Blog Archives

It Was 1980-Something

“Flashback Friday” is supposed to evoke a fond memory from our past, typically during our formative years. If a Guns N’ Roses music video from 1987–in front of and behind the camera footage–doesn’t qualify, then I don’t know what does.

Sweet memory of mine indeed, both musically and the time period that’s long gone. The era, the unrestrained rock n’ roll lifestyle on-and-off the stage, the city and the musicians all lined up for Guns N’ Roses for several years for something that was uniquely epic before, well, you know.

But now it’s better again. It’s a flashback that came full circle for a flash forward.

Happy Flashback Friday. 

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There Are No Words / A Real Star’s Banner Anthem

That Fergalicious take on the “Star-Spangled Banner” will not be lifted into the rafters of any basketball arena.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is not an ordinary song. It’s much, much more. And messing up our beloved national anthem by taking the wrong (creative) approach will raise more than just eyebrows. In reflecting on Fergie’s terrible, cringe-worthy rendition of the national anthem before the NBA All-Star game this past Sunday, Slash came to mind for his clever and signature take on the very same national anthem a few years back.

But for very different reasons, as you’ll see and hear.

(Click the video below. It will play!)

For Slash, no words were necessary.

And yet, he said everything with an incredible instrumental that had Americans cheering on his symbolic tip of the hat to the song’s writer Francis Scott Key.

P.S. A Fun Fact: I am, as surreal as it reads, related to the aforementioned Francis Scott Key.

Okay, I’ll give this a shot:

My dad’s uncle (John Lentz) was married to Frances, whose grandfather’s brother was the grandfather of Francis Scott Key. 

America’s Musical Key

If you’ve always thought that the “The Star-Spangled Banner” sounded like poetry…

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
–History.com

A perceptive observation, dream or random idea can alter the course of history and America has been sitting in the front row since the summer of 1776. When these lightning-in-a-bottle moments arrive without warning, people in all eras have proven to be quite receptive. This is what makes Francis Scott Key’s poem so remarkable. Mr. Key wasn’t hired to write poetry in that war zone, yet he saw something nobody had before. Forgive me if the following sentiment reads like a bit of a hyperbolic stretch, but perhaps Mr. Key, like everyone else, was familiar with the language of America’s declared independence, but he was the first to see the resonance of those words off paper via the lone flag flying after a battle of life and death.

At this point in American history (and world history), the future of the United States of America was unknown. The American experiment, as it continues to evolve today and tomorrow, was just that at its inception and sequential decades thereafter, including the War of 1812. More accurately, less was known and understood about “America” during the late 18th century because these supremely radical ideas were only beginning to be molded into a stunning reality.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is relevant due to the circumstances of how and why the lyrics came to be. And, at this country’s crossroads of sheer existence early in the 19th century, America’s purpose was realized within the smoke and fire of battle through a uniting anthem.

That anthem rocks to this day.

Fun Fact: I am, as surreal as it reads, related to the aforementioned Francis Scott Key.

Okay, let’s give this a shot:

My dad’s uncle (John Lentz) was married to Frances, whose grandfather’s brother was the grandfather of Francis Scott Key.

The lineage may not read like poetry, but it inspires pride in being an American all the same.

The Sweet Sound of Eureka

Randomness is a wonderful thing.

Occasionally, the gift of randomly stumbling onto something completely out of the blue can pay enormous dividends. Perhaps “stumbling” isn’t the best word…”slashing” sounds better.

Today is one of those days.

Slash (birth name is Saul Hudson) is a living legend and icon, famous for his trademark curly black hair, black top hat and black aviator shades.

Oh, and he riffs on the guitar from time-to-time.

Slash’s talent is visionary and his wisdom is equally enlightening. Watching a documentary (Slash: Raised on the Sunset Strip) about his life growing up on the Strip is a must-see for anybody even mildly interested in the rock scene in LA. Some of music’s biggest names during the past 30 years explained their experiences and personal connections with this crazy good musician dedicated to his craft.

His musical portfolio, and persona, will survive the test of time. Slash is among a special collection of rock stars that will inspire future musicians to pick up an instrument in a music shop as opposed to a laptop (or enter a nationally televised singing competition) to make music that connects with people on a deeply personal level.

On that note

Randomness: The gift that keeps on giving.