VAN DYKE: Blast from the past is the way of the future

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Recently, I was once again reminded of how much I like vinyl records. I have always preferred this format for recorded music. In the ’70s I constantly criticized 8-track tapes for just being too odd of a way to listen to music. These tapes would separate an album into four ‘programs.’ Often, they would split a song across two programs. I believe this was done with three songs on Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album for example. Sometimes, the programs would change for no reason when the tapes got older.

I never liked cassette tapes all that much either when they became the popular choice in the ’80s. They just seemed to be lacking something sound wise. I had several other issues with cassettes as well. First of all, when you opened them, they tended to smell like urinal cakes. Especially when the clear plastic cassette shell was used. As soon as the cellophane was removed, the smell was there. Did they manufacture them in train

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station bathrooms? Then there was the packaging. It was awful. If there was any artwork on the inside or lyrics printed, they would be sprawled across a long multi-folded insert that was just as foldable as one of those gas station road maps. Sometimes it was so large that the tape itself was jammed in there so tightly that you had to break the case to get it out of there. The invention of the Walkman, boomboxes, and the popularity of car stereos made the cassette a necessary evil if you wanted your music to be portable.

As I said earlier I always have preferred records. The last vinyl record I bought new was the Metallica black album. That happened only because I was out of town and stumbled into a used record store. I picked up a couple of used records too, but spent a very long time just looking at what they had. It was a good day.

For me, it just made more sense to get the record. I always had tons of blank cassettes, so I was able to make a copy of the album for car listening. If I bought the cassette, I could not press an LP with it. The packaging was bigger and easier to read. It actually felt like you spent your money on something.

Now vinyl records are making a comeback. The only issue is that it has become trendy, which in turn has driven up the prices. So thank all of you trend followers for making me spend 8 bucks where I used to spend three or four. Actually, I guess its ok. I can just come over to your house and listen to your records. Can we start with that Grand Funk album or maybe some King Crimson?

Summer is slowly trying to escape! You better get out and see some outdoor live music while you still have a chance. Remember to use DEET!

DVD

VAN DYKE: Practice makes practice

As I drove toward Blacktop South headquarters, I noticed the familiar silver OldsmoBuick of one Beau Becraft, Esquire.

Again, I am bested by the young singer/guitarist/impressionist in the first rule of band rehearsals:  show up on time. I was on time, but not as on time as Beau, ever the beacon of punctuality.

I took my things into the rehearsal space, then headed back out to the car for the cooler. The second rule of rehearsals is to stay hydrated, and do so with your own beverages. Always have extra.

That, in itself, is good advice for anyone in a band. You should have extra strings, drumsticks, cables, or whatever accessories needed for your instruments. Always have extra beverages for rehearsal simply because you would want someone to have an extra for you when you need one. It will happen, so always be there for the others when it happens to them.

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Preferably, you would want to have a complete setup (amp, drums, cords, PA, etc.) at your rehearsal space, especially if you are as old as I am. Moving gear around too much puts a lot of wear and tear on it and even more on your body. This week, we were going to work on some trouble spots in some newer songs and discuss ideas for things to add and remove from our setlist.

This being possibly the most important rule for band rehearsals: have an agenda for what you are doing there.

If you do not have a specific task or tasks to focus on, you will probably just end up having a lot of beverages and watching “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Netflix (‘Put the coffee down!’).

We ran through the songs we needed to and retired to nearby Rail Station Irish pub, where the E train goes by so often you hardly notice it. We spent the remainder of the evening finalizing some gig dates and future rehearsals. When I went home, it was 12:30 am. I think at some point I may have been taught how to play the timpani and bought a car, but it is all still a haze. Maybe I dreamed it.

As the clouds parted the following day, I realized I also had a rehearsal with the Cheeseburgers to go to. After the previous night’s shenanigans, it seemed like way less of a good idea to have back to back rehearsal nights.

I made my way back to BTS HQ to take my gear from one basement to another, all the while cursing myself for not buying that gear someone was selling last year which would have made this trip unnecessary.

