Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spotlight On The Paperback Rocker: Matt Syverson

Matt's Books

One of the things that I hope to do with my blog over the next few months is to interview some of my very interesting and talented followers and highlight their accomplishments. So if you are reading this, look out, because I may mean you. But you’re getting a break this time because the spotlight is on….(drumroll)….that terrifically talented Texan, Matt Syverson!  Matt has a background as a musician and a chemist (a real one!), and over the past five years, he has written and self-published some very creative and well-crafted novels. His hilarious book, “Band on the Run”, was a #3 bestseller in Amazon’s “Rock and Roll Books” category and “Black Dog” was also very well received and highly reviewed.  But his latest book, “Blue Whiskey”, may be his most outstanding work yet.

Matt also does a weekly podcast series that is chock-full of advice and information for writers that are interested in self-publishing, along with cool rock ‘n roll trivia and anecdotes about his days as a musician in Grunge-era Seattle. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know Matt a little better by reading the results of our email interview.  Take it away, Matt and Barbara “Marie” Walters!

1. I’ve met musicians, and I’ve met writers, but I haven’t met that many musicians that are also writers. Can you tell us a little about the journey you have taken from making music to writing books? How did your interests evolve and change direction over the years?

In school, I was always a creative writer. When the teacher instructed us to write sentences using vocabulary words, I would take the opportunity to craft an epic tale. In particular, I remember one involving Zamfir having his pan flute stolen by a demon. I also won a creative writing competition at a scholastic meet in high school, for which I received a scholarship.

Music was always an important part of my life, but during my teenage years it became an obsession. When I discovered Metallica, I decided to be a professional musician. I pursued that dream with total dedication, but around the age of thirty I tired of the long nights and lack of commitment from my bandmates. I drifted for a while without an artistic outlet, and those were the worst years of my life, in retrospect. After a particularly traumatic year (2009), I decided to once again pursue my artistic passions, and I have been writing and publishing books ever since.

2. One of the things I admire about you, in addition to your many versatile talents, is that you seem to have a larger than average dose of determination. I mean, you actually follow through with your dreams and make them happen. You want to start a Grunge band, so you move, all alone, from Oklahoma to Seattle, guitar in hand. You want to write books, so you actually write them, and finish them, and publish them, and sell them. What advice can you give to pathetic half-asses like me so we can be more like you and achieve our so-called goals?

This calls for a little tough love, as they say. Finish your damn projects. That’s the best advice I can offer. Nobody is going to do it for you. Make writing (or whatever it is you’re doing) a part of your daily routine. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you take a day off, but you should feel bummed out that you didn’t get to do what you love. There has to be a passion, or you won’t care if you finish or not.

Having said that, I often speak of the ‘joy of completion’. This is the best feeling an artist can have, above five-star reviews and accolades and all else, because it is a pure feeling attached only to the creation of art. When you feel that joy once, you will pursue it again and again. It’s like what they say about using drugs, but of course I wouldn’t know anything about that.

And you’re not pathetic! (Insert Barbara “Marie” Walters shaking her head sadly and smirking knowingly to herself here.)

3. Speaking of Grunge and Seattle, I find it endlessly cool and interesting that you were a part of “that scene”. Looking back on that time now, what would you say were the best and worst moments or aspects of the Grunge scene and all that was taking place around you? Feel free to name drop. We won’t mind. Really.

As far as name dropping, I was able to eavesdrop on Chris Cornell as he wrote his first solo album, which was mind-blowing, since he was one of my biggest musical influences. I’ll refer readers to the archives of my Paperback Rocker podcast for the full story. I met tons of rock stars over the years and played the same places in Seattle as Pearl Jam and the rest of them, but finding success as a writer has been far easier. Distributing music and developing a fan base before the internet was next to impossible.

The grunge thing was a worldwide phenomenon at the time, but it was small at the epicenter. On a show on Tuesday night, only five people showed up. The house parties were some of the most fun times I remember, because every room would have an acoustic jam session. Everyone was an artist of some kind, but it was an intimate thing. I’m glad I did it and proud of the music I made. Readers can hear some of my songs on my website, PaperbackRocker.com.

The only bad thing about the grunge scene was all the jaded people left behind after the first wave of successful bands got signed and weren’t around any more. They had toxic attitudes.

4. One of the things I have heard you mention is how the “business side” of music limits and constrains the artist, and how this affects the type and quality of music to which the average listener has access. What parallels do you see in the publishing business, and what role does self-publishing play in breaking down these barriers?

