Play That Funky Music, White Boy

You know what? I blog a lot about music! I blog occasionally about my family, my geekdom, baseball, other forms of entertainment, and religion. I almost never blog about politics. But music seems to dominate this space.


Certainly not because I am a musician. I never could play an instrument. I took piano lessons, attempted to play the bass guitar after receiving one for Christmas, bought and briefly goofed around with a guitar, tried to learn the harmonica with the help of a Klutz book… I guess I just don’t have it. So that’s not it.

It is not because I have a deep knowledge about all things musical. I don’t know music theory or history. I am no smarter than anyone else when it comes to music. No one in the world seeks my musical wisdom. So that’s probably not it either.

I guess it is just because I love music. Maybe it’s even more than just a love – it is a connection. My life has an ever-evolving soundtrack. Every moment of my life has certain artists or songs or musical genres attached to it. It is in my DNA – intrinsically part of who I am.

Growing up, my father exposed me and my brother to all kinds of music; everything from the Delta Blues, to Motown, to Rock & Roll, to Outlaw Country, and a plethora of other stuff in between. We didn’t think that was strange – we thought it was normal. What I find strange is when I run across people who don’t really listen to music. I can’t even comprehend that! And I am discovering that it is actually more common than I originally dreamed possible. Personally I can’t imagine life without music!

I guess that’s why my tastes are all over the place. My iPod looks like an old record store had a clearance sale and I just bought whatever I could get my hands on. But I like it all – and it always seems like there are a hundred or so more that I really want and don’t have yet.

Many of my musical loves can be traced back to specific times in my life – I might even be able to explain why for some of them. I can’t listen to Tori Amos without reminiscing about a specific friend I made in college that we called “Colgate”. I can’t hear Dr. Hook without remembering the garage that my dad turned into a family room and the component stereo that took up a good portion of the wall. The U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday conjures up images of the time I spent at Church Camp in my youth. Uncle Tupelo makes me remember the time I lived alone, between marriages, lonely and afraid. Everything and everyone seems to be linked in my brain to a song, a musician, an album… something musical.

In fact, later this week, I am dedicating my Five on Friday post to when a very pivotal moment in my life intersected with a very pivotal time in music history. Intrigued? You should be!

Check back on Friday & see what I’m up to!



Friday Five – Hey Hey We’re the Monkeys

It’s a jungle out there! What with the Cubs, who are arguably the best team in the league this year, on the verge of surpassing 100 years without a championship. The economy… well, you know. The much anticipated but underwhelming vice-presidential debates last night. The release of Beverly Hills Chihuahua… the list just goes on & on.

I guess it’s a good time to “Monkey Around” with Friday Five.

I'm too sexy for this list

And since Art took a good portion of the list I already had going, (Peter Gabriel, Beastie Boys, Counting Crows & Foo Fighters) I had to dig pretty deep, even into my wife’s iPod this week and beyond!

Monkey Talk – Little Stevie Wonder

Code Monkey – Jonathan Coulton

Monkey Business – Skid Row

Monkey Gone to Heaven – The Pixies

Monkey – George Michael

And as an added bonus, one that’s not on either of our iPods but was just too funny not to include, here’s a Reggae song that became a ska standard (imagine that):

Friday Five – The Best Medicine

Sometimes you just have to laugh. Here are five songs that can consistently bring a smile to my face;

Cold Beverage – G. Love and Special Sauce, All I’m going to say is, “Stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge… stick it in the fridge.”

Penguins – Lyle Lovett, The gentlemanly Texan can make me belly-laugh one minute and get all misty eyed the next. And set the whole thing to some of the most gorgeous music ever. In this case, we’re just glad that penguins are so sensitive to his needs!

Cowboy Love – Reverend Horton Heat, Hey, “its interracial cowboy homo kind of love”! This has nothing at all to do with Brokeback Mountain OR Cowboy Troy! At least I don’t think it does.

In Spite of Ourselves, John Prine and Iris DeMent, I first heard this song during the closing credits of the movie Daddy and Them. Thank goodness it was on DVD so that we could back it up and hear it again… and again… and again.

And finally, If I Had a Million Dollars by Barenaked Ladies. Included almost exclusively because of two very unfortunate haircuts combined with some terrible camera work. It’s Canadian Geek-Rock at its finest!

What’s on the iPod?

U2 – Live From Paris

Recorded at the Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris, France on July 4, 1987, nearly six months prior to the beginning of filming for the movie Rattle and Hum, this live show is a snapshot in time; a snapshot of a band at the height of commercial success, but at the end of an era. U2 went away for a while after this tour was over to “dream it all up again”, nearly broke up, but reemerged two years later with the album Achtung Baby – a dramatic switch in direction musically.


