Prince’s passing has left me a bit shaken. I’m avoiding the mysterious theories and thinking this generally healthy and sober man had pill demons that caught him and he walked into his personal elevator and never came out. The lyrics to Let’s Go Crazy are now loaded with intrigue.
Addiction did not appear to be a long term problem for Prince as he showed none of the outward signs over the last 30 years of his career. But rumors are flying that the last year has been a rough one for the 57-year old entertainer. Painful hip problems led to Percocet and other powerful pills with never-ending prescriptions, and in no time the mighty had fallen. I’ll wait for the tox report before commenting more, but it’s not an uncommon story.
LIFE MOVES FORWARD. The sun comes up tomorrow with or without us. Ask the Atlanta Hawks.
Prince loved basketball so if there’s an afterlife he’s enjoying this one.
I’ve been saying all year that the regular season success of the Golden State Warriors is perfect for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It benefits the Cavs more than anyone else.
Regular season means nothing. Playoffs and Championships mean everything. It’s why Jordan is Jordan, Kobe is Kobe, Russell is Russell, Duncan is Duncan, Bird is Bird, Magic is Magic… and then there’s all those other players. Many winners and legends in the mix but there’s only a few that walk around with their hand(s) full of rings.
Lebron James is on the cusp of the circle of greats. He has an impressive resume going to the last 5 finals and winning 2 of them. Most playoff records are owned or being hounded by James and his various teams. But he needs to get to 500 and get one with his hometown Cavaliers to cement his legacy.
Cue the perfect scenario – make James the underdog.
Last year was his first year back with his old family after running off to Miami with a supermodel, and it was awkward at times. The big 3 were actually Lebron and two confused all-stars lacking big game experience, a motley mix of role players, and a head coach who had never even assistant-coached an NBA game before.
But Lebron being Lebron, the addition of Iman Shumpert and JR Smith from the Knicks and Timo Mozgov from Denver seemed to fit together for the moment. JR was the sharpshooter, Shump the defensive stopper, and Timo the new Big Z that Lebron could play pick and roll with.
Delly also emerged as a decent backup PG and all around defensive irritant, and the team clicked going into the playoffs. But by the time they reached the Finals they had lost 2 all-stars and were logging huge minutes on the guys left.
They still got 2, nearly 3 games from the healthy and clicking Warriors, but ran out of juice after running out of options. They were outmatched, out-coached, and still getting to know each other as a team. Delly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital for fluids. Cleveland licked it’s wounds yet again. There’s always next year.
This next year has been stable so the soap opera NBA media basically ignored the Cavaliers all year. Blatt wasn’t fired mid-season so much as forced to step aside for his star assistant, a move that all of us saw coming sooner or later. The Cavs didn’t miss a beat since very little changed.
Other than that all everyone talked about was the amazing unbeatable Warriors, and if the Spurs would have enough left in the tank to derail them. These amazing Warriors with their newly crowned King of the NBA Steph Curry! Could they ever be beaten? Have we ever seen something so dominating?
Buzz. No one really cares. It’s the regular season. I’d be terrified if the Cavs won 73 games this year. The last team to win so many games is only talked about because they swept their way through the playoffs (actually 12-3) and got their FIFTH ring in 7 years. See the gentleman with all the rings above.
The Cavs are being treated like an underdog this year but the stats tell something different, and so does the eye test.
So the setup is perfect. The Warriors are unbeatable. Until their fragile superstar goes down that is, then they are beatable. The Spurs look damn good as usual, the perfect slayer of dreams. The Cavs are rolling, the East (which was stronger than the West overall this regular season) is folding with playoff jitters, and here we sit.
The thing about my predictions is I don’t always see the end of the story. Rarely, actually. I usually see the setup and build.
I can imagine this is our year. But I was born in #TheLand 9 years after it’s last major title so I don’t get my hopes up too far. My storytelling mind does enjoy this narrative though.