To put it succinctly, the music business is a huge rip-off, followed closely by publishing. That’s coming from an informed perspective, not that of a jaded musician who didn’t ‘make it’. The artist is taken advantage of contractually, because all the costs of promotion, videos, touring, and everything else are funded by a loan from the record company against future profits. It’s like the trap of a payday loan for a minimum wage employee and hard to get out from under. The ones who make it through to renegotiate the terms – Metallica and Stephen King, for example – make lots and lots of money, but it’s not that way for most.

Coming from the music biz to publishing, I recognized the similarities. In addition, many writers fall prey to the vulture companies of vanity publishing, possibly the worst of all these situations. We are in the golden age of self-publishing, but writers need to educate themselves and do it the right way, which means forming a publishing company and working with a book printer. Notice that I said printer, not publisher. I talk about these things on my podcast, and anyone can drop me a line if they want me to address something on a future show.

Regarding access, the consumer can choose from the goods offered by the big labels, studios, and publishers, which will be mostly boy bands, rom-coms, and vampire novels, or one can delve into the worlds of independent music, movies, and publishing. And that’s not to say all indie stuff is great and traditionally offered stuff is crap, because neither is true.

5. In your new novel, “Blue Whiskey”, the main character, Stanton Wheelhouse III, had several mentors that helped him along his rocky way to becoming a “one hit wonder”. Is there anyone that you would identify as your own mentor, either in music or writing, or both? How did this person or persons inspire and help you to reach your goals?

Strangely enough, I did not. I grew up in a one stoplight town in Oklahoma, so I barely found anyone to show me the first chords on the guitar. Again, this was pre-internet. I’ve always attempted to elevate myself to the level of my influences, so that I could view them as contemporaries, rather than idols. I met a lot of famous musicians early in my adult life, and I saw that they were regular people, so that helped. One thing I love about writing compared to playing in a band is that I don’t have to rely on anyone else. I’m not the typical introverted writer, having been the frontman for a rock band, but I am passionately independent and self-motivated.

6. One of my favorite passages in “Blue Whiskey” is where Stanton talks about the zeitgeist of the sixties, and zeitgeist movements in general, and how this translated into the subsequent decades, eventually dying out completely with the advent of the modern information age and the internet. I thought this was a really interesting concept. Can you elaborate on this a little?

I often incorporate short contemplative essays in my fiction, and this is an example. The primary purpose of the narrator in my first novel, “Black Dog”, was to deliver such meditations. “Blue Whiskey” is a fictional autobiography, and Stanton pontificates on and explains many of the same subjects we have covered here. To sum up his thoughts on zeitgeist, the appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show spawned a million musicians. In those days, there were about three channels on the tube. The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video was probably the last thing that will ever do this musically, since the advent of the internet and the splintering effect it has had. On the bright side, if you’re a brony you now have a community.

Stanton did a lot better job explaining this.

7. Stanton also kept track of his “lessons learned” throughout his journey. What would you list as your top lessons in the amazing creative journey you have taken as a musician, author, and podcaster?

Be nice. Don’t publicly criticize other artists. Don’t get ripped off. Finish your damn projects.

And that’s it!  Thank you Matt and Barbara!

Now let’s go finish our damn projects, everyone, and be sure to check out Matt’s podcasts and books!

A cool song from Matt’s CD – here’s “Chemical Marriage”…

Questions? Comments? Please Share!

 

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under Art and Literature, Music, Uncategorized

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man.

It’s that time of year when I start trying to plan my little feeble summer vacays. I use the terms “little” and “feeble” accurately here because adjunct faculty really don’t make a whole lotta moolah, as you are probably aware.  In fact, full-time faculty don’t bring in the big bucks either.  Unless that was just me and I was getting suckered all those years, which is certainly possible.  If you detect a note of bitterness here, I congratulate you on your powers of perception, because I guess I am a little bitter about not having the money to travel around the world like I really want to do.  But I try to suppress these feelings and soothe my wanderlust by planning a lot of short, inexpensive trips, often involving a concert that I want to see. By short and inexpensive I mean three or four nights max, usually at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn, and within a day’s drive from home.

What this means is that I’ve been everywhere remotely interesting that’s within about a 600 mile range of Jackson many, many times. In keeping with our featured song, I’ll list some of them, starting to the west and working to the east (generally speaking)…San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Hot Springs, Little Rock, Branson, Gulfport, Biloxi, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, Tallahassee, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Asheville, Louisville, Atlanta, Savanna, Charleston, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine, Florida.

