Monthly Archives: August 2013

Screwy Louie and the Full Zeppelin Experience

Van

Screwy Louie was the coolest guy in band.  First of all, he was our first chair drummer, so that automatically made him cool, but he also looked cool,  with his waist-length dark hair.  However, what really put Screwy Louie at the very pinnacle of the band social hierarchy was his Chevy van and what we did in it every morning before school in the high school parking lot.  No, it wasn’t what you are thinking.  And it wasn’t that other thing you’re thinking either.

English: Wordmark of Led Zeppelin as found on ...

English: Wordmark of Led Zeppelin as found on “Houses of the Holy” album (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the other, non-band kids were parking in the main lot and listening to various popular music of the day, Screwy Louie was parking with the rest of the band back behind the Vo-Tech Building in the lot closest to the band hall, and hosting “The Full Zeppelin Experience” in his van every morning.  The Full Zeppelin Experience, or FZE, shall we call it, was open to any of us band geeks that wanted to participate, but there were a few requirements.

First and foremost, you had to get there on time.  If you arrived after the FZE had already started, you were out of luck.  The doors to the van would not be opened again until the FZE was over.  Secondly, there was a maximum FZE capacity of ten participants, minus one space for Screwy Louie.  Naturally, this set up a competition amongst the rest of us to get there before Screwy Louie arrived so that we would be assured of a spot.  When the van pulled up, there we would be; counting ourselves off, making sure our spot was not disputed.

There was no favoritism shown to other drummers or cute girls or anyone else; it was strictly first come, first serve.  Once you had gained access to the van, and had situated yourself in whatever manner you could – on the floor, in a lap, whatever – the FZE would commence and no talking, flirting, studying, drumming, air-guitar playing, singing, or otherwise distracting behavior was allowed.  With the exception of head banging.  Head banging was allowed.  Only we didn’t have that term in those days; we were just groovin’.

Screwy Louie would play one album per FZE on his eight track player. The tapes were chosen at random.  The person lucky enough to be in the passenger seat would hold the box of tapes, and then Screwy Louie would close his eyes and grab one at random.  One would hope for their favorite to be played, but it was all left to the fickle hand of rock fate.

English: Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (r...

English: Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (right) of Led Zeppelin, in concert in Chicago, Illinois Italiano: Robert Plant (sinistra) e Jimmy Page (destra) dei Led Zeppelin durante un concerto a Chicago, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know to this day what kind of car stereo system he had in that van, but I’ve never since been in a vehicle that had such loud, piercingly clear sound.  We would sit silently in the middle of all that awesomeness, close our eyes, and just absorb it to the depths of our being.  And that was the Full Zeppelin Experience.  I’ve listened to Led Zeppelin so much over the course of my life that it’s almost comical, but I’ve never listened to it with quite the same level of exuberance and utter enthrallment that I did on those early mornings in that Chevy van before school.

The young man, Louis, known affectionately by all who knew him as “Screwy Louie” wasn’t so screwy after all.  Louis made his way to New York and has had a long, successful career in the music industry.  Not surprising, really.  He didn’t just love music; he loved it in an organized, zealous, burning-fire kind of way – and he raised us much lesser lights to a higher level of appreciation of some of the greatest music of our time.

Here’s to all the Screwy Louies out there – keep the fire burning, my rock brethren.  I’ll be having my own Full Zeppelin Experience this weekend; you’re welcome to join me in spirit if you like, but you’ve got to give it all you got – no distractions, just like Louie said.  Anything less is unworthy of the mighty Zepp.  And Screwy Louie.

English: John Bonham - Led Zeppelin

English: John Bonham – Led Zeppelin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was hard to pick a song, because as you know, they are all masterpieces, and I didn’t want to include more than one because who wants to listen to Zeppelin on a crummy computer?  Not me.  I picked this stellar display of Bonham’s mammoth, leviathan-of-the-deep-sounding drums in honor of Louie – our first chair drummer, and The Full Zeppelin Experience.  Plus it’s just awesome beyond words…

Thoughts?  Zeppelin fanatic?  Got a Screwy Louie story of your own?  Please share!

