It’s space rock if you want it to be. Spoiler, there’s no words.
Our dishwasher broke several months ago. We ordered one, then it was delayed due to Covid and/or other things, then finally ‘unavailable’, so we cancelled the order and are currently deciding what to do next.
I haven’t really been in any hurry to get the new one. Jason Isbell was kind enough to explain why for me.
Hat-tip to GeWilli for the find.
Realized that I hadn’t posted a picture of me riding bikes in awhile and maybe you were thinking I didn’t anymore. You’d be thinking wrong.
I call ‘First Mud of the Season’. And yup, I’m out in jeans, Blundstones and a puffy jacket. I got pretty dirty on my regular clothes like I used to when I was a kid and it was pretty glorious. Remember when you were a kid and you did everything in your regular clothes? You had no technical fabrics, nothing ‘breathed’. It was hot and when it got wet it was heavy and you’d keep going till it dried and stiffened with dirt and grime until it was time for dinner. Same clothes you wore everywhere else. ‘Venting’ was unzipping your jacket and letting it flap or tying it around your waist.
Then I came back home and sent a group email to nine dudes at various points on the globe who know/don’t know each other to discuss an obscure 2014 record and see what kind of trouble that can turn into. It’s ok, they all ride bikes.
While I was riding bikes this thought occurred to me that I texted to a friend the other day:
“So, a lot of Brad Warner’s Youtube videos lately have discussed the concept of ‘no self’. And I think I’m finally sort of getting it. And today, sitting listening to the latest Sam Harris podcast about Freewill things are becoming even clearer. So now I’m in the stage that is the perpetual loop of realizing there is no ‘I’, but still asking who is this guy who is realizing there is no ‘I’. From where am ‘I’ having this realization when as Sam says, we’re not standing on the bank watching the stream of consciousness flow by, we, ARE the stream. Sometimes I think the people who never bother to think about such things are much happier in their apathy.”-2 days ago me
And he said:
“I remind myself (?!) several times a day that “I” am not the thinking of these thoughts. They think themselves, if you will. Bubbling up from a subconscious, no more substantial than soap bubbles. What Alan Watts describes as the sound of chickens clucking or the noise from a busy intersection. Real but of no real consequence.”-2 days ago-texted friend
Then today as I was riding around my neighborhood on muddy roads on this overgrown BMX bike and bombing a massive muddy hill in a gloriously warm sunlight that I was overdressed for I thought:
I don’t know who I am, or who this is, but this is awesome and we don’t care.-Muddy hill bike bombing me
Some things will never happen again.
Several years back, after at least 5 years of waffling back and forth, I sold all my CDs. 1000+. It’s a long story I won’t rehash here. I also won’t say what I sold them for because it’s embarrassing and painful. The guy I sold them to has a used vinyl/CD place in town and actually lives just up the road from me and our paths cross out in the world sometimes.
After selling them, every now and then I’d come across an album that for whatever reasons – most likely copyright legal nonsense – isn’t on Apple Music or in some cases ANY streaming service. It’s so odd. Sometimes it will literally be one album smack in the middle of an artists’ catalog while all the others are there. This would be a bummer. In one case, Michael Penn’s Resigned (possibly a top-5 desert island album for me), it was so catastrophic that I bought the CD online somewhere so I could have it again.
Another album I listened to just a ridiculous amount at one point was Cracker’s FOREVER – which I couldn’t believe wasn’t online anywhere. I just don’t understand it. Anyway, I actually wrote to the guy up the street and asked if he still had it and could I get it back – no dice.
For awhile back sometime in the ether – before I’d sold all my CDs, I made a jump from the MacOS to Android – got the phone – the full nine. At the time Google Music was just starting up and I didn’t want to pay for a lot of stuff, but you could rip and upload your own CDs too. At one point I went back to Mac and forgot about it. A few weeks ago I got an email saying they’re shuttering Google Music and do I want to download all my stuff? I almost didn’t, because I figured no biggie, but did anyway. 14 zip archives later, I went and unzipped it all to see what was there.
A lot of it was what I’d expected. Albums that were still in heavy rotation or at least on my radar. But there was some that came to comprise what I’m calling the ‘digital dusty box in the storage space that had been forgotten’. A bunch of albums I’d either uploaded because Google Music didn’t have them or I couldn’t find them elsewhere. So now – even though I didn’t have the CDs anymore I had the MP3s. It was like finding a treasure box. I feel like I won the garage sale lottery.
The past week has been a trip in the serious wayback machine playing albums I’d either:
- forgotten about;
- or couldn’t be found online anywhere easily.
