Tag Archives: rock

Where Have All The Good Radio Stations Gone or Satellite Killed The Radio Star

I was conversing with a group of my peers. More specifically, a group of peers of which I was the oldest by about 8 years. I was lamenting the disappearance of my favorite radio stations.

What do I listen to? A variety of music but my favorite is rock and alternative.

In the past year, my three mainstay radio stations have succumbed to all pop music, all sports station or a new location with a weaker signal.

“But there’s this great new station at 103.7 where they play a huge variety. In fact, their catch phrase is “We play everything!””

Uh. Yeah. If by everything you mean everything that’s old.

“No they don’t. They play current stuff. What do you mean by old?”

What do you mean by current?

“Well, they play Nirvana and Aerosmith and Dave Matthews.”

Okay. I’ll give you Dave Matthews since he’s put out music recently but have you looked at Steven Tyler lately? (Sorry Steve.) And Nirvana? They were a 90’s band. Old music. I rest my case.

“The nineties isn’t old!” They all shouted.

If it’s more than 5 years old in music world? It’s old.

They all looked at me with blank stares.

To break the uncomfortable silence I whined about the loss of my beloved radio stations. What will I listen to now?

“Satellite radio. I love it. I can listen to all my favorites by genre.”

What do you all listen to?

“Rush. Led Zepplin. The Who. U2.”

I’ll say it again. Old.


Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the old stuff, too. But I find when I have a steady diet of music that I listened to when I was a teenager I fall into the same teenage angst that I tried so hard to shake. I remember the boy that dumped me. The creep that I stood up on purpose. The guy I pined for and never did anything about. The music of my twenties stirs memories of marrying too young, scraping by on teacher’s salaries and lonely nights even though I was married. In my thirties songs will remind me of my divorce, that jerk I worked for and my daughter and I struggling in our tiny one bedroom apartment.

I love music. All kinds. But I thrive on the new stuff. I love discovering Adele and Imagine Dragons and Bitter:Sweet before the masses. Or knowing all about PSY and Gangnam Style before my daughter-in-college and teaching her the dance moves! (A coup that I shall celebrate for the next few months.) 

Oh sure. Old songs stir happy memories, too. But I find when I only listen to the old stuff my heart gets pulled back to a time that doesn’t exist anymore. My heart is here. It is now.

And I want to create new memories with the songs I hear.

With new music.


Filed under Music

Hey! Got A Spare House Payment? Great! Let’s Go To A Concert!

I am a big Pink Floyd/The Wall/Roger Waters fan. My husband? Even bigger.

So when I saw on 60 Minutes the scope and scale of the Roger Waters show that is touring the country, I was intrigued.

Three years to plan and create this rock opera extravaganza. With 42 high-definition projectors. The screen, flashing images throughout the concert, is 3 stories tall and as long as a football field. Choirs. Orchestras. And Roger Waters, of course.

My husband’s birthday is this summer and I thought, what a treat! I’ll take him to see this amazing concert. And since I get to go, too, it’s a win-win!

Fifty bucks for tickets in the nosebleeds. Hmmmm. Let’s see what it is a little closer to the action. The tickets jump to $199 and $250. And we’re still not even near the floor yet. We’re still waaaaayyyy up there. It’s a pretty huge venue.

(Cue cynical smirk.)

Wonder what the prices are for tickets on the floor?

They start at $575. Or you can pay $1250 to be right on top of the action.

One thousand, two hundred, fifty dollars.

For one ticket.

Just one.

That’s a house payment. Or college tuition payment. Or a monthly paycheck for a teacher.

Twelve hundred dollars and change for the opportunity to be entertained for a few hours.

I’m appalled.

And then I stumble upon this piece about Roger Waters being thrilled that he was able to see Jimi Hendrix and Cream back in the 60’s for about 2 bucks. Recounted as the “deal of his life” Waters said, “It might have been the best purchase I ever made.”

Where is our deal, Mr. Waters?

I am so sick of celebrities: wearing their armbands of support, wearing t-shirts and hats screaming their favorite charity, lending their name and face to a philanthropic endeavor, pleading with us to give all we can and then turning around and agreeing with the venue to charge us a thousand bucks to see them play. I realize the star doesn’t receive all of the profit. But c’mon. A thousand dollars? You’re kidding me, right?

So, I’m curious. What charities does Roger Waters want me to support?

I go to looktothestars.org and search his name.

And this is what I find:

“Charities & foundations supported

None known – if you know of one, please drop us an email”

Not surprising.


We’re not going. Even to sit in the nosebleeds.

I still love the music.

But I am no longer a fan.

(I know there are artists out there that refuse to deal with certain venues or ticket sellers because of outrageous pricing. If you know of any, please list them in the comments section below. Those are the artists I want to support.)


Filed under Music, Soapbox

Scream On, Siobhan! At Least Jane Is Still Listening.

It’s 36 hours later and I’m still bummed.

American Idol said goodbye to Siobhan Magnus.

I know she isn’t polished. She isn’t mainstream. She is a bit quirky. She has tattoos and piercings and wears eclectic clothing combinations.

Maybe that’s why I like her.

Oh yeah, and she can sing. Really sing. And scream the notes – which she’s been criticized for, but hey, I like screaming. Especially in rock music.