 

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Down the Rabbit Hole with Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge (album)

Vanilla Fudge (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While sitting in an interminable meeting the other day, the beloved but long-winded chairman made the mistake of walking out of the room to get more materials for us to review, which gave me the opportunity to sing the words…

Set me free why don’t cha babe
Get outta my life why don’t cha babe
You don’t really love me
You just keep me hangin’ on
You don’t really need me
But you keep me hangin’ on

 One young (somewhere-under-forty) meeting captive – a mere child, really, looked pleased and proud that she knew what I was singing and said in a little jokey sing-song voice…

 “Marie, you’re singing that one too slow.”

 To which I replied, “But I’m doing the Vanilla Fudge version”.

 Immediately a glazed, distant look came in her eyes and I could tell that she didn’t know what the Fudge I was talking about.  She just nodded and said….

“Ohhhh…okay.”

To which I responded simply by nodding back at her like the wise old sage I pretend to be and singing the same lines one more time, very slowly; very Fudge-like.

Psychedelic Sundae – The Best of Vanilla Fudge

Psychedelic Sundae – The Best of Vanilla Fudge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vanilla Fudge primarily did covers, but what amazing, powerful covers they were.  In order to really understand the significance and ground-breaking nature of this song, we first need to consider the Supremes’ well-known version.  “You Keep Me Hanging On” was another #1 hit for the Supremes – it was an extremely popular, upbeat, and catchy tune.

Supremes You keep me hangin on

Supremes You keep me hangin on (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Vanilla Fudge came out with their version, it was like reality had slipped a little bit; like we had all gone down the rabbit hole into an alternate world where everything was strange and no longer cheerful and peppy and innocent sounding.  You went to bed one night with the cute Supremes singing and dancing in unison and you got up the next morning with a bunch of freaky dudes in weird clothes doing the same song in a heavy, seemingly drug-induced groove.  And that was pretty much the sixties in a nutshell.

In other words, this song could be seen as a testament to the dramatic changes that were taking place during the period in which we were transitioning from the middle to the late sixties.  We were moving toward a heavy, hard rock sound that was reflective of the evolving mores and culture.  Thus, Vanilla Fudge was an important, pioneering band, and they are still touring today, with three of the original members: Mark Stein, Vince Martell, and Carmine Appice, with Pete Bremey standing in for Tim Bogert, who has retired from touring, on bass.

Vanilla Fudge’s version reached #6 on the Hot 100 chart.   I have to say, “Vanilla Fudge” is one of my favorite band names ever.  I can’t imagine another name that would be more descriptive of their music; heavy, thick, rich, and sweet, sweet, sweet…

And for an extra helping of dessert, how about this little sugar plum – Jeff Beck, Carmine Appice, and Tim Bogert doing Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. Carmine can beat the Fudge out of a drum kit, let me tell ya. He was a great influence on John Bonham, and during the mighty Zepp’s first American tour, he introduced him to Ludwig Drums, which Bonham subsequently used throughout his career.  Again, oh so sweet…

As a point of reference – the adorable Supremes, doing their version of “You Keep Me Hanging On”.  Also completely marvelous, of course…

Thoughts?  Comments?  Please Share!

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Letting Our Freak Flag Fly: Janis Joplin and the Sorternity

I didn’t want to join a sorority when I went to college.  I knew very little about sororities except what I had learned from Animal House – basically, that they consisted of majorette and cheerleader types with stiff hair. I didn’t want to be a stiff-haired girl; I equated stiff hair with a stiff mind.

animal house girl

Plus I had heard all these rumors about how the sorority girls would put your picture up on a screen with an overhead projector when you were trying to join or pledge or whatever the correct terminology is.  They would all stare at your picture en masse, reviewing your various physical and social flaws and merits.  I don’t know if this actually happened, mind you, but even the hint of this taking place was enough to send me running in the other direction.

It was all cloaked in heavy, slightly creepy mystery, a la Jimmy Page’s alleged dealings with you-know-who, and there were whispers of secret rituals and rules of “ladylike” behavior that you had to follow or you would get kicked out.  Something about not smoking standing up, or maybe it was not drinking a beer standing up, or maybe it was both.  Things like that.  Just oppressive, life-draining, power-robbing things like that.

