When I was a teenager, I had very specific ideas about what constituted poetry, rhyming verses, measured lines, lofty subjects like love and death. Then I read Listen to the Warm by Rod McKuen, and everything changed. I was aware of McKuen's work as a singer and songwriter, having seen him on television in the … Continue reading Listen to the Warm
I'm normally a creature of habit; I buy fruit and don't eat it; I always set the alarm clock earlier than I should, then hit the snooze button until I feel like getting up; I always buy the same brand of toothpaste, even if there are deals on other brands. This behavior on my part … Continue reading Force of Habit
Confession time: I was in the Kiss Army. I was thirteen, the song "I Want to Rock and Roll All Nite and Party Every Day" was on the radio, and this sounded like a philosophy I was willing to lay down my life to defend. Granted, I'm not sure why Kiss felt they needed an … Continue reading Kiss This
I have a theory. Most rock anthems, regardless of how mediocre they are, become hits because the first time people hear them, they're stoned. It's the only explanation I have for Stairway to Heaven, which is musically very good, but lyrically lacking. Seriously, "if there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed"? If I … Continue reading Free Bird!
Lone on the road another year. Don't look back no time to cry. Tell the tales they wish to hear. Play the pleasing music once again. Tear your heart out make them smile. They own you now, you know. They put you in your gilded cage and they possess the key. Primp your feathers now's … Continue reading Songbird
Note: This article has been updated and expanded in my essay collection Words Words Words available in print from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. My earliest known ancestor, Ambrose Lupo, was brought to England as part of an ensemble of string players around May of 1540 by Henry VIII. Some scholars believe this was in … Continue reading The Lupos and Shakespeare