Archive for the 'Dan Rutherford' Category

Talented Guitarist Gaining Recognition in Apartment Complex

Walking by the quiet confines of the Danieley Center apartments, Elon students often find themselves caught up in the thundering, electric sound waves pouring out of one of the rooms in apartment B. They are not alarmed though. The noise is familiar.  These recognized melodies sound much like those from the likes of Springsteen, Simon and Skynyrd, but they’ve never heard the song before. 

The man who classifies his music as “Guitar-Driven Indie Southern Rock,” sophomore economics major Raleigh Richards, is just about as normal of a student as there is on campus.  Anyone with an ear for music though would think they are hearing the notes of a true rocker.  

Richards, 19, is a self-taught guitarist capable of melting faces much like the ways Hendrix and Clapton did.  He writes his own music. He sings his own songs. But he’s not in a band, and he’s never played in front of a crowd. 

With over 15 of his personal songs already put together, Richards has enough music to put out a record, but his future plans don’t necessarily include a Grammy award.  

“I’m here to get a degree,” says Richards.  

He strums a chord on his cherry red Fender Telecaster, and shakes out the last drops of a Poland Spring into his mouth.

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In fact, it is his hopes of one day getting a good job and making money that keep him from rising to stardom.

“Hopefully I can be in a good place to get a job out of school.” 

The plainly dressed rocker plays the opening chords to the Rolling Stones’ hit “Start Me Up,” and goes into a series of other classics.

Richards credits his influences to artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Radiohead, and Kings of Leon, and it shows in his music.  His playing reflects a modern sound that has very obvious classic rock influence.

One of his musical gems includes a pulsating, mystical intro that sounds like a track from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but smoothly lashes into a guitar solo that would easily fit into any song by Led Zeppelin.  His ability to showcase different generations in his music is something he credits to his peers. 

“Now that I hang out with people who have different tastes in music, I’ve started to mix up the old with the new,” says Richards.  “I listen to a lot of different stuff now.”

Two guys scream in from next door to put in a request for the next riff.

“Rals let’s hear some Ozzy,” his neighbors badger. 

Richards just laughs, sliding his hands up the instrument’s neck to tune up for the request.

The studious rocker doesn’t just limit his songs to work on the guitar.  He uses Garageband, a recording and mixing program, to mix different guitar sounds, and even create drumbeats and bass lines.  It is this that gives him the ability to write whole songs, but it is the lyrics that are currently off limits to other ears. 

“I’ve never sung any of my songs to anyone,” says Richards.

But that’s just the way he likes it. 

In fact, if it wasn’t for his booming guitar playing and admiring neighbors, Richards’ skills would be virtually unknown to anyone. 

Vincent Ayube, Richards’ neighbor, is also one of his biggest fans. 

“I lived with Raleigh last year in a dorm and I didn’t even know he played,” says Ayube. I come here the first weekend this year, and I’m like ‘What? You don’t play an instrument’.” 

Simply playing the guitar though isn’t what has his few listeners talking to other students about who they feel is “a really talented guy,” as Ayube jokes with Richards about his lack of exposure. 

“Raleigh is gonna be a huge rock star,” kids Ayube as he mimics Richards’ guitar playing . “You need to quit that business stuff Rals and make a band.” 

Richards is unassuming and humble about his ability, as he takes it as something he simply enjoys doing for himself. 

“I love playing the guitar,” says Richards. “It’s fun. I love it, and I love making music, but that’s all it is.” 

He sheds himself of the guitar and looks at his laptop screen and laughs.

“Why be in a band when I can make power points?”

 

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Guitarist Enters the Blogging World

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has recently started his own blog. It is geared toward people who listen to his music as a solo artist, and it offers a self-reflective, insightful look at things such as playing the guitar, as well as the concept of his new album, The Empyrean, set to be released in January 2009.  

Frusciante’s writing certainly has a psychedelic element to it, as it makes  the reader think outside the box.  This is most recognized in his first entry which is an exercise for guitarists, but you don’t need to play an instrument to understand it.  

Using his guitar playing as an example, Frusiciante explains that, “our differences as people can be points of connection, and we don’t have to dress like our friend’s, or have the same opinion as them to strengthen that connection.”  

It is this, Frusciante says, that makes beautiful music come together, and this idea becomes his basis for thought throughout the blog. Understanding this is necessary towards making sense of and appreciating Frusicante’s writing.  

This blog is sure to offer more interesting writing in the future, and bloggers everywhere should take advantage of getting into the mind of one of the most talented musicians of our time.

Here is some of Frusciante’s work on the guitar: 

Painting the Picture

In an article from Saturday’s edition of Miami Herald, Monica Hatcher uses emotional appeal and descriptive writing to paint the picture of an impoverished Latin American family living in the Miami area. 