The whole thing just seemed so “Old South”.  Or maybe it was just “Old” in general – like the sixties had never happened.  Anyway, almost everybody I knew from high school that was going off to a university was going to be in a fraternity or sorority.  It was de rigueur in my world.  Naturally, therefore, I had to dig in my heels and revolt, righteously spouting words like “elitists” and “squares”.

animal house 2

So I set off to live in the “loser” dorm, where the non-sorority girls huddled together in their shame.  Or at least, some of them were huddling in shame, because a good many of them were there because they had tried for only one sorority, and that sorority had rejected them.  They had shot for the stars, usually the “best” sorority on campus, and had gone down in flames, landing in the loser dorm. At night, walking down the hall back from the showers, you could hear the muffled sobs produced by the destruction of these girls’ dreams of sisterly bliss and spring balls.

As a result of this, the loser dorm was a depressing place to be – at first.  Slowly, though, the like-minded started to band together.  The failed sorority sisters started to comfort each other, forming their own stiff-haired cliques, and the rest of us started to sort ourselves out as well – the athletic girls doing their sweaty, hearty afternoon activities in groups, the semi-married girls hanging out quietly together in their off-girlfriend-duty time, etc.  And me? What was my group, and how did we come together?

Well, it was all about the music, really. 😉

One day I passed by a long-haired girl walking down the hall wearing a tee-shirt with my favorite FM album rock station logo on it.  We struck up a friendship based at first on this one commonality, managed to switch roommates, and moved in together. We started playing our music, and our fellow rock-chicks heard the siren’s call and came forth.

Our little core group began trekking down to the French Market in New Orleans, about an hour and a half away, to get the bangles, beads, feathers, scarves, and other hippie gear that would enable our freak flag to fly.  And fly it did.  Crossing the quad, going to the commons and so forth – we were united and our mission was clear – to blow the collective mind of this buttoned-down microcosm and chart our own course.  Along the way, we started picking up fellow sojourners – the loser boys’ dorm was luckily right across the parking lot, and soon, our group was co-ed.  We eventually wound up with quite a large group that even peripherally included a couple of awesome professors, which influenced my future career choice and therefore, my entire life.

A motley group of musicians, art students, and liberal arts majors we were, but we felt free and independent and cool. Looking back now, I realize that all we did was create our own sorority/fraternity – a sorternity, if you will – one that reflected our own tastes and interests.  It was a wonderful thing and we had many, many great experiences related to music that I will be talking about in this blog.

But later, in graduate school, when the sorternity started to slowly disband and I began reaching out in friendship to other people, I learned that I had been wrong to classify all sorority girls as stiff-hairs.  Not only that, but I found that stiff hair doesn’t necessarily equate to a stiff brain.  I understood then that we had created our own brand of elitism and snobbery, a kind of reverse-snobbery.  It happens over and over – people revolt against some snobby, exclusive social group, so they create their own group, then they themselves become snobby and exclusive.  Meet the new boss; same as the old boss*.

So you may be asking, what has this to do with Janis?  Are you ever going to stop talking about yourself and get to the music?  Valid questions, my friend.  Janis Joplin, that little stick of Texas dynamite, could be a poster child for the independent spirit.  Raised in the conservative, east Texas town of Port Arthur, Janis was intelligent, different, outspoken, and not “pretty”.  In fact, when Janis was in college, a fraternity voted her “Ugliest Man on Campus”.  That’s right – ugliest MAN on campus.

In Concert (Janis Joplin album)

In Concert (Janis Joplin album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Janis hurt; she hurt profoundly, and ultimately, her inner pain led to her early death.  But for a time, about four years, actually, she shone with such a fierce light, a light so powerful that it could illuminate the darkness of the rejected, the failure, the unlovely, and the unloved – and in the glow of this light, Janis was beautiful.  Despite all her doubt and insecurity, despite all the cruel insults and criticisms, she had the courage to get out there and do her thing – and do it very, very well.

Janis was our model when we were going down to the French Market to buy our baubles and beads.  As have so many young girls before and after us, we were imitating her because she represented independence, boldness, courage, freedom, and honesty.  Of course, we didn’t realize any of this at the time – we just wanted to distinguish ourselves from the stiff-hairs, but in retrospect, on a deeper level, we all desired each of these things that Janis represented.

