Born Under the Brixton Sun

Let’s get something out of the way upfront here – I am not a super-leftist liberal, though I do tend to vote Democratic. Either way, what’s with the guns? Why are so many innocent people dying? I want to respect viewpoints, I want to respect the rights of hunters and their valid points about controlling animal populations, etc etc. I want to respect the opinions of conservatives, liberals and everything else left, right and in between. I try to understand the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument, but you know what? Innocent people are dying. Repeatedly.┬áThat’s really where that argument fails miserably. How do we let that go on? How do we continue to let it happen?

I’m not going to take the easy way out and push the “what if it were YOUR brother/sister who got shot?” Because that’s just not the right way to approach it. That’s really just arguing for arguing’s sake. The real question is how do we STOP this. At some point we have to realize that the Bill of Rights was written in 1791. So just stop with that argument, ok? Stop. Mental illness? Part of the problem for sure. But people have been mentally ill…..forever. Why in the last 20 years is mental illness suddenly the huge scapegoat for gun supporters? Stop!

It’s easy to get guns.

What do you think would happen if we straight up outlawed guns? As in, NOBODY could have one. I think back in the ’90s some Senator proposed this or pushed something akin to it. I’m too lazy to search Google to find out. I don’t need Google, though, to tell you that of course it got nowhere. But would happen if it did? Would it have saved those kids in Connecticut? Don’t know. But I do feel like they would have had a better shot at being alive today if guns were outlawed. Unfortunately, this is not even realistic. Even if that happened, imagine the brushback – I venture to guess there would be assassinations of political figures who supported it.

This is a hard issue. Can someone tell me why people need these things in their lives, though? I don’t pretend to know all the facts, stats, numbers or figures about gun usage. I just know that more innocent people seem to be dying. These mass shootings were not happening 20, 30 years ago. What is it? Violent video games? Is it all the medication? Do you approve of the media, who appear to feel the need to splash shooters names, faces and personal history all over the TV? Doesn’t that glamorize it?

Whatever it is, I keep going back to my original questions – why do people need guns and why do innocent people have to die from them? And how do we stop it?

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Ambigore

I was so happy to open the Boston Globe this morning that find that the music staff is catching on to The Whigs. The writers saw them down in Austin, TX last week during South By Southwest, the industry’s annual get together which has always been about food and beer and not discussion panels. To celebrate, I’ll post another song from their superb debut album: Can’t Hear You Coming. Hopefully the Whigs train is just getting rolling.

Steph and I finally watched An Inconvenient Truth last night, after the Netflix envelope sat for a couple of months. There’s definitely some captivating information in this film, but goodness, Al Gore’s voice should bottled up and sold over-the-counter as a sleep aid, because I drifted off a few times, something that normally does not happen to me on the couch.

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Two Thumbs Up

Thought it would make sense today to share with you a couple of songs that have been rocking my world lately.

Bobby Bare Jr’s The Heart Bionic is quite the addicting little rock song. Bare Jr. has an especially distinctive, quirky voice and an exceptional ability to make his songs crawl into your head and stay there for a good, long while. This is certainly one of them. I especially like those horns, which you don’t really notice right away, then after a minute you realize it makes the song. At least I think those are horns – maybe some of you musician readers can confirm. I love the line “the medicine you gave me made me feel like a sap.” Anyway, my friend Leo and I saw him open for the Drive-By Truckers last fall and he was terrific. Hit the play button or right click to save.

Merge Records is on a roll. They just released a record by a band called The Broken West that is totally blowing my mind. It’s like a combination of all of my favorite music, rolled up into one band. Power pop? Check. Rock and roll? Check. West coast Byrds-ian vibe? Check. Down In The Valley showcases the band’s power pop/rock persona and if you don’t think this is a tremendous song with hooks galore, then you should be listening to Bing Crosby records full-time. I can almost guarantee you’ll be humming this to yourself all day long after just one listen!

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I’m almost 36 years old now and I still have never…

I’m almost 36 years old now and I still have never found a toaster that works correctly. A few here and there work ok for the first few months, but inevitably it ends up on the fritz. Uneven toasting, multiple toasting cycles, etc etc. Where is the toaster that can automatically sense when the bread or muffin is evenly toasted?

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I Closed My Eyes And I Slipped Away

You know, I was never really a huge fan of the band Boston. I was way more into them as a teen than I am these days. That said, I still find myself rather sad that Brad Delp, their lead singer who possessed one of those voices, passed away on Friday at just age 55. The cause of death is still undetermined, although the family has asked that donations be sent to the American Heart Association, if that’s any indication.

Anyway, it would be pretty hard to not like one Boston song out of the roughly 50-60 the band has in its repetiore. For some, it’s “Amanda.” For others, it’s “Smokin.'” For me, it’s probably “More Than A Feeling.” I think it’s their biggest hit and it’s also probably the Boston song that is still played the most on classic rock stations. Normally, this would mean that I never have to hear it again, but “More Than A Feeling” is exempt – and that’s because Delp’s voice on that song just nails it, running the gamut between soft and soaring, sad and uplifting.

I was a sophomore in high school and a much bigger fan of Boston when the eagerly anticipated Third Stage came out, eight years after their second album. Being in New England, it was almost the story of the year and if you think I’m kidding, chew on this: they sold out nine consecutive nights at the Worcester Centrum in 1986, two of which I attended. As the years progress, it becomes harder and harder for me to remember what happened in what year, but I can tell you with a certain degree of authority that 1986 was a terrific year for me. It was a year in which I began to discover songs beyond what was played on the radio. I saw my first arena rock shows. I had improved my grades after a horrific freshman year. It was just one of those years when so much bloomed. There was an explosion of optimism, lots of new experiences and good friends and great times in school. There will never be another year like that in my life.

So while I don’t really listen to Boston that much, Brad Delp’s voice and the band’s music hold a special place in my heart, because I associate them with some of those moments in a priceless, golden time.

What I love is that people around here have universally praised Delp this weekend, with many calling him one of the nicest people in rock and roll and an unassuming guy without even a smidge of ego and a ton of friendliness and approachability. I had always kept telling myself that I needed to go see his “other” band, the Beatles cover band, Beatlejuice. They played right here in Maynard about once every two months and I never got to see them. Now I never will. It was one of those things where I knew they’d continue to be back and I’d see ’em eventually. Damn.

They say that Delp had an uncanny ability to just nail all four Beatles voices and he always had such a great time doing it. Now I’m wishing I could have heard it for myself.

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