Things that “might have been” and things that “became”… Part VI

Starting with this blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.

Steve Vai – Blue Powder  mystery song?
I would be crazy not to mention Steve Vai somewhere around here. No other musician has influenced me in so many different ways as Steve Vai. Both as a musician and emotional. I heard Steve for the very first time when I was about 17-18 years old from a “soft plastic” single i got with a magazine. I wish I could tell you what song it was, but anyway here’s the story.

Edit: it was called a” flexi-disc” This flexi-disc was an insert in the October 1986 issue of Guitar Player Magazine, demonstrating Carvin amplifiers. And the name of the song was “Blue Powder” (The A-side contained Michael Hedges performing “Because It’s There“, also an amazing guitarist well worth listening to).

I had just moved away from home to the big city (Yeah honey, you know which one – dad). Besides working, partying and playing with my band I bought a magazine every month called “Guitar Player”.  As this was before the Internet, a paper magazine was the only way to pick up on trends and sounds in the guitar community (or in any other community for that matter).

One issue had a promotion single inside it; this must have been a pretty new and cool way to make magazines interactive. It was very thin and flexible and not intended to hold any longer period of time. If I remember it right it was some kind of advertising for a guitar amp. And on the B-side, demoing the amp was a young hot guitar player called Steve Vai. Steve recorded a demo using the amp and I have no idea who the rest of the musicians were on the original recording, but I suspect it features American bassist Billy Sheehan. (Feel free to confirm or deny this if anyone knows).

Edit: I got a mail from a good friend of mine confirming it’s; Steve Vai – Guitar, using the Carvin X1–B amp, Stu Hamm – Bass, using the Carvin Pro Bass amp and Chris Frazier – Drums

This is of course an amazing song with some really kick-ass musical craftsmanship. Really not much to say more than this – you can be inspired by the amazing level of skill, dedication and feeling Steve Vai shows in whatever you set you’re mind on in life. Most of he’s work is truly inspiring regardless of what instrument you play.

This demo single was the most played record in my first apartment during the greater part of 1986 (if I remember correctly). Later that year I bought Steve’s first solo album Flex-able (1984). I had to import it from the United States for a huge sum of money. Anyway I wish I could find the original single that came with Guitar Player, but it’s long gone. I later had a big crush for the album Passion And Warfare (1990) and to my great satisfaction the song had made its way on to that record.

(Remember honey, this was 1986. No internet, no European union etc. You will however still find that first Steve Vai Album in the garage among the rest of the vinyl. Please treat it with respect. – Dad)

Things that “might have been” and things that “became”… Part V

Starting with this blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.

This is for you honey – Dad

Van Halen – Mean Street (spotify link)
I must have been about 13 -14 years old when I heard this song the first time. It was a total coincidence. As most of us at this time my musical world was a mix of AC/DC, Disharge, Blag Flag, KISS etc. A chaotic musical mix of Punk and Heavy metal
No wonder it all ended up with styles like trashmetal and hardcore years later.

I was going to visit a friend and when we went upstairs to play some computer games I just froze in the stairs.  From he’s older brothers room came a sound so different it might as well have been from another world. It was the tapping pull-off/pull-on intro from “Mean Street”.

A sound that could carve through frozen fish
I had NEVER before heard a guitar been played like that (no one had actually).
Imagine you hear music from another planet for the first time – nothing like it had ever been played or heard before. It was so exciting and then it crescendos into one of the heaviest Rock ‘n’ Roll riffs ever made. With a guitar sound that could carve through frozen fish…  It was fresh, fun, happy and yet heavy.  The rest of the afternoon was spent with my firends older brother (who in fact was a base player himself) listening to Van Halen. I lost a friend that day but I had a lot more in common with the older brother anyway.

Damn you to hell!
Van Halen was that band that made a teenager dream of beautiful girls, sunshine and Rock ‘n’ Roll fame on a beach somewhere in “Americana”. We could do it, We actually believed we could do it. Later I realised the dream would pretty much just stay a dream.
Some years later I was handing out newspapers in the pouring rain in some remote suburb in sweden shouting “Damn you Van Halen, damn you to hell!” (true story)

The love affair
Anyway, this moment started what became a long, long love affair with the band Van Halen. I own all their records (on vinyl up to around when Hagar took over). Bought their four first albums the same year and been totally into them since back around 1982.
And still 30 years later when they annonced the release of Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth I waited like I was 13 years old again. Van Halen – You And Your Blues can it get any better?

