911 Hero Michael D’ Auria

For the past five years my wife and I along with a group of family and friends climb 90 DAuriaDudeflights of stairs at the San Diego Bayfront Hilton in honor of fallen first responders from the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Climbing is tiring but it is ultimately a fun and extremely moving event. Every year there is a guest speaker who was at ground zero that fateful day, a piece of metal beam from the World Trade Center and a chance to honor and REMEMBER the heroes who did not survive the attacks.

Having no personal connection to anyone who was there that day I simply picked a fireman with the same first name as mine, Michael additionally his last name’s proximity to a musical term(Aria). Over the past five years Michael D’Auria has become ‘somewhat’ of a personal connection to 911, although, of course in no way as intense as losing someone as Michael’s family has endured.

 

This time last year I was just beginning recording/writing my CD, “Dude.” During this period at the 2017 Stair Climb I had the idea to honor Michael and his memory with one of the songs. The song which would become D’Auria is based in part on Brahms’s 4th Symphony. The stately nature of the music was perfect for the dedication. Special thanks again to fellow guitarist Fred Benedetti for lending his musical expertise on the track.

 

Michael is remembered as a son, brother and inspirational member of his extended family especially with his positive influence on younger relatives. The 25 year old was also known as a great chef among his fellow fireman gaining their deep culinary gratitude!

I think about Michael a lot even though I never met him…wish I did though! I also think about his mother Nancy whom I contacted to make sure she was ok with the idea of a song and his photo being used on the CD. A concern of hers is that Michael be remembered! I will continue to climb in his honor every year and promote his story. I even got a chance to present Michael to the climbers in my start group.

Rest in Peace Michael and Thank You for your selfless sacrifice!

 

Dude CD is DONE!!!!!

Started recording Aug 30, 2017 – Completed with CD’s in hand Dec. 21, 2017.

47 Days past the November 4, release date I expected…and lets just say ‘slightly’ over budget….

Lots of late nights…writing, arranging and practicing parts to prepare for studio sessions!

Was a blast!!!! I’m ready to start the next one!! Actually I’ve already been writing new music.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Indigogo Funding campaign/Pre-Sale of the project…it is GREATLY appreciated and was crucial to help complete the CD.

For those of you who ordered I will start sending them out shortly.

There is still plenty more for those of you who didn’t get in early.

Commemorative mugs still available too!

Also look for it soon online at iTunes, Amazon and all…for those of you clutter-less folks who don’t want hard copies.

Look for the CD Release party at Oceanside Ale Works in February or March…details to be supplied as they are set.

 

Lighten Up Francis, Give Geddy a Break!!

Here is one of the lamest arguments in rock in roll.

 

Geddy Lee is often criticized as a singer because he doesn’t write his own lyrics. Critics ask, ‘How can he put his heart and soul into words that he didn’t write? Umm…Classical musicians/opera, jazz standards, great cover tunes in all genres…and of course actors too. How can anyone expect an actor to put emotion into his script if he/she didn’t write it?

Another sign of music critics who take themselves a bit too seriously.

Best Song 2014

Are you still scrambling to get your 2014 Oscar picks in and win that pot of gold or at least bragging rights among your friends?

I am here to offer some help…at least in the music department.

Following is my breakdown of the nominees for Best Song…

Happy-Pharrell Williams, Despicable Me 2

Pharrell Williams is as hot as it gets since the Grammys. Could strike Oscar Gold while the fire is hot. “Happy,” is a cool funky groove song.

Let it Go-Demi Lovato, Frozen

Lovato may sell to the younger female crowd which would hurt her chances for an Oscar. Although “Frozen,” was created for the same demographic and this song drives the mega popular film home with said audience.  A good song and worthy of Oscar buzz.

Ordinary Love-U2, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

A match made in heaven. An aging supergroup with world-wide mass audience appeal. A movie with a cause and one that U2 has held dear since the 80’s. Won the Golden Globe.

The Moon Song-Karen O., Her

The movie is a bit campy and so is the song. In my opinion the least deserving of the four nominees.

You could make a good case for “Happy,” and “Let it Go,” but I don’t see them beating the mighty U2 and Mandela.

My pick;         Ordinary Love-U2, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Click for past Oscar Picks and 2014 Original Score

Run Playlist 1/26/14

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. ;)

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 26, 2014

5 Mile Run

“China Girl,” David Bowie

“I’ll Be Waiting,” -Adele

“Angel of Avalon,” -Michael Schenker

“Harp Partita, BWV 1006A Preludium,” -JS Bach, perf.  Julian Bream

“Somebody Stole My Guitar,” -Deep Purple

“Heathens From the North,” -Yngwie J. Malmsteen

“Night of the Long Knives,” -AC/DC

“Early Morning Rain,”  Gordon Lightfoot

“Harp Partita, BWV 1006A Gavotte En Rondeau,” -JS Bach, perf.  Julian Bream

“Say What You Will,” -Fastway

“Carnies,” -Rush

“Prelude,” – Judas Priest

“Espiritu,” Pace De Lucia,  John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola

“Humans Being,” -Van Halen

“Still in Love,” -Boston

The highlight of this run playlist without doubt was, “Humans Being,” by Van Halen. It came on right at the end of the 5 miles and I still had energy to burn and this song fanned the flames! It is one of the bands heavier songs, certainly, from the Hagar era and one of Eddie’s great solos.