At this rehearsal, we were trying out some new stuff and just kind of bashing around songs we all kind of knew. It was fun.

So, in summary, try to follow these guidelines for band rehearsals:  Show up on time, bring your own refreshments, don’t be without extra strings and stuff, have an agenda, and communicate. Something I learned recently is that it is beneficial to have a microphone even if you do no singing. Sometimes it is hard to be heard otherwise. Communication is key, so be heard. Just do not forget to listen too!

Now for some local news. Madd Hoss Jackson has a new CD out. Just go to their website for details on where to buy. Some good friends of mine were in that band when it first started. I even sat in with them for a few songs once back in the ’90s. They have come a long way since then.

Avenue Beat has made a couple trips to Nashville and set up a fund-raising site to raise money to do some recording. Please go to their Facebook page and click like for more details as they have also added some local performances. Did I mention that they are so good that it is just stupid?

Liz Bentley just bought a guitar that sounds almost as good as she does. Liz is quietly one of the hardest-working musicians in the area, always getting better. Again, like her Facebook page and get details.

Logan Kammerer has a new CD called Gooma, which is just brilliant.

Be sure to let me know anything I forgot to mention!  As always, keep up with Blacktop South and the Cheeseburgers on Facebook, too. There are always new dates, pics, and ignorance almost daily on both sites.  We aim to please!

DVD

VAN DYKE: The secret to writing a good song

So, I am sitting on the couch with my coffee and a small assortment of baked goods when my son approaches.

For those of you who may be unaware, the years from about 7 to 11 are what I like to call the journalistic period of a child’s development.

Everything is questioned.

Every moment of the day, a parent will feel as though they are on TMZ being asked why the butter has its own house in the

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refrigerator or why the ceiling does not have carpet on it, too.

In this case, it was that dreaded question: “Daddy, where do songs come from?”

As I began trying to answer this question, I realized that it was perhaps even more difficult than answering the ‘where do babies come from’ question. While answering that question may be uncomfortable and awkward, the answer itself is pretty simple. (Insert joke here.)

I told my son I would get back to him on that after doing some research.

Where do songs come from?  Well, the simple answer is that they come from people writing them. But, how does one go about writing a song? I know quite a few people who have written songs and guess what — very few of them do it the same way.

I asked a friend if they were to create a cheatsheet for someone to get into songwriting, what would the steps be? He laughed and said, “Well, there would really only need to be two steps. Step one, write a song. Step two, repeat step one.’

If only it were that simple!  Right?

Some musicians say that you just take a song that you like and re-write it. Maybe just move it to another key and change the lyrics, speed it up, slow it down, etc.

I have found that this works especially well with songs you like, but maybe are not that familiar with.

You know the song, but you do not really know the exact chords and melody.

If you use a song like this, chances are your results will be more unique than if you simply put a capo on the 2nd fret of a guitar and played “Sweet Home Alabama” the same as the original, with different lyrics.

Most songwriters I talked to say there is no rhyme or reason to how they write songs. Sometimes they hear a phase that sticks with them and try to build around that. Sometimes they are just noodling around on a piano or guitar and come up with a piece of music and build around it.

They all seemed to agree that you should write lyrics based on what you know and things you have actually experienced, but there is always room for imagination and embellishment.

Learning and playing songs is really the best thing an aspiring songwriter can do. It is like the great tree killer Stephen King once said, “If you are serious about writing, you really need to read a lot and write a lot.”

Set a goal of writing something every day or every week. Think of it like pancakes. When you make pancakes, you don’t really get “in the zone” until the fifth or sixth one.

The same is true for most things in life. Practice, practice practice! You can do it; that is a fact.

Does it mean you will be a great songwriter? No. But, if you do not put in the practice time you will never know. Listen to top 40 and country radio. You will quickly see that it is not that difficult to write a bad song that is catchy. Especially if you have a computer!

So, where do songs come from? How about you write a few and let me know? I have no idea! HA!