I could write an essay on Van Halen, but I won’t…

(Yes Honey you heard it all growing up, I stole a lot of riffs from Mr. Van Halen – Love /Dad)

Things that “might have been” and things that “became”… Part IV

Starting with this blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.

This is for you honey – Dad

Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son (Spotify link)
Remember that guitar playing neighbor living under my father? He was a lot into the more symphonic parts of rock, like “Yes”, “Toto”, “Boston”, “Styx” and the father of them all – Kansas. The first time I heard Kansas I didn’t really care much for them. It was the album “Point Of Know Return” (1977) and by then they had lost some of their rough hard edge for the more symphonic sound with a lot more keyboards and violins. This is all great, and later I life I learned to love most of their work. But as a 14 year old teenager they pretty much passed me by at first.

They had however cool artwork on their albums inspired by fantasy dreamscapes in an abstract way. (like many symphony rock outfits at that time). And it was really the artwork that first drew my attention when going through my neighbor’s record collection.

Somehow the artwork of “Leftoveture” (1976) captured my interest and the very first song I heard from the album was of course “Carry on wayward son”. It had that perfect mix of bombastic choirs and hard riffs that sticks to your head. The song itself is a masterpiece made up by different parts with their own tempo, going from very hard to very soft with a perfect chorus followed up by some of the coolest guitar riffs ever made!

This is the song I spent absolutely most time practicing my guitar to – a perfect mix with different styles and tempo. I spent months learning the break and guitar solo at 2:48 to perfection (and later the part at 4:27). As  young man I also spent countless of hours in front of a mirror playing the air guitar to this song,  made love to some great women, smoked some fine weed cigars and danced all night.
I hope eveyone has a song like this.

(Honey, the original vinyl is lost over the years so don’t bother looking for it. You can find it on Spotify however – Dad)

Things that “might have been” and things that “became”… Part III

Starting with this blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.

This is for you honey – Dad

Cream – SWLABR (Spotify link)
This is a record I stole from my father’s neighbors… I was about 12-13 years old. Below my father’s apartment lived two very strange guys. One was a guitar player (whom I later became friends with) and the other one some academic who lost he’s way during endless studies at the university. They rented and shared an apartment owned by my father. There were always parties with lot of strange people; this was during the mid 70’s. I could come and go as I pleased and listen to whatever records I wanted. During the years to follow I even learned a lot of guitar licks from them both. I lerned a lot of other stuff too.. But I wont go into that subject here.. (If your mother’s still alive, go ask here… – Dad)

One day I found a strange looking record…
It was pink and orange with lot of strange pictures and patterns.  I just picked out a random track, I think mostly cuz the name of the song (SWLABR) sounded so crazy. The cracked, squeaky sound of Eric Claptons guitar during the first seconds had me hooked right away The soft voice of Jack Bruce and the jazzy hard drums by Ginger Baker framed it all perfectly. The guitar solo was amazing. Two guitar tracks evenly panned out in left/right mono to create the illusion of stereo. Pure magic. I simply had to have it so I stole it…

Transforming the shape of rock music
Recorded in New York, ‘Disraeli Gears’ was Cream’s breakthrough in America, cementing their superstar status. according to Q magazine, the second album from the original super-group of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker “was a huge, Top 5 success on both sides of the Atlantic, transforming the shape of rock music, which still draws deeply on its power-trio innovations”.

Please don’t sell it !
Later I realized Cream was actually one of the (if not the first) real hard rock band.
The Album “Disraeli Gears” taught me that that you could record almost anything and anywhere as long as the song or the band itself was strong enough. Some of my own bands best recordings are still from 20 years ago, done live, or live in Studio.

(Honey, you will find this original vinyl from 1967 framed behind glass somewhere with all my guitars and stuff. It’s worth quite a lot of money and in mint condition. Please don’t sell it – Dad)

Things that “might have been” and things that “became”… Part II

Starting yesterdays blogpost, I decided to list the top 5 songs that really meant something to me over the years since I was a young boy. Songs I even remember where I was and what I did when I heard them the first time. I decided to do this for the sake of my daughter to read when Im dead so maybe (I wish) she can take care of thoose original vinyl recordings and treat them with the respect they deserve and know the reason why she should.

