Monday, March 30, 2015

Rant: Is it fact or is it mindlessness?

Develop your own character in your creation...
~ paraphrased from Jimmy Page's 2014 Berklee commencement ceremony speech

I do a good amount of research for my writing, and one of the biggest frustrations I have is sorting facts from most of the crap that's out there in the world.  It is my aim to convey my own conclusions rather than regurgitate someone else's when I write, so when I read articles like I can't help but grind my teeth at yet another article written by someone who apparently has no thoughts of his own and therefore dares not actually write about anything useful. Jeff Giles' piece is an example of what makes me crazy about media these days.

I call it mindless pap. It's the kind of media output that does not require the engagement of brain cells.

In this article, Mr. Giles describes how "Zeppelin’s backstage behavior painted them as profligate prima donnas", yet the only backstage behavior he describes is that of "the manager", who is never named.  That aside, if the article was about how poorly behaved the band was wouldn't it have been more to the point to talk about the band itself? Were any of the four musicians actually in the room when the unnamed manager had his tantrum?  If we only had Mr. Giles' article to learn from, we'd never know, would we?  If any of the band members -- the prima donnas -- were present, wouldn't their response to the champagne throwing (not spilling, I'd say) be more to the point of the article than what Peter Grant was doing? Didn't even one of the supposed prima donnas snag a bottle to drink for himself?  It boggles the mind to think they were all standing around not noticing what was going on.

Mr. Giles never did come up with any example of the band's alleged prima donna behavior.  In fact, Mr. Giles only describes the band's onstage behavior -- which he presents in a manner that leans more towards level-headedness than anything else, not to mention the quite realistic acknowledgement by Jimmy Page of the source of the money that was paying for everything: the fans.  

I don't mean to imply that I think that Led Zeppelin were saints because would be absurd. My beef is that an article about Led Zeppelin as prima donnas would have been interesting -- but that's not what this one was about. And thus my teeth gnashing: As with so much these days that passes for news or factually based infomation, what we get is little more than mindless copy-and-paste of other mindless non-information.

As basic reporting, the article sucks. As research, it sucks, too. Even as fiction it sucks. Not that I have a strong opinion about it, mind you.

Now I'm going to go back to listening to music. I'll feel better in a moment, thank you.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A big little dream

“…when you've discovered your true will you should just forge ahead like a steam train.”
~ Jimmy Page, 1977, quoted by George Case in Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized Biography

Mage Music: A Dream

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she? In fact, she should.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No. Just... no.

"Field Day organisers start petition to get Jimmy Page to perform with Run The Jewels"

That's the headlines on NME News today and it makes me cringe for so many reasons.

It's all about money on Field Day's part, isn't it? It's not about good music or a super group is it? It's about raking in the bucks. For Field Day.

It's not about music, I repeat. A real "super group" isn't just made of big names. It's made of super musicians who have proven themselves through superior performance over time. Run The Jewels hasn't earned their stripes. They're only two years old, babies in the world of real music. Heck, one of them isn't even really a musician, in my book.

Then there's this petition business. If all it took to get Jimmy Page to perform on stage was a petition, I say let's start one to get him to record an album of his own work and go on tour by the end of this year, as he's been teasing us with. Now that would be worth collecting signatures for.

But wait - I've got a better idea! I'm going to start a petition to get Jimmy Page to perform a concert in my living room. Why not?

Petition Jimmy Page to do something he hasn't decided to do on his own? It boggles the mind.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ear-worms, Redux

Mage Music Earworms Redux
I often wake up in the morning with music in my head. I don't always notice it right away.  I can go for hours with music on replay in my head before I realize what I'm doing.  Sometimes I also realize I can't identify what I've been hearing and let me tell you, that drives me nuts.

You would think that if it's a Led Zeppelin song - which it generally is - that I would immediately recognize it. But sometimes it's just a short musical phrase that's become an ear-worm through repetition. Sometimes there are no lyrics involved and I just cannot for the life of me pinpoint which song it's from. Not that lyrics would help.

I've said it before: I'm not into lyrics (I'm not into poetry either and I don't apologize for it). Not only do I not pay attention to the words of a song, I usually don't even understand them when I do pay attention. When it comes to music, words are simply musical sounds, like the notes of a guitar. This means that even if what I'm hearing in my head over and over and over has got a vocal line, I still don't always know what the words are.

