George Harrison, My Favorite Beatle

Eleven years? I can’t believe it has been eleven years since George Harrison left us!

My apologies this post is out a day late to recognize the day of his passing, November 29, 2001.

I came relatively late to the Beatles party. Never really liked them as a kid, they were old and silly looking and I wanted to hear my Van Halen, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. It was not until I got out of high school that their commercialism was replaced in my mind by how incredible of musicians they truly are. One year my mom gave me Rubber Soul as a holiday gift and I was totally blown away!

George quickly became my favorite Beatle. Sure there’s the guitarist connection, but, his songs always struck me musically. There’s a grace and style about his tunes. He penned some of the greatest melodies of the Rock and Roll era. To this day I truly believe, as beloved as he is, George is an underrated guitarist

Some of my favorite Harrison tunes include, Here Comes the Sun, Something, Blue Jay Way, If I needed Someone and the epic While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

When recording my first CD, Reflections of San Diego, with the Slayen & Fox Guitar Duo, I even ‘borrowed’ one of his melodies. Well actually I infused the melody into one of my songs. Meaning it is relatively hidden but means something to me having it included. That said if anyone ever thinks they have found it let me know I would be VERY impressed!!

RIP George Harrison

It Was November 4, I Last Held Your Hand

As a musician, I am not one to pay close attention to lyrics. My brain is much more content following the shapes and construction of the musical patterns, although, I do think really great or really bad lyrics can make or break a song. For some reason, however, the opening lines of Queensryche’s song, “London,” have always stuck in my mind. They are generally benign, but, I never forget them.

“It was November 4, I Last Held Your Hand.”

See nothing special. Maybe it’s the way singer Geoff Tate phrased the words that etched them in my memory. That would make more sense that I picked up on the musical phrasing of the words. Funny thing is other than this line I have NO idea what the song is about!

Anyway, if you are looking for something new to put into your ears I recommend the first four Queensryche albums. The first is actually a self-titled EP followed by “The Warning,” “Rage For Order,” and their watermark, “Operation Mindcrime.” Expect a touch of the theatrical mixed with a heavy metal edge, well written progressive music and my favorite…great guitar playing. All members in the band were musically minded. You will find lots of operatic vocals, thumping but musical bass and drums and crisp creative guitar lines and solos. Some fans are drawn to their lyrics especially the concept album, “Operation Mindcrime.” It’s ironic that my friends used to analyze the lyrics and story behind the album and I barely know what it is about other than the music!

Hope you find something new to listen to in these four titles. If this sounds great but you are looking for something a little less edgy, try their 5th release, “Empire.” Great in its own right but more poppy, overproduced and a little forgettable over the years, their ‘Jump the Shark’ album, although many would disagree.

Enjoy!

Charles Ives, “Hallowe’en”

Charles Ives was an American Composer from the turn of the 20th Century. His music was very different than other composers of the time. He tended to write things that he heard. In daily life not everything we hear is pretty sounds and Ives always tried to capture those ideas.

This piece was a recommendation from my Halloween Playlist Ideas.

 

Enjoy Ives, “Hallowe’en”

Previous Halloween Posts.

This Performance May be Why the Term ‘God Bless America’ is Used as a Curse Phrase

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants on their 2012 World Championship!

The Giants swept the Detroit Tigers 4-0 in baseball’s Fall Classic. Of course the Giants were my pick to win it all!

On a somewhat different note did you happen to catch the rendition of God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch?

As a performer I absolutely feel for these singers…however, this was really bad!

No more baseball for a few months…of course being a San Diego Padres fan I could say it has been a few years without real baseball!

Previous music/baseball posts

Related Posts

Celebration

Cap Photo

Playoff Beards

I am Not a Wedding Singer!- A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog

Adam Sandler’s movie, “The Wedding Singer,” was hilarious. It followed Robbie Hart a disgruntled musician whose dream of becoming a rock star falls through and he ends up singing at weddings. He became a burned out, bitter, resentful musician, who had to play weddings. He had to play the part of the ‘Wedding Singer’ to entertain the crowds, young and old and all in between.

Thankfully, my career is much different!! Everyday I wake up and have a chance to share music with others it’s a great day, whether it’s a wedding, a corporate event, a concert, a class, a rehearsal, etc. I am truly fortunate to be a working musician. Honestly, I don’t even do the same ‘job’ as Sandler’s character. I usually play the ceremony, cocktail hour and receptions when folks don’t want the over the top wedding band or DJ. The Wedding Singer was definitely over the top!

There is one similarity between me and the character, however, I thought I was going to be a rock star too. Once I heard Eddie Van Halen when I was a kid that was it, I knew what I wanted to do. My musical path since has followed the saying, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”

Somewhere down the line I realized that I REALLY wanted to be a musician first and rock star second. Then I realized I wanted to be a musician first, make a living in my field and be a rock star 3rd. Not til I got older I realized, I just always wanted to be a musician. Rock music will always be a part of who I am but not what I am. Having studied classical, jazz and world music among other disciplines in college I get to work in any style I want and get the same energy I did as a kid trying to be the next guitar hero.

There are some of my old friends who are still living the rock star dream. They tour the world, hang out with famous musicians we grew up idolizing and have tons of  fans following them on Facebook and MySpace. More power to them! I love to hear their stories when we get together. Funny thing is they love to hear about what I am doing too!

Everyday, I get to do some combination of play, perform, teach, compose, listen to, write about, record, study, absorb, eat, drink and sleep music! I get to make a living in a tough field in my native San Diego. Life is good!

Click here for more info on planning your wedding music. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Space Cowboy, Steve Miller, Turns 69 on Oct. 5

Been a lot of Rock n Roll Birthdays this week.

Steve Miller is next on the list. October 5th , the Space Cowboy will turn 69.

From the time I was a little kid through high school, Steve Miller was one of my favorites! As a guitarist I think he is underrated and he has a great Rock n Roll voice. Couple that with the super cool synth tracks ie Fly Like an Eagle and a young rocker to be couldn’t resist. Music was like catnip for my developing internal music hard drive! I will always remember hearing him in the car driving around San Diego with my mom and at the beach blaring out of radios. Even back then when I was 7, 8 years old I couldn’t get enough music and Steve Miller was always on hand.

For some reason I think “Swingtown” was my all time favorite of his songs. It displays all the previously mentioned aspects; his voice, guitar riffs and the ambient synthesizers. Here it is…Enjoy!