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Posts Tagged ‘Rock and Roll’

When the Rocker was in high school, he’d often say goodbye like this, “Peace out.” With his heavy/metal/grunge band in our garage, it really was peaceful when he left for school. And I’d remember the Flapper telling me that I will miss all that commotion when I’m old and grey. She was right.

Another catch phrase of the turn of the last century was, “Keeping it real.” It seemed to be the motto of his generation: be true to yourself, don’t be a poser, do the right thing. My son was voted the “Most Changed” in high school, probably because he started out looking like the rest of his class (beach/boy/prep) and ended up with dreads, on his way to rock stardom imho.

He was keeping it real, he was growing and changing. Some people I’ve found, never quite climb out of high school. Others learn to transcend its harrowing halls.

I listened to the podcast This American Life on the car ride to Nashville yesterday, titled “To Be Real.” It spanned a few topics, but the one I found most interesting was about North Korea – how we don’t seem to take Kim Jong-un seriously with his photoshopped ears and Russian hats. It links you to an informative podcast about nuclear proliferation  http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/podcast/ A nuclear physicist wants us to pay attention!

So what is real and what is superficial? Ira Glass explored magic and the bespoke porn business next. Yes, you heard me right, it seems that with all the free porn online, the film industry has adapted itself to create custom videos for its customers. Who knew?https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/620/to-be-real

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see

Tomorrow Queen, or whatever is left of the original band, will be playing in Nashville at the Bridgestone arena. American Idol alum Adam Lambert has replaced Freddie Mercury but nothing can replace his lyrics. He was an original.

And today is the Rocker’s birthday! Thank you for being in this world, for bringing us love and laughter, and music only you could see and play. For being a tolerant little brother and exceptional son. We hit a few speed bumps along the way to maturity, but you handled them with grace. I had an abiding trust in your character and your talent.

Marrying your beautiful bride this year was the icing on your birthday cake! You have always made me proud, and scoring the Dunkirk trailer, working for Christopher Nolan, made my heart explode exponentially. http://www.dunkirkmovie.com

Happy Birthday DJR, and thank you for always being real.  DAVECAITLY-056 2

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Do you stop to think twice? Or do you leap into new situations, never looking back? This is characteristic of the nature/nurture phenomenon, a temperament that is born-in IMHO. You are either a risk-taker, or a risk-avoider. Look at the baby Rocker. The first time he saw the ocean, he ran right into the waves. Remember he was called “The Boy who ran before he could walk,” so he probably wasn’t even walking yet!

Not every young adult would pack up all his earthly possessions in two cars, convince his girl this is a good idea, and move across the United States to find work in the film industry. Which he did – exhibit A: The new Tarzan trailer, Music and Sound Design by my boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91rm_G1xkU8

And then there’s the rest of us, we proceed cautiously – my psychologist brother Dr Jim was just telling me about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM); “The transtheoretical model posits that health behavior change involves progress through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.” 

My first thought was, ‘this is so meta.’ Let’s think about how we think about changing our lives. But for behavioral psychologists, TTM is helpful when someone has been stuck in a habit, let’s say smoking, for most of his/her life and cannot seem to quit. Or they quit for awhile, and then start back down the road. It’s a way to break down the process of change into manageable, small steps. http://brainblogger.com/2009/01/25/smoking-behavior-and-the-transtheoretical-model-of-the-stages-of-change/

I’ve been thinking about this since returning to the states, and the full-frontal onslaught of political campaigns. We’d been invited to a fundraiser for Secretary Hillary Clinton and unfortunately couldn’t attend, but I’ve been listening closely to her words about the Supreme Court nominee. Lately she’s been tweeting us a very valuable history lesson:

  • At our best, America has united behind the ideal that everyone deserves a fair shot. At its best, the Supreme Court has defended that ideal.
  • In 1973, #SCOTUS ruled that women have the right to make intimate health decisions for ourselves. 
  • In 1954, #SCOTUS held that separate is not equal in our schools.
  • Last June, #SCOTUS ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land.

However her critics want to talk about emails, about trustworthiness, about her abundance of caution. She corrals the press, keeping a tight leash on reporters. She doesn’t want to debate in NY, but will in PA. She just has TOO MUCH confidence! This is what Huffington Post writer, Anna Kegler, said about Hillary’s problem:

While boys are raised to exaggerate their skills, take risks, fall down and pick themselves back up, girls are taught to think things through and second-guess, avoid risk and failure, and not raise their hand unless they’re sure they have the right answer. Lastly, girls absorb from the media that their real value [lies] in their appearance, at the same time that boys absorb the message that girls are not to be trusted.