What a blast. For anyone interested, here’s what that list is comprised of along with marginalia:
311 – Grassroots
Band of Horses – Everything All the Time – found out about these guys thanks to Danny MacAskill’s first video that went huge.
BRAD – Welcome to Discovery Park – this came out during a time when I had an hour drive back and forth to work. I would usually spin whole albums and keep only 3-4 in the car, so this was on heavy rotation at one point. Guitar solo/outro for ‘You Are’ is a long-standing favorite for me.
Catherine Wheel – Wishville, Adam & Eve – Adam & Eve is probably my favorite Catherine Wheel record.
Cracker – FOREVER – another hour-commute album. I may have listened to this for a year straight. Listened to it today for the first time in, probably, 8 years. Remembered every second.
Curve – Come Clean
Dada – Self-Titled – another hour-commute alumnus.
Edna Swap – Wacko Magneto, Wonderland Park – found Ednaswap by way of Kelli Scott, drummer for Failure, one of my fave ever bands, who plays on Wacko Magneto.
Fig Dish – That’s What Love Songs Often Do, When Shove Goes Back to Push – my buddy Steve A. knew these guys and turned me on to them.
Finger Eleven – Tip
Geddy Lee – My Favourite Headache – I’m a huge Rush fan, so duh.
Handsome – Self-Titled – came onto these guys by way of the guitar players for Helmet and Quicksand. Add in a dash of Terry Date producing and what the hell is not to like?
How to Destroy Angels – Self-Titled, Omen EP – via NIN mailing list.
Infectious Grooves – Sarsippius’ Ark
Josh Clayton-Felt – Inarticulate Nature Boy – Really loved the School of Fish – self-titled record. Found this in the used CD store. (He was the singer).
Josh Joplin Group – Useful Music – think I saw the video for a single off this on MTV’s 120 minutes.
Juliana Hatfield – Everything
Limp Bizkit – three dollar bill y’all – Saw these guys open for Faith No More at Lisner Auditorium. I think I bought this at the show. To be honest I’ve always liked the Bizkit’s music, I think they are solid players. Fred just got a little old sometimes.
Liz Phair – Whipsmart, Exile in Guyville
Low Pop Suicide – The Death of Excellence – Saw these guys on a triple bill back in the day at Hammerjacks in Baltimore. It was them, then Sloan from Canada (who weren’t well known at the time) and the headliner, The Lemonheads. I bought this CD and Sloan’s Underwhelmed EP at the merch table.
Mad Season – Above – via Seattle/Grunge/Alice in Chains/Everyone-was-in-everyone-else’s-band-up-there connections.
Marcy Playground – Self-Titled
Mark Curry – It’s Only Time – another one I saw a video for on 120 minutes.
Mike Doughty – The Question Jar Show, Stellar Motel, Circles, Haughty Melodic
Orange 9mm – Tragic, Driver Not Included – saw these guys open for Ned’s Atomic Dustbin in DC – I forget where. Hooked.
Primus – Suck on This – First Primus record I ever heard. Exploded my head.
Ruth Ruth – Laughing Gallery – a solid record. Saw these guys open for Everclear at the old 9:30 Club in DC.
Sean Verreault – Victoria House Concert B – Acoustic, Victoria House Concert B – Electric – These were a download from somewhere – that strangely enough, I’d just gone looking for about a month ago and found mentions of them, but couldn’t find the files anymore.
SmartBomb – Yeah, Well Anyway… – this was a buddy’s band.
Smoking Popes – Destination Failure
Strange Boutique – The Loved One – a very cool DC band that I think was ahead of their time.
Suzanne Vega – 99.9F, Nine Objects of Desire – not sure how I got tuned into Suzanne Vega. This was well after the blow up of ‘Tom’s Diner’. I know I liked these two records more than I liked that song.
The Dandy Warhols – Come Down – listening to this right. Now. And spacing the fuck out.
The Darcys – Self-Titled, Aja – saw these guys open for the Arkells at the UNB Sub, I think. They were great – their more recent stuff got dancer and I wasn’t into it.
The Jezabels – The Man is Dead EP, Dark Storm EP, She’s So Hard EP – Jezabels another band featured in a Danny MacAskill video.
The Knack – Get the Knack – I’d only ever heard ‘My Sharona’. When I finally listened to the whole record it blew me away.
The Miller Stain Limit – Radiate – I think this was like a deep-cut find on MuchMusic. I listened to this a lot.
The Pursuit of Happiness – Love Junk – This album is great. I liked The Downward Road even better – and I can’t find that anywhere.
The Vaughan Brothers – Family Style
Therapy? – Infernal Love
Toadies – Rubberneck – Backslider, yes. But so much more.
