Tag Archives: Steely Dan

Awesome 80s Albums You May Have Overlooked

Count me among the minority who truly likes all genres of music and yes, no ones going to drive a bulldozer over my disco CD’s either. F*ck no. Not Donna Summer! Not Saturday Night Fever! I’ll be like the famous photo of the student in Tiananmen Square facing the tank. And a guitarist friend of mine who’s toured with Arlo Guthrie and other Folk legends like Willie Nelson will join me in solidarity and brotherhood here as he is a die hard Bee Gees fan too. So there. Say what you want about Barry Gibb’s “faggy falsetto” voice in misdirected machismo, he’s a great songwriter. Grease is the Word, brothers and sisters. Barry wrote that. See now you can’t possibly make fun of him out of ignorance anymore.

 

Okay. Moving on. Since plenty of my family and friends are 80’s freaks, I felt it appropriate to give out some suggestions for 80’s music lovers everywhere still lost in the land of Loverboy headbands. Which by the way yours truly has seen and they are fantastic as well as TONS of fun live.

 

Actually, the Archangel of 80’s music, Archangel Flockofsegulliel commanded me to enlighten the masses an iota (technically, more than a tad). So it is by Divine Decree I write this article. You’re probably asking “So how’s things in your padded cell?” Couldn’t be better. Cable TV, internet. Thanks for asking.

 

Anyhow, another reason that lead to this list was a musical comrade and I were talking about our Desert Island Discs, a concept of which has since been negated by the invention of the iPod. I then thought about the more obscure albums most people don’t know about from the era of music known as New Wave or 80’s.

 

My friend rightly calls The Cure’s Disintegration “a gift to Humanity.” Indeed, but the average 80’s fan knows about that album. I’m partial to the Cure’s Faith too. It’s got the grooves I need to “Let the coolness flow into our vertebrae” in the words of a Mel Brooks film History Of The World Part I.

 

In fact, years ago I developed complications due to wisdom teeth extractions. I got a post op infection and had to take heavy painkillers every 4 hours. I remember one night sitting in my living room after the painkillers whisked me away to groggy land while listening to The Cure. Boy did Mr. Smith’s music make so much sense to me then. It occurred to me that I was very near to the state most of it was written in and from. Robert Smith has stated he doesn’t remember writing or recording the Pornography album because he was so strung out on heroin. My friend does a fantastic Robert Smith impersonation of this interview blurb complete with the British inflection “That’s the album I don’t remember writing.”

 

In the same vein (pun intended), author William Burroughs doesn’t remember writing Naked Lunch, the novel which gave Steely Dan their name.  Yes they remain the only Grammy Award winning act named after a dildo. So that said, let’s stop talking track marks and start talking tracks!

 

Saga

Worlds Apart (1981)

Heads Or Tails (1983)

Saga is an oh-so-underrated Canadian band that you should definitely know more about. This is intelligent yet danceable grooving Proggy New Wave from Canada. They do other things up there besides play hockey and drink Molson you know. Seems Billboard needs to be reminded that Canada exists from time to time.  Listener’s also need to be tipped off that there are other acts from the Great White North besides Rush, Bryan Adams, The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and Neil Young.  Oh and surprise, that other band I mentioned earlier, Loverboy also wear maple leaf underwear too.

 

Saga is reminiscent of the Power Pop style of The Outfield but with way more keyboards. I put them in the same category as far as energy vibe and positivity goes. They have over 20 studio albums in their catalog and have been recording for over 35 years. They’re only a one hit wonder to boneheads who wait to be spoon fed singles by MTV, commercial radio and record companies . They won a Juno award in 1982 (The Canadian version of a Grammy) after this album dropped for Most Promising Group Of The Year. Our friends Loverboy still hold the record for 6 Junos in one year, so rock those red Mike Reno headbands with pride kids because they are indeed a symbol of Canadian recording industry royalty.

 

Saga had two singles released that got some airplay off of Worlds Apart, their 4th album: “Wind Him Up” and their biggest single “On the Loose” which peaked at #26 on Billboard. However, in “On the Loose” much of the instrumental solo section was chopped off to fit the anal retentive 4 minute radio decree from Mount Sinai which is of course the Eleventh Commandment. One hopes the karmic entertainment in hell people for such song sushi chefs consists of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Golden Earring and the Grateful Dead among others. The Beatles fell from grace too with “Hey Jude.” Thankfully Saga was saved from eternal damnation here but you can hear the song in it’s entirety safely on the album.

 

Another track which I always groove out to on the album, “No Stranger” could have also been released as a single. But again, the slower intro/build section topping 2 minutes would have been seen as “dead space” to commercial radio and would have been chopped off by the radio station sushi chefs.

 

Another Saga album from the 80’s you should definitely own is Heads Or Tales. It perfectly showcases why I love the guitar player in this band, Ian Crichton. He has such a physicality to his licks, riffs and solos. Ian’s playing is very animated and slippery with notes and phrasing. Listen to my favorite tune off this album “Catwalk” for an example of this. There’s a visual animation to his style almost as if the music was made for a soundtrack to a film but can surely stand on it’s own without accompanying visual images.

 

By this I don’t mean overacted facial expressions, atomic windmills or overdone stage gestures. I’m talking about the Holy manipulation of soundwaves. The producer on these Saga albums was Rupert Hine. Yes, you may know the name from your The Fixx albums. What you don’t have any The Fixx albums? No Howard Jones either? You need remedial ’80s then. You can chew gum and throw paper airplanes in that course. This article is for those who know about the Journeys, Loverboys and Madonnas already.

 

For you ’80s 201 students, Rupert Hine is a Composer/Producer who has also recorded his own albums. They tend to be hard to come by. One of the songs you’re probably familiar with if you’ve seen a bunch of John Cusack movies is “With One Look (The Wildest Dream)” off the Better Off Dead soundtrack which plays during the end credits. This is a quirky classic 80’s movie I’ve seen probably 900 times:

 

“Two dollars!”

“Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way, turn.”

 

See I told you. Rupert Hine wrote much of original soundtrack and the title track mentioned here features The Fixx vocalist Cy Curnin and guitarist Jaime West-Oram. A Saga track on Heads Or Tales that sounds like it could have just as easily been a Fixx tune or a Rupert Hine solo track is “Scratching The Surface.” There’s often a lot of “musical overlap” with Producers and the groups they write and work with, and you can get a decent 80’s Fixx (haha) with any of these.




 

Tubeway Army

Replicas (1979)

A seeming technicality on the album release date of April 1979, but New Wave and the music considered ’80s actually started in the late 1970’s. Before you knew him singing about “Cars” Gary Numan was in this group. “Cars” is a classic 80’s track, a song where drums accent on the 4 and by a white British guy before 1980. Wow. I’m speechless.

 

Replicas is a science fiction epic which you can nicely zone out to. I heard this album on college radio and had to pick it up. Thanks WRPI!! College radio is a beacon of actual music variety even more so than internet radio which tends to be just one genre per station just like commercial radio.

 

Although Replica’s lyrics and themes are science fiction, don’t let that turn you off. It’s not inaccessible, overdone and definitely not 80’s campy (but still fun) as Styx’s Kilroy Was Here (Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto–Japanese for “Thank You Very Much…”). There’s some really cool keyboard work on Replicas as far as 80’s goes–several tracks on par or exceeding “Cars” in my opinion. That being because essentially Tubeway Army was pretty much all Gary writing. Some of my favorite tracks on Replicas are “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” which was released as a single and reached #1 in the UK, “You Are In My Vision”, “It Must Have Been Years”, and  the bonus tracks off the 1997 and 2008 Beggars Banquet reissues “We Are So Fragile” and “We Have A Technical.” The 80’s synth on this album will put a Miami vicegrip on your eardrums.

 

Utopia

Oblivion (1984)

P.O.V. (1985)

Utopia was a project of Todd Rundgren, another writer/producer known for singing “Hello it’s Me” and “Bang the Drum All Day.” Don’t we all Todd. And what do Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re An American Band and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell have in common? Todd produced those albums among others. Not too shabby for a boy from Pennysylvania hey? I guess Hall & Oates, CinderellaPaul Gilbert (Mr. Big) and Poison carried that states pride in the 80’s too.

 

Todd also wrote “Love is the Answer” and Utopia recorded it on Oops! Wrong Planet, then England Dan And John Ford Coley recorded it shortly afterwards and that’s the version everyone is used to hearing on the radio. Yup, the Carole King Effect strikes again.

 

The Carole King Effect: When you write a song, record it and later somebody else records it but makes 10 times the money you did.

 

Carole wrote it first dammit!! So if you want to protest outside BMI headquarters there’s some picket sign

suggestions.

 

Anyhow, 2 Utopia albums any 80’s collection is lonely without are Oblivion and P.O.V. Really any album by Utopia is worth checking out. Rhino records released a double CD a few years back called P.O.V., Oblivion & Some Trivia. It has both albums plus the 2 new tracks from the Trivia compilation album. This is a great starting point to get you into this under the radar late 70’s-80’s group. This CD is also worth it for the song “Fix Your Gaze.”

 

The 2 albums included on this release have some of the coolest Utopia songs on them. EVERYONE in Utopia sang lead vocals so you get a variety of singers and really fat full multi part harmonies. The musicians Todd had with him in Utopia were professional touring musicians and session players as well. Keyboardist/vocalist Roger Powell for one toured with David Bowie. Bassist/vocalist Kasim Sulton toured with Meat Loaf (bassist on the Bat Out Of Hell album), Hall And Oates, and Joan Jett (was a Blackheart). So I’d say there’s a tad more than garage band creds here folks.

 

Some of the tracks on these albums that rock 80’s style are “Bring Me My Longbow”“Crybaby” ,“Welcome to My Revolution”  and “Winston Smith Takes It on the Jaw” from Oblivion and “Zen Machine” and “More Light” off of P.O.V. There’s plenty of lost 80’s gold buried on these albums. It’s like totally an 80’s tragedy that NONE of the tracks off of Oblivion were released as singles. There’s some absolutely slamming uptempo tracks like the ones listed above as well as some amazing slower introspective tracks like If “I Didn’t Try”“Maybe I Could Change” (which has a gorgeous piano arpeggio intro) and “I Will Wait.” Still, the album charted in the US at the number 74 position despite the lack of a single. If it had even one single, it would have climbed higher instead of getting lost in the oblivion of radio station shelves.

 

I’m not sorry I own any of these 80’s albums and you won’t be either. Mike Reno gives his blessing for you to own them as well. Some I found in bargain bins, which just goes to prove the old axiom one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and with music, one man’s earwax is another man’s earworm.

© Composer Yoga




 

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The Colors Of Rock: Songs

A list of songs on the palette making The Colors Of Rock (updated periodically)

18 Yellow Roses (Bobby Darin)
99 Luftballons/Red Balloons (Nena)
All Cats Are Grey (The Cure)
Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk (Dr. Hook)
Back In Black (AC/DC)
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (Jim Croce)
Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
Black Celebration (Depeche Mode)
Black And Blue (Van Halen)
Black Cat (Janet Jackson)
Black Cow (Steely Dan)
Black Diamond (Kiss)
Black Is Black (Los Bravos)
Black Night (Deep Purple)
Black Water (The Doobie Brothers)
Blue Collar Man (Styx)
Blue Eyes (Elton John)
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (Willie Nelson)
Blue Jean (David Bowie)
Blue On Black (Kenny Wayne Shepard)
Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley)
Bluer Than Blue (Michael Johnson)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Brown Shoes (Frank Zappa)
Brown Sugar (The Rolling Stones)
Caribbean Blue (Enya)
Crystal Blue Persuasion (Tommy James & The Shondells)
Colour My World (Chicago)
Desert Rose (Eric Johnson)
Don't Eat the Yellow Snow (Frank Zappa)
Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Crystal Gayle)
Fade to Black (Metallica)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Green Earrings (Steely Dan)
Green Eyed Lady (Sugarloaf)
Green Green Grass Of Home (Johnny Darrell, Porter Wagoner, Bobby Bare, Tom Jones)
Green Light (Lorde)
Green Onions (Booker T. & The M.G.s)
Green Tinted Sixties Mind (Mr. Big)
Gold (John Stewart)
Golden Lady (Stevie Wonder)
Golden Slumbers (The Beatles)
Lady In Red (Chris Deburgh)
I Saw Red (Warrant)
Indigo Eyes (Peter Murphy)
It's Not Easy Being Green (Kermit the Frog)
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Brian Hyland)
Little Red Corvette (Prince)
Mellow Yellow (Donovan)
Men In Black (Will Smith)
Midnight Blue (Lou Graham)
Mr. Brownstone (Guns N' Roses)
Orange Crush (R.E.M.)
Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Cole)
Pink Houses (John Cougar Mellencamp)
Purple Haze (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)
Purple Rain (Prince)
Red Barchetta (Rush)
Red House (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Red Sector A (Rush)
Red Skies (The Fixx)
Song Sung Blue (Neil Diamond)
Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree (Tony Orlando and Dawn)
Touch Of Grey (The Grateful Dead)
True Blue (Madonna)
True Colors (Cyndi Lauper, Phil Collins)
Still Got The Blues (Gary Moore)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
White Room (Cream)
Yellow (Coldplay)
Yellow Flicker Beat (Lorde)
Yellow Submarine (The Beatles)

© Composer Yoga

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Sound Mines: The Outfield “Taking My Chances”

The unfortunate thing about massively successful albums is there's songs on them that never see the light of day.

 

Stated another way, if these songs were written by another band or artist, they would have been released and became their signature song in an alternate parallel pop universe.

 

The Outfield had their breakthrough album with their 1985 debut Play Deep. And it was all about some girl named Josie after that.

