Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun ,
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on.
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on,
I wish I was the verb ‘to trust’ and never let you down.

And they have never let me down. You know, its very difficult for something to be my favourite as am a big critic and its almost impossible for that thing to stay in that position for 5 years. When the field is music you can understand the competition and being a music buff, I have searched, researched on all kinds of international and national bands. I found and heard almost everything from Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably numb’ to Devang Patel’s ‘Pichhadi pe kutta kata’. But I havn’t found anybody else who lifts my spirit out of my body and  pumps my heart so fast that I feel like an animal and sometimes slows it down so much that I feel like dead. The lyrics so powerful that it gives me the strength to be a rebel and bring out those feelings which I have never felt before. They are Pearl Jam. A 5 member powerhouse. Inspiring millions and rocking the world since 1990.

Like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone they also started from Seattle, USA. Then within a very short span of time they won hearts of millions all over the world.

” Till date, the band has sold over 31.5 million records in the U.S, and an estimated 60 million worldwide. Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s, and is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic referred to Pearl Jam as “the most popular American rock & roll band of the ’90s.” Pearl Jam will be eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.” [courtesy http://www.wikipedia.org].

Trust me you don’t need the opinion of some referrer from Allmusic to know that they are the greatest. Just listen to them and you will realize it better than anyone.This 5 member band consists of  Matt Cameron as drummer, Mike McCready as lead guitarist, Stone Gossard in rhythm and lead guitars, Jeff Ament as bassist and Eddie Vedder as an idol.

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Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard initially started a band with the tremendously charismatic Andrew Wood on the vocals and called themselves Mother Love Bone. Later in an interview Gossard said Andrew was the person who made them feel like rockstars for the first time. Later Andy died due to drug overdose, they were devastated and they needed a vocalist to replace someone like Andy. Then Mike McCready and Cameron joined in but still no vocalist. Months later they heard the voice of the ‘new kid’ Eddie from a demo cassette that Jeff  found and the band finally got everything that was remaining. I haven’t heard a person like Eddie with so much voice modulation. Eddie has this amazing baritone voice which makes you feel like the voice is coming from the sky and beaming all over you like God speaking to you. He can scream like an animal  and has an amazing range in his voice and has also worked with the famous Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.Then the band went for several world tours (not yet in India though). If you see Pearl jam live shows  through the years you can see how they got mature and how innovative they always are and how they will always surprise you with stage jumps and crazy expressions and emotions. Starting from the famous stage jump in 1992 PinkPop Festival  and then MTV Unplugged, Immagine in Cornice which is like a tour video and many more. Recently Cameron Crowe made an awesome documentary on them called PJ20, do watch it. While watching the shows, you just can’t take your eyes off Eddie. He has this way of communicating with the crowd which makes you respect him, respect his thoughts  and makes you be like him. He will push you to the edge and hypnotize you with his words, expressions and gestures. You will feel free and different.

Each song will give you a different trip. You will feel like a madman if u listen to ‘evenflow’, ‘porch’ or ‘do the evolution’, you will feel like floating when u listen to ‘release’ ,’thin air’ or ‘given to fly’. You will feel pain when you listen to ‘alive’ or ‘last kiss’ and songs like ‘wishlist’ and ‘better man’  will give you hopes. They have released 9 albums till now.

Listen to them all. You will get to hear the amazing chemistry in their composition which is only possible when amazing musicians play with each other for a really long time. I have heard a lot of  amazing lead guitarist like Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Van Halen, Slash, John Frusciante, Jerry Cantrell and many more, but the playing of Mike McCready just fits with the songs so well that even if he is not technically talented like David Gilmour or Van Halen, Mike sounds more real and passionate. Jeff Ament on the other hand does a wonderfull job with the bass, you will realize that the bass lines are pretty tricky in songs like Jeremy and Alive. Matt Cameron is just awesome. He is one of my favourite drummer. My favourite being Mike Portnoy (used to play for Dream Theatre). Stone Gossard is a mastermind composer and he together with Eddie have composed those wonderful tracks through years.

