Tom Petty. Seriously.

The last few years, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have been what the record companies would call a ‘legacy’ act–ie, they sell based on their legacy–ie, their back catalogue–ie, don’t expect them to put out anything decent again.

(Before you get mad, realize that Jagger doesn’t really seem to mind.)

But back to Petty. Last year, he released THIS.

Bam. Shades of Zeppelin, some heavy ’70s radio rock and even Big Sugar in this track. Watch for the solo you don’t often get with Heartbreakers tunes. I haven’t heard the rest of the album, but the classic-rock radio guys must be scratching their heads at having to play a modern song… even if the band’s been around for 40 years or so.

I Kept The Ticket

Back in 2005, we somehow got our hands on a whole whack of lawn tickets at the Molson Amphitheatre. Six or seven of us–myself, Maymar, Scott, Shaw, Kimi, and I think maybe Leslie–went through the security check, climbed the concrete steps and staked a claim on a patch of grass as directly centered as we could find on what would promise to be the high point of the summer.

Amplifiers, busted televisions and other electronics stacked haphazardly across the stage. The crowd, filling in and the humming of a thousand half-heard conversations rendered down to background noise. Over the course of the evening, we became very well-acquainted with Mr. Dave Grohl and his band the Foo Fighters, who were touring on In Your Honor and… well, they were pretty damn good, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t like that record, but they played ‘Low’ and ‘Everlong’ and Dave can scream as loud as ever, so that was cool.

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Retractions & A Little Name-Calling

Okay, so I was a little hasty earlier. I listened to ‘Underdogs’ all the way through on my way to Mississauga this morning. It’s not Good’s best… But it’s alright. The singles–Indestructible, Everything Is Automatic–are brilliant, some of his best, for sure… But the B-sides, I dunno. Hit and miss. And miss.

Tonight at work, I had a great lesson helping a student tear apart two Luke Doucet songs, looking for chords, keys and the hallmarks of great country / rockabilly guitar–and in particular, how to imitate it.

Well, on the way out, I gave my student a little speech about such things–how every musician’s telling you how they think with what they write, how you can sort of figure out how they look at things when you become familiar with their style–and a little kid in the hallway turned to me and asked,

“Do you know how much of a NERD you sound like?”

Seriously. The scorn in his voice told me I was meant to be devastated. And as he walked away, confident in the knowledge he had shattered my fragile self-image, I couldn’t think of anything to say.

It probably would’ve bugged him if I told him I miss being young, when not liking anything was cool. Everything was easy, because it was shit. You got to hate being there, no matter where there was. As you get older, I wanted to tell him, things change. You figure out what you enjoy, then you figure out a way to do it for a living. Then you can’t hate it. These days I’ve got to give a shit, because I’m having too much fun. It’s horrid.

It’s been years since anyone’s made fun of me for doing what I do, and then in the last week, I’ve been called a nerd, a sellout, and The Sexiest Copyeditor North of Toronto. Must be something in the air.

Oh. And I named the EP. So watch out.

And if I go away again / You can have my stereo / I’m indestructible.

Hearts of Fire Moving Mountains From Hell To Here And Back: Cliché in Poetry & Lyrics

The first lesson you learn as a poet is to eschew the preformed phrase. Whatever you want to say, come up with your own way to say it; preferably it’s one that’s never been used before. I worked hard to learn that lesson; reading over some of the stuff I was writing at the end of high school, it’s almost difficult to imagine that I ever had the nerve to print pieces out, show them to people and put them up all over my dorm room. Sorry, Terrance.

But maybe I’ve been too hard on myself. Working on my discipline as a songwriter as well as a poet, I’ve always been amused by how close everyone else seems to think they are related, but how far apart they are in actual, practical usage. It’s more like the difference between swimming and scuba diving—questions of depth, equipment and training—than simply putting something down on a scribbled-out notebook and deciding arbitrarily if it’s poetry or lyric.

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In Which I Become The Han Solo Of Bullshit

I thought that title up last week, and liked it more than anything I wrote towards the idea of having it headline.  So it’s on this one, a point-form list of thoughts and things in the works…when I’ve got enough time to have things in the works:

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I’ve Been Too Hard On ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’

OR, Why Wilco Are The Best Band Working Today

So, the last few days I’ve been dusting off an old habit–no, not that kind of habit. Don’t worry, it’s a productive one: I’ve been listening to music I’ve bought on a crappy old Koss CD player I’ve got just before I go to sleep. Continue reading