 

The band have so many instantly recognizable songs: "Josie's on a vacation far away..." see what i mean? And from there, bassist Tony Lewis became known as the lead singer. But there was another singer in the band who you only heard in their signature harmonies, which we'll come back to in a moment.

 

But first: The pop world is still wondering, "Is this same "Josie" Steely Dan hung around in the 70's? Did Josie also attend Bard College with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen then do a semester in London?"

 

Play Deep was huge with 4 singles becoming radio mainstays: "Your Love" (AKA that tune about Josie), , "Say It Isn't So", "All The Love" and "Everytime You Cry."

 

Like Cheap Trick, The Outfield have so many interesting songs buried in their respective catalogs. Do yourself a favor and dig into their deeper tracks. You'll find veins of auditory ore that'll turn you into a more active fan of both bands. Okay I used to live near Robin Zander for those of you full disclosure purists.

 

The Outfield were a brilliant blend of power pop, new wave and pop rock with trademark crisp, clean positive vibes. A band from London and apparently not pissed off about anything when the prices of hotel rooms there alone are enough to piss off most tourists.

 

The vision behind The Outfield was guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter and yes, vocalist John Spinks. And it is John who is lead vocalist on our featured track here "Taking My Chances." John Spinks was a regular "jack" of all instruments like that Canadian Aldo Nova or that Prince guy you may have heard of.

 

For those fans who missed Canadian Musicians 102, Aldo Nova had a major hit with the tune "Fantasy" off his 1982 self titled debut Aldo Nova. You can now safely go back to your Rush, BTO, The Guess Who, Céline Dion, Bryan Adams and Corey Hart with or without OSHA approved sunglasses.

 

While main Outfield vocalist Tony Lewis showcased a high piercing positivity like Jon Anderson of Yes, John Spinks had a deeper introspective voice which made for a rich vocal blend with and classic counterpoint to Tony Lewis.

 

On top of that, John Spinks' guitar tone is among the happiest guitar tones I can think of. The matrimony of Lewis's soaring vocals and Spinks's guitar tone and style is something that often goes unnoticed and understated for why The Outfield have legions of fans outside the English speaking world.

 

Close your eyes (You Canadians take your sunglasses off) and imagine that "Taking My Chances" was the first tune you ever heard from a new band called The Outfield. You'll see that John Spinks could have fronted his own band as guitarist and lead singer:

Hey Rick Springfield did it. So did Bryan "Sandpaper Larynx" Adams. John Spinks easily could have done so too with all the demos he made that eventually became Play Deep. But The Outfield was a project he enjoyed with his pre–fame bandmates since the late 1970's, bassist/singer Tony Lewis and drummer Alan Jackman.

 

"Taking My Chances" reverses the traditional vocal order of The Outfield winning formula but it still works great. It also demonstrates how well John and Tony blended their vocal harmonies and could expertly weave in and around each other no matter who was the lead off hitter in the song.

 

It's this classic blend of high range and low range vocals which worked superbly for other successful acts generations a generation earlier like Hall & Oates and Kiss. Daryl Hall & John Oates and Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons gave the ear fix for high and lows plus the chorus blends of each. Coincidentally, The Outfield and Hall & Oates both had a hit song titled "Say It Isn't So."

 

This "Master Blend" also worked well for Journey although briefly. The Tony Lewis and John Spinks blend was also similar to Steve Perry and Gregg Rolie. the former vocalist for Santana and original Journey vocalist. Rolie has such a beautiful deep soulful voice, and is best known or singing "Black Magic Woman"  but gives stellar performances on tracks that have been largely unknown and forgotten which is  another story altogether.

 

For just 3 people, The Outfield packed a lot of power and wattage. Their incredibly full sounding choruses weaved from the tapestry of harmonizing between John and Tony gave songs their characteristic punch.

 

The Outfield wrote great pop music and weren't pretending to be anything they weren't. In fact, the same 3 bandmates which became the classic Outfield lineup took a hiatus in the late 70's because the Punk Movement was becoming more popular in England.

 

Instead of getting mohawks, bleaching their hair fluorescent orange, or piercing their nipples with nunchucks, John  Spinks, Tony Lewis and Alan Jackman took a long 7th inning stretch into the mid 80's when the music industry, now steadily dating it's new flame MTV, became more favorable to their original style of songwriting. The strange thing being, even though the English speaking world was all over British Pop/New Wave acts like Duran Duran and The Fixx, The Outfield were never as popular in their native England as they were in the United States.

 

What I've always enjoyed about The Outfield is the production quality of their songs is always crystal clear but never hospital sounding sterile. There's always a vibrance and energy to the music and instruments in the mix. The recording quality is always bright and shiny, it's like listening to sunlight reflecting off chrome. People just feel good listening to them, just like a simple Beach Boys song. And that's all the proof anyone's ears need.

 

Sadly the creator and songwriter of The Outfield, John Spinks died of liver cancer in 2014 at just 60 years of age.  Later in early 2016, liver cancer also claimed David Bowie. But John's legacy lives on as does his pleasantly hypnotic vocal tonality on this track which never made it out of the band's batting cage of potential hits.

 

"Taking My Chances" is great song that got overlooked because it was a track on a album filled with great pop songs. Play Deep quickly went triple platinum and continues to be a Must Have 80's album for new generations of fans.

 

Indeed The Outfield knocked it out of the park on their first album. They could have also hit more singles.

© Composer Yoga

Related Posts To Check Out:
Closet Singles: The Outfield “New York City”

Recommended:
Sound Mines: Prince “Mountains”
Closet Singles: Hall & Oates “You’ll Never Learn”
Sound Mines: Bihlman Bros. “Dream”
Closet Singles: Devo “Later Is Now”
George Michael: The Careless Whisperer
Closet Singles: Billy Idol “Hole In The Wall”

 

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The Master Cleanse For Greater Health & Creativity

Writer’s block? Plateau in your musical/artistic creativity and technical skills? Foggy upstairs when it comes to memory and coming up with new ideas?

 

Take a look at your diet and lifestyle. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of fast food, microwave meals and processed food filled with preservatives, pesticides and chemicals it’s definitely time for a cleanse.

 

Even if you eat relatively healthy, a cleanse is still a fantastic idea. Your body, mind and organs need a vacation so give them a Spring break.

 

With poor diet and health, your body and mind won’t work at optimal levels. People take better care of their cars and trucks than they do their own bodies. Fasting is that oil change, tune up and transmission flush for our carbon based cars we drive around in on the planet. Most people get new cars every 5 to 10 years. You get one body per lifetime here. You need to take better care of it.

 

The Master Cleanse can improve your health and open the floodgates of creativity and artistic productivity. We artists are athletes too. Just because we down throw, hit or chase balls around doesn’t mean we don’t give our bodies a workout and need that primary instrument in tip top condition and performance to play any other instrument.

 

I’ve written complete songs on fasts as well as poetry and music. Actually, writing this on a Master Cleanse now, several days in and towards the end. See, I don’t sound like Rocky Balboa either having been 11 days without food now.

 

What follows is my firsthand experience and advice I’ve given others from doing fasting and cleanses for over 15 years.

 

Fasting and Meditation for Expanded Consciousness

Fasting and cleanses are far better and vastly safer than “mind expanding drugs” route. Fasting and meditation are the original mind expanding drugs with only positive side effects. Ever see Jesus at a Grateful Dead concert? Well maybe you have, but do you see the point I’m making? Moses didn’t drop acid on Mt. Sinai either. Buddha wasn’t smoking fattys for 49 days under a Bodhi tree. They all were meditating and fasting.

 

Using drugs to “expand creativity” is a losing game and playing roulette with not only your creativity but possibly your life.

 

Fasting is also far better than sleep deprivation which some others employ. I’ve been on the road with bands and know what sleep deprivation can do in just a few days. No wonder why bands can’t get along and break up. Lack of sleep on the road will do it even without drug use.

 

Enter The Master Cleanse

I first read Stanley Burroughs’ classic The Master Cleanse years ago and have done it 2-4 times a year ever since for over a decade now. The Master Cleanse is known as a “Juice Fast” because you are only consuming liquids and no solid food. It is also commonly referred to as “The Lemonade Diet.”

 

It goes without say that I am young, healthy, mentally sharp and lucid compared to many people in my age group—which is the result of several things I do to maintain my long term health. The common cop out defeatist people who don’t want to take charge of their health say is “It’s just good genetics.” Truth is, my family has just as much good health examples as bad ones, just like yours.

 

A Tale Of Two Burroughs

One Burroughs named William S. wrote beatnik novels in drug induced stupors. Another Burroughs named Stanley, lived a 180 degree lifestyle from the beat generation writer famous for writing Naked Lunch. A fun fact about that book (which makes absolutely no sense) is that Steely Dan got their name from it. Yes folks, Steely Dan is really a top of the line Japanese strap on dildo, just like Duran Duran is named after a character in the cult sci-fi Jane Fonda movie Barbarella, Dr. Durand Durand.

 

It has been said that 80% of your health is diet, the other is regular exercise. So it’s habit and environment that play the biggest role in our health, not some Wizard Of Oz “Man Behind The Curtain” genetics you cannot control. Your health is your responsibility—not your Doctor’s or the medical establishment, not your partner’s, spouse, or children’s.

 

And back to genetics, one of my relatives from Europe lived to be 97 and only ever went to see a doctor at the very end of her life for anything. What did she do every morning? Squeeze lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it. Lemon stimulates the lymph system and cleans it out. She could still walk at 97, still lived in her OWN house, and her mind was nowhere near senility. She knew about drinking fresh squeezed lemon as a folk medicine remedy that goes back far longer than The Master Cleanse was created and further elaborated on by Stanley Burroughs. Burroughs may have even based his ideas on these same folk remedies he heard about publishing his modified juice fast in the 1940’s, then later in 1976 as The Master Cleanser.

 

Benefits of the Master Cleanse and Fasting

Cleans on multiple levels: body, mind and emotions
Expands creativity
Alters consciousness to deeper brainwave states
Mastery of the body, thoughts and emotions
The most primal drive next to breathing is eating—when you can master that, the rest becomes easier
Fasting allows the body to heal and rejuvenate itself
Organs get a rest to repair and regenerate

 

When you are constantly eating, your body has to digest and produce digestive enzymes (even if you are eating mostly raw or all raw in your diet). When you stop eating solid food, the body produces enzymes that drive biological processes. In other words, your hair will still grow normally. I shave just as frequently 10 or more days without solid food as I do when eating normally.

 

Fasting purifies you not just on the physical level but on the emotional mental and spiritual levels as well. you may experience waves of emotion days after the fast in broken and you have started to resume eating solid food again. This is “emotional trash and toxins” that the body is ridding itself of.

 

When you remove the gunk from your car it works better. Same deal with fasting and cleanses.

 

Think of regular meditation and fasting as the weightlifting of the Spirit. The muscles you are building are higher consciousness and with that comes peace, calm, intuitive intelligence and greater creativity and abilities.

 

There were things I could not do for years as a musician like long extended trills and rapid arpeggios over 2 or more octaves. After a few years of fasting and meditating, it was somehow easy for me now—and i could do it without practicing for hours and hours. Fasting and meditation removed a lot of junk in me which prevented my physical body’s muscles and neurons from doing it easily. So doing The Master Cleanse will allow you to learn quicker and better too.

 

Meditation and fasting are the key pillars of longevity and anti aging. The average  daily meditator is biologically 12 years younger than their calendar age counterparts. Someone who fasts regularly on top of that is biologically even more years or decades younger.

 

From my experience of fasting regularly for over 15 years, it’s clear how you gain greater mastery over your body, it’s hormones, drives, and greater mastery over emotions and thoughts. Along with meditation, it slows down your mind and widens it to the point where there is a beautiful peace and silence. And with that frame of mind, you are more open to inspiration, creativity, whole brain thinking, integration, learning and seeing the bigger picture.

 

As we evolve energetically, we will need less solid food. Its funny to me now how people think 100% of the energy they need to survive comes from solid food. Really it’s only around a third. Air, water, sunlight and other energies sustain the body in concert. When you meditate and fast over a period of years or decades, it seems to gear the body to work better and more on higher refined energies in the universe than “slow to convert to energy” solid food.

 

Look at plants—they pretty much live on sunlight and water. And some plants and trees live thousands of years. Case in point, this tree is over 3,500 years old but doesn’t look a day over 30:

 


This was taken at Lake Panasoffkee, FL. It kind of looks like Gollum Country and I was expecting to see fairies flying around here.

 

What Happens on a Fast?

The main thing is the body will eliminate tissues and cells that are not healthy. It will eliminate stored toxins in the skin since it now has the opportunity to do so. When you are eating food all the time, your body cannot go into it’s deep clean cycle like a bear hibernating. Fasting is the button for the deep clean cycle. I once smelled antibiotics in my urine after 7 days of fasting when I hadn’t taken any for several years.

 

Your tongue will turn white—this is a film of toxins being brought into circulation to be eliminated. During the first 3-4 days of the fast, the switchover in your body happens between digestive mode to cleansing mode.
It is recommended to get a tongue cleaner to remove the white film on your tongue daily.

 

Since accumulated toxins are being vacuumed out of your body, you may experience “healing crisis” effects of this increased load into your system. Symptoms of being weak, tired, light headed, dizzy, headaches or nausea are common. Remember, if you don’t eject all these toxins periodically, they WILL create health problems for you later on and cost a lot more of your money.

 

To avoid headaches, drink plenty of water since most of the toxins are exiting the body in liquid form. And because the fast brings more of them into circulation, it is paramount to drink plenty of water. You may get sick and feel off during the fast because of this cleansing process. Drinking a quart of water in the morning before you start drinking The Master Cleanse and a quart a half hour after you’re done for the day is a good ratio I’ve found works well. Try end drinking The Master Cleanse around 6 or 7pm and drink the quart of water before 8pm so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night and pee like a firehose.

