skin, dark lipstick, fishnets, heavy Docs with a big shirt with a bra strap poking out the top to me is very attractive. I saw a girl recently with a black hair bob, shades, bright red lipstick, a big Sonic Youth "Goo" album cover t-shirt (brand new mind you) Long kitty cat black thigh high socks and boots and I started sweating.
Then in the early 90's for me it was a weird mix of the grunge era mixed with the early hip hop of the "POS" years for me. As much as bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Tad, Mudhoney, Sunny Day Real Estate, Alice in Chains were continuing my love for alternative and mixing all of these styles above, rap music was giving me just as much as a charge. NWA, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Guru and House of Pain got me even more into the hip hop scene that I slowly dabbled in with bands like Run DMC and Beastie Boys earlier. People say the Aerosmith/Run DMC "Walk This Way" started it but it was the Anthrax/PE "Bring The Noise" that did it for me and started Product of Society with us. Listen to our early songs from our first album it was like we are mixing Bon Jovi, Anthrax, Beasties, Nirvana and Public Enemy in a blender. Pete was a Chuck D with a Tesla shirt on while I wore Doc Martens, Suicidal Tendencies t-shirts and yelling "put your muthafucking hands in the air yallllll" All with long ass hair to our nipples.
Nothing says "Gangsta" like a large Dr Seuss hat playing a bowling alley
Now all of these bands and styles still fade in and out of my brain to this day. I find myself going through phases like I'll listen to nothing but metal/hardcore for a week, then listen to nothing but Warrren Zevon or Nic Cave albums in full (always been more of a whole album guy then the hits). Sure I get exposed to new bands now and again that turn me on (see later) but I'm starting In my 40's to sound like my dad and my elders before me and I find it hysterical at times. My kids will put on stuff like One Direction, R5 and other tween type pop and while I can appreciate some I sit there going "man it's all about booties and sounds like robots fucking, now Cheap Trick there's a band, where's the next Metallica?"
There have been amazing important people that did important things to make the world better but my heroes? Lemmy from Motörhead with the Jack Daniels and warts yelling "we are Motörhead and we play rock and roll!" Or Nikki Sixx with the "war paint" on his cheeks with a cig in his teeth, Gene in the 70's breathing fire, spitting fake blood or even Iggy Pop smearing peanut butter on his chest or slicing it up with glass bleeding on stage. To me those were my idols and what I wanted to be for decades.
Even recently one "newer" band I got obsessed with the past few years is the band Fucked Up and their charasmatc frontman Damian. Their album "David Comes to Life" to me is a 90 minute punk rock opera masterpiece and tne band overall to me is incredible. Heavy guitar mixed with noodling clean guitar, girl bass player with thick glasses (see goth girl obsession even though she really isn't all girl bass players rule) drums that kick you in the nuts both with style and heaviness and then there's the screaming guttural vocals of Damian.
I saw clips from them earlier and got the chance to see them live a few years ago in the village and I felt like I found a new hero. Here's this bald, heavy dude with a massive beard and basketball shorts on stage and his shirt doesn't make it past song 2 of the set. The dude is hairy everywhere, gut hanging out, sweating like a pig screaming and not a care in the world. You would think he's a tough guy but he is a sweet teddy bear grabbing you, hugging the crowd full of sweat smiling as he yells and let me tell you, I was all over the guy front row, 50 PBR's in with my white glasses and Bauhaus shirt yelling "hello my name is Daviddd" in the microphone getting that sweat and I loved it.
Before I started this year when I was thinking about starting out on my own and was 300 lbs, I thought to myself "man I should be like Damian on stage. Who cares if I'm so fat I can just take my shirt off, be free, be drunk, yell and scream and not give a fuck like him" I honestly was using this, even in my mid 40's as a role model like I did with the others and inventing an excuse to poison myself.
But then you know what else I saw and discovered?
I saw a man who also dramatically lost a ton of weight himself the past year or so, a family man with a wife and beautiful children who admitted he suffered from anxiety and found help (I'm not going to do the "green and sober route" but more power to you man!) and even was about to throw away this band who became the hip "Spin Magazine elite" for a bit because the touring and lifestyle made him miss his family.
Thank goodness they are still putting out music and thank you Damian for doing what you do cause that's a hero you follow kids. Do it on your own terms and get better cause things like family, loved ones and friends are what makes the world go around. Music is very important to me but it's just the soundtrack of your life in the end. It can make you who you are but make your own soundtrack.