Being a gigantically successful rock, pop or hip-hop star seems like a pretty cushy gig. We're talking world tours, fancy hotels, cash, fans and playing music for a living. But the fame and fortune...
We passed each other and stupefied, I could only muster a "Hello, Mr. Williams" to which he politely nodded. When I played that moment over and over in my head, I wished it could've played out differently. I realized what I should've said but thought I'd never get a second chance. I got my second chance.
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I've heard the argument that the vinyl revival is the collective urge to return to the "organic" and to get back to what's "real." Vinyl records are made up of polyvinyl chloride which is the third most used plastic in the world. That doesn't sound too "organic" to me. If that isn't enough, the damn thing gets shrink-wrapped with, you guessed it, more plastic. It's like keeping an unpeeled banana in a ziplock bag.
I can't turn anywhere without rap music blaring into my ears. Before hip hop got elected into popular taste to a level where it's now synonymous with pop-culture, there was an era that preceded this current one that might be doomed to obscurity. Here's hoping rap can finally realize, during its unwavering drive to be "fresh," it had long created music without an expiry date.
Out here on the road, we're getting laughed at for being Torontonians. Thanks, Rob Ford. There's nothing else to do but dive in with these jesters and join them so with all the downtime that is afforded to us during the day while on tour I've managed to assemble a few homemade memes at Rob Ford's expense.
Death Angel is one of my favourite bands of all-time. To this day, the band have an overarching presence in my life. Whenever I sit down to write one of these Huff Post columns or pick up my guitar to write a rock riff, my autographed Death Angel "Frolic" band promo photo hangs framed above my work desk at home as motivation.
How do you procure distinctions if you only have a modicum of talent? Join the Canadian music biz. I honestly can't tell you the exact number of distinct music award ceremonies there are in Canada because I lost count at 33. I've watched almost every person I know snag one. It's almost like when each kid gets a prize at a children's birthday party.
Beyond the music itself, Rock N' Roll has always stood for freedom to me. Its lead characters embody this freedom the music only attempts to describe. So huge are these personalities that often one name is all they need. And now on the eve of his long-awaited debut solo album, simply titled "Dregen", the man stands poised, ready to assume his rightful dominion.
Why is it that the people who need a pedicure the most are the ones flaunting their ghastly hooves? Clean your feet before you decide to show them to the world in a pair of sandals, dammit! Despite what you might think, there's a good chance you have feet only a mother could love.
I never had much success holding on to mementos. My mom was anything but a hoarder and I was always encouraged to purge. But there is one relic from my childhood that I refused to part with that substantiates all claims that I've been a rocker my whole life. I was never NOT a rocker and this proves it.
Offsetting my penchant for all things heavy with softer music listening keeps my chakras aligned and over the course of time, has made me genuinely appreciate it. In an effort to pander to the passive aggressive, more compliant indie crowd, I proffer my list of Forgotten Indie Rock records that I've held close to the vest for some time.
The desire to meet the subjects of beloved songs is assuredly a quest to understand the singer who sang about them. It's also kinda nuts. I met Beth. As in the Beth in that song, "Beth" by the rock band Kiss off their album Destroyer. It was Lydia -- Lydia Criss -- and I met her.
When I was asked to write about what I would change in Canada, I hemmed and hawed and scratched my head in total bemusement. I finally hyper-focussed on the fact that, although Canada boasts the longest coastline as the second largest country with ninth highest standard of living in the world, it also contains the highest amount of shitty drivers.
I am the newest employee on fiverr.com. Fiverr.com is a website where people offer their services for the amazing low price of five stinkin' bucks.I surf this site like a fiend and at all hours of the day. Out of all the time I've logged surfing and hiring, I present to you my Top Five Fiverr.com Crew.
I must state that I don't drink. I also understand that over the years people have been brought up to accept alcohol as a requirement intrinsic to the Rock 'n' Roll experience. Maybe I'm an oddity, but I've never needed any help to appreciate Rock.
Listening or reading about what a musician has to say about their own music is the holy grail of torture. It's the equivalent to getting your leg sawed off without any anesthesia or forcing you to swallow your own eyeballs after they've been poked out.
