Archive for the ‘music appreciation’ Category


18 May, 2017

I love that Soundgarden took noise, and made something beautiful. Feedback, rumbling bass, out of tune guitar, dissonant guitar riffs, screaming & screeching vocals… all those ugly pieces, into wonderful music. I heard they used a lot of non-standard time signatures, but I never noticed it, and I appreciate that, if the audience notices something complicated your doing, you’re doing it wrong.  (Aaron Copeland is like this, very easy to listen to, very difficult to play.)

I tried to take the childrens to the Soundgarden at NOAA recently. It was closed. That place was cool. If you were lucky enuff to be there when the winds were blowing just right, you would be surrounded by haunting beautiful noise.

Rest in Peace Mr Cornell.

last week in review

23 April, 2017

Friday, April 14th:

MrCuddles declared this “the best day ever. I had two parties, one in class, one in reading group. I had an Easter Egg hunt (afterschool). Three recesses. I watched a movie (“Into the Woods”). And I went home. Eight things!!!”

MsSqueaky & MrGrunty walked home after school. By themselves without any adult supervision. Are you proud of the parents for being so brave. When asked if he wanted to, MrG’s face just lit up like Christmas.

Saturday, April 15th:

MrG had a football game, so we rudely forced MrC and MsS to go. While there, during the practice, they entertained themselves by playing on a huge empty soccer field, jumping in the long jump pit, climbing over a steeple-chase-hurdle, going to top of the stands and kicking their shoes down.

Easter Sunday:

Church. And then the childrens were very helpful in getting the house prepared for company to come over. I thought the dinner went well. I did some prep the night before. I tried to go with a Mediterranean theme… yeah, I know, that’s a big area… Moroccan spices on the beef, Greek spices on the chicken, hummus, tatziki,  fruits, vegetables, … it was a relaxing dinner and evening with our friend Meighs.

Monday, April 17th

We did some chores, some reading, some gardening… and then grabbed a couple friends and headed south. Played & watched a tree get cut down at Seward Park. Had baklava. Went to GasWorks. Then Fremont & The Troll. Told them about Stalin, and asked “would it be fair if Messi & McDonald’s worker got the same pay?”  No!!!!  “But if McDonalds worker messes up, somebody could get sick. If Messi messes up, then it’s just a game.”  But anybody can cook a burger, and nobody can play like Messi.  Had gelato. Home to watch “MaryPoppins”  (or maybe “Willy Wonka”).

Tuesday, April 18th

Chores, reading, …then to Volunteer Park. First stop, the botanical conservatory. I liked it. The childrens got bored pretty quick. So I told MrC “find ten different flowers”, and MsS, “find ten different leaf shapes”. And MrG was looking at cactus, and I told him to look for Fibanacci numbers on the rows of spines. That kept them busy for a few minutes. Climbed the water tower, then got bored. I told them to look around. Then I sneaked down, they didn’t notice for a few minutes, but I’m proud they used teamwork, didn’t freak out, MsS & MrC took one flight of stairs, MrG the other, they kept calling out to each other checking on each other. MrG was not amused and scolded me. Then we wandered down to Broadway for lunch, a quick drop by an appartment building, “Look, mommy & papa used to live there.” (They didn’t care.)  Treats.  Home for watching “Willy Wonka”.

Wed – they went to Mariners game with MyBetterHalf, I had to work.

Thursday – they went downtown wtih MyBetterHalf.

Thursday night: MyBetterHalf went off to bookclub, me and the childrens had a fight over doing chores. After a bit, MrC told me, “chores are kinda fun”. After it was over, MsS told me, “my teacher tells me when you get upset to take a moment to breath deep.” Then we played a map game. Then they wanted to put on a show for me, they wanted to sing “Sweet Home Alabama” but kept laughing to much to get past the second word. I pulled up the video, and then showed them a bunch of vids of songs I like.  They picked some too, MsS “Fight Song”, MrG “24k Magic”, and MrCuddles, Journey’s “Separate Ways”

Friday, they went for a hike at Snoqualmie Falls.

Saturday – we forced them, they protested the whole time getting ready, but eventually we got to the March For Science. They seemed alright with it. We were chilled by rain, but powered by donuts. My favorite sign: “All the good signs [Ar].”




song of the now

11 April, 2017

Candidates for song of the now:

  • Bishop Briggs “River”
  • Stevie Wonder & Arianna Grande “Faith”
  • Chainsmokers & Daya “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Alessia Cara “Scars To Your Beautiful”
  • Beyonce “Formation”
  • Beyonce & the Dixie Chicks “Daddy Lessons”

Wow, that’s a nice little bunch of songs.

The current song of the now, “Freedom” by the one, the only, Beyoncé. 


PS Fuck the Grammys. But we knew they were a bunch of idiots when Jethro Tull beat Metallica’s best “…and Justice for All” (YES I’m STILL bitter about this!!!) and when the Grammys suddenly remembered this year “oh no, we never gave David Bowie an award while he was alive, better give him one now”.

Robin Hood

29 March, 2017

when I was a child, one of my favorite movies was Disney’s 1973 cartoon Robin Hood.

Later, when I went to England with the youth symphony, we visited Nottingham, and saw “the tree that Robin Hood hid in from the Sherriff…OK, probably not really, because we think this tree is only about 600 years old.”  Right then, a little kid went running across the field, singing loudly, “Robin Hood and Little John, running through the forest…”

MsSqueaky was just in a play, an after school club production…it was Robin Hood. It included the awesome “Oo De Lally” song.

It was great and so much fun to watch her.