I know, craziness. But truly, I hear the words as musical sounds, and I just can't put meaning to the words unless I really work to reconstruct them.

It would be so much easier if I could carry a tune. I've tried singing the melodic streams out loud. The dogs howl. The horses flee. Heck, I don't want to listen to that noise. 

I don't really care, anyway. There just doesn't seem to be a cross-over for me between music and words. Music communicates in a different way than words do. These ear-worms really bring home to me how the two come from different places in the brain - and the soul.

Meanwhile, when I stopped fretting over it the name of the song popped right into my head.

Ten Years Gone
Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes, Live at the Greek

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Physical Graffiti remaster - disc 2

Mage Music: Physical Graffiti remaster disc 2
I shall play me the songs of my people.  Geez, those boys were fun, weren't they?

These are my random thoughts upon first listening to the second disc of the Physical Graffiti remaster. 

♪  There is nothing to be said about the songs themselves, really. They aren't new:  I've been hearing them since 1975. Other people love them or don’t, but for me they are still the songs that fed my soul as a young adult. Now they are here again, freshened, more immediate and intense than ever. As relevant as ever. And maybe tastier than ever before.

♪  The question is how did these incredible musicians create so many songs that are so completely unique – not just different from other bands’ music, but each one unique in the body of Led Zeppelin’s own work?

♪  It is a tribute to Jimmy Page that I am hearing nuances to the instruments I haven’t heard, or at least noticed, before. Clarity. Immediacy. Darts to the heart. The remasters are worth every penny just for this.

♪  JPJ comes in with a bass line that punches through my gut and shakes me to the core. It’s not a new thing, but it’s just devastating.

♪  I swear some of these songs sound like different versions than the original versions. They aren't. It just seems that so much more is revealed that they sound new to me. Some songs I have fallen out of listening to now spring back to the forefront of desirability.

♪  Wish there had been more Stu over Led Zeppelin’s career.

♪  Love the giggle and the segue to the plane, the whole whimsy of leaving it in. It's like sitting on a stool with them right there.

♪  No wonder I don’t like to listen to this music in public. I can’t control myself - gotta move, gotta wiggle, gotta shake and rock and roll. I'm a pod person taken over by Led Zeppelin!

♪  Geez, I’ve got this goofy grin stretched across my face and tears in my eyes. Madness, this music! Blissful madness.

♪  This disc #2 of Physical Graffiti is less air and more earth. Fairy dust is earth, right? Music as play. Music as a way to express the sheer joy and electric energy of fully-experienced life.

♪  Oh, oh, oh – that guitar slices right through, doesn’t it?

Rats, dumped right back into the real world again.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lif Strand: The Land That Enchants Me

Lif Strand: The Land That Enchants Me: New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. There is Magick to be found everywhere in the world, but it's easier to connect when you're in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Physical Graffiti remaster - disc 1

These are a few of my reactions upon listening to just disc 1 of the Physical Graffiti remaster.

Mage Music: Physical Graffiti remaster, disc 1

The clarity of sound is the greatest gift of these remasters, from Jimmy Page to the world.

As a guitarist, Jimmy Page at this point is beautifully balanced between technical brilliance and creative inspiration.

Such vast musical concepts, reaching into realms beyond what mere physical ears can perceive.

This remaster gives more and more, if one wishes to hear it.

Mr. Jones holding unbending in the winds of Magick. Bonzo driving hard, relentlessly shoving us to the other side.

Can anyone ever fully grasp the excellence of this music? No, for it keeps revealing more and more over time.

This was back in the day when Robert could still lose himself in the music, unabashedly giving his all. Heeding the master’s call.

Trampling right over us on the way to primal connection, leviathans calling to each other in the deep. If there is anything NOT being talked about here, it’s love, the thing of romance. We’re talking about sex magick.

The camels patiently plod through the hot sand as the music weaves time and space to set us on the road to god. Having done all possible to get us there, it is up to us to take the next step.

One disc, that's all I can handle at a time.  This is not merely music, you know.  It’s Magick distilled through sound.