Pages

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GMVW # 100: "Materpiece Theater"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 100:  Masterpiece Theater
Song:  When I Paint My Masterpiece by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Remnants of The Band (Danko, Hudson, Helm)
(Songwriter: Bob Dylan)
December 3, 2009

From January, 2008 to the present, I have spent a considerable amount of time writing the themes to these 100 Gem Videos.  From then to now, I did not miss a single week, despite the occasional Internet disconnect, one burned-out laptop power chord (while on the road), and several cases of writers block.  I’ve composed these while on flights, drives (on chicken scratch notes when an idea crossed my mind), and on subway rides.  I’ve also written them in libraries; at airports, hotel rooms, and campgrounds; on hikes; and, of course, at home.  I’ve written parts of them in at least 25 States and 3 Canadian Provinces.

There is a fairly significant hill a good halfway into my 4-mile run in Pepperell where I invariably got many of my ideas.  The hill turned into my version a Vision Quest (practiced in some Native American cultures), and I came to depend on it for inspiration (perhaps not so coincidentally I have crossed paths on this stretch of the run with a hawk <directly 15 feet overhead, who stared at me from a tree branch without a flinch>, a fisher, a box turtle, a snapping turtle, deer, blue birds, a falcon, coyotes, wild turkey, a porcupine, and to cap it all off, a large black bear.  With that upcoming week’s Gem playing in my head, the hill rarely failed me, particularly as I approached the top.  I would then hit the home stretch with several ideas bouncing around with me, which I would jot down when I got home, eventually fleshing them out as I tried to raise the level of my prose to what the music did for me.

There were many reasons for writing these, and the list seemed to grow with each passing day. Several big reasons were covered last week (if you did not read last week’s theme I suggest you stop here, as # 99 serves as a prerequisite to this one). Along with those reasons, another big reason for doing this now was that I figured at this stage of my life, if I was still into many of these songs after all these years, they were permanently imbedded into my psyche, and not will-o’-the-wisps.  Same goes for everyone I wrote about and wrote too.

Last month, while in Ottawa on business, good friend Pat Shea (included here as always) recommended a ‘modern epic’ to me (which for whatever reason I had never read): ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’.  At the time, he mentioned that the focus of the book was a search for the meaning of life. When I got home, I got my signals crossed, and went out and read ‘A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ instead (no doubt Phil and Mac should get a chuckle over this: A Pete Steeves miscue if there ever was one).  Anyhow, about half way through the book, I realized this must be a mistake.  I called Pat who confirmed my suspicions, (smothering the verbal abuse in the process). I’ve since made the correction, but will not make it through 'Zen' in time to elucidate on author Robert Pirsig’s revelation of this most important of quests. 

However, I am a good ways into it, and one recurring theme is beginning to permeate: The concept of Quality (in keeping with the book's approach, I capitalize it here).  If I recall from our conversation, Pat may have interpreted this concept in one way: The use of your hands to do good work.  He should know, having canvas painted and built a number of very impressive items over the years. To some degree I can relate, having engineered several hand crafted projects since our move to Pepperell a little over 5 years ago (as far as canvas painting goes, Amy would be able to share Pat's artisan sense of accomplishment).

And certainly others can relate including Dad with his leap-of-faith move of the family into 17 Park Rd over 35 years ago (a ''This Old House” room-to-room overhaul if there ever was one).  And Mom, whose open door policy all these years has allowed friends and family to enjoy the fruits of her many labors. And Dale: When he first met Jen he was initially asked to do oil changes by a number of family members (including myself), but soon found himself replacing our car's engines, along with other heavy auto repair jobs (Dale, we were actually hazing you). Nancy, Jen, Pat, Amy, Fred, Joe, everyone can relate when it comes to hands-on Quality.

Yet the concept of Quality can be related to other things as well:  Music, writing, friendship, parenthood, anything you put your mind too.  I hope by opening up here over these past 2 years, a bit of Quality came out in this writing.  As for the selected set of Gems, well, there's no question.

So, to close, the 100th Gem Video is an ode to this concept of Quality: Bob Dylan’s ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’ (lyrics way below), performed in this footage by the 1990’s remnants of The Band (Danko, Hudson, Helm). 

I had to close with this bang of a song, because you know what they say: You’re only as good as your last Gem!

Below this week’s Gem is a list of all 100 Gem Videos, each with its own title (which is in reference to the theme that given week).   If anyone wants the ~ 300 page Word Document, let me know and I will gladly send it to you.  It includes the write ups; an ‘About the Video’ reference (realizing that url links are fleeting) which stamps a ‘1’ rating if that particular video is essential, or a ‘2’ rating if it can be improved on with better live footage; and some of the best feedback I got from everyone.  I also wanted to include sketches, but that's a bit out of my realm.

