When Music & Sports Collide, Trevor Hoffman, HOF

If you ask pro athletes many say they want to be musicians. If you ask musicians many want to be pro athletes. I still have the occasional recurring dream that the Padres manager tells me to grab a bat! Im in the show!

Grass is always greener I guess….I think we gravitate towards the things we should for a reason. I was a good baseball /football player as a kid but guitar won out…then as I got more serious about music, sports become the enemy…one funky catch and mess up a finger… skateboards are the devil…as a classical guitarist even a broken fingernail is no bueno!

There are those rare dual threats like my cousin Chase d’ Arnaud…plays  MLB for the San Francisco Giants (formerly Padres, Red Sox, Braves, Pirates)  and sings and plays guitar professionally on the side.

Every player and team has ‘their’ song these days. But there are a few cool music/sports combos that have true identity and transcend time. The Chicago Bulls-Sirius from the Alan Parsons Project. The NFL’s incessant use of Start Me Up/Crazy Train/Machine Head and a few others over the decades.

If you are from San Diego you know…

Hells Bells-Trevor Hoffman!

Milwaukee got a taste too…if you are a baseball fan that pays attention outside of your own team you know and for a good decade when The Bells rang San Diego sports fans went nuts. The Bells meant victory was coming!

Trevor enters the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. One of the few greats in San Diego sports history and only the second true Padre to enter the Hall following Tony Gwynn.

Congrats Trevor! Thanks for staying loyal to San Diego as few athletes have!!

 

 

Congrats Aztecs Mens Basketball!

As San Diegans we don’t always have a lot to root for in the sports department. So let me toot our own horn!

Congrats Aztecs Mens Basketball. Mountain West Champions! Take the conference tournament and March Madness run.

Best Superbowl XLVIII Commercial

I was really looking forward to this game. The #1 Defense vs the #1 Offense of all-time. How could the matchup not provide a great sports battle?

Wow, the game was anything but! Jumped the shark at :12 into the game…it was over!

You know what else has jumped the shark? Superbowl commercials! Well, not the hype and people’s expectations…but the crazy, catch your eye, LMAO type commercials. People love to talk about the commercials the day after, but, that’s about it. Theres no WAZZUP or Bud-Wei-Ser frogs or Cindy Crawford.

Like everything, it is now a formula, of being extremely stupid, overly sentimental, over the top selling sex to sell whatever…

None of those are that bad of advertising approaches in general. But, the art of creating a Superbowl commercial has reached an all-time boring low!

My favorite? The only one that actually stood out?

T-Mobile! They used the late, great Roger Miller’s, “Whistle Stop.” When I was a little bitty Mike cutting my teeth on music this little ditty put the first music wrinkles on my brain.

Kudos to T-Mobile, except for the new studio created/edited ending to the song/commercial, they get my vote for best commercial of the day.

Here is the whole tune:

Let’s hope the game and commercials can step it up a notch for Superbowl XLIX

Happy Birthday Tony Gwynn, “Mr. Padre”

Wishing Tony Gwynn a happy birthday today.

You may ask why a baseball player is being featured on a music website…

TonyAlicia
Visit Tony and Wife Alicia’s Foundation!

If you follow this blog you probably know I am a huge sports fan. Growing up watching the San Diego Padres, was/is not much to root, cheer, (insert verb) for!

But in 1982 along came Tony Gwynn. As a kid you watch and cheer for your favorites. But over the years of following the team there was a ‘Tony Gwynn’ work ethic that was always discussed.

Tony was a tireless worker at his craft…hitting a baseball. He spent hours and hours watching film, studying the game and working on his game. That made a huge impression on me growing up.

It made me want to work that hard at guitar and I began to listen to guitarists who had that same work ethic. The guys who put in HOURS & HOURS day in and day out playing guitar.

Not only that he was and is a loyal citizen of America’s Finest City, San Diego! My hometown!

So that said Tony was a huge influence on me personally and professionally and that is why he is being a wished a happy birthday from me.

