Hey the Chili Peppers Released Another Chili Peppers Album!

You’d think after selling around 65 million records that they might buy a couple of shirts.

Flea and Anthony Kiedis have been doing their freaky styley funk game dance on us for a quarter century. And we’ve all been on to them in varying degrees since they laid that one hot egg the first time guitarist John Frusciante left the group. After their wild early days, highlighted by 1989’s Mother’s Milk, they broke through with both a mainstream hit and a bona fide classic in 1991 with Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Then they signed mismatched free agent guitarist Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction for One Hot Minute in 1995 and set the controls for autopilot.

Will Farrell stars as drummer Chad Smith (right) as Flea and Anthony Kiedis make Another Chili Peppers Album.

Californication, a good but probably overrated record was a nice hit album in 1999, proving that the Red Hot Chili Peppers on autopilot were still good enough to rule at the turn of the century. Three years later, By The Way worked the same formula like a speedbag, californicating itself into yet. Another. Chili Peppers Album.

And so it went, all-world bassist and general maniac Flea fired up the furious funk and Anthony Kiedis jumped around with different hairstyles and they never fucking wore shirts and it was all good. The underrated Chad Smith is an effortless badass of a drummer whose talents sometimes sound wasted in the tight album-version arrangements. They dropped a bloated double album five years ago that even their fans admitted was too long as they talked themselves into liking it.

But all the people who don’t love the Red Hot Chili Peppers pretty much hate them. And we all know it’s cuz Anthony Kiedis is annoying and while I’m sure he’s a great guy and he’s an essential element to their sound and “he is what he is” as they say… he still sucks. And that’s a shitty thing to say and I should delete it but fuck it, let’s leave it there.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to their new album, I’m With You. It’s got it’s moments, but it sounds like yet another bland reincarnation of that same album they’ve been making starting with Californication. A shell of a shell of a former band. And yet Flea still rips it, and even though they sorely miss the once-again departed Frusciante, new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer provides plenty of interesting moments (and space for Flea’s musicality).

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A Monday Quiz

In the interest of getting to know the readers of Bums Logic I submit to you our first ever poll.  Please answer the question below and if you would like to expand on your answer please do  so in the comments section.

After last weekend I sure know which one I prefer.

A Complete and Total Fantasy

Fantasy Football Guru

I can't wait to play me some fantasy.

Given the onslaught of NFL updates here on BL I figure  it wouldn’t be complete without giving mention to a relatively new pastime that accompanies every professional football season. Yeah that’s right, it’s fantasy football time. If you haven’t heard of fantasy football all I can tell you is that you need to leave the house more. The shit is real and it is here to stay.

Now is the time when folks gather together, whether virtual or actual, and conduct their annual fantasy football  ‘draft’. While I want to say that this activity is partaken by only men the fact is, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Men and women both young and old ‘play’ fantasy football. There are entire websites as well as radio broadcasts and television programs dedicated to fantasy football. The folks that are fantasy football fanatics want to be sure that they get the best insider’s take on which players they should take in order to secure the strongest team so at the end of the season they can claim victory in their fantasy football league.

The only problem I have with fantasy football…

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NFL to Exhume Hendrix for Next Super Bowl Halftime

The NFL is looking to partner with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other groups to fund a billion-dollar project to exhume Jimi Hendrix and bring him back to life to perform at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

After the horrifying debacle that was the Black Eyed Peas attempt at a musical performance, the league has set aside large sums of money freed up following their off-season revenue dispute with the players in hopes that they could make next year’s show better.

Coming back from the dead to play halftime?

“We looked into the idea of trying to get John Lennon,” one league source told us, “and we actually spoke to Yoko Ono, but she said something about getting a million people to stand in a straight line from some sacred Scandinavian territory to Iceland or something. I had no clue what she was talking about. We checked some maps, it can’t be done.”

The catalyst for this expensive and first-of-its-kind project was the abominable showing by the pop group Black Eyed Peas at Super Bowl XLV. ACME Entertainment Solutions, a group that measures this kinda stuff with ratings and surveys and something called Aggregate Blog Reaction, came out with its findings recently and rated the Black Eyed Peas performance “Fucking Horrible.”

