Friday, July 27, 2012

Playing Music For Products Of The Seventies

I've been a "musician" since I was a kid.  School band, jazz band, marching band, orchestra.  In school my instrument was a tuba, and while there's not a lot of work for tuba players, there's also not many tuba players.  So I played a little from time-to-time, somone would buy me beer and throw me ten bucks, and I was happy as a clam.  Tuba is not an instrument you can throw in a closet and play late at night when the mood strikes, and I couldn't have begun to fit one in some of our small apartments.  I played a little bass guitar, but only "a little".  There were other things that drew all my attention back then, and I wasn't willing to put the time into playing bass.  Fast forward 20 years, I was no longer chasing girls, drinking to excess, or trying to keep the economy of Colombia afloat.  I was ready to play.  So I started again, and had a lot of fun playing along to recorded blues music, and learning all those cool bass licks like "Money", "Down On The Corner", "Higher Ground", "Billie Jean", "I Wish", and so forth.

A while back I put together a group of guys to jam, and we're having a great time.  Playing blues and funk, playing what we want to play.  I'm  an opinionated cuss, and I didn't want to play most pop, oldies, or classic rock.  It's not that I don't like that music, but I've heard it all a million times and would rather experience something new, or at least new to me.  

I fell in with a couple experienced musicians that are looking to put together a working band.  I don't have the chops to hang with them, but I have a PA system so that adds a lot to my value.  They are playing mostly classic rock, and for the most elementary of reasons - it's saleable.  The masses don't want to hear blues, or alt-country with great guitar work, or alternative rock.  They want to hear music they know, kind of like pulling a warm security blanket around you.  It's frustrating that people won't open their minds to experience something new, and are stuck on seventies or eighties classic rock.  When we complain of a musician "selling out", they may only be trying to earn a living.

Here is one of the more interesting songs we're doing:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Most of us Products Of The Seventies are a little too old for Sesame Street. But the impact on every generation to follow is immeasurable. Here is a Sesame Street timeline from 1969 to 2004. Pretty cool - they deal with Jim Henson's death, 9/11, and more.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wayback Machine

Do you remember - Boyslife Magazine? I wasn't a Boy Scout, but I loved Boys Life magazine. I stumbled across this Boyslife Wayback Machine. I dialed it forward to 1970 and it brought back some serious memories.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Three Most Dangerous Words

As a product of the seventies, I've had a chance to do a lot of stupid, dangerous things. When I say a lot, I mean a LOT.  I've come to recognize that the 3 most dangerous words in the English language are as follows:

Hold my beer.

For Independence Day tomorrow, we'll remember the words of the immortal Sergeant Esterhaus:

"Let's be careful out there!"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Funky Perfection

A blast from the past. I don't listen much to oldies, but this song is pure funky perfection. I've been playing this song on my bass lately and while the bass line isn't hard, it's impossible to capture anything approaching the feel of the original. I've listened to several covers of the song, including some by 2 of the most highly regarded bassists of our time - Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and even they can't capture the feel of the original bass line.

So kick back, twist one up if your lifestyle still allows that, and enjoy this '73 classic.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lost Classmates

My high school class is planning a 35 year reunion for this summer, and since everyone these days is on Facebook, it's easy to instantly disseminate information. They're looking for this person or that person, and someone jumps in minutes later with information. But as a result of this, the news of those that have passed on also comes to light. Most I knew about, some I didn't. All great people, some by accident, some by illness, one a true hero. But it's hard to handle when those pictures are posted, and memories shared.  It was only a blink-of-an-eye ago.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Today in Music

On this day, June 19, 1971, the number one album was Carol King's "Tapestry".

This was an important album for me, after much persuading I talked my parents into ordering if for me from their Columbia Record club.  I was 12, and in Jr High school.  I absorbed that album - every note and nuance.  Later that year they had an assembly at school focused on music.  They asked a few kids to spin a song and talk about it.  I chose "I Feel The Earth Move" from this album.  I don't remember what I said, I think I talked about the transitions between the verse and the chorus, and about the solos.  I also remember the girl that followed me played the Allman Brothers, and gave a critique that made me jealous.

In the nineties my wife came up with Carol King's "Really Rosie" album, and played it for the kids for years - they all grew up listening to Carol King. "Hey dad - this sounds like the Really Rosie lady!"

