A Trip To Rock And Roll Heaven
For many of the people I know, music is as important to their lives as breathing. It is something they sit and listen to, and take the time to become knowledgable about. For me, music was something that moved me physically.
There are probably songs out there that I heard a hundred times and never heard all the words because the words weren’t important to me. Music was something to dance to. I didn’t need to know who the guitarist was or whose vocals I was hearing. The criteria upon which I appreciate a song bears a remarkable resemblance to the American Bandstand judging contest. “Great beat, you can really dance to it”. I would know what group or individual I was listening to but who the guitarist of that group was didn’t interest me. I hate to admit this, but even the Jimi Hendrix experience escaped me then.
I don’t know how or why, but a few years ago something changed. I started to hear the individual talents of the musicians and the vocalists. I found that there are certain songs that simply can’t do without everything arranged exactly the way it was. Songs like Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” or Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” are near perfect in my mind because of how well the saxophone solos work with the other instruments and with the vocals in each song. I would not have the same experience listening to either of those songs if any part of what creates the song is changed. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t enjoy covers of any of the songs that I am connected to. I can’t even listen to “Stairway To Heaven” sung by Robert Plant without Led Zeppelin. It’s not the same. This attitude of mine makes what happened next all the more puzzling.
I was listening to the theme song from CSI, which as everyone knows is “Who Are You” by the Who. I don’t know why but I began to really listen closely to the piece and thought “that’s a killer drummer”. I had heard that song an easy one thousand times and never picked the drumming out so clearly before. Of course, that killer drummer was one crazy dude named Keith Moon. I knew his name, but not who he was or how good he really was. Like anything else, other things pushed that thought to the back of my mind until while talking to a friend and he told me Lynyrd Skynyrds keyboardist Billy Powell died. He was truly saddened by the passing of another original member of a great group with more than their share of tragedy.
Something lit my imagination and I started thinking about Billy Powell playing the keyboard while Keith Moon drummed along. In a “WTF is she smoking?” moment, I started adding other dead musicians and formed myself a complete rock band. Once I made my choices and thought about it, I shook my head and said “You’re nuckin’ futz girl!” Stop to think about it, I have a heavy metal bass guitarist playing with a blues guitarist. Add to that a southern rock keyboardist and an 80’s pop vocalist along with the wild man Keith Moon and I must be out of my mind, right? Which of course gave me the name of my group….
Cliff Burton……….Bass Guitar
Stevie Ray Vaughan…….Lead Guitar
I had this flight of fancy over a year ago. I actually posted it on my blog along with videos of each member playing a solo where I could find one. Sadly, Youtube yanked the awesome 5 minute Keith Moon drum solo and the Cliff Burton bass solo that I was lucky enough to find. It destroyed my post which is why there’s no link to that post here. However, it didn’t destroy my imagination.
Since creating this group I’ve auditioned, in my mind, other talented people that have passed from our lives. I’ve thought about the awesome talents of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ronnie Van Zant, Michael Hutchence, Janis Joplin, Cass Elliot, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, John Bonham, Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, Freddy Mercury, Brian Jones, Warren Zevon and Dimebag Darrell Abbott. They all deserve honorable mention, but my choices have still remained the same. One thing this exploration did was to remind me how lucky I am to be alive and to have enjoyed the talents of each and every one of them.