This entry does not belong to me so much as this belongs to the artists of the world and the musicians who have changed the way we see life. I can say this now as a disclaimer in order not to plagiarize any of someone else’s work. But more, I would like to offer this as a humble gesture to put aside all the common rumbles and nonsense dramas in our life.
This is not about me so much as it is about all of us. This is about the creators of music and the process we go through when listening to a great song that makes us think or feel.
To put this out there with all the intentions from my heart; I have to say this both loudly and clearly.
The one thing I believe with all of my heart is that no matter how old we are, there will always be the need to rage or to feel wild and young. There will always be the thrill of music. There will always be the rush from a song that brings us back to a time, long ago, in a lifetime that happened far, far away.
Am I wrong?
The one thing I am absolutely sure of is the ability of music to act as a vehicle to bring us back to a time and a place. It is also clear to me that music and sound are what gives our memories an almost touchable depth.
So much so that if we hear a song, we can close our eyes and remember the first time we ever heard the music. We can remember where we were and who we were with.
As an older person, I went to a show with a bunch of my childhood friends. We had been planning this day for months. Together, we enjoyed the summer day in the parking lot by the beach, tailgating, eating food, and preparing ourselves to enjoy some of the bands from our youth.
The funny part about this is also very interesting to me.
If I looked around, I was surrounded by the craziest people from my youth. We were the wild ones. We were the reckless ones, the crazy kids, and, at certain points in our life, we were the troubled ones and the ones who made the paper for less-than innocent reasons.
I looked around at my old friends who are all grown now. We are parents now. Homeowners and businessmen. We have responsibilities. We have stories of success and an overwhelming story of recovery which, to me, is one hell of a heroic journey (if I do say so myself,). Yet, we were all together, laughing, having a good time and shortly thereafter, we were going to be screaming like lunatics to the crazy heavy metal bands from our youth.
It had been a while since I felt this alive. It had been a while since we all gathered at the same place, together and for a good reason.
We gathered to celebrate with music instead of gathering for the sad reasons which come with age and come when old friends pass away.
This was not just a day out with the boys.
This was a moment and an event. This was our time to howl. This was our time to literally enjoy a perfect re-enactment of our youth.
We allowed ourselves to run around like madmen on the floor by the stage of a concert. I swear, this was perfect.
I swear this was even better than my youth.
This was better than any show that I had been to before because, for the moment, I had the awareness of who I was, where I was, and why.
For the time being, I knew that there wasn’t going to be any trouble. There weren’t going to be any problems with seeing the show because we did what we had to do to make sure we sat up front and right at the stage.
I will say that yes, the next few days that followed were a little tougher on me. Yes, I was tired. I was exhausted and if I’m being honest, I was a little sore from something we crazy kids called a “mosh pit.”
But all of this was worthwhile.
I think everyone needs this from time to time. I think there should be a law that at least a few times a year, everyone should have to let themselves go; to yell and scream as if tomorrow will not be a consequence; as if the party was mandatory; as if the worries of our life are put on a temporary hold and in that moment, we have to surround ourselves with the people we love most, our friends, and as such; it is therefore mandatory to howl and scream and carry on as if age is not a factor.
Better yet, it is mandatory to reflect upon these events as if age is not even a number.
In the end, all there would be is the music and our connection to the songs we grew up with. We can collect this with the memories that have connected us with a bond that can never be broken.
I think I like that . . .
With the same intention, I can say that there are times which are equally as necessary. In these moments, there are times when some of the music from our past is quiet and wholesome. Some of this is cathartic and helpful. Some of the songs from my past and my youth are enough to unclog the emotional stoppages; in which case, I say the songs are intended for long drives to nowhere.
I can say that in this transaction, I am able to offer “this,” for “that” and allow the musical greatness of the old bands from my youth to solve an itch that I can’t reach to scratch.
I can say that in my case and with all of the sentiment to match; I enjoy the music that stems from the classics and some of the more bluesy or the jazzier notes that gave birth to the ideas of rock and roll.
I go back to Dobie Gray and the chorus which goes
“Give me the beat boys and free my soul.
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
In fact, some of the lyrics can explain even more about this sentiment.
Beginning to think that I’m wasting time.
I don’t understand the things I do.
And I’m counting on you . . .
To carry me through.
Then once more, Dobie Gray goes into the chorus of “Give me the beat boys and free my souls. I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
Then he sings,
“And when my mind is free, you know a melody can move me.”
Which is followed by, “and when I’m feeling blue, the guitar’s coming through to soothe me.”
I get that.
I get this deep down, right where it counts.
But to end, the last verse before the final chorus goes as follows:
Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me.
I want you to know I believe in your song
And rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You’ve helped me along
Makin’ me strong
I say that tastes and appreciation for music will vary. To some people, maybe the song Drift Away by Dobie Gray might not be the same kind of hit.
But ah, we all know that there’s something out there.
We all know that there’s a song or a band or a note that moves us.
I say that it ought to be a law that at any given point when our thoughts are against us or when the heart is low, I say it should be a law that we find that perfect song – so we can sing along.
There’s no one else around. There’s no judgment; therefore, you can sing along as loud as you choose.
There is no holding back. Instead, there is nothing else but the transfer of energy.
There’s nothing more than an exchange; my thoughts in exchange for the energy of the music which results in a healing transaction that finalizes with the clearing of our mental storms.
I will close with a few more lyrics which hold a special meaning to me.
This one is from Bob Dylan: Make You Feel My Love
“When the wind is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case,
I can offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.”
I offer this here because there is truth to these lyrics.
I might not be perfect.
I might have faults and flaws.
I might have done and/or said undefendable things in my life.
But, I am human.
I am real. I am a person with my own science and pathology.
Nevertheless, I agree when Bob Dylan continues:
“I’d go hungry. I’d go black and blue.
I’d go crawling down the avenues.
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do – to make you feel my love.”
I extend this humbly as a person with nothing more than a heart in my chest. I have nothing more than the breath in my lungs. I have emotions in my soul and the love that comes with all the above; therefore, I offer this in all humility, as a person who might not have much. But I have this.
This is all that I have. Nothing more.
And just like that . . . it’s yours.
By the way, I know about parental alienation. I know about divorce. I know about not being the person I should have been or wanted to be. I know about heartache and pain and still, I’m right here, standing as best as I can.
I know all about my mistakes and things that I wish I could take back or reverse. However, I will leave you with this last verse from Billy Joel.
I’m going to place this here with hopes that the words reach the heart of who this is intended for. If not, I hope this reaches you as well because although I am not the writer or a singer, I mean every word of this.
“Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean . . .
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me.”
From one man to another, thank you Mr. Joel.
I have to end this here and if it’s okay, I’d like to close this entry the same way Billy Joel closed out this song.
“Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That’s how you and I will be . . .”
Like I said, I don’t own the songs in this post. No, I am merely the listener.
I’m just a man with a heart in my chest.
Sometimes it breaks and sometimes I am reborn by music.