KIDS, HARD ROCK, AND RAP
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Kids, Hard Rock, and Rap
This hub is an entire chapter from my book "Up One Level". The importance of this subject on the future of our children and welfare of our country is paramount. It's a lot of reading but well worth it considering where we will be 10 or 20 years from now if we don't make immediate changes in our society and the garbage music we feed our children.
"Up One Level" is available from AuthorHouse at;
My dad, a good and decent hard working man, died from diabetes about 35 years ago. In the mid-forties he was an East Coast division sales manager for Decca Records.
Music was one of his first loves and although he never quite became an accomplished musician, he could play along on his clarinet with most any song. That was good enough for him. He gave my brother and I the gift of great music. The ability to feel great music as well as play it. He also gave us the ability to recognize bad music. A gift that comes naturally with the acquisition of the first two.
Growing up in a house with good music playing much of the time and observing the joy it brought others, it wasn’t long before my brother and I were hooked as well.
Again, you are what you live. I know my brother would agree as would the hundreds of people that participated in our music over the years or just became a part of us all simply because they were there and it was one hell of a lot of fun.
If I had a thousand years to do nothing but thank our dad for this gift, I would not have enough time. He built a music/party room in our basement, complete with a professional 78 rpm record recording studio stocked with an easy 5000 scratchy, 78 records.
That’s what spurred my interest in electronics by the way. Once again, you are what you live. I can still hear him to this day when a great tune came on the Lawrence Welk Show or the hi-fi , “Where the hell’s my GD clarinet? Craig, get my clarinet!” He was compelled, to “play along” before the song ended.
I’m not sure if he was knowingly setting the stage for me and my brother or just enjoying his love of good music all those years but I’ll tell you again, and again from personal experience as I have in the past, you are, or will be, what you live. Especially if you’re just starting out young and always impressionable. There is an important message there for young parents and kids alike. Think about it so I don’t have to repeat myself a hundred more times.
This is why I have chosen music as the subject of this chapter.
You kids don’t want anything to do with the music you are living now, believe me! There is a world of fun and great music out there you would gladly pay ten million dollars for if you only knew it existed and had an easy way for all of you to convert to at the same time. Going up against your times, your generation gap, your peers, and your established life styles, is anything but easy. If it were, you could be in another fantastic world, overnight. The fantastic world of great music.
In this chapter I hope to convince you to at least give it a try. By the way, most kids aren’t exactly what you’d call formal in their mannerisms now days, and honestly, either am I as you’ve probably already concluded so you might as well think of me as “Dooahhh,” “The Dooman,” or just plain old “Doo.”
Ok, back to “Music 101”.
I can bring you this unbelievable world of great music I speak of for free, and right now. All I ask is that you listen to what I have to say and give it a chance to grab you by the ass before you go off wise-cracking an old fart and his ancient sounds. Trust me on this one. It is a subject, I have lived all my life. If I could choose only two legacies to leave my four children, the first of course would be good health. The second would be the ability to love (in the way I am about to try to explain) good music, and to be able to participate in its creation and production with friends and family.
There are many spin off freebees that come with the ability to perform or better said, (play) good music, fame and fortune are just icing on the cake. Let me give you a quickie example, one out of dozens:
Let’s say you’re a pretty good oil painter and you spent six months creating a landscape that few others could do and that you believe looks great. What’s the first thing you would want to do when you were finished with it?…Show it to someone what else? A friend perhaps, or just anyone, right? Of course you’d be hoping for their approval by seeing a smile on their face and hearing a “Wow! that is fantastic” in your ears. A reaction like that would make you very happy and to a lesser degree, your friend happy to have shared with you the beauty of your creation.
What you have just done is bonded with a friend or even a complete stranger (which is now your friend) only because of your effort in creating your painting and then sharing your talent with others. You would want to do this with everyone you met as long as you lived because it is a powerful and natural thing for us humans to seek acceptance similar to the bonding and sharing most of you do in church with your God and each other as a group.
Great music is one of the top five bonding agents on earth. One difference between your painting and great music is your painting is more or less a one shot deal.
True, one can enjoy looking at a great painting till the cows come home but paintings are paintings if you know what I mean. Great music is fluid, repetitious, infinite, and capable of touching all of your human emotions with amazing force while bringing these emotions to the surface again and again and again. Each time with a resounding: “Wow! That was fantastic!” Again, why do you suppose they call some of it “Pure Gold?”
One oil painting represents one oil painting. One great song represents a possible thousand great repetitions over your lifetime. I wish I could tell you how many times we did “Blue Suede Shoes,” “By-By Love,” “Boney Maroney,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Whad I Say,” “Up the Lazy River,” “Blowing in the Wind,” “Tom Dooley,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rock Around the Clock,” “My Blue Heaven,” and even “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” a classic Bluegrass tune plus thousands of others. All clean, and all decent stuff everybody always knew and was compelled to dance to or sing along with.
Every time we played each one over our lifetimes, was as great if not better than the very first. Even you young radicals know most of these songs yourselves because as I said, great music is timeless. What do you have in your lives that can give that amount of enjoyment to you and all your friends? If you made a list of your modern songs, 98% of them wouldn’t even qualify.
Here is another, most convincing scenario:
Let’s look at two separate and isolated towns. One town raises all they’re children with violent, disrespectful, music like rap or hard rock that is universally excepted by people that know music (except for this town of course) as pure garbage.
The other town raises all their children with decent, respectful, really great fun super-music such as the forties, fifties, and sixties produced. All the kids from both the towns are teenagers now and still listen to the music they were exposed to in they’re adolescent years perhaps altered a bit by now but basically the same stuff they grew up with. I have five questions. Take your time and think about each one in depth.
(1)…In what ways would the two groups of kids have evolved different from each other on a personal level as a direct result of the music they were exposed to in their adolescent years and still dig on as teens?
(2)…How might they’re individual societies differ as a direct result of the lifestyles molded by each present-day group and their long established music?
(3)…Once established, how difficult do you think it would be to convince one group or the other that they’re particular brand of music sucks and that they should dump all their records, tapes, CD’s and idols and join the other group?
(4)…Which group would you have liked to have grown up with from day one assuming you were given the choice?