Thanks Tony and Happy Birthday!

G’Day From the Masters, Adam Defeats the Angel

The playoff got a little biblical Sunday as Australia’s Adam Scott defeated Argentina’s Angel Cabrera…well maybe that’s a little heavy!

Congrats to Adam Scott for being the first Aussie ever to win the Masters! No ghosts of Greg Norman, the Shark,  in 2013. Cabrera played great in the two hole playoff but Scott took it from him on a brilliant putt. Thats the way you like to see a major won.

A musical tribute, in honor of the Australian victory…We Salute You!!!

Can’t even imagine what song I would’ve had to pick if Tiger Woods won???

Previous sports/music posts

Randy Rhoads, 31 Years Gone, Still Influencing Guitarists!

The Classic Randy Rhoads Poster
The Classic Randy Rhoads Poster

The first concert I ever went to was Ozzy Osbourne, January 4, 1982 at the San Diego Sports Arena. I remember it like it was yesterday. The only bummer about this show was that it was right after Christmas vacation from school. Since I was counting down the days until the show I was in essence counting down my vacation….

But, not only was it an Ozzy show, it was Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. Randy Rhoads the guitar legend who would tragically be killed in an airplane crash just over two months after this show. I can still picture the crushed students at my Junior High School wearing black armbands. That was the cool way to pay tribute to a fallen rock idol in those days. John Bonham and Bon Scott were two others so honored, I recall. I always cherish the fact I was lucky enough to see Randy live and my first concert!!

Randy was the first guitar hero to blend a classical approach with heavy metal. Most guitarists at the time were more blues/rock influenced. With only two studio recordings, “Blizzards of Ozz,” and “Diary of a Madman,” to his credit, Randy has left a huge legacy regardless. His influence still reaches out today 31 years after his death to new generations of guitarists.

RIP RR

“SATO,” is a cool song, maybe not one of Randy’s classics. I picked this video as it does a great job featuring him!

The Oscar For Best Original Song, Goes To…

The Oscar For Best Original Score Goes To…

Oscar 2

The 2013 Academy Awards are all set to be broadcast this weekend. A time for movie goers to celebrate their favorite films and actors of the year. A time for millionaire actor$ and billionaire $tudios to finally be bestowed some actual credit for their hard work. ;)

Of all the yearly award shows the Oscars is my favorite. Much more than the Grammys, my own industries honors. Even more than the ESPYs…wait do we really need a sports award show? Isn’t that why they play the games to figure out who’s the best?

Of course my favorite awards of the night are for my favorite part of most movies…the music! Best original score and best original song.

Nominees For Best Original Song:

Chasing Ice“Before My Time,”  J. Ralph 

Surprise surprise, Scarlett Johansson can sing and sounds great. Joshua Bell’s melodic violin lines are incredibly expressive and make the song for me. Every time I hear this song I like it more!

Ted- “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy; Seth MacFarlane

Cause, everyone knew Ted was Oscar worthy from the start! ;0 Norah Jones sounds great. The song is just a typical showtuney jazz thing. They should enjoy the nomination!

Life of Pi- “Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna; Bombay Jayashri

The biggest drawback against the original score from, “Life of Pi,” in my opinion is the minimalist lack of direction. That same dreamy quality is what makes this song so successful. In song form the lushness of the orchestration shines. I love this song!

Skyfall- “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins; Paul Epworth 

Adele at her best! Great sultry voice blends great with the ‘spy’ genre accompaniment. I like her voice, but, nice to hear her mix it up a little on this piece.

Les Miserables- “Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schönberg; Herbert Kretzmer; Alain Boublil

Do you like this song? Do you hate this song? It is not really my cup of tea. It’s nice. Hugh Jackman sounds good. Will it win?

Which song will win the Oscar? My favorites are, “Pi’s Lullaby,” and, “Before my Time,” for their well crafted artistic nature. I like, Adele’s “Skyfall,” as a really effective 007 song, but….I dont see how any song is going to beat, “Suddenly.” Like it or not I don’t see how Les Miserables can not win the Oscar for best song.

