We left on our On the 10s Road Trip??almost two weeks ago (on April 13!), and we have had many, many adventures, many of which I have not yet blogged about because I fall asleep exhausted at the end of every adventurous day!
The blog posts about our adventures after??New Mexico will be coming in the days ahead.
Our blogging in real-time has been complicated by LIVING in the NOW, actually HAVING??the adventures.
It was further complicated this weekend when I was stupid enough to LIKE
a Jon Stewart clip
on Facebook from my iPhone. Let me be the first to say that Facebook LIKE button + iPhone app + AT&T service = The White Apple of Death
As in, the finger of death I used to do a one-pawed operation (LIKE, fersure!
) crashed my iPhone — 48 hours & counting, it won’t reboot, and is stuck on The White Apple of Death
All the pictures I’ve taken on our Road Trip might very well be LOST if iPhone can’t figure out a way to boot itself. Right now my iPhone’s like a supine bug struggling to get to its feet.
My business partner Joyce of course tells me to just let go. Joyce tweets
, “Isn’t the Apple of Death apropos for Death Panda
???Let those photos go. Never look back, dahling, it distracts from the NOW!
(Aside: I thought letting go of photos was more the domain of Death Bear
So stay tuned for more Road Trip blog posts soon, with or without pictures, depending on whether iPhone resurrects.
In the meantime, 5000 words
on Metal Monday.
Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice front runner Bret Michaels, lead singer of heavy metal band Poison, has suffered a brain hemorrhage. As anyone who reads this posterous can attest, aneurysms are front of mind for me.??
But I’m not the only one. Even Megan Kelley Hall says, “not quite sure why I’m obsessed with getting updates on Bret Michaels’s condition, since I’m not a fan of Poison and never watched Rock of Love (but I do really like him on Celebrity Apprentice)… I tell people at my book signings that facing death kicked my butt into achieving my goal of becoming a published author. Do what you’ve always dreamed of doing TODAY. Right now. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Just do it. Make every day count.”
Apparently they can’t find Bret Michaels’s aneurysm with CAT, MRI, or angiogram! So they can’t operate to fix it, and it’s still bleeding. (This is related to Joyce’s aneurysm:??Joyce recently learned that she can’t have an MRI on her head because the metal clips and screws in there could be dislodged by magnetism.)??
The blood from a subarachnoid hemorrhage irritates the brain tissues and can result in an ischemic stroke and permanent brain damage.
Once again we are reminded that the human brain is delicate, fragile, and mortal. We’re made of meat.
On the other hand, being made of meat has its advantages. For example, it gives us great pleasure to listen to heavy metal while on an epic Road Trip. And music just might be the key to redemption and salvation. As Don MacLean said,
Do you believe in rock n’ roll,
Can music save your mortal soul???
It can. More on that soon.
Metal artists fall into two main categories. There’s the moody apocalyptic wailers who flirt with the devil and employ rock n’ roll??to save their mortal souls when all they see is death and destruction and dementia all around them. Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, and those who try to be like them… they’re great for escape when you’re having a shitty day, but not really the stuff for Road Trips.??
Joyce tells me that The Road Trip metal artists are the ones who sing about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome. Example: Bret Michaels??injured himself performing Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time” in 2009! These are the folks that Bill & Ted and Wayne & Garth and Beavis & Butt-head are most into, and they revel in being excellent to each other and of course partying on, dudes. Van Halen, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Poison, and the king of them all, AC/DC.
(As an aside, David Lee Roth of Van Halen was accused by critics of writing songs about nothing but sex, partying, and cars, which made him realize he had never written a song about cars! So he wrote PANAMA!
On our On the 10s
Road Trip we listened to a lot of road metal, and AC/DC most of all. And then we came to realize that songs like “Hell’s Bells”, “Rock n Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Let Me Put My Love Into You”
, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” all ??came from one, single, spectacular album: BACK IN BLACK
“Back in Black” is an album that lives at the cross-roads of metal, appealing to BOTH the road-tripping party animals and the broody, dark, in-their-rooms-with-headsets-blasting headbangers. And it was written right after the album named after perhaps the greatest road tripping song since Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” — namely, “Highway to Hell”!
“Back in Black” is a masterpiece that was in the process of being written exactly 30 years ago — and released July 25, 1980.