Could this be the real issue? It’s not that Hillary can’t be trusted, it’s just that she doesn’t suffer from impostor syndrome. “By exhibiting confidence and publicly extolling their own virtues, female politicians running for office break the rules of the game and subvert existing power structures. As a politician, Clinton makes repeated asks for money and votes. Implied at the end of every ask is “because I deserve it,” and often, “more than that white man I’m running against.” http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/28/impostor_syndrome_is_expected_of_women_but_hillary_clinton_won_t_conform.html

Hooray for all those non-compliant women out there! Great Gma Ada used to give the Bride money for a report card that had that negative “Does not raise hand before talking” box checked! Good for you, she would say, make your voice heard! We not only wanna have fun, we want to bake and eat those cookies too! And the Rocker, well he wants to jump at the same time! Which is why he can work in Hollywood and still return to Jersey for gigs with his band, The Parlor Mob. 12418059_10154401166989316_7721114401111152149_n

Here’s to all the risk-takers, boys and those girls, the ‘tomboys’ out there who want to have it all. Don’t listen to the critics, climb trees, ride your bikes faster and faster. Reach for the stars, because you too can be President one day.

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Yes, I’m a child of the 60s. That was my coming of age decade. But instead of going to Woodstock and taking the fast lane, I was living the life of a newlywed in Cambridge. MA. Shopping for groceries in the same corner store with Julia Child, walking the cobblestone streets and learning to love New England.

Up until that point I had seen only one band live and in concert. The Byrds, an LA wannabe Beatles-type folk outfit, played at an MIT mixer in 1967; this Freshman at Emerson College was invited by an engineering student. And that was it. No love-ins, no more rock concerts. You might say that I missed out on most of the rock music revolution of my generation.

“Bob went to Woodstock and I went to Westchester.”

But after my divorce and marrying Bob, moving back to NJ in 1985, I had a second chance at the fast lane with NY just a short train ride away and the Garden State Arts Center in our own backyard. My cousin Jamie took me to see the Stones for my 50th birthday. The Boss was a ubiquitous presence in town. And in the 90s, my friend Betsy, who is married to a musician/promoter turned agent, danced in the aisles with me at my first Eagles concert.

In the wake of the Eagles’ guitarist and cofounder Glenn Frey’s death yesterday, I’ve been reliving my life in lyrics. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/glenn-frey-eagles-guitarist-dead-at-67-20160118

Most people don’t know that the Eagles became a band as a direct result of touring with Linda Ronstadt. She was one of my favorites. In fact, Bob and I would sometimes entertain friends at parties singing “Prisoner in Disguise” together, with Bob on guitar and harmony.

You think the love you never had might save you
But true love takes a little time
You can touch it with your fingers
And try to believe your eyes
Is it love or a lie?

Read more: Linda Ronstadt – Prisoner In Disguise Lyrics | MetroLyrics

And the Big Chill would never cease to sing “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” every Thanksgiving – to our kids’ utter disdain – a song made famous by a guy the Eagles threw out of their band!

Recently we cleared out our music system, giving away 30 years worth of speakers and amps. The only thing Bob wanted to keep was the turntable. When I asked my hair stylist what he would buy now for a sound system, he said, “Are you analog or digital?”

Well I’m not sure. I suspect I’m a little of both. We are not “gamers,” and we don’t need a wall of sound set up around the TV. I remember when the Rocker started playing with the Parlor Mob. He had all sorts of pedals to recreate the kind of distortion our early bands had on their albums. After fronting with his first heavy metal band in our garage during high school, I found this new band’s sound somehow achingly familiar. My friend DeeDee even downloaded some of PM’s greatest hits!

I spent the weekend in Nashville, it was a quick grandbaby visit. A chance to catch up on butterfly kisses and teach the Love Bug how to rock the Twist. Yep, I had Chubby Checker on YouTube, and clapped while the Groom played guitar, Buddha Baby pounded a keyboard, and my Bug was on the harmonica.

When you marry an Emergency Physician, you marry a nomad. Bob always thrived on risk and adventure, he loved breezing into a new town and fixing a hospital ED. I was always the opposite, hating to rip out my roots, starting over with “no place to arrive.”  Trying to bloom again every single time

I guess I’m still in the slow lane. RIP Mr Frey.      IMG_3743

 

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Halloween this way comes. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of my Facebook friend’s grandchildren dressed up like little pumpkins, monsters and Olafs…and if you don’t know who he is, well he’s like Frosty the Snowman. Only he’d rather be sunbathing.

After years of buying mini-candies and waiting for some Trick or Treaters, we’ve given up hope. Our dirt driveway is too long and too far off the beaten path for children. I would usually stuff my face with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and call it a night. Admittedly, these delightful morsels are the best thing ever invented as a chocolate delivery system, which is exactly why I never buy them. You believe me, right?

