The Live Album is Dead.

The Live Album is dead.

Remember how monumental live albums used to be?

The Who, Live at Leeds.
Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive.
Pink Floyd, Delicate Sound of Thunder.
Rush, Exit Stage Left.
Led Zeppelin, The Song Remains The Same.

Live albums used to be a bastion of a recording landmark in any bands career.

It occurred to me today that with the ability to basically call up almost any live track on the internet anymore and with bands releasing literally whole tours worth of night by night recordings that the Live Album is no longer that much anticipated, must experience moment.

Sure some will say, ‘Fuck LIVE albums, ALBUMS PERIOD are dead.’ To this I say, you are probably right, but that takes my blog post off topic. You’re a buzzkill, cut it out.

So live albums are dead. Should we have a funeral?

The Band, The Last Waltz.
Genesis, Three Sides Live.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live at Carnegie Hall.
Everyone has favorites.

Bah. Godammit.

I’m a geezer. I’ve entered geezerdom.

Frozen in (musical) time.

Those of you who know what a music geek I am will know how much it pains me to say so, but this weekend I packed up my CDs (all 1000+ of them) into boxes and shuffled them off to the basement in favour of more space in the living room for things like dump trucks, polly pockets and baby swings. While this is only temporary (the CDs will reappear in the finished basement) and I’ve got tons of music on my computer – ’tis a sad state of affairs, none-the-less.

My car has always been the proving ground of music for me. Even in the days of trying to drive less – riding the bike to work – I still end up spending alot of time in the car and it’s the only place I can really take music in. Though I listen to music on the bike to work on the iPod, it’s hard to really appreciate the tunes when your attention is focused mostly on dodging 2 ton death machines piloted by half-asleep morons. I mean, I’m one of those sometimes, but allow me to be hypocritical for one moment – it makes for more interesting reading.

I have always cycled CDs in and out of the car depending on various things. Mood, what I’ve recently purchased, what I’ve forgotten about but what reminded of via a friend or news story. That being said, some albums end up in the car for months. Some a day or two. Some get thousands of listens, some a cursory 2 or 3 before the final “Eh, I remember now why I haven’t listened to this so much.”

I don’t listen to radio much – ‘cept for the news. I have a hard time suffering the advertisers, djs and station programmers that insist on insulting my intelligence. I do tend to be an ‘album’ guy. I’ll listen to the whole thing through. Then again. And again. I don’t skip tracks. Sometimes for days on end. I figure the artist went through the trouble of arranging it such, it’s the way they meant it to be experienced.

All that said, when I boxed up the CDs this weekend, I forgot about the ones in the car. So, for no particular reason and in no particular order (well, they’re alphabetical by artist, cause I’m anal like that), here’s what wound up ‘left in the car’. Glean from this what you will about my inner psyche:

Blinker the Star – August and Everything After
Brad – Welcome to Discovery Park
Foo Fighters – One by One
Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Green Day – American Idiot
Hum – You’d Prefer an Astronaut
Matthew Sweet – 100% Fun
Orange 9mm – Driver Not Included
Sam Roberts – Love at the End of the World (I listened to this for at least a month straight after it came out, at LEAST.)
Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist

How I managed to end up without any Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers, Matthew Good, or Rush iin there is a mystery to me, but I’ve pretty much got their catalogues on instant recall in my head anyway. Giddyup.

Jonesing for the fix.

I’ve got no money for ’em, no place to put ’em and no time to play ’em, but damn have I got the jones to play the drums lately.

I trolled on kijiji and found a guy here in Fredericton with a nice Pearl Export kit for sale. It was even green. I’ve always wanted green drums. I emailed him about going to see them, then I lied and told him my washer broke ’cause I was to chicken and embarassed to just admit that my conscience had talked sense into me. (And really even if it hadn’t, Lyn would have.)

I’d love to get in room with 3 other guys, the gear, turn everything up to 11 and just blast for a few hours.

Man, that would feel good. Surely exorcise some demons. Those, I’ve got.

I miss the banging.

I’ve played drums really since I was in like 7th grade, maybe earlier – my parents can confirm this. It’s been a long time none the less.

I haven’t had a drum kit in 10 years.

When I decided to move to Canada to be with my now wife, Lyn, I sold my kit in the States ’cause it seemed like too much work to try and ship/move it. I was kind of caught up in the whole ‘pack up and leave on a new adventure thing’ and I like to pack light.

I remember at the time thinking, ‘I’ll pick up a cheap used kit up there.’

Well, it’s 10 years down the road now (My God, has it really been that long?) and I’ve laid my hands on actual drums twice.

I played 2 songs with the band at my wedding (Rocky Mountain Way, by the Eagles, and Cocaine, by Eric Clapton) and everone was stunned, as most my family didn’t even know I played. Oh and damn, them are some romantic wedding type songs too, ain’t they?

One other time, I rented a kit and jammed one night with my boy Tyler in Nova Scotia. It was an awesome experience and he and I still talk to this day about recording togehter, though I don’t know when it will happen – more my problem, not his.

Life, kids, job, finances have all consipred to keep me from the kit. Not to say at all that I blame any of them, because please understand that I don’t at all, but from time to time I catch myself air drumming to something and realling missing that ‘feel’. It’s an amazing thing.

I miss banging on the drums. I miss the primalness of it. I miss making music.

I always said that I wanted my kids to grow up in a musical household and while I’ve done my best (Julia’s favorite records are currently Jack Johnson and James Blunt, but she also digs some David Bowie) there’s no musical intruments in the house at all. I’ve thought about taking up guitar from time to time as I’d like to be able to play an isntrument like that. Something you can write on. Something that when played unaccompanied, with just a vocal – can stop time and transcend it – right there, with no amplification no anything, simply bare. Chilling. I still come back to the drums though, as it’s what I’m already proficient at. I could start guitar, but I’d be starting at ground zero. With drums I’ve already got a start. I don’t really know if I’m a ‘good’ drummer or not. I understand the instrument. I’ve got good ‘feel’. I’ve been told I’m good.

Bottom line is, there’s been times when I’ve been with other musicians playing and we’ve ‘locked in’ – I know it sounds cliche, but the musicians out there will know what I’m talking about – it’s a transcendental moment.

I’ve worked with and for rock bands and partied with some fairly big one’s but it’s never really been my ambiiton to be a super star. What I really find amazing is playing in a small room to 50 people, and there’s that moment, when the whole band clicks, and the whole audience is in, and every one takes off on that trip. No one knows where it’s going, but it’s only good, and for that few minutes, only that room exists, and only that sound, and only that singluar conciousness.

I miss that.

And I miss banging on things and making a load of noise.

I miss the ‘pocket’.

The Groove.