You might wanna read this…

Music and life…

Zombies, politics, baseball, kids saying awesome things and other stuff…

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a blog… I have been busy, lazy and maybe a little uninspired. I think it was a combination of all three. It’s easy to let life get going and just forget to do the things we really wanna do sometimes.

Tonight I was at work and between that and coming home my mind has been really racing with things to jot down… Do people jot things anymore?! Anyways, I’m unable to write things down while working so lots of cool things get lost in the mix and I hate that, but it’s how it goes.

I’ve got an awesome Zombie blog that I have collaborated with an old friend on, it will include a guy that has a zombie ranch that rents them out to haunted houses and such as well as an inside look at what kind of person likes this kind of stuff and why… Also, gonna have an exclusive interview with a real live, eh hem, zombie. Well, you know what I mean, kind of, right?!

I am gonna tackle some politics, a very short and direct tackle I will add… If you’ve read what I think about politicians then know that that will be my guide.

I am also going to do a historical post on baseball, something that I’ve wanted to do for a good while… I think it will interest any baseball fan of any team!

Also, not sure if you’ve heard about the MLB Fancave, but I’m going to interview a couple of the top 50 finalists for the 2012 season and see what makes them tick! We will get to know them a little better and see what they truly bring to the table with a wacky interview!

To end this, I will share something my daughter said to me on Friday night. My nephew and my kids and I went to a concert, the concert had acts of all sorts… From hard rock, pop punk, contemporary type music to even rap/hip hop. When the hard rocking band started playing their first song, about two minutes into it my daughter (who is almost 5) turns around and looks me in the eye and says “that’s what I’m talking about!” It was such a proud moment for me!

Peace out!


A guy who beats to his own drum, Part 1…

Have you ever had an event that seems really simple but it changes the scope and purpose of your life? One day after church I asked the youth minister if I could play on the drum set that was just sitting in a room totally unused… Who’d of thunk that something as simple as that would’ve shaped who I am, who I married?! That is crazy! How did all this happen? Where did it start? Maybe even earlier than that…

I’ll start where it’s at now…

1/20/2012– 11:57 p.m., I’m sitting on the couch  writing a blog, I really like to write… I’ve been married for almost 10 years now and have two kids, an eight year old boy and a little girl who is almost five.

5/5/2011– My 10 year wedding anniversary…

3/13/2007– My daughter is born…

12/24/2003– My son is born… There’s another entire blog I’ve written on this subject alone, it’s titled Pregnant?!

Early 1999–  I decided to join a “Christian singles” dating service type thing, just because… They’d have these really cheesy events where you’d just hang out with people, it was really dumb to be honest but a key person that I needed to meet was at one of these in a guy named Lyle Huddleston who was a youth minister at a church in Arlington, TX.

Later 1999– I quit going to the church I was at and ended up going to the church where my friend Lyle was… I ended up getting involved helping him a lot with the youth.

Early 2000– Asked Lyle if I could go and try to play the drum set that they had sitting in the church. The set wasn’t being used at all. Started practicing on them and keeping beats just for fun.

Still Early 2000– Was playing on the drums one day and two guys walked in, Chris Turner and Mark Dykes… They were working on trying to do some music for the youth and asked me if I’d be interested in playing in a youth band, I was like of course! Play with other musicians?! YEAH!

A Sunday afternoon in Spring of 2000– We practiced about four of five songs, first time ever, it went pretty well… Then Chris says to me, (I was honestly thinking “this is gonna be good, we’ll practice for a couple of months and be ready to play in a service!”) Okay be here on Wednesday night and we’ll play in the service. I was like already?! He was like sure, it went good… So we played and it went really well. The guitar player who is to this day a really good friend of mine had up to that point been playing guitar for I think 10 years or so and he said this was the first time he had ever played with a live drummer! I thought dang, I’ve been playing for a month or two and I’m already playing with real musicians! What a trip!

7/2000– Was grilled by Chris’ wife who after about 247 questions thought I might be a good guy for a friend of hers to meet… Said she’d talk to her about me.

7/2000– Met my future wife at church, was playing drums… She got the call and came up within a few days of it. She’s a nurse so she had a few days off. I sucked on the drums that night too, maybe I was nervous. We went to Chris’ house with his wife and we all sat around talking til about 2 or 3 a.m… I finally had to leave and sleep for work the next morning!

