Talent

It's the age of talented people, which has an unfortunate byproduct: it's also the age of people who think that they belong in the age of talented people. This is the era of "you are wonderful and significant because you're you and you are an individual," but it's also the era of "we deserve the greatest" and "we deserve it now." These mentalities are hardly compatible. I here wish to address these things, because they've been weighing heavily on my spirit lately.

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>Slash.

>I was a witness to something last night which I will here attempt to describe.

I saw a literal wall of Marshall cabs, for starters.
I saw a man in a wheelchair wait in line, weave up a handicap ramp, and sit with anxious expectation with a large top hat on his head for the opening act to be over so that he could see the hero, whose visage he wore on his shirt.
I watched a crowd of people go nuts for a band who killed it, even though they didn't know any of their songs. Simply out of courtesy/response to awesome music.

I saw on a stage five people, all of whom were over 40 years old, playing to 1,100 people, aged anywhere from ten to 65. One of these people, Saul Hudson (more famously known as Slash), a founding member of Guns n' Roses (whose music I don't necessarily enjoy, although it is impossible to deny that they invented rock music as it is known today); who has played in front of stadiums with the largest audiences recorded in recent history, played roughly 300+ shows a year for the past 30 years in two world-renowned bands and several smaller ones, who has toured the world several times, smile a genuine smile when he looked out at the crowd of people watching him.

It was as if he were performing for the first time. He was relaxed, poised, and the definition of every image the term "rock star" conjures. He jumped around onstage as if he were 20 years old. He's 45.

I saw Myles Kennedy, 41, also a seasoned music veteran, being a pioneer both on the modern rock scene as well as the transformation of Jazz-rock fusion as we know it, step back from the mic as the crowd was singing a portion of a very well-known song, as he does every night of the week on Slash's world tour, and close his eyes. I watched him mouth the words "This is so awesome" followed closely by an undeniable "I love this." He wasn't saying it to anybody except himself. This was all the reminder he needed to remember why he does what he does.

The same as the grin that crept up on Slash's lips as he peered subtly over the edge of his signature aviator sunglasses and looked at the faces of all the people who made him who he is. It didn't happen often, because he was, for the most part, completely enraptured by the music filling the room.

I've been in the presence of "up and comers" who think that they are the best thing that has ever happened to music while they are on stage. I've watched them play so devoid of passion and heart that it almost makes the notes go as flat as the sound.

And then I saw this. With a drummer that played for Alice Cooper in his heyday, a singer who has toured in 4 bands and done his part to bring Jazz back to the mainstream, a bassist who has starred in films as well as played music in the studio with little people like, oh what's his name... Ozzy Osborne, a guitarist who knows enough to play enough in the background to hold a song together while letting someone else receive the entirety of the limelight, and a seasoned rock star whose name is known by a hundred million people who pioneered Heavy Metal but still managed to break into a slow, 3/4 blues jam play music with more passion than I've ever seen anything done. They made it sound fresh. They still got high from the adrenaline.

They felt every emotion a performer should feel and it translated over to the absolutely captivated audience, and you could tell, be it by Slash's uncontrollable smirk or Myles' whispers of overwhelming awe which he never meant for anybody to see.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>The Charge

>One of my favorite things ever is when people begin reading a sign that says "Cafe Closed" and then turn around and ask me if the cafe is open.

I say that yes it is, they are just trying to trick you. Just stand there long enough and somebody will come out to wait on you hand and foot. He did not laugh. Apparently there is a diminishing appreciation for sarcasm these days.
It is that time of year when 8th graders go to to High School and High School seniors go to College and Undergrads become Grads and, subsequently, homeless. Change is in the air, with the climbing temperature and humidity and pollen count and number of mosquitos and number of rings on girls' fingers; all of us needing a break from the doldrums of winter and the inconsistency of the spring. So the people I am addressing here is those who are undergoing change, be it personal, social... related to location, age, activity, or educational... pertaining to their eating habits or their working out habits or their study habits... so, in essence, everyone.
When I talk about change, I am not referring to the rhetorical change of which politicians speak or the climate change which liberals whine about and conservatives ignore, I'm talking about the one that matters, the one you can change.
So this is what I'm proposing with this season of change:
1. Revolutionize thought. We have among us the future greatest minds in the world, and I see a lot of it being drowned in the subculture. A friend and I were talking the other day about how much of a burden it is to know that it is our generation that will be leading this world in our respective countries. We will be the pioneers of the future. We will make it what it will become. So how can we become great minds if we do not actively pursue great minds? As much as I hate Plato's circular reasoning, read his "Symposium," for it will recreate the way you see the world around you. As much as I do not agree with him, read Nietzche's "Genealogy of Morals," for it will teach you to truly know something before you discuss it.
2. Begin a resurgence of reason. After we learn to think, we then have to learn how to apply it. I am using Reason in the absolute most broad sense possible, because I think it should be applied to every facet of our lives - from our daily interactions with strangers to our decision making. I think that when this happens the vast majority of tradition for tradition's sake will be completely tossed out the window and the way that things are run will be streamlined and made more efficient. Reason will help you discern when it is time to buckle down and get work done and when it is time to find a desolate hilltop and play guitar until the sun has been asleep for hours. Your acting reasonably will encourage others to follow suit, and may eventually spark just what the resurgence needs.
3. Fall in love. After you learn to apply reason, you must then learn when it may be proper to forsake it. The world of the first two points, the world of logic, is a lonely and somewhat cynical world to dwell in, although crucial to understand before you learn when to let it go. Be it the girl in the desk across from you, playing backgammon, or Stravinsky's "Firebird" suite, learn what it means to have an unbridled passion for something, because it will transcend all reaches of whatever knowledge and understanding you have acquired. In a perfect world, this earthly love will lead you to realize the ardent affection that a perfect God has burning in His infinite heart for you before all things. Everything that has been created has been created for you.
4. Learn to laugh. After the above mentioned steps, this will become nothing but second nature. You will be able to look at people like from my example way up at the top of this page and do nothing but laugh because one thing that has been consistently funny from the beginning of time is people who take the most innocuous of things entirely too seriously. Lighten up. Experience the joy of satire or become a selective audience for math jokes or invent a new language in which to speak with your friends. See the little things for how beautiful they actually are, and let it warm your heart.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.