things I like

So I guess you could say this post falls in the category of things I like.  As many of you who have followed my blog over the years knows, I love the 4AD music label(specifically the earlier years – the past 10-15 years have been somewhat hit/miss). One of the bands that I enjoy from the earlier years is RED HOUSE PAINTERS.  I recently acquired their SHOCK ME ep.

This recording features 4 official tracks and one untitled “hidden” track (at the end of track 4). Released in 1994 it really is a wonderful collection of covers and original material.   For this post I want to focus on the title track which is a cover of the KISS song Shock Me (written by Ace Frehley) that was originally on the KISS album LOVE GUN.    In fact there are two versions on this EP (the electric and an acoustic version).  Both versions are very solid and very unlike KISS.   Which is one of the things I love.

Don’t get me wrong; I love kiss I actually saw the Alive II tour at a local venue called the Richfield Coliseum (near Cleveland – which no longer exists – how time flies) on 8/1/1978 and what a show!  But that was in my fist pumpin’ hard rockin’ teen years.   Maybe you’re not a fan of KISS or are not familiar with this song.  That’s okay.   Ace Frehley wrote this song after an event that actually occurred on the KISS’ ROCK AND ROLL OVER tour where he was nearly electrocuted.   If you’re familiar with KISS you can imagine this song has the tell-tale chugging hard rock sound that many love from the make-up clad quartet.   I’ll post that video at the end of this post for comparison sake.   But first I want you to listen to the RED HOUSE PAINTERS version.

RED HOUSE PAINTERS have been described as slow core and folk rock. While their music inhibits both of those worlds this song is definitely in the slow core vein.   One of the things I enjoy about it is that is has a very Velvet Underground feel to it.    The second iteration of the song which is acoustic sounds familiar yet very different.  I can sit with my eyes closed listening and imagining Lou Reed and Peter, Paul & Mary singing this.   It really is quite beautiful.

The EP has ephemeral/ethereal cover art that 4AD was known for in the early days.    If you don’t recognize the image – it is a detail of an old broken down upright piano keyboard.   A beautiful simple image that resonates so well with the RED HOUSE PAINTERS sound.   Dean Carlson of ALLMUSIC described this version of the song and the EP as “Somehow quietly splendid”.   I look at the KISS version of SHOCK ME as the “I dare you to” version and the RED HOUSE PAINTERS versions as the “surprise me” versions.  Because even though the lyrics and music is the same the songs couldn’t be more different.  And I think a great original cover of a song that basically re-invents the songs potential is also great art.  I think I’ve said all I can at this time.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Finally the moment you have been waiting for?  Here’s the KISS version from a concert in 1998 in all their makeup and costumed glory.   🙂

two halves of a creative life

I just wanted to share this wonderful video from a YouTube channel I’ve followed for a few years.   Enjoy.

And I would like to add that you may go through this cycle more than once. I know that when I was younger my creative life revolved around music.  Then it evolved into theater and film.   Finally my creative life has been in image making and photography.   Also as many of you know from my posts I also dabble with writing and poetry which has been an arc over most of my life so it to has had it’s own creative cycle.   I’ve found that key aspects from all the previous iterations of my creative life have followed to the next.    So I guess one might say that in previous cycles of my creative life,  when I came to the evening of that cycle, I changed to a different primary form of creativity.   Therefore I would start the cycle all over again.    I want you to remember that no matter how many times the cycle of creativity turns you will always retain something of the previous cycle.   It will be a foundation and can be an inspiration and influence as you start a new cycle.    Take care every one.  Peace and blessings.

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*notice.  I have decided to start opening up comments on certain posts to promote discussion and possibly alternate views.   So if you have some ideas around the subject of this post – please feel free to drop them in the comments section.   Or if you prefer a more ‘private’ dialogue about this post, any post or anything in general, I have added a contact page to my site which can be accessed from the page menu at the top, and in the sidebar, of this blog.   Thanks everyone for your support. 

Easier Sung Than Done

Autumns End #1

Something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.  We as human beings have a habit of blowing things out of proportion and making them seem more important than they are. 

I want you to think about what makes you angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless.  It might be relationships, politics, health, personal economics/finances, business, religion, culture, media, the environment etc.   Nothing is off bounds.  Everything matters here.   I’m guessing there is at least one thing that immediately comes to mind for every individual.

Now. 

Let it go. 

Let it go now.

And yes, that seems easy; but it’s not, especially the more invested you are in the subject whether it’s emotionally, spiritually or intellectual investment.   

But do you think the tree in Autumn wants to let go of its leaves? Or that it’s easy.   And yet it does.  The tree feels the pain of separation with each leaf – sometimes a thousand times.  Year after year the tree will let go of its leaves.  The tree does not know what the future holds but it continues the cycle.  

So for all the things that seem so important at the time – in the long view – they are not important at all.     

They are about as important as a “pebble lying on a gravel road”.   So let it go.  Sometimes it’s easier sung than done.   I found that singing this song while I’m thinking of these things helps me keep things in perspective and remember what’s really important.

Maybe a nice practice would be to write down all these things than anger, frustrate (…etc.) you.  Then like Autumn leaves – burn them. Let the worries and cares turn to ash.  Then wash them away. 

Hey man, you don’t know what you’re missing
You count your curses and forget about the blessings
Don’t you think you should learn a little lesson
What are you waiting for?
 
Hey man, what makes you so special
Can’t seem to find the angels for the devils
Don’t you think that if you learned to love a little
You’d live a whole lot more
 
Let it go, let it go
This is smaller than you know
No bigger than a pebble lying on a gravel road
Let it go, let it go
Got to leave it all behind you
Give the sun a chance to find you
Let it go
 
Hey man, there’s no time for crying
You made your bed but don’t think its fit to lie inWasted on the ground when you know you should be flying
What are you waiting for?
 
How can a man not see
It seems so clear to me
You’ve just got to live and learn
Smile at the simple stuff
This road ain’t long enough
To miss a single turn

a study

This image is simply titled STUDY #1.    It was completed entirely in Photoshop using various tools like line drawing and selection.  Added color and multiple layers for composition.    I also layered in some texture from some of my own photos.   When I first finished this I was so exhausted that I felt quite indifferent.  But 2 months have passed and I find it very rewarding, even enjoyable.   I hope you enjoy it also.  

Enjoy this warm track by Manhattan Transfer:  “Capim” featuring Brazilian singer/songwriter Djavan from their album BRASIL.

Tired of politics? Check this out!

So are you tired of politics and the media?   Well here are two fun videos.  Mashups of old movie stars dancing to contemporary tunes.    How many movies in the clips can you name?  

First up is the theme song from the movie Footloose. 

next how about some funk?