Friday, 19 October 2018

The White Album

the beatles lost their minds!
they did not listen to reason
they were the kings of the world
hit after hit
the money was rolling in
then they recorded the white album
a double album of electro shock therapy
it changed people
it scared people
the mop tops were dead
long live the free thinkers!

imagine the white album getting released in this day and age
taking ‘piggies’ or ‘revolution #9’ into a record label
i think the conversation would go something like this:

JOHN: Well, Mr. Record Company Executive, when are you releasing our album?
RECORD COMPANY EXECUTIVE: This album is unreleasable! You’ve got too many songs and not enough singles. For goodness sake, you’ve got an eight and half minute song of nothing but sound FX!
PAUL: “Mother Natures Son” is a lovely track.
RECORD COMPANY EXECUTIVE: And what’s all this about hiding a monkey?
RINGO: I like me drums on that one!
RECORD COMPANY EXECUTIVE: Can’t we get back to the happy, snappy songs like ‘She Loves You’ or ‘Can’t Buy Me Love?’ This Bungalow Bill fellow! He’s a murderer!
GEORGE: I don’t like your tie

the white album is a trip
a journey
it’s a war of acoustic vs. electric
arrangement vs. improv
john vs. the world
this is massive music
a full continent of music
detached from the rest of the world 
and viewed through a kaleidoscope

i’m 57
when this album came out in 68
the people who were 10 years older than me
made it an event to listen to this record
it became an energy
a movement
so much so that it was the biggest selling album of the 60s

we know how to perform this album
we care about this album
we - dare i say - understand this album
and dammit - we love the beatles
unraveling this album on the roy thomson hall stage is going to be a journey
all aboard

craig martin
october 19, 2018
toast and tea

Sunday, 26 August 2018

5 Albums You Didn't Know You Needed

5 Albums You Didn't Know You Needed

ram - paul mCartney
i’ve been raving about this albums for years
linda sounds great
and the songs flow seamlessly into one another
creating a homey vibe
if i could travel back in time
i’d choose to go to paul’s farm and sit in on the recording
perhaps make tea and soldiers 
and make myself available to do a funny voice
on uncle albert / admiral halsey
play this album on sundays

marvin gaye - what’s going on
a concept album 
a lot of people don’t realize this
but marvin had a firm grip on what indeed was going on
and this album was a warning shot for society
global warming
it’s all here 
marvin takes the issues and through the beauty of 
his voice
his lyrics
his arrangements
he makes it all sound hopeful
plus this is a great album to put on when you’re having sex

the pretenders
this is a rock ’n’ roll record
chrissie is open and honest 
the first feminist for me
she can snarl
and she phrases her songs like joni 
the band is crisp and a little bit angry
i put this album on when i’m cleaning the house
statistics showed a surge in effective cleaning
all motivated by the sound of 80s kicking in

gord downie - introduce yourself
for all of our american cousins
i implore that you buy this album
and consider it an introduction to canada
it’s not a geography lesson
nor a history recital
but it’s poetic and graceful
and it understands that canadian heart 
i wrote a previous blog about this album
the scratch of sadness that shows through 
makes me ache a little bit
and it makes me feel alive
gord wrote this album knowing that the great gig was coming
every song is about someone
and every song is about us

the rolling stones - goats head soup
this album is for all the bad girls and boys
who remember their teens 
and what a saturday night felt like
maybe you were alone
or maybe you were in somebodies basement
but goats head soup was probably on the turntable
and it made you feel good
and bad
lyrically mick’s at his best
‘winter’ is the stand out track for me
it makes me wish for snow in june
just so i can tap into that vibe of being bad
i love the stones
i don’t like people who don’t like the stones

craig martin
august 26, 2018
tea and soldiers

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Summer Ends

sometimes it feels 
like the only true thing in my life is music

i’m tired
there’s so many messages
it wears me down

music is as true as it’s going to get for me
i can’t see clear of much else
life has altered expectations

this past weekend
we played a small club in austin
the bar smelled like a bar should
we all changed in front of each other in a small room backstage
and we crammed up against each other on stage
it was glorious

after the show we all spoke about how much we loved dark side of the moon
and how performing it felt important
everyone spoke like there was iron in their voices
it was a true thing
you could feel it

we’re so protective of this music
all of it
i have no claim other than caring
but i feel like it’s our job to make sure the music is properly performed
that’s what we are
the performances are books

i just posted a video of us doing CSN’s suite judy blue eyes
it’s so beautiful
the song is transcendent 
rob soars 
i wonder if it’s just me who gets so emotional about performances like this
but then i get emails from people 
and posts
and we all connect for a moment in time