It's been a lot of fun. Thanks again

God Bless

- Pete

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Gem Music Video of the Week # 1: Brilliant Bagpipes
Song: It’s A Long Way to the Top by AC/DC

Gem Music Video of the Week # 2: The Lost Art of Letter Writing
Song: Tear Stained Letter by Richard Thompson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 3: Seminal Strings
Song: St. Peter by Flash and the Pan

Gem Music Video of the Week # 4:  A Touch of Americana
Song: Our Town by Iris Dement

Gem Music Video of the Week # 5: A Gale Blowing in My Face
Song: A Little is Enough by Pete Townshend

Gem Music Video of the Week # 6: Biting the Hand That Feeds You
Song:  Radio, Radio by Elvis Costello

Gem Music Video of the Week # 7: A Declaration
Song: All You Need is Love by The Beatles

Gem Music Video of the Week #8: Top of the Pops
Song:  Senses Working Overtime by XTC

Gem Music Video of the Week #9:  A Dylan Throw-Away
Song:  Seven Days by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By:  Ronnie Wood

Gem Music Video of the Week #10: Irish Eyes
Song: Zombie by The Cranberries

Gem Music Video of the Week #11: Mulla Mulla Mulla!
Song: It’s Money That Matters by Randy Newman

Gem Music Video of the Week #12: The Awakening
Song: A Quick One by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 13: Poetic Justice
Song: Closing Time by Leonard Cohen

Gem Music Video of the Week # 14: The Bride Knows Me
Song: I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock n’ Roll by Nick Lowe

Gem Music Video of the Week # 15: Bass Lines
Song: I’m the Man by Joe Jackson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 16: Spiritual Undertones
Song: Beware of Darkness by George Harrison
Covered  Here By: Eric Clapton

Gem Music Video of the Week # 17: Neither Rain nor Snow nor Sleet
Song: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks

Gem Music Video of the Week # 18: Album Orientation
Song: Working Class Hero by John Lennon
Covered Here By: Green Day

Gem Music Video of the Week # 19: Interchangeable Parts
Song: Shape I’m In by The Band

Gem Music Video of the Week # 20: Top Cat
Song: Shelter From the Storm by Bob Dylan

Gem Music Video of the Week # 21: For Duty and Humanity
Song: Superman’s Song by The Crash Test Dummies

Gem Music Video of the Week # 22: Always Running at Someone’s Heals
Song: Bellboy by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 23: The Music Man
Song: Wavelength by Van Morrison

Gem Music Video of the Week # 24: A Moral Compass
Song: What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye

Gem Music Video of the Week # 25: Inner Demons
Song: The Beast in Me by Nick Lowe
Covered Here By: Johnny Cash

Gem Music Video of the Week # 26: Peace, Brother
Song:  U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead

Gem Music Video of the Week # 27: The Story Behind the Song
Song: Back on the Chain Gang by The Pretenders

Gem Music Video of the Week # 28:  Hootenanny!
Song: Just Like A Woman by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Richie Havens

Gem Music Video of the Week # 29:  Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Song: Rock Lobster by The B52s

Gem Music Video of the Week # 30:  Democracy in the Studio
Song:  What’s the Frequency Kenneth by REM

Gem Music Video of the Week # 31:  Blind Faith
Song:  100 Years by Five for Fighting

Gem Music Video of the Week # 32:  The Chameleon
Song:  Change Your Mind by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Gem Music Video of the Week # 33:  My Glory Days
Song:  Dangerous Type by The Cars

Gem Music Video of the Week # 34:  The Written Word
Song:  Success Story by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 35:  Raw Emotion
Song:  Everyday Clothes by Jonathan Richman

Gem Music Video of the Week # 36:  Homeless
Song:  The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel

Gem Music Video of the Week # 37:  Mojo (and lack-thereof)
Song:  Blue Jean by David Bowie

Gem Music Video of the Week # 38:  I Want My MTV!
Song:  King of Pain by The Police

Gem Music Video of the Week # 39:  It’s the Singer, Not the Song
Song:  Withered and Died by Richard and Linda Thompson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 40:  Misfits
Song:  Spike by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Gem Music Video of the Week # 41:  A Rolling Stone Gathers Moss
Song:  Waiting on a Friend by The Rolling Stones

Gem Music Video of the Week # 42:  Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Song: If a Tree Falls by Bruce Cockburn

Gem Music Video of the Week # 43:  Guitar and Pen: A Who Concert Review
Song:  Baba O’Riley by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 44:  Home is where the Heart Is
Song:  Philadelphia Freedom by Bernie Taupin and Elton John

Gem Music Video of the Week # 45:  Another World
Song:  Freddie’s Dead by Curtis Mayfield

