Friday, April 25, 2014

Music Stuff

Borepatch often does an impressive job of sampling and discussing the history of classical music on his blog.  I appreciate that part of his blog a lot, because it allows me to learn new things and expand my musical horizons. 

One thing that has occurred to me is that there are many parallels between the classical composers of yesterday, and the actual musicians of today.  I’m not talking about throw-away pop claptrap.  Every generation has that, and it is as forgettable as one could imagine.  I’m talking about musicians.  Poets. Men like Maynard James Keenan. 

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I am an absolute adoring fan of Maynard James Keenan. 

For those of you who don’t know, he came to fame as the lead singer to the band Tool.  He is also the lead singer to the group “A Perfect Circle,” and the only permanent member of the band “Puscifer.” 

He has an absolutely amazing voice, and a talent for creating lyrics that are literal poetry.  Since I’m a tough, outdoorsy manly-man type, I can’t talk about this much more without losing my man card, but long story short, he explores mysticism, religion, psychology, emotion, sorrow, grief, and joy in his words and his vocals better than any poet I’ve ever read.  In one song, he creates an unserious, comical character on parole, who is concerned about getting thrown in jail again now that he’s committed another crime, and in the next, he’s cycling between sorrow, grief, anger, and faith in a way that takes you on that trip with him.  His songs are interwoven, and many times go together inseperably.  In one of his albums, you can play three songs from the album at the same time over one another, and the combination of the three make an entirely new, 4th song.  This was not an accident.

The man sang about his devoutly Christian mother’s death, after she endured 26 years of paralysis and misery, and made the two-part song 10,000 days (approximately 26 years: the length of time his mother suffered) to discuss his feelings about all of those things after she died.  He goes from talking about her, her suffering, and his inability to understand how she could love a God that had made her suffer so, to his feeling of contempt for the people in her church’s congregation who made her death all about them, to his anger at God for making her suffer, to his assurances that she could stand before the gates of heaven and demand entry, and even God, himself, could not turn such a perfect being away.  He ends the song singing her praises, with the final words being about how she lived a good life, and in the process, saved his own.  Many people speculated that he had actually found Jesus and became a Christian, himself, in this song, such was the level of feeling. 

Even the band names mean something.  A Perfect Circle comes from a parable about the true meaning of art and beauty, in which a king sent envoys to the four corners of his kingdom to search out an artist capable of creating a portrait of the king that was fit for a king.  The man who was chosen did not paint a beautiful scene, or produce a portrait that he created.  Rather, in front of the envoy, he wet his brush, and proceeded to paint an absolutely perfect circle, freehand.  The songs by the band interweave mythology (tracks titled “orestes”) astrology (3 libras), religion (Thomas (as in “doubting Thomas) and Judith, which was a rant at his mother because he could not understand her devout devotion to a God who had damaged her so (this one is especially jarring when you realize that it comes before 10,000 days, and before his mother died).   

I just found a new track by the band A Perfect Circle called “By and Down.”  I’m lead to believe that it was originally produced in 2006 (unfortunately, APC is on indefinite hiatus) but was only released at the end of last year. 

It is shockingly beautiful. 

Moving in and out of the shadows.
It's no easy mission,
Holding on to how I picture you.
Showing only bits and pieces,
Till the tide betrays you,
And your empty allocution.
Searching your eyes for a hint or a trace of humility.
Searching your eyes for the saint is an act of futility.
Searching your eyes for a hint or a trace of it.
Searching your eyes for humility.
Searching your eyes for a hint or a trace,
I'm still searching, searching.
Showing only bits and pieces,
Till the light betrays you,
And your empty allocution.
Rode the Piper by and down the river.
Carcass crippled underneath,
The pounding waves of adoration.
Pied Piper float on down the river.
Bloated carcass, crippled knee,
The weight of adoration.
Moving in and out of the shadows.
It's no easy mission,
Holding on to how I picture you.


  1. Entertaining and educational; more good stuff to listen to. Thanks! (Thanks to Borepatch too, for providing the link I followed here.)