Begrudgingly I have to say…

The Oscar for Best Original Song, Goes To…Les Miserables, “Suddenly.”

The Oscar for Best Original Score, Goes To…

The Oscar For Best Original Song, Goes To…

The 2013 Academy Awards are all set to be broadcast this weekend. A time for movie goers Oscarto celebrate their favorite films and actors of the year. A time for millionaire actor$ and billionaire $tudios to finally be bestowed some actual credit for their hard work. 😉

Of all the yearly award shows the Oscars is my favorite. Much more than the Grammys, my own industries honors. Even more than the ESPYs…wait do we really need a sports award show? Isn’t that why they play the games to figure out who’s the best?

Of course my favorite awards of the night are for my favorite part of most movies…the music! Best original score and best original song.

Nominees for Best Original Score:

While all are very well composed scores with interesting soundscapes, there were none that were truly unique or mind-blowing, over the top. That said…

Anna KareninaDario Marianelli

Perhaps the most artistic of all the nominees. Reminiscent of the Russian Romantic composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

ArgoAlexandre Desplat

A nice combination of modern technology and middle-east flavors. In my opinion the synth driven background is not as difficult in compositional nature as Lincoln and Anna Karenina.

Life of PiMychael Danna

Danna sets a very nice mood with the peaceful score in Life of Pi. The use of eastern instruments and ideals lends perfectly to the movie. In my opinion the score is a bit too minimalist and might suffer from its demure sonic atmosphere.

Lincoln–  John Williams

I am really impressed with this one. When I first heard Williams was penning the music for Lincoln I kind of rolled my eyes. ‘Lets use the biggest name in the film scoring business.’ He tends to be bombastic and his moves often have a similar style. However, I really like what he did for Lincoln. Williams did a great job composing Americana music, as well as, setting traditional songs of the day. Maybe not some of his most memorable sounds, but, some of his truly best artistically and structurally!

SkyfallThomas Newman

This is a cool fun score. Newman did a great job interpreting the James Bond theme we all love with some techno beats and backgrounds. I think this nomination will suffer from being a 007 film and similar to Argo I don’t think this piece had the same compositional chops as Lincoln and Anna Karenina.

So you can probably already tell where I am going with this pick. In my opinion it is definitely between Lincoln and Anna Karenina. My personal vote would be for Lincoln. I am torn on who I think the Academy has picked. The slightly superior Lincoln or the more artistic Anna Karenina.

Gotta go with my gut…

The Oscar for Best Original Score, Goes To…John Williams for Lincoln!!

Guitar Practice Tip, It Ain’t Like That…

This guitar practice tip may be one of the most important to keep in mind when learning the instrument(or anything new). Unfortunately, for some it might be one of the hardest pieces of advice to truly grasp and put in your tool box.

Recently, I’ve been reading about how adults learn vs. how children learn, not just guitar, but, in other areas like language, as well. As is often suggested, do kids really have a larger capacity to learn than adults? Looking back upon my most successful students over the years they all have had one thing….

As previously mentioned, it is often said that kids learn things so much easier. Brain science and genetics aside this may not be a true statement. In my experience teaching both adults and kids it has a lot to do with learning style.

Adults have learned how to learn already. We learn how to study, play sports and drive for success. There are as many strategies for tackling new things as there are people trying new things.

Kids are more pliable in their learning styles. More willing to take to heart what teachers suggest. Without as much life experience, they are more open to just purely DOING something new and seeing what happens.

By the time we are adults we have developed certain preconceived notions how to learn  things. An athlete may learn by taking new experiences head on with brute force and strength. An engineer may face things analytically, breaking down problems, systematically and logically solving the unknown.

How we were brought up determines how we learn, as well…good ol’ nature vs. nurture.

Athletes pound it out, music ain’t like that…

Salesmen don’t take no for an answer, music ain’t like that…

Students work extremely hard studying to do well on tests, music ain’t like that…

Where am I going with all this? Teaching thousands of students from 4 year olds to elderly and all ages in between over the past 20 years one thing stands out.