One last thing I want to say : Hey Eddie …. am already saving up so that one day I can see you perform. I promise you I will bribe and beg to the security and will definitely meet you personally and when I do so , God help you.  Stay away from fans like us.

Love you Pearl jam!!

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-...

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-ban. / Pearl Jam 2006 Stadthalle, Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someplace Else (Kolkata) Stage.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

If I think about bars and pubs the first thing that comes into mind  apart from drinking is either good food, nice music with good ambiance, cheap booze and cheap food or hot chicks around. That’s how I classify the bars and pubs. I would like to site some examples and discuss about them in short.

To be honest the pub culture in Kolkata is not up to the mark if we compare it to cities like Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai. The sad part is if you speak about this topic to any orthodox Kolkata lover they will talk about the 70’s when Kolkata was the pioneer in pub culture. Trinca’s being the most famous pub at that time along with Blue Fox, Moulin Rouge or  Oasis. However the scene these days are not that good. The city now which is the pioneer in this culture is Bangalore or Delhi. I have visited a lot of pubs in Bangalore and few in Delhi. If you visit Bangalore do not miss Legends of rock (personal favourite), Mojos, Hard Rock Cafe, Purple Haze, Peco’s or Styx or @Live (try out their Mojito) in Connaught place , New Delhi. However, nothing beats the feeling of drinking in your own house or in your friends house with an ‘used to’ and homely environment around you.

Now let us give you brief idea about the classification of the bars in Kolkata along with examples.

  • Bars and pubs with good food : These are pubs which serve not average but really good food. If you are going for Continental food do not miss out on Mocambo in park street. They have a wide variety of delicious continental dishes like sizzlers, chicken melanese, devilled crab and many more. I do not want to mention any more dishes or my appetite will increase and I will have to starve till its morning.   Other restaurants include Peter Cat, famous for Chello Kababs. You can try out One Step Up, Moulin Rouge, they also serve good quality continental. If you are trying for oriental dishes don’t miss out Tung Fong in Park Street or Beijing in Topsia. For spicy tandoori with beer try out Tandoor Park in Dhakuria. If you want something over the top then go for Sigree, Ivory or try out the bars in the top notch hotels. But I would not suggest these if your pocket is not heavy.

  • Bars and pubs with good music and ambiance : Well Kolkata lacks in this category a lot. The only few almost affordable places are ‘Someplace Else’ in The Park hotel, ‘Gossip’ near Ajoynagar, ‘Opium’ in sector 5 saltlake and ‘Princeton club’ in Prince Anwar Shah road. I would have also included ‘House of Kommons’ in saltlake sector5 but the pop/rap/punk loud music created nothing but headaches. If you want to enjoy live music try out Princeton club or  Someplace Else (some people prefer calling it Sampi). Sampi have an excellent 7 day band line up.The line up includes bands like Krosswindz, Insomnia, Crystal Glass, Orient Express and  my favorite  Hip Pocket who covers amazing classic rock bands like Pink Floyd,The doors, Santana, CCR, Jimi Hendrix and many more  and they are just perfect. If you want to listen to Amyt Dutta‘s “Pink Noise” then go to Princeton. Other places like Gossip is famous for the cozy dim light ambiance. Opium is great for the music (Pink Floyd, The doors, pearl jam, scorpions etc) and the underground garage theme, plus they have a good variety of affordable drinks and food. Am really digging in to find more pubs in this category. So guys if you know of any other places please let me know.

