Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Jimi Hendrix Movie

   This documentary was made three years after Jimi Hendrix's untimely death. It's by no means the definitive tale of Seattle's favorite son, but it's still engaging and highly recommended. Jimi Hendrix comes to vivid life in funny and touching recollections by family, friends and other legends of rock like Eric Clapton, and Mick Jagger.

  Oh yeah, and there's Lou Reed, interviewed in his all-white leisure style suit with his tight 'fro.  Yes, this film was definitely made in the 70s.

   And, there's also priceless and hyperactive Little Richard footage where he talks about how he never got to tell Hendrix he knew he'd make it.  Check it out here, guaranteed to crack you up:

  This movie is fantastic because of all these memories and stories that paint Jimi Hendrix as an actual person-- not just an axe-wielding, drug addicted God.  Some of the musical footage in the film we've seen a zillion times now, but if you get your head back to 1973, when the movie was made, you realize footage was not as readily available as it is now. 

  Movie crowds back then were eager to take in Hendrix' spectacular guitar work at Monterey and Isle of Wight, which sadly for many of us has paled only because in our era of instant gratification we have been completely oversaturated with it.  Watching this movie made me wish I had lived during that time and also brought new depth to Hendrix's genius.

   The musical portions of the film show Hendrix at Monterey ("Rock Me Baby," "Hey Joe," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Wild Thing"), Berkeley Community Theater ("Johnny B. Goode," "Purple Haze"), Woodstock ("Star Spangled Banner" again), Fillmore East ("Machine Gun" with the Band of Gypsies), Isle of Wight ("Red House," "In From the Storm"), the Marquee Club in London ("Purple Haze") and a fine acoustic solo on 12-string guitar ("Hear My Train a-Coming") filmed in London in 1967.

  and here it is here for your viewing pleasure, enjoy.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm officially a guest author on I've written my first article on whether or not parents should buy a cheap or expensive guitar for their child. 

here's a link to the article 

 If you read it be sure to give it a good rating. 

  I'm not sure if I'm going to keep writing for them. When I was first approached, I was told that my writing was unique and my original input would be appreciated. However, my writing was immediately criticized for being too opinionated, and sounding more like a blogger than a serious writer. 
  The final article that emerged was extremely edited and all of the images I submitted were rejected except for the one image that you see with the article.

  I like the fact that I can write whenever I want and there are no expectations of me as to how much I want to write and when I want to write it. I'm more of a binge writer and I'm not really one to write on a consistent basis. The thing is I don't like being edited so I'm not sure if I will write anything else. 

  They really want informative articles that are uncontroversial, politically correct and un-opinionated. Not really my style but I might try it again in the future. 

  Perhaps being forced to write in a more conventional format will improve my writing and maybe open doors for me that would not have been opened otherwise. Who knows?

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Roger Waters In the Flesh

In the Flesh - full concert

  Todays blog features a favorite of mine, Roger Waters "In the Flesh" tour video from 2000. I actually saw this tour and it was amazing. 

For those that didn't know, Roger Waters was the bassist and main songwriter for Pink Floyd. The DVD was filmed live at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon back in June 2000. It is a 3 hour long concert and covers all of the Floyd classics such as Time, Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here, Money, Dogs, and many more. It also features a "best of" of Rogers solo work. It comes with a 30 minute long documentary on preparing for the tour, one of the few DVD side documentaries worth watching. Other than that, it's kind of a no-frills deal, as are most concert DVDs.

Most notably in my opinion and the reason I'm blogging about this dvd today is the guitar playing of Doyle Bramhall II. Not only is he a left handed guitar player, but he doesn't reverse the strings for left handed playing. That means he's literally playing upside down with the low strings on the bottom and the high strings on the top.  

  As this quote from Bramhall himself says, playing left handed and upside down presents its own challenges when it comes to playing, transposing and music theory.

