Thursday, December 22, 2011

Diary Of A Groupie: Breaking Down The Head Bang!

Head Banging: Verb. A type of dance that involves violently shaking the head or body in time with music, most commonly rock & roll and heavy metal.

Ok class, take your seats! Everyone, please settle down, we need to begin today’s lesson, one I know you will be excited about. Today we have a special topic, “The Ins and Outs of Head Banging”, which will include the history, physiology and safety of “Violently Moving Your Head to Heavy Metal”.

It seems that Led Zeppelin first coined the term “head banger” in 1968, when some of their fans got so gripped by the phenomenal shred of Mr. Jimmy Page that they began to actually bang their heads against the stage. I guess Mr. Page had that effect on people. The story continues with the popularization of the movement of head banging by a certain Mr. Angus Young, who would use his whole body to express the joy in what he was getting out of his guitar. To this day, head banging is synonymous to Heavy Metal, and if you play or listen to Heavy Metal of Hard Rock, you undoubtedly do a little head bang yourself. They go hand and hand like peanut butter & jelly.

One of my main reasons for focusing and researching this topic was because I was curious to find out why basic head movements (shaking up and down or side to side) are one of the main ways that we humans move our bodies to sound and how that leads to integrating full body and foot/leg movements in conjunction with the music. I actually found northing on that particular subject, but I did get all kinds of neato info on head banging. So I am just going with that instead.

I can tell you that my personal experiences with the expressive art form of head banging is that it feels really good to do, it helps me to integrate the music into my body and mind, plus moving my head around to music helps me get a full spectrum of the sound with my ears. I like to think of it as similar to moving your cell phone around to get the best reception or rearranging the antennae on your old-school TV to get a clear picture. My head is the antenna and I am trying to get a good connection to the Universe of Sound.

There are multiple styles of head banging with more and more styles and forms coming into being each day as rock and roll continues to explode on our airwaves, in our concert halls and on our IPods.

Some of the most common head bang styles are:

THE WINDMILL: This consists of swinging your head in a circular fashion so that your long Rock Star Hair flies around like crazy.

THE POGO: This is one of my favorites for myself because it is a full-body experience characterized by the bouncing straight up and down while bopping your head

FULL BODY BANG: This is FULL-ON, your body bent over, your air guitar flailing, you're so into the music your head is about to fall off.

THE DRUNKEN DUDE: I am not a fan of this one, as being short, I often get knocked around when I am near folks doing this. Usually you must be super drunk in order to accomplish this Head Bang maneuver, in which you must sway, fall over, trip and go “WOO HOO!” a lot as you move NOT in time with the music. You are in your own little world with this one, more power to you, Bro!

FREE STYLE: This can consist of any number of movements that can include Moshing; Air Guitar (with or without the leg stance); The Horns* or the “Rock On!” symbol of pinky and index finger up, thumb over bent over fingers; or clenched fists that are pounded into the air consistently. Choose any combination of the styles above for your own creative bent on the head bang.

*(A random side note of "The Horns" symbol: In the Pagan Traditions, that sign is a symbol of Male Divinity, the Sacred Stag or the god Pan. Early Christianity changed the symbol to be thought of as the sign of the Devil.  And, well, we all know that Rock and Roll is the Devil’s Music, so I guess "The Horns" is fitting as a symbol for Rock music).

One thing one must be careful of when head banging regularly is strain to neck or injury to one’s head. If you head bang too hard near a wall, that may be bad news as you can imagine. Don’t say your mother never warned you. If you are so enthusiastic with your movements and you are not aware of what you are doing, you could get serious whiplash. There have been known cases of severe headaches, neck trauma and even one recorded case of someone having a stroke from head banging. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Movement is just a part of the musical experience. We waltz to Mozart, we booty shake to the Blues and Reggae. We snap our fingers to Jazz and we two-step and dosy-doe to Country & Western. Head banging is just another amazing way to manifest physically the internal ecstasy that the music creates for our mortal bodies.

Class dismissed. 

Moonmama says...........

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Man and 40 Guitars: Danny Click

Guitarist Danny Click stands amid the glory being aimed at him with a huge smile on his face. He is humble and shy under the accolades he is receiving left and right from press, radio and fans. His charm and charisma stem not from ego or attitude, but from the true fact that he is an amazingly talented musician and songwriter and he knows he deserves the ride on the rising star that seems to be taking him to some heavenly stratosphere of acknowledgement within the music industry.