  • Bars with cheap booze and cheap food : The first thing that comes into my head is “Shaws”. Now this  is one place that needs a description. This place has rules like you cannot enter the bar if the darwan (a government employee security guard) guesses your age to be under 22. I must say he is not a good guesser as he did not allow a friend of mine who looks pretty old and aged 28. The bar does not allow any girls so its like a sausage festival inside.  The last rule is you HAVE to drink if you are inside or else they will throw you out. The food served are all snacks of tremendous variety. They serve everything ranging from chilly chicken, keema curry to cheese, salad, chips and  guava slices worth 2 rupees.  Everything over there is pre-paid. The foods are carried out by people like vendors in a bus or train. If you call them they will show you what they have and you can pay and get them. The drinks menu is displayed in an electronic board just like stock prices in share markets. The booze is pretty reasonable. You get a large peg of Royal Stag for 45 bucks. However, don’t be surprised if you find out that you are the youngest in a crowd of 150 people drinking around you. Now if you want to find cheaper booze you have to head towards Topsia and visit Chinatown. Its a den of Chinese restaurants and you can choose to order full bottle of  Royal Stag for 500 bucks. The food is all Chinese and we are regulars at a place called “China Gardens”. There is another very old and famous place in Park Street where you get pretty cheap booze and a good variety of  low price continental food called “Oly Pub”. Its famous for its Beef Steak and Chicken A-la-Kiev. Am pretty sure there are more of these in Kolkata which I have yet to find.

  • Bars and pubs where you will find drunk chicks: There is a simple definition for these kind of of places. More the sugar more the sweetness. So guys you will have to really pour your cash from pockets and drink  in places like Someplace Else, Roxy, Venom, The Underground and Tantra and you might be fortunate enough to get lucky.

Wishing you “all the best” for your pub ventures. Now its my time to enjoy a good drink. Cheers!!

Listening to: Do the Evolution (Pearl Jam).

Mood: Violent, nostalgic.

It was 2005 , we were covering Roadhouse Blues by The Doors in my college band. Well I nailed that song that day, actually that was the only song  I nailed during my brief singing career. I was high on two joints and Old Monk Rum. Perfect dope for singing like Jim Morrison. I was so high that I started screaming Fuck you ! Fuck you ! on the microphone while the entire institute management was sitting in the first two rows. However my vision was only limited to the friendly crowd who were standing and cheering right at front.

It was too alluring when thoughts arrived like flashes of Eddie Vedder, AXL Rose, Phil Alselmo,Kurt Cobain, Farhan Akhtar in the movie ‘Rock On’ and many other rockstars doing a perfect Stage Dive . Well I still remember there were so many moments when I walked to the edge of the stage and stared at the crowd and then backed off. Don’t know why at that very moment I couldn’t do it . Maybe I was remembering the scene from the movie School of Rock where Jack Black did a stage dive and landed up on the floor ‘face down’ after the crowd refused to catch him. Ouch !!

I dream a lot about it. Me jumping on a pool of crowd. I think doing a stage jump is like going for those rides which looks dangerous. If you gather enough courage to do it once then it gets into you and you repeat it whenever you get an opportunity. The reason why you get scared is you are never sure if the crowd loves you “that” much. If they are ready to risk their muscles to lift a 75kg throwing itself into them. If they don’t realize enough the “rockstar” inside you then they will surely mock and laugh at you and call you a “wannabe”. You get scared if some damages happen to you as well. There should be a huge positive energy flowing inside you, before you dare to do something like that.

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Well the master of stage jump is Eddie. He does it the wild style. Well, being a member of a band like Pearl Jam makes it easier for him I guess. If you haven’t seen him doing it , see “this (Caution: Do not try this at home . It is performed by a rockstar who is ready to die and is definitely going through high adrenaline rush) . You got the picture ? There are bands like Greenday where front man Billie Joe Armstrong did a stage jump in Lollapalooza and hurt himself badly. There is AXL rose throwing himself dangerously from a high stage.Then you have lunatics like slipknot front man Sid Wilson doing a balcony jump from 15ft above or Kurt Cobain leaping on the crowd while playing the guitar. Its mindfucking “. You know what else is mindfucking ? Lady Gaga doing a stage dive and crowd surfing in Lollapalooza. Her outfit which she wore and jumped on the crowd do not cover anything, well basically she jumped into the crowd  naked. I am actually surprised she made it out alive / unraped. Check this” out in YouTube if you do not believe me.  Maybe this shows how beautiful and lady like Lady Gaga is.

Since time immemorial rockstars are doing stage dives and its a part of the entertainment, some do it for their own experience and some to win crowds. All  you have to do is  “trust your crowd and take the leap of faith .

