Sunday, January 22, 2006

Roots, Random, Reggae

I seem to be obsessed with the 'roots' of things. I am totally into stuff that is old and 'the first'. Remakes of films really bum me out, with the surprising exception of War of the Worlds. Both versions are cool, but I liked the new one a lot.

I've been repeatedly playing Toots and the Maytals "Bam Bam" from 1966. The pure, pre-reggae roots come alive to me. The melody very is tricky. A harmonic leapfrog kind of thing. There are no real verses. Under the lyrics, 'bam bam' with two part harmony is sung.

I want you to know that I am the man who fights for the right, not for the wrong.
Going there and staying here. Talking this and talking that.
Soon you will find out the man I'm supposed to be.

The statospheric falsetto of Toots following this is just fucking awesome. If you ever hear this song and don't sense the raw, beautiful talent of those guys, well, I guess I don't really care. I'm just glad I do. But more to my point, I feel like I can sense their calypso influences, yet they were starting reggae. It's just freaking great. The first, the source, the real shit. Built on a lot of influences, but driven by their innate, but honed abilities. That's how I want my life to be.

It's cold here in Reno. But Reno is pretty great. I played a show, and since I've made friends with so many musically gifted folks, it wasn't hard to hear some more dudes doing their thing. Last night it was Luke and the Atomiks. But these musical friendships evidently have something to do with me actually being one them. In Cali, I'd be just a nobody. In Reno, I can pretty much do whatever music I feel like. I can chase any number of various musical goals, all just because I want to (and more importantly, I have time). Today I worked on new cover songs for Hellbound Glory with Leroy. It was fun. Then I went home.

So I hope it all works out. I am loving playing bass. I like to sing. Guitar is pretty damn fun too. In everything, I seek the source, or a truth. Mandolin pursuits, I found that with Bill Monroe. The country voice? Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Guitar is more difficult to pin down. There are a lot of 'sources', depending on the style. That may be for another blog. But for bass playing? The source is those no name guys who did all those great recordings for Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. I am committed to learning about the rad groove dudes and will know their names before the month is out. And my dad. I love him for being such a kick ass bass player. And he never taught me anything directly on the bass. But I channel my memories of pops quite often on stage. No, he ain't dead folks. But he doesn't do too much music these days.

Aaah. It's a Tanqueray and Tonic night. I just finished watching John Ford's The Searchers. It was pretty great, especially the Technicolor. John Wayne, eeeenh. The obvious thing I saw was Once Upon A Time In The West everywhere, primarily in the location shots. What was surprising is that I saw very clear homage to the burning homestead paid by George Lucas in Ep. IV. Wait Luke, it's too dangerous!. I swear there is a snow shot of two main chararacters coming down a snowy steep slope that was copied in the Fellowship of the Ring. My favorite shot was pretty late in the flick where the camera pans down to the younger character in a narrow, bedrock canyon. It's like a 15 or 20 second move. I love that shit.

The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that family was called Smeagol. He was interested in roots and beginnings.

So there you go, that is how Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, and Toots and the Maytals can be linked together. From watching the Searchers from 1956. Roots. Random. Reggae.

Goodnight strangers :)

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