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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 Movie That Moved Me

This movie moved me because it took me back to my youth. When I was a teenager, ‘The Runaways” were the same age as myself and my friends. I wanted nothing more than to have my own all girl Rock n Roll band. I tried really hard at it, but could never find girls as dedicated as myself. When watching the movie, I think maybe I should have tried a little harder.

The Runaways were pioneers for female musicians and singers to come. Without them there would be no Bif Naked, Hole or Pink. If Rock n Roll interests you and you want to see the history of women in rock, go rent the movie.

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The Runaways

The Runaways bring back a lot of memories for me, some great, some are melancholy. They were my inspiration for picking up an electric guitar. Before them, I was only playing acoustic guitar. There is great scene in the movie, where Joan’s guitar teacher, tells her, girls don’t play electric guitar, gotta love it, but then, those were the times. Once I saw them in a magazine and heard them, I was as they say god struck. I wanted a girl band of my own. What made them so awesome for me was that they were female and they were the same age as me and that they could actually play instruments. My problem was that I could never find girls that were as dedicated to the music as I was. I found the girls, but they would rather be with their boyfriends or doing drugs with their fathers. I was willing to practice and do whatever it took to get the band off the ground. When I saw the movie, I could relate to Joan Jett, because for her it was always about the music, which it should be.

YouTube – Go Rest High On That Mountain

Let The Music Speak For Itself

No Depression In Heaven

I came across this video on “youtube” today.  It was originally recorded by “The Carter Family” in 1936, and written by A.P. Carter.  After seeing and hearing this song, I feel that Sheryl Crow should be recording a country roots album, the woman has a twang in her voice.   

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”.

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