Friday, February 22, 2013

Record Store Day

Random how the universe works. Weaving silvery ethereal threads together in its wondrous ways.

This morning I'm staring at the blank page- choosing to settle on that as my full frontal view as opposed to the silent, ready guitar, expectantly upright upon its stand behind me, calling..."c'mon, gonna play me today? Any songs rumbling up in there?  I'm ready baby, let's go let's go let's go.."

Much prefer to stare at the big still whiteness of it all.

But of course I need a soundtrack to accompany the blankness.  So I roll on over to my Spotify.  I type in "Jack White" because I think his bluesy rockabilly hard-edged punk rap fusion rock is sort of exactly what I need to feed my ears as my fingers hopefully will go skittering madly across my keyboard.

...but of course what happens instead is my fingers don't skitter-  I find myself lost in Jack White's newish solo stuff.  Pondering at the pristine production value of what yearns to sound like raucous spontaneity.  Takes a master to pull that dichotomy off.  Which he is.

So, I'm finding nothing at all to say- no fuel to put in the tank underneath those jittery flailing fingers.  So instead I direct my google browser to Jack White.  To pull in some more information on this man I know sadly little about, though love to artistically ogle from afar.  An artist who seems to perhaps be someone I would meet in the soul-based playpen often, were we in Music Preschool together.  Someone who also seems to share a big love simultaneous with big disdain for everything- much as I do.

But who knows.  So I keep sifting through the 1's and 0's of electronic Jack White information offered up by my search engines.  And today-- I run across an article which happened to be written TODAY- announcing Jack White as the ambassador for Record Store Day, which will apparently take place a couple months from now on April 20th.  And I'm reading the article... and it bounces satisfactorily off my my growing love for thumbing through new and used vinyl, for trolling the occasional, now exceedingly rare record store.  The article resonates for me.

And then I come across this quote- and I realize I have a blog to write.  The blog entry you've been reading thus far.  About this blog entry that I'm  When really it's only a quote I have that I want to share.  It's Jack White waxing on the importance of keeping record stores alive- of nurturing the communal act of experiencing and purchasing music in public-- outside the sterile womb of one's own office. And because I'm a musician and a curmudgeon and one who's slowly growing older and simultaneously more in love and more baffled by this human experience, I agree with every word below. Wish I had said it m'damn self.

"The world hasn't stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn't know that it's a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there."

Exactly.  I'm always alarmed by how many people my age who come to see me play live, maybe for the first time, are constantly telling me how much they enjoy music- especially live music.  And how little they find themselves going out in the world to experience it.  Much less find themselves in a RECORD STORE browsing, listening, feeling, shopping....  

We're all just so fucking busy- really.  Too busy to engage for real in art forms that unless engaged in fully, can ring with a tinsel emptiness.  Like a download sometimes sounds to me on my ipod... it's like...untouchable.  There's no substance there.  No crisp vanilla feel of the record sleeve that I had to crack open to access  it.  No whiff of dusty history emanating from the jacket as it opens slightly to reveal its tar black round beauty, etched through with gorgeous, warm sound waves.  

Like something for real.  

Something the musicians had to work and sweat and whoop and smile for the making.  They had to beat playfully on the drum of their heart.  They had to whistle the air through their woodwind tracheas, they had to pick the strings of their fingers- beat on their animal skins, pluck their cat guts, scream softly into the microphone, as it reverberated its tiny metallic components into the tape and onto the vinyl.

That's music- that's connection.  That's something happening NOW.   Let's get out in the world and not be afraid to step into the mosh pit with the unwashed masses, which, turns out, is all of us.  When we're doing it right....

Read more about Record Store Day at 

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