A Letter To Patti Smith

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Dear Patti Smith,

To say you have been through a lot and have lived through quiet a life would be an understatement. I will say after reading this memoir there are still questions I have but also a feeling of content. Whether it was living on the street of recording your first record, Horses, you seem to have faced everything with a great look on your surroundings and situation. I will say this memoir points to key flaws in our society. In the section when you talk about giving child birth and the utter lack of respect from everyone that was involved was horrific.

” My labor coincided with the full moon. They drove me to the hospital in Camden. Due to my unwed status, the nurses were very cruel and uncaring, and left me on a table for several hours before informing the doctor that I had gone into labor. They ridiculed me for my beatnik appearance and immoral behavior, calling me “Dracula’s daughter” and threatening to cut my long black hair.”

This entire section makes me sick to my stomach but it also speaks to your strength.

Another interesting section was the moment when Robert call you about the death of Andy Warhol.

I was due at the studio when Robert called in great distress to tell me that Andy Warhol was dead.

““He wasn’t supposed to die,” he cried out, somewhat desperately, petulantly, like a spoiled child. But I could hear other thoughts racing between us. Neither are you. Neither am I. We didn’t say anything. We hung up reluctantly.”

I believe this brings to a certain memory of life, we all have those moments when a person in our life has died and you must stop and reflect before moving forward. This section is also interesting because it really sheds light to the idea of a memoir. You are describing talking to Robert, while reflecting in your head everything that you are thinking.

And finally the last section is near the end. The death of Robert.

“After Robert died, I agonized over his belongings, some of which had once been ours. I dreamed of his slippers. He wore them at the end of his life, black Belgian slippers with his initials stitched in burnished gold. I agonized over his desk and chair. They would be auctioned off with his other valuables at Christie’s. I lay awake thinking of them, so obsessed I became ill. I could have bid on them but I couldn’t bear to; his desk and chair passed to strange hands. I kept thinking of something Robert would say when he was obsessed with something he couldn’t have. “I’m a selfish bastard. If I can’t have it I don’t want anyone else to.””

Everyone, I did, goes through this moment after someone of significant importance has been the cause of mental warfare. You want everything to remain the same, you want everything to be how it was before. I think about that all the time and your memoir was another passage to that. Thank you are sharing your life with moments of struggle and signs of happiness.

Sincerely,

Anthony J Martin

Musical MD: Music From A Past Generation

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“I feel like I’m lacking in knowledge of classic bands that shaped our parent’s generation… how do I go about learning about music and culture that I wasn’t present for. I want to know more about my mother’s musical taste too and I’m having trouble going about either of these problems I have.”  – Lucy Schaefer

Lucy you are in luck I happen to have a masters in parents generational music taste. Having said that, there are certain aspects that are important to know before diving into the music of our fathers. Starting with the time period. I’m going to assume the baby boom generation of your parents grew up in the 70’s to late 80’s and the is a lot of music to attempt to cover.

Let’s begin with the essentials, literature and albums.

Here is the stripped and easiest way to learn about the different types of important music that changed the world during the 1970’s.

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

Arguably the greatest album of the 1970’s Rumors, spitting out hit after hit. Fleetwood Mac managed to blow up and than promptly implode but not before creating a sound that is uniquely notable and “Go Your Own Way” is the greatest example of that. Ask anyone growing up during that time, everybody owned Rumors.

During the disco craze of the late 70’s, Blondie took it to another level and Heart Of Glass is the poster child for this. Along with the disco influence of the track the song was a future  of prog-rock/snyth rock that was soon to come. There is a distinct synthneizer that adds to the track and Blondie would go on to not only create the first “rap” song but they changed and influenced a lot of music that was after it. Thank you Blondie.

Staying with the disco themed music, I added Bee Gees to the list just so you may have a taste of the extreme the disco movement went. Of course this all lead to one of the biggest backlashes in music with “Disco Is Dead” but before that, nobody did it like the Barry Gibb.

A great show and song to add a more “poppy” side of this tracks, it’s a fun and upbeat song about people staying together, it was this or the Stanford and Son theme song.

The Stones at this point were already one of the biggest bands in history and 1971’s Sticky Fingers cemented their legacy. The opening track is one of epic proportions. Listen and enjoy.

At least one punk track was necessary if you are going to talk about the 1970’s. Punk music was a shot in the heart of music of it’s time, Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash and Iggy Pop all brought something new to music that was the change music forever. Voted the best track of the 1970’s by NME.com, “God Save the Queen” is not for royalty.

