posted on September 6, 2011 at 12:31 am

the raising of the whole man and nothing else shall be our agenda


my tinnitus having reached an intolerable level

i am currently listening to a possible cure

which is a series of pieces of classical music cut up just a little

the music and frequencies

and some of the gymnastics the music requires of the eardrum

is said to achieve “the opening” or the tinnitus’ sufferers nirvana

a complete cessation of the constant high pitched ringing your damaged ears make

anyhow im listening to a lot of stuff i never heard before

a lot of music and i gotta listen 2 to 3 hours a day on earphones

so you know i’m saying to myself

well old bean maybe you can learn something here

some ideas here you can plunder and turn around

but what i cant get past is the intention of most of this stuff

i cant understand what emotion the composer hoped to induce in the listener

and that confounds me because thats where i start my process of creation

the very first point of each thing is : how will this make you feel ?

now some of this stuff is lesser known bits but still by famous types

your mozart your ludvig von your bach etc

the beatles stones and dylan of classical music someone could say

muse : yeah …some philistine could say that….

anyway i just cant get past their intention of what feelings this music conveys

look i know i know as much about classical music

as your aunty maude probably knows about wu tang clans latest record

so i come in in a naive very rocknroll approach

i ask myself how does it make me feel…?

what is the predominant emotion evoked by these sounds…?

and i have to answer that most of it seems prissy and florid

and it makes me feel like

ive just spent 3 hours with a very supercilious pedantic interior decorator

or been reading some mills n boon romance of endless pointless dalliance

or some other exacting but unrewarding demonstration of pomposity

i cant find any feelings in here for me

i find intelligence yes in spades but never in hearts

no lust no passion no revenge no wild sudden excitements

maybe i am just not attracted to the music of those centuries

i dont enjoy  all the things that make it great

its precision its instrumentation its conventions

once my mind was blown by rocknroll

there was too little left for anything else

listening to this classical stuff

is like having tea and scones with some upper class 19th century suffragette

you know very admirable but i’m gonna have screaming claustrophobia in 1 minute

this classical stuff is like a game of cricket

a lot of boring types a lot of rules and ritual but hardly any action

very very white very very middle class very very unmagical

on the other hand you got heavy metal music which is like american footy

a load of overdressed oafs running around in some over-planned malarkey

a lot of roman testosterone bluster but no greek beauty or magic

(it seems to the uninitiated like moi)

they are both impenetrable to me

what is the intention of heavy metal music…?

to frighten you…if youre about 14 and believe beelzebubs  under the bed?

i dont know it all seems so silly to me

the blues is the most boring thing

but youre not supposed to say that….

its legends its techniques its triumphs its aesthetic

i cant concentrate on it any longer than 5 seconds

trad jazz i really hate…what emotion is that supposed to be…?

i dont understand anything other than rock

all of the others seem hopelessly one dimensional to me

which of these others can contain rage or insanity or euphoria

its all either too cerebral or dumbed down to a caricature of itself

i look on in amazement at country stars and they gotta be having a laugh, right…?

so much music seems so devoid of wonder or spirit

too stiff

or too mind numbingly simple

too parochial or too highbrow

overwhelmed by its own western fussiness

or  its own  primitive physicality

or   its own stupid right wing country bumpkin maudlin jive

or by its own college boy jolliness

or by its own snobby elitism

or whatever all that music is that i hate

yes i hate it all i cannot abide it

like a master vegan chef eating KFC

or a hedonist in a monastery

or a cat among the pigeons

i loathe rap

i detest all metal of any description

i abhor soft rock as epitomised by billy joel or elton

i hate boy and girl bands

i hate punk i hate new wave and new romantic

i hate disco i hate dance i hate baggy i hate grunge

i hate novelty and retro

i hate fifties and doo wop

i hate overt politics feminism religion

i hate needless frivolity jollity  or cheeriness

i hate pathetic laughable morbidity  (ie death metal)

i hate the silly voices in opera and in those modern auto-tune gadgets

i hate christian rock i hate satanic rock

i hate it too professional or too amateur

somewhere out there though someone is getting it right

the right amount of tradition and innovation

the right ratio of new and old

the right mixture of prowess and intuition

music that could contain destruction and creation and sex and soul

all at once mysteriously reconciling everything

the beat of  africa its urgency its earthly compulsion

the sub-continental drone of the eternal spirit like a mesmeric trance

the scientific mathematical european intelligence as applied to music

i cannot understand much classical music as i cannot understand mathematics

an equation or an opera ….my rigid brain was never having any of it

the absolute first priority for me beyond anything else is : is there any magic?

why do i want art that does not contain any magic?

i have the real world if i want an apparent absence of magic

isnt that why i want my art…because i want some magic…?

i refuse to believe there is no magic

so i have looked for it in sex and drugs and rocknroll

i have also looked for it in arcane and esoterica and  religion and philosophy

to me there is no magic in most sport or reality tv

to me there is no magic in soapies or gossip mags

to me there is no magic in alcohol or car races

to me there is no magic in conservatives or lefties

no magic in kim kardashian or the national anthem

no magic in computer animated films for children

no magic in betting on the horses or going to the pub

no magic in shopping or hunting

no magic in macho posturing or simpering effeminate ninnies

no magic in patriotism or terrorism or situationism

no magic in the snob or the barbarian

no magic at work no magic on holiday

yet still magic abounds

my favourite music has magic in abundance

my kind of magic because it is a very personal ideal

nonetheless it is my crusade

yes my blurred crusade if i may be so obvious

my favourite music seems as if it was made of magic

and its intent was to enchant

rock is at its best when it is at its most magical

like uh magical mystery tour for example

its oozing magic on almost every level that can be perceived

a fantastic magic and mystery thing the english can do so well

the beatles and cs lewis and genesis and tolkien

and america has dylan and his wild maverick magic

and a load of others

all countries have their magical and mundane…dont they..?

