2016

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The New Year in nearly upon us.  2015 was quite an interesting year, full of more ups than downs.  I was able to rediscover some dormant passions and interests, as well as discovering new ones.  I am greatly looking forward to the New Year. Like every new year 2016 is full of mystery, uncertainty and promises of new challenges and opportunities.  I am eager to see what it will bring.  God bless and Happy New Year!!!

Motorhead Is Dead

Lemmy passed away yesterday.  I was never a Motorhead fan.   However, being a metalhead I was always aware of the presence of Lemmy and his loud power trio.  It’s fair to say that every metalhead from the 80’s knew the band’s signature song Ace Of Spades.  As I said I was never a fan but many bands that I have listened to over the years site Lemmy and Motorhead as a major influence on their own music. Obviously I never knew Lemmy.  He was notorious for his wild rock and roll lifestyle, so in many ways it is a miracle that he lived to 70.  That being said, upon reading of his death I felt an unexplained sadness that sat with me for a time today.  Eventhough I was not a fan, Lemmy and the latest edition of Motorhead was always there rocking out, loud and proud.  Lemmy was not one of my musical heroes, but his passing brings home the fact that my own personal musical heroes will not be around forever. Motorhead is dead, long live rock and roll.

The Money Awakens

I am conflicted.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released a few days ago.  As I write this it would seem that I am one of the few who have yet to see the movie.  During it’s opening weekend fans all over the U.S. spent an estimated  $238 MILLION to watch this movie!  That’s not including the money that was spent on food and drinks consumed while watching the movie.  According to news sources the estimated budget needed to make the movie was approximately  $200 MILLION!   And that figure does not include the millions that have and will be spent to promote the movie.

I am conflicted because I love the movie going experience, there is nothing quite like it.  Going to the theater, waiting in line, taking your seat, watching the trailers……and than that moment when the lights dim and the movie starts.  No home theater can replace that experience, or the collection energy and emotion of a crowd while the movie is playing.  At the end of the day, for me anyway, the whole experience is about entertainment and escapism.  Here is where the conflict comes in.  We as a culture spend A LOT of money on entertainment and escapism, and for this example I am referring just to movies.  It is not uncommon for movies to have budgets of $100 to $200 million.   And than we turn around and spend upwards of $500 to $600 million, just to watch one movie!

I am conflicted because, like so many others, I love going to see big budget movies. like.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I think to myself, couldn’t all of that money be spent more wisely?  Billions of dollars spent each year in this country, just to watch movies!  With that kind of money we could help so many people in need, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, increase the quality of education, reduce the national debt, etc, etc, etc.

So as I prepare to see the new Star Wars movie this week, and look forward to 2016 and the release of more big budget movies, I am conflicted.

The Curious Case of Tony Banks

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I am a HUGE fan of the band Genesis.  I am also a fan of a good deal of the solo material released by various members of the band over the years.  Focusing on the five main players in the band’s history (Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins) and their music careers outside of the band, one thing stands out.  That is the lack of success of one member, Tony Banks.

Phil Collins became a household name and arguably one of the biggest pop stars of the 1980′ and 90’s.

Peter Gabriel was a mainstay of MTV in the 80’s.  He has achieved worldwide recognition as well as a great deal of critical acclaim because of his innovative music.

Mike Rutherford formed Mike and the Mechanics and had a few top 40 hits as well as an #1 single.

Steve Hackett has had moderate success as a solo artist. He has developed a small, but loyal fan base over the years.  But he had his biggest success with the band GTR.  The band produced one successful album which spawned one hit single.

Tony Banks?  A curious case, nine albums, including two band projects, and no success.  Genesis fans and music fans in general seem to regard his solo career with  a collective sigh of indifference.  I wish I knew why, I love his solo recording.  He was arguably the most important songwriter in Genesis.  Throughout the band’s career his keyboards shaped the overall sound of the band.  In most cases his solo recordings are just as good, if not better, than the music that he produced with Genesis.  So, if you are feeling musically adventurous than I would strongly advise that you check out his solo work.

I Have A Bad Feeling About This

I may be the only Star Wars fan in the world NOT excited about the impending release of the newest movie in the franchise. Let me just say that I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars movies. Like many young boys in 1977, seeing Star Wars changed my life. For a long time the original series was my favorite trilogy of all time. The Lord of the Rings had since taken the top spot, but there is no shame in being second.

On paper The Force Awakens sounds like a winner, J. J. Abrams directing, (his reboot of Star Trek a few years back stands as one of the best sci fi movies in a long time), and the return of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. However, with each trailer that I have seen I have become less and less excited. The new characters hold no appeal, the new R2 unit, or whatever it is, looks silly. Although it may be cool to see Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca at least one more time, the trailers leave me cold. I would rather see an all new cast of characters. There have to be thousands of stories to tell in the Star Wars universe that do not include characters from the first six movies.

So, will I be going to see The Force Awakens?  Yes, I will, but my expections will be extremely low. The original Star Wars eventually became known as A New Hope, well I hope that the force is strong with this one.

All Sides Of The Story

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Let me just say that I love the music of Phil Collins.  I can  not say that I love the man because I have never met him.  But his music has been a big part of my life since 1981.  The music that he made with  Genesis and as a solo artist is amoung some of my all time favorite music.  The recent news that he is coming out of retirement is great news for me.  Just some personal Phil Collins facts:

 

  • His Both Sides album is my 2nd favorite album of all time

 

  • Hands down he is my all time favorite drummer

 

  • My second favorite vocalist, ever

 

  • Genesis in 1986 was my very first concert

 

  • Genesis is one of my top three all time favorite bands, Phil Collins is a big reason for that.

The future is uncertain and I don’t want to get too greedy.  The man produced a great deal of music over the years.  However, he has also given a lot for the sake of playing music: hearing loss, back injury, his personal life made very public, etc.  His health is the most important thing.  I am hoping for a healthy and whole Phil Collins capable of producing incredible  new music for years to come.   And perhaps one day he can get together with Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford for one more Genesis album, THAT would be nice!