Torche – Harmonicraft
Trey Anastasio – Self-Titled – never got much into Phish, but love this record.
Urban Dance Squad – Mental Floss for the Globe – Straight. Up. Genius.
Year of the Rabbit – Self-Titled, Hunted EP – My Man Ken Andrews can do no wrong in my book.
Congratulations, if you’ve read this far, you have earned the title of ‘Certified Music NerdTM and as a result you can’t get the time it just took you to read all that back.
Storm brewing and I was perilously low on coffee beans. Had to make a run.
So, hit play on the track and look at the pictures.
Most days I come down the the Underground Lair® and hit shuffle on the Apple Music library and roll with that for awhile. Invariably a track bubbles up that simply demands you stop – do not pass go – and return immediately to the beginning of that album and play it all the way through. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is one of said instances.
The shuffle track that launched it today? Track 7, ‘Mellowship Slinky in B Major’.
PSA: If you’re going to watch this, at least do it the justice of turning it up as loud as possible, stopping whatever else you’re doing for 38:50 and dancing around like a lunatic. This, speaking from experience.
Just got back from a chilly Lunch Loop ride and the coffee is brewing in the Bunker. This album has been on repeat for me since I came across it a week or so ago. It’s 15 tracks of instrumental guitar sweetness and the perfect companion to this time of year and the prevailing meteorological conditions.
My 3 cords of firewood were delivered and I set about stacking it to dry. I worked a little each day, in chunks. Partly because it was a good mental exercise break, but also because the heat was pretty serious at times.
There’s been volumes written about the merits of manual labor – in case you haven’t read any of it, the TLDR is that it’s good for you.
I most often stack my wood in silence, choosing to enjoy and absorb the sounds around me and the voices in my head. On one particular occasion, I decided to listen to some music via my Air Pods. It was different.
I was stacking my wood like usual, thinking about all the other things I had to do, what was currently wrong and all the other things that had to be sorted as my playlist churned out in the Air Pods. Gary Clark Jr’s live version of ‘When My Train Pulls In’ came on. I thought how amazing it was that I was walking back and forth in the middle of my yard, in the woods – in the middle of nowhere essentially – on a nice overcast day with a slight breeze keeping the bugs down and at the same time I was being steamrolled by the music this man was making – or channelling – in another time and another place.
As the solo in the song peaked, I realized that none of that stuff I was thinking about prior really mattered. That, indeed, there was no place I could be other than where I was right at that moment, doing what I was doing, because everything had led to that moment – there was no way things could be otherwise. There was no way I could be anywhere else, doing anything else, there, or in the Universe at large. Nothing could have changed the things that were wrong, or sorted what needed sorting, or finished what needed doing. I was supposed to be right where I was. So everything was alright – and couldn’t get alrighter.
That was my satori moment with Zen master Gary Clark Jr.
I’ve been a Rush fan since high school. Being a drummer I was attracted by that, then eventually got into Neil’s lyrics. He influenced me in so many ways. He made me realize rock musicians could be smart. He got me to read again. I wrote poetry.
Over the years I have owned all the albums on CD and cassette. I’ve read all his books. Several times. I’ve read all the magazine articles. I own the DVDs. As I mentioned on my About page,
Rush albums mark and coincide with distinct periods of my life and I have memories of time periods that jive with each release.
In contrast to many celebrities, he’s always been an intensely private guy – a weirdness with fame that he addressed in songs such as ‘Limelight’.
“Living in a fisheye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long awaited friend”
Though he shared little, what he did share was thoughtful, thought-provoking, and at times brutally honest. I felt like I did know him, ironically – though that’s far from the truth.
What I do know is that he aimed to live a full life – and inspired others, including me, to do so as well. In this capacity he far surpassed simply ‘being a drummer’ – even if he happened to be one of the best of all time. An article in Rolling Stone at the end of their last tour summed it up:
Neil Peart likes to ask himself a couple of key questions. One is “What is the most excellent thing I can do today?” The answers lead him to travel between Rush’s shows on a BMW motorcycle instead of a plane or bus (creating scheduling nightmares for the band’s management), and to embark upon extracurricular bicycle trips through West Africa and China and Europe. He aims to fill every minute of his life with as much much-ness as possible, which may also help explain all those 32nd notes.
While I am sad at his passing – it is too early, the paradox is that this supremely private man still had so much worthwhile to share with us, musical or otherwise – I know that Neil managed to cram several lifetimes into his unfortunately abbreviated one and for those of us that remain remembering him, that is his last lesson and reminder to all of us.
Get out and find as much much-ness as you can my friends, and perhaps pause a beat once in awhile in the rhythm of life to remember those that have inspired us and moved on.