Led Zeppelin perhaps the greatest band of all time, never made a bad record and for the most part everything the made was legendary album. “Ramble On” might one of the most notable tracks and it’s only a taste into the Zeppelin world.

At one point the best selling album of all time, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is from another planet. A concept album about the modern american, Money is the most well known album and one of the shortest tracks on the album. But similar to Rumors, everybody owned Dark Side.

Literature: Here is a list of a few novels that will add in your knowledge of the 70’s.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Virgin-Encyclopedia-70s-Music/dp/1852279478

http://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Gods-Stephen-Davis/dp/0425182134/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428946919&sr=1-1&keywords=hammer+of+gods

And there you have it, a prescription that should be able to fix your allying lack of knowledge when it comes to the 1970s.

River Days in Durango! Summer Playlist for the Animas

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(Michelle Olson)

Prompt: For this blog assignment, you will be making a playlist for some fun in the sun, river days in Durango! Imagine you have a waterproof boom box for when you’re floating down the Animas River, what would you want to listen to and why? 5-10 songs, 200 word minimum, and also include YouTube links so the audience can hear the songs. Have fun!

Challenged accepted.

Sublime – Doin’ Time

Never mind the song is bluntly about summer time, since the chorus is “summer time and the livin easy”, Sublime is one of the best bands ever created. Lord Bradley Nowell is god and also a true wordsmith. This song screams the great sunshine days of summer. No river trip or cold beer would be complete without it.

Nappy Roots – Good Day

This song speaks to the notion that no one can sad on a summer day. Nappy Roots calls to action that today is going to be a good day and for a number of reasons “ain’t nobody gotta cry today”, simply put it is uplifting and puts me in a good mood.

Little Joy – Next Time Around

This is the first song to not actually speak about summer but is still a heart warming track that has you asking for more and unfortunately there isn’t much more. Birthed as a side project from rockstars in their own right, Los Hermanos and The Strokes are a few of the members in this soft-rock jam band. If you learn french you might enjoy the their album more than I do.

Atmosphere – Sunshine

Although this song speaks to a night of too much partying and a regretful hangover, Atmosphere tells everyone that even though we all have had nights like this, the sun hits you right in the face and becomes more of a cure than any pain meds.

M.I.A – Paper Planes

This song is interesting to say the least. M.I.A is what we call new-wave rapper, the chorus consists of gun shots and cash machines but that beat though… Paper Planes makes you happy to be where you are and where you are going.

Babyshambles – I Wish

Peter Doherty seems to be more well known for what he has done off-stage rather than on it, however Babyshambles is a post-Libertine side band with Peter at the helm, a surprise sound and one time only “I Wish” is an upbeat Ska track that tells the story of a broke man  who “pippin’ almost every night” and that’s okay by me.

Bad Weather California – I’ll Reach Out My Hand

Contrary to the name Bad Weather California will always have a small part in my heart simply because they are from Colorado and make good  indie-rock music that seems to be a rarity for popular bands coming out of the rocky mountains (The Fray, The Lumineers). Their sound is very “California” but a beautiful track that offers their hand out to you. A summer classic.

No river trip, pool day, park panic could be completely rounded out without these tracks in my life. Every song has a special meaning to me and a smile guaranteed stamp. Even though you are most likely sweating yourself into dehydration, I love the summer and these tracks are essential to that.

Music in Movies: Scenes That Resonate with Us

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I have a particular fondness when it comes to music that is in films. As a film maker I have found that music can completely alter a shot/scene, it can make a bad shot good, it can sometimes completely take over the idea of the shot, the music we hear in films is just as important as the film itself. There is almost an unlimited amount of famous songs in scenes that are equally connected with the film, Breakfast Club’s “Don’t You Forget About Me’; Jerry Maguire’s “Secret Garden” or as of lately Birdman’s drumming score that builds tension and connection with all of the characters. It is important to note the particular difference of a score, music made for the film in mind and music used by filmmakers that have already been created. But for this post I am going to talk about a particular scene that resonates with me to this very day. The ending of Fight Club, I have always had a weird connection with films ending tracks and bands themselves.

I had a bad habit of always listening to the last track of very CD I bought and always trying to figure out the title to the last track of every film. I had an assumption that the ending is always the most important part and therefore musicians and directors ending track is supposed to calumniate everything build before it, otherwise why would it be at the end? Anyway, the ending track in Fight Club is entitled “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies and this is a situation where this music existed before the David Fincher film and he must have felt this track was fitting for such an important scene and movie overall. The title already fits the profile, being that the entire film is about a paranoid schizophrenic, so a track asking “where is my mind?” is very appropriate. The ending is rather beautiful we see the main character bruised, bloody, and broken down and near certain death. He has gone through hell to see out a plan that he didn’t want and the final scene he is reunited with Marla where   spoiler alert, the main character does destroy all of the credit card buildings thus starting a new world without debit records.