Siobhan reminds me a bit of Amy Lee. You remember Amy. Lead singer for Evanescence. When I first heard their song “Bring Me To Life” I was hooked. Loved their sound. Erroneously thinking that it was a rock band with both  male and female singers (the male singer in “Bring Me to Life” is guest Paul McCoy – helping out for just one song). I bought the album and was horribly and hopelessly disappointed. Amy Lee can only sing about 5 notes. Not even a full octave. Siobhan, on the other hand, has full command of a few octaves. Same clear, beautiful tone. Same rock edge. But fantastic range.

Ellen DeGeneres complimented Siobhan because she “marched to the beat of her own drummer.” I suppose that’s why I like her, too. She isn’t a cookie-cutter. She always seems true to herself.

“I do what I do because it rests well on my heart,” she once said.

Each week I voted for her whether I thought her performance was stellar or not. I wanted her to succeed because she was different, packed with a good bit of talent. I didn’t know too much about her until she was voted off. Then I started doing a bit of background information so I could write an informed post about her.

On Wikipedia, I found out she is 20 years old and has had the typical high school musical and choral experiences, as well as taking part in a struggling alternative rock band. She’s an apprentice glassblower. She was on the wait list at Berklee College of Music when she auditioned for American Idol last summer. I love it that she felt out-of-place in college because she was a “non-partier.” With her “bad girl” image with tattoos and piercings, I love that she appears to have a solid head on her shoulders, down-to-earth, confident and devoted to her family.

And I love her parting quote: “I have faith that everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t be luckier.”

Oh, and I love her screams. I do. Sue me. There’s a little rocker chick, deep inside me, that loves gut wrenching screams. Her best songs have a bluesy, dark rock and roll sound. I loved her renditions of “Painted Black” and “House of the Rising Sun.”

So, I’m sad to see her go. I’m one of those dorks who actually votes. And this is about the time when my dark horse is voted off and I lose interest in voting. Sure, the remaining contestents have talent. They’ll all have opportunites to sell records.  But none of them is as unique, quirky and fun as Siobhan. 

Scream on, Siobhan! Can’t wait to see what you do next.


Filed under Music

Don’t Let Your Mother Hear You Playing This!

Ok. So this post is going to really date me. Hold onto your time machines. We’re going waaaayyyy back….

The first albums I ever owned (vinyl, 33 1/3 RPM microgroove) were the Jackson 5 (that’s Michael Jackson’s first gig) jackson5

and Donny Osmond. donny6

Safe. Wholesome. Fun pop music.

Then I discovered the Beatles. Sure, I was  a little late (they broke up in 1970) but my uncle had all their albums and I thought my uncle was pretty cool. I started collecting their albums, too. I’d pour over the lyrics, spin the records backward, analyze every word. Was Paul dead? Who was the walrus? Where IS Strawberry Fields? Is there happiness in a warm gun?

The first hard rock album I ever bought was Deep Purple’s Machine Head. I loved the song Smoke on the Water. The lead singer was Ian Gillian, voice of Jesus on the 1970 recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. My parents played JCS in our house all the time. I remember one Saturday, listening to my newest purchase with my hard-earned allowance and being very disappointed. Sure, Smoke on the Water was a great song but the lyrics of the other songs disturbed me. I was  a young innocent. Many of the songs glorified drug use. Sure, the Beatles had alluded to it in their songs – often quite openly -but somehow this was different. A little more crude. Real. With no consequences. I was quite disturbed by this and my father used it to teach me about “wise purchases” and knowing more about the product before I lay down my hard-earned cash.

Eh. I got over it. As long as I liked the music I learned to ignore the lyrics. And so it went and on another Saturday my sister and I were listening to Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog (sometimes referred to as Son of a Bitch because of the line “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch!”) nazarethMy sister and I, in our room, record player blaring, singing into our hairbrushes. My dad bursts in. “WHAT are you listening to?” “N-n-n-nazareth” we stutter, pointing to the album cover. “We just bought it.” “Oh,” my dad says, realizing this was our latest purchase. “Well, just don’t let your mother hear you playing this. And turn it down.”

As a young adult, because I truly enjoy all kinds of music, I became interested in this new genre, Rap. Ok. Not so new, but finally in the mainstream. I loved the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C. and the first rap song, “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. But talk about struggling with the lyrics – Gangsta Rap really turned me off no matter how much I liked the music. And then, of course, there was the portrayal of women.


And speaking of women, and getting back to my love of hard rock, I really struggled when Nine Inch Nails hit the charts. The music? I loved. The lyrics? Not so much. Ok, not much at all. Well, most of the lyrics, anyway. How could I like such an artist? Many of the videos are banned for their graphic visions of violence and torture. But a song like “Hurt?” Gut wrenching and beautiful. When Johnny Cash did his haunting version Trent Reznor (lead singer for NIN) was quoted, “[I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form.”

Now I have children. I’ve censored the music I listen to when they’re around. My love of theater and opera and classical; they’re VERY aware of. We listen to “safe” pop music stations in the car. Tori Amos, NIN, Puddle of Mudd, and friends – I listen to when I’m alone.

But my daughter is now 17. And she’s listening to the same things I am – and then some – for a while now.  How do we keep our children from believing in the damaging lyrics found in some songs? How did I emerge from my teens with a strong sense of self? Have I sheltered them enough, for long enough, until they could come to their own conclusions of how the music should move them? And is it just me, or is sheltering them getting harder and harder?

Music is powerful. And as an art form it’s easier to come by. It’s everywhere. And we’re influenced by it more easily then I think we’re willing to admit.


Filed under Growing Up, Music