Dog & Butterfly

dnbOne of my all-time favorite songs came out of the mid 70’s. A tune by Heart called Dog & Butterfly. I’m amazed that it is not as popular as some of their other songs. But at the same time, I’m really not. It’s not as much a rocker as say, Barracuda or Magic Man.

This song is special, however, because it is deep and poetic and whimsical not only in its lyrical content but also in the feel of the music itself. When you listen to it, it feels like you’re in a garden of flowers and fountains and sunshine.

Dog & Butterfly is one of the few songs you hear today that doesn’t sound dated. Especially, if you’re hearing it for the first time ever. Ann’s voice is so mesmerizing. And Nancy singing in the background sounds like a butterfly trailing all around. Just like the album artwork.

This type of approach to music was lost in the 80’s but was kind of revived in the 90’s. It is simple, basic and poignant. A beautiful and timeless classic, I think.

One two three fohhh…

heyhoBack in 1989, I had the pleasure of seeing The Ramones at the John Anson Ford Ampitheater. Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Marky, in all their glorious punkness, proved that no props can rock the audience as hard as sheer energy could. The only other band I can remember that delivered the same amount of brute force on stage was Motorhead. And I have seen a lot, in my day.

Anyway, it was worth the price of admission just to see the denim-clad foursome in their trademark stance – legs spread out, guitars hung so low they almost touched the floor, and Dee Dee counting off the beat at the start of every song. And standing front and center, I could feel my hair being blown back by the roaring Marshalls like an airplane turbine would.

From what I can remember, they must’ve played at least 30 songs as each one seemed to have only lasted a mere 60 seconds. Probably because they played their songs twice as fast as the recorded versions. I still have their first four albums to this day, in fact. I think they’re timeless. And if Lemmy thinks The Ramones are the only true rock and roll band, besides Motorhead, and even writes a song about them… you just gotta take notice.

Who ya callin’ dude, dude?

I hate to say it, but I dreaded a lot of music from the 80’s due to its excessive and outlandish nature. But that’s just me. Though every once in a while came a splash of relief in the form of either pure musical genius or novelty entertainment. And other times, luck striked and you got both. At one point for me, it was the band Scatterbrain.

sctrbrnDuring the peak of metal’s reign, at the time when groups were either outdoing each other’s hairdo or were trying to play faster than they did yesterday, Scatterbrain infused a sense of humor into their act. Fusing technical proficiency with comical elements, they provided serious chops without the need to take it all too seriously. You were definitely entertained. I know, I was.

When I first heard the song Don’t Call Me Dude on the radio, it definitely got my attention. But I was even more delighted to see the song enhanced further by its music video.

By the way, I know, but I’m easily amused. Pardon me.

On a sad note

sadgtrI was doing some warm-up on my guitar yesterday, as I do more often nowadays (Yay!) – when I happened to strum a D minor chord. For some reason, it hit me. I suddenly had this feeling. I was somewhat melancholic. Blue. Bleak. Down. Somber. I started sobbing!!!

Ummm, no not really…

But wow, it finally dawned on me that D minor is, indeed, the saddest of all keys. No wonder I love it! However, I only felt the sadness when I played it in a down-stroke. And this may only apply on guitar as I have tried it on the piano, as well – it’s no different than playing an F minor, really. Could it be the sequential order of every note played on the guitar, perhaps? That, along with the vibrations of the plucked strings? Maybe. Or, could it be the reason why George Harrison’s guitar gently weeps? Probably not. Besides, that song was played in A minor.

I also discovered that D minor doesn’t sound as sad hearing others play it as much as when you embrace the guitar and strum the chord yourself. Oh, what a thorn in a musician’s flesh. As if you’re sad to see someone cry, but not nearly as sad as when you’re the one crying.

Oddly enough, one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard in modern music is a song called She’s Gone… by Black Sabbath, nonetheless. This could have very well been performed by Pavaroti, if you could only manage to take Ozzy out of your thoughts. Because of the classical influence in the music, it feels like a requiem or something from Mozart. Beautiful, though.


When I was living in Georgia, I often went to Bluegrass concerts. Now, coming from a headbangers background, I was pleasantly surprised that these pickers were just as insanely fast (if not faster) and proficient in their instruments as their speed metal counterparts. And they do it with no loud amps and distortion to mask the clear definition of every single note they played.

hdixieA lot of times I listen to music through a musician’s perspective more than that of a merely appreciative fan. When I go to see shows, instead of dancing and getting entertained, my eyes carefully scan the stage looking at the details. I look at what the players’ fingers are doing. I look at the brand and model of their instruments and amps. And I listen closely to their signature sound, if there’s any. I absorb these things and turn it into inspirations for my own little ventures, later on.