Gem Music Video of the Week # 46:  Lullaby with a Twist
Song: I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Kris Kristofferson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 47:  Stirring the Pot
Song: London Calling by The Clash
Covered Here By: Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, others

Gem Music Video of the Week # 48:  Role Playing
Song: Lawyers Guns and Money by Warren Zevon

Gem Music Video of the Week # 49:  Luck of the Draw?
Song: If I Had a Million Dollars by Bare Naked Ladies

Gem Music Video of the Week # 50: Seasons Greetings
Song: Father Christmas by The Kinks

Gem Music Video of the Week # 51: Counter Culture Foundations
Song: Love is Just a Four Letter Word by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Joan Baez

Gem Music Video of the Week # 52: Natural Wonders
Song: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Gem Music Video of the Week # 53: Gonna See My Picture on the Cover
Song: Dixie Flyer by Randy Newman

Gem Music Video of the Week # 54: All Systems Go
Song: Dirty Boulevard by Lou Reed

Gem Music Video of the Week # 55:  A New Beginning
Song: Democracy by Leonard Cohen

Gem Music Video of the Week # 56:  White or Rye?
Song: My Old School by Steely Dan

Gem Music Video of the Week # 57:  Rust Free
Song: Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly
Covered Here By: The Greatful Dead

Gem Music Video of the Week # 58:  In Search Of
Song: Way Down Now by World Party

Gem Music Video of the Week # 59:  I Got It
Song: You Got It by Roy Orbison

Gem Music Video of the Week # 60:  Deep Cuts
Song: Love on the Air by David Gilmour and Pete Townshend

Gem Music Video of the Week # 61:  Mr.  Wordsmith
Song: License to Kill by Bob Dylan

Gem Music Video of the Week # 62:  Style and Substance
Song: Skateaway by Dire Straits

Gem Music Video of the Week # 63:  Letting it all Hang Out
Song: Try a Little Tenderness by “Irving King” and Harry Woods
Covered Here by: Otis Redding

Gem Music Video of the Week # 64:  Behind the Scenes
Song:  Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys

Gem Music Video of the Week # 65:  The True Spice of Life
Song:  Sweet Thing by Van Morrison

Gem Music Video of the Week # 66:  Heartache
Song:  $1000 Dollar Wedding by Gram Parsons

Gem Music Video of the Week # 67:  Can Guitars Sweat?  Check!
Song:  Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) by Neil Young

Gem Music Video of the Week # 68:  It’s Like Night and Day
Song:  Another World by Joe Jackson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 69:  Hyena Killers
Song:  Jackie Brown by John Mellencamp

Gem Music Video of the Week # 70:  Moms the Word
Song:  Your Mother Should Know by The Beatles

Gem Music Video of the Week # 71:  A Gender Blunder
Song:  Come in from the Cold by Joni Mitchell

Gem Music Video of the Week # 72:  Catch 22
Song:  Nothin’ by Townes Van Zandt

Gem Music Video of the Week # 73:  Deep in the Heart of Texas
Song:  Willie the Wimp by Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth
Covered Here By: Stevie Ray Vaughn

Gem Music Video of the Week # 74:  Overruling Jools and Jim
Song:  Who Are You by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 75:  Northern Exposure
Song:  50 Mission Cap by The Tragically Hip

Gem Music Video of the Week # 76:  Overcoming Adversity
Song:  I Believe in You by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Sinead O’Connor

Gem Music Video of the Week # 77:  What a Concept!
Song:  Hey You by Pink Floyd
Covered Here by: Paul Carrack

Gem Music Video of the Week # 78:  Out of the Closet
Song:  Beat It by Michael Jackson

Gem Music Video of the Week # 79:  Of One’s Own Volition
Song:  No One to Run With by the Allman Brothers

Gem Music Video of the Week # 80:  Another Type of Family Tree
Song:  End of the Line by The Travelling Wilburys

Gem Music Video of the Week # 81:  Stetson Hats and Leather Boots
Song:  1,000 Miles by Dwight Yoakam

Gem Music Video of the Week # 82:  Respite from the Merry Go Round
Song:  The Way by Fastball

Gem Music Video of the Week # 83:  Night School
Song:  Memory Motel by The Rolling Stones

Gem Music Video of the Week # 84:  A Fresh Perspective
Song:  Love Train by the O’Jays

Gem Music Video of the Week # 85:  Music and Memory
Song:  Love Reign O’er Me by The Who
Covered Here By: Bettye LaVette

Gem Music Video of the Week # 86:  Hello, Old Friend
Song:  A Friend is a Friend by Pete Townshend

Gem Music Video of the Week # 87:  The Strong Silent Type
Song:  Bessie Smith by The Band

