Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rock 'n Roll Bookmarks

A meaningful connection

doesn't always have to be...

a human one!

Rock 'n Roll Bookmarks

Listening to music and going to live concerts has always been a big part of my life.

From Aerosmith

Aerosmith Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer

and Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy

to Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister A.J. Pero, Mark "The Animal" Mendoza, Dee Snider, Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda, Jay Jay French

right through to The Who

The Who John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend

They've all given me
such memorable snapshots in time.
And every single band and solo artist I've come across along my lifeline dance has been
nothing but a trusting and inspirational co-pilot.

And believe it or not, they're all still right here with me to this very day. Every one of them steadfast, helping to create
brand new memories.

In the car, in the clubs

or even in the headphones,
you couldn't ask for better company.

To me, those memorable moments, those snapshots in time are really bookmarks.

Rock 'n roll bookmarks in fact!

A time-stamp embedded within the fabric of my being. Partnerships connecting segments of my life to my favorite rock 'n roll hero's.

And of course it doesn't only
have to happen with rock 'n roll:
it occurs with any genre of music really.

Country, easy listening, classic rock,

saxophone jazz, whatever...
I have marks created
by almost every style of music.

But with me, rock usually rules the day.

Mostly it's complete albums and individual songs, but every once in awhile I'm transported elsewhere merely by hearing

the very first few notes of certain songs.

For instance, Led Zeppelin's song

Over The Hills And Far Away
from their Houses of The Holy album.

Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy album cover 1973

For some strange reason, I've associated it with the beginning of the fun season, the party season. To me, it signals the start of the wonderful Spring and Summer weather.

It's really weird isn't it?

This certain song seems to have a life all it's own with me. I find myself opening up
to this very special bookmark
year in and year out without fail.

I don't really feel as though the good times are allowed to roll until I hear that song come bristling down my car antenna into the radio, then vibrating out through the speakers.

And unbelievably, I almost always hear it right at the perfect time, while I'm in the midst of the most magnificent of pre-Spring days. It's one of the most anticipated high points of the year that I've had on a consistent basis, and lemme tell ya, it never ever lets me down. EVER!

And it's affects even extend into the drop dead of winter as well. I always seem to feel a bit warmer whenever it comes over the radio.

It's just so neat.

The same effect occurs when I hear the beginning notes of Jimmy Buffett's perfection... Margaritaville.

Jimmy Buffett Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes 1977

Too awesome.

Does this kind of flashback episode thing ever happen with any of you guys?

I'll just give you a small sampling of the more ingrained partnerships of life and music I've come to embrace along my line of life thus far.

Hopefully while you're reading this you'll be reminded of some of your own bookmarks that you've come to embrace over the years. I'm so curious to know what they are, and the why that's behind them.

These first two albums will probably always

hold the most meaning for me,
for the simple fact that they lit the fuse
to a life long rock 'n roll explosion.

They were the very first albums that I spent my hard earned paper route money on when
I was a kid. I'd say right around 1973,
which would put me at about 12 years of age.

And don't laugh either,
but these two guys were my very first
rock 'n roll hero's.
My first rock 'n roll bookmarks!

Pretty neat huh?

Well this first guy needs absolutely no introduction whatsoever.

C'mon, I could probably end this story right here. Yes Elvis Presley, The King. To be more specific
it was Elvis' 1968 comeback show.

Elvis Presley 1968 comeback show special

This muthafucka was by far the coolest person alive for me, at this time anyway. This '68 show was just so amazing and I still
listen to it to this very day.

The cd version has a lot more of the recorded show included because way back when, they were unable to fit the entire show on a single LP.
(Long Playing vinyl album for you youngin's)

Technology huh?
It was really a huge rush to hear that new unheard material the first time around.

The second was the man himself,
the man in black,

He played a show for the inmates at the
San Quentin Penitentiary back in 1969.

Johnny Cash live at San Quentin prison 1969

And it was this recording that reinforced my reasons for becoming a fan when I first heard
his unmistakable voice
and bad ass attitude over the radio.

Awesome stuff!

Every time I hear a JC song it always reminds me to count my lucky stars that my parents went ahead and named me plain 'ole Tommy,
and not A Boy Named Sue.

Oh man, how fucked up would that have been? Johnny was way cool!

Now don't get me wrong, I love so many other musicians, bands and albums than what I'm about to mention, but for some reason these certain few always come to mind first,
and to the rescue for that matter,
even though they may not even be
my most overall favorites.

But they all came into my life during some sort of high... or low... point in my life, thus creating an instant connection between that moment & that music! And in an instant, my brain was filled with yet another unforgettable memory, that I will NEVER forget. So... fucking cool isn't it!!!???

Right place... right time... and bang...

... connection made, insert bookmark!