(5)…How important and influential do you think these questions are in respect to the rest of your lives including your own children and their musically molded social lifestyles of the future?
I’ll leave all these questions for you to ponder and draw conclusions on to yourselves. You are the ones that must “look out the window and see what you see.” All I can do is stand you in front of it.
But I diverse, Let’s get back to the “act of music.”
The more music you play with your own skills, the more you’ll bond just like the guy with the painting. Your friends will grow like weeds if your good and because of the good and assorted styles of music your able to play as opposed to the distorted, music-less crap of today, you will all share in the camaraderie, the tears, the laughter, the fun, the good times and the bad for the rest of your lives. Not to speak of the dozens of other neat things that come with the package. Almost like you were a mini-god and your friends, the parishioners. I don’t mean that in a “holier than thou” sense but much as a leader or a gifted individual would be and is perceived by others.
Proof of this point is easily understood by looking at the reasons why you idolize your present day musical celebrities (I’ll be dipped if I can understand why). These celebrities are just people (a few of them anyway) like you and me. It’s they’re abilities to entertain that you relate to and bond with from the top of the food chain like Brittany Spears, all the way down to some poor schlep with an old guitar at a house party somewhere.
Making it big time requires more than just a little talent especially if your female. You had better look the part these days or you’ll be wasting your time but males have it made. Drive-by murderer types have a good shot at a rap contract or if you’re just an average Joe, try living in the street for three months, don’t change your clothes, don’t wash, kick a few holes in your amp speakers, and then go for your interview. Oh yeah! Use all the foul language you can and use the expression “duh!” a lot.
Before you start playing, crank the distortion to max, pick a song with only one cord and never ever play anything that can be hummed, danced to, played along with, whistled, contains harmony, has a melody, has clean lyrics, or can be remembered even after 100 replays, (that should be easy). During your performance never smile and never ever sing, scream until you puke and don’t forget to rip off your shirt, grab hold of your onions and prance all over the stage like a fairy. What’s that? You can’t play a note? Don’t worry about it. In ten minutes they’ll teach you all you’ll need to know and that includes writing a new song or two.
You should also have your own personal shtick if you can think something up. Try pointing your ass at the audience every once in a while and fart, that might help. Hey, if Ozzie Ozborne can make it the big time…anybody can!
I do not wish you to seek celebrity as your motivation even if you choose to make music your career. Rather, a lifetime of good clean fun with great music should be your main objective provided you’ve taken the time to learn. The other chips will fall as they may and whether they turn out to be zero value chips or thousand dollar chips, you will have long since, won the super jackpot!
Over the years my dad brought home just about every musical instrument ever made from French horns, to marimba’s, to a huge bass clarinet. It wasn’t very long before my brother and I learned to play our dad’s music. Loving good music for most of us is enjoyable enough to say the least but it’s a far, far cry from the world of participation. I don’t mean to insist you become an accomplished musician in order to appreciate great music, only that it does help considerably to get to the level I wish I could wave a wand and give to you all. A level that gives you the ability to “feel” rather than just “hear” a special cord structure, a unique progression, a great melody, or the awesome complexity of a four part harmony. Hell, just singing along or dancing will get the right juices flowing, but as with any art form, music is a learning process. The more you learn, the better at it you will become, and the more you will derive from it. The work/enjoyment ratio is way in your favor. You do not have to graduate Julliard to begin to enjoy playing great music. It’s what you input from your soul that counts. Some of the rocking tunes I know use only three or four chords at best.
When melodies of your choice, bring tears to your eyes, shivers up and down your spine, love in your hearts, and goose bumps on your arms, you’ll know what I’m talking about. This level of great music appreciation and the fantastic new world it offers to all does not come naturally. It requires a great deal of exposure and participation in any number of ways, plus a measure of learning as well.Then again, you and your future kids could become just like our newest and finest example of American extremism, The Osborne’s. Ozzie is a disgusting, moral-less pig with a drug-fried brain that I’m afraid there is no cure for (Not that I’ll lose much sleep over it). His family is also and as expected, a mirror image of his morality. Foul mouthed and completely lacking the minutest levels of decency and respect even for each other.
Would you like to be a member in a family like that? What do you suppose the whole Osborne family is a mirror image of? That’s right! Ozzie’s music. They live the lifestyle Ozzie’s music teaches day after day and year after year. There is no escaping it. I would go so far as to say music is as powerful an influence as is religion.
The only difference is that you have no control over your religious beliefs as they have been engrained within you to be present 24 hours a day. We are in control of our music, it can be turned on or off whenever we choose. Only the styles you’re forced to endure in the media these days remains a major problem. Garbage or not, music is a super-powerful entity. Why do you suppose impressive music is used to back up your church ambience and your preachers as they work to relieve you of your assets? If the proper music is chosen and performed professionally, all the words of all of the best religious hustlers combined couldn’t come close to rivaling the inspirational power of music.
Are you young people becoming like the Osborne’s, Beavis and Butthead, The Simpson’s and your hard rock/rap mentality or have many of you already made the grade? Pathetically, the answer to both questions is an emphatic yes!
My brother took piano lessons at an early age, learned theory well, and became a fantastic pianist which gave him the musical foundation to master the guitar with relative ease. He could play Chet Atkins damn near as well as Chet, rest both they’re incredible souls. They were both great entertainers’. My brother, in his limited world, and Chet, in the entire world. I remember the whole damn piano shaking when Kim would knock out a boogie-woogie tune with the old man trying desperately to keep up on his clarinet.
The neighbors used to visit by the droves and dig on his music for hours on end and our young friends were also always popping in. Later, I got involved as well, guitars, drums, amps, and microphones suddenly cluttered the living room and as a result, the house was always a happy place, always full of friends, and always rocking.
When my brother got married and moved out he wasn’t around as much. So in between our paid gigs and when I wasn’t at his house enjoying his new music room with old friends and new as well, playing guitar and rocking the nights away, I put together a band of my own with a few semi-talented neighbors. We called it “The Stanley Street Stompers.” In came the neighbor’s new friends and joined up with the old. I don’t think you would have hired us for your wedding but we had one hell of a lot of fun you could bet your young butts on that. You hear what I’m saying?