Struggling hard to make a name for himself and his music, Danny Click has been on the roller coaster most musicians of talent go through. Working hard, writing good music, being signed then dropped by a record label and then starting again from the bottom with random gigs with a few locals listening amid the clatter of dinner plates.

But perseverance gets one far and we now find Danny Click working his ass off in order to rise yet again, with weekly shows at Fairfax’s Sleeping Lady Café where because of word of mouth of Danny’s live shows, folks are left standing outside the packed venue hoping to get a glimpse of this amazing man, his many guitars and his blues licks that are straight out of the state of Texas.

His long and winding road towards “making it” in 
music started with a simple acoustic six-sting. “It was a cheap little Checkmate acoustic that my mom got me. I think she paid like $10 for it. It was so hard to play, but man I felt like I had found my home!” Recalls Danny. “It made me practice a lot because it was so hard to play. I worked that summer to buy my first electric. Which was an Electra Omega that I actually still have.” That six-string was a Gateway Guitar that led Danny into the world of making music.

At this point in time, Danny has about 40 guitars. For you guitar officianondos, Danny’s top three guitars used in his music making are as follows:

Gibson Original Jumbo Reissue acoustic, which is Danny’s main songwriting guitar. “It sounds HUGE and is very loud and lively. I wrote most of the songs from the new album on that guitar. When I pick it up, it always has something to say. Sometimes it’s a song that comes out or just a riff, but always something.”

LSL T-Bone ’52 Tele Replica. “This is hands-down the very best guitar that anyone has ever built for me and that I have put in my hands. It has it all. The vintage sound, feel, look and vibe. It just feels and sounds OLD. So it is my number one electric solid body guitar. The LSL makes me play the blues and changes how I think when I’m on stage. It challenges me. I love the feeling of it feeding back and resonating and coming alive on stage. Especially at our Lady shows where we’re all crammed in and close together. Very electric."

Heritage 535 Gold Top semi-hollow. “This guitar imparts the same feeling as the LSL in a very different way. It was made in the original Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan by the guys who worked for Gibson in the ‘50’s. Their guitars are way more Gibson than any new Gibson. They make them like they used to in the 1950’s and 60’s. Hand made everything. With this guitar it’s very fun to play British blues. Feedback and sustain and a very open tone. Just bitchin’!”

Growing up musical in Indiana, Danny also learned some mandolin and lap steel and he credits such bands as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Duane Allman, David Lyndley, Ry Cooder, Santana, Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits for inspiring him musically. “I still remember the exact moment I heard ‘Sultans of Swing’ for the first time. Changed my musical life. And I remember listening to ‘Abraxas’ and putting up black light posters! So many great bands that helped me think differently.” Moving to Texas in the mid 90’s helped fine tune Danny’s love of blues, hitting bars and clubs and learning from seasoned folks along the way.

“I got to Texas in the late 90’s; got here to California about 2006. I’ll always feel the pull of the farmlands in the Midwest, and the wide-open skies of Texas. But I guess (for now at least) California is my home.”
Self-producing all four of his albums, 40 Miles, (1998), the live album Night Of The Living Guitars (2001) and the new Life Is a Good Place (2011) which is now charting on 15 different Country or Americana based radio stations in the US has allowed Danny to do his music his way. One album, Elvis The Dog (2003), was financed by an Italian record label and which sent Danny on his third tour of Italy, even playing one show in front of 10,000 people in Switzerland and blowing their minds with his riffs.

Danny Click’s magnetism and stellar talent has led him
to some of the best players for his band in the State of California. It seems that the name of his band has become The Hell Yeahs! as that is one of Danny’s positive catch phrases when performing. “I’m very lucky to have the band I have. Don Bassey on bass; Tracy Blackman on vocals and acoustic guitar; Bonnie Hayes on keys and vocals; Adrienne Biggs on violin and Dave Sampson still plays guitar with us sometimes.”

Says Danny of his band that includes a heavyweight rotation of drummers, “Mostly it has been scheduling issues that makes the drum seat change from gig to gig. Kevin Hayes is a very busy and in demand drummer, as is Paul Revelli, Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter, and Andy Doershuck. We’re extremely lucky to have the best drummers in the state to choose from. We are in a very good place right now with this group of amazing musicians.”