Gem Music Video of the Week # 88:  This Machine Kills Fascists
Song:  Where  the Streets Have No Name by U2

Gem Music Video of the Week # 89:  Wise Beyond Their Years
Song:  Something by The Beatles

Gem Music Video of the Week # 90:  Youth and Intellect
Song:  I Don’t Wanna Grow Up by Tom Waits

Gem Music Video of the Week # 91:  Origins (the 50’s)
Song:  Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley

Gem Music Video of the Week # 92:  A Quantum Leap (the 60’s)
Song:  Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Gem Music Video of the Week # 93:  Keeping the Faith (the 70’s)
Song:  Hollywood Nights by Bob Seger 

Gem Music Video of the Week # 94:  A New Moral Compass (the 80’s)
Song:  What’s the Matter Here by 10,000 Maniacs
Covered Here By: Natalie Merchant (principle songwriter)

Gem Music Video of the Week # 95:  A Generational Divide (the 90’s)
Song:  Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

Gem Music Video of the Week # 96:  Musical Mojo (the 00’s)
Song:  Fix You by Coldplay

Gem Music Video of the Week # 97:  Dearly Departed
Song:  Nightshift by The Commodores

Gem Music Video of the Week # 98:  Rat-a-tat-tat
Song:  Relay by The Who

Gem Music Video of the Week # 99:  Acknowledgements
Song:  Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page
Covered Here By: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Gem Music Video of the Week # 100:  Masterpiece Theater
Song:  When I Paint My Masterpiece by Bob Dylan
Covered Here By: Remnants of The Band (Danko, Hudson, Helm)

Lyrics to ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,
Ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seein' double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs.
Got to hurry on back to my hotel room,
Where I've got me a date with Botticelli's niece.
She promised that she'd be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece.
Oh, the hours I've spent inside the Coliseum,
Dodging lions and wastin' time.
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to see 'em,
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb.
Train wheels runnin' through the back of my memory,
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese.
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece.
Sailin' 'round the world in a dirty gondola.
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!
I left Rome and landed in Brussels,
On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried.
Clergymen in uniform and young girls pullin' muscles,
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside.
Newspapermen eating candy
Had to be held down by big police.
Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece.

About the Video: The Band at the 30th Anniversary Dylan special (Madison Square Garden, 1992)

Video Rating: 1

 Best Feedback: Mom
 It has been an incredible and amazing one hundred weeks of music...I have learned and enjoyed so much your writing as much as the gem itself...I have kept everyone of them...thank-you so much.....love from Mum
------------------
And Becca:
Hi Pete,

A good friend of mine gave me Zen and the Art of MM about 20 years ago....I still have the copy and re-read it last year. It is as relevant today as ever before (though Dave bought me Hitchhiker years ago too and I don't know how you mixed them up...haha!). Nice job on the gems...it's really been a great ride!

Becca
--------------
And Dad
 HI PETE,   WE ARE ALL MUCH MORE WISE THAN 100 GEMS AGO ! THAT WAS SOOO FAST! WE CAN NOW LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER ERA.    DAD

---------------------
And Tina

dear pete,
reading your pieces and listening to your gems was like reading a really fine memoir - except better. because i knew/know some of the characters, i really looked forward to my thursday night emails. i loved reading about your family memories, your college experiences (especially when you had to add disclaimers), your feelings about nancy and the kids, and i loved reading about your friend and cousin falling in love. everything i enjoy in a good book.

i loved your willingness to share your thoughts about the music that moves/moved you, and through that exploration, tied those thoughts to your feelings about love, religion, family, bonds, children, work.... it all worked, it was all special, and i have truly enjoyed being part of the experience. and you never skimped! sometimes i had to save the emails till later in the week when i had the time to read and to digest. i loved that they were meaty!

please notify me the second you decide on the next series.
love tina

------------------------
And Dale:

I enjoyed every minute of my hazing!

----------------------
And Jeff Dangelo
I can't believe some of the insight I've read from you, it's amazing! Please send this po' ol' southron' the word document so I can catch up! Music can be, and is the common tie that bonds us, separates us, and spans our emotions, and unites us with the common bond of humanity, whether we are near or far.


And Amy:

Pete,
It's taken me days to respond to your last Gem. 
When it comes right down to it.  Is there anything that any one of us can say to you that would mirror what we feel about what you've accomplished?  I have my strengths, but expressing how I feel in words has never been one of them.
Thank you for sharing your passion for music with such generosity of heart.
I will miss the gems!!
Your Masterpiece was/is exquisite.
xoA

-------------------------
And Jen:
Just want to take a moment to thank you for all your Gems. Although I was an infrequent reply-er with feedback, I enjoyed, and learned from, them all. Thanks for all you put into them.

Love Jen

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment: