Wanna Show You Somethin’ Like….joy inside my heart…

…Seems I (went to see) Temple of the Dog!!!”

It isn’t an accident that my blog got my husband for me.  The brilliant but deceased Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone put together a most amazing lyric to a song I once wrote about on my blog, and when my husband thoughtfully responded to it, that’s when I knew I had to meet him.

1) He took the time to read my blog

2) He carefully and eloquently responded to it

3) The song was “Man of Golden Words” by Mother Love Bone.  I got to hear it, in the fifth row, standing next to him, four and a half years after his fated message.  The subject is also lyrics from the song.

It may take me more than one blog to explain Saturday night.  When I was ten years old and Pearl Jam took my breath away, I discovered Mother Love Bone and the tribute act, Temple of the Dog, too.  In a matter of days, I could sing every word, intone every bass line, sway my head to every guitar riff and kick my foot to every bass drum hit.

Was Eddie at the show like I had wished with all my heart?  No.  Did that change the fact that it was absolutely amazing?  No.  Chris Cornell.  That should be all I have to say.  But it was truly Chris Cornell with Pearl Jam (excluding Eddie.)  And, though fans were surprised and probably dissappointed that Vedder didn’t show for this 10-date-only U.S. tour, Chris was more than amazing to us.  He had us back him on “Hunger Strike.”  He played “Man of Golden Words” by himself with an acoustic, then melodically transitioned into a brief mix of “Comfortably Numb.”  He opened the song up with heartfelt words about what Andy meant to him, and how Andy made him a better songwriter, and how he couldn’t even listen to this song for a very long time after his passing.

They played the entirety of the Temple of the Dog album, and a generous number of tracks from Mother Love Bone’s Apple. They covered Green River and Black Sabbath…they did two encores.  They did not play “Captain Hi-Top” and I bring this up because it has become a hilarious favorite of my husband’s because Andy inquires in a raucous call, “Where’s that chicken gumbo, baby?”  I told him he should shout the question to Chris.

I can’t explain how I felt.  I should have been screaming.  I should have wanted to pass out like Beatlemania…and still, two days later, I feel like it was a dream I had, looking through glass.  I remember feeling a bit detached.  My eyes saw them.  They were five rows away from me.  My ears heard them.  My whole body contorted, gyrated, sang, screamed, pumped fists, “interpretive danced” to the lyrics…and yet, it still feels distant, though not in a bad way.

Do I have a balance on my credit card?  DO I EVER!  Did I buy a lot at the merch table?  Well, I bought a tee, a sticker and my very first ever rock n’ roll hoodie.  (I adore it.)  Did I spent a lot on a hotel, gas, food, etc.?  Yeah.  Do I regret any of it?  Hell no.  Though this meant more to me than to my husband, I am glad he was there.  I’m glad because he used the sentiments, “Words and music/my only tools […] let’s fall in love with music/the driving force of our living/the only international language/divine glory/the expression/the knees bow, the tongue confesses…the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings…” to snare me.  He said he agreed, and that we had how we FELT about music in common for sure.

We vary greatly in many ways, but this we will always share.

When I was ten, I said, “Holy shit, if Soundgarden and Pearl Jam ever went on tour, I’d sell my soul to see them.”  That was nearly 25 years ago.  My expenses are justified in that, my soul is in tact.  One of my life’s biggest dreams has come true.  Now, if only I could get to meet Eddie…

Be well and Rock ON!

Rachael

The Beauty of Dreams…

There’s a Devin Townsend song called “Grace.”  For those of you unfamiliar with Devin Townsend or “The Devin Townsend Project” or “DTP”, please do yourself a favor and get acquainted!  You will thank me later.  Don’t be put off by the label “metal” or “progressive metal.”  What you will find is a beautifully (heavy) and melodic mix of songs, ranging from introspective quiet/experimental, to whack your steering wheel with your thumbs awesome.

