Chili Peppers Lacked Spice? Or Was It Just Me?

I took the weekend off from writing because, quite frankly, I wanted to.  I haven’t had a great following of late anyway so I don’t think it was missed.  So instead of sitting in front of the computer, I lived amongst the physical people; except when I read the posts that were emailed to me.Friday night was the much anticipated Red Hot Chili Pepper show in Philadelphia.  Since we got our tickets in January, it felt like it would never get here, but luckily time chugs along and we found ourselves with thousands of people who had made the trek to South Philly for the sold out show.

RHCP with Klinghoffer

It was a good show.  I’ve seen them over thirty times for sure, but I stopped counting then.  Not too sure why.  Counting would have been easier than explaining that at one time I knew there were thirty but now there are more.  Regardless, this was the first live show I’ve seen with newest guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.  He is a lot like John Frusciante, except he doesn’t seem to despise fame and fans.  Josh dresses the same, seems physically affected by the music and goes a little off the deep end with making noise with pedals like John.  It’s no wonder that they toured and recorded together prior to swapping the lead guitar job with the Chilis.

RHCP with Frusciante

I love John Frusciante because he is a guitar prodigy for one; he’s creative and innovative.  He’s been the backbone to music that has been the soundtrack to my life thus far.  I also feel offended that he threw that away; twice.  He did this to us before in 1992.  As a dedicated fan, I also find myself insulted that he didn’t bother to show at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony when the band was inducted last month.  Continue reading

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Rockin’ With the Chili Peppers

I spent some time tonight writing a commentary on my experiences with the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was younger. I say that like I’m old, but skipping work for concerts seems like a lifetime ago.

I won’t bore you with all the stories of mayhem; backdoor crashing, wristband making, concussions, “just in case” cigarettes and debt-building concert tours; (unless you ask me to).

What I will share, is that these were some of the happiest days of my life…so far. They are a band I followed since I was eight. And it became much easier to have access to shows and special events while I lived in Southern California after I graduated high school. I was foolish with money, spent time with some weird people and looked up to musicians who did a lot of drugs. I did not condone the drug use, but I did find solace in the music and theirs became a soundtrack to many years of solid memories and friendships.

Some people hate them, some people love them and I’m not here to debate that. I used to try but really, what is the point of trying to convince someone to alter their taste? I personally have a connection to them, which is that I feel happy when I hear them. My hips rock to Flea’s bass and my feet tap to Chad’s drums. I can’t resist singing along, even when the lyrics don’t make logical sense and no matter who is playing guitar, there is a hauntingly soulful sound on most tracks that just make me…happy.

I’ve posted a shot of me when I was 18. I just moved to San Diego and went up to Los Angeles for a charity event that the Peppers would be playing at. I snuck into the celebrity-only area and met the band for the first time. I’m smiling so hard that I look scary in this picture, while Anthony was in the middle of asking my photographer when to smile. My words to him did not make sense that night, and it was the first and only time in my life I was wordless…imagine that. I stood there in my leather pants and platinum hair and grinned for what felt like days. What a doofus, I think now. But what naive joy there is to be that young and happy without a care in the world.

“10 More Reasons Why I Need Somebody New…Just Like You”

I quote the words of the lead Red Hot Chili Pepper himself, Anthony Kiedis in the song “Can’t Stop”, and I use them because this blogging experience has started to affect my life in a way I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to meet more bloggers that cross my path and there’s really no stopping now.

There are people who write to write and people who write and get inspired by other writers in the process. At first, I must admit that I feared I was the first, trying to just write, make my postaday goal and maybe finding people who could relate to what I had to say. That last part didn’t really seem crucial. In the process, I’ve found people that I relate to, and more importantly, people who are encouraging and whom I’m learning from.

I’ve learned to let go of “stuff”, and that it’s memories will still exist even if I clear items physically from my life with 365trinkets. I’ve learned to never give up and keep learning with The World’s Latest Bloomer, inspiring me to pick up the guitar in addition to other ideas and joys that I’ve left behind. There are countless photographers that share beautiful visions, ready for us to view as we wake up each morning.  And then there’s a very dear friend of mine, who takes the time to read my blog out of support and has suggested giving Tai Chi a shot, after he read about my woes with yoga.

