Well, I’m a little late this week. We’re in the process of moving so life has been a bit of a whirlwind.
Here are two short recommendations for this week:
Kopecky was a band I discovered while working as a road guard on a fire in Northern Idaho. There wasn’t much traffic but there was XM radio in the rental truck!
“Drug For The Modern Age ” is my favorite of the two albums I have heard by them. It has a pretty nifty 80’s vibe and I enjoy the vocals by both male and female singers. It’s not often that bands will switch up singers like that and have it work out well, in my humble opinion.
The two songs that get stuck in my head the most are “Quarterback” and “Better Luck Next Time”. Probably my least favorite is the title track. But they are all good for hanging out or driving, so check them out next time you need something just a little bit different.
For my art this week, I recommend you check out The Feast of St.John by Jules Adolphe Breton.
There aren’t too many copies of it floating around the internet, though I believe if you dig long enough you’ll find it in Gandalf’s Gallery. I won’t talk too much about it but I will say I liked it so much that it inspired me to make a horrible version of my own:
Those were my early days. I’d like to think that I would do better next time.
Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I will be sitting still long enough to write something better.
Last week I discussed my musical past. This week I will address my art past.
Visual arts weren’t prolific in our home. Not like music was anyway. I can’t think of any art books lying around or even any major painter’s works on our walls.
When I was in 7th grade, Van Gogh came to the National Gallery of Art in DC. To be honest I had never actually seen a work by Van Gogh, but my friend Steve said he was his favorite, so of course I had to agree. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I did like it. So for awhile Van Gogh was my favorite artist. This was mostly a matter of not knowing any other artists.
Also in 7th grade we received a visit from Holocaust survivor Mark Strauss . He talked about his experience in the Warsaw Ghetto and displayed some of his works. This was my first introduction to art as political commentary. This was the painting of his that I purchased a print of:
I took a semester of art also in 7th grade. It was probably one of the worst classes I had. I didn’t have a natural talent for much of it, and my teacher wasn’t exactly helpful in molding skill. She critiqued me into giving up all drawing except for some very violent MSPaint works I did for Latin class in high school:
After these brief exposures to art in middle school I did not get much more exposure to visual art until college. For my first semester I had to take an elective and I took the one everyone took, “Creativity and Aesthetic Experience”. This class had three components, one for theater, one for music, and one for visual art. I can’t say the sculptor we had to check out was very good, but the play we had to watch was something else!
I started getting into photography at that time, mostly because my brother was and I had to mimic. One of my favorite projects was for my English class, I went around town and took photos from certain vantage points and compared them to past photos. Sadly none of those are on my computer.
After college I got into digital photo manipulation, taking pictures and making them into something more interesting. I started a Flickr page and started posting stuff in the hopes someone would see them and perhaps offer me money for them. Alas, that did not happen, but it didn’t stop me from continuing.
My photography eventually got me thinking “I’d really like to try painting”. It seems that middle school art class hadn’t scarred me too badly. I told Nicole this desire and she surprised me with an acrylic paint set for Christmas. So I started painting. And when you start painting, you start to appreciate other painters.
Of course I started with Van Gogh, which is pretty much a style to himself. Then I pretty much went everywhere. My personal favorites right now are Matisse and the Fauvists, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep a good dialog going with these artists and styles.
If not you’ll probably be seeing a lot of my paintings on this page.
Welcome to “Music and Art Monday”, the posts where I distract myself from heavy and/or dull topics and write something actually interesting.
In these posts I hope to focus on one band or painter a week and tell you a bit about what I like about them.
This week I’ll discuss a bit of my background with music and next week with art.
Music has always been playing in the background of my life. Growing up my parents always had music on in the car or at home. There was rock (Elvis to be precise), the Statler Brothers, New Orleans jazz, soul, 80’s country (Oak Ridge Boys etc), the Monkeys, Herman’s Hermits, and other oldies. The first concert I remember attending was a country concert though I could not tell you who.
When I got my first tiny transistor radio at five or six years of age I kept it tuned to the local oldies station every time I was in my bedroom. I gained a great love for Motown and Mersey Beat bands. Pretty much any pop song from the 50’s to the early 70’s could be heard in my room at that time.
When I wasn’t listening to my own radio I was listening to whatever my siblings had on. 80’s hair bands like Def Leppard, Metallica, and Bon Jovi, pop stuff like New Kids on The Block, and early pop rap like M. C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice were always on. All the 90’s music phases went through our house. This was back when MTV played actual music, and along with most of the songs I have a pretty clear memory of most of the videos.
At some point in the decade, my sister got really into hippie music, with a huge emphasis on The Beatles, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane.
Around the age of 12, I got really philosophical and started listening to Jewel and Bob Dylan because: poetry. I bought my first two cds around that age, “Beatles For Sale” and Jewel’s “Pieces of You”. Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumper” was the third. I played each one until the laser burned holes in them (not really, but I am sure my parents had quite enough of “You Will Save Your Soul).
I amassed quite a collection of vinyl in my early teen years. Cheap thrift store selections meant that nothing was off limits. Stemming from my love of Jewelry and Dylan, much of what I bought at the time was folk. My friend dragged me to a John Prine concert and afterwards I had to buy every album I could find of his.
Around the time I discovered girls I was introduced to David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Alice Cooper. I’d listen to just about anything to impress girls, those three actually stuck.
Most of high school was spent listening to Cake, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie ad nauseum at my friend’s house. There are innumerable singles that also have a special place in my heart from that time.
In college I discovered free sampler CDs at the local record store and just like my earlier experience with thrift store vinyl everything from rock to pop to rap and folk were blasting through my ears for those four years.
Ever since then, my musical tastes are all over the place. From all of these roots I have not found a genre that I did not like at least something from. Thanks to Weird Al I can even add polka to that list. Hopefully this broad interest will keep me supplied with many posts in the future. Maybe I can even get some of you to listen to the more obscure bands that only I seem to listen to.