Um, not too mention Carlos Santana stopped in one night with bride Cindy Blackman (of Lenny Kravitz Band and also sister to Danny's bandmate Tracy Blackman) to kick up some shredding blues with Danny and his band. When you catch the eye of Santana, you know you have what it takes to go far.

Danny has found his calling up on the stage. He is prime for an explosion of notice and it is only a matter of time before that happens. But to Danny, it’s not about the fame or fortune, it’s about the music and what it does for his soul. “I feel right with the world when I play live. Like I’m in my kind of church. It’s a very spiritual feeling. Kind of like leaving the body sometimes. Except when I play a wrong note and I’m pulled back in!”

As for fame and fortune, Danny waxes philosophical, “Well, you always hope for that, making ends meet and having something to retire on someday would be nice. Not that I will ever stop playing. If that ever happens then I‘m dead. No thank you!“

With many amazing musicians and songwriters in the world, Danny Click shines like the gem that he is. He has worked so hard and deserves all the praise and adoration that he is receiving. And to that, I must say, "HELL YEAH! Mr Click! You rock!"

All photos Copyright 2011 - Carolyn McCoy

Moonmama says..."open you soul to live music"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Diary Of A Groupie: The Danny Diaries

Dear Diary, I have found an amazing musician to adore, follow and support. His name is Danny Click and he plays a mean blues lick with his guitars and he is kinda cool beyond belief. He hails from Texas but now makes his home amid the rolling hills of Marin County, CA, my beloved home as well.  Oh Diary, don't get your panties in a wad, as this is strictly a Platonic Musical Love Affair; but a love based on music is just as valid as a love based on physical lust. My journey began a few months ago.... 

May 12, 2011
Sleeping Lady Cafe:

Every now and then I stumble upon something or someone so spectacular that it makes my eyes water with joy. Sometimes I stumble upon things that give me perspective in my life and help me understand myself a bit better. Sometimes there are moments in my life when a healthy dose of hard blues riffs and the sweltering chords of the South come into my world and fill my whole being with a reason to go on living.

Sometimes magic happens.....

Danny Click: Texan songwriter and blues guitar master. His blues, his playing and his songs all played a role in helping my demons stay away a little bit longer, if only for one night.

His band rocked hard with a little help from his musical friends that included the amazing singer Tracy Blackman with Bonnie Hayes on additional vocals, drummer Kevin Hayes, bassist Don Bassey, guitarists Dave Sampson and Mark Goldenberg and amazing violin lady Adrienne Biggs.

With his original songs and a few awesome blues covers, Danny Click has been making headway in the Marin music scene as someone to be reckoned with. He takes magic and channels it into music that is so pure and so real it fills any room up with a sound that can carry one to another realm of reality. That is why music is so powerful. That's why music is so healing.

June 30, 2011
Sleeping Lady Cafe:

Danny Click has more guitars than I have ever seen a musician have at any one particular gig, trading and swapping out 6-string electrics like I change my boots. Each guitar has it's own personality and sound which creates the moods and feeling appropriate to each of his sweltering blues licks.

He and his band of solid professional musicians bring in their own sound and personality as well, creating a whole pile of magic the swells and blooms with each performance of Danny's that I see.

Danny Click's band has it's regular members that includes Don Bassey on bass, Tracy Blackman on acoustic guitar and vocals and and ever rotating posee of guests that can include Bonnie Hayes on vocals, Dave Burn or Kevin Hayes drums, Adrienne Biggs's violin and many other season music makers.

Texas/Southern-tinged blues is what comes out of such a group of fine folks that will always put a smile of your face and a song in your heart...

July 9, 2011
142 Throckmorton Theater:

Intimacy can be thought of as a connection between two or more people sharing an experience that brings them closer together.

Music can be thought of as a type of conduit to intimacy, as can sharing song, rhythm and the creative spirit, since they are all ways that bring us closer together and have the potential to form a bond that is as deep as the relationships between lovers and friends.

Danny Click and his band of merry music makers all have the qualities of those that can form intimate relationships to the sonic love that is created by a band. Each musician that is part of the band inspires us to think about the world and all the inhabits the heart; the good and the bad. With song, with lyric, with harmony and with cohesion of instrument and voice, Danny Click brings his music alive and makes us lovers to each and every single note that is sung or played.