DVD

VAN DYKE: Saying goodbye to a good friend

Once again, we are forced to say goodbye to another member of our local musician family.  Ted Tappe was a fixture of the local music scene for a long time and touched quite a few of our musical lives and many of our pesonal lives as well.  He will be greatly missed.  My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

This Friday night, we will be celebrating Ted’s life and legacy at the Community Cancer Crush.  For more information on the event go to http://www.cancercrush.org/.  It is basically a fundraiser for the Blessing Cancer Center to benefit cancer patients who may need a little extra help to get their treatments and make their appointments.  The money will be used to help with transportation, fees,

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medications, and other things that may help a patient have a better experience during a time they may feel a little helpless.

The hope is that it will be an annual event where we can have some fun and remember those we lost and help out others at the same time.  The entertainment is live music by The Horn Dogs, a band Ted was a member of, The Cheeseburgers, and Blacktop South.  It should be a great night filled with great local music.  There will be a few tears, but mostly there will be laughs, smiles, and memories of Ted.  Somehow, I think he finally found that elusive ‘Texas Teddy Tone.’  Rest in peace, Ted.  We will try to hold down the fort for a while…
Thanks to technology, we are able to listen to just about any song we want at any time we want.  I love it, but it does come with a price.  Much like the phenomenon of having no idea what to have for dinner any given night that I wrestle with (huge problems, I know, don’t judge, I have 3 kids), I just cannot think of something to listen to while working, cleaning the house, or writing this blog.  At first, it was easy and I thought it was the greatest thing ever.  Then, after a month or so, I had to look for stuff and I would spend 20 minutes doing that before giving up and putting on Led Zeppelin.

This process continued up until a few weeks ago, also thanks to technology.  Enter the Shabby Road Record Show podcast.  Two guys sitting around listening to records and talking about them.  It sounds boring, right?  Au contraire, Bernaise, it is a fantastic way to discover or rediscover some records you may really like, while listening to two entertaining hooligans babble on about what is so great about them.  Yes, in full disclosure, they are friends of mine.  But, I am not doing this as a favor to them.

This is really good and I got a lot of cool things to listen to thanks to it.  So please check it out if you in any way like music, especially in vinyl form.

Again, try to make it out to the Cancer Crush Friday night.  Thursday at the State Room in Quincy or Saturday at L’Treyns in Keokuk, you should check out Kip Winger doing a solo acoustic show.  Regardless of your feelings about the 80’s hair bands or whatever, this is something you will want to see.  Also, Colt Ford, Trailer Choir, and Jared Blake are out at the Adams County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

That concert is for another good cause, Mendon schools. Be sure to check the Local Q calendar for all the other entertainment options this weekend or any weekend. Enjoy yourselves and be safe everyone!

VAN DYKE: At least pay lip service to poor lip sync performance

I should have known it was a mistake when I turned the television on and immediately saw Hunter Hayes.  I held a split second of hope that he was going to debut a new song, and then I saw he had a microphone and nothing else.  It was going to be ‘Invisible.’  Now, do not misunderstand me, I know that Hunter is an incredible musician.  He can play just about anything really well.  He just is

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not a great singer.  I respect him for going all out with it and not hiding behind his musicianship.  He is still pretty young, so I seriously believe he will improve greatly over the years.  He just has a ways to go.  At least he sang live, which is becoming more and more of a rarity.

Sometimes performances need to be mimed or lip synced.  I fully understand using a recording for events like the Super Bowl.  People generally do not tune in to the Super Bowl to see a live musical performance.  They tune in to watch the game, the commercials, or if they are like me, they watch as an excuse to have large amounts of extremely unhealthy snacks and beverages.  I even get it to a certain degree with artists like Katy Perry or Lady GaGa who put on a production for their fans that requires a lot of physical activity.  These two ladies can sing with anyone, but they also are performance artists who use choreography and special effects that tend to interfere with singing a song.  I have seen live shows from both and they spent a lot more time singing live than I thought they would.  I would much rather watch an artist I actually like, but I was not bored with either of them.

