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Musical Influence #3: Dave Grohl

There is only one artist in the history of music with such a great achievement that probably will never be broken.  And this artist is one of the most influential artists to rock music of our time. This artist started with a a guitar in Ohio who quit professional lessons to start his first band in 1985.  And a trip to Evanston, IL,  to visit a cousin allowed this artist to hear his first punk rock album. From there he starting performing concerts at guitar and singing vocals then taught himself the drums until he joined his first band, Scream. He dropped out of high school to tour the United States and see the world. Who knew when he walked out of a Nirvana concert that his life would change. This legendary artist is David Grohl.

The story is true while hanging out with the band,The Melvins, he was introduced to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic at a concert. Krist and Kurt were the co-founders of the most infamous grunge band ever, Nirvana. A few months later, Grohl’s band, Scream, disbanded suddenly and left Grohl without a band. Without anything going for him, he called his friend, Buzz Osborne of The Melvins for support and advice. Buzz did the right thing and knew that Kurt and Krist from Nirvana loved Grohl’s drumming so he placed a phone call. The next day Krist invited Grohl up to Seattle for the now infamous show at the Motor Sports Garage. Grohl later admitted in a Rolling Stone article that he spent most of the show outside of the venue, but David was soon allowed to audition for the band and the rest became history. They soon recorded an album, Bleach. Instead of signing to mid-major record label they shopped around until DGC Records signed them. Kurt, Krist and David made the best grunge record ever put together, Nevermind, in the Spring of 1991. By the end of 1994, Nirvana was about to head out on an European tour but decided to head into the studio before its first date. Novoselic and Grohl recorded the first Foo Fighter songs, including “Big Me”. On the third day, Kurt came in and recorded, “You Know You’re Right” It was their last studio recording ever.

After the passing of Kurt Cobain, Grohl was left at another dead end so he went to the recording studio to record as a one man band. Then he got a chance to perform with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on SNL. Petty was so pleased with Grohl’s playing that he was offered the full time gig, but he turned it down to go onto other paths musically. After sending out his demo record he was lured to sign with Capitol Records and instead of going solo he recruited old friends and his former touring guitarist  from Nirvana. In 1995-1996, the Foo Fighters starting recording and released their first album but creative difference happened with Grohl and another bandmate. So Grohl went back home to Virginia and reworked their second album and wrote new songs. The second album, The Colour and Shape,  which included hits “Everlong”, “My Hero” and “Monkeywrench”. This album solidified them in rock radio and found many fans.

Now with a laundry list of hits with the Foo Fighters including their newest “Wheels”, David Grohl still finds time for many other projects. He help record and advise the Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D. He has performed and recorded with rock legends David Bowie, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Nine Inch Nails.  This Summer he was recording a new project called Them Crooked Vultures.  The band consists of Grohl, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Their debut album comes out Nov. 17th and it F*!$ing rocks. The first single is entitled “New Fang”.

In the most recent rock n’ roll history we have seen many phases: hair metal, heavy metal, grunge, the second coming of punk rock, pop-punk, indie and now back to rock n’ roll. As for Daiv Grohl, he set the mark of recent rock history. He, himself,  held the #1 spot on the Billboard Charts in 2002 for 17 of 18 weeks with three different bands. First was “All My Life” with the Foo Fighters, then “You Know You’re Right” with Nirvana and finally “No One Knows” with Queens of the Stone Age. Now at the age of 40, Grohl is still hitting the road and just released a greatest hits album with the Foo Fighters. Maybe this legend in the making could become one of the best of time. Let’s stay tuned


Owl City’s One Man Dream

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

One dream can lie in the passion of a kid for a lifetime. But for Adam Young a childhood dream became true. So in early ’07 Adam Young took to MySpace to help jumpstart a music career. He went to the basement to practice and record in his parents’ basement. This is where his insomnia and creative genius came from. He was a one-man band with a one-man dream that became Owl City. In that same year. Young released his first EP entitled Of June by himself. The EP struck fame as did with his MySpace page. Later Of June reached #20 on the Top Electronic Billboard Chart. So Adam Young took the strong following from MySpace with him on his musical journey. His previous most known song, “Hello Seattle”, had 6 million hits on his MySpace music play list.

