Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drunken Banter: The Disappearance of Pathetic Individuals

So who cares if I got a problem? If it's my problem, then i guess that's just the way I am. I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole. No one could steer me right, but Mama tried? Yea, mama tried.

In any case, the disturbances that erupt within me and my SOUL MATES regarding the emptiness of our contemporaries are just staggering in recent years. I night cap on a Wednesday night has turned into shooting heroin on the side of a street corner in Los Angeles; people just want no part of it.

What I don't get, is why people at the age of 22, 23 aren't living each day like the last? You think you take some little trip to a foreign country and you've "seen something". Take a trip inside your damn mind and hometown and find something to grasp onto. Think you gotta put some sort of work in to pay your dues for the future? Fuck the future my young brothers and sisters; the PRESENT is a gift.

The future is only a reflection of your ability to survive and leave a legacy. Other than that, as far as I'm concerned, your future means nothing and is completely out of your hands. We have control of our choices that may ultimately lead to our destiny, but by not being spontaneous you are shutting off the one beam of your consciousness that is the most potent; one that will open things up for you and challenge you at the most crucial aspects of your life.

I'm not hating on others. I am merely implying that what I intend to do and enjoy should not be experienced by myself, but shared with others, for what I intend to do is enjoy my prime years and see what nature is giving away. Futhermore, as far as people are concerned, we should all be getting together in huge groups more often. Why? Why not? Haha what the fuck are you so scared of?

Moreover, these people that claim to be a victim of a horrendous economic climate I am so sick and tired of, it's beginning to take a toll on my are a top-of-the-line species, a distinguished mammal capable of the most creative and innovative ideas in the entire universe. So, if you can't think of a means of extra income, you're just not being creative enough. Better yet, you're not DRIVEN enough. Not MAN enough.

You are a MAN. Fuck what others try to tell you about what's right and what is best for you; you must learn to trust you're intuition and learn from your experiences. The smartest man begins as the lone child. There must be other people out there who think that what we do on a daily basis is not nearly a fraction of what we're capable of, let alone what we SHOULD be doing, which is ENJOYING OURSELVES.

Who cares what this is, and who is writing these words...this is merely just drunken banter from someone who has no idea about this mysterious need to write. It comes from somewhere I don't recognize or understand, probably from your fairy tale memories and images of Lord of the Rings causing Davey to puke his mushrooms all over my living room carpet.

These types of gentlemen I speak of, know what I am talking about. What's with this disappearance of individuals that are all too often branded as "pathetic", but really have more to offer emotionally and from the heart? These are the folks I'm lookin' for!

I'm talking about strangers at the bar, sending fifty blank text messages to a friend you love just to laugh about it, "going out" on Mondays, recording anything you possibly can on tape, watching the Celtics lose the Finals and getting hammered in response, listening to Jim Morrison's solo album on the roof of a Boston College Peace Corps. with a homeless man and a Ferrari dealership owner, stepping headlong into I-290 traffic with intent to pitch a hemlock-bough tent on the other side, tripping on LSD in an environment that you really shouldn't, throwing your CDs against the wall and dusting off vinyl LPS, or hitchhiking with nothing but boxers on the corner of Beacon and Commonwealth with nothing but a dead camcorder and a condom. These people who have these experiences are not sad people; rather, sadly, they experience more than you do. What does this mean? I don't know; I'm just lookin' for em. And what has become of them, I don't know.

What is right and what is wrong is only what you will decide, but by drudging through your regular day of work, you're just digging yourself a goddamn grave. Why not test your luck? Take a little runaway trip without anything at all? Why not? Think you're gonna die?

well don't get me started.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Django Reinhardt is the Best Guitarist Who Ever Lived

The Romani gypsy people were a transient, lower-class folk who travelled around the land in caravans. To the French, Belgian and Hungarian upper-class, they seemed quite tawdry and bohemian, holding no real value and showing no potential in anything. The gypsies were content with their travelling lifestyle, seeing the countryside and leading a simple life with their family.

And a musical family they were. Fond of string instruments, the gypsies played their own brand of music, spawned from their hearings of American jazz from the West, and older, classical recordings from those in Europe. It is often called "classical jazz", but more commonly it is known as gypsy jazz. Django Reinhardt would be the first gyspy to bring the genre to prominence.

Falling in love with the violin, the banjo, and eventually the 6-string banjo-guitar at an early age, Django was surrounded by this music from the beginning. There is no sheet music in gypsy jazz; the gypsies had well-trained ears. Most of the methods and techniques you learned as a player were picked up from other travelers and family members. Django Reinhardt made his first banjo-guitar recording in 1928, when he was just 18 years old.