The main character, his name is never mentioned in the film, simply looks at Marla with his black eyes and says “everything is going to be fine”, buildings fall and hit play to Where Is My Mind, a fast and repetitive guitar that builds on The Pixies lead singer Black Francis, asking us where is my mind? A scene of beautiful mayhem as Marla and the main character stand holding hands as destruction engulfs them. This song will always be interconnected with the scene, it is impossible not to think of one without the other, it resonates with us. So ask yourself where is my mind? Signed the Breakfast Club.

20 Questions to Define Your Musical Style

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Hey folks I return with a quiz that finds and defines a musical style. I asked Alex a similar person on this blog (Look at 5 Songs To Define A Life) and this time you can be apart of the quiz and answer them as well. I came up with these questions and based on your answers I can find out a lot about a person’s personality and musical style/likeness so without further due here is 20 questions to define your musical style.

  1. What was your first concert? My best friend and I were 13, we went to see a local band called Evergreen Terrace at Thee Imperial in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. I believe they’ve become far more popular now.
  2. Who was your first musical love? Uhhh…. Billie Joe Armstrong, of course.
  3. The Beatles or Elvis? The Beatles.
  4. Did your parents taste in music ever match up with your type of music? My mom was a pianist (although she played more instruments than just the piano), so most of the music she listened to was classical… which I can enjoy but I don’t really have a love for. But she did introduce me to two of my favorite artists, Alejandro Sanz and Joan Manuel Serrat, so I guess the answer is yes.
  5. If you could pick one band/musician to listen to for the rest of your life, who would it be? Alejandro Sanz.
  6. How often do you listen to music? Every time I’m in the car.
  7. One act you wish you could see live, dead or alive? George Frideric Handel.
  8. What is one act you wish you could see reunite? … I don’t think there’s any so I’ll wish for the cast of Friends get back together for a movie J
  9. If you had to pick one, what is your favorite genre of music? Dude, I can’t answer that.
  10. Name the one musical act you love to hate? I can’t stand Katy Perry.
  11. Kanye is preforming at the grammy’s, what do you do? Change the channel.
  12. What is the last physical record you bought? La Musica No Se Toca by Alejandro Sanz.
  13. What is one genre of music you are not a fan of? I don’t like a lot of pop music, like Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc. The Grammy’s we’re not enjoyable for me and I can’t stand that song “All About That Bass.”
  14. Who is your musical guilty pleasure? Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift. But… isn’t Ariana Grance the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?
  15. Someone ask you to attend an EDM Festival, what do you do? I’ve been to the Ultra Music Festival in Miami two years in a row.
  16. Do you have an issue with the digital single? Does it take away from the album? I don’t really care about that.
  17. Does Justin Bieber make good music? Does he even make his own music? No.
  18. Snoop Dog or Kanye? Snoooooooooooop…
  19. If you had pick one, Emo or punk? I’ve been through both phases, I don’t know.
  20. Favorite Decade of music? The 60’s and 70’s in Spain.

5 Songs For Love (Valentines Day Soundtrack)

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With Valentines Day just around the corner, we begin to look at the significant other we have or wish we had and wonder why, do we love them? Is it real or simply a moment by moment affection for the other person. A unanswerable question to most, here are my songs that best represent what love is. These tracks always put in a good mood and leave hope for the future, also these are songs I imagine to be in every cheesy “Rom Com”.

Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight

“Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight”

Yes, nobody says it better than ole blue eyes. Frank Sinatra is poet and true man, I don’t see how any women could have said no to him, with lyrics like that. A great track that talks about life standing still on one night where nothing else matters other than the “way she looks tonight.”

Coldplay -Green Eyes

“The green eyes, you’re the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who tried to deny you, must be out of their mind”

Coldplay is the only modern band to crack my list, since most great love songs come almost from all the same era but that doesn’t mean Chris Martin doesn’t know his way around a guitar tear jerker. This track is an amazing tell of a women he calls green eyes and how she is the perfect one, a perfect fitting track if you’re still looking for that significant other.

The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)

“Ooh, sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else”

The Four Tops, unfortunately, don’t the get the same recognition as The Temptations but I would argue this track was the greatest of the Motown era. This is not just one of my favorite love songs of all time but one my favorite tracks in general of all time. I Can’t Help Myself is impossible not to sing along too, it’s fun to get up and dance too and enjoy the day. A story of man who loves his women so much he just can’t help himself.

Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

“You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off of you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much”

Frankie Valli can write a gold love ballet in his sleep. For how corny and overplayed this track is, go back and just listen to the original, it truly is the greatest love song of all time, in my opinion. I would want this to be the first track at my wedding because why not? It says everything that every guy tries to say. She is perfect and it’s to good to be true.

Hall and Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True

“What I’ve got’s full stock of thoughts and dreams that scatter
You pull them all together
And how, I can’t explain,
Oh yeah, well well you
You make my dreams come true”

Although Hall and Oates get a lot of flack for their career, they had more hits than some of the biggest bands in history. One way they made that possible was making every song a catchy tune that is hard not to get stuck in your head and the track leading the way was “You Make My Dreams Come True”. A upbeat and fun tune that we have heard and love, secretly.

Bonus Track:

I wanted to throw in a bonus track or honorable mention, this track must have been remade a hundred times, one of my favorite versions is The Rolling Stones cover. The lyrics is basically a man begging for his women to stay but it’s fitting for the list and who doesn’t want to Mick Jagger dress like The Joker attending the circus?

The Rolling Stones – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

Looking Back: The Music That Resonates (A Dub-Step First)

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When discussing a musical first, there is usually the similar action associated with certain genres. This was, as many have said, my “Elvis” moment. People always have that first memory of hearing rock and roll, usually with Elvis or The Beatles. Since I was born some 40 years post-jailhouse rock, post-british invasion, my moment is, what I like to the refer to as, the last frontier for music, Dub-Step, EDM, Electronic, etc. Since every sound that is possible to make on a guitar and drum set has been discovered, for the most, the computer is the last way to create sounds that nobody has heard. New sounds and experimentation is usually a good thing, however Dub-Step has seem to have fallen as fast as it rose. I had to stop and ask “what is this” and that my friends is the pure genius on new music. I wasn’t nesscarly enjoying what I was hearing but I still had to stop what I was doing and figure out what I was hearing for the first song, the song was “First Of The Year” by Skrillex. And this would be the first in the endless river of DJ’s, turned rockstars. Moby may have opened the door but Skillex, Pretty Lights, Deadmau5 took it a step further, sounds familiar? (Chuck Berry to The Beatles). Whether or not you’re a EDM fan, the music is something that nobody has heard before and that is what finding new music should be about. They play to crowds bigger some cities and don’t even need an entire band to do it. So in the words of Skillex, “Call 9-1-1” because this music is hear to stay.

5 Songs to Define a Life, Alexandra Forsyth

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Intro:

When ask to name five songs that define you life, one must ask, how can I possibly narrow it down to just five? Alexandra Forsyth as lived a full life and is still very young. People choice songs based on a multitude of reason but in this list her songs defined eras, moments and memories that hold deep in her heart. So when narrowing your list to five, think is this really what defines my life?

Some songs are too prefect to believe.

1. Cuddle Me With You by Ecos Del Rocio

The first words Alexandra used to define this song was,”amazing”. She stated, and this can true in almost all facts of life, that songs are open to interpretation. The codes of meaning if you will are all different depending on the meanings to a song and that’s usually what makes the song meaningful to us. But in this case, Alexandra’s first song probably spoke to her more than your average Top 40 hit. Cuddle Me With You By Ecos Del Rocio speaks of the love for his grandmother even though it seems he loves his grandfather more and even though they are not his parents the love he feels for them is undeniable. Alexandra’s mother enrolled in the U.S. Navy when Alexandra was 28 months old and was sent to live with her grandparents and as she stated it, there was a clear bond with her grandfather. He was always there to give advice and motivate her for the better, however it was her grandmother that she owes her life to. The women who woke her up every morning and guided her through adolecents is the true mother of Alexandra. The song speaks of being raised by grandparents and the love of being under their care, which makes an obvious parallel with Alexandra’s life. The discovery of the song by Alexandra is unknown but the impact is very much known and connectable. As it was stated, some songs can interpreted but others are just meant for you.

A literal “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.

2. Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Imagine your life being turned upside down by one phone call. Some of have experienced this before. Communication is what shapes our reality, whether we are making the call or receiving it, our interactions greatly impact the moments moving forward in life. Alexandra at this point has lived with her grandparents in Spain through most of her childhood and pre-teen years and that’s when the phone rings. Alexandra was informed by her mother that she has found a husband and must move to Florida with her. Reluctant and scared she came to America, unfortunately this was not the beginning of new and wonderful life. Alexandra spoke of the pain and hated she felt towards her mother and newly discovered step-father, she even went to the lengths of turning down all of the pictures of her mother and how her step-father never smiled. This song fit with the idea of teenage angst, Green Day has always sung about this very idea and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” talks directly about the falling short and looking for something new, the very same topics in Alexandra’s life. She was in 7th grade at the time and her step-father would not let her leave the house and like any teenager she spent more of her time in her room playing albums on repeat and one of those happen to Green Day’s American Idiot. Always fitting in line with the rockstar crush, Alex had a crush on Billie Joel Armstrong, the lead singer of Green Day. The opportunity to see Green Day live arosed and naturally her step-father said she was not able to attend and Alex decided to sneak out for the chance to see her favorite band at the time. At the show she also introduced to a young and coming band that would come to define the “emo” era, My Chemical Romance. Alex knew the punishment for her rebel ways would be severe but what she came home to was more than she ever expected. Her entire room was destroyed, every poster that defined her taste in music at the time was now off the way, the stuffed animals that she had since she was a little girl were now gone. The end of the night, the end of an era had passed.  A year later her mother got divorced and in 8th grade Alex, switched schools. The ironic idea of this song is that Alex not only does not listen to Green Day anymore she finds the lyrics offensive and unreliable. I guess that speaks more to the year and interests of when you first hear a band like Green Day. The communication of have in our everyday lives affect where we are heading and for Alex that meant a new country, a new step-father and a new favorite band.

Everything will pass, the serenity in music.

3. Gary Allen – Every Storm

This list follows the trend of defining an era or moments in life with a particular song. This third song is no different. The origins of Alex’s discovery of this song is what some might define as fait. A after the tragic passing of her best friend , Alex found what came to be known as her song of serenity. To this day Every Storm by Gary Allen is the metaphor for trying times and the peace she finds with knowing that “every storm will pass”. Alex has to weather the storm, a metaphor for dealing with the passing of her best friend, and knowing that “everything bad that happens will go away”. Alex used the song as grieving process as we all do with songs, since her friend was barred away from Alex’s home, she dealt with the pain in another way, she would go to random to cemeteries to listen to that song and find the serenity she needed to move forward. The impact of the lyrics and song itself are so important to her that she got a tattoo to commemorate her fiends memory and meaning. Music can become greatly than any form of therapy scientist have created, we finding meaning in songs to either hide our pain or face it but the emotions that arise can be felt from now until death.

Sometimes the best way to hold on is to let go.

4. Joan Manuel Serrat – Cantares (Poem by Antonio Machado)

The bonds you have with some else can be unbreakable and the reasons behind a significant bond is almost as important as the bond itself. This song was originally a poem by Antonio Machado and the song is by Joan Manuel Serrat. The first response Alex had to this song was her love for Joan voice. Joan was the singer she had always heard growing up and thinks “he is the cutest guy ever” and having grown listening to Joan, she spoke of memories of her grandmother singing along to the radio in the morning. Alex said that this song was a way of living life. Her mother would say to live a certain life and her grandmother would say follow the path of the modern women, school, college, marriage, kids. However, this song spoke Alex as a way where “There is no path” you build the path that lies before you. She related it to the path created by boats, the white water tracks left behind a boat are only momentary. Therefore your path disappears and the tracks you create are only seen by you, the moments in life that define our world are only for us to know. Alex said this song didn’t speak to her until last year. It spoke of the conflicting decisions, her mother and grandmother wanted her to follow a certain path but she wanted to create her own which she did. She as she stated it is, “letting go of the wheel”. The path we create is our owns, if follow the set standards than is it really a path?

A trail of lights to define a night

5. Mando Diao – Dance With Somebody

We have had “one of those nights” where everything seems to fall into place, the stress of life is an a momentary lapse of appearance. These are moments we live for in life, to look back and say that was a night where I wish I could stop time. Dance With Somebody by Mando Diao is not so much about defining an era but a night, a moment where this song kept showing up on this one perfect night. Alex said on that new years night two years ago it was the “best night of my life”. The last of the holiday season seems to be one of the biggest and Alex was with her grandparents in Spain and they live in the middle of the city, she counted 8 bars within a few blocks and this was her first time going to the bars where her grandparents lived. Similar to Top 40 hits in America, finding a popular at the right time is easier than naming the artist itself. Alex said she heard the song every 30 minutes during her bar hopping. By the end of the night she knew every word to the song and she claims it makes her happy, or more simply put “Just a fun song”. We live for moments of happiness and fun and “Dance With Somebody” was the soundtrack to the best day of her life.

I think we can agree this list can define an era, a moment, a memory in Alex’s life.