Positive Music Place

Archive for May, 2015

Escape artists

Posted by dlockeretz on May 19, 2015

Note: this is a simulblog, appearing both on “D-Theory” and “Positive Music Place.”

When one of my friends posted her concerns that the internet would spoil the finale of “Mad Men” before she had a chance to watch it, I reassured her in my typically smart-ass manner: “Already saw it. Vader is Luke’s father.”

My knowledge of “Mad Men” consists of having watched about 10 minutes of it and listening to people praise it. The show has helped me see that just because something is popular, that doesn’t make it bad. I get the show’s appeal: timeless themes of pride undone by a tragic flaw set against a glamorous ’60s backdrop is a winning combination. I’ve realized that the problem is not Don Draper; it’s another “D”. My tastes in TV are escapist (see D-Theory posts #44 and #84 for more info). Thus, if I don’t want to be judged for favoring lighter entertainment when it comes to the tube, I shouldn’t judge those who prefer Adele to Mahler.

A few days ago I was listening to a popular country song that was the requested first dance at a wedding where I was performing with the 40-Oz. Band. Overhearing it, my wife gave me a look that needed no explanation. All I could do was tell her, “Not everyone wants to be challenged on their wedding day.” Similarly, not everyone wants to be challenged after a long day at the office.

Like all creative professionals, us musicians put so much work and heart into what we do that when someone doesn’t notice, it’s a hard pill to swallow. We shake our heads when people download Nicki Minaj tracks by the millions while our heart-felt oeuvre, honed by the light of a midnight lamp, is met with indifference at Open Mic night.

Yet we ignore, too: whether it’s by eating fast food instead of going to the farmer’s market; by reading “Twilight” instead of Shakespeare or by watching “The League” and “Shipping Wars” instead of “Mad Man.” That doesn’t make us bad people; everyone needs convenience and escapes now and then. Most dieticians agree that you can’t expect yourself to eat perfectly 24/7. Play for the people who want the challenge, don’t let the ones who don’t bring you down and step outside your own comfort zone now and then. You may pleasantly surprise a writer, chef, candle maker or photographer who assumed you were just looking for an escape.

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A comedic turn by B.B. King

Posted by dlockeretz on May 15, 2015

Years ago a friend and I were discussing the one artist whom we would see live if we could only pick one. My friend was a self-described “illiterate folk musician” who introduced me to some new ideas, such as the fact that jazz snobs like me might actually be able to learn something from pop and rock musicians. As he was influenced by world music, I expected him to name an Afro-Pop artist I’d never heard of; perhaps an obscure punk or New Wave band whose quirkiness appealed to him. His answer was, “B.B. King.” After pausing for a moment he added, “Solo guitar.”

As it turned out, neither of us would ever hear B.B. King perform in his lifetime; as of this writing the last concert we attended together was Kitaro (but that’s a story for another day).

I can’t say anything about B.B. that hasn’t already been said and my credentials as a fan are rather thin. “Riding with the King”, his record with Eric Clapton from 2000, is a personal favorite of mine but I know it’s on the tamer side of his oeuvre.

What I can do however is share a lesser known performance of his that I’ve always loved – even though he never plays a single note. Here’s B.B. King in the film “Amazon Women on the Moon.”

Thank you for the music B.B. – and the laughs. We’ll take good care of Lucille for you.

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