When I was little, my Slovakian foster mom Nell would dress me up as a gypsy. I didn’t really know what that was, but I enjoyed putting on make-up and wearing jewelry. At some point, usually in Middle School, our children all rebel and want to design their own Halloween costume. This should make life easier for the parents, but actually it becomes much harder.

I hate to sound stereotypical, but let’s get real – the boys all want to be villains or zombies, and the girls say so long to the princess look and decide to be sexy starlets. Not all, but certainly you’ve seen gangs of pre-teens roaming your neighborhood dressed like Whitey Bulger and Taylor Swift? You can see I’m off by a few decades; the Bride would chose to be some version of Madonna, and the Rocker?

He could get creative. A pirate, a gangster, a zombie. Surprisingly, never a rock star.

But this is their chance to try out being a “bad boy.” Because once they hit high school, the road narrows and their destiny can get kidnapped by peer pressure and the need to belong. Boys learn to ignore their emotions, they are taught not to smile. In most public high schools they have two paths – the sports route or the party route. And the party route can be dangerous. Some can never recover from that road. They wind up dead at 27.

My Rock Star was voted “Most Changed” in high school, probably because he didn’t fit into a neat category for this preppy, suburban school. He went his own way, he stayed true to himself and played guitar at every dive on the Jersey Shore. He found other outliers to jam with and by the time he graduated from school, his original metal band, Hypon, was in high demand, and he was their business manager and website developer. I only offered them snacks in the garage.

Did I wish he’d play baseball and want to go into finance? Sure, but that’s not our job as parents. We have to sit back once our kids become teenagers and marvel at who they are becoming, and continue to nurture their dreams. Not ours. If we did our job right in those critical early years, we can pat ourselves on the back. The pirate, wizard and Star Wars character will morph into the leading man of their own unique story.

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Kinda makes up for that Supreme Court decision that gave Bush a second term, doesn’t it? Just when we think politics is all smoke and mirrors, something like this comes along, and renews my faith in our old republic. Confederate flags are coming down, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, and love in all shapes, sizes and genders wins! To honor the SCOTUS decision on #MarriageEquality, Facebook friends turned their profiles into one long stream of colorful rainbows.

And an old friend posted this lovely sidebar:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/justice-scalia-suggests-asking-a-hippie-about-gay-marriage-heres-how-to-find-one-near-you/ It’s funny because the only person who still talks about Hippies in my life is Ada, and now it’s more of a funny, wistful look back at her life raising three sons in the 60s.

Leave it to Chief Justice Tony Scalia to make this analogy, and I’m trying to decipher his meaning here, about Justice Kennedy’s albeit sentimental ruling. We should just ask a “Hippie” what he thinks about the ‘freedom of intimacy” or in other words, in Scaliaworld of Hippie-past, we should all just have us some free love.

He first quoted the majority opinion, which said that “‘the nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.” Then, he added, “Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage.” “Ask,” he added, “the nearest hippie.”

Well first of all Tony, I think that spirituality kinda means religion, for those of us not tied to a church. The Post article was so hysterical, I had to share it with my very own Hippie-in-Residence, Bob. His first response was that old Tony is “…an asshole.” His second response was, “Did you see where Hippies live?”

Oh yeah, The data Estately used to round-up their Hippies was based on these variables: “The number of communes and intentional communities per capita in each state, the number of food co-opers per capita in each state, the number of local Etsy stores per capita selling hemp, patchouli and tie-dye products; and the percentage of Facebook users who express interest in the Grateful Dead, Phish, cannabis, tie-dye, peace, LSD, Bob Dylan or hippies.” 

And of course, my Old Woodstock alum mentioned that Vermont was the number one state to find a Hippie! And it just so happens the Rocker will be playing the Friendly Gathering festival in Timber Ridge, Vermont tonight on the Wood Stage with The Parlor Mob http://www.frendlygathering.com/#about

So for all you reformed ex-Hippies, new-age Hipsters, and just plain folks looking to rock out hard, why not take a road trip to the Green Mountains and get your Mob on? http://www.parlormob.comparlor-mob

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Do you ever feel out of step? I hate to admit that our 50th high school reunion will be coming right up next year, because admitting that means the end of an era. The Class of ’66 was the first to stage a protest walk-out, to almost win the Principal of the Year award at a NY radio station. And we were not the first, and probably not the last, to send our young men off to fight a war we had no business fighting.

And for most of us, our Millennial children have paved the road to our Golden Years with lessons in technology. Every time I visit the Rocker, my iPhone gets a complete overhaul. Whenever I return from Nashville, my laptop is clean and moving faster along its wifi/cloud connectivity circuit. And even though I am pretty savvy with social media, sharing my thoughts on life through blogs, Twitter and Facebook, I’ve only recently entered into the non-virtual, non-fiction sharing society.