With a Lennon deal unlikely, the committee contacted Janie Hendrix, the sister of the late guitarist and executor of his estate. “She was great,” according to the league source. “I mean she just started giving us a routing number and asking where to sign. Although there’s not much in the way of new unreleased songs in Jimi’s vault, Janie’s promised that they’d be able to come up with a release to coincide with the Super Bowl. And of course if everything works out with the science part of bringing him back to life, we all look forward to meeting Jimi. We’re big fans.”

NFL Preview: Bitter Bills Fan

Here comes the NFL, but over the years I turned into more of a college fan, because, well, I’m a Bills fan…

Can you blame me?

Buffalo NY Helmet

In order to avoid litigation I have made my own helmet design for the professional football team located in Buffalo, NY.

As a Bills fan I have experienced nothing but disappointment. Even the most casual football fan knows about Super Bowl XXV and ‘wide right.’ Many will say that has to be the pinnacle of the disappointment.  Of course those same folk can point to the fact that the Bills were an 8 point favorite in the game and should have very well beaten the Giants that evening without the help of Scott Norwood’s foot needed to kick a 47 yard field goal to win.  After the game people were calling for his head for missing a FOURTY SEVEN yard field goal.  Never mind that at that distance the percentage of all field goal kickers is less than 50%.  To blame Norwood for the loss is disingenuous.

Scott Norwood is certainly not to blame for the next THREE Super Bowl losses the Bills endured.  Are you kidding me?  Four losses in a row?  Again, even the most casual football fan knows that number.  At least Bills have company with Vikings fans.

Yes four consecutive Super Bowl losses hurt.  But do you know what hurts even more? Poor officiating.  Allow me set the stage for you.

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Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts When It Comes To Gigging

Screeeaaaammm for me Long Beach!!!!

As both a purveyor and listener of music I sometimes find myself amused by the entire live gig atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I still love seeing and playing live music, I just wanted to put together a list for musicians in bands to read. Call it a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to playing in a band from both the perspective of audience member and/or bandmate:

  1. During soundcheck please say something into the mic besides “check one-two.”
  2. When applying the master volume to your amp on stage or in rehearsal try to do it while all the other instruments are playing so you get a real level. Your amp will always sound loud when you just hear it by itself.
  3. Same goes for singers. Of course you can hear yourself in the monitors during the “check one-two” phase of soundcheck. There aren’t two guitars of wailing feedback exploiting your eardrums.
  4. I know most musicians have their “go to” riff/beat when it comes warming up/soundchecking, do your bandmates a favor and try and come up with something new.
  5. Avoid dead air space between songs. Nothing is more awkward than the silence of a room when a band is between songs. Tell a joke. Tell a story. Promote your band name/next gig/album. Get a loop pedal so you can throw feedback on for two minutes and call it a segway into the next song. Tell the audience to fuck off. Anything. Please. The silence is killing us all!
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Carving a Heart in The Joshua Tree

They had to go all the way out there just to make the guitars echo like that.

Perhaps the least-cool thing to do in 2011 would be to write an essay on the greatness of U2’s The Joshua Tree album from 1987. I mean, you might get away with singing the praises of 1991’s Achtung Baby, seeing as it’s getting the deluxe makeover remaster reissue bonanza for it’s 20th anniversary this year. And it might be cool to write about The Joshua Tree being terrible and overrated, because the contrary opinion always generates interest.

While Achtung Baby has, for a while now, become the consensus “Best/Favorite” U2 album (itself a contrary opinion once upon a time), The Joshua Tree is the pinnacle and quintessential U2 effort, an epic rock album and in my opinion the best album by this hate-’em-if-ya-want-to legendary band. The two albums certainly represent not only the band’s peak, but also the collective moment when they pivoted. One of my favorite Bono quotes is his description of Achtung Baby as “four men chopping down The Joshua Tree.”

Let’s skip all the peripheral items that don’t matter (Bono’s politics and charitable efforts, whether or not U2 is “overrated”), strip away all the hype and bullshit, and simply discuss the music.

