Juke Box Hero, with apologies to Foreigner.

I couldn’t get a ticket. It was a sold out show.

Well, really, I probably couldn’t have gotten a sitter either anyway, and it was a weeknight and I had to be up for work the next day and the headliners weren’t going on until 10:30 and that’s pretty late for me, and….

I have an acoustic guitar and have been teaching myself some chords. Isn’t that a Bryan Adams lyric? Shit.

Anyway, I can sometimes string 3 or 4 chords together into some sort of ‘song fragment’ and I’m beginning to get it now.

I understand why kids everywhere sit on their beds, banging out 3 chords thinking they’re going to take over the world. Thinking, even for a moment, that you might have created something moving and original is ridiculously empowering. Many of these kids give up or move on. Some become Joe Strummer.

I catch myself planning my world takeover tour and quitting my day job. Then I hear stuff like this. Then I remember why I’m a graphic designer.

I have a six-string. I didn’t buy it at the five-and-dime, cause they don’t exist anymore. I don’t play till my fingers bleed – but, sometimes, they do get tender at the fingertips and I have really dry skin, so I have to moisturize with some lotion and – dammit – that’s not very rock and roll. Moisturizer is not rock and roll. There wasn’t any in Spinal Tap. I’m pretty sure.

Sometimes, after I’ve spent a lot of time playing one evening, my fingers tingle the next day at the tips when I touch stuff and it dawns on me that, maybe, almost, I can almost, maybe start telling people I ‘play guitar’. And that’s pretty badass, especially for middle-aged dudes with dry skin. I’m even starting to build up calluses.

I can’t do anything with my pinky finger though. It’s fucking useless.

New Brunswick graphic designer, 40, quits rock and roll game due to inadequate pinky finger articulation. “It just stuck out there. When I tried to use it, it would just quiver, or shake. Ugh (shivers) it was embarassing. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going to stick to drums as the pinky isn’t as crucial and I can hide the hideous quivering behind the kit.”

Don’t cry for me. Save your tears. There may still be a chance for me in adult contemporary, or children’s music. Maybe it’s more ‘Coffee Shop Hero.’

My Albums of 2011.

Here’s the albums I dug the most, mostly for 2011. No particular order. Enjoy.

Sam Roberts BandCollider
I had hailed Love At the End of the World as Sam’s finest record yet to most of the people I argue about music with (ok, well, ONE person). But I think this record stepped it up a notch and I don’t even know how. My standout tracks: Let it In, Streets of Heaven (Promises, Promises)

ArkellsMichigan Left
I only discovered the brillance of the Arkells first record, Jackson Square about a month before this record came out and then was very impressed with the follow up effort. Jackson Square was a tough record to top. My standout tracks: Michigan Left, On Paper

Foo FightersWasting Light
After a long wait, Dave and Co. return and do not disappoint. The media/blitz/circus that ensued was also something to behold and would have been easy to ridicule had the tunes not stood up to all the hype. Several TV/web appearances playing the record in it’s entirety as well as the timely release of their movie, Back and Forth prompted one reviewer I read to quip, “Thanks Dave Grohl, for making us care about the album again.” I couldn’t agree more. My standout tracks: Rope, Miss the Misery

ChevelleHats off to the Bull
A sleeper, I had no idea these guys were working on a record and it barely made it in this year, but since it came out, I’ve listened to pretty much nothing but. My standout tracks: Pinata, Hats off to the Bull

The Black KeysEl Camino
I didn’t want to buy into the pre-hype regarding this new record because, well , I secretly long to be a hipster. Also, I really didn’t think they could top Brothers. Seriously. But once it came out, dammit, they did. And in a record that’s only 38 minutes long. I’m still not a hipster though. My standout tracks: Gold on the Ceiling, Little Black Submarines, Mind Eraser

Rival SonsPressure and Time
Bringing the classic rock back, these guys are kicking out some jams. Production that cries of vintage Zeppelin and a singer who screams like Ian Astbury and/or Plant combined. Sprinkle with a touch of Black Crowes and, voila, you’re scissor kicking. Only thing I can possibly fault them on is their pro-vegan stance. Wha? TrĂ© un-rock. My standout tracks: Pressure and Time, Get Mine, Save Me

The Twilight SingersDynamite Steps
Greg Dulli sulks out from wherever it is he hides in the ‘off-season’ and wrangles his compatriots to bring us this lush, moody gem of a record. It’s been said before by many people, but it never ceases to amaze me how Dulli seems to create ‘movies’ or ‘soundscapes’ with his records. They’re like concept albums, but the concept is unique to every listener. My standout tracks: Waves, On the Corner, Dynamite Steps

Matthew Good Lights of Endangered Species
If you follow Matt at all this was an interesting record as he demo’d, discussed, and chronicled the writing and production of on his website/blog. A very interesting glimpse into the process. Given that, I have to admit it was a bit anti-climatic when the record officially dropped, as I’d already heard most, if not all the tunes in some form or another. That being said, I still think it’s an excellent record. My standout tracks: Zero Orchestra, Non-Populus, Lights of Endangered Species

In 2012 I’m really looking forward to the new Rush and Big Wreck records as well as some others.

Happy New Years, yo.

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.