I play by ear, so it could be the same and have no challenges for me. However, the different challenges for me are chords and transposing chords, because there are no instructions or music books out there for the positioning of the fingers for a left-handed, upside-down player. All the theory and technique doesn't apply to me because I would have to transpose it completely, as opposed to if I strung left-handed. Then all the finger positions on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth fret would all be the same. But for me, it's useless. - Doyle Bramhall II

However, I think Bramhall does a nice job of playing both staying true to the original Pink Floyd guitar style while at the same time bringing his own style of playing and making the songs his own. Its a fine balancing act to do that correctly and I think he pulls it off. 

Here is the setlist of the dvd

01. In The Flesh 
02. The Happiest Days Of Our Lives 
03. Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) 
04. Mother
05. Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert 
06. Southampton Dock 
07. Pigs On The Wing (Part 1) 
08. Dogs 
09. Welcome To The Machine 
10. Wish You Were Here 
11. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-8) 
12. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun 
13. Breathe 
14. Time 
15. Money 
16. Pros & Cons Of Hitch Hiking Part 11
17. Perfect Sense (Parts 1 & 2) 
18. The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range 
19. It's A Miracle 
20. Amused To Death 
21. Brain Damage 
22. Eclipse 
23. Comfortably Numb 
24. Each Small Candle 

  Sure Roger Waters solo career has some questionable tunes and they're definitely not the highlight of the dvd. But guitar players will like this dvd for the unique playing of Doyle Bramhall II. Pink Floyd fans will like the song selection from such underrated albums like Animals (a real guitar players album in my opinion).  Enjoy.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Malmsteen Shmalmsteen

  Now when I think of Yngwie Malmsteen, I think of two things. One is the time I got to meet him on his tour bus during the 1990's. More on that later.

  The other is Phrygian modes, Harmonic Minor scales and more Phrygian modes over Eb Minor songs played at supersonic speeds.

  Now I'm not saying that he sucks. For what he does, which is shredding over a scale he has already played 10 times on the same album, or playing a riff that sounds exactly the same to another riff that is on a previous album, with the exception of one different note, he does it extremely well.


  Yes he's good, but personally I don't care how good he is, it just doesn't interest me. What interests me is not technique, but originality and creativity.

being really really fast is okay, but do a little something different every once and a while. Write a nice melody, try actually playing a chord. Focus on writing a really good song instead of focusing on "how many notes can I fit into the next three minutes." Is that asking too much?

9 minutes of Yngwie Malmsteen playing guitar. Think you have what it takes to sit thru this in its entirety and pass the Yngwie Malmsteen Challenge?

 and to elaborate from earlier let me tell you my Yngwie Malmsteen story.

  It's the mid 1990's and I used to work with a girl who used to model with his wife (I have no idea if they are still married). When Yngwie came to town I went to the show with some of my friends who were huge fans of his. I was more curious than a fan actually.

  The girl sees me at the show and introduces me to the wife. I asked her if I can meet Yngwie and she says yeah but only me and the girl I work with. My friends had to stay behind.

  He's sitting down in one of those restaurant booth seats you sometimes see on large buses like this. He's wearing black leather pants with no shirt and his gut is hanging out over his pants and he' watching tv. His wife introduces us and he just mumbles and doesn't take his eyes away from the tv. I extend my hand so I can shake hands with him but he doesn't even acknowledge me and leaves me hanging.

  I tried asking him about a recent guitar magazine interview he did but as I'm asking him he gets the remote for the tv and turns up the volume full blast to drown me out. Then he starts yelling at his wife to find his hairbrush so she can brush his hair.

 What a dickhead, but then again I can imagine how I would feel if I'm about to play a show and am just trying to chill out and enjoy some quiet time before the insanity begins and some fucking kid I don't even know comes into my tour bus, MY home away from home asking me questions n shit. I might be a total dick too. I get that.

But he's still a douche. A very fast playing technically sound douche - yes. But still a douche.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bipolar Musicians: Jimi Hendrix

Am I happy, or in misery? Jimi Hendrix from Purple Haze

   Jimi Hendrix never received a diagnosis of Bipolar during his lifetime, but like I've always said, if being creative and self destructive at the same time isn't a sign of being bipolar then I don't know what is. A study conducted in the 1970's ( studied 30 prominent authors and found that 80% had experienced at least one episode of major depression, hypomanic, or mania compared to only 30% of the control group. A follow up done 15 years later found that 43% of the authors had been diagnosed Bipolar as opposed to only 10% of the control group.

