Tag Archives: muse

May I Have Your Attention…

Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!

The soul of an artist

images (4)I found a picture today in my Facebook feed that made me stop scrolling. Not this first pic. He’s further down the page. It was a photo of one of my favorite musicians and it got me thinking.

There’s a lot of talk about separating the art from the artist when we find out one of our idols from stage, screen, or airwave has different views on some topic than we do. Those of you up in arms about Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card know what I’m talking about. The truth is that each of us is entitled to our own opinions on politics, religion, sex, birth control, gender equality, all of these and more.

As fans, we do need to separate the art from the artist sometimes. Each song/book/painting/movie touches each of us in a unique way that only we understand. What we have to remember is that it happens for the artist, too.

I’m particularly into music. It feeds my writing ideas, both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes it’s the phrasing of lyrics. Other songs it’s the feel of the music itself. And sometimes you find an artist that you just can’t get enough of. Everything they touch turns to gold.  I have been addicted to music since I was a kid listening to my dad on the radio. Dad would quiz me on artist and title when we were in the car with the music on. I love everything from Albert King to Rob Zombie and back around twice more.davegrohl

Of all the artists I’ve found in my 42 years, Dave Grohl is one of my all-time favorites. He has an appreciation for the music that more musicians need to develop. His love of music is so profound that he bought the sound board from the Sound City Studio to preserve the history captured in all those miles of wire.

Grohl personifies what music does to the soul. Watch the video for Pretender by his band Foo Fighters and you’ll see what I mean. Many of the bands videos include cheesy costumes and campy themes behind deep, heavy grinding rock beats. But Pretender starts slow, just a voice and a microphone. Then Hell breaks lose. Pretender has both those moments of intense quiet and raging, balls-to-the-wall energy that drags you through the song at mach 3 with your hair on fire.

Watch not just Grohl but the entire band in that video. The song would be intense even of there wasn’t a riot squad involved. That intensity is evident in everything Dave Grohl does. Sometimes it’s just under the surface, others it breaks free. It is always glorious.

Since learning to play guitar at age 12, he has become one with the music and its power. That’s the point where the artist is so connected to the art they become inseparable. When you listen to an artist of that caliber, it sets your soul on fire.

 

 

 

One more thing…

Several people helped participate in my first Rock Blog Tour.  Much thanks to Whitney Coble, Tim Marquitz, Kristyn Phipps, Glenn Walker, Robin Renee, and Jennifer Cardonick Walker.  All of these wonderful people helped boost the signal for the band Skinn Jakkitt.  The band is keeping busy.  They have a CD trailer now airing on several satellite TV channels, but I have it for you here: 

The guys are getting ready for their tour that begins in Chicago in February.  Rock blogger Hellion Rocks had a round table discussion with members of Skinn Jakkit, Death Rattle, The Black Cross Brotherhood, Final Curse and Stevil Helmer of Helmer Management.

Check out the discussion in its entirety here:  Hellion Rocks.  You can find Skinn Jakkitt at the following venues:  

Jan 18th @ The Sand Shack, North Charleston, SC – The Helmer Management Show

Jan 25th @ The Wizard Saloon, Hickory NC, with Bonz from Stuck Mojo, and  Nefarious

Feb 7th Knoxville Tn tentative

Feb 8th @  Bada Brew, Chicago, Illinois with Final Curse and more.

Feb 15 @ St Valentines Massecre in Charleston, WV with Black Cross Brotherhood and Final Curse

March 29 @ The Drunk Horse Pub, Fayetteville, NC

June 21 @ Main City Cellar, Hickory, NC, for the Hillbilly Beardsman Club’s beard competition

 

The Rock Blog Tour was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again soon.  Who knows what music you’ll see here next?

 

 

 

Rock Blog Tour presents Skinn Jakkitt

bed13cb4962672dc2bab365a2f983a43I am very happy to be today’s stop on the Rock Blog Tour.  I have seen several shows with Skinn Jakkit and they are a hard rocking band with a lot of energy.  Their self-titled CD went live on November 5 and covers a range of topics in some really interesting, relevant, and sometimes surprising lyrics.  You can find the CD on Amazon, iTunes, Tate Publishing, and ReverbNation.  You can also find the guys on Facebook  and at their SkinnJakkit page.

Skinn Jakkit is Greg Stephens on vocals, Barry Sams at lead guitar, Shane Farris on rhythm guitar, Jeff Hayworth at bass, and Jeff “Pup” Price pounding the drums.  I had the chance to ask the guys a few questions…

 

Describe your writing process. Is it lyrics first or does a particular melody catch your attention?

 Jeff Price: Melody First

Barry Sams: A cool riff usually sparks the writing process. Me, Shane or Hayworth will toss around a few notes till one of us has a spark that will ignite a song.

Greg Stephens: Barry and Shane are the masters of the riff. They usually jam and I start trying to formulate a lyric pattern. Sometimes I have some lyrics but most of the time I write them at the same time.

 

Who are your musical influences?