Because of its diversity, quality, and decency, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s style music can be enjoyed by people from 2 to 100 and believe me when I tell you, it was good to have this age diversity enjoying our various styles only limited by quality and decency. The kids went to bed early and the older folk crapped out humming “My Blue Heaven” after a while as well leaving our age group to get a little racier and do our own timely thing, always with respect and decency for all.
Mosh pits, punk, acid, hard rock, and particularly rap are for people that seriously need to be incarcerated while being totally re-educated in subjects like civility, decency, respect, real music appreciation, and everything else they should have learned by the time they were three.
I diverse again, forgive me. I’m attempting to put a lifetime of five dimensional events on a few pages with 2 dimensional text. Not an easy task.
Being 4 years younger than my brother and already with amateur radio and electronics as hobbies of my own I got a late start in this incredible world of making music with an instrument. Of my brothers friends, no one played anything so my brother taught me rudimentary chords on the ukulele, and later, a four string guitar. He dragged me around from time to time in the rear seat of his car to provide music for him and his friends to sing by while doing whatever 50’s kids usually did back then. Mostly cruising, singing, going to drag races, practical joking, and looking for chicks.
At 14 or so, I was more than happy to hang with the big guys. Already music had given me licensee no other kid my age had. Soon I became an accomplished rhythm guitarist and the youngest member of The Thundering Turtles Hot Rod Club. I put together my own high school band and life took off like a big-ass bird. Seemingly overnight, I found myself in my brothers band, playing onstage everywhere from high schools, to the world renowned Palisades Amusement Park, to live radio shows including just about every chicks finished basement in town. We even played in a show featuring Dion and the Belmont’s one time with about 3500 people in the audience as well as an invitation to play at a Willie Nelson picnic in Texas. We were good thanks to our dad and the music of the times.
Any of you would be musicians ever try to pick along with a hard rock tune? It’s impossible for a beginner, don’t bother trying you’ll just become disillusioned and give up learning all-together. The first couple weeks of learning to play any instrument is hard, unrewarding work. After that it gets easier and much more fun. Give yourself a break, if you’re going to learn an instrument on your own by playing along with professional recordings, choose a good fifties CD with songs your familiar with. The cord structures are usually simply enough and clean in the audible sense so you can hear one from the other. The melodies are also memorable as opposed to the incessant, repetitive, conglomerate of noises you guys call music these days. You’ll be able to learn to play along ten thousand times faster.
Once you become relatively accomplished with simple 50’s music, go directly to the 40’s era. You’ll have to learn a few more chords but you’ll be exposing yourselves to some of the most beautiful and forever lasting music on earth.
Buy some beginner books too, there are a few basics to learn like tuning, rhythm, and fingering, you’ll need to know before you play a note. Befriend an experienced musician if you know one, if not, take lessons if you can, that will help you immeasurably. As with anything else on earth, you will be drastically limited in your abilities no matter how good you think you are without the technical know-how as well.
I know, I can’t read a note! I don’t have much use for reading other peoples music but it sure would be nice to be able to put some of my own on paper, or talk the talk with people that do know music theory. With technical knowledge, you’ll also be able to find off the wall cords structures and do hundreds of things you would never be able to do without it. Drums are a good example. You may be fast and have a great sense of rhythm but unless your instructed on how to do a simple roll for instance, it’s not likely you’ll discover the half dozen or so methods on your own.
In my mid-thirties, on the way to the beach one weekend, cruising down New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway, a friend of mine and I decided to stop in at a Howard Johnson’s for a bite to eat. We sat down in a booth close to the entrance of the lounge. I noticed the stage clothes hanging next to four guys sitting in the booth right behind us and mentioned to my friend Peggy: “They must be the band.” They finished eating before we did and before long, we could hear this great music coming from the lounge. Peggy and I decided to pop in for a quickie and check them out. The band leader looked so familiar that in about fifteen minutes, I approached them and introduced myself. Miraculously, he turned out to be one of the guys in my first rock and roll band when I was about 14. Talk about a small world! He had become a master musician and during the breaks, we talked about old times. During one break, I got up to go to the men’s room and came by the drummer, sitting in the lobby with sheet music everywhere. I asked him to join us and tip a few but he declined. He explained he was very busy writing a book on playing “double base”. He was talking about playing drums with two base drums instead of the traditional single base. I was amazed and never forgot that lesson Who would have thought an entire book could be written about something seemingly as simple (to me anyway) as adding another base to your drum set.
At the time, I was a damn good rhythm guitarist, blessed with speed, fingering agility, a super ear, and a great sense of rhythm but I don’t mind telling you, around these guys, I felt like a beginner, that’s because I was a beginner compared to them.
Who knows how my own career may have evolved if I had taken the time to learn theory as well? Hell, you guys right now might have had some of my records gathering dust on some dank closet shelf.
Thousands of times while playing together my brother he would shout things at me like: “It’s an augmented 9th you Putz.” I would usually respond with something like: “OK, gotcha”… “What are those?”
You will have questions, and you should have guidance as it is much better to learn proper methods up front so you don’t have to re-learn later when you finally come to the conclusion that the cord you’ve been trying to “reach” in your own clumsy way would require seven fingers on your left hand.
Choose an instrument carefully, one that can make musical sense without the accompaniment of other instruments such as a guitar or a piano. Later, when you know what you’re doing you can pick up a trumpet or a tuba that’s your choice. For now, you’ll need all the encouragement you can get and instruments like a guitar or a piano do not require other instruments to play complete music and a guitar, can be easily taken from party to party. A major plus in your overall enjoyment and assurance that you won’t become disillusioned and quit all-together.
Anyway, in between a ton of gigs from dances to block parties, we did what I enjoyed best…”Stomps.” My dad owned a letterpress so I printed tickets and passed them out a dozen at a time to select friends. They would in turn sell them for 3 dollars each to anyone and everyone who loved to have a great time. We hired (for free) an old Italian villa type restaurant with banquette rooms, a bar and a well-stocked wine cellar. Renee, the owners wife would whip us up a mile long buffet of great Italian food that would always knock your socks off . The 3 dollar tickets covered the buffet and Angelo, the owner, made his money at the open bar.
