One of the pillars in my childhood was the pre-Elmo pre-woke Sesame Street on the local public broadcasting channel. And when I reference this, I’m talking about icons of the show that are long gone, or . . . at any rate . . . on the cusp.
That’s not to say Muppet World hasn’t taken me to the edge of my cognitive limits prior to the introduction that appalling Elmo. Miss Piggy was an attention-stealing porcine that had me wanting to introduce her to a spiral-slicer the same way I wanted to film a sequel called Jar Jar Binks And the Wood-Chipper of Mercy.
But enough about my personal traumas with animated diorama dolls. I’m actually trying to write about rock musicians.
This is where Bob from Sesame Street was my favorite guy. He has a section of the show called “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” This included a little sing-along with a little foot-trip down the street–an attempt to reach out an meet people with whom we:
- may not share any commonality
- may bridge gaps and maximize these differences.
The lockdown–these hermetically-sealed nightmares that routed lives, livelihood and stagecrafts, also forged something that was essentially survival mode to working musicians: The on-line collaboration.
It works like this:
- drummer-person makes a song by themselves. they send it by email to Bass Player
- Bass player records their part, and emails it to guitarist
- Guitarist complains that his tone “isn’t right” and never completes the project.
Okay, anyway. You get the idea. A song is created over many continents and states, time-lines and competing Mason/Dixon anxieties. Ultimately, a song is created after the vocalist lets fly with their part.
Then this is all mixed, along with video footage provided by each person, which is conflated into a music video–organic to the core.
I’ve seen a ton of these, and I could start with any of them. I’ve already managed to write about Croatian Throatman, Dino Jelusick, and it just so happens that he’s managed to have his overachieving, Slavic mitts involved with the project I’m about to cover here:
Let’s talk about each of these guys, shall we?
The most thing you see is Hammond Beatmaster, Lachy Doley. Not sure what to say about him other than he proves with out a shadow of a doubt that it is entirely possible to reclassify the keys as a percussion instrument. I’d also add the guitar to his list of imitations, but I think that conclusion can be drawn without my help, as his madness on the Whammy Clavinet are obvious without argument. Either way, he’s a monster player, and the first thing I ever heard him do was right here. He’s a monster.
Mike Portnoy is name synonymous with about 83 different bands/projects/offshoots/replacements and triage stand-in gigs in a myriad of bands. And while his name is practically omnipresent as a musician, he still manages to be identified with the one band he hasn’t been in for eleven years.
His current high-point lineups are with the Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo, and The Neil Morse Band. In two of those bands alone, he gets to be timekeeper over skulking, finger-happy bassist, Billy Sheehan. He’s filled in for so many bands, that it would be easier to simply name the bands he hasn’t played for. And speaking of Muppets, I understand he’s on retainer for the Dr. Teeth band, in the event that Animal winds up with a regional restraining order.
Of course, he manages to prove that he has even more nuance than a single video, and his freestyle, and affable approach to music, as well as people,has carried him far. To say that he is as stylistically as far away from the other contributors here is understatement and yet his solo contributions here during the handclap breaks is a complete joy to hear. He is single-handedly inspiring the novice to improve their game, while puzzling the professional with his perfect balance of simplicity and complexity.
Joel Hoekstra plays for Whitesnake.
Okay, its a bit more complex than that. In fact, REALLY complex. He’s playedwith/for so many names, that you best just go over to his bio page and see for yourself. Somebody’s keeping Steve Lukather awake at night, and it aint CC Deville.
And all of this because:
- Hes an insanely gifted player.
- ‘He clearly likes his job.
Henrick Linder is a founding member of Dirty Loops, and hails from Sweden, and in an in-demand, premium bassist with a HUGE future. Again, surprise addition from the periphery, which is kind of the idea.
Dino Jelusick has also done something here. Now, I have already written extensively here about the the guy, and his ridiculous vocal acumen. Plus, I invented an alleged felony surrounding my occasional tendency to “not listen to Dino Jelusick”. But something needs to be pointed out.
He’s in Trans-Siberian Orchestra man, what more do you want?
Power? Yes. he has it.
Range? Of course. You try hitting those notes.
But anyone will immediately notice that. What people fail to notice is the descending vocal runs through the song that maintain perfect tonality and equidistant times between the note changes. This is not for the feint of heart. Not many rock singers in the entire world have THAT characteristic. Ronnie James Dio left a lot of dead bodies along the vocal highway long before anyone came along to infuse that kind of power with acrobatic controls.
My advice? Look these men up. They all have something to say. Just like you and me. Perhaps it possible to grab the Sesame Street doctrine, and find some kind of harmony with those we would have other wise never met.
Except for Elmo. To the gallows with him.
Ron Giesecke‘s Instagram is @ronniegiesecke