anyway magic is always on my menu

and my intent is always magic

even if my delivery is sometimes

quite ordinary

magic is always my intent







80 Responses to “intent is everything”

  1. avatar
    Michael | 6 September 2011 at 2:27 am #

    The two bands I have listened to by far the most (in the past decade): The Church and The Mars Volta. There’s some magic for ya.
    My grandfather told me he didn’t get classical music and set out to find what all the fuss is about (I never heard of the fuss). He said it took him months but he got it. I’ve never tried, but always assumed there would be something in there if you’re willing to try it with some effort.

  2. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 6 September 2011 at 2:39 am #

    So honestly Steve…tell us how you really feel about entertainment and the media in all its forms –
    Wow…is all I can say. The great part about the subject(s) in this given blog is that we all can agree to disagree. And regards to classical, all I can say is they searched high and low in their kingdoms and castles for where to plug in the Fenders and behind every overpriced table, dresser, couch or cabinet ….they couldn’t find any outlets so they said “fuck it ole chaps, let’s play this set acoustically”. And due to the engineers and construction laborers of those many centuries couldn’t find the electricians. Because they were all down at the pub discussing union dues and contracts. So Rock n Roll may have had its roots so much earlier on if those tradesmen weren’t complaining of ‘fair wage’s ‘ …just as they are today.

    I believe this blog entry, if you leave it out there for the masses to respond, will get some huge numbers on the ‘comments’ section. I really embrace your honesty on how you feel regarding many classifications and characterizations. I just disagree on some of the music discussions. Many do not understand ‘metal’ in its many forms. I played in punk and speed metal bands over 20 years ago, while at the same time was in awe of your band, genesis, floyd, yes, and the who. I never closed my opinion to any form of music. I will listen to anything, even gospel, to analyze the constructive nuances that the music derived from.

    So it is a refreshing change to disagree with a mentor who feels very passionate regarding his opinion which I believe is constructive in this world of people saying or writing stuff just to feel vindicated for what they stand for.

    Great blog…I really hope it opens mountains of dialogue and not arguments of opinionated nature.

    Darrin K.

    Regarding the ‘electrician’ portion of my comment, I was one…so I was poking fun at my self and my once profession- no disrespect to any1 in that profession intended. It was all in clean fun.

    • avatar
      BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 6 September 2011 at 2:56 am #

      and I do and have found ‘magic’ . It is in the innocence of a childs laugh. A childs smile and the questions that they look to you, the one they find to be the greatest, strongest, smartest person in the world. And when you answer them, you educate them…they embrace you with unconditional love and walk away knowing this…’ what a bunch of bullshit did he/she spew out just so they can get back to whatever nonsense they were doing before I/they rudely interrupted them. LOL !!!!!!!!!!

      Just kidding, in all honesty, I find magic in my children’s quest for knowledge and their innocence of believing that all will be right in this world.

      Darrin K.

  3. avatar
    vossy | 6 September 2011 at 3:06 am #

    tried to watch the x factor and there is definitely no magic there!

  4. avatar
    Mr. Argent | 6 September 2011 at 3:30 am #

    An enchanted muse is a fulfilled muse.(In between sheets/leaves/days)

  5. avatar
    andy | 6 September 2011 at 3:53 am #

    you is the bestest magician i has ever knowed!
    and it’s a privvit haedge und a pleashure…….
    drunk on yer potent, portentshuh writingzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    p.s. thanks for the nod steve…dave ‘n i will always be on hand and in your corner.
    …love you man.

  6. avatar
    evilren | 6 September 2011 at 3:54 am #

    I agree with much you have said about certain types of music. I have seem atmospheres change with bluegrass, I have relaxed and focussed my breathing with some classical, rock and roll is good for the soul, have conjured some spirits with the blues, hell, jazz often times just lifts your spirits on a pensive day. Much of the magic today is lost in the sea of what we call music. Not everyone, and I’m sure, few approach music the way you do Steve, which makes you unique and we appreciate you for it. Please keep other’s, such as myself, updated on any break-through you
    have with music therapy for tinnitus. I know what you are talking about when you say some music forces your ear drum to find “the opening.” I find it annoying sometimes that everyone is in a band.

  7. avatar
    andy | 6 September 2011 at 4:14 am #

    just read that again…..
    thats how ‘jamming for damo’ happened…three nights in a row,not a single note,chord,word or phrase pre-planned…only the actual sessions themselves.
    just pure intent and a desire to create.
    your’e SO right…if there’s no magic, then ultimately….there’s no real point.
    you are a master magician steve.
    me?…a novice at best…but i’m proud to have given it a shot.
    and iv’e not given up just yet.
    …watch this space…youv’e inspired me again!

  8. Jmb066
    Jmb066 | 6 September 2011 at 4:48 am #


    What an amazing post, I dont even know where to begin. I think you have summed up for me why I love your music so much. When I was young an impressionable I liked what my dad listened to:

    Van Morrison
    Bruce Springsteen
    Bob Seger
    The Doors

    All of which if I hear today does not hurt my ears or senses to much, The Doors were the largest influence of all of these and I still like them a lot.

