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The head is not a percussion instrument
July 4, 2008 3:33 PM   Subscribe

"Several songs on the instrumental album were voted Best in Genre, and then shortly after that I was flown out to Los Angeles and nominated Independent Artist of the Year by the Association of Independent Artists." Until age 40, he'd never played piano. Then he suffered a concussion.. Also, cavemen sang -- and maybe echo-located. Where? Where they painted their cave art.
posted by orthogonality (38 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds like he had a concussion and turned into John Tesh.
posted by Faze at 3:58 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I get the impression John Tesh has had a few concussions, himself.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:02 PM on July 4, 2008


I thought this was written by John Tesh.
posted by Roman Graves at 4:19 PM on July 4, 2008


I had never even touched a piano.

Alternative diagnosis: He bumped his head and turned into a pathological liar.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:27 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


These articles are only particularly related by awesomeness.
posted by Alex404 at 4:39 PM on July 4, 2008


If he had bumped his head and played with a Newfie accent I'd believe it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:51 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Evolutionary biology shows that early cavemen evolved the ability to speak in Newfie accents and play piano after they bumped their head because it gave them a comparative advantage when exploring dark, smoke-filled, cramped, dangerous areas like caves and Newfoundland piano bars. And the women stayed at home gathering herbs.
posted by No-sword at 4:57 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


So has anyone got a link to any of his actual music? I withhold judgement till then.
posted by konolia at 5:14 PM on July 4, 2008


So has anyone got a link to any of his actual music? I withhold judgement till then.

Verily!
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 5:17 PM on July 4, 2008


The Upper Paleolithic people responsible for the paintings had likely fine-tuned their hearing to recognize the sound qualities in certain parts of the cave and chose to do their artwork there as a kind of landmark, perhaps as part of a singing ritual, said researcher Iegor Reznikoff, a specialist in ancient music at the University of Paris X in Nanterre.

New MetaFilter format: If you made it across the first leap of logic, you'll probably also like having a go at the unrelated second batshitinsane chasm.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:28 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


uh, the first link has an autoplaying video?
posted by empath at 5:37 PM on July 4, 2008


So has anyone got a link to any of his actual music? I withhold judgement till then.

How bout the video on page 1 of the article? Don't know about the veracity of his story, but it seems like that could be checked through interviews with friends/relatives so it's unlikely that the lie would hold up for long.

I don't get the connection with the caveman article, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:38 PM on July 4, 2008


Acoustic archeology is just downright cool - it's like taking the best parts of Erik von Daniken and Indiana Jones and removing the aliens. It reveals entirely new aspects to sites, things we literally haven't seen before, and suggests our ancestors were far more canny than we suppose. And it's been explored on the blue before. My personal favorite is the pyramid of Kukulcan (Quetzelcoatl) in Chichen Itza, on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Not only are the pyramid's features aligned with celestial events (summer and winter solstices, the procession of Venus), but the ball court there is a whispering gallery: a whispered word will carry down to the other end, 543 feet away, and a clap will produce nine distinct echoes). Furthermore, a clap in front of the pyramid itself will produce an echo similar to the call of the quetzelcoatl, the bird.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 5:44 PM on July 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


More music, from the second page of the first link.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:49 PM on July 4, 2008


I call bullshit. His most popular Myspace song has had over 59k hits so the viral campaign has worked.

Plus he plays shitty music. Plus he also seems to be able to play the guitar and sing quite well. Concussion, shmoncussion...

On the other hand maybe we could just bypass hundreds of years of music pedagogy and start hitting people's heads in right angle? Linkin Park must have been an early adoptee of this technique. It sure wasn't perfected in those days.
posted by hoskala at 6:04 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had never even touched a piano.

Synthesizer? Accordion? Harmonium? Organ? Mellotron? Harpsichord?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:12 PM on July 4, 2008


konolia writes "So has anyone got a link to any of his actual music? I withhold judgement till then."

There's a video on the linked page.
posted by orthogonality at 6:15 PM on July 4, 2008


The acoustic prehistoric stuff is fascinating, and I think perfectly plausible.
posted by jokeefe at 6:18 PM on July 4, 2008


I find the cave painters music link pretty fascinating BUT when I toured Niaux, the guide said that the height of the caves was much smaller when some of the paintings were done and the artist would have likely painted on their backs. Relevance? change the height of the cave and the resonant frequencies are altered (maybe the music-painting link only works for some of the paintings).
posted by bluesky43 at 6:36 PM on July 4, 2008


For some reason I had trouble getting the linked videos to play (I think it might be the computer I am using), but there is always youtube. I remain a bit skeptical about how he started playing, but whether he sounds like Tesh or not, if it is true it is pretty amazing stuff.
posted by caddis at 6:50 PM on July 4, 2008


Mama Cass was the waitress who sang along with the group while she waited tables, never asked to join the band because she didn't quite have the right sound, nor should she hit the high notes they needed. Until the day she was emptying the trash behind the restaurant, and the re-modelers in the upstairs apartment were throwing construction debris into the dumpster, and she got clocked on the head. Her voice just snapped into place after that, according to the official story.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:59 PM on July 4, 2008


The very first time he played he was with his friend who had known him all his life.

