Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Farewell BB King.....

Anyone wanting to be as good as BB King has pretty big shoes to fill, but will there be ever be another BB King?

By: Ringo Bones

Like most wannabe guitar player who became aware of blues based music’s life changing – especially in the financial front – effects during the 1970s and the 1980s, it is quite hard to live in a world deprived of one of the greatest bluesman who ever lived named BB King who, sadly, passed away in May 14, 2015. Born back in September 16, 1925 in Berclair, Mississippi to parents who were sharecroppers in the pre Civil Rights era south and like most African American music enthusiasts at the time, the segregated church is mainly the only means to learn the rudiments of musicianship via Gospel. But during his teens as a guitarist with above average abilities, the young BB King soon found out that playing the blues pays better than playing Gospel in church.

His big break for all intents and purposes came in 1969 when he opened for the Rolling Stone’s American tour and thus acquired an international fanbase that even his favourite Gibson semi-hollow electric guitar in which he christened “Lucille” became inextricably linked with his avant garde and yet likable style of blues. I mean his signature fast vibrato has influenced generations of musicians who first heard of him during the latter half of the 1960s. And let’s not forget that BB King will be immortalized in the pantheon of African American music gods when he played with James Brown during the Rumble of the Jungle’s musical festivities.

Younger fans probably knew BB King during his Rattle and Hum sessions with U2 during the latter half of the 1980s. And as a hallmark of his guitar playing skill, BB King managed to make a solid-state guitar amplifier that was well-known as a “bargain-basement” product during the 1970s – i.e. the now legendary solid-state Gibson Lab Series guitar amplifiers sound like a full blown vacuum tube gear that made every guitar enthusiasts wanting to emulate his tone and technique assumed for years that BB King had always played the 6L6 vacuum tube equipped 1965 Fender Twin. The musical world will be a sadder place without him.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Abrahamic Theology: Bad For Rock Music’s Creative Process?

With a lot of rock and pop musicians creative “crapping out” after their newfound stricter versions of Abrahamic Theology, is this sort of belief really bad for rock and pop music’s creative process?

By: Ringo Bones

Maybe it was a resurgent 1996 era “Republican Jesus” with a climate change denying stance that alienates most of rock music fans from such “belief systems”, and unless you are living in a really remote cave since the heyday of The Beatles, you and maybe a few others probably now found out that strict and extremist versions of Abrahamic Theology could really strangle out the creative process that kept the vitality and freshness of rock music for the past 50 years or so. Your point of view may vary depending on which facet of the prism of history you are looking through but “conservative” right-leaning belief systems tend to be an anathema to rock music’s creative process.

After former U.S. President George W. Bush’s “belief system” resulted in the unnecessary deaths of more than 4,000 American men and women in the prime of their lives looking for nonexistent WMD’s in Iraq back in 2003, liberal-leaning fans of the metal band Korn were probably crestfallen when the band’s guitarist Brian “Head” Welch left the group, saying his newfound belief in “Jesus” – which by 2005 longtime Korn fans see as “Republican Jesus” – made Welch want to try “another sort of music”. And there had been fairly successful other “rock stars” in the past who have taken up stricter versions of Abrahamic Faiths.

Back in 1977, famed folk-rock troubadour Cat Stevens converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusuf Islam and has since that time seems to have disappeared of the face of the Earth – only to resurface after his name appeared in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “No Fly List” immediately after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. When “liberal Jew” Bob Dylan found a newfound faith in Christianity back in 1978, it seems that his conversion inspired album – Saved – had set Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower era creative vitality straight to Hell. It was only when Dylan released the agnostic leaning Infidel that his longtime fans faith in him was renewed. Well, at least Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan’s conversions are less convoluted than Madonna’s conversion to Kabbalah back in 1996 and adopting the name Esther – as if Madonna plans to learn first hand how to turn base metals into gold by joining into such obscure mystic Jewish sect.