I grilled a couple of steaks last night, and I asked my beautiful wife if she would like me to pick out a bottle of wine.
What, then, are the odds that I would select something named for a song by the band Unleash the Archers?
To be clear, I did not buy a bottle of The Matriarch because it shares a name with the song, although I would have if I had the chance. The bottle came as part of a Random Number Generator Wine Club that my wife joined on a lark which sent a number of remaindered bottles from various California and Missouri wineries to our house. The Matriarch here is actually one of the better selections from the wine club. It’s a red blend, a little Malbecky, but pretty good for a Missouri wine.
If I see it at the local shops, I might pick it up. After all, I am the sort of man that dresses his whole family up as heavy metal fans for the church’s Trunk or Treat just so I have an excuse to buy an Unleash the Archers shirt.
“Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” by Meco (on vinyl and CD)
“(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates
“A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band (twice: once on the Saturday Evening Fever soundtrack and on the album of the same name, although it’s credited simply to the Walter Murphy Band there)
“The Streak” by Ray Stevens (also on the videocassette of his greatest hits)
“Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille
“Convoy” by C.W. McCall (although I might have this on an album or single, but it’s not what I listen to on the turntable, so I’m not sure)
“Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots
I thought I did better because one of the entries mentions the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Song” which I have on single and probably on a Chipmunks or Christmas album somewhere.
So I was listening to the radio in the car the other day, and I announced to my children that the song on the radio was my favorite .38 Special song.
The song? “Hold the Line”. The problem?
That’s Toto, not .38 Special.
In my defense, my favorite .38 Special song is “Hold On Loosely“:
A defense such as it is.
At any rate, it comes to mind because today is Friday, which is a holiday (albeit different from the Friday holiday celebrated at Dustbury). On Friday, Leo at Frog Leap Studios releases a new metal cover.
This week, he improved on my favorite Toto song:
Previously, of course, he had done Toto’s “Africa”.
In my defense, I have not (yet) mistaken Toto or .38 Special for Poco, but that time is coming, no doubt.
Yesterday, I had a second opportunity to kill some time at the Classic Rock Coffee shop after dropping my kids off at school, so I sat at another booth and snapped a picture of the album covers on the walls.
How well did I do?
Well, let me bold the ones I have:
Riptide Robert Palmer
Dream Police Cheap Trick
Rockin’ Into The Night .38 Special
Get the Knack The Knack
Bachman-Turner Overdrive Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin
Brothers in Arms Dire Straits
Okay, so that’s a whopping 0 out of 8.
Apparently, I am a classic rock poser. I didn’t even recognize two of the covers and couldn’t make them out. This would probably be easier in any month but October without the fake spider-web decorations.
In my defense, I once saw BTO in concert at Summerfest. Also note I do have greatest hits collections from Foreigner and BTO, so I have the hit tracks from each album in my personal collection.
As I mentioned, 25% is likely to be the ceiling for my scores in these quizzes. If you recognize one of the album covers I couldn’t identify, leave it in the comments, and I’ll correct it in the list above. I won’t likely correct it in my music collection, though.
I had a couple of minutes to kill after dropping my children off at school and before I was scheduled to help set up the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale (I’m not just a messy patron; I’m also, sometimes, a volunteer). So I stopped at the local outpost of Classic Rock Coffee for a cup of joe.
If you’re not familiar with it, Classic Rock Coffee is outfitted more like a rock club than Starbucks (and this particular location has a music venue off to the side). There are black lights and music memorabilia on the walls. And several of the booths have a collection of classic rock album covers beside them.
So, because I’m bored (or was during that interim), I’ve decided to make it a quiz. Which of the albums beside the booth do I own?
I was sitting today at the western most booth, which features these album covers:
I’ll bold the ones I own:
Sticky Fingers The Rolling Stones
Now and Zen Robert Plant
Chicago 13 Chicago
52nd Street Billy Joel
Crimes of Passion Pat Benetar
Night Moves Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Private Eyes Hall and Oates
Wheels are Turnin’ REO Speedwagon
25%. Not very good. Given my other experiences at the coffee shop, this is about what I get for every booth.
Note that the albums I own from the above list I first got on audiocassette, but I have since upgraded the Billy Joel to CD.
You know, Springfield is not Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, you can find more than one church festival on any given weekend, even the weekends where Summerfest is or one of the heritage festivals is running down on the lakefront and drawing tens of thousands of people.