Still unsigned, virtually unknown and determined, Young literally went back to the basement to work on his second self recorded album, Maybe I’m Dreaming. Now in 2008, he found himself on the Electronic Billboard charts with peak position at #16. This time was different. And four chart positions later on one Billboard’s Chart got Adam Young signed to Universal Republic. Instead of heading to the basement by himself, Young headed to recording studio with the name, Owl City, still intact. On July 28th, 2009, Ocean Eyes, was created. Adam Young’s dream came true with a childhood song and first single, “Fireflies”. It now has become one of the biggest sleeper hits on the Billboard Charts ever. From Owl City’s MySpace  page in 2007 to the number 1 song in America, Adam Young has come a long way.

“Fireflies” has now taken the #1 spot and now is gaining on the digital charts. From his basement came a childhood dream song that now has become a triumphant reminder of what music is. The song represents the a child being in the world where the small things count and living in the moment. And dreaming allows him to live out his fantasies so he keeps the door open to make sure he still lives in the moment and light is upon him. Who would have thought a electro pop one man band would lead the charts and his band influences be recording artists Relient K and international DJ Armin Van Buuren?


New Music Oct. 30

It would be really nice if a website to present a reader the exact music he or she would really like to listen. But its not that simple. You can look at billboard charts and search through every artist’s MySpace page to find new music but that would simply take weeks to do. And music television stations do not play enough music. VH1 plays their version of a horrible top 20 and those are the only videos they will show in the meantime. Now known for the over dramatic shows, MTV, does not even play music videos at all. They will show a new band between shoes for you to listen to but the horrific bands won’t even be a bleep on the radar of the Top 200 albums. So if not internet or television, the answer must be radio. Wrong. Radio plays the same 7 songs throughout the day. And these same songs are way overplayed. It makes listeners want to crash their cars during rush hours from changing the dial so many times.

So I have looked around all over the blogosphere and on the billboard charts and I got some new music for your cerebellum. It wasn’t easy nor did I find the best song of all time but here are the songs that will becoming across you radio and your Pandora playlists. Most of these are all the new pop radio songs that will displace Lady Gaga and Kings of Leon currently. But big props to Owl City’s “Fireflies” just reached the number #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.  First the best song that is out of this group of new tracks is One Republic’s “All the Right Moves”. It is a brilliantly written song that really attributes to the bands musical performance. Here it is:

Second is a name that should sound familiar. Her name is Kesha and you should recognize her from Flo-Rida’s “Right Round” track. She is actually an accomplished songwriter for other pop stars but has finally released an album. Ke$ha is a mix of Katy Perry and Fergie which is definitely not good for the music scene. But it has a very catchy hook and will conquer radio air play. Here it is called “Tik Tok”:

Sean Kingston and Chris Brown have been back on the radio and both have scored hits with “Face Drop” and “I Can Transform Ya” respectively.

Lebron James’ new movie is now taking hype for his soundtrack. First “Forever” with Drake, Eminem, Kanye West and Lil Wayne hit the web and exploded on the scene. Now Ester Dean ft. Chris Brown’s “Drop It Low” has got another hit from the movie’s soundtrack.

Other new songs that got released are:

Kings of Leon “Notion”

New Boyz ft. Ray J “Tie Me Down”

Chamillionaire “Good Morning”

Fadro “Baby Girl Remix”



About two months ago, the icon, Jay-Z, released his first single off  his upcoming album, the Blueprint 3. The song is entitled “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)”. Jay-Z is the first come out and put a stranglehold on the artificial use of the autotoner on almost every song currently especially in the game of Hip-Hop. It was not a direct cut on a particular artist but most new artists are using the autotuner to gain exposure. the use autotuner is so mainstream that is has almost taken control of the top music charts. Why is music that is changing upon a recording mechanism held in such high regard?

The artist T-Pain has become the involuntarily leader or first mainstream user of the autotuner with his style of music. Now almost every new song that becomes popular has all lyrics being autotuned or the hook is on autotuner. Pop music’s new trend is autotune. 4 out of the top 10 songs use autotuner in the recorded songs.  It is not the fact that autotuner is this evil empire, it simply talks away the creativity of music. This style allows potential artists to have hit songs because their songs fit in the new trend and makes their voice and music sound better than it is.

