Genre for my Presentation (Progressive Metal)

The genre that I am presenting for my presentation is progressive metal. Progressive metal is a very interesting genre because it is a fusion genre that combines heavy metal aspects and progressive rock aspects. This genre of music is very well-known to be complex musically. This genre can basically use any instrument you can think of because since this genre of music is so complex musically that anything could fit in. Progressive metal isn’t a genre that really uses any screaming like a lot of metal is. Progressive metal really focuses on the musical aspects when it comes to crazy time signatures, long songs, and the use of many instruments. Progressive metal is very guitar driven so when you listen to this genre, the guitar is the one instrument that really stands out because it’s always kind of in your face when you’re listening to it. Some progressive metal bands include, Dream Theater, Trivium, Animals as Leaders, Haken, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, and Queensrÿche.

Progressive metal started to emerge in the late 1980’s with bands coming in like Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Tool, but didn’t really start to get popular until the 1990’s. I was introduced to the progressive metal genre when I was about 12-13 years old when I first started learning how to play the drums when I heard Dream Theater’s biggest hit, “Pull Me Under.” This is basically the only song that Dream Theater got famous from because it was a very energetic song that was playing on the radio many times a day back in the 1990’s. When I first heard “Pull Me Under,” I was very impressed with the musicality that this band brought to this song because it was very complex drumming, guitar driving, high singing, intense keyboard and bass playing. From there I started to listen to more Dream Theater and more progressive metal bands like Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche because I was still in that phase of the 1980’s hair metal bands when it came to myself learning how to play drums. My dad was a drummer also who taught me all the basics and he was big into the hair metal bands and that’s what he got me into when I first started. Once I learned all the basics, I pushed myself to learn this complex genre of progressive metal. Progressive metal music is a huge influence on me being a drummer and that’s the reason why I will be presenting on this genre of music.

Megastar of the 1980’s (Bret Michaels)


The megastar that I chose to nominate and talk about from the 1980’s is Bret Michaels. I have always been a fan of Bret Michaels for many reasons I will be sharing.

The first reason why I have always been a fan of Bret Michaels is because he is a local dude from the Pittsburgh area where I am from. He comes out of Butler, Pennsylvania and every time I’ve seen him perform live he is always repping the Pittsburgh home teams from wearing a Steelers jersey or a Penguins jersey. I can definitely respect a man for repping the home teams during their shows.

The second reason why I have always been a fan of Bret Michaels is because his band he was known for being in, Poison, has always been one of my favorite hair metal groups from the 1980’s. I love just about every Poison song because Bret’s voice is very unique from other groups from the 1980’s, and their music is so good! He always had this kind of country look to him when performing with his cowboy hat, but what made him look like a hair metal singer was the leather that he would wear with the cowboy hat. I have seen Poison play at First Niagara Pavilion (now Keybank Pavilion) a few times and they put on one hell of a show. The energy that Bret Michaels and the rest of Poison bring out when they perform gets the crowds hyped and certainly gets me hyped.

The third reason why I have always been a fan of Bret Michaels is because even today, since Poison doesn’t play as much as they used to, he formed his own band going as a solo artist. This band that he formed going as a solo artist plays nothing else but Poison songs. It’s basically seeing Poison perform except it’s not the original musicians. Poison is still together today as they are currently on tour with Def Leppard and Tesla, but when Poison isn’t on tour, Bret Michaels is still out doing what he loves and that is performing for people playing Poison songs. I actually got the chance last year to see Bret Michael’s band play at a place called Jergel’s. It was cool seeing him play there because I’ve played there a few times with my band so it’s cool to know that I’ve performed on that same stage as Bret Michaels.

I certainly have some respect for most artists of the 1980’s because that’s when music was so good back then in my opinion, but Bret Michaels was the one that sparked the most to me because of personal experience seeing him live multiple times and what he brings to the table when he is out there giving people a show to remember.

Rock and Roll: Simplicity vs. Complexity


In today’s blog post I’m going to be talking about simplicity versus complexity of rock and roll. Rock and roll became big from the simplicity of each tune because the beat or riffs caught everyone’s attention easily. Although, when groups such as, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead came into play, rock and roll started to get complex. There has been talk of arguments whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing, and I’m going to be explaining my view on this situation.

My view on this topic is that I think it’s a good thing that rock and roll is getting more complex because it really shows what the musicians can do and how they can be creative with their music. I’m a drummer like I’ve said before, so you can easily turn me on to a song that’s really complex because I have a huge passion for music. The thing that I really love about the complexity of songs is I never know what could be coming next in a song. I don’t want to be able to predict what’s coming because that just makes it simple and boring. The complexity of songs always has me wondering what’s going to happen next, and most of time I am blown away from what I heard. My favorite band is Dream Theater, and it’s pretty difficult to get more complex than a band like them. Basically every song they’ve ever created is so complex with odd time signature changes, ridiculous guitar riffs, insane drum fills, high singing, and even choice of lyrics. Every time I hear a new song them, I can never tell what’s going to be coming because of how crazy their music is instrumentally. Complexity is what makes this band stand out to me and to many other people who have a passion for music. I can understand that some people just want to hear the catchy riff a band can put out in a song, but after awhile to me, it gets annoying because it is just the same thing over and over again, which leads me to my next topic…pop music.

