My 5 Favorite Rock Albums

I knew this was going to be a difficult choice, so instead I am going to name my top 5 and how they influenced my life at the time.

I grew up in an era where we actually had real, vinyl record albums. I remember the shear joy of arriving home, taking off the wrapper and doing the infamous sniff test. It was the scent of vinyl all new, shiny and black. You would always get excited to find out if there was going to be a booklet included with photos and lyrics. I still remember Led Zeppelin’s “In Through The Out Door”, the inside sleeve featured black and white line artwork which, if washed with water would become a permanent, full water-colour. I still remember when someone accidentally spilt water on mine, and we were all in awe and amazed by what we had discovered. We imagined that we were the only ones in the world that knew this secret. Today if you can still find a CD, the liner notes are so small that I can’t even make them out in my reading glasses. Gone are those days, but I still long for the sound of a good vinyl record, with scratches and all.

In the 70’s there just weren’t many female musicians playing rock n roll. Most of the role models were men, swinging their hips and caressing their guitars as if they were women. I thought how could I relate to that.

I began playing acoustic guitar at age 13, but when I discovered Suzi Quarto, The Runaways, Heart, Patti Smith and Girlschool all that changed. When I saw photos of Joan Jett with her electric gold top Les Paul, I knew I had to have one. I did get my Les Paul at the San Francisco Pawn Brokers and soon a gigantic Custom amplifier followed, which the neighbourhood and police soon learnt to hate. All of sudden I felt like I belonged and that I was in a secret club only for girls. We could be raunchy and play power chords just like our male counterparts.

Here is my list of my top 5

1. 1974 – Suzi Quatro – Suzi Quatro
2. 1976 – The Runaways – The Runaways
3. 1976 – Heart – Dreamboat Annie
4. 1978 – Patti Smith – Easter
5. 1982 – Girlschool – Hit and Run

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The “Real” Cool Cats

Today someone made a comment regarding, a fellow musician. They referred to this person as a “real” musician. I thought to myself, mmm…. what does this genuinely mean, being called “real”. In all my years of playing and hanging around with these eccentric, cool cats (I looked up “musician” in the thesaurus and cool cat was used as a synonym), I had never, ever heard anyone refer to a musician in this way.

I was bewildered and began to ponder, and ask myself, who are the fake cool cats and which are “real”? How can one be distinguished from the other? I must have overlooked something. I was fooled for all these years. My god, the wool must have been pulled over my eyes! I had never given it much thought, before this. In fact, I never gave it any thought, until today.

Most of these hep cats, that I have known or been acquainted with, haven’t exactly been able to make a living playing their instrument of choice. The only ones, that succeeded, I can count on my one hand. If a “real” musician means giving up your day job, then I must have known nothing more than bogus ones. The only “real” ones, that I knew were Bryan Adams, and James Keelaghan (James only became “real” in last 5 years or so). I also knew a guitar player named Brian Russell, who’s claim to fame, is that he never had to work a day job in his life. The last time I saw him, he was Roger Whittaker’s, lead guitarist. Don’t laugh; he was paid the biggest bucks that you can only dream of, for that gig. He would go out for a few months and not have to work the rest of the year. One of the best guitar players(who will go unnamed)that I ever heard in my life, had never been on a stage or made any money at it. The fact that he had never made a cent doesn’t mean that he is bogus. To me, he was one of the most “unreal” musicians” I have ever heard.

I have contemplated this, and have come up with a definitive answer. What I really feel that a “real” musician is, no matter what your day job might be, is this. All it means is that you have a passion for the music that you are playing or writing. It is a part of who you are, it is in your soul, and you are able feel it in your gut. It doesn’t matter if you are still poor. Money has nothing to do with being a so-called “real” musician or not. In fact, if you ask any famous ones, why they began playing an instrument, money won’t be mentioned. I feel the only thing that differentiates us all, is if we are able to be a full time working musician or not. Most cool cats out there will never achieve that in their lifetime, which doesn’t in anyway make them any less worthy, or “real”.