Saturday, January 17, 2009

That One Song

The first time I ever heard a live band play, all I can remember was the stomping heaviness of the bass drum pounding as I stepped into the concert venue.

Is it strange that this very first concert was on a Halloween night...complete with women dressed in bunny suits, men wearing that silly mask from all the "I know what you did last summer" movies, and teenagers rocking the closest thing to the "emo look" that is known today...and all I can remember is the physical feeling of the bass drum hitting?

There is something to be said about the kinesthetic quality that live music possesses. I can remember being about 9 years old and sitting next to the radio in my living room with the headphones on and waiting for just that ONE SONG to come on so I could hear it. Back then, it was Wonderwall by Oasis. I would wait hours and hours just to hear those first few acoustic guitar chords ring through my ears and once it did, I would be satisfied for a day or two and then come back to this same scenario.

Whether you enjoy music, or absolutely love music, you have had this same sort of feeling. You have this ONE SONG that just makes you feel differently then all the others.

I can't put my finger on what makes that ONE SONG just more special then the others...but it just is.

For some, it may be a classic song by The Beatles that made them appreciate the soft melodies and structures of a perfect rock song...

For others, it may be the glittering distortion provided by Bon Jovi on Living On A Prayer combined with the anthem-like chorus that reverberates through your mind in the 80's...

And for the rest, it could even be a sentimental lyric in a song by an unknown band that just reminds you of everything you want in the world...

Well no matter what it is, you would die to hear that song LIVE. Even if that band does not currently play live shows anymore, you would pay at least 10$ to hear some cover band try their efforts to attempt the song.

Just the fact that you can physically share that song with the people around you...with hopes that just one other person may enjoy just as much as you do when you listen to it alone in your car...makes you appreciate music for what it is.

I am currently working on a project at my work...which is something that excites me there (of course, this doesn't happen frequently at my job) about the vestibular stimulation that music provides in young people and older people. Furthermore, it examines just how the brain can be manipulated and altered to enhanve your living experience by the music you love. This study is all about wearing headphones that add in a physical stimulation along with the lower frequencies in music. There is definitly something to this...

For anyone who has ever heard a song that gives them chills...

I applaud you and would love to hear your first memory of live music.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Season!

During this holiday season, I have been hearing constantly that Christmas is "for the children."  Now I definitely agree that Christmas is something that is completely exciting and wonderful for Children but I also feel a little differently this year.  
I think around the age of 13 or 14 I realized that Christmas just "wasn't as special" anymore.  The reasoning behind this may have been the subtraction of Santa Claus in the Christmas equation or even possibly just the fact that us kids did not receive as many gifts as we used to.  I mean, the amount of gifts my brother and I used to get were so exhaustive that we would literally build present forts on both ends of Grandma's living room that we could stand in back of and hide from each other in.  It may also have been something to do with the fact that less of our family is around the area to celebrate Christmas.  Either way, it just started to feel a little differently.  
For the non-religious folk out there, Christmas is not the celebration of Little Baby Jesus.  Us non-religionizers see it really as just a day that gives us a break from work or school, provides us with an outlet to give presents to those we care about (as well as receive), and to tell the people around us "hey man, you mean a lot to me so I'm going to eat some food with you or give you something cool to have."  Things may not be the way they used to be but Christmas is something that everyone can appreciate and get something great out of.   
"Rockin' around, the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.  Mistletoe hung where you can see..every couple tries to stop."  As this line speaks through the reverberating speakers in my car, I begin to get a little excited.  With a scarf wrapped around my neck and a peppermint mocha sitting in the cup holder to the right of me, I am ready for a night of pre-Christmas joy.  

Let me just say, tonight I felt alive.  Rolling through the neighborhoods of Woodland Hills this evening there was something in the air.  The cold chill running through the cracked open passenger window, the smell of peppermint mocha on my own breath, and the glow of "Merry Christmas" set in next to white icicles all created just the perfect atmosphere.  Add one beautiful girl into this scene and you just have a hell of a night ahead of you.  This is what Christmas time is about.  Enjoying.  
Enjoy the music you hear no matter how corny it may be.  Enjoy the beverage in your hand, no matter how many calories you may intake.  Enjoy the lights that people have hung on their houses because they have done it for years and years and it's just what people do.  Especially enjoy the people you get to see this holiday season, no matter if it's just a few or just too many because those people are all in the same place celebrating the same thing...each other.  

I am no preacher in any way but I do have two very important statements to make to anyone who feels Christmas "just isn't the same" as you have gotten older:

Enjoy Christmas just as much as you did as a child.  Just because the excitement of Santa and the millions of presents aren't there doesn't mean that it isn't an amazing time of the year.  

You aren't going to enjoy it for the same reasons but that's okay.   This year, step back and appreciate what Christmas really is about and how good it truly can make you feel.  

Monday, December 8, 2008

What's A Man To Do....

It is 8:23 in the A.M.  and that's a bit early to start being philosophical about life.  That is exactly why I am about to get philosophical.  

