Fly Sweetly, Chris Cornell

This beautiful spring morning brought with it two things; a head cold and news of the death of Chris Cornell.  His death was sudden and unexpected, and at least one source alludes to the possibility of suicide. Although I won’t speculate here, that particular prospect makes me immeasurably more sad.  My friends and regular readers will likely know how important music is to me.  I find it a daunting prospect, the idea of fleshing out my feelings in a detailed post, so I’ll just say that Soundgarden was with me throughout my adolescence, my formative years, as it were.  Many, many nights I fell asleep listening to the B side of Superunknown (yes, I actually had the album on cassette tape before I got the disc.)  At the time it occured, I was mildly bummed when Soundgarden broke up, but the older I got, the more important the music of my teenage years became to me, so I was totally psyched when they got back together.  Maybe one day, fate willing, I would even get to see them perform live.  Not now, not ever.

Although it’s not as if I knew this man personally, his words, his voice, meant something to me.  I never met him, never spoke a word to him, and aside from the usual fangirl musings, I never thought much about it.  Just him being in the world, making music, was enough.  Just as now, knowing he is no longer is the world, will never grace us with his voice again, fills me with a formless sense of loss.  How do we mourn someone we didn’t know, but who still managed to make an emotional mark on our souls?    I guess you either get it or you don’t.  For all of my friends and readers who do, I leave you with my all time favorite Soundgarden song.

Edit:  With Chris Cornell’s death officially being ruled suicide, I want to just mention here, there was NO snark or disrespect intended by my selection of song.  It just has been my favorite for years.  Blessed be to his family and bandmates in this sad time. ❤

 

It’s Over Now…

It seems odd to celebrate someone’s “death day.”  Given my love of Layne Staley and his music, it would seem more appropriate to celebrate his birthday.  But I can’t help thinking of Layne’s personal struggle with drugs not only every April 5, but almost every time I hear his music.  And I would likely have my “Grunge” card revoked if I didn’t also mention Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, whose suicide ironically occurred on this same day, eight years before, also after a struggle with heroin, which he claimed to have tried in order to help cope with a painful stomach condition.  (It is interesting to note that in both cases, the musicians’s bodies were not discovered immediately after their deaths, so the date of their death was determined by medical professionals.)

“We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time…

If I can’t be my own, I’d feel better dead”

 

“Chaos and hate shadow me, pain it fills me up…Only one thing makes me feel, missing better half of me.”

 

 

*related: https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/in-chains-music-and-drug-addiction/

 

Kurt Donald Cobain~ 2/20/1967-4/5/1994

Layne Thomas Staley~ 8/22/1967- 4/5/2002

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Kardio Karaoke?

I love to sing.  I have a special relationship with my music and love to sing along with my favorite songs…and even some not-so-favorite songs.  If I know the words, any song may be fair game.  It’s almost a compulsive thing; when in the car, I often feel compelled to sing along with the radio– not necessarily every song, but, you know, enough to annoy anyone who may not enjoy my singing.  For my part, I have sung in a couple of bands and while I’m no Grace Slick or Amy Lee, I’ve been told I can carry a tune, so hubby tells me it’s not too awfully painful when I sing along.  My kid seems to like it when I sing her favorite songs, if that “mom’s gone batshit” look she gives me is any indication.  For a while, hubby and I would always sing along with that 5 Hour Energy commercial on Hulu.  You know, the one with the guy recording…

“his de-but al-bum…”  

It got to the point where when that commercial came on and that part came up, my daughter would look at us in anticipation of our goofiness.

I generally don’t sing in the shower; in fact, I rarely sing in the absence of accompanying music unless a song is really stuck in my head.  But I’ve been known to sing ~gulp~ Karaoke.

And I sometimes sing while I exercise…which is no mean feat if you’re working at all hard.   So I got curious…   Are there any health benefits to singing while you exercise?  I mean, obviously, your timing has to be pretty good to run (or other cardio), breath, and sing at the same time, right.  Like walking and chewing gum?  Okay, maybe not like that.  According to Livestrong.com:

During 20 minutes of singing, a person who weighs 150 lbs. burns about 34 calories if sitting down, or 45 calories if singing while standing up, according to CaloriesPerHour.com.

However, while singing alone will not burn beaucoup calories, it is beneficial to your health in other ways.