So those snapshots are now and forever saved, partnered up with each other. It's really so amazing how the human mind works isn't it? Neuro Associative Conditioning I believe it's called. Something developed by yet another favorite of mine... Tony Robbins.

These next albums I'm about to mention were pretty much the cornerstone of my adolescence.

During those endless hours of hanging out downstairs in my Batcave of a basement, with poster-plastered walls, LP needle riding round and round, and ripping out the most intense air guitar moves ever. Long before Guitar Hero was so much as a thought within the creator's mind.

That fuckin' guy probably wasn't even born yet!

Tommy Mondello at the tail end of his basement days... my Batcave!

All of them picked me up, kicked my ass,
and of course they were always
there for me through thick and thin.

I know you guys must have your own go-to list
of vinyl friends dont'cha?

Do you still call on them at all,
or have you moved on?

Me, well I freely admit that they are all still a big part of my life. I give the new music a listen, but my original circle of musical mayhem remains abundant and strong. Similar to your circle of childhood friends. They really can't be replaced now can they? Forgotten yes, but not replaced.

Here's pretty much the nucleus to my childhood rock 'n roll nirvana. Beginning with a
John Lennon single called Instant Karma.
That rocked me at an early age.

John Lennon How fuckin' cool is he!!

And then...

The Beatles...Best Of albums.

The red one that covered

The Beatles 1962-1966

... and the blue one covering

The Beatles 1967-1970

The best of Jethro Tull.
The M.U. stands for Musician's Union.

Jethro Tull M.U. The Best of Jethro Tull 1976

The Rolling Stones... Hot Rocks.

The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1971

Deep Purple... Made In Japan.

Deep Purple Made in Japan 1972

Ted Nugent... Double Live Gonzo...

Ted Nugent Double Live Gonzo 1978

... and Cat Scratch Fever.

Ted Nugent Cat Scratch Fever 1977

The Doors... first album The Doors...

The Doors 1967

... and LA Woman.

The Doors L.A. Woman 1971

Aerosmith's first album Aerosmith...

Aerosmith's first album Aerosmith 1973

... and Toys In The Attic.

Aerosmith Toys in the Attic 1975

Lynyrd Skynyrd... Gold & Platinum.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Gold & Platinum 1979

And most of the songs from these three
Styx albums, The Grand Illusion...

Styx The Grand Illusion 1977

... Cornerstone...

Styx Cornerstone 1979

... and Paradise Theatre.

Styx Paradise Theatre 1981

Of course these weren't the only albums and bands I was listening to during this incredible time of my life, but they were
more or less my constants.

I always got rock solid results from them every time I placed that needle down! Every time!

Toys In The Attic turned out to be my favorite to play whenever I decided to wash my filthy first car. You remember that beauty right...

And without a doubt, whenever I so much as think about Aerosmith's first offering, I always recall a friend of mine named Keith Warnock who was shot and killed when we were teenagers.

This was one of his favorite albums.

Tommy Mondello's drunken tribute to Keith Warnock on Keith's favorite album
This was one of my friend Keith's favorite albums.
He was learning how to play the drums... but he was killed in early 1980.
At the time, after several tears and many beers,
I put this album on my turntable and remembered my friend Keith.
We had more laughs in science class at Port Richmond H.S.
then some people have in a fuckin' life time! How are teacher,
Mr. Tropp, put up with us I'll never know... LoL
I tried my hardest to rid myself of this bookmark for a spell,
but I've come to embrace it over the years!
Cheers Keith!!

That's a tough one to deal with but the vision
of Steven Tyler lashing out...

... really does ease the pain.
Especially that Live Bootleg version.

I absolutely love to have these images just snap to attention every time the albums and songs are heard. It's really just so amazing
how they show up crystal clear.

These next albums all bring me right back to one of our favorite hangouts of all time. A nightly meeting place we so elegantly referred to
as the Van Name brook.

Tommy Mondello's teenage wasteland & hangout years before the guard rails, The Van Name Ave brook

That's right, it was nothing more than a stupid cement brook wall at the corner of Netherlands Avenue and Van Name Avenue back in good 'ole Staten Island, New York.

Smack dab in the middle of our own
little private teenage wasteland.

Where hopes and dreams were dashed on a nightly basis, and I shit you not, that these several albums place my feet right back in those very steps I took so many years ago at that wall.

Where drinking beers, playing Ultimate Frisbee and trying to kiss your favorite crush whenever possible were the only things on our minds.
As it should be at that age!
(Oh man I was such a loser
at that kissing your crush thing... LoL)

Listen 'n learn youngster's.

Aerosmith Rocks 1976

Yes... Fragile...

