Thursday, 29 March 2012

Kids Today

there's no clear answers
i'm quite sure that i'll be messing up my kids
no matter what i do
the mandate is to just be there
as much as possible
let them know i care
and that they're loved

but why oh why
can i not control the music they listen to?
my oldest boy loves weezer and aerosmith and ac/dc
but he's been drifting towards rap and some pop songs
i put the pop station on in the car
he knows all the songs

the little one
he likes anything that pumps
we blast it together
it's fun
but i try to counter it with some beatles
nouns and colours and orchestration
he listens
but if i switch over to a rap song
the change is instant
he likes to rap along
and moves while doing it

my brady daughters have evolved
they're a little bit older
one day the young one loves bon iver
and the pop stuff is forgotten like cotton candy lip gloss
the older one wants something real
and broadway tunes
as long as it's smart
she likes it

but none of them have gone through a zeppelin phase yet
years ago i worked as a journalist
i emailed all the politicians about their music choices
and what that says about their campaigns
the answers were telling
none of them went through a zeppelin phase
consequently none of them are in office today
clearly there is a scientific connection here
based on my collected empirical data

as the founder of a company
i'm always adjusting the rabbit ears
looking for the heir apparent
my kids have been dragged through countless backstages
they've handed musicians guitars at sound checks
they've sat alongside me during radio interviews
they've traveled to florida and taken part in the hard rock live experience
and still they're completely nonplussed

we do art day from time to time
we cover the table in a sheet
dump art supplies
put on Q107
and just make art
the other day my ad for the queen show comes on the radio
i always get excited when my ad comes on
not the boys
the older one continues to paint
without missing a beat
zero acknowledgement
dad's on the radio!

the younger one hesitates for just a second
looks at me out of the corner of his eye for a flash of a second
and goes back to colouring

i have a cool job
but not really
it's just a job to my kids
i'm still a nerd to them

next week we perform sgt pepper with the mississauga symphony
i'm forcing them to go
and i'm going to quiz them on different aspects of the show
that's the plan
it'll work
they'll embrace classic rock
and want to take over my company in 20 years
and keep the spirit and discipline alive
because without the dna factor
it won't work

my reoccurring nightmare
is years from now
after i've been eaten by polar bears
my kids are sitting around a boardroom table
discussing shows
and one of them says 'katy perry had a big album in the 2011'

march 29, 2012
drinking heavily

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hotel California (reprise)

i like this blog
i wrote it when i first started blogging
it reads nice
and spirits me with the upcoming hotel california show in LA
and for the record
we will be staying in a hotel in california


just back from a heavy night in jersey
we did the hotel california album
tough album
we first took it on 7 years ago
we thought it was going to be campfire songs
but no
the album immediately began kicking our asses

i remember this funny thing one of the cats in the eagles were talking about
they said that they had all the fancy cars
exotic houses
a private jet
tons of drugs
everything they wanted
and then they released hotel california

there's some funny skits by a comedian named bill hicks
he goes on about how all the music we loved
was made by guys fucked up on drugs
now don't get me wrong
i'm not a drug advocate
but this is a valid statement
and i get this sense from the eagles
whatever you want to say about them
they made a perfect album
and there's only a handful of artists in the world that can make that claim

hotel california sounds like a sun setting
listen to 'pretty maids all in a row'
it's the joe walsh track
the beauty of this song is the restraint
the song is slow
with a groove that sets slowly
when we do this song live
rob phillips sings with grace
i know we all rush towards 'life in the fast lane' and the title track
but this gem is a song that any serious music lover should seek out

'new kid in town' is a massively complex song
i don't understand how frey got around to writing this song
it twists and turns and there are layer after layer of creamy vocals
i kissed my first girl to this song
i was glad when it won grammy of the year back in 1856

