Archive for the Pontification Category

My Starter Won’t Start

Posted in Music, Music Video, Pontification, What? with tags , , , on December 5, 2012 by greedycherry

Justin Townes Earle

I know it’s been just about two weeks since I last wrote anything here, but that whole week after Thanksgiving was, honestly, sort of a write-off, and since then….well, since then I just haven’t felt I had anything to write about. Not enthusiastically anyway.

Most people can just write a blog entry off the top of their head, maybe writing about feelings or a personal experience, quickly typing something out and getting back to their lives in short order. Not me. I think and sketch and draft and discard and research and double-check facts….every blog entry is sort of like a term paper for me (albeit one I quite enjoy doing).

I’ve had a few suggestions from friends here and there that I should stop trying to write such long stories when I do an entry and just keep it brief. And I’d love to do that….but I feel like I just can’t. When I come here to write about music, I want to share things with you, tell you facts and tales that you may not have known about your favorite artists, or maybe even help you discover new ones. I want to make it FUN.

And if I were just to type, “Hey, heard this earlier today. It’s awesome!” and then post a link to a video, what kind of fun would that be?

One of my favorite things in the world is history. Knowing what came before, how it led to what’s happening now, the little decisions that made this thing happen instead of that. And, because I love music so much, music history is my absolute favorite. I can’t get enough of behind-the-scenes stories, little-known facts, interviews that reveal something I never knew about a favorite song or group.

But it’s ridiculous….I can read an article in the newspaper or a book from the library in an attempt to study a subject I want to learn more about, and find myself rereading sentences over and over (sometimes even out loud), not able to soak in all my eyes are seeing. It’s like my brain is a bouncer at a club, and just won’t let the new information in. Unless……..unless it’s about music. Then, all of a sudden, one simple skim of a sentence is enough. I not only understand what I’ve read, but I remember it forever.

What the hell is THAT all about? And what do you think….should I just keep it short from now on, or do you find value in the more in-depth stuff? Be curious to know…

Anyway, before I bore you to death with wave upon wave of pontification, let me do what I don’t really want to do, if only in the name of updating my blog.

Here’s a video that my friend Jessie shared with me a few weeks back. It’s freaking phenomenal. Seriously. If you know the singer Steve Earle (who is a complete badass in his own right), this is his rowdy, badass kid Justin. And you’d better call the police before you start watching this, because he’s about to completely molest a perfectly good guitar. Unbelievable.

So many talented musicians… little time. Catch you next week, when – hopefully – I’ll have something FUN to write about!

Saying “Crap” In Five Different Languages

Posted in Music, Pontification with tags , , , on October 2, 2012 by greedycherry

Sometimes I think about it and find it a little nuts that I spend all my time on my own blog talking about other people’s music and never promoting my own. This could, of course, be due to the fact that I actually get to make music very infrequently (various and sundry personal and financial issues are currently bouncers at that particular club), but, even so, I should still be talking about Greedy Cherry sometimes, right? Isn’t that what most musicians do when they have a blog for their band….talk about their actual band?

Well, dear readers, you’re in luck…..I’m actually going to talk about The Cherry today.

However, as new music has not sprung forth from me in at least a year or two (although that may change soon), we’re going to take a short trip back in time in order to do so. Let’s travel back to March of this year, when a copy of my first CD “EP” (which you can kindly purchase here now and forevermore) which I had sent out for potential review actually got picked up and reviewed. What a surprise that was.

Anyway, I’ve only gotten a few dedicated reviews of my music since I released my little disc back in 2010, so each one has been pretty neat to see, and each one holds a special little place in my heart. Let’s see if you can guess which part of my heart this particular review is kept in after reading it …. reprinted here in its entirety from the March 17th issue of Boston’s “The Noise” music magazine:

“Five songs, five different genres. Still, I’m not impressed. Their music, no matter what style this band seems to choose, is entirely unoriginal and unforgivably middle-of-the-road. In short: It’s crap. Shite, mierda, merde, scheiße. There, that’s crap in five different languages. Impressed? I didn’t think so. Listening to this is like watching some mediocre comedian do mediocre impressions. In one fell swoop, this EP manages to desecrate Herbie Hancock, lobotomize Antonio Carlos Jobim, piss on the grave of Bob Marley, neuter the Beatles, and cheapen the centuries-old English ballad tradition. (Alright, I’ll admit that is kinda impressive, but that’s beside the point.) Greedy Cherry, please, in the name of all that is holy and musical, stop the madness. I can’t take anymore. (Will Berry)”

So that’s whose grave I pissed on. To be fair, I was awful drunk, and stumbling around a cemetery in a strange city trying to find my way back to the hotel, and…..well, anyway……

To be honest, the first reaction you have when you read a review like this of a personal project near and dear to your heart (besides “Herbie Hancock?? Where the hell did he get Herbie Hancock from anyway?”, of course….) is akin to that of being struck in the face with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. (And yes, I did that specifically for all you Douglas Adams fans out there.) You put your time and effort, your blood, sweat, and tears (if I may pound a cliche into the ground), into something you love, taking a great deal of care and painstaking effort to produce something you’re proud of – something that, for me, was the culmination of years of planning, writing, and playing – and ….. in one short paragraph, you’re eviscerated. Emotionally mugged, stabbed, and left for dead in a dark alley. Not even a hint of one kind word to say. It’s a hard punch in the gut to be sure.

Then comes the anger.

“Yo …. SCREW that guy! What the hell does he know anyway? Some dumb-ass head banger who wouldn’t know quality music if it walked up to him and kicked him in the marbles. F*cking bastard…..”

But after that quick flash of blind rage came something else entirely, something I didn’t count on: I was surprised by how fast the whole thing became funny to me. It stung for a moment, yes, because as a musician you want people to like and enjoy your music. And, from a purely psychological standpoint, we as humans just want to be liked anyway … and insofar as one’s art is an extension of themselves, you put your creation out there to be liked and appreciated.

Eventually, however, it just settled over me that people are people, and not everyone likes the same things. Fact is, even if I had made a CD that Will Berry LOVED, that just means that some other reviewer out there would hate it. Any artist who does anything will find those who love and hate it, those who support and criticize their efforts. It’s just part of life.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life during my time living it, most certainly it is this: you need to develop a thick skin or stay home. Most people are kind and encouraging, yes …. but there are many more who are just plain vicious and mean. I do believe that you have to be open to criticism to a degree, because sometimes the truest things are the ones that are the hardest to hear. But you also don’t have to be a dumpster for everyone else’s personal trash. Learn to let that stuff roll right off your back. Take love and kind words where you can get them, and ignore the rest. Pursue your path. Be true to your heart. Do what you can with what you have, however you are able, and love your own creations. And if you do those things, no matter what anyone else says, that is surely good enough.

So thank you, Will Berry. Thank you for spending some time listening to my little CD, even if you didn’t much like it. Just know that there’s really no chance that I’ll “stop the madness.” I love to make music, just like you love to write reviews (or perhaps even write your own music, which you like much, much more than most of the music you have to review every month), and I’m sure that we’ll both continue doing what we love as best we can until the day we die. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. And if you’re not true to who you are, then who are you, really?

A word of caution, however, good sir: when you finally pass from this Earth, if it is before I am deceased, watch where you’re buried. I tend to get drunk in graveyards a lot, especially when I have a full bladder, and I’m most certain I will recognize your name should I see it on a headstone somewhere….