As the nearly eleven-minute Peter Saves New York remix of Madonna’s “4 Minutes” (to be explained within this post) pounds into my eardrums, I start this work week off with some feeling the love blogging thrills. Two blessings were bestowed recently, The Reality/Shine On and Beautiful Blogger Awards, and I need to thank Jill Weatherholt and Charlotte Carrendar respectively for these gifts. Blogging is one of my pleasures, wrapped up in the writing, and often the tunes. As with other awards, I’ll list seven things, which today will all correspond with music, the biggest guiding force within my writing after my faith. I simply could not write without music, all kinds of music. Oddly enough, other than instrumental jazz, I cannot write to music. But strip away the songs, and I’m utterly bereft, just about where I’d be without blogging. Blogging brings an immediacy to the jumble within my head, which is equally smoothed by the tunes. Blogging and listening to music, well now, hoo-boy, what more can I say, other than I pass these awards to all who have enjoyed my tuneful musings; blogging into silence is like writing without music. And without further blah blah blah, here are seven musical facts about me.
1. I am a remix junkie, especially when it comes to Ms. Ciccone. “4 Minutes” is probably one of my favourite Madonna songs; the remixes spawned a sci-fi plot that still creeps up on me every time one of the many version of “4 Minutes” hits my ears. Not sure when I’ll write 5:36, but I have a killer tagline; They are us. (Heh heh heh…)
2. I also love to bang my head. My brother Joe brought Guns N’ Roses to my attention, and I just can’t seem to shake those malcontents from my brain. I saw them at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheater years ago, right before the Use Your Illusion double albums were released. All I recall is waiting FOREVER for Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Duff McKagan (not sure who was the drummer at that time) to get their butts on stage. “November Rain” is an amazing tune, and I also love “Paradise City”, “Civil War”, and oh my goodness, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.
3. And speaking of “SCO’M”, I adore remakes. Two other versions of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” rock my world, a very twee cover by Taken By Trees (thanks Jenn!), and the languid version by Luna. Ryan Adams remade Oasis’ “Wonderwall” so astutely, it’s like a still but rushing river running alongside the original. Elton John’s take on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was how I learned that Beatles’ song, and I love Cheap Trick’s version of “Magical Mystery Tour”. And I’d be remiss not to mention The White Stripes’ cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Nothing is more heartbreaking than Jack White begging Jolene to leave his man alone.
4. And this post would be lacking if I omitted The White Stripes; my husband bought one of their early singles while we lived in Britain, and soon the whole family was hooked. Hubby and I saw Jack and Meg White twice; once in Bridlington, then in Wolverhamption, where we caught sight of them heading into the venue. Fans were getting a few snaps, then as Meg stepped into the building, Jack smiled our way, then slipped inside. My husband and I darted into a nearby department store (BHS) for cuppas at the cafe, calling our kids, thrilling all of us to pieces. The White Stripes gave my husband and I hope that rock wasn’t dead, and while my hubby’s affection for them faded after White Blood Cells, I remain a dedicated fan, using several of their tunes to enliven my writing.
5. Other bands I have seen are Roxy Music (Liverpool), Stevie Nicks (Sacramento, California), Jose Gonzalez (Harrogate, North Yorkshire), Richard Thompson (Leeds and York, England and Colorado Springs, Colorado), The Cramps (Boulder, Colorado), Yo La Tengo (San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California), Camera Obscura (San Francisco), Dash Rip Rock (Boulder), R.E.M. (Denver, Colorado and Manchester, England). I prefer standing at concerts, as I love to dance. No matter how loud the tunes, if I’m sitting, I get sleepy, probably because it’s late, and I should be at home snoozing.
6. At home I listen to music mostly via my computer, but a turntable sits near the TV. Record albums are dear to this family, we buy vinyl both new and used. I can’t imagine not having a turntable, something about setting a disc on a flat surface, laying that needle onto the album, so sweet! (Plus I met my husband at a college radio station, hee hee.)
7. Playlists; I cannot discount the importance of a collection of songs, always with a title attached. Long before iPods, we made cassettes, then burned CD’s; one of my faves, There Is Something Here, was the inspiration behind Hannah Adams’ book within my novel September Story. Every manuscript I write starts from a list of tunes, the seeds of plot and character germinating as melodies waft through my gray matter. If I’m a deaf old lady at the end of my life, it will have been worth it. More music has been piped into my head via headphones connected to Walkmans and now iPods, like another manner of breathing. I just can’t live without the tunes.
8. A bonus; here are the songs that made up There Is Something Here, Hannah’s attempt to reach actor Jeremy Stewart. If I could now, I’d replace Oasis’ version of “Wonderwall” with Ryan Adams’, otherwise this playlist stands as it has when I originally made it, long before I started blogging and well before this fictional gig was a glimmer in my eye. Or it’s always been there, in the music, just waiting for my daughter and NaNo to shake it loose.
There Is Something Here
“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder (This is my fave Stevie Wonder song.)
“London Madrid” – The Aislers Set (In 1999, driving back from Disneyland Paris in a car loaded with sick family, I listened to The Aislers’ album Terrible Things Happen over and over as no one else was well enough to change the CD.)
“Death Letter” – The White Stripes (From De Stijl, a cover of the Son House original.)
“When You Were Mine” – Cyndi Lauper (Another great cover, originally by Prince.)
“From End To End” – Relient K (This band stirs my head-banging tendencies.)
“Country Feedback” – R.E.M. (One of the most gorgeous songs in the world.)
“Here You Are” – The Go-Go’s (I wore out their first cassette when I was in high school, had to get another copy.)
“Over and Over” – Camper Van Beethoven (Yet one more fantastic cover, the original a Christine McVie composition from Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album)
“Every Breath You Take” – The Police (I was a huge Police fan in high school.)
“Wonderwall” – Oasis (Please give Ryan Adams’ cover a try!)
“Michelle” – The Beatles (This song is the backbone of September Story.)
“Sky Is Falling” (acoustic version) – Lifehouse (Such a beautiful song.)
“Mother of Pearl” – Roxy Music (I prefer their Live 2001 version.)