April 2, 2011 by Jordan Perlson
June 28, 2012
Beatles-Master Cleanse; Day 1
Yesterday was first of 30 or so days I’ll be exclusively listening to The Beatles, and solo records by John, Paul, George and Ringo. If this is the first time you’re hearing of this, please read the blog entry below (June 23) for the Why, How, When and Whatever other questions you might have.
Yesterday I listened primarily to Please Please Me, since I’m going in chronological order. Obviously I’ve heard I Saw Her Standing There in my lifetime, but every time I hear it, including the 3 times yesterday, I feel like a 15 year old girl big buttons and capris. Damnit what a great song (<–I’ll try to refrain from using these exact words over and over throughout this experiment).
But as I suspected, with the exception of aforementioned, Love Me Do and Twist and Shout I’d never heard most of the other songs. I didn’t recognize them anyway. I was amazingly surprised at the song lengths and constant hook-idge. It’s easy to forget to records were shorter in length back in the day, therefore songs tended to be shorter. I’ve become so jaded with today’s pop music being as A.D.D. as possible these days I completely forgot, by necessity, it wasn’t that different in those days.
They also had no qualms about leading the song off with the hook, singing a short verse, then back to the hook. I guess I grew up in the 80′s where you were REALLY made to wait for the hook. Long instrumental intros, 2 long verses, then a piece of a chorus, if you were lucky. Plus some super long, bad ass instrumental interludes within the song (thank you Huey Lewis). None of this seems to have surfaced yet in pop music or with Beatles, most likely, again, due to the technology of the record and its length.
Was I expecting my mind to be blown wide open and my perspective on ALL of pop music changed in the first day of listening to the first couple Beatles records? No, of course not. I’m just reporting my thoughts and reflections. So shut up.
In my next entry, I’ll be delving into my feelings about the drumming style on these tunes, who in the modern world of rock drumming is the direct descendent (in my opinion), and that whole “did Ringo actually play on these tracks” thing.
June 23, 2012
Ok, March to June-not bad for me. 4 months and change between blog posts. I’m getting better. And so will my blogs!
At least that’s the plan for the next month. You see, I’ve got an idea.
Ideas usually stem from a root concept (Inception anyone?).
The root concept for this idea?
I don’t know jack about The Beatles.
Ok, maybe I know jack. I know their names. I can recognize the hits and such. But every great musician I admire, and even some that I don’t, have an intimate relationship with the music of The Beatles.
My dad owned (actually, wait a minute, still currently ownes) 2 CD’s; ZZ Top; Greatest Hits and Aeromsith; (you guessed it) Greatest Hits. Don’t get me wrong, I love ZZ Top and Aerosmith. They are objectively great bands, right Chris Tordini? (sorry, I’m still new to blogs. Is it inappropriate to make inside jokes within a post?) I think my mom owned 5 CD’s whilst I was growing in their home. Definitely Shania Twain, maybe Kenny G, definitely some Supremes and some other stuff I’m not recalling. Again, (minus the G-yro-nator) that’s some good-to-great music (yes, I even like the Shania Twain record).
I was, thankfully, exposed to, through some form of musical osmosis from peers, my brother and mentors, the music of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Pantera, Van Halen (Roth and Hagar were fair game in our household), Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jane’s Addiction, Primus, John Scofield, Allan Holdsworth, Bela Fleck and hordes of other great music.
However, unlike many of my peers, my folks didn’t have “tons of Beatles LP’s lyin’ around the house.” It just didn’t happen (much like Steve Carrell’s character in 40 Year Old Virgin).
So now I’m on a mission to truly pop my Beatles cherry. Just to be clear; I’ve heard The Beatles before. I’m sure I’ve heard most every cut off of most every record at some point in the last 15 years (hanging with music nerds, going to music school, more hanging with music nerds) but I still haven’t had my true revelation. I need a Beatles-Vision Quest.
Since beginning to tour over the last few years, I’ve taken to making a goal or two for each tour. Sometimes it’s along the lines of ‘don’t watch so much of The Wire and read more’ or ’write that goddamn instructional book you keep fantasizing about.’ Or ‘do crap-loads of push ups everyday.’ Etc… Sometimes the goals happen. Sometimes not. But you know what? They USUALLY DO! Weird, right? A procrastinating character like myself actually gets a few things done on the road.
