Friday, July 28, 2006

7/28/06 Nerd Rock

A number of years ago I was talking to a coworker about music and bands that rock. At the time, I was discovering the group Rush (20 some-odd years late). I talked about the amazing and unique drumming of Neil Peart (who, coincidentally is cousins with a guy on my softball team and the cousin has some CRAZY stories about being backstage with Rush in the late 70s). After explaining the time signature changes and syncopation and all of the music theory that impresses me about Rush, the guy just laughed and called it "Nerd Rock". Honestly, I was kind of hurt. I mean, I went to go see AC/DC with this guy and we had a common music bond. It wasn't so much that he indirectly called me a nerd that hurt. But rather, it was then that I finally realized that my appreciation and taste for complex music wasn't shared by most people. That, even some of my most respected friends were content living in a 4/4 world. (The funniest part of that AC/DC concert was that the drummer looked half asleep, cigarette dangling from his lower lip as he pounded out the same 4/4 beat for just about every song.)

Over the years I've attempted to introduce some of these musical theory concepts to friends and family, in hopes that I could really talk about music in terms of "that guy is genius". While I won't say that I haven't had any good music conversations over the years (I have and I've enjoyed them immensely), I've generally learned to keep my passion for "nerd rock" to myself. Instead, it comes out the wrong way, as I end up trashing a bunch of bands I hear on the radio. What can I say - I'm just an angry dude when it comes to music.

So, where am I going with this? One of the few sites I can browse at my office, regardless of content is Wikipedia. I was listening to a song on my iPod, I searched on it, one thing led to another, and I clicked on a link for "Musical Works in Unusual Time Signatures". As I browsed the list, a lot of my favorite bands have multiple songs on the list. Even before I really understood musical theory at all, I was instinctively drawn to those bands. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd, Andrew Lloyd Webber (I guess that explains why I listen to "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"), Tool, NIN, Radiohead, Pantera, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, King Crimson, Faith No More, Dave Matthews, System of a Down, among many others. (I have a personal list of Top Five albums ever. Every one of the five are by bands I just mentioned.)

And it's not like there are bands like Nickelback or Semisonic showing up on the list, making me question everything bad I've said about them. (Although, as I'm writing this, I found both Kelly Clarkson and Lindsay Lohan on that page. All I'll say is that they didn't write the songs themselves. And I distinctly remember dissing Kelly Clarkson, so I feel a little awkward about it now.)

So, what did I learn out of all of this? That I'm drawn to music that is off the beaten path. I always have been. And, I suppose I'm also looking for people who share the same passion for "nerd rock". I'll settle for nerd jazz too, as I've found myself listening to more avant garde jazz lately. So, my friends - If you're out there, I'm always looking for recommendations.


We got this job on 65th and Third. This big freakin' ballbreaker of a job, right, and we got the area roped off so that some schmuck don't walk through there and take a wrecking ball between the eyes. All of a sudden this woman, you know with the big dark glasses and the Bloomingdale bags, she starts walking right through the ropes and I yell down at her, "Hey! You can't go there ya stupid bitch." And suddenly, this big steam fittin' bursts and this God damn crane crashes right down on her legs. And she's screaming, "My Legs! My Legs!" And I say, "No shit, your legs, you got a two-thousand-pound goddamn crane on you." Now you know that in an emergency situation you can get superhuman strength? I reach down and I lift this crane and was able to slide her out from under, and the doctors were able to save her legs. So the moral of this story is: don't walk where you're not supposed to walk because there may not be someone with superhuman strength to save your little ass. And don't do drugs.


In the past we've discussed lousy commercials. We're not the only ones.

1 comment:

The Nacho Expert said...

Nice use of the movie quote. I like it.