Thursday, November 22, 2012

Crossfire Hurricane

Dharma: an individual's duty fulfilled by observance of custom or law.

Seeing as my moniker is track 17 from Exile on Main Street,  I couldn't let HBO's recent broadcast of Crossfire Hurricane go by without an opinion (or three). 

Obviously, I am a huge Rolling Stones fan. I don't think there is a playlist on my ipod without at least one of their stellar tracks. Moonlight Mile seems to always work alongside a downward facing dog. 

So how can anyone go wrong with 50 years of the Glimmer Twins and co.? Well, the biggest - and in my opinion - lethal error of CH was apparently at the insistence of the boys themselves:  that the interviews solely be conducted in an audio fashion. Maybe it was the British accents; maybe it was Jagger's insistence that "bad behavior" led to them "behaving badly" (I'm paraphrasing); the audio lent an uncomfortably Spinal Tap quality to the full two hours. HOWEVER, a little Nigel Tufnel never hurt anyone and I did pretty much feel CH was awesome.

Charlie Watts was the biggest revelation of the night. Talk about following the path.  He could not give even one fig about the glamours or the celebrity, but hey, why the hell should he? He's playing in the greatest rock and roll band EVER. And let's face it, they were great even in their infant stages. The early footage is eerie, it's so good. He also had crazy cool hair (yes...I love a drummer with long locks and no ego).

Watts is a revelation but it's Richards who steals the show. After his and Mick's wacked out arrest and jail sentencing for drug possession, he took the whole outlaw persona and ran with it. Again, following the path. Meticulously cultivating it, spurred on by one too many pairs of handcuffs. There is truly no one greater. And no one truer. Watch this clip and revel in all their greatness:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Please Don't Put Your Life in the Hands of a Rock and Roll Band

After frying my brain cells on E.L. James' shameless comedic gold of Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided to give Pattie Boyd's Wonderful Tonight a whirl. A fellow rock widow friend highly recommended it to me a few months back,  and man-oh-man, was she right. EVERY person with a history of seeing/dating/marrying/cohabitating/concubining with a musician must read this book. I inhaled every word and cannot stop thinking about it. Boyd is a gifted writer with a tale (or three hundred) to tell and boy, does she. Kindle up my friends. Wonderful Tonight is a winner.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

VW Vairagya: A Minuscule Lesson in Detachment

I just said goodbye to my Volkswagen Passat "sport" wagon. I know, in the scheme of the world, it's exceedingly non-important but man, I had no idea how attached I had become to that silver lady until the tow truck recently shlepped it off.

I never learned to drive or owned a car as a teenager. It was a rite of passage I missed (worthy of its own blog - another post, another time) and it never really bothered me. It wasn't until I met Fred at the ripe old age of 19 that I realized what I had missed. Bonding over our mutual love of music, he mused of the sheer awesomeness of getting in the car, driving along, and turning up some serious jams. I had experienced some serious jams in my ears through my discman while walking through Boston for many years but the appeal of experiencing it by myself in the confines of my own car intrigued me. Like Jon Bon and Richie, I wanted to see a million places in my car and more importantly - rock them all.

Almost ten years after meeting Fred and having that powerful conversation, I found myself pregnant with my first prince. I was back living in my hometown of LA after having stinted there a previous time, along with the aforementioned Boston and the home that lives in my heart, New York City. We were settled into the Valley and we needed a car. A good one.

Any musician's wife/girlfriend/boyfriend knows a hatch back is essential to stowing gear, especially drums and cymbals. A station - er, sport - wagon seemed like a logical choice. We meandered over to VW on Van Nuys Boulevard, spotted a silver Passat wagon, and gave the salesman the easiest transaction of his career. I drove it once around the block, handed him a deposit check, and off we drove.

The sound system was killer as Fred is wont to say. Driving over Laurel Canyon, I finally got to experience what he had lovingly described so many years before. Nada Surf's "Inside of Love" sounded like a gospel. Amen! Incidentally, who knew the band that made the atrocious Weezer rip-off "Popular" could become so, well, killer?

Despite only running on premium gasoline, it was a great car. It brought us to and from Cedar's Sinai as we welcomed both of our boys into the world. Ryan Adam's "La Cienega Just Smiled" was a tear filled lullaby as I sat in the backseat next to my almost ten pound biscuit Cooper James. Those rides were the scariest. Good thing I had all that quality German engineering encasing me and my expanding family.

It also drove us here to Nashville where it seamlessly parked in the driveway of our first house that we bought. It drove me as well to my first serious yoga practices, that have since shaped my world. 

Thinking about all these moments makes me emotional and a little bit fahrklempt. I fought back tears as the tow truck pulled up and I could not watch as it drove off. I did love that car. But it's the experiences surrounding it that I love more. I don't have to worry about detaching from them because I can carry them with me forever.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

George Harrison Living in the Material World (And I Am a Material Girl)

Maybe choosing four hours while Fred is away, which always puts me into a heightened emotional state, was not the best decision for hunkering down and watching the epic Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison Living in the Material World. However, in the grand tradition of Fred's plane taking off and one or both of the boys coming down with something contagious and antibiotic-worthy (Cooper has strep), I found myself at home with nothing to do but wait on my darling prince hand-and-foot and more importantly, check out what has been waiting for me on the dvr. It was a golden opportunity.

I either bawled or sat with a devastated lump in my throat the entire four hours (see noted emotional state above). I think we all can get a little narcissistic when it comes to The Beatles. Their music seems so, well, personal. We all have our own stories and our own connections. Maybe it's what Ravi Shankar talked about in GHLITMW: we are all searching for a spiritual connection. It can be strived for through studying books or listening to lectures. But it is the music that transcends and makes us feel, well, connected.

