Sinead O’Connor: A second listen
[Editor’s note: This column was written more than 10 years before Sinead O’Connor converted to Islam in 2018.]
Some of my churchgoing friends were perplexed by my recent praise of Sinead O’Connor. They still have visceral memories of a brash young woman tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on national television fifteen years ago.
While their reaction is understandable, I have asked them to lend her an ear. Quite literally, I have encouraged them to listen to her new double album Theology — a stunning collection of songs taken from the Old Testament books of Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and Samuel. Also on the album are covers of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar and Curtis Mayfield’s “We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue.” Continue reading
Sister Rosetta Tharpe (public domain).
Keith Richards and Eric Clapton worshipped her solos, and Elvis idolized her sound. Denny Ilett profiles the great Sister Rosette Tharpe for Guitarist.
Excerpt: Tharpe joined Lucky Millinder’s orchestra for her first recordings at the end of October 1938 waxing four sides for Decca. That’s All and My Man And I feature just Tharpe’s voice and Delta-infused National guitar. Sounding for all the world like a female Robert Johnson, Rosetta’s sparkling voice soared over her accompaniment, demonstrating her mastery of the country blues style perfectly.
The Lonesome Road – an evergreen jazz standard with a gospel-leaning lyric later recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole – sees Rosetta performing solely as vocalist, her church-influenced yet blues-drenched voice perfect for this material.
It’s with Rock Me, however, that we hear Tharpe’s electric guitar for the first time and, significantly, this is the very record that had such a profound influence on future rock ’n’ rollers such as Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The entire Guitarist article can be read HERE.
The Alarm Facebook page.
Thanks to Paste Magazine for its interview with Mike Peters of The Alarm. Heartbreaking to read about his bout with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia). You can read the entire interview HERE .
* “I was in hospital, and my glands were so swollen, it was like I had tennis balls in my neck. It was so bad, I didn’t want to look in the mirror because I couldn’t even recognize myself. It was scary, and I thought, ‘The only way I can get through this is, I’ve got to respect what I’m up against and allow it to be – I can’t pretend it’s not happening and wish it away. I have to embrace, so I’m gonna let this come to me, and I’m gonna take it on, and I’m gonna relish the game, I’m gonna relish the battle. I’m gonna try and be the winner here, and the only way to do that is by respecting the opponent.’ Which were the drugs, because they come into you and they are killing part of you that you’ve created within yourself, in the biology of your humanity. You’ve created these things that are trying to kill you this time, so my way to combat them was to recognize them, give some respect, and say, ‘But you’re not gonna get the best of me – I’m gonna fight back with all I’ve got.’ And that’s been my mindset all along, ever since I first heard the word ‘cancer’ applied to my life back in 1995.” Continue reading
(Nick Fancher / For The Times)
In an interview with Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame asks for a moment before the two sat down to talk. “I’m gonna do my little ritual,” he says. Then he bows his head in silence for about 20 seconds. What follows is a small excerpt of the interview.
Is that a daily thing for you?
Yeah, I’m a praying guy. I pray in the morning when I get up, when I go to bed, when I eat. And when I do an interview, I’ll just stop for a second — like, let me get out of the way and let go of everything.
To whom are you praying?
To God. I’m not religious in any way, but I kind of believe in God. And I try to live a life that honors my idea of what God is — like a divine energy.
You talk about this with Patti Smith on your podcast — the idea of finding God in music.
For me, music is the voice of God. I grew up virulently anti-religious, and there came a time in the early ’90s, right around when I turned 30, I got really sick with chronic fatigue. I’d been a drug-taking madman — party all night, play basketball all day. I just thought I was Superman. And all of a sudden it was like all the energy got sucked out of my body. I was like, I can’t go on tour, I feel too s—. And I was cut off from my friends because I wasn’t partying. Continue reading
Brené Brown, center, with Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson.
Courtesy of Brené Brown.
Texas Monthly excerpt. Click HERE for original article.
