Been following Mark Hoppus on Twitter and reading a lot of his posts. I’m getting pumped for Blink’s new album, and thought it would be a small token of my appreciation to post this as tribute.
This is what happens when I need to learn new songs but can’t read music…
It’s part “A Beautiful Mind” and part “Napoleon Dynamite”…. Derp!
My first attempt at rocking out a non-rock genre song. ”E.T.” by Katy Perry feat. Kanye West:
This is my big fluffy cat taking a nap on a piece of my drumset, my (plastic) wood block. If you put your ear up to it, you can hear the sound of plastic trees being harvested in a South American jamblock forest.
I wish I could set my set up this quickly for realz. Actual time, about 15 minutes.
The universe is full of unbreakable constants, like gravity, matter and energy. These things (in theory) should remain the same, unwavering and without recognition of time or nature. A universal constant is dependable and will always lead to the same results. In rock music, the Foo Fighters are a universal constant.
Since those Foo boys dropped a new album this week, they are the focus of my latest installment highlighting musicians. I’m actually listening to the new album, Wasting Light, as I’m writing this piece. I have this to say about it: If you are not tapping your foot by the 45th second of the first track of this album, then you are dumb, deaf or dead. I spoke of universal constants earlier, and rightfully so because Wasting Light (which is FF’s first new album in almost 4 years) delivers the same in your face rock style present on every Foo album since they formed in 1995.
The album is what you would expect of the Foo Fighters: power vocals, melodic choruses, tricky guitar work and interesting percussion. Foo fans will immediately pick up on a style that is both unmistakable and timelessly deliberate. They have found what works for engaging their audience and they will constantly reinvent and deliver. It should be noted that fans may find this album a bit more brutal than prior releases. The album features a few power-packed songs that absolutely feel like a musical kick to the face, which for those that don’t know, that’s a good thing.
Off topic of the new album, the Foo Fighters can be recognized as having something for everyone. With over 15 years on the music scene, it’s impossible to think of a time when they weren’t relevant to modern music. Even between their last album (Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace in 2007) and their newest, they released a greatest hits album with a new single, “Wheels”. Otherwise, they consistently release albums every 2-3 years, standard in the rock industry. Sure, the albums all feel similar, but within each microcosm is a great deal of variation. No matter which album you pick up, you’re not getting 10-13 of the same songs over and over. You’re getting a rich menu of diverse rock.
There is something for everyone in the history of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl is a modern day Jesus of rock as well as Satan in a Tenacious D movie…
I rocked a little too hard this weekend. My band played two shows, preceded by a week of practicing for at least an hour each day. I woke up today unable to move my left thumb without extreme pain. A friend of mine in medical school said it might be “gamekeeper’s thumb”, which is the first time I heard the term. Basically, it could mean anything from a ulnar collateral ligament strain to a full tear. Let’s hope it’s not something that’ll be more than a minor annoyance!
Last night, my band had a show in Milwaukee. It was our first show with our newest member and second guitarist, and it went really well. We played covers by Blink 182, Green Day, Alkaline Trio, Fall Out Boy, Lit and a few other bands. There was a good sized crowd that interacted and made it a lot of fun. We opened for a band that’s been on hiatus for over a year, and they came back and rocked it! We have another show tonight and I plan on posting some videos in the next few days. For now, here’s a pic from last night and links to our facebook page as well as the band we opened for. You can also check us out on Youtube. If you’re ever in the Milwaukee area, The Saltshakers are definitely worth checking out!
Happy April Fools Day! Which band out there could be more appropriate to write about today than Blink 182?
My initial goal with this column is to highlight musicians who have done something recently, like released an album or performed in Milwaukee. While has done neither, there are a few other reasons that they’re at the forefront of my thoughts. First off, my band is playing tonight, and we open with a couple of Blink covers (see the first two songs off Enema of the State). Second, Travis Barker is my version of Jesus (being a drummer and all). Third, as mentioned above, no other band emerges in my mind as more foolish and immature, and that seems appropriate today.
Some fans might disagree with me here, and they’re welcome to, but Blink certainly isn’t going to win any awards for the musical depth of their repertoire. Most songs are a catchy guitar riff, a vocal hook, some percussive pizazz and a formulaic approach to songwriting. It’s not overly technical, and they will certainly never be the Rush of our generation. They’re albums can be a bit overproduced, and their live shows have the capacity to be flawed. They are not perfect, but in their defense, anyone expecting to be stunned by a band that makes masturbation jokes and shouts “Boobies!” in the middle of a song is probably barking up the wrong tree. I think there is definite talent in those Blink boys, and while it occasionally shines through in their music, it almost always strikes a chord in their lyrics.
If Blink 182 was a country, lyrics would be the currency. The ability to write a song about the struggles of being a teenager enduring their parents separation or the strain of growing up hits home for many people. Their songs may be about stages in a relationship, or those suffering moments thereafter. Of course, there are those gems like “When you fucked Grandpa did he tell you that he loved you?” which are there to reel you in when things may start getting too serious, but if I could pick the two things that Blink 182 best represents, those things would be 1) how to relate to their audience, and 2) how to have a good time.
Do you ever notice how Mark is the only one that smiles in their pictures? I digress…
Their shows are some of the most fun I’ve had at a concert. They don’t get too preachy, or turn into self-important assholes about the value of “the message” of their music. They just have fun being themselves on stage, and who can blame them? As demonstrated across their multiple albums, there are songs meant to be serious and songs meant to have fun. Their shows are no different, just punctuated by anecdotes of recent bowel movements or each other’s siblings. As a drummer, it’s difficult for me to hide my drummerection (not a medical term) for Travis’s two-five minute drum solos, which gives my throat a nice break from the last hour of shouting every lyric of every song.
Blink 182 won’t win the hearts of college music majors, but you can’t debate their validity in modern music over the last 20 years. Think of how many bands that hit the scene between 1998 and today sound vaguely Blinkish. On top of that, Mark is a successful producer, Tom pushes Modlife and new ways for music to be shared, and Travis is changing the hip hop game. Furthermore, they each have retail lines in Atticus, Macbeth and Famous Stars & Straps. They do huge amounts of charity work (Tsunami relief for Japan as a recent example) and have played for the troops. They’re currently recording their next album, and I’m sure I’ll make mention of it when it arrives, but I for one am excited to see what happens next!
And one last thing: Travis survived a plane crash. +44 awesome points, pun intended.
This is my drum kit. Yes, my high tom is green. I call it my Frankenstein set because it’s made up of a bunch of other drum kits. Okay, not really, but it looks like it could have been surgically stitched together…
This is why I don’t (usually) wear my wedding ring when I play drums. It doesn’t look like much, but it feels raw, like when you were a kid and you fell off your bike onto your hands on cement. Plus, I’m a girly man on the inside…
Remix of “Can a Drummer Get Some” by Travis Barker.
Did I mention I love this guy?
This is my band. That’s me on drums. You can’t tell because of the orange parka…