Book Review: Do What You Want by Jim Ruland

Do What You Want

★★★☆☆

Bad Religion was probably one of my top 3 favorite bands while growing up as an angsty teenager. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost some of my punk rock sensibilities and the desire to keep up with the bands that I used to love so much.

But I have so many pleasant and vivid memories of listening to various albums on full blast in my room or car, while driving around during the sweltering Southern California summers. I remember wearing my cross buster t-shirt and feeling so smug when a fellow student (who went to one of these crazy mega churches) in a high school class asked “why on Earth would you wear something like that?” I remember keeping a dictionary nearby to look up every third word of a song because their wordy lyrics were so ridiculously complex.

And although some of their albums came out half a decade or more before I started listening to them, “Suffer”, “No Control”, “Against the Grain”, and “Generator” were critical components in the sound track of my teenage life.

Anyway, it’s been awhile since I’ve given them a serious listen, so, imagine my surprise when I see a friend add “Do What You Want”, a biography about Bad Religion, to their reading list. A book?! About Bad Religion?!

The book spans 40 years of the band’s history, from their first practice sessions inside a hot garage in the valley, to their most recent album (Age of Unreason). (Have they really been at it for forty years and have something like 17 albums!? It’s really unbelievable to me that these guys are pushing 60 and still at it and enjoying it.)

Despite being fairly emotionless and dry (imagine reading about a history of a band in a newspaper article), this book was a really easy read. There’s nothing scandalous or exceptionally profound within, but it does share interesting anecdotes from tours and recording sessions of every album they’ve put out. And hey, I definitely learned some interesting things about the band!

I also found myself flipping back and forth between this book and then loading up Spotify in order to listen to various songs and albums that were mentioned. I forgot how good some of these early albums are. And I’ve really missed out on some of the more recent stuff. There are some good tunes there.

All in all, the book provided a nice sense of nostalgia and even helped me rediscover some more recent tunes from one of my all-time favorites.

Do What You Want by Jim Ruland and Bad Religion

Book Review: “Heavier Than Heaven” by Charles Cross

2020 has been crazy. Somehow, I just finished my 65th book of the yearHeavier Than Heaven, a biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles Cross.

I vaguely remember how big of a deal Kurt Cobain’s death was when I was in middle school, but I never really thought too much about him as a person, or the deeper meaning behind various Nirvana songs. All this, despite being a huge part of the sound track of my teenage life.

One of my biggest takeaways after reading this book was: how can you help those who don’t want it?

What a tortured, tormented soul who really struggled with life. I honestly felt down and depressed after reading certain parts of this book. I would put it down and mope about the house while I processed what I just read.

That said, another part of the book that I really enjoyed and appreciated was hearing how much joy and life his daughter brought to his life and how much he loved being a dad.

Also, after reading this, I think it’s incredible and seemingly improbable that Nirvana actually happened.

I often found myself flipping between this book and Spotify to listen to various Nirvana songs that were mentioned, trying to appreciate them in a new light and really hear them and looking at various performances on YouTube.

My top music of 2013

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Bob Dylan

Thanks to things like Rdio and Sonos, I listened to a ridiculous amount of music in 2013. Here are my top bands from the last year. See also 2012 and 2011.

1. Bob Dylan (509 plays)
2. Pretty Lights (488 plays)
3. Daft Punk (382 plays)
4. Dispatch (377 plays)
5. Calexico (372 plays)
6. Frank Turner (366 plays)
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (365 plays)
8. Alt-J (323 plays)
9. Wild Belle (318 plays)
10. The Sounds (268 plays)

Data via Last.FM

My top music of 2012

Thanks to Last.FM, I’ve compiled a list of the top artists I listened to in 2012. See my previous list for 2011 right here.

My top artists and musicians of 2012:

1. Mocean Worker (463 plays)
2. Hot Water Music (383 plays)
3. Johnny Cash (373 plays)
4. Imagine Dragons (359 plays)
5. Alt-J (337 plays)
6. Trampled by Turtles (282 plays)
7. The International Noise Conspiracy (268 plays)
8. State Radio (267 plays)
9. Of Monsters and Men (220 plays)
10. Bob Dylan (207 plays)

Fox Theater in Oakland

This past Friday, we saw Beats Antique play at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

In fact, I’ve written about them before, 2 years ago! It was a fantastic show — featuring a combination of electronic / world music and belly dancing.

Here are few photos from around Fox Theater before the show (taken with iPhone 4 and Hipstamatic).

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My top music of 2011

According to my Last.FM profile, here are my top artists (and number of times I’ve listened to their songs) for 2011.

      1. Bob Dylan (557 plays)
      2. Hot Water Music (556 plays)
      3. The Wooden Birds (502 plays)
      4. Daft Punk (433 plays)
      5. Johnny Cash (422 plays)
      6. Bad Religion (406 plays)
      7. State Radio (358 plays)
      8. Otis Redding (338 plays)
      9. Against Me! (329 plays)
      10. Amos Lee (325 plays)

It’s Monday, but it isn’t…

I’ve been messing around with the ridiculously cheesy (but pretty fun) Songify app on the iPhone which auto-tunes spoken word and applies it to a backing musical track.

I thought I’d make my own musical debut. Rebecca Black, watch out!

It’s Monday. (Only it isn’t, because I’m dumb and recorded this song this morning — when it was actually Tuesday.)

[audio:http://daveschumaker.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Dave-Schumaker_-_Its-Monday.mp3|titles=Dave-Schumaker_-_Its-Monday]

[MP3 link]