February 20, 21:00
A busy work day. In addition to training my probie, I had an Academy recruit with me as well. I suppose it should freak me out to have such young, inexperienced lives in my hands. But I think I’ve just gotten used to it. Don’t do anything stupid, my inner voice says. Everything else will take care of itself. Seems to be working.
The writing frenzy I desire has been slower to arrive than I would like. I’m trying not to get too worked up about it. Things will sort themselves out.
Driving to get something to eat this evening, I found myself behind a pickup truck. I was about to change lanes to the right and cruise around him. No big deal. As I made the change, the pickup came to a hard, sudden stop. It was accompanied by a BAM I figured must have come from something in the road. But as I drove past, I saw the car Mr. Pickup had rear-ended. Had I stayed in that lane another two seconds, I may very well have gone right into the back of the truck. Wow.
My evening listening comes courtesy of keyboardist Mats Johansson and Isildurs Bane. The album is called In Amazonia, and features vocalist Peter Hammill from Van Der Graaf Generator. The album is proving to be a most interesting experience, defying precise definition.
Speaking of which, I have become truly taken with an album from Molesome, called Be My Baby Tonight. It, too, defies description. But that sums up Mattias Olsson (a multi-faceted musician I met in Chicago in 2017) in a nutshell. This album goes in several directions at once, while remaining completely cohesive. Not the easiest thing to do.
February 22, 13:14
East of here, Mardis Gras. Day drinking, bead throwing, shirt lifting, endless calls for police attention. I’m so glad I’m not there. My current duties are more than satisfactory.
Looking forward to getting home and picking up The Menace for awhile. We seem to be vibing. Plus, he makes me want to play my other guitars. I think I may have stumbled onto something.
The oddest thing happened yesterday: I learned that I had been blocked from a friend’s social media feeds. I was flabbergasted, primarily because I know for a fact that I did nothing wrong toward him.
I agree with most of what he says. When I comment, it’s always diplomatic and almost always some form of complimentary. I sing his praises whenever the opportunity permits. I don’t troll, ever. And here’s the kicker: we haven’t interacted on a personal level in months. I was beyond baffled.
In the end, with some help from other friends, I think I figured it out. I’ve been painted with the generalization brush. People like me are no longer welcome in his world, regardless of our individual acts.
Had he come to me man to man, I’m sure we could have worked things out. But he’s in an angry place, and I don’t have time for people who look to simply lump me in with others. My life will go on without him. And that’s all I have to say on the matter for now.
For the most part, today is about Radiohead.
February 23, 15:24
I thought I was over The Blocking Incident, but it continued to gnaw at me. But after consulting with a few friends I respect and admire, the verdict is unanimous:
It’s not me. It’s the blocker. Accept it, stop worrying about it, and move on.
Good advice. And I have accepted it. You can’t control the actions of others, particularly when they make no sense. There’s no logic in trying now.
February 27, 19:32
The Reverberation Station.
What I wouldn’t give to be allowed to rattle my building’s windows with what is coming out of my speakers right now. It’s a power trio called Döskalle, led by Mattias Olsson (a multi-instrumentalist playing drums here). The EP is Aliver at Copperfields 22 September 2018. Four tracks of face-melting, genre defying improv guaranteed to rattle your teeth from 100 yards.
I’ve been an Olsson fan since 2017, when I caught the last half of a set by Necromonkey at Progtoberfest. I was utterly blown away by that improvised set. This EP has a very similar feel. It truly transports me back.
Mattias sent me that EP out of the kindness of his heart, after I mentioned how much I enjoyed it. And that was merely the opening act. Also arriving from Sweden in that package was Be My Baby Tonight. It remains one of the most wonderfully disjointed albums I’ve ever heard. I’ll write more on it later.
The two-day off break may be one of the more insulting aspects of my profession. Sure, most “normal” people get two days off a week from their full-time jobs. But my workweek was seven days, not five. And now I’m in the middle of another seven-day stretch, with two days off behind it. I’m not even counting the overtime. And people wonder why cops are tired and sometimes grumpy.
My average work week is more like six days on and three off. Three is the ideal number. The first day off I can do nothing while I recover from the stretch. The second day is for getting things accomplished. The third day is to wrap up home projects and start gearing up for the next stretch. Cramming all that into two days is difficult, at best. Mostly, it’s exhausting.
How I long to be free of this kind of scheduling.
Meanwhile, there was a breakthrough in my search for a new home. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get this specific place, but Scott (my agent) and I are truly on the same page in terms of what I want.
For now, I simply endeavor to get through the grind. And I listen.
February 28, 12:00
The weather is being schizophrenic again. It was 25 this morning. It will be 65 by Sunday afternoon. I spend my time shedding and re-applying various layers of my work jacket. Sheesh.
I try not to think too much about my pending retirement. But the closer I get, the more of an impossibility not thinking about it becomes. Every day at work, I’m asked if the rumor they heard about me is true; or a younger officer says something like, “You are so lucky! I bet you can’t wait to be done with this shit, huh?” Or a simple, “I can’t believe you’re really leaving!” What can I do? It’s out there.
Finished the PBS Miles Davis documentary, The Birth of the Cool, last night. It’s solid and worth watching. I saw some footage I was unfamiliar with, and a couple of new sound bites from people close to Miles. I still think The Miles Davis Story was better, but not by much. By all means, watch them both!
Getting ready to put together a fresh batch of interviews. One of which will be with The Tea Club, whose music continues to fascinate me with its multi-faceted approach.
This is the other reason two-day breaks irritate me. I really like to have the time to dig into these things. My time is limited, and I like to give a full day to my interviews and everything that goes into them. Well, we all have our crosses to bear. I’ll get it sorted out.
