I’m back with the most appropriate song ever for today, and it’s from my favorite band, whom I will be seeing in Toronto next August with Fall Out Boy, and Weezer. Honestly, I don’t know why Billie Joe Armstron wanted to be woken up “when September ends.” For me, September is when summer ends and Fall begins. If I wrote the song it would be “Wake Me Up When March Ends.” Hmm…maybe I’ve just thought of a new hit song… Have a great Monday! ~Phil
I like to mark important dates in my life, and this is one of my favorites every year. Yes, “blogiversary” is a word. It’s a word because I’m celebrating the birth of The Phil Factor on April 3rd, 2005. And because I’m the only blogger here who has been around for 14 years I’m going to take credit for inventing the word Blogiversary. Truth be told, I think I might be only the third oldest blog in world history behind this wonderfully nice woman from New Zealandand some guy who’s been blogging about video games since they were on floppy discs. Sheesh! He needs to get a life, am I right?
In my fourteen years I’ve met many wonderful friends through blogging. As a group I think bloggers are the nicest people I’ve never met.
To celebrate my 14th blogiversary I’ll give you the fourteen most popular posts in Phil Factor history. Enjoy!
10. People Are Stupid So Why Should It Be: It’s possible that people are so stupid that they thought this had something to do with REM. It doesn’t but I did have some good ranting about stupid people all around us..
9. About Me. Apparently some of my readers are curious about me as a person. It’s absolutely riveting reading.
1. Twitter People vs. Facebook People: This 2013 post was the top trending humor topic on Reddit for over 24 hours and I got over 17,000 views that day. I thought the WordPress stats software was broken.
Those 14 posts are a nice slice of the last five years, when I migrated my Blogger blog to WordPress. Feel free to scroll all the way back to April of 2005 if you want over a decade of my inane thoughts. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing my idiocy all these years. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Yes, that’s right, next week you’re going to participate in Music Monday. I started Music Monday because on a Monday morning when you’re heading back to work, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated. I thought that if I started the week with a great song it would lift my mood and give me energy. I started posting different songs every week. Over time I found a couple other blogging friends that love music as much as I do, Hayley of Just Another Blog from A Woman and Steve of Talk About Pop Music.
We thought it would be fun next Monday to post a list of music acts that we’ve seen in concert to compare and discuss. Here’s where you come in: We want you to do it too. I’m imagining people reading each others lists and commenting with things like, “I love them but I haven’t seen them yet. How are they?” Or maybe, “When did you see them? What? I was at that show too!” Or “I got close enough to catch a guitar pick!” Maybe even, “That was the worst concert ever!” Whoever you like, there’s bound to be someone else on the interwebs that wants to talk about them too.
So next Monday, April 16th, I want everyone to celebrate Music Monday by posting their list of the bands they’ve seen in concert. Let’s fill the internet with music and connect with each other. If you link to me or tag me in some way, I’ll share everyone’s posts to my Twitter with #MusicMonday.
And just to get you going for today, here’s a video of my favorite band to see live, Green Day.
Have a great Monday and start working on your concert lists for next week! Maybe we’ll make Music Monday as big as Thursday Doors! If you’re going to do it, leave a comment today and link to me next Monday so I can remember to visit you and tweet you!
This isn’t quite Janis Joplin‘s Me and Bobby McGee. Depending on when you were born, you may not even know that song reference. Just to be clear, I’m also not old enough to remember that song on the radio. When I was very young my dad would just sit down with his guitar and sing songs. Most of it was country music. My dad wasn’t a cowboy, he was a straight ahead, square, suburban dad with a 9 to 5 job. There was nothing country about him, except his love of country music. Oddly though, when I plumb the dark recesses of my memory for pictures of my dad, the one that always comes up is him walking around the house with his guitar playing and singing Me and Bobby McGee.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGhee”
Back in the 1960’s when my dad wore a younger man’s clothes, Janis Joplin was one of the counter-culture icons of the decade right alongside Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac. Looking back now, it seems odd that my dad had a little rebel in him. Maybe inside of his straight-laced facade he had a heart that yearned to break free of the constraints of his ordinary world.
Fast forward to 1990. Once a year my friend Bob and I, now separated by geography, shared our love of music by mailing each other a cassette tape with a cross section of all the new music we had been listening to. Yes, we we’re dudes that sent each other mix tapes. Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way now. On the tape in 1990 was a song by a then unknown band named Green Day. I liked the song, but not enough to put it on my list of music to buy. But, in early 1994, I remember the day. The sun was shining and I was driving in my car and a song came on the radio. “Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once?” Boom. I was hooked. That band Bob had sent me a song from four years earlier had almost single handedly just ushered in the era of “pop punk” music with their song Basketcase.