As usual, Scorsese delivers a bonafide knock out. He meticulously leads us through Harrison's entire experience: Beatlemania. The Maharishi. Eric Clapton. Patti Boyd. Eric Clapton running off with Patti Boyd; The Beatles' break up; solo albums; marriage to his exquisite widow Olivia; and most important, his precious son, Dhani. I think my favorite scene is when he is in his studio with Dhani playing guitar in the background. Dhani gets up and then embraces his dad with the sweetest hug. Maybe it's because I have boys who also love and idolize their dad (who happens to be a Ringo-worthy drummer both in talent and looks), it just completely touched me. The whole film is breathtaking and a must-watch for anyone with a music-tinged soul. Harrison's path is a road very few have taken and yet, it led him to a most common place: questioning the meaning of life. Harrison was relatable, unforgettable, and completely original.

I'm gonna upload All Things Must Pass onto my iPod now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Stumbling upon a toad adhered to my kitchen window a few months back stirred a multitude of emotions in me. Not the scared, grossed out "eww" emotions of an amphibian in my vicinity; but the "eww" emotion of NOT feeling grossed out by a slimy toad splayed out on the screen in front of me and my dish suds.

I am almost at the five year anniversary mark of my move here to Nashville. I guess that makes me officially southern. Woo hoo! This toad's tummy in my face only reiterates the fact that this city girl has since come a long, long way.

Prior to moving here, I experienced various stints in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City. My life was a metropolitan bonanza of apartment living. In Boston and New York, I made a point of never looking down at the subway tracks, out of fear of spotting a brazen rat. Even though I adored my two pet cats, I never - NEVER - considered myself an "animal" person. They had their place and I had mine. Enough said. The occasional trips to the zoo or Sea World when I was young never lit that passionate spark that so many other children embrace. Petting zoos made me gag and the thought of camping - CAMPING - never crossed my mind. Tents and sleeping bags need never apply with me.

When I got to my old brick home on three acres of hilly space in the middle of Tennessee with two small little boys in tow, I had no idea what I was in for. I would stare out the windows in awe of all the birds, butterflies, and bees. A tiny lizard would stare back at me at any given moment from the barren front porch (I had a front porch!). Part of me was mystified and the other part was shaken to my core. What were all these freaks of nature? And furthermore, what the hell were they doing bothering me?

I tried to do my part by spending time with the boys outside each day. This was nature. Natural. They should love it. And I should be a good mom by encouraging them to love it. And boy, did they. Every day, for hours, they would swing and run and get dirty and be, well, boys. This was our great outdoors. I had read Walden in college. That's what this was about. I would embrace my inner Thoreau, sit on the back deck (I had a deck!) and watch them, reflecting upon each breathe at a time, trying to stave off the panic attack I felt myself incessantly careening towards.

Admiring my wall of roses (I had roses!) one sunny afternoon, I looked down and viewed a peculiar looking beige rock hiding underneath the bush. It looked like a small rock of the brown variety but upon observing it even closer, I saw that it had eyes. And a pulse. It jumped. Oh my G-O-D!!! It was a frog! A toad! A frog-toad! Whatever the hell it was, I was witnessing one for the first time in my life first hand. In front of my very well mascara'd eyes.


Of course, I ran inside to wash my hands. Even though I hadn't touched him/her/it, I was still very wary of warts. I was also wary of my curiosity. "Why the hell am I going back out?," I thought. Like Eve's attraction to the apple, I was drawn to this mysterious creature of the rose bush. When I got back to the deck, I noticed she had moved. She. Her jump was dainty and soft. Naturally, I assumed she was a she and I named her Rose.

Rose the frog/toad greeted me every day for the next week. She was in her same spot gazing back at me from under the palest pink bush of floral abundance. I was fascinated and almost enamored. With her and myself. I was a little wigged out (okay - a lot wigged out at the beginning) but I had ridden the A train every day uptown for almost two years straight, I could handle a frog/toad. Besides, this was nature.

After a week, Rose disappeared. My heart sank as I searched under the roses for anything with an amphibious resemblance. Like Charlie Brown on Halloween, all I got was a rock.

I was a little depressed. Rose's appearance uplifted me. I had witnessed and somewhat befriended a slimy frog toad and I had lived. This was a breakthrough on my way to becoming southern. Again, woo hoo. Although at this point I was feeling more boo hoo. Where had my Rose gone?

A few days later, I noticed something peculiar on the gravel driveway after coming home from a Target run with my nature boys. It was flat. It was beige. It was amphibious.

Oy gvalt. I ran over Rose!!!

My heart sank and my guts pulled. I wanted to cry and yet, I was too nauseated. How could a frog/toad affect me so damn much? The boys were young, barefoot and naked at every chance they got so I couldn't risk them walking on a dead, pancaked Rose (think of the wart potential?). Fred, of course, was on tour, not due home for another three weeks so I couldn't risk waiting for him to take care of it. I couldn't ask my neighbors for another favor because they thought I was too much of a princess and well, I WAS too much of a princess to handle this southern shit.

I scraped up every ounce of my inner Thoreau at Walden Pond, took a deep breath, grabbed our shovel (I had a shovel?) and scooped up my deepest connection to the animal kingdom - Rose - and stoically walked her back to our woods. I felt like Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. I paid her my respects and then tossed her back into nature.

Walking back to the house, I felt different. Rose had changed me.

The south had taken its hold on me and it has still never let go. These past five years have been nothing short of transformative. A Jewish girl from the San Fernando Valley practicing yoga and burying dead toads. Who says people can't change?