The Torres Project

The Torres Project

Layla cover

 

 

Every time I see my son flip his Bieber bangs, i'm reminded of my dad's black and white childhood photo albums where he is sporting an Elvis-like greasy 'rebel without a cause' pompadour with a side of complimentary side burns. Much like when The Beatles' sported their adorably goofy mop tops on the Ed Sullivan show. Which brings me back to when i saw Michael Jackson for the first time on live TV as a five year old. His voice was clear and soulful, every part of his body was a perfectly well synchronized dance that would absorb and gracefully express every beat of "Billie Jean". Winding up with a finger point to the sky and a high pitched 'woo!', he would rhythmically hike up his pants and introduce the 'Moonwalk' to the rest of the world! I was mesmerized. I'm not old enough to have witnessed the Moon Landing, but the Moon Walk was pretty bad ass. I immediately begged my mother to perm my prince charming coif into a full blown Jerry Curl with the intention/delusion that i too could break down a cardboard box, hoist my ghetto blaster over my left shoulder and head over to the local park to break dance with the other wannabe's.

 

The 90's began with a  leaping gazelle-like creature that would stick it's tongue out in full Gene Simmonsy glory, only to fake a 'slam dunk' and with his left hand 'posterize' his victims with a swift right hand scoop to score game winning clutch shots. He was known as 'his Airness'. Everyone wanted to be Like Mike. By this point i was resenting my mom for A))not naming me Michael B)not being of African decent and C)not sporting a Jerry Curl.

 

I soon began to realize and accept that my chances in the NBA or MTV were slim to none. It seemed like everyone in high school was chasing dreams of greatness. Though intimidated by that, the future didn't matter to me as much as what i had discovered through an Armani wearing, British guitar god who was being interviewed on 'Entertainment Tonight' by the lovely Mary Hart. The interview showed flashbacks of his stints with The Yardbirds, Cream, and an impressive clip of him ripping a stinging solo for 'Layla'. A song he had written for a woman who's attention he was desperately trying to get. That woman was George Harrison(quiet Beatle/his best friend)'s wife(Patty Boyd Harrison). As soon as they showed the live and unplugged MTV album clip, that was dedicated to the memory of his son Connor (who had just died recently) and won Album of the Year at the Grammy's, i was sold. This wasn't Milli Vanilli or Vanilla Ice, this was beyond 'making a quick buck with trendy pop teeny bopper' ditties. This was the type of well crafted soul music that could transcend time through influence and inspiration.

 

The 90's(much like the 60's and early 70's) was a great time for this type of music. The Seattle Grunge Scene, Metallica,  and Radiohead were some of the acts that ruled the airwaves. Amongst the heavily driven guitars, aggressive drum beats, thumping basslines and screaming vocals, one song stood out like a sore thumb for me: "Tears in Heaven" a deeply personal song about the unbearable loss Eric Clapton had suffered. Witnessing him perform so eloquently about such a tragic loss, inspired me to research his music, his story, and most importantly the influences that shaped him along the way. His words, life story and music opened me up to an entire universe of sour notes, sweet notes and the value of their contrast. Even though I may never get a chance to thank him in person, here's my attempt:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTorresProject?feature=mhum

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