Yes Fragile 1971

Yes The Yes Album 1971

Rush All the World's a Stage 1976

Rush A Farewell to Kings 1977

Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell 1977

Black Sabbath Paranoid 1970

... Vol 4...

Black Sabbath Vol 4 1972

Black Sabbath Sabotage 1975

Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy 1976

The Who Who's Next 1971

... Quadrophenia...
(My all-time “go to” album... still to this day!)

The Who Quadrophenia 1973

... and Who Are You.

The Who Who Are You 1978

Amazing nights they were right?
Every single one of them!

I mean those nights of hanging out were when none of us had even the thought

of a grown-up worry or fret.

Those moments used to carry so much weight and importance to us back then didn't they?

For me they did.

What teenage kid could ever possibly believe that they would one day be 52 years old? And that those so called important situations

and half-drunken buzzed hours we were enjoying would pretty much mean
absolutely nothing down the road of life?

None of us!

But go ahead, you try and tell a 16 year old just that. Good luck, lemme know how you make out. Those nights of hanging out meant
everything to us didn't they? And how silly
do we all feel now... LoL

It's a wonderful feeling
being innocent again isn't it!!

The next handful were huge during the softball/stickball years and when I moved into my first apartment at 19. I bled these albums day in and day out.

Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell 1980

... Born Again...

Black Sabbath Born Again 1983

... and Never Say Die.

Black Sabbath Never Say Die 1978

Aerosmith Draw The Line 1977

... and Live Bootleg.

Aerosmith Live Bootleg 1978

Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz 1980

Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman 1981

Jim Morrison & The Doors An American Prayer 1978

The Doors Absolutely Live 1970
the 1980 version.

The Doors Greatest Hits 1980

Roger Daltrey McVicar soundtrack 1980

Pete Townshend Empty Glass 1980

AC/DC Back In Black 1980

Led Zeppelin... lV (ZoSo).

Led Zeppelin Four 1971 (ZoSo)

Judas Priest British Steel 1980

The Joe Perry Project Let The Music Do The Talking 1980

Bob Dylan Greatest Hits 1967

Foreigner Four 1981

Along with a bunch of songs from
Bad company and a song by
Manfred Mann's Earth Band called
Lies (Through The 80's)
from their Chance album.

Just the most amazing memories, all of them.

From speeding down South Avenue back in Staten Island at eight o'clock in the morning on our way to a softball game in Travis at the ASA softball fields with Sabbath blasting from the car speakers with Mike B, I can almost feel the rush of wind hitting me in the face as I type...

... to the hours and hours of pondering what the fuck I was going to make of my life while listening to Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan's

mind-bending poetry and lyrics.

Truth be told, I'm still pondering... LoL

I get fucking goosebumps when I think about those bookmarks. As I'm sure you do as well, about your own certain memories right?

It's such a wonderful feeling knowing how alive I was, or at least I felt I was, at such a young age. Too neat!

Then there was the rock club daze.

The Rock Palace
The Century Inn
The Factory
all residing in Staten Island.

The Fountain Casino
The Colonel's Garter
The Playpen Lounge
The Birchhill Night Club
in New Jersey
and of course
L'amours Rock Club in Brooklyn

There were many others,
but these were the mainstays.

AC/DC High Voltage 1976

AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 1981

... Powerage...

AC/DC Powerage 1978

... and Highway To Hell.

AC/DC Highway To Hell 1979

Twisted Sister Under The Blade 1982

Twisted Sister You Can't Stop Rock 'n Roll 1983

TT Quick... EP...

TT Quick EP 1984

... and Metal of Honor.

TT Quick Metal of Honor 1986

Rush Moving Pictures 1981

Somehow everytime we found ourselves walking into The Factory club, minutes later, this song came roaring out of the gigantic PA system just as we were ordering up our first round of beers.

The entire club just reacted to it in unison,
so awesome.

We used to go see TT Quick play at
The Rock Palace all the time. They did a solid set of AC/DC that caused our fucking heads
to explode, I shit you not.

Some of those club nights were just so powerful, we left feeling as though we could conquer the entire muthafucking world.

Man, music really does kick my ass.
It's incredibly inspirational at times isn't it?

These next few belong to the Navy years,
1981-1983. Some of these bookmarked memories are SO fucking strong that I almost feel as though I'm back in the navy at times... LoL

Twisted Sister The Kids Are Back EP 1983

... and Stay Hungry.

Twisted Sister Stay Hungry 1984

Sammy Hagar Standing Hampton 1981

AC/DC For Those About To Rock 1981

Frank Zappa Joe's Garage 1979

... and Bongo Fury.