Pop music nowadays is just terrible in my opinion. The reasoning behind my opinion is because there is barely any talent involved in pop music. The beats are created on a computer and nobody is playing any instruments. It’s all computerized and I can’t stand that, being a drummer. The singing is just about as fake as it can possibly be because it’s basically all auto-tuned so it sounds good on the record. Even live, pop artists lip-sync everything and it just hurts the world of real musicians. One pop group that really stands out is the Chainsmokers. I’m not being biased, but they have no talent. All of their songs sound the same and are written the same way. All their songs start out soft and have a build-up and a bass drop and it just repeats itself. Not to mention that all they do is make computerized beats and hit the play button on a laptop when they’re “performing live.”

I think complexity is a great thing for music because it can really show off the skill a band has and how creative they can be. Music isn’t supposed to be boring. It’s supposed to be fun, creative, and mind-blowing to the listeners.



2017 Grammy Awards (Review)


Today I will be talking my point of view of the Grammy Awards from last Sunday. I watched a good bit of the Grammy Awards this year because I was mainly just waiting to hear Metallica perform and to see if they would win a Grammy. There were lots of awards handed out last Sunday and today I will give my opinions on why I’m glad a certain artist won, or why someone else should have won.

The first award I will talk about is going to the main one which was album of the year. Adele won this award from her most recent album, “25.” I heard a lot of people saying that Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade” should have won. I haven’t heard both albums myself because I’m just not into that music. I also don’t care too much of what the album means or what it represents because I’m more just about the music and how it sounds. In my opinion, I think that Drake’s album, “Views” should have won album of the year because that album was very successful and I personally just loved so many songs on that album. Drake broke numerous records for this album which made him deserve album of the year. Drake became the most streamed artist on Spotify because of this album. Out of the 20 songs on his album, 16 of them were all in the top 100 the first week of the album’s release, which is insane! This album also set the record for most streams in the first week of its release. The album was streamed 245.1 million times in the United States alone and currently has over 1 billion streams just on Apple Music. Tell me after setting records like this that this album didn’t deserve a Grammy. Drake’s album “Views” is definitely one to check out because he has such a good flow in all the songs and the beats are so good.

The second award I will talk about is best new artist. Chance the Rapper won this award and I was really happy with him winning this award. I honestly don’t even like Chance the Rapper because I just don’t think he’s that good to me, but that’s just a personal reference. The reason why I’m happy that he won this award though is because I know that he’s an artist that isn’t signed with a record company and the fact he’s not signed and won a Grammy is really impressive. It really shows that he knows what he’s doing and that he wants to do everything his way. It also shows how successful he has been since the start of his career. It’s also cool to know that he performed here at Indiana University of Pennsylvania about 3 years ago and now he’s a Grammy winner.

The third and final award that I will talking about in today’s blog is one that kind of disappointed me. The award was best rock song. I didn’t see if this award was televised but the winner of this award was “Blackstar” by David Bowie. Now the only reason why this award kind of disappointed me is because David Bowie is dead unfortunately. I understand the respect everyone had for David Bowie, and I’ll admit that he was a legend in music, but the thing I see in my eyes is that he’s never going to actually receive and see the Grammy for himself. To me, Metallica should’ve won this award for their song “Hardwired” because this song is old school Metallica that all rock and roll/metal lovers love. Also, to make the comeback after 8 years of no new music with a song like this one was really impressive. Another thing too is that to be performing the really heavy thrashy music Metallica does at their age is amazing and to me they should’ve won this award.

Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (Album I’ve Been Listening To)


Today I wanted to talk about an album I have been listening to a lot lately. The album is called “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct.” This album is the newest album from the metal gods themselves, Metallica. This is Metallica’s first album in eight years, and I have to say that this album might be one of their best albums I’ve ever heard from them. Metallica is mainly known for their hits such as, “Enter Sandman”, “Master of Puppets”, and “Nothing Else Matters”, but this album is so good considering how old the members of Metallica are now and how they are able to put out such an amazing sound for their first album in eight years. Here are some things and some of my favorite songs that I absolutely love from the album.

