A Christmas Vacation Update

For some reason tonight, I’ve decided to buy a pastels kit at Half Price Books.  So that’s happening here in a couple of minutes.

I’ve been in such a Led Zeppelin mood lately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kQWiAOaA9c

I’ve been learning “Heartbreaker” and “When the Levee Breaks” at lessons, and that’s given me a newfound appreciation of John Bonham.  I’ve been really thinking hard the past several weeks about music.  I played at a friend’s party last week with mixed results (i.e. the songs we practiced sounded really good, and the songs we didn’t practiced sucked).  But playing at that party really made me want to be a better musician.  Not like I think my drumming was terrible; it wasn’t.  But I find myself at a place where I could be a better drummer, and I’m not, and I want to be serious about it.
I have more plans about that but I’ll talk about it later.

But for now…yes.  Led Zeppelin.  I watched the Celebration Day concert today and it was terrific.  I still can’t believe I’ve seen both Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in concert.

Anyway.

Led Zeppelin is awesome.

I’m about to try out pastels?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Three Things: The Music Edition

There are three things exciting me lately about music.

1. Thom Yorke and Flea are teaming together to record an album together under the moniker Atoms for Peace.  They will also be joined by Radiohead’s drummer, so it’s essentially a supergroup.

This is muy exciting.

2. I go through phases where I love listening to Alt Nation and when I think all the songs on there suck. Right now, I’m in the phase where I’m enjoying the songs.  I really love this one:

The refrain is so pretty and bittersweet.

3.  I saved the best for last and I’m about to nerd out big-time here and potentially embarrass myself but I don’t care, because

DAVE GROHL IS RETURNING TO QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE TO DRUM WITH THEM FOR ANOTHER ALBUM.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found this out on Election Night and it was almost more exciting than the news that Obama was winning.

Foo Fighters went on hiatus and that bummed me out a bit since they haven’t hit Texas yet as part of their tour. But they’ve been touring for awhile and I’m sure they needed a break.  I’m just really glad I was able to see them in Philly last year (the concert was on November 10, 2011…so literally, it’s been almost a year. Wow).  I was really hoping that Dave would get back in the studio with Them Crooked Vultures, so I was pretty surprised to hear that he was re-teaming with QotSA.  Not that I’m complaining or anything, because the album he did with them is awesome.

I’m going to try very hard not to sound like such a fan girl, but GUYS, Dave Grohl is the reason why I started playing drums in the first place, and I’ve been really hoping I’d have another chance to see him drum in concert.  And now it looks like I have that chance.  The album should be out next year, and I’m sure there will be tour dates associated with the release of the album, which means I get to watch him drum, which means

::fangirl explosion::

On a related note, Michael is having me learn “No One Knows,” a song I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time.  It’s pretty easy and straightforward until it gets to the chorus.

I’m going to be working on this one for awhile, is all I’m saying.

Three Things – The Preemptive Fall Edition

Even though I’ve been out of school for five years now, I feel like my biological clock still follows some sort of latent academic calendar.  In the summer, I feel like goofing off…and in the fall, I become more serious and focused.

Don’t get me wrong; I can’t say I was technically lazy this summer. I had a lot of field work, and I don’t recommend getting a puppy for anyone who wants to indulge in laziness.  But a lot of my hobbies were neglected.

I feel like it’s time to re-embrace my favorite activities.  The timing is right; it’s almost fall, which means the weather will (hopefully) become crisper and cozier.  (We’re getting a “cold front” this weekend – highs of 95, lows of 75).  I don’t have any foreseeable field work in the near future (slamming my knuckles heavily on wood).  And my puppy continues to mature – though he has been in an ornery streak this week, he’s getting older and he’s getting a handle on our routine, which means I can return to mine.

This weekend I jammed for the first time in a long time.  I hadn’t even touched my kit in months; I took a break with lessons at the end of April or May so I could focus on field work.  It felt wonderful to jam, evoking memories of the “old” days.  I had been struggling with the decision to return to drum lessons. Before I took a break, I’d gotten lazy with practicing – what if I wasn’t good anymore?  What if I wasn’t meant to drum?  But jamming reminded me just how fun drumming is to me still.  Boyfriend was very encouraging about returning to lessons, so I decided to give it a try again.

I’ve been struggling about how to continue updating this blog, as I have a waning interest in blogging about my private life.  But why not return to what makes me tick?  My hobbies, my interests, my projects?  To celebrate my return to drum lessons, I want to make this first post of the month about –

MUSIC.

1.  watch?v=qvI4ll_59SQ

I’ve decided to pick up on “Heartbreaker,” since it makes me nostalgic for the beginning of the year (if it’s even possible to feel nostalgia for eight or nine months ago).  I surprisingly can play some of it, even though I haven’t practiced it in ages.  I realized yesterday that I am terrible at reading music. Rather, I can read, but I am lazy and like playing by ear.  I need to stop doing this, because it gets me in trouble.  I was playing a section, and my drum teacher Michael nodded his head.  “That sounds awesome,” he said.  Then I started playing a part I was too lazy to read.  Trying to remember it by ear, I completely messed the phrase up.  His expression changed from approval to puzzlement.  “Aren’t you glad I’m back?” I asked.

I’m playing this song right now and Apollo is barking his head off.  If my dog isn’t a Zeppelin fan, then we have PROBLEMS.

2.  watch?v=5tZlu4wP4pw

I feel like I need to become re-obsessed with this song at least once a year.  It is perfection.

3.  watch?v=AzJhQGLD4X0

So I was in a record store this weekend when this song started playing.  My first impression was along the lines of, “What the hell is this weirdness?”

DISCLAIMER – I do not find this song weird because of its Bollywood influence.  I like Bollywood music from what I’ve heard (my old college roommate used to play it all the time), and I find the instrumentation beautiful.  About a minute and twenty seconds into this particular song, you hear some guttural chants and wails – I think it’s understandable why I would find this strange.  Besides, the record itself says it’s “experimental Eastern music.”

Anyway, despite my initial impression, I found this song growing on me, and now I can’t get it out of my head. I hope you give it a chance.  If it gets stuck in your head, YOU’RE WELCOME.

Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth Band

Tonight was the first Friday night I’ve had to myself since early December.  At first, the prospect of being by myself on a Friday, without even my brother around to have adventures with, made me feel a little lonely.  Then I hastily reminded myself that there was a period of several years where I was always by myself, so get over it, woman.

Luckily, my drum teacher called me at work this morning and asked if I’d like a free ticket to see Roy Haynes, a legendary jazz drummer, play with his quartet. I’d planned a quiet evening at home, watching TV, catching up on chores, playing my violin until my neighbors burned down my apartment in retaliation.  But seeing a show sounded like a much better idea, so I said, “Hell yeah!”

The crazy thing about Roy Haynes is he’s eighty-seven-years old.  You wouldn’t know it by the way he grooved on-stage fluidly or by the strong, confident hits on the snare and toms. He even had a tap-dance routine where he moved with such ease that I knew he was putting a lot of people in the audience decades younger than him to shame.

The concert was really enjoyable. Besides Mr. Haynes, there was a pianist, a bassist, and a saxophone player.  They all did a fantastic job, but besides the drumming, I enjoyed the bass playing the most.  The bassist was really incredible.

I’m really grateful to my drum teacher for giving me a free ticket.  I was second row and had great seats.  It was a treat to watch.

Side note- there was a douche in the audience who thought that yelling “YEAH!” when the rest of the room was quiet was totally appropriate.  He kept talking back to Mr. Haynes at really weird times too.  Like Mr. Haynes said, “You’re cool,” to one of the musicians, and the douche in the audience yelled, “NO, HE’S WARM.”  I really wanted to punch him in the face.  Man, it’s a jazz concert, not a Lynyrd Skynyrd show.  Show some respect, seriously.

Three Things: The Music Edition

1.  I’ve been listening to a lot of the Beatles lately.  I go through phases where I listen obsessively to an artist; last fall, it was Queen.  In the winter, it was Jeff Buckley.  Now I’m using the Beatles to welcome spring.

When I was a little younger, I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get the hype about the Beatles.  “They’re catchy,” I would say, “but overrated.”  Now that I actually know and care more about music, I completely disown that opinion.

I know that this puts me in the category of, like, every teenager ever (“OMG, nobody loves them like I do! I hope no one else discovers them!111!!!!”)

I think I mentioned in a post last week that I was listening to the shit out of Magical Mystery Tour.  I think it eclipsed Abbey Road as one of my favorite albums of theirs.  It’s a hard choice.  Just their music has been so soothing to me lately. I feel like the lyrics to some of their songs narrate my life like a soundtrack; it’s perfection.  And I will find new meaning in songs I’ve heard a million times before.  Like “Let It Be?”

