Music is the universal language.
Or so I've been told.
I've been a fan of music since I came out of the womb. It also sort of helps that my parents are both musically inclined. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer in music soothing the soul, ripping it out in two, and putting it back together all at the same time.
And it's not just classical music, either. Rock 'n' roll is just as powerful (well, some of it, anyway.)
As for me, I play the drums and percussion (except xylophones). I've been bashing away since 1989 or so, and I don't plan on quitting (unless my wrists fall off). Now I'm going to tell you a little about some of the groups that I like, and give some links to their spots on the Web.
I first discovered Tori Amos on MTV: it was about three seconds of her video, "God," from the album "Under The Pink." It would seem that seeing a split second of something isn't enough to buy the album, but I did, and I've been a fan ever since. I'm not sure how to describe her music, because it goes across the board. She's a phenomenal piano player, and her lyrics sometimes don't make as much sense as you'd like them to. Go check out A Dent in the Tori Amos Universe or Atlantic Records' official site.
No one can deny that Genesis is a damn good band. If you don't, just pick up "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" or "Duke" and hear what I mean. The main reason I got into Genesis was their ex-drummer and singer, Phil Collins. He's left-handed, just like me, and we both play Gretsch drums and Sabian cymbals. I even have a pair of his sticks. Even though he is a phenomenal player, his drums have the most unique sound anywhere. Original singer Peter Gabriel's solo career has been eclectic, ranging from rock to world music. And keyboard player Tony Banks' solo albums are rare gems, if you can find them. There's not enough room to gush about them fully, so go visit Genesis-Web or Genesis - The Path.
Ah, the Piano Man. My first Billy Joel album was "An Innocent Man" (I still have the tape), which is a tribute to the 1950s and 1960s music scene, where we got hits like "Uptown Girl" and "Tell Her About It." The critics may say he's derivative, but what else are you going to do with eight little notes? Drummer Liberty DeVitto is a drumming fool. Hearing and watching him play wears you out, and you wonder where he stores all that energy. Listen to "The Stranger" and feel his Tama drums and Sabian cymbals rattle through your soul. On the Web, go check out Columbia Records' official site or Turnstiles.
nine inch nails
Here's a guy with more problems than I'll ever have, I think. I first discovered Trent Reznor (or nine inch nails, it's the same guy) back in 1994 with "the downward spiral," and like the title says, it's no picnic, but musically it's quite different from anything I had heard. He makes snythesized drums actually sound like the real deal. What's weird is I feel a little down, I put nin on, and I don't feel so bad. His latest, "the fragile," is a double-disc masterpiece. He's really angry on this one. On the Web, visit nothing records' official site or the unofficial nine inch nails homepage.
Our rockin' friends from the Great White North (Canada), Rush is a powerhouse trio. The main highlight is drummer Neil Peart, who is one the Drummer Gods. A good example is the song "Tom Sawyer," where Neil goes off, playing complicated rhythms that still blow me away to this day. He's so meticulous with his drumming, each hit he makes with his sticks fits with the music. If you hear a snycopated ride cymbal pattern, then you know it's Neil. Rush's Web presence can be felt at A Show of Fans HQ - A Website for and by Rush Fans. I would give you the page from Atlantic Records, but it's so outdated, and I'm not going to bother.
If you've seen "Star Wars" (and who hasn't?), then you know who John Williams is. He's the genius classical composer who gave us the rousing score for George Lucas' space fantasy. He's also been known to score everything Steven Speilberg touches. My personal favorite is "E.T.", where Williams creates a lush score behind the backdrop of Elliot and his out-of-town friend. The ending sequence music alone is powerful as if E.T. saying good-bye wasn't emotional enough. Or how about when Darth Vader dies in Luke's arms? Or when Indiana Jones is fleeing a giant boulder? Mr. Williams is on the Web (isn't everything?) at The John Williams Web Pages and The Unofficial John Williams Home Page.
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Hmm. Where to begin? Well, he's weird. As for me, I grew up on this guy, thanks to MTV. Who could forget such classics like "Eat It" or "Like A Surgeon?" Or how about "Smells Like Nirvana" or "Amish Paradise?" Weird Al eats up rock bands and spits them back out into something quite hilarious. On his latest album, "Running With Scissors," he lampoons The Offspring, Puff Daddy, and turns the Backstreet Boys and Marilyn Manson into polka. His presence on the Web is felt at his official site and Al-oholics Anonymous- The Weird Al Web Page.