My brother and I supplied the equipment and entertainment on a stage at the end of one of the large banquette rooms along with anyone else that brought along an instrument or just wanted to get up there and sing. I never knew who was going to show up but there were always 75 to 125 people in attendance. Most were friends and there were usually a bunch of new faces in the crowd. Everybody danced, sang, and had a hell of a time. These stomps went on practically every month or two for close to ten years and it would take me another ten years to tell you of the incredible fun times we all had. Good, clean fun and not one violent incident the whole ten years except one time my amplifier’s 18 inch speaker cone blew itself right the hell out of its housing.
Or the time I dropped my pick close to the end of a rocking tune. Being adept at strumming with my finger from my old uke days, I finished the song strumming with my index finger rather than destroy a great ending by missing a few bars getting a new pick. I hung in there, and ended the song without anyone noticing a thing, including me! That is until I saw my brother laughing his ass off. Apparently, I was strumming so hard, the steel guitar strings cut my finger and the centrifugal force laid down a perfect vertical line of blood from my head to my shoe’s.
At a different stomp, sitting on top of my guitar amp was a half-full can of beer I would set up as an all night ashtray and it was usually loaded with dissolved cigarette butts.
That night I learned the true meaning of Murphy’s Law. One or “two-many” beers into the night, I did the inevitable. Yup, a whole freaking mouthful. By the time I realized it, it was gone. Pulaahhhhh! That’ll learn ya! Haven’t been sick a day since!
I’m telling you all this because I want you to see what good music can mean to anyone, but especially a young person in the process of growing up. Use me as your example, except for the butts and the beer.
By the way, the first time I sat behind a drum set I was about 55 and I consider myself pretty damn good for a guy that never had one lick of training. Just because you might be an old fart like me doesn’t mean you’re excused from this chapter.
With just words to make my case I can only hope your able to visualize a lifetime of thousands of incidences of fun, family, friends, companionship, respect, decency, great music, and of course, “chicks” up the gazoo. Made a few bucks along the way too.
I’m 68 now and as with everything else in life the old has been replaced with the new many times over in practically evey aspect of life except music. Even my brother, mentor, and best friend is gone now but the music and all its accompanying amenities such as the excitement, and all the powerful emotions from A to Z, remain intact. In a way, my world of music has gotten better in respect to my abilities and an occasional new found sound.
I miss the old days so bad there are no words I could use that would come close to explaining just how great they really were. Even if I wind up with Alzheimer’s, I will never forget those fantastic times and what made them possible. My dad, my brother, and the great music of all the eras, all except this present era I might add.
Some sounds bring tears to my eyes even today and a longing for the good-old days and the friends and lovers great music gave to me on a silver platter. Other sounds bring energy and an incredible desire to pick up my axe and join in. What an empty world I would live in especially now if it weren’t for great music acting as my personal trustee of long ago memories. The garbage music you young people relate to these days does not have the ability to attach itself to segments of your lives as they come and go with the wind, it doesn’t even qualify as music. You must understand that there is a vast difference between a blasted hard rock unorganized mess or any rap tune as opposed to great melodic and memorable tunes such as many of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s tunes I mentioned above.
I can only give you a few words in this book that I know will be hard pressed to convince you of their truth enough for you to change your established lifestyle or even try. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one! You stand to lose absolutely nothing, so why not?
My message, and reason for this whole, difficult chapter on this subject is for you all to understand that good music is far from just a bunch of blips on a CD. Granted, it does come in all kinds of categories and styles and I have no personal problem with that except female opera singers, that hurts!
Different styles of music is a fantastic plus, I can do just so much Hank Williams than I want to get behind my drum set and dig on a little Dukes of Dixieland or wreck my throat trying to keep up harmonizing with the incredible Everly Brothers.
Old fart music right? You couldn’t be more wrong. All music is ageless provided it’s good music. Garbage is garbage, period! Great music has absolutely nothing to do with age or eras. What was quality fifty years ago is still quality today. Don’t ever get sucked into the pathetic illusion that your particular generation of music is all that you’re allowed to enjoy and promote. All generations of young people become unknowingly stuck in this most unfortunate, peer pressure prison. Great music is ageless, period again!
Be proud if you discover the great music of any era, not ashamed. Peer pressure can be an awful thing sometimes, especially in this case. To prove the point that all music stands or falls on its own merits regardless of time, you’re probably thinking already, ”I bet all the old fart ever plays is Golden Oldies right?”
Wrong again, how about “Hot for Teacher?” A great play along drumming tune. Ok, to some of you that’s old fart music too. How about “They call me the Breeze” by Leonard Skinnard? Hmmm, ancient too huh? These are two of the greatest arranged and played songs I’ve ever heard. Songs way out of my generations world. Sorry but those are the best illustrations I can come up with off-hand as I quit following your modern garbage a real long time ago and here’s why:
As we’ve discussed, music comes in all kinds of shapes and forms but each of those shapes and forms has sub-categories in and of itself. The very most important of these sub-categories is quality. Quality is the most important of all considerations when playing, listening, or choosing your own music. Musical quality has all but become extinct in your teenage world of today. Music is a highly technical subject based on strict mathematics believe it or not and there are, as with mathematics, definite do’s and don'ts that one must be familiar with if one is to be a successful writer and/or player of good music. Calm down, you won’t have to study math to understand this chapter. Not that it would kill you even if you did.
Harmony and melody are two musical terms most of you have heard before that very few of you could correctly define especially you kids with egg shell still on your butts. With the right combinations of endless notes, cords, timing, and a hell of a lot of work, a great and timeless song emerges with magical powers I don’t even understand. Powers that can make you cry in an instant. Powers that can raise goose bumps on your arms within seconds and powers that can yank you out of a sickbed and sit you down at your keyboard without a care or hurt in the world.
In my personal world, “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” by The Tune Weavers is one of my all-time favorites. Three, 14-year-old girls with a great sense of what music should be, still brings tears to my eyes... “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals, to this very day, raises real goose bumps on my arms! Can any of you say that about any of your music? Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie” has the power to pull me up and out of the worst of emotional states in an instant and give me an energy stronger than the best of you 18-year-olds ever dreamed of. And from the ancient 40’s (even for me), The Ink Spots “We Three” gives me a one of a kind refresher course of exactly what beauty, love, loneliness, perfection, and life in general is all about. All while the relatively simple melody, chord structuring, harmony, arrangement, and without a doubt, the best singing talent ever of its kind, reminds me of the difference between what I call real music and the garbage you modern kids unknowingly accept as music. For God sake listen to me and learn about this incredible world you have absolutely no idea even exists!
