Monthly Archives: January 2011
Let me preface this post by saying, if you have never been to Ted.com, what the hell are you doing here? Go, now! Ted is my favorite website on all of the internet, my home page when I open my browser, and there’s good reason for it. Ted is nothing but videos of brilliant, passionate people talking about the things they love, be it science, education, research, music or literature. If you’re up for it, here is a goal for you for the next week (I’m going to do it too): start your days off by watching just one video from Ted. That’s it. You will get smarter, you’ll become more cultured, more educated, and more entertained.
So, here in this post, I’ve decided to gather videos of many of my favorite ted musicians, and in future posts, I will gather a few of my favorite artists and writers, so be sure to check back for that. Hope you enjoy yourself.
First we have Jake Shimabukuro who tries to convince us that “what the world needs now is ukulele” by playing Bohemian Rhapsody.http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1063
Next we have one of my favorite live musicians, Andrew Bird. I mention live, because he uses a loop machine, which is fascinating to watch when used well by a talented musician, which he is, and he does. Here we have three live songs and stories around them. And believe me when I say, watching him run around stage picking up different instruments and whistling is supremely entertaining.
Now we are sliding closer to story telling as we have Robert Gupta, professional violinist and eloquent speaker. He speaks of music as medicine, which it most certainly is. He speaks of music as the catalyst which restores sanity, particularly the paranoid schizophrenic “charming, rugged, homeless” Nathanial Anthony Airs.
Now, there are many more musicians on Ted.com, most of them excellent. If you find one you particularly like, be sure to share the link in the comments section below. And, discussion on music ensue in 3,2,1….
This video is of a good friend of mine, Nicholas Ridout, the best damn busker in Seattle. Look him up if you ever head down to the Pike Place Market, he’s usually playing somewhere out there. If you find him, tell him Cody sent you, then throw him a couple bucks and do your self a favor and just shut up and listen.
Nick, he’s a wanderer, a drifter, a stand tall maestro, the quiet type who begins strumming his guitar and the world disappears around him. Watch his eyes as he plays. Thing is, he’s around today, but where he is tomorrow even he doesn’t know exactly, something I can respect in a man because it’s a trait so few can own to. If you see him, be sure to drop a buck, he’ll disappear when your not looking.
I don’t know the reasoning behind this decision, for me it’s just arbitrary. Add It Up by The Violent Femmes is likely the greatest song of all time, and the album from whence it comes, their 1982 debut self titled album “Violent Femmes”, is easily my favorite album of all time. With classics like Blister in the Sun, Kiss Off, Add It Up, Good Feeling, Gone Daddy Gone, Give me the Car, and if you get the special edition version, Waitin’ for the Bus, there is not a bad song on this album.
If you have never heard the Violent Femmes before, it’s time you gave them a look see, especially if you like modern folk music. However, their influence reaches much further than just the current folk scene, they preceded many major grunge bands of the ’90’s, and were even assimilated into that movement, though by the time grunge was in its heyday, the Violent Femmes were on the down swing.
Yes, it’s true, as great as their early albums are, their later work is laking the soul the original work had. Brian Richie, one of the Femmes original founding members, had this to say in relation to their downfall:
“[W]hen you see dubious or in this case disgusting uses of our music you can thank the greed, insensitivity and poor taste of Gordon Gano, it is his karma that he lost his songwriting ability many years ago, probably due to his own lack of self-respect as his willingness to prostitute our songs demonstrates…I see my life’s work trivialized at the hands of my business partner over and over again, although I have raised my objections numerous times. As disgusted as you are I am more so.”
Even as their newer work faded away, their early work still holds strong, it influence spread wide as evidenced by songs like Gnarls Barkley cover of “Gone Daddy Gone”, and the advancement of the sound of Folk-Punk which seems to be gaining momentum now a days. Personally, I having been born in 1985, I discovered the Femmes music later in my life, as bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Staind were flowing around my high school (couldn’t one of them spell their name correctly?). Years have passed since then, but still I find myself listening to 1982’s album more than any other album which has come before or since.