As you may have found out for yourself, if you’re a fellow beltway belter or karaoke night killer, singing can help to relieve stress, improve your mood, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure.  Singing also gives your lungs and diaphragm a workout because it involves respiratory muscle exertion and deep and open breathing. (source)

According to an ezine article by Judy Rodman, physical exercise is vital to vocal stamina, and conversely, people who sing correctly will notice they become physically tired, because singing correctly uses the big muscles of your core and minimizes incorrect over-use of the little muscles of your throat.However, according to Enliven Magazine, singing while you workout you may be hurting your weight loss efforts.  According to this article, if you can belt it out while you’re exercising, you may not be working out hard enough (reaching your target heart rate.)  I have heard it similarly said that if you can talk while you workout, you’re not doing it right.  FOr me personally, I don’t sing continuously while I exercise, rather I belt out a few favorite lines sporadically, and usually not during my high intensity intervals.What do you think, gentle readers?

Day 80

“All byyyyy mahhh-seh-eellllf!”  (Photo credit: SuperFantastic)

And, no…that’s not me.

Midwinter Night’s Dream & My Other Husband

I had an absolutely mind-boggling dream last night.  There was music, crowd-surfing, werewolves/vampires, tattoos, horses, diamonds, sex, and…Maynard.

I’m going to try to relay the highlights, but now it has that loose narrative and hazy chronological sequence that defies any attempts to make sense once you’re awake.

I’m at this concert in this big dark space.  I’m sitting against a corner wall near the middle of the room.  Check out my bad-ass Paint diagram.

"X" marks the spot

“X” marks the spot…

And who should be sitting next to me but Marilyn Manson… only he’s yelling stupid things at the stage where Maynard is singing, trying to be cool or something.  And I tell him to shut up.  And he kisses me and tries to stick his hand in my pants.   And I’m like, no way, dude.  What kind of woman do you think I am?   I also seem to remember telling him my age, but lying and saying I was 29 instead of 31.  At some point, he (I think it’s him) picks me up and throws me in the air, and I am crowd surfing all over the room.  Eventually, I end up somewhere across the room, and the person holding me up is Trainer Bob, and he asks me for something (I can’t remember what,) but in return, I ask him for a favor– get me closer to Maynard.

"Whaaat?"

“Whaaat?”

At this point, as I pass near the stage, it looks more like a backstage tête-à-tête than a concert.  Maynard is sitting in a chair and his entourage is busy around him.  He’s not looking his usual put together self.  His face looks haggard and broken out…but I still love him anyway.

At some point I have circled the room and am dropped off near MM again.  He is also not looking his best… turns out he’s balding on top and wearing a black hairpiece to cover it up.  He flops the piece back on his head, and– voila!– instant sleek!  There are a lot of faces I recognize, mostly from high school, in the crowd.  At one point I am in a line near a side exit and a guy behind me (who I think I was supposed to know) was staring at me lasciviously and making menacing remarks.

At some other point, I found myself near the stage again.  This is about the point where I felt some sort of threat, as if I was being chased or hunted, by a werewolf, perhaps.  Maynard and his crew finally acknowledge me and hand me a small tray to which is affixed a variety of silver pieces (barettes? small styluses? I don’t know), but in the dream I knew what they were for– protection against my pursuers.

And now Maynard is close to me …

tumblr_m4itfanrkQ1qawp6m

…and we’re talking about our tattoos and he’s helping me fit these gi-normous fake fangs onto my teeth (more protection, I think?)

…and then there was this pretty horse, with kind of a pale palomino beige color in the head area and a dainty, thin nose.  I was told to let it eat, so I walked it to the area near the back wall of the main room, where there was a little inlet with a mound of hay.

A stall in the middle of a concert venue...weird, I know...

A stall in the middle of a concert venue…weird, I know…

And then I was riding the horse around a trail (still in the concert venue) and it was like I was on a parade circuit or something.  One of Maynard’s lackeys was giving me all this fancy jewelry.  It was for, like, some mock video where we were getting married or something.  They took my wedding ring off and threw it on the ground, and I asked one of the girls to retrieve it and put it somewhere safe.  She didn’t so I went back to get it and put it on another finger.  The ring that the girl had given me as a wedding ring was big but all the diamonds were like little marcasite-looking stones… you know, all pomp but no real value… and I was like, Well, this ring is unacceptable… 

img-thing

Marcasite ring (photo: polyvore.com)

Soooo…

You’re leaving something out, you say.

