Date Published: 20 July 2012 – Classic Rock Radio (UK)
Uncle G’s Classic Rock Memories
Spotlight: Regarding Death
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
American Correspondent for Classic Rock Radio (UK)
So, I’ve been under the weather for the last couple of days. Summer cold. I feel better today than I did yesterday. While driving to the Doctor’s this morning, I listened to Deep Purple’s Perfect Stranger. I listened to a lot of things Deep Purple this past week; Made In Japan – Machine Head – and Purpendicular (in which recently this was a topic of the day on here). I watched a couple of Deep Purple DVDs as well; Perihelion (Purpendicular Tour), and In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra. This one was recorded at The Royal Albert Hall, London, England on September 25 – 26, 1999. The reason for my overload of everything DP? The reason is somewhat obvious. The recent death of Deep Purple’s original keyboard player, Jon Lord. He played an awesome piano also. On a Hammond, he ruled. In a class with the likes of Keith Emerson, and Tony Kaye.
An old buddy of mine from grade school who sees success as a new age artist, Greg Z, attributed his desire to play keyboards based on the Deep Purple song, Lazy. We’re older now and have not been in the same room together since the late 1970s. Still, I remember Greg’s first Hammond organ, and then its replacement which also was a Hammond and fancier. I’d get on there and fart around. Greg taught me a few things. I still remember and can play a bit of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. Remember the movie; The Sting? Ragtime music was all the rage. At least for a few months or however long the fad lasted. Greg also taught me something that sounded really close to the first few chords of Yes’ Perpetual Change. One of my favorite Yes songs. So many cool memories. Inspired by Jon Lord. In the beginning, Greg was told by his mother (may she rest in peace) that HE HAD to learn the organ. Jon Lord playing in the song Lazy, to Greg, made it worth the effort to give it a try. An ‘if I must’ kind of situation. Greg (Zyskowski) studied hard and as I already mentioned, became successful at it. Today a professional keyboardist and piano player. Congratulations Greg.
The perfect album side. Only so much space an LP record can hold. Typically over 15 minutes and running into the early 20-minute zone. Yes’ 1973 release Tales Of Topographic Oceans was a double album. Had four songs. I so love Prog-Rock! Think Deep Purple’s Machine Head. Side A; Smoke On The Water, Lazy, and then the last song. Space Truckin’. Like I said; perfect. The standout performance/artist in this example anyway is; Jon Lord. Smoke not only comes from the water but from Jon’s Hammond as well.
Mr. Lord was a real professional musician. A high compliment. I listened to a couple of his solo projects as well these past few days. Beautiful pieces of work; Gemini Suite (1971) and Windows (1974). Not exactly swinging rock n’ roll. Jon Lord was a classically trained musician. These pieces aim more in that direction.
I always dug good instrumental music. Could have come from my Mom. One of her favorites was Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. I have Herb Alpert’s autograph framed and hanging on the wall behind me. So I’m not straight rock n’ roll. I like other forms of music as well. Jon Lord could boogie with the best of them. Flip that and he also created music that one not only felt the floor moving but one’s heart as well. A 20th Century, Beethoven. Known more for rocking out. And I saw him play in New Orleans, back in the 90’s. I feel so privileged to have been able to see live just one of his performances. Along with the band that made him famous, Deep Purple. Was a great evening, of course.
Note: From the Gary “Uncle G” Brown Concert Ticket Stub/Guitar Pick Collection
Jonathan Douglas “Jon” Lord…BRAVO…MAGNIFICENT…and one cool dude. He’s missed already.
Attention: Those of us who still get into classic rock. We need to remember if all possible to continue to support the bands and musicians that we believe are so great. And not to sound bleak, but while we still can. Time marches on. The Grim Reaper misses no one. Everyone passes away sooner or later.
I dig writing for this internet radio station because they acknowledge that classic rock isn’t just listening to The Eagle’s song Hotel California every day at 2 PM. That’s kind of what it’s like here in Houston. Classic rock radio, at least here in Houston, can’t be any more stale. Here at Classic Rock Radio Dot EU, if a classic rock band like Asia comes out with a new CD, we’ll not only chat about it but play it as well. The beat goes on. Popularity wise it’s not deemed normal to keep following a musician or a band for any real length of time. Top 40 always seems to dictate that. Most classic rock stations might play Asia songs from the first couple of albums, but nothing really from any of the newer recorded ever after that. A shame! Personally, I think musicians get better as they age. Makes sense to me, to keep up with their careers and not just stay focused on a certain time span.
Vocalist Robert Plant certainly seems to have matured somewhat in the last few years. Cost me $125.00 to see him play a washboard, a couple years ago. But to his credit, he’s got a lot of people digging the vibe he’s been putting out lately. Bores me to tears. Still, I find it interesting to see the progression. From a perpetually horny young man singing Dazed And Confused, to this mellower assemble. For a radio station to do a ‘Then & Now’ segment centering around a certain band or musician, would be good for them. Here’s a greatest hit tune, and then something new from; for example, Asia. Followed by a Led Zeppelin song and then something from Percy’s latest solo record. That, btw, was the answer to a question in which I won my very first Sony CD player; Percy. Was back in 1992. Name Robert Plant’s nickname was the question. I remembered the answer from reading Cream or Circus magazine back in the ’70s.
Here’s the thing. The interest…classic rock itself needs to expand. While it still can. The format on my local radio dial is dying. Needs a resurrection. Same picture but a different picture frame. Something Jimmy Page said once, and John Paul Jones probably heard and hated.
Remember those Future Classic Rock Musicians I do a column on every now and then? As an example, the members of Dream Theater are all mostly in their 40s now. Jordan Rudess is actually 55 years old. They will be today’s classic rock, and before we know it. So before that happens, let’s try to appreciate those we still have around us. Examples; Chuck Berry – Paul McCartney – Steve Miller – Eric Clapton – Blonde’s Deborah Harry …let’s catch these outstanding musicians while they are still taking the stage (before curfew). As people age, the music might change. At least give it a listen before saying anything about this artist sucks after a certain so-and-so period.
Remember, no one’s around forever. That’s the point of what it is I’m trying to say. Said, not meant to bum anyone out. We’re only human. Just a reminder that when a certain classic rock band or artist comes nearby, that you consider actually going and seeing them play. Don’t take anything for granted. I told my first wife we’d see Pink Floyd the next time they toured. I sold my tickets to The Wall because I was newly married and needed the cash. I have never to this day, seen Pink Floyd live. The next time someone you like comes out with a new CD, buy it. Support their new efforts. Remember, death is final. Once that happens the music stops, for good.
Uncle G strongly suggests enjoying whatever it is you like in life, while you can. Don’t become obsessed. Continue enjoying being entertained by those you personally associate with the best experiences you so far had while on this planet. If there’s a message here, then that would be it. Deep Purple I always felt had a certain good time feeling about them. They seem to always give off a very strong positive energy. Back then when they made Live In Japan, and still nowadays. If in the area, check them out. Buy a new remastered CD. Request us to play Perfect Strangers (the song). This is how we keep not only the interest but also the memories alive.
Goodbye Mr. Lord……thank you! If I was the music coordinator in heaven, you’d be playing the pipe organ, every Sunday, when we do services. Hallelujah! Amen!
Oh…one more thing. Do you have an interest in New Age music? Check out my friend Greg Z’s website. He also plays in a Jersey Shore bar band doing some outrageous covers of awesome rock n’ roll music. A good time…guaranteed. I read the reviews on Facebook all the time. They have a very devoted following. Let the fun times begin. The name of the band if on or visiting the Jersey Shore; a.s.a.p.
End of Story
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