our summer is soon coming to an end
it was planes and vans and stage doors and after show pool hangs
it started at the wolf trap on june 1
and gets close to ending this weekend with the white album shows

and another season begins
lots of shows
i’m figuring it out
i’ve got a good behind the scenes staff
our mandate is simple
note for note - cut for cut
keep the musicians working
and stay true

august 14, 2018

starbucks coffee and egg bites

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The Stones

oh i love the stones
always have
when i was a boy in the 60s
my dad - knowing how much i loved music
called me in from playing 
to show me a tv show with them on it
baited and hooked

years later 
when keith had to play the benefit concert in oshawa
our local new station went live (CFTO - scarborough baby)
and there’s mick leaning into the crowd singing ‘starfucker’
i remember writhing about because my favourite rock star
was swearing on national TV and the censors didn’t have a clue
that was 79

mick’s lyrics are amazing
fat nouns and jangly adverbs
and keef is riffalicious
and with that i realize that
i don’t like people who don’t like the stones

i got to see the stones play the club shows in toronto
RPM, horseshoe, phoenix
i have all kinds of stories (just ask me)
i remember the set lists
the clothes
the audience
it was like seeing royalty

and isn’t that the point?
the stones are still out there
enduring well past the 'getting old' jokes
and riffing their hearts out
touring like no other band ever has before
committed man!
a while back - i spoke the above comment
someone retorted with ‘the beach boys have endured!’
i punched them in the face
i’m writing this from prison
drunk on cell block booze

we’ve been rehearsing the sticky fingers album
it’s been emotional 
and i’m happy to be amongst people i have genuine love for
the other night - i looked around the room during ‘waiting on a friend’
and realized that for 15 years, we’ve all been touring together 
in and out 
up and down
through and through
like bastardized royalty
one month bobby spent more time with us than he did his family
we belong on the road
that’s where the real musicians go

tonight we return to the roy thomson hall patio for 2 nights
the band is smart and tight
and happy
and i’m excited to be back on stage
it will be emotional 
i’ll be carrying the canoe 
but these songs elevate your mojo
and get you kicking at the stall

we’re playing in delaware this weekend
so expect the RTH shows to have a heavy dose of sticky fingers stuck to them
and of course my love of 'exile on main street' is well documented
so an unhealthy dose of those songs will also be featured
we won’t be playing miss you or satisfaction
this is a musician’s show
we want to shine
the entire week is being filmed for a episode of undercover boss

sometimes the world gets spinning on some kind of axis
that throws me off balance
and makes me feel out of sync and untested
but getting on stage with people you care about
and playing music that vibrates your soul
in venues that cloak you in cool
that’s the stuff that raises the dead off the battlefield 
hoists the flag
and gets you fighting another day

craig martin
august 1, 2018
amanda’s smoothie

Monday, 19 February 2018

Gord Downie's "Introduce Yerself"

i’ve been listening to nothing but this album for two months straight
gord downie was a family man
and this album takes you into that side of him
he had a nice big family
i’m jealous of that
i have a tiny family

for our american cousins
gord fronted a band called the tragically hip
he was one of the greatest frontman ever
right up there alongside mick, freddie, scott

i've seen the hip so many times
i lived in kingston for a while back in the extreme early 80s
i think i saw them at the lakeview manor
those were different times
but i am so happy to have seen the hip with my son lucas
he kept looking over at me and smiling during the show
as if to say 'he's weird but cool'

the songs on introduce yerself are each about a person
you can only guess 
lyrically ol’ gord’s colouring life with a small observations
and deft philosophy
‘love over money’ i think is about the band
“love over money - that’s how we got good”
great line

there’s songs about putting his kids to sleep
buying T shirts at concerts
and my favourite - the title cut - introduce yourself
about writing a message on your hand 
with the exception of AC/DC 
my music always needs to have an element of poetry to it

my son jackson goes to the same school as gord’s kids
kids with tragedy printed on them
ours has been private and theirs has been fireworks
i wonder how they’ll deal with it all in the years to come
of course they’ll be fine

kevin drew co-wrote the album with gord
just excellence and nothing more from their pairing
if anyone knows kevin
please send word that his work has touched me in a profound way
and i’m a better person for having this album in my life

music finds us 
we don’t find it
we’re bombarded with music - shell shocked
but there’s that beautiful moment when you find an album
and that album starts to bind to you
and heal you
and help you remember
and then you share that album with people you care about

feb 19, 2018

poached eggs and coffee