Bottles of Chivas Regal

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It was 2:30 am, 3 liters down, New Years eve. I was sweating , trying hard to sit straight on the couch  while my head was spinning like a merry-go-round. I saw  my  two brothers  were carrying my sloshed brother-in-law  in hope of bringing him into senses by forcing him to take a shower.

I have always wanted to drink like a gentleman specially if I am drinking something like Chivas Regal 12 years old. Like suited Hollywood characters filling the glass with ice cubes as it makes the twinkling sound, then pouring the sparkling gold-colored scotch from an elegant looking bottle slowly into it. A perfect Hollywood  moment. But alas,  I ended up doing clumsy bhangra to the song “munni badnam hui ” and puked the next morning.

I decided I should limit myself to Blender’s Pride. The problem with drinking these expensive scotch is you keep drinking it because it is much much much smoother than regular whiskey and then when it hits you ? you won’t get time to recover, the world will spin and you will end up cursing yourself like me. Anyways, I missed my chances with the Chivas, but you should not miss it. I figured out that one should follow three rules while drinking expensive scotch :

1. It must be served on the rocks.

2. Consumed slowly.

3. You should limit yourself to 4 or 5 pegs or else the taste buds will not respond and you will not be able to enjoy the rich flavor.

Drink like James Bond drinking Vesper, Bill Murray drinking scotch in the movie Lost in Translation , Jeff Bridges drinking White Russian in the movie  The Big Lebowski , Robert Duvall aka Captain drinking Mojito in the movie Thank you for smoking  or any other rich aristocrats who drinks like them.

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However alluring it might look on movie screen but honestly it is not always possible for general crowd like us to drink like that. So we are conducting a poll so that we get know each others drinks. Since it is humanely not possible to mention all of the brand names on the list, we are only mentioning the types of drinks on the poll . However feel free to let us know what’s your brand through comments  so that we can be more knowledgeable in this noble subject. Lets see how many drinks we come up with , so that we can try out each others choices.

Drink responsibly. Cheers!!

Did you read Chacha Chowdhury comics when you were a kid? If you did, then I’m sure you remember that volcanoes used to erupt in the planet Jupiter when Sabu, the immortal and indestructible giant, was angry. However, do you know what can make Sabu‘s head erupt in flames even when he is far away from earth, taking a stroll in Jupiter? Easy. Rajnikanth singing Kolaveri Di from his home in Chennai.

I agree. That’s a bad joke. I’m sorry. But given what we are talking about, I can’t do any better than that.

Let’s get one thing clear here. I don’t care how much you like it, I don’t care how many people like it, I don’t care which celebrity endorsed it, I Hate that f**king song. I hate it.

You think it’s a great song because it went “viral” on the internet? You think it’s a great song because Japanese women were seen dancing to it? Well let me tell you what else women were seen doing. Let me tell you what else got viral on the  internet recently.  A video of two women taking a crap in a cup and then eating from it. (Google “2 girls 1 cup” if you don’t believe me.) Get the picture?

I’m told the composer wrote this piece of crap in about 5 minutes. Yes pal, I can see that. If you had put a little more thought into it, you would have come up with something more suited to the human species. Some people are claiming that the lyrics are simple and easy to understand, even for common people who know nothing about music. Really? I know nothing about music. Would somebody please explain

distance la moon-u moon-u, moon-u  color-u  white-u, white background night-u nigth-u, night-u color-u black-u” to me?

People are explaining very somberly how this song is about a boy in great pain who is trying to express his feelings after he got dumped by the girl he loved. They are discussing very seriously how beautiful an expression of melancholy this “song” is. I’m sorry. I’m a bit lost here. Which part of the song am I supposed to deduce all that poetry from? ” lovvu lovvu, oh my lovvu, you showed me bouv-u,cow-u cow-u holi cow-u, i want u hear now-u” ??? About the tune being catchy, well, I’d rather listen to catchier tunes than this. Most notably “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Happy Birthday to You.”