In his recent intimate show at the beautiful 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley, Ca, he and his band created deep love of song. Danny's blazing blues guitars, Tracy Blackman's soulful vocals, Don Bassey's blasting bass and Dave Sampson's sweet rhythm guitar all add up to Danny's main band of players. Add to that Adrienne Biggs of violin, Rebecca Roudman on cello, Billy Johnson on drums and the exceptional vibe of Bonnie Hayes on keys.

Love abounds from the stage at a Danny Click show. The truth of the music shines through for all of us to bask in all it's glory.

August 18, 2011
Sleeping Lady Cafe

Dear Mr. Danny Click,

I am writing to you today to let you know how much I love your music. I just might be one of your biggest fans, but I bet everyone tells you that, as your guitar playing is above astronomical and your songs bring joy to my ears.

It seems to me, Mr. Click, that every time I see you play with your searing and off-the-hook licks and shreds on those many guitars of yours, there is an uplifting of my soul that not a lot of other bands give me, and trust me, I see a lot of live music and know a lot of bands, oh but Mr. Click, you are something special.

I can’t quite put my finger on why you are so amazing, but maybe it is your skill, maybe it is your humor and warmth up on the stage, maybe it’s your general realness that you amplify while blowing out your amps. Or maybe it’s just the fact that it is all of those elements combined that make you so incredible as a human and a musician.

I also love your band. Not just the regulars like Tracy Blackman’s vocals and Don Bassey’s thumping bass, but the ongoing posse of stellar performers and music makers that shine a light on your music with their talents like Bonnie Hayes’ singing; Kevin Hayes’ awesome drumming; Tommy Odetto’s and Ian Lamson’s mind boggling guitar playing and Adrienne Biggs and her sweetly singing violin. With folks like that respecting and loving you and your music, no one can doubt your Star Quality.

So, Mr. Click, I want to thank you for all you do for my heart and soul. I want to thank you for the music you give me. I want to let you know that you make a difference in my life. Thank you.


September 22, 2011
Sleeping Lady Cafe:

Danny, Danny, fast your star is rising on the scene, guiding us all in the history of your ascent to the heavens of the cosmic stratosphere of killer rock and roll blues.

You work so hard, play so amazingly and climb & climb so steadily in order for more and more people know about you and your music.

You deserve to be known, you deserve to be honored, you deserve the accolades you are receiving for all your time and energy you put into making yourself into that star you are becoming.

I watch from below as you stream across the sky of sonic sound, your trail of shreds and wails on your guitars perpetuating your velocity to shine.

October 14, 2011

George's Nightclub

What can I say about Danny Click and his band that I have not already said?

Sometimes I am just speechless when it comes to bands I love and follow, and that is how it is often for me when watching Danny perform his music again and again...jaw dropping disbelief at the whole package he delivers from the stage. As his music, his musicianship and his amazing backing players give me such joy, I honor them in return with words of gratitude.

Danny Click: Guitars and Vocals
Danny, I said this to you the other night, and I will say it again...And so I quote myself, "I saw ignition engines fire up under your shoes the other night. Fasten your seatbelt, Mr Click, you are about to take off into the heavens above..." I thank you for the music.

Don Bassey: Bass & Vocals
Mr. Bassey, your smile so brightens any room and the joy that is emitted from your being as you blast out those killer bass lines makes me smile and emit joy as well. I thank you for the music.

Tracy Blackman: Guitar and Vocals
Tracy, Tracy, Tracy, you know how much I adore you. Aside from being such an amazing singer and songwriter in your own right, you add such soul and depth to all of Danny's music. I thank you for the music.

Adrienne Biggs: Violin
Your sweet, sweet violin adds so much emotion to the music: Sorrow, joy, longing, desire, all from wood and strings. I thanks you for the music.

Kevin Hayes: Drums
Ok, rock! There is such a solid presence with you behind the drums, almost like you are creating the cauldron for the music to be mixed and boiled in. I kinda request that you play with Danny forever....I thank you for the music.

Bonnie Hayes: Keyboards & Vocals
Bonnie, I give you honor for your spunk and your sass. You are a pint sized maven of energy and I think you are the coolest thing since prizes in cereals. I thank you for the music.

To the whole band, to all the folks who step in and play this music. I thank you.