Frank Zappa Bongo Fury 1975

Iron Maiden Number of The Beast 1982

Pink Floyd The Wall 1979

(Yeah, I know, I said Heart LoL)

Heart Greatest Hits 1980

They all zoom me right back to specific snapshots like with Twisted's EP. I was with my friend Billy who was also a fan, and we just spent almost every cent we had on MaiTai's and Chinese food when we came across this Twisted EP
with live songs included.

Well I just had to have it.

So we pooled what little monies we had left and were short by one dime, ten fucking cents. So we walked up and down the mall we were in, somewhere in Virginia, and begged, that's right begged, until some dude actually understood and sympathized with our drunken stupidity,
and gave up the dime.

Just too awesome man, too fuckin' awesome.
If we did that today I bet we'd probably get thrown in jail. I still have that very dime taped to the ep album. Turns out we didn't need it... LoL Two knuckleheads too drunk to add!!
(Hey that's allotta 2's LoL)

The Wall and Heart albums accompanied Billy and myself on our venture to party with

For some reason those were the only two cassette tapes we took with us for that unforgettable journey. To this day neither one of us could figure out why we didn't bring along
any Doors music. So weird?

AC/DC's About To Rock brings me right back to fucking Navy boot camp in 1981. Playing air guitar to this song was brought to
death-defying new heights during those months.

Zappa and Iron Maiden transport me to Navy “A”school in Tennessee. I lived on the third floor of the red brick buildings with the wackiest muthafucka's anyone could ever hope to be stuck with. Tons of laughs and great times
during those months.

And the same with Standing Hampton.
I was into this album while living in another set of buildings during Navy school, and it was also when I first came to meet my bud Billy. Who would eventually introduce me to his cousin. Who would them become my wife, and then, unfortunately, ex-wife. Shit happens right?

And then right after my Navy experience, for some reason these two albums just resonated with me so much, and still do. It was a very strange time for me, trying to fit back into a life I had once left behind while also trying to move my life into new directions.

Bruce Springsteen Born In The USA 1984

Ronnie James Dio Holy Diver 1983

The company that these 2 albums provided me during that time was priceless. As I waffled my way from day to day trying to locate my nitch, these songs kept pumping life into what seemed to be at times a depleted and exhausted
tank of hope.

Especially the songs Cover Me, No Surrender and Bobby Jean from Bruce, and from Dio it was Rainbow In The Dark, Stand Up And Shout
and Straight Through The Heart.

Irreplaceable threads of inspiration sown within the fabric of my sometimes frayed
and tattered existence.

And the last grouping that I'll bore you guys with all had a very profound, soothing affect on me both during and after, even well after my divorce and eventual downward spiral that followed. Hey... shit happens... again!

Besides my family & friends...
where the fuck would I be without everyone of these strangers in my life and by my side?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik (Under The Bridge) 1992

Motley Crue Greatest Hits 1998

Guns 'n Roses Use Your Illusion Two 1991

Pearl Jam Backspacer 2009

... and Yield.

Pearl Jam Yield 1998

Scott Stapp The Great Divide 2005

Eddie Vedder Into The Wild soundtrack 2007
Into The Wild back cover. How fuckin awesome!!

and of course The Beatles... Help.

This song Help, I can listen to it no matter what direction my emotional stability needle happens to be pointing to. There's just something about it that always lifts me up.

How incredible is that?
How two minutes and eighteen seconds worth of words and musical tones can magically
transform your entire demeanor.

It's things like this that really amaze the fuck right outta me. How about you? I'm sure you have your own “Help” somewhere within your catalog of unforgettable albums and songs huh?

Or should I say within your brand new ipod?

So I'm an old fuck, sorry!
I already told you guys that

These albums and individual songs were all right there sitting next to me while my fucking world was imploding and my mind was spinning
almost out of control at one point.

Somehow, they helped keep this train on the tracks rolling towards an eventual soft landing.

Isn't it so crazy how someone else's passions, talents, and convictions, can bring us talent-less muthafucka's so much relief
and soothing seduction?

Where the hell would we all be without those head strong individuals who simply refused to give up on their dreams to express themselves to the masses on their very own terms. I don't even wanna think about it dude, not for a second!

Well that should about do it. This was some of the more engrained, well-worn rock 'n roll bookmarked highlights amongst the many that are scattered all along the line of my life.

I revisit them all pretty frequently, and am very thankful that they're there for me. As I'm sure you are with yours. And I continue to find brand new connections and bookmarks almost
every time I put the needle down.
Oh be quiet...
you know what I mean LoLoLoL
New music.

There have been other, more exciting highlights, dangerous and comical ones as well along the way, but these particular partnerships are somehow ever present, and why
I chose them to share with you.

Have you remembered any of your own bookmarks while reading? No matter how engrained they are. I hope so. And I hope they brought with them a rush of wonderful memories just as mine have always done.

Play it loud mutha!

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