8/2000– My future wife was in town for a Mary Kay convention. I called and tried to see if we could get together for dinner, left multiple messages but couldn’t get a hold of her. So I left her a message saying I’m on my way up there to take you to dinner… Hoping she’d get the message before I drove all the way to Dallas! She got it and I picked her up… If you’ve ever seen the movie Office Space you’ll know what I mean when I say she had on plenty of flair! We went to a Mexican place called El Fenix and ate dinner and then I took her back…

9/2000– My future wife, being a nurse, decided to take a travel assignment in Fort Worth so that we could date and see if we really liked being around each other. We dated for a bit and she took me to Louisiana to meet her parents… To say it went bad would be an understatement! I came from a family where we were all sarcastic toward each other and joked around all the time, her family was kind of the opposite… They were much more serious about things so all of my trying to joke and laugh at everything didn’t go over to well. And while we were there I was sitting in a chair and I rested my foot up on something and she asked me to put it down, I said I was just being comfortable or something… So anyways we came back to Fort Worth, I thought that things had went really well… I thought how could her family not like me?!

9/2000– I guess it was a day or two later when I was over at my future wife’s house and I asked her what her parents had said about me… She said she hadn’t talked to them yet but would call, so she called while I was there. I was just laying on the couch when it started… Dad, what did you think of Steve? She sat there for a couple of minutes and then I heard the words “Daddy that’s not fair to say about him”… I thought what?!? What is going on here?!? I proceeded to lay there for a good while listening to her go back and forth and I knew it wasn’t good. I remember tears coming down my cheeks, I was so startled by what I was hearing. She basically ended up saying well I like this guy and you are going to have to deal with it or something along those lines.

Fall 2000– One thing that we enjoyed doing together was going to Dallas Mavericks games. I remember that was the year that Mark Cuban bought the team and I remember taking her to a Chicago Bulls game and seeing him walking through a corridor. He wasn’t known then the way that he is now but I knew who he was when I saw him, we made eye contact and he knew that I knew who he was and we exchanged what’s ups and kept walking.

12/2000– My future wife had finished her assignment and went back to Louisiana. I knew that I wanted to marry her so I went and bought a nice ring and had to plan a way to ask… I am a guy that loves the element of surprise. I like to have as many things be a surprise as possible to be honest so I figured out what I wanted to do and had to figure out how to keep it a surprise… I was going to propose during a church service. So naturally I needed to figure out a way to get myself behind the microphone without drawing any attention or suspicion. Easy enough right?!

12/2000– I went to the pastor of the church and told him my idea and he said he’d go along with it… They video’d the services as well so I had to get her to sit in just the right spot so they could film her reaction.  I told her a week or so before that the pastor had asked me to pray before they took up the offering (this is something that they regularly did and I had done it once before so it worked out perfect). The day before she had asked me if I knew what I was going to say and pray about, (I never just do the minimum when it comes to talking, I had to get my 2 cents in as well) so I told her that I was going to read the verse where it talks about confessing your sins one to another… I knew this would really raise the level of shock and surprise and that she’d not see it coming! My point exactly!

1/13/2001– My future wife was in town and the day before I was to propose I remember we were talking and she made a comment something along the lines of me needing to do something because she wasn’t going to be in a long distance relationship forever… I said well if you want we can go look at rings or something?! Little did she know! I feel like this really helped in my element of total surprise.

To Be Continued…

Concerts, Divorce and Christianity… Music, Part II…

Nothing in my wildest imagination could have prepared me for the musical shift that was going to take place in my life in late 1995… The only way to describe it is that I was blindsided.

Up to this point in my life music was pretty much god to me, I listened all the time and attended concerts all the time as well. From the early 1980’s to the mid 90’s I devoured music and attended well over *100 concerts (partial list below)… I can’t stress how much I loved (and still love) going to concerts. The crowd, the moment the lights go out, the curtain drops and BAMM! The wall of volume that besieges your ears! Man, gotta love that… I quit a job to go to a concert, I told my parents I had to work to go to a concert, I went by myself at times (I didn’t care, I just had to go!) I drove hundreds of miles to go to a concert, I even took vacations based on where a concert was…This was just my way of life!

