It's been a very emotional time for me as yesterday we laid my grandmother to rest with her husband, my grandfather at Arlington National Cemetery. My grandparents raised me so they were Mother and Father to me. They were wonderful parents to me and I will forever be grateful to them for all the love and knowledge they passed on to me. I grew up in a house filled with books and music, a variety of both. My grandfather loved square dancing and was a square dance caller in his spare time. I would go with him to his square dances and we'd dance together and have a good time. I loved the music and just having fun dancing. My grandmother loved classical music and I learned the beauty of Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel from her as we would sit together reading books and listening to that lovely music. They both loved swing and jazz. I would spend many an afternoon listening to all their records. They loved country and bluegrass too, and I found many songs I loved. There were some genres they weren't fans of, but they never discouraged my love of rock and roll or rap. They always encouraged me to enjoy music and truly listen to it and learn about it. I learned to play piano, flute and clarinet because of their encouragement of always learn and always have music in my life. They were supportive when I joined church choir and choir for school. My grandmother would even play our piano at home for me so I could practice singing the songs and sometimes she would just listen to me play and sing. Music was and is a constant in my life and I definitely owe that to my grandparents who encouraged and nurtured that love by loving music just as much themselves. My grandparents were married 45 years and I saw how much they loved each other. My grandfather passed away when I was 17 and I saw how much it hurt my grandmother. He was the love of her life and I know she missed him terribly. We took comfort in music and each other, remembering the wonderful man my grandfather was. Now, she has passed away too and I miss her so much. I miss them both, but I take comfort in knowing that they get to be together again and enjoy music together again once more. I hope they will forgive me if I cry a little longer, because it's still a little hard not to miss them. I will take comfort in my family and music, because those are the things that have blessed my life. Love and music, two of the best things in the world. 3
This whole fiasco with Glee and Jonathan Coulton really got me thinking. For those who don't know Coulton wrote the awesome geek songs Code Monkey, and two songs that were used in both Portal games, Still Alive, and Want You Gone. When I first heard them do it on the Glee episode I wondered why it sounded familiar and then when they got to the "Johnny C is in trouble" line I knew why. I didn't want to believe it because that seemed so terribly wrong and unethical. I listened to Coulton's version of his original arrangement cover of Baby Got Back and then I listened to Glee's version. Twice. I was so disappointed and a bit angry. Note for note, right down to the acoustics and the banjo playing, it was exactly like Coulton's. It was HIS arrangement and they stole it, didn't even ask him. According to all the news story and Coulton's comments on Twitter, when he confronted Fox and Ryan Murphy about it they told him they were within their legal rights to use it and that he should be grateful. Yes, that's right. They told him he should be grateful for them ripping him off because they were doing him a favor using the song and giving him exposure. I really want to know what kind of people will rob a person, then tell them that they should be grateful for getting ripped off. It doesn't matter that it's a cover. It does matter that he did an original acoustic arrangement for his cover of the song that was very well done and they used it without permission. It does matter that when he called them out on it, they treated him with blatant disdain and respect. I had a person steal a song from me that I had written, lyrics and music so I know how crappy that feels. I did not back down from that situation because I knew that was my song they had used and I was angry because of the lack of respect I was met with. Eventually they did admit to ripping off my song and did apologize for it. I don't know if Coulton will get the same from people like Fox or Ryan Murphy. Murphy is the person who called Kings Of Leon a-holes for not allowing him to use their song on Glee after all. But he is getting his revenge in a smart and fantastic way. His cover is available for sale on ITunes and the proceeds from the sales are going to the Vh1 Save The Music and It Gets Better Project. Oh and Coulton gave full credit to Sir-Mix-A-Lot on his cover and paid the royalties, so he gets the whole it's the right thing to do, respect the artist. I truly don't understand how people like Murphy and studio execs or as I like to think of them jerks in suits, don't grasp the concept of how important a writer or artist's work is to them. For me, my writing is like one of my children. That is my work that I love to do and if a person doesn't understand that, they don't deserve nor should they be allowed to use my work at all. And if they do use it, they darn well better get permission from me first. Just have the decency to respect the person and respect their work. It's not a hard idea to understand.