First, I wanted to talk about the sound and arrangements of the songs. All these songs have their own kind of sound and some songs sound like old Metallica, as well as newer Metallica. They basically mixed their different sounds throughout the years and put it all into their new album. Being a drummer, I really appreciate all the aspects they put into this album because some of the songs are really heavy and fast, as well as difficult to play on any instrument. Other songs are slower, but still just as heavy as Metallica has been forever.

Next, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite songs from the album and why they are considered my favorite songs on the album. The first song on the album, “Hardwired”, is a big favorite of mine on this album because it’s very heavy and fast and it was the perfect way to open the album. “Hardwired” was the first single released for the album, and this song has that feel from their very first album from back in 1983 entitled, “Kill ‘Em All.” It was so cool to see that Metallica went to their sound from all the way back from the beginning of Metallica. Another song I really enjoy is the second song on the album called, “Atlas, Rise!”. This song is a lot different from “Hardwired” because the tempo is a lot slower than “Hardwired”, but this song is arranged very strangely. There is a lot of time signature changes and I absolutely love songs that have a lot of time signature changes because they make no sense at all….unless you’re a musician. Another song that I love off this album is “Dream No More.” This song is very slow with a nice groove to it, but it is by far the heaviest song on the album in my opinion. You can easily tell that guitars are tuned down really low and that James’ voice is really raspy and creepy sounding. I love this song because of the groove it has in the beat. It’s a simple 4/4 beat during the whole song that makes you want to do the slow head bang to it. The last song that is considered one of my favorites is the last song on the album called, “Spit Out the Bone.” To me, this is my favorite song on the album out of all of the others. This song is a song I listen to daily because it’s just that good. This song is very fast and thrashy that it makes you want to go nuts. It starts off with a fast drumroll on the snare and it just builds up to this really fast 2/4 beat. This song has the best transitions because there’s nothing that they could’ve done better with them. The way the song flows is so good and each transition has myself mind-blown every time I hear the song. Most of the song is fast, but some parts get slow for a bit, and then picks right back up with the normal fast tempo. The drum fills in this song have me in awe because they fit so well.

Overall, this album is definitely one of Metallica’s best albums and it’s definitely worth to listen to the entire thing. I wasn’t a big fan of their recent album “Death Magnetic” back in 2008 because it just didn’t have that Metallica sound that I was hoping for, but in “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, they definitely redeemed themselves. So if you’re a fan of metal, give this album a listen. It definitely won’t disappoint.

Blog Post #1 (Class So Far)

Welcome to my blog page!

In class so far we have been getting into the introduction of music learning different terms that play a big part in music. We started out with the basics talking about the beat which is the pulse of the song. We talked about tempo which is the speed of the tune. We also talked about rhythms, melodies, harmonies, and even some offbeat meters. I’m a drummer and I have been drumming for about twelve years, but it’s always to freshen up on material like this in class.

Starting this week we started talking about the early history of music starting with African American music. These topics of early music are always really interesting to me because most of this information is all new to me. A few things I have learned about African American music so far is the pattin’ juba which an improvised circle dance to clapping. Drums were prohibited by slave owners which was really interesting to find out, but at the same time not that surprising because of how loud drums are. Being a drummer, I can definitely understand why they were prohibited by these slave owners.

Another topic that we started to talk about was Minstrelsy, which was a topic I have never heard of before. Minstrelsy is whites (later blacks) performing caricature of African American dances. I’ve never heard of anything like this, and it was very strange to hear that was a thing back then. I just thought it was very odd, but understandable at the same time because this took place during the 1830’s. One of the famous Minstrelsy actors/dancers we were learned about was a man by the name of Thomas Dartmouth Rice. Rice imitated the dancing of a black man, but his character was Jim Crow who is known for the Jim Crow laws. The Jim Crow laws were laws that basically engaged in racial segregation. Once again, this information was all new and interesting to me because I never knew about music during this time.

One man we also talked about this week was a man by the name of Stephen Foster. Stephen Foster is the first great American pop song composer. He is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and he has his own statue down in the city. His first big hit was a song I have actually heard of before which is, “Oh, Susanna.” (1848). He was known a minstrel artist because he composed minstrel songs.

We also learned about a group that I have actually heard of before which was “Tin Pan Alley.” Tin Pan Alley was very active and popular from 1875 to about the 1950’s. Tin Pan Alley was the center of the music business and they played pianos that sounded like tin pans, hence the name “Tin Pan Alley.” I’ve heard of this group before from a previous music class I had, but never really knew anything about them.

We just started getting into the blues, which I am a little more familiar with because it’s progressing towards today. The blues is African American folk music and originated around 1900, but it was first recorded in the 1920’s. The location where blues originated from isn’t really anywhere exact, but all that is known is that it came from the South. Blues music is a major part of jazz, but it was the main foundation of rock and roll.

All the information we are learning about in class so far is really interesting, and it’s only going to get more interesting as we progress through the 1940’s to today’s music.

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