Sunday, January 31, 2010

Diary Of A Groupie: The First Musician

In my last day’s of college before flunking out, I took the liberty of practicing what is commonly called a “California Stop”, that's where you don't stop but only slow down at a stop sign. I got a traffic ticket, not surprising. I blame myself and only myself. My displeased parents gave me 2 options: I could either have higher insurance rates or they would send me to traffic school, my choice. So one fabulous, early-summer weekend, I spent 8 hours holed up in a local community center to pay my debt to society.

But with that seemingly sad fate of a restless young woman, I found my destiny. I guess I have to thank “The Lettuce Amuse You Laugh and Learn Traffic School” for setting me up with my very first-ever date with a musician, he was 38, I was 19, hence setting me up for a life-long love affair with dating, romancing and surrounding myself with musicians.

I first noticed this super-cute blue-eyed & blond Music Man smiling at me when I got the fabulous opportunity to play Vanna White in the "Wheel of Traffic" game we played in order to make us all the wiser of the California State driving laws. He invited me to lunch and I found out he played bass, guitar & drums and was a session player for the likes of Carlos Santana, Chris Isaak & Joe Satriani as well as performing in many bands he formed himself. I forgot what his traffic violation was but I guess that doesn’t matter.

I had a boyfriend at the time but I thought nothing about the implications of cheating, for I was thoroughly smitten once I found out he had recorded on some of the most amazing rock albums of the 70’s and 80’s. I didn’t really understand the Groupie Phenomenon back then, but something in my heart KNEW this was a big opportunity, he was an honest to goodness rocker and I wanted to play his game.

We talked on the phone for a few days, getting into some great conversations about his life as a musician. The thrill of the stage, the piles of cocaine, the addictions, the groupies, the hard life that the road truly represents. It was all so completely foreign to a little, naïve girl such as myself, but I was hooked on his stories and the idea of the Desperate & Tumultuous Music Romance I wanted with him that played in my head.

Alas, I didn’t get the desperate romance as I had hoped, for after a few dates and phone calls, a few make-out sessions on his couch (and a decline from me to go further) I knew this man was not for me. I didn’t know what I wanted, I still had a boyfriend and the age difference freaked me out a bit. I wasn’t ready for this yet, but it planted the seed for the latent Groupie-ness that would soon spring forth from this budding young lady.

But I do remember that after meeting him, even though it was a short-lived romance, I changed incredibly. After hearing his stories & sharing my passion for music with him, I opened. With talking deeply with him about how music can be so ingrained in us it becomes an obsession to contain it or let it explode in us, I began to hear things differently.

I started to listen to recordings he played on, old and new records where he may have been on only one or two tracks. I started to pick apart the music and challenge myself to hear beyond the notes and riffs. I started to listen to a song over and over trying to piece together all the different parts and how they all fit together to make THIS SONG that sounded like no other song ever played, heard or recorded.

My world blew apart after meeting this man. My understanding of music was hugely enlightened because of his influence, and all he really did was make me Rice-A-Roni and tell me I was good kisser.

Moonmama says, "ROCK ON!"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Diary Of A Groupie: Mistress To The Music

There you are, up on the stage. You are a star and you shine upon me your amazing light. Your sweat pours from you body and creates a sheen that makes you shiny and sparkly, so alive and real to me. You move to the rhythm of what you are creating, your body one with the instrument in your hand or before you, spread out like an eager lover waiting for you to play her deeply and truly.  

Your energy comes out of the speakers. Loud, punctuating, pulsing; entering into my ears, into my brain, transforming itself into pure & utter lust and love for you and how you make my body feel with the music that you make. I thank you for the sexual electricity, the vibe, and the pure energy of sound. It’s the most amazing love I have ever had and you give it to me freely: Music.

To All The Guitarists: Soaring, flying, so free with your spirit. The notes and riffs coming off your fret board sending pure joy into my heart. I feel you entering into my body with your twang and shred. My soul flies to the highest heavens with every note and every “wah” and every high and with every low you produce. You are like a knife with your sound, slicing me up and killing me softly with every lick and stroke of your strings. You are the Lover of Cosmic Sound.  

To All The Bassists: You are so much more deep, nasty and guttural then the guitar, more melodic than the drums. You are the pulse of the music. You are edgier & darker, the sexual energy more apparent. You keep the rhythm flowing through my veins, it flows into my lower regions of depth and desire within my body. You are the Lover of Pulse.

To All The Drummers: Your ancient talent takes me to a primal place. Your rhythmic banging to keep the time so in tune with my own womanhood. You blast me, you shake me, your heartbeat keeping in time with mine. You are the Lover of The Beat.

To all the Horn Players: You are the sass on the brass. You are the whisper in my ear that speaks of dirty things that are always fun though not necessarily legal. Your screams and squeals are what we hear through locked doors in seedy hotels. You are the Lover of Secret Vices.

To All The Singers: You yourself are the instrument. You yourself are the one entering into me so deeply with your words and voice. The intimacy you create with your own body’s instrument is so profound and alive in the truest sense. Your words fill all my senses, they fill my brain with wisdom and my heart with consolation and understanding. You are the Lover of My Intellect.  

To All Of The Musical Magicians, every single one of you with whom Music is your muse: You are all my lovers, you are all my loves. What you give to me is so precious, so profound and it creates such magic in my life. I thank you deeply and truly for your gifts.

Moonmama says: Weee haaaa!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music & 'Ohana: Sage Rocks My World

My experiences with ALL THINGS HAWAIIAN have never been anything but amazing and lovely. From chocolate covered macadamia nuts, to Slack-Key guitar music to the joy of hearing applause after a particularly stunning sunset on the beach in Maui, Hawaii kind of rocks in a hugely wonderful way. The foliage, the smells, the landscape and the Pacific all lend a soft yet powerful quality to the Hawaiian Experience. The Hawaiian language is soft but staccato with many apostrophized vowels & repetition of words peppering one’s speech. Mahi-Mahi, Wahini, Ukulele, Aloha…all such fluid sounds when rolling off of the tongue, like gentle waves mesmerizing your ears as you fall asleep on the sandy shore.

One of my favorite Hawaiian words in both definition as well as verbal flow is the word ‘OHANA, meaning community or family. In my passionate experience with All Things Music, the community and family I am discovering never seems to stop growing. My ‘Ohaha in the Music World is now Vast, Huge and Welcoming.

As I spin images and tales of the bluest seas, the warmest waves, the brightest spirit of people, I also send you an Aloha from the dance floor and a Mahalo for taking the time to read this little ditty today on some ‘Ohana-influenced Hawaiian Rock and Roll from the Bay Area band, SAGE.

Joshua Schiaretti: Voice, Ukulele, Guitar

David Polo: Voice, Ukulele, Guitar

Every community begins with 2 individuals and a common goal or vision, two beings sharing a path. Joshua Schiaretti and David Polo met in High School in Hawaii, hated each other immensely and then decided to be lifelong friends & musical compadres for the rest of their lives. You can tell right away the ‘Ohana brotherhood between these two Ukulele wielding maestros whose Positive Island-Vibe inspired lyrics on love and life will open your mind even more to the possibility of Peace Through Music.

Sage is an unusual rock band that features Ukulele’s instead of guitars as the driving force of the main musical highway of Rock And Roll. Joshua Schiaretti and David Polo started out as an acoustic duo on the warm beaches of Oahu, but when they had an opportunity to jam with Bassist Ben Pfeiffer in 2005, the magic began to happen. 2008 brought drummer Dana Miller into the folds of the Musical Ohana of Sage. Pfeiffer and Miller both come from local ROCK bands (Chrome Johnson, Sabbath Lives!) and that changed the original sound of Sage immensely. Says Josh Schiaretti of adding the rock backgrounds of Miller and Pfeiffer to their largely acoustic groove, “Our sound went from a mellow, blending background to an "In Your Face", makes-you-wanna-move and smile your ass off vibe!” David Polo adds his ideas of the band’s morphing into more rock stylings, “I think it's really cool to see the different styles of music that are coming out of us, and it’s still developing. I feel it's something new and can go in any direction.”

We now have a new term to add to the world; Ukulele Headbang.

Ben Pfeiffer: Stand Up and Electric Bass

Dana Miller: Drums/Percussion

The Ukulele is not an instrument most people think of as having Rock and Roll Shred-ability, but instead our heads are filled of visions of Don Ho and 50’s Tiki-Schtick. Though if you put a Ukulele in the hands of Josh Schiaretti and David Polo, you’ll see that they have a tendency of being used in a much more dramatic ways than anything from Tiny Bubbles. Growing up in Hawaii, both men used the Ukulele quite a bit in most jams and musical ventures. Schiaretti clarifies the myth, “I think most people have a common misconception of the Ukulele. Mostly known for the "clanky" hollow sound from the past, the Ukulele in my opinion is capable of so much more tone and presence. We are just trying to take something traditional, something stuck or kinda stagnant and create a new sound, something new and for everyone. Our Ukulele's we're custom made by hand in Hawaii and fitted with electronic pickups as well as an internal mic so blending the sound to achieve the most natural tone possible is easy.” He continues, “The Ukulele seems so fragile, but it is pretty sturdy and is capable of creating a solid wall of sound. Plus my favorite thing is it makes people happy! Something about the sound and presence of the instrument makes people smile and dance!...I like to think of {our sound} as a merger of all the influences of our past. but focusing on a certain feeling of the present.”

The band is taking the Aloha approach to their music, infusing it with love & good vibes, gratitude & joy. They all sparkle and shine onstage like an early morning sunrise over the golden Pacific. Drummer Dana Miller really wants Sage “to keep playing and creating music with good vibes, and bring it to a global audience.” With the desire to create an album of Sage music, David Polo states, “We love the studio and we have the songs to do an album a year. I'm fired up! I love the fact that we're blessed with the ability to do what we do. if we stay focused no task is to difficult.”

With the ‘Ohana Vibe permeating their live shows as well as their recorded tunes on their website, Sage leaves you happy and loved with the music that is inspired by the deep culture and spirit of Hawaii.

And so I close my story by wishing you Aloha and by sending you postcards from my brain with images of whale song & body surfing, of bonfire jams with Ukuleles on a full moon night, the Big Dipper, 7 Sisters and Orion possibly overhead, guiding you in your journey for finding your own ‘Ohana.

Moonmama Loves You!

SAGE website