Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘rock music’ Category

Rocking Out For Spinal Cord Injury Research

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by Treadmarkz

The other day I was thumbing through a rack of old LPs at a kiosk on the St. Vital Mall in Winnipeg, and I found a stack of Beatles records that for some reason nobody had snatched up yet. I didn’t waste a moment in deciding to buy the LP version of “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl” and “Yesterday…and Today.”

As if this wasn’t enough for a Beatles fanatic like me, I found out after the fact that all proceeds from purchases made at this kiosk were to go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. A little piece of cosmic serendipity, possibly. I wish I could say I bought the records because I wanted to make a benevolent contribution to the Reeve cause, but that is simply not true. But I am glad I bought them.

I am in a wheelchair with a spinal chord related disorder myself so I had a pretty good idea what the Reeve Foundation was about, but I looked into it a little more last night. I am not going to go into the issue of Spinal Cord Injury research too much, but regardless of your opinion on the controversial issue, what they are doing at the Reeve Foundation can only lead to some good coming to those whose lives have been changed to an indefinite degree by their injury.

Take a look at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation by clicking HERE. I’ll be adding it to my blog roll soon.

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Is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton About a Disabled Man and an Able-Bodied Woman?

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by Treadmarkz,

Here’s a weird one.

I was flipping through http://www.songfacts.com and I came across “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Songfacts is a site where fans can submit “facts” or, mostly opinions actually, and a lot of misinformation, about any song you can think of. Under “Wonderful Tonight” I found an entry from someone putting forth the theory that “Wonderful Tonight” (one of the greatest love songs of all time, next to “Layla” also by Clapton) was written about a man in a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend/wife. Let’s analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis:

“We go to a party/Everyone turns to see/this beautiful lady/walking around with me” – If the stress and focus is on the word “walking” it could suggest that the person she is with is not, himself, walking. But that is really suspending disbelief, so let’s move on.

“I give her the car keys/she puts me to bed” – This is about a man who is unable to drive. Not able to at all or just as a result of intoxication or fatigue? More and more disabled people are driving, but in the 1970s when this song was recorded, this may not have been so. And the second line may have something to do with a woman physically lifting the man from his wheelchair into bed.

That’s about all I see backing up the aforementioned claim. But the overall theme of the song is a man who is desperately in love with his woman, who “just doesn’t realize how much” he loves her. I am married to a woman who is not “disabled” in the usual sense of the word (She told me herself that she believes that everyone is disabled to some degree), so I can identify with that feeling, the desperation to tell that person how much their unconditional love means to you. However, I would hope that anyone in love has felt it that strongly.

And so, upon deep reflection on this matter, I think that “Wonderful Tonight” is just a regular, boring, good ol’ fashioned walkie love song. Case closed. I have spoken. Turn out the lights. Don’t let the door hit ya.

Beatles Bash 2008

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by Treadmarkz

My wife and I went to the Beatles Bash 2008 in Mantorville, Minnesota this evening. The weather forecast called for cloud cover and probable rain, and it did sprinkle as we arrived, but as soon as the first of two Beatles “tribute” bands began playing, the clouds opened allowing the sun to shine through, or as I told my wife “So God could help pay tribute to His favorite band.” The sun shined the rest of the day uninterrupted.

I don’t “dance” too often but tonight I thought “to hell with it, this is the Beatles…sort of” so my wife and I rocked it out on the dance floor and during one of “George’s” guitar solos I pulled my leg up and played air guitar on it for a brief moment. Showing off really. I was really impressed with myself how unbridled I can get on the dance floor yet able to show everyone around me that they need not worry about getting their legs cut off by my chair.

The two bands were Liverpool Legends and The Cavern Beat. The Cavern Beat was probably more authentic to the sound of the Beatles, but only focused on the band’s early days. They only went as far as 1965, with one song from 1966, “Paperback Writer”. Cavern Beat’s “Paul” had an incredible vocal range, I thought, and emulated the real Paul’s style and mannerisms on stage, as did the band’s “John”. See, each actual Beatle had a very distinctive stance, Paul with his feet close together, legs straight, and John with his knees bent a bit, feet spread apart. Pulling that off, along with the band’s Beatlesque stage banter, the whole package helped the Cavern Beat make one feel like they were “there”. The only inconsistency I saw in this band was that their “Ringo” really did not sound or look like Ringo. But hey, who does?