Oh, you mean the sexy part?

Yeah, of course we mean the sexy part.

What I do on my fake wedding night with my fake husband (who also happens to be a talented and hot musician) is my business, you pervs!

I don't know who took this picture, but it wasn't me.

I don’t know who took this picture, but it wasn’t me.

Guilty Pleasures: My Parents’ Music

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I have not been hitting the NyQuil too hard.

They say that the sense of smell is the sense that is most closely tied to memory, but I’d say hearing, specifically music, comes a close second.  For me at least, music often evokes feelings, phantom emotions from the past.

My main musical lifelines are still mainly the alternative and industrial bands of my teenage years and early twenties; Tool, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, A Perfect Circle.  Hearing that music recalls the bittersweet feelings of a time that was paradoxically simpler, yet more difficult.  It often makes me long for those long gone days.  This is the music which still most strongly affects me, the music with which I still most closely identify, and the music through which I still have a voice for my emotions and ideas.

Though the musical identity I began developing around middle school is markedly different from the music I grew up listening to, my tastes are eclectic enough to leave room for many types of music, and there are more than a few songs that I heard growing up which strike a “memory” chord for me.  My parents’ music.

Some are technically early eighties and nineties pop songs, I suppose, but some are songs I heard when my parents played their records (yes, you read that right) or listened to classic rock and oldies radio stations. 

Many of these songs bring to mind remnants of feelings or thoughts I had at the time, a sort of revival of the ideas I had about the music;  I remember what those songs meant to me through the ears of a child.

And a couple of the songs are associated with television shows or films, and evoke the emotions caused by that particular show.

Here are just a few of those songs, in no particular order.  I even own one or two albums by some of these artists.

As you read the list, keep in mind I was born in ’81, so the categorization of the songs is relative to that.

Chicago— 25 0r 6 to 4 (oldies radio)

Kansas— Dust in the wind (The Highlander TV series)

Mr. Mister— Broken Wings (pop radio)

Cream— White Room (oldies radio)

Seals and Crofts— Summer Breeze (oldies radio)

Simon & Garfunkel— Scarborough Fair (oldies radio)

U2– With or Without You (pop radio)

Cutting Crew— (I just) Died in your Arms Tonight (pop radio)

Tears for Fears— Head Over Heels (radio/and then later, Donnie Darko)

Genesis— Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (pop radio)

Rolling Stones— Give Me Shelter (radio)

Patsy Cline

Jim Croce— Time in a Bottle (radio-  In college I ended up writing a short story inspired by this song)

Seals & Crofts

Seals & Crofts

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline

Anyway, I can’t recall all of them at present, but you get the idea.  What are some songs you remember from your childhood?

Happy Birthday, Peter Steele (January 4, 1962 – April 14, 2010)

The unique voice of the Goth Metal band Type O Negative, may have looked intimidating, but people who knew him would likely describe him as a gentle giant.  His imposing height (reported as anywhere from 6’6″ to 6’8″,) his deep voice, and vampiric style may have seemed scary to some, and in keeping with the style of band, but he was also just a regular guy.  He loved reading, science, and cats.  He lifted weights and worked on cars. He questioned his religion and suffered from almost crippling bouts of stage fright.

image2

Pete solemn

Today, on his birthday, I just want to take a moment to remember Peter, celebrate his music, and mourn his untimely death.

sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Steele

see also:  http://enterthegoatlady.com/2010/04/20/pete-steele-is-dead-again-but-sadly-its-for-good-this-time/

edit (addition):  http://loudwire.com/type-o-negative-peter-steele-dies-anniversary/

Maynard: The Sky is Falling

Anyone who knows me knows I’m basically an unabashed “Maynard” fangirl.  I’m a grown adult with a husband and small child, but Maynard possesses the power to turn me into a simpering, obsessed teenager (I’m sure he’d just revel in the knowledge…)

 

Musician, actor, comedian, winemaker, family man- he does it all, and all with an air of unassuming humility that is highly seductive in its own right.  And now, he’s added another feather to his proverbial cap; writer/columnist for Up on the Sun and Phoenix New Times.  Maynard will be penning a bi-weekly column, thus giving us even more access to his particular brand of pragmatic insight.

 

The first article for the column dropped today:
http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2012/09/maynard_james_keenan.php?page=2

 

My Related articles:

 

https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/maynard-portrait-of-a-musical-visionary/