Under the Bridge downtown…

…is where I first realized what hormones were. What? The song is about heroin, Rachael. Right, but it premiered as young Rachael (she was 9 years, 10 months old) discovered her ideal physically attractive man. Flea. No, I’m just kidding, really. Flea is an awesome dude, but young Rachael, even before Eddie Vedder stole her heart, found her heart in other parts of her body when she saw Anthony Kiedis in that slow running scene in the video where he’s wailing, “gave my life awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay–ayeee-yeah….”

Everyone pause and take a deep breath. That’s better. Now I think I can coherently write again. In all honesty, yes, I realize at age 32 years, 9 months and 17 days today (but who’s counting?) what that was all about for me. I remember sitting under a shady grove of pine trees outside my old apartment in Blacksburg. In fact, I laid back onto a bed of pine needles to enjoy the sound of the song floating from a neighbor’s kitchen window. I went back to that spot to write sometimes, but this particular day I was melancholy. We were moving from my hometown to the town just next door. But when you’re almost ten and still in elementary school that is approximately equal to 1,005,342 miles away.

I suppose I felt the despondency and lament of the song. At the same time, when I watched the video and saw Anthony Keidis running to an amazing accompaniment, I realized what kind of man my young self (and all my older selves) was(were/still am) attracted to. Long, flowing brown hair. Nice arms, not too big. Deep and thoughtful eyes.

It is no surprise that I’d fall for Eddie and eventually, my husband, Tom.

I remember, too, from the video, his giant tattoo on that muscular back. When my best friend, Lindsey and I went to see them in concert in 1999 with the Foo Fighters (an incredible show except that the crowd was lame and Dave Grohl had to stop his show to tell them to behave—boo and hiss) how much I wanted to see his back tattoo. My wish was granted.

Eventually, I realized the move to Christiansburg was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It would take a while, but whenever I felt angst, I’d meet Anthony and Co. under the bridge across town. Soon, they introduced me to Eddie, Kurt, Dave Pirner, Adam Duritz and his gang…and suddenly, the city of angels was my friend.

Enjoy:

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

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Are you under pressure? I have The Cure.

You might be thinking that this is a blog about the phenomenal 80s group The Cure. I have written blogs on their amazing-ness. It just so happens that while I was writing today, I was listening to The Cure radio station on my Pandora radio station when Queen feat. David Bowie “Under Pressure” came on. In the middle of my other writing tasks, I jumped up, looked for a cat to dance with (found neither) and did a soul dance that may have included a variation of the–um, I think some refer to it as “the corkscrew.”

There’s something about a song that grabs you and makes you completely subserviant to it; this is one such song for me. If you are a music fanatic like me, you might be interested to know what song was number one on the week of your birthday. Back before the Internet was as common as Charmin, my mom and I called in to find ours out. My American #1 was Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.” Dissappointed sigh. But my U.K. #1 was David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure.” Yay for the U.K.! Interestingly enough, as an infant, I had hydrocephalus which literally translates to “water on the brain.” So I really was under pressure.

Another survey study claimed that the song that was #1 on your 18th birthday was your life’s theme. Mine was Rob Thomas featuring Santana on “Smooth.” This would be the song that got Mom into Rob Thomas and subsequently, Matchbox 20. I had resistance to it at first…but the lyrics seem to ring true to my monogamy and belief in lasting love with no b.s.: “give me your heart, make it real or else forget about.” I could groove to that. Mom’s was The Beatles’ “Get Back.” Mom also graduated on her 18th birthday that year the song was breaking radio waves across the nation. The Beatles had been enormous for about five years to that time. Yet, it is interesting because Mom has spent her whole life chasing family, trying to “get back to where (she) once belonged.” She even moved back to where she was born. I hope that she finds her true home where happiness lies. I think that she is still searching.

As for me? Well, I did finally find someone who gave me his heart, made it real and we don’t have to forget about it. As for Queen and Bowie? I knew that I would belong in his world when his two sons simultaneously requested “Queen Jazz!” on a Sunday morning car ride. It’s funny how we can get so under pressure that we forget what makes our soul sing. I recommend that the next time you hear this tune you get a headstart on dumping all that pressure and stress out…be it at the grocery store or in your own kitchen…I say, put on your red shoes and dance the blues…

Rock on,

Rachael

P.S. Here are some links you may like if you were interested in this post:
http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/birthdayno1

It’s Tool time (mature language and content involved)

And no, I am not making a reference to the early 90s sitcom, Home Improvement.  For whatever reason, when there is a phenomenal band, it seems there is a season for them, though not limited to a particularly good part of the year.  Recently, Tool season crept in.