The song “D.O.A.” is a musician and hip-hop icon trying to save the integrity of what music is. The music scene follows more trends than women do fashion but especially in hip-hop. About 6 or 7 years ago crunk music was the latest scene. Then snap music followed that scene. Now we have artists who primarily survive on autotune because without it they do not have hit songs.  These primarily autotune artists cannot even perform live very well without. I’m sure even Lil Wayne would not want to hear himself sing “Lollipop” without autoner. Jay-Z is right he can come out with an album and totally be at the top of the rap game without it. The question is “Do you think Lil Wayne would have sold all those albums if “lollipop” was not an autotune hit, allowing all mainstream to become recognizable?” Lil Wayne is in the top 2 0r 3 best rap artists easily right now but autone did help him a little bit. So cheers to Mr. Hova from New York please state your mind on any song anytime.


The Moment

A moment can describe tranquility or a death defying action. It may be a great aspiring memory or a horrible entrenched feeling. Not one person can ultimately create a “moment” on the spot, it takes multiple factors and events in order to take place. But the moment I am speaking of is the first time you heard the music you love. Everywhere we go nowadays we are bombarded with music whether it is the radio, iPod or television. What I am talking about is the first time you heard the song, band or album. We all grow up on music from our parents’ favorites or by our venturesome self. The time when I heard the crucial “moment” took me a long time. I found music all over whether it was finding my favorite hip hop album or punk rock album because I still remember each sound and song. But the first time I understood the meaning of music was just one song from the jazz era.

When we think about the Jazz and Blues era we go back to the 1920’s. People like Duke Elliot and Billie Holliday come to mind. The most recognizable name is Louis Armstrong. I could give you a lifestory because of his brillance but I will give you the short version. Early on the great Duke Ellington found Armstrong and diretcly put him in his band. Louis armstrong took spotlight because he quickly became the best anyone heard at the time. Many people do not know that Ellington always knew Arsmtrong was going to be great and beeter than he ever was. Finally Louis Armstrong moved to start his solo career. He ventured out with recording several albums with his studio bands, The Hot 5s and The Hot 7s. But one song came out of his recordings that broke the barrier that we now know as pop music.

The track is entitled, “Heebies Jeebies”. The song title is probably not his most recognized but it revolutionuzed a song better than oher song at its time. The song was the first recorded in the 4/4 measure and it included an informal solo. Not only did it include these two unrecorded sensations he scatted on the track as well.  Before this time every song included a formal solo which was a band member’s part of the song by himself. The informal solo allowed Louis Armstrong to showcase his musical prowess to the world. Imagining hearing that song when it was recorded. It would have blown ur mind like hearing your favorite song or being in the moment for the very first time.

When words cannot transcribe a moment sometimes music is the best and only way to describe it.  Unless your hearing the song  for the first time, music seems to fit the mood better than spoken words. Now go and find your moment in life and in music and it will lead in the right direction.


What starts the Fire?

When the day starts, the sun shines through your window to find a hazy eye not wanting to open. Usually some sort of ignominious and repetitious beeping from our assortment of  alarm clocks fills your head. But since technology has helped with our addiction to music we can now wake up to any song that we have on a album or a downloaded MP3. When we think about the morning, an array of words are synonymous with the sunrise and what is good nature. But why do we normally dread the grind of morning wake-ups and rush hours? Even the best days start with a lazy morning. It’s our bittersweet symphony. When hearing music or our favorite song for the first time, it’s like seeing the light for the first time. A fire is instilled in us forever. It may cause to start learning an instrument or start collecting album after album to find your Abbey Road.

Now what makes a great wake up song?