On the success of their Grammy winning music and the Broadway play American Idiotbased on one of their albums, Green Day has been one of the biggest touring bands over the last two decades. But when I saw them in 1997 in a small,dingy venue, they weren’t yet the iconic band they would become. In May of 1997 my friend Gooby and I met a couple of my co-workers and went to see Green Day. Gooby and I forced our way toward the front of a crowd that was packed tighter than proverbial sardines. It was a writhing, jumping, sweaty mass. So sweaty in fact that Gooby’s wedding band slipped off of his finger and fell to the floor. We stayed until after the crowd and band had left the venue and we searched the floor in vain for that small, gold band. Also, did I mention that on that May night in 1997 my wife was pregnant? She was pregnant with this boy:
He was twelve in this pre-show picture when I took him to his first Green Day concert and surprised him with a spot in the pit up near the stage. It’s no surprise that eventually he turned into this kid:
In 2013, the last time my son and I saw #GreenDay together, I wrote this very popular post, The Perfect Day is A Green Day. Since 2013 we have also seen the versions of the Broadway musical American Idiot twice. Once, done by a local theater group that included two of my son’s friends. Just before the play started, the guitarist in the orchestra fell and hurt his hand, leaving him unable to play. After the play, my son’s friend, who had played the main character said he thought of suggesting my son step in for the injured guitarist.
This post is titled Me and Billie Joe, is it not? Guess what, Billie Joe Armstrong has two sons, both of whom are accomplished musicians just making their own way into pop culture over the last couple years. So, while Billie Joe Armstrong was on tour the last 20 years embodying my rebel spirit and counter-culture feelings with his music, he was also being the same suburban dad I was, raising his boys to love music. As the kids these days would say, Billie Joe Armstrong is my spirit animal.
One of my hopes is that someday I’ll get the opportunity, even if by e-mail, to interview Billie Joe, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt of Green Day for #ThePhilFactor. In person, over a beer would be pretty cool too. So, if any of you have any contacts…
Why all this sudden blathering on about Green Day? On Monday, two days from now, and almost exactly twenty years from when I left my pregnant wife to go see Green Day for the first time, my son, who she was pregnant with then, and I are going to see Green Day in concert again. It will be my sixth time. Green Day has spanned the last 25 years or so of my life and the entire 19 1/2 years of my sons life. My son and I have grown up with Green Day and although they don’t know it, Green Day has grown up with us, and we’ve had the time of our life.
Yes, after thirty years together, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Green Day is still breathing and still making good music. The elder statesmen of modern punk rock are one of my favorites and I’ll be seeing them again in about two months, so I thought I’d share their current hit single with you. You know they’ve become mainstream when they’re on the Ellen DeGeneres show. I’d love to interview them for #ThePhilFactor, so if anyone has any connections that could make that happen, let me know.
I love live music. There’s not much better than the energy of a crowd enjoying a live performance. At this point in my life I’ve seen hundreds of bands live, many of them iconic. These are my favorite ten bands that I’ve seen live.
10. Fall Out Boy: I first heard about them from a sampler CD that was being given away for free as I left a concert for another band. The video below isn’t them live, but I thought you’d want to hear their remake of the Ghostbusters song for the new movie soundtrack.
9. New Politics: They’re different. If you don’t know their music, check it out. The lead singer does backflips and break dances on stage.
favim.com Hayley Williams
8. Paramore: Fun music, great band, entertaining show. Lead singer Hayley Williams is not very large as far as human beings go, but on stage she has a powerful voice and never stops moving.
7. Nothing Personal: My son’s band. I couldn’t leave them off the list or my son would be hurt. He’ll still be mad that he’s ranked 7th. I just didn’t want to show nepotism and I want him to work harder to get to no.1.
6. 3OH!3: I just saw them last night at the Alternative Press Music Awards. Flat out fun live. Always a crazy crowd and you can’t help but to jump to their music. Scroll down to yesterdays Phil Factor for a sample.
5. Motion City Soundtrack: I just saw them last month in Philadelphia on their final tour. Clever, catchy, pop lyrics. Their stage show is stripped down. No laser lights or explosions, just a great band playing great music with a lead singer Justin Pierre who was probably voted least likely looking rock star in high school.
4. Panic! At The Disco: Their front man, Brendon Urie, is my son’s favorite performer. The bands music is kind of pop alternative rock and Brendon has a Broadway voice and a theatrical stage presence in their shows.
3. All Time Low: They’re a very popular alternative rock band that does a great job at being down to Earth and connecting with their fans. Their shows are full of witty banter with the crowd.
