What Does Music Mean To You?

In 1982, I discovered Van Halen. As far as music was concerned, I never looked back. I knew the words to every song on every album. I could drum solo right along with Alex. I studied everything I could get my hands on about them. (Oh, how the helpful the internet would’ve been.) I stayed up until all hours of the night listening to radio interviews. In my high school year book senior year, we had to list what we would be in ten years. I wrote married to Alex Van Halen. I was obsessed.  (The video above is “Respect the Wind” by Eddie and Alex Van Halen. Enjoy!)

As the years passed, and logic and reasoning formed in my brain (thankfully) some of the obsession died down. (I have seen every American tour since 1984.) I still enjoy their music, but mostly the stuff with David Lee Roth singing lead. Sorry, Sammy Hagar. He seems like a cool person to hang out with. I prefer the harder sound with Dave.

Growing up music made me believe anything was possible. Music sat right beside me while I wrote my first novel at twelve, and every novel since. (I have play lists for all my women’s fiction books.) Music soothed my heart the first time someone broke it. No one understands the broken heart better than a musician. Except maybe a romance novelist. Music makes me dance any place any time. Music transports me. Every time I hear AC/DC’s Hells Bells I’m at the start of a high school football game. High school was a long time ago.

I don’t play any instruments, but 2018 is the year I change that. I can’t sing, but I dream of being on stage in front of thousands singing my heart out. (Possibly in leather pants. And I’d love to do a duet with Jennifer Nettles. I love the quality of her voice.) If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d study how to play music. I love writing, and I wouldn’t change being an author for anything. (Though I’d like to make more than a cup of coffee for doing it.) But I also love the sound of an orchestra. And much to my son’s dismay, I love soundtrack music. The music in a soundtrack evokes emotion often times because the dialogue and the actor’s facial expressions can’t. Being in an orchestra is my kind of team sport.

An artist puts his or her mark on the world. The way rockers played guitar changed because Eddie Van Halen hit the scene. He revolutionized the way guitars were made too. I often hope with my books that I can leave my mark. I had a beta reader say to me recently, “I’m sobbing.” My words moved her. What an honor and a thrill to be able to touch someone deeply. Now I have to find more readers like her otherwise my mark is just one. That’s no easy job.

If I could go back to 1982, I think I’d sit myself down and say, “don’t give up. Don’t listen to what other people say. Deep inside you is a talent and a passion. Sing. Dance. Play. Write. I’ll be waiting for you.”

What does music mean to you?

What passion burns inside you to come out?

Who influenced you the most?

A Second Chance House is available for pre-order in digital format. The print version will become available March 7th from all major online retailers, and here on the website.

I’m hosting a Facebook party on March 7th from 7 – 9 pm in honor of the release. There will be games and prizes.

And since music is so important to me and my hero, Blaise Savage, I’m having a book launch concert at Patrick’s Pub, Neptune, NJ, March 28th 7 pm. I’ll be signing books and doing a reading. And right along side me will be fantastic bands playing awesome music. (I won’t be singing. Don’t worry.)



6 thoughts on “What Does Music Mean To You?

  1. I choose to credit – or blame – my sister exposing me to the likes of King Diamond, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper for my creative spark being lit and my obsession with horror stories… my novel Woken was almost entirely written while listening to The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper on permanent repeat. XD

    1. I have to admit, I’m not familiar with King Diamond. I’ll check them out. I’m guessing Woken is a horror story? Did you find the lyrics, the music, or both were an inspiration? For me, depending on what scene I’m writing kind of determines if I need the lyrics to help me along or more of the melody. When the song gives me both, I’m flying high. As always, thank you for stopping by the blog.

      1. King Diamond was the front man for Mercyful Fate who later spun off into a solo act; very goth-metal rock opera, heavily story focused (either by individual song or album). I love him.

        And yes, Woken is a horror novel. So far as direct inspiration, the theme of lyrics matters more than the lyrics themselves, but the musical tone and melody is what drives it home, in my case.

  2. Van Halen might’ve been my first favorite band, too. I came of age in the Hagar period, though, so my personal preference is for Sammy, though I love the Roth-era stuff, and even the new songs they recorded with Diamond Dave in 1996 and 2012. (And even though I don’t love Van Halen III, I saw them tour for it in 1998, and I will argue to my dying day that Cherone had all the stage presence of Dave and vocal range of Sammy and then some! It’s just that, for whatever reason, the chemistry wasn’t right. But I saw Cherone perform last month here in L.A. with Extreme, and his chemistry with Nuno is not in question!)

    Music crystalizes moments in time like virtually no other sensory phenomenon. Whenever the 80s on 8 channel does their top-forty countdown from 1989, I always sit and listen to every single song, because — for reasons too personal and complicated to go into here — 1989 was the happiest year of my childhood, and those songs just put me back there, you know?

    As for the influence music has had on my writing, that’s something I discussed at length here. I always create playlists for each project that somehow inspire the mood I’m going for. They become, in my mind, the soundtrack of the project.

    1. You and I have a lot in common. It’s freaky.

      I won’t hold it against you, though, that your preferences lie with Sammy Hagar. I do like the Humans Being song a lot. And he does have a ton of energy on stage. I’ll give him that, but I don’t think he’s over being dumped by Eddie. I saw the 1998 tour with Cherone too. I have to disagree. He bored me silly. When Michael Anthony finally took the vocals over that’s when the show came to life with me. Even Cherone made a comment about it on the mic. He said, “you’re stealing my job.” Or something to that affect. Um….yup.

      I also listen to 80s on 8 because I often want to go back in time to visit a special moment. Maybe it was the senior prom, “This is the Time,” Billy Joel, or a song by Yaz played at the beach, or Bryan Adams. I played that Reckless album to death. I thought for sure he’d written everyone of those songs for me. The list goes on and on.

      I’m going to revisit your post on music and your writing. I just started creating playlists with A Second Chance House. I heard songs that made me think of Grace and Blaise. The music helped set the mood. So, I created one for the second book, A Bridge Home, and then for the third book which I’m working on now. They are the soundtrack of the project. Another reason why I love soundtrack music! Ha!

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