Many Dixieland tunes could raise me off my deathbed, even after I was dead! I wonder why that is? Do you even have a clue? Give me a set of drums and a good Dixieland CD and I’ll be “higher or lower” than you in minutes even if you were ingesting coke through a permanent IV. Hard drugs are the very first thing you idiot’s have got to lose. I’m not kidding, it’s matter and antimatter. Your drugs will kill you. My music will give you life like you’ve never experienced before. You cannot have both!
Making love and playing music have something in common. Wolf down too many beers, and you won’t be able to do any of them. Believe me! I learned that the hard way. Actually, the contrary if you get my drift! Talk about stupid…
My personal list of songs that gave, and still give me so much is long and each and every one of them is very special and very unique. Special in the way that they are all able to touch me inside with a myriad of powerful emotions that only great music is capable of doing. The garbage you young people listen to today and for the last thirty years couldn’t touch your ass with a backhoe and even if it could, it would be with nothing but sleazy sex and violence. In a short time your music is gone from your memories leaving you with little to associate with old friends and fun times. Unfortunately, modern music targets only your most undesirable emotions such as hate, violence, and whatever is the most bizarre regardless of morality. That is not what great music is supposed to do for you young people in particular.The lyrics, the melody, the harmony, the instrumentation, and the arrangement, is what turn’s a bunch of random notes into a great and timeless song. All that plus one very special commodity, the love, understanding, and ability of the artist, the human component, the most difficult to explain and to learn.
Who could sing a simple country song like Johnny Cash or John Denver? Who could rock and roll like Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis? Who has the looks, the cool, the talent, and the stage presents the likes of Elvis. These days, a group or individual performers talent is of little concern provided one or two prerequisites are met. If you’re a chick, its T&A, that’s it. No need for talent of any kind. With guys, multitudes of no talent cover-up techniques are used such as screaming in the microphone, everyone in the group singing at once, bazaar clothes and stage antics, pyrotechnics, and a blasting mishmash of noise.
It’s pathetic my friends. Long gone is the great music I speak of. Once in a while, a performer shows up with exceptional talent such as Lee Anne Rhymes. Lee Anne is literally a one in a million performer. She has it all and then some. I can only hope her managers keep her that way. I only wish I was 16 again. Wo!
The talent is out there no different than the fifties, but it’s not being utilized because the industry has evolved into a billion dollars industry of blast, pyro, violence, sleaze, and bizarre. Talent, and great music are no longer required and as long as you ding-bats keep buying crap, crap is all your always going to get. Only some of you, whether you play an instrument or not will know what I’m talking about. It is this ability or knowledge, acquired, earned, or both that you must seek out for yourselves and teach to your children at all costs because this gift, is a universal language as useful, pleasurable and as important as any other precious commodity on earth. I could not stress this point more if I juggled words around for the next hundred years. When and if you ever get to the point that I’m talking about, you won’t need that sheep skin from Julliard to understand, you’ll know automatically.
Way back when, but particularly in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and even the beginnings of real Rock and Roll in the early 50’s, who came up with the new sounds and rhythms? Who coined the new phrases and invented new clothes styles? Who was the coolest of the cool?
No, not Fonsie, not even Elvis as yet, it was young black kids that’s who. All the way back to the eighteen hundreds with down home, front porch, one man harmonica jazz to early 50’s rock and roll. People like Little Richard, and dozens of others did almost all of the innovating from the get-go.
Did you know that at one point in time, the name Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was known to more people around the world than any other living human being including Kings, Queens and and even Jesus? Think about it and try to imagine the pleasure and happiness he gave to the people of this world over all those years with his great music and super personality. What a guy! If we could calculate all the hours his music was played on a global scale, it would probably be in the trillions. That’s a hell of a lot of enjoyment for a hell of a lot of people over a hell of a long time right up to this very day.
Satchmo was “pure cool,” even when he got to be an old duffer. “Cool” is always someone or something unique, something real and always something good. No one can be cool simply because they would like to be, it has to be real and natural like Elvis or Satchmo. Some fool dressed up like a clown, trying to look mean, badmouthing and pointing a pistol at you sideways is anything but cool. It’s sad, stupid and ignorant. Not only that, you couldn’t hit your ass with both hands holding a pistol that way and in some cases, lucky you didn't break your wrist.
The reasons why blacks became innovators of new styles and great music are complicated and go way back to the days of slavery, poverty, and old time religion. Centuries of culture passed down over the years gave blacks the tools needed to be great creators of music and style just as my father gave my brother and I the tools we needed. Whatever the root causes were, certainly my life and the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world would have been a whole hell of a lot duller with a lot less joyful tears and foot stomping fun if it weren’t for the cool and passed-on musical innovations of mostly black people, especially from this last century. There may be some rhythm genes involved after all that developed over the centuries, who knows? The one thing I do know and you should too by now is that “you are what you live.” Music was, and still is a major influence on all adolescents, black or white. Unfortunately, if your black ancestors could see some of you rappers and hip hoppers now, well, let me put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be in the same town as you.
I want to know what the hell is going on in today’s day and age? What happened to the “great music” and “cool?”
The early 60’s brought more decent Rock and Roll, folk music, and then Hippie’s went nuts with they’re goofy stuff. Soon disco entered the scene which was still decent and kind of fun but it went out as fast as it came in. By this time soul was established and quickly growing in the black community. Some damn fine sounds too but nothing earth shattering in general. Nothing violent, disgusting, or decadent either I might add!…Yet!
Then it happened. We woke up one morning to find white kids had gone completely mad. They called it “hard-rock” at the beginning but it soon progressed from a cacophony of distorted 5000 watt amplifiers, screaming vocals, disgusting lyrics, and really bad music, to acid rock, punk, and mosh pits. Decency, respect, control, law and order, and above all, great music, were all gone, replaced by riotous and out of control drug enhanced violence.
Sadly, only a handful of shocked adults out of the tens of millions in this country, actively tried to stop it and they failed miserably against the countries complacent attitude, the complete ignorance of the younger parents, and the mega-bucks of mass-marketing supported by an army of moral-less attorneys.
