Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IT'S ALMOST OVER... OR IS IT?



What do you think of when you look at this picture?

This was sent to me by a friend, I forget which one now, a few months back. I remember laughing the first time I saw it, and thinking, "Only a nutbag would look at the world this way." Now we all know WHOSE POINT-OF-VIEW this cartoon comically reflects. But after stumbling over this picture again this morning, two things have occurred to me:

#! - The Nightmare Is Almost Over.

Yes, we will have a new President soon. And although I'm voting for Obama, WHOEVER we get into office in January 2009 is going to be an improvement. But then, I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know. But what's got me worried is the second thing that occurred to me:

#2 - This picture isn't funny anymore.

Or maybe it never was. I'm not sure which. The point is... not only do we have an outgoing President that sees the world this way, but there's the rest of the planet--or at least a large chunk of it--who THINKS that the rest of us see the world this way. Not to state the obvious, but that's pretty damn scary.

Which means all of us have a job to do in 2009.

That's right, folks. Obama... ahem, I mean, our new President, can't fix this country by him or herself. They're going to have their hands full getting us out of Iraq, fixing the economy and our rampant debt, and restoring a sense of unity to a divided nation. And that's just the beginning. So the rest of us--regardless of political affiliation are going to have to pitch in and help. How you ask? Well, there are a ton of ways. But one thing that should... must... be a priority is the restoration of our national DIGNITY.

I mean, would you look at that picture?!!!

My God. "Coffee comes from here I think." "More evil-doers." "Cold." What this picture really points out is how DUMB our country has become, and how well aware of it the rest of the world is. Think about it. Our education stats? Down over the last few decades. Our number of college graduates in scientific fields? Falling. No, I don't have exact numbers. [Although now I'm determined to find them...!] But I have eyes and ears. Just turn on your TV and look at how everything is becoming some form of "entertainment." The news is entertainment. The paper (I read the LA Times) is entertainment. Politics (and sadly many political leaders) has always been about entertainment.

It seems facts and integrity are a rarity.

Very well, then. Let this be our mission for the rest of '08, and into 2009. Let us concentrate on educating and enlightening ourselves. On keeping our minds OPEN instead of closed. To learning and embracing new ideas, rather than telling everyone that the old ones are the only ones that matter.

If you should travel abroad this year or next, DON'T BE A JERK. Act like you've got a brain. You're not just representing yourself, you're representing ME and 350 million Americans. If you're in school or at work or at the movies, ACT FRICKIN' CIVILIZED. If you have some spare time tonight or over the weekend, START READING that book that's been sitting on your nightstand for six months. Or better yet... order a new book via Amazon on some topic you've always wanted to learn more about, but never pursued. If you're a parent, inquire at your local school to see how you can help improve things. It might be through donations... it might be coming into a class to talk to students about what it is you do. (I did this once with a class of fourth graders and it was just as rewarding for me as it was for them... moreso, probably!) Whatever is it... don't wait. Start doing it NOW.

Because while a mind is a terrible thing to waste... wasting 350 million of 'em could be downright fatal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER



Okay, this is just ridiculous. In a good way.

First I get Yes tickets on Friday. Today I scored tickets to Return to Forever! This is insane. Yes is my favorite rock band ever, and Return to Forever is my favorite jazz/fusion band ever.

It's like 1974 all over again, eh?

Unlike Yes, I never had the chance to see RTF, because they broke up in 1977. This "classic" line up hasn't played together since 1976 (except for a one-off show in 1983). There's just no way these guys were ever going to get back together. They're just too busy. Drummer Lenny White has been doing steady session work. Chick Corea--who I have seen 5 or 6 times since the mid-Eighties--has won a ton of Grammys and kept performing with various groups, including the insanely bitchin' "Chick Corea Elektrik Band (saw them 4 times!!!). Stanley Clarke aka The God of Bass, and one of my biggest inspirations and influences as a bass player, has scored over 55 movies during his "lazy down period," and AL-I-can-play-faster-than-any-human-on-Earth-DI MEOLA has been alternating between electric and acoustic projects ever since.

It's an accurate statement to say that in 1974, Return to Forever had the four best electric musicians in the world playing in one band. The only thing that could've made it better was if Mahavishnu John McLaughin had replaced Al on guitar, and they added Jean Luc-Ponty on violin and Wayne Shorter on saxophone. (Ooooh, now there's a thought!) The point is... this was THE supergroup of the jazz fusion movement.

And now they're back.

The concert here in LA is June 13th. The only bummer is that they're only playing one night. What's up with that? They're playing FOUR nights in San Francisco. Since when is San Francisco better than LA? Hmmm... OK, you have a point, there. But ignore that for a moment... Hopefully they'll add another night. This will probably be my only chance to witness the insane RTF magic.

If you're interested in going or just wanna know more about all-things RTF, go to: http://return2forever.com/



And if you live in the SoCal area, see ya Friday, JUNE 13th.

(Ooooooh, spoooooooky!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

27 YEARS... AND COUNTING



YES TICKETS WENT ON SALE TODAY.

Now anyone who knows me also knows that Yes is my favorite band. EVER. The title of my blog is starting to make sense now, eh? So imagine my excitement this morning when I was able to get seats for both the Anaheim and Los Angeles shows. My Anaheim tickets are so-so, but the LA seat is--from what I can tell--around the 10th row. SWEET. These will be my 31st and 32nd Yesshows respectively. I can't wait!

I know what you're thinking... am I really old enough to have seen Yes back in 1972? No. My first Yesshows weren't until the 80s, but let's just say I've been making up for lost time ever since. Actually, my sister turned me onto prog-rock back in the late Seventies by playing her copy of Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" over and over. I was into monsters and horror movies and science fiction, so the album's operatic scope and fantastic topic matter made it irresistible. Despite that, I didn't buy my first Yes album "Classic Yes," a greatest hits (!) compilation, until 1981. I became obsessed with the record, specifically with the song "Heart of the Sunrise" (I'm a bass player, remember?). They instantly became my favorite band, and it quickly became clear that--along with Van Halen and Rush--I had to go see them. Immediately. As I began to wonder when they'd come to town...

About two weeks later, my older next door neighbor informed me that Yes--my new favorite band--had just broken up.

I was screwed. Shit out of luck. What a bummer! I would never see my favorite band live. EVER. I didn't cry, but I came close. You know... those boy tears that young men must hold back lest their peers see them showing emotion and ridicule them to no end? Those were the ones I would have shed. But I didn't. I wanted to. But I still didn't. (Trust me, ladies... being a boy, especially an artistic one, SUCKS. But that's another post....)

CUT TO... two years later. It's the summer of 1983 and Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" is burning up the charts. I remember the moment clearly. I was playing cards with my very first girlfriend. That new-fangled wonder MTV was playing in the background. (Remember how you always had to have it on? How it served as both a stereo and a window into everything fascinating and cool about early 80s pop culture?). Suddenly, that blond-haired guy Adam dude (What was his last name?) comes on the MTV news and announces that Yes has gotten back together and will release an album in the fall.

I literally SCREAMED, flipped out, and went CRAZY.

I also remember my girlfriend's reaction. She had literally never seen me act like that before. And she was jealous. I know, because she flat-out told me: "You never react that way over me." I remember replying, "Yeah, but you're not 'Yes,'" and immediately regretting it. Okay, I was young... Needless to say I spent that night alone.

But c'mon... it's YES!



She did eventually forgive me. And a few years later, I went to my first of 30 Yes concerts. The girlfriend--my first love--and I eventually broke up.

It's nice to know that some relationships do last forever.