Hendrix would sit his girlfriend down and have her — almost make her — listen to Dylan songs. Pointing out the poetic phrasings of the lyrics, begging her to feel what he felt whenever he heard it. It was never hard to see where his inspiration came from. Give any musician a few drinks and access to his music collection and the truth will come out. You watch the eyes close, fist clench, eyes widen, the desperate struggle to find the right pitch, note, strain, grunt, etcetera. To this person, at this moment in time, even God cannot match that which mere mortals have created. What is life without pain metastasized through the psyche via flowing poetry over 2 octaves of fingers and hammers on wound strings, dressed in reverb and delivered through overdriven tube amps? Not everyone relates to music this way; the select few, the people who equate living life not only to feeling joy and love, but to feeling pain and torment can say that music touches them to their very core. Only in this sense can sorrow cure sorrow, madness cure madness. This runs against anything we are taught. You can’t fix a fracture with stress, you can’t treat a burn with fire, but in music, sometimes the cure can be more of the disease.
I decided to write for 5×500 after the acquisition of my father’s record collection. My fondest memories of him all involve music in some shape or form. Whether he was behind his drums, cigarette with a steady 2 inches of ash hanging out of his mouth, a bobbing head creating some of the oddest faces known to man, or sitting on the couch with headphones on listening to Frank Zappa. This man loved music, plain and simple.
I will choose an album from this collection to listen to and write about each week. They won’t necessarily be albums I’ve listened to before, but ones I know he particularly enjoyed. I have a pair of studio headphones, a record player complete with a brand new needle, close to 200 pounds of grooved vinyl tucked between colorful cardboard sleeves and a bottle of whiskey to aid me in this journey each week. I should be able to gain some inspiration to write, or at the very least perhaps some insight into how my father went about living his daily life. Although I am not a writer in the purest sense of the word, I am a reader. I equate that to the mantra of a rock journalist whom spends his life writing of what he cannot do. While perhaps I don’t have the skills to produce a piece of work like the kind that Kerouac or Vonnegut would sit and write, I know what sounds good and what sounds terrible. I look forward to writing again and find it quite exhilarating to have my work read by three or four people a week. See you in a bit for album one.