Barry Sams:   We have the late 70’s- 90’s metal influences, I myself prefer bands like Fear Factory, All That Remains and GZR.

Jeff Price:  Tesla, Stryper, Metallica

Greg Stephens:  My influences are all over the board. I love Iron Maiden, Clutch, COC, Alice In Chains and Megadeth. New bands I love Eye Empire and Kill Devil Hill.  Guilty pleasure would be Journey.

 

Who would you most like to perform with?

 Barry Sams:  At this point Fear Factory or Five Finger Death Punch.

Jeff Price:  Shinedown

Greg Stephens: Id say Clutch, Megadeth or hell I said it Metallica.

 

What are your favorite and least favorite songs to perform?

Barry Sams:  Favorite song to perform is a new one we wrote “Cover Story” and       then “Farther” off the album. Least favorite is none of the above 🙂

Jeff Price:  Shame 🙂 / End of the Line 😦

Greg Stephens:  Id favorite is a tie with Shame the brand new one and Change. Least I really don’t have any.

Jeff Hayworth:  favorite any of ours ,/ least favorite anyone else’s. (covers)

 

Tell us about your experience shooting the video for Epiphany.img_22161_005

Jeff Price:  Difficult, wasn’t able to have much volume to the playback so it made it hard for me, the drummer to really show much energy or aggression in my playing. Still was a great experience.

Barry Sams:  You have to be still, then more energy, then don’t look at the camera, then the cops get called, then break, then change clothes, more pictures. Its cool I like it!!

Greg Stephens:  It was a very overcast day. Industrial park, old steel mill. In the shadows of downtown. Had people driving by and watching. Got the cops called on us for noise. Funny enough we had a hard time hearing the music. Lol, the noisy one was Mr. Price. Trouble maker. We had a scene that is only briefly in the video where I had to walk down this fence line while all the band members were scattered along the fence line. I walked slooooooow at their orders we did it a few times. Price says man there is a bag at my feet and something stinks. We go look and it’s a dead animal. Ewwwwww true story.

 

Let’s talk tour riders: what is the one thing you MUST have when on the road?

 Jeff Price:  Peace Tea, BBQ or Hot Pork rinds, Granola bars

Barry Sams:  Nothing but the essentials for the road. Well…maybe Diet Sundrop.

Greg Stephens:  Water, Juice, Fruit and some Cheerwine as a special

 

Any road stories you can share without incriminating anyone?

Barry Sams:  Scaring Price into thinking he was late for the plane. Being laid over in Chicago for 9 hours. Hayworth scaring the hell out of convenience store patrons hollering WHAT THE F*%K!!!  [He’s over 6′ tall.  Would scare me!]

Shane Farris: ( The Quiet One)  Yeah I would agree with the WTF story.

Jeff Price:  Getting woke up abruptly while sleeping on a bench while waiting on the flight to leave for Oklahoma.

Greg Stephens:  Welllll, we pull a lot of pranks and Price is a common target but the best prank was one I Orchestrated in the studio on Barry.  Barry took his prized “never take it off the wall don’t even look at it” Schecter guitar to OKC to record and do the video.  I immediately started to scheme.  He is laying down scratch tracks for Price to do his drum tracks and he has to go to the restroom.  I get Shane to be lookout and to let me know when Barry is coming, I have Price lay in the floor and he wraps Barry’s guitar chord around his leg.  I litterally take about 5 mins to carefully lay the guitar down on the floor.  Shane gives me the high sign and I kick over an empty guitar case and Price starts with the “OOOOOooo Ooooo.”  The look on Barry’s face was priceless, if you will.  He is gritting his teeth taking it all in.  After about 3 or 4 mins he’s like “are you ok” with gritted teeth.  “Because if you are I’m gonna kill you.  Of all the things to happen,  you and your big clumsy feet.”  “Hey Barry” I’m pointing to the guitar case.   “I swear I should have never brought it.”   “Hey Barry,” the case. “You are so damn destructive.”  Finally I drop the case again. “You sorry Son Ofa”…and he walks out of the room!

 

Sounds like these guys are as much fun off stage as they are on stage.  They are based out of the Hickory, NC area but are about to start touring to promote their CD.  Be sure to check them out!  The next stop on the Rock blog Tour is on Thanksgiving, November 28 at Kristyn Phipps blog.  Here is the video for Epiphany to whet your appetite:

 

 

 

What color are your leaves?

Fall is in the air.  Candy is on sale after Halloween.  Temperatures are dropping.  Everyone is complaining about Daylight Savings Time.  Picture 015

It’s also National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo.  I recently read a rather derogatory blog about NaNo.  I am participating this year.  I don’t have a lot of word count yet, but I’m still working on it.  I’d like to address a couple of the things mentioned in this other blog.  I’m not naming names, that would be rude.  But I do think it bears discussion.

