Saturday, April 7, 2012

Of Loud and Nine-Elevens:Two Fathers Gone

My ears started ringing when I was a freshman in college. I knew nothing of tinnitus. All I knew was that my ears were ringing and it was driving me crazy—especially my left one. The otolaryngologist—that’s fancy talk for the ear, nose and throat doctor—introduced me to what he called “my little friend who’d be with me for life”. Tinnitus. I freaked. He said I’d learn to live with it. And I have…along with the almost 70% hearing loss in my left ear.
It happens when you start playing drums at eleven years old. Oh, and it happens when you keep company with musical cohorts who amplify their sounds. That's me...hidden behind the cymbal above--backing up Louise M. who handily won our high school talent show when I was a sophomore. My band had just finished our number...Brother Louie, a Stories cover song and a couple of us just remained on stage to back up Louise. I kid you not, my hair was almost as big as the cymbal concealing it.
I don’t begrudge Jim Marshall for my hearing loss. I loved every minute of banging my Slingerland drums amidst loud and sloppy-ass electric guitar players and Hammond organ-Leslie speaker piping keyboard fumblers. We were making music and the guitar players were more often than not, playing their riffs through a Marshall amplifier. The idea of “waiting for tubes to warm up” is something that musicians today I suppose, are clueless about.
Marshall began as a drummer and eventually became a music store owner and then ultimately, the founder of Marshall Amplification. You’ll be indifferent to the news of his death I suppose—unless you played a guitar through one of his amps—or like me, sat behind a set of drums with bilateral Marshalls rattling your noggin. Oh, but maybe not…if you've enjoyed the guitar riffs from the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix. Jim Marshall, the Father of Loud, passed away on April 5th. He was eighty-eight.
I’ve never owned a Porsche. Most people who know me realize that if and when I delve into that level of capriciousness and impractical car ownership, it will manifest in the guise of some pre-1989 Mercedes SL type. But I have owned a half dozen Volkswagens. Hardly a Porsche consolation, it’s a laughable attempt to connect oneself to the legacy of Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the famed marque and also designer of the original Volkswagen.
But it was grandson of Ferdinand, son of Ferry…Ferdinand Alexander Porsche who accelerated the trajectory of Porsche to its commercial success today. And the vehicle in which he navigated the climb? “Butzi” Porsche was the father of the 911.
Grandson of Ferdinand and son of Ferry Porsche; Ferdinand Alexander was also called Home this week. Jesus moved John Delorean’s ass to the cheap seats once word was in the Butzi was en route. My bias says that by the time the third generation of the founder of something Great comes along, their contributions may be questionable. There have been exceptions and I’d say Ferdinand Alexander Porsche would be one. There’s no question that the 911 became the platform for Porsche greatness—the accelerator and magnifier of the  Porsche brand in all ways…design aesthetics-performance and profitability. Butzi Porsche, the Father of the 911, passed away on April 5th. He was seventy-six.

Onward. In solitude sans the Florida holiday-ing LFG. Avec ringing ears.


Oh, and enjoy the Marshall amplifier scene from Spinal Tap. It’s one-louder.


Anonymous said...

Out of charity to his memory, I assume without knowing that he had nothing to with the Cayenne, Panamera, or latest 911.

GP said...

I must be old: The memory of the convertible VW Cabriolet craze & over-hearing one of the sorority girls say: "But daddy, I must have a Cabriolet or my sisters won't love me..." I doubt that was entirely true -- and much has changed since then. But I still sense that the cute little VW, Porsche... are best left to (i.e., seen to be driven by) our better sex.

JTS said...

I'm waiting for the ringing to stick around more than a few post concert days one of these times. The risk you take when you have a preference for being legs against the stage for bands like The Chariot and such.

Anonymous said...

And now, Thomas Kincade.

Say what you will, the guy was 54 and the Times figures it quite likely that his artwork hung in one home in 20 in this country. Not everybody respects Ralph, either. Not everybody admires Ray Kroc or Walt Disney. One in Twenty.

Never mind that he was 54 and died of apparently natural causes.

Vince Van Gawk

Gail, northern California said...

Even though you are sans your little golden-haired girl, have a lovely Easter Sunday.

Dustin B. said...

Sorry to hear about Mr. Marshall. I was unaware of his passing.

I am sitting about 5 feet away from my Marshall JCM 800. It's a 2x12, and I assure you it has plenty of power. Can't imagine playing out of a half stack or worse, a double stack (or, gasp, a triple like Eric Clapton used to) - I can understand the hearing loss on your end.

Well acquainted with waiting for tubes to warm up, even though I came of age in the time of "solid state" amps. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Anonymous said...

Look whoes back... I've been inspired.

Anonymous said...

Do you reckon your friend who'll be with you for life is more loyal since you ride around with your top off? We've only been whizzing like that for a few generations...

Jean Pierre de Cabriolet

ADG said...

AnonCayenne…I agree.

GP…there are some readers of this blog that would debate the “better sex” assignment.

JTS…yep. My ears are ringing like crazy this morning. Not from anything I’ve done in the last decade.

AnonThomasKincadeVanGawk…all I can say for Kincade is that he laughed all the way to the bank. When I ponder him and his “work” … I come up with a bad mosh pit of televangelism and that white guy with the big teased out afro who in the 70’s had that show on Public Television where he taught budding artists how to paint tacky ass pictures. Light one up. For Kincade.

GailNorCal…my golden-hair has now announced that she’s also too busy to see my next weekend as well.

Dustin B. …Wear ear plugs. But rock on just the same.

ConsortioGentlemanicusAgrarias…I’m gratified that you are back. But USE SPELL CHECK before you post your stories. Write ‘em in a WORD document first.

AnonymousTopDown…Good question. And my answer for the top-down question is the same for … air travel, seasonal allergies (which right now are kicking my ass), quiet versus ambient noise, spicy food, indoor/outdoor temperatures, snorkelling to twenty-foot depths on one breath, kissing like a teenager or hoovering certain body parts, bong inhale velocity and breath holding before the big, smoky release—ALL of the above have some ju-ju esque correlation to the ear ringing. But none, through any well controlled experiment, can be said to be unequivocally causative. Causation—Correlation … always tricky.

Death Bredon said...

Love the blog!

Death Bredon said...

Love the blog!