I’ll start where the album starts: “Where the Streets Have No Name.” This is the ultimate U2 song. Maybe it’s not their “best” pure song, but it might be my favorite and their most representative track. If someone had no clue, if they came from the future or the past or from another planet, you could just play that song and say THIS is what U2 is. Play it loud. The way the intro fades in and soon engulfs you in The Edge’s spider web of arpeggio notes drizzling down on you from the delay pedal. And then the bass changes notes and pretty soon the drums come running and racing in and you are charging toward something.

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Friday From the Vault (A Re-post)

Contributor’s note: Below is a story I posted many years ago on another long forgotten blog.  Despite the fact that some of the story is dated, I am re-posting it here on Bums Logic because I think the world needs to see it again.  Think of it like a movie you catch on late night TV on one of those sleepless nights where you find yourself on the couch instead of tossing and turning in bed.  You might have never thought about watching the movie before but since you can’t sleep you figure, “Why not?”  The only difference here is that instead of watching a movie you are reading a blog post.  Oh and instead of on your couch not being able to sleep, you are at work sitting at your desk and not doing any actual ‘work.’

Without further ado, I present to you:

Make it Rain

So I got separated and I am heading toward the inevitable division of assets. Again, not the first and surely not the last, right? After fighting the good one, eventually it was time to throw the hands up and be done with it.

image taken from http://eliztalks.com/we-need-a-break/ - Thanks!

She slammed dunked my heart. I needed to rebound.

What next? Well after going through the whole “I am never going to find anyone else” woe is me crap, you eventually have to stand up and dust yourself off. All of my friends encouraged me to get back out there and give it a shot. And so I did, I got the courage to ask a girl out. Written below is a partial account of evening details.

*What you are about to read is completely one hundred percent true, I swear.

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Why I Don’t Pirate Music

I don’t pirate music because it would make me feel like an asshole.  Plain and simple.  Sure I could use a program like Bit Torrent and download the latest Beyonce album for free but I have to ask myself “Why?”  Why would I do it? Because it is free?  Come on man, turn down that noise.

I’m a grown up and I have a job.  Being gainfully employed comes with the benefit of steady income.  By no means am I raking in the mad dollars but I certainly make enough money to be comfortable in my current lifestyle.  Do I have a phat crib and a sweet ride?  No. I think much of that has to do with the fact that I don’t really desire such things at this point in my life.

Bit Torrent

Bit Torrent: All of the cool kids are doing it.

What I can afford and what I do want in my life is the occasional new album from <<insert artist’s name here>> and yes I am willing to pay for it. I don’t really care if I am helping make some Record Exec’s bonus higher or if I am helping pay for <<insert artist’s name here>> next heroin fix. If I can afford to pay, then I pay. If I can’t afford new music then I have to do without.

Now I understand the illegal download thing.  If you are a super huge fan of an artist and you already own a majority if not all of their catalog then you might be interested in acquiring a copy of some of their live performances.  I mean who doesn’t love Springsteen at Madison Square Garden in ’82?  Fans will download live albums because they want to hear the performances of their favorite bands despite the fact that it was recorded in the back of the venue using five Sennheiser shotgun booms using a flux impeding STK 5000 pocket condenser and sounds like shit.  Hey, who am I to judge because you are a true fan?  Killer, dude.

Or do I understand?

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Well We Ain’t Back In The Day

There is a line from The Soprano’s that Tony uses to end a long Paulie Walnuts rant about the good old days. He says, “it’s just that ‘remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.”  We here at Bums Logic might have a lean towards a back-in-the-day mentality–especially when it comes to music–so we understand that some readers might not always want to hear about “how much better it was back then” or “you gotta listen to it on vinyl vs. mp3…and CDs just suck!”

Django Reinhardt

Django didn't need Pro Tools to be fuckin awesome!

Living through the 80s, 90s, and 00s, we have been lucky enough to not only witness but take part in the so-called digital revolution. We have seen a changing of the guard. Yes, we have reached an age where we find ourselves muttering, “remember when…” or what we here a Bums Logic like to refer to as a “get off my lawn” moment.

