Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Telecaster Yellow



I thought it'd be nice to do something guitar related on the Blog since I haven't in a long time.

So I have 2 cents to throw into the debate of where the "TV" part of the Les Paul TV came from.  There's a couple of theories that are OK but never really did it for me.  The first theory I heard of is that the TV finish, or "limed mahogany" was supposed to be the same colour as the old television sets of the 50s and that's how the TV Model got its name.  Another Gibson book I have says that Gibson made the TV Model to help plug Les Paul and Mary Ford's then-TV spots.  Another theory is the colour was off-white since TV cameras back then couldn't handle white.  I don't buy that because any reflection from another light on any colour with a gloss finish will always be white and that's not really fixing the "white glare" problem.

So here's a theory and what made me think of it:  Gibson was always playing catch-up to Fender since the Telecaster came out and that's where the Les Paul TV borrowed a name.  Where did the term Telecaster come from?  A television.  Where does "TV" come from?  A television.  That might be coincidence if the "limed mahogany" wasn't basically the same colour as Butterscotch Blonde.  A "limed mahogany" body with black pickguard is basically the first Esquire/Telecaster colour scheme.  I know by the time the TV models came out, the Fender was using a white pickguard on their Telecasters/Esquires by then but that's splitting hairs.  And the TV model didn't have an arched top.

What made me think of it?  One day I had out both my Telecaster and Epiphone 61 Special (in TV Yellow) beside each other.  And I said to myself, "Hmmm...Telecaster, TV, Tele, TV.."

Have a look (both aren't mine):



So instead of a "TV Yellow" finish, let's call it "Telecaster Yellow" finish.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Aim Low; Attain Your Goals: New Country Songwriting


Last week I drafted up a Blog on the topic of the Canadian Juno Awards and how female "artists" were complaining about there not being enough female nominees.  The Blog was basically saying maybe girls should do a better job writing songs.  Also, how about we give all the females Junos like they give out medals at the Special Olympics to placate them?  But instead, I'm going to do an entry on how weak New Country song writing is, so at least I'm on the same theme about bad music.

It was a lovely day last Sunday, unusually warm and the sun was out so I thought I'd sit out at a patio and have a quick pint at a local bar.  Then I heard the radio.  I had the hardest time eating my Kettle Chips because while I was trying to swallow food, puke was trying to push it back up...all caused by New Country Music.

Now it's easy to criticize New Country Music because it takes all the annoying cliches of country and throws it all in 3 minutes of aural shit.  But other than the cliches, and autotuned vocals, what drove me to puke was listening to the words.  I got so annoyed, I tweeted Country Music is stupid music for stupid people.  You can thank me later.

Before I start, I just want to say that I don't and won't consider myself a "songwriter" although I've made 14 CDs (I like throwing that in there once and a while).  I keep forgetting, when someone says they're a songwriter, they mean that they usually make words, and sometimes chords to a song.  I think of song writing as making the entire song, arrangement included.  So remember to dumb yourself down when the term "song writer" comes up later.  Anyways, for me not being a proper singer, I've had to come up with many sets of lyrics over the years.  Making lyrics isn't the easiest thing to do when you try to not repeat yourself.  Not all sets of lyrics have been gems but the odd one turns out and that's usually what would be the latest single.  I would never just throw together a set of words just to get a song done.  That's called being lazy.  I spend a gross amount of time on lyrics and to me, lyrics are secondary in importance.  So if I spend a lot of time on something that isn't that important to me, maybe real songwriters should too.  But they don't.

Country Songwriters should get their shit together.  Kids getting into song writing might think Country lyrics are acceptable if they hear them on the satellite radio enough times.  But they're not acceptable.  The lyrics are good enough for a guide, or a placeholder for a set of real lyrics but Country stops was short of doing anything remotely interesting with trying to convey an idea using words.  How many times I heard "beer", named brand beer, trucks, "cute girl in tight jeans", bars, etc in a half hour span was maybe a feat unto itself but it sure isn't fun while trying to eat.

The one that did it for me was the song about the guy slugging it out in a factory for 40 hours a week and then wants to go to the bar and drink, you guessed it, beer.  Which would be acceptable if either the songwriter or the "artist" actually had or could hold a manufacturing job.  A factory would be the last place a "professional songwriter" ever stepped foot into.  They could only dream what the inside of a factory actually looks like.  So not only was it a poor set of lyrics, it was dishonest too.

Adding to the problem, and pop music is just as guilty, it seems that it's always two or more people "writing" a song.  Sometimes it can take up to 4 people to come up with a terrible song.  It's easy to figure out the why because here's how "songs" are made: You get a group of guys (maybe one's an English major if you're lucky), and Wednesday nights are Song Nights.  Every week, these guys get together with nothing planned and are supposed to churn out a song by the end of the night.  That's a great exercise but by the end of the night you've got an empty song that sounds like it was made in a couple of hours.  If you're really unlucky, the "artist" might come in and try and get a writing credit for adding a word or two (think Katy Perry).

If I made Wednesday nights Song Night, and I started with nothing, I bet 4 hours later, I'd have something but it wouldn't be a good song.  I'd have to put in more time than that, plain and simple.  I've put in more time with songs that I know I'll never release than what gets heard on the radio.

Still, some of these songwriters actually have the balls to say out loud, "it's hard work".  Making up a set of country lyrics is not hard work.  Another songwriter actually said "Country music is built on real experience, real songs, real stories" except for maybe the tool shop song I mentioned above.  Another dandy was, "I like to brainstorm, and sometimes I’ll have a whole chorus".  Holy shit, a whole chorus by yourself.  Phone the neighbours.  But this was the best one: "I’m going to start trying to have the writers come out on the road with me every now and then. I want to make sure to keep that creative side of me."  Very creative, very creative indeed.  I got the quotes from www.songwriteruniverse.com

Songwriters: how about you stop patting yourselves on the back and make one real good song?  You've had years of practice.  Take all that experience and make one good song.  What's worse, this is your day job.  Try a bit, just try and make something original and good.  Or just strive to be good.  I sure as hell wouldn't be smug making crap.  I'd feel guilty that I got money for doing such a poor job.  Or ask Santa for some integrity this Christmas.

Country is the only genre that can have 52 No 1 hits in a year and that's not a great stat.  It seems like every Nashville songwriter has over 10 No 1 hits but then again, so do the other 3 co-writers.  Not really impressive.  Once you start doing production line music, it's just churning out one uninspired piece of bullshit "hit" after another and it doesn't take a genius to hear it.

For my Tweet, I probably should have typed: New Country Music is stupid music, written by lazy people, for people that don't really care for music.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cranky?

A couple of days ago, I was on fire with Twitter.  I sent out 2 tweets and 2 likes in one day.  That's way more than usual.  Then I caught myself and thought, “Am I getting old and cranky?”

I know hardly anyone reads my Blog, but feel free to comment on if I'm on target with this next blog entry or if I'm just getting crotchety in my old age.

So the first tweet was: “Bill M-103.  Terrible idea”.

Now if you're not familiar with this Motion (it's not a Bill; my mistake), as I wasn't until a week before its debate, it's not good, at all.  Especially if you're a true Canadian, like myself, who actually gets a little riled up when Freedom of Expression is about to be infringed on for the wrong reason (spelled Social Justice).

Anyways, here's a couple of links about it:

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/01/28/canadas-so-called-anti-islamophobia-motion-is-nothing-but-trouble
https://investmentwatchblog.com/canada-wake-up-right-now-bill-m-103/

To me, I find this highly disturbing that M-103 actually made it to a piece of paper.  All I heard about from the Liberals last election was how we have Canadian Values (of course, no one wanted to define any of these values lest being called a Regressive-Left-catch-phrase-of-the-day like xenophobe and/or racist).  Canadian Values are Western values (liberty, rights of the individual, etc) with a few more social safety nets.  Freedom of Expression (like Freedom of Speech) is where all other freedoms come from.  It's why, at time of typing this, I'm happy to be a Canadian.  And for me, who likes to make music, the last thing I need is anything that is supposedly legal, to impede my "expression".  My shrink said I needed an outlet.  Sorry, but in order of importance, Music trumps any organized Religion. Actually, I'm not sorry I said that.




