Monday, January 10, 2011

Stairway To Heaven

Was driving to pick up my eldest at school today and Stairway To Heaven was playing on the radio.

What a song. Zeppelin were rumoured giants when I was growing up. I've talked about it before, as a youngster I would not have heard Led Zeppelin on my parents' 8 tracks or on either of the two local AM stations. Most of my friends were the oldest in their families and again, this is small town Canada in the seventies, their folks weren't exactly listening to anybody wilder than Tom Jones.

And for our two pals who had older brothers well I can't speak to their tastes but I remember a lot of Kiss action, some Sabbath and just a bit of Zeppelin. Not sure if they were a little too exotic for the basements of New Sudbury or if they were found wanting or what the story was there but that's what I recall..

But Zeppelin is the real deal of course. Today I sat in my minivan (!) and the bell did not ring until those last notes faded away and it was a good way to spend a few minutes, cocooned inside my family mobile, the music turned up, the mommies walking by, looking at me, with .... interest?

I'm no sophisticate when it comes to music or really when it comes to anything. Maybe beer. I know a little bit about beer. Maybe movies and books a little. Definitely not when it comes to music though. Tragically Hip all the way pal. And yeah I love the oldies. The Beatles. The Stones. And Zeppelin, amongst others.

Can't really speak to what younger folk think about Zeppelin. Even when we were in our twenties Stairway To Heaven had become, if not a joke, a bit of a cliche, the last song of the evening where you'd slow it down, drop the hands a little lower, move in, turn that head and !!!!, although I can't remember too many nights when it actually was. I do remember one night in particular, a gang of us poured into three cars and headed up the 401 to Waterloo. Not sure why, can't remember, there were friends of friends or something I guess, an excuse to get out on the road. My best friend went to Laurier and I knew a few other folks up that way, I had first met the girl from the Valley up that way, so I was fairly familiar with the area. I really recall very very little about the night we roared up the highway in a big boat of a car and ended up in a house somewhere on campus and after many drinks and a healthy helping of mushrooms we ended up at a community centre or some damn thing where a bunch of townies in sweatpants and Wendel Clark Tshirts danced in a basement with their mulleted girlfriends. Actually everyone had mullets. Us too. Last song of the night was Stairway To Heaven and I was so fucking high I just remember being really freaked out watching a buddy of mine stagger around the dance floor, air guitar at the ready howling at the moon. He would later become a priest.

Sometimes I think that the young folks forget what was good back in the day. Its like the young fellow who had the Chicago Mount Puckmore this summer and had Bobby Hull, Bill Wirtz, Rocky Wirtz and Jonathan Toews on there. No Mikita. No Hall. No Savard. Not to say that the idea of Bill Wirtz was necessarily a bad one but to ignore Stan Mikita, one of the greatest players of all time, for a kid with three years in the league, is a little short sighted. They're not putting statues of him and Hull outside the arena for nothing you know.

Sure sure I'm rambling now. Did I tell you about the time I was on my way to Shelbyville? Used to cost a nickel to take the ferry. Back in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Five bees for a quarter we used to say. Now the important thing to remember is that I was wearing an onion on my belt because that was the style at the time.
What I'm saying is ... well goddamn it I don't know. Listen to some damn Zeppelin, would ya?!


Well we're nearing the halfway point of the season, only another few months of shitty hockey left. Hey what's another forty games when we've had over three hundred pointless crappy games in the last five seasons, eh? This season has had a number of bright spots in it and all we can do is look to those and hope that better times are ahead. The play of Dubnyk who at the very least looks to be a quality backup in this league, maybe more. Theo Peckham's rambunctious and heady play. The arrival of Jeff Petry and the fact that he doesn't look terribly out of place. Tom Gilbert. Ryan Whitney before he got hurt. Shawn Horcoff before he got hurt. The veterans Hemsky and Penner. The kids Hall and Eberle and Paajarvi. The possibilities of Linus Omark. The slow and steady improvement of twenty one year old Sam Gagner.

The team is still terrible of course but for the first time in a while the future looks bright. And of course there are the kids on the way. Hamilton. Maracin. Pitlick. Lander. Hartkinen. Plante. And so on.

And the kids to come. Its looking like a three way race for number one this season and both the Devils and Islanders look to give the Oilers a run for their money. With Whitney out you have to like the Oilers' chances but the Isles have already jettisoned some guys and now Mark Eaton is gone for the year. Meanwhile the Devils look to what happened to the Flyers a few years back where they unexpectedly collapsed and then bounced back immediately (although JVR hasn't done a whole lot to contribute to that) and figure what the hell, dump who you can (bye bye Langenbrunner) and add a kid to a roster that really should be much better.

Now what I know about the kids coming up is probably what you know. I read LT's site and some of what he links to and what Bob MacKenzie has to say and I watch the WJC and follow the Memorial Cup a bit. So I don't know a lot. It certainly looks like this year is pretty wide open, more so than last year anyhow. There has been talk today of not much separation between the top ten, which MacKenzie snorted at, but at the very least it seems that you can make a case for four or five guys who could go number one.