The tune was written for the soundtrack from the movie, “Twister.” In the solo I’ve read, Eddie wanted to emulate a ‘twister’. He uses an extended ascending line coupled with a driving rhythm to bring it home. It is also one of the first truly soulful solos Eddie put to tape, before the ‘tornado’ the calm before the storm. Adding another element to his already legendary guitar style.

The two Bach guitar works also provide a great soundscape for running. Maybe too mellow for most during a workout,  but, perfect for me. I’ve worked on these pieces and understand the Herculean task and effort it takes to perfect them. Much like the efforts of a long distance runner…very motivating! If you’re wondering why the ‘harp’ pieces are performed by a guitarist…the guitar didn’t become a legit instrument until the 19th century. So guitarist have had to transcribe the great works of Bach and others…essentially stealing them for the guitar from harp, lute, cello harpsichord, etc.

Other highlights; John Lord’s keyboards on the DP tune, AC/DC from “For Those About to Rock”(an underrated album in my opinion,) “Carnies,” from the latest Rush release , Fastway and “Espiritu,” from the guitar trio.

Gordon Lightfoot…I have to say I grew up not knowing much about his music. It is mellow and would have punched a hole in my Heavy Metal adolescent teenage musical psyche(is that really even English?) Have to say though Lightfoot has “IT”. Whatever, “IT,” is in music…the guy has it. AMAZING musicianship, its been cool to familiarize myself with his music recently. Also proud to say listening has not damaged my aforementioned psyche.

Check out previous Run Playlist Posts.

The Mighty Zep!

Zeppelin 1Did you catch it?

No not a lot of hype but it must be mentioned!

Led Zeppelin’s self titled debut album was released 45 years ago this month…thats 1969 for those slower in math and those struggling to get into their Monday groove.

Yes the Led Zeppelin era is middle-aged and unbelievably, Jimmy Page, the bands patriarch turned 70 earlier this month.

The 60’s belonged to the Beatles, but, the 70s were about Zeppelin right up to drummer John Bonham’s untimely death in 1980. Bonzo along with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones took rock n roll to new heights throughout the decade.

Much like the aforementioned Beatles, Zeppelin’s stronghold on fans was achieved utilizing a variety of musical styles beyond just rock n roll. Zeppelin’s repertoire features among others; blues, country, psychedelia, classical, Indian, Reggae, Latin and mystical influences.

Personally, I have been through many Zeppelin phases, from constantly listening  to not listening much. Either way I can’t imagine a world without Zeppelin. Certainly, the quartet and most notably Jimmy Page’s guitar and compositional prowess have had a significant impact on my own music development. Not to mention all the good times with friends over the years featuring Zeppelin as part of the soundtrack!

I was barely born when Zep debuted. Most my students today weren’t even born before they disbanded. Not to mention many of them were not even born in the same millennium Zeppelin prevailed. However, Led Zeppelin is still influencing young musicians today in 2014. Just taught a kid, “Heartbreaker,” this weekend. “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” and “Over the Hills and Far Away,” are still staples of the guitar’s ‘must know’ landscape. When I am out performing, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” always gets one of the biggest crowd responses.

I always wonder what the shelf life of rock music will be. Technology and global media seem to have added to the life of the rock n roll era. Keeping it out of the dinosaur ‘symphony halls’ for now. As much as I want rock n roll to be around forever, I’d love to see what future generations/incarnations of popular music will hold?

Run Forrest Run, Music & Movin’

Anyone who works out with their headphones knows how awesome it is when you get a big lift from your favorite song. Or hearing a cool tune you would have never picked shuffle through on your picturesque jog… With 1000s of songs on my iPod I almost always shuffle.

I’ve always thought it would be cool, interesting, perhaps even motivating to write about each playlist and the music’s effect on myself and the workout. Then I thought that might be kind of boring. Then I thought, “Yeah,” I was right…on both counts. 😉

Really just another chance to talk about music!

January 17, 2014

4 mile jog, plus

You know its gonna be a good run when the first 2.5 miles are all your favorites!

“Sinner’s Swing,” -Van Halen

“You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” -Judas Priest

“Circles,” -Joe Satriani

“After Forever,” -Black Sabbath

“Big Bad Will (Is Sweet William Now),” -Van Halen

“Moby Dick,” -Led Zeppelin

“Nobody Does it Better,” Carly Simon

“Symphony no 96 in D Major, 1st Mvmnt,” -Franz Joseph Haydn

“Poison My Eyes,” -Anthrax

“Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 3rd Mvmnt,” -Gustav Mahler

None of the songs specifically effected me on the run today. It was just cool to have so many of my favorites  play. “Moby Dick,” was probably the coolest song of the run. Nothing like a mile and a half drum solo from John Bonham to keep you going! Carly Simon might seem like the odd song out, but, I was already in a groove and I like that song.

“Poison My Eyes,” is probably my favorite Anthrax song. I like the heaviness and progressiveness of it. Also because I don’t know a lot of their music…any of my metal bloggers out there have any Anthrax recommendations?

Full disclosure: It was about 85o degrees this morning in San Diego, all apologies to the rest of the northern hemisphere. So the rock n roll laden playlist was definitely appreciated to beat the heat.