The Bobby Rock Newsletter #25 (9-15-2021) - Reinvention
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #25 (9-15-2021) - Reinvention
Greetings Everyone -
Great to have you guys back for another edition. Been a hell of a nostalgic week, reflecting on a bunch of memories in the wake of a landmark sobriety anniversary (as discussed last week). We’re talkin' a staggering passage of time here, which means (hopefully) lotsa personal growth and, of course, a number of personal and professional reinventions along the way. And so, with this "reinvention filter” in place, we proceed this week.
In other news, the Delta-COVID sitch has been affecting the touring calendar. Still, we look forward to a big outdoor show with Foreigner tomorrow night in Spokane. Just taking it all one gig at a time for now!
Pic by Dustin Jack
In This Issue:
A Radical Reinvention: With “Reinvention" as our theme, we delve into another “Into as of Late” record that I think you might find interesting: a (mostly) all-female tribute to my boys, Slaughter, but with quite a unique twist. Read on…
Reinvention Reflection: Some of our coolest creative ideas are those that involve reimagining some of our greatest influences. Let’s ponder...
Pushing and Pulling: When in doubt, here’s a time-tested approach to resistance training that can’t fail. In fact, it remains the most common approach I take to a near-daily regimen of hitting the iron, even to this day.
Into As of Late…
Kari Wahlgren Presents:
SlaughtHER - Volume 1
I wanted to take a deeper dive into an “Into as of Late" record I’ve been groovin’ on, just because I think its backstory is so compelling. It speaks to several interesting themes:
1) Follow the muse, even if you‘re not sure where she’s leading you;
2) Recognize that your unique journey earns you an equally unique qualification to reinvent or personalize pre-existing work that might have been created under an entirely different pretense;
3) The singular power of a vision that you find enthralling can ultimately eradicate any barriers that might pop up en route to its manifestation.
Now, let’s take a look at a project that exemplifies all three of these ideas:
Ok, so maybe I’m a little biased here, but… this is a kick-ass record.
As the project name implies, SlaughtHer is essentially an all-female tribute to the music of Slaughter. However, unlike the conventional tribute band approach where the goal is usually to replicate the spirit, vibe, and feel of the band to whom you are paying tribute, this is something completely different: an all-out reinvention of Slaughter’s classic tunes, performed in shockingly unexpected, yet ingenious, ways.
Kari Wahlgren, the project mastermind, is a veteran LA-based voice actor with an extensive background in musical theater. (Translation: she can pipe!) Story goes, Kari discovered Slaughter later in life—2016 to be exact—fell in love with their music, and made a quick study of their entire catalog. Soon thereafter, she thought it might be fun to start a Slaughter tribute band, except, as she explains, she couldn’t sing like Mark Slaughter (hey, who can?). But then, she had a vision: What if the project performed Slaughter songs, but in musical styles more organic to her background? Indeed, what if?
And so it was. Over the next couple years, Kari would put on several LA-area shows as SlaughtHER, where this eclectic musical blending merged with an engaging, spoken word-style narrative about her life, the discovery of this music at a critical juncture in it, and an ongoing journey where creative impulse fueled mental fortitude. And this is what led to the colossal undertaking of putting together this project (two volumes, second one out in 2022), which would go on to include (thus far), over 30 musicians, recorded in over 20 different studio environments.
Imagine… “The Wild Life” as a piano trio jazz tune; “Up All Night” as a funky R&B number that’s mashed-up with the INXS classic, “Need You Tonight;" “Fly to the Angels” as a stunning acapella piece, performed by a full choir; “Mad About You” with a dark, Trent Reznor-style production (her video for this is a must-see); or even “Love is Forever,” stripped down to just a single voice and ukulele. And even when the tunes are performed in more of a classic hard rock style, there are unique variations to the tracks, based largely on the different lead singers featured.
Speaking of different lead singers, Kari—who also produced the record—opted to “share the wealth” and hand over lead vocal duties on all but three tracks, based on who specifically she felt could bring the most interesting slant to each song. Same thing with all of the other instrumentalists. Every drummer, bassist, guitarist, etc., was handpicked by Kari on a song-by-song basis. This gives the record an uncommon depth and authenticity with regard to the variety of performances she was able to weave together with this range of talent.
