Happy Birthday To Me

Hey, it’s my birthday today. Probably not going to paint the town red tonight, though. Getting too old for that shit. Once you reach a certain age, you’ve been there and done that. I didn’t even go out to party when the Raptors won the big championship this year. My roomies did that, but not I. Being the old geezer of the household, I was content to stay home, watching the game on my trusty laptop Black Betty, ingesting no mood-altering substance aside from a few celebratory tokes. I’ve raised my share of hell, and large-scale sports-related pandemonium is something I’ve already seen up close. I was at the party depicted in the following video, although whoever shot this footage somehow didn’t bother to film the drunks climbing on top on the streetcars.

The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

The Long-Awaited Interview of SILVER BROWN

Here it is, folks. The interview. Turns out it’s not an actual podcast, but an export of the original Skype video chat session, uploaded to YouTube. So you can actually see my face in this. I guess I’ll end up losing some of that Led Zeppelin-esque mystique I was originally going for when I started these writing endeavours, but I enjoyed myself in the process of losing it. In the end, that’s all that matters.

A special shout-out goes to Fanshawe College for the use of their wi-fi. I could have easily done this interview at home, but my apartment is very bare-bones and plain, completely devoid of any kind of furniture. I figured one of the study lounges on campus would have made for a more visually appealing backdrop, to say nothing of the fact that said study lounges have plenty of comfortable chairs to sit on. That, and I wasn’t sure what kind of dirty looks I would get from my roommates.

The Soundtrack of SILVER BROWN

The New Jazz [Part III]: ZZ Top

That Little Ol’ Band from Texas! Okay, so not exactly “new” per se. They’ve been recording and touring since before I was freaking born. No lineup changes or anything. Same three guys, for half a century. Or tres hombres, if you will. Two of them famously bearded long before it became cool to be so, the third never having any use for a Beard because that’s already his name. A band I have always liked. They experienced their heyday during my formative years; I was about eight or nine years old when Eliminator came out, which wasn’t even their best album. Before I had even heard of prog or jazz fusion or Frank Zappa, or even before high school when I was heavily into Queen, I looked on ZZ Top as one of the greatest bands on the planet.

It was was more than just their wild and woolly mountain-man image, one that was lamentably underused and underrepresented in clean-cut Reaganite America’s rock output. It was those distinctive guitar lines. That tone! What timbre! Nobody else can make a Gibson sound the way Billy Gibbons can; the man truly has a masterful control over his instrument. Even when ZZ Top went through that weird phase in their career when they really started overdoing it with the synthesizers and drum machines, the guitar stylings of The Reverend Willie G have never failed to impress. He always makes his solos longer than they need to be, often throwing in two or three solos a song. He’s a student of the blues and that’s just the way he rolls.

Since we’ve all heard songs like “Legs”, “Tush” and “La Grange” a zillion times over on classic rock radio, I wanted to focus here on the more underrated and lesser-known musical gems on offer from this band. Like their ahead-of-its-time meditation on drunk driving…

…or a few of the countless tracks they’ve dropped over the years that would be considered politically incorrect by today’s standards but are still great…

…or this, which is probably the greatest song you’ve never heard. Even greater, it’s a live version…

Finally, I give you this. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine was dating that guy who froze into some kind of hypnotic trance whenever he heard the song “Desperado” by the Eagles? Well, whatever “Desperado” was to that guy is what this song is to me. Especially after a bong hit or two.

I am oft inspired to spontaneously tweet grandiose proclamations whenever this tune fills my eardrums. I leave you with a couple of my greatest hits…