I happen to be wearing a Devin Townsend Project tee in this picture that I’m including.  But what does they have to do with what’s coming next?  Well, my youngest stepson is named after Devin Townsend.  And we’ve had the blessing to meet him twice, both of which times he was so gracious to our family, and totally made our boys happy.

Dreams do come true.  Can you imagine just doing the art you’re born with, and then find out that someone in another country named their son after you?  Pretty amazing, right?  Well, when I met my husband, he had not planned on anymore reproduction.  But he knew that I’ve had a dream since I was a little girl to have a little girl of my own.  So we went to the Penn U hospital fertility clinic about IVF.  We got all the expensive documents.  We chose not to do it.  Even with a vasectomy and my inadequately-sized uterus, they could offer us a surrogate.  But after much thought, I veered toward adoption, only to be horribly dissapointed.

“Why don’t you look into foster care?” I did, on several occasions, only to find out that the ultimate goal of this was to reunite the child with their birth families, no matter how shitty they were.  I could not risk having my heart broken again, and again.  Sadly, I chose to give up this (otherwise seeming) great option.

A time later, I created a gofundme account, and in two weeks, I got about $600.  I still have that, and I am putting away $10-20 of my own meager funding each pay check and as I can.  I realized I need to promote harder.  It will be expensive to adopt otherwise.  After those two weeks, nothing.  I kept going to meetings, researching options, etc.  Friends gave helpful advice.  No one wanted to let me borrow their uterus, alas.  (you can laugh, I’m only half-serious.)

Spending a year helping to raise an infant girl to toddlerhood made my yearning stronger.  I went to an adoption meeting in September that made me horribly jaded and disinfranchised with that system.  It seems that this has become a capitalist venture, indeed.  Some private adoption companies even have claim on “stork” babies–ones that are dropped in the baby bin at hospitals, and would have been, otherwise, free.

But my never-failing optimism sprouted up after a long bout of depression.  She’s out there.  Maybe she hasn’t been born yet.  Maybe she’s waiting for me already.  With 0ver $70K in student loan debt and a house to build, I still forge on in my hope.  What do we have, if not hope?

My husband had the opportunity to name both of his sons.  One got the family name, one got named after Devin Townsend.  He wanted to name her “Gretchen Nebraska” after a King’s X song/album.  “Um, no,” I said.  “You had the opportunity to name your children, one after music.  You can have Gretchen as the middle name.”

It only made sense that my whole life mom would call me “Princess Grace” or just “Grace” because as a clumsy, left-handed daydreamer, I can be anything but graceful at times.  I liken myself to a beautiful giraffe…so elegant, so awkward, so graceful, yet jarringly so.  When I met my in-laws, whom I love as though they were a wonderful, adoptive family (they are, indeed that), I discovered that my mother-in-law, Susan Pennington had multiple pseudonyms:  Sue, Susan, Penny, Grace.  Her husband starting calling her Grace because his favorite hymn was “Amazing Grace.”

So Grace makes sense, if we indeed get a choice in her name at all.  So, after much thought, I updated my gofundme account, and decided that I would start again.  For someone who has battled clinical depression and infertility issues more than half her life, I have never been able to crush the unfailing optimism that was born into my soul.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me, just by reading this.  Please feel free to share it abundantly.  I can even mail or email or fax you flyers.  Thank you for reading my blog and sharing my thoughts on writing, music, and cats.

Below, see the link and share!  Also, note the lyrics and check out Devin Townsend…

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

Graced by Adoption

We know that it’s only  human.  We know that it’s only love.  Enjoy these appropos lyrics, if you will:

We know that it’s only human
We know that it’s only love
We know that its far too close to home
To see it now

Love all we can before
We learn all we came for
Learn all we can before
The road leads to home

Grace, grace, grace, grace

High road warning
High road warning

Grace, grace, grace, grace (Say no more)

High road warning
High road warning

Laugh, love, live, learn
Laugh, love, live, learn

Eternal I, eternal I, eternal I, I, I

My child tells me
We are the fallen men
My child tells me
We are the fallen men

Laugh, love, live, learn
Laugh, love, live, learn

Oh my god

Grace, grace, grace, grace

Never fear love
(High)
Never fear love
(Road)
Never fear love
(Warning)