But by 1995 my life had turned upside down. I had moved out on my own, met a girl and within ten months gotten married, divorced and had to move back home again. I was trying to get my life straight but it just seemed to end up more out of control, maybe going off the rails would be a more appropriate way to say it…

In 1995 I accepted the gift of Christ and within two years knew that the god I had made had to be done away with so I took my cd collection of around 400 to a pawn shop and traded them for a guitar. I went cold turkey, only listening to “Christian music” and just in case you don’t know, in 1997 there wasn’t much available that was even halfway decent, AT ALL. I think I had maybe three albums to listen to if you include King’s X, it was tough! I drove 30 minutes each way to work so those three albums got a lot of play! I was looking everywhere for every possible angle to find music that could fit into my limited listening zone.

I found many different bands over the years though. The first band that really stood out was Skillet. I remember going to see them at a small venue and there may have been 20 or 30 people there… Fast forward to a year or two ago and they were playing with Creed to 10,000 people or so, it was like I had seen one of my kids all grown up! Other bands I found were Blindside, Galactic Cowboys, Grammatrain, P.O.D., Project 86, Common Children, Demon Hunter, and the O.C. Supertones among others… Probably the most surprising artist that I found to listen to that fit within the scope of what I was looking for was a guy named, ALICE COOPER… Yeah, that Alice Cooper.

I had heard that Alice Cooper was a Christian, I read an interview with him and thought “I used to like this guy” and thought this was a chance to really get something good. So I went and checked out Brutal Planet (which was the album he was promoting at the time), and let me tell you that is one Brutal Album! I had no idea that Alice Cooper could rock like this, I was so ecstatic! The next album was called Dragontown and rocked just as hard! These two albums were mentioned quite a bit on the Alice Cooper blog so no more is needed here! Having Alice along for the ride seemed to make things a lot better for me…

I went over 10 years and avoided listening to and being involved with just about everything that wasn’t “Christian”, even people. It was something I felt that I needed to do for myself and for my commitment to the Lord. I look back and see many fatal errors and assumptions I was under that weren’t balanced and at this point in my life I am still working on righting the ship! I’ve realized that at any given time we are all in different places in our lives and this was just where I was at. I lost many friendships through no fault other than my own naivety, I hurt people using that same naivety as well but I have made amends where they were available and feel as though I am more balanced than ever!

Looking back I see that my life through the years has been mirrored by the music I listen to. Music tends to be a soundtrack for our lives because there is usually something that we can listen to regardless of how we feel that can define and identify with us.  This, in my opinion, is what  makes music so great. It’s always there. No matter where you are at in life it just evolves with you…

Stay tuned, there’s more!

Peace out.

*KISS, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Ace Frehley, Frehley’s Comet, W.A.S.P., Cinderella, King Diamond, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Pantera, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Type O Negative, Metal Church, Biohazard, Danzig, Lilllian Axe, Dirty Looks, Judas Priest, Testament, Galactic Cowboys, King’s X, Fight, Flotsam and Jetsam, Helloween, Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Dangerous Toys, The Cult, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, L.A. Guns, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Mercyful Fate, Slaughter, Kix, Great White, Tesla, Babylon A.D., Bulletboys, Extreme, Saigon Kick, Faith No More, Firehouse, Jackyl, Queensryche, Sacred Reich, Shotgun Messiah, Suicidal Tendencies, many KISS cover bands, probably more as well…

The pictures below in order are:

1. Me with Tom Kiefer (lead singer of Cinderella)

2. Me with Bruce Kulick (lead guitarist of KISS)

3. Me with Jason McMaster (lead singer of Dangerous Toys)

4. Chuck Billy live (lead singer of Testament)

5. A group of people (myself included) including a current member of KISS… Can you guess which guy it is?

6. A group of people Dressed to Kill (myself included) like KISS… Which one is me?

I Am Made of You, Alice Cooper Part I…

You ever see something that makes you think what the heck? Something that is gross but really cool at the same time? Let me tell you a story…

My first introduction to Alice Cooper came from my cousin Chris, seems he introduced me to a lot of different music! He had this album that just looked so rock-n-roll, it had Alice Cooper on the cover with (it looked like) a snake going in and coming out of his mouth! Kind of gross but but really cool at the same time, plus I was a teenager so what’d you expect?! Anyways, there was a song called He’s Back (the man behind the mask), it was on the soundtrack to a Friday the 13th movie as well as this album and I thought it was pretty cool but the other stuff I heard didn’t appeal to me as much for a few years. BUT, that first impression stuck.

