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The Riff

Another Music Challenge

Another music writing challenge from The Riff

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Would you have believed me if I told you slightly over a year ago that we’d have 400-ish days without live music?

You would’ve looked at me as if I had three heads on my neck. Or three necks on my head.

Well, the present is just as bad as a Black Mirror episode and worse than my taunting of you shutting The Riff both are criminal.

If people around the world (ahem, Americans) decide to mask up, we could get back to having live music as soon as this year. …

Introducing The Riff. A place to share your musical story.

Photo by Jisu Han, Unsplash

We started The Riff out of frustration.

It was at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and I was reading Anthony Kiedis’s memoir Scar Tissue.

I’ve always liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but my connection with their music fell deeper after reading the book. I wanted to write about that connection.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a good place to do so.

As a listener who doesn’t play instruments, I feel that writing is another art form I could take on to enhance my intimate connection with music. …

An unheralded vinyl from 1968 is one of the most influential ablums ever

When I was “challenged” on Facebook some time ago to come up with the albums that had most influenced me, there was no question but that The Rock Machine Turns You On would be high up on the list. I bought it in my teens and played it to death; it helped cement my fanaticism for music.

Released in 1968, the album — vinyl, of course — was remarkable on three levels. First, it only cost 75 pence (around $1) which at the time made it one…

Luke Combs, Morgan Walen, and a shift in the right direction

Photo by Elise Bunting from Pexels

Drive roughly ten minutes from the high school I attended in the late ’90s and you’ll find the community of Buck Creek. Spend ten minutes driving the backroads here and you’ll find a half-dozen homes flying Confederate flags in their front yard. Drive about ten minutes out one side of Buck Creek and you’ll find the community of Little Africa where the vast majority of residents are Black.

Many homes in both communities belong to families that would qualify on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale: sometimes hard-working, sometimes uneducated, sometimes in need of some form of government assistance.

Rush at the Coors Amphitheater in San Diego July 30, 2007

Photo By Andrew MacNaughtan

I’ve been to a lot of concerts.

In my early 20’s I worked at a audio mastering studio in North Hollywood. While live performances had nothing to do with our work, we’d get something in the mail with at least two tickets to everything once every week.

The owner of the studio didn’t care to go so I had my pick of concerts I would have never been able to afford.

When I moved outside of San Diego I worked for Sleep Train. The big amphitheater in San Diego was the Sleep Train Amphitheater (now renamed Coors Amphitheater.) Lots and…

Acrimonious split ups in the history of rock music

Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

The last band I went to see before everything locked down and live music was relegated to a distant memory, was a band I had followed and admired since my teenage years, decades previously.

They were still gigging, these old men of rock-and-roll, playing the songs I had known and loved from all those years ago. The group I’m talking about is the English rock band, Wishbone Ash. A group made famous for developing the twin, harmonising lead guitar sound and also widely known and respected for their seminal album from 1972, Argus.

Lessons learned from trying to be a ride or die

Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash

I’m not a Beatles fan, so let’s start there. I’m not anti- Beatles. It’s just not my jam. I don't get all the hype. I don't understand how their songs are put on a pedestal. Granted, I like some, but mostly when I hear a Beatles song, I wonder how they can be considered such musical royalty when they mostly repeat the same lyrics for 2 minutes. (As I write this, I’m anticipating the slew of mad comments, but whatever, I speak my truth.)

Anyhow, I’m a good wife and a good gift-giver, so when Father’s Day was rolling around…


“Vibrations in the brain can’t ever be explained.”

Photo of chld listening to music throuigh headphones.
Photo of chld listening to music throuigh headphones.
Photo courtesy of author

Note: Each week I take a look back at my playlists and share songs that were either played the most, got stuck in my head, or just stood out. Many are new to me, but there are old faves mixed in as well.

As more and more Americans feel safe to travel, the airport where I work seems to be finally be reanimating. I know people hate seeing lines at TSA checkpoints, but to me, it’s frankly a huge relief. Too early to declare victory, but it seems close? …

By en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain,
By en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain,
Photo by en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain

Beat, dead, burnt-out you know what I mean
My brain was racin’ but my feet wouldn’t scream.
Dee Dee Ramone

I was inspired to write this by my teenage step-daughter. She recently asked for a “Ramones” t-shirt for her birthday. This got me thinking about the Ramones and their music and the one time I got to see them in the 80s.

I was stationed in England during the mid-80s (1984–1986) when I was an Airman in the United States Air Force. My station was Lakenheath (Suffolk) where I enjoyed my time and the two years there seems like 10…

Tramps Like Us…

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

We’re well into spring and on our way to summer, which means the weather is becoming perfect for that most American of pastimes: driving. Sure, we drive everywhere regardless of season or weather, but this time of year is when we drive for the sheer enjoyment of the open road rather than just commuting two hours to a job we hate. And ever since the first radio was placed in an automobile (in 1924 by Kelly’s Motors in Australia, for the record), music and driving have gone hand-in-hand.

When I was growing up, we had to rely on either whatever…

The Riff

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