Never fear love
(High)
Never fear love
(Road)
Never fear love
(Warning)

We know that it’s only human
We know that it’s only love
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love
Love all we can

I know the way, and you know the way
We all fall down if we fear love

Never fear love
Never fear love
Never fear love
(Warning)

Never fear love
Never fear love
Never fear love
(Warning)

(Devin Townsend Project)

Bated Breath

So it happens.  You max out a credit card to go to a once-in-a-lifetime show.  Your ten-year-old self once vowed that “if this ever happened, I’d sell my soul to go see it,” and now it’s happening.  But it’s bittersweet, because you just found out there is a possibility it won’t be everything you hoped it would be.

When I was ten and fell in love with Pearl Jam, I, of course, discovered Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone.  For a 25th anniversary (yes, now I do feel old, thank you) the group, comprised of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, are hosting a ten-date U.S. tour.  Only I heard, after spending an OBTUSE amount of money for a pair of tickets from a ticket scalper (see my thoughts on that in the previous blog), that Eddie might not be there.

(Record scratches.)  How?  Why?  What the hell?  Eddie was invited into this tribute band to honor the life of former Mother Love Bone frontman, Andrew Wood, who passed from a heroin overdose, after remaining “clean” for sometime.  The members of Mother Love Bone disbanded, and Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament met Mike McCready and discovered Eddie Vedder and wham!  Pearl Jam.  At the time, Matt Cameron was Soundgarden’s drummer, but now makes a perfect puzzle piece place in the group.

I bought said tickets (that I’m now paying interest on) with the full intention of bringing my ukulele to get signed, should that happen.  (Please God and Universe, align just right.)  Now, I hear that he may or may not be at certain shows.  Listen, Eddie, I have never spoken an ill word against you, nor will I ever, but I have to know…please, will you be at the Tower Theatre show on Saturday, November 5th? Please will you sign my ukulele, my arm, my soul?  May I get a picture of you, as chubby as I’ve become, to commemorate my life’s BIGGEST dream coming true?

Did you know that when I was ten I had a stained glass music note inscribed with Andy’s name on it, and another one, a heart with roses, that read: Eddie and Rachael Forever?  Come on, I was ten, cut me a break.  But please be there.  I don’t see how you could NOT be.  You sing on three of the songs, at least!  You are an integral part of that project!  And now there’s talk of a second release?!  Why would you not take part, 25 years later?  Plus, it’s only ten shows.  Ten shows upon which millons of fans were disappointed, because, once again, Ticketmaster sucks, and we waited, with breath bated, only to find out that no, we never had a chance.  Before the page could even open, all tickets were sold out.  We wasted a sick day from work to be horribly dissappointed.  Down-trodden, we turned to eBay and, instead of paying our student loans, we racked up “cashback bonuses” on our credit cards because of the ticket scalpers.

So, please.  Please be there.  Everyone who waited, breath bated, counted on this.  We can’t find a better man.

Respectfully in debt,

Rachael

Dear Ticket Scalpers…

FUCK YOU ALL.  I’m kind…I try not to be profane on my sites, especially since I want to write professionally about music.  I had a college professor once tell my class, “Profanity is not bad, it is the excessive use of it that makes the word meaningless.”  So, I vow to only leave my opener profane.  My living room heard enough of the profane, hilarious sentiments just moments ago…

I’d attach a screen shot of eBay to explain what I’m talking about, but why?  Tickets that have NOT even gone ON SALE yet are being sold for upwards of $1.199…some as much as $3,447/pair.  I have an idea, why don’t I open my chest up with a butter knife and FedEx my still-beating heart to you, you modern-day, human-sized, soul-sucking parasites.

Have you ever loved a band so much that your heart ached?  So much that hearing them gave you wrinkles on your eyes and nose from hearing the sounds?  Has it ever been so visceral to you that your whole body responds to the living energy in your speakers?  That is magnified at a concert, nosebleed seats or otherwise.