March 1, 17:06
Most days when I work late it’s intentional. Not so much today. I have plans for my evening. They should’ve started two hours ago. But here I sit, the byproduct of the actions of people who should know better. Such is the job.
It’s been an interesting couple of days. There have been a couple of … developments. What’s that old saying? “A door closes. A window opens.” It feels similar to that, only potentially better. The door to my career is closing. But another door has appeared from virtually nowhere. What lies on the other side is beyond intriguing. I’ll say more when I can.
Fascinating group of people, my followers. Over time, you get to recognize the names of those who comment on your social media posts. The overwhelming majority of my encounters have been positive and enjoyable. I’ve only had to block one person, so far. Still, there are times when I wonder why certain people chime in if they don’t like the tunes I’m talking about.
They get flustered because I’m not setting up shop in their musical wheelhouse. Well, sorry about that. But not really. I love music, which means I’m gonna be all over the map. If this is a problem for you, I don’t know what to tell you. Other than your sound will come around again eventually.
I’m finding I need to pull away from a lot of my favorites, as they have put me into a rut. Granted, I enjoy what I’m hearing, but a pleasant rut is still a rut. Only by moving on from some favorites can I truly move forward and enjoy the thrill of discovery. I don’t understand people who can’t break free from an era, genre, or sound. Or maybe I do. I just don’t want to be one of them.
Music is funny. It doesn’t matter how good you think something is. It doesn’t matter how innovative or revolutionary it may be. It doesn’t matter how many pleasant memories the song generates for all involved. Somewhere, somebody hates that band or that song. And that person will always wind up in your comments section.
I suppose it’s for the best, in a warped way. It’s always good to have a little counterpoint. Still, sometimes you want to shake those haters. “What the hell is wrong with you?” But that’s the magic of music: one never knows just where it will reverberate and where it won’t.
March 4, 16:30
The Sonic Sanctuary.
It’s an off-day from work. I actually stayed in bed for an extra hour or so. Much needed.
Most of my musical day has surrounded Genesis. They formally announced a UK and Ireland tour for later this fall. Nothing has been said about them coming to America. Not that it matters. I’m not going regardless.
Not only are tickets ridiculously expensive, I find I would much rather remember one of my all-time favorite bands as they were in their prime. This show will not only not have Steve Hackett (not that he was expected), but there will be no Chester Thompson behind the drum kit, either. Instead, Phil Collins’s teenage son, Nic, will handle those duties. Now, I have nothing against the lad. No doubt he is a very good drummer like his brother Simon. But Phil isn’t what he used to be, physically, and I have trouble imagining him behind the drum kit, though I could be wrong. Even if he is, the songs are going to be played in lower keys, because he no longer has the vocal range. This is far from uncommon (Led Zeppelin, anyone?), but I find it rather frustrating.
Let’s face it: you reach a point where you hear certain songs in a particular way in your head. And while the sentimentality of a tune may still be there in a lower register, it simply isn’t the same. I’m proving this by listening to the band’s Live Over Europe album from 2007. I can see a young fan who doesn’t know any better or a die-hard fan whose never seen Genesis live before being more than willing to dig in and enjoy this. And it’s a solid performance overall. But I know the difference. And that never stops bothering me.
I would prefer to remember the band that played this.
But, to each his own. I’m sure they’ll sell out venues all over creation. Power to them. And on the upside, singing along with Phil is a lot easier in the lower registers.
I said if before, and I’ll say it again: life is a series of moments. I experienced a big one last Saturday. I will experience another one in less than three hours. My immediate semi-retirement future will go in one of a couple of directions based on this evening’s actions. No pressure there. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
I’m looking to find a way to put my money where my mouth is, where Bandcamp releases are concerned. I’m going to attempt to find a way to create a completely separate bank account designed solely to help support the artists I love who sell their records via that site. The next best move is to order my records from Planet Score or another local record shop. Failing all that, Amazon will be the way to go.
I suppose it could be said I was suffering from a mild crisis of confidence stemming from The Big Block. But a little time, objectivity, and reflection led to yesterday’s rant, after which I felt a lot better.
This page is ever evolving, and will continue to do so, even after nearly 270(!) posts. The latest addition I’m calling “Eighth Notes,” which will be lighting quick reviews of some of the many records I’m being sent for review. As long as I work at the day job, my time is limited. I am unable to give some of the records the thorough review I would like. This causes them to sit on my desk or in my phone for far too long. Better I kick them out with a quick paragraph or two than say nothing at all. I’ve been introduced to some pretty cool music over the past few months. I want to get a few words about it out there. So if an artist doesn’t get a “Third Ear,” they will most definitely receive an “Eighth Note.”
Back to editing and augmenting future pieces.
March 6, 20:43
The Reverberation Station
The flu has visited my home, despite my efforts to avoid it. For the second day I have been rooted to my couch, virtual flies buzzing about my head. At least, that’s how it feels. I’m sure my crew is certain I’m just burning up my sick time pre-retirement. But I still have a couple of things to accomplish yet. I’ll get back ASAP. Right now, it’s feeling like Sunday.
The day hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I got some rather great news, which I will share when it’s appropriate. For now, I’ll just say one of those moments I referred to has swung in my direction.
Before the bug completely took me out, I made my way to Planet Score on a quest for Funkadelic on LP. I was successful.
Always nice when a quest pays off. Who can resist these classic albums? It must have been nice to be adventurous and commercially successful. That’s incredibly difficult to do these days.
My heart sank when I saw the damage done to Nashville by a tornado a couple of days back. My dread went to an even higher level when I learned the twister made its way through Mt. Juliet, where Adrian Belew and his family live. Some 19 people were killed, but my guru was not among them. Thank goodness. Still, one can’t help but feel for the others. Here’s hoping Nashville gets back on its feet quickly. It’s a wonderful town.
Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org