Bands/Artists/Musicians I thoroughly enjoy:
||The Indigo Girls
||My former friend, Danielle, first made me aware of the IGs. This was in high school. I didn't know much about them at the time, other than hearing thier only hit single, "Closer To Fine". I admit that I didn't really have any opinion on them whatsoever, but I wanted to like them because she loved them so. And whether it was through that connection, or the connection it has brought me to with so many other very influential people in my life - or just the fact that they sing from the heart, and their words speak to me... they have become my most favorite band of all time. I have seen them live approximately 30 times, and I am always blown away. I even have Amy Ray's autograph that I waited in line with Kate and Chelsea for. My dream is to have the Tree House Charlatans open up for them, so I can hang with these two amazing women who have changed my life.
||When I tell people that my two most favorite bands are the Indigo Girls and Tool, they often look at me like I have two heads. The truth is that I like Tool for the very same reason that I like the IGs. Maynard writes very serious and thoughtful lyrics that mean something to me. Granted, they are considerably more dark than the folky lyrics of the girls. But its not just some screamo band where the lyrics take a back seat to the "music". The musical quality is second to none, and they have such driving rhythms and complexity that its hard not to love.
||I first heard Leonard Cohen in the movie "Pump Up The Volume" - a movie which seemed to mirror my life and what I was feeling at the time. I fell in love with "Everybody Knows" and "If It Be Your Will" because they spoke to my cynical side of youth - confused and ready to give myself to the darkness of life. I got the soundtrack, but it was Concrete Blonde who sang "Everybody Knows"... and it wasn't until my mom's friend, Burnadette helped me to discover the truth... and lead me to LC. The rest is history... his music became the soundtrack to my life and many of the amazing adventures I have had throughout the years. I was so incredibly fortunate to get to see him last year, finally, for the first time. My closest friends were there with me and it was an incredible show. I will never forget it.
||How can you not love Bob Dylan? He has so many songs that are so introspective, its hard to not relate in some way. "Tangled Up In Blue" and the "Hurricane" have special places in my heart as that they defined amazing times in my life. But, there are many other songs that really move me too. I've seen Mr. Dylan play about 5 times and he always makes me smile. He is also the only musician who I have seen with my whole family. Granted, the woman sitting next to us had a seizure and kind of ruined the moment, but she's alright, and the show went on. Probably traumatized my poor little sister though ;)
||"Pictures of You" is probably my most favorite song of all time. It holds so much meaning to me that I can't even begin to describe it. The Cure was also one of Danielle's favorite bands, and so they always remind me of her - which puts me in a trance-like state anyways. But they have such solid, kind of depressing songs that mean so much if you just listen. Brilliant stuff.
||I have listened to Ani for many years, but it wasn't until recently that I really fell in love with her music. Her lyrical composition is amazing. BUt the way she can wail away on a guitar is just mezmorizing. The combination of both makes for some really incredible music that I like more every time I hear it.
||I kind of missed the whole era of Pink Floyd. But for many reasons, they were a HUGE part of my freshman year at UMass. "The Division Bell" marked just about every day and rings out in my head as the defining soundtrack to those years. So many great memories are associated with them. I admit that I really didn't get too far into their older stuf until later in life, but it was a realization that was worth the wait.
||When Pearl Jam first came out, they were an instant success... I loved "Ten", their first album. Who didn't? But then more and more albums came out. Their musical style has changed over the years - and though it sometimes took some listening to fully apprciate their new style, it was always good in the end. I recently started listening to "Ten" again... and I gotta tell ya... that album never gets old. They were so raw and fierce then. That album is probably my most favorite album of all time. If not, at least its in the top 3. Gotta get their new one... and fall in love with that too.
Friend's Bands & Music
I am currently in the process of compiling all of the recordings known to man of all of my fiends' bands and music. Once it is ready, I will unleash it upon the world. Check back to see and hear...
||The Tree House Charlatans
||This is "my" band. "My" because its really not. I am just an addition, and one who does not particularly play in it. I am just the sound guy. But I do other things too. We are an ecclectic group of musicians - a Didgeridoo, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, banjo and some killer hand-drumming which amounts to what we lovingly call "Didgeridoograss". We are young band, but are moving up - playing out and getting a name for ourselves. Stay tuned!
||Big Ol' Dirty Bucket
||BODB is a wildly popular funk band on the North Shore. It also happens to be populated with a few of my good friends. These guys (and girl) are going places. Their music is so moving, you can't help but dance to it. If you have never seen them live, you really should! You are missing out.
||Plaid is a now-defunct band which consisted of a couple of close friends from high school. I was their biggest groupie (though KtK would contest this). They were rising in the ranks of local bands, and then things went south. But their music still holds a very special place in my heart. You can see some of their performances on my YouTube page...
||My Trick Knee
||Though many of the folks who were in My Trick Knee would probably protest this sentiment now, this was one of the most amzing bands I have ever had the good fortune to be friends with. It was definitely a different sound with flutes, hand drumming and female vocals. Not your average college band. They had a good run, but were young and ambitious... and eventually broke up. Tragedy. I have their last show on video, and there were many tears. Its really touching.
||A couple of my good friends who were in My Trick Knee went on to establish Socks Malone with Rob and Cassie. Oh, Cassie. Her voice destroyed me. Their song, "Every Hour" puts me in a place I can't describe. I have often put it on, full volume, to help me relax and center myself. The 'studio' version has some amazing guitar from Rob, and just incredible instrumentation in general. In fact... I think I am going to go and listen to that right now...
I pretty much only play my guitar when I make music. But I have a bass, hand drums, an electric guitar, a uke, and various other instruments I could play too. Its just that I am most comfortable on my guitar - which is really saying something - cuz
I'm really not all that comfortable on it at all. But its fun, and I enjoy it. I have included my two 'music videos' below for your entertainment (watch out MTV!). Otherwise, many of these songs are VERY old, and are one what I consider to be my 'first album', and haven't been sung since. But I do still write songs from time to time, and sometimes come up with something cool - which I will share, if I do. I'm currently working on a song called "260-Some-Odd Days", so we'll see if I get that done someday...
||A quick little intro to my first album. Just kind of spoken word
||2. UNspoken Word
||This was originally written as a poem for this girl,
Christine, who I had met through a friend (Jess) at the Amherst
Brewing Company. She was actually Jess' roommate. I was so blown
away by this girl... I can still remember it. But we were peripheral
friends at best, and apparently, she had a boyfriend elsewhere and
she was moving soon. It was more or less destined to never be, yet
I longed for it more than usual. By some random coincidence, I ended
up driving Jess home one night - so she didn't have to drive drunk
- and ended up having to crash at her place. The coincidence wasn't
that - and in fact, Christine was gone for the weekend. The coincidence
was that Jess deemed the best place for me to sleep was in Christine's
bed, which happened to be made up almost exactly how my own was...
same pillows, and the exact same blue fleece blanket... It was like
I was at home. Which made it all that much more surreal and awesome.
She disappeared soon thereafter and I have not seen her since. Too
bad. for me.
||3. I'll Find You
||Dreams. Sweet dreams are made of
these... but really, who am I to disagree? Wish I wrote that line...
no, this is about, well, Pearl. Its really about the dreams I would
have of her - nothing perverted or anything - but of how I would
find her at night, even though we lived so far apart. It is also
kind of a re-telling of how she came to be in my life. She has always
had this almost etherial position in my mind, not quite real, but
real enough that she lives in my most vivid and happy dreams. This
was also my first official foray into using an electric guitar for
||Icarus is the most recent song that I have written. I REALLY
like it. It employs many more allusions and references than my other
songs, but I think its mostly because I wrote my first ever bass-line
for this song and really dig it. This song is also about Pearl,
but was written at a moment when I had lost sight of the goal, and
when I had felt betrayed by her and her love. I was down on my luck
and feeling like I had been tossed to the wind, after everything
I had done. It felt like I had gotten too close, and as a result
of my haste, I suffered the consequences of it and was now wrapped
up in emotional turmoil, that had really brought on myself. It basically
says it how I feel it - that I would give her anything and everything,
but even I have my break points and will fall to my death if I am
||5. First Hellos & Final Good-byes
||This is a song I wrote about the last interaction I had with my very dear friend, Danielle. She and I were nearly inseperable in high school. I loved her with everything I had. She meant so much to me - so much more than just a normal friend. We had so many great adventures together, but then one day - after I had been away at college for a couple of years - our epic friendship just ended. I don't know what it was that had happened, just that she made it very clear to me that all bets were off. Being someone who doesn't give up so easily on love and friendship, I stopped by her work one day when I was home. We didn't exchange words, only glances. I ended up leaving her a long letter on her car which asked why such a great friendship had to end like that... which was answered by the police a few hours later. She had asked them to call me and tell me to never make contact with her again. And I didn't, give for one final attempt, 12 years later when she showed up on Facebook. I figured that if she was putting herself out there, that that gave me at least some "in". But my attempt was rejected without even the slightest explanation as to why. So I was left with only one way to get my sorrow out - write a song about it.
||6. I Was Wrong
|| After experiening the same kind
of loss after break-ups with girls, I decided to write a song about
how it was obviously a mistake on my part for having trusted them
and how, despite the hurt it brought with their betrayal, that I
still wanted to be friends with them. This is a going theme in my
life, yet nearly none of the girls in question have had enough gaul
to attempt friendship. Only the strong have survived, girls like Justine and Melissa - and therefore, this song is TOTALLY NOT about them. Its about
everyone else that, well... I was apparently wrong about.
||7. The Grind - part 1
||I never got a around to finishing
this series, though two other parts were planned out. The Grind
is about exactly that... the daily grind. MY daily grind. I wanted
to express a day in my life through music... mostly techno-style
music as that my days are mostly chaotic and well-orchestrated.