All photos Copyright 2011
Carolyn McCoy

Moonmama says, "Hell YEAH!"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Diary Of A Groupie: Music Is Cheaper Than Therapy

My earliest memory. I am a small child, maybe one or two years old. I am in my playpen. My mother’s record player introduces me to Pachelbel Canon and Vivaldi as I stare though the bars of my secure castle and see the rain falling outside the window. I feel at peace.

I am 8 and newly transplanted to Washington State. I am devastated and angry of the forced loss of my old life. Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise” plays on my brother’s car stereo. I dread going back to school. I hate school, I hate Washington and I am one pissed off kid. We go often for ice cream and I start get fat in order to block the pain I feel inside.  I don’t want to be here.  I want my tickets back to the paradise I knew. 

I am 10. I have discovered free-form dance party alone in my living room where everything is my prop. Supertramp’s Breakfast In America plays on the High Fi, my father having rigged speakers all over the house for the music to play in. I bounce of the couch, jump on the chairs, stand in triumph on the coffee table, finding meaning of the music through my own body.  I was perplexed by the idea of kippers for breakfast, I adored the harmonica on the album and in the lyrics found the words that explained that I was a long way from home, even if I was in my own living room.

I am 11. More and more, music becomes the way that I find my identity. Music has the answers to so many of the questions no one else will answer for me. “What are these feelings I have for those boys? Why do I feel so alone when I am in the midst of others? What the fuck am I doing?” Music helped me to define myself, to find myself. I carried around a little mono-speakered boom box with tapes I made from the radio. 38. Special’s “So Caught Up In You”, the Fame movie soundtrack, Cheap Trick, The Tubes, Foreigner. So much music was at my fingertips that had the ability to help me understand myself.

I am 16. Again I am an unwilling transplant to a new land, this time California.  I have never been so lonely or isolated in my life. With my arrival in the Sunshine State, I left behind the recent deaths of 2 friends, a crew of pals so tried & true, the green beauty of Puget Sound and music that befitted my gloom with The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Cult. But California brought new roads to explore and I often set off in my dad’s new Thunderbird with the sunroof open, the stars shining in and the top-end stereo blasting away my loneliness with the mixed tapes I made to keep me company. I was not so alone when the Smiths, New Order, The Doors or Led Zeppelin spoke to me of their truths as I sped fast and furious along the freeways and canyon roads of my new home, trying to find a place in myself to be at peace with the loneliness.

I am 19 and I have just discovered mind -boggling magic of The Grateful Dead concert. I am an immediate convert thanks to the hit of clean LSD and the cool new friends I was hanging out with; true Hippy-types who did not shave and lived communally. Using LSD in a concert setting blew me wide apart for music to solidify itself into every pore of my being. My DNA changed direction and my brain got rewired and I never experienced music the same again, because now I truly could EXPERIENCE the music, wholly, with my body and soul. I loved the Dead for a time and I thank them for their part in shifting my world and opening my ears.

I am 21 and can now go to bars. I start to hit up all the music venues I can in the SF Bay Area, seeing live music every weekend. I begin dating musicians and falling in love even more with music. The Fillmore, Slims, Owl and Money Café, Maritime Hall, Freight and Salvage, Starry Plough, the old Last Day Saloon and the old Sweetwater were all my playgrounds. I wanted to dance, I wanted to be free. I made friends easily at this point, but I thank the music for being a conduit to overcoming my social fears. When there was music, I smiled. When I smiled, people approached me. The music was my trusty sidekick and I felt no fear when it was by my side.

After that point, after the age of 21, there was never going back to any sort of normal relationship with music. I had found my lifelong lover in the form of notes, chords, instrument and gear. My love of the music was made manifest in physical form by the musicians I dated, as they were the ones who understood my love for the music more than anyone. Even if the romances did not last, the music they left behind was an imprint of my love for them and how they affected my life.

Along the bumpy and chaotically joyous road of my life, I have fallen in love many times, traveled the world, had a child, changed personas more time than I have changed boots and grown to become who I am now. The music is and has always been by my side. The music has always been my confidant. The music has always been my friend and will forever be so until I am sucked away into the heavens.

Moonmama says: "Music won't fuck you up like Prozac"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Fire in Their Veins: Spark & Whisper

Out of any spark comes fire, followed by ashes and inevitably, re-growth. You can’t stop progress and you can’t stop things changing or morphing into something else.