I’ve been everywhere, man.  Everywhere that I can afford, that is.

I can’t do this clip without a shout out to our brother from down under, Bruce. This is the original version of this song, by Lucky Starr. (Clip mistakenly has a picture of Rolf Harris – ignore that.)  And my apologies to the spinster cousins for the cheesecake shot, but at least she’s a real woman, not one of these fake-boobers.  All three of these fun videos have pictures of the places mentioned…

And now the U.K. version, which really is by Rolf Harris. This is for Jamie.  Hilarious!

Not gonna leave us North ‘Muricans out…and now, hailing from beautiful Nova Scotia, here’s that great singing ranger, Hank Snow.

Don’t feel too sorry for me, though.  I did a lot of traveling back when my Daddy was around – we went all over North America and almost every state, including Hawaii.  All over the Caribbean too. Plus you know about my shocking braless Grand Tour of Europe. And I have plans for major travel again one day.   Turns out that my kid’s one of them-there brainiacs and a big ole scholarship is coming down the pike. You know what that means for the college fund, right?  Y’all better scan the open skies, peer across the ocean waters, and listen for the unmistakable sound of my 1997 Buick, because I’ll be movin’ on…

And I like to imagine someone saying, “Gram Parsons introduced the Rolling Stones to country music” to me, and me smugly playing the video below for them.  But that ain’t ever gonna happen.  I never get to be right. (Yes, yes, of course I love Gram, you know I do. Can’t wait to visit his Nudie suit in Nashville again this summer. And by the way, I notice that you can buy a replica of Gram’s Nudie suit, and I swear by all that is country rock, I’m getting one of those suckers one day.  When my ship/unused college fund comes in.)  Okay, this sounds awful compared to good old Hank, but here it is…

Questions?  Comments?  You’ve been everywhere too, man?  Please share!

23 Comments

Filed under Humor, Humour, Music, Travel, Uncategorized

A Morning Song

image(10)

I went to church on Easter morning.  I was looking forward to the music because church choirs generally put on the dog for Christmas and Easter. I was especially looking forward to hearing the huge choir and orchestra perform one of the most important and beloved hymns in Christianity, for Catholic and Protestant alike – “Christ the Lord is Risen Today/Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, written in the 17oo’s by John Arnold and Charles Wesley.  A sacred song; steeped in history and tradition and profound with deep biblical doctrine.

So excited was I about hearing it performed in a mighty way that I annoyed my daughter by singing it the whole time I was putting on my make-up, fixing my hair, and driving to the church.  Anyway, to cut to the chase – they slaughtered it.  I don’t mean that as in “they killed it, man”, I mean it as in “they utterly ruined it”.  They took the words, or some of them, and put them to some nondescript, inane “modern” tune.  I was so shocked and disappointed and downright angry that I had to excuse myself to the restroom to get myself straightened out before I could go back in the sanctuary.  Apparently, this is what churches around here do now.  They destroy sacred, centuries-old songs in the name of being “hip and with it” or something.

Purple Clematis Vine

image(2)

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Case in point – the simple, lovely children’s hymn known as “A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)”.  Cat Stevens was delighted by this beautiful song and wanted to record it – trouble was, though, it wasn’t long enough.  It needed to be around three minutes long, and it was only about 45 seconds.  He had heard a piece by the great Rick Wakeman from his masterpiece, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and asked Rick if he could write a piano part for a new version of this song.  Naturally, Rick being the spiritually-minded man that he is, he agreed to do so.  The end result of their collaboration was the well-known and much loved “Morning Has Broken”.  Far from ruining this song, it became even more beautiful and moving.  Unfortunately, Rick was not originally given credit for his contribution to the song, nor was he paid, but Cat/Yusuf later attributed this to confusion/errors on the part of the label and made it right when he returned to performing in the early 2000s.

Lady Banks Rose

image(3)

Also unfortunate was the fact that apparently many churches refused to play this song any longer after Cat’s conversion. But that hadn’t happened yet back when I was singing this song, almost every Sunday night, in Youth Choir, so I learned all the words.  Thus, what it’s all come down to, after all those years of hard rock and such, is me wandering around the garden at the crack of dawn in my robe and slippers, coffee mug in hand, singing Cat Stevens songs to my pack of adoring dogs. Who’d ‘a thought?