    When I was a teenager I had about four choices:

    Heavy Metal-Noise, unbearable noise. Screaming and yelling horrible.

    Rap/Hip Hop-I was a white kid in the suberbs, did not coneect or say anything to me.

    Classic Rock-wide genre and some good bands/songs but nothing jumped out at me.

    Alternative Rock-This music spoke to me, The Cure was the first band I heard and really liked what I was hearing. From there I learned about Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths, Echo, REM. It was not until 88 with Starfish and Under The Milkyway that I finally heard what I was listening for. Went backwards with the back catalouge from there, Arista had just released them all. A great store clerk in Toronto sold me The Slow Crack, Unearthed and Hindsight. From that point on it was The Church and all of the above bands were quickly forgotton or became boring. A few have come along that remind me of that The Church feeling:

    House Of Love
    The Verve
    Afghan Whigs
    James (my wifes fave band)
    Arab Strap

    All good bands but lacking that consistancy/magic I get when a new Church album or solo release is available. I admit, I am addicted. I am so thrilled for the last 23 years of your 31 and that I have been able to be a part of the magic, and really no other music has ever made much sense to me but this.

    Hope this headphone therapy helps with the pain in your ears, and look forward to your findings. After Everything is my headphones suggestion its a classic in every sense.

    Take Care,


  9. avatar
    esne snoner | 6 September 2011 at 5:18 am #

    nice one sk – your words succinctly stating that which many of us feel about music in its many forms – this entry should be the foreword for your book of time being posts also titled intent is everything…..hope the endurance of the classical music has the desired effect

  10. avatar
    davem | 6 September 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Ooh, it’s groovy to be premium but I’ve already been looked after by a wonderful person in terms of David Neil ta!!
    Agreed with so much of today’s post…metal, rap and almost all music which is primarily designed to dance to I can’t abide (some white ’60’s mod apart – The Action etc).
    But……….explain Bread to us!!!! Baby I’m a wantcha and all that malarkey!! Confess and explain your Bread thing. “Fruit Machine” Bread if you can!!
    Luv ya.

  11. avatar
    davem | 6 September 2011 at 5:25 am #

    I say it’s groovy but I haven’t got a fucking clue what it means, sounds like a fruit juice that hasn’t been made from concentrate. 🙂 Does SK premium have “bits” in it?

  12. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 6 September 2011 at 5:50 am #

    I have five Church CD’s that are irrefutably magical.

  13. avatar
    Once | 6 September 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Mysteriously Reconciled

    Yes, this sums it up
    This is what it all means
    Everything in life is a symbol
    Everything earthly is imagined
    Anything physical is not real
    Anything true will never be spoken
    And how my soul rages to be trapped
    In this injustice in time
    And how intense each forbidden glimpse
    Through dream and song
    And how inexorably drawn out is the learning
    Days pain me and nights just lie
    No I can’t cling to anything immortal
    But I’m beginning to remember
    Or maybe I’m being remembered
    By a future that once knew me
    And what I want the most
    Is what I fear the most
    To spin into the violet
    Black starlit sky
    Metal stone diamond dog
    Razor blade Earth

  14. avatar
    foolonthehill | 6 September 2011 at 7:21 am #

    I did not want that to end!
    Magic is your muse… let it be. the other types of music seem to be other paths for other people. I think there are two types of music:Rock and Pop. Rock is single celled and is free to be manipulated anyway the musician wants it( to suit themselves)and then it divides. Pop is your other “listings”, it has many cells as it is ready made to fit to any “standing” in society.CA..CHING! Money time!! A very frustrating circumstance here Steve. Your heart sounds true to your passion, yet because you have a heart you take the time to try to understand the existence of other peoples taste. The effort you put into this site and your listeners is amazing.

  15. avatar
    Once | 6 September 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Brilliant blog, and I agree with it all, especially the bit about country music (omg). The only classical that’s ever really moved me is Beef-oven’s 7th, 2nd movement…and this, most likely, because it was featured in The Waterdance (cool film), so I associate it with the epic tragedy enacted therein.

    Maybe that’s the problem with classical…they didn’t have videos?!

    I do think that different magic exists for different souls on different levels. Ambiguous, yes, but probably true. To me, the highest form of magic is when people grasp a concept simultaneously – the theory of the 100th monkey. On a base level, making people laugh is a good example.

    Another type of magic for me is sunlight meeting metal, stone or water (I like shiny objects)…I could stare endlessly at the sparkling light. Obviously I have a ways to go. 😉

    Anyway, I loved reading this and found it completely awesome. You do so rock.


  16. avatar
    a listener | 6 September 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Nice! Totally agree. And although I had promised myself to never comment a thing on the internet again as I always regret it the day after, I have to say that you/the Church deliver! You`re right,, sometimes it`s qiute ordinary but then again very often you hit that lost chord and the magic shines. Very few have that ability and I guess that is why I keep listening to Church songs again and again. Very few artists I know of have that in them, the creative spark that fosters magical tunes that for some reason or the other continue to grab my attention again and again, although Porcupine Tree is quite close (before their two last albums which were quite a let down). Anyway, you really are on to something – keep on the good work! Looking forward to your next album.

  17. avatar
    Freddie | 6 September 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Hope the treatment works…hey since you don’t like this stuff, well it is medicine. Perhaps you listened to the same sort of stuff you liked so much that you wore out those bits and now the treatment is that you have to listen to the stuff you don’t like so the other can heal. ;^)

    So often I enjoy the magic in your music. In fact, I just listened to “So Love May Find Us”. The first time I heard that one, I played it over and over…magic…still get carried away by it.