One of the more interesting shows I had the pleasure of seeing back then, was that of a group called Hayseed Dixie. A bluegrass outfit playing AC/DC covers and other rock staples. Now, if you could just get around the fact that this is a bluegrass group and not Guns n Roses, you can start to not only appreciate but be extremely amazed by, as well, the talent oozing from these guys’ fingers, as they rip through rock song after rock song you’d only think is possible to perform with Les Pauls and Marshalls.

Their namesake gives away the fact that they can tear through the entire AC/DC catalogue with ease and precision – but I gotta admit… my jaw dropped when they did their version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. I had to listen to the original version just to check. And what I found out is that Hayseed Dixie played the song almost twice as fast as the original. Unplugged!

Streamin’ Live

Back when I was a little younger (umm… like a few days ago?), I used to check out concerts at least once a month. Boy, that was a lot of money, I tell ya! Though every once in a blue moon, I’d win a ticket from a radio station so I could not only get in for free, but get a backstage pass too. For a free buffet dinner with the band(s)!

I remember having won a ticket for a Rush/Mr. Big show in Orange County, CA. Yep, I got to meet the guys in between the two shows. Heck, I was even handed a few autographed tour merchandise. Yeah! Not to mention, the food was outstanding I almost forgot about the show. That’s right… Rush kicked in with the thunderous Spirit of Radio – while my face, stuffed with pasta, looked like Dizzy Gillespie blowing his trumpet. No wonder, all of a sudden, I got this delightful Smörgåsbord all to myself.

About three months ago, I discovered this website, It’s a cool site that streams live shows. That mean, if there’s a show you want to see tonight and couldn’t afford to go, you just log in and you get to see the show for free. If that particular show is being hosted, that is.

streamin' live

It feels like you’re there because you too have to wait until the show begins. However, while the people that drove out to the venue are trying to find parking, fall in line for a beer or the bathroom, you head out to your fridge to get your munchies. No pushing and shoving.

The last show I saw was Motley Crue. They played Vegas a few weeks ago and I got to see it at the same time. For free! Oh yeah, you even get to type a shoutout to the band and audience and your message get shown in the backdrop so everyone sees it during the show. I thought it was a neat idea.

Unfortunately, I went to check out the website yesterday to see who’s on – but they’re unavailable now, with just archived shows on youtube. I’m guessing they didn’t make enough money on this venture. Too bad.

Oh well, on to the next cool thing on the web. Any good webfinds from anyone?

Lady Day sings the blues

billieGot my headphones on today. I set the player to shuffle and one song came up that took me back in time.

God Bless The Child. Yep, the Billie Holiday staple I used to jam live at coffee houses and other small venues in L.A. with friends and fellow musicians. What a sultry song. So elegant, yet bluesy enough to recreate and still make it sound new and relevant.

In fact, it’s been covered, re-invented and re-hashed, it’s available in so many different flavors today. I’ve heard a few that got my attention, including a mind-blowing one from Mishka Adams. But after all these years, I would have to say my top pick is still the unbeatable, powerful, show-stopping version from the one, the only, the saxy… Miss Lisa Simpson.

Get the skunk out

subNo, not that skunk, silly. I mean, Ska-Punk! Sublime, that is! Them good ol’ Long Beach, CA exports from the 90’s.

I just love their music. It’s so ummm… organic? No no no, you know what I mean! And the band’s a trio, but hardly a power trio. Their songs have simple but soulful reefs… err…. riffs. Like three incredibly passionate musicians jamming in a garage. No frills. Just smokin’ chops. I mean… oh, nevermind.

Geez! Can you ever describe these guys without the pun getting in the way?

Oh well… just do yourselves a favor and check out some of my favorites, from their catalog.  I say, they’re dope! Gaaaaaahhh…

R.I.P. Brad Nowell.

My Sister

I’m talking about the song from the early nineties.

jh3I thought it was very cool from the moment I heard it on KROQ. I’m like, how many songs are there by women artists that talks about family members? Let alone love/hate relationship with the bitchy sister. A poignant song, even when the sister in question is actually imaginary.

As with most indie rock songs that came out of that decade, I love this one from The Juliana Hatfield Three, just as much. It’s got dynamic elements to it – sad and happy, gloomy and uplifting, etc.

Enjoy this video of My Sister, from Become What You Are, the only album they ever put out, I think… before ol’ Julie here went out on her own.