That's the red flag that this is made up.

Good try, though.
posted by Zambrano at 7:20 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, I gave it a listen.

He does exactly what I do. Only I wasn't hit in the head. Having said that, what he does is not nearly as hard as one would think. The hard part of playing most music is learning to sight read. When you totally bypass that, and just know how to HEAR what you are doing, it is actually pretty simple to play really complex sounding stuff.

So, I think it is entirely possible getting hit in the head has something to do with it.

Or, not.

Oh, the only other difference is he is making a living at it, and I don't. But, that's okay. Nice to know there is a market for this sort of thing. I usually play like this at prayer meetings. Holy muzak, if you will.
posted by konolia at 7:52 PM on July 4, 2008


konolia writes "I usually play like this at prayer meetings. Holy muzak, if you will."

Keyboarding in tongues is more what his description sounds like.
posted by orthogonality at 8:08 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Keyboarding in tongues is more what his description sounds like.
Actually, that's not a bad way to put it. In my case at least. My playing (other than songwriting) is many times totally spontaneous.

I know others who do that as well-I have an instrumental recording made by friends of mine (that has sold quite a few copies, btw) which was all recorded in the studio as spontaneous playing. There were tracks laid down, so some folks were simply playing along with what was previously recorded, but there was no written score.
posted by konolia at 8:12 PM on July 4, 2008


Well, I got clocked over the head with my bass guitar by a biker when I was 17 but it didn't change my approach to the instrument at all, other than I stopped taking it in biker bars. Then again, I've got a pretty thick skull. He cracked my bass right through from the neck bolts, down to the bridge-- I wobbled, but I did not go down.

Still can't play the piano at all.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:24 PM on July 4, 2008


First thing: If you can play other instruments, picking up another is not very hard (depending on the instruments in question). Piano is especially intuitive, too.
Second thing: If the marks are supposed to be indicators of something, then what good would they do in the corridors where they couldn't carry a torch?
The idea of human echolocation is not crazy, though. Try it. For an easier time, listen to someone moving around in a room in front of speakers playing music.
posted by cmoj at 10:07 PM on July 4, 2008


Human echolocation in the modern day. Previously.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:51 PM on July 4, 2008


You might consider smoking pot, konolia. It makes a big difference to the brain's ability to perform improvisation. Heck, might even come in handy for that speaking in tongues business!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:46 PM on July 4, 2008


Another reason to make sure I never get hit on the head!
posted by speicus at 11:51 PM on July 4, 2008


You might consider smoking pot, konolia. It makes a big difference to the brain's ability to perform improvisation. Heck, might even come in handy for that speaking in tongues business!
posted by five fresh fish at 2:46 AM on July 5 [+] [!]


You didn't know me back in 1979, obviously. All pot does is make you fuzzy and make you crave chocolate chip cookie dough.
posted by konolia at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2008


Oh, forgot to add my ability to improvise did not occur till later in my life when I was clean and sober.
posted by konolia at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2008


I just suffered a concussion.
posted by tellurian at 5:06 AM on July 5, 2008


I can haz a cleanz and zsober.
posted by tellurian at 5:08 AM on July 5, 2008


Tranzbortz to futurz.
posted by tellurian at 5:20 AM on July 5, 2008


Profitz!
posted by tellurian at 5:22 AM on July 5, 2008


Mama Cass was the waitress who sang along with the group while she waited tables, never asked to join the band because she didn't quite have the right sound, nor should she hit the high notes they needed. Until the day she was emptying the trash behind the restaurant, and the re-modelers in the upstairs apartment were throwing construction debris into the dumpster, and she got clocked on the head. Her voice just snapped into place after that, according to the official story.

Snopes. The short version is John Phillips thought she was too fat and didn't fit their image, and the pipe story was to cover that up later on.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:51 AM on July 5, 2008


The hard part of playing most music is learning to sight read. When you totally bypass that, and just know how to HEAR what you are doing, it is actually pretty simple to play really complex sounding stuff.

Once you've got the ear to do that, I think you're correct. The problem is that (in my experience) the process of developing one's ear to that level is much more involved than learning to sight read, although sight reading is really a part of ear training anyway.
posted by invitapriore at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2008


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