  18. avatar
    . | 6 September 2011 at 9:21 am #

    well said mr. magician
    you’ve cast a unique spell, quite an invention,
    magical music that’s always evolving and listening
    to your dreams and your heart, believing
    it’ll communicate that something that’s been missing
    it sure has worked for me in many of life’s situations
    like yesterday when an arrogant kindred son of perdition
    tried to mock my intelligence in a heated religious discussion
    i thought about pangaea, the song, and its illustrations
    of the hand and the heart and the mind to ease my frustrations,
    and i was taken away to a peaceful place, a cosmic vacation
    protected from the pains of prideful humanity and its subjugation
    his war of words was limited to a skirmish instead of a domination
    while i sat there peacefully correcting his self righteous behaviour
    long live thy music, a beautiful remedy to the human condition

  19. avatar
    Pedro | 6 September 2011 at 10:41 am #

    The new wilco album has it all

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 September 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    even the Church’s videos of the 80s (which I never saw until around 2000 or after) kinda took the magic away from the songs…(sorry, but it’s meant as a compliment) – would rather just listen; feel more in what you hear (more) without the distraction of watching someone else’s visual rendition/ production… there are only a very few good videos that dont’ take away from the music…that actually add something and there are many many many songs that without a video would be nothing. but::::: it is lovely of artists to put videos with their music(s) up ahead of releases so you can listen to them especially since living in the wrong part of the world, apparently – you’ll never know the good stuff even exists without; otherwise “MTV” has pretty much crammed nucky stuff down our throats/ears for years now. As far as classical — the artists you listed: when you think of the times/humanities and that the royal courts’ and/or religions’ were the only other alternative (they had the bucks and commissioned and it was all relgious or chambers music), those composers were magical or at least, stubborn SOBs that did what the wanted/heard and there was a lot of anger/strife in their times, so for those times, their’s was pretty out there. (Had a classical music education via force feed… after my father would put on/play Scottish bagpipes at 5 am on the weekends, by evening it was Lizt…, and we weren’t allowed our own music played at home) Anyway, I think the reason for the classical music being used is that there are certain tones within it that are those that are first redacted out of natural hearing — so to be able to pick those up is to train the ear back. I’ve never understood most Jazz and have always thought you’d have to be bipolar to like it; rap – proud to say I know nothing about except it gives me the heebeegeebees (sp?)and a headache. But and/though, none of the classical is going to compare with your compositions as far as feelings and depth, but in their day, they did bring something to people that wasn’t allowed otherwise, and for that they were true artists (too).

    if maybe you could single out the tones that are trying to be reached within the classical pieces they’ve instructed you to listen to — then just record your own stuff incorporating those same tones (against the lows, etc.) but with more interest/feeling within it?

  21. avatar
    Lioness | 6 September 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Oh Steve boy, I must say this one was quite the MAGICkAL piece of writing! I feel pretty much the same way with only a few exceptions:

    1) shopping = magical experience (I’m a woman. Of course we experience magic when we find THE perfect outfit/shoes/accessory for THE perfect price at THE perfect time.

    2) Race cars = magic. “I feel the NEED for SPEED babay!” (well, sometimes. or often times. or maybe MOST of the time. OH ALRIGHT! All the TIME!!) lol

    3) “or a hedonist in a monastery” What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? Surely you realize the magical connection between spiritual and music????
    <—– you know, there are many rock musicians who actuallY EMBODY this contradiction within their soul/spirit/personality. Jimmy Page was quoted as saying something akin to (and I do paraphrase here), "sometimes I feel as though I would be better off in a monastery". Anthony Kiedis wrote a song entitled, "Funky Monks". Steven Seagal has an album entitled, "Mojo Priest" (that's MAGICAL priest. hmmm…). Your band has an album entitled priest = aura ????? Santana was quoted as saying "… when you play rock music, you're always doing 3 things: you're either swearing, praying, or making love." There is a rock band called Judas Priest. Eric Clapton sang, "I have finally found a way to live… in the presence of the Lord". And last but not least, Jack White seriously thought of entering the seminary before he was a famous rock musician:

    Try reconciling THEM opposites! 🙂

    I don't mean to come across as judgmental, for I surely am not aiming to do that here. My intent is to show the COMPLEXITY of the human soul, and specifally, that of the ARTISTIC TEMPERAMENT. Many artists/poets/musicians are indeed imbued with some type of spiritual energy which only serves to makes their craft more mysterious, and therefore, more magical. And I don't think it's their intent, but rather their 'path' in life, their circumstances, their cards they were dealt… and in dealing with life and all of it's complexities, their artistic temperament delivers 'it' to us in such ways….

    awesomeness 😀 (and yes, that does include YOU)


    • avatar
      Alex | 7 September 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      I think you misinterpreted the “hedonist in a monastery” part. Read again and try to understand and make a connection with the general concept.

      • avatar
        Lioness | 11 September 2011 at 7:13 pm #

        There was no misinterpretation. All connections working just fine.

  22. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 September 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    another thought to Heavy Metal and then hair bands (AquaNet): I think that there were a couple bands wrongly put into that category — had they not, they would have made it better maybe… I mean heavy metal fans hated them, and being labeled heavy metal, others who would have liked them, probably never gave them a listen — only a couple bands I know of, but their lyrics were beautiful and not at all head bashing and they were real musicians, so that category thing is kind of stupid sometimes.

