31 March 2011

Teenage Tunes

Don't worry, this post has nothing to do with kids yelling "baby, oooooh!" on top an over-produced electronic beat. I wouldn't subject you or myself to that kind of torture. Seriously, I started listening to Aerosmith when I was 6 years old, so I think I've got my head screwed on right in terms of musical taste. :)

A while back I thought it would be a cool idea to do a piece on songs that meant a lot to me in high school (Most of them still mean a lot to me). In my opinion, the music that you end up listening to and feeling the strongest about during your teenage years, generally shapes what you enjoy listening to later in life and also the music that you end up creating, as you begin exploring the world of writing and performing.

So here's a list of few songs that I loved during my teens, mostly between grades 8 - 10, and the reasons why I still love them (in no particular order). Enjoy!

"A Favor House Atlantic" - Coheed and Cambria

The first time I heard this song, I thought to myself "That girl's got a great voice!". It was only a few months later that I found out that "that girl" was actually "that guy", which was even more impressive. I can't really put my finger on exactly why this song makes me smile, but I can say that it is still a regular on my playlist. I particularly love the lines - "The words you scribbled on the walls. The lots of friends you didn't have." - maybe it reminded me of some of the people I knew in school, who were "popular", but really only had shallow friendships.

"Blue and Yellow" - The Used

"Blue and Yellow" is a song supposedly written about Bert and Quinn's friendship and how even if they couldn't make music together, their friendship would still be more important than anything else. At first listen, it sounds like a love song, which is what I thought when I first heard it. Without getting all soppy on you, I used to think about Nicole, who I had a mad crush on when I first heard this song. I must've done something right, because we eventually started dating and we're still together now. (Insert High-Five here!)

"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - My Chemical Romance

This is a song that causes people to stare at me awkwardly when I'm driving. It's a song that I always ending up playing in my car at a high volume with me singing along at an even higher volume. I instantly loved this song when I saw the video for it back in 2004. It's just so honest. "I'm not okay, I'm not O-F*ing-kay!" It's the anthem for any kid who doesn't feel like sitting in class learning maths and would rather be making music. Well, at least it was for me, even though I was pretty good at maths.

"Stare at the Sun" - Thrice

I think what really grabbed hold of me about this song is the delivery of the vocals, combined with the lyrics. The whole theme of the song is desperation and hoping for something more. "I am due for a miracle, I'm waiting for a sign. I stare straight into the sun, and I won't close my eyes". That's some powerful stuff and you can hear it on the track. Emotion in music is very important to me, and it seems to come through a lot in this song.

"A Decade Under the Influence" - Taking Back Sunday

This song kind of grew on me over the years. Initially I thought it was fun to listen to, but didn't really take note of it all that much. It was mostly just a fun song to jump around to. However, I always liked the line "To hell with you and all your friends", which I thought was very fitting when it came to false people, who were only "friends" with you because they could use you in one way or another. Over the years, I've come to really enjoy this song more and more. 

"Rest of my Life" - Unwritten Law

Much like "Blue and Yellow" by The Used, "Rest of my Life" made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's another one of those very open and honest songs, which is probably what makes it so great.

"Last Train Home" - Lostprophets

A really great anthem-style song. When I hear it, I mostly think about how much I love music, which in turn, makes me happy. Apart from that, the song has a lot of energy, and the vocals in the chorus really give the impression of a huge crowd of people telling the world that they'll sing no matter what. It's a song that I'm very unlikely to skip past. 

I'm sure there are plenty, possibly hundreds, more songs that I could go on and on talking about, but I think I'll leave it here. Music really is a gift, and I'm grateful that I'm still receiving more and more of it every day.

28 March 2011

12th Avenue TygerBurger article

12th Avenue was featured in last week's TygerBurger newspaper!

The full article is available on our official website - www.12thavenueband.com

Go read it now! :)

12th Avenue - TygerBurger - 23/03/2011 - Full article at www.12thavenueband.com

24 March 2011

12th Avenue MFM Radio Performance and Interview

My band, 12th Avenue, spent some time at MFM 92.6 in Stellenbosch yesterday. If you missed the interview and performance, check out the link below to listen to it.