I bet you all are grateful that I posted this song since it’s TOTALLY NOT A HUGELY POPULAR SONG OR ANYTHING.  Anyway, I’ve heard this song a million times in my life but sometimes all it takes it just opening your mind to hearing it a different way.  I found myself feeling a visceral emotional response to it, especially the line, “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me.” It’s rare for me to get emotional over a song, but I found myself tearing up over that line.  It’s just so moving.

Yes, internet, there are times where I feel emotionally vulnerable. Like anytime I watch something from Pixar.  NEXT.

2.  Today I went to music lessons.  I’m at the drum solo part on “Tom Sawyer.”

I can’t find a good video where Neil Peart is doing the solo himself, so skip to 2:30 in this video if you want to see it. Yeah? It kind of makes me want to cry.

The fact that I made it that far into the song says nothing about my actual skill level, because this song is so ridiculously beyond my skill level that the fact that I even wanted to learn it is laughable.  It’s like a kid getting a microscope for Christmas and then deciding he’s going to find the cure for cancer before his next birthday.

Of the part I have “learned” so far, I can play maybe half of it.  Then I fudge the rest of it, especially the fills.

The solo though? No. No. No.  I can’t help keeping a “DEAR GOD, WHY?” look on my face when my teacher performs it for me.

It’s going to be awhile before I learn it, is what I’m saying. And by awhile, I mean, maybe after I turn thirty.

3.  You know those days when you turn on the radio, and it’s playing all the songs you love? That happened to me this morning.

I don’t give a fuck what you all think about Foreigner, I love some of their songs. Some. Like this one, and “Hot Blooded.” I even like some cheesy 80’s Foreigner (though I hate “I Want to Know What Love Is” with every fiber of my existence).

3a.  Bonus: this is my Facebook profile pic right now.

 Is this not an awesome picture?  Dave has inspired me in many ways, and continues to do so now…I will be a better drummer! I will run again! I am using too many exclamation points! This is the part where where someone yells, “WIN ROCKY, WIN!” and I run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (WHICH I HAVE TOTALLY DONE, BY THE WAY.)

Rock and Roll

On Saturday night, my friend had an open-mic night themed party. We had been anticipating it for weeks.  Of course, the only people who really performed were the core group who always performs, including me.  We performed so many songs I love -“Rainbow in the Dark,” “Cowboys From Hell,” fucking Led Zeppelin –

I felt so alive when I started doing the drum solo at the end.  I improv’d it; it was nowhere near as impressive as Bonham’s.  There are few times when I feel like a real drummer; but after that song, as I looked to my guitarist for a cue to hit the final crash beat, I did.  Someone commented that we all had an energy that they hadn’t seen in  performances at past parties, and I believe it.  Looking at your fellow performers and realizing they comprise a set of people you love the most in this world is an incredible feeling, and to say any more than that would cheapen the experience.

I will say that seeing partygoers mosh to “Cowboys From Hell” was fucking amazing.

I also busted the same knuckle twice as I flailed around the kit, so droplets of blood spilled all over my white stockings.  It felt pretty rock and roll.

It’s amazing how such a simple night can end up being one of the best in your life.

Confessions of a Delinquent Music Student – The Redemption

I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t looking forward to drum lessons tonight.

I’d been out of town since Friday night, and just got back in last night. Since I hadn’t been near a drum kit,  I couldn’t practice.  After all my promises of improving, here I was showing up without having had practiced a beat.

I felt shame.

I’d sent my drum teacher an email giving him a head’s up about my lack of practice.  I dragged my feet into lessons, sitting on the drum throne with dread.  “Do you want to start off with ‘Bridge Burning?'” he asked.  “I mean, it’s kind of a hard song to start off with without a warm-up, but you’ve been doing really well with it.”

Then he looked at me and said, “You know, I brag about you.  I tell people that when you started with me, you didn’t know very much about drumming at all.  And now here you are playing Foo Fighter songs.”  I felt so happy with these words.  I then apologized profusely, telling him how badly I’d felt last week going to lessons without practicing first.

“Don’t ever feel like you are letting me down when you don’t practice,” he said. “You’re not a junior high student. I understand that you have a job and a life.  You just do what you can.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  It’s something my friends and family tell me time and time again, but I never listen.

The lesson was very fun after that.  We played “Bridge Burning,” and I felt like I played it with more vigor and energy than I had in awhile.  I learned the first line of “Tom Sawyer.”  YEAHHHHHHH.  That’s not really progress since it’s like eight pages long, but whatever.

I learned that all you can do is your best.  As long as I make drumming fun and not a chore, then I will always enjoy it.