So here’s the deal. This Wednesday (June 27th) I leave for a week with the Becca Stevens Band. Then, directly from that tour, I meet up with Trevor Hall for a few weeks. That’s a good solid month of vans, planes, airports, ill-prepared soundmen at soundchecks, more vans, more airports, etc… Basically, I’ll have a little time on my hands, as I tend to on the road (hence The Wire marathons). My plan is listen exclusively to The Beatles and the solo works of John, Paul, George and Ringo (yup, even Ringo) for a month. I’m not positive how I’ll break it up. Chronological order? One record a day? Definitely NOT shuffle. Definitely records in their entirety before moving on. My guess is I’ll listen to record after record, mostly in order in which they were recorded until, hopefully, one peaks my musical interest and I can’t move on from it for a while.
I plan on reporting my findings on this very blog as I go. Your job? Not to judge. Chances are you’re somewhere between a Beatles fan and a full on Beatle-phile and you’re outraged by the entire premise of this post. A professional musician who doesn’t already worship The Beatles?!?! I understand. I might feel that way if someone was writing the same thing about Zeppelin. However, I’m trying to be pro-active about my ignorance. Better late than never, right?
I’ll report back on day 1, or as quickly after day 1 as I can find a wifi connection. For those of you who don’t travel much, no, there isn’t wifi everywhere, and no, you can’t pay for that sandwich with a song.
Back in a few days.
March 6, 2012
I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I just bought Rosetta Stone for Spanish and German. I’ve got science-knows how many hours in vans/planes/trains/boats/skateboards this year-time to start making use of that dead time. Though the reading continues. Just finished The Art of Learning. Amazing, amazing book. I would put it as high as Outliers in terms of inspiration for those of us chasing a dream as well as acquiring skills in order to live that dream. Anyway, adios or whatever.
February 12, 2012
Since it’s been such a long time since my last entry, this will be less of a focused blog entry and more of a general, bringing you up to speed/what’s up lately kind of entry.
I’m currently in Muri, Switzerland on tour the . This band has been a huge passion of mine for the last several years and we’re all thrilled not just to be on the road, but to be in such beautiful cities at such wonderful venues. Tonight we play Musig-im-Oschen, a series curated by the wonderful Stephan Diethelm. Stephan has great taste in music (check out his schedule!) and really knows how to host. There isn’t a single musician you’ll come across that has a mildly bad thing to say about him or his series. It’s people like Stephan who keep the musical world turning.
On the exercise front, I’m currently employing techniques I’ve learned from a really interesting book,. I know what you’re thinking-dude, what are you doing reading a book on how to bulk up in prison?! But what this book is really about is strength through very simple, well executed exercises using little-to-no equipment which is exactly my speed. Since I’m on the road so much I can’t ever rely on a hotel having a fitness room equipped with exactly what I need for whatever series of exercises I’m working on at that time. With this manual, I can “work out” literally anywhere (it’s based around the space one would have in solitary confinement, which I feel is pretty akin to many hotel rooms I come across
Finally, as I am a new and proud Kindle owner, I’ve been reading up a storm for the first time since I was in college. Some favorites from late last year are; The China Study, Sin in the Second City, Blink, Outliers, The Steve Jobs Biography and The Tipping Point. I never realized having a Kindle would be so much like having an iPod (it’s obvious now) but the ease of jumping back and forth from book to book as my mood changes or as one might be growing stale or too intense is a wonderful luxury. That, and not having to haul around tons of books in my suitcase is incredible. I’m currently reading No Ordinary Time, The Thrive Diet and The Art of Learning. If you’ve been in a reading rut or don’t fancy yourself a reader but wish to change that, I highly recommend getting a Kindle. They’re pretty cheap as far as devices go and eBooks, though much less romantic than real books, are a bit cheaper. Plus Amazon has a book borrowing service with a reasonable yearly rate if that’s an option that appeals to you.
Ok, back to work.
August 4, 2011
Well, so much for weekly blogging. Once every 8 months will have to do the trick for now.
Not a whole lot of specifics in this entry. More of a basic update. This year has pretty wonderful so far and, universe willing, will continue to grow in wonderfulness. Back in March my childhood friend and musical homeboy Aaron Dugan recommended me to an incredible artist based out of LA, Trevor Hall. Trevor’s music is somewhere between Rock, Reggae and Acoustic with beautiful spiritual overtones. I did a month-long tour with them and some light touring since.
April and May were jam packed with short trips out of the city with various artists and nightly events in my hometown of NYC. Great bands/artists like The Hipstones, Mary Bragg, Becca Stevens, Howard Fishman and more kept me purty busy at home. I also had the great pleasure of playing with Shara Worden/My Brightest Diamond at the Music Now Festival in Cincinnati, OH. I’m always honored to sub for my good friend and drumming hero Brian Wolfe. He created some pretty tricky parts for Shara’s new record, and it was a blast learning them.
