Although this blog is mainly about my yoga practice and journey… it would be impossible to not talk about what is going on and how I feel about it all. Yesterday and today have been extremely heart breaking for lots of us. Between the incident in Vegas and the death of my 2nd favorite musician/band of all time passing away suddenly at 66…. Tom Petty…. my heart is missing a piece…. there are so many words I can and cannot think of to write today…. it is amazing how for the first time ever I have truly sobbed over a celebrity death and can’t seem to stop…. and trust me there is a box of tissues next to me as I continue this post. For those of you who do not understand this I ask you to please read this with an open mind and remember those moments in your life where you relied on something other than yourself to get you through your most difficult times.. an author, a musician, a comedian, a movie, whatever it was…. we all use something or someone that we don’t actually know to lean on…. for me it has and always will be music.
There are multiple definitions of music:
- vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
- Music is the space between the notes. It is something to be felt. Although it does not have a concrete and precise definition….All of us know that music is every sound that reaches our ears and our heart says that it is something fabulous…..that is music
- the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity
No matter what way you look at it…. it is a form of expression…. an art…. when someone comes up with a song or a chord progression…. it is a masterpiece even in it’s simplest form or when produced in a way we don’t like… it is art and it is the writer’s deepest emotions that he/she is expressing to you….that is the deepest way to let someone in. How many of us have had an idea or wrote something down we were too scared to show anyone or even say out loud, or maybe even rejected it ourselves? How many of us have had a feeling we tried to neglect and not show anyone else from fear of embarrassment or judgement? Every musician out there is putting their biggest fears into a form that we can all relate to and it is scary as all hell. For those of you who don’t know me let me get into my background of music for a moment here and why it is so important to me.
I am truly a daddy’s girl… no denying that… my father was always in bands as a teenager/young adult playing guitar, keyboards, and base. When I was younger he would always read music lyrics to me, sing me songs, make up his own, play them, write them down, and eventually when I was 10 he showed me how to play guitar. My mom is a big music girl too… there are very few times and I can barely even remember when there wasn’t some form of music on in the house…. it got us through…. it gave us memories, dances we won’t ever forget, lyrics that gave us strength, and soul that gave us purpose. But for me…. learning to play with my dad, although I never really got that good (still not lol) it was a bonding time. My dad was never going to be that guy that said I love you all the time or give deep long talks about his feelings…. but he didn’t need to… when we sat there with our guitars… and his keyboard… you knew just by the tone or the chord he played exactly what we was feeling and thinking. When he played a certain song or cover… or wanted to teach me a specific song you knew it came from the heart… there was a reason behind it… even if at the time I didn’t fully understand. I remember hearing 5 different musicians and bands that to this day are my top 5 that made me say “dad…. how did they do that, how did they get that sound? Can you show me how to play this?”
In this order to this day:
1- Pink Floyd
2- Tom Petty
3- Van Halen
4- Phil Collins/Genesis
5- The Eagles
Those are a wide variety of musicians and styles in the classic rock era but they all made me feel different things… made me want to be able to do it all… and trust me I still can’t play like David Gilmour or Eddie… but lord knows I’ll never stop trying.
Tom Petty was one of those guys that you felt like you knew…. I remember hearing “Running Down a Dream” and thinking HOWWWWWWWWWWWW the hell did he just do that…. my foot couldn’t help but tap and shake to the rhythm…. it was just sooooooooooooo good! It was like a drug (which btw, I’ve never even tried a single one, no not even pot)…. it was the healthy high that proved to me.. I didn’t need any actual chemicals b/c as science has literally proven… music and rhythm can produce levels of serotonin in the brain making you feel “good” and help increase self awareness.
I could list hundreds of more articles but you get the point, getting back on track here….
In highschool I started to get much deeper into music, being in jazz band and guitar ensemble classes and really making it a point to practice every day… it was really cool because my dad could listen to a song and then just play it… he had that musical ear… I couldn’t, but I could read sheet music, which he couldn’t do… so together we made quite the combo for trying to learn a song. I’d be able to hear when something was wrong but without the sheet music I didn’t quite know why… my dad would always say… “it’s something close to this” or “it’s some version of this chord” and I’d say “Yeah but I have to know which version, I’m going to the sheet music” … this conversation happened every night, lol and it took the science side of my brain a long time to realize…. it didn’t matter if it was a little “off” or “different” than the original one b/c together we were still creating music… we were still sharing our feelings… and they were probably slightly different than the artists at the moments they created them…. this is in part a lot of times why my yoga play list has covers that are very obscure and different…. I love to see and hear how someone else felt about another artist’s work…..
When I really delve into the music world I felt like I was more in touch with myself than ever…. an old college boyfriend used to say “You sing/play these songs like you were there when they wrote them”…. and although I wasn’t… I just felt what they did… I could read the way they were thinking and why it was so important for them to share their work with the world… hell I think if they didn’t a lot more of them would have committed suicide or used drugs to numb the pain…. I think even if you don’t play or sing, a lot of us rely on music to get us through…. and if it’s not music it’s something else… we all have that one thing that just makes us “feel” and it doesn’t matter what the emotion is or what the one thing is…. it keeps us sane… it keeps us knowing that there is hope….