NaNoWriMo runs the entire month of November, all 30 days.  While some may think it’s impossible to write a complete novel in that time, you are writing 50,000 words.  A lot of novels are much longer.  Thanks to e-books many novels are shorter, also.  There are many authors who give pep talks during NaNo that talk about their own adventures writing a novel in 30 days.  Yes, it can be done and many do so.  Not all of it is publishable, but neither is everything you could write in 3 months.  The time limit is not a race.  It is supposed to help you prove a point to yourself.  Yes, you can make time to sit down and write every day for 30 days in a row.  Guess what?  It takes 30 days to create a habit.  *gasp*

Wow.  I’m making a habit of writing.  Imagine that.  A lot of people need that deadline of November 30th.  They write better under pressure.  Some people can crank 5-10 thousand words a day with no problem and breeze to the finish.  Some people do NaNo for the challenge itself, to jump-start their creativity for a project, for some camaraderie while following a solitary pursuit.  The reasons why we NaNo is as diverse as the thousands of people worldwide who participate each year.

Many people who NaNo do write everyday of the year.  There is nothing wrong with a little competition among friends when writing.  Especially if you have an in-person writing group to write with.  And don’t forget the kids.  NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program to encourage young people to write.  The son of a friend in my local group participated last year.  He got inspired after tagging along to a meeting.  Not only did he write, but he met his goal and had a great time flexing his creativity.

NaNoWriMo knows that we write more than just in November.  That’s why they have Bootcamps twice a year where we get to set our word count goals and still face that challenge with a little less pressure.  Sometimes it makes it easier to silence the inner editor and simply get words on the page.

I think what struck me most about this other blog was that it assumed it was a waste of “valuable time” and that NaNo people only write in November.  Any time spent writing is good time.  All word on the page are a success, especially for those who struggle to get those words.  That other blog was almost discouraging despite the author’s well wishes to those participating.  I’ve always believed that you should encourage other people to write or express themselves in whatever creative way they choose.  Never discourage someone from writing.  Be honest about your own experience with the written word, but always, always, always encourage people to write.  Sometimes that one person saying “Go ahead, you can do it” is the only encouragement they get.

Join the rush at NaNoWriMo.org

I need a distraction

It’s not often that I can’t get my ADD under control.  Sometimes I have to fall back on the puzzle books I used when I was younger to refocus my mind.  Lately though I have had more trouble staying on task.  I’m taking online classes and it has been really difficult for me to concentrate.  I’ve tried all kinds of tricks, schedule variations, reward systems.  Nothing seems to help.  Even my beloved music is not doing it this time.  While I’m writing this I’m chatting with a friend, listening to music and keeping the dogs entertained all while procrastinating doing my homework.

I can be easily distracted but this is starting to get ridiculous.  I need a distraction from my distractions.  I need to concentrate on a bloody ton of reading.  But I want to work on my writing.  And my crochet projects.  And the new origami flowers I found….  Oh, look, a bunny!

Tell me something good…

Depending on who I say that to I will get a wide range of responses.  It varies based on the relationship I have with each person I ask.  Oh, dear.  I said the R word.  Don’t freak out on me.  Keep reading.

Let me start by showing you several types of relationships:

parent – child

child – parent

spouse – spouse

friend – friend

lover – lover

neighbor – neighbor

boss – employee

coach – athlete

nurse – patient

customer – cashier/server/hairdresser/mechanic/tailor….

The list could go on but I have more to say. 😉

No two people are the same.  Even twins have at least one variation from each other in some way.  So why would you expect your relationships to all be the same?  Every relationship is unique to the two people involved in it.

There are patterns and themes that repeat.  Seeing those patterns is not always easy.  When you think to yourself “why does this keep happening” you need to keep one important thing in mind.  The one thing all of your relationships have in common…….. is You.

This doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you.  It means you are human and tend to repeat patterns you are accustomed to.  When you repeat the same behaviors you get the same patterns.  Naturally, that leads me to this:  if you want to see different patterns, change your behavior.  Even changing one thing in one relationship can make a difference.

Each of our actions is like a ripple on a pond.  One change here, will lead to another change there.  But here’s the thing to remember:  the changes happen within us.  When we look at something differently, we react to it differently.  In turn the people around us react to us differently.

There’s a writer on my Facebook page who is always bitching about Mondays.  It’s to the point I don’t read anything she posts on a Sunday.  I’ve tried to show her that Mondays are only as bad as you let them be.  She already knows she has to get up and go to work.  Nothing new.  So why be so uptight about it?  I like Mondays.  The beginning of each week is another chance to have a great week.  If she would change her behavior she might actually have a good day on a Monday.  Imagine that.

Even if you think you don’t have a “Relationship” with someone, you do.  If you’ve spoken more than once and gotten past “Hello, how are you?” then you have a relationship even if it’s only a casual acquaintance.  That doesn’t mean your favorite guy-friend will turn into dating material.  It doesn’t mean the girl you speak to at the grocery store will turn out to be as bitchy as your ex-wife.

We talk to people everyday that will be part of our lives in some way.  Don’t be afraid of the R word.  It’s only as bad as you let it be.  Now, tell me something good….