Issue # 25
September 15, 2000
Be Loud
By Rich Wilhelm

  Last week, I talked about the virtues of being still. I stand behind every word of that story. This week Iím headed in the opposite direction, which is, I suppose, the dichotomy of me. I want to talk about the virtues of being loud. In the previous column on stillness I referenced the Book of Psalms, T.S. Eliot, Los Lobos, and Willie Nelson. Here, I will simply quote the rockíníroll band KISS who sang, "I wanna rockíníroll all night/and party everyday."

  Donnaís brother Roy fronts a local band called the Road Dogs, and last Saturday evening we were fortunate enough to get out to see them play. The band is great, not merely because they play well together, but because the band members collectively have impeccable taste. Their set list includes songs written and recorded from the 1950s through the Ď90s by the likes of the Beatles, Eddie Cochran, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Fastball, Squeeze, and, of course, Chuck Berry.

  Seeing the Road Dogs was a fun night out. The band was in good form, and it was obvious that everyone in the audience was enjoying themselves. I had a beer, listened to the band, and occasionally glanced at the three big TV screens on the other side of the room. I had a choice between baseball, football, and the Million Dollar Movie, which just happened to be Roger Cormanís camp horror classic, Piranha. It was a great night.

  It would have been quite enough if checking out the band was just a fun night out, but it also proved to be inspirational to me for a few reasons. First of all, the Road Dogs reminded me how great a lot of classic rock really is. During the 1980s, radio stations in this area were caught up in a very tightly formatted type of "classic rock" radio, in which the same warhorse songs ("Stairway to Heaven," "Smoke on the Water," anything by Boston) are played over and over again. This jaded me on the whole classic rock thing, but Roy and the Road Dogs remind me that the reason certain songs are labeled "classic rock" is because they are truly classic rock songs. I left the bar Saturday night wanting to go home and listen to the Rolling Stonesí "Dandelion" and the Kinksí "Victoria," which is the best song about British royalty ever written. I didnít actually play them when we got home because it was 3:00 in the morning, but I will soon.

  In addition to the musical inspiration, itís always great to see family members or friends engaged in something they really love, and itís obvious how much Roy loves playing music. Just to prove how much music means to the Fisher family, Roy brought our nephew Keith (a.k.a. Fishbone Fisher) onstage to play drums for a few songs at the end of the show.

Finally, being out listening to some loud rockíníroll was creatively inspiring to me. After we got home, it actually took me awhile to get to sleep because I was suddenly having all kinds of writing ideas, including this article. Getting out and having a good time was obviously way more of a mental jumpstart for me than sitting around thinking would have been that night.

Of course, "being loud" doesnít necessarily have to do with going to a bar or listening to a rockíníroll band. What itís really about is being able to get out with family and friends now and again and just having a great time in their company. It means tapping into that inner extrovert and letting it out to play. Itís about getting out there with people you care about and enjoying your life as it is happening in that moment.

  Be still, of course. But donít forget to be loud sometimes, too.

(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2000 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)