My kids love Alice Cooper! I know, my bad… I can’t help it, in a way my daughter has turned me on to some great Alice Cooper music. Wait, I am getting ahead of myself. I gotta admit it, I love Alice Cooper too… He’s been innovative and so original as well as being kind of a musical chameleon (more on this later) at times too. Throughout his career, he’s had music that appeals to really just about anyone. His own forms of rap, country, metal, industrial metal, big band, disco, rock, beach music, etc… There’s really no area he hasn’t touched! As a matter of fact he pretty much covered most of these all on his most recent album!

I’m probably not the classic Alice Cooper fan though… If you don’t know, Alice Cooper originally was a band, not just the lead singer (Vincent Furnier)… In the later 70’s the band separated and all wanted to do solo albums, well Vincent (who’d changed his name to Alice Cooper by then) did the same and never looked back. I am a huge fan of solo Alice Cooper and while I like some of the old stuff, I mainly like lots of random songs. I have a habit of listening to something once and giving up on it for a while and eventually coming back around, even if coming back around is years later! Let me share a story about this…

Several years ago I bought an album called The Eyes Of Alice Cooper… It came out in 2003 and was the follow up to Dragontown, which (along with Brutal Planet) has a big industrial heavy rock sound and was a huge fave of mine. Dragontown is a concept album that just blew my mind as well as its predecessor Brutal Planet… So when I got The Eyes of Alice Cooper and it had this garage rock sound to it, I was appalled! I was expecting Brutal Planet III! I thought it was awful, there wasn’t anything on it that appealed to me. I skimmed it and just put it up forever. Well fast forward to late 2011 and my daughter and I were watching a few songs from a concert and one song in particular, Between High School and Old School, stood out to my daughter. So I pulled out the cd  to let her hear it and listened to the entire thing in the process and thought to myself wow this is pretty good. So I put it in the mp3 player and listened to it on my 50 minute drive to work, then I listened to it on the way home… The next day I repeated the process, etc… I couldn’t believe that I had let that album sit there so long! Now I listen to it all the time and it makes me laugh to think that one fresh listen did that! Of course I’m in a different musical mindset now and wasn’t expecting it to be Brutal Planet III anymore.

So anyways, speaking of albums I never gave a chance… In 2011 Alice Cooper released a follow-up to his highly acclaimed album Welcome to my Nightmare, it was titled Welcome 2 my Nightmare. From the time I got it my kids have loved many songs on there, Alice Cooper isn’t afraid to be silly or goofy and it appeals to children of all ages! This album is so versatile that I even came home one day to hear my wife say that she had been listening to it! WHOA, WAIT A MINUTE!? SAY WHAT?!?! HA! So this album really has some appeal! First off, before you listen to the opening song from his 2011 Nightmare you have to know something, this guy is 63 years old! Listen to this and tell me that this guy still doesn’t have it!  He is an amazing specimen for sure… I won’t tell you what the song means, or what I think it means but if you listen you may not be able to deny the genius behind it. When I drive down the road with this song on my family turns into The Partridge Family! Everyone (even my wife) is singing this one!

Oh wait, I am supposed to be telling about an album that I never gave a chance… It’s called Welcome to my Nightmare, it was released in 1975. I just never listened to it to be honest, then of course I was letting my daughter hear a song off of it that says Baby, Baby come on and save me! My daughter thinks it’s about her since she is the baby here and she just loved it so I downloaded the entire album and again here I am saying I can’t believe that I let this one go so long without listening to it! I liked all the songs he played off of it live, well except for the ballad… And here I am all these years later with my ears cursing me for not giving them something good to devour… I am going to dig more in-depth with my own reviews of the albums that I already love and then start on the albums I don’t have and haven’t given as much of a chance!