  23. avatar
    monksphere | 6 September 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    You have definitely provided us with some mind blowing magic over the decades. Rabbits pulled from hats, volunteers from the audience cut in two, flowers transfomed into doves, levitations, escapes from the ocean while chained and cuffed, jumbo jets disappeared-now ya see ’em, now ya don’t…. Mesmerized and enchanted I am. The only non musical magic that comes close is a cake doughnut with a chocolate coconut topping eaten in the park on a warm sunny day with the scent of hyacinths on the breeze and swallows swooping nearby. Hope the ear treatment does wonders.

    Take care, Anthony

  24. avatar
    Cocoamo | 6 September 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    We absolutely adore this entry – so well put, just what we would have said on every single count. These little insights into your composing process are just golden.

    There are some ravishingly gorgeous classical works, although they may be called impressionistic or romantic, we suppose. Tchaikovsky has some (even though he milks endings unmercifully). Saint Seans’ Carnival of the Animals has several – the “Aquarium” being one of the most perfect pieces of music ever created (but I put “Naomi” right up there with it), for short little gems of perfection. Perhaps these are cliches to you music experts, but still…

    And then there’s Debussy with a number of mind blowers, one of our favorite being “Dances Sacred and Profane”. He was eccentric – a pal of Edgar Allen Poe, and just as dark and mysterious. He usually wore hats to hide his stranglely shaped head, although he always felt people were staring at it. He was considered quite the disrespectful upstart because he disobeyed the prescribed laws and formulas of classical music. When asked what rules he used to compose, he simply answered – “my own pleasure”. He also said he channeled the music, which adds to his aura of mystery.

    But as far as Mozart and his ilk, we agree – we get an image of people in powdered wigs and tights playing the harpsichord and curtsying, which may be what they did (?).

    Magic does indeed abound though in your music as well as Debussy’s, Tchaikovsky’s and Saint Sean’s, and undoubtedly others of whom we are ignorant (and as you said, in rock-n-roll). And there is magic in working until we are ready to drop, impending thunder storms, red tail hawks (we’re so afraid someone shot ours – they’re gone!), in distant views over rolling fields and forests and in diving into a pool and feeling that first shock of cold crowding out any other thought or sensation. Not to mention in the middle of the night when we do our best work, cranking the synapses until sparks fly – concentrating on abundance and wealth for all, peace, health and prosperity for the earth…gads… we’re lapsing into the written equivalent of lip flapping again though, eh?

    Alrighty then.

    Your Friend in Pennsylvania

    • avatar
      Athanasius Pernath | 6 September 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      yes, cocoamo, we’re made from the same material, i guess. you are just writing down what i was thinking, unfortunately, i couldn’t express it so greatly! Man..”Aquarium”. have ya seen Malick’s “Days Of Heaven”…. or much by Fauré…”In Paradiso”, man…


  25. avatar
    Adam | 6 September 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I get what you’re saying, SK, but I disagree to some extent. I enjoy many kinds of music not in the grand, overarching umbrella of genre typecasting, which I would agree don’t serve up “magic” as their driving concern ($$, of course); I like to think that there are many moments of wonder and amazement within these genres that, when put together, make up my personal musical soundscape. For example, I can listen to John Lee Hooker, Curtis Mayfield, The Outlaws, Thievery Corporation, and The Call one after the other and find magic in their music that provides me a partial soundtrack to the core of my emotions and soul. Just saying…

    • avatar
      Narelle | 7 September 2011 at 10:02 am #

      still occasional play Hurry Sundown…The Outlaws…very uplifting

      • avatar
        Narelle | 7 September 2011 at 10:12 am #

        just had a whoops thought…maybe you meant a different…The Outlaws band…one of the first bands that Gary Duncan played in…who then went onto be part of The Quicksilver Messenger Service

  26. avatar
    Steven Krut | 6 September 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    I hope your treatment works. You see American football pretty accurately really. I lost interest gradually over the years. There are some classical works that are deeply moving. If you haven’t heard it, check out Gorecki’s 3rd symphony. It doesn’t disappoint.

  27. avatar
    Athanasius Pernath | 6 September 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Well…something about emotions n intent…i allow myself a little contradiction. Cocoamo has said it better that i ever could. Maybe it’s a question of socialization…however, my attraction to The Church stems from what I *need* in music and almost never find in rock, and it’s the same as I find in Rachmaninov, funnily. Deep dark warm drone bells…

    I’d love to take you to a great performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps, always evoking a vast tundraic landscape breaking, while white-hot magma is flooding your brain. This is so brutally awesome any metal band sounds like the Wiggles in comparison, so complex it makes Crimson’s collected albums sounds like the Carpenters, while being so immediately accessible and fun….so far from teatime with aunt Abigail as anything…fiery n white n utterly mad.

    Cocoamo mentioned Saint-Saens’ “Aquarium”…an incredible little piece of music made from myriads of little chimes n bubbles, made from light through spraying waters…yeah…that’s a good one!!

