Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Old Qualities...

"...Is there a cure among us
From this processed sanity?
I weaken with each voice that sings
Now, in this world of purchase
I’m going to buy back memories
To awaken some old qualities
Have I got a long way to run
Yeah, I run..."

"Run", Collective Soul

Ephesians 4

Friday, May 11, 2007

Snakes & Arrows

Life is Good.

Rush released a new CD.

Life is Good.

For those of you that might have thought that melodic, hard driving rock was dead need look no further than Rush and their new CD "Snakes & Arrows". This is their 18th major album release (NOT including compilations) - 30 years of creating some of the best music ever heard. This CD debuted #3 on Billboard's Hot 200 - the highest debut for Rush - ever.

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Three guys on the top of the food chain when it comes to musical talent and they just keep getting better. How can this be? Geddy's vocals are better than ever, I am conviced that his vocal cords are made of some alien material that just starts breaking in after about 50 years. For the first time in many years, Alex steps a bit to the front. In a group of three virtuosos he often gets overlooked - that's a tragedy considering he is on the short list for best rock guitarists of all time.

Then there's Neil - what can you say about him. Ask any drummer to name the best 3 drummers ever and I would bet that almost all of them would list Peart in their list. Then, there is the cherry on top of the ice cream - he once again delivers lyrics that pierce your soul, expand your mind and make you wonder what is going on inside his head.

When "Vapor Trails" came out a few years ago I though it might have been their best work since "Moving Pictures" (arguably the best Rock album of the 80's). "Snakes & Arrows" IS their best work since "Moving Pictures" - in fact, I would stand it up against MP and maybe call it the "Moving Pictures of this Generation". There are 3 instrumentals on this CD and "The Main Monkey Business" is absolutely amazing. My son and I decided that we would call it "MMB" because we think it's the "YYZ" of this generation.

Now tell me do three of the best, most experience muscians have the guts to call on a relative "new-comer" to help them produce their work. Neil talked about Nick Raskulinecz in an article he wrote back in December about the then upcoming album. Nick pushed them beyond their abiilities - how do you do that?

The Mighty Booujze [a nick name for Nick] came into his own there, coaxing, coaching, and inspiring me into ever more outrageous drum parts and fills. “Bloppida-bloppida-batu-batu-whirrrrr-blop—booujze.” Sweaty and sore, I would come into the control room to listen to a playback, and hear myself thrashing away at the very edge of my abilities, just barely pulling it off (or not), and I would have to laugh out loud at the audacity—and the excitement, if it worked.

Geddy was listening, too, and he shook his head slowly and smiled, saying, “Now that’s comedy!”

In turn, Booujze also urged Geddy’s bass playing into uncharted areas, playing along with him on “air bass” as he described his ideas. Geddy and I soon decided we were “the world’s funniest rhythm section,” and thought we ought to call the album Don’t Try This at Home.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Life is Good.

Rush is still around doing what they do best...

"Like a stone in the river
Against the floods of spring
I will quietly resist."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The High Price of Gas

How do you know when a friend...a close friend is no longer...your friend?

What does it take to drive that final nail into the fence being built between you?

How long do you wait to finally close the book on a friendship? One that brought you joy at one time, but now is just empty.

I've waited much longer than I should have and the cost is higher than I expected...

It's a sad situation to find yourself in a place where the people you used to call friends don't like who you are anymore. When you realize that - to them- you are just another name in their address book. They think that you retreated, but they fool themselves...

The last nail is's when they treat you like a gas station.

You'll buy gas from whoever is selling it for less today. You spend no time agonizing about going to one gas station over the next because it doesn't matter. Gas is gas is gas is...gas. It's all the same and who ever is selling it for less is who you like today. No loyalties with gas stations. If the place that you normally go to is selling it for a cent more than they guy across the street you go across the street and save 15 cents. Hey, 15 cents is...15 cents when there are no loyalties. No fences.

Goodbye old friend. I'm sure I'll see you again...when my price is lower than the guy across the street...or when you are just bored enough to stop in.

By the way, I'll probably be busy...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The old man down the street

I grew up in a big neighborhood with lots of houses close together. On the street that we lived we pretty much knew everyone on the street - at least a little. There are lots of streets like this across America and on every one of these streets there is the guy that no one likes.

You know, the guy that whenever you see him he looks like you just woke him from a deep sleep. He yells at the kids and tells them to be quiet and stay away from his house. He's always poking his nose in everyone else's business - he sits on his porch or hangs around in his back yard and he catches everything. He seems to always be looking your direction when you are in a situation that you would rather not anyone see you. He was just the guy that bugged you enough that you don't really like him. He's also the guy that tells your parents - weekly - about all the things you were getting into while they weren't looking (and he was) and you get into trouble.


Every once in a while you stop by and he's in a better mood and you talk about pleasant things. His children or your baseball team, he may give you a wink when he's in a good mood. Just every once in a while...but most of the time he's a pain in the neck. But he's a comfortable pain in the neck. He's part of your life.

One day you find out he died. His death goes quietly and for the most part with a fair bit of relief. Eventually, a young couple with other kids moves into the house he lived in and you make new friends and those friends become a great part of your life and they enrich your life.

However, even though you know you are better off without him and much better off with your new friends, you occasionally miss the old guy. You mourn his passing and on second thought you wonder if through his passing you are missing part of yourself...

He was bad for you, but even miss him...and without him your life will never be quite the same.
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18