Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Here we are again folks at the end of another busy week. I haven’t managed to get to the shops to buy the new Tom Waits album so I’ll hold that over for another time.
So, what’s news? Well I’m VERY proud of Zoë who got two distinctions in a French competition at school. Tres Bien indeed! I’m also impressed that Angus did the extra part of his Maths homework that was optional. Good kids – certainly better than I was at their age. While I always got my schoolwork done I was a last minute kind of guy. Somehow I still got good grades. But then I think that so much more of our work was done in school time.
I like guitars – if you hadn’t already guessed. Almost as much as bicycles! This week’s episode is all about my guitars. If that doesn’t interest you just pop down to the end for this week’s featured tune.
Guitar #1 – Eko Acoustic – this was my Dad’s and it’s older than me. It weighs a ton and has a big sound to match. A great guitar for open chords and strumming along. As a teenager I loved the way that the headstock looked like a Gibson one. This is the guitar my Dad would play and I would play along following his fingers. On songs like this…
We saw Tom playing in 1988 – he has such a light touch on the strings. A great player indeed.
Guitar #2 – Fender Stratocaster copy – it’s a red one! I bought this in NZ in December 1987 and it changed my life. Along with a small practice amp this guitar let me play rock music as a teen and it was the ultimate release. I still have the guitar and although it’s had a fair bit of work done to it I think it’s the most comfortable guitar ever. I played my first rock gigs with it and I’d struggle to find a show I’ve played where it wasn’t at least there as a backup. I chose it, not knowing much about guitars, on account of two great players. Here they are:
Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (live) (the album cover has a red Strat on it)
As Bono said, all you need is red guitar, three chords and the truth.
Guitar #3 – Gibson Melody Maker (Joan Jett Signature Model) – I’ve had this a couple of years now. I always wanted a Gibson as so many of my heroes played one. But, the couple I had in the past really didn’t suit me. This one was going for a song so I bought it on impulse. For a “cheap” guitar it sounds fantastic. It’s a real rock and blues machine that is best when simplicity is the key. Melody Makers were student guitars back in the day but you see them a lot being used by a wide range of players. The pickup is particular to this guitar and smooths out distortion and overdrive so that it growls rather than bites.
Green Day – Jesus of Suburbia (Billy Joe plays a Melody Maker here)
Guitar #4 – Tanglewood Resonator – sometimes the old Eko is a bit huge and heavy for me and I was looking for something different in an acoustic guitar. I hadn’t really considered one of these until I saw it hanging in the guitar shop next to all the expensive Matons I had been trying out. Most players would use a slide and play in an open tuning but I just tuned it up to regular and bashed out a Neil Young song – and I was hooked. It’s twangy, it’s LOUD and it’s a small body and comfortably slim neck. This is the best guitar just for sitting around on the lounge with.
Bob Brozman is the king of resonator guitars…check this out CLICK HERE
Guitar #5 – Burns Steer – there’s a big story behind me getting this guitar. After deciding to buy one I couldn’t find one here in Australia. But a guy in NZ imported them. So, he imported it from the UK and shipped it to my Mum in Wellington. Then my brother picked it up and my Dad brought it back to Australia after a visit. The final delivery leg was undertaken by DJ HB who braved the excess baggage scales to get it to Canberra! Was it worth it? YES! It’s an extremely versatile guitar. I could probably leave all the others at home and play almost anything from any style on it. It’s a guitar synonymous with Billy Bragg and I’m happy to say that’s the reason I bought it. The versatility was an unexpected bonus.
That’s probably enough about all of that.
The problem with trying to get my training schedule back into some sort of groove is that I’ve been really tired in the evenings. Usually I retreat to bed and I reckon I’m snoring the place down by 9.30pm! Listening to a few tunes helps me chill out usually. Here’s two tracks that work and one that didn’t! You can probably work out which one woke me up!
Have a good weekend y’all!
Friday, October 28, 2011
This has been an AWESOME week. I’m not really sure why. So you’re probably only going to get any slow, sad songs in this episode.
First of all, the wedding we went to in Port Mac was awesome. People should be happy when they get married but Will and Jacqui were beyond that and it was fabulous to be there. Port Mac is a pretty cool town. Good weather, good coffee, Ironman banners everywhere and big groups of cyclists. Can I move there now? At least for the Winter. I got a magic 9km run in up and down the paths that hug the coast. I haven’t run up and down so many steps for a long time. Did I mention the gorgeous lap pool on the roof of the hotel?? The only drag really was 13 hours of driving to get there and back.
Today I was fortunate enough to be working away when I heard Tom Waits speaking on the radio. He was being interviewed about his new album and playing some of his favourite tunes. I hit record on the cassette deck so that I can listen to the whole thing later on. But I did hear him playing this song and it is well worth a listen…
Here’s a track from Tom. The album, “Bad as me” was released on Monday. I’ll track it down this weekend. Here’s the title track.
I looked for this next track a couple of weeks ago but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Thankfully the band themselves have uploaded it! The song has been getting a lot of radio play and the chord sequence has a great hook. Nice 80s vibe with the clapping as well. As for acting one's age…we’ll see.
The piano at the start conjures up memories of Ben Folds for me. I heard him interviewed recently, he must have a box set or demos or something similar available. Once I was in a show where we played “Rockin’ The Suburbs” by Ben. Anyone who references Quiet Riot in a song is OK by me.
Now, I’m not a fan of manufactured pop stars and teen idols but every now and then one of them surprises me. Def Leppard were in town this week and you all know that I though $150 to see them was too much – I still do. So, to drown my sorrows I had a few tracks of theirs playing in the background. YouTube allows people to set playlists and this came up. Who knew? It’s pretty cool.
Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Love Story (that’s her song)
Def Leppard and Taylor Swift – Pour Some Sugar On Me (their song!)
Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend in Noosa as well as here in Canberra at the Sri Chinmoy Tri Festival. I hope the weather is good. I’ve never raced in Noosa but it might have to go on the ‘must do’ list!
To wrap up this week I want to remind you of a band that I keep coming back to. The Proclaimers have been around for years and if I am to believe information gleaned from Twitter then they have a new record coming out. They sing songs about real people and real places in a style mixing pop, country and folk music.
Have a great weekend folks. Mine’s looking sweet with some cycling, time as a parking attendant here at work and then avoiding some of Angus’ cricket!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Unlike the last few weeks, this is a really, really, really early edition!
Why? Well, on Friday Alison and I will be on the road to Port Macquarie. Why? Well it’s Will and Jacqui’s wedding on Saturday and we’ll be there for the occasion.
I met Will when we were both new staff at St Eddie’s a few years ago. We both played guitars and loved music. We’ve been good mates ever since.
Here’s a song I know Will thinks is pretty damned good. Me too.
Elvis and Bruce do a pretty good job on this next song…until they can go no further!
And that sort of leads to this version which I’m really not sure about. In interviews with the band they claim that David Lee Roth made them do it!
Van Halen – Pretty Woman (fast forward about 1:45 into this to avoid the boooooring intro)
Now, Alex Van Halen’s outfit and bare chest brought me to this next song. An 80’s cheesy classic!
And when we hit the 80s there are just way too many dodgy songs that come to mind. The original version of this next one is a classic but I’m happy to admit that when I heard this cover in the 90s on the radio I thought it was Lemmy from Motorhead singing!
And I know that I heard this song about the same time. The original is beautifully produced, heartfelt, well played and the vocals are sublime. The Lemonheads roughed it up perfectly but it just goes to show that good songwriting transcends genre.
Canberra readers please don’t forget to check out George & Junk Sculpture’s Springsteen tribute show. Details – click here.
It’s been more music than general mayhem this week. I’m avoiding some controversial issues until maybe next week. But the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are here in Canberra right now. Hooray. How exciting. It’s a shame you can’t really hear my sarcastic tone. I’ve got nothing against the Royals personally but I think it can’t be long before Australia moves down the republic road. At least we haven’t got Charles here with his ears interfering with everyone’s radio and TV reception! Oh, that was mean. Oops.
Motorhead – God Save The Queen (I LIKE the video – the Queen driving a bus!)
If you’ve got a spare moment please have a look at http://humantimeproject.com . It’s a movement to provide working watches to health workers in developing nations. What an awesome idea. I’ll be ordering.
Right. I ‘d better pack my bags. What will I need for a wedding at Port Mac? My Funky Trunks and sunglasses? Oh, and a hat I guess.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
This is one of my four favourite Fridays of the year. Why? Because it is the end of the school term and that signals a few days of relaxation! My plans for the break include churning my way through some books I’ve had delivered from the Book Depository, playing my guitar and getting some solid training done. Who knows, I might even spend time with my family.
Books? Yeah, I have to leave reading until the school holidays or I never get any work done. I like to get into a book and stay there. I’ve got some crime fiction (Tess Gerritsen), a Jack Kerouac book and The Diary of a Dr. Who addict! That might take me a couple of days. I reckon I’ll also need a trip to a few record shops. With any luck there will be some good deals on LPs.
Angus is back from his trip to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. And I’m sure there can’t be any memorabilia left for anyone else! He had a blast with my family there and particularly enjoyed spending time with his young cousins. It’s a great place Wellington. If the weather was better it might be close to perfect.
Last week I mentioned Nirvana and played a tune. If you believe certain sections of the media then my generation wants Nirvana to be revered as our Beatles. I really don’t think so. Maybe if Kurt hadn’t killed himself then we might’ve got to see what he was truly capable of. As it is, they were influential without a doubt but they can’t hold a candle to John, Paul George and Ringo.
This is my favourite Beatles song(for today). I saw some friends do a particularly excellent cover of it last Saturday.
The thing about the Beatles is that there is such a huge amount of material to listen to and really, there is very little that isn’t good.
Last week there was a documentary about Jimi Hendrix on TV followed by his Woodstock performance. The doco was ace, narrated in the first person, but Woodstock always leaves me cold. There are just so many better Hendrix live performances. I can already hear the cries of “sacrilege”! The funniest thing on the doco was when Jimi broke his ankle training with the 101st Airborne in the US Army. He relates how he pretended to have a sore back by groaning every time a doctor looked at him! Check out the feather boa and the Brian Jones intro as well as the tune from Monterey 1967.
It’s hard to imagine Jimi on tour with The Monkees (who he referred to as the Plastic Beatles).
The Big Day out is a huge music festival here in Australia. The headline acts were announced today. Kanye West – yawn. But Soundgarden are playing and that would be good to see. They have some great guitar tracks and Chris Cornell’s voice is just fab.
Speaking of songs with great guitars…I’m really NOT a fan of this next artist but this song really has it all. I can see why it was a hit. The lyrics are cutting and the guitars have bite too.
I’ll finish with something new. A track I heard on the radio yesterday while sitting at my desk working away. It sounds like a combination of so many good bands but without being a ripoff.
Oh, and before I go – fingers crossed for a great AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Geelong. Here’s what the fuss is all about – the greatest football code in the world.
GO THE ‘PIES!