Throughout this writing process, which has been consistent for only 1.75 months, I’ve learned that strangers can be supportive and wonderful, without even realizing how they affect other people. It’s easy to let myself down, but it’s ten times more difficult when there are people who are encouraging me to move forward and get what I want out life. This may be the cheesiest blog, but it’s true none the less.

I can’t wait to continue discovering the people who are making a difference in their own lives, and to learn from them. In the process, I hope that I can be someone to encourage others somewhere along the way. When all is said and done, just keep blogging.

I Hate Country Music; Or So I Thought

I always told myself that country music is horrible. From the time that I was very, very little, I detested it and really rallied my mind against it. I honestly have no idea why. It was something that I made a point in letting people know when we discussed music taste. My response to it almost bordered on aggressive. It’s one of those things that I look back on and though I’ve tried to analyze my reasoning, I can’t come up with anything to defend my logic, except for the fact that I was immature and must’ve been trying to fit a mold.

Over time, I started to hate country music less and trend to a more indifferent feeling about it. My parents didn’t listen to country music, but they certainly never taught me to hate it, or hate anything for that matter. The closest thing that played in my house was Gordon Lightfoot, which is more Folk, but certainly has twang-y elements to it.  I’ve basically loved the fundamental instruments in country music all my life, which are no different from rock music, but it’s just a different style and a slightly different structure.

Still, having grown up outside of Philadelphia, I never understood the crowds that flocked to country music concerts in the summer, with cowboy hats and a Budweiser in hand. I’m all about being a patriotic American, and I realize that country music probably depicts the American persona more than any other, but where did these people pick up the taste for it?  Where did they come from?

It wasn’t until I realized my Uncle had a love for country music that I started to think about it in a different way. He was a city kid, grew up loving heavy metal bands in the 80’s and had the style and hair to rival bands like Van Halen in his day. He played in a metal band, loaded up with tattoos and although he never lost his love for a bad rock ballad, he loves country music now too?  As he is a person I respect, good for him, I thought.  Then I met my husband, who is from Iowa; who knew all the country songs when we went to a piano bar early in our relationship. Then I discovered the country station presets in his pick-up truck. He wasn’t wearing cowboy boots or anything, but I must’ve been slow to not see that coming.  I feel kind of sorry now, that he didn’t come out spurs blazing to show his country roots. I always wondered if neglecting his country roots publicly was his way of finding himself in another part of the country or if he was that concerned I’d dislike him for it.  That would be something I’d truly feel sorry for.

As I grow up, I’ve found there’s nothing more important than being open minded. Hell, I can accept most anything else in the world and look on the bright side of most any situation, why can’t I accept country music? Then it happened, crossover music. Though I’m sure it always existed in some form, country has crossed over into mainstream music in a very popular way over the last few years and onto mainstream stations.  There are even bands that I really like that use country elements. I think I might like it. Though don’t tell anyone yet, because I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet. I haven’t bought a country album, but I may have programmed a country station on the second set of presets in my car. We’ll know for sure if it makes the top 10, but its tough competition.

I knew I was lost when I got hooked on the Mumford & Sons album last year and there was a heavy bluegrass and banjo vibe on it.  I’d really love to play banjo, once I get guitar down a little better, but I’ve convinced myself that maybe I’d focus on old Irish music to ease my way into this American genre. I know, none of it makes sense, but at least there’s no longer a deep misunderstanding about something that never truly deserved it.

Daydreaming Rock Star

Let me (Mae) out!

Branching off my post earlier, I started thinking about the little daydreams that go through my mind on a regular basis. I wonder if I’m alone.  I have them mostly while driving, but they pretty much take place anywhere. I’m usually a natural rock star in my mind. My Red Hot Chili Pepper tattoos give me the false hope to continue dreaming about it maybe.

Music can be infectious; it seeps into the soul if you’re lucky enough to feel it. There are people who like music and there are people who live music and can let it stir parts of us that typically doesn’t get woken. I’ve always envied anyone who can get up on a stage and just play. Hell, I’d be proud of myself for strumming a tune for my husband without faltering over the strings due to nerves. The idea of letting loose with a bunch of friends while creating sound sounds so simple and so appealing.