Kate Tempest “Don’t Fall In”

19 October, 2016

song of the now, Kate Tempest “Don’t Fall In

the music is hypnotic

the lyrics are awesome


And they will run to the highest hill

Consult the old books

Ask the dead mystics for wisdom they don’t trust

music matters again

9 August, 2016

so… I get home, my childrens tell me they are forming a band. And went upstairs to MrG’s room. I followed. One said, “we need to write our own songs” another added “we can write a new song every week”. MsS was playing notes on the keyboard, MrC was singing. MrG was telling MrC how he could have a holder for his harmonica so he could ride his bike and play (I showed them a Bob Dylan video). It was pretty awesome.

so…I don’t really have a new “Song of the now” …but there are a few songs that I think are cool

  • The Chainsmokers “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Weezer “Thank God For Girls”
  • MIA “Go Off”

music matters

8 August, 2016

so… recently I told the childrens, of a game that me, MyBetterHalf & Pablo would play on the long drive to Spokane. We all loved music. But different music. Everyone had the option to say “skip” to any song, but they could not skip again until the other two people had used a skip. So, a mediocre song, you might stick with, because what if the next one was worse.

Tonight, after biking at the park, the childrens quickly used up their skips. I was the only one who had a skip. And the song on the radio was Def Leppard’s “Bringing on the Heartache”. They were not happy that I didn’t skip the song. They were not amused that I sang along with the guitar solo and chorus. Loudly.

Hopefully they learned a lesson.

BTW… Def Leppard, my first “real” concert back in 1987 in the Tacoma Dome.

Out of the Woods

29 February, 2016

My song of the now: Ms. Taylor Swift’s “Out of the woods”.


The list

12 August, 2015

MyBetterHalf and I joke that the childrens have a schedule for acting up. Well tonight, at dinner, evidently the cats were scheduled, because they were fighting and making quite a ruckus under the table.

Oh, and I’m listening to the new U2 that Apple pre-emptively loaded onto iPhones a while ago. I like it.

Drumming with the choir

18 December, 2014

So…a while ago… maybe August of 2013… I was approached by our choir director at church, she said “I hear you are a percussionist”, and invited me to join the choir’s performance of “Our God Gives Us a Future with Hope”. And, as a good teacher does, Kathy nodded and listened as I explained how completely unqualified I was. She then handed me the music and said, “we meet on Thursday nights”. At the first rehearsal I told her, “don’t be afraid to fire me at any time…or tell me it would sound better if I was in the parking lot.” She told me not to worry.

I like our choir director/music director. The impression that I got from her is if you want to help the worship team, or if you have music you want to perform for the church, you can, just do your best. When I mentioned this to her in a book club, she said, “we all have to start somewhere.” I got to know her more in book club…and she got to know me more, because I sent many a crazy / tangent emails at 2AM to the book club. (The book was about Christian worship.)

Working with her is great. I really enjoyed it. At rehearsals I would say stuff like, “All I know is that God gave me two eyes, one to look at the music, and one to look at the conductor.” I tried my best to take the gig seriously. But, you know me, get nervous, make a joke. I got myself psyched up for it by posting different videos of drummers each day on TheFacebook for “40 days of drumming” . (No, I didn’t get 40 posts) yeah…I should have been practicing…but…youtube!

I did actually practice. I wrote out drum parts for the three parts of the song. I played along with audio, with metronome… I studied the music. I think I was almost ready.

We had two gigs for that song. First, on a Sunday morning, it went well. Second, at an ecumenical choir concert fundraiser …I looked out, there were at least three hundred in the audience. Of course right before we were to sing, I looked out, a negative thought tried to pop into my dead…but I just took a deep breath, looked at Kathy, we smiled. And we began. If I messed up, I did not let it bother me. I was living in the now.

Later…having lots of fun and a bit of success with the choir performance, I said “yes” when I was invited to play djembe with song-leading team. Especially since they were playing one of my favorite songs: “10,000 Reasons”. I did horrible. I didn’t study enough, there was a bar of 2/4 tossed in THAT I NEVER NOTICED until after when I was looking at the music!!!

…in case you were wondering who I included in 40-days-of-drumming…

· Larry Wright on buckets

· Alex Van Halen

· Ringo Starr

· Taiko drum group

· Stewart Copeland …I love his high hat work, tiny cymbals, quick sharp fills, very subtle

· Elvis Costello’s “Watching the Detectives” …nothing subtle aboot these drums, doesn’t sound like the rest of the album…I suspect the drummer snuck into the mix booth when the rest of the band went home.

· RedHotChiliPeppers “Breaking the Girl” …6/8 time rocks… how do you make your mark as a drummer when Flea is the bassist? By banging on a trash can!

· Aron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”

· Max Roach…just playing a Hi-Hat. I saw Mr. Roach once…he started off with a slow song. Well, he’s old, can’t move like he used to… still great… next song…BOOM! Crashing cymbols, drum roll, rat-a-tat-tat!!!! a fast bebop number. The lesson I learned. “Fast” isn’t an absolute beats-per-minute it’s a change of tempo.

· A bit where Bill Cosby talks aboot playing drums.

· Foo Fighters “Everlong”

· Beastie Boys “Bodhisattva Vow” …love the sampled in Tibetan chant with the big drums, chaotic cymbals and bells…

· Faith No More…”Smaller & Smaller” …they sampled in some Navajo chant…it rocked…I have a CD of Navajo chanting, it has like 30 tracks. They all sound the same to me. ( much like Metallica and Guns & Roses sound the same to one of my co-workers ) But here’s the thing. I was told in ethno-music class, ( 25 yrs ago, so my memory is a bit hazy ), that often in Navaho chant the drums in the vocals are slightly different BPM, consistently throughout the performance. ( try it sometime…listen to two songs, at the beat to one whilst singing the other! )

· Beatles “Love You To” … has tabla …this song is probably why I took ethnomusicology in college.