Category Archives: Books

4 THINGS MUSICIANS CAN LEARN FROM STEPHEN KING’S THE DARK TOWER

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My favorite story of all time is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Recently I’ve gotten a chance to read the comics, which is more of a prequel to the novels and it’s really been great to visit that universe. Or as they say in their world, that level of the tower.

The story is about a gunslinger name Roland who is trying to reach a place which he believes will solve his problems. Along the way, he meets a lot of friends and overcomes ALOT of hardship. The man sees some shieet !

There are a lot of things musicians can learn from Roland Deschain, son of Steven Deschain.

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Book Review: 3 Things I Learned From Mo Meta Blues by QuestLove

Ahmir Questlove is a drummer for The Roots, DJ, music journalist and record producer.

It’s awesome how much you can see that Questlove REALLY loves music. Just everything about it. The best part about all this is the hungriness in which he reads music reviews, including anywhere from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone to whoever. It’s great to me, cause Im thinking, “oh wait me too!”

Reading his book, there’s a lot of things we can learn.

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Book Review: Raising Kanye by Donda West

“My mama told me go to school, get your doctorate
But still supported me when I did the opposite”

-Kanye West, “Hey Mama” Late Registration

I have so much respect for Kanye.

I know he’s a very polarizing figure, but that’s what great art is ! Art that truly means something is suppose to make us feel, think and want to react to it.

Great art changes everything.

And art can only be great when it is tempered by unwavering persistence and a strong support system.

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Book Review: The Girl In The Song, The Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics

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Muses make the music world go round. Without them, there would be no songs to play or listen to. This book tells the story behind 50 classics and the women that inspired them. 

It definitely has stories on the more known muses like Pattie Boyd, Judy Collins and Linda McCartney. But also more obscure, surprising backstories like Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” and The Beatles singing about Meter Maid Meta.

 And it’s a very short-read. It took me only one day to finish it.

 My 3 favorite stories involve, “Maybe Im Amazed” by Paul McCartney, “Diana” by Paul Anka and “Sara” by Fleetwood Mac.

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Book Review: James Brown The GodFather of Soul: An Autobiography

James Brown is the hardest working man ever in show business.

When it comes down to it, music is judged and enjoyed on how well you write songs and play live. That’s really it. Reading from this book, you can feel how much James Brown LOVED playing live. He needed it. He lived for it. Nothing was gonna stop him. Getting inspiration from how hard his dad worked, James Brown gave it all his every single time.

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Book Review: The Fighter’s Mind by Sam Sheridan

 

“We’re all fighting something” – Sam Sheridan

I have a lot of respect for MMA Fighters. Those guys are not only physically tough, but very mentally tough. What goes through their mind? How do they train and come up with a game plan that allows them to succeed?

Sam Sheridan interviewed some of the smartest fight minds in the business, including Marcelo Garcia, Greg Jackson, Randy Couture, Josh Waltzkin, etc. If you want to be great, you have to be willing to do anything.

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Book Review: Improv For Actors by Dan Diggles

One of the most important things that we can do as musicians is to trust our instincts. Just completely give ourselves to the moment and be brave enough to see what comes out of it. And to have fun while doing it. One of the most effective ways to do that is improv. In rap, while you are freestyling, it is all essentially improv. Making use of the moment.

What This Book Is About

There are a lot of exercises in here. Especially a lot of ones for groups. The activities also come up with an explanation of why they are helpful. This book really helps actors stretch out their imagination. Dan also does a really good job of analyzing how body language affects social status. My favorite is if you bring up sex in a conversation, that implies that you have higher status because sex is taboo. There’s also a great breakdown of eye movement and body posture tips as well.

How This Book Helps Your SongWriting

I think doing these exercises  helps free your mind to be more creative. When your writing songs, you gotta be ok to fail. Not everything you write is going to be a hit. And that’s ok.  And I also really was digging the fact that sometimes the most normal things can be funny. Just literally calling out the most obvious can be the most entertaining part of a scene. With songwriting, sometimes the most ordinary topics can turn into the most powerful songs.

The 3 Rules Of Improv

(1) Say Yes And….