That same year, Reinhardt was severely injured in a caravan accident. A candle had been knocked over on his way to bed, and pretty soon the whole caravan was ablaze. He received both first and second-degree burns on one side of his body. In addition to his right leg becoming nearly paralyzed (and almost amputated), his left hand received serious burns. He could not even touch a guitar, and doctors predicted he would never play again.

While in recovery, Django received a gift from his brother Joseph; a brand-new guitar. For the next few years, Django would relearn his way on the instrument, utilizing his left-hand middle and index fingers, which had regained their strength. However, the other two fingers were permanently paralyzed, although he eventually learned to rest these fingers on the fretboard to use them for chord work. No one was ready for what was to become of this man.

In 1934, six years after his accident, Django got together with his brother Joseph, guitarist Roger Chaput, bassist Louis Vola, and a fellow violinist named Stephane Grappelli to form the Quintette du Hot Club de France. With three guitarists, a violinist and a bassist, it seemed a rather tawdry and odd group to those in pre-war Europe. Many were left wondering where the rhythm section was, and why none of these musicians could sing. Upon hearing the group for the first time however, one immediately recognizes the syncopation between the guitars: There is a downbeat ("boom"), and then an eighth note beat ("chick"), resulting in a boom-chick-boom-chick rhythm that would serve as the foundation of mountain and bluegrass music in America.

Django chose two guitarists for his accompaniment mainly because of how he functioned as a player. When it was just him and Joseph, he often complained how much space was lost in the overall sound when he switched from playing rhythm to playing lead. With an additional guitarist supplementing Joseph, Django could blend better into the rhythm mixture, while feeling more supported when taking solos. Django seemed to have a vision of where he wanted things to go.

The group wasn't as revolutionary as the man who sat in the middle. The reason that Django Reinhardt's skill has been unmatched since his heyday is not because of him overcoming his paralyzed condition. He possessed an uncanny harmonic ear, able to learn songs on the fly and distribute arrangements amongst the Quintette. With the ear came the enormous yearning to want to learn songs. With the learned-songs came the mutation of playing those songs in context to other songs. Eventually, Django developed a strength and precision in his right hand that would remain unmatched to this day. Here is a video (audio) clip showcasing the groups biggest hit, "Minor Swing":

Incorporating glissandos, crescendos, and devastating arpeggios into his solos, Django was a master of tension-and-release. Combined with the off-center, haunting sounds of the Romani, Gyspy and Jewish scales, the songs were full of energy, power and execution. Tempos of up to 150 BPM were often used; undancable rhythms that forced the audience into listening more attentively.

On the other hand, Reinhardt was able to caress slower, more sultry ballads with clever improvisation and emotion. The extra space in slower tempos allowed for more riffing and phrasing, which could amount to the vast array of tricks his fans love most about his ballads.

His legacy is also unmatched. His son Babik is still playing strong, and he has also influenced countless musicians, some of whom have no idea of him. His use of the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument helped guitarists like Eddie Lang find his place in America. The tremolo effect of rapidly picking one or more strings was essential in mandolin solos in bluegrass, and for many of the surf-rock riffs during the early 1960's music in America. His bell-like, crying tone has been revered by those like B.B. King, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Garcia, all of whom utilize a similar, soaring sound. His influence was carried far outside of jazz, his scales and fast runs eventually being recycled by heavy metal guitarists of the 1980's (such as Yngwie Malmseen). Jimi Hendrix named his Band of Gypsies after the late guitar master.

There was no one like him. He was known personally as a boarish, tardy, oblivious individual who would often show up late for gigs, or not show up at all. When confronted with a gig, he would sometimes be found in a pool hall on the other side of town, two minutes before showtime. Others recall times where they perused the countryside for him, only to find him snoozing under a tree ten minutes before he was scheduled to play a half-hour away.

He was one of the few big-time musicians who didn't have any demons fighting his will. He never used drugs, and often used gambling as a fix. He was aware of his power as a musician, but if it was nice outside or he received a call from a friend to shoot billiards, he would often forget the gig if it meant wisely spending his leisure time somewhere else.

By listening to him, he'll make you laugh, cry, and sing in a way that no one alive today can do. His rhythm and execution is seamless in every way, his ideas are fresh and from the divine, and he does it all with TWO FINGERS. Django Reinhardt is a legend; the best guitarist who ever lived.


Auto-tune (from Wikipedia) "uses a phase vocoder to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances."

It is the lamest, sorriest excuse for quality that has ever graced the recording world. I am so disappointed at the number of great musicians today who "utilize" (AKA stoop low) this technique, selling out and hopping on the short-comin' bandwagon.