 

You’ll wander outside of beta consciousness while you are awake. Fasting slows everything down and you’ll be cranking some nice cool alpha theta or even delta waves during the day. These brain states aren’t just for daydreams and sleeping. They’re interesting and fun to be in while you’re awake. Seasoned meditators are in alpha, theta or delta states all the time.

 

When you’re in the middle of the fast, you may get spacy. Fasting puts you in a state where the normal “noise” of your body subsides leaving you with more energy. Your mind may wander and become really silent at a level it has never been before. The distance form the distracting noises of the body and the processes of digestion allow your consciousness to migrate into deeper brainwave states. You may be pleasantly surprised at the ideas and creativity that just pop into your head. The deeper level of tranquility is worth the price of admission alone.

 

Your bowel movements will generally stop after the first 3-5 days. The Master Cleanse recommends doing a saltwater enema every morning of the cleanse. This is less scary than it sounds. Simply get a 1 quart glass bottle of spring or purified water and put 2 teaspoons of sea salt (Himalayan or Celtic) into the bottle until it dilutes. It is not uncommon to have a bowel movement 7 or more days into the Master Cleanse either.

 

Burroughs says to drink this saltwater solution first thing in the morning and with good reason. This acts as a brush through your intestines and helps flush toxins out as well as aiding bowel movements since eating solid food is what causes food to move through our intestines (Peristalsis) in the first place. If you are doing the saltwater enema, plan on not leaving your house for 2-3 hours those mornings which you do it as you will need to be near a bathroom once or twice on those days. It’s best to do this when you are on vacation or do not have to be at work early in the morning. Another option is to do the saltwater enema over a weekend (of 2 or 3 days) and not continue it for the remainder of the Master Cleanse because of your work/life schedule. The saltwater solution will make bowel movements very liquid so it is understandable that this is probably not the ideal thing to do when you have to be at work unless you get up very early to drink it. Don’t be an extremist and risk turning your life into a Saturday Night Live skit.

 

There are also laxative teas like Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move that you can take on the cleanse if the saltwater enema seems a bit much. You can do a combination of saltwater for a few days and teas. Or skip the saltwater altogether. I find a nice walk or a few minutes jumping and twisting on a rebounder (mini trampoline) takes care of bowel movements without making your week into bathroom 911.

 

I’ve done the saltwater enema the entire fast, for the first 3-4 days only, or just had teas depending on what was best for my schedule. Some cleanses I didn’t do it at all. Others, I did saltwater for a few days in the beginning and a few days towards the end. Remember just drinking the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture is going to have the majority of health benefits so don’t feel you’re failing for not doing it to the letter all the time. Be flexible with yourself, your life and your schedule. These days most of the time I skip the saltwater part of The Master Cleanse.

 

Remember: Every step towards improving your health counts. You don’t need to be a radical purist about any fast or cleanse.

 

Recommended Books On Fasting & Cleanses

The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs

The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet
by Tom Woloshyn, a student of Stanley Burroughs

The Miracle Of Fasting by Paul Bragg

Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease
Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Mucusless Diet Healing System (MDHS)
Prof. Arnold Ehret

Rational Fasting
Prof. Arnold Ehret

 

Paul Bragg’s classic book has a lot of good advice on eating a healthy diet and the benefits of fasting. I am not however an advocate of doing long water only fasts or long water fasts with distilled water as he practiced and recommended. For myself, I stick to water only fasts no longer than 1-3 days now. Also, don’t be turned off by the religious quotes and Biblical references if you are not of the same faith. Fasting itself is non-denominational and does not belong to any one particular religion or faith. It is a tool for greater health and higher consciousness that has been used for thousands of years before organized religion.

 

Prof. Ehret was a proponent of Natural Hygiene, which states that if you keep your body clean on the inside, it will not provoke a healing crisis (meaning getting sick) to rid itself of accumulated toxins. Fasting and cleanses are paramount to Natural Hygiene as is eating a clean natural Organic food diet so you do not accumulate toxins from pesticides, GMOs, chemicals and preservatives never seen in human history before WWII.

 

The companies which made war munitions needed a new way to sell their products after the war ended and the chemical agriculture “revolution” began at the price of everyone’s health and the planet’s. It’s important to note that Prof. Ehret wrote this book before GMOs pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, etc., even existed. He saw that just basic eating could get people sick and unhealthy in the early 1900’s. Fasting, cleanses and Natural Hygiene are even more important today for long term health.

 

Benefits of Short Term and Long Term Calorie Reduction

Fasting and cleanses are a form of calorie reduction aimed at healing and rejuvenating. They are NOT diets even though some people use them as such. When you are not on a fast, you eat normally and consume plenty of healthy fats live coconut, olive, hemp oils and monounsaturated fats like nuts and seeds (almonds and macadamia nuts are superb).

 

Reducing calories slows your metabolic rate and reduces the formation of free radicals and oxidative damage to the body which damage cells and DNA. This leads to one of the theories of aging, the Free Radical Theory which is pretty much says our bodies are rusting from the inside out.

 

And looking old could very well be all the accumulated toxins stored away from out bloodstream in our skin that have never had an opportunity to “get out of Dodge” with a cleanse or fast because we’re too busy eating like horses—so hungry you could eat a horse, or hungry like the wolf like our friends Duran Duran.

 

The less you eat, the cleaner you are. Eating and digestion produces metabolic waste and over time it accumulates inside your body unless you cleanse and/or fast. Reducing calories also lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. The 40 day guideline in several ancient texts means a person with an average body type can go 40 days without solid food before the body starts cannibalizing health tissue for food (like your muscle). It goes without say that pregnancy is not the time cleanse or fast. You need to eat for two people then.

 

Dismantle Your Unexamined Belief Systems…

When you’re clean on the inside, you won’t age at the same rate on the outside
When you’re clean on the inside, your mental and physical capacities won’t deteriorate like your “age group”
The “Over the hill” mentality is throwing in the towel without even entering the ring so knock that douchebag off your shoulder!

 

What are the Ingredients of The Master Cleanse?

Fresh squeezed lemons, Grade B Maple Syrup and Cayenne pepper (powdered spice), all preferably Organic.

For The Master Cleanse, I use 1 quart (32 oz) glass bottles. Santa Cruz, Lakewood or R.W. Knudsen juice bottles are great to reuse for this. DO NOT use plastic since acidic foods like lemon can leach plastic into the drink and all plastic is a hormone disruptor. I also measure out the maple syrup and fresh squeezed lemon juice separately in a glass measuring cup (1 cup/8oz, Anchor Hocking or Pyrex brands), which have a handle and fit nicely under my Waring citrus juicers spout.

 

From the instructions in the original book of The Master Cleanse, I scaled the measurements up for a 1 quart glass bottle:

3 oz lemon juice
3 oz Organic Grade B maple syrup/coconut nectar or blend
1/4-1/2 tsp of Organic cayenne pepper 30,000 Heat Units (HU) which is the kind found in most Whole Foods and natural food stores (in bulk section usually by the Frontier herb company)
All in 1 quart (32oz or a bit less) spring or purified water

 

The Suja company also makes a raw Master Cleanse drink if you are lazy on your first cleanse, but it appears not the same concentration as the original recipe when I’ve compared it to making the Master Cleanse fresh with a juicer. Their other juice blends are excellent raw combinations of vegetables and fruits that you can do short juice fasts of a few days with.

 

As far as maple syrup, Grade B is darker and thicker and supposedly has more nutrient value. In any case, don’t let it trip you up if you can only get Grade A maple syrup. And by all means do not use Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s as they are not 100% maple syrup—worse it’s corn syrup with maple syrup flavor and GMO corn syrup at that. Also don’t use lemonade bought in a store. It’s diluted in water and pasteurized already negating the health benefits of fresh squeezed lemons.

 

I’ve used the recommended Organic Grade B maple syrup. I’ve also tried dark agave syrup as well, even mixtures of the two. When coconut nectar came out, I tried that since it is raw and has more nutrition than either maple syrup and agave syrup. Coconut nectar also has a lower glycemic index than agave or maple syrup. All these can be found in natural foods stores, Whole Foods, and even most chain grocery stores natural foods sections.

 

For juicing lemons, I have a Waring Pro Citrus Juicer model PCJ201. It’s quick, easy to use and portable. I also have a higher end juicer, the Green Star GS-3000. The Waring Juicer costs a few hundred dollars less.

 

Most Cayenne Pepper will be 30-35,000 Heat Units (HU). You can get 90,000 heat units, but unless you grew up eating jalapenos or want to live dangerously at your colon’s expense, stick with the usual grade. I tried 90K HU Cayenne once on this fast. Once. It was a bit too hot and I’m used to hot jalapenos on pizza and in gluten free pancakes.

 

Cayenne is really good to have with meals even outside of doing The Master Cleanse. It aids digestion and open blood vessels. It’s even something that when eaten regularly may prevent a heart attack. I sprinkle cayenne in any nut butter. Ginger is another herb to eat for digestion and Curry (which contains Turmeric) is a staple of Indian cuisine which has numerous health benefits (anti–inflammatory) that you should incorporate into your diet as frequently as possible.

 

You can make the Master Cleanse mixer ahead of time and put it into several bottles. Just include the fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper without adding the water yet and put it in the refrigerator or freezer. Add the water ONLY when you are going to start drinking it since water will start to break down the formulation before you want it to.

 

When can I do The Master Cleanse?

Spring and Fall are excellent times to do cleanses and fasts. The 5,000 year old science of Ayurveda agrees. The when will depend on your schedule and the climate where you live. Fasting in early Spring and Fall allows you to enjoy all the seasonal summer fruits and veggies in most locations.

 

I’ve done The Master Cleanse in different states, seasons and climates. In climates with a REAL Winter with snow and below freezing temperatures, I fasted Spring through Fall. I did fast several times during the Winters but it can stress the body since cold temperatures without eating solid food makes it feel 5 degrees colder or more colder than it already is.

 

When I lived in the tropics, it was comfortable to do all year round. Actually it was better to do in the Summers there since fasting lowers your body temperature since you are not burning any solid fuel in food. And besides, fruits and veggies are always in season there.

 

I’ve fasted hiking the Grand Canyon (AZ) and Joshua Tree National Park (CA) which lowered my body temperature in relation to the desert climates. You still need to drink PLENTY of water in those places but fasting from solid food slows you from dehydrating.

 

I try to clear my schedule when I plan my fasts/cleanses and tell friends that I won’t be available to have lunch but can still visit and take road trips. Often when I travel long distance by car or plane, I’ll fast for the day and just drink liquids. I don’t think our bodies work well at over 30,000 feet so I try to only eat on the ground.

 

How Long Should I do the Master Cleanse?

Aim for a duration of 10 days or more if you’ve done it for a few years already. If it’s your first one, 7-10 days may be better to get yourself used to it.

 

Drink 1-3 quarts of the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture daily as needed. You’ll need more in the first 3-4 days as your body has not yet switched over from digestive mode to cleansing mode. The middle part of the fast you may find you consume less. As the fast is nearing its end, you may notice you are drinking more. The hunger feelings are usually at the beginning and endings of fasts.

 

I have comfortably done The Master Cleanse for over 2 weeks, my longest being 23 days which I cut short because it was during Winter. Bad timing on my part.

 

Years prior, I did a longer water fast on a vacation lasting 8 days without having anything else but water. I did this however, after building up to it becoming comfortable going 2-4 days with only water. Some years later, I discovered The Master Cleanse. Comparing the two, the water only fast didn’t cleanse as deeply as The Master Cleanse and I had low energy during it. I slept for a few hours each afternoon and meditated. I did have a very altered state of consciousness towards the end where I heard poetic lyrical verse just coming to me instantly almost faster that I could write. One of my Yoga teachers did 47 days on a fast but I wouldn’t put him in the “normal human” category to begin with. He’s in his 70’s now and has been meditating for more years than I’ve been breathing.

 

Can I Have Anything Else on The Master Cleanse?

Skip the pizza of course but the answer is yes. Teas are recommend especially Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Detox tea formulas. Burroughs wrote the book before coconut water and kombucha became all the rage in health foodie circles. On occasion I’ve had these on The Master Cleanse, but wait 30 minutes to an hour before and after drinking The Master Cleanse—you want this to be your main source of calories for the cleansing effect it will have on your entire body.

 

Can I Work and Exercise on The Master Cleanse?

Yes. Walking and rebounding (jumping on a mini trampoline) as well as Yoga/stretching are great during fasts. Don’t hit the weight racks at the gym or go running. Low impact exercise only. Don’t worry about losing progress at the gym either. You’ll gain it back, and with better muscular structure. I’ve even actually gone up on the weight racks after 10 days of not weightlifting after The Master Cleanse. I know this makes no sense, but cleanses and fasts work on multiple levels. More than that, this has happened multiple times so it’s not a fluke—it’s the synergistic benefits of regular fasting.

 

It bears mentioning to avoid sexual activity during fasts and cleanses. The reduction in calories will naturally decrease your libido so your body can conserve energy and get on with the business of removing accumulated stored toxins. Don’t counteract this normal safeguard inhibition as sex requires a lot of energy from the body like digestion.

 

During fasts and cleanses, I do basic Yoga stretches, take walks during the day, meditate for several hours a day. Also, read books, practice music, do art and listen to inspirational music (instrumental/ambient music is great) and try to avoid the negativity on TV and newspapers.

 

On The Master Cleanse I could do physical labor though try to avoid it if you can. Once I even helped my parents move to a new house 14 days into a Master Cleanse—and we’re talking lifting couches and chairs.

 

How Often Should I do The Master Cleanse?