Just how different are things now for playing in a band? Let’s look at a few changes that have taken place over the past 15-20 years:

Performing

Back In The Day
You started a band with your friends and classmates. You hoped that one of you had either a basement or garage and parents or roommates willing to let you practice in their homes. The band rehearsed as often as they could and tried to learn and write as many songs as possible. If you were lucky, someone had a tape recorder they could put in the middle of the room so you could record yourself a “demo tape.” You played as many local gigs as you could and got as many of your friends and classmates to show up as possible.

Today
You start a band with your Facebook friends or connect to other musicians through Craigslist. You each get an iPad and download an instrument app. Sign in to Skype and have a virtual jam with your drummer in Australia, keyboard player in Japan, bassist in Italy, guitar player in Sweden, and singer from San Francisco. Each musician never has to leave the comforts of their own home (and you can use ear buds!). Record the entire process in audio and video (easily done with your laptops and/or smartphones). You write as many clever songs as you can this way and have your friends follow you with their iCameras and film you performing in various public locations in your locale. You become a huge YouTube sensation and become the first band to ever appear on Letterman via Skype.

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They Weren’t Lying

So many years ago when I was in Junior High School Health class the curriculum would occasionally touch on  the dangers of illegal drug use. The teachers would warn us not only about the evils involved with drug use but also the terribly awful side effects.

Regardless of the illicit drug being discussed, the teaching was centered around fear.  “Use drugs and you will die!!!” The fear tactics included showing us educational films that would tell the story of the time little Jimmy was pressured into popping one quaalude and jumped off a building because “he could fly” or another one that showed innocent Lucy going from captain of the cheer leading squad to a strung out junkie trading her body on the corner all because of smoking a marijuana cigarette.

Marijuana Girl Poster

It wasn't for love. No, she slept around for the reefer.

The real kicker came in 1986 with the death of college basketball star Len Bias.  His early passing was all that the anti drug movement needed.  At the time is was reported that Bias had died of a cardiac arrhythmia as a result of cocaine use. Reports also indicated that is was the first and only time that the basketball star had ever  used cocaine.  After that the drum beat got louder but the mantra being chanted was still the same, “Use drugs and you will die!!!”

I have to admit, as a kid the Len Bias thing did shake me and made me think.  After all, the news shows on the TV all said he died from doing coke just one time. Just once! Maybe the teachers at school were right and drugs were a bad thing never to be used unless you want to wind up like Jimmy, Lucy or Len.

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Process? We Talkin’ ‘Bout Process?

Over the last several years, as technology moves at hyperwarped speeds that we haven’t yet invented fancy enough new words to describe, there’s been a backlash of purists and throwbacks who prefer things how they used to be. That could be true of film, art, sports, journalism, lots of things. But it’s particularly interesting in how it pertains to music.

This is not what's inside a laptop.

I’m mostly talking about process. It’s not just the access, the fact that anyone can record their own “album” in their basement with a laptop (and seems like everyone has), but also how the technology at the high end affects the professional artists we know and love and the ones we’ll actually discover tomorrow. Somehow the process has become a bigger part of the back story for a particular album or group. “They uploaded their demos, went viral, and now they’re selling millions!” It’s the updated take on discovering the Next Dylan on a barstool at an open mic somewhere.

Nowadays, musicians are reclaiming some sort of authenticity in what seems a reaction to this technological explosion. One of the poster boys for this movement has been Jack White, using vintage gear, cherishing vinyl and launching a real full-service label, not to mention that scene where he strings together a homemade guitar in a cow field in the film It Might Get Loud (contrasted by tech wiz The Edge and all his pedals and effects). But these analog guys who take a similar approach to Jack White’s (with less memorable results) are too numerous to list. The point is, we tend to gravitate toward authenticity, and it’s also natural to yearn for “the old days” (again, no matter the genre or medium).