If I'm not mistaken, this was the flip-slide of the number one single on this day also:

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Today I took a trip to Guitar Center in a town an hour away to pick up a bass cab - our local Guitar Center was out of them.  It's not a big town, but it's big enough to have a Guitar Center, and I halfway know my way around the town.  But what I did, and what almost everyone does today, I plugged the address into a GPS, turned up Sirius XM's "Bluesville" station, and put the mind on autopilot.  The GPS is saying  "in one quarter miles turn left..."  Not "turn south" but "turn left".  Pre-GPS I would have relied on my inner compass, sense of direction, street direction, and so forth.  I would have left the city with a greater understanding, and easier navigation for my next visit.  Instead, I get "turn right and arrive at your destination", and I'm in the Guitar Center parking lot.  I hadn't paid enough attention to know how to get home.  I load up my bass cab, turn the GPS back on, and hit the "Take Me Home" button.  The GPS takes me home on a different route.  I couldn't find my way back there if I had to.  But I don't have to find my way back - the satellites will watch over me.

There's no way I'd have believed this back in the seventies.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Music Store

There's not much that makes an old Product Of The Seventies like me feel younger than walking into a music store. Looking at all the guitars and equipment, hanging and BSing with kids having multiple piercings (that are visible), and listening to them play licks I couldn't BEGIN to play. Talking to the sales people who are mostly my age, probably making ten bucks an hour, but wouldn't trade the opportunity to be that close to music for anything. There's something about music that can bring the generations together.  I hope I never get too busy or self-important to remember that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Watching our beagle Charlie the other day, and this brought back some memories.  Remember the sheepdog named Ralph from the Roadrunner cartoons?  Sat on top of the cliff, protecting his flock of sheep?  He looked exactly like Charlie does here.  Except Charlie is not looking to protect anything, he's waiting for a squirrel or rabbit to be dumb enough to enter the yard.  

This is doubly memorable, my dad didn't make time for things like cartoons, but for some reason he loved The Roadrunner and Ralph,  the sheepdog.  He'd sit there with us Saturday mornings laughing at the silliness.  Interesting how this would be such a strong memory for me, yet he doesn't remember it at all.  If I'm still around, I want to ask my kids about similar memories when they become adults.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Come A Little Bit Closer

Not exactly the seventies, the song is from the sixties, and the movie from the nineties, but still a familiar song for us Products of the Seventies. I went to school with one of the sax players, and have been listening to him since the eighties. I never get tired of The Iguanas.
From 1996, The Iguanas with Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos. I'm lovin' this!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

First Job

I've been out of work for 6 weeks now, and it's looking more bleak every day. I've always worked hard - it's what defined me. From the time I was 13 I had a paper route. I was a responsible kid when it came to work. But the money made from working hard was spent irresponsibly. Fast food, cigarettes, alcohol, weed - I never had a dime to my name. Still don't, relatively speaking.

My first real job was at a major roast beef fast-food franchise when I was almost 15, making $2.00 an hour. It was a cultural experience. My first day I watched a coworker I hadn't met yet stumble in the door, hung-over, looking like he hadn't slept in days. He pulled a pill bottle out of his pocket and poured the contents on the table. An assortment of shapes and sizes spilled out, he picked out a couple different ones, ate them dry, and went to work. The store was open late to catch the bar crowd, and a few hours before close someone would take alcohol orders. After close we'd sit outside and drink. Nobody cared that I was only 16 and drinking Sloe Gin, we were part of the team. The manager was a former pro baseball player, another manager was a hard-looking young married gal that liked to talk about her love life, another employee was so smooth he could pick up beautiful girls while wearing an apron covered with roast beef stains. I just took it all in. No job I ever had after was quite like that - I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Fritz The Cat

At the risk of appearing crude and Vulgar, I came across this video. For those Products of the Seventies, how many weren't curious about this movie when it was released? Dig the soundtrack, vintage seventies porn-jazz.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Joined The Ranks Of The Unemployed

Finding myself out of work for the first time this millennium.  It's been 6 weeks, and I'm getting more than a little nervous.  Hopefully the effort going into job-hunting will pay dividends soon.  A friend jokes that they're only a few paychecks away from being homeless, and that's closer to the truth than I'd like to admit.  At least I'll have time to blog again.

Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings

I'm sure the name Bill Wyman sounds familiar, he was the bass player for the Rolling Stones for 30 years - 60's to the 90's. For the last 10 years or so he's been performing with a band called Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. The band has legendary talent, including Albert Lee (YouTube him - Clapton called him the greatest guitar player). An incredible band - I'd much rather see them than the Stones.