So that brings me to the main issue I have from last weekend, and that is the performance of Rascal Flatts.  They obviously lip synced their entire performance at the ACM awards.  Now, one point in their defense (and only one) is that lead singer Gary LeVox did not look terribly pleased about being there, so it may have been a last minute technical issue.  HOWEVER, 24 hours after the show, I have not seen one word from the group or their representatives explaining it.  The network and the show’s producers have said nothing either.  But, even if it was a technical issue, was there nothing else that could be done?  Do these people consider themselves professionals?  If so, shouldn’t all of their stuff be in working order?  Shouldn’t they have a backup plan that didn’t make a multi-platinum selling recording artist look ridiculous?  I wonder.  I am very curious about what their explanation will be.  How believable will it be after so much time?  Remember the Red Hot Chili Peppers controversy from this years Super Bowl?  As soon as they saw chatter about it, they put out a statement admitting it was done and it made sense.  That said, it was probably not one of their better decisions.  But, what would you say if someone asked you to play at the Super Bowl?  I would not hesitate to do it, even if I had to dress up like Björn Ulvaeus.  I guess my point is that I am not judging anyone for what they do or don’t do as long as they own it.  Is anyone else hungry?…

DVD

VAN DYKE: It’s good to be back

I have been away for a while working on other things, but now I am back with more senseless ramblings than ever before. I will start with the absolute circus that Kiss and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are trying to create. All you need to do is look at the statements both parties have released to understand how ignorant this organization is. I have talked enough about this so I am not going to expand too much other than to say my opinion has never changed on this institution.

The mere fact that there are any rules at all to induction call into question their use of ‘Rock and Roll’ in the name. My opinion (other than the Hall as a whole is a joke) is that if a band is inducted into a ‘hall of fame,’ then the band is inducted. All of it. Even Peter James Bond and Stumpy Joe. Even if they were in the band for one song, they are part of it. Who am I kidding? The whole thing is ludicrous.

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As you may know, I have joined another band in addition to the Cheeseburgers called Blacktop South. We had our first full show last Saturday night and it was a huge success. For that, I am very grateful. I am not mentioning this to toot my own horn, but to make a bigger point about local music. Our show happened to be on the same weekend as the Leaps of Love fundraiser, which was rescheduled to this date due to inclement weather on its original date. There were also some other events going on in the area, too, with some great local talent, namely Cheeks McGee and Eleven, just to name a couple.

It was one of those nights I loved when I did not have a gig of my own. In one night, I could see a huge chunk of local talent. Because there is a lot going on, it is unlikely any place is packed full. That means a beverage can be obtained inside of 40 minutes, and I can get a good spot to watch from.

Nights like this can be a little tedious on the artists because they like to have a lot of people at the same time and have a big party. But, most give it all they have no matter what the headcount is. And for that, they always have my respect. I have never seen anyone playing locally do any less. So we are truly blessed with the amount of talent in the area, and the character of the individuals possessing it is never in question.

That being said, I tried to do my part. I had a little time between setup and getting to my own gig, so I went and checked out the Leaps of Love fundraiser. I was only there for a short time, but I wanted to make my donation and have a beverage before heading out to my gig. I got to see a bunch of friends and hear a little music from Flatfoot Reed before departing, so it was all good. Then, we played our show down at the fabulous One Restaurant and Bar and just had a blast.

Afterward, I hung out with the bass player from another local band along with a couple of my BTS band-mates until roughly 3:30 in the morning. Now that is supporting local music, right?

There was some entertaining Facebook chatter going on after the weekend about various things.  I chose not to participate  I am not the biggest fan of newer country music as I have said many times, but I heard some lyrics that kind of sum up things.

“Yeah, the player’s gonna play, and a haters gonna hate, and a regulator’s born to regulate…”

Anyway, it is good to be back and I have more writing to come, so stay tuned!

