Am I boring you yet? Yeah, well, it’s the holiday season. I have a zillion things to do, as I am sure you do as well. So, if nobody reads these…no worries.
Yay! A series…of blog posts…abut why I write and a snapshot of the journey that brought me to this point
I still get asked that question. Being a writer is not a conventional career choice. It is heavy with uncertainty. Also, everything you write is up for criticism. There will be people who think you are the best thing since sliced bread, and those who state rather emphatically (and repeatedly) that you should never put pen to paper again (or fingers to keyboard such as it is).
Do I have your attention?
Well, can you? I am serious. If you got back what you dish out each day in some sort of cosmic karma re-balance of the universe…would you be able to tolerate the same treatment that you give others? What are some of the most recent corrections or even tongue lashings that you have dished out?
If so, then you should’ve been at Rock Hard PDX this past Friday night for a double bill to cure your ills. Portland Tribute Bands, Same ‘Ol Situation (Motley Crue) and Sonic Temple (The Cult) used up every inch of the big stage and sent the audience home with a pleasant humming in their ears. While the arenas mourn the recent retirement of Vince, Tommy, Mick, and Nikki…many bank accounts can breathe a sigh of relief now that the several hundred dollars it cost for each ticket to see the Tinseltown Terrors is off the table. Yet, if you are a fan of (or brand new to) the Tribute Band scene, then you know by now that you can still relive the glory days of your favorite bands from the Decade of Decadence for a fraction of the price.
For less than a movie ticket in most cases (this past Friday it was $12 per person) opened up a night that produced almost 4 hours of music that fans of The Cult and Motley Crue could sing along to and with as both frontmen nailed down their individual and unique styles.
Don Evans has taken on the role of Vince Neil (this was only his second show with SOS) and you can tell that he is soaking up this most recent alter-ego with gusto. With Jon Abell pulling off a so-good-its-scary lookalike in the Role of Nikki Sixx, Derick Reader as Mick Marrs, and the flurry of sticks that is Andrew Greene doing Tommy Lee proud, the band is rock solid and able to pull out not only the big hits, but also the deeper fan favorite cuts all the way back to Too Fast for Love. In fact, this set, coming in close to two hours of Motley goodness, did run the gamut of everything from the aforementioned Too Fast for Love, and all the way up to The Saints of Los Angeles. And did I mention they have two amazing ladies providing backing vocals just like Motley Crue has been doing for years with their “Nasty Habits”? (I vote for the name “The Red Hots”).
If you have not caught this act yet, or saw it back at the most recent Harefest, be assured that the band is as tight as ever, and former frontman Steve Rhorbaugh has passed his torch to Evans (known for his Diamond Donnie character in the Van Halen Tribute Band, Unchained). Check these guys out on social media and find out when they will be performing again in the future. You will be glad you did.
Believe it or not, the very FIRST Tribute Band I ever saw was Sonic Temple. They were the first band in a triple bill and part of what hooked me on this scene. Their sound is dialed in and they feature a lead singer in Craig Lower that will blow you away when he absolutely nails the sound that Cult fans know so well.
The dual Brians, (McGrew and Harrison) offer up some outstanding guitar work and are perhaps the unsung heroes of this act as they have such complimentary styles when they play together. They do what outstanding guitarists do when they perform live…they make it look easy. (And trust me…it ain’t.) And speaking of unsung heroes, Ryan Ellsworth on the bass and Samuel Zern on the drums are the engine that keeps this precision engine on the road and in the pocket. So, fear not you Cult fans who don’t think anybody could possibly do the vocals of Ian Astbury justice…one night with these guys will make you a devoted believer.
Yep, it’s that time again. This is the time of year when lists start coming out of the woodwork. I realize that the over-commercialization of the holiday season has ruined Christmas for many. And there are those who want to gouge their ears out when they hear that first Christmas song before the Halloween pumpkins have even been tossed out. Personally, I can’t wait for November 1st, so I can crank up my Spotify “The Cool Christmas Collection” playlist. (You can search for it under that title and become a follower so that the playlist is available to you.)
I know there are some out there who HATE Christmas music. I am just the opposite…I can listen to it in July and it had nothing to do with the holiday…I just dig the music. Personally, Christmas was never a favorite season of mine when I was young for personal reasons that would just be a downer to read, so we will skip it. Yet, the music has always really done it for me. And now there is just some VERY COOL stuff. I know these lists are subjective…so share yours.