This is for you honey – Dad

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Spotify link)
I was about 10 years old and up until this moment I had only some experience of Jimi Hendrix. I learned to play the guitar and I knew there was something about hard rock that just stuck a nerve in me. Hendrix was nice, but I knew there had to be more out there, heavier, harder… I just got my first record player (Yes honey, we played Vinyl records and there was no Internet streaming – dad)

I had almost no records of my own so whenever I visited my father I “raided” he’s record collection. He was probably too drunk to ever notice I did… I came home with “Beatles” “Hendrix”, “Cream”, “Robin Trower”, “The Hombres” etc. (All original Vinyl, still out in the garage honey. Ask your older sister and she’ll know where to look – Dad)

One time I came home with a very dark and mysterious record.
I think I picked it because it looked scary and I knew my mother (your grandma – Dad) would absolutely hate it. When I played it all I heard at first was the sound of rain, thunder and a lonely church bell. The ambiance of something really scary – remember I was only 10 years old.

And then the whole band kicks off with this bombastic intro… Oh my god, I had never before heard a guitar sound so dark and heavy. I was totally blown away by it.

I still suspect this was some kind of anxiety attack
Seconds later the mourning sound of Ozzy screaming in agony; “What is this that stands before me?”. The air in my room got nonexistent. I almost fainted. I still suspect this was some kind of anxiety attack because I actually passed out on the floor.

The sound and the darkness of it, so different from anything I had ever experienced before. The whole album is one of the best hard rock albums ever made and it marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new darker time ahead (in many different ways). Released on 13 February 1970 in the United Kingdom, and later on 1 June 1970 in the United States, the album has been categorized as the first major album to be credited with the development of the heavy metal genre. I personally have to disagree, you can find out why in my next post on sunday 🙂

As a 10 year old boy it was the beginning a of a life long journey, and from that day I knew I had sold my soul to Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Things that “might have been” and things that “became”…

It’s like the older I get, the more I have the urge to sort things out for myself.
As a young man I had no problem with the chaos inside me, I could even embrace it and feel it was a big part of my creative process whatever I did – mostly as a musician.
I wrote crazy poems, lyrics and songs. I collected notes from my wife (still do). And everything was “for the moment of things” with no plan or structure. When whatever I did was done it went down in a box almost instantly. The result beeing boxes full of papers, notebooks, drawings, ideas, lyrics and recordings of things that “might have been”. Some things “became”…

When I turned 40 something happened. I got more and more organized and structured. Not by some active choice. It just happened. So the last couple of years my creative process has been very structured. I sit myself down regularly to write new songs or lyrics for the band. I sort, organize and prioritize things around me, and things that were. I suspect this blog has something to do with it to.

Music has always been a big part of my life – I play, listen and write it. It consumes my soul, defines who I am. Sometimes it lifts me and sometimes it breaks me. Nevertheless music has, and always will be, a vital part of my life. So in the car on my way to work this morning I realized there a couple of songs that really defined me as a young man. Songs I still can remember exactly where I was when I first heard them. Like a game changer for my life. Songs that completely altered me and my perception of the world around me. So in the light of the above I realized I just have to list them.

As always in my blog I’m not sure why stuff ends up here. Maybe it’s so my youngest daughter some day when I’m gone can read this. She might smile and think to herself, “ok, now I get it, that’s why dad was the way he was”. She’s the one born in my image. She’s the reflection of me in heart and soul and she will know what this all means and what to do with it (yes you will – dad).

So over the next weeks (starting tomorrow) I’ll post my list of the top 5 songs that formed me when I was young. For my daughter to read when I’m dead. (yes you – Dad) 

Stay tuned

Reverse engineering Life

One of my friends said a while ago – “Man, you think too much, and most of it is just useless”. He might be right, but anyway that got me thinking about life. Would I Play my life if it was a mmorpg? Would the level curve be too steep? The mobs too hard? Would it have enough content and enough challenging raids to keep me interested?

And the final question, do I have what it takes to reach the max level in the game of “Life”?

An idea started to take form in my head.. What if I reverse engineer my life into a mmorpg? Would I wanna play that game? I toyed around with this for a couple of weeks in my head think tank. Now this is harder than you might think. As in gaming, there are a lot of things we just take for granted in life. There so much stuff just too obvious for us to notice, content we just miss out on. After a couple of days I just had to stop – this “thinking project” just got too big and intangible. The variables too complicated and the details too many. A couple of weeks later, thinking about other useless stuff (for another post in the future) it finally hit me. What would I do if this really was a game?

Alt+Tab whenever in doubt!
The solution was simple. I would google an easy step-by-step guide and Alt+Tab to whenever in doubt! So I decided this was the way I would approach the question – Write a step-by-step and then deciede if I would wanna play my life if it was a mmorpg..

So L.I.F.E Inc. presents:

The easy step-by-step guide to L.I.F.E
(Gameplay may vary depending on location and hardware)

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