In November of 2007 I received a hand-written reply from Peart in the mail. It had taken so long that I had forgotten I even wrote the letter in the first place. My heart stopped, my pulse raced, my brow beaded, Neil Peart had written me back!
Watching Tom Cruise, who's probably more into soft rock, try to bluff his way through his misguided idea of how a guy in a hard rock band behaves was hysterical and cringe-worthy. It was another reminder that when Hollywood tries to take on rock 'n' roll the results are so off-the-mark that no matter how earnest the intent it usually ends up in the category of farce.
Much has been made of life on the road. One of the things that keeps the craziness at bay, at least for me, are the fleeting but memorable moments that happen every once in a while on tour; the kind of moments that stay with you for a lifetime. Interviewing Tad Doyle for my podcast was something else.
Gwen, don't listen to the naysayers. They're just jealous. Hell, I'm even jealous of you. You sang with The Stones and you looked great doing it, if I do say so myself. Nobody, even wild horses, as hard as they might try, can take that away from you.
I detest the term, "guilty pleasure." You should never feel guilty about the music you like. The only people who should feel guilty are these tastemaking, gate-keeping bullies and their need to cover up their own self-doubt.
There has been a recent crop of bands that stand in direct audible opposition to this new folk movement, harking back to the awesomely noisy '90s. In order to get what I perceive to be an oncoming trend on solid, noisier ground, I submit 10 lost '90s noise albums for all to search out and let into your lives.
As more self-appointed music critics are able to get their quickly-cobbled thoughts across to a readership/viewership that scrolls and skims more than actually reads, Frank Zappa's famous quote about music journalism becomes ever so appropriate: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."
I will always root for the underdog. Whether it's the Super Bowl or a simple game of Monopoly, whoever's losing will always have my support. It's probably why I got into underground music growing up and quickly realized all the amazing bands were the unheard ones. And nowhere is it more consequential than the world of candy bars.
Metal's dissemination into popular culture is a perpetually being siphoned and dispersed into the consciousness of popular taste to the unawareness of the zombie masses. Don't believe me? Here are four examples of heavy metal's direct influence on things you never thought were metal.
It has nothing to do with who's accompanying me to the meal either. I could be by myself, with friends, or on a date and it never fails that I'm mistakenly passed over as either the carpet or the wallpaper. So over the years I've learned a few tricks to grab people's attention.
Successive crops of next-big-thing Toronto bands have come and gone with me hardly ever being aware they even existed. However, if you spend enough time staying away from home, eventually, home will find you. I just didn't know it would happen in Australia.
Toronto is seen as a place filled with rude, cold-hearted, selfish people. I agree with every fiery postulation about the city. And that's why I love it and call Toronto my home. But I've naturally acquired a set of new pet peeves. One of them being that I can't stand it when people stand in doorways. When someone is caught standing in any publicly used doorway, the person behind them should be allowed to legally push them.
To me, there are only two types of music in the world -- good and bad. I like to listen to the good kind. Music is surely relative, but when one looks at the music that gets continually lauded over, be it critically or at a mainstream level, there's usually a complete dismissal of anything remotely hard or heavy. There is for people like me, however, an oasis called The Roadburn Festival.
Oh T-shirts, how I love thee! They have the ability to keep gas in the tank of a band's van and put a meal in front of them while out on the road. Working in an industry that doesn't require one to wear a suit and tie or a uniform with a name tag means there sometimes needs to be other superficial ways to check credibility, status and taste. There are certain shirts that instantly scream cred.
Can all people making music everywhere just agree to never use the word "artist" when describing themselves? After 17 years playing music, I've been labeled an "artist" by others many times, more out of journalistic automation than any sincere intent. Still, each time I've been tagged with this word I consider it a slur.
If you're like me -- a person who doesn't drink or smoke -- people assume you're a recovering drug addict. I definitely experimented, dabbled, even habitually enjoyed for some time, and had a general all-around blast. My main reason for smoking marijuana in the first place was only to enjoy the music. So put this list on and just enjoy, you lucky bastards.