— DVD

James Hetfield of Metallica performs "One" at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Thoughts on the Grammys and upcoming local shows

James Hetfield of Metallica performs "One" at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

James Hetfield of Metallica performs “One” at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

So, the Grammy awards happened.

As of this writing, I have not watched any of the telecast but I have already heard lots about it.  Among the comments I saw on Facebook were these:  “Mr. Roboto and his brother won for record of the year?” “Wow, some of these performers should consider lip-synching” and “Hunter Hayes performance had all the dogs in the neighborhood going nuts.”

Of course I had to add my own suggestion that the Grammys return the award to Milli Vanilli based off what I am hearing online about their ceremony this year.  I swear I heard the words Metallica and piano in the same sentence, too.  At least they were not paired up with Taylor Swift.

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There was a lot of chatter about making music on computers and not needing to play instruments as well.  I find myself agreeing, but then I remember my grandparents reaction when I placed side one of Kiss Alive II on their turntable.  My take on the electronic/technology music is that if it speaks to someone, it is music and it is worthwhile.  Our generation used to say that if it is too loud you are too old.  So, maybe today it is if it is too real, you are too old.  If someone wants to create sounds on a computer and say it’s music, that is fine by me.  I would rather have them building a sound lab than a meth lab.  Wouldn’t you?

As I said on my previous post, there are some local shows coming up that I am tremendously excited about.

First of all, the fifth annual Local Area Musicians Charity Fundraiser benefiting Leaps of Love at historic Turner Hall takes place Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1.  Friday’s festivities start around 6:30 p.m. and Saturday’s music begins at 2 p.m.  There is a $7 cover charge.  This is one of my favorite events because it showcases a lot of the talent from in and around Quincy and benefits a great cause at the same time.  If for some crazy reason you cannot attend, please consider making a donation.  Please check out the website of this great charity (leapsoflove.org) and see the good work they do.  Every little bit helps.  If you happen to see legendary Further Ado bass player Mike Gilbert, be sure to give him a shout out for putting it all together.  It is also probably the last time you will be able to hear the legendary Predawn Hour perform live, one of my favorite bands ever.

Also, another one of my favorite bands, Busey’s Helmet, has recorded an EP at Copper Mine studios.  I have heard it a few times now and it gets better each time I hear it.  The band features Alex Kendall on vocals, Matt Kemp on Guitar, Tom Hurst on congas, Steve Hufford on the drums, and Greg Myers on the killer Rickenbacker bass.  They are a heavy band but their sound has elements from many styles.  Be sure to pick up a copy of their CD when you get a chance.  One chance to get it will be Saturday, Feb. 15, at The State Room where they will be celebrating the release with Somewhere in Between and Against All Odds.  The doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9.  There is  a $5 cover charge.

On Saturday, March 8, Turner Hall will be the site of the second  Six String Heroes party featuring the Cheeseburgers, Liz Bentley and Clockwork.  If you are not familiar with this organization, this is a great way to get to know it.  There will be a cash bar, prizes and whatever other shenanigans Frank Haxell may come up with.  Frank is just coming back from a skiing trip between Keokuk and Warsaw, so he is fired up to finish getting the event put together.

I hope you can make your way to one or more of these events.  It will definitely be worth your while.

— DVD

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VAN DYKE: A look at the Rock Hall inductees

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Yes! It is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame time again!

Just as expected, they fail miserably again by leaving out huge bands like Yes and Deep Purple. It is a little known fact that once an artist is inducted in to the hall, they get a vote. And this, my friends, is the only reason we are seeing Kiss inducted this year. Also going in are Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, Hall & Oates, The E-Street Band, Andrew Loog Oldham, and Brian Epstein.

Let’s take a look at that list for a minute. Are you wondering who Andrew Loog Oldham is? Well, he was the manager of the Rolling Stones back in the 60s when they were learning who they were. If you are a reader and a fan of that era, his two memoirs are a fascinating read. Should he be in there?  Sure. And what about Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles? Of course, and it’s about time.

