Posts Tagged ‘Alice Cooper’

Facing The Music

May 15, 2013

Monday May 13th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL  

   Here’s another major life’s regret to toss on my ever growing pile: I never made the investment of time and energy to create music. I really wish I would have taken an opportunity at some point to at least learn the basics of music so I could have added it to my repertoire of creative outlets.

   I’m not saying I would have made a career of it or even attempted to, but I really think it would have added all kinds of interesting angles to everything I’ve already done. It would have been the perfect fit for my already ‘out there’ left handed creative mind set, and I think I missed the boat.

   I can’t sing a lick, and I know it. That’s just not in me, but I think playing some instrument and especially writing songs would definitely have been for me. It’s a craft and art form just like joke writing is, and I think a lot of the same brain cells are used to create each. I live for that process.

   I remember reading somewhere that Steve Allen had written thousands of songs throughout his life – even though I can’t think of even one hit. It doesn’t matter I guess, the process is rewarding if nothing else. It can be financially lucrative too, I suppose. Hit songs are what pay royalties for a lifetime. People want to hear them over and over and over again. Who ever wrote a ‘hit joke’?

   The creative side of the music and comedy crafts may be the same, but getting one’s chops are completely different. A comedian has to go up and suffer constant pain in front of live audiences for years until he or she learns the ropes. A musician can haul out the old bassoon or piccolo and practice alone in the privacy of his or her own room. It’s still difficult, but not nearly as public.

   As a kid, I don’t remember being around live music at all. Nobody in my family plays anything but the radio, so it’s not like I was born into the Jackson or Osmond clan and given a tambourine for my first birthday. Plus I’m very Caucasian, so that may have impeded my progress as well.

   My natural inner rhythm may not be there from the start, but I bet I could have learned the craft and fit in on some level had I been offered more of an opportunity. I remember farting around on a cheap used guitar when I was around ten years old, and then my grandfather bought a keyboard organ from Kmart for some reason. I aped around on that too, but never had any formal lessons.

   Being left handed didn’t help with any dreams I may have had of becoming a guitar hero. Left handed guitars are like left handed golf clubs. They’re out there, but really rare. I never did have a chance to even see if I liked it or not. Maybe I would have hated it, or maybe I’d be a star now.

   One thing I would have been is eccentric and eclectic. I’m already that now, but it’s not a bad thing in the creative arts. I adore artistic kooks, and always have. George Clinton is one of those, and I mean it as a sincere compliment. He’s brilliant, but out there. Other names that pop into my head that did or do their own thing are Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper and Thomas Dolby.

   I bet I would have written some interesting songs by now to say the least. I have a comic style, and I’m sure I’d have a music style as well. I love a well written song, especially one that tells an interesting or unique story. Was (Not Was) writes a lot of songs like that, as does Bernie Taupin.

   I suppose I could start taking some lessons now, but I think it’s way too late to make any noise on a serious level. I’d be just another half baked hack hobbyist, but I don’t need any more speed bumps in my path. I did what I did, now I have to live with it. Comedy keeps me busy enough.

A Treat From Uranus

November 2, 2012

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m a big fan of Halloween, but probably not for the same reason most people are. What I love the most is how the acceptance level of the public is raised exponentially, if only for a single day. Individual freedom of expression is not questioned, and is in fact encouraged and even rewarded.

If one should choose to dress in a diaper and nothing else today, nobody would bat an eye. The possibilities are endless. Imagination and ingenuity are placed in high esteem, and people are in a competitive mindset to try and outdo each other in a positive way. I find that vibe very attractive.

I wish every day could have that level of mass acceptance, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Would it not dramatically up the fun quotient in life if we could dress like Batman or a cowboy any time we felt like it just to get a charge out of people? I guess we could anyway, but it would get stares.

That’s why I find the whole ‘King of Uranus’ concept so much fun. Who wouldn’t love to be a king or a queen, or at least treated like one? I love everything about it – especially the amount of attention it gets for just walking in a room. The few times I’ve done it has been a fun adventure.

If I were to put on the getup today, it might not get a second look. If someone asked who I was, I’m sure “The King of Uranus” would fetch at least a tiny chuckle, but it might get watered down by the fact everybody else is vying for attention with their own costumes. I’d have competition.

Doing it next week or next month would allow me to have ALL attention focused on me – and that is exactly what winning the entertainment game is about. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been done to death in the music business by everyone from Alice Cooper to Kiss to Marilyn Manson.

George Clinton is my favorite example. He cultivated a look that turned heads, and he wore his costume all the time. Alice Cooper and Kiss take their makeup off after a show. George made his multicolored hairstyle the attraction, along with long flowing robes. He lived it offstage as well.

I don’t know if I need to dress like The King of Uranus offstage, but if I had to I could get used to it. I like the flowing robes part, as that’s what I’d picture a king to wear. That’s why I love this idea so much. Nobody really knows what The King of Uranus would wear. I’m calling the shots.

If I can pull this off like I picture it, every day will be Halloween. I’ll get to dress up in all sorts of goofy costumes I’d never wear anywhere else for any reason, and it will make people laugh or smile or at least give me a blank stare of disbelief. No matter what the reaction, at least it will be a source of entertainment and that’s what I’m going for. It won’t take much to attract attention.

It’s a good thing that people tend to be such creatures of habit, as I have a wide open canvas on which I can paint this character however I choose. It won’t take long to discover what works and what doesn’t, and before long The King of Uranus will become an actual fleshed out character to use whenever I need it. If I have fun with it – and I already have – it will be contagious. I haven’t put as much effort into this as I had intended, but today reminds me how much fun I’m missing.