But things could change tomorrow.  Islamophobia, a term which I believe isn't clearly defined in this motion, is a lefty term that came out about 2 years ago (even my Spell Check doesn't recognise it).  If my pig-Latin serves me correct, it would be a fear of Islam.  Extremists actually gave me countless reasons of why I should be having fears, so it's not really unwarranted.  Here, let's visit the Government of Canada's Listed Terrorist Entities:

https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-en.aspx

7 times, I counted the word Islam.  So I guess yeah, I would be a bit fearful of someone that said they were an Islamist.  Maybe I do have Islamophobia.  I'm not sure if you could blame me though.  I didn't see any Buddhist or Catholic groups on the list (adding to the proof that not all religions are the same).

So, although I didn't say anything wrong just now, I could be fined/charged for saying something like motion turned into a bill and eventually passed.  Sad, isn't it?  I could probably be fined/charged for pointing out that the majority of groups on the list are located in the Middle East.  I saw some African groups on there which surprised me since I thought Africa died of AIDS already.

I think the problem with the inexperienced MP is that (I think) she's trying to say that saying something negative or critical about Islam is the same as saying something negative about Muslims, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since they're not the same thing.

The other problem with the MP is that she sounds just like a 20 year old, which makes sense since a 20 year old brain isn't fully developed, but apparently the identity politicking MP practiced law for a bit.  But a real lawyer should understand the concept of language in law and not use made up words like "Islamophobia".  Here’s her profile:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members/Iqra-khalid(88849)/Motions?sessionId=152&documentId=8661986

It's too bad, she's kind of cute.  I found it odd she sits on Human Rights committees yet has little regard for Freedom of Expression.  Her Member's secondary residence expenses was a little high too; you really should be living in your own riding.

Ah, heck, let's go through it now in case you didn't go to the above link:

"Text of the Motion That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 (https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-411) and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making, (ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

a) There is no climate of hate and fear to quell.  Actually putting those two words together as synonyms doesn't work.  One has fear because someone hates them.  Fear is a reaction to hate, if hate were a noun.  I'm not sure how you can legislate feelings and you certainly can’t force someone to respect you.  If anything is causing tension it's having information so readily available on the Internet that truths come out and they don't always favour the... um, err... the word before phobia.  Look up Dr. Bill Warner for some honest and unbiased views.

b) Condemn Islamophobia?  As I mentioned, it's a made-up term.  Can we condemn making up terms willy-nilly?  And systemic racism doesn't exist.  So far, there aren't any laws that discriminate on race or religion.  If you can find one, just one, please send me a link.  I won't be waiting for that e-mail since there aren't any laws like that so, let's all say it together: there is no such thing as systemic racism in Canada.  Point (i) is already done.  Here’s the irony though, if this motion makes it to a Bill and then law, this would be the first example of systemic racism in Canada, since it does favour Islam specifically and not the other organised religions.

c) The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage?  Why would they get involved?  Islam has nothing to do with Canadian Heritage.  They're two distinct and separate things.  Know what the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is working on now?  Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Reading it back, the M-103 is an astonishingly nonsensical blurb.  MPs shouldn't virtue signal.  It's not their job and it's plain tacky.  I get your constituents are the same ethnic background as you but try being a person instead of using identity politics.  It's way more rewarding, honest, and would yield in more votes.

Me?  I personally couldn't care less what a person does in the privacy of their own home as long as I don't have to hear about it, and I'd expect the same towards me.  You shouldn't care about me because I probably won't bother you.  But if you do bother me, I'll probably push back in some way, like most normal people will.  We saw it a couple of times last year in other countries what push back does.

So as I mentioned above, me, who likes to make music, the last thing I need is anything that is supposedly legal, to impede my freedom expression.  Does this motion directly affect me?  No.  But this could turn into step 1 on a quick road to disaster.  Progress stops and things go backwards when you have to look over your shoulder before saying something honest.

But what I learned from Taoism, thankfully, is that nothing is sacred (a thing only has emotional meaning if you attach any to a thing).  Shit, ask Yoda.  But it's true, nothing is sacred, so If you can't take criticism, you're probably a useless person.  And if you’re getting criticized all the time, maybe something is wrong and the others are just pointing things out.  Just a thought.