Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Origin of the Mouse Clique

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is a post that I ran a long while back - but, since we've just opened the doors to the Mouse House again, I thought it'd be cool to introduce newcomers to The Origin Of The Mouse Clique.

Well, somebody had to ask it, and it just happened to be Mousekateer-in-training Josh out of Schennecti ... um, Schenetic ... uh, Great Neck, NY. He wrote in and asked "Why do you call it the 'mouse clique' anyway?"

Well, Josh, the idea (and name) actually came from LL himself. But it started a little differently. Here ... pull up a chair, grab your Fritos and lemme tell you what happened:

You see, Uncle Lloyd had gazillions of fans who (rightfully) loved him. And, let me tell ya, he loved every single one of them back! In fact, he wanted a way to interact with this amazing fan base.

Sooooo, it came to pass that the Great Blog, Spot, smiled upon him, thus he created his own space, appropriately named Lloyd Thaxton, upon the Blog, Spot's, grounds (in other words, he had a blog here in the Blogspot network).

As the mighty webside powers-that-be publicized his name-and-blog, he saw that, from hither and yon (two small towns outside Schenectady Hey! I learned to spell it!!) came fans who read his writes with fervor. Or a soda. And they began to leave "comments", to which he happily replied.

So many came, in fact, that he decided to call them his "Mouse Pack". But, since that was reminiscent of the famed Vegas Rat Pack of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and a guy named Sinatra, he changed the name to The Mouse Clique; after all, you got to his site by the click of your computer's mouse, and the fans were fast becoming friends one with another, thus: a clique!

Though Uncle Lloyd left us a few years ago, his story and legacy continues! Since Aunt Barbara (LL's loving wife) gave me her blessings to manage the mouse menagerie, it's been my privilege and absolute honor to keep the Mouse House open for all his fans and friends (with encouragement from the Great Co-Cheeser himself, Gary Belich). Its goal is to not only run stories about LL and his fab Lloyd Thaxton Show but to also touch on other topics, just like he did.

Now that you know, how about going out and telling your friends about this blog, okay?? If you've got an interesting story, thought, remembrance or $20 in unmarked bills, just send them in (just kidding about the twenty, btw. I don't have change. Mouses don't have pockets, remember?) and we'll be glad to print them here.

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Now, more in just a bit, so ..



Stay tuned ...

The Psychology Behind The Beatles

They were just four moptop lads from Liverpool, making some rock-n-roll with their guitars, drums and a lot of hair-shaking, huh?

But wait ... maybe there's more to The Beatles than we thought!

Recently, studies were undertaken that show the Fab Four's early rockers are excellent remedies for non-clinical depression (of course, we Beatlemaniacs already know that. Still, it's nice to have some high-falutin' 'studies' confirming that for us, right??)

Here's what they found:

Whenever someone is feeling down and out-of-sorts -- maybe due to a job loss, broken relationship, misunderstanding or just the everyday "blahs,"-- listening to Fab Four rockers like Please, Please Me, Little Child, A Hard Day's Night, Back In The USSR and others help to release the endorphins necessary to relieve the stress and negativity within us.

But what qualities within their songs actually trigger this relief? Largely, repeated phrases or lyrics, a specific and steady rhythm guitar, vocal tone (especially, for some reason, John Lennon as opposed to the others), consistent song speed (4/4 is better than 2/8 or fragmented) and, of course, liveliness of the tune.
Of course, the volume with which these are heard, and their frequency are of importance. Usually, listening to them first in the morning, then at the pinpoint times of 11 AM, 2, 7 and 11 PM (according to some psychologists, these are the times when emotions become more intense), can be of tremendous help.

Gotta throw in a warning here, though: if you're feeling consistently down, it's best to consult your doctor, as there could be a physical or chemical problem behind it.

UPDATE: Here's a key to the Beatles' mesmerizing rhythm: John would intentionally keep his low "E" string slightly out-of-tune (partly out of respect for his mum, Julia, who tuned it that way when he was a lad), so the resulting (slight) dischord was more quickly absorbed by the subconscious. That accented the entire song pattern and caused our subconscious (which is normally trained to accept the norm) to perk up, notice and respond to the entire song.

This is just to help out a bit. The Beatles -- forty+ years after their official split -- breaking new ground.

Imagine.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Heyyy, Bo Diddley ...


It’s inevitable:

Almost every week, I either get email or someone stopping me to ask how a band got a specific beat. And, whether it's in the Strangeloves' I Want Candy, Deep Purple's Hush or Iggy Pop's Lust of Life, there's one that stands out in everyone's minds.

You see, the famed Bo Diddley Beat came from the artist himself, blues legend Bo Diddley (Elias McDaniel), who passed away in June of 2008.

Many of his signature songs were known by their jungle-like rhythm pattern. And, since he introduced that rhythm in 1955, it seemed hundreds of artists (in country, hip-hop and even gospel) began patterning some of their material after this man and his beat.

HERE’S HOW HE GOT IT: The style actually stems from early forms of Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms (clave) that came from their respective countries.

To drive home the actual sound of the beat: This rhythm was also used for years as the playful music knock, “Shave and a Haircut”,… “Two Bits”.

HOW TO PLAY IT:

It's a simple beat to learn but, most important, you gotta make it swing!

Play singles from hand to hand on the floor tom accentuating the clave (top line) below. Bass drum can match the clave or play “4 on the floor” (bottom line). Guitarist and/or bass player will play simultaneous lines so it is important to keep a steady tempo to be in sync with them.
Use the afro-cuban son clave below as your foundation. For those that don’t read, it’s:

23clave
1 (2) and (3) 4 - (1) 2 3 (4)

Variations:

Many drummers play this beat on the floor tom as mentioned above.
Others play it as a rudimental snare groove (New Orleans style) and still
others play the Bo Diddley beat within a standard, syncopated rock groove on drums.

Examples (Songs)

Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly, Rolling Stones
Willie & the Hand Jive - Johnny Otis Show
I Want Candy - Strangeloves
Women are Smarter - Grateful Dead
Magic Bus - The Who
She’s the One - Bruce Springsteen
Faith - George Michael
Desire - U2