(2) Say The First Thing That Comes To Your Mind

(3) Make your partner look good.

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Book Review: Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Im surprised that not more people use creative visualization. Like it’s this shame, this unknown fix all tool that no one believes in. When it’s been proven over and over again, whether through art or sports or whatever. I don’t get it why people still doubt it. Creative visualization helped bring me out of a dark place. For me, it works.  Being a musician can be a strenuous job. Any job can be a strenuous job. And every little thing that can helps us can make a big difference.

What This Book Is About

This book has been around for a while. And it’s definitely helped A LOT of people.  Shakti does a really good job of breaking down what creative visualization is and what it isn’t. Intention still plays a very big role in how successful you are. Also, like anything else, the most important thing is time spent. The longer you spend visualizating something, the more likely it will occur.

This book gives you affirmations, visualization exercises, goal-setting techniques and a lot of other ideas that will assist you.

Creative Visualization

How This Book Helps Your SongWriting

Whatever music skill you need to work on, whether it’s singing melodies, playing live, writing lyrics, the ideas in this book will definitely help you.  If you need help relaxing or getting more sleep, this book will guide you. You can use it for so many things. And the best thing is that creative visualization starts to positively affect other areas of your life. 

Always take the time everyday to think about what needs to get done and visualize it getting it done. If you want something bad enough, it will happen.

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Book Review : Slaying The Dragon by Michael Johnson

After you have stared long enough into the dragon’s eyes, there is nothing left to do but slay the dragon.”

I think as a musician, we can relate a lot to athletes. The dedication. The doubt. The thrill of achieving. We’re always in conflict with our creations and we find ways to cope. Mostly we gotta deal with how great we can really get.  Most of the time, our mind can be our biggest challenge. This is where books like Slaying The Dragon come in handy.

Your mind needs a good kick in the ass. And who better to do it then someone who won gold medals in the 200M and 400M and someone who beat his own record. If you want to be successful, you have to start acting like successful people do. And your actions are the one thing that you have complete control over.

How This Book Helps Your SongWriting

I think the two things that I really took from this book are the importance of routines and sticking to your time commitment once you’ve made them.

Make a routine. For example, mine is do my 3 page notebook writing exercise from The Artist Way and then watch a money visualization youtube video. And I follow that routine religiously. The only times I don’t is when Im sleeping over a friend’s house, but I try to at least watch the video. And I gotta start bringing a notebook when I know Im waking up somewhere else the next day. Routines help your mind get in the creative mode. Which is the most important state we can be in.

The other being sticking to your time commitments. If you say you’re gonna practice till 5:00 PM, GODDAMNIT!!!! Practice till 5:00 PM. No excuses. All the best athletes and musicians in the world put in UnGodly amounts of practice. Over and over again. They simply just outwork everyone. And believe the reward of just putting in the time is worth it.

Michael Johnson is a winner. Gold shoes !!!! If you want to start being successful, read about how he did it.

Slaying The Dragon

TRAINING TIPS:

Here is one of Michael Johnson’s Mental Exercises

(1)    Dream Small

Think like a sprinter, in small increments. If your eventual goal is the Olympics, set goals along that path – “Improve my 800 time by 1 second” ; “Make the high school track team” Short term goals are the only reliable path.

(2)    Write Down Your Goals

This makes it formal and gives notice to yourself and others that the work has officially begun. And it keeps your goals and clear and in focus.

(3)    Be Specific

If your goal is to “get in shape,” you will – bad shape. It is far better to focus on specific goals, like a Run a 7 minute mile” or “do 50 sit-ups a day.” “In the office, finish the Wilkinson report by May 1” works; “Get caught up at work” does not.

(4)    Be Realistic

You can accomplish most things you set out to do, but it will take time. Don’t shoot for something unattainable – completely outside of your nature or opportunity.

(5)    Know Yourself

Find your core, that thing you are chasing. Set goals based on what you really want, not what other people expect of you. And don’t assume that goals are only for the competitive areas of your life. You can make goals, for family, relationships, anything.

My goals are for now are to get 100 hits on my blog everyday. To finish my acoustic album. And to play Warped Tour.

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