I Have Returned.

The Foo Fighters may be on hiatus, but I have officially returned from mine.

Hello blogisphere. I missed you.

It’s been a long three months, filled with concerts, festivals, beaching, “life organization”, and a splash of day job consumption. But I’m here now. And we have LOTS to catch up on. It blows my mind that despite my absence, my readership has continued to stay strong. I have received countless emails, messages, and face-to-face questions about my continuation of this blog that I hold so near and dear to my heart.  Well do not fret, because Bask in the Music isn’t going anywhere.

The past 3 months in pictures…

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…Peace out, Summer 2012. You rocked.

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Rain Rain, Stay and Chill

Here’s a playlist I created for epically cozy, rainy days – when all you want to do is snuggle up and day dream. Enjoy!

Rainy Mix

Little Wing

In 1967, Jimi Hendrix wrote a song called “Little Wing”. Now, there are several different ideas on and interpretations of the song’s meaning.  When originally interviewed about it after the album Axis: Bold as Love was released, Jimi claimed the lyrics to “Little Wing” were a metaphor for the Monterey Pop Music Festival, summer of 1967 – which was The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first major show after returning to the states following two years, and a slew of success in the U.K. This show, and Jimi’s performance in particular, gained a ton of recognition (both positive and negative) among music journalists all over the country – spreading the word like wild fire (pun intended) about Jimi, his band, and his “pyrotechnics”.

“I got the idea like, when we was in Monterey, and I just happened to…just looking at everything around. So I figured that I take everything I see around and put it maybe in the form of a girl maybe, something like that, you know, and call it ‘Little Wing’, in other words, just fly away. Everybody really flying and they’s really in a nice mood, like the police and everybody was really great out there. So I just took all these things an put them in one very, very small little matchbox, you know, into a girl and then do it. It was very simple, you know. That’s one of the very few ones I like.”

To the contrary, however, Charles R. Cross’ biography “Room Full of Mirrors”, states that Jimi later told his brother Leon that the song was about their mother, Lucille, who had passed away when he was a teenager. Other songs about his mom include “Castles Made of Sand” and “Angel” (which, of course, are both amazing.) Some claim that Little Wing was Jimi’s guardian angel, while others claim Little Wing was Jimi’s personification of LSD.  Regardless of whatever the truth may be, the song is perfection.

I wish I could remember the first time I heard “Little Wing”.  I don’t. But what I do know is that it is, by far, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created.  And aside from the instrumentals (specifically Jimi’s guitar work – which is particularly extraordinary and other worldly, even for him), I love the fact that the lyrics leave so much room for interpretation.  Each individual listener can decide for themselves not only what Jimi meant, but what it means to them on a personal level… Because isn’t that what music is all about?

“When I’m sad, she comes to me

With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free.

It’s alright, she says, it’s alright

Take anything you want from me.

Anything.”

To me, she is music.

To me, music is one of, if not the most important thing in the world.  It changes everything, it affects everyone – whether they know it or not.  Jimi Hendrix is a legend because he influenced everything we now know about rock’n’roll and the blues.  He took an instrument, which was already technically mastered by many, but he made it talk. Literally. The guitar was Jimi’s voice in a very complex world.

For Jimi, for my Grandma (and guardian angel) Rosalind, for me, for letting go of the past, for looking fear in the eye, for going with the flow, and for rock ‘n’roll.

 fly on, little wing.

So Much to Say

“Open. up. my. head annnd let me ouuuuuut.. a-little bay-bay.”

(Thanks, Dave.)

Hello!  I know, I’m an asshole for waiting well over a week to write a new post. But in all fairness I have been very busy catching up on my life since my return from my trip.  Okay, that’s a terrible excuse. I’ve just been lazy.

But seriously, some crazy shit is going down.  First of all, have any of you heard this news about the Jimi Hendrix biopic?  Today it was announced that they are casting Andre 3000 (yes, from Outkast) to play Hendrix in a film called “All Is By My Side”, about his years in England from 1966 – 1967, and it’s set to start filming in DUBLIN in 3 weeks.  Okay, can we please talk about a couple of things?  First of all, I think it’s really weird that I was reading “Room Full of Mirrors” while I was in Dublin 2 weeks ago, and now they’re filming the Hendrix biopic there. Secondly, I’m not really sure how I feel about Andre 3000 – not as a person, but as Jimi.  Look, I’m a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, and if they’re going to do a film about questionably the most pivotal years of his career then they need to do it right.  I will not argue that Andre looks like Jimi, because he actually kind of does.  But isn’t he a little old?  He’s 36. Hendrix was 27 when he died, and only 23 during his rise to stardom in the U.K. Andre looks great, but not 23.  I guess that’s why film crews hire make up artists.  And also, I don’t really know that much about his acting chops.  The only thing I’ve ever seen him in was Four Brothers, and he definitely wasn’t bad, but I don’t know.  What do you think?

