Archive | February, 2012

Welcome to’s new blog “Shark Sandwich”

17 Feb


So my buddies here at have pegged me to hold court on all things music related. Why me? Not quite sure myself. So just a little intro to myself. I come from a musical family on my mom’s side. My grandmother, aunt and mother could all play the piano and organ. They were so good that they could play stuff by ear. Mom tried to teach me how to play but I have the finger dexterity of an elephant.

I tried many times over the years to learn to play an instrument.  I wanted to play drums but when the sign ups came at school I had been beaten out and settled for the trombone. It wasn’t my first choice so I didn’t take it seriously. I also didn’t have the patience to practice and become good, I had other plans- I wanted to rock a guitar baby! But that never happened.

So I just turned to the radio and then MTV came along and I became a music “Geek.” And I’m proud to say that I’m still one. I spend countless hours scouring the internet, reading magazines, digging through the various music services always looking for that next sound or that old sound that went out twenty years ago. It’s a hobby that has gone seriously overboard.

How do you tell a music geek? Ask this simple question. Which Van Halen do you prefer? David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar? The music geek will always answer David Lee Roth. Both versions were great but the DLR years were raw, rough, and just…better. Wine folks use a french term “terroir” to describe the elements used to produce wine including the soil, the way the sun hits the vines, the procedure to produce the wine. Basically the overall feel of the wine. So even though Dave couldn’t sing as well or play guitar, the “terroir”(pronounced tear-wah) of the music was better, and that is why the answer is always in favor of DLR.

Music geeks and wine aficionados share a lot of commonalities really. We bring a lot of passion to our  hobbies. We can talk endlessly about them. We can waste a right solid amount of money on them. We can annoy many people with our superior attitudes about the subject, and not the least, we can waste a tremendous amount of time pursuing them. But that’s the best part about being a music fiend.

We also know pointless and inane facts about things. A wine aficionado will know the exact amount of bottles that were produced by the Krug Champagne family in 2002. I know that the Doors didn’t have a bass player, but Ned’s Atomic Dustbin had two. These facts serve no purpose at all. But both the wine drinker and I feel better knowing that we know these things.

The wine tasters will plan visits to the winery. Music geeks plan visits to the record store. The winery visit will last along time, with many tastes and possibly many purchases. The record store visit will also last a long time as every section is scoured, then a purchase is almost always made.These visits are viewed as an almost religious event. A phone call may result, “I have just found that certain taste of Pinot I’ve been searching for!” “Dude, I just found that Chiefs 7- inch I’ve been looking for for years!”

It probably started the same way for both groups. The wine drinker who was used to box wine and the cheap stuff from the grocery store gets their first taste of a fine french Bordeaux. The music geek hears their first Half Japanese song. Both realize a curtain was just lifted. They suddenly realize that there is more and better stuff than what’s been offered from the grocery store or the local radio stations. The hook has been placed and now we must run with it.

I grew up in a small town in the midwest and started listening to music around the late seventies into the early eighties. At those times all that was available were whatever records my older sister or her friends had, so I was subjected to John Denver, Andy Gibb, and Shaun Cassidy, and KISS.  (My neighbor had a gigantic poster of KISS on his wall in his bedroom and it was at the time the coolest thing ever!) The radio offered little more than standard A.O.R. (album oriented rock) fair. Then MTV came along.

I didn’t know that half of those bands on MTV were “new wave” bands. I didn’t know the Clash were punk rock. I didn’t know that Talking Heads, The Ramones, and Blondie were all considered part of the New York punk scene. All I knew was that I was liking these sounds better than what I had been hearing. I just thought these songs that I was hearing on the radio and these video images coming through my cable were the most ultimate thing ever. I had to have more.

So, much like that first glass of wine that set off a fantastic journey I figured I would recount some of the music that set my young mind off on a path that still hasn’t ended. These are just a few of the songs that were somewhat different than what I was used to hearing. These were the hooks that reeled me in.

1. The Ramones -” The KKK Took My Baby Away” As  I stated earlier I wasn’t privy of what punk was until high school. My neighbor who was in high school loaned me the “Pleasant Dreams” album. I was ten years old at the time. I kinda knew what the KKK was, but all I knew was this song had an element of danger to it the way it sounded and the the lyrics. Now I’m older and understand fully the meaning of this song and continue to love it. The Ramones will rule forever. (He also loaned me Aldo Nova’s self titled album, an album by Zebra, and Asia!)

2. Wall of Voodoo-“Mexican Radio”- At the time I only knew two things: This song was so cool, and this song sounded different than anything I had heard before. I know two more things about this song now. People still love it, and I’m still a Stan Ridgway fan. I wish I was in Tijuana eating barbequed iguana right now!

3. DEVO- “Through Being Cool”- I had heard “Whip It” and “Working In A Coal Mine” a thousand times already then one day MTV played the video for this song. It was all I needed to become a lifelong DEVO fanatic. What an awesome band. They were so forward thinking with the visuals and the sounds they conjured. There is nothing like DEVO.  Where my other spuds at?

4. Modern English- “I’ll Melt With You”- C’mon it was the eighties, this song was all over MTV. It was featured in the movie “Vally Girl” which I had to wait until it came to HBO to watch because it was rated R.  That first line “Moving forward using all my breath, making love to you was never second best” is a beast. You know you still love this song too.

5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions “Everyday I Write the Book” I remember seeing the video for this all the time on MTV because no one played it on the radio. It just stood out because Elvis didn’t look like all the other people on MTV at the time. It was different so I always waited to see if it would come on. It still holds up today, that’s the sign of a great song.

6. Joe Jackson- “Breaking Us In Tw0” This song was  a minor hit that did get played on the radio stations (although not that much.) At the time I just liked the piano and the singing. I had no idea it was a heartbreaking song about a failing relationship. I’m still a huge Joe Jackson fan.

7. The Psychedelic Furs-“Love My Way” It was the synthy xylophone sound that hooked me right off the bat. This song just had a vibe about it that made it cooler than anything I had heard before. The Furs were my first “official” concert.

8. “Perfect Kiss”-New Order I remember seeing this video of the band standing around playing this song in a studio. I sounded so new to me. The drums that made the cool sounds, it was so futuristic I was sold immediately. By the way, at the time I was so naive and mid-western that I had no idea that this bandcame from the remaining members of Joy Division because I didn’t even know who Joy Division was.

9. “People Are People”-Depeche Mode At the time I was pretty smitten with anyone playing keyboards because that’s what I was accustomed to when I first started paying attention to music. The clanging beats and jerky synth sounds had me on the edge of my seat every time I heard this song. It sounds pretty dated now but the message still holds up.

10. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (Under a Blood Red Sky version)-U2  Man, my sister played this album to death, therefore I played it to death. This was before U2 were huge and no one from my town payed any attention to them at all. So I thought we were in on something exclusive. I used to imagine I was Bono rocking that Red Rocks crowd every time I heard this song.

So that’s where the seeds were sown, starting my trip down music road. My tastes have gotten deeper and more expansive since then, but it’s fun sometimes to look back and see where you’ve been and where it’s led you. So welcome to the “Shark Sandwich” blog on I titled my little piece of the internet “Shark Sandwich” in tribute to one of the greatest comedy films ever about rock “Spinal Tap.” So stay tuned, join and follow your favorite music, bands, or venues, etc. We’re going to have some good times!

Next time we will talk about the concert experience. Until next time, Peace.