All of these pictures were taken in my little garden. The bench swing you see in this picture is where a lot of my writing is done – in my head, early in the morning with coffee, or at dusk with tea.  Then I eventually go back inside and get it down on paper.  I mean screen. Oh, and just so you know – I feel the need to make some explanation – that’s new growth monkey grass used as edging.  It’s not just regular tall grass that needs to be mowed.  I swear.  Really!  Why do you question me?

Vaguely Goth Fountain and Swing

image(11)

And here’s the loveliness, appropriately accompanied by scenes of nature.  Mine is the sunlight; mine is the morning…

Here’s Rick Wakeman’s “Catherine Howard”, which was the inspiration for the sublime piano arrangement in “Morning Has Broken”.  You may recognize some similarities, particularly at the beginning.

And that reminds me – Yes is touring North America again this summer!  They are going to perform Fragile and Close to the Edge in their entirety, along with some new material and other of their most loved songs.  See you all in Nashville, then, right?!  Right!

Now back to Cat/Yusuf.  What sets his music apart is the deep lyrics, along with the intensely beautiful melodies.  The delicate “Oh Very Young” – if only I had a dollar for every time I’ve stood in front of a lecture hall, looked into a sea of bright young faces and thought of the opening line to that song! The stirring “Wild World” and “Peace Train” – brilliant!  Being creeped out by Lady d’Arbanville – wonderful!  But I think the two songs below are my absolute Cat favorites. Looking back at his body of work, it really shouldn’t have surprised us that he ditched it all – the fame and the popular music. He gave us hints all along of what was coming down the pike, really. You can hear it clearly in both these songs.

I think almost anyone that ever had a father, or ever had to make a tough, unpopular decision can relate at least a little to this song.  “I know I have to go away; I know I have to go…”

And I think this one reveals a lot about Cat’s inner dissatisfaction with his “pop star” life, and his quest for something more meaningful.  This is one of my favorite lines in any song…”I know a lot of fancy dancers; people who can glide you on the floor; they move so smooth, but have no answers…”

You know, speaking of “fancy dancers”, and I’m using that phrase figuratively, you understand, in looking at these pictures of Cat/Yusuf, it dawns upon me that he was darn near the spitting image of the C.G., and not so dissimilar from the Moody Blues Guy either. Weird. Or not.

And going back to the ruined hymn, in case you are interested, this is what it is supposed to sound like.  So c’mon, churches. Quit trying to be hip.  You’re not meant to be, and you never will be.  Face it.  But I can’t think of anything that’s more deeply marvelous than this, really.

And by the way, I guess I lied about only crying at Springsteen songs.  No wonder you didn’t believe me about the monkey grass.

image(1)

Some Scroungy Azaleas

Questions? Comments? Please Share!

 

8 Comments

Filed under Music, Uncategorized

El Camino Boys and The Boss

While lying abed in the purple room late last night, in the fierce clutches of an allergy attack, with Kleenex stuffed up my nose, I whiled away the lonely hours, as I often do, by YouTubing. I was watching a clip from Conan when Louis C.K. mentioned the time that he was just cruising down the road, listening to “Jungleland” by Springsteen.  When Springsteen hit the echoey “whaooooooo” part, Louis said he suddenly started sobbing uncontrollably and had to pull over to the side of the road until it passed.

Naturally, this led me straight into a big Springsteen binge.  Like everyone else, I assume, I was introduced to Bruce Springsteen while sitting in a souped up El Camino in a bowling alley parking lot.  You may say, but Marie, that surely didn’t really happen – it’s just too cliche.  You’re pulling my cyber leg. To which I must yet again respond au contraire, mon ami.  It really did happen.  The El Camino.  The bowling alley.  The Springsteen.  In my town, the bowling alley was a popular fake destination for the teenagers of my generation.  Only a few teenagers actually went into the bowling alley, but we all used it as an excuse for getting out of the house so that we could cruise around and sit in the parking lots. I did actually spend some time in the bowling alley, but it was mainly just to hang out in the game room and play pinball.  Most of my time was spent out in the parking lot, because I was much more interested in the hot rods and their drivers than in the bowling pins.  Besides, I sucked severely at bowling.