Now I understand that for some of us this is scary. After all, we’re used to booking hotel rooms when we travel. If you stay at one Hilton in Bermuda, the Hilton in Dallas will be a similar experience. Maybe they’ll have different pictures hanging on the walls. We know what to expect, we become frequent flyers, we humans are creatures of habit. The more adventurous might try staying at a quaint Bed and Breakfast on Martha’s Vineyard. But that’s about it. Until Airbnb.https://www.airbnb.com

I’m about to stay at my second Airbnb. The first time I let my son schedule the whole thing. After all, I was delivering a cat to LA, alone, and had no idea where his neighborhood was, plus he said the hotels were exorbitant. And I was delightfully surprised. The host gave my son the key before I arrived, and there was a bottle of wine waiting for me and coffee in the fridge for the morning. It didn’t matter that the TV was internet/Netlix/Hulu only. I wasn’t there to watch TV, in fact I listened to the Serial podcast on my downtime.

Eventually I met the host and his 3 Pit Bulls! We all had great fun on the patio. I wanted to book with him again, but the time Bob and I will be in California was already booked. Sooo, I started my own Airbnb account and started looking. The Rocker told me it’s all about the reviews – read them! And soon enough, Bob too will be experiencing this sharing society of which I speak.

I lorded it over the Bride that her old Mama had tried Airbnb before her, but now she has too, and she and the Groom have used Uber for getting around Nashville late at night. Since I’m usually not out partying anymore late at night, it may be awhile until I get to try this particular car sharing service. But it’s good to change it up every now and then; good for our brain, good for our soul. If you believe in Annie Dillard’s famous saying,“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” then let’s climb out of our automatic pilot frame of mind and take the wheel in this new society. Fifty years later, we can still learn a few new tricks.

And right on time, I read a Tweet by Peter Greenberg telling us what we “need to know” when booking through Airbnb. Maybe the travel industry is catching up with our kids after all? http://petergreenberg.com/2015/02/23/airbnb-tips-and-tricks-for-first-timers/

ps The Parlor Mob will be playing at the Skate and Surf Festival in Asbury park, NJ this Sunday – they should hit the World Stage around 2 pm!

Mother and Son

            Mother and Son

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It was 8 degrees this morning on my perch of the Blue Ridge. This is nose-hair freezing, eye watering, finger numbing cold, even if we still lived in the Berkshire Mountains. Which we don’t; we moved in part for warmer weather. But mostly to be closer to our daughter. Then she moved, to pursue her ER residency, to the ice capital of the South currently known as Nashville. And we’re all wondering why we didn’t follow the Rocker to LA right about now!

He texted us a weather report for the week – party sunny and 70s all week out there. Which is great since the band is on the Left Coast touring. They started out in LA at the Echo Tuesday night and a little birdie told me it was “…packed to the back.” Guess you can’t say, “…standing room only,” since everybody stands and rocks out all night. To check out their tour dates, and download “Cry Wolf” just skip ahead to their website: http://www.parlormob.com

“It’s the first thing we’ve produced ourselves with no outside involvement from anyone else for about 10 years, since we made our first record,” said guitarist Dave Rosen. “We didn’t really have any concern for anything else other than exactly what we wanted to do. So, we went a little crazy, basically.”

Imagine that, artists writing, recording, producing their own music. Bob was asking me if I ever heard of the Brill Building, sometimes called the Glass Building, and I said, “Nope.” So naturally I got a little history of music lesson. It’s located at 1619 Broadway and 49th Street in Manhattan, at the heart of the Theatre District. While we all know about the Motown sound coming out of the Hitsville Studio in Detroit, and Country coming from the Ryman, New York was doing music this way in the 50s and 60s.

“After its completion in 1931, the owners were forced by a deepening Depression to rent space to music publishers, since there were few other takers. The first three, Southern Music, Mills Music and Famous-Music were soon joined by others. By 1962 the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses.”

In essence this was called vertical integration. If a songwriter was looking for an artist and a publisher for their song, this was the place to be. In fact, “There you could write a song or make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor and get a quick arrangement, lead sheet for $10, get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some of the musicians and singers that hung around; and finally cut a demo of the song. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artist’s managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal there were radio promoters available to sell the record.” http://www.history-of-rock.com/brill_building.htm

So before the internet, artist/songwriters needed all these middlemen, to get their music off a napkin and out to the public. Carole King had a cubby in the Brill Building, so did Neil Diamond, Paul Simon and Burt Bacharach. The power was in the hands of the publishers, not the artists. Today we have Pharrell Williams, the perfect example of a singer/songwriter/band/member who now runs his own multimedia company, hat and all. I mean I’d be happy too, wouldn’t you?

Happy touring boys, wish I could be at the Vegas show!

at the Echo

at the Echo

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