To go Yoda on you, …”Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Yeah it is kind of ‘use the force’ when learning music.

-You may need to check your learning and drive for success styles at the door when trying an instrument. (Although they may help some they may ultimately hinder you, as well)

-You need to be open to exposing yourself a bit by dropping your pre-conceived notions for success in other fields.

…So what is the one thing my most successful students possessed?

They had an adaptable approach…They knew when to push hard and when to let off the gas. When to listen and when to attack. On and on…

In essence they had a flexible approach rather than a rigid pre-learned approach to learning and achieving musical success.

Bottom line approach the guitar with an open mind!

Be willing to learn in a different way than you’ve previously had success in other areas of life, when needed.

Above all, at all levels of your journey enjoy playing!!

Superbowl XLVII Musical Wrap Up

At 12 notes & the Truth I talk music. So there is no way I could skip over the music of the largest happening on the planet, The Superbowl.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Alicia Keys version of the Star Spangled Banner. I’ll start by saying I am a fan of Alicia’s. I think she is immeasurably talented and consider her if not an influence of mine, certainly an inspiration. So it pains me a little to have to say that I absolutely ‘disliked’ her rendition. Waaaaay too long, waaaaay too slow, waaaaay too self-serving. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong choice….

I am one that does not appreciate much deviation on our National Anthem. In my opinion it is self-serving to make it YOUR song, it is America’s song. If you are gonna change it and make it your own at least know your audience and where you are.  Jimi Hendrix’ guitar histrionics, version at Woodstock was completely in line with the venue, event and crowd populating the legendary concert.

The Superbowl is one of the largest global events of all time. The world is watching. The game is a fierce battle of two teams of huge, fast, strong athletes pumped up to do sports version of battle. Did you see the players singing along like…pick it up already…then when they were ready to go hit each other she is still diva-ing her way out of the song. The players actually looked physically effected by her rendition.

Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook kids were great. It was cute, well sung by the kids and amazingly sung by Jennifer Hudson. And hey Alicia Keys…it had a little energy to it! Albeit perhaps a bit exploitive…yeah I said it, just my opinion.

Then there was a halftime show too, I believe…oh yeah Beyonce! All apologies to my musician friends who were tweeting and ripping her the whole time…..lighten up!!! Just because she doesn’t throw in any minor 9ths or riff on the Lydian dominant scale, c’mon? First of all what did you expect? She is a pop star, that is what she does. She also just happens to be a great singer and put on an AMAZING half time show! These guys tweeting, face booking, etc sounded whinier than the losing Harbaugh brother. (Who is still complaining about the last call, BTW…how about don’t fall behind by three touchdowns in the first half and you might not have had to come down to the last play.)

Beyonce and her act are what the Superbowl is all about. Mega-entertainment. The show was visually  appealing and interesting, as well. It would have still been entertaining even with the sound off.

A+ to Beyonce from me! The reunion with Destiny’s Child was cool but the weak part of the performance. I was expecting the whole time to see Jay Z appear and props to him for not. I was also expecting some guest appearances, maybe an Eddie Van Halen or other megastar musician join her…although the girl in the band with flames shooting out of her guitar was pretty cool.

On a side note but a cool part of my personal music experience of the game, came after the CBS postgame show. We were wrapping up our party with friends, saying our goodbyes when I heard, “Hand of Doom,” by Black Sabbath. I believe it was used for the intro of whatever show CBS cut to after their coverage…anyone else catch that?

What will they do next year? The game is going to be outdoors in New Jersey were it was 20o at game time…not sure what musician is going to want to take that one on…good luck to who ever it is. Maybe the NFL will even think outside of the box one of these years and find or create a halftime show of their own. Maybe even get a comedian, pee-wee football game, and not exploit some poor megastar musician and paying them millions of dollars they don’t even need….or maybe exploit me to come play my guitar 😉