There are three guys who I like based on what little I know. The big Swedish winger Landeskog. The big centre Couturier. The defenceman Larssen. Nugent Hopkins is a playmaker, which is okay, but this club seems to have enough smallish playmaking types already. Plus he doesn't score a lot at ES.

Its another horrible year but it looks the Oilers are going to get another big piece of the puzzle. The question of course is whether management is smart enough to figure out where to go from here.

We await with bated breath.


Lowetide said...

The youngest (a girl) has become a guitar player. I bought her a beauty Fender for Christmas and now she's going to be a rock and roll star.

We watched a special featuring Page, The Edge and the guy who did Seven Nation Army. I thought she'd dig the young dude but it was "Dad, Jimmy Page this" and "did you know Led Zep..." so I think the music will live on for a few more decades.

Have you heard "Whole Lotta Love" lately? Kick ass song. Knowing you, there's a chance one of those Moms will take it literally the next time you're at the school. :-)

EasyOil said...

Love the Zep. Went to school with Robert Plant's kid, Jordan; never got to meet Plant Sr though. But yeh anyway, a band I was in a few years ago played "Since I've Been Loving You" at a friend's 18th, brought the house down. Trust me, kids my age (22) and younger have not forgotten the classic rockers, dying breed though they are.

Oilers-wise, I know it's only an experiment but if Hall at centre actually works, things will become a whole lot easier/clearer - draft Landeskog or Larsson, whichever one's available. If neither of them are available, then Murphy. I like Couturier and RNH less and less each time I hear about them, too many question marks.

Black Dog said...

EasyOil - good to hear, good to hear

as for the prospects its funny how it goes, it happens every year, guys rise and fall and prospects in the spotlight get picked as people look for warts.

Having said that RHN just does not do it for me as mentioned. As for SC one question for me is his skating.

LT - my 16 year old niece has a kickass voice and has been making music for years now, which sounds and is completely insane

this summer we went to see her and her band and they played Whole Lotta Love and she killed it. My expectations were, well, they're kids so they may be ok but my God they were amazing.

Band is already broken up though - the boys are all done high school and are taking a year off to see where they can go - she made the right choice and stayed in school.

Sounds like your daughter is a pretty smart young woman (athough I have no complaints about Jack White or the Edge either) and good for her for getting into music. My God if there's one thing I wish I had it was a modicum off musical talent.

But I don't/ ;)

shepso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shepso said...

I was going to repost my original comment due to a horrible typo that caused me to delete it, but I never actually copied it so I could re-paste it.
To reiterate:
1) Jack White rules, LT. Check out the 2nd White Stripes album, De Stijl, for an validation of my point, or any of his other two bands, or his album that he produced and co-wrote for Loretta Lynn (yes, that Loretta Lynn) a couple years back.
2) Zep=Great, Page=God...Mid period Zep in particular is what I love. Houses through Presence were all incredible records, particularly that sprawling mess of a double album. Ten Years Gone is brilliant, while Achilles Last Stand gives me chills every time.
3) This draft class isn't that good. The team really needs a d-man and Larsson has been on the radar long enough to know that he's a stud prospect, likely the only real one by my eye. Landeskog is interesting, will being going to see a Frontenacs game here in Kingston soonish against the rangers to see how he plays in real life. Say no to Couturier. His game is just ok for what is being hyped as a lottery player, but more then that, my concern is the way he handles the media. The reports about him being gun-shy in the media gives me the fear. Edmonton is a fish bowl and players with better pedigrees and (on paper at least) more skill, like Jason Arnott for example, have crumbled in the early stages of their careers under the Rexall lights. Couturier is not the answer, Larsson is and Landeskog could be.

Swabbubba said...

My fave Zep song is Communication Breakdown. Will spend the next couple of months wondering why do I endure this hockey. WTF Ott just was total douche last night and no one stood up to that piece of crap.
Interesting note the company I work for has decided that Brian Burke should impart some of his knowledge to the employees if I ask him what I wanted to I would be looking for a new job. Any questions u want asked I could try them out. My question is "How that is you seem like a bright guy make the dumbest moves the hockey world has seen and u remain employed?" Do you owe TO an apology? Kessel OMG

macaotim said...

A pal picks me up for hockey here in China. He's a performer and a real cool guy. He busted out the clove cigarettes on the way home and cranked up The Hip as we ripped through the narrow, one-way streets with the sweet stench of hockey gear in the back. It was a very bizarre moment.

It's funny how powerful music can be.

Black Dog said...

very cool Tim, I can see it now

lol Swabb, hold your tongue

great stuff Sheps and an interesting point on SC

personally I would lean towards the two you are talking about as well but take that with a massive
grain of salt

Dennis said...

I love your stories, Pat:)

the moment you described, was that the Exact moment he found jesus?;)