Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save Me From Myself


You like the music you like.

I like the music I like.

I might hate what you like, and quite likely, you'd hate what I like. But it's all good. Musical taste is such an individual thing. That's why I despise music critics, don't sit there and pontificate on why I shouldn't like what I darn well know that I enjoy hearing.

I've talked about music on this blog from time to time, but not a whole lot, simply because I know that, chances are, you couldn't care less about the music I might rave about.

But every once in a while, something comes along and shocks my socks off, and I feel compelled to write here about it.

I've loved music dearly, all my life.

Some of my earliest memories were from around the time I was 4, and my mother would play Brahm's lullabys on their stereo, and the melodies would make me cry. Strange but true, I remember this clearly.

Music has always had the power to move me deeply.

As a boy, I identified that what especially pleased my ear was to hear guitar. I could listen to my parent's 45rpm record of Mason Williams' guitar performance called "Classical Gas" over and over.

With an older sister who loved the Beatles, if I heard her in her room playing records, and I heard the Beatles' opening vocal harmony at the beginning of the song "Paperback Writer" I would dash out of my room to stand outside her door to hear the niftly little George Harrison guitar riff that he did just after that opening vocal harmony.

Over the years, I've developed a full-blown love of rock 'n roll guitar. It's like a love for pepperoni pizza. You just like it, and that's all there is to it. No real intellectual reason for liking a certain thing so much, it's just there, an integral part of you.

And just as most people remember where they where when they first heard of dramatic world events like the Space Shuttle blowing up in 1986, I can remember where I was when I first heard certain rock songs because the guitar playing made such an impression on me, that it imprinted the whole sensory memory in my brain.

Randy Rhodes' signature guitar lick to the Ozzy Osbourne classic song "Crazy Train" always takes me to a certain stretch of Louisiana highway 165 just north of Monroe, Louisiana, and I'm riding in the blue 1975 Ford F-100 Custom pickup truck that was passed down to me from my father. I was going to Bastrop to visit my paternal grandparents and was listening to a AM radio show that played harder rock songs. (Way before talk radio dominated the AM radio band) They played this "new" song from Ozzy Osbourne, and the guitar work of Randy Rhodes in it just knocked me out. It still does, even after all these years.

The other day, Lovely Wife asked me to write down the names of some music CDs that I wanted, and she was going to look for them as a Father's Day gift to me.

As I looked up the names of the CDs of several bands that I like, that had CDs out that I knew I didn't have, I came across a reference to a musician named Brian Welch's CD.

Brian Welch, who has the nickname of "Head" was one of the founding members on the massively popular rock band named Korn.

I remembered hearing how, two or three years ago, he had quit this multi-platinum selling band because he had had a religious conversion to Christianity.

It's not the kind of thing you hear about every day, so the story intrigued me back then, but I hadn't known that he had, over the past few years, written a book about his becoming a Christian and leaving the drugs and alcohol of his old life behind.

He also had put together a band and put out a new CD in the fall of 2008.

I went to his MySpace page to listen to audio clips to see if maybe this was a CD I might like to add to my Father's Day list.

Wow.

Heavy guitars, great melodies.

To those who dislike hard rock or heavy metal, the thought of catchy melodies in this music might sound funny, but much of the music in heavy metal and hard rock has great melodies.

After listening to the title song from the CD, "Save Me From Myself" by Head (Brian Welch), on MySpace, I added it to my list.

Now, after listening to the CD now from end to end, I love every song on it.

If you like heavy rock, especially fans of his ex-band Korn, you'll love this CD.

The lyrics to the CD basically cover the past few years of his life, from the despair and depression of a multi-millionaire who has everything but is a miserable drug addict, to getting clean and becoming a Christian and trying to be a good father to his daughter.

He doesn't preach in the lyrics, he basically just tells his story, so even non-Christians could easily like this CD because he's not telling you what to do, only telling you what he chose to do.

I still don't know about the details of this man's life, I just know that the most profound kind of turnaround that a person could possibly make has been made by Mr. Welch.

As a Christian, the lyrics move me deeply, much like the beautiful Brahm's melodies of my childhood moved me, only I now understand why this particular music affects me. They lyrics are sometimes raw, not pretty, but then the truth is often disturbing and more like a punch in the gut than a feather landing on your shoulder.

Even someone who has been a Christian a long time can understand hitting bottom and looking for some anchor their life, and hearing Head sing about (and he does his own singing as well as guitar) his bottoming out and being given a new lease on life is monumentally moving to me. The lyrics of his despair and then his redemption bring to the forefront of my mind my own conversion and it's dramatic changes.

As a Christian who loves hard rock and heavy metal, I walk a tightrope; a thin line where there are few musical CDs for me to buy and totally devour. Either the music is awesome and the lyrics too dark and depressing, with a total lack of hope, or the other end of the spectrum, what the Christian music industry puts out that seems as hollow as an Easter chocolate bunny, full of the "right" lyrics but completely devoid of any real feeling or heart, contrived.

So now and then I find a band, like my favorite, Disciple, who are incredible musicians who are also committed Christians, and who put out hard and heavy rock with a heart-felt lyrics that are both honest and human, and that honor their faith in God.

Finding a new source of music that I like is always a pleasing thing.

To find one that is as well-played, and well-produced as Head's CD "Save Me From Myself" is a huge treat that is altogether too rare in my life. This is a great production, made by top notch musicians.

My prayers go out to Mr. Brian "Head" Welch on his new life, and I wish him great success. Both in his personal and professional life.

If Head's successful in his new musical endeavours, then I get the benefit of more great heavy music in the years to come.

P.S.
I really racked up on CDs this Father's Day, and all of them are excellent:
Disciple - Southern Hospitality
Stryper - Reborn (Yes, the old 80s Metal band Stryper. They put out a new CD a year or two ago and it's really good. I finally got around to obtaining it.)
Red - Innocence and Instinct
Head - Save Me From Myself
All That Remains - Overcome

3 comments:

Hammer said...

It's really difficult for me to find new music as well. Thanks for the heads up!

Marsha (Big Sis) said...

WHAT? You didn't get Keith Urban's Defying Gravity? I have an extra copy still in the wrapper I can send you to complete your Father's Day gifts of music!

Like the title of one of my favorite songs by Trisha Yearwood "The Song Remembers When", certain songs can transport you back in time to the moment you first heard them. Now when I hear Jim Reeves, Merle Haggard or Don Williams, I think of Daddy (and I cry sometimes). When I hear Glen Campbell's Witchita Lineman, I think of living in Vidalia. If I hear early Beatles, I think of living in Olla!

I also hate music critics. You can't make somebody like a song just because you like it! You either like something or you don't.
I've never never been a fan of heavy metal or hard rock as I'm more of a pop lover! As much as I love KU's music, I'm still not a big fan of country music...just too twangy for my taste.

Let me know if you want my extra copy of Defying Gravity!

artbytomas said...

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Regarding critics, we both have the same taste. So to speak, it is possible either to love, or to talk about the love.
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