With Mark and Dana a few years back. So great to see my
brother’s music immortalized in such a cool way!
An interesting paradox to the project, for me, is this: by completely overhauling all of these Slaughter tunes, it is actually paying a greater homage to their music, as opposed to if it were mere replication. Why? Because these treatments showcase—even more profoundly—how many truly well-written songs are in the Slaughter catalog! This record is tangible proof that their music transcends both genre and era. Most listeners would have no clue these songs were originally written and recorded by a “hair metal“ band. Simply put, Kari’s creative twists and turns illuminate the old adage that, “A good song is a good song,” no matter how it’s played.
This adage actually reminds me of an old Vinnie Vincent peculiarity where, as I recall, most of his (skull-crushing) music was initially conceived on just an acoustic guitar with him singing along, John Denver style! I say, it's a universal songwriting staple: if a song can’t “get across” in this most basic, bare-bones form, blasting it through a bunch of Marshalls won’t save it. And as it turns out, such is the case for so many tunes in Slaughter‘s catalog. These songs hold up exceedingly well in a startling range of styles.
Botton line: If you are a Slaughter fan, you will likely appreciate hearing their music reimagined in so many different ways. If you’re not especially familiar with Slaughter, it won’t matter: you will likely enjoy the variety of well-written songs, produced and performed in such a convincing, heartfelt way.
All of which leads us to…
Think about something that lights you up—especially that which is out of your wheelhouse in terms of what you normally create.
1) What interesting or unexpected twist might you bring in to reinvent it in your own unique way?
2) Who would be some of your first-choice collaborators to assist with bringing this thing to life?
PS. As I ponder this myself, I’m reminded that most of what I’ve recorded and performed as a solo artist has been this eclectic merging of classic hard rock (which I grew up on) with more adventurous progressive, jazz, fusion, and funk-style influences (which I’ve gone on to study and enjoy since the old days at Berklee). Decades later, this style remains most organic to me, as far as where I gravitate as a composer/producer, as well as a drummer.
PSS: This idea is not limited to only those activities we typically deem as creative or artistic. Perhaps it’s in another realm for you: teaching, parenting, business, a martial arts or yoga practice, etc.
Let’s mix that shit up and create something new and cool!
Pushing and Pulling for Super Progress!
One of the most important aspects of a successful lifting regimen is proper recuperation time between workouts. Any given body part (with the exception of abs and calves) will require at least 48 hours of rest before you return to the gym to blast it again. If you’re training your whole body each workout, then this is a pretty easy directive to follow; simply allow for at least one full day off between workouts and you should be fine.
However, if you’re training your upper body over two different routines, you could be overtraining certain body parts if you’re not mindful of what all muscle groups are involved with each exercise. For example, if you train chest and triceps on one day, then back and shoulders the next, the shoulders are actually getting hammered two days in a row, due to their involvement with every chest movement. This is where the pushing and pulling concept can really help.
Pushing movements are those exercises that involve chest, shoulders and triceps. Pulling movements are those exercises that involve back, biceps and traps. Create two different routines around these two different types of movements, and you should never have issues with overtraining. Add some abdominal exercises to your pushing workout, and some leg exercises to your pulling workout, and you’ll have two different routines that cover the entire body and can be performed on back-to-back days without any issue.
Put it all together, and this is what a killer weekly regimen might look like:
Monday – Pushing movements, plus abs;
Tuesday – Pulling movements, plus legs;
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Pushing movements, plus abs;
Friday – Pulling movements, plus legs;
Weekend – Off
1. Don’t forget to integrate three or four 20 to 30 minute cardio sessions each week, like treadmill, stationary bike or even a brisk walk. You could add your cardio to the end of each workout (always after lifting), and/or do some on your “off” days.
2. Be sure to switch things up regularly and utilize different exercises so your pushing and pulling routines are constantly changing. This prevents the body from getting too acclimated to a set regimen, and ensures that you’ll keep getting great results.