Live From Paris is an iTunes exclusive album that was originally released as a DVD accompanying the 20th Anniversary Remastered Joshua Tree box set last year. It is an excellent recording. The sound quality and editing are fantastic. And, well, it’s U2… so the track list and music are simply phenomenal.

And in the words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that”!

Friday Five – Road Songs for your Stay-cation

Thanks to Mr. Preach for today’s topic. This one was fun to put together!

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Road Trippin’, These guys are probably one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to music. But this is really a pretty good song.

Lyle Lovett – the Road to Endenada, Can’t go wrong with Lyle, and this song is just downright gorgeous!

The Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere, I love the Talking Heads & this video is fantastic – brings back so many memories.

Van Morrison – Bright Side of the Road, That’s right – Van is the Man!

Roger Miller – King of the Road, Obvious choice for the topic, but picked specifically for the video. You really have to watch this one, it’s Roger & Johnny Cash performing together and cracking each other up on live TV.

What’s on the iPod?

Shamelessly stolen from their own website:

>>> Born of social ineptitude and an ageless belief in trick-or-treatery, EL MADMO offers escape, justice, karmic postulation, and that feeling you get when you know something that no one else does. Starting out as a garage band trapped in the basements of various hockey arenas, theirs is a powerfully raw sound that could only be inspired by the smell of Zamboni fuel and sweaty skates.

The band consists of guitarist/singer, Maddie, bassist/singer, El, and majestically afroed drummer, Mo. Their self-titled debut album, produced by MISTAREE, is a solid piece of body rocking ear-munition revealing a musical labyrinth that challenges you to, “Choose your own adventure.” From the Aeolian darkness of “Vampire Guy”, to the sassy cha-cha of “Fantasy Guy”, to a song that simply asks, “What good is a smile when your head’s in a vise?”, EL MADMO serves up a hot and tasty meal that’ll fill you up and also “Rock Yer Balls Off.” <<<

Also known as “Norah Jones’ secret punk band,” El Madmo‘s self-titled debut album is just plain fun! I realize my opinion may be a bit skewed since I am a rabid Norah fan, as much for her music as for… well.. her. But it’s still a fun fun listen! It doesn’t hurt that the musicians, no matter how silly, are super-talented either! Check them out!

Friday Five – Blogging for Human Rights

Bloggers Unite

Okay, so I’m a day late. Yesterday was Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Day. But even though I missed it by a day, I figured I could at least post something – even if it’s just a silly Friday Five;

I wish I had something else to write. Something more profound or meaningful about human rights. But alas, I had to get up at 4:30am this morning to do some server work early that, unfortunately, didn’t work. So my brain is pretty well fried today…

Oh well.

Know Your Rights – the Clash, No guesswork or hidden meanings here – read the lyrics. They’re pretty powerful!

Get Up, Stand Up – Bob Marley, Reggae royalty with a classic. Stand up for your rights people!

Give Peace a Chance – John Lennon, couldn’t even think about this list without including Lennon.

It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go – Nanci Griffith, a beautiful song with slightly unsettling lyrics.

The News – Jack Johnson, A lullaby about how desensitized our society has become to the news of violence & human rights violations.

Friday Five – “Bad” Songs

Art chose the “BAD” topic for today’s Friday Five because, according to him, he’s been a bad blogger lately. I carry that topic on this morning because for me, it’s just been a bad week. As an example, my computer at work bit the dust yesterday. It all started a few days ago when I realized that the headphone jack on the front I/O panel wasn’t working… that’s all. Just the freakin’ headphone jack. A few tech support calls and an on-site technician later and now it won’t even boot up! They’re sending a whole replacement unit, but it will be 5-7 days before it arrives. In the meantime, I’m stuck using a notebook pc with a 12.1” screen. This is pretty indicative of the rest of the week…

I am so glad its Friday!

Bad – U2, One of my favorite U2 songs of all time – heck, one of my favorite songs of all time period.

Baddest of the Bad – Rev. Horton Heat, Psychobilly guitar god Jim Heath wants you to know that “young girls & gin may be the cure”! Good advice for any situation.

Bad Day – R.E.M., A very interesting video for a great song!

Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing – Chris Isaak, A really good song combined with Victoria’s Secret model Laetitia Casta… can you possibly go wrong?

She’s a Bad Mamma Jamma – Carl Carlton, Carl is obviously on his way to the junior prom with four lovely, yet rhythm deficient amazon women! Jealous!