We sometimes think strange thoughts about our heroes. I had pondered that question every once in a while about one of my heroes, Neil Peart, who loomed large as the most important drum teacher in my life. Not in person, of course. But via Rush’s extensive catalog, I – along with tens of thousands of other drummers – grew and learned a vast vocabulary under the tutelage of my “virtual” professor.
Sadly, the question that I had asked myself periodically over the years was answered all too abruptly last week when I learned, along with the rest of the world, that Peart had passed away from brain cancer on January 7 at 67 years young.
Summers in the pacific northwest are incredible. For a brief window of time, the rain stops and we look around to once again realize that this place is absolutely beautiful. Music is vibrant all over and people love to take it all in before the clouds return. The summer of 2019 was another great one for MSDS and friends. As we reach for our warm coats and stocking hats once again, I felt it was worthwhile to reminisce a few highlights that Miss Sydney and The Downtown Saints had over the past few months:
Nine years ago today I wrote a brief Amazon review “Power Windows,” a 1985 gem in the Rush album catalog that I think deserves re-consideration, and has been often maligned. If you’ve never listened to it, give it a listen on a nice summer drive and see if you don’t agree with some of what I share below. Enjoy! – Ben
Happy Birthday Linda Ronstadt! Born on July 15, 1946, Linda is one of the greatest voices in Rock & Roll. It’s no secret that Linda is a favorite of ours in Miss Sydney & The Downtown Saints, and for good reason – simply put, she did it right! So today on her birthday, we feel it necessary to celebrate with her by recognizing some of the things we appreciate about Linda Ronstadt. So in no particular order, here are 3 reasons to celebrate Linda Ronstadt today.
Growing up in the small border-town of Lynden, Washington, the concept of rock & roll bands was a bit foreign. Often times the older kids in my neighborhood would be playing basketball or washing their Ford Mustangs while blasting cassette tapes of bands like The Beach Boys, The Cars, Joan Jett, and Van Halen over their car stereos. While these rock & roll bands provided great soundtracks to our neighborhood excitement, my view of them was more like fictional characters rather than actual human beings. This changed in elementary school when I found out that my classmates’ dad was in one of these “rock & roll bands”.
On March 11, drummer Hal Blaine – arguably the most indispensable cog in the studio musical machine known colloquially as “The Wrecking Crew” – passed away. He left behind a musical legacy that is untouchable for several reasons.