    Various movements of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla…. listening to that feels like the universe giving you a blow job right in the middle of the Garden of earthly delights…

    anything by Gustav Mahler…e.g. his infamously famous Adagietto… holy fuck, it’s like he had invented shoegazer in late 19th century vienna…or his whole 9th symphony…makes you feel as if you’re uhnting through a labyrinth with sad memories of the last centuries behind its glass walls…creepy indeed. the ultimate sad/happy…

    György Ligeti creating unheard spaces n galaxies in “Lontano” n “Atmospheres”…what would any Kubrick film be without that man…

    Debussy…”I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it”…”Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes….
    Some people wish above all to conform to the rules, I wish only to render what I can hear. There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” – when piano sounds n instruments transform into mystical beings, when written notes morph into spraying waters, reflections, ripples…

    you know i could go on n on n on…would love to borrow you my ears for a while…

    the “classical” (wtf is that?) music I consider “great” (as oppoed to “nice” or “toffee nosed”) has always crushed any convention possible, gave my ears unheard sounds to explore while staying fresh. a constant rule breaking, discovering, exploring. While 95% of all rock is much more formula/convention than any bar by Mozart…

    • avatar
      Lara | 7 September 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      I’m not big into “Classical” (with some exceptions) but enjoyed reading this. I dig your ability to hear it freshly. How did this stuff become elevator music? The public radio station in my area plays it constantly (mostly the old chestnuts, of course) with the seeming intent of providing the most innocuous content, music that won’t disrupt anyone’s ability to work or shop. When that happens, music becomes anti-music, and that’s tragic.

      Mr. K, hope your magic mind can work some mysterious alchemy on this material. Perhaps it will happen unconsciously. Have read that pain meds, antibiotics, and antidepressants can make Tinnitus worse.

      • avatar
        pernath | 9 September 2011 at 10:31 pm #

        thank you Lara, much appreciated. I can’t help it, music has to create something in my head…evoke something interesting…and then i get totally carried away by it. if it fails, it’s not for me. that’s actually why i am a church fan in the end…

        yesterday, after a long long time…i listened to the beginning of Anton Bruckner’s 7th symphony…it’s like the earth taking a deep breath, before something unspeakable begins…something growing, creating, re-creating before your very eyes/ears….

  28. avatar
    ac | 6 September 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Hey, Steve, adore your music. Re. classical, try romantic era eg. Debussey, Chopin. I agree about blues – mind numbing. Also reggae is another. Waiting for #24!

  29. avatar
    Galamor the Wizard | 6 September 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    What a fantastic rant!
    I laughed aloud heartily….and agreed with just about everything you said!!!
    You mentioned the Beatles which I was playing just last night after a break. You JUST can’t go past their complete genius. McCartney’s solo in Taxman has to be the most thrilling, compelling, intuitive and virtuoso 15 seconds in rock music. Magic indeed.

  30. avatar
    Steve | 6 September 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Sorry to hear ( no pun intended) your tinnitus has led to such a desperate measure.
    Classical is the castor oil of medicinal music.
    It could be worse.
    Imagine a rappy,proggy,bluesy,country mixture bouncing around your noggin.
    Excuse me, there’s a knock at my door.
    Aw fuck, it’s the Interior Decorator.

  31. avatar
    Steve | 6 September 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Now I’m called Steve ??
    It is my name, but where did my Crasher pseudonym go ?

  32. avatar
    Crasher | 6 September 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    Sorry ahem.

  33. avatar
    celticat | 6 September 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    I’m not much on the X factor at all at all, but Emmanuel Kelly brought a tear to my eye. Highly recommended to all to show that music can bring hope and joy and all sorts of other emotions and thought.

    If you wish have a look at:

    If I’ve offended you Steve I apologise but this was lovely. It brought emotions out in me that your music does to this day regularly.

    Love and strength to you my wise friend.

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 7 September 2011 at 7:33 pm #

      i recommend anyone reading my blog to check out that link celticat posted

    • avatar
      DavidP | 7 September 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      thanks for that link celticat

    • avatar
      lisa k | 8 September 2011 at 12:37 am #

      I just clicked this link, and watched Emmanuel. Being American, I didn’t know what X factor was, and when this clip began I thought -Oh yuck it’s like American Idol which I never watch because it’s so sappy. I don’t know if anyone could watch this and not be moved to tears. Every once in a while you see/hear something really special and this boy is certainly that! I had to take a deep breath or 2 after watching him.

    • avatar
      Steven Krut | 8 September 2011 at 8:12 am #

      Man, that was brutal! Amazing guy.

    • avatar
      Narelle | 8 September 2011 at 2:32 pm #

      watched the story/doco of this wonderful family a few weeks ago…thanks for the post…go Emmanuel!!!

  34. avatar
    captain mission | 6 September 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    spoken like a true shaman

  35. avatar
    bigbopper | 6 September 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Hi Steve, you state that you hate 50’s and doo wop. I love the David Neil album and would like to reference “little baby” If this is not doo wop than I’ll eat my shorts. By the way love the song. Just curious if you are paying homage in the song or if you are having a go? My first instinct was to tap my foot, after hearing it sort of laughed like you were making a joke. Again, love the song and entire album.


    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 7 September 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      hey bopper…it is kind of doo woppish i admit…but david frickin’ neil wrote that song…

  36. avatar
    Wilfred Paradise | 6 September 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    please pull the double album out of your hat – it is time – wilfred p

  37. avatar
    Michel | 6 September 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    Happy birthday (soon) Mr Kilbey.
    September, month of my birthday (too).
    This year my present is a subscription to this blog.
    Will also buy the firstatlast Stevrickylbeyneil album, of course.

