Author & Punisher
Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals
Sonifly.com’s* own Scott Grady sits down with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and has an in-depth discussion about hockey, song writing, and what it’s like to be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
*Sonifly.com has become bandmerchnow.com
Music is a powerful force that can inspire, reflect emotion and bring people together. Music has the ability to move people, change a mood or even evoke new ideas. I had the opportunity to visit the South By Southwest music festival and experienced this first hand.
Upon my arrival to Austin I immediately noticed two things. One is their love of music and the other is the city’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” This passion is tattooed everywhere. You’re truly in a special place. Evident through life size guitars at the Airport to Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza, Austin exemplifies music.
Attending the South by Southwest festival was a great way for me to discover an overwhelming amount of live music, new products and business opportunities. SXSW is an eclectic mix of people from all over the world who gather in one place to see what’s hot, what’s next and what the future of music will hold.
Walking down 6th street any time of day you will hear music. Whether it is a street performer taking donations in exchange for his or her CD to an official SXSW event featuring Bruce Springsteen. Think things are bigger in Texas? Absolutely! The vibe from the city was adrenaline laden. Attendees, including myself, quickly hurried from venue to venue in hopes of seeing (and hearing) their favorite band or discovering a new favorite. Bragging to friends that you heard them first is a big deal, right? Popular musicians from Kenny Rogers, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dog, Skrillex and Lionel Richie all made the trip to Austin to perform. But it’s the fresh faced bands like fun and the Sheepdogs that made the most noise.
SXSW runs the gamut of social interaction, fashion, music, gear and a trade show all at your fingertips. SXSW allows you to go out of your comfort zone of musical taste and explore new bands and performers without the risk of looking or feeling out of place. You are swept away by the hustle and bustle walking around town and taking in the sights and sounds in a fast paced environment. Music brought these people to Austin from all walks of life on this very day at this very time and put them here to enjoy one common pleasure, the sound that comes from within a musician’s soul. Out there for you to see and enjoy.
Sonifly* is everything you love about music. Sonifly* is for people who are passionate about playing, singing and listening to music. Sonifly* is more than a music store. It’s a lounge. And a gallery. And a collective of information about your favorite artists and songwriters. It’s where you can buy your favorite sheet music and tabs, download mp3s, watch videos, buy T-shirts and merch, read about your favorite artists and discover new music.
*Sonifly has become Band Merch Now
Whether it’s a romantic comedy, sports story or slasher movie … music brings extra emotional intensity to the screen. Without the music we would just be watching a bunch of people run from a frightening figure or enduring painfully awkward pauses before that couple leans in for the long awaited kiss.
Music helps to bridge the pauses in movie dialogue. It surprises you as it crescendos just when the scene should be quiet so our heroine is not discovered. It makes you sympathetic to that poor lonely soul standing in the torrential rain suffering because he did that one thing he said he’d never do. Music portrays struggles and challenges overcome better than mere words could ever possibly express. Chariots of Fire and Rocky would certainly not have had the same impact without their musical themes.
So next time you are at the movies with your popcorn and the scene on the screen makes you stop mid-munch remember … music did this.
Remember that first album, 8-track, CD or MP3 you bought with your own money? Chances are not only do you remember when it was, but where you were. You can remember what grade you were in, who was with you and maybe even who had broken your heart. Music is so powerful that when it grabs hold of your attention that very first time you listen, the moment will be imprinted in your heart and soul for a lifetime.
As you grow older you may forget some minor details about that moment but something about hearing a song that held so much meaning to you when you first experienced it, will stick with you forever. You will always be moved by the song that was played at your wedding, or that soundtrack from the movie that you saw so many times you memorized the dialogue. The sudden and strong emotion of hearing the song you danced to at Homecoming with your first crush 20 years ago or just last Saturday night, may take you completely by surprise. But for one moment settle into it and enjoy the ride. That feeling will be locked in for life because … music did this.
Music builds. We know that music builds connection and emotion. But does it ever seem obvious that music builds with wood, steel, and concrete to create structures for its existence. The Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington is a museum, built by music to immerse us mortal humans in its immortal energy.
The building’s exterior design is without straight walls or right angles, a blob-like structure that resembles music’s ability to continuously change its own rules. The 1st floor exhibit, “Jimi Hendrix: An Evolution of Sound” is an illustration of Hendrix’s musical evolution from a Seattle-born journeyman musician to his explosion onto the London music scene.
Wandering throughout the room I saw up close the Fender Stratocaster he used to redefine the National Anthem at Woodstock. In the next window are the shards of his ’68 Monterey Pop Festival guitar that he set on fire and then smashed. Imagine the sound created from that!
As a musician myself, it’s an incredible feeling to see music as a force that built this room, this building, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience itself. Feeling that energy I visited the top floor of the EMP to have 10 minutes of uninterrupted fun time on a drum set. Afterwards I felt that music had built within me a tiny moment of joy that will last forever.
The story of Nathaniel Ayers, the Julliard double-bassist whose training was cut short due to a mental breakdown caused by schizophrenia, has become quite well known in both the music and non-music worlds. Whether you read the columns or book written by Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez or you saw the heart-breaking drama unfold in the film “The Soloist,” chances are Mr. Ayers’s name rings a bell. More importantly, the message behind this story was vividly clear – Music has the power to transform lives, to heal, to reach us when the spoken word fails, to bring us back to our center when turmoil clouds our minds.
Robert Gupta, violinist with the LA Philharmonic, experienced this phenomenon first hand when Nathaniel came to him for a lesson. During a TED Talk in 2010, Gupta relays how inspiring this story is to him and how incredible it is that it was music that brought Mr. Lopez and Mr. Ayers together, and ultimately, is what took this brilliant, homeless man off the streets of Los Angeles.
Robert first met Nathaniel backstage at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2008 and shortly thereafter received an e-mail from Steve Lopez inquiring on the lesson. Nathaniel arrived at the lesson with what Robert describes as a “manic glint in his eyes;” he appeared lost and spoke of invisible demons and how someone had been poisoning him in his sleep. Afraid that saying the wrong thing could trigger a negative response, and possibly even ruin Nathaniel’s relationship with the violin, Robert began to run the bow across the violin strings in a rendition of the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. He immediately noticed a difference in Nathanial’s demeanor and a distinct clarity forming in his eyes. They began trading snippets of various violin concertos back and forth and an in-depth discussion about various composers ensued. It was then that Robert realized the “encyclopedic knowledge” of music that the man before him possessed. A man in which he had just witnessed the incredible transformation from a paranoid, disturbed individual, to a cognitive, passionate, brilliant Julliard-trained musician.
Robert’s astute observations are right on the money. It is only in music that Nathaniel was able to find an escape from his own mind, which otherwise tormented him. In music, Nathaniel found a way to communicate and interact on a level comparable to that of Robert’s LA Philharmonic colleagues, who actually understand and show him the respect he deserves. In music, Nathaniel found sanity. For Robert’s part, he found a renewed affirmation as to why he has chosen to be a musician.