Liverpool Legends rocked harder, and focused even more on the “banter” and the Liverpool humor, and they covered the span of the Beatles’ entire recording career from old cover tunes through Abbey Road, which was great, but I felt like they suffered from the same syndrome that I have seen in a few other Beatles tribute bands. It’s called the “That does not sound like George Harrison” syndrome. Funny since they were formed by George’s sister, Louise Harrison. Louise was actually at the event today. She signed autographs and gave a little talk, told some stories about George, and answered a few questions shouted up from the crowd. I wish I would have asked a question, or even went to speak with her directly. But while the chance to speak with her directly was presenting itself, I was just waiting for the next act to start, and it ended up taking a long time. So it turns out I had my chance and let it go. Which just goes to show, don’t hesitate. Take your chance when you have it. I could have shaken hands with a flesh and blood relative of one of the Beatles. I could have told her how much the Beatles have meant to me and how much respect I have for George’s honesty in his solo music.

Alas…

Great show though. Go and see Liverpool Legends in Branson, Missouri if you are in that area. They play in Branson almost all year round. I would love to see them again. My wife’s feet are tired from dancing and my hands are tired from clapping and tapping on my knees and swinging my chair around out on the floor.

On a side note, halfway through the show, a Beatles Trivia game was played by audience members. It was done in two sections, and in each section, one of the contestants was a woman with a developmental disability. I was a bit upset when the first woman could not think of the answer to her question, and the “hostess” whispered the answer in her ear allowing her to continue. No such luck for anyone else of course. Then in the second round she got her question wrong and the hostess said “We hate to see you go” followed by “Who’s next, this guy, he looks smart”. I don’t think she realized how it sounded. Plus I don’t think that what any disabled person needs necessarily is to be catered to or “given the answer.”

Just a game though. By the way, when “John” said “Here’s a slow song…for you slower folks” it was part of the act, it was authentic John Lennon, and I laughed along with everyone else, so you figure that one out.

In the second round of the trivia game, the other woman with a developmental disability got her question wrong and the hostess was very condescending toward her. “You did really good. I think you should win a prize too”. Stuff like that. I just hate this kind of crap, and I don’t think it is what anyone with a disability needs. I wonder if she would have condescended to me had I been one of the contestants. I am really bummed that I didn’t put my name in. I could have won a poster.

Top 11 List of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am (Bless Their Dippy Hearts)

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by Treadmarkz

Why 11 and not 10? Well…it’s complicated but I think it’s in the Americans with Disabilities Act somewhere. I get 11 automatically because I am in a wheelchair. Anyway, on with the list of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am.

PS: I’ve got spina bifida, in case you are new to “Leaving Treadmarkz Across The Universe”. Okay, here’s the list, and in no particular order, because I didn’t have the heart to place any higher emphasis on any of these people in comparison to the others.

1. People who find themselves using text message language in legal documents out of habit. (U no wut I mean?) These people just bug me and I wanted to put them on my list.

2. People who begin their fast food order with the word “gimme”. Usually it’s men, but not always. But regardless, I always wonder if they talk that way at home and what it gets them.

3. The two geniuses in the story at this link. Clearly human life means very little to them, and I don’t want to make them out to be representational of their entire generation, so I won’t, but I worry. (Sorry this link no longer valid but it originally linked to a story about two teenage girls who refused to give up screwing around with their cell phones and pagers even though the story they were interviewed for was about deaths resulting from such behavior.)

4. People who have a quote from one literary great or another to punctuate or sum up every conceivable real life situation they encounter.

5. Larry King, for two reasons that come to mind right off the bat:

I. He asked Paul McCartney if he ever wakes up in the morning and pinches himself.

II. He asked Ringo Starr “What’s it like being an ex-Beatle?” Seriously

When is this guy going to retire?

