March 15, 2011
Apart from sports, the most dominant theme running through my novels is music. Classic rock is the style of music that stirs up my nostalgia. Whenever I turn on my computer, I fire up my Internet radio connection. That usually gives me all the inspiration I need for conjuring up scenes, emotions, and dreams from my past.
For example, a station devoted to the Beatles and tributes to the group from other artists allows me to relive their whole story—the puppy-love songs at the beginning, giving way to increasing sophistication and experimentation, followed by forays into spiritualism, psychedelics, and politics, all of which accelerated their loss of innocence and need for independence. And then, inevitably, the excessive egotism that blasted them apart and never allowed for a genuine reconciliation. Like many other fans, I grew up with them.
I don’t necessarily need to know a band’s story to appreciate their songs. Too many of those stories ended in squalor, addiction, and self-destruction, yet the songs still shouted out that life is good. Boston’s “smokin’, smokin’, we’re cookin’ tonight, just keep on tokin’” gets me high on life; no drugs needed. The next riff “picks you up and takes you away,” just as it promises. Jim Morrison declares “Music is your special friend,” and Jimi Hendrix croons, “Music, sweet music, I wish I could caress, caress, caress.” That must have been a terrific anti-depressant as long as it lasted.
My concert photos don’t show much, since I can never get close enough to the stage to get a sharp image. Yet they capture what I felt … a blur of emotions. I remember when life, when just being young, felt that way. The best part of writing is trying to recapture those moments.