Is it just your flavor of the week? Maybe it’s the ultimate pump-up anthem? Or is it just the song that you find the describes what you want to feel in your “Morning Glory”? Each song has a different cognitive meaning to the each and every person wheter its a deeper meaning or something figurative. Many songs include the portrayal of a sunrise but it does not mean you want to wake up to it. The song could be just a gesture of Good Day. The only way to answer this time old question is that do your really want to be annoyed by a the public enemy of the awful alarm clock beeper or fell the morning wake you up like the first time you heard music. First thing to remember when selecting your wake-up song find multiple ones no one wants to get annoyed with the same song every morning like a bad FM radio station. I suggest keep a regular list so that you can change biweekly. This way you can’t get sick of any songs and can wake blissful morning. Now you can “Up and Go”. A positivist view can only help the morning keep strong ideas when choosing the wake-up and play-up list.

So keep your wake-up call vibrant and alive to get up out. Here’s a few suggestions to let ears wake up before the sun hits your eyes….


Musical Influence #2: Mr. Bob Dylan and Bob Marley

Now I think no one will ever put together Bob Dylan and Bob Marley in the same sentence. There are too many reasons that make it a cosmic blast of rock heroism. First there are two different styles of music.  Secondly that is too much iconic rock for one to listen to at once. The reason I put the Bob’s in one sentence is because in this recent election year many bands and singers stated their views or tried sticking it to the man. Even the Grateful Dead did a concert for their political party. But these two men revolutionized music in so many ways that to transcend it all in one blog is impossible. But their musical force lead people to free themselves from the political realm and it alone started political free speech issues in songs.

First Bob Dylan was a new renaissance of music. He was also the last force of folk music in America with Woodrow Guthrie. Dylan, a now Pulitzer prize winner, moved and transformed music if we like it or not. When he went to electric in 1965 with one of his greatest songs “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. In the same year he released his highest U.S. hit with my favorite song “Like a Rolling Stone”. Then in Rolling Stone magazine named Dylan’s ” Like a Rolling Stone” the number one song of all time in 2004. His career was not a highlight film for his entire life. His career almost did get off the ground especially when your real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman. So he started introducing himself as Bob and later added Dylan to his greatness. Also having a name like Johnny Cash help you out as an ally does not hurt either. Dylan saw his lyrical poetry to help listeners envision a story of life that all could understand. He captured the meaning of the times and they were “changing”.  Not only is Bob Dylan an iconic figure he was a story teller that led a generation and future generations into their lives with their own personal soundtracks.

He can be known as one or “the” greatest musical artist of all time. Also he brought electric sound into the mainstream other than Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry in American culture. He made pop music and culture’s gateway into the 60’s for the new musical revolution of drug-enthused  music. But his lyrics were so poetic and still are today that he has been nominated for many other awards even a Nobel prize. Bob Dylan was smart in how to connect to a generation of people. And his generation was a confused young nation of music lovers. Though his songs talked about life, culture or politics he and this next artist knew what culture really meant.

On the other hand, Bob Marley was not just a face or a but a nation too. His music uplifted a culture and its message in many ways. His story-telling ability allowed his Jamaican peoples and all his listeners to see  the struggle he  and his people consistently went through. But Bob Marley and Bob Dylan moved a culture of musical rebellion. This rebellion was one of tyranny of musical power. His Legend album is one of the most gross selling albums of all time. His music became the face of a musical sound of the entire world. Their is no mention of reggae music without bringing up the music influence of the Marley family. Though maybe some of his ideas seem obscure his grace and style led a nation’s story to be told. When trying to describe the man, Bob Marley, into words many come to mind: Music, reggae, lyrical genius, marijuana, revolution, optimism, anguish and hero. Hearing the music of Bob Marley for the first time is like an exploration of feeling that a music listeners has never gone on. His music is like a drug that can make anyone feel a universal well being of optimism in any mood.

Bob Marley once had said, “Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny”, he choose his life everyday and even Dylan had chosen to do the same thing. Both have lived a musical dream that many wish they could endure but there were many tests each had to pass to live out their dreams. their music lives on forever. Many bands and artists have tried to teach themselves with the lyrical story telling of Dylan to the musical passion of Marley, but only few have mastered close it. Only artists like Ben Haprer and my favorite band, O.A.R,  come to mind. Some bands to try to cover but few can replicate. If anyone wants to see a great concert this summer see the sound of Bob Marley then head to a O.A.R. concert with opening guests on selected dates because The Wailers are their opening act this tour. And during the concert there will be covers of Bob Marly songs with his band. So check it out…

July 2018
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