I have always been hesitant to write a blog post about such an amazing band, fearing that I will not do them justice.  For those of you Tool fans who are kindly reading this (thank you), you know that often, all someone has to do is utter the word “Tool.”  This utterance is like a very bold period at the end of a sentence.  It is the be-all, end-all, comprehensive synonym for COMPLETELY FREAKIN’ AMAZING. 

Tool is one of the top five bands that make going to the gym (more of) a pleasure.  “Sweating and thinking…seems like I’ve been here before, seems so familiar…seems like I’m…” on the treadmill with a serene smile on my face?  For all those SAT questions I never got right, let me try this:

Tool : Music

Intensity : Sex

Perhaps I didn’t do that correctly because, wordsmith that I am, I was never able to even get a high score on the verbal part of the standardized tests (boo, hiss, test anxiety, boo and hiss.)  Simply put, as I was sweating on the elliptical, with a blissed out Richard Simmons smile on my face, Maynard crooned away in my ear with “Jambi” and “Forty-Six and Two.”  These two tracks, though it is impossible to choose, are some of my most favorite.  It occurred to me that people must have been wondering, if they cared at all, why I had such a huge grin on my face.  Tool is the sex of music, I think.  Tool is something more than just a band.  Tool is an experience, a way of life even.  Tool is a thinker’s band. 

They are so intense that they require moderate listening, I think.  It’s like a good wine.  You appreciate it more in smaller and less frequent doses.  I really could go on and on but I won’t.  I will simply say that if you like Tool, raise your hand so I can give you a virtual high five. 

You could also post your favorite tracks in the comments below, but not before you appreciate this:

Spiral out, keep going…

Rachael

“Every pop song on the radio is suddenly speaking to me…”

This won’t be a post about Ani DiFranco. (Sorry, Ani. Maybe next time, because you are so rad.) But I had to use her lead in. You know how when you’re down and out or just busy that you don’t really tune in to the music around you? Or, when you’re lonely or heartbroken, the sappy love songs make you audibly gag? You say to yourself, “God, no, Michael Bolton, please stop!” (Of course, if it was me, I’d say that no matter how I felt, even if I did own his music on cassette as a lovesick little girl.) Or, “Yeeeeeeeah right, Broadway musical. Almost like being in love. The whole human race doesn’t want your smile.” Sad, right?

If you happen to be blessed with love, then everything becomes clearer. You might actually turn to that sappy song in the supermarket and smile, thinking of your newfound happiness. It’s like when you emerge from a foggy mountain and see the sun burst over the horizon. Sometimes, these songs are like that. Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective.

I went on a date a few weeks ago and as we approached the ice cream counter, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” was playing. Awkward. It was an okay date but somehow, hearing Def Leppard was weird. I used to write my romantic bits to that album when I was a young girl. I always listened to tracks including “Love Bites” “Love and Affection” and “Hysteria.” Hysteria was the first CD I ever receieved, for Christmas, along with my very first ever CD boombox in 1992. Suddenly, The Cure, Def Leppard, and even syrupy Shania Twain songs have snatched my attention. These songs seems to bubble up to fit the occasion. When someone totally gets you, especially through music, then music becomes even more amazing.

Guilty as charged. Do you think music will mind if I have an affair? I could never be disloyal to that sweet, wonderful magic that is music. What’s even better is when you can share that music magic with someone else.

Are there songs that you hated but the affections of someone else changed your tune? I’d like to know what they are, please!

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

P.S. It goes without saying that the Beatles are louder now than ever. I’ll say it anyway.

I used to dance around my room singing into the vacuum attachment with this one, far, far from any prospect of love, as I was a young girl.

Just Like the Cure (for everything.)

I heard Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” while doing dishes last night.  Every so often, you will hear a song from a long time ago that they played time and again when it first hit the airwaves.  But songs like this one, when heard a decade and a half later, well, they’re just brilliant, brilliant still.  Even more so, if I might conjecture.  Speaking of great songs, when I went to the gym I heard my FAVORITE Cure (or Cure, The or The Cure) song.  “Just Like Heaven.”  When I hear that song I feel like the bouncy ball on the sing-along shows from long ago.  It’s just the way it moves.  I want to do silly dances with theatric arm motions, calling out to strangers on the street (or, as it were, the treadmill) in his voice.  His accusing, “Yooooooou, just like heaven.”  And then there’s the tinkling guitar refrain which, incidentally, is just like heaven.  It is also a great song to work out to.  In fact, The Cure’s Greatest Hits is a really good selection if you’re looking to get some exercise.  The energy carries throughout, even through the slow songs. 