6. People who walk up to the front door of the mall and press that little “Door Open” button with the little blue guy in the wheelchair on it, knowing full well that pressing that button will make getting the door open take about three times longer than it would to just walk up to it and fling that sucker open! Some people who are not in wheelchairs really need to empower themselves by using the physical abilities they have.

7. Jesse Jackson/Don Imus: These guys should have a “Saying Stupid Things In Public” contest. Not that this has anything to do with the conventional understanding of “disabled”, but these guys clearly both have cloudy perception of common sense which holds them back, disables them.

8. This guy has more problems than I am qualified to discuss, not being a licensed therapist.

9. Anyone who puts all the energy of their youth into building up their bodies, at all costs to their mental, emotional and physical health, including the use of steroids. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are good examples. These guys are all clearly unstable and willing to say anything that will allow them to continue their lifestyles. These people are like shooting stars and when they burn out, man, it’s gone. They won’t have anything left but a shell of a body with nothing upstairs to back it up. These four men were like the golden boys of Major League Baseball in the late 80s and they did well with it, but, all four ended their careers in disgrace.

10. People who spend more time figuring out what to call themselves than they do being themselves.

11. World leaders who use the word “nucular”. I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry.

THERE…how’s that for self-righteousness!

Paul McCartney Launches Major Fund-raising Campaign Being For the Benefit of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Paul McCartney has launched a fund-raising campaign for the Paralympics worth 2 Million Pounds, which will extend beyond the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to the former Beatle’s website. This may be partly because London will host the Paralympics in 2012, but I think Paul has shown himself to be an advocate of the disabled with his tireless work regarding the removal of active land mines. Read the full story, here.

Putting the Roll Back in Rock and Roll, Part II : Cityzen

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by Treadmarkz

In case you are wondering, the Part II in the title refers to this, a story I wrote in January lamenting my sense that there are not many famous musicians with disabilities. I was recently reminded of it when I came across a story on disaboom.com about Tobias Forrest and his band, Cityzen. Forrest is a quadriplegic, but was not when he first started his band. He was paralyzed during a diving accident. It was very refreshing to read that he continued to rock after the accident, especially after reading that immediately after the accident, he was on a ventilator to breathe.

Having four band mates who are committed to the same vision as he is helps a lot too. They carry him up on stage at almost every gig since most of the venues don’t have a ramp up to the stage and the ADA apparently does not apply to access to the stage.

Said Forrest about his accident, “I did a little drowning, I did a little dying, but I said Heaven can wait. I didn’t lose my sense of humor.” Sounds like a song lyric. Sounds like a great way to live. But as far as I can tell, he doesn’t sing about his accident, or his disability. It is the usual sex, alcohol, partying, etc. You know the drill. But I honestly think that he can inspire kids in wheelchairs to think, and to believe that they can rock if they want to.

Cityzen’s music itself is interesting. This link will take you to a sampling of their music, which is not bad with the exception of a goofy song called “White Rapper”. Their guitarists infuse the music with funk and blues. I can’t place who Forrest’s voice sounds like, but it’s not bad.

Hell On Wheels: A Wheelchair Anthem

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by Treadmarkz

I have spent a lot of time lately listening to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music, and I realized that the song “Helen Wheels” is not only one of the greatest pieces of block-rocking boogie that Macca ever recorded, but because of the title, with a complete overhaul of the lyrics, the song would make a great anthem for people in wheelchairs such as myself. Then I realized that no song can really cover the wide range of experiences that all people in wheelchairs will relate to.
However, this is my attempt. Take it for what it is worth:

——————–

I said farewell to a doctor from Hell who said I’d never have much of a life

That kind of clown never gets me down when I go home to my sweet wife

My early days now seem like a haze, spent a summer in a body cast

But life is good, and though I’ve never stood, I wanna make this journey last

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

L2 level para, full of metal but I never did think twice

To imagine me as I wished to be and singin’ wouldn’t it be nice

Doin’ fine and I never pine away on what I can not do

“Life ain’t fair” never goes nowhere, and you know it’s up to you

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

I can’t make sense of those who take offense when people say I’m “wheelchair bound”

That’s okay, man, I do it my way and they’ll never hold me down

Been a casualty of all that “woe is me”, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

Life is good, though I’ve never stood I think I’d do it all over again

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way