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Normally I would say a band like Nirvana in their first year of eligibility wouldn’t make it. But, it’s Nirvana. There is no question they belong there. I like Hall & Oates. I have lots of their material in my collection. But, they had nowhere near the impact of Nirvana or Kiss. Linda Ronstadt is someone who I figured was already in there. She belongs there. Are they putting her in because of the fact she can no longer sing? Maybe. She had just a tremendous voice. Also, if not for her, Don Henley and Glen Frey may have never met. The E-Street band should have gone in with Springsteen.  That is just nuts. Cat Stevens? OK. Peter Gabriel is already there as a member of Genesis, but has a stellar collection of solo records as well, so definitely should be recognized for that.

The question being asked is if the original members of Kiss are going to perform together. There is lots of speculation on this. Some say they should, some say the band as it is today should, some say both. My question is this. Why? Why give the Hall of Fame, who has disrespected you from day one of eligibility, any kind of event that they would profit from? If it were up to me, I would put together a Kiss tribute band to perform instead. A tribute band made up of people in the Hall who are fans. After all, they are the reason Kiss got in the hall. The four original members would respectfully accept the honor together with each saying a few words, then the tribute band would destroy the stage. Better yet, after playing one Kiss song, they would play songs by bands who are not in there, but should be. The stage would fill with smoke, then appearing out of the haze is Richie Blackmore for an encore of Smoke on the Water, the most recognizable riff in the history of electric guitar. But, like the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Rock Hall will continue to ignore reality and think it gets to write (or rewrite) the history of something owned by the fans. If not for us, there would be no reason to play. Goodnight Cleveland!

There are lots of things brewing locally that I am really excited about, so stay tuned. It’s gonna be a banner year for local music, so get out there and check it out.

— DVD

VAN DYKE: Make a list, check it twice

Hey, guess what? It’s Christmas time already! By now, I am sure you have had numerous people ask you what you want for a present this year. I remember making a list every year for my family. I always felt like that was a cheat sheet for them, so I always

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put the most outrageous things on mine. That way, they actually had to put some thought into what they got me. Also, there was always the off chance that they might actually get something on the list.

For instance, one year I put down that I wanted a motorcycle, tickets to a Kiss concert, A corvette, and a guitar. For the guitar, I used a picture of a Gibson Les Paul. I was 9 years old, I think. While Les Paul guitars were under a thousand dollars at that time, it was still highly unlikely that one would be purchased by any member of the family. Of course, I ended up getting none of those things, but I remember being very pleased with the things I received anyway.  It really is the thought that counts.

Anyway, I have decided to post my Christmas list from this year, so here are a few items no one will be buying me, unless of course you really want to. You would certainly get a lot of publicity from me if you did! A lot of these items would make anyone on your Christmas list very happy, but keep in mind where you got the idea.

1)    First, as always, is the classic sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard electric guitar. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gibson-2013-les-paul-standard-electric-guitar?pfm=sp Play one sometime. They are the epitome of cool and are only overpriced by about $1,100.

2)    Ahh, the Fender American Deluxe Jazz bass, http://www.musiciansfriend.com/bass/fender-american-deluxe-jazz-bass whatever color you like is fine, but I prefer the sunburst or red.

3)    Now this one really sings. The Taylor 656ce Maple/Spruce Grand Symphony 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar.  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/taylor-656ce-maple-spruce-grand-symphony-12-string-acoustic-electric-guitar  At just over three grand, this thing should teach you to be as good as Tommy Emmanuel, Segovia and Jimmy Page within 10 days. It doesn’t, but it sure sounds like a million dollars. Maybe a billion…

4)    Yes, I like guitars but this would be a great addition, too. The 2014 Winnebago Journey. Now that there is an RV!  http://www.gowinnebago.com/products/2014/journey/  Soccer tournaments and gigs would be way more exciting with these accommodations. The kitchen is huge!  And we all know RV’s are the best things to cook in.