Curry will be back, and the Cavs will face a strong team out of the west. I hope it’s the Warriors because we all want the rematch from last year. The Spurs have always dealt with Lebron better than anyone else.
Who’s the finest electric guitarist of all time? It’s a very short list at the very very top.
There’s likely millions of good ones, thousands of amazing ones, and probably 100’s of legends I have heard of.
But then there’s the very top. The completely untouchable, unplayable motherfuggus that just knock people out. Done.
They make other guitar players try harder– or quit. Mic Guitar drop.
Eddie Hazel is one of those guys.
The most genius amongst a pack of them, he blazed through the P-Funk mob from ’67-’82 then battled his addictions outside of music. By 1990 he was starting his comeback stronger than ever. He passed away in 1992 at the young age of 42, a medical prescription error the supposed cause, unfinished music.
There’s lots of tributes out there. This one always gets me. It’s Bootsy’s tribute track just a few short years after Eddie’s passing. Beautiful.
Why flip the title? Good morning shows the future is bright.
“Good morning Eddie” because I know through music education our youth (and ignorant adults) will know geniuses like Edward Earl Hazel. They will live forever. They will be studied academically, spiritually, and musically. They are the 20th century masters.
My best buddy Jesus passed away this week. He was the strongest fighter I knew and his loss has left those in his world confused and bobbling.
My friend Jesus was a great man, a flawed man, an amazing musician, father, husband, and hell raiser. Perhaps the finest hell raiser we’ve seen in some time. He left behind a beautiful family of 5 and the struggle is just getting started for them.
I went back through my writings and found a few pieces that were influenced by him, the late great bassist and composer for 2MERICA, Jesus Irizarry. Rest in peace, friend.
Rest In Peace, for you are one of the greatest of all time, BB King.
This man owned the blues, owned that tone, owned that vibe for decades. He was truly one of a kind and his catalog offers plenty of exploration opportunity.
Dude put his first record out in 1957. Very few people still around put records out in the 50’s (the Isley’s are the only one I can think of). He was a titan of the music industry.
A legend among legends, no one messes with BB.
Here’s one of my favorites from him, when he played the Cook County Jail in 1971 and offered up some hilarious banter to the “guests” about their warden and his beautiful wife, in-between hitting them with a blues you know they could truly appreciate:
One of the finest DJ’s ever, a guy who opened his own club to DJ his mix of music, called the Warehouse, which in turn helped birth the genre “House”. Genre games are stupid – this is top end dance music full of funk and hard beats.
DEVO is one of the most important bands in history. They are not the easiest to listen to. They don’t have the largest catalog of hits. And they surely are odd to watch.
But Devo is short for de-evolution, and as an american art project it’s right on point. Starting in the early 70’s, Devo forced us into the modern world. Punks with sequencers when no one had an idea what a sequencer was. These guys were so early in the game they were practically building their own digital instruments, and then playing them in sync with guitars, drums, and keys. Very sick, very ballsy.
Their remakes of classic rock riffs put the post-modern touch to the heavy and serious tone coming out of the Vietnam era (finally), while at the same time celebrating them at the expense of current dance music trends. Their version of Satisfaction blew me away.
Devo the band was composed with a set of 2 brothers from Akron Ohio, an interesting lineup, and one that stayed intact the entire 40 years!
Heroin is making a killing these days. Stay clear of the death, please, and if you know someone that needs help reach out. Be safe, be smart, and don’t be a fool. Things that can kill you are not to be trifled with! For a buzz? If you need that edge of thrill then ride your bike around the city or take up skydiving. I also suggest musical therapy as a cure-all. But let’s remember those weaker than us that took the plunge and never returned. It’s hard out there these days. Lots of lying and self-gratifying mirages.
R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, a young and accomplished 46, found dead with needle dangling. Early reports say the poor man was clean for 23 years and then this. I’ve been told it never leaves you, which is the best reason ever for not trying it.