    Got one too.
    Fridge buzzing appeared one day.
    Gotta learn to live with it, I am afraid.
    No music cure exists unfortunately.
    Only silence cure.
    Which may be difficult for you, as it is for me.
    Because I love your records too much.
    OK I have to learn to live with it.
    So you have to do.
    Tinnitus can disappear or become tolerable if you consider it as a part of your life.
    Just as white hair.
    Thanks for the future music (thanks for the present too).

  38. avatar
    david | 6 September 2011 at 11:37 pm #


    …………..i think it worked…

  39. avatar
    DavidP | 7 September 2011 at 1:21 am #

    I like your intent, your in
    maybe you not listening to the right classical for you
    and some orchestras/conductors/recordings dont do as good as some others
    that can make a real difference I have found
    or maybe just need more time to attune your rocknroll ears to it
    I know it was the case with me when I first started listening to some classical
    there’s some magic there for sure
    cant abide much opera singing etc though or modern classical
    but some of mozart, beethoven and bach i really love and find
    sublime and yes magical
    i generally dont know the names of the pieces though to suggest to you
    um, fur elise and moonlight sonata by beethoven, bits of 7th symphony, bits of the 5th and some other parts of other symphonies by Beety too
    ohh and egmont overture – find a good version of that
    Jupiter symphony by mozzie (that’s mozart), second movement is sublime
    brandenburg concertos by baccy, air on g string too, & some other bits
    some vivaldi
    oh, miserere by allegri
    albinoni’s adagio in g minor
    pachebelle canon in d
    guess i mainly prefer the baroque stuff
    you know they say beethoven had a golden astral body & hence could connect with higher spiritual emotions and put that in his music
    oh yes that intent, magic and the lifting up of man

  40. avatar
    Stephen | 7 September 2011 at 6:22 am #

    The radio is often on when I’m at work and I hear a lot of stuff that I never really wanted to hear the first time around being force-fed to me yet again.

    However a few weeks ago I was treated to a rare exclusive when the new song by Florence & the Machine – ‘What the water gave me’ – came on.

    It’s not often that I feel that I can say that I hear a bona-fide classic nowadays but this particular song ticks a lot of the boxes for me. But what’s the chances that I’ll hear Beady Eye’s ‘Bring the light’ another 20 times before I hear Florence’s song on the radio? Hmm…

  41. avatar
    Rick | 7 September 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Good luck with the tinnitus… I have yet to find a truly effective solution for mine. I try to explain it to others and they just say…”oh.. that must be annoying”… annoying… that doesn’t cover the half of it. I can understand how others have stated they have contemplated suicide just to “alleviate” the noise level. Anyway, hope you and the band tour the US again sometime soon.


  42. avatar
    nickfiction | 7 September 2011 at 6:52 am #

    100 bucks to read a blog? even bono dont charge that . haha

  43. avatar
    surreal eskimo boy | 7 September 2011 at 6:55 am #

    In a dark room it’s not hard to blindly search it’s three dimensions for the light switch so we can see. Life has almost infinite dimensions, it’s rare and difficult to find an expression that switches the light on so we can understand.

    But in either case it’s impossible to stop searching until you find it.

    Unfortunately there’s a lot of abysmal substitutes to trip you up along the way.

  44. avatar
    eekie | 7 September 2011 at 8:57 am #

    When I was little my dad’s classical records were the soundtrack of my imagination. It was my introduction to where music could take me, and pretty damned magical…at least to me. In many ways more magical than any music that’s come after, possibly because it was first and such a revelation.

    Re: the tinnitus treatment — that treatment apparently has a really high success rate for at least reducing symptoms. That’s exciting…I hope it works wonders for you.

  45. avatar
    Cocoamo | 7 September 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Forgot to comment on the super cool image – spoooookeeeee.

    You are so creative and talented. Trooooly awesome!

    Your Friend in Pennsylvania

  46. avatar
    Alex | 7 September 2011 at 11:03 am #

    With my telecaster and a Fender amp I try to conjure up the spirit of a long gone blues player, all the while an ever lasting quest for that magical “the church” guitar tone and sense of timing won’t let me go to sleep, only dream. Dial in the knobs left and right, bright and opaque, high and low, full of life or barren. In my quest I meet loud demons, quite angels and nylon strings. I see (and hear) ebony, and ivory. The doom of gravity will always be the force pulling me down, and in sunny days I will welcome it. gloomy days make me despise it. There is garbage in a package, magic in individual notes. Once they enter your soul they never leave. The magic to me lies in the sound, in the tone, in the timing, and no matter where I look, what stone I turn, heavy or soft, I know I will never be able to fully find it, for the true magic, the one that teases our spirits, the cosmic one, will always be outta reach.

  47. avatar
    serpent | 7 September 2011 at 11:53 am #

    I like Ny and crazy horse, dont get too close the speakers, rust never sleeps, always liked your stuff stevey, its got an edge, your last tour blew me away, classical music helps me sleep.

  48. avatar
    jeremiah | 7 September 2011 at 11:54 am #

    but what if there is magic in the mundane
    as well as emotional extremes?
    maybe you need to find some big love for the american college boys
    and the 19th c sufragette.
    maybe its got to do with the neural patterns that music resonates with and retraces until it becomes familiar, whatever the style…???

  49. avatar
    Lady Di | 7 September 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    and we have you! Lucky us.
    Love the music posts sk.

    Love Di

  50. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 September 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I grew up listening to classical music – opera, chamber music, full orchestral music, acappella, vocal, major choral works, Madrigals, you name it, I’ve heard it all … and I LOVE it! It can be utterly mesmerizing, intoxicating, it takes you away…

    Classical music is an acquired taste, it’s not for everyone, and that’s A-OKAY.

