There’s a lot to be said for that title! It’s actually in the Bible, but I’m not discussing the Bible here. Hello I’m Robert, and Teri was kind enough to ask my input on music, like favorites and things of that nature. That could be a pretty long list as writing and music have now become a larger part of my life! So, where do I begin? Well, how about we start with the fact that I’m a twin! And then go from there.
I’ve written on this site before, and that was a rather sad tale, but it did talk about my being a twin, and in truth that probably was my First Love. Here I’m going to define that expression more like the Biblical description.
My brother and I were musical nuts, I recall as early as 6 or 7 listening to Casey Kasem’s top 40, this would’ve been the mid-seventies. Our uncle had given us a little Sony transistor radio and David and I shared the same bedroom, up until we were 17, I still remember the twin beds! At that time I don’t think either one of us knew how heavily into music we were, or how it could be playing a part in shaping our lives. We grew up listening to top 40 music of the 70s and also Country music. This would come to an abrupt halt come our teenage years, The 70s waned and the 80s sustained. If you were around during this time then you may remember the changes in music going on right under our noses and no one really thinking much about it.
The story telling 70s rock somewhat disappeared, Country had everybody attempting to sound like Alabama, which got old real quick. Like any other typical American male, David and I ventured further into Rock n Roll. Not realizing it at the time, but Atlanta had a couple of decent Rock stations in the way of Z 93 and 96 Rock, 99X would come later! Out went Casey Kasem’s top 40 and in came 96 Rock’s Psychedelic Saturday, Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom, and if you hit it right, Album 88 might be playing something of merit (this was Atlanta’s college station). We would witness the advent of MTV, and VH1 as well, but for anybody living in Atlanta now, they don’t do Radio like that in Atlanta anymore. I can still recall the names of Djs at those stations. I can recall the names of some of the MTV Vjs. Oh; this was a great time in music! As the hair metal bands were about to hit the scene also, we were shaped by all of this. David and I both had natural dry curly hair, this element doesn’t work too well with the big hair scene that was going on at the time, but we did it anyway. Mine was probably worse, because I took it a few miles further and took up electric guitar! I had heard Martin Barre’s guitar solo on Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” and just had to be able to do that! David was more subtle about it, but did attempt to sing for a band I sent him to a few years later.
Although at times we liked the same groups and music, we differed greatly in musical taste. I liked the harder stuff, and he liked the more Psychedelic and jazzy type stuff. I recall buying him a Steely Dan box set one time and actually put a stipulation on it, he couldn’t play it if I were home. Back then I couldn’t stand that band, but he loved them. I look back and actually laugh about giving a gift with a stipulation.
The groups he got into didn’t tour that much, the ones I liked did, so he and I got to see some memorable concerts. We saw stuff that many kids can only dream about now, and at the time we didn’t realize how historic some of these acts were. Most of these were seen at a venue called The Omni in downtown Atlanta; we also saw a few at The Fox, which was also down there. We got to see Greg Allman, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Rush, Pink Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Bachman, Turner Overdrive, Bad Company, Triumph, White Snake, Great White, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, and that list goes on, but those some of the more notable ones. In fact the last concert we saw together was at a place called the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, he and I along with our older brother saw The Outlaws with The Marshall Tucker Band, great show! Like many of the Southern Rock genre, half of those guys have passed, so it’s all just a memory now. Anyhow, that’s some of the music we came up on, and some of the groups we experienced. Likewise that was a time in Atlanta that was probably better musically than it is today. We had some good times back then and it all revolved around music!
Simple pleasures and music could go a long way with us! I don’t know who came up with the concept of used CD stores? But that person should get some kind of award. I remember he and I had gone out to Dallas, Texas for a friend’s wedding, we drove and had taken some CDs with us, we somehow ventured across a used CD store out there and wound up dropping a hundred bucks each. That was around a 12 hour drive from our North of Atlanta home, and we couldn’t listen to all of them. As soon as we settled back into our routine at home we found a used CD store in Gainesville, GA that became a monthly haunt for us. It also became at least a hundred bucks per visit for each of us. I don’t think people do music like that anymore? I’m not even sure people physically buy music anymore? I’m guessing the concept of a used CD store has withered away? That leads us back to the title of this writing.
The title of this “Return to the First Love” comes from something I wrote back at Easter of 2003. I had been laid off from a job as a builder from a national home building company. I was actually doing an addition on my own home and wrote some kind of poem about returning to your first love, which for me was music! I had attempted the music biz right out of high school, and was lured away by construction. Apparently I was thinking of it again in 2003 to have written that. Instead I continued on with construction for another 12 years. This time I’ve been forced out due to mobility complications, but I had my first love to fall back on, and I don’t think I missed a beat! Other than a serious learning curve with doing everything digitally. So, now it’s GOODBYE to the construction industry and HELLO again to something in music.
That’s a strange way to put it don’t you think? Something in music, what the hell does that mean? Well quite simply, the music biz has changed quite dramatically since I was looking at in “87”. Digital has changed many things, and it has killed the old business model of music, while at the same time opening a door for one to pursue some kind of livelihood from music. A computer, an instrument and a couple of programs and one can be a one-person band making radio ready type music! A case in point visit Tash Sultana at https://www.tashsultana.com/ a good example of one pursuing a career in music on her own. She along with others has thrown away the old business model and through musicianship and digital savvy is paving a new road to making a living in the music biz. And this is what I’ve currently involved myself in.