This will depend on how much you normally eat and how clean you are. If you’re eating 3 or more times a day, a good guideline is to do The Master Cleanse 2-4 times a year. This number may decrease as you become cleaner on the inside and do not require it as frequently. Also be flexible with the number of days per fast. Try to do 10, but if one only lasts 7 days, that’s still plenty of cleansing. You can go longer than 10 days on some of your other fasts.

 

If you eat 1 or 2 times a day, 1-2 times a year does the job splendidly. Spring and Fall are ideal times for this since you’re preparing for Winter (to prevent sickness) and cleaning yourself after Winter when most people are more sedentary and tend to overeat.

 

These are the ratios I’ve experienced work well for me when I’ve eaten at the frequencies mentioned. Yours may vary. Also you can cut down the number of times you do this every year if you are doing other fasts or cleanses. For example I do the Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse twice a year (4 days) and The Apple Juice fast twice a year (3 days).  The Kitchari Cleanse is a 4 day mono food diet that’s great for cleansing & fasting rookies. These will be discussed in other articles.

 

Changing Your Diet

Fasting and cleanses such as The Master Cleanse not only remove accumulated toxins but actually change your tastes and craving in food—towards more natural, healthier, less salted, less sugar laden food. Yes boring ‘ol real food made by God/Nature actually becomes really desirable and tasty over food made in factories. That in itself is a Miracle of Fasting to borrow Paul Bragg’s book title.

 

I’m not here to preach you should completely become a vegetarian, vegan, paleo or raw. You’ll find your diet will change over the course of your life even after you eat cleaner and healthier. It’s always an ongoing journey. I’ve done all these diets and take what I like from each.

 

I have Organic free range eggs as my meat—“Meat on the other side of life” as I like to call it. I get Organic Grass Fed Pastured when I can find them. They are the highest quality and more expensive than just cage free. I only have eggs when I sense my body craving them which happens to be in Winters and after fasts which is my body telling me to replenish it’s fat reserves.

 

As far as dairy, I’ve switched to coconut ice cream and vegan cheese. Heidi Ho veggie and cashew cheese (without soy) are what I put on homemade pizza these days.

 

But to cut down on mucus, and you still want dairy, switch to goat or sheep milk products like I have now and then. The protein molecule in these animal’s milk is much smaller and more similar to human breast milk protein than cow’s milk protein which is large and more difficult to digest. Goat and sheep milk products are also slightly alkaline and not as mucus producing as cows dairy which for singers is crucial. Opera tenor Luciano Parvarotti once said he avoids dairy. Contemporary singers often have to avoid cigarettes and other substance abuse first before concerning themselves with more “Prima Donna” sounding healthier dietary items that reduce mucus.

 

Another great thing to add to your diet to clean plaque from arteries (as well as a myriad of other health benefits) is drinking a tablespoon of raw Organic apple cider vinegar at meals.

 

What if it’s My First Master Cleanse?

No problem. You can build up to it. Try 5-7 days if 10 seems too much at first. I had been fasting a day a week (one 24-36 hour period) like Paul Bragg recommended in the Miracle Of Fasting for quite some time before I did my first Master Cleanse. My weekly fast day was usually on a day off so I could relax. On weekends sometimes I would fast 2 or 3 days straight. This made The Master Cleanse easier for me and I still did my regular 1 day a week fast all year round. It wasn’t until just a year ago that I began eating only once or twice a day (as that’s all I seemed to need recently), which is known as Intermittent Fasting as Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends in several articles on his website www.mercola.com

 

Dr. Mercola’s site has a lot of articles on fasting and the medical benefits of it. He himself is a practitioner of Intermittent Fasting as well (1 meal a day). The standard advice is it is best to consult your Physician before fasting and/or cleanses. If you have low blood sugar or Diabetes, fasting probably isn’t the best thing to attempt.

 

If your Doctor actually knows about cleanses and fasts, great. The problem many people will run into with consulting their physician is that few will have one who has any direct knowledge and experience with doing these themselves and may spread fears about them. People have been fasting for thousands of years. Bears have been fasting (during hibernation) for even longer than that. Nature built this mechanism into animals. You may have to see another health practitioner such as a Naturopath (as is Dr. Mercola) or an Ayurvedic physician or specialist.The good news is most Doctors from India and China know about Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine respectively as part of their cultural heritage and won’t treat you like you’ve been deluded by a quack and just bought a case of snake oil. How many pharmaceutical drugs does the rest of the animal kingdom need? Who’s really living against nature?

 

Breaking Your Master Cleanse Juice Fast

The thing you’ll notice after doing The Master Cleanse regularly is that you’ll consume more of it during the first 3-4 days until your body “switches over” from digestion mode to cleansing mode. When this happens, you’ll notice you don’t need as much of the drink during the middle part of the fast. This is The “Eye Of The Fast” similar to how a hurricane is rough in the beginning and end but peaceful in the middle. There’s a deep calm and peace accompanied with an altered expanded state of consciousness and slower deeper brainwaves like alpha and theta.

 

The hamster wheel of “normal” fight or flight beta consciousness people wind up in due to the crazy pace of modern society is stressful, ultra thin, and not conducive to greater creativity or long term health. Just look at all the problems people have with high blood pressure. My blood pressure is generally the same when I am not eating solid food for 10 or more days as it is when I’m eating normally. That’s a result of long term meditation and fasting.

 

Fasting cleans the physical body on the deepest levels. Meditation cleans the thoughts and emotions.

 

Towards the tail end of the fast, your body will cue you in that it’s nearing the time to slowly and gently resume eating soon. You’ll notice you’ll start drinking more of The Master Cleanse again like in the beginning of it. Your mind will start thinking of food again and the white film (toxins brought into circulation by the fast) on your tongue will get lighter or be gone. Needless to say, it’s best to avoid going to grocery stores near the end of your fast unless you want to overspend like senior citizens in New England before a “Big Storm” forecast on TV.

 

The most important thing about breaking a fast is starting to integrate easy to digest foods FIRST. And not large quantities of them either. It will be several days before you build up to your normal portion sizes of anything. Think of yourself as a baby learning to eat again.

 

You are restarting your digestive system after it has been on vacation. So it’s Monday back at work when your stomach just got back from Aruba.

 

Start with high water content fruit to break The Master Cleanse. I’ve broken fasts with the recommended 2 days of orange juice as The Master Cleanse recommends. I’ve broken it with tomato sauce like Paul Bragg recommends (a tomato is a high water content fruit).

Good Choices To Break The Master Cleanse (High Water Content Fruit):
Grapefruit
Orange
Pineapple
Melons
Watermelon (take the seeds out)
Tomato Sauce/Tomatoes/Salsa (acidic and cleansing for digestive system post fast)

 

I generally prefer to have fresh oranges, grapefruits, tomato sauce/salsa, and pineapple for the first 2 days of eating again. And SMALL portions. DO NOT OVEREAT. Your hunger will return and tell you when to eat more but not for a few days. So this means a meal in those first few days is a half an orange, half a grapefruit, a cup (8oz) of tomato sauce or pineapple.

 

Coming off a fast may be a bit rough so don’t stress out your stomach the first few days after it’s vacation because you won’t digest larger quantities of food at this stage properly or worse, you could get sick. This is the mistake of many shipwreck survivors when they are rescued days or weeks later without having any food. Their bodies were in a fasting state and due to their hunger and fear, they overeat and get sick when food is available again.

 

Proper hydration is paramount. Drink plenty of water after your fast to flush remaining toxins out of your body. Have 22oz to a quart (32oz) of water first thing in morning upon waking. This keeps billions of cells hydrated and your bowels running smoothly. Our bodies are 70% or more water and it is slow suicide to not drink water alone all by itself like the rest of the animal kingdom. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. When you are thirsty, your body is already in the dehydration zone. Sip water throughout the day and up until 20 minutes before a meal. Start drinking water 40-45 minutes after each meal. Hydration in this manner negates needing to drink water or liquids during meals which dilutes stomach acids and leads to less than optimal incomplete digestion.

 

Remember it takes 3-4 days for your body to switchover from digestion to cleansing mode to start a fast and it takes as much or longer to switch back to digestive mode completely.  Have 1 tablespoon of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in a bit (1-2oz) of water with meals (other than fruit) and at any other time post fast. This will further cleanse and aid in your digestion.

 

One of the main principles of Food Combining is having fruit ALONE because it digests the quickest of any food. Eat fruit alone and wait 30 minutes before having anything else and at least 2 hours afterwards. Doing so helps prevent digestive issues where the fruit sugars when combined with other kinds of food have to wait to be digested and putrefy in your digestive tract. Eww! This is just what harmful bacteria love as a food source, and since around 70% of your immune system is actually in your gut, they’re attacking at your front door.

 

Stick to meal portions of a half cup (4oz) to 1 cup (8oz) the first 3-4 days resuming solid food

Eat Slow and Savor your food—be mindful of the tastes you missed noticing before

 

Pineapple is great to break a fast because of its digestive enzymes. I’ve broken The Master Cleanse with 2-4 days of just a cup of pineapple several times a day.

 

Kombucha and Kevita beverages are excellent to replenish probiotics and further detoxify post fast. Drink these alone or 20-30 minutes before a meal that is not fruit to help with digestion. Probiotics and Apple Cider Vinegar will help buffer post fast symptoms of feeling under the weather.

 

Apples are good after the second day of resuming eating since the Malic acid in them is very cleansing for the entire digestive tract. This is why the Apple Juice Fast of 2-3 days is very effective for improving digestion and keeping your digestive tract functioning optimally throughout your life. And one small or medium sized apple is a meal at this point.

 

After the first few days of fruit and/or juice, break in simple high water content vegetables next. Onions and cucumbers are great. Carrots are high water content too and one medium size carrot is a meal here. Carrots are also cleansing to the digestive tract. Broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut and vegetable soup (without grains or beans) are excellent as well. Sauerkraut replenishes needed probiotics post fast. I also recommend Amazing Grass Raw Reserve powder (original or berry flavored) for it’s density and medley of nutrition in addition to healthy digestive bacteria.

 

Keep refraining from eating the same amount you are used to eating—this will take some discipline and experience. Continue to have have small portions the first several days post fast so your digestion can come back online. It’s still yawning at this point. Remember, it has been on vacation and is simple like a baby’s the first week of resuming eating.

 

In the first 3-4 days after your fast, it’s common to have a runny nose and become stuffed up with excess mucus. This is produced when you resume eating solid food, which is why the most important part of coming off a fast is easing your way back into your regular pattern of eating. Pretty much everyone experiences some degree of coughing and a scratchy throat as well (why having Raw OG Apple Cider Vinegar is helpful as a buffer post fast). You may also notice you are more emotional than usual when resuming eating again. It’s wise to break your first fast over a weekend until you can identify the specific symptoms and reactions particular to your fasts.
Another fantastic post fast buffering food is having fresh Organic garlic or garlic powder on your vegetables and first meals. Sprinkle liberally. Garlic is an incredibly potent anti-biotic and will pick up any slack and sluggishness your immune and digestive systems got bogged down in the foxhole of the fast.

 

Green peas are an excellent first plant protein as they are high water content. Then break in seeds and nuts—almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, etc.  Pumpkin seeds are wonderful as are hemp seeds or hemp protein. Raw cacao (chocolate) and shredded coconut are also terrific sources of healthy fats. Ground flax seed is amazingly cleansing post fast as well as a great source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seed is even better for Omega 3. And good news if you’re craving carbs: Quinoa isn’t a grain! Unlike grains, it’s actually a complete protein–a seed and member of the rhubarb family. Soak in water 6 or more hours before cooking to make it more nutritious and digestible.

 

Your body will be craving fats after a fast to replenish its reserves. A great first fat to start eating after your first 2 or more days of just eating fruit is coconut oil. The reason being, coconut oil is rapidly digested like a carbohydrate unlike other fats which require your gallbladder to secrete bile to break them down. Get Organic Extra Virgin (sometimes labeled as simply Virgin) cold pressed UNREFINED for maximum benefits. Have a tablespoon with your first vegetable meals post fast. Coconut oil is a fantastic food for long term health afterwards too since it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti parasitic as well as protective for the brain against degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Wait a week before you have any hard to digest things like animal protein (meat, fish, dairy) if you eat these. Also, I usually wait a week before having any grain products like bread or granola as well. After a week, most people are back to eating their normal diet and normal volume of food per meal.

 

Putting a leash on the returning tiger of your hunger for the first 4-7 days post fast and having buffering foods like Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, coconut oil, garlic/garlic powder, and onions will ensure you do not get sick as you transition back to your normal eating habits. Vitamin D3 supplementation either in liquid form or softgel will ramp up your immune system during the transition time. Kombucha, sauerkraut, or probiotic supplementation will bolster the growth healthy flora in your digestive tract.

 

Chlorella is another superfood I recommend consuming on a daily basis for it’s unrivaled nutrient breadth and density, detoxifying properties and overall long term health maintenance. All these players form an All Star team for your cakehole to get it’s groove back without having a slump. They can also keep you in the game of life much longer, and with greater physical vigor and mental acuity than if you we’re playing for the “home team” of the Standard American Diet. So batter up or batter up with deep fried death. Your choice.

 

Final Thoughts

I grew up eating Pop Tarts, Chips Ahoy!, Little Debbie, Keebler, Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch too. These days my treats are all much healthier—homemade pizza, coconut ice cream, Mary’s Gone Cookies, and the occasional Nature’s Path Toaster Pastry. Take that Pop Tarts. The best part of it was the fasting itself reset my taste buds and recalibrated my body where I naturally started craving healthier food like sauerkraut after coming off fasts and cleanses. It surprised me how I was eating things my mother wouldn’t dare put on my plate as a kid. I no longer fear brussel sprouts. It can happen to you too.

 

Fasting uses the body’s innate intelligence. Willpower alone only goes so far—if you feed your body junk food, it will crave junk food. It’s a negative cycle that perpetuates itself and sugar is addictive but legal. You can break free without deprivation or torturing yourself with willpower which just sets you up for failure and self-criticism.

