Rock and Roll Lists

Lists.  They’re everywhere.  Top Ten this, Top Twenty that, blah blah blah.  I think the creators of lists just work on them to get people upset.  Why else would Rolling Stone magazine publish a Top Ten Greatest Dead Rock Stars list?  I mean really, we all know that INXS’ Michael Hutchence would make that one…

An Open Letter to Axl Rose

Dear Axl, I am a 47-year-old Guns N’ Roses fan. As a child of the MTV era, I sat riveted to the small TVs of yesteryear waiting for every GNR video to explode off of my tiny screen. I consider myself lucky to have seen your former band warm up for The Rolling Stones at…

Remembering “The Big Man,” Clarence Clemons

by Mocha Dad I first saw Clarence Clemons in Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark video. His melodious sax solo was the perfect dance partner for Springsteen’s yearning voice. I was enrapt by Clemons’ tone and hypnotized by the smooth notes that emanated from The Big Man’s sax. While everyone else was checking out, I…

How to Name Your Band

I’m intrigued by the process that bands use to name themselves. Sometimes a band takes an obvious name. Three guitarists from California chose the moniker California Guitar Trio. Some bands look to media for inspiration. For example, Duran Duran was named after the bad guy in the movie Barbarella and Veruca Salt is from the…

My 30 Minute Practice Routine

I’ve struggled with practicing on a consistent basis. Although my family and work commitments often limit the time I have to practice, I realized that I wasn’t fully maximizing the times when I could practice. I’d often waste time noodling around and not really accomplishing much. To combat this problem, I’ve decided to add more…

Solving a Mystery in a New Orleans Record Store

As you know, I love music. That’s why it is always a treat when I find a real record store. While in New Orleans, I happened to stumble upon Peaches Records. When I walked in, I felt like I had died and gone to music heaven. The store stocked not only CDs, but also vinyl…

The Importance of Thorough Preparation Before Performing

Although I’m still a novice guitar player, I look forward to the day when I’m able to perform in front of an audience. After reading Gerald Klickstein’s book, The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness, I learned much about practice and preparation. However, guitarist Joe Carmouche shared a personal account that impacted me more than…

The Spirit in the Music

One day, while I was practicing my guitar, my stepfather walked into the music room. “Hey,” he said. “You’re sounding good.” This was a nice compliment coming from him. He majored in music education and was a gigging jazz musician for many years. In fact, he was the one who nurtured my love for jazz…

Play What’s Not on the Sheet Music

Over the years I’ve had many hobbies – photography, painting, drawing, writing, comic book collecting, model car building, and many more. Last summer, I started taking guitar lessons. Although I feel as if I’ve progressed, I still have much to learn. One major problem I have is scheduling consistent lessons with my teacher. Work, travel,…