It’s also easy to tear down and rip on anything that could be painted as “synthetic” or simply created (faked?) through the use of computers. It stinks of money and, possibly, inauthenticity! But really, I don’t care how many laptops and how much fancy software you have, you can’t fake not having songs that suck. The songs don’t lie. Sure, they can trick you and maybe you might think they’re better looking in a certain light late at night, but the next morning always comes. The same holds true for Mr. Vintage Authentic who only records to tape and refuses modern technology. That’s fine, but he too still needs good songs.

So assuming we’re only talking about our own personal vision of “good songs” and quality artists, we’re back to process. Does it matter to you when you hear someone “recorded his new album on a 4-track in a remote cabin in the woods” vs. “layed down tracks in various professional studios in L.A. and NYC”? The end result is all that should really matter, but subconsciously I think we all assign certain imagery and associations with the process. “Oh I heard he got sober and found god and had his yoga instructor in the studio with him” or “They locked themselves in the basement and rocked out live and recorded it all in one or two takes.”

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Don’t Say a Word: The Passion of the Instrumentals

Assessing instrumental music can be an especially challenging endeavor for some reason. Seems more difficult to wrap our heads around this stuff, perhaps because we’ve been trained to rely on labels and descriptions and an overt “this is what it’s about”-ness that is often provided by the lyric as well as the vocal performance of those lyrics.

One might try to argue that it’s “easier” to write/record great instrumental records, because you don’t have to finish it. You don’t need to write words or find a good singer. But the flip side (there’s always a flip side) is the challenge of holding a listener’s attention with just instrumentals. And nothing here sounds “unfinished” by any means. I’m a fan of the kinds of albums flexible enough for a roadtrip or for sitting around a fire, indoors or out. And many instrumental albums fit that bill, the kind of records that are welcome company on both Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. We’ve not included jazz or classical for the purposes of this list, only because they are obviously major genres of their own and their most famous works would easily fill several Top 10’s before we got to any of the other “instrumental albums” we’ll be listing here. And, with apologies to Jeff Beck and King Crimson and Dick Dale, this is not a comprehensive list of the most important or influential instrumental recordings, simply my favorites.

Peter GabrielPassion: Music from The Last Temptation of Christ
One impetus for making this list was Peter Gabriel’s Passion, the music he did for Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ. At the time (and since), Gabriel was known as the man who made hits with his “Sledgehammer,” the former Genesis singer who’d given us quirky modern pop gems like “Games Without Frontiers” and “Shock the Monkey.” By the time John Cusak lifted that boom box above his head and blasted Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” in the movie Say Anything, it was obvious that Peter Gabriel was capable of being a goose-bump giver. [And yes, Cusak’s character lifted a boom box over his head with intentions of impressing and winning over a girl.]

Enter Scorsese and his bold new film project based on the book by Nikos Kazantzakis. The subject matter and hype around the movie passed for controversial at the time (portraying Christ as a human man I guess? Is that what the fuss was?), but the film itself turned out to be a beauty, for those of us not offended. And the ebbs and flows of the film are not only captured and accentuated by Gabriel’s rustic, tribal score, Passion can stand on it’s own as a musical work, it’s pacing and dynamics worthy of repeated listenings whether you’ve ever seen the film or not. Interestingly enough, Passion managed to not only further popularize world music, it also landed a Best New Age Album Grammy award. Continue reading →

Sheer Athletic Prowess

Behold this shit!  People try to act like I got no game when it comes to some motherfuckin’ round ball. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In an effort to shut the mouths of all the naysayers I am putting this display of basketball greatness on the internets for the world to see.  Yeah that’s right, I am taking this shit global son!  Let all of the doubters be told the truth through motherfuckin’ ones and zeros.

I present to you…

Study: Most Hipsters Still Don’t Like Sports

Not heading to the sports bar: this guy already hates bands you haven't even started to like yet.

According to a recent study, most hipsters still don’t like sports. A whopping 89% of guys in skinny jeans who think they are infinitely cooler than you referred to sports as “stupid.”

The survey, conducted in a semi-chic but low key and authentic pub in the artsy warehouse district of Williamsburg, NY, found that most hipsters never watch sports on TV and that 23% of the respondents claimed to not even have a TV. Overwhelmingly, “None” was chosen as the most common favorite team.