The promoters saw the windfall from the get-go and poured billions of dollars into marketing the groups they created with more billions, and each one more bizarre and outrageous than the other. Extremism once again, applies here big time.
Drugs of all kinds flowed like candy; kids went wild, totally out of control creating a decadent sub-society far surpassing anything adults had ever dreamed of. Centuries of culture, decency, respect, in essence, the American dream, was on its way into the abyss.
Teenagers best friend, their God… “Great music”…was dead! Extremism rained, and still does to this day. Personally, I could think of nothing worse, unfortunately, I was very wrong. Never underestimate your enemy! Some promoters, not to be outdone, wanted the black dollars too. The “ultimate extreme” was discovered, “rap.” So extreme, both black and white kids could and would embrace it except that this was no longer just a generation gap thing, it was and is to this day an out and out revolution. A shooting war with real guns against what is left of decency, respect, clean fun, and above all, great music. Hell, kids could even join in themselves, no instruments and no talent required. No music either…
Totally bazaar in every which way possible. Just what kids are usually looking for and by now, there’s no kids around that even know what great music is anymore it’s been gone from the mainstream so long.
It was a shoe-in, a marketer’s dream come true. The promoters didn’t care about great music or great pizza, they were about to become even richer. Rap took the hard rock decadence one step further into hell itself.
It eliminated the instruments and replaced them with scratched records, sour faced, foul mouthed criminals dressed in oversized clown clothes, and all apparently afflicted with some sort of obvious “muscular disorder.”
Hate, sleaze, violence, and “stupid looking” became the “cool” of the times. “Chicks” were replaced with half naked adult women with 24 hour sexual innuendo replaced a once clean cut “stage presents.” Worse yet, this music-less new morality has leeched into all other teen and young adult entertainment areas. Tune in to one of the dating shows on TV. Within seconds, sexual sleaze is all you’ll see and hear these days.
Dancing has been replaced with a sort of really stupid looking body movements intended to look unique, and “bad”! Well, I’ve got to give you an A+ on that one. You guys look “bad” all right...really “BAD!”
You wouldn’t know “cool” if it bit you on the ass. I don’t even have a word for it. Asinine and stupid is as close I can get. If I dressed up in raggedy clothes six times my size and pulled a sock hat down to my nose you’d laugh your asses off wouldn’t you? Why? Because I’d look freaking stupid that’s why. Exactly the way you clown’s look…Freaking stupid!
Hey, times and styles change. That’s good not bad, unfortunately once again you adults have taken the most precious commodity young people possess and completely destroyed it with extremism. If that’s not disastrous enough you’ve added to it a world of crime, drugs, deadly violence, disrespect, utter sleaze, and as much cheap sexual innuendo as you can include without being arrested. Welcome to the world of rap my friends, welcome to the pathetic world of rap!
There is no music anymore of any kind, and especially no talent. Any idiot with no sense of shame can prance back and forth on a stage and shout a bunch of nasty, foul mouthed crap into a microphone.
Children have little racial bias of their own, on the contrary. They willingly seek each other out to join up as one, to be what they are and to do what they do within their own world. It’s called “being a kid.” Because of this, hard rock and other most destructive forms of so-called, modern music including rap, has infiltrated the lives of most young people around the world.
Short of wars and the senseless death I’ve witnessed in my lifetime I can’t think of anything sadder other than perhaps watching people like me, observing what has happened to young people like you. Despite all the social decadence and destruction wrought by your new culture of crap, there remains the Up One Level, root cause of your disparity you still need to establish in your minds if you ever wish to live a life of decency, fun, and just being a kid that great music can bring to you anytime you give it the chance.
You young people should go back to the beginning of this chapter and re-read the mini-biography of my musical life and try as hard as you can to live every day of it as if it were you. Try to visualize all those years of incredible, decent fun just being what we were back then as you do today. See the difference, and understand what your missing. If you haven’t been there, the only way to learn is to go there and see for yourselves. You have nothing to lose and everything in the world to gain. If each of you chose to enhance your lives through great music, you would literally be saving this country from inevitable destruction. One of the freebee spin-offs I was talking about before. Once you’ve become a charter member of the “great music” culture, it won’t allow you to live your hard rock and rap cultures. It will teach you much more than just how to have fun picking and singing. Whether its foot stomping fun or passion and tears, you can’t play any of it with a snarl on your face, hate in your heart, and fire from your lips. It won’t let you! It will teach you to laugh, teach you to cry, and teach you to play. That’s all there is my friends, that’s all there is!
The sum of our cultures in America, is America. If you don't flush this particular culture down the tubes as you have not been doing for the last thirty years, the very last thing you’ll see going under with you and your children, is our Star Spangled Banner.
I only wish I could put a few words together and give it all to you on one single page but I cannot. The pen is a mighty tool indeed but it cannot begin to represent this phenomenon that is so intense with emotions, there are literally no adequate words to put on paper, at least from my rather limited lexicon.
You must hear, see, feel, and live what I’m talking about on your own. Once you have, and you morph into your new dimension where some of us still dwell, a few of you might even seek me out one day just to shake my hand and with the same emotional breath that spoke other phrases of your life such as; “I do”, “I love you”, or “it’s a boy”, say… “Thanks Doo, you were right.”
One more thing I would like you to understand:
The bulk of you young people had nothing to do with this last 30 years of disgrace, violence, and disrespect. That’s not to say your innocent either, consider yourselves collaborators. Your simple followers, but not brainless. The real, behind the scene culprits are the adults. The people you never get to see or hear on MTV, disgusting radio talk shows, violent movies, and particularly in music productions. The money people! Lets not forget the general adult public and the parents that allowed all this garbage music to get out of hand in the first place.
You have been had my young friends. Cheated out of an adolescent lifestyle you can only imagine lacking anything to compare your present lifestyle with. That’s where I come in. I’ve been there, I’ve seen and lived yesterday and I’ve seen and lived today. Learn from me, I can at least provide a choice for you, that which you do not have on you own. You are being robbed, exploited, cheated, molded, and in short, screwed out of the greatest times of your lives. Times that belong to teenagers exclusively. Correction, times that used to belong to you exclusively. Now, these times belong to the marketers, the promoters, the attorney’s, and the media.