I’m going to include my top three Janis songs.  All three of these songs were originally performed by other artists, but Janis’s bluesy, raspy, whiskey-soaked, cigarette-scorched interpretation brings out an entirely different vibe; one so powerful and emotional that it’s hard to imagine them being sung by anyone else.

Here’s a famous live version of “Cry Baby”, from 1970’s posthumously released album, “Pearl”.  Her pain and vulnerability is almost palpable in this performance; after all these years, it’s still there, recorded for all the world to see and hear.  C’mon and cry, cry, baby…

Our second song is one of her most popular, and for good reason. It bursts out at you with such energy and passion. “Piece of My Heart”, from 1968, “Cheap Thrills”, by Big Brother and the Holding Company.  I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough…

This last song, “Summertime” was written by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera, “Porgy and Bess”. This is my favorite blues-rock performance by any female artist, ever, period.  Good heavens, she was great; one of a kind – never to be replicated.

Okay, I can’t stop – one more – it’s gotta be “Ball and Chain”, baby…

 

*That one was so easy, I’m not even going to ask if you caught it.  Bonus points for all my friends!  I wish Pete Townshend had been a member of the sorternity – he would have fit right in.  Come to think of it, though, he was there in a way.  Here’s The Who, doing “Won’t Get Fooled Again”; an outstanding, classic performance.  And the parting on the left is now the parting on the right…

Comments?  Want to talk about Janis?  College life?  Please share!

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We’re an American Band…Or Not. Whatever.

I confidently proclaimed my preference for British bands to Matt from backstagepresspublishing the other day – then I thought, wait a minute….what about Hendrix…Neil Young…the Allman Brothers…you get the picture.  Although I’m unquestionably a passionate Anglophile, and I do wholeheartedly agree that a great deal of the best rock and blues in the world came straight from that other Eden, it’s not accurate to say that I have a geographical preference as far as music – great music has been created all over the world.

Thinking about all this led, quite naturally, to Grand Funk Railroad.  Taken aback, are you?  Thinking, “how could that even be possible”, are you?  Allow me to explain in my own convoluted way.  Back in the fabled days of my youth, there was a song by the Canadian band, the Guess Who, called “American Woman”.

This song created quite a controversy. Old Tricky Dick* (remember him?) refused to allow it to be played at the White House, for instance, because it was thought to contain anti-American sentiments.  There were two camps among American youth: those that agreed with the song and dug it mightily, and those that didn’t.  On top of that, it infuriated a whole bunch of macho young American dudes that didn’t care about the politics; they simply didn’t like it that aspersions were apparently being cast upon “their women”.

Hang on, though, before I go acting all superior, (remember that I promised to be painfully honest in this blog) I have to admit that although I thought it was a super-cool song and understood its message, it still hurt my feelings a little bit.  Ha!  Ridiculous of me.  As if they were talking about me personally.   As if it really had anything to do with individual women, even.

The message was to think for yourself and not be influenced by America’s “mainstream political and social thought”  – which at the time, as we know, was horrible.  Tricky Dick, for example.  Vietnam, for another example.  Despite (or perhaps because of) this controversy, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Let’s give it a listen…it’s a great song…this is the full version, with the intro.  Don’t worry, it’ll rock out like you expect it to.

American woman, gonna mess your mind…[Not me though.  I won’t mess your mind, I promise. Said with a slightly hurt look on my face.]…

So for a long time, I thought that Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band” was a response, albeit a lame one, to this song. That’s what everybody I know thought. I understood that it was common knowledge. But as is so often the case with common knowledge, it was wrong.  “We’re An American Band” was a result of an argument between the Grand Funk boys and the Humble Pie boys that took place in a bar in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The whole argument was about who had better bands, United Kingdom v. America.  Sad.  Plus Humble Pie was about a thousand times better than Grand Funk**, in my opinion, and I feel a wave of embarrassment for G.F. just thinking about them arguing about this with H.P.  Oh, the shame.  Which they should have felt but didn’t.  How do I know they didn’t feel the shame?  Because of “We’re An American Band”.

