Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘music

Rick Renstrom – Britain’s Disabled Guitar Idol

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by Treadmarkz

As often as I can, when I am not sharing my own experiences and thoughts, I like to offer stories about other people with disabilities, to show what real people with disabilities are doing, what they are accomplishing, what they can accomplish.

Though I generally don’t like heavy blazing electric guitar solos, as a lover of rock music, I am very impressed with this man, Rick Renstrom‘s playing. Renstrom is a contestant on the U.K. television series “Guitar Idol” and he has a disability. He was either born with his arms/hands the way they are, or he maybe lost the business end of his arms, but was able to get his hands stitched back onto what remained. According to this blog posting, Renstrom gives no information on his disabilities. And I understand that. He wants to be known as a great guitar player, not a great guitar player “considering he is disabled.” And he really is just a great guitar player.

Plus he could be close to what I was looking for when I wrote the posting in this link.

In earlier postings I said how I wished that people with disabilities could just be known as someone who is great at what they do, not someone who is great at what they do considering they are disabled. But I think they best way to get to that point is to show that the talents of people with disabilities are equal and sometimes greater than those of others.

We’re getting there, people. Please comment your thoughts on whether blogs like this are productive in getting to that point. I have my opinion, I want to hear yours.

Check out the video at the bottom of the page in the first link above. For those of you who don’t like heavy metal, believe me, it is worth a listen, especially if you are an apiring guitar player.

Ronan Tynan – Opera Vocalist, Paralympic Gold Medalist, Doctor

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by Treadmarkz
I am a rocker at heart but I find Irish music to be very relaxing and at times inspiring. I am particularly drawn to songs like Danny Boy, Greensleeves, and Amazing Grace (all tend to be staples in any Irish vocalist’s repertoire) for the timeless qualities of their melodies. I particularly love performers like Altan, Celtic Women and the Irish Tenors. I have always been particularly drawn to the tone in the voice of one of the Tenor’s former members, Ronan Tynan. Here is a video so you can hear what I mean.

Tynan was born with paralyzed legs, and he had them amputated after a car accident in 1980. By 1984, Tynan had already won 18 Paralympic Gold Medals, and set 14 world records in a wide variety of track and field events. Nine of his records, in the discus, shot-put, and long-jump, have not been broken to this day.

He then went into the medical field, and he’d already spent a few years working in the development and design of prosthetic feet when he graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, with a medical degree. He became a physician and with his athletic background, specialized in sports injuries.

After just beginning his practice, in 1994, he found the time to attend the Royal Opera School in London, joining the Irish Tenors from 1998-2004. He continues a successful solo career today, and often shows up singing “God Bless America” at N.Y. Yankees baseball games, or at NHL hockey games.
Not a bad 18 years: World-class athlete, doctor, and world-class vocalist. His meteoric rise in athletics, as well as his successful switch over to the medical field, followed by his most recent fame in opera prove that it is never too late to follow a new path in life.

Jeff Healey, 1966-2008: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

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by Treadmarkz

Jeff Healey, the blues/rock/jazz guitarist who gained fame in the late-80’s with the song “Angel Eyes” passed away yesterday from cancer. He was 41.

The Canadian-born singer-guitarist had retinoblastoma, a form of ocular cancer which first developed when he was one year old, leaving him blind for life. He began playing guitar when he was three, developing an idiosyncratic style of playing, with the guitar laying on his lap, which, ironically (as his disability was surely seen as an impedement) allowed him more freedom in chord structure. In recent years, Healey has stepped out of the limelight and embraced jazz music, another love of his.
I cannot say that I was a fan of Healey’s, in fact I did not know much about him at all. But when I went to the internet to listen to “Angel Eyes” tonight, I was instantly transported back to the age of 9 when this song was popular. His guitar solo in “Angel Eyes” is one of such depth, not only does it leave an imprint on your memory somewhere, but it has a texture and shape that you can almost see, feel and taste it.

But there can be no more fitting tribute, and no better way to exhibit his sheer talent and flair on the guitar, than to post his version of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Enjoy.

Written by treadmarkz

March 4, 2008 at 5:47 AM

Putting the Roll back in Rock n’ Roll!

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by Treadmarkz

Like any other kid, I went through many stages concerning the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” One of those stages was “Rock Star”. Of course. Who doesn’t? It would fulfill two of the more basic needs of an adolescent boy: Get girls, Get attention. I have never seen a major nationally-known rock band with a member in a wheelchair. Honorable Mention: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd developed mental disabilities in the 60s but both were drug-induced. Roger Daltrey had a stutter, but only for one song, “My Generation”. And Rick Allen from Def Leppard lost and arm and continued to drum, and they were one of the most successful bands in the 80’s.

Upon researching this subject, I came across something that I, having spina bifida, found fascinating. John Mellencamp and Hank Williams, Sr. were both born with mild forms of spina bifida. I wish it were more widely known that two talented people such as these had Spina Bifida. Don’t get me wrong, there are immensely talented people with Spina Bifida all over the world. But let’s face it, people look up to well-known celebrity types. However, in the end, we all just represent ourselves. It wouldn’t give me any credential that I didn’t already possess if one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day or Korn were in a wheelchair. I’d just like to see a band like that. I know plenty of guys in wheelchairs who play guitars, so it is bound to happen.