5)    What about this beauty? Everybody needs to have an Olhausen, right? http://www.olhausenbilliards.com/OLHAUSEN+POOL+TABLES/id/34/prod_id/177/prod_keyword/chicago/gr_id/2/

6)    Ok, not everything on the list costs an arm and a leg. The Marshall refrigerator is only about 400 bucks. http://marshallfridge.com/ I am not sure where the tubes go in this thing, but it sure looks cool on stage.

7)    I always put what I want/need the most last on the list. That way it is the freshest in the reader’s mind. I recently had an experience with one of these and I am hooked now. I will have to hire someone to carry it because this head may weigh more than an 8×10 speaker cabinet, which would go nicely with it.  A 4×10 is ok, but if you are going to get a hernia and ruin your back moving something around, why not go all in?  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/ampeg-svt-cl-classic-bass-head#productDetail

Well, that is my list for this year. In all seriousness, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It is shaping up to be another busy year for me with tons of music, soccer games, home improvements, and, of course, work.

Kiss made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame this year, but not Deep Purple or Yes. It is just like the condiment hall of fame, which inducted salsa and honey mustard before Miracle Whip. Come on man! Who are the voters? When is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce even gonna be on the ballot?  Ugh!

At any rate, give the gift of music. No iTunes gift cards either. Get someone a turntable and  some records. That reminds me, I have to go get mine…

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VAN DYKE: Rock arguments as laughable now as they were then

I recently watched an old video about the evils of heavy rock music. It was trying to spell out that it was “the devil’s music” and was meant to do harm. It is even more hilarious today than it was back when I first saw it.

This is something that has been a recurring ignorance for decades. For the most part, the film uses the most flimsy evidence you could possible imagine. It describes the technique of backward-masking messages supposedly used by

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the likes of Led Zeppelin, KISS, Motley Crue, Black Sabbath and Queen.

The one that jumps out at me is the Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust,” which when played backward apparently says “it’s fun to smoke marijuana.” To me, it sounded more like “I got drunk at Benihana,” but my ears are shot. Also, I will neither confirm or deny either of those statements.  

The Motley Crue stuff was real, but the thing is, they actually did it and pretty much said so on the album cover. It was in response to the wingnuts who go listening to songs backwards. Maybe it is true that we just continue to look for things to bother ourselves with, rather than try to find things to help each other. Get a life people!

The show goes on to go into detail about some people that sued Ozzy Osbourne because their son killed himself after allegedly listening to the album containing the song “Suicide Solution.” The song is about alcoholism and how booze can kill you like any other substance out there. There are some revealing interviews about the incident with family members, but I am not going to get into any of it because I cannot imagine what that must be like for them. Grief does a lot of different things to people. It is like a drug, too. It is usually a healing thing, but it certainly can consume you just like any drug if you cannot or do not deal with it. If you know someone who is hurting, maybe check on them once in a while. Also, get involved in your kids’ lives. They won’t like it much, but they will know you are there.  

There was another family who sued the band Judas Priest for about the same type of thing. The look on their singer, Rob Halford’s face, when he was going into a courtroom for this said it all to me. He was absolutely devastated.  

Could you imagine being in that situation? Having someone tell you that your work is responsible for someone killing themselves and you wanted it to happen has to be the worst possible thing an artist could hear. How could you continue to write without thinking about it?

On a lighter note, it is almost Halloween. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and we can fill up my the kids candy stash for another two weeks. I hope everyone found a decent costume this year. If you have a crappy costume, you will get the crappy candy!

The band (The Cheeseburgers) played a costume party last weekend, and we all dressed up. There are some pics out there, I think. I was Elwood Blues again and actually got to have my dry white toast this time. I really wanted to be Walter White, but I just could not shave my head. My beard is almost all grey now, too, so I would have needed to dye it. Maybe next year my hair will catch up and I will want to shave it.  

Oh well, I am thinking Gene Simmons for next year anyway.  Crap, now I gotta send him a check!  Be safe everyone!