And please, let’s drop the excuse that it must be good because so many people are hooked to it. Please. People are hooked to abominations like Bigg Boss and Splitsvilla too, aren’t they?  People are fans of baba ramdev and rakhi sawant too, aren’t they? A  lot of people are impressed by the fact that this farce got praised by a lot of famous  people, like both Bachchans, Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan et al. Are you really so stupid that the word “marketing” doesn’t occur to you? Besides, let’s not forget, this “song” has the blessings of Rajnikanth. If somebody says anything against this, he’d be speaking against Rajnikanth. And let’s not forget, even Rajnikanth doesn’t speak against Rajnikanth.

My respects to Javed Akhtar for speaking out. He went ahead and said what every sensible person knew to be true, but wouldn’t say aloud for fear of going against the trend and be called uncool. He wrote, “Every one is praising the robes but the emperor is naked. Tune ordinary, singing substandard. words an insult to sensibility…” Couldn’t agree with you more Sir.

And our Anna Hazare has got it all wrong. Instead of starving himself to death, he should sit down in front of parliament and sing Kolaveri Di till the Govt. agrees to Lokpal and anything else he asks for. I bet it wouldn’t take 3 renditions.

One final word. I’m sorry if anyone is offended by my cracks about Rajnikanth. Please. I didn’t mean to. I respect that man immensely. And I’m sure when Rajnikanth farts ( if he does at all), it produces much better music than this kolaveri di.

It was the winter of 2005, I was sitting in the corner of my hostel room when I heard the band which changed the way I used to look at life. The songs were this dark, sad expressions of life which kind of brings out the darker side of you . The lyrics runs through your blood like a poison and gives you goosebumps and makes you feel suicidal . You feel like “down in a hole , losing control ” . If you have understood which band am talking about then you probably have felt the same way .

When I  heard the first song by them , it was quite dramatic .  It was a night of chilly winds and thunderstorm . The window was open and rainfall was softly touching my skin . I was alone in the room , smoked up , bunked the last class , hungry , penniless . The room was quite dark with just a yellow bulb glowing in one corner of the room . I was staring at the bulb and played the song . The instant chill was something which I have never felt after listening to a song . The song which helps you directly connect yourself to the lyrics, the feel and the spirit . Was lucky I guess to get such a surrounding to fall in love with them .

Well let us not torture you guys any longer the band name is Alice in Chains , the Seattle based grunge band which started in 1987 with the major band members Jerry Cantrell ,  Mike Inez , Sean Kinney and Layne Staley and it is still making music with the help of their new singer William DuVall . However I do not listen to the new tracks any longer after the front man Layne Staley died in 2002 , the reason of death ?? The autopsy report concluded that Staley had died after injecting a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a “speed-ball” . They could only release 3 albums before Layne died . Facelift (1990) , Dirt(1992) , Alice in Chains(1995).

Most of the songs were written by Layne and Jerry Cantrell (lead guitarist). The lyrics were related to feelings like depression,  sadness, anger, betrayal, death , shallowness … you get the drift . Layne’s lyrics mainly portrayed the pain and the suffering he experienced since childhood . In early 2002, shortly before his death, he would describe the experience of witnessing his parents’ divorce as “My world became a nightmare, there were just shadows around me. I got a call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kinds of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, ‘Where is my dad?’ I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years.”In that same interview he hinted that his parents’ break-up and his father’s drug use were at least partially responsible for his own drug problems, and also said that he was convinced that if he became a celebrity his dad would return. His Drug addiction then went from bad to worse . During his final years Dirt producer Dave Jerden ,who was originally chosen by the band for the production said, “Staley weighed 80 pounds…and was white as a ghost.” Cantrell refused to comment on the singer’s appearance, simply replying “I’d rather not comment on that…”, and band manager Susan Silver said she hadn’t seen the singer since “last year” . (courtesy www.wikipedia.org ) .

Here are a couple of samples of the expressions which they tried to portray through lyrics :

Down in a hole and I don’t know if I can be saved
See my heart I’ve decorated like a grave
You don’t understand who they
Thought I was supposed to be
Look at me now a man
Who won’t let himself be

or

Forgot my woman, lost my Friends
Things I’d done and where I’ve been
Sleep in sweat the mirrors Cold
See my face it’s growing’ Old
Scared to death no reason Why
Do whatever to get me by
Think about the things I Said
Read the page it’s cold
And dead .