2. Phish: I’ve only seen this modern day Grateful Dead type band live twice, but one of those times was a doozy. It was at an outdoor venue so as you can imagine, things get a little looser. At their shows the crowd is more entertaining than the band.
1. Green Day: If you’re a long time reader of my blog you know my love of Green Day. I’ve been a fan of theirs for their entire twenty-something year career. I think it’s cool that guys my age are still popular and playing cool music.
This is one of my favorite songs by my favorite band, Green Day, and last week it was part of a wonderful moment. Sadly, one of my neighbors passed away too young due to cancer. My son, his son, and his brother in law played this song on acoustic guitars, with my son singing, before the internment at the cemetery and the crowd of about 60 mourners sang along together and raised a glass in toast at the end.
Have a great Monday! No, correct that, have the time of your life! ~ Phil
The day began like any other. I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. My work day was uneventful and without stress. At the end of it I was looking forward to seeing my favorite band with my fifteen year old son who has become a fan himself. As soon as I walked in the door he was eager to go in hopes of procuring a good spot to stand near the stage.
Being an adult male on the wrong side of forty, my desire to stand in line for hours before concerts is several years in the rear view mirror. Being an adult however, I used my super ninja Dad skills to plan when we would get there, where we would park, and which entrance we would use to minimize our wait time and any discomfort I might experience. Unfortunately the universe had gotten wind of my plans and locked the entrance to the arena I had planned to use. My son and I were forced to wait outdoors in the cold for forty minutes without coats. Ugh. Not a good start.
When we did get inside we were pleasantly surprised to weasel our way into a nice spot only fifteen to twenty feet from the stage. After an opening act that appeared to sleep walk through their set list, the arena and it’s 10,000 temporary denizens became quiet. That was when I had two distinctly ‘old man thoughts’ which I’m now embarrassed to admit. First I thought, ‘After three hours on my feet my back is going to be aching.’ Then very quickly I also thought ‘I’m going to regret not having earplugs.’ After a brief intermission following the opening act our headliner Green Day stormed onto the stage in an explosion of light and sound and my crazy old man thoughts were completely forgotten.
Green Day has been my favorite band since the early 90’s. This was my fifth time seeing them live. The tour had been delayed by three months while front-man Billie Joe Armstrong was in rehab. Billie Joe took the stage like a man making up for lost time and I’ve never seen their show better. Make no mistake, it is a show. Green Day does not play concerts. They put on shows.
With the frenetic energy of a Tazmanian Devil on Red Bull, Billie Joe seemed to feed off the crowd and the crowd seemed to be drawing energy from Billie Joe. From the first note he seemed to delight in orchestrating the crowd with hand gestures and exhortations. Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool seemed to enjoy our participation as much as we did theirs. It wasn’t as if they were playing music for us so much as they were playing it with us and us with them. From bringing audience members up on stage to sing or play instruments to sitting down and letting their 10,000 back up singers finish a song, the night felt like one big party none of us wanted to leave.
It wasn’t just great music either. Green Day puts on a spectacle that goes beyond the mere playing of music. There are enough strobes to wake a coma patient. There’s the zany, costume and kazoo-laden performance of their campy song King for a Day. Then there was Billie Joe first assaulting his eager audience with water from fire department grade hoses. The next weapon in his arsenal was a device that shot streamers of toilet paper far into the crowd. Lastly, when he ran out of Cottonelle, he pulled out the big gun, literally, firing t-shirts all over the arena at all-too-willing targets.
It was a two hour and twenty minute performance that took my breath away. It also took the breath away of bassist Mike Dirnt who could be seen catching his breath between songs during the encore. While he was catching his breath he was also putting his fist to his heart and mouthing Thank you to audience members repeatedly. We expressed our gratitude to the band with our cheers which were as sincere as their thanks.
As my son and I drove home with our ears still buzzing we talked happily about all of our favorite songs and parts of the show. As I listened to my son I began to reminisce. I realized that I had gone to see my first Green Day show before my son was born and now we went together. Talk about the circle of life! It brought a happy, little tear to my eye. When I got home I was still too mentally wired from the show to sleep so I grabbed my Kindle, a glass of red wine and, courtesy of Mrs. Phil, the most delicious chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had and I put my feet up and reclined, reading myself to sleep with a smile on my face. The perfect end to a perfect day. A Green Day.
As always, if you enjoy what you read on #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook ‘Like’ or Share button and by all means, leave comments if you like. What was your favorite concert ever?
2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Green Day, taken on April 1, 2013. If you want to click on the picture to see it larger, you can see a lot of great detail that isn’t obvious in the small version.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor.