I just read that the great Chuck Berry has passed away.
No disrespect to Elvis, but I always felt that Chuck was the true King of Rock and Roll. He had the flash, the persona, the guitar chops, and a coolness that surpassed all of his contemporaries.
I was fortunate enough to see him in concert years ago. Here is a link to my review of the show on my other blog, The Stub Collection, along with a picture of the ticket stub.
What was really strange is that I was actually thinking about Chuck Berry earlier today, and it’s not like I am thinking about Chuck Berry on a regular basis. It just came in my mind that it would be really cool to see him again. Weird, right?
I cannot be too sad, though. He lived to the ripe age of 90, which is a long time for anyone in rock and roll. Thank you Chuck, for all the inspiration you provided to guitarists throughout the years, myself included.
Hail Hail Rock and Roll!!
When I first heard about this new graphic series, I was immediately intrigued. A series about rock and roll excess, occult, and urban legend drawing inspiration from bands in the 1970’s seemed right up my alley. I added it to my pull list at my local comic store and patiently waited. This week, I finally got the first issue and it is everything I expected.
The tale is basically about two young people—a rock conspiracy theorist and a music journalist—who meet while looking into the mysterious deaths of young women, which they believe to be connected to black magic rites orchestrated by a mysterious rock guitarist. The opening lines sucked me right in to the story.
Rock ‘n’ roll has always had its secrets. From backwards messages on classic albums, woven references to drugs and madness, or homages to fallen legends and lost friends. Hidden declarations of sympathy for the devil are as stock and trade as anthem calls to both the faithful and the damned.
Author Joe Harris credits the book Hammer of the Gods as an inspiration. I remember reading this book in my younger days and the glimpse it provided into the dark and mysterious world of rock and roll. I would never listen to a Led Zeppelin song the same way afterwards.
Already, this series makes references to some of the great rock myths: the infamous mudshark, the synching of “Dark Side of the Moon” to “The Wizard of Oz,” Jimmy Page’s obsession with all things Crowley, just to name a few. If you were a rock music fan in the late 70’s and early 80’s, you will undoubtedly catch and appreciate these references and how they are masterfully strung together with artwork that evokes the essence of that era.
I highly recommend this and eagerly await the next installment.
2016 is proving to be a tough year for musicians, writers, and actors. Yesterday, we lost a virtuoso keyboard player who has been a major musical influence in my life. Keith Emerson died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. It seems that he was suffering nerve problems that were hindering his ability to play keyboards. How devastating it must be to have your life’s passion taken from you.
Here is a link to a Rolling Stone article about Keith’s death.
Hearing this news made me reminisce about the impact Keith’s music had on my life. I listened to my vinyl copy of Brain Salad Surgery yesterday, and this morning, I located one of my old ticket stubs from when I had seen him perform. Here is a link to my stub and memory from the concert, along with a video of Keith performing.
The Stub Collection: Emerson, Lake & Powell
Thanks for all the inspiration.
This was a six-issue arc that I just finished reading. I decided to write about the arc in a single post, as opposed to writing about each issue, mainly because it didn’t warrant that level of attention. (Although, I did write about the first issue when it came out.)
Overall, I found the series entertaining, but that’s because I am a huge Alice Cooper fan. The other characters from Chaos I could not really relate to, and actually, I found them to be somewhat annoying. Definitely a Chaos comic is not something that I would regularly read. Still, I liked the themes of being an outcast, having to face one’s fears, and so forth. These are themes that are part of Alice’s music, so they resonated with me in this comic series.
I’ll include a quote from the final issue in the series that nicely sums up my attraction to Alice Cooper’s music.
I used to play your stuff as loud as I could. It scared me, y’know? Monsters and demons and nightmares and… all the fun scary stuff. But underneath it all there was something else… there was someone who understood… what it was like to be an outsider. What it was like to be a freak. You showed us it was okay to be afraid. And that we could control our fears.
Image Source: Yahoo News
I was saddened to read that David Bowie passed away. He was a big artistic influence for me and I felt fortunate to have been able to see him in concert. He was a person who was never afraid to take risks, who constantly redefined himself, and stretched the boundaries of artistic expression.
Here is a great quote from the CNN article about Bowie’s passing.
As the world mourns Bowie’s death, fan Dean Podsta put it best:
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
Here is a link to a recent post on my other blog, which is my memories from when I got to see the legendary David Bowie.
The Stub Collection – David Bowie: 4/27/1990
I stopped into the local comic store on the way home from work yesterday, and my friend who owns the store had put aside this new Alice Cooper comic for me, knowing that I am a big Alice fan. So of course, I bought it, even though I had no idea who or what Chaos was.
I found this comic to be just OK. Certainly, nothing like Neil Gaiman’s Alice Cooper comic (which is a must read, imho). This one, has some cool looking demonic characters, and it seems as if they will be attempting to kill the Coop, but otherwise, I closed the cover thinking I really didn’t care too much about this. I suppose if I was familiar with the Chaos graphic series, this would be more interesting for me. Anyway, because it’s Alice, I’ll continue reading it, but unless it turns out to be something incredible, I probably won’t be taking to time to blog about them. As such, if you see a subsequent post, you can assume that this arc has taken a turn for the better.
This is a stand-alone issue done by a different writer and artist (Joe Harris and Eman Casallos did the first five issues). I loved it, but it is definitely a niche comic. If you are not an Alice Cooper fan, you are probably not going to enjoy this much. The premise is that Alice is doing a tour through the Nightmare Place but is plagued by a specter, who is some kind of psychotic clown demon seeking to shatter Alice’s sanity. There are definite allusions to Cooper’s “From the Inside” album, which I think is a nice touch. But again, if you are not a Cooper fan, then this would mean nothing to you.
I do not know if this comic is going to continue. There is a sense of finality about it, and there is no mention of an issue 7. I suppose all dark things must come to an end. I’ll inquire next time I visit my local comic store.
Happy nightmares, and keep on reading!
This issue concludes the story tale that began with the first issue. I really don’t have a whole lot to say about it, other than I liked it. It was darkly funny and graphically engaging, and it concluded nicely. In addition, it sets up well for subsequent tales (since I saw at the end of the comic that issue #6 is already planned, I can safely assume that this is continuing). Bottom line is this is a fun comic. Nothing really mind-boggling, but if you like rock and roll and if you are an Alice Cooper fan, you’ll definitely enjoy it. Issue #6 would be a good place to jump in if you are not following this yet.
May all your nightmares be thrilling and chilling!
Image from Film: American Sniper
I confess that I have not seen “American Sniper” yet, but I am certainly aware of the controversy surrounding this film and plan to see it at some point. I try not to judge something based upon others’ opinions or media hype, but all the publicity made me think of a snippet of poetry from Jim Morrison’s The Lords and the New Creatures:
The sniper’s rifle is an extension of his eye.
He kills with injurious vision.
This idea has haunted me for years. I think that it is impossible to act, no matter how impulsively, without envisioning the act first in your mind’s eye. This may just be a split second in some cases. We may not even be aware that we are envisioning an act before we commit it. But I firmly believe that every act and every event begins with a thought, and thought is creative, internal visualization. We can choose to have injurious vision, or healing vision, but make no mistake; reality is a direct result of our vision.