I also give a little hats-off to the Matrix in this song, and a
reference to one of our favorite lines from that movie. And it also
features my old Subaru and it's infamous valve-lifter problem. But
it was what was happening at that point in my life, at least for
the morning. I do still plan on doing an "afternoon" and
a "night"... so many ideas, so little time.
||8. Better Friends
||Better Friends is about a relationship
that wasn't my own. And I wrote it from the girl's point of view.
Granted, I embellished the details a bit for the sake of the story,
but the overall point was there and I think it describes the situation
well. I can't remember if I played that for either of the people
involved - seeing as I am still friends with both of them - but
I think I would like to at some point. The message of the song though,
is that - as I believe - to make any relationship successful, you
need to be friends as well as lovers. And generally speaking, if
you dont establish that early on, it only becomes harder and harder
to do so as teh relationship progresses, and sadly, is usually the
demise of the relationship. This is one of the songs that I wrote
for the Indigo Girls to play, if only because I would love to hear
it sung by a woman - and could easily be adapted to be about a woman
as well... :)
||9. The Fortune Teller
||I'm not entirely sure where
I was in life when I wrote this. I think I was probably trying to
find myself and having people try to tell me who I was, like, as
in, tell me who they wanted me to be. I have never subscribed to
a mentality where anyone but me tells me who I should be, and so
it is a relatively foreign concept to me that people can be lead
like that. But, at the same time, I know that only focusing on youself
makes for a shallow and distant person. This song is really just
a story about how I have defined myself, though "I" don't
appear as the focus of the song. It's kind of just a song with a
moral to it.
||10. Follow Me
|| Yeah, this is that other gay song that
I wrote for Chelsea. I wrote it after hanging out with her for the
first time - alone - and it makes references to that day and things
we talked about. I really liked her and despite the problems we
had, it was a fun relationship that I do definitely miss from time
to time. This was my promise to her that I would take care of her
should she choose to stay with me. But, like I say, it's gay and
is WAY too long.
||We all have responsibilities in our lives. Things we
need to take care of, places we need to go, jobs, school, and generally
living. I wrote this song admist a small period when I had virtually
none of these. I was kind of living in a bubble, out in Sunderland.
It was a weird mix between no responsibility and the most responsibility
ever - meaning that while I lacked the everyday responsibilities,
I had others that were more obscure, like the need to find some
normal ones. I dunno... it's hard to explain. But this is my first
"Rap" song ever, and it was my way of breaking away from
the norm and trying something else. It addresses my life as it was,
as others tried to help me define it, outcomes that would never
happen and the final conclusions that I drew once I had thought
it all through. It's interesting. I won't say that it's a good song...
I wrote and recorded it in one afternoon... but it's at least different.
||12. Day at a Time
||I wrote this song amidst some
problems I was having with Chelsea. It's REALLY gay. I admit it.
Only slightly more gay than "Follow Me" - the other song
I wrote for her. But all throughout our relationship, she always
expected me to know the answers to everything. And try as I might,
I am certainly not perfect, nor do I (or can I) know all teh answers
to all things... It was a real problem for us because she wouldn't
even attempt to come up with an answer herself and it eventually
destroyed us. But I wrote this song after one particularly revealing
argument which she basically spelled it all out for me - that she
was unable to face things because she was scared of being hurt.
I understand that sentiment, though I don't subscribe to it myself.
I think everyone understands that though, we all just have our different
ways of dealing with it. And that's what this song is about. How
to deal with the prospect of making the wrong choice and being hurt
by it, one day at a time...
||13. Social Blasphemy
||I used to live in this house that
used to be part of a nightclub called the Vertex (and Katina's).
We had old payphones and urinals in the basement. It was a huge,
but pretty much totally disgusting house. It was situated right
on route 9, the main throughway for the Pioneer Valley, and right
across the street from the former "Dead Mall", a tombstone
engraver, a liquor store, and a Burger King. My bedroom window boasted
a nearly perfect view of these establishments and my computer (where
I do my recording) was set up facing that window. All day and night
long, I would sit there watching countless hoards of people drive
by and started to realize the monotony and herd-mentality of people
on the whole. I had been listening to Leonard Cohen for quite some
time at that point, so my musical tastes followed suit, and so this
song is a very dark stab into an ideal where people have forgotten
themselves and instead pay hommage to "their neon gods".
It's short, but - I think - to the point.
||14. Old Dog, New Tricks
||When I wrote
this riff, it became my most favorite of all time... most likely
because I haven't written really any others. It is the basis for
my song, "I Was Wrong", but has been
just a jam tune for me to try new things and practice others. It's
nothing special, and in all reality, I could probably destroy it
now, again, with all that I have learned since I recorded THIS version.
But anyways, here it is, in all it's splory and glendor.