I’m not the world’s greatest musician, but I don’t have to be, I’m not the world’s greatest singer, there again I don’t have to be! I write some decent stories of unique content, and those my friends are songs I’m currently working on. This would be my latest stumbling block! I’ve self-published several books on Amazon all done digitally, two of those books are nothing more than songs not put to music yet. Almost 200 songs worth in those two books alone (great short stories), and I’m sitting on probably that many more lying around my desk begging to be finished.
The problem was people couldn’t get past the reading them as a poem, they couldn’t grasp how the song was to go. Enter my struggles with DAWs, Digital Audio Workstation. This is a program that enables one to turn their computer into a recording studio without breaking the bank! These programs are what I was messing around with after high school, but it was all analogues then. There was talk of digital, but I don’t think anyone saw how big it was going to be. There are quite a few of these on the market, and for me it’s about budget and user friendly, as I’m digitally dumb!
Like building a house, I’ve come to call this, building my digital empire; unlike building a house the progress is very slow for me. When you build something physically, you can generally see the results on a daily or at least weekly basis, and likewise bill the job weekly or monthly depending on the variables. With my little digital empire the income is slower than progress. Why do I do it? I’m still building something! There’s something seriously gratifying when you’ve written something you consider epic. I have a few I consider that way, and although I can hear them in my head when I write them, I have a hell of a time getting it across in recording them. I’ve been recording off and on for the past few months and lost all my tracks with a computer failure. These were tracks waiting to be mixed down into a song. This kind of stuff happens, it gave me a chance to reevaluate the system I’m using for this, and I’m back in the batter’s cage again. Hopefully I’ll get these recordings on my site https://storysongtales.com/ as well as my YouTube site, Lines and Tales. I currently have a fellow in England reading one of my writings in spoken word fashion which may make the aforementioned sites before an actual song does, but that’s alright. It will display what those sites are supposed to be about. There will be three different mediums accessible by one website, I think that’s pretty cool! Music, books and videos to back up or illustrate the stories told. We as people had an oral tradition of storytelling long before the written word, now we have a few methods of getting that oral tradition across. In a nutshell, if one is computer savvy like many of today’s kids seem to be, there is a way to make a living from it! I chose music, and writing since music has been such a large part of my life that goes without saying, I chose writing, because it helps if you write it down for others to see, and as Aerosmith put it “Let the Music Do the Talking”.
Had my brother not passed away this is something else we could have been doing together, I honestly think he might have enjoyed this more so than the houses I talked about in my last writing here. That is something that goes through my mind often; I wish my brother were here to share this with! Not just this digital experience, but the new music as well! Probably more so the new music than the crumbling digital empire.
There are a lot of folks in my age group who think that today’s music is dead, it isn’t! I have found plenty in the vaults of YouTube, music that will never see the light of day; I’m talking the good stuff here! The stuff that makes the hairs on your arms stand on end, the stuff that might bring a tear, the kind of stuff that makes you just go Damned! There’s a lot of it out there, I try to put one in my blog every time I post, I don’t post enough to get them all. The cool thing about searching the catacombs of YouTube is they see your listening habits and make suggestions based on that, they do a pretty good job with those suggestions.
I’m going to wrap this up by stating that although it’s been nine years since my brother passed, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. To me losing a twin has to be about the cruelest thing in the world to have to endure, that’s a hole that doesn’t get filled! If he were here helping me on this little endeavor the technical problems would have gone more smoothly. I’m not one to moan about what’s happened, but that one was a tough one getting over. I’m guessing since we both got into music so hard and heavy, that I really do miss sharing this new music with him.
I mentioned these girls in the last article I wrote here, I’ll mention them again. The sisters of Larkin Poe whom you can find at http://www.larkinpoe.com/ these girls turn me on and my brother would approve, because they are real! They’re doing a brand of Americana blues based rock which is pretty incredible. Both are more than adept at their chosen instruments, and they do some great harmonizing along with songwriting. They are roughly a year and a half a part age wise, and to see them perform together you might think they’re twins. They seem to have that unspoken bond like my brother and I had, I would love to land a song with them some day!
Another great thing of merit about these two are what they’re doing business wise. If one gets into that kind of thing, watch how these girls are marketing themselves! They’ve mastered the digital jungle while keeping up with a grueling tour schedule. As far as I know they’ve done most of this on their own, there are no labels involved. These two are and should be an inspiration to any would be entrepreneur out there, twin or not!
I decided not to list all my favorites, I’ve listed a couple, and Iron Maiden still holds a special place in my heart. Not every band that’s been around and still producing relative music can say their singer is their pilot. These guys have been at it for 40 years or so and still release new music consistently. They have played a large part in my writing style even to this day. When a band can arrange and sing a piece of Classic Literature turning it into 10 minute encore piece at a concert, they’re pretty damned special. When a band is bright enough to buy their own jet and the singer gets his pilot’s license, how can you not help but admire them? This day and time I seem to go after the inspirational as much as the music. For those interested visit me at https://storysongtales.com/ the blog and participate, or look at the books on the gallery page. Hopefully they’ll be some songs there soon.