What I didn’t realize until now is how important this single album is in the entire canon of music:
1. It is the second-highest-selling album of all time worldwide (behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”).
2. It is the top-selling album of all time by a rock band.
3. Much like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, it was never the top-selling album in the United States in any given week. This album has unbelievably steady longevity for almost thirty years — ironic for heavy metal, which in general believes it’s better to burn out than fade away.
4. Many of the guitar licks on this album were original, catchy, and highly influential. It is clear that Bret Michaels listened to “Back in Black” many, many times. And the album still sounds fresh today, 30 years after their initial release. (Even Nickelback and Maroon Five have tapped Mutt Lange to produce a similar sound in 2008… and 2010!)
5. This wasn’t their first album or second album. This was their SIXTH album. It took them that long to get their craft perfect. However, it wasn’t written by a single, cohesive vision from a single person, despite having a grand unified theme. You wouldn’t know it was written by multiple people, but it was. More on that soon.
6. The album is BOTH about sex & partying AND about death. More on that after the video for “Back in Black”.
Bret Michaels’ brothers-in-metal, AC/DC were at a cross-roads in early 1980, and this album might never have been made, because their lead singer and songwriter on their first five albums, Bon Scott, died unexpectedly from alcohol poisoning on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33.
The surviving members of the band considered disbanding following Scott’s death, but they ultimately decided to continue and shortly thereafter hired Brian Johnson as their new lead singer and lyricist.
The group decided to finish the songwriting they had started under Scott and Back in Black was the final result.
According to Angus Young the album’s all-black cover was a “sign of mourning” for Scott, as black is the traditional Western colour of mourning.
That’s right, they turned to rock n’ roll to comfort them in a time of sadness after the loss of their great friend, to write songs about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome.
AC/DC could have been torn apart by the death of their great friend. Instead, they used it as their inspiration and motivation, and put themselves completely into their art, and as a result have become ageless, timeless, and eternal:??
Much of AC/DC???s appeal lies in the group???s consistency, its unwavering focus on cranking up the rhythms of early rock into stadium-sized anthems. Although AC/DC has fans of all ages, it is almost unique among ???70s bands in that it never tried to grow up with its audience. The band never experimented with different genres, made an ???unplugged?????album or even recorded a ballad, and none of its songs sound rooted in a particular time.
The group???s raw aggression is as relevant to teenagers who listen to its albums on iPods as they were to those who heard them on record players. ???Back in Black,??? which has sold 49 million copies worldwide since 1980, according to Columbia, could serve as a catchy soundtrack to teenage frustration for as long as it exists.
Radio signals carrying AC/DC’s awesome tunes will traverse the universe for as long as there is a universe.
And still relevant today: AC/DC is featured in such iconic pop phenom’s in 2010 as the entire Iron Man 2 soundtrack and an AC/DC version of “Rock Band”.
Every Monday is Metal Monday, but today especially so. AC/DC inspires us, and Bret Michaels is in our thoughts.
Bret Michaels prognosis??is hard to read: “Worst outcome = death, middle of scale = permanent speech and vision deficit.” I hope he does even better than that. They’re still not sure if it was an aneurysm that caused his brain hemorrhage.
Apparently they don’t know what caused it — just that he was lucky!
To Bret Michaels and your brain hemorrhage: I hope you get well soon, buddy, and hope that this unfortunate situation inspires more heavy metal art. We play “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and think of you:
Want to know more about my thoughts about aneurysms and brain hemorrhages? See also:
1. Death Panda — about the aneurysms of Joyce Park, Craig Johnson, Jill Bolte Taylor, Takuya Kimura, David Mills, and Jerry York.
2. Frequently Asked Questions About Aneurysms — by my business partner Joyce Park, who had a brain hemorrhage last August.
3. Do Aneurysms Strike Type A People More? — a question that has no good answer.
4. Every Aneurysm is a Reminder — to get busy with the business of living your life, NOW.
5. Lessons Are Repeated Until They Are Learned — knowing that our time in this world is limited, we often seek happiness externally, but that is not a good use of time, for happiness comes from within.
From the White Apple of Death to “Back in Black”, one message rings clear and loud:??
Whatever you do and wherever you are, BE WHO YOU ARE, and BE HERE AND NOW.