“I just never got into sports,” said one really pale and frail guy who probably gave up on sports after his first bloody nose in 2nd grade.

Another hipster who asked us not to use his name “cuz I don’t care about the notoriety,” said that “sports and all the people talking about it are just a scam to trick you into thinking you like an inferior product” as he sipped on a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

His aloof friend, who had ridiculous sideburns, gaudy oversized sunglasses, and an intentionally horrific orange button-down shirt on, added that “sitting around watching sports just seems like a waste of time,” and then wandered off to discuss the intricacies of the production of Animal Collective’s latest album.

The last hipster we spoke with simply dismissed sports as “corporate slavery for the masses” and walked away gripping his iPhone in one hand, a Starbucks cup in the other, and a cigarette dangling from his lips.

Dry Humping The Cash Cow

festival crowd

"We're one..but were..not the same..we gotta..carry each other...carry each other..ooonnnneeee."

When I was a sophomore in high school a friend of mine watched a short MTV interview clip of a new, young band from LA. He was so intrigued by them that he went out and bought one of their albums before ever hearing a note of their music. A few months later, after he had turned me on to said band and we listened to their two albums about 300 times each, they came to play at a club in Trenton, NJ that held a few hundred at most. The show was on a Sunday night and we didn’t have our driver’s license yet (17 in NJ) therefore we were unable to see them perform. About two years later, during our senior year, we did get a chance to see them play at a different, slighty larger garden: Madison Square Garden. The band was Jane’s Addiction.

Their show at MSG was incredible, of course, because they had just put out Ritual de lo Habitual and we were totally geeked up to see them play. We had waited two years and spent most of that time listening to and discussing how important a band they were for that time. In hindsight, I wish one thing was different about that MSG concert: That we could’ve seen them play at City Gardens before they blew up and we had to share them with 20,000 other fans. I don’t mean that in a selfish way, it’s just that you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would prefer watching their favorite band play in front of 20,000 people vs. 200.

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Songs I Wish I Wrote: “If I Had A Heart”

Every now and again a new artist I have never heard before comes across my musical radar. More often than not, it’s either a friend or co-worker who turns me on to something. “You need to check out [insert name here] because I really think you will like them.” Other times it might be that I have read something about them or heard one of their songs on the TV/radio/movie. I discovered Jeff Buckley via The West Wing, got turned on to The Stones “Thru and Thru” via The Sopranos, and just recently during the Season 4 episode “Open House” on Breaking Bad I discovered the artist Fever Ray and her song “If I Had A Heart”.  Just like Buckley on WW or The Stones on The Sopranos, the song was used perfectly to project a certain mood of the scene.  It had me at hello.

Fever Ray is the solo project of Karen Dreijer Andersson (from Swedish duo The Knife). Before this episode aired, I had never heard one note of The Knife or Fever Ray, though I had seen the names in various places over the past year or two. It’s hard for me to separate the song from the scene at this point. If you watch Breaking Bad then you already know what the show is all about. If you don’t watch it, let’s just say the song sounds like what one of the characters was going through during this particular moment of the show: intense dread.

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With These Hands: Christopher Pratt Shoots the Messengers

We asked our friend and Bums Logic Nashville Correspondent Christopher Pratt to share some of his photographs with us. You can see the rest of his work at his website, but he chose a series with a musical theme to share here. Take it away Chris…

I’ve often heard that if two people live together long enough, they begin to look like each other. I wonder if perhaps the same is true of musicians and their instruments?

I shoot live shows and promotional images for local bands and artists on the Nashville music scene. Both as a fan and a photographer, I find myself focusing on how someone makes their sound. During the editing process, I began to notice a violin players hands, for instance, looked very different from most banjo players and both looked nothing like the typical hands of a DJ spinning records or MC holding a microphone.

Maybe it’s because a certain type of person is drawn to a certain type of music and somehow their lifestyle reflects that in their hands. Who knows? I will just keep watching, listening and shooting what I see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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