Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Hear the Drizzle of the Rain

This beautiful mid-March night and I'm in love. For the last day and a half, we've been blessed with lovely rain, something that we're soon to be missing as the fourth month arrives. Day Five of Spring Break and I'm torn; my kids are bored and frustrated that they can't go outside and they're getting into lots of mischief. I'm ready, keys in hand, when my wife arrives home from work, to go for a drive or a drink or a spending spree and it's then I remember that they're so small, defenseless, so limited in their ability to expend their energy. I came home from a quick music binge from my locally over-priced books-n-more cavern to find Post-it notes plastered on the inside of our back entry with "I luv you" and "I Am Saree" all over them. I knelt down and embraced my children and kissed them and told them how much I love them and what they mean to me. And yet, tomorrow morning, I can tell you that before nine o'clock, my daughter will have socked my older son in the back of the head...
Part of me wishes I was hundreds of miles away at this very moment as the Truth & Salvage Co. is playing to a sell-out audience at the Troubadour in L.A. How iconic, how mythical, how amazing, for those guys to see hundreds of their friends and fans driving them to sing and play and elevate them for just two hours of their lives. I've spent a lot of time thinking about last week's shows and why they've resonated with me, maybe even moreso than their previous shows: it's what and how they share about themselves that we love and that we want in ourselves. I miss playing my guitar in a band, I love seeing how people respond to great songs and performances. And that's just ripping off other artists' music; I can't imagine playing a song that I wrote that has come to hold something of importance and meaning to people I've not met nor have known and still feel the energy of appreciation coming from their faces and body movements. I sing every word of every song for the T&S guys to show my support and faithfulness and there has been many a time where they've made eye contact with me and have made the connection; smiled (heck, Walker even pointed directly at meand sang a verse of a song) or nodded and I know that the human acknowledgement is worth more than the monitary payment for that evening (not really but it does mean something). Tonight's got to be something nearing insane and right now they're just about hitting "Pure Mountain Angel" and their encore and the night's just getting started.
I recently watched a documentary on the early 1970s and the rise of the singer-songwriter movement in Los Angeles and have been listening to much of that great music. For the last week I've been spinning (mainly) nothing but Jackson Browne, Linda Rondstadt, early Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits and the other bands of that era that have created that laid-back, solid and emotionally-deep music. As I've always known, I'm glad I actually didn't experience that time or I'd probably be dead. That more of those artists are still living is a testament to human physiology. Of course, it's now so mythologized and yet I know the myth is much bigger than history and yet...even making down to the Troubadour once every month or so to view Kris or Elton or Steve Martin or James Taylor or Carol King or another piano- or guitar player with a unique sound and a song about their experience would have been amazing. Nowadays, I struggle to relate to a singer wailing or whining about how misunderstood they've been because they scream it or plow through the song without letting it breathe. For some reason, that group of musicians so long ago were able to tap into a vein of emotional music that resonates still. And yet why do people from four decades connect with me? Am I chasing after ghosts? What other windmills might there be?
So of course, I'm listening to my most recent scores: Bonnie Raitt - Sweet Forgiveness (1977), Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic (1974) and Neil Young's Live Rust (1979). Man, I sure missed an amazing decade. What are we living through now? An era dead of irony and humor and choking on sincerity and ernestness; slow your songs down, learn some new chords and stop wanting to be the Band or Led Zeppelin or Madonna. Turn off the television, discover the vinyl and learn to play in front of people and not the video camera on your dresser in order to figure out who and what you are and what you really want to say. Really...

Sweet God almighty, my thoughts have been with Japan. And yet, I can't watch the news as I don't want my kids to see. A time to give, give give.

I need to go to bed. After a great St. Patrick's Day (my children went searching for leprechauns and thought they found one!) I need some rest. May the rain continue to fall (cue every good song about precipitation falling from the sky, right?). More gibberish later in the week.