I may as well come right out and say it – I really dislike this song.  If they were trying to prove their superiority over Humble Pie with this song, I’ve got one thing to say – HA HA HA!  Waves of embarrassment again.  You already know how I feel about Steve Marriott and the boys. But we’ve got to listen to it so that today’s lesson (oops, sorry, slipping into professorial mode again) will be complete. Note the cringe-worthy inclusion of all-American (said with dripping sarcasm) activities that young men used to do in those days (I don’t know what they do now; probably cruise YouTube like me, only for terrible music) – the motorcycles, horses, cars, sports – they pretty much tried to throw it all in there. Okay, get ready, here we go, but my face is so red***…

Anyway, the point is, and I do have one, of sorts – the world of music has no borders.  Any and every country produces its share of pearls and bilge slime.

*”Tricky Dick” was a nickname for President Richard Nixon, in case you don’t remember or weren’t alive then.

**No offense, Grand Funk.  I rocked out heavily to a lot of your songs, I owned your album that had the “nude in the haystacks” picture inside, and I didn’t care what the critics said about you.  But, c’mon, you were no match for Humble Pie.  It’s time to face the ugly, painful truth.

***Did you catch it? That was a tough one. Unfair, really. Here’s “Golden Country”, from REO Speedwagon (from the seventies, when they were still good, before the nauseating, overused-keyboards, commercialism-run-amok eighties started destroying bands one by one. A topic for another day).  This song, along with “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” from the Hollies, definitely nurtured my budding social conscience as a kid.

If all you know of REO is the wimpy stuff from the eighties, trust me and give it a listen. It’s a totally different sound. This is the Gary Richrath sound of the 70s as opposed to the Kevin Cronin sound of the 80s. Listen closely at the very end and you’ll hear a few bars of a well-known national anthem.Golden country, your face is so red…

I love the Hollies, I love this song, and I still believe in its message about the brotherhood of man.  I used to listen to it with tears in my eyes, imprinting it deeply in my heart.  Oh wait, that was just last week.  He ain’t heavy – he’s my brother…

Comments? Amazing Insights? Please Share!

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Long, Long, Long…Oh, Oh!

Music Makers | 1973 | George Harrison

Music Makers | 1973 | George Harrison (Photo credit: e r j k p r u n c z y k)

While going through MetalGuruMessiah’s 200 videos to select one for my final post (for now) in a series featuring his work, I came across this song.  This is one of George Harrison’s famously ambiguous songs – could be about God, could be about a woman, but you just know that George meant it to be about God because, after all, we’re talking about George here.  I settled down to listen to “Long, Long, Long” and couldn’t stop – it’s so singularly beautiful in its simplicity and sincerity.

As I hit repeat for the bazillionth time, it dawned upon me that there was a deeper reason why I was listening to this song over and over.  As I mentioned to our fellow blogger and rock-brother vinylconnection in a comment earlier, doing this blog and listening to all this music is bringing back a lot of memories of days gone by – all the friends, the things we did and the times we had, but even more importantly, it’s bringing back to mind the young girl that I once was.  It’s been a long, long, long time now since I was a young girl, and I think I’d almost forgotten about her.

As we go through life, getting bogged down with making the coffee, taking out the trash, driving to work, doing the laundry, ad infinitum, it’s so easy to lose touch with the essence of who we are and how we got here.  I think this song can be interpreted to mean a lot of things.  It could be about reconnecting with God, like our hero George probably meant, or it could be about anything lost and regained, whether it’s relationships, music, or just a part of ourselves.  I don’t normally do this, but I’d like for us to read through the lyrics of this song before we listen to it…

 It’s been a long, long, long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you?

It took a long, long, long time
Now I’m so happy I found you
How I love you

So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting, oh, oh!

Now I can see you; be you
How can I ever misplace you?
How I want you
Oh, I love you
You know that I need you
Oh, I love you

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to this song and think about that which has been lost and what might be worthwhile, and possible, to regain.  Some things, of course, can’t be regained in a temporal, tangible way, but perhaps there’s a way to recapture those most valuable of things that come from within, like joy, hope, and enthusiasm for life.