 

Remember, you didn’t get stuck in a poor diet overnight so be patient with yourself as you turn that sugar laden ship around. There’s no Fairy Godmother to grant you an instant transformation nuked in a microwave for 30 seconds. As your body becomes cleaner on the inside, you won’t crave junk food and overly sweet, salty (used as a preservative in processed foods to extend shelf life) food anymore.

 

A few other tips: Stop cooking in a microwave—it alters food where the body cannot utilize the nutrients and creates excess free radicals inside your body. You are throwing money away microwaving food and decreasing the amount of nutrient value the food has. Better alternatives are using your stove or toaster oven. For healthy cooking with quickness, get a Far Infrared oven from NuWave which fits on any table or countertop.

 

Use Himalayan sea salt—it’s the purest, most nutrient dense salt in the world as it was formed in the prehistoric oceans long before humans ever polluted the land, rivers and oceans and cheered for the stock markets. This is another reason to fast and cleanse regularly—because these industries have polluted you as well. The average infant born in the world today has over 250 foreign chemicals already inside it’s body. You have to take a stand and fight for your long term heath and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t expect your Big Mac eating Congress and Senate to have the health and safety of your food on their legislative plates anytime soon.

 

Remember:

Flexibility over fanaticism. Dietary fundamentalists and fanatics are no different than religious fundamentalists and fanatics. No one diet is ever 100% accurate or complete for everybody, nor will it remain the same over a persons entire life. You will change and grow and have the right to do so.

 

Taste Food Again For The First Time

Best wishes on your Master Cleanse, rejuvenation, and long term investment in your health. Enjoy discovering all the subtle nuances and flavors of food made by Nature as you are soon descending back into the realm of regular scheduled gastronomy like I am about to once again in a few days.

 

And with that, you’ll also find an unexpected sacred reverence for food and the simple act of eating you probably have long forgotten since you believed in Santa, who probably could use a Master Cleanse as well—and a trip to Aruba to do it in.

 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational/educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.

© Composer Yoga

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George Michael: The Careless Whisperer

Just when we thought 2016 was done swallowing up celebrities, with just a week left in the year, we lose another. Then another. George Michael and Carrie Fisher. I can’t remember another year where more major musical figures exited the stage of life taking their final bows.

 

I mean David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, and George Michael—Four of the most well known musicians on the planet. George Michael sold over 100 million albums which is even “more” considering he recorded far fewer studio albums in his career than the others listed. Whether you’re a fan or not, that’s a lot of albums and fans. That’s in league with acts like The Eagles, Queen, Chicago, Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones and Mariah Carey and nearing fabled Beatles and Elvis territory. George Michael’s numbers will no doubt increase in the coming weeks as it did with Prince posthumously even causing an unreleased track on the 1986 album Parade, “Sometimes It Snows In April” to chart in several countries in Europe peaking at #14 in France.

 

The death of George Michael came as a surprise to me as it did many others.  I was visiting my brother later in the afternoon and saw it on my Twitter feed. I said to him George Michael just died. He didn’t believe it either. With all the recent talk about fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter like “Donald Trump Summits Everest” as well as discussion of verifying the accuracy of Tweets, at first I thought this was just another social media sucker punch celebrity death click bait. Then I googled and found a BBC article. George Michael gone too early at just 53 years old. Which means there’s songs not released yet and songs and projects unfinished.

 

George Michael won two Grammys: one for his debut album Faith (Album Of The Year) and one for his amazing duet with Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin. He achieved eight #1 singles on Billboard charts during his solo career. He began his foray into pop culture with high school friend Andrew Ridgeley in the 80’s British pop group Wham!. The historical fun fact about Wham! was they were the first western musical act to perform in China. Make that allowed to perform in China as many types of music was still banned there at the time. That was 1985 and Chinese police were worried there’d be riots. Being trampled by teenage girls can be an occupational hazard. I know the feeling. A few years back, I went an Ingrid Michaelson concert and it was me surrounded by 400–500 teenage girls. I hung out back near the soundman until the end of the show then talked to friends of mine in her band when it was safe. I lived to tell about it.

 

I’m going to disregard the American Idol admonition “You shouldn’t have picked a George Michael song” and pick several of my favorites. Some were released as singles, some not. All showcase his incredible voice and adeptness at singing. It’s blatantly evident George Michael was far from a base model vocalist—with him our ears get the deluxe package with all the bells and whistles. There’s none of smoke and mirrors of autotune numerous pop stars depend on and which newer generations of music fans have become tone deaf to people who wield greater mastery of the art of singing like George Michael.

 

Last Christmas (Single 1984, included on Music from the Edge of Heaven 1986)


Last Christmas for George Michael. The bittersweet irony of George Michael dying on Christmas Day was not lost on Captain Obvious. It was another bizarre coincidence like Prince dying in an elevator after mentioning one in “Let’s Go Crazy.” Both occurrences with greater odds against them than if Elton John, a member of Chicago or the Bay City Rollers died on a Saturday.

George Michael and Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley released “Last Christmas” on the heels of the massive success of their second album Make It Big. “Last Christmas” is one of those fun pop holiday songs that invites you, some would say addictively beckons you to sing along. Special. See? You know you love doing the backing vocal to it. And of all the Yuletide assaults on our ear canals in retail stores from November 24th til December 31st, I was always glad when the satellite radio roulette landed on “Last Christmas” when I was in a store. Just like when Michael Jackson died, MJ merchandise was everywhere only a day or so later and shop owners were moonwalking all the way to the bank. So don’t be surprised if you see Last Christmas or CHOOSE GEORGE apparel in stores soon.

 

Careless Whisper (Make It Big 1984)

 

Although Wham! was marketed as an early boy band (or more aptly a boy duo), when I got older, I could see how George Michael displayed a compositional maturity beyond his years. Case in point: “Careless Whisper.” I was even more impressed when I learned he wrote that famous haunting sax line when he was still a teenager. This was the first official solo from George Michael even though it was included on Make It Big. He and Andrew Ridgeley started writing this track several years prior and it’s the only one on the album where Ridgeley has a writing credit. The rest of Make It Big was all George Michael compositions.

 




Father Figure (Faith 1987)

 

George Michael had devastating nuances like Sade. “Father Figure” demonstrates how he could maneuver inside whispers. It’s one of the most believable love songs I’ve ever heard. It’s not surface pretty pop lyrics, it’s not idealized, it’s not some teenage or 20 something year old lamenting about love with miniscule life perspective—it’s a naked vulnerable exposure beyond what teeneyboppers and young pop stars could pull off. I listen to this track and see how George Michael is actually living inside these lyrics and delivers fine point precision singing with a degree of authenticity they cannot replicate. Put another way, I highly doubt even if they could write lyrics as piercingly honest and revealing, they couldn’t sell the performance vocally as genuinely as George Michael does on “Father Figure.”

I hear songs first on the level of emotional depth. So even if this song was in a different language it still would have connected with me. Though now, as an adult I can see how the lyrics could be interpreted as references to gay culture. Back then I wasn’t privy to this since this over a decade before George Michael officially came out. And during his Wham! days and early solo work, he was still bisexual (which was kept from the press) and still writing songs about women.

 

Nevertheless, I just heard “Father Figure” as a great love song with rare solemnness and sincerity. It really didn’t occur to me at the time that a guy who had women like Tyra Banks in his videos was gay. Back then, for George Michael, life was like a Robert Palmer video. He didn’t publicly come out until that incident in a Beverly Hills bathroom in 1998—his Pee Wee Herman moment—both men caught masturbating in public. Michael made fun of himself and the incident in the music video for the single “Outside” by wearing an LAPD uniform, holding a nightstick and dancing in a bathroom pimped out like a disco. He didn’t take himself seriously, which is a blessing when you meet famous persons who are like this, but George Michael always took his singing seriously which is preserved in the sublime softness of this moment carved in sound. Rest assured in the future, some work(s) by George Michael will be selected by the Library of Congress to be included in the United States National Recording Registry joining the Steely Dan album Aja. I have Faith on that.

 

I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) 1987, Duet, Grammy

 

What’s better than a song by Aretha Franklin? A song with Aretha AND George Michael. It was the only time it happened and fortunately it was awesome. George got to sing with one of his heroes, one of his favorite artists. He definitely picked a great example to emulate and develop his own style. The pairing was also the biggest hit for Aretha Franklin reaching #1 on Billboard charts. Earlier on in her career Aretha got Respect. Sharing a mic with George Michael got them a Grammy. Coincidentally the song has the word Faith in it as well.

This song proves it doesn’t matter what color your skin is or what gender you are. It’s what’s inside you. George Michael had Motown and R&B coursing through his veins supplying his vocal chords with velvety richness and a buttery expressiveness. On the outside we saw a white British guy of Greek heritage. We heard something beyond all those temporary impermanent classifications when he sang. And this is such a beautiful contemporary spiritual/gospel flavored song disguised as pop tune with an infectious triumph and elation in the chorus hook.

 

Something To Save  (Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 1990)

This song soars. It’s either a secular gospel song or a hymn in the First Church of George Michael. This track will bring tears to your eyes with it’s openheartedness. It was never released as a single but it’s definitely a George Michael track that deserves more attention that it got. His affectation, freedom, and expressiveness on this track show how George Michael could make singing into a religious experience. It’s like taking a glider ride on sighs.

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Waiting (Reprise) Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 1990

 

This is another track which was never released as a single. Although it’s short it contains some brutally confessional lyrics. And George Michael doesn’t devolve into sappy which all too often undermines the realness of a song. He expertly matches the singing to these really personal lyrics. He’s wasn’t just a singer, he was a songwriter and you can hear the difference—he’s singing his own words and experiences. The intimacy of this song is a reflection of self discovery. It’s daring and not the juvenile shock value kind, it’s delicate shades of gray which don’t get obscured by clouds of anger. When he sings “Here I am” towards the end of the song, he paints so many more words than just those three.

 

Freedom! ’90 (Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 1990)

 

Man could George Michael sing. Listen to “Freedom! ’90” and he’ll blow your hair back on the chorus. It’s one of my favorite George Michael tracks. The outro is just pure astral emancipation. It’s danceable latin flavored groove is deceptively inviting onto a dancefloor of deliverance. “Freedom! ’90” is where we delightfully hear George Michael roar in celebratory victory. The resonant power of his chorus yells gives reverberating lift fanning the ignition of independence.

 

 

After Wham! George Michael explored songwriting further, stretching out from the common verse chorus restrictions. And that’s when he really showcased his vocal techniques and vocal range. It allowed him to employ a greater tonal palate with his singing and become more confessional with his material and singing. George Michael ranged from theatric to solemn, from sassiness to spiritual. His slower tempo songs really allowed him to stretch out and showcase his vocal flair.

 

For a vocalist to reach and apply higher level artistry, he or she has to sing more than just notes. and George Michael brought vocal ornamentation to the forefront. His sense of dynamics, use of nuance and inflection have made me go wow in my head numerous times. It’s in the tonality of his voice, the multi–textural vocal stylings, it’s not just his vocal range, it’s he could do so many cool things with his voice.

 

When your ear becomes educated you can Listen Without Prejudice and appreciate singers and styles you wouldn’t otherwise have listened to. Like Freddie Mercury (whom he was a fan of as was Freddie of him) George Michael was a one of a kind unique voice. He wrapped silver and gold tinsel around his melodies, fitting for someone with such a gifted voice.

 

So boom boom boom boom.

Remember, if you’re going do it, do it right, and wear your CHOOSE GEORGE shirt.

But I just hope you’ll understand, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.

© Composer Yoga

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Talking To Your Bandmates During The Song Vol. 1

For those unfamiliar with our organization, DPAC, the Dork Prevention Advisory Committee has been entrusted with the ardent task of upholding, maintaining and preserving standards of cultural coolness & integrity for successive generations. We conduct ongoing policing of pop singers recommending safeguards and protocols with the noble aim of curbing, avoiding and eliminating Dorky Dialogue in popular music.

 

Our panel of experts have compiled a series of reports entitled “Talking To Your Bandmates During The Song: Case Files And Conclusions.” In addition to this website, copies of our reports will be available at all Federally funded government offices and institutions including but not limited to your local DMV, Post Office, and Public Library.

 

DISCLAIMER: DPAC should not to be confused with 2–Pac, nor is in any way affiliated with Self Help author Deepak Chopra.

 

Abstract & Origins

Dorky Dialogue is indeed a razor’s edge many have slipped from iconified grace and wound up impaled on Dork Stalactites in the corny canyon years or decades later. Such dialogue risks launching self–inflicted salvos at their own careers and creates blundering boomerangs as their own “Towers of Babble” return to sender. CAUTION is the watchword for unfiltered enthusiastic utterances in the studio or onstage, impromptu or planned.

 

DPAC aims to erect a “Speech Line: Do Not Cross” Auditory Police Tape so future musicians and entertainers may refer to maintain a successful “Bell Curve of Cool” throughout their careers as well as protect the airwaves and internet from Nerdy Noise Pollution. Our Publication SM 58: Dampening Dorky Dialogue (see below), provides helpful guidelines for singers to learn when to palm mute their given instrument. The Singer Modification 58 Protocols outline safe and unsafe lead vocal territories in regards to unnecessary chatter, gibberish, babble, bragging, ego stroking, superfluous filler, fluff, Paul Stanleyisms, etc.

 

Publication SM–58

 

Showing Some Love Towards Cover Bands

The first thing such Inter–Song Socializing (ISS) or Inter–Band Dialogue (IBD) on a recording does is it renders a particular song Cover Tune Unfriendly (CTU). Before engaging and risking such utterances, ask yourself “What are the odds cover tune band members will have the same names and/or play the same instrument?” Or be the same gender for that matter. If you are not good with math like a singer, the odds are about that of a Beatles reunion, Charlie Manson getting a record deal, or another Tiffany album.