 

In other news, this Saturday I attended the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the Prudential Center in Newark.  Un-fucking-believable.  I originally did not intend on going (for obvious reasons), but I suddenly changed my mind on Friday night (looking at other people’s pictures of the 5/4 show on Facebook definitely didn’t help my regret), bought tickets, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. They still got it, and I was pleasantly surprised by Josh Klinghoffer’s performance throughout. He’s very, very good.

Pass the Torch

Here’s the video I took of Saturday night’s performance of “Scar Tissue”:

Please note that I tend to watch concerts like a sport, so a few comments throughout, such as “PUSH IT, JOSH!!!” (for example) was me.  However, the really out-of-tune and slightly distracting male singing voice in the video was NOT me, but some innocent person standing next to me who will unknowingly be shamed by my blog for all eternity. So this is my formal apology. I’m so sorry, guy… whoever you are.

We were also all very sad to hear about the Beastie Boys’ member Adam “MCA” Yauch’s passing on Friday.  I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan, although I did grow up in the 90s, and so inevitably their music was pretty much always in my peripheral. They were also just inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame (along with those fine gentlemen above and Guns N’ Roses) just three weeks prior to his death.  Although he was not in attendance at the ceremony due to his illness, he did become an official inductee, along with his many other lifetime accomplishments, including directing many of the Beastie Boys’ videos under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower, opening his own production company, and doing a ton of charity work, among several other projects.  He was 47 years old.  My condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Great video.

So Behind I’m Still Talking About Hendrix

HELLO INTERWEBS! I HAVE RETURNED!!

It’s been a while. How’s everyone doing out there??  I just got back from Ireland.  Did you know that Guinness beer is WAY better in Ireland than it is in the states?  According to a new bartender/drummer friend in Doolin, it is fact that Guinness doesn’t travel well – which is why it’s 100 times more amazing over there.

Since I’ve been away, and had very limited internet access while I was gone, I am terribly behind on all kinds of news. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Is this really happening?  How can that much ego fit into one relationship?  Why do I care?  It also just genuinely kind of grosses me out. Of course there are far more important things going on in the world, but let’s face it, this is what people want to talk about. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

I’m so behind that I haven’t even had a chance to listen to Jack White’s first solo album, Blunderbuss (released Tuesday) in its entirety yet.  I’ll get on that at some point today and report back, although I have been hearing nothing but positive feedback thus far.

On my trip, however, I did discover a new appreciation for the banjo. As you can imagine, we did a lot of pubbing, and there was FREE live music at almost every pub.  Why it can’t be like this in New York, I don’t know… but it was great.  There was a little village on the West Coast of Ireland called Doolin where we stayed for 3 days, and while we were there we “frequented” a pub called McGann’s. It was a good crowd, but there was also an amazing band there featuring Kevin Griffin, a world-renowned banjo player, and ranked as one of the best in all of Ireland.  He was fucking awesome.

That’s my mom on her birthday with Kevin (the guy boozing on the left)

Also while I was there I started reading Charles R. Cross’ “Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix”.  Charles Cross is an amazing writer, and also wrote “Heavier Than Heaven”, the bestselling Kurt Cobain bio that I read last year and absolutely loved.  If you’re interested in checking them out, click their titles above.

So anyway, I was reading this book and I came across this part that really blew my mind.  Here’s a synopsis:

It was June 4, 1967. The Jimi Hendrix Experience had already been formed (including Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums), and they were experiencing rapid success throughout the U.K.  They had already been set to travel back to the states to play the Monterey Pop Festival in July, and were playing their “farewell England” concert that day at the Seville Theater in London, which was owned by Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager.  The Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (my personal favorite of their albums) 3 days prior, and both Paul and George were set to attend the show (along with Eric Clapton – no big deal.) Just 30 minutes prior to their performance, Jimi came backstage and announced that he had just heard the new Beatles record, and that they were going to open their set with the song Sgt. Pepper’s. Redding and Mitchell thought he was completely nuts, but they listened to it and went through it a couple of times. This is what happened less than a half an hour later:

Later that night, Brian Epstein had a private party and Jimi, Noel and Mitch were invited.  When they arrived none other than Paul McCartney himself opened the front door holding a huge joint in his mouth.  He immediately passed it to Jimi and said, “That was fucking great, man.”  To this day, Paul McCartney will say that performance was one of the greatest honors of his career.

Great story. Great book. Go read it.