'wasted time' is the song that we relive bad relationships to
this is henley baring it all
the drugs had turned
the money was meaningless
someone - maybe stevie nicks - took his heart from his chest and slap chopped it
(note that stevie nicks wrote 'sara' about henley - the key line "when you build your house - call me)
i can't move when i hear this song
nick hildyard sings it when we perform it
it's strange because nicky owns the zep when he sings it
it's his signature within CAL
but he sings henley perfect
he's able to find the depth of the lyrics and force them into your being
he destroys me when he does 'wasted time' live

bands like the eagles go down with the sun
that's their role
not to overplay
not to overkill
not to over market
but to go down with grace
and soar another day

craig martin
march 20, 2011
11:50 pm - sipping whiskey

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bruce Springsteen's 'Wrecking Ball'

i love the album
love it
i feel like it's about time i write a bad review
but i can't
i think that more than any other classic rock artist
bruce has continually moved forward with his songwriting and production

i was tepid devils and dust
and the rising

but magic
working on a dream
and wrecking ball
those are 3 incredible records
he's got a sharp trigger finger on the pulse of the public
he's never forgotten who he is

he's sixty plus
and he's taking his life
and using it as a broadcast beacon
sure he's got a ton of cash and fame etc.
but none of us fans ever saw him embracing the privilege
he's about the art
the writing
he documents
and like i've said in previous blogs
his work is more important to a nation
than anything yeats or keats ever put out

there's this one part in the title song
where he just keeps singing 'hard times come and hard times go'
and at that moment your very own life flashes in front of your eyes
i can't think of any other piece of art that i've had contact with in the past five years
that ignites such a mindset

the performance on fallon was telling
big man free
the logical choice was an entire horn section
the performance showed him fit and ready
new songs
new vision
let's go

a lovely side note to the fallon performance
was seeing cal fan - vanessa - up on stage dancing alongside the entire audience
there was a hey jude vibe to it

if you're not a springsteen fan
this album won't win you over
it's not for you
but for the rest of us
who want a pound of substance in every down beat
bruce delivers again
bring on the tour
the world is a better place with him darting about in it

march 12, 2012
coke and peanuts

ps. i wrote this review for the forum
would love for folks to sign up and join us there!

Sunday, 4 March 2012


here's a peek at the program copy i wrote for the queen show
at massey hall
in toronto
on saturday april 14
well worth the drive
or the plane ticket
but i digress
please forgive the proper punctuation
and i really didn't mean anything derogatory about coldplay
(that comment was edited out)

Queen. What a perfect name for the band. We've come to just accept Queen. But back in 1973 when they began - they were a left turn for the music business - innovators in silk slacks with an arsenal of layered sounds and songs. Everyone paid attention. And still does. Pull out some of the early albums and listen to the music. It's a bit crazy. Somewhat manic. Frenzied with ports in the storm that soothe. And they were so young. Men in their twenties - putting all of their mojo into the music - as though their lives depended on it. I just don't get that feeling from today's artists. Ya think Coldplay slaves and sweats - foregoing common sense and urgency in order to get a sound that defines greatness? I don't.

Everybody overlooks Freddie's piano playing. He's a genius. We concentrate on his firework vocals and the flash of his personality. But alongside that was a committed musician who spent 10,000 hours honing his craft. The chording on "Bohemian Rhapsody' flows without rules. I've been scouting through old reviews and articles and never once does anyone mention his piano playing. I understand that his ashes were scattered. So next time you hear the lyric "anyway the wind blows" and you're outside and it's a tad breezy - make sure to thank Freddie for his piano playing.

Brian May's guitar sound is a direct result of the life he lives. He's an astrophysicist. It's true. And his guitar playing sounds…cosmic. He plays like he spent his formative years staring at the sky. Once he picked up a guitar, it was as though he used it to talk to the skies. If you look closely at some of the online photos of him - you can see a small satellite lodged in his hair. He's a master musician with the touch of a child. Perfect.

When we first tackled the 'Night at the Opera' album - one word that kept coming up was 'more'. More singers. More guitars. More harmonies. More money. Note for note is expensive when Queen is involved. There have been so many productions and tributes honouring the band, but nothing comes close to what we're about to do. At last count we'll have 44 musicians on stage. This includes a choir. I was a bit frenzied at rehearsals. More. More. Bigger. Thicker. Louder. More. The show at Massey Hall will not only be note for note - cut for cut, it will be perfect. Historic. And at times funny. Because like most British bands - their sense of humour was always in tact.

Classic Albums Live will perform Queen's 'Night at the Opera' at Massey Hall. Now that's what I call a threesome.