 

Acceptable Usage and Examples

Neneh Cherry saying “Hey DJ…” in the intro to her hit track “Buffalo Stance” is one such example. Note that this is acceptable as Ms. Cherry refrained from naming the particular DJ, and just telling him (or her) to “Stop that effing scratching and give me a beat!”

 

Vanilla Ice prodded “Yo VIP–let’s kick it!” to get his DJ to press a button and get the the synth drums going on “Ice Ice Baby.” Again no one is insinuated by name and thus cannot be charged as an Accessory to Nerdy.

 

Steve Perry shouting after the piano intro to “Don’t Stop Believin'”, “Neil!”  to Neil Schon to cue in the 4 note guitar lick build that increases in speed and crescendos with the drums entering. Steve did this live but NOT on the actual sound recording which would have definitely been North of dork and South of cool.

 

Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention could get away with lots of inter band conversation onstage because it was musical theatre and part of the show.

 

Rap & Hip Hop have taken Inter–Song Socializing to new plateaus, talking to and about themselves with a frequency density far greater than that of other genres as they do not seem concerned with having their material covered by bands in nightclubs. Since it is so much a part of the genre, we have determined a hands off policy is the recommended approach.

 

When did all this Inter–Song Socializing (ISS) start?

DPAC has determined its origins seem to have been with James Brown, shouting “MACEO!!” To Maceo Parker his horn player. However these were live recordings and part of the spontaneity of being in the moment.

 

Note that doing so on an actual STUDIO recording is a logical contradiction, since if a band member is dumb enough to not know when to solo or play a certain part, then why would they be in the band to begin with? One presupposes they ARE in the band because they are competent on said instrumentation. ISS on recordings is further innecessitated when hiring session players for an album, who it can be safely assumed, know their ass from their elbow.

 

Recommendations

One recommendation is yelling out the name of the instrument about to take spotlight such as “Guitar!!” In regards to such solos, riffs, fills and licks, fans already know it’s coming and who’s playing it, so doing this in substitute of a bandmates name can prevent a dork meter spike and keep you safely south of dork. Bret Michaels finally learned this wise strategy on Poison’s sophomore album with the track “Nothin’ But A Good Time” after his horrendous transgression to C.C. on “Talk Dirty To Me.”

 

Consider the fact that your band members will already be listed in album liner notes and also on your website. You also get to introduce them live on stage every performance. Is there really a need to have such a conversation during the song?

 

Just Shut Up And Sing!! Well, you know what we mean—avoid mentioning your bandmates by name and at all during recording sessions. (The SM–58 Gold Standard—our preferred recommendation)

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Sharpening Your Cool IQ

Imagine a Steely Dan recording session where Donald Fagen yells out to Jeff “Skunk” Baxter “Go Skunk!” Or to Elliott Randall, “Elliott!” on the opening solo of “Reelin’ In The Years.” A voice sample of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial saying “Elliott”, although getting points for originality, still fails to be a Trojan horse in the cool army.

 

Picture “Tom Sawyer” with Geddy Lee saying “Gimme a roll Neil!”  to Neil Peart right before his first gargantuan drum fill. Then “How about another?”, and finally a “One More time.” Or alternately after the 3 big drum fills, Geddy saying “Wow, Neil was on a roll!” in some form of schlocky musical slapstick.

 

Singers are most often the guilty parties. Think about how dumb it would sound for another band member telling the lead singer to sing. Can you picture Jimmy Page telling Robert Plant “Scream Robert!” Or Keith Richards telling Mick Jagger “Sing unintelligibly like you always do Mick!” ISS seems to be a symptom of Lead Singer Disease (LSD) as guitarists, drummers, bassists, pianists and keyboardists, etc. are not prone to such fanciful faux pas.

 

Did we ever hear Freddie Mercury telling guitarist Brian May “Go Brian go!?” In the classic Rob Reiner Mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, the track “Gimme Some Money” on the band’s CD makes fun of Inter–Song Socializing. It’s a retro 60’s Flower Power song, where lead singer David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says to guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), “Go Nigel Go!!” as he begins a wimpy guitar solo replete with stellar garage band cacophony.

 

“Gimme Some Money” is a parody song. DPAC exists to prevent parody from unintentionally becoming reality, and any Careless Whisper or Momentary Lapse Of Reason from becoming a parody later on. That being said, we wish you a long and productive career filled with years of Certified Dork Free Recordings (CDFR).

–DPAC

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Case Files:

 

Poison “Talk Dirty To Me”

“C.C. pick up that guitar and talk to me”

Bret Michaels yells out “C.C. pick up that guitar and talk to me” to C.C. DeVille on Poison’s debut album during the track “Talk Dirty To Me.” It’s like what the hell was C.C. doing prior to this in the song—NOT playing guitar? Sitting on his monitor amp painting his fingernails? It makes little sense. One needs to factor in and consider before doing so “Will this still sound cool 20 years from now?” Because unless you’re in a tribute band, and dress and pretend to be the actual members of the original band onstage, such lyrical appendages are better omitted.

 

 

Def Leppard “Armageddon It”

“Come on Steve, get it!”

Joe Elliott talks to one of his guitarists on the track “Armageddon It” off of the monstrously successful Hysteria album. He calls out to Steve Clark, “Come on Steve get it!” right before the guitar solo. Was this encouragement because Steve flubbed the last 5 takes in the studio? DPAC wonders if there could be some kind of curse in doing this—In Def Leppard’s case, this was Steve Clark’s last completed album (due to his untimely death) and our friend C.C. got fired from Poison later on as well.

 

 

Mötley Crüe “Girls, Girls, Girls”

“Hey Tommy check that out man
What Vince where?
Hey hey right there
(whistle)
Hey baby going somewhere?”

Vince Neil and Tommy Lee are obviously not at a strip club during this conversation even though that’s what most of the song is about—a tour of the world’s finest nude entertainment establishments. Unfortunately due to the global recession, some of the strip clubs mentioned in the song are no longer in business.

 

But does this dialogue have real world authenticity? Like any girl wouldn’t be like “Who are these juvenile douchebags?” Like they would say, “Oh that’s okay, they’re in a Rock Band so high school kinda stuff is still pretty cool. They’re socially exempt from being any more sophisticated than a cruder construction worker Cassanova to be successful with women. They’ve got motorcycles so they MUST be cool.” Ah, the ‘ol Harley hat trick.

 

Although the strip club bonding Bromance between Vince and Tommy was some drunken drooling over imaginary Double–D’s, fortunately the motorcycle starting up in the song’s intro was real as one of our Board of Directors knows the person who did it on the actual studio recording.

 

 

Rick James “Super Freak”

“Temptations Sing!”
“Blow Danny!”

Rick slipped up twice in his hit dance track “Super Freak.”  First he tells his backup singers, “Temptations Sing!.” We’re sure after a successful recording career prior to Rick getting his first pubes, that Motown veterans The Temptations know the difference between choruses and verses and when to get their backing vocals on. And hiring session musicians as experienced as The Temptations requires conductor caliber instructions from Maestro James during the track?

 

Rick also tells his sax player when to take a standard 8 bar solo, with “Blow Danny!” Really? Like Danny would do a solo during the verses when Rick was singing about some very kinky girl? We think not. There are “Lead Drummers” who inappropriately intervene thunderously real or imagined virtuosity over lyrics but the phenomenon of “Lead Sax Players” has yet to spike our grievance and peeve meters.

 

 

Prince And The Revolution “Computer Blue”

“Wendy?
Yes Lisa.
Is the water warm enough?
Yes Lisa.
Shall we begin?
Yes Lisa.”

Although we’ve never heard Stevie Nicks or Christine McVie yell out “Go Lindsey” to Lindsey Buckingham telling him when to rip into a guitar riff or solo, one example of women talking during the song is on the Purple Rain Soundtrack. Our research has indicated female singers don’t tend to talk to their band members by name as frequently as their male counterparts. The intro to “Computer Blue” being a notable exception. The track begins with a conversation between Wendy and Lisa with no discernible reference to even playing an instrument.

 

What does this “girl talk” conversation have to do with a song entitled “Computer Blue?” Your guess is as good as ours. Incidentally, you shouldn’t have water anywhere near your computer as it can short it out and damage the circuitry. Yet certain questions still remain as to what they’re actually talking about. Our panel has narrowed it down to the following possible scenarios:

  1. Making herbal tea
    2. Shaving their legs
    3. Making sure the pasta they’re cooking turns out Al Dente
    4. Visiting a day spa while on tour

Regardless, don’t let no thermometer stop you from purifying yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka:

 

This concludes Case File Installment #1. And remember:

Some singers get hip replacements, others need lip replacements.
Don’t get a D in Dork, score a C in Cool!
Loose Lips Sink Hits!!

 

The Dork Prevention Advisory Committee (DPAC)

© Composer Yoga

Related Posts To Check Out:
Prince Joke (Little Red Corvette)
Yoda’s iPod: “When Doves Cry” By Prince
The Prince Prophecy & The Let’s Go Crazy Code
Sound Mines: Prince “Mountains”
First Recording Of Purple Rain In America




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Sound Mines: Prince “Mountains”

If you’re a fan of the classic Prince sound congealed with his backing band The Revolution, you’ll definitely appreciate this lesser known track off the Parade album.

 

Released in 1986, Parade was the 8th studio album by Prince and also the final one with The Revolution. Tracks like “Mountains” are prized audio real estate since his passing for fans to nostalgically travel back in time to the 1980’s on a purple motorcycle.

 

“Mountains” starts off with the familiar Linn LM–1 drum machine used in several earlier Prince hits like “1999” and “When Doves Cry.” This drum machine was also used by other artists in the early 80’s as it popped up on Billy Idol albums as well—Say for instance, if you’re going to be dancing with yourself, you’ll probably need a drum machine.

 

“Mountains” was written by Wendy & Lisa with Prince which demonstrates just how much The Revolution was the integral formula that produced the classic 80’s Prince sound which reached it’s commercial peak with Purple Rain.

 

Prince’s earlier solo records didn’t have the same “real world” orchestration as when he was backed by The Revolution. Being a multi–instrumentalist although impressive, it’s still ALL YOU playing every instrument and this can be perceived by other musicians and astute listeners. Having other musicians play and collaborate with adds an additive synergy one person cannot create by themselves alone.

 

Case in point, Steely Dan could have recorded everything (keys, bass, guitars) by Walter Becker & Donald Fagen and used an electronic drum machine. Instead they hired the best A–list studio musicians in the business which made all their albums sound all the more varied than if the two did everything by themselves. That’s how one band can turn into and sound like a handful of bands with the same 2 core members.

 

Thankfully Prince realized this after a few solo albums as well. That he could still record all by himself in his home studio and also with a band. Each has it’s pros and cons but having both puts more globs of color on a artist’s creative palette. Then there’s the blatant reality that if your’re going to play out and perform live, you cannot just be a studio band—you’ll have to have an actual band so you might as well have a group of other musicians to bounce ideas off.

 

Another thing is you can only overdub yourself so many times before it becomes overkill and listeners want to hear another biological entity vocalizing something—like that chimpanzee in the beginning of Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” for instance.

 

Outside of Freddie Mercury and Brad Delp of Boston, there’s not too many singers that still sound cool nuanced and interesting overdubbed 20 times. Having two or more vocalists creates tension and resolution within a song and having male and female vocalists adds another layer to the audio onion. Prince nailed this concept on “1999”; If only one vocalist sung the entire song it wouldn’t have had the same impact and appeal. There’s not too many songs like “1999” that use 3 vocalists to split the verses.




“Mountains” only reached the #23 slot on the US Billboard charts, but it’s definitely a buried track in Prince’s catalog that deserves greater recognition. The earlier single released from the Parade album “Kiss” became more popular having become a #1 hit. However, I prefer the groove and mood of “Mountains” as it has more emotional depth and introspection than “Kiss.” It holds up better for me during repeated listenings and on replay which helps to “get inside the song” and integrate a song into your life.

 

“Mountains” is a “sister synth” song to “1999” and “I Would Die 4 U.” It uses the same Prince falsetto we all know and love as in “Kiss” but it’s a more seriously toned falsetto instead of a “playful south enough of lecherous” for AM radio one. “Mountains” is the track where Prince unleashes his full array of vocal tricks. It has the trademark Prince Wooo!! like on “Let’s Go Crazy”, the Owww!, and the Purple Banshee Screams like on “When Does Cry”:

 

Lollapalooza Tickets


Guitars and drums on the 1 Huuuh!!!

“Mountains” is my favorite song off the Parade album and the track I listen to most frequently in several of my iPod mixes. Plus I always dug the lyric “Once upon a time in a haystack of despair” in the song’s second verse. It evokes a cool jagged image where I wonder why any metal band hasn’t jumped on writing a song called “Haystack Of Despair.” If there’s a “Harvester Of Sorrow” according to Metallica, then it follows logically there should damn well be a “Haystack Of Despair” right? Nuff said.

 

“Kiss”, with it’s stylized falsetto, is like a hybrid pop/novelty song—it’s like Prince walked the fence between those two genres on that track, which isn’t surprising as he was never the poster boy for musical purists. He lived to experiment in the Paisley Park fire pit and create new sound stews. And besides, blind obedience to purism and “genre parameters” makes for a lower ceiling on Creativity. And that leads to starvation like what’s whispered towards the end of “Mountains” before the fade out. If there’s Diamonds And Pearls and Gold Experience in them there hills, my ear definitely hears some Purple Rain in them “Mountains.”