This song also brings me back to my freshman year in college, when my dorm mates and I holed up in my room and listened to the Beatles in-depth, analyzing lyrics, going to the piano room to try to pick out melodies and sing along, and so on.  It was my “Beatles year”.  I haven’t talked to those girls, who were my dear, dear friends, in quite a while.  I think I’ll make some phone calls this evening.

How could I ever have lost you – when I loved you?

Please share, friends.

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I Dig Boy Music: UFO

band pic  VERSUS majorette

Me (not really, but close)              Her (not really, but close again)

When I was in high school, on Friday and Saturday night you cruised “the strip”, which basically meant that you drove from the high school parking lot to the McDonald’s parking lot and back, over and over.  You might take a detour past the home of your crush, or go check out the cars at the bowling alley, but mainly you just cruised the strip. Occasionally, excursions would be made out to the fire tower, which reportedly also served as a sort of “lovers’ lane”, but I hadn’t visited it in that capacity.  Seriously.  I was just a studious (so they all thought, ha!) girl in the band who walked around with a book in my hand all the time.

However, I was lucky because I had a car – nothing fancy or new, mind you, but I loved it.  But being a car-owner meant that I was a sitting duck, just waiting for someone to take advantage of my wheels.  That happened on more than one occasion, I’m afraid.  In the particular set of getting-suckered-again circumstances related to today’s post, my cute majorette friend was “dating” a really cute senior boy.

The only problem was that she wasn’t actually allowed to date yet.  So I would pick her up in my car, we’d meet the “boyfriend” at the high school parking lot, then we would get into his Camaro (naturally), and cruise the strip.  I would sit in the backseat, silently, the classic “third wheel”, having my face blasted off by his killer speakers, while they held hands and displayed their cuteness to the passers-by.

Camaro

 So one night it comes to pass that cute senior boy puts UFO on the eight track.  This causes cute majorette to say, “Eeewww!  What’s that? Put [insert chick-friendly music here] on!”  Cute senior jokingly says something like, “I’ll bet Marie likes it, don’t you, Marie?” at which point I speak the only full sentence I recall ever saying from my designated spot in the backseat, “Yeah, I love UFO”.  This doesn’t sit too well with cute majorette, and she responds with, “What does Marie know?  She digs gross boy music!” I say nothing in my defense, because she’s right, except for the “gross” part, and the moment passes.

The following weekend rolls around, and cute majorette and I are again cruising with cute senior in the Camaro, with me in my usual spot in the backseat, and her proudly riding shotgun again.  But things are different this time.  Cute senior is not holding cute majorette’s hand and he’s not looking longingly into her eyes at the stop sign.  No, cute senior boy is looking distractedly in the rear view mirror.  At me.  I sit there miserably, thinking that he’s scheming on a way to ditch me and head out to the fire tower, and I’ve been warned by cute majorette to never let that happen, so I don’t know what to do.  And he plays UFO all night, in rotation, with heavy repeats on “Love to Love”.

He never makes a move to ditch me, and I still don’t have a clue what’s going on until we get back to the high school.  The angry but still cute majorette slams out of the car and stomps off to join the other teenaged denizens of the parking lot.  I get out of the car myself, and with “Love to Love” blaring in the background, cute senior reaches through the window, gently grabs my arm and says, with all the burning passion that a cute senior heart can muster, “I’ve been playing this song over and over and thinking about you all week, Marie; I can’t stop”.

I, being utterly shocked, and having had very little one-on-one interaction with boys other than my fellow geeks in the band and the Holmes boys next door, could barely get my mouth to utter an awkward, dreadfully inadequate, “thank you so much; that’s so sweet” before running precariously off to my car in my platform shoes.  And that was that.

Looking back now, I realize it probably seemed to him like a brush-off, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  I was beyond flattered, but I was just too young, immature, and inexperienced to know how to respond to a sentiment like that from a boy, and it completely freaked me out.

Nothing else ever came of it, except that I could feel his eyes boring through my gigantic band hat whilst I was waiting to go on field during halftime at football games.  We never spoke another word to each other.  I actually hoped he would call me, but he never did – I guess maybe he thought I wasn’t interested since I had responded so badly to his heartfelt revelation.  And I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) call him – that was not done at the time (in fact, I kept to that principle throughout my entire dating career).