Anyway, during this time there was a huge craze among some of the male bowling alley parking lot denizens for buying old El Caminos and doing whatever magic they did to make them fast and cool.  The El Camino drivers were all Springsteen guys, and if you hung around them, you were going to get a pretty thorough Springsteen education. The El Camino/Springsteen guys were the ones that worked at the gas stations, garages, and body shops and wore oil stained jeans.  What a great soundtrack Springsteen made for their lives; for all of our lives, really. I would put Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town on my list of “can’t live without” albums for sure.

Of course, and it pains me to say it, I didn’t like 1984’s Born in the U.S.A. and Springsteen ranks toward the top of that long, long list of artists that disappointed me in the 1980s. “Born in the U.S.A.” is even on my list of most irritating songs. It’s like some marketing dude decided it was time to write the most annoying U.S.A.-related song possible.  I doubt that’s what really happened, but I can’t think of any other explanation for the astonishing decline that took place between the amazing songs on albums 1-6 and the horrendous Born in the U.S.A.  I’m sorry to be so mean about it, but that’s really what I think.

With that being said, however, I’ve got to say that I know where Louis C.K. is coming from.  I know why he had to pull over and cry to “Jungleland”.  Although I’m definitely emotionally influenced by music, there’s not that many songs that can actually move me to tears.  But Bruce Springsteen can. His lyrics are absolutely stunning to me.  He hits us almost too close to home and he does it in a way that’s not cheesy in the least.  Good God a’mighty, he really is the boss, I think, despite my low opinion of Born in the U.S.A.

A few years ago, I had a little carpentry work done in my kitchen.  The carpenter arrived and I opened the door to let him in, only to come face to face with a former El Camino boy. I wasn’t sure if he recognized me, because we never knew each other well – I just knew him as part of the bowling alley parking lot crowd, and he just knew me as one of the silly teenage girls that hung around in the periphery, basking in the reflected glory of fast cars.  So I said nothing, and neither did he, but while he was working in the kitchen, I played Springsteen on the stereo in the living room.  Ridiculous, I know, but it just seemed like the thing to do.  When he left, I went into the kitchen to inspect his work, and there was a business card laying on the counter.  On the back he had written, “Great music from great times, Marie.  Thanks.”

I went through all my Springsteen, trying to narrow my favorites down to just three for this post.  But I wasn’t able to do that; my mind became dazzled by the overwhelming magnificence.  So instead, I’m going with the first song on Born to Run, which was the first Springsteen album I owned. He had me forever at “the screen door slams”.  Now excuse me while I pull the car over and sob like Louis C.K.  So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore; show a little faith there’s magic in the night…

 Questions?  Comments?  Please Share!

12 Comments

Filed under Music, Uncategorized

Biker Weekend

It was a sticky-hot Mississippi summer, and I was out camping with the classical guitarist again, only this time, instead of setting up in the middle of the woods, we were at a real campground with a sandy-bottomed, swim-worthy lake. It was a nice place with a large picnic pavilion and electricity and such. We had just set up our tent in the nearly deserted tent-camping area and were arranging the sleeping bags inside when the silence was broken by an increasingly thunderous roar. The roar got louder and louder and was eventually replaced by shouts and guffaws and raucous laughter.  Peeping surreptitiously through the tent windows, it was evident that our peaceful camp site had been inundated by a motorcycle gang.

When I say motorcycle gang, I mean the old-fashioned, tough and scary kind, not the modern kind that actually consists of the accountant next door and your kid’s little league coach.  The classical guitarist and I dithered about inside the tent, wondering if we should just pack up immediately and go home, or if that might offend the bikers and thereby get us killed. So after a whispered, frantic discussion, it was decided that I would stay in the tent while he went about the ordinary motions of setting up a camp site – plugging in the boom box, gathering wood, etc.  In the meanwhile, he would be getting a feel for the situation and decide on the best course of action.  It was an act of bravery on the part of the classical guitarist (let’s just call him C.G. for short), because he wasn’t some macho dude by a long shot – he was a kind, gentle soul and a former band nerd like me. So I hugged him tight like he was going off to war and sent him on his terrified way, while I stayed behind in the tent, shaking in my boots.  Or flip-flops, as it was asphalt meltingly hot.

Alone in the tent for an eternity, I alternated between making deals with God to get us out of this, promising to give up all my favorite vices, reviewing and practicing self-defense strategies I learned in high school when the Community Relations Officer visited my gym class, and fashioning a nun-chucks-type weapon out of weenie-roasting tongs and a bungee cord. Sounds ridiculous now, granted, but you have to understand – I had heard about Altamont and I had read Hunter S. Thompson’s “Hell’s Angels” book, and that was pretty much my only frame of reference on bikers.