 

I stand accused of dancing my hand out the window, sailing down the interstate with “Friday, I’m in Love” a bit too loud in my car.  But “Just Like Heaven” is so great it’s hard to tell you.  Imagine that I’m sitting across from you and telling you this.  My eyes are lit up, and I’ll tug at your elbow and attention, urging you until you almost have to agree because I’m so passionate about the greatness of this song.  It doesn’t have to be said that The Cure was incredible.  It doesn’t hurt to talk about it, though. 

 

Be well and rock on,

 

Rachael

 

P.S.  You didn’t think I’d blabber on without giving you the link, did you?

 

 http://youtu.be/RS_ux2H473I

 

Mother Love…

Albums that I have that I have memorized in their entirety:
Mother Love Bone’s Apple

I’m sure there are more, but today I’m going to talk about this one. You need to do one very important thing as soon as possible: buy this album. Yes, it’s a band that is no longer in existence. Yes, you might even have trouble trying to find it. But it is worth every nanosecond of sound and silence within itself.

This is an album that can turn a really bad week into a “Wow, I can’t wait to get back to my car for the commute home so I can bang on the steering wheel and dance like Andy as the passerbys gawk at me.” I love this album so much, in fact, that I used it in my graduate school entrance essay.

Apple is an album that is always in my CD sleeve for any trip farther away than the grocery store. It is a road trip must, a bad week solution, and, besides all of that, it is freakin’ brilliant. Here’s a gem: Man of Golden Words. I want to believe that if every human being who understood English listened to this song, the world would be a better place just because they heard it. (Please check it out below…)

The late Andrew (Andy) Wood was the spirit of music. Tracks like “Holy Roller” will have you testifying to the magnitude of music. You might find yourself singing along with him, “Love rock awaits you people! Low and behold, low and behold!”

This is a good album to clean your house to, to be at the gym with or even dance around the kitchen with while you’re making fajitas or something. It is naturally a feel-good album. Now I want some chicken fajitas. Andy Wood imprinted his wild love of music on me like something I don’t even have an appropriate metaphor for at the moment. Whaddya think of them apples?

Well, I hope you’ll agree with me and check out the album Apple, at least. But first, tell me…what’s your go-to album that you have memorized? Your instant pick-me-up?

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

I hate…the Eagles? But…do I really?

For a while now, I’ve had a running joke with a friend or two of mine: I hate the Eagles.

It started one day when I went on a rant about songs I wouldn’t care if I NEVER, EVER heard again in the sum of my days. “Hotel California” was one of those numbers.

Recently, I set out to disprove myself. I don’t really hate anything. Hate is a strong word. Well, I might hate liver. Eww. But sometimes when something causes a strong reaction within us it’s worth reexamining. So, I said to my friend, Stephanie, “I challenge you to make me a mix CD of the Eagles, complete with ‘Hotel California.’ I will listen patiently and with no bias.”

Stephanie happens to be a mix tape master. This reexamination was prompted by an Eagles reference, actually. We were talking about how some people don’t know how lucky they are and how they should stop pissing and moaning about EVERY LITTLE THING EVER. They will do this, as you may know. “Get OVER IT!” I exclaimed. “Okay, The Eagles,” Stephanie chided.

“Oh, that is The Eagles, isn’t it?” Indeed. It’s also a brilliant number, and a good way to start a mix CD of the Eagles. It brightened my morning commute. (Disclaimer: I did not say those negative nellies were colleagues.)

When Rachael was seven or eight, she happened to love “End of the Innocence” “The Boys of Summer” and “Last Worthless Evening.” While a man’s solo career can vary greatly from his work with a rock band, it’s hard to dispute that you don’t like the Eagles when you, and your inner child, loved Don Henley.

I took this into heavy consideration. Then, I heard “Love Will Keep Us Alive.” I’d chocked that song up to Fleetwood Mac or some such thing. I was always fond of it but never realized it was The Eagles. But what really got me was, “Learn to Be Still.” In it, he sings, “I’m asking, ‘how do I get out of here?’ or ‘Where do I fit in?'” It’s been a resounding question in my life lately.

Somewhere in the middle of the mix was this:

An acoustic version of Hotel California. I knew it was coming. I tried not to cringe. And by the chorus, with windows rolled down, I was belting it out.

Okay, not really. But I did enjoy it. By the next day, I held my right hand up in front of Steph and said, “I, Rachael Goetzke, not only LIKE the Eagles…but…I think I might love them.”

Is there a band you’ve had a love-hate relationship with? Do tell me all about it.

Be well and keep listening,

Rachael