I had to really think it over to narrow down MY top 10. (And most if not all of the can be found on my Spotify playlist “The Cool Christmas Collection”.) Here they are in no order, but if forced to pick a favorite…it would be Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. I seriously never tire of that song.
But before I get to the list, just can’t forget this song that was perhaps one of the largest gathering of Pop Stars who wanted to make a difference:
#9 Dino! The man was awesome!
#8 Bing & Bowie…I actually watched this special that spawned this classic…
#7 This was hard to put at 7..I like it WAY more…but it gets tough from here for me.
#6 I never miss this…and will NEVER grow tired of this classic.
#5 Okay, I cheated here…I know it is three songs, but it is MY list.
#4 Today’s female pop tarts got nothing on the original Cat Woman!
#3 Karen Carpenter was my FIRST crush!
#2 I am a sucker for the instrumentals…
#1 The guitar work simply blows me away and the power behind this piece is amazing!
Now…I have to include a couple of “honorable mentions” just because they are fun.
Seriously. The holiday season is rough on everybody to some extent. This is when worlds can fall apart and people can go into very dark places.
- If you are always right…then you are probably SO wrong.
- If people keep leaving…YOU are probably driving them away.
- If you don’t NEED anybody…you are probably lying to yourself.
- If you never ask for HELP…you are certain not to get any.
One of the most common and easiest walls that we put up (I say we because I know I am not the only person to have dealt with or is currently dealing with this issue) is a victim stance. It is so much easier to be right when EVERYBODY in the world has it out for you. If you are constantly a “victim” of some perceived wrong or slight…then you need to see where your own culpability lies.
It is a fact of life. As pages flutter from the calendar, we all get just a bit older. Several years ago, I spotted the first two gray hairs in my beard. Now…I have to look really hard to find one that isn’t. Nothing can be done to halt time, but some of us fight it the whole way. I am active in the gym as well as a whole series of obstacle course races (the Spartan Trifecta is next year’s goal!).
Yesterday, I got a big dose of “wake-up juice” when I took off a a single 45-pound plate from the bar as I was wrapping up my set of squats. I felt something ping in my lower back, but as I always do, I just ignored it. When I was younger, that method worked, but I am being reminded on a regular basis that I am NOT young anymore.
Not only did I finsh my squats, but then I moved on to the next station for the final round of exercises which included leg raises. Every rep I did only ratcheted up the pain in my lower back. But did I quit? Nope. I told my lower back “shut up…you aren’t hurt.” By noon, I could barely stand up straight.
Getting old is a reality. There is no escape. Life does not come with a reset button. And as much as I have conditioned myself to ignore pain over the decades, it is having a greater toll on me now. And if I don’t listen to my body when it says that it has encountered a system error, I may suffer a much greater period where I am out of action.
I have too many things on my upcoming schedule to allow myself to be knocked out of training for weeks, when, if I’d just pulled back for that moment, I would likely only suffer a day or two. Does that mean I will listen to my body next time? I said I was getting older…not wiser.
It’s funny, but friendship and love has been a big topic around the homestead lately. I just gained five amazing friends who accept me for all my flaws, faults, and baggage. I actually had a period where I did not believe that I would make a real friends ever again. And yes, I have even lost a couple lately. But I seriously did not think I would GAIN any.
So, with the election behind us, I am seeing friends on both sides say things that are equal parts outrageous, as well as continuing to drive the divide deeper. I truly DO NOT CARE who you wanted to win. All I care about is seeing everybody step forward, pick up a broom, and help with clearing away all the mess left by a damaging period in our nation’s history. For all of you on both sides either rubbing it in or making crazy threats and spewing more of the hate we just had to sit through and watch, I think Liz has the remedy:
I am going to repeat…I have friends who feel frustrated, that are hurting, and to you, I say simply believe that things will get better. It is always darkest just before the dawn. For those of you strutting around happy, remember that there are people with real feelings. If you want to subscribe to the “Make America Great” slogan, then reach out to those friends and start working to find common ground. We are greatest when we are together and unified in a cause and/or direction. “Stronger Together” can still be realized. That does not mean we have to believe the same things or have the exact same agenda. As in any relationship, there MUST be compromise.