Spark & Whisper
Enter Spark and Whisper, a band that has risen out of the ashes of the Marin/Sonoma based folk trio Three At Last. Three At Last veterans Velvy Appleton, reprising his role on vocals and guitar and Anita Sandwina, sharing vocals in soaring harmony while playing a gentle guitar and mandolin, head the new lineup for Spark and Whisper. With new ideas and new members, Spark and Whisper takes a new direction, adding a rock-tinged edge to their previous folk sound. 

Though keeping with their folk origins, Spark & Whisper takes the band up a notch with a sophistication and depth of a full band, giving groove and a bit of electric-sass to the music that was once pure acoustic simplicity. Says Velvy of the disbanding of Three At Last, “It was about creative and style differences. I think Anita and I were feeling the pull to move away from traditional folk. We wanted to drive a little harder, groove a little deeper, and explore a wider range of music and experience.  We wanted to be more modern and timely, and felt we could do this best in a different configuration.”

Anita Sandwina
Burning brightly with their debut self-titled CD, Spark & Whisper take many songs from the time of Three At Last and in a sense, create new songs morphed from the old. Spark & Whisper is revamped, ripened and bulked-up with added bassist Paul Eastburn and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Scott Johnson, both  have been on a musical journey with Velvy with the Samba/Latin band Nobody From Ipamema. “There's so much trust and love in this band. I've played with these guys for 12 years and hundreds of shows.” Velvy states.

Velvy Appleton
“When Anita and I decided we wanted to add drums and bass and GROOVE, I called Paul and Scott and they were very exited to join up and do this music with us. I was worried that they would think we weren't cool enough for them, but they have really embraced our songs and our sound and they have propelled us into new and unexpected places. They have made a tremendous impact on our feel. They are both virtuosic players who bring dance, jazz and swing to our songs…its so great to play with people who love/trust each other. Really a dream come true.”

Anita Sandwina and Velvy write their songs separately but there is much collaboration in making the songs come to life within the band. “We take great joy in interpreting and arranging each other's songs. We write from very different points of view, and I think that gives our material a great breadth and scope.”

Paul Eastburn
With 6 previously unrecorded songs on the new disk plus 2 revamped songs that were recorded on albums of Three At Last, one would think there might be the tendency of making the arrangement of the songs similar to Three At Last, but Spark & Whisper has a different group dynamic musically. The individual musicians and the chemistry of each of the members interacting together lends a different flavor than what was created with Three At Last. “Spark & Whisper goes so many new places; the Arabic jam in "Once", the Samba feel of "Carries Me Away", the country waltz of "Had What We Had", the wah-wah solo in "Yesterday & Tomorrow", the dobro & bottleneck slide of “Grandma's Song”. It feels more real, more creative and more confident. I feel the material is more mature and far less "corny" than the Three At Last songs.”

Scott Johnson
Most of the tracks were recorded and mixed by Matt Wright at Prairie Sun Recording in Cotati, Ca. with additional mixing and recording at 7 Generations Recording in Forrest Knolls, Ca. “Spark & Whisper” is an amazingly gentle album with hints of the band’s newly formed “rock band bent”. With basic tracks for the album recorded in two vary long days, Velvy feels the recording process is just getting easier each time around. “This album was made with no conflict or turmoil. Three At Last split up in December. By January we had the new band in place. We rehearsed, recorded, mixed, mastered, did photography, graphic design, production and we had our finished CD by April, all without a single fight, disagreement, or moment of tension. A great example of “flow”. We take it as a sign that we're on the right track.”
Spark and Whisper

Velvy explains that he and Anita chose the name Spark & Whisper because they felt that the name of the band and music itself should “hint at excitement and creation and intimacy and connection; the things we love most in this life, and the moments of transcendence we try to achieve in our recorded music and at our shows.”

Spark and Whisper’s new CD as well as tour and gig information can be found at

Album Art by Michael Garlington

All bands photos copyright Carolyn McCoy.
Moonmama says, "Me press, me write pretty words. Me good"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Diary Of A Groupie: To All The Men I've Loved Before

Music has been a part of my reality since I was a wee tot. The first music I remember is Pachelbel Canon and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. My parents did a great job making me a music junkie, but I have to give huge credit to all the wonderful men of my romantic past who have greatly influenced the music that I love. Most of these men exposed me to artists and music that have helped me add to The Soundtrack of My Life, a musical work in progress until the day I die. Look for the Complete Boxed Set in my posthumous state. 

