Category Archives: Mike and Paul

Whadda Ya Hear, Whadda Ya Say! Mike and Paul’s Music Blog to experience the Summer of Sorcery tonight

That’s right, we are attending Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul!

We arrived in style in our candy apple fuel injected rag top superfly terra plane!

Giddy up!

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End of 2018 Wrap Up

Well we’ve reached the end of 2018, the inaugural (half!) year of our blog that we started this past June.  It’s been a blast sharing our love of music with the world, especially the music blog community.  We’ve tried a few different types of things, some have panned out while others haven’t, but we have lots of great ideas for 2019.  Here’s some interesting stats looking back at 2018 (interesting at least to us!):

Since Mike’s wife Wendy created the original site in June and called Mike’s bluff about starting a music blog, our little project has had 3785 views (full disclosure: about 1000 of those views are by Paul and Mike) , from 1612 visitors, from 35 countries on 6 continents (we guess the researchers in Antartica don’t have time for music blogs!), with 616 likes and 264 comments. Our most viewed submission was our piece entitled “Remembering Rich”, fitting as our missing third amigo is with us in spirit always, especially in all things musical. We profiled 213 songs in our Song of the Day.

One of the best things about starting a music blog has been connecting with fellow music lovers all over the country and the world!  We want to send a big thank you to all for being so welcoming, inspiring, thought provoking and encouraging to us this past year.  While we have shared and conversed with many, we especially wanted to call out and thank Jim at Music Enthusiast, hanspostcard at slicethelife, Christian at Christian’s Music Musing, hotfox63, Aphoristical at Aphoristic Album Reviews, Vinyl Connections, Steve for the Deaf, The Soul of A Clown, and High Fives & Stage Dives.  Thanks for all the great music.

Our goals for 2019? Keep enjoying music, pestering our readers and followers with our thoughts, more original content and more concert reviews (we still owe you a John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Mumford & Sons review).

As a big thank you to everyone, here’s a Spotify playlist of all 213 songs that were featured on our Song of the Day feature – new music, classic favorites, slower contemplative stuff, and other songs we just love.

We’ll see everyone on the other side of New Year’s Day in 2019!

Mike and Paul’s Music Blog Song of the Day Spotify playlist

 

Remembering Rich

We’d like to take a short interlude from sharing new music and current music interests for a more personal post to remember a dear friend, brother in arms, and our third amigo, Rich.  This one’s a bit long, just a heads up.

But the stars are burning bright like some mystery uncovered


I’ll keep moving through the dark with you in my heart

My blood brother   – Bruce Springsteen

 

It’s been 15 years since Mike and Paul lost Rich to cancer. 15 years of births, graduations and soon a marriage among our collective children. Children who have been regaled time after time with stories recounting the escapades, wit and wisdom of “Uncle Rich”. 15 years of new music from our favorite artists, of discoveries of new artists, of attending concerts.

So many of those memories  are enveloped in a soundtrack of our favorite music. So many memories that we made over our 20 year friendship with Rich were built on or  enhanced by our shared mutual appreciation that so much of what we do everyday can be better with the right music, even if it’s just in the background. Rich used to joke about wouldn’t it be great if life was a musical, which led to all kinds of funny jokes involving alot of bad singing.  If not a musical, our time with Rich was greatly deepened and enhanced by our shared experience of the music we loved.

A few short years from now  Rich will have been gone for  as long as we knew him, but to be truthful we’re not actually without him. So much of music we listen to now has its origins  in the music the three of us listened to in the 80s and 90s and early 2000‘s.

So what follows are a few memories of our time with Rich framed through the music we loved or were experiencing at the time.

Mike: I’m driving down the Garden State Parkway with Rich in his beast of a car. This was when the tolls were $.25. At the tollboth, from the passenger seat I would try hook shot the quarter over the top of the car into the collection basket. One particular time on the way to Wildwood, the  DJ from  WMMR in Philly teased the next song with “next, one of the greatest songs ever!” During the commercial break,  Rich and I threw out our predictions: Bruce Springsteen (naturally), the Stones the Who, or Led Zeppelin. The commercial ends, the DJ comes back and plays…… ‘In a Big country’……by Big Country. We looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Paul: As regular readers of this blog will know Mike and Paul are huge Springsteen fans.  We shared this passion with Rich (after all, he named his dog Bruce!).  I have many fond memories of Rich that involve Bruce.  But two stand out.