12th Avenue on MFM - 23 March 2011

Don't forget about our album launch on 1 April 2011, at Mercury Live in Cape Town!

15 March 2011

What's been cooking in the kitchen that is my mind.

So it's been a while since my last post. In this time, I've grown a year older (and hopefully wiser), been to the zoo, and watched my girlfriend shave her head to raise money for Cancer research. (She has a good looking head on her shoulders, so I don't mind. hehe! ) The band also collected our first batch of endorsed items from Paul Bothner Music. A huge thank you to them. Their endorsement is a huge help to our band.

As I'm typing this, I'm enjoying an amazing tuna sandwich, and a fairly mediocre cup of coffee, the combination of which is making me feel rather ill. I'm listening to the album "Sci-Fi Crimes" by Chevelle. I've been a fan of Chevelle since I heard "The Red" back in high school. I still really like that song. "Sci-Fi Crimes" is a very cool record. There's a lot of raw emotion in the songs that is often lacking in a lot of today's music (I'm not really a fan of the whole "baby, baby, shake your booty" thing).

I've started reading "Life" by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones (Thanks Nix for this awesome birthday present). It's such an interesting book and he tells his life story in such a way that even ordinary moments seem like an adventure. As little as I have in common with Keith in terms of lifestyle and upbringing, I admire his passion for music. The man truly loves it. I'm not even a quarter way through it, but it's already becoming a favourite for me. I've read "U2 by U2" and Nikki Sixx's "The Heroin Diaries", but this seems to take the cake so far.

12th Avenue's new record is being mastered. We've started promo on it already and have also started rehearsing our set for the Cape Town album launch on 1 April at Mercury Live. We have a number of interviews happening on the days leading up to the launch, which is always exciting. Tomorrow, we meet with the TygerBurger, a local newspaper, and in the week of the launch, we have interviews with Bush Radio and MFM. The MFM interview also consists of an on-air acoustic performance, which should be fun.

Alright, I think I've written enough to keep people occupied for a while. Later, alligators! haha! :)

02 March 2011

Give a little bit back

I was sitting and staring at my PC screen wondering what I should write for my next blog post, but couldn't think of anything that's really going on that I haven't already mentioned recently. 12th Avenue's new record is just about done (we just have mastering left), and I'm feeling pretty chilled about life (surprisingly). That's when it dawned on me...I've got it pretty good.

In fact, if you're able to read this post, whether on your PC at home, or at work, or on your phone, or if you're really lucky, your iPad, then you've got it a lot better than a large percentage of the world's population. So why not give a little back to those who really need it. There's a line in our song "Insane" that goes "Rock n Roll can save the world", so I figured maybe I could start living that line a little bit, and maybe you could too. So here's a few things that I feel passionate about, that maybe you could try out to make the world a bit of a nicer place to call home.

I love animals. My girlfriend and I occasionally volunteer at our local Animal Anti-Cruelty League branch. It's really easy and they're always looking for people to help out with a few odd jobs, but mostly just to give each of the animals a little bit of love and attention. Check out their website: www.aacl.co.za.
Help a brother out!

If you're not able to get hands-on like that, get clicking instead. Go to www.barkingmad.co.za and click the button on the right-hand side to donate bowls of food for shelter animals all over South Africa. You can do it once a day.

If you're feeling charitable and in need of a new hairdo, get down to a CANSA Shavathon in your city, this weekend (5-6 March). All proceeds go towards Cancer research. If you're not feeling up to losing those locks, just get it sprayed a fun colour for the day. Go to www.shavathon.org.za for details.

Then, if you're feeling really brave, you can also donate blood that can save someone else's life. I'm absolutely terrified of needles, so if you're a blood donor, I salute you! www.sanbs.org.za is where you can find info on becoming a donor.

So there you have it. Just a few easy ways of making a difference. :)