The great composer and keyboardist George Duke passed this year. He was a big influence on many and played with nearly everyone in his 30+ year career. Here’s a clip from his star-studded memorial service featuring Chaka Khan:
Missed this one over the holiday, but on July 3rd, Douglas Engelbart died at the digital sounding age of 88. He was not a household name, but amongst PC history geeks he’s about as important as they come. By 1968 he had worked out the ideas behind and the rudimentary technology to operate: the mouse, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object oriented file management, and collaborative real-time editing.
It was not vaporware – the demo he did has been renamed “The Mother Of All Demo’s” and would be a pretty high-tech thing to pull off even in 2013. Read more and see the demo here.
If you are reading this you owe alot of that credit to the visionary genius of Mr. Engelbart.
We have lost an underrated musical genius, the voice of a generation, the creator of a new singing style, and an influence to countless other musicians (perhaps most notably Prince)…. Mr. Leroy Bonner, better known as Sugarfoot or just Sugar.
He started in the music business in the 1950’s and experienced just about every facet of the business in his 6+ decades. Ups downs and all arounds, Sugar always stayed true to himself and true to the music.
Mr. Bonner was the author of so many funk classics – writing or co-writing most of the Player’s material, singing lead on most of the major hits, and playing a smoking hot guitar. His fingerpicking and scat soloing was like noone-else.
He brought his double-neck to funk, his trademark Aww girl, put that suitcase down, You ain’t kiddin’ nobody, You can’t leave me, woman, you love me! vocal style has become the funk voice. This was just one of his many creations.
Video of the Ohio Players is very rare and not much is online. Here’s a cool interview and lip-sync on Soul Train from when they were blowing up in 1975 (cracked audio):
Here’s one of my favorite Sugar performances, “Heaven Must Be Like This”:
Rest In Peace Mr. Bonner, you will be missed. You and your music will be remembered forever.
R.I.P. The amazing vocalist Belita Woods. I had a couple of opportunities to meet Ms. Woods over the years and she had such a kind heart and just a beautiful personality. You will be missed Belita. Here she is doing her thing:
We’ve lost another pioneer to cancer. Adam “MCA” Yauch, the voice that helped transition the Beasties from goof rap to good rap, succumbed to cancer on May 5th, just a few days after his band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You will be missed. In honor of MCA, everyone do a beastie boy “AW YEAH”.
Where would the tech world, perhaps the world as a whole, be without Steven P. Jobs? The concepts he developed in his teens and twenties regarding if/how/when/why we interact with computers built entire industries. Appleholics like myself are everywhere now, and the Apple-haters have spent the last 5 years doing everything they can to catch up (or ignore) the market-leading companies of Jobs’.
Even technophobes gobble up his Pixar movies.
Look, platform debates amongst users are geeky fun but useless. I’ve used a mac as my main rig since the mid-90’s. I also am a developer and have worked cross-platform that whole time. Regardless of what OS you are using right now on your PC, laptop, or phone — stare at it right now and know that it wouldn’t work half as well as it might without Steve Jobs doing his thing.
He set the bar high and you either bought into his vision or you waited for someone to develop a slightly different version of his vision that fit your needs. But regardless, he has way more points in putting his vision into existence and into your life and pocket than any other modern businessman.
He’s one of the few minimalists in tech, a huge part of his aesthetic that his copycat competitors always fail with. The discipline to remove features is what made Jobs and Apple so special. Doing 10 core functions better, faster, simpler than anything else was valued at Apple through most of their designs. Windows or Android might pile on the features but they always seem to ruin the core functionality and they taint the usability of the device.
Some of us have been preaching this for decades but it’s only the last 5 years that Apple got their product lines all firing at the same time and the speed and size of the tech caught up with the vision of Steve Jobs.
RIP my dear man, you have helped me to learn more, work more, explore more, earn more, and overall enjoy life more than anyone else I can think of.