Their songs have ranged  from slow psychedelic to hard rock . The music was brilliantly composed with the help of Jerry Cantrell’s different guitar style , Jazzy drumming by Sean Kinney(listen to MTV unplugged and you will understand ) and  Mike Inez’s grunge style bass guitar playing . Layne needs no description as he is the reason why the band needs no more musicians to make it perfect .

That’s about it for now.  Here’s some free advice. If your internet speed is good enough then download the discography. It’s worth the download time. Else you can listen to the songs angry chair ,bleed the freak , brother , don’t follow, down in a hole (personal favourite) ,I can’t remember , rooster, I stay away , nutshell , love hate love. Watch their  MTV unplugged concert , its a must .

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Music is a always a broad spectrum of discussion , not just broad ….VERY broad . However, when I sit down and think about it, I find the topic narrowing down considerably. Why? Because I would classify a lot of what currently passes for music as crap. Not just your ordinary everyday crap, but pure, unadulterated crap. I will attempt to bring to your notice who and why. I believe I am fairly open-minded and I judge most things with a lot of leniency. Still, this classification is important because the music development in recent years have gone from bad to worse . If we rewind  back to early ages of modern music, and by that I mean 70’s music, the bands who ruled the era were Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who, Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd , Jimi Hendrix , Janis Joplin , AC DC , The Doors , The Beatles and many more . Now guys, if your favorite bands are not on the list don’t be mad. This is just my list. You are of course entitled to your own. The point is, these guys used analogue instruments which portrayed the music in a beautiful way and they had meaningful lyrics as well .This age was prominent for the birth of psychedelic music .

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If we move to the 80’s then we can mention people wearing sick costumes which had a thousand zippers, leather butt hugging pants and witch-like hair flying all over the place. Examples are Guns and Roses , Def Leppard , Van Halen , Judas Priest . Yes, there were exceptions like U2 and Dire Straits who always maintained a sober appearance. But apart from the appearance if you actually listen to the music then you will realize that those were pretty good too. They had substance and they produced different types of good music . We know this age mostly because of the birth of “metal” .

Lets move to 90’s which is my personal favorite as it started the grunge movement and funk music . They created non commercial music which was pure, soulful and passionate . Examples are Pearl Jam ( my personal favorite ) , Alice in Chains , Nirvana , RHCP , Rage Against the Machine and many more. They had their act, they did not sport the gay 80’s look and were free spirited . They mainly focused on bringing a revolution and reformation of thoughts amongst its listeners . They are/were awesome !!!

The music since 2000’s, however, has just varied mostly from good to pathetic . While its true that we got to hear some real good stuff from Coldplay, Audioslave, Norah Jones, John Mayer, Poets of the fall, we also had to survive trash from SOAD (system of a down) , Blink 182 , Sum41 , Limp Bizkit and many more. A word here. On principle we wouldn’t even deign to discuss Britney Spears, Beyonce, JLo or Justin Bieber. To get back to music, I don’t care who won which award . They suck. They are just a bunch of half hearted musicians who thought just by playing a few power chords and banging the drum and shouting nonsense on the mic they will become another Eddie Vedder or Kurt Cobain . They use lyrics which, amazingly, is completely devoid of purpose, meaning, thought or emotions. They just put some scattered noise together with a lot of slang and numerous uses of the f-word,  mix it with some studio modified digital noise and then claim they are “singing.” You can get a clear picture if you listen to their live performances where they perform their original compositions where the mistakes are uncorrectable  . They dress like clowns and just make weird faces and makeups to attract attention and sell CDs.They all look the same and they all sound the same . Pathetic.

Like I said in the beginning, this is My opinion. If you differ , that’s OK, but don’t expect me to pay attention… If you aspire to become a musician, please, listen to some real music, not Linkin Park or, for God’s sake, Justin Bieber. Please, learn something about music before you go up on your college fest stage just to press some buttons and do some scratching . Please.