Anyone who uses this technique is not only amateur, they are a dishonest, money-grubbing herb who knows not the divinity and celestial aspects of music, but rather the fame, potential; greed and lust. These types of people should be arrested and forced to seek professional therapy to help them with their lifelong dishonesty and identity problems. IT DOES NOT SOUND COOL. YOU, YOUR VOICE, HAS JUST BECOME A COMPUTER.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Scent of a Woman (Fresh Out the Tanning Booth)

I like women. My mother has three sisters, all of whom have been heavily involved in my life. So, even at an early age I was beginning to learn about the many different types of women.

I appreciate what the girls in my family have done for me; and from that I believe comes an all-around respect for women. However, what is not often talked-about, by guys, are the standards that come with a respect like that. Let's consider my idea of a good woman.

A good woman is one who breathes. She acknowledges she is alive and embraces her responsibilities as a woman. A good woman is aware of her talents. She respects her body as a temple and lives out her life in that body naturally. A good woman strives to see the universe in everyone's eyes and learns to radiate her postiveness unto others. In the early years of her life, she puts herself first, in her prime years it is her child, and in the later years it is her husband. Just like everything else, she dies naturally. Now let's consider the average woman that I come across every single day of the week.

Painted in some brown-orange substance, a woman walks into a club with her friends, all of them tapping on their cell phones. This is the only situation she knows how to be in on a Thursday night. She orders the most complex cocktail and sends it back because it's too strong, or there's not enough lime juice. You get to talking to her, and she shows no interest in hearing about you or your achievements; she almost asks about you because she feels like she has to. The only thing she does is play some lame sport in college, like field hockey or lacrosse, and doesn't even get excited when she talks about it. She has a plastic bulb in the middle of her tongue. A stroller goes by outside with a baby in it, and she goes buckwild. She eventually talks about little kids for a good amount of time, and returns to her standby self. When it's time for her and her friends to leave, she gives you a wave with no eye-contact, or perhaps a haphazardly half-hug that feels like it's coming from your sister. Yep...see ya later.

Not all girls are like this, but where I live, in Worcester, 8 out of 10 are like that.

I can't say it's all their fault. I have a tendency to make people feel uncomfortable. Not completely intentional, but I like to make it known where I want the conversation to go. With these girls, it's quite hard to stoop so low. Most of the time, I feel like I'm scaring them away because I'm somehow completely different from all the tasteless, beefed-up, jerkoff jocks that they know and have been with. It's funny; I know I'm a good person and quite the catch....but I'm not a bonehead or an asshole. Any of these halfway, hooliganettes would be lucky to have someone like me.

And then there are those cool gals that I meet every once in a while. I'm not suggesting all girls in the United States are bimbos. There are some that seem compatible with me. My standards are not high; I do talk to these clubrat girls. I also talk to fat girls. I also talk to girls of all different races. It's not about looks for me; it's more about what you bring to the table. If you are a hilarity, let's hang out. If you aren't done with your night after the bars close at 2 (better yet, if you've never said "I gotta go home and go to bed"), you are most definitely a keeper. A good woman ceases the day. A good woman has no shame or regrets.

Lord send me a good woman, for I haven't left Worcester yet, and we all need some good lovin'. So come on in my kitchen and I will cook for YOU.

Searching for Poetry in a World of Text Messages

We've reached an age where folks have returned to the written word for communication. Instead of simply calling up your friend like in the olden-days, you are more opt to use the text messaging on your phone. It's cheaper, faster, and any potential awkwardness in communication is seamlessly avoided. It's almost as if the phone itself will soon become obsolete.

As of 2007, over 74% of the world's cell phone owners use text messaging in conjunction with actual calls. I'm sure a quarter of this percentage belongs to those you don't even use their voice anymore.

But how tasteful is your writing?

I sure as hell have no interest in reading any text messages that don't have a punchline or a stack of wordplay that will raise my eyebrows; similar to how I do not approve of uninteresting voicemails ("Hey Jon, call me back. Thanks - Rob"). We are a poetic species, and we got to keep things interesting.

I meet folks everyday who I believe to be intellectuals; those who could probably write some profound poetry and do live a creative lifestyle. However, I'm not sure that these people believe others like them even exist. Even if upon meeting someone you feel you'd have much to talk about, it usually doesn't go very far into conversation. Conversation is not the same as it use to be.

Send me a text message like, "Did you know there are over 12 million battered women in the U.S.? And I've been eating them plain the whole time!" I will enjoy it, and I'll consider you a witty, laid-back individual who recognizes the short-comings of this technological society. Send me a text message like, "Hey man, what are you doing?", and you may receive a reply that reads something like this:

"Well, I'm reading your all-too-commonly-uninteresting text message. How about we go down to the dump and shoot some rats? I know a great brothel with a bunch of dumpsters in the back."