The lede sets the tone for Hatcher’s strategy right off the bat:  “The little apartment is crumbling. There are holes in the walls, pipes and wires exposed in the ceiling.” 

Immediately the reader is given a vivid description of the setting giving the feeling of being there, all in two extremely short sentences. Crisp, clear writing at its best. 

The next paragraph follows the lede with even more descriptive detail. “Stuttering fluorescent lights drape simple furnishings in a dreary pall — a large eating table, a cracked vinyl sofa, a set of drawers where a stereo sits. Four neatly made beds and a crib crowd two bedrooms.” 

Two paragraphs already and not even a hint as to what the article is about, but it works to the story’s advantage.  Highlighted by active verbs and intriguing adjectives, these first two paragraphs are the strongest and most creative aspects of the article that eventually attribute to the story’s emotional appeal. 

The story goes on to tell the story of a 10 person family who are crammed in a two bedroom apartment, and how their wishes for Christmas are simply functioning appliances and to be together.  It is a fresh reminder of the important things to remember during the holiday season amongst the flurry of materialistic advertisements that encompass the media around this time of year. 

Ms. Hatcher has written a gem here, and her vivid, effective writing does justice to a truly emotional, well-written article.

HBO Series to Focus On Rocker’s Childhood

HBO is looking for a writer for a new series that will depict the childhood relationship between Red Hot Chili Pepper’s singer Anthony Kiedis and his father, Spider.  

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Kiedis, whose deviant, unconventional childhood was depicted in his 2004 autobiograpy, Scar Tissue, will supposedly play a large role in the production.  It is expected that Kiedis will be the narrator of the series and will make frequent cameos.  The series, appropriately named after the book will take place in the 1970’s in downtown Los Angeles.

Election ’08: Illustrated by the Media

On MSNBC’s website, there is an article from the associated press entitled “Obama, McCain battle in final day before poll.” It uses each candidate’s motto of “change” as a means for comparing what the two candidates have done throughout the election. The article is quite animated as the reader is given a constant vision of McCain’s grit and underdog role verses Obama’s smooth confidence.

The Jamaica Observer features an intriguing pro-Obama article that highlights criticisms of President Bush and John McCain, without discussing those of Barack Obama. It seems to be slightly biased and closed minded, but it is interesting to see the opinions of an election that is not even taking place in that country’s newspaper.

Broadcast Analysis: Accused Assassination Plotters Caught

Fox 13 News in Memphis reports that two local men from a small Tennessee town were arrested when police received a tip that they were planning to assassinate presidential candidate Barack Obama. The two men, Paul Schlessel and Daniel Cowart, of Bell’s, Tennessee got as far as a predominantly African American church in Brownsville, Beech Grove Church of Christ, as they shot out one of the windows, but were soon pulled over by Crockett County police when authorities noticed hate messages tattooed on the body of their car.  

The local news station that covers this assassination plot does a nice job of taking a local angle on the issue as the broadcaster does her coverage from the gun store the boy’s planned to rob, as well as going to the grocery store one of the boys used to work at. By interviewing the gun store owner and former co-workers of one of the suspects, Fox 13 News succeeds in covering a story that has an investigative feeling. As the news anchor covers the story, eerie pictures of the boys and their car begin to flash across the screen, striking a nerve in the viewer by depicting these men as evil people. The video coverage is clearly on a significantly smaller budget compared to the likes of CNN and other major network broadcasters, but the local, hometown way in which Fox 13 News covers the story works very much to their advantage.

“Like a Good Neighbor…”

State Farm Insurance’s campaign motto for years has given commercial viewers a neighborly sense of comfort since the company inserted it in their ad campaigns in 1971. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” represents classic small town American values like community and dependability, and appeals to the average, working class citizen.  As the leading endorser of Major League Baseball, State Farm has a clear target in its audience, as they have chosen to use their red and white colors as the backdrop on the stage that is all Major League ballparks, appealing to those who love and appreciate “America’s Pastime.”

 

Unlike the quirky, silliness of the Geico “caveman” pitch, or the playful, goofy Aflac duck, State Farm has held true to its long-standing tradition of helping out the hard-nosed, honest American worker.  Through it’s motto, State Farm exerts a sense of reliability and quality that they know will convince their audience, and a classic image that remind most of the “good ol’ days.” 

  

Keeping up with their image, State Farm has joined forces with All-American baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. to help promote their national teen driver safety program. Ripken’s face will appear in a multitude of print and media ads over the next week to help promote State Farm’s partnership with National Teen Driver Safety Week. In return, State Farm will sponsor a number of events for the Ripken Baseball League over the next few years. 

Says Ripken, “It is exciting to know and work with an organization that is so committed to supporting baseball at the grassroots level.”  

State Farm is effectively promoting it’s association with American family values, as it is using an exemplary figure as the face of Major League Baseball to help promote a general insurance concern for many families.

 


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