In college, I dated a guy named Will….. we bonded over our love for music, making it an extremely roller-coaster passionate relationship (and we were 19-21… lol)… the very first time I met him he was playing “Free Falling” under one of the trees at Brooklyn College, and I had seen him at friends parties always playing his guitar, generally Petty, The Stones, or Billy Joel at the time…. (although his favorite band was Rush, I wouldn’t have recognized those songs at that time yet lol). I remember that Will introduced me to the deeper tracks of Petty… his Mudcrutch days… his long after dark days, etc. And I remember coming over one time and him saying…. I just got the Tom Petty documentary DVD… you gotta watch it, it’s so good…. and without hesitation I did…. and he was right…. it was 4 hours of the most amazing stories…. you really got to know Tom and band…. and Mike…. mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn your fingers… if you’re reading this… GOD BLESS THOSE HANDS!!!! I can’t even explain how good this DVD is… it’s on Netflix and if you haven’t watched it yet, please do! You got to see the softer side of Tom, the rebel side, and learn just how humble he was and how much he really loved doing what he was doing…. it was never about the $ for him or the fame… it was about reaching out and songs and riffs just coming to him almost like out of the sky…. at times he admits he didn’t even know where they came from… they just happened…. this is true artistry at it’s best…. and we all know people out there who were just born to do something very specific, and my dear Tom… you were so born to rock and to shine….. At the end of college, Will and I parted ways…. and that was probably the worst heart break to this day, I’ve ever felt…. but I bet you know just who’s songs got me through don’t ya? Yup Tom… thank you so very much for that… and for all the struggles you got me through. I think the song that helped me best at that time was “Listen to her Heart”…
….at the time I was on the cross country team and for practice pink Floyd’s music was just a little too slow and Van Halen’s just a little too fast, but the Heartbreakers… their beat was just right…. and before technology was so advanced I had some really cool professors that let us listen to our iPods while taking exams…. I think about 7 of his songs and 5 of Floyd’s stayed on replay the entire time to just calm my nerves.
While I didn’t know Tom directly and obviously never met the guy…. his heart was in his music… I joked to my current boyfriend that after hearing what happened in Vegas, his heart gave out and said nope, can’t do this anymore… although he had been hospitalized before this, I know he would be appalled at these events and be doing some sort of tribute show or donation… that was just the kind of guy he was.
Bringing this a little bit back to my yoga journey… very often I read my students the line from my all time favorite song of theirs “Crawling Back to You”….. the line reads:
“Most things I worry about, never happen anyway.” I remember hearing those lyrics for the first time and going woahhhhhhhhhhhh wait a minute… did he just say what I think he did… and I rewound the song…. pulled up the lyrics at the same time and sang along…. saying … wow he just said everything I’ve ever felt in one sentence…………… when was that moment for you? That you heard something that stuck so deep that 20 years later you still reference it?! His death for me is like that of Elvis for past generations (although Elvis died even younger and it was different) that is the closest feeling or event I can relate it to.
To touch upon those in Vegas…. my heart truly goes out to you… I think there are a lot of posts on facebook debating which hurts more… Tom or Vegas and people lashing out for having different opinions…. the reality is they both suck… and they will hit people different ways… some of us feel that they didn’t know anything about the people in Vegas so as tragic as it is, there is no connection there…. others think it’s more tragic than an older rock star passing….. the point of this post is not to place judgement on what any of you believe….. the point is to talk about how music greatly changes us…. and this Vegas incident occurring at a concert is scary… because when we go to a show… we go to bond, to feel, to let go, and to share our commonalities with thousands of strangers and an artist that we “don’t know” …. we go for the love of the music…. and if Tom were here today he’d be disgusted that people were starting to question going to shows and just like he battled the record producing industry and stood up for music as a whole… he would want us to keep going to shows…. to not let fear keep us from playing the game…. to keep the music alive… to keep bonding in a world where there is soo much hatred and hurt. At heart he was quite the hippie and loved his country…. so to those of you lashing out at anyone on Facebook over anything in this world…. please stop, please remember that we all feel things differently… we all react differently… and what we need now more than ever is to lend a helping hand, share a song, share a hug to all those suffering and hurt. There is enough hatred and cruelty in the world, don’t add to it. The fact that people are using music, an art to scare and hurt others makes me sick to my stomach. Music needs to unite us!
May all of you in pain recover quickly, to those lost may you RIP…
and to my dear Heartbreakers, his family, and friends…. Tom Petty will always live in us all, don’t ever stop playing his music, and may his soul rest peacefully knowing that he has touched the heart and lives of millions of people.
Tom, I love you and always will.. you’ve got your wings now…
“You ad I will meet again, when we’re least expecting it. I don’t how, I don’t know when, but you and I will meet again.”
Custom hoodie I designed in college ….