Monday, January 24, 2011

Remembering My Couch

There comes a time in every man's life when he needs to give up and surrender the very things he holds dear to his heart; the things that are present with him when he experiences some of life's more exuberant moments; the things that have been there for him, comforting him through the good times and the bad.

This past week, I said goodbye to my couch.

It was truly my couch since, at the time, it was the only couch I had ever paid for myself, and it was the first couch Tara and I got right after getting married in 2006. At the time, we literally asked around to find out if anyone was giving away a couch. We weren't being picky; we just needed something to sit on in our living room. Through a friend of a friend, a mere twenty dollars was exchanged before this couch became a valued part of the household.

But times have changed and at the dawn of 2011, the wife was no longer satisfied with it. Truth be told, neither was I. I cannot help, however, but fondly recall all the great Phillies games I watched while sitting atop its leathery goodness, how many naps I took upon its soft belly, how many movies were enjoyed while enveloped in its gentle comfort, how many nights of talking with friends were induced by its inviting presence, how many times....well, anyway....

A new sofa bed has officially taken its place, and so far, after a nap and a movie night, the relationship is going quite well. But time will tell whether or not it can fill its predecessor's big shoes. I mean cushions.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Million Dollar Question

A common question people are asking me more and more these days is this:

"Do you like American Idol now that Steven Tyler is a judge on the show?"

If you know me at all, you know I'm quite infatuated with Aerosmith; have been since the age of 13 when I first heard "Cryin'" on the radio. At that time, back in 1993, there was no internet, no iTunes, no YouTube. All I knew is that I couldn't get enough of that song, but didn't know what it was called. Today, you just Google the few lyrics you do know and you'll find your answer in one click. Back then, you had to do some digging. I asked my friends and they would start singing the chorus, but then admitted to not knowing the song's title either. I went to a music shop and awkwardly asked the guy at the counter if I could buy the album that had the song "Sweet Misery" on it (which is what I simply assumed the song was called). The guy had no clue what I was talking about and rather than embarass myself any further by trying to tunefully recreate it for him, I just left. My luck changed when I just happened to be watching SNL one night and Aerosmith just happened to be the musical guest. When the band launched into "Cryin'," I almost fell out of my bed! The next day, I went to the music shop, bought Aerosmith's new album, "Get a Grip" and got hooked on every song. Shortly thereafter, I fell in love with the band's entire catalogue and have been a student of this legendary group ever since. You see, I love hard rock and I love blues. I love fast, up-tempo screechers and I love slow ballads. I love loud, thrashing guitars and I love soft acoustic tunes. In my opinion, no band covers this entire spectrum of sound bliss quite like Aerosmith. Not nobody! Not no how!

It goes without saying then, that I consider Steven Tyler to be the greatest songwriter and performer of all time; a master of perfect pitch, harmony, and rhythm. As a musician myself, there are a lot of artists whom I pattern my own songwriting after, however, my attempts to emulate my own work to Aerosmith's have always fallen flat, as I could never dare to accomplish such genius.

So, getting back to the original question: Do I like the TV show American Idol now that Steven Tyler is one of the new judges?

Um...nope.

I know this comes as a shock to most people who think I blindly love anything and everything to do with Aerosmith, but them's the facts. I think American Idol is lame and is driving today's music industry -- already in a state of continuous degeneration -- even further down the spiral. The fact that Tyler alienated his bandmates and a large part of his fanbase by contributing to this problem instead of getting back to making great Aerosmith music just makes me think less of the man himself. And that certainly doesn't make me want to start watching American Idol all of a sudden. Here's another shocking anti-Aerosmith revelation for you: I really really dislike the song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." I went along with it when it was all the rage during the summer of '98, but it got old fast and now, more than a dozen years later, the band continues to play it live for all the fourteen year olds who think Aerosmith got its start from the film Armageddon. I don't care if the song is the band's big #1 hit...it's crap (and they didn't even write it!). Ok, just had to get that off my chest.

So there it is. While I hold Tyler in the highest regard as a musician, and admire how he overcame drug and alcohol addiction, watching him sit at a table and critique a bunch of wannabes sounds only slightly more appealing than removing an ingrown toenail.


Dude (Looks Like He's Not Getting Any Younger)