No, in Springfield, only two churches through proper church festivals with food, music, and whatnot. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church and St. Thomas the Apostle Greek Orthodox church are about a mile apart on the southwest side of Springfield, and they both have their festivals on the same weekend.
Given that I’m half Catholic and went to a “Catholic” university (Catholic in quotations because it may have been founded Catholic, but it’s all modern university), you can probably guess which I attended.
I am half Catholic, but all Milwaukeean. I went to both: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Saturday and St. Thomas Apostle on Sunday.
As my boys and I were entering the festival on Sunday, I saw a man with a camera, and I briefly thought he might be for the News-Leader, but I dismissed it. Most of the time, the faces in the crowd photos are taken by Brenna Stark or Karen Bliss, who you might remember was following me around a couple weeks ago. The photographer took a pass on taking a picture of moi, but it turns out it was the News-Leader‘s photographer.
Instead of me, he captured jazz vocalist Kristi Merideth:
Kristi Merideth, unlike Erin Bode, is a local performer who does shows individually and with a band called 83 Skiddoo. I’ve meant to catch her live, but her performances don’t tend to coincide with the date nights my beautiful wife and I infrequently enjoy.
Here she is singing “Rhode Island Is Famous For You” from her self-titled EP which I picked up a couple years ago:
More Stacey Kent than Sacha Boutros.
Full disclosure: Our children go to school together and, dare I say it? play in jazz band together. But I don’t know Ms. Merideth other than to say “Hi” and “How are you?” a couple times over the years.
I read in Metal Hammer magazine that metal is family, but I found that hard to believe. When I was growing up, the kids who listened to metal in our trailer park certainly didn’t treat the awkward, small younger version of me like family at all. So I’ve been skeptical of the claim even as I’ve outgrown being small.
Theatrical metal band Ghost’s sold-out show at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on May 31 came to an abrupt and tragic end when fan Jeff Fortune collapsed at the venue and died that evening.
* * * *
The band also will be selling an exclusive shirt at that show, with an illustration of band frontman Cardinal Copia and Fortune wearing Michael Myers costumes from “Halloween,” with all proceeds being donated to Fortune’s family.
Ghost recently came to my attention because the local radio station has been playing their new song “Rats”, and I liked the sound of it:
It’s calling someone who loves felines a real Catsanova.
Wait, an Internet search indicates that I did not invent the pun.
Ah, well, when I blurt it out as though I just made it up, I’ll assume the person I was speaking to won’t think immediately to search the Internet to see where I found it, or that it was a pre-meditated drop-in pun.
Where did I get it? Well, I was listening to Paulina Rubio…
…and then I encountered a cat, which is easy to do at Nogglestead.
So I came by it honestly, through my own synthetic thought, rather than piggybacking off of someone’s established humor.
Or maybe I saw it somewhere before.
Being “quick-witted” is awfully hard work sometimes.
I took some lessons for a couple of months, but eventually, it turned into me boring my instructors who wanted to teach me more advanced things than I could process as I was still learning the basic fine motor skills involved in placing my fingers in the proper position on the fret board and striking the right string with the pick.
I suspended the lessons until I could at least do the basics.
How’s that coming?
Well, I can almost, almost change between a third chord in time, which means when I’m strumming or picking an open chord, I can sometimes do it without a noticeable gap in the playing. So it’s improving, but slowly.
I only have a couple minutes to practice most days, so it will take me a while. But that’s all right; one of the things I’ve learned is patience.
It’s different from learning a martial art, though, where you continuously improve from gross motor skills to the fine motor skills. In guitar, though, you have to develop the fine motor skills right off the bat, so I don’t see improvement or even basic competence right away, or even now six months later. Has it only been six? Has it already been six?
It’s looking more and more like I’ll be Inge Ginsberg’s age when I make my debut in my metal band.
Grim Reaper would seem to have had it all, a catchy Sabbath-esque riff, one of the most piercing song-ending screams in the history of headbanging, Satan on a stick. It’s a one-hit masterpiece, but GR only got marginal traction at a time when metal was selling like Garbage Pail Kids.
The problem? They were rightly or wrongly perceived as poseurs. Seen to be cashing in on metal’s finest hour while dispossessed of some undefinable, dues-paying authenticity.
But the problem lies in asserting that metal’s finest hour was sometime in 1983.
My friends, metal’s finest hour is, and ever shall be, now.
Because the memories of metal past is nothing compared to metal blasting out of your windows right now.