C.G. finally returned to the tent, and with a nervous, not very reassuring smile, he told me everything was going to be all right.  He actually knew one of the bikers from some childhood activity, like Boy Scouts or Sunday School.  No joke.  So we left the tent and and I was introduced to the biker chicks.  Although my reasonable-length cut-offs and tee-shirt didn’t really fit in with the halter tops and Daisy Dukes, we got along just fine.  Like a house ‘afire, in fact.  Actually, I think the reasonable-length cut-offs and tee-shirt helped to build that bridge, along with the fact that I instinctively knew to avoid eye contact and interaction with their fellas at all costs.

Hanging out with biker chicks on a camping trip basically meant cooking, drinking beer, cooking, and drinking beer. As I helped scale, gut, and fillet fish for the big fish fry, I happened to catch the miserable eye of poor C.G., standing awkwardly amidst the biker dudes, and he mouthed “I’m sorry”.  I just kind of smiled and shrugged as if to say, “don’t worry about it”.  This was not the trip that either of us had had in mind.  No swimming took place.  No sweet, relaxing evenings of classical guitar either.  But at least I learned how to put on a killer fish fry from scratch, and on Saturday night, the rockin’est, ass-kickin’est biker band on earth played at the picnic pavilion.

I wish I could say I partied down and danced and that I remember everything they played, but the truth is, I was too busy keeping my head down and minding my Ps & Qs around the dudes and helping the biker chicks to really get into it like I normally would have. Everything the biker band played seemed to have an extra dose of testosterone and attitude, which I would normally have dug in a big way, had I not been in fear of the real, heavy-duty testosterone that was hanging threateningly in the air all around me.  Maybe it was all Hunter S. Thompson’s fault for scaring the daylights out of me with his book.  Let’s blame him for my fear and loathing.  I think he would like that.  Anyway, I do recall that there was a whole lot of fantastic early ZZ Top played, which should give you a feel for the cool yet vaguely ominous atmosphere of the biker weekend.  I’m pretty sure they played the whole Tres Hombres album.  More than once. And then there was the obligatory Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers too. A great biker band indeed – they saved the weekend.

But this one is for those rockin’ motorcycle mamas that took me in and taught me how to scale, gut, and fillet.  Among other things.  Here’s my man Neil…motorcycle mama, won’t you lay your big spike down?

Questions?  Comments?  Please Share!

9 Comments

Filed under Music, Uncategorized

Pull the Shades Down Tighter, Captain Jack, I Think I’m Sinking Down

The topic of this post shall remain unnamed.  I mean, even if I lived in Colorado or Washington, it would still be unnamed, sort of like my “Friday Song for the Land of the Free” post, except that with that one I messed with Big Brother’s mind by linking the “Shanty Song” and joking about it relentlessly.  You don’t want to mess with Big Brother’s mind by joking around about these songs.  In fact, these songs are nothing to joke about.  They are dark; they take you to a place you don’t want to be in real life, what with their reeking of death and despair and all.  But they give you a glimpse into that half-life that is being lived in the gloaming all around you.  So take my virtual hand and let’s travel this sad road together…

One of the best bands that burst on the scene in the late eighties/early nineties was The Black Crowes, and their album “Shake Your Money Maker”, is still one of my favorites.  The unique thing about this song is that it’s about a woman.  One of the kind that paints her eyes as black as night and pulls the shades down tight.

And here’s another dark and gritty song from Billy Joel’s 1973 Piano Man.  His best song, in my opinion.  Apparently the idea for the song came to him as he looked out his apartment window and watched affluent teenagers get out of expensive cars and go into the housing project across the street to visit a man by the name of Captain Jack.

And now, from that master story-teller, Warren Zevon, the tale of Carmelita and her man.  This was one of my g0-to misery songs after disheartening evenings of being coerced into going to frat parties and “singles bars”, so every time I listen to it, the inside of my mouth tastes like stale beer and cigarettes, and I feel like I need to wash my hair to get the smoke smell out.

Of course, I can’t do this post without including the next song, even though it messes up my whole thing about avoiding the word, not to mention that I couldn’t fit it into my Frankenstein’s monster of a title. What the heck.  I guess that I just don’t know.  Here’s The Velvet Underground with “Heroin”.

Dedicated to those in the gloaming…

Questions?  Comments?  Please Share!

13 Comments

Filed under Music, Uncategorized