This summer was also busy, both locally and touring. Grace Kelly had some really nice concerts throughout the US and Canada including the Montreal Jazz Festival. She continues to tour this fall with the great Bill Goodwin on drums. If she’s coming to a town near you, go check it out!
As for the last month, one of the biggest musical highlights is getting to play with one of my favorite bands of all time, The Prigs. I played a few shows with them 4 years ago but they had secured a regular drummer since that time. That drummer, musical badass Tom Roslak, has since moved to LA and I was lucky enough to sit in for a few gigs with this amazing live band. A couple gigs at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 and 1 at The Gramercy Theater (also in NYC) have made for a Prig-tastic July and early August.
The rest of this month will be dedicated to touring in support of Trevor Hall’s new release-Everything, Everytime, Everywhere. It comes out on Vanguard Records in a few weeks and we’ve got a busy schedule to make sure all of North America is aware of these great songs from this awesome artist. See http://www.trevorhall.com for more details. Or maybe I’ll get it together enough to update my schedule page in detail to include where we’ll be playing and when. Don’t hold your breath for the latter.
Oh! And I almost forgot. I have joined the most excellent ranks of artist endorsers for the great custom drum shop, Masters of Maple. I just got my brand new kit this week for the Trevor Hall North American Tour and not only do these drums sound HUGE, but they LOOK AMAZING. See below:
January 7, 2011
For the last couple of years, I’ve been using my Facebook status as my lazy-man’s blog, so I’ve decided to join 2006 and start my own, legit blog page .
January 7, 2011
Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands with the Count Basie Orchestra, Conducted and Arranged by Quincy Jones
So, somehow I managed to miss this record completely. I’ve been playing drums for 19 years (ouch), and been interested in/playing/studying jazz for about 14. Of course I’ve always known who Frank Sinatra is, but my parents certainly didn’t listen to him (they own 3 CD’s between the two of them…Michael Buble, Aerosmith, and Shania Twain). Not one music teacher, drum instructor or mentor mentioned this record. Not during my infantile introduction to jazz where the concept of “form” was my biggest nemesis. Not during my adolescent era where “swinging” confidently plagued me. And certainly not during my current “adulthood” of jazz playing where I suppose I’m searching for my own voice and attempting to interact with high level musicians on their level. I’m fairly certain this record would have quelled all issues, regardless of level. Oh, and it’s also insanely fun to listen to. An emotion I forgot one could have whilst listening to jazz.
Getting back to the idea of “swinging.” I think I, much like most musicians my age, got caught up in the intensity of Coltrane’s band band in the 60′s. Or the slickness of Miles’ band in the 50′s, and the creativity of his 60′s quintet. Intensity, slickness and creativity are all very important aspects to modern jazz. However, swinging hard is a universal functional requirement of all jazz…even straight/non-swing 8th note based music (more on this later). I feel very fortunate that while attending Berklee College of Music, I had 4 different teachers instill a very important concept in me. This concept is so simple, which quickly makes it so complicated. Jon Hazilla, Ian Froman, Jamey Haddad and Hal Crook all had the same thing to say about the 1/4 note-”if you can’t play the shit out of it, don’t bother playing anything else…” Before I had a solid grasp of this idea, Ok, if you say so, was my only thought. It wasn’t until Jamey told me in my last lesson of the spring semester “do us both a favor. Go buy 3 Cannonball records and play along to all of them every day between now and the fall semester.” Amazingly, I feel pretty confident that that “Summer of Cannonball” was the first time I really started swinging on my own. I don’t regret the process I took to get here by any means, but I wonder what my feel for and attitude towards music would be if I had been listening to records like Sinatra at the Sands from the get go.
Granted, the intensity, slickness and creativity in this style of jazz is quite a bit more subtle than the aforementioned bands. It could also have been that my teachers saw my interest and dedication and were afraid turning me off to the process of learning jazz by recommending a vocal jazz record, especially big band vocal jazz. Still, these same teachers were adamant about discouraging my interest in odd meters and metric modulations till my “1/4 notes felt like a million bucks.” If they were confident in going as far to tell me not to bother with that stuff, I wonder why they never recommended this or other records like it. The 1/4 notes on “Luck Be A Lady” are priceless.
Am I upset none of these teachers or mentors ever mentioned this record to me? Of course not. Surprised? Sure. But that’s not the point. The point is, if you’re teaching young musicians jazz, do yourselves a favor and make them play along to 5 songs from this or a record like it every day. Even if they just tap along to it on their lap. I think the music of this world would feel a whole lot better if young musicians regarded this style as highly as they do Giant Steps, A Love Supreme or Plugged Nickel. And more modern artists like Vijay Iyer and Steve Coleman, for that matter.