I’ve often dreamed of becoming a closet musician, secretly plugging away at my musician skills like a mad scientist. Most of the time it’s guitar based, but depending on what I’m listening to, it can be piano, bass, drums, violin or even banjo. The idea of being consumed by talent and fearlessly showcasing my inner spirit is fascinating. My dreams usually take place in a small dive bar or club, and there are a few friends around but mostly strangers, and I join a band on stage, letting Mae out, without fear and without faltering.  It’s exhilarating.

The more time that passes and the more that responsibility rips Mae out of me, the more I daydream about things like this. I think maybe it reflects my distaste for the mundane and typical personality I represent, as opposed to the fun and outgoing character I was.  I realize we need to grow up and go through stages, but maybe it’s not so bad to jump back into the mosh pit now and then.  Don’t worry; I’ll leave my leather pants in the attic.

Wishful Thinking Musician

I’ve always wanted to be a musician.  Having always been passionate about music, it just seemed natural.  I took piano lessons when I was about 10, which lasted only a short time.  My teacher had these unnecessarily long fingernails that caused you hear more click-clack than piano.  I also didn’t really try.  I had aspirations to practice and to progress, but it really didn’t happen.  I hate to even admit it, but my mind gets really flustered when I look at sheets of music.  I used to think it was because I was a kid and couldn’t wrap my brain around the notes, but I still struggle.

I bought my first guitar when I was 15.  It was a Fender Strat, Sunburst coloring.  John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a vintage version of it and I just had to have it.  I taught myself some tabs and even faked my way through some songs.  My boyfriend even asked me to teach him and I did…the one song I felt confident about.  By the way, he quickly grasped the instrument and became a pretty great guitarist and wrote his own music.  Meanwhile, my guitar started to gather dust.  Sure I picked it up now and then, but simply had no idea where the hell to go next with it.

The guitar sat for almost 10 years.

This past spring, we had a yard sale.  I’d toyed around with selling my guitar but didn’t have the heart to part with it.  A father and son came up, beeline to my little table and asked if I had any guitars or instruments to sell.  My heart sank.  “I was thinking about selling my Strat”, I said.  He was very interested and I went into the house to get it.  The deal was made and he offered me what I’d have sold it for.  “Give it a good home” I told him.  Then I instantly burst into tears.

Why was I so attached to this?  Was it because it defined a part of my youth?  I have to admit, I looked pretty good with my sassy short and spikey hair, eyebrow ring and tight jeans.  It fit me and I fit it.  It travelled with me to California and back regularly.  It was a big investment at the time and it was gone.

Needless to say, I’ve decided to truly learn to read music and play guitar.  I even took lessons, which unfortunately ended due to the tragic zucchini slicing accident of September 2011.  My left ring finger tip was never the same again.  I exaggerate, it took a longtime, but it is fine now.  And I have full intentions of dusting off my newest acoustic and not waiting 10 years to strum again.

Mae

Mae might be my alter ego.  Or maybe she’s just a lot less shy and a lot more outgoing than life allows me to be, the true me.

Why Mae? I grew up in South Jersey, raised by my Philadelphian parents.  I moved to Southern California after I graduated high school and a couple of years later I met the man who would be my husband.  Until I met him, I never really knew I had an accent, besides the fact that waitresses could never get my water order right.  “Root beer? What did you say?”  “I said water.”  No, apparently I was saying “wudder”.  My in-laws still giggle at this.

Mae is one of my vocal imperfections.  That is apparently what I say instead of saying “me”.  As I got to know my future husband and his friends, we’d talk and share stories until eventually I got asked who Mae was and why I was talking about her.  Mae has stuck with me, and she’s got a devilish grin and a glimmer in her eye.  She sneaks backstage at concerts, debates passionately over a Guinness and plays in the rain.  She’s always with me and but comes out when I’m at my best, and I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because she gets to visit pretty often, when responsibility doesn’t wear her down.

Mae loves history, ancestry, Ireland, Philadelphia sports, Superheroes, Red Hot Chili Peppers (even when Kiedis is trying to rock that porno ‘stach), dorky science, tea parties, whiskey, playing guitar, oil paintings, culture, debating, photography, Los Angeles after a rainstorm (no smog), U2 (for both music and humanitarianism) and hates that she hasn’t found a way to make a profitable career out of the passion she has for life…yet.  Mae and I co-exist, never straying too far from loving life but being responsible.  Oscar my pug begs to differ…he’d rather I take him on a walk then write you.

It is beautiful out tonight…Mae, you up for an adventure?  Oscar, grab your leash!