Here’s something from now called “Awakening” by a band called Unleash the Archers whose latest CD will soon make an appearance on my music balance posts:
I’ve determined that the local radio stations have not been feeding me a steady enough diet of new music, so I’ve joined the 21st century and have started prowling YouTube and then listening to a band on Spotify if I like them. So YouTube keeps suggesting metal bands fronted by women, which makes me wonder how this will affect the balance of heavy metal and jazz songbirds in my musical taste. Time and scientific experimentation will help me understand, I suppose.
I bought this book after I attended the Herb Alpert / Lani Hall concert last year. I didn’t have enough cash to buy it at the theatre, but I ordered it promptly after I got home.
It’s a collection of short memories from Ms. Hall-Alpert’s life growing up in Chicago interspersed with short stories inspired by some of those memories–or perhaps the recollections are prompted by the short stories.
Regardless, it’s a collection of ten short stories (“Come Rain or Come Shine”, “Standing Appointment”, “Mr. Belmont”, “Something in Common”, “The Professor”, “The Ringing Bells”, “The Cleaning Lady”, “Curiosity”, “Coonfrontation”, and “Inland”). They’re mostly mainstream, slice-of-life style fiction you used to find in women’s magazines or in Colliers and sometimes Short Story magazine. They’re not self-consciously literary, which is nice. They deal often with men’s and women’s relationships and/or a woman’s, particularly an artistic woman’s, self-doubt. They’re nice little stories, and I cannot pooh-pooh them even though I have an English Degree® because I’m not having a lot of luck in writing my own short stories these days even though I’m gathering a little box full of ideas.
So they’re worth reading, especially if you’re a fan of her music.
You’re probably more familiar with her singing “Mais Que Nada” with Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66, but she did the theme song for the Bond movie Never Say Never Again which my boys and I will watch after Octopussy which is next in our queue, so it seemed the thing to include in this book report.
I go on and on about how my musical purchases tend to fall neatly into two camps: Heavy metal and jazz songbirds (or maybe three if you include “Pop Music Recommended By Mr. Hill. But the truth is much more complicated.
Okay, it’s not. I will also buy CDs of local artists when I find them in silent auctions, and sometimes I do not include them in my balance tallies simply because I use my Amazon order history to build those lists. Which is why I don’t mention the Liz Moriondo self-titled CD I bought at a trivia night silent auction last winter, although I did mention her parody “All About That Bass” (which is not on the album) here.
Well, friends, I confess: I did it again.
On Friday night, I went to the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center for its annual Bluegrass and BBQ fund raiser which features bluegrass music from local bands and a silent auction. I behaved myself this year and did not bid the face price on every gift card and buy a bunch of Branson shows and attraction gift cards since the summer is winding down, and we won’t be traveling an hour to the south much this year. But I did bid on two CD auctions.
The has a video for the catchy song “Good Morning”, which would I guess be the first single from the album if anyone still thinks in those terms:
It’s a little poppier than what I listen to, but darn, if it doesn’t kind of make me want to smile. Which is about as close to smiling as I get.
I just assume that she’s local, so I’d like to think I recognize the park as Sequita Park, but I’m likely mistaken. My Springfield park knowledge is pretty limited, although I did visit Nathaniel Greene park yesterday.
The second auction I bid on was a lot featuring CDs from the two performers that played at the event, That Dalton Gang and Lonesome Road:
I’ve listened to the That Dalton Gang CD, but not yet the Lonesome Road album. Bluegrass. You know. I actually have a number of bluegrass CDs bought in this manner, but I don’t tend to listen to them a lot. It’s not my bag, but supporting the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center is.
So, yeah, I paid more than the asking price for these CDs.
Now, before you get to worrying about me, I also did get a No Grave But The Sea by Alestorm and From Birth to Burial by 10 Years on the heavy metal side (and I’m looking closely at Prequelle by Ghost to pick up when I next buy Christmas gifts on Amazon according to the One For You/One For Me protocol). I’ve also picked up another disc from Natsumi Kiyoura, Hodo Auko.
So on the whole, I’m still in balance, but the silent auctions throw me out of whack a bit.
She’ll be at the Wisconsin State Fair this year, which is another festival I’ll miss in Milwaukee for the twenty-somethingth year in a row.
To be honest, she falls outside of my preferred poles of songbird or heavy metal. The paper calls her rock, and maybe some of her live music rocks harder than the samples I find on YouTube, but she’s more bluesy rock with the F word kind of like Adele or Bonnie Raitt.
I’ve already booked our annual concert with a septugenerian. However, as it is a birthday gift for my beautiful wife, I will not divulge its exact nature in case she stumbles upon this blog in the next nine days.