I’ll give you an example that explains your present situation.
Supposing it’s winter and you’re at a mall looking for a pair of white, bell bottom pants. You’ve been to all the clothes stores and zip, no bell bottoms and no white in any style. So what’s happened here? The clothes manufacturers have made three decisions for you in advance.
1… It’s winter, you don’t want to wear white pants.
2… You don’t like bell-bottoms anymore so they quit making them.
3… You will wear what they want you to wear or you had better buy some cloth and get sewing. But you can’t sew! Guess they got you by the onions huh? Sooner or later you’ll be wearing their baggy, stupid looking clown clothes even if you hate them because that’s all there is for sale! When bell bottoms went out of style years ago it wasn’t because you didn’t like them anymore, it was because the clothes manufactures constantly introduce new styles hoping to grab the lion’s share of billions. Your bell bottoms and white jeans simply got pushed aside. That is exactly what has happened to the music industry. It’s all money, money, and more money…Yours!… Or what used to be yours!
You have bought just what they wanted you to buy, talentless garbage. These days they knock out an album in a few hours as compared to months when great music was king. Great music is very hard to come by so they gave you lasers, strobes, 5 thousand-watt amplifiers, half-naked performers, and sleazy sex instead. Anything and everything these bastards knew they could stuff down your throats, the more bazaar, the better. They’ve gotten away with it too haven’t they? You didn’t know any better as time plodded along and the adults didn’t either, not until it was almost too late, like right now!
Today, half the adults are from your group and are as unknowing as yourselves while most of the old farts that are left would rather do nothing but sit in front of the TV and go tisk tisk tisk! Not good enough America!
Whether you wanted good music or not, you got what they wanted you to get. Socially damning, musically void garbage! They even gave you adult garbage. What unknowing teenager is going to choose The Everly Brothers over naked chicks and lasers?
As I’ve said a hundred times before in this book, you are what you live, you will become what your environment is and when great music was gone, replaced with your new gods of violence and sleaze, you obediently learned to live that filthy mouthed lifestyle yourselves. A marketing piece of cake with billions of dollars up for grabs.
Read my lips...You have been had. Screwed out of the very best years of your lives. They’re making billions from you unknowing children and the raper’s don’t even give you bands anymore.
When was the last time you slow danced with your best squeeze? You guys, when was the last time you opened a car door for a girl? You girls, when was the last time you went one whole day without using foul language?
When was the last time any of you spent one day without being involved in or at least seeing or hearing something about sleazy sex, violence, drugs, guns, crime, or murders? What happened to cool cars, cool clothes, cool kids and decent fun?
What happened to great music, dancing, singing, sports, hobbies, parties, practical jokes and all the other cool things young people should be involved with?
Growing up is a slow and totally necessary learning process. You can’t jump from 10 to 25 like you have, or more like we adults have forced you to. Look around you! That’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Look at your screwed up world! Is this the way you want it to be? Is this what you want for your own children? I don’t think you’re that stupid especially now that you know better after reading this chapter!
Wouldn’t you like to put the word “choice” back in your vocabulary?
It’s time you stopped paying good money for decadence, slime, filth and violence don’t you think? All you’ve got to do is keep your money in your pockets and demand some of the things I’ve been talking about in this chapter. Never, ever forget, Your money rules the entertainment industry! Keep that in mind and you can have whatever you want.
Don’t even try to tell me you like what you’ve got today, I know better! You kids are no different inside than I was fifty years ago. A bit more street wise perhaps but that’s it. I chose the music I bought, you don’t have that choice, ninety percent of your options are violent, and/or sexual sleaze garbage, just the opposite in my day. If a tune didn’t come up to par, we didn’t buy it and the DJ’s dumped it. There was always tons of alternatives.
Actually you do have choices, but you don’t know what they are. You kids are doing the same damn thing that the adults have done in respect to the demise of great music in this country. Nothing! You want to cut ten years off your adolescent training and become adults overnight? OK, let’s see how good you are! Let’s see if you can keep your money in your pockets, let’s see if you can organize and send a message to the music and movie producers letting them know you’ve had enough of their music-less, violent, and sleazy crap.
OK, let’s see if I’m talking to a tree or not. I’ll make you this promise, you guys do your best to get the ball rolling and show me that you really care about getting rid of this crap music in your lives and I will make myself available to any of you in my free time, to help with whatever I can whether it’s designing pamphlets, of just offering advice and idea’s. All free of charge of course. Putting even one of you back on the right track would be worth 10 years of hard laborto me. Sounds like a worthy endeavor, as you rug-rats are the future of humanity.
Challenge your peers, organize clubs, and grow into one mindset of dedicated doers. Boycott these peddlers of smut, violence, and whatever the hell you call “music” with no “music.” There is no end to the things you can do. All it takes is one of you to start a national avalanche that could put you back in control of your most precious possession…great music.
You young people aren’t stupid, you could pull off just about anything you wanted to providing you had the motivation and that’s where I come in. Let’s see if some great music can motivate you. Remember, there is only a few pages of text here, not a hell of a lot of teaching power to induce a lifestyle change, start a music revolution, or convince you that “rap” is crap.
See! We’ve got a motto for the movement already!
“Rap Is Crap!” I love it!
Can’t make up your mind? Try this little test and then choose. Be honest now.
If you were just starting out as a young teen and music was the center of your teen universe as it should be, pick out 10 of the 20 performers listed below that you would want to grow up with and be your idols. When you make a choice, you will be given all the CD’s each group ever produced along with the life styles and morality of the their times and styles. That’s all you may have until your 30.
7…Dion and the Belmonts.
10..The Sex Pistols.
13..The Everly Brothers.
15..Sam the Sham and the Pharos’s.
17..Peter, Paul, and Mary.
19..The Kingston Trio.
20..Bonus choice...All the punk and acid rock groups combined.
You figure out the results, There is a message there and it’s not rocket science. If you picked all the odd numbered selections your smarter than I thought you were.
Here are a few questions to kick around:
1…I would much rather live a young life of decency and respect than one of disrespect and decadence.
True ( )...False ( )
2…I prefer a Saturday night of police, violence and drugs to a Saturday night of good clean fun and great music.