So my next thought is okay, what album will I listen to next by AC that I either haven’t given a chance or didn’t like that will blow my socks off?! One thing is for sure, I know there will be another song, or another album that will do it to me… It has become old hat to me now.

To be continued…

Peace out…

Running away, blowing up and rocking out… Part 1

Driving into Colorado with my parents, the Rocky Mountains, we were listening to John Denver… My brother and sister were sitting back in their seats, but not me! I had scoot up in my seat and was right between my parents (and much to their dismay) singing along to the music as loud as I could…

For as long as I can remember really, I have had a major love for music…

Growing up my parents were playing many different things around the house… Chicago, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, lots of what I’d call hippy music! So naturally I gravitated toward music a lot. The first thing I really remember listening to that got me going into rock music a lot was like Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and Kiss. But Kiss is the band, for me, that really drove me (and my family) crazy! My mom bought me a Kiss tape (yes, a cassette) for my birthday in 1985 and I can remember just wearing that thing out. Then at Christmas I got the previous two albums which I had bootleg copies of (from my cousin Chris) which I was wearing out as well and continued to do…I then dove heavily into their back catalog. On January 29, 1986 I got Kiss Alive…

Ahh yes, I definitely remember getting the Kiss Alive album on January 29, 1986… Why do I remember this date? Well on January 28th my cousin (and best friend) Chris ran away from home… No one knew where he was, my mom had gotten me out of school early that day because we just didn’t know what to expect. I can remember my mom back and forth on the phone with my aunt Michaelene because I guess maybe they thought since we were best friends he’d come our way… Well on this same day something else important happened, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up just after take off. It was the only thing on TV that day, if I saw it blow up once I saw it blow up 100 times that day. We just kept sitting around waiting for some news on Chris. The Space Shuttle didn’t mean anything to me to be honest with you. I know some people were really affected by it but I just did not care. Maybe it was the fact that something a lot more personal was happening in my life as well as the fact that I was 13 years old.

So I don’t remember what time it was but there was a knock on the door and lo and behold it was my cousin Chris! We were never so happy to see him! I can remember my mom running to the phone to call my aunt… I can only imagine the tears shed at their house that moment. The next thing I really remember may disturb some people, but I remember my cousin and I were in the living room eating and watching the space shuttle blow up over and over and over and over and over etc… And I don’t know if it was the elation of each of us to have an emotional day closing down or what but we just kept watching the space shuttle blow up and we started laughing hysterically… I know it’s not because of what happened with the shuttle or that we are that sadistic people! I also remember he said that he was picked up by a guy on the highway, he said that the guy was blasting out Twisted Sister! It’s funny the odd facts that you remember in life! So the next day my mom took us to Ridgmar Mall and I got Kiss Alive, and although I can’t remember what Chris got that’s why I remember that date so easily!

So anyways, as I grew in my musical tastes I got into many other bands including W.A.S.P., Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, The Cult, Motley Crue, Metallica, Megadeth, King Diamond, Dangerous Toys, Guns-n-Roses, L.A. Guns, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Slayer, Lillian Axe, Pantera, Dirty Looks, Dokken, Lynch Mob, Babylon A.D., Ace Frehley, Brother Cane, Nirvana, Queensryche, Pearl Jam, Tesla, Ozzy Osbourne, Type O Negative, Metal Church, Faith No More, Black Sabbath, Testament, Pride and Glory, Cinderella, Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains… I am sure there are a lot I am leaving off of this list. It’s like I could never get enough!

I can remember going to my first concert, guess who it was? Of course it was Kiss! My good friend Carl Richardson (R.I.P.) and I went, his mom took us! It was an eye opener! I thought I listened to music loud until the opener came out… The opener was Ted Nugent (my aunt Jan’s secret crush) and oh my word it was so loud! I love loud music but this was taking it to another level! That is the biggest impression I have from that concert… The volume. So loud, that helped shape my life I think!

There is a song by Kiss called I Love It Loud… Not really that great of a song but the chorus sums it up:

I love it loud! I wanna hear it loud! Right between the Eyes!

I love it loud! I wanna hear it loud! I don’t want no compromise!

Those lyrics define my way of listening to music!

More later! Peace out!