  51. avatar
    herman the German | 7 September 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Music is meant to create a certain feeling in the listener – ah, E A Poe would be proud, ‘cos that is straight out of the “Philosophy of Composition”. He was talking about poems and short stories of his, which were often brilliant, but Kilbey’s words compare on all levels.

  52. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 September 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    isn’t Howard Devoto punk?

  53. avatar
    no magic answer | 7 September 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Seems to me that cut up classical music as a tinnitus management technique is a bit iffy…you hear music and cant help yourself in seeing if it floats your boat.
    Tinnitus is most commonly caused by caused by long term exposure to loud noise (or music). The tiny hairs in the inner ear, known as stereocilia, become damaged and csn self oscillate, giving the perception of sound where there is none.
    A pink noise generator playing at low volume while you sleep would be just as , if not more effective.
    Pete Townshend and Farnesy have age and (mostly)noise related hearing loss.Im surprised there arent more. You are in 50% good company there!

  54. avatar
    Curtis | 8 September 2011 at 3:53 am #

    I’m not sure that most popular musicians think a lot about the effect they’re producing in their audience beyond trying to induce the purchasing impulse. Of those who do seek to create emotion, most work with a limited palette of clichés – feel-good anthems, shallow sentimentality, political outrage…

    You have the ability to craft words and melodies that touch the listener’s feelings in places that most music doesn’t tread, rock or otherwise. For example, just a few lines from one of my favorite early songs:

    “Another morning we’ll be gone
    I start the car for three mile beach
    Or maybe Avalon, across the water”

    This particular combination of words and music produces in me such a complex emotional compound, containing elements of wistfulness, hope, escape, exploration, and relief. An incredible moment in an already incredible song, from an incredible album.

    And there are so many others, and they’ve never stopped coming. It really is magic, Steve. Thank you so much for seeing it through.

  55. avatar
    Jonny Hollywood | 8 September 2011 at 7:40 am #

    said by a true magician among the spirits 🙂

  56. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 8 September 2011 at 9:48 am #

    So many have already joined in and I believe there is still many people waiting to voice their opinion on this blog entry of yours. You surely created a excellent conversation piece. I suggest to let it run its course a little longer. I think there may be more people joining in on this adventure in music.

    Guess I was kinda right at the beginning that this was one of those. ‘epic’ blog entries you’ve gone and created. Now, who is the real magician…your excellency. Great work as always – SK

    Darrin K.

  57. avatar
    bc | 9 September 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Today I was subjected to “smooth jazz” which evokes in me a sense of boredom & apathy. Had to run fast…humming a hives tune to shake it off.

  58. avatar
    PlunderMind | 10 September 2011 at 12:18 am #

    Two words: Claude Debussy…Some of his stuff is otherwordly…

  59. avatar
    hellbound heart | 11 September 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    I listen to classical music from time to time and in its ebb and flow and tides of composition I find great beauty….

  60. avatar
    Mallory Weiss | 12 September 2011 at 8:29 am #

    there it goes again…”in spades but never in hearts”
    ouch sk that hurt
    if this was a book I d slam it shut and walk away — I d find this page again
    once I read the introduction was sort of dreading to move one..will there be “it is great after all and I realized what I’ve been missing and so should you” or something to that effect — and thought I wouldn’t argue only silently disagree — I always felt sort of embarrassed that classical music leaves me cold and those who “get it” are somehow superior — tried and failed to make myself love it..with rock it was like that obligatory arrow shot from a generic Western flick — too fast to see it, you only hear a whoosh and it’s already vibrating slightly, stuck in tricuspid valve — the victim stares in disbelief for a second before keeling over.. After that 99.9% of my crushes were musicians (how very unoriginal, I know) most importantly, I credit 2 rock songs with saving me from taking the easy way out — almost happened — we all have this kind of stories I imagine — 1 song well known and 1 never-released not even properly recorded, only an atrocious quality live bootleg but the intensity is off the charts and if you forgive me i’d post a link here..

  61. avatar
    Anonymous | 28 September 2011 at 3:27 am #

    I think this is your blog entry re your hearing issue and listening to tapes. I’ve been looking for it — bad short-term memory… and titles and stuff like that don’t stick with me, but: You know what you said, that to you, though it is the tones within the music tapes you’re listening to that are training/correcting the tinunitis (so sorry – it will improve, I know it will, really…), but — and if this is just out there stupid, forgive me; you know what you said that it can be boring/etc. — the tapes/therapy, well —
    I was thinking when I first read that blog and maybe (if not, just ditch this and again, I apologize for the time spent to read stuff) But — if anyone could update/mimick the music tones and make it interesting/better, I think you could (and joy allows greater healing than listening to stuff that isn’t so); and though you’d kinda sorta be the “poster boy” for a new therapy — like it helpled you, and you are so well known that all the other musicians/other people inflicted with the same problem would be grateful and though not your intended path of giving great music to the world (thank you.), it could be a whole new wonderful gift. And there are lots of organizations regarding this — your copyright of the newer music teamed with [them] would be a new source of revenue while at the same time doing something else good for the world… and in another way, further promotion, cuz once they heard this (a whole nother audience), I’m certain, they’d follow to all your other great stuff. I don’t know, it was a thought and at first I thought, gosh how crazy… but when you keep thinking about it — maybe? Anyway, if this if so out there, it’s annoying, it’s not intended to be.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.