I discovered Seasick Steve not to long ago while stumbling around the internet. A side of the road old school blues singer, just like a man with a hearty beard like that should be. His voice is weathered, a man who’s slept under bridges and held onto enough gumption to sing these blues. Do yourself a favor and watch the videos at the end of the post.
What struck me wasn’t just how great his music is, although it is fantastic, what struck me was how much he reminded me of a character from my novel in progress, “Everything Else By The Wayside”, who goes by several names (Chris/Nemo/Old Man Nobody).
Chris too is a side of the road blues singer, or he becomes one through the course of the novel; I was thinking of calling it “Nemo Sings the Blues” for the longest time, but after much debate I settled on “Everything Else By The Wayside”.
There are several aspects of Seasick Steve that remind me of my character Chris, but I think its best summed up in a quote from the video below, “You choose everything, this is your town man. I don’t give a shit where I go.”
I am in a bit of a conundrum in regards to this blog. The conundrum is this, what should I populate this blog with while I solicit my writing to be published. I could post some of my own writing, but then a magazine or website will often refuse it, regarding the piece as being previously published. It wouldn’t matter, I suppose, if I didn’t care that I am writing what I egotistically refer to as a masterpiece while I work as a pizza delivery driver, then it wouldn’t matter. However, I do care, my job is a meaningless, monotonous, drudge in which I pray for deliveries, but, such as the economy is, I get none, and thus no tips, and thus, little money.
But hey, maybe you ready the About Me page and are thinking, “aren’t you the Managing Editor of AllTreatment.com“. The answer is yes, and it is a job I enjoy very much, a job that motivates me by allowing me to be self motivated, a job which gives me the chance to talk to interesting people from all over the world, a job which does not pay. I hope I don’t come across as a bitter guy, because I am not, I am simply three or four shots into a bottle of Hendricks Gin, getting ready to work on my novel, and thinking of how I can possibly make money doing what I love in this bitter cold, this heartless economy.
There was this woman I saw, she stood there on the side of the street with a cardboard sign which I don’t remember what it said. When I rolled down my window, I saw that her nose ran, she was cold and probably sick, she looked like a mother. My heart ached for her, so I gave her five dollars, and she, seeing the pizza delivery sign on top of my car, she actually said, “No. I can’t take money from a working man. Are you hiring?” Oh, God, how my heart ached for her, I desperately wanted to give her a hug, but I never did. She, with a little coaxing, took the money with a blushed smile, either from the cold or from embarrassment. She said, “God bless you. Now I can go home.”
Sometimes, I spend hours writing, then I spend hours editing and deleting. Then I drive and see a starving mother on the side of the road and I wonder, what am I doing? I hope my words can help somebody out there. My goal is to give somebody a sense of, I don’t know, something. I was going to say peace, but my writing is often dark, perhaps because the world I am surrounded by is a dark world. People beheaded in Alcopolco, Mexico; Hatians dying of Cholera after surviving that horrendous earthquake; politicians shot at their own speeches. Where is our Gandhi? Our Mother Teresa? Our Martin Luther King? Someone with smile wrinkles, an enlightened prophet, a saint… Perhaps a Bob Marley who will sing about love, even when shot by those who hate… Where is our symbol of love?
I am now five or six shots into my bottle of Hendrick’s Gin. I couldn’t quite afford the bottle, but it was one of those days. If there are spelling mistakes, thats because I wasn’t a good speeler to begin with (that was a joke). I have just one thing that is always on my mind, it is this, “World, you have rendered me heart broken.” I saw a photo journal of the last ten years. It was full of blood. And sports. Isn’t that telling. I saw the movie “Moon” today, a fantastic work of art, Sam Rockwell is one of the best indie actors out there. Either way, the villain was a corporation, as is the case more and more often in movies now a days. Isn’t that telling… Just be warned, be careful who you trust, especially if it is a corporation.
But please, find somebody who needs love and give it to them. Buy that guy who used to own a business, you know the one, now he’s on the side of the road with a cardboard sign, buy that guy a burger. If you know a soldier who’s returned home, give him a hug, there is quiet wisdom in the eyes of some young soldiers, often times earned through excruciating circumstances. I am overly sentimental when I drink, at least I’m not depressed as I am prone to being when I think about the world.