  The link between Bipolar Disorder and creativity is definitely there. 

  And being Bipolar myself, I like to think we can smell our own.

There are other things too.

1. Jimi Hendrix Wrote a Song Called Manic Depression 
 Manic Depression is what Bipolar Disorder was called back in the old days. The lyrics go from the highs of "Manic Depression is touching my soul," to the lows of, "Manic Depression is a frustrating mess." ...

Manic depression is touching my soul
I know what I want but I just don't know
How to, go about gettin' it
Feeling sweet feeling,
Drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is catchin' my soul

Woman so weary, the sweet cause in vain
You make love, you break love
It's all the same
When it's, when it's over, mama
Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess

Well, I think I'll go turn myself off,
And go on down
All the way down
Really ain't no use in me hanging around
In your kinda scene

Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess 

2. Jimi Hendrix was an Army Paratrooper.

  Jimi Hendix was an army paratrooper in the 101st Airborne. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists engaging in high risk behaviors as one of the symptoms of manic behavior.

3. Jimi Hendrix had a history of violence

 The book, Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix describes an incident where he hit a woman over the head with a vodka bottle in a drunken rage. The same book tells of another incident where he was engaged in a drunken brawl in a hotel in Sweden where he also put his hand thru a plate glass window. 

 The book, Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky also tells of more violent run ins with women. states that just under 50% of people with Bipolar disorder have some history of violent behavior. (

4. Jimi Hendrix and Drugs
 Yes, obviously Jimi Hendrixs' history with alcohol, LSD, and pill is well documented, as is the fact that he obviously died of a drug overdose. According to statistics presented by the American Journal of Managed Care: 

 About 56 percent of individuals with bipolar who participated in a national study had experienced drug or alcohol addiction during their lifetime

  There's the Jimi Hendrix that showed his charming and humorous side on the Dick Cavett show

   There's the Jimi Hendrix that belted out that beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

and there's the Jimi Hendrix that was a boozing, drug using violent womanizer. This contrast is the reality of Bipolar Disorder. 

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Studies have found that just under 50% of people with bipolar disorder have some history of violent behavior.1 - See more at:
Studies have found that just under 50% of people with bipolar disorder have some history of violent behavior.1 - See more at:
Studies have found that just under 50% of people with bipolar disorder have some history of violent behavior.1 - See more at:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why I Hate KISS

Today I wanted to write about why I hate KISS.  There's a lot of KISS hate on the internet but most of it doesn't get into anymore detail other than 'the music sucks,' or 'they're sellouts.' I wanted to be a little more detailed than that. 

  Then I realized that I really didn't have many other reasons for hating KISS. Sure I can't stand the music and I find their commercialism annoying. They're more of a business than a band. 

So at first I struggled to find any other reasons why I despise them so much. They just seem to be one of those bands that you either love or hate.  

  But here are a few reasons I did manage to come up with.

1. The Lyrics
            They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry - From Spinal Tap

I got a fever ragin’ in my heart
You make me shiver and shake
Baby don’t stop, take it to the top
And eat it like a piece of cake
 - from Heaven's on Fire 

Baby, let's put the X in sex
Love's like a muscle and you make me wanna flex
-from Let's put the X in Sex

Imagine a bunch of old men in their sixties singing this:

I don't usually say things like this to girls your age, but when I saw you
coming out of school that day, that day I knew, I knew, I've got to have
you, I've got to have you
-from Christine Sixteen

 I really love you baby
I love what you've got
Let's get together, we can
Get hot...
I'll be a gambler, baby
Lay down the bet
We get together, mama
You'll sweat 
-from Love Gun 

So if you please get on your knees
There are no bills, there are no fees
Baby, I know what your problem is
The first step of the cure is a kiss
-from Calling Dr. Love

2. Gene Simmons Sings When You Wish Upon a Star

This actually happened on his solo album

3. KISS on American Idol

4. The Disco Song

- I Was Made for Lovin You

5.KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park

-Promo from 1978

6. The LA KISS Arena Football Team



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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bipolar Musicians: Kurt Cobain

Bipolar Opposites Attract - Kurt Cobain, from "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter."

  Time magazine included Kurt Cobain in a 2002 list of “manic geniuses” who made great contributions to music, art, or literature.  Manic Depression is what Bipolar Disorder used to be called back in the day.

  However, it's not clear if Kurt Cobain was ever officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. As someone with Bipolar disorder I can see it in his writings. We'll get into that later. 

 A lot of what we know comes from his cousin, Bev Cobain, a registered nurse with a background working in mental health:

"Kurt was diagnosed at a young age with Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD], then later with bipolar disorder...Bipolar illness has the same characteristics as major clinical depression, but with mood swings, which present as rage, euphoria, high energy, irritability, distractibility, overconfidence, and other symptoms. As Kurt undoubtedly knew, bipolar illness can be very difficult to manage, and the correct diagnosis is crucial. Unfortunately for Kurt, compliance with the appropriate treatment is also a critical factor" - Bev Cobain

  Attention Deficit disorder and Bipolar can often be confused and their symptoms often overlap. I was originally misdiagnosed as having ADD myself before I was eventually and correctly diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder.
  Drug abuse is also common with Bipolar Disorder. Cobain's biography Heavier then Heaven writes about several overdoses that Kurt had before his death. According to statistics presented by the American Journal of Managed Care:
  • About 56 percent of individuals with bipolar who participated in a national study had experienced drug or alcohol addiction during their lifetime.
  Suicide is also common with Bipolar Disorder. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry  At least 25% to 50% of patients with bipolar disorder also attempt suicide at least once.

Kurt Cobain wrote a song called, "I Hate Myself and Want to Die."

 He also wrote a song called "Lithium," which is a popular drug used to treat Bipolar Disorder. The lyrics resemble the highs and lows that characterize being Bipolar: The feelings of no self worth and loneliness that is depression and the elevated mood and excitement that one experiences in mania.

I'm so happy...I'm so ugly...I'm so lonely...I'm so excited...I'm so horny...- Lithium

 His two biographies, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana & Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain both tell stories of his moodiness, depression and also higher more elevated moments of extreme creativity. 

 The life of Kurt Cobain shows us the immense creativity that can come from having Bipolar Disorder. Yet at the same time it also shows us the disaster that Bipolar Disorder is when it's left untreated. 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Rutles

  1978's The Rutles is a must see film. The mockumentary/parody of The Beatles brings together two comedic giants, Monty Python & Saturday Night Live. 

Without The Rutles there would be no Spinal Tap. 

 It's also in my opinion the best & most successful Beatles spoof. The "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" episode of THE SIMPSONS doesn't compare. George Harrison was even involved in The Rutles and even makes a wry cameo in the film.

  One of its songs, "Cheese and Onions" HAS even appeared on Beatles' bootlegs, some Fab Four fans apparently mistake it for an actual Lennon composition...

  According to the Rutles entry on Wikipedia, John Lennon was even said to have loved the film so much he refused to return the videotape and sountrack that he was given for his approval.

If you like The Beatles, you will like it. If you like Monty Python you will like it. If you like Saturday Night Live you will like it.
But don't take my word for it watch it for yourself right here:

 The Rutles: (Full Movie)

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Bipolar Musicians: Axl Rose

Can you think of any musicians whose careers can best be described as bipolar? - question asked to

  One of my followers asked me this awesome question today and I would be more than happy to try and answer it. There has been lots of different musicians who people have thought to have been bipolar. There's a good link to a website that talks about some of them here, But the most prominent one that comes to mind is Axl Rose.
  Axl Rose has been described as Bipolar and his career would certainly lend credence to this.

"I'm very sensitive and emotional and things upset me and make me feel like not functioning or dealing with people... I went to a clinic, thinking it would help my moods. The only thing I did was to take one 500 question test - ya know, filling in the little black dots. All of a sudden I'm diagnosed manic-depressive.- Axl Rose

 As you can see Axl himself as alluded as much, but for every statement that he's made saying he was diagnosed manic-depressive he's also made statements that he's never been diagnosed.

