You Have To Let That Raga Drop

I am a student of life.

I am a high school graduate, but I never went to college. I have made an attempt to never stop learning. Equally important, I believe, is to never hold on too tightly to what you think you know about people, life, religion or any other facet of life. Experience has a way of changing opinions and beliefs over time. Columbus and people of his time literally thought the world was flat! That’s one reason why I cringe when I see very young people covering themselves with tattoos. You don’t even know who you are yet! Give it some time. I know having “Straight Edge” emblazoned across your chest seems like a great idea at 18 or 19 years old. But you might want to have a beer in the decades that follow.

Yesterday at my school (I manage a rock music school) I made a comment about sitar’s and “Middle Eastern music” and was quickly schooled by two of my instructors (both in their early 20′s and of Egyptian descent) about how I’m probably talking about an oud because sitar’s are from India (a completely different geographic region). See what I could have learned in a ethnomusicology class?! Hey, it only took me 45 years to learn about sitar’s, oud’s and raga’s (not just a word in a line from a Clash song, incidentally)! Fun!

Am I going to go out and buy the entire Ravi Shankar discography (did you know Ravi was Nora Jones’ father?) today? Pretty unlikely. I actually think I prefer the sound of an oud over a sitar (now that I know the difference). That’s not really the point. Knowledge is power. Also, knowing things about many subjects (and cultures) helps you to better relate to others and to be a better, fuller and more complete human.

I love in the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank” when hit man for hire, Martin Blank’s (played by John Cusack) girlfriend Debi accuses him of being a “psycho” and he responds by saying “don’t rush to judgment on something like that until all the facts are in.”

I think that’s a great philosophy to follow while navigating the age of internet hoaxes and public shaming via social media. Do some research. Ask around. Be willing to learn from anybody about anything. Never stop learning.

Finally, I leave you with something I thought we’d never see, an oud (on the left) and a sitar (on the right) together in the same room! :)

Bottle Breaker Book Announcement

Bottle-Breaker-KindleCoverBottle Breaker: 52 Days on the Road with Blenderhead in the Summer of 1995 by Billy Power

Last summer I ran across my handwritten journal from the Blenderhead / MxPx national tour in 1995.  I transcribed the journal, added current notes, photos and other items of interest.  Next year will be the 20th anniversary of this tour.  It’s really hard to imagine that is even possible!

Anyway, I’m in the final stages of putting this thing together.  It will be available on Amazon as an e-book and will also be available in paperback.  I am going to sign a number of copies which I will be selling directly from this website.

I am in the process of writing a 2nd book that covers my entire musical journey of the last 40 years.  My hope is to finish that book before the end of this year.

I don’t have an official release date for Bottle Breaker yet, but it will be before summer is over. For updates on what I have going on, please connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or join my E-Mail List.

Thanks!
Billy

Jetty Unite & Rebuild – Sandy Hurricane Relief for New Jersey

Jetty is a local brand based here in New Jersey (Tuckerton) that prior to this storm I had honestly not been familiar with. They took action immediately when the storm hit and as soon as they had orders they went out and started making a difference. I hear a lot of people skeptical of giving to charity. And in the case of massive organizations like Red Cross, they probably should be. I’m not being critical, but it’s almost always better to give to smaller groups who don’t have so many barriers to helping people. I saw this first hand when my friend Mike went to Haiti and literally was feeding people from the back of a truck while other larger organizations were stuck in committees arguing over how to spend money. It was a big lesson for me.  Incidentally, when they fed the people in Haiti they had not had any aid in 8 WEEKS.  People here in the northeast are without power or gas for less than a week and are ready to riot.  I’m not trying to minimize the suffering, but you always have to keep things in perspective. We are very fortunate to live in a country where people have access to services.

Anyway, I purchased some shirts from Jetty, and after seeing this video and how quickly they sprung into action (love the transparency too!) I was really encouraged. If you live in New Jersey (or even if you don’t) I highly enourage you to support Jetty and the great work they are doing. Buy a shirt (or two or three) and even if you don’t want to get the Sandy storm shirt, buy some of their other products (they have a great line of clothes for men and women) as this will also help support the local community and economy and the great work they are doing.