The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

JCHRants

A compendium of musings on music and this business we call show

Whiplash The Movie

Although this movie has been well received critically, I’ve noticed a lot of negative comments from musicians. First off, it’s a very cool movie and I give it a very high recommendation. In fact, it feels like the most real movie I’ve ever seen about the music business… from the boy’s POV. The combination of fear, obsession, self-absorption… and the willingness to completely self-destruct for ‘the dream’ is 100% accurate. Second, I have never, I mean never seen anyone literally bleed like that from practice. Or sweat to ‘force’ themselves to play faster. Doesn’t happen. This was cinematic license. Real practice isn’t cinematic. It’s simply boring repetition that takes months and months and is definitely not montage-worthy. However I’ve seen plenty of guys physically damage themselves from over-practice or bad practice. And worse, I’ve seen plenty of guys go just plain NUTS. I mean like, jump off a building or sell all their clothes and join an ashram. Third, I’ve never seen a physically abusive director like that. Again, cinematic license. That said, as I said before, how such a guy makes students feel is 100% accurate. There’s no need for the physical abuse. But Simmons’ posturing is spot on. Above all, his true belief that he is right in his approach is 100% accurate… as is the amazing fact that such jerks still manage to have lots of friends as he does. For some reason, they never see him in all his […] [...]

The Universe Dropped Something Real Heavy On Me!

It’s raining books up in here. What makes physical content like CDs worth having (let alone paying for)? Roger CortonSo I hear you had a bit of an accident? JCHPretty freaky. So I’m sitting at one end of the house and I hear these sounds coming from the living room. RCSounds? JCHI thought I was at a bowling alley. I heard this rumble, snap, rumble, snap and then BLBPOWLBLBLAMBLAMPPPOOOWOWW… followed by an after-rumble. RCEarthquake! JCHWindstorm. The house shifts just a few millimeters and that’s all it takes. During which, this six foot bookshelf collapsed, spilling a few hundred books everywhere. RCSo no one hurt? JCHNo. And that’s the minor miracle. Directly underneath I had my double bass and three acoustic guitars. And, I dunno how, but… not a scratch on any of them. They were surrounded by books, buried in books. Big books. Tomes one might say. But no musical instruments were harmed in the course of making this disaster. RCFreaky, indeed. JCHBut here’s sort of the joke. About an hour before that, I had gotten a really tiny book in the post; maybe six ounces. And I just put it on the book case to look at later. RCYou’re implying that that book was like Jenga? JCHRight. Like that fat guy at the restaurant in Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life. [...]

What’s The Deal About Big Balls?

I’ve become sort of obsessed about finding the origin of the concept of testicles as being a measure of manliness; the bigger the better. The idea of ‘big balls’ implying courage and masculinity goes back a long way, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why. I wanna know where this concept came from. I’ve heard lots of cockamamie ideas like Homer or some other classical origin, but I wanna know where and, even more importantly, why? Look, I get the obvious intuitive association between testicles and fertility, but let’s get right to it: there is absolutely nothing ‘manly’ about testicles. Other than the reproductive function, they are not only a minor pain, but also a primary vulnerability. Women have no analogous physical …er… ‘achilles heel’. I wonder why the penis isn’t the arbiter of manliness? But in fact, in linguistic terms, it’s just the opposite. Everyone admires the guy with biggest cojones. But who wants to be that big dick over there in the corner. So… where did those big balls come from? [...]

Pay Attention, Frank. It’s The Commendatore!

Frank Zappa. Don Giovanni, Intentional listening. Roger CortonWe got the most comments since I’ve been on board about your remark regarding Frank Zappa Guitar Player. You touched a nerve. JCHYeah, I don’t have to work very hard to alienate people it seems. I got to fill in at Don Giovanni and it happened there too. RCI didn’t know there were any parts for Telecaster in Mozart. JCHThere’s not. But there is a mandolin bit at the beginning of Act II. A lot of operas have these oddball interludes. I actually only had about two minutes of work and that was the problem. They were not thrilled when I asked if I could split after my part was over. There’s this seemingly inviolable rule against moving once the music starts. If you don’t have anything to do? Tough. So asking was in itself a reason to not be considered for future work. RCSo this is what gets me about you. You know this, so why ask? JCHI wanted to watch the Commendatore open up a can o’ whoop-ass, of course. DON GIOVANNI! A CENAR TECO M’INVITASTI E SON VENUTO! RCI can never understand how you remember all those kinds of things. But, OK, so we need to get back to Frank. JCHIt’s the Jeopardy thing. The funny thing is that since I got sick I can’t remember anything […] [...]

Post Tour Wrap-Up 2014

Recovering from the smash hit Fall Tour 2014. Frank Zappa. Prokofiev. James Brown. Whatever happened to radio? Real DJs and The Electrifying Mojo? Roger CortonSo now that you’re back from Fall Tour 2014, how did it all go? I saw some cell phone video and you were really playing the piano. What was that? JCH(laughing) People always seem so surprised. I don’t get it. RCWell, you do some virtuosic stuff on record, but it’s always in these short bursts. It’s just different when… JCH…when it’s more than fifteen seconds. (laughing) No I get it. I just read an old Frank Zappa column… RCMay he rest in peace. JCH…yeah I forgot you’re one of those acolytes. Anyhoo, in it Frank admits that he’s just not that great a player and… RCSacrilege! JCHYeah, yeah, yeah. As I way saying, he basically talks about how he’s trying to tell a story with his solos and he’s got some notes that are like guideposts along the way, but how he gets between them? He doesn’t worry about being all that precise. And he never practices. Which was obvious, by the way (laughs). RCWhich is surprising considering how legendary he was for being so demanding of his players. JCHLast time I checked, the word ‘hypocrisy’ isn’t in the Harvard Dictionary Of Music. But anyhoo, I know that attitude is […] [...]

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