© Composer Yoga


Related Posts To Check Out:
The Prince Prophecy & The Let’s Go Crazy Code
Prince Joke (Little Red Corvette)
Yoda’s iPod: “When Doves Cry” By Prince
First Recording Of Purple Rain In America
Talking To Your Bandmates During The Song Vol. 1

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Stages Of Relationships According To Pop Songs

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Boston had a Third Stage. Def Leppard had Stagefright. Funkadelic took it to the stage. Rush exited Stage Left. But from the hallowed halls of Psychology, it’s generally agreed that there are 5 stages of relationships.

 

Citing the work of Dr. Susan Campbell and as a musician, Psychology student and armchair musicologist, I came up with the exciting new field of Pop Song Psychology which coincides consummately with the social conventions of dating and relationships. I’ve researched and discovered there are numerous pop songs that correlate to mainly the first 3 stages of romantic relationships.

 

Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are”, obviously written in the ROMANTIC period of a relationship: Stage 1. Here no one has flaws, everything’s just perfect. It’ll never end. How lucky they are to have found Mr. or Ms. Right. You’re far from “Movin’ Out” yet.

 

Billy’s Ode to Stage 1 has outlasted the 2 months to 2 year average duration of the Romantic Stage oh just by a few DECADES.

 

More songs praising this idealized stage include:

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police albeit disturbingly from a stalker’s point of view. There’s also “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen. Co–-dependency is rampant in this stage, even put on a pedestal to demonstrate how much in love the new couple really are. The couple believes they can’t live without each other even though they got along just fine for a decade or more before they knew each other existed. “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow is a song that should definitely check in to Co–-Dependents Anonymous. It’ll probably check in as a double CD set though.

 

“Jesse’s Girl” by our pop star peeping tom Rick Springfield is an interesting twist on this. It’s about a guy jealous of a couple in Stage 1—his homeboy Jesse and his new girlfriend or shorty. If Rick waited a bit for things to run their course, he may just have “Jesse’s Girl” although he won’t win any Grammy Awards for discreetness. The upshot in it for us is we may all finally get to know her on a first name basis. A Stage 1 relationship is the case of most industry standard enamored, entranced, infatuatory soliloquy pop songs that are titled with someone’s first name with the notable exception of Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”

 

“Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi is one of these too. I mean Tommy used to work on the docks. He don’t drive no BMW but Gina’s in love and won’t listen to her parents. She’s into her bad boy phase. She’s working the diner all day, working for her man and brings home her pay for love. But what happens when Tommy just keeps collecting unemployment checks and playing Guitar Hero all day? We never hear about that part. No one sings about debts, mortgages and repossessed automobiles.

 

Moving on, Tommy and Gina would be livin’ in a new song in Stage 2: the Power Struggle Stage. The “Wow, differences and annoying habits actually now exist and they’re BAD.”

 

There’s a few metric tons here. Probably more pop tunes than any other stage reside here. The stage where divorce, affairs and breakups most often occur. Here’s a partial list:

“Baby Come Back” by Player
“Misunderstanding” by Genesis
“Break Up Song” by the Greg Kihn Band

Actually Greg weighs in twice here with “(Our Love’s In) Jeopardy”
“Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Separate Ways (World’s Apart)” by Journey
“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
. She’s back after shacking up with some dude from outer space.
“On My Own” by Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle
“She’s Gone” by Hall & Oates

And some songs, like Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” take us fast forward style though both the first 2 stages of a relationship.

 

For those that make it through Stage 2, the Power Struggle Stage, and aren’t praying for the end of time yet, they enter the Stability Stage: Stage 3. Like Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” you live the mantra of “Yes, we’re all individuals” and can accept it. You know and have resolved yourself about your significant other that “and this bird you cannot change.” You’re cool with giving each other freedom, space and choice.

 

Stage 3 is the second most common stage for divorce, split–ups, and couples counseling though. Also, people can tend to seek affairs out of boredom and stagnation if either rears it’s ugly head in this stage.

 

The best advice the pop world gives us here is:
“Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special

Or you could turn to the B–sides of this stage:
“Run To You” by Bryan Adams
“Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams, Jr.

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Past the potential barroom and courtroom rubble of the pitfalls of Stages 2 & 3, there’s Stage 4: The Commitment Stage. People here see each other clearly and not through the rose colored lenses of their initial hormonal surges of the Romantic Stage. You don’t NEED each other, you CHOOSE to be with each other. It’s you, me AND us. And perhaps “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo” if as a couple you decide to have pets. You accept each other’s differences, preferences, and peculiarities. Yah baby, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” the tune made famous by Joe Cocker.

 

Last but not least (actually it is the least) is Stage 5: The Co–Creations Stage. This is where a couple functions as a team out in the larger world beyond their private relationship, but you know there’s just not too many pop songs called “I Love You Now Let’s Save The Whales.”I Love You And The Rainforest”, “Our Love Is As Strong As The New Trees We Planted”, “Our Love Keeps Growing Like Everyone’s Civil Liberties” and “Our Love Keeps Increasing Like Lawsuits Against Monsanto” are still waiting to be penned by someone too.

 

It’s heavy stuff this Bono/Sting save the world shizzle and not many couples can go there hence the lack of pop songs about it. No, John Mellencamp’s, “Jack And Diane” are still back in a timeless High School void Stage of a Romantic Relationship. They probably got divorced by now. At the very least I think Diane filed a restraining order and Jack’s paying child support. Maybe Mellencamp will release those follow up tracks on a “From The Vault” compilation in the future. But songwriters don’t typically sing about that reality based gloomy stuff except Don Henley“The End Of The Innocence” and Steely Dan with “Haitian Divorce.” Even Detective Barry Manilow went there at the Copa—Copacabana. Barry investigated the nightclub crime scene, dusted for prints and wrote his famous auditory affidavit.

 

Alas, but our friends in Prog Rock are no stranger to songs climbing higher on Maslow’s Ladder than on top 40 charts. These are tunes touching on the theme of Self–Actualization and the song “Closer To The Heart” by Rush is an example of this.

 

Although rare, deeper self soul searching and the penultimate quest for the meaning of life are more common themes in pop songs than doing so as a couple. U2 captured and rehabilitated these endangered song subject species on the tracks “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where The Streets Have No Name.”

 

I hope Lloyd Dobler isn’t around because it’s my turn to Say Anything and he may be crushed by what he’d hear right now and throw a vintage 80’s boombox in my general direction. But Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” is actually not about a romantic serenade to a girl. It’s a song about discovering one’s Spirituality, a merging into a deeper relationship with the Di–vine not some girl named Di–ane. I do hope this clarifies things for him. But Lloyd’s just out of high school and God’s like not even on his bucket list yet.

 

By now, time has given our friend Lloyd some minor tendonitis in his fingers, arthritic wrists and shoulder blades from his all night cassette playback vigil outside Diane’s bedroom window. The “Radio Romeo Rheumatoid” is what I hear they call him in physical therapy these days. Besides (or B–sides) “Lloyd And Diane” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Jack And Diane.”

 

So why doesn’t love stay on the Top 40 charts? Is it nothing more than different CD’s the jukebox of our lives plays at the drop of a few lonely quarters?

Captain James T. Kirk can explore the Universe, be immortalized in 1980’s German New wave pop via Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” yet still painstakingly plead in anguish and confusion, (Spoken in Kirk syncopated verse) “Spock, why can’t love be like a pop song?”

(Spock voice): “Captain, human behavior is highly illogical as are your pop songs. I’m still quite befuddled by the lyrics of “Come Together” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” myself. It would be perhaps advisable not to get me started on “Yellow Submarine” or “I Am The Walrus” for that matter either. (Holding up Vulcan “V” hand sign) Goo Goo G’Joob Captain. I believe that means “Sing Long of Nonsense” in Beatleish or Beatlease, however one may choose to classify this yet uncategorized subdialect of 20th Century British English.”

 

But do you wonder, wonder, who—who wrote the book of love? Well, at least we know who DIDN’T—God couldn’t get a publishing deal. Now you know the truth…and Ye who knoweth the truth, the truth shall set you FREE BIRD!!

© Composer Yoga

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Closet Singles: Alan Parsons Project “Can’t Take It With You”

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When I was a kid my mother always played the radio in the kitchen when she was baking things. One of my favorite desserts was her recipe for “Peanut Butter Swirl Bars”—think Reeses Peanut Butter Cups with an increased decadence factor: LOTS of chocolate and peanut butter mixed in a wheat flour base then topped off with what else but chocolate chips. The batch was baked in a Pyrex glassware oblong baking dish then cut into brownie squares hot from the oven. With these squares, I didn’t stop at just one. I definitely was that dude who DID eat just one Lay’s potato chip (my kid civil disobedience to their advertising slogan “No One Can Eat Just One”) as my sister can verify. With the sugar/carb content of this favorite homemade treat, nowadays it would be a recipe for ADD—but for me it became a recipe for APP—the Alan Parsons Project.

 

The Alan Parsons Project was a “studio band” like Steely Dan with writers/composers Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson at the helm. They met in the cafeteria of Abbey Road Studios as both worked there; Woolfson as a session pianist, Parsons as an Engineer/Assistant Engineer. Although Alan Parsons worked with notable acts like Ambrosia, The Hollies, and Al Stewart, he firmly secured his place in recording history as Assistant Engineer (AE) on The Beatles albums Abbey Road and Let It Be. And if that isn’t good enough for Archangel Tapereel, Alan Parsons WAS the Engineer on the classic Pink Floyd concept album Dark Side Of The Moon, which became one of the best selling albums worldwide and consistently ranks as one of the greatest albums of all time regardless of any self–congratulatory vainglorious revisionist history on the part of Kanye West. Another thing worth noting is how the iconic over art on Dark Side Of The Moon had to factor into the Alan Parsons Project album title Pyramid that the subject of this Closet Singles is about.

 

When I think back to being a kid, it was kind of strange how I loved listening to music but didn’t start buying it until later. Reruns of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry cartoons gave me my love for classical music (It’s not like my father was known to whip out the Stradivarius after dinner). I wasn’t even aware what genre of music Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry were grooving along to was called. I also used to draw all the Peanuts characters—Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Woodstock and others. I loved the Charlie Brown TV specials and had no idea what I was hearing was called “jazz” piano (outside of Schroeder’s Beethoven worship). Call it what you want, it was all just music to me. *Insert Tesla song here*

 

It was in this orange kitchen (unknowingly an optimal color to encourage appetite) where my ears were being fed without being relegated to “sloppy seconds” or “leftovers from the eyes” from watching TV in the living room. To this day, I’m still a radio junkie—I’ve since graduated to internet & international radio but still play local stations all the time at home and wherever I visit and travel. Maybe someday we’ll be able to get some extra–terrestrial stations and hear the “Proud Marys” of other civilizations which would be sent through space more powerfully than their more melodically dense & complex classical music thanks to the profit motive of commercial radio. Their entire solar system is probably tired of hearing their periodic NPR fundraisers as well.

 

Like one of my friends says, “We’re Ear People” meaning musicians tend to have hearing as their dominant sense (or one of their main dominant senses) and learning style. With me, it’s to the point I can hear higher pitches than most people’s range of hearing. My ear brother has the Rain Man savant skill of being able to approximate the dimensions of a room from hearing a clap in it over a phone. Too bad there’s no game shows or carnival openings for that.

 

In a sense we’re all “ear people.” That is, at least in utero. The French ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) Doctor and researcher Alfred Tomatis was known for the theory “The ear grows the brain” and that incorrect hearing is a primary factor in many conditions related to speech, learning and emotional health. His theories of hearing and listening are known as the Tomatis Method or Audio–Psycho–Phonology (yet another APP). Some notable musicians who’ve received treatment and benefitted from the Tomatis Method include Sting and Opera legend Maria Callas.

 

Hearing is the first sense that comes online in utero—the auditory input actually grows the brain. Sound is energy, sound is food. Music builds neural connections and enhances intelligence with exposure to increasingly more complex sound patterns. The brain on music is like “let’s arc weld some new neurons and have a conference call with the right and left hemisphere.” Listening to music is like that Pink Floyd laser light show going on inside our heads and leads to more whole brain oriented functioning. Musicians develop interstates as a Corpus Callusom (the band of nerves connecting the hemispheres of the brain) not the “Country Roads” biology gave us anymore. Guess what I’m doing now? Listening to music while I write—it’s perhaps the best compliment and springboard to any creative endeavor. The interesting thing is how other people seem to lose this auditory dominance once their sense of touch and sight become the “new toys” biology leaves for us under the Christmas tree of life.

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Back to that orange kitchen. My mother was far from a punk rocker—her name is nowhere even close to Sheena. Then again Sheena Easton wasn’t a punk singer so maybe that Ramones song should be taken with a grain of salty tasting Doc Martens. The station she liked was a local independent AM/FM station that played soft rock and adult contemporary radio favorites until the next ice age. Mom didn’t ride a Harley (my music teacher on the other hand yes) nor was she rocking out to AC/DC like my siblings and I—and making up our own lyrics because we couldn’t understand anything beyond Dirty Deeds…

 

From that kitchen radio, my ear developed a fondness for the Alan Parsons Project, Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan among numerous other bands and songs. I wasn’t aware at the time that this was some very well crafted popular music. I didn’t even find out what most of these songs were called until years later. Some of the songs I remember hearing during these kitchen table top ten sessions were “Hey Nineteen”, “Eye In The Sky”, “Africa”, “Minute By Minute”, “Rikki Don’t Loose That Number”, “Games People Play”, “What A Fool Believes”, “Rosanna”, “Don’t Answer Me”, and of course “Peg.” I wasn’t aware Steely Dan was considered jazz pop or the Alan Parsons Project was called Prog or Progressive music. Nor was I aware many of the same musicians played on these songs via the incestuous family of A list session musicians.