There's a few things on my mind about my own little world right now.  Let me present you with the evidence.  

Exhibit A - Christmas Presents.  The remainder of this month will be spent looking for the best presents I can find for the people around me.  What kind of presents you ask?  Well let me just say that I hope trains don't need coal anymore because I'm about to take the full supply and ship it out to my closest relatives and friends.  

Exhibit B - Presents Part Dos. Now if the above was true (and it's not...everyone has been good this year) then I wouldn't have to worry about presents.  But I do and I enjoy it very long as I get to play with whatever I get people (watch out Grandma...that Razor scooter I got you is going to get some usage down your stairs when I come over).  

Exhibit C - The Music.  Last evening, we (the Paul Starling Band - Ventura Chapter) played a gig at the Beachcomber Tavern in Ventura last night which is located in a very random place of the town.  Imagine that you (yes reader, you have a multi-million dollar estate 3 feet away from the beach), imagine that you are sitting at your dinner table enjoying your beautiful t.v. dinner with your 3 children and beautiful spouse when out of the sky comes falling a mini-bar.  Not the kind of mini-bar that you have in a hotel room to open and drown your sorrows into after your Nascar team lost it's last race.  This mini-bar is truly a miniature version of every bar you have ever  been to.  Well this bar comes flying out of the sky and falls in between you and little Jimmy at the other end of your dining room table.  You figure "hey, this could work" so you just sort of leave this small building in the middle of the two halves of what used to be your house.  This is exactly how the Beachcomber Tavern is presented in this neighborhood.  

Anyways, the show was great.  We had a nice amount of people to play to who seemed to enjoy our set.  I got to rock out on the acoustic guitar which was a nice change, although we may go back to the full electric experience (sorry pre-Newport Folk Festival Bob Dylan fans).  I love to plug in my ol' gee-tar and rock out through the night.  

Exhibit E - Where did Exhibit D go? I'll tell you where it went, it left on the same train that was my weekend.  I can't believe the weekend is over and soon I will be sitting in the office staring at the wall, playing with lasers, or teaching kids how to use their eyes properly.  I wish I could teach kids how to play with lasers instead.  

Let's do some early morning math...

Formula for My Weekend (eat your heart out Einstein)

n1(2b + 9f)g + n2(b + 5f)g + n3(2b + 3f)g = my weekend

n = the night in question

b = the amount of bars I frequented that night

f = friends involved

g = one amazing girl to multiply those values  by 

Monday, December 1, 2008

The War

War: (1): a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2): a period of such armed conflict

Thank god for Merriam-Webster online dictionairy.  How would I begin my first blog without it?  It seems as though the events of this past weekend were taken out of the history books and brought into a real life battle.  This battle...of course...was declared on two very different nations in the comfort of a lesser known nation called...(drum roll please)...Ventura (pronounced in "uh oh I forgot to ask for Kenny Loggins permission for this blog).  

The Nations
Flickintoria (flick-en-tor-ia)
On the left side of our battle field stands a strong army built upon the laurels and traditions of those similar to a peaceful nation.  Don't let the colors and uniform of this country fool you, Flickitntoria is a nation who sits back ready to rise, like the yeast in a newly mixed cinnamon-raisin bread batter.  

Ramonia (ray-moan-ia)
On the right side of our physical dispute rests a country armed to the teeth in weapons of mass extermination (rum and a little diet coke for the ladies).  Naughty or nice, this empire has the eye-catching charm to stop a soldier in his tracks while it smashes all hopes and dreams of victory into a million little pieces.  With a carefully planned attack, this nation will not fall.  

...and the battle begun

Prior to previous belief, the art of war is actually an art.  The melody of trash talking, the rhythm of the cards hitting the table, an opera like howl of "noooooooooooo" when you have lost, and the drama of defeat.  

Wait, war?  That's deck, two players, one victor.  

Jessie: "Kenny, give me a good card."

Kenny:  "I'm just laying them down in order...that's what she said."

Jessie:  "Ok, but give me good cards. "

Kenny:  "Honey, honey, honey..."

Mike:  "HAHA!  Drink three. "

Battle cries....all battle cries...

With one eye brow raised, Mike reaches to adjust his Santa hat (of course in fashion since it is past Thanksgiving, thank goodness!).  Jessie calls out a battle cry saying, "GO FISH!" bringing terror into the heart of the opponent.  Upon this shout, Mike must now reach for the 12 ounces of shiny metal in front of him and be the hand that carries his own fate.  War is tough, but fishing is even tougher.  

The victor shall remain nameless...
As cold frigid air takes up the space outside the war field, both nations have come to an agreement with three words that shall echo into the night:
"Last game, seriously."  

All I know is that war can have a positive effect for everyone.  In the end, you always get something out of it...whether it be 6 crispy churros on the ride home or a nice pat on the back from the enemy saying "good game", there is something to be said about a game where the only dangerous result of a loss is having a little bit more fun than the winner.  

"Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind."
-John F. Kennedy

"War and mankind equal a fun time as long as in that time you bust a rhyme."
-Kenneth S. Bringelson