But I spent a lot of time wondering what had caused him to switch his fancy from the cute majorette to me that night.  Was it because I liked his music?  Was that enough to transform me in his mind from a third-wheel nuisance to a desirable female? I studied the words to “Love to Love” in-depth.  Was it the “misty green and blue” thing?  I do have greenish-blue eyes.  I thought maybe that was why he thought about me when he listened to it.  But most of the lyrics didn’t seem to fit our little situation.  What the heck?  Really, I was just clueless.  Of course, I realize now – he was young, it was a romantic song, he associated it with a girl he knew, and that’s all it took – it really didn’t matter what the exact lyrics were.

I think what we can take from this story, yet again, is that music is so very powerful – in many ways, especially in youth, it can define who we are and what we are drawn to, going so far as to play a large role in romance and physical attraction – in igniting eros, shall we say.  Come to think of it, it plays quite a role in phileo too.

Anyway, what this small incident did for my self-confidence is immeasurable.  A boy, a cute senior boy, had thought about me when he listened to a beautiful love song.  I had hope for the future.  I knew I would not be relegated to the backseat as a third wheel forever. I would have my turn to ride shotgun.

And that, my brothers and sisters in rock, is why I’ve chosen this beautiful video of UFO’s magnificent “Love to Love” for today’s post, the third in a series featuring fellow blogger MetalGuruMessiah’s amazing video art.

Oh, and by the way… long live Michael Schenker, guitar god extraordinaire!  And yes, I do still dig boy music, in case you are wondering. 😉

Misty green and blue – love to love to love you…

Comments? Crazy About UFO?

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Kansas: A Portrait of Professor Einstein

English: Albert Einstein Français : portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fall term will be starting soon, and I’ll be re-joining the ranks of my fellow professors behind the ivy-covered (not really) walls; sighing heavily over paperwork, complaining bitterly about the lack of parking space, eating pale, bland meals in the faculty commons, etc.  Actually, now that I’m a part-timer and don’t have any non-teaching duties, committees and so forth, I’m quite looking forward to it.  One of the greatest privileges I’ve been granted in my life is to teach others.

I was delighted to find Kansas’ “Portrait (He Knew)” to use for the second selection in my series on MetalGuruMessiah’s videos.  What a great tribute to that king-daddy of all professors, Albert Einstein!  If I taught in the hard sciences, I would definitely open the first day of class with this video.  What the heck – I may do it anyway.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off the term.  Genius is always inspiring, even if it’s in a completely different field of study.

Before we watch the video, here are some great quotes from Professor Einstein to get us ready for our portrait of the man…

“Imagination is more important than knowledge…”

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

“Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe.”  (THIS!  Think about it – and not just Mozart, either.)

“What I see in Nature is a grand design that we can understand only imperfectly, one with which a responsible person must look at with humility….”

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

“I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.”

“I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience.”

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.” (Ha ha!  Love it!)

“I am very happy with my new home in friendly America…”  (He likes us!  He really likes us!)

*All quotes were taken from einstein.biz and quotationspage.com

Ah, to have been given even a small fraction of the brilliance of Einstein, or the talent of Kansas, for that matter.  But alas, I’m merely an eternal, enthusiastic observer of greatness.  Enjoy this outstanding video by our fellow blogger, MetalGuruMessiah.

But he knew – he knew more than me or you…

Okay, we gotta hear one more, right? This song is almost eerily prophetic in view of composer Kerry Livgren’s religious conversion years later.  Wow.  Just give it a listen in light of that little factoid!  The guitar man says that Leftoverture was one of the most well-produced albums that he’d heard up to that point – crisp and crystal clear.  And to think, it was recorded just down the road at the Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana.

This clip is far from perfect, but I had to use it because I saw Kansas in concert this very year – 1978. I don’t remember Steve Walsh’s on-stage antics, near-nudity, yellow gym shorts, or tube socks, but I do remember quiet, dignified Kerry Livgren on that smokin’ guitar. Now that’s my kind of guy.  Nothing against Mr. Walsh, though – he’s a great singer.  My dear friends, here is “Carry On Wayward Son”…

Kerry

Thoughts?  Comments?  Please Share! 

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