 

I just soaked up all these songs sitting at the kitchen table while drawing, making things out of modeling clay, building models, sorting baseball cards, or playing with my chameleon. My brother did like the Culture Club hit “Karma Chameleon” but neither of ours was named Boy George. We also thought the lyrics were Come–a come–a chameleon… Flash forward to adolescence. It was here I started getting deeper into all these bands that I’d only heard a few songs from on the radio and doing “musical archeology” to catalog all these songs and bands I’d heard as a youth. Being a piano student, it’s cool how you can appreciate music on deeper levels with more musical knowledge—like how the main opening melody line in “Eye In The Sky” is in the locrian mode—rarely used in pop music (The song itself is in B minor). Alan & Eric snuck that in like 11th hour Congressional legislation.

 

Later on with bands I played “My Old School”, “Kid Charelemagne” & “Reelin’ In The Years” and in private would tear into “Peg”, “What A Fool Believes”, “Do It Again” and “Minute By Minute” as often as possible. As a teenager I started working as backstage/technical crew for an area dance company. Here I was exposed to even more kinds of unique pieces of music and compositions. When I heard something I liked, I’d ask what the song was and who wrote it. One show the dance theatre did choreography to the Alan Parsons Project instrumental “In The Lap Of The Gods” off the 1978 Pyramid album. I bought that album and it became my new favorite for quite some time. Even today it’s like visiting an old friend whenever I give it some ear time.




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Pyramid is a concept album based on the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical” in 1978, the same category Alan Parsons was nominated for years earlier with Dark Side Of The Moon. Deja Vu all over again—both albums having Pyramids in common.

 

Alan Parsons Project used several vocalists depending on the particular facet the song required. Their vocal stable read like a who’s who of United Kingdom pop singers. Among the Alan Parsons Project speed dial vocalists were Colin Blunstone of The Zombies (famous for the 1964 hit “She’s Not There”) and Scottish solo artist Chris Rainbow. Blunstone did lead on “Old And Wise” (Eye In The Sky) and “Dancing On A Highwire” (Amonia Avenue); Rainbow did lead vocals for “Snake Eyes” and “Gemini” (The Turn Of A Friendly Card) and “Since the Last Goodbye” (Amonia Avenue). Also of note, Gary Brooker from Procol Harum (known for the 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”) sang lead on “Limelight” off the 1985 album Stereotomy.

 

However, the two most well known Alan Parsons Project lead vocalists are the following:

Eric Woolfson—the “Jon Anderson” and “Sade” of Alan Parsons Project. Eric has the breathier more spiritually cosmic inclination and nuance as a vocalist. He sung on several of the APP’s most popular singles: “Time”, “Don’t Answer Me”, “Prime Time” and “Eye In The Sky”, the band’s most successful single ever. Another feather in the cap for Eric was “Closer To Heaven” (Gaudi) was used in an episode of Miami Vice.

 

Lenny Zakatek—the “Jon Bon Jovi” of Alan Parsons Project. Lenny sang the more uptempo rocking tunes like “One More River” on Pyramid and a few years later on another of their flagship tunes “Games People Play” off their 1980 album The Turn Of A Friendly Card. Lenny started out as a R&B funk blues singer with the British band Gonzalez who are best known for their 1977 disco hit “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.”

 

Alan Parsons & Eric Woolfson worked with a diverse group of singers and touched on so many different styles & genres they could’ve brought Gollum in for a session and made something precious. The lead vocalist on “Can’t Take It With You” was Dean Ford. Dean’s street pop creds originate with a band called Marmalade, which he co–wrote and sang lead on their 1969 hit “Reflections Of My Life.” Dean Ford is like a blended combo of Eric & Lenny for singing this more uptempo ethereal oriented prog rock tune:

Why “Can’t Take It With You” was never released as a single is beyond me. It could possibly have put the Alan Parsons Project on the mainstream map sooner than “Games People Play” and “Time” did. Another connection to Dark side Of The Moon here being both Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons Project had singles called “Time.” The Jukebox Hero in my head tells me the track “One More River” could have been released as a single as well. “Can’t Take It With You” has elements of new wave but in a much more orchestrated manner, the signature of APP style prog. And there’s just a great positive vibe throughout this tune like you’re on a karmic train ride through time.

 

The opening high pitch keyboard solo in “Can’t Take It With You” reminds me of Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” off his album City To City which also came out in 1978 like APP’s Pyramid. “Baker Street” is where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B and also where one of Gerry’s mates lived. Rafferty’s “Baker Street” is perhaps best known by it’s signature haunting sax riff in A minor which structure wise, becomes a chorus—a chorus theme placement without accompanying lyrics. This hook even made The Simpsons in the episode called “Lisa’s Sax.”

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The song’s subject matter pertains to non–attachment so even Buddha could rock out to a tune like “Can’t Take It With You.” I always liked the nicely metaphoric verse lyrics right before it transitions in tempo and the chorus musically and visually “opens the sky up” in the song:

 

But the boatman won’t be waiting
And he’s leaving here with you.

And the boatman’s getting restless
As he stands upon the shore…

 

The “after” chorus (or secondary chorus) part creates a deep introspective mood with a motion. Although a bit hard to discern at first, the high range “chanting” vocals after Dean’s “Can’t Take It With You” chorus are One more mile, one more road, one last bridge, one less load.” These are the same lyrics contained in another song on Pyramid, “One More River” sung by Lenny Zakatek. Such repetition of a theme is a hallmark of a concept album. Contrary to pop music teachings, you actually DO need an education to perceive this so pay no attention to that mantra on other Pink Floyd concept album The Wall.

 

“Can’t Take It With You” is an amazing song—great guitar riff, great groove, cool oozing bass line, nice counterpoint, hauntingly evocative vocal melody and arrangement, great chorus breakdown, well placed tempo changes that elevate and intensify tension and resolution, tasty thematic opening & outro solos, plus it’s 15 minutes less than most prog tunes. Why wasn’t this track a match made in Radio Heaven? I do my nightime meditation to “Can’t Take It With You” often. It’s in my iPod meditation mix of songs that are conducive to slower brain waves like alpha, theta and delta. And played on replay, it often gets me into a deep state of relaxation like a bubble bath for the brain. Actually, Pyramid is an ideal album for this in it’s entirety. The overall vibe of it is so relaxing I’ll often fall alseep listening to it with headphones. The other instrumentals “Hyper–Gamma Spaces” and the opening track “Voyager” are far from Pyramid filler as well—they’re solid tracks which create interesting vivid aural imagery.

 

So all those years ago as a kid I discovered how peanut butter and chocolate went great together. I also accidentally discovered how modeling glue and the Alan Parsons Project went well together too. Maybe that’s why I have boxes of model kits I never actually finished. Blame it on Testor’s model cement. As an adult, the Games People Play I plead guilty to would be taking a jolly good stroll on “Baker Street” in London, crossing the Holy sidewalk of Abbey Road and visiting Santa Barbara half hoping to bump into Alan Parsons as he lives there. Okay, so Santa Barbara, AKA the American Riviera, was also home to health pioneer Paul Bragg who was a big influence on my diet, health and lifestyle in terms of fasting and eating clean (pesticide, chemical & GMO free) Organic food. These days I don’t go near junk food, processed food, nor succumb to any of those dietary sins committed in my youth and college years (flashbacks of cheap instant Ramen noodles in styrofoam containers with a week’s worth of sodium in every cup). I’ve redeemed myself from Pop Tart purgatory, became a renunciant of the Reeses, and layed the Lay’s to rest. Good practice with the art of detachment because You “Can’t Take It With You.” The thing that hasn’t changed is I’m still a music lover and still love the Alan Parsons Project…and may never get out of rehab for mixing peanut butter and chocolate. Oh and one last connection to Dark Side Of The Moon: Same Bat Time Same Bat Channel, or adjusted for the recording arts, Same Track Time Same Track Channel—Both albums were recorded by the same engineer and in the same recording studio—Musical Archeological proof that Pyramid builders originated from Abbey Road.

© Composer Yoga




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Closet Singles: Hall & Oates “You’ll Never Learn”

This is the inaugural installment of a segment where we’ll highlight songs that “Coulda been a contender.” Don’t feel sad there Marlon Brando, you WERE a contender having been mentioned in David Bowie’s “China Girl.” These are songs we refer to as “Closet Singles” and aim to sing their praises and give them a coming out party almost as good as Diana Ross could.

 

What usually happens with a musical duo is one becomes the lead vocalist in the eyes of the public, or as in this case, Private EyesSimon & Garfunkel, Loggins & Messina, Hall & Oates.

 

This holds true even if the other part of said duo CAN and does sing. Even so if the duo records albums with each trading lead vocals on various tracks like Hall & Oates regularly did on their albums.

 

Why does this happen? Well, with hit singles, record company marketing and desire for ROI (Return On Investment) heavily influence this.

 

Once a song becomes a major hit, that’s the lead singer—that’s the map, the formula: repeat the previous success in the future for their bottom line as well as for listeners wanting to hear the next song by whatever act with that same lead vocalist.

 

Strangely, Hall & Oates first well known single, “She’s Gone” off their 1973 album Abandoned Luncheonette was with John Oates on lead vocals and Daryl Hall secondary.

 

Technically, it’s actually a dual lead vocal line in the verses—Daryl doubles John with a falsetto but since it’s high and thin aurally, John’s deeper voice takes precedence in the auditory foreground then they trade for a “call and response” chorus.

 

A few years later however, after “Sara Smile” and “Rich Girl”, their first number one single, it was pretty much all singles with Daryl Hall on lead vocals and John Oates as backing vocalist.

 

Record companies use the same formulas of established success within bands as well as in the industry as a whole—think boy bands and rest assured, there’ll be new ones for every generation. They might even outlive cockroaches & Keith Richards.

 

They also follow this template with previously successful artists—they re–market, repackage, resell “them”, that style to new generations. An example of this is Lady Gaga.

 

When I first listened to her Born This Way album, a woman I worked with asked me what I thought of it. My first reaction was “They’re Madonna songs sung by someone else.” I could totally see why Lady gaga was being backed by and was a priority artist on a record company’s roster.

 

You can see and hear how they follow previously successful formulas and sign artists that fit this sound/style and/or groom their talent pool more in that direction because they do not want to take chances. Taking chances is a business risk and they want a sure predictable return on their investment.

 

So it is with the first hit single—for Daryl Hall & John Oates it was “Sara Smile” with Daryl Hall at the helm. It seems “She’s Gone” just wasn’t a big enough single to perk their ROI radar. If it had, they’d have been looking for the next single with John Oates on lead vocals, and that’s where this installment of Closet Singles comes to the much belated rescue.




That song is “You’ll Never Learn” which is also off the same album as their first #1 single “Rich Girl”—their 1976 release Bigger Than Both Of Us. If you love Hall & Oates like I do, you’ll love this song. It’s another great example of John Oates the vocalist, how there was another “She’s Gone” in the batting cage, waiting to get another chance at bat to become a hit.

 

“You’ll Never Learn” showcases John Oates’ range and intensity alongside solid lyrics and orchestration. His vocals on this capture that sublime sense of awe—his nuance and tasteful use of falsetto makes this melody soulfully soar:

“You’ll Never Learn” is a flat out great Hall & Oates song that never met the airwaves—it’s a great song for ANYONE that few people know about.

 

Now picture a Parallel Pop Song Universe. Imagine if John Oates was a solo artist and released “You’ll Never Learn.” If you have hairspray induced amnesia or if I used The Force and made you forget Hall & Oates, what would your impression of this song in that context be?

 

I can say if this was a song I heard on the radio or saw on MTV, Solid Gold, The Midnight Special, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, etc., back then, I definitely would have bought the hypothetical John Oates album She’s Gone And You’ll Never Learn it was off of.

 

Which brings us to another point—The dynamics of a duo are different: Batman is more likely to have a successful solo career than Robin.

 

Think about bands that have/have had one or more lead vocalist:

Chicago
The Eagles
Kiss
Fleetwood Mac
Journey
Toto




These are just some well known ones that come to mind. Notice how it’s more permissible and acceptable to vary vocalists with the industry and audience AS A BAND than if you are known and billed as a duo?

 

In the case of Fleetwood Mac, it’s not only 2 different female vocalists, but also a dude in the mix: Lindsey Buckingham. They had songs chart with each different vocalist including songs with split vocals like the anthem “Don’t Stop” off their Grammy Award winning Rumours album.

 

Following this strategy and seeming recording industry/audience loophole, say for instance the songwriting duo Hall & Oates called themselves by a band name instead. I mean Steely Dan was mainly 2 guys and could have went by the duo name Becker & Fagen.

 

Lets work some revisionist history magic and say Hall & Oates called themselves by what they coined their own style of songwriting & music: Rock N Soul. Since they were from the Philadelphia area, let’s add that to the mix as well. So they are now known as “Philly Rock & Soul” after Marty makes it back in Doc’s DeLorean or PRS for short.

 

This is assuming Paul Reed Smith guitars (PRS) doesn’t have a problem with that. What then? Well now the duo bias and audience ADD is removed and PRS can have hit singles with more than one vocalist doing leads. Furthermore they can each have successful solo careers afterwards like Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Cetera, Ace Frehley, etc.

 

…And they can all live happily ever after with Rich Girls.

 

So if Batman & Robin should happen to read this, they should call their band the “Caped Crusaders” instead of “Batman & Robin” ensuring both may have successful solo careers sans capes, masks & spandex later on in the Gotham City music scene.

 

Perhaps they could even do a cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker.”

© Composer Yoga


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Recommended:

Awesome 80s Albums You May Have Overlooked

Closet Singles: The Outfield “New York City”

Closet Singles: Billy Idol “Hole In The Wall”

Closet Singles: Devo “Later Is Now”

 

Journey Tickets

 




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Get Fleetwood Mac Concert Tickets at VenueKings.com!

 

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