Back in the 80’s before the Internet and streaming, you had to turn to bootleg recordings if you wanted to more fully experience a favorite artist.  And so you would head down to your favorite independent record shop who carried bootleg records, and rummage through the backbins (sometimes you had to ask- “Do you have anything else from Bruce, WINK WINK??).  Rich had a copy of Springsteen’s famous concert from the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1978 that we loved.  Only problem was that one day he left it in the back of his car (did we mention it was a beast?) and the sun had melted the plastic leaving it slightly warped.  But did that stop Rich from enjoying it?  Turns out it was still playable on a turntable, if you ignored the fact that at a certain part of the record the needle would do its best impression of rollercoaster ride going up and down and up… and that song (don’t remember which) would have its own unique set of pauses and stops.  But since it was a bootleg to begin with (and this was in the pre-digital days) it actually didn’t make that much of a difference!

Here’s ‘Because the Night‘ from that concert:

 

Another memory.  In 1992, Bruce pulled a Guns R’ Roses and released two albums at same time, Human Touch and Lucky Town.  The resulting tour without the E St. Band has been the subject of much debate over the years in terms of how the new band held up against the E. Streeters.  But of course since it was Bruce, Mike, Paul and Rich were there.  During one of the many highlights (I want to say it was Promised Land, but my memory is fuzzy) Rich was dancing like a maniac, slipped, and hit his face on the stairs.  He had a big gash above his one eye, but continued dancing like nothing had happened.  Finally his girlfriend at the time insisted they get medical attention, so they left and Mike and I stayed.  A while later (after all this is a Bruce concert!) right as the first song of the encore starts, his girlfriend comes back and says we need to take him to hospital for stitches.  Mike and I look at each other with that dilemma – leave a Bruce concert early?  I think one of us even suggested we wait until it was finished (after all it wasn’t an emergency at that point).  His girlfriend gave us a withering look and might have even said “I can’t believe that Bruce is more important than your friend!”  So of course we left…. we met Rich outside and what is the first thing he says??  “What the hell are you leaving a Bruce concert early for??!!”  It was at that point that I realized that Rich and his girlfriend probably wouldn’t be a long term thing.

Here’s ‘My Beautiful Reward from Lucky Town, the song we walked out of at that concert.

 

Mike: Sitting on the roof of Rich’s apartment building overlooking the Philadelphia skyline at night. I don’t remember what music was playing but whenever I remember it I hear Springsteen’s  Streets of Philadelphia playing, a song which seems prophetic in retrospect.

 

Paul: Another artist that we were really into during college was John Mellencamp.  His album Scarecrow was as much a part of the soundtrack of our college years as Born in the USA was.  My particular memory here was getting together with Mike and Rich the
summer after our senior year, right before we were all parting ways to go to med school or grad school, for one last 3 amigos bonding experience.  We went to Rich’s house, listened to music, shared memories, and drank alot of beer.  And then (perhaps because of the aforementioned beer drinking) Rich said let’s make some videos.  Remember this was before Iphones and camera phones etc, so setting up a video wasn’t that straightforward.  There was a concept video to the EaglesKing of Hollywood‘ that involved me in a rain coat, hat and glasses staring at a picture of Julianne Phillips (don’t ask).  But the best part was a performance video we did lipsynching (and airplaying instruments to a number of Bruce and Mellencamp tunes.  We had an old acoustic guitar, a broom and some pots and pans and kitchen utensils for drums.  It was a blast.

Where is the video you ask?  It is probably around somewhere on some form of old media that doesn’t play anymore, although I am not sure.  But instead, how about Mellencamp’s ‘R.O.C.K. in the USA, which I definitely remember we “played” that night.

 

Rich was a unique quirky one of a kind friend who was loyal to a fault – going through college together, post college, and the beginning of forming our families bonded us together like brothers.  While his tastes in music didn’t venture perhaps as widely as Mike and I’s, his passion for it and the meaning that it gave to our lives meant that we always had that connection to each other, regardless of whether we were separated geographically or involved in our own things.  Whenever we got together, the memories would be recalled, the new experiences shared, and the music, always the music, would be playing.

At his funeral, Rich requested that ‘Jungleland‘ off of ‘Born to Run‘ be played, and we honored his request.  Let’s honor it again.  Rich, we miss you every single day, every single time we share a song with each other, or go to a concert together.  But we know that you are always with us, in the songs and notes of the music we love.