Well, there won’t be any nosebleeds for me.  Unfortunately, this was a once in a lifetime concert event.  I never thought it could happen.  I never thought I’d see the day.  It was highly unlikely, in all circumstances.  My twelve-year-old self said, “Man, I’d sell my soul to see that happen.”  Well, it’s happening without me, in select cities around the world.

The achingly beautiful tribute to Andy Wood, frontman to Mother Love Bone, womb to Pearl Jam…gorgeous melding of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden…Temple of the Dog is touring in select cities around the U.S.  Some lucky fan club members (of which the fan club I am a part, not so much the former adjective) were drawn in a ticket lottery.  The rest of us waited eagerly to realize that even before we had the chance, credit card poised in hand, day taken off from work–desperately praying and counting down to that moment…the chance was never there to be discussed.  Tickets were not on sale, no.  There wasn’t even an opportunity for them.

Nor is there now, unless we bow to your disgusting fees, preying on our life savings, our student loan money, the very essence of our souls…as a Unitarian Universalist, I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all human (and animal) life.  You are a challenge to that, my foes.  How can I respect someone who preys of the hopes and dreams of the music-obsessed?  Would you sell cancer medicine on the black market, too?

That same professor continued, “You see, the beauty in using profanity is that when you use it passionately and sparingly, that’s when it really means something.”  I really mean it.

Blessings to all the ones who have been let down.  Keep on rockin’ even in a corporate greedy whore society,

Rachael

 

Cigarettes, Lipstick, and Cobain

My wonderful friend and writing colleague Amye Archer captures life and music and style…you would enjoy reading her…

The Fat Girl Blog

I fell in love with you on a kitchen floor after my junior prom. You wore a loose tie with your red chucks. I wore a size 12 black and white dress that hour-glassed my expanding body into something more desirable. You couldn’t keep your hands off of me. That night became the night against which my beauty would always be measured. Remember how beautiful you looked in that dress on that night? You would ask me when you remembered it. It was as if that version of me-young, beautiful, thin, and sexy-was an island I could never again reach, not by swim, by boat, by rocketship.

We went with another couple, rented a limousine, sat at a table, ate a meal, and danced, just like we were supposed to. We had been dating only three months at that point, and if you were panicked or anxious, you didn’t show…

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Day Four: Ten of the Best 90s Alternative Rock Albums of All-Time

Temple of the Dog

I feel to go from Pearl Jam to Mother Love Bone to Temple of the Dog is best, especially since I started these posts with Soundgarden.  For those of you who do not know, Temple of the Dog was a tribute album to Andy Wood, and also the marriage of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden together.  I can’t think of a more amazing duo, and my Bucket List includes somehow seeing the two groups together in concert.  I have often said I’d wager my life’s savings (I don’t have one) if I could obtain tickets to such a happening.  But I digress…newly formed Pearl Jam (members from Mother Love Bone) and Soundgarden collaborated with two songs Cornell wrote in memory of his friend and former roommate.  Everyone knows “Hunger Strike.”  Though it still is played on the radio, I can admit that I get chills every time I hear it.  What is so amazing?  Cornell’s deep, soulful emissions mixed with Eddie’s honey-coated crooning.  The interplay of these lyrics is positively explosive.  But the album itself is so much more.  For example, the first two tracks, “Say Hello to Heaven” and “Reach Down” mourn Andy’s passing with bluesy, soulful guitar and Cornell’s sadden wailing.  This whole album is driven by an intense underlying emotion–it’s only salve is rock blues at its best.

Fun Fact:  When I first got my first CD player Christmas of 1992, my first three CDs were:  Def Leppard’s Hysteria, Mother Love Bone’s Apple, and Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood

Random fact:  My husband and I often speak to each other in musical illusions.  He often says, “I’m like Temple of the Dog.”  If you get the reference, like the post.  If you don’t, look it up! 🙂

Rock on,

Rachael