I apologize for my tardiness this month. I have plenty to talk about, just not a whole lot of time at the moment to put it into the kind of well referenced and presented article that is worthy of you, the reader.
I have however, sat down for the first time in over a month and put together a new song.
Phantasmagoria (We Are the Six O’clock News) is a piece inspired by Larry Norman’s 1972 song ‘Six O’clock News’ off of his album of the same year, ‘Only Visiting This Planet’.
My first goal was to set up a gritty 70’s lead guitar. Then fix the timing of the bass. Something I ended up completely replaying at a slower tempo. I then layered that with keys, and landed with a more modern, rugged and complete sound.
The lack of lyrics and vocals is what probably let’s this down, but I wasn’t trying to create a cover song. I was seeking to create something completely new and ended up here.
I’ve also tried to follow the protest theme by adding a copy of one of my favourite Banksy artworks. (I’m fairly certain that this is public domain, if not, contact me and I’ll happily remove it.)
Norman’s own protest, hits out at how bloodthirsty photo journalism can become, when on the Left it’s used to control a narrative in the service of activism, and on the Right, as a cash cow.
Given that the Vietnam War was the first conflict of its type to bring the war into the homes of ordinary Americans, Australians and New Zealanders, all of whom had supported the South Vietnamese in their struggle against the aggression of the Communist North, journalists and activists, both became and benefited from being, part of the “military industrial complex” in some way shape or form.
While I acknowledge the Randian greed of those on the right during this time in a shared history between Australia and America, it’s just as important to highlight the sins of the Left. When it came to veterans, team ‘’inclusion’’ and “tolerance” went AWOL, spat on, ridiculed, shamed and mistreated them.They were more than happy to use veterans as poster boys, but post-war? Nada. Move on, nothing now of use to us here.
It’s this critique that confronts us today. Neither side can truly save us. All have fallen short of the glory of God and in answer to such, there is no other savior and eternal just judge, for we have but one and His name is Jesus Christ.
‘And what a name for a Judge! The Savior-anointed – Jesus Christ: he is to be the judge of all humanity. Our Redeemer will be the Umpire of our destiny.’
(Charles Spurgeon, Commentary on Romans 2)
Beware the auctioneers.
6 thoughts on “Phantasmagoria (We Are The Six O’Clock News)”
I like that this is just instrumental. It actually reminds me of the background soundtrack of my youth – I was born in 1965, so I watched constant news media updates on the war in Vietnam when I was a kid, even though I didn’t really understand it. While I don’t really feel that the 1970’s has anything much to offer beyond Jaws, the first Star Wars film, the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever ( a terrible film), and a handful of great rock albums, it’s hard not looking back fondly on the society of one’s youth, even if it’s just for nostalgic reasons.
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Once I fixed a technical issue that I was having, I had fun putting this together. Love the bass, could do better with the lead. I’m late 1970’s, so I’m more of an 80’s kid. I jumped into 70’s music because of my obsessive teen interest in Guns n’ Roses. Musically, it was a quest to go learn from the guys who taught them. E.g.: Zepplin, Areosmith, British punk rock; et.al I loved the melodic grind without the gloss of a glam metal sound. It, like, grunge later on, dropped the finger tapping & to me sounded more honest. I come from a military family, but my dad didn’t serve there, so I’m not really sure where my appreciation for the vets of the Vietnam war era comes from, I think it’s connected to what I saw and heard; and me finding solidarity with my own broken circumstances etc.
Having lived through the late sixties and early seventies, I tend to divide rock guitar between pre-Van Halen and post-VH. When EVH hits the airwaves, it was like nothing we’d ever seen or heard and he influenced a generation of kids to pick up the guitar, including me. Nowadays, you can find six-year-old Chinese girls on YouTube that play a million-mile-an-hour solos on guitar, but that just didn’t exist back then. It’s like kids today who think the first Star Wars film is unimpressive because they’ve grown up on amazing computer effects which are so ubiquitous they barely elicit a yawn. But back then, pre-CGI, Star Wars was like nothing we’d ever experienced. So I view pre-VH rock guitar as hook-based, with post-VH rock guitar becoming more lead-based, with VH sort of bridging the gap. Interestingly enough, I became a Christian in the early 90’s and stopped listening to secular music almost entirely for a while. In fact, I only recently, in the last several years, got back into listening to secular rock. After not really playing guitar for years and almost getting rid of my gear, I started working part-time with a buddy who has money and owns quite a few nice guitars; while we were out on the road working, he would take me to all of these cool guitar shops. In fact, when we started work in the morning, we would sometimes park behind his house until his wife left to go to the gym, then we’d sneak back into the house and jam for an hour (his wife busted us once)… Well, he owned the business, so if he wanted to pay me to play music for a while, who was I to complain, right? Anyway, he got me to pick the guitar back up and learn to play all over again, which made me go back to listening to all of the rock guitar on which I grew up. I never played very well prior to starting up again these past few years, and starting over was like starting from scratch, which has been a fun journey.
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That’s cool, man. Sounds like an awesome boss. I think your skills and technique is up there. You can certainty play some things I couldn’t. Simply because I’ve never bothered to fully learn it such as finger tapping lead. I’ve never been all that attracted to it as a style.
Re: Secular music, I did a similar thing. I had to. I’ve been playing since I was 7. Came to Christ in ’96 and then laid down guitar playing because it had become an idol; my identity was centred there.
I literally worshipped music, G n’R the most. It consumed me. Was my passion etc. My only goal was to be them or as good as them. So, Christ was like a bright light in a dark rain. A veritable brick wall that landed in front of me and said, “no. This is not my will for your life.”
I didn’t like it. I felt even more alone, betrayed, naked and useless. Yet, Grace disrupted me in my corruption and I’m thankful for it.
My identity was to be in Christ, not things made by human hands. He put me in a job, that left every Christian I had known scratching their heads as to how I got it, (most doubted my encounter with a Christ) where I could be drenched in theology and his word ; the bonus being that I also got to be part of the Contemporary Christian music scene, but only within the limits of retail.
My Long journey back to playing and creating music only ended a few years ago. Granted it’s just for fun, I’m still honing skills, getting better. The opportunity to do it professionally would have to be rock solid and without compromise.
Rock on, my friend.
I have a friend with a similar testimony, where he pretty much lived for playing before being saved by God’s grace, after which God simply took all passion or desire for music away. He simply was no longer interested and he donated all of his music equipment to the church music ministry and he never looked back. I asked him once if he ever missed it and he said he doesn’t at all and he still has no interest in it. Anyway, I think if you still have a passion for it, God will use it to His glory if that’s where your heart is. And even if music is simply something to bring joy to your life, like a clear blue sky or your child’s smile, there’s nothing wrong with that. All good things are a gift from God, so just give Him thanks for the gift of music. Blessings!
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(Oh, for the record, I was on my iPad when I left that other comment, so that’s why it’s a different login.)
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