True ( )...False ( )
3…Raper’s clothes and demented body gestures are really cool.
True ( )...False ( )
4…It takes a great deal of talent to prance back and forth on stage and shout unintelligible hate into a microphone. These people really deserve the millions of dollars and the idol status we give them.
True ( )...False ( )
5…When I use foul language in public, people actually think I’m on the honor roll.
True ( )...False ( )
6…I enjoy being threatened with firearms and watching nasty faced, foul mouthed raper’s on TV. They give me a feeling of peace, happiness, fun and safety.
True ( )...False ( )
7…Melody and Harmony were two female astronauts from the 80’s.
True ( )...False ( )
8…I prefer the sound of someone scratching an old record and thumping on a cardboard box to the sound of a real rock and roll band like Chuck Berry.
True ( )...False ( )
9…I don’t need a choice of what music I buy or who’s styles I emulate, the media people know what I want.
True ( )...False ( )
10…Disrespect, violence, sexual sleaze, and hate, 24 hours a day won’t effect me in the slightest while I’m growing up.
True ( )...False ( )
11…Shirtless, grungy, screaming hard rock performers that couldn’t carry a tune in a wheel barrel really turn me on.
True ( )...False ( )
12…I really love the look of my underpants hanging out while my jeans are about to fall off my ass. I think it makes me look educated and sophisticated.
True ( )...False ( )
13…Lasers, pyrotechnics, bazaar clothing, foul language, crime, drugs, sexual sleaze, and hateful attitudes are much more important than great music and decent performers.
True ( )...False ( )
14…I love being a young girl in today’s age. I can be just as sleazy as the guys and I don’t have to worry about stupid things like femininity, decency, and respect anymore.
True ( )...False ( )
15…My dad tells me there used to be music that could bring tears to his eyes 45 years after the last time he heard it. Music that some would actually sing, hum, and whistle the rest of their lives. Music that some could pick up an instrument and play along with, and some you could even “dance” to I believe is what he called it. Man I’m glad my music isn’t anything like that ancient stuff.
True ( )...False ( )
I’ll leave you youngins to draw your own conclusions here also. If you people are as smart and as all knowing and cool as you think you are, I would do an overnight one-eighty about what I just read if I were you. All this time you’ve been thinking your free, uninhibited, and in control of your own world while all along you have been led by the rings in your noses, straight to a coral where you’ve been eagerly consuming whatever your captors dump over the fence. Pure garbage!
I think it’s about time you chucked that swill back over the fence don’t you?
If you should decide to give it a shot, (perhaps a poor choice of words these days, but you know what I mean) don’t expect too much help from adults right off the bat, most of them are one of you, just a little older. It will take time but as one or two of you might have heard before: “A journey of a thousand miles, begins beneath one’s feet.”
I remind you, you’re young and wonderful years of youth only happen once and much sooner than you think you’ll be in my world looking back. I suggest you make the very best of it by giving yourselves the very best while you still can.
Here is a little fact that will help you escape your world of sleaze right now:
Hundreds of millions of people around the world could not possibly imagine someone ever being “cooler” than the greatest entertainer our modern world has ever known and most likely will ever know for centuries to come, than the King himself, Elvis Presley.
I know I know, Elvis who?… Dorks! Want to see cool with a capital “C”? Want to experience the tears, love, harmony, melody, REAL rock and roll, the emotions, excitement, fun and sense of decent and respectful belonging I’ve been talking about in this chapter?
Tired at looking at performers that look like Raggedy Ann and shirtless slobs that think they’re cool? Want to see a fantastic stage outfit that cost more than your house?
Do you want proof of what I’ve been saying?
Well do you?
Great, here’s your first assignment.
Go rent the Elvis “Aloha in Hawaii” video even if you’ve seen it before. You didn’t know then what you know now. A miniscule price to pay for such a huge opportunity to instantly liberate yourselves from the neck deep garbage you’ve been trudging around in all of your lives. It wouldn’t be a completely treasonist act to your wannabe musical world of today, lots of decent young people have seen the light. Try it, it’s a win/win assignment.
In importance, this challenge amounts to a full scholarship at Dooahhh’s School of Musical Enlightenment. A better education in Music 101 exists nowhere on earth.
Gun-ho are ya Matte? Ahrrrrrrr! Want to graduate this course with honors? Rent a Chuck Berry, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and a Kingston Trio video while you’re at it. Just grab whatever title you see first, none of them ever made a bad recording. Can you say that about any of your people? Most of them never made a good recording. I think I’ve said just about all that plain words can say considering my limited literary abilities.
If you choose, you’re perfectly welcome to adopt my 50’s lifestyle and great music. All I ask is that you compare your world today with my world back then and realize that you have the power to make any changes in your world you wish. Don’t be led by the delusional need to maintain a generation gap, that’s flat out stupid. Trust me, you’ll find your own ways to maintain the gap. You don’t have to trash the best thing you’ve got going for you just so you can be different. You might be very surprised with the great music you’ll discover in the world of us old farts. After all, we’ve had a whole lifetime to weed out our own garbage and live the fantastic world our great music has provided.
Try it, you’ll love it! Better yet, throw a fifties party and live the love for yourselves. Meaning, get off your butts and let the good times roll.
Keep in mind while you at it. After you dump that crap you listen to now by replacing it with great music from my day just for starters, it will only be a transitional learning period. Soon, when the promoters, writers, and performers realize they’re days are numbered, believe me, they’ll be staying up late at night creating new music and styles that “you” want and will only pay for if you get it. It will be great music too, but only if you keep your coins in your draws until you get it, remember that. Then, you can have your generation gap back and you guys will be the sole proprietors of your own fantastic lifestyle that right now, you don’t even know exists.
I’ll close this chapter with the first line from a really great 50’s tune called “All American Boy.” Never even heard it did you? Good grief!
Lastly, the same closing quote from chapter three, this time with well-deserved credits.
Outside of her religious convictions, you would do well by following the advice of a personal heroine of mine, wisest of the wise, radio talk show host and clinical psychiatrist… Doctor Laura.
“Gather round cats and I’ll tell you a story”…
bout how to become an All-American Boy”.
“Buy you a gi-tar, and, put it in tune…
you’ll be rockin and a-rollin soon.”
“NOW GO DO IT”
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