Brené Brown: I was losing my mind a little bit. So I had to make the decision about this conference. And I grabbed my iPod and my headphones, and I went to my playlist, my iGod playlist, and Willie’s “Amazing Grace” came on. Well, up until that moment, I thought the lyric was, “Twas grace that taught my heart to feel.”
But when Willie sang it—and remember I had 20 versions of this already that I’d been listening to for a year—he’s saying, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,” not “feel,” “And grace, my fears relieved.” I’m walking through my neighborhood, and I just stop. And I’m like, “What the hell?” And I played it back. And again, “Grace that taught my heart to fear . . . Grace that taught my heart to fear . . . Grace that taught my heart to fear.”
And I couldn’t believe it. I was really shocked that it wasn’t “feel.” And then all of a sudden it dawned on me that I didn’t know how to be afraid. I don’t know how to be afraid. And that’s the grace part. And then it was so weird because I went back immediately and listened to all the other versions, and I’m like, “Of course they’re saying ‘fear.’ Grace taught my heart how to fear—and fears, it released.” Continue reading
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists were on the ground Wednesday morning to capture photographs of the current eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The volcano is confined to the summit caldera within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
“Witnessing the crust of an active lava lake being dragged into seething fountains is unforgettable. While an eruption is an exciting experience, keep in mind you are observing a sacred event,” the National Park Service said.
In-N-Out in Westwood, California. Photo by Steve Beard.
According to the Whittier Daily News, Biola University’s film school will be named after a co-founder of In-N-Out. According to Biola, a Christian university in La Mirada, California, the unspecified but “significant” gift on behalf of Esther L. Snyder is the largest in the school’s 115-year history. It will help fund a $92 million 52,100-square-foot film school studio facility and establish the In-N-Out Burger Scholars Fund to support educational opportunities for foster and at-risk youth.
Esther Snyder, with her husband Harry, founded In-N-Out in Baldwin Park in 1948. She died in 2006, but left a long legacy of giving, according to the company.
The film school will be called the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts.
“Our family values the distinctly Christian education Biola University offers and are honored to play a part in continuing to offer students opportunities to make really impactful film pieces that change people’s lives,” Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, granddaughter of Esther L. Snyder and owner/president of In-N-Out Burger, said in a statement released by the university. “God is a huge part of the In-N-Out story, and I have no doubt my grandmother would be grateful to know her name is associated with a school recognized for excellence in craft and character.”
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Photo by Steve Beard.
‘Find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful.’
– Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, London, beginning of January 1874
One year ago, I got off the plane in Amsterdam and dropped off my luggage on a house boat that I shared with my sister and brother-in-law. Immediately, I wandered off to the Van Gogh Museum. Yep, I got lost — but if you’ve got to get lost in a city … Anyhow, I was bleary-eyed and jet lagged but I wanted every moment in the magnificent city to count. It was an irreplaceable experience. Beautiful and thought provoking. A few days ago, the Van Gogh Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary. Amsterdam celebrated with a rad performance in the evening sky with 200 drones illuminating highlights of some of Vincent van Gogh’s most iconic paintings. Enjoy.
Skeleton art in not universally beloved. My mom, for example, is not a fan. It’s creepy. But, I’ve had a lifelong soft spot for it and have always found it compelling. (Perhaps too many Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disneyland and Social Distortion records when I was younger.) Anyhow, I was intrigued by Devon Preston’s story in Inked Magazine about the meticulous artwork found at the Michaelsberg Abbey in Bamberg, Germany. Built in 1015 under the Order of Saint Benedict, it operated as an abbey until the early 19th century.
Most interestingly, the abbey was decorated with plaster work by an artist named Johann Georg Leinberger. According to Preston, “Leinberger decorated the chapel between 1729 through 1731 and is best known for the piece ‘Death Blowing Bubbles.’ This particular illustration is said to symbolize ‘life’s fragility’ and remained intact despite the building being turned into a hospital in 1803.” Her story includes seven other photos of skeleton plaster art pieces. “Leinberger depicts death in many forms throughout the chapel and the work is modeled within the Rococo style,” Preston reports, “which was popular throughout France and Italy at the time.”
See the rest of the skeleton pieces HERE