31 December 2011

Greatest Band/Group of All Time

Honorable Mention
The Cathedrals
For over four decades, George Younce and Glen Payne anchored one of the most well known and loved groups Gospel music has ever known.

Garnering hard rock and pop fans alike, Rush is one of the most enduring groups in Rock ‘n Roll history.

The Rolling Stones
Steven Tyler is a HUGE KeithRichards fan. As long as Richards lives, Tyler’s not the ugliest man on Earth. Mick Jagger once said he’d rather be dead than still be singing “Satisfaction” at 45. Guess what, Mick...

Along with The Eagles, Journey bridged the gap from the 70s to the 80s.

Fourth Runner-up
The boys from Fort Payne kept country music fans singing for forty years.

Third Runner-up
Lynryd Skynyrd
Even a plane crash that killed half the band couldn’t silence them.

Second Runner-up
The Grateful Dead
Even people who don’t like them know what a “deadhead” is.

First Runner-up
Led Zepplin
Another iconic band that everyone knows and most like.

Winner, and greatest band of all time:
The Beatles
Influenced virtually ever rock band from the early-sixties on. Even the saloon in Tull.

Nominations now open for the premier category: Lead Guitar. Comment here or at Spencersb on FaceBook.

24 December 2011

NO Rhythm Guitar Award

I have made an executive decision on my "Greatest" musicians list: We will NOT award a Greatest Rhythm Guitar award. Just too few eligible nominees, there's so much overlap with lead guitar and bass, and they both have their own category. Instead, now through New Year's Eve Eve, we will nominate Greatest Group/Band. Remember: any genre, any era, "superbands" ARE eligible. Nominate by comment here, or to Spencersb on FaceBook.

I'll start the list.

The Beatles
Led Zepplin
The Grateful Dead
Third Day
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Cathedrals
Lynyrd Skynyrd

18 December 2011

Greatest Bass of All Time

Third Honorable Mention
Tai Anderson

Second Honorable Mention
Joe Satriani

First Honorable Mention
Les Claypool

Third Runner-up
John Entwisle

Second Runner-up
Steve Harris

First Runner-up

Winner, and greatest Bassist of All-Time (and best with a man in a diaper playing in the background)
Bootsy Collins

Nominations now open for Rhythm Guitar.

15 December 2011

Christmas... Firsts and Lasts

Sometimes, Christmas is a Christmas of Firsts. I still recall my ex-wife waking me on our first Christmas morning after we were married with the news that a child who would soon be named Tim, and change our lives forever, was on the way.

Sometimes, Christmas is a Christmas of Lasts. Three years ago today, my Mother died in Memphis, just 10 days before Christmas and 14 days short of 10 years after my Dad. Although we try not to associate the deaths with a day that, by its very nature, is the ultimate non-death Holy-Day, it's still a little bittersweet at this time of year, having had to say goodbye to one so dear at a time when we expect to be renewing “hellos” with folks we may not have seen in months, sometimes years.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Christmas 2007 was my last with my Mom, all the more so by being so far away. At least in 2007, although we had moved out here in July, we visited home for a week or 10 days before Christmas. In 2008, it was only me, flying back to say goodbye just a few days before getting back home just in time to avoid another Christmas First; one without my kids, after my ex-wife and I separated in September.

But this year is that Christmas of Firsts: the first one in which I’ll keep an 18 year tradition alive only by phone. Every year since Tim was born, we have gathered as a family on Christmas Eve to read the Christmas Story from Luke’s Gospel, and have a glass of egg nog. my ex-wife will have the kids for Christmas, while I’ll be here in Salem.

Please don’t misunderstand. While my heart will ache just a little at not seeing my kiddos until the following Thursday, I’m not complaining. It’s only fair that my ex-wife have her Christmas with them. I’ve had them for the past two, and I’m publically grateful to her that our divorce has been relatively amicable, and that the inexcusable horror of ex-spouses using their kids as weapons against each other is totally absent in our case. We’ve always done our best to put our kids first. I’m overwhelmingly grateful that our Christmas Eve tradition will survive for another year. And that my Christmas will hardly be lonely. I’ve made dear, dear friends here that I never would have met any other way. God can truly “work all things together for good.”

So if I can give you one bit of hope, one small reason to celebrate when your heart just isn’t in it, however bright or dark your Christmas may be, whether a Christmas First, a Christmas Last, or a Christmas Both. Let it be this:

“And there were in the same country, shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest! And on Earth, peace, good will toward men.’”
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
Steve Spencer
Salem, Oregon
15 December 2011

Three years... three years too long.

15 April 1923 - 15 December 2008
I miss you, Mom.

11 December 2011

Greatest Piano/Keyboards of All Time

This week was MUCH harder than last week's drummers. So many very talented fingers! Had to add more Honorable Mentions.

DIS-Honorable Mention
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (sort of)

Fourth Honorable Mention (and a heck of a singer)
Ronnie Milsap

Third Honorable Mention
Gordon Mote (not nominated, but it's my list :^P)

Second Honorable Mention (and a heck of a life story, right down to a tragic heart attack during a performance)
Anthony Berger

First Honorable Mention (and greatest showman)

Fourth Runnerup (although dependent upon modern hands)
Johann Sebastian Bach

Third Runnerup (and greatest to marry a 13yo cousin)
Jerry Lee Louis

Second Runnerup
Billy Powell

First Runnerup
Roger Bennett

Greatest Piano/Keyboard of All Time
Ludwig Van Beethoven

04 December 2011

Greatest Drummer of All Time

In the coming weeks, I'll be playing a little game of "Best of All Time," in several different categories. This week, it's drummers. Honorable Mention goes to...

Rick Allen - Def Leppard (ANY one handed drummer gets HM)

DIShonorable Mention (but entertaining, nonetheless) goes to...

Unknown Dude in Shiny Gold Jacket

Second Runner-Up

Buddy Rich (Gene's not bad, either)

First Runner-up (and best died-too-young drummer)

John Bonham - Led Zepplin

The winner, and Best Drummer of All time is...


Nominations are now open for Best Piano/Keyboards. Comment here, or see my Facebook page here.