Saturday, May 20, 2017

There Is The Moon Asking To Stay: 20 Years Without Jeff Buckley


(c) MerriCyrr
 He had a way of playing the most beautiful song you've ever heard and still with the way that he sang, create a bit of an uncomfortable edge to it if he felt like it - mostly with his voice. ~ Chris Cornell


It was during summer classes of my sophomore year  at college. During my daily ritual of drinking a diet coke and watching MTV News for breakfast, I heard the news. Kurt Loder was talking about some guy named Jeff Buckley that had gone missing. Erroneously, I first thought he meant Jeff Beck. Who was Jeff Buckley, I kept asking myself while trying to study for an exam on Canterbury Tales ... who the hell is Jeff Buckley.

Fast forward three years later and I am in the gym  at Macquarie University in Sydney when I hear it. It was a voice I had never heard and he was singing Leonard Cohen. I had not made the connection in my memory yet when they mentioned his name: Jeff Buckley.
I rushed to the mall and right into the record store (God I miss those). I went right to the B's and found a few of his albums and went to the counter. As the lovely lady was scanning my purchases she mentioned how sad it was that he died so young. Heartbroken, I took my purchase back to our flat as I began to listen to Grace for the very first time, clearly marking a moment in my life as before and after I had listened to Grace. Then I finally remembered where I had heard his name before. 

May 29th marks the 20th anniversary of when Jeff sang Whole Lotta Love while wading into the Wolf River for a swim. Three days previous, he had played his final show at Barristers in his new home city of Memphis. At 30 years of age, he left behind a gaping whole of need. With his first release Grace throttling him into celebrity and into a world where his heroes were praising him, there was now an emptiness of what could have been. 


(c) MerriCyrr
Twenty years on and Jeff is still somehow not as well known as many would assume. But those who are fans, were quickly caught up in the aura of Jeff and a bit of the mystique of who he was. While he fought those who tried to make the connection to his very absentee father, Tim Buckley, the physical and musical similarities were too obvious. Like many before him, he fought celebrity, playing under fake names just to play a show without being Jeff Buckley.

If you listen to Sketches, you quickly realize he was going to be like U2, changing his sound as he went along. Would it have been the one last nail in that red glitter coffin? I doubt it, but companies wanted Grace Part 2 and Jeff was not going to deliver that. 

Jeff Buckley was a complete package deal: looks, talent, and the equally talented musician father. His death rounded out and solidified what is now his mythic status. As of the music gods gave him back, he was found floating at the end of Beale Street on June 4th. 


The community of those who adore Jeff seems to grow slowly, but not at an Elvis level. In truth, it really is his life and not his tragic death that is celebrated. But to truly honor Jeff, we need to celebrate and remember his music. But not just Hallelujah. Listen to Mojo Pin, What Would You Say, or his glorious cover of The Way Young Lovers Do and appreciate Jeff for what he was: an artist. 

How do you want to be remembered?
Jeff: As a good friend. I don't really need to be remembered...I hope the music's remembered.

(c) MerriCyrr


Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Have No Disguise You Can See Through: The Loss of Chris Cornell

I never wanted
To write these words down for you
With the pages of phrases
Of things we´ll never do
So I blow out the candle, and
I put you to bed
Since you can´t say to me
Now how the dogs broke your bone
There´s just one thing left to be said
Say hello to heaven
It was his multi-octave voice that hit you first. Whether it was with Soundgarden, Audioslave, or Temple of the Dog, Chris' unmistakable voice enticed you. He could dance softly with it or he could pound the chords over your head and you would enjoy every minute. He was a mystery, those eyes, mesmerizing, looking at you, beyond you, to things unseen.
But the early days of grunge in Seattle and the 90's left Chris scarred. It wasn't just the drugs, alcohol, but slowly and maybe, it was depression. In 1990, Chris lost his roommate and dear friend, Mother Love Bone front man, Andrew Wood. Andrew's loss prompted Chris to start Temple of the Dog, inspired by a line in one of Andrew's songs. But Andrew's loss didn't seem to ever leave Chris. Similarly with the loss of Jeff Buckley, Chris seemed to live in the past with the loss.  

And people ask what was so special about Chris? Chris helped to usher in grunge - and was actually from Seattle. It wasn't like he jumped on the Seattle grunge band wagon, he formed Soundgarden in 1984, while hair metal and pop succeeded disco and punk. Six years and several band changes later, Badmotorfinger propelled Soundgarden to the charts and onto MTV. The 90's gave us the Singles song Seasons, Temple of the Dog, and his contribution to Alice's in Chain's Sap, Right Turn.

Chris was versatile, himself saying he could play Sydney Opera House one night and Voodoo Fest the next. While he gave us some heavy songs, we also got songs like Ave Maria or his cover of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U.


Chris and his wife started The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation  that"develops projects and programs with leading charitable organizations and partners to raise awareness and mobilize support for children facing tough challenges including homelessness, poverty, abuse and/or neglect." He looked out for others and spoke for those who didn't have a voice, including helping refugees.

It's hard not to play into the guessing game. Was he sick? Depressed? Back on drugs? How long had he planned That maybe the tease of In My Time of Dying was Chris saying goodbye. Many of us worship our musical gods and goddesses. These last few years have taught us that we need to get busy living - go and see your favorite artist. Dance with your partner. Take five minutes and be late for work to finish your favorite song. Just enjoy life. And also be a listening ear for anyone who may need help. 

 In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home.



Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday and chat is available

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Revolution

 Once upon a time ... I ran away. Well, it was to my basement and my "apartment" was the top of the washer and dryer. I took with me my roller skates, a can of ABC's and 123's and my sister's Prince and The Revolution Purple Rain cassette

On May 3rd, at Webster Hall, I had my opportunity to really see Wendy, Lisa, Brown Mark, Bobby, and The Doctor. The audience was composed of a crowd that made Prince's dreams come true: no rules and no color, gender, or religious bounds. We were all there for two purposes...two love Prince and to sing with The Revolution. 

Thirty years on, and The Revolution is still has tight as ever. Kicking off with Computer Blue, every single person felt the energy that consumed Webster Hall. You could see the playfulness of the band members, how thankful they were for the crowd who sang every word and danced to every beat. 

While many thought, oh look, The Revolution is conveniently doing a tour...those people forgot that The Revolution is mourning a true friend. While it wasn't a memorial, it was a celebration in many ways. It was celebration of our youth and celebrating the memory of an icon who led us like a pied piper through so many.

I think so many of us just expected Prince to walk out on stage during Purple Rain ... that he would just materialize and grab Wendy's guitar for the solo. But of course he didn't. But that didn't stop any of us from dancing and singing and pretending it was 1987 again. 



 Set list Webster Hall May 3, 2017

Computer Blue
America
Mountains
Automatic
Take Me With U
Uptown
D.M.S.R.
Our Destiny/ Roadhouse Garden
Raspberry Beret
Erotic City
Let's Work
1999
Paisley Park
Controversy / Mutiny
Sometimes It Snows in April
Let's Go Crazy
Delirious
Kiss
When Doves Cry
Purple Rain

Encore

I Would Die 4 U
Baby I'm a Star

video