These Lovely Men whom I have loved greatly & deeply are the ones who have perpetuated my love of music the most. They are the men with whom I have shared great quantities of time with; the one’s with whom I have shared my body and my bed; those men with whom I have allowed to use my toothbrush and spit in my sink. These romances of my past helped me to learn about myself as well as helped solidify my deep love of music, of which usually lasted longer than the romances themselves. We take what we can from all our human interactions and hopefully make ourselves new and more alive; the music makes me new and alive everyday.

First off, there was “K”, my first love, my first lover. He gave me reggae like Toots & The Maytalls and Yellowman. He gave me Kitaro with his spacey keyboards and Andreas Vollenweider with his electric harp and he opened the door to my understanding of “Mind Music” and the visions one can get from that.

Then came “C”, the first musician I ever dated. He never actually spit in my sink nor shared my toothbrush and it was a short lived romance, but to this day I am grateful for meeting him since a few make out sessions on his couch and many in-depth conversations about the technicality of music ended up giving me “the ear” to hear music like I have never heard it before.

“R” came along with his tattoos, his gorgeous long & curly brown hair and his brooding moods. He took me for a ride of Old Time Rock and Roll. Little Feat, Grateful Dead, The Who, Pete Townshend. He broke furniture and trashed my mother’s living room when I broke his heart, but it was all Rock and Roll.

I met “A” within the SF Café scene. He was the first musician I ever fell in love with. He turned me on in so many ways but the music is what stayed in my bones. His love of folk music in the form of Cat Stevens, The Waterboys, Michelle Shocked and Woody Guthrie guided my ears and my spirit into realms of the soft strums of capoed six-string guitars, traveling minstrels of days of yore, and lyrics with “Thee" and "Thou”. But it was his own songs and music that stayed with me because I was a part of the process of their creation in some way.

Then there was “B”, a super fun romance but sadly one of the most traumatic in it’s ending. He was a bass player, not super good but it was cool anyhow to be the Old Lady of another musician. His bass was a fricking gorgeous rosewood beauty and it was pretty sexy. He was a true Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll Man in every capacity and we turned each other on to so much music that my head spins just thinking of the disk space on The Sound Track Of My Life CD. Freddy Jones Band, Dave Mathews, Dead Can Dance, Zero, Big Head Todd, Box Set, Lisa Gerrard, Ottmar Leibert, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos…and on and on…To this day, I do not listen to any of the music I experienced with him since we split many years ago, as the trauma of our breakup was intense. But I do think of that music fondly and hope to one day have it in my life again.

My Musical Inspiration continues in the form of 7.5 years of Domestic Something Or Other. “T” came along and filled my world with Salsa dancing, African rhythms and Latin music from Spain to Argentina. He gave me his I-Tunes Library and many lullabies for our child. He took me to the next level of love for myself and he left me with some killer play lists on the computer.

Then there was ”M”. He was one of the greatest influences of my life in more ways than I can count on the extremities that are attached to my body. He brought Hard Metal and Dark Rock & Roll into my brain where there lived only rage and anger from my mother’s death. He gave me such joy even amid the tumultuous relationship we were riding on and because of the many heartbreaks I endured with him, he indirectly inspired me to start writing about music so that I could find an creative outlet for my feelings and my battered heart. He gave me the understanding of the mechanics of music and helped my demons find some solace within heavy bass lines, screeching guitars and screaming lyrics that matched my feelings and the darkness of my soul.

“N” came into my life with his paintbrushes and dancing pelvis. Our first date found us falling in love amid Tom Petty songs and we danced our way into each other's hearts. Anything and everything was on the plate musically with he and I; hard rock, heavy metal and Old School '80’s like the Cure and Berlin, though live music was our muse. Sadly all I have left now is paint splattered clothing and another broken heart, but again the music heals me even without the man attached to the songs.

And so, my list draws to an end for now as there is always more room for inspiration.  I do also wish to thank all the lesser Players of My Heart, who may not have ever had the honor of spitting in my bathroom sink but who have given me the gift of song regardless.

I dedicate this prose to you, my beloved boys of my past and present...and I sing a song a la Julio Iglesias!

“To all the boys I've loved before / Who traveled in and out my door / I'm glad they came along / I dedicate this song / To all the boys I've loved before”. Thanks Albert Hammond, for letting me plagiarize your lyrics.

All photos by Carolyn McCoy

Moonmama says: "Thanks boys, for all the music!"