Music therapy

Getting The Band Back Together (Sort Of)

by Bill Brenner October 2, 2013 Music therapy

As some of you know, I sang in a band called Skeptic Slang in the early 1990s. I’ve also been playing guitar religiously for the past year. A former bandmate has decided to start playing again as well, which can mean only one thing: The band is back together. Mood music: Well, sort of. We don’t plan to go in a studio and record an album, or line up a bunch of gigs. This will…  [Read More]

Songs That Mattered After 9-11-01

by Bill Brenner September 7, 2013 Coping tools

Like so many other times in my life, music made the difference between sanity and insanity. I focus a lot on the metal. But in the weeks after 9-11, I turned to a broader group of musicians to help me along. They did their jobs well, helping us all see that it was OK to go on living. Let’s start with Neal Young, whose version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was both haunting and inspiring: Nothing…  [Read More]

On My Sixth Birthday, the Ramones Changed Everything

by Bill Brenner August 27, 2013 Music therapy

I’m tickled to discover that my birthday is a special day to The Ramones, too. Turns out, yesterday was also the 37th anniversary of the band’s debut album. They were always an important band for me, especially after I learned that Joey Ramone was a fellow OCD sufferer. Mood music: I owned multiple Ramones albums on vinyl, and wore them out from playing them so much. A favorite was Halfway to Sanity. Back then I…  [Read More]

Review: Pop Gun’s “American Soul”

by Bill Brenner June 6, 2013 Music therapy

Music is one of my main coping tools, and I’ve latched on to a new CD from some old friends that I know will get me through the stresses of a new job and the slow commute that goes with it. I’ve already determined that Pop Gun’s American Soul is an excellent soundtrack for ensuring the painful wind from the Longfellow Bridge across Storrow Drive and onto I-93. I could swear at the drivers around…  [Read More]

Is It Better That They Died?

by Bill Brenner May 22, 2013 Music therapy

A conversation with friends last night about Ray Manzarek’s death led to talk about Jim Morrison and other musicians who died young. The question we asked aloud was what would Morrison, Kurt Cobain and others have done with their music had they been afforded longer lives? Mood music: [spotify:track:5FlBGGwGuqYmqr0qeBWrxe] Would John Bonham still be producing those menacing drum sounds? Would Randy Rhoads be blessing us with rock infused with classical as he had desired at the…  [Read More]

Thanks And Godspeed, Ray Manzarek

by Bill Brenner May 21, 2013 Music therapy

I was shocked yesterday to hear that Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, passed away at 74 following a long bout with cancer. The importance of his music on me can’t be overstated. Mood music: [spotify:track:5UgT7w6zVZjP3oyawMzbiK] Jim Morrison always gets much of the credit as a member of this band, and he was indeed a powerful influence on me. But he wouldn’t have made it without Manzarek’s influence. He’s the one who encouraged…  [Read More]

A New Addiction Takes Hold

by Bill Brenner February 21, 2013 Music therapy

During my vacation this week, I’ve been playing a lot of guitar. I picked the instrument back up over the summer after a 20-year break, and I haven’t looked back. My addictive personality has latched onto it like a starving lamprey. But it may be one of the best outlets I’ve ever had for calming the mind. Mood music: [spotify:track:56oTnXlr7xFw2lmoi3g0o3] I now own two electric guitars and an acoustic. I’ve acquired a Marshall amp and…  [Read More]

I Wish Hard Rock Stations Had More Class

by Bill Brenner October 22, 2012 Music therapy

It’s not easy being a rock ’n’ roll fanatic some days, especially when it comes to the choices I have on the radio dial. Oh, don’t get me wrong: The Boston area has plenty of great stations, especially RadioBDC and Rock 101 in Southern New Hampshire. But some radio stations, in the Boston market and beyond, that play my kind of music have to ruin it by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Mood music:…  [Read More]

Led Zeppelin Gets Me Through the Rain

by Bill Brenner October 10, 2012 Music therapy

A while back I wrote about how Van Halen’s music helps me through  the winter blues. Too much rain can depress me, too, and for that I’m finding a remedy in Led Zeppelin. Mood music: Like most teenage rock fans, I listened to Led Zeppelin nonstop, studied every lyric and guitar solo and read any book in which they were at least mentioned. I remember reading Hammer of the Gods when I was 15, and…  [Read More]

The White Stripe of Dissapointment

by Bill Brenner October 1, 2012 Music therapy

An old friend from Revere went to NYC to see Jack White perform at Radio City Music Hall this past weekend and walked away crushed. She waited an hour and a half to meet him, but he blew past everyone and hopped into a waiting van. No hellos. No autographs. “What a disappointment. Just waited an hour and a half for him to just dash out and jump in his van,” she said on her…  [Read More]