 I've not been diagnosed as being bipolar though many misconstrue statements I made earlier as alluding to such and unfortunately there's been an abundance of misguided or unqualified speculation of various events but I definitely can relate to needing my own space.- Axl Rose

 This in itself seems like very bipolar behavior in my opinion.

He's had a history throughout his life of anger, drug/alcohol use, violent behavior, arrests. Being bipolar myself I can certainly relate to that, But that could really point to a lot of things.

 Then there's the whole thing with Guns n Roses where he wouldn't come onstage until he was damn good and ready, sometimes well after midnight. The constant firing and restructuring of the Guns n Roses lineup, the decade plus long wait for Chinese Democracy, etc...


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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath in Phoenix, AZ last night 8-30-13 picture from

   Black Sabbath's latest album entitled, "13" debuted at number one on I Tunes proving that rock is far from dead. I went to see them in concert last night and that's what I want to blog and share some pictures of the show that I did not take. 

Guitarist Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath perform at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Friday, August 30, 2013.
picture from

  I was excited about seeing Black Sabbath for several reasons. I've seen Ozzy in concert three times since 1988 and he always puts on a good show, I've never seen Black Sabbath before. But mostly, I wanted to see one of my guitar heroes Tony Iommi play live, especially since he has cancer now, I figured this could be the last chance I get.

  After I bought my tickets, I looked at some Youtube videos of this tour and I gotta admit I was a little shocked. Ozzy hanging on to the microphone stand for dear life sounded tired and was having trouble hitting a lot of the higher notes. The guitar was detuned so much to presumably accommodate Ozzy's diminishing vocal range that it was hard to listen to the music and make out a lot of the songs like "War Pigs." And very importantly drummer Bill Ward was not present, apparently he said he would not be part of this reunion unless he was offered a, "signable contract." (source wikipedia,) and I'm not a big fan of messing with the rhythm section of a band. 

 I also found this blog on the Houston Press Website talking about their opening night on Houston. Calling Ozzy's performance, "struggling," "decidedly not in key," "off key mumbling," and, "painful to witness." The link to that blog is here:

 I was seriously doubting my decision to go to this concert. I wanted to see a rock and roll show not a funeral. 

Black Sabbath perform at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Friday, August 30, 2013. If Jesus played drums this is what it would look like.
picture from

 But the show that I saw was not the show that the Houston Press blogged about. The crowd loved it and was going nuts the entire time, the band was tight, and Ozzy's voice was powerful and strong. He was in top form, jumping, and running around on stage for 17 songs. Not bad for being 64 years old. As much of a mess he is in real life, I swear something happens when he gets on stage and it's like he's a completely different person. Rock n Roll just keeps you young that way I guess. 

 The band also had great videos, lights and an insane 10+ minute drum solo. What ever happened to drum solos? I miss them at concerts.
  If anyone has a chance to go this show I highly recommend it. Kids were there with their parents and I sat next to a old lady who must've been at least 70 years old.

Set list
  1. War Pigs
  2. Into the Void
  3. Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
  4. Snowblind
  5. Age of Reason
  6. Black Sabbath
  7. Behind the Wall of Sleep
  8. N.I.B.
  9. End of the Beginning
  10. Fairies Wear Boots
  11. Rat Salad
    (Followed by Tommy Clufetos Drum Solo)
  12. Iron Man
  13. God Is Dead?
  14. Dirty Women
  15. Children of the Grave
  16. Encore:
  17. Paranoid
    (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)
  18. Zeitgeist
     Black Sabbath perform at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Friday, August 30, 2013.
    picture from
    My only criticism is with Ozzy's usual stage antics and gimmicks.  He's been doing the same bits for years and if  you've never seen Ozzy here's what you can expect when you see him. 

    1. He can't fucking hear you!: he will say that over and over again, so make sure you yell really loud.
    2. He wants to see your fucking hands!: Even though Black Sabbath is not exactly a wave your hands in the air type of band, he will insist on seeing your hands.
    3. He loves you very much: and he's not afraid to say it.

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