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Goals to engage

by | Jan 3, 2022 | engage, Goals, KISS

🖋 … and we’re off on the New Year. And if you are following the normal course, you have made some resolutions … and some Goals for this fresh start after Cleaning Up. And …normally those are in the trash heap by the time we reach MLK Day, and certainly by Presidents Day. So what are Goals really… and what could sustain us as we engage… practices that are Simple? And of course, the music needs to be a gentle reminder to slow down after the starting gun…

I know I have been using a lot of classic rock lately, and I promise I will get back to rotating things around. That is one of the Goals I have year in and year out – Different. And something I picked up a few years back that really has worked well is to not have a lot of explicit Goals, but to think about single words or phrases that help you decide in the moment what aligns best now. Think of them as “guardrails” that you build to keep your “car” on the freeway for the new Journey.

The music to engage us this week was a simple choice… once I thought about the other proven thing I have continually been reminded of. While I hate “bumper sticker” advice, this one helps me – particularly the first S. Keep It Simple Stupid… the latter I have reframed to be Smiley which may or may not surprise you. Now that you know that, there is no way to duck the music we will engage this week…

🎵… I know them from their loud outlandish approach to … everything, but I don’t really know much about the band or their back story. Recently something popped up about Gene coming to the US not speaking English, and that reminded me of Eddie Van Halen. and his rich backstory I knew nothing about… until my Goal of Curiosity kicked in. So what is it that really developed these musicians into, whether you like it or not, one of the top artists ever, having sold over 100 Million albums worldwide, and a juggernaut of a Brand and business, something many of us are trying to do…

Stanley Eisen was raised Jewish around New York eventually settling in Queens. With a birth defect, his hearing on the right side was almost non-existent, and he was taunted as a kid for his “funny-looking ear”. His family, immigrants that fled Poland’s Ghetto for the Netherlands during World War II, loved classical music. Stanley loved Beethoven, who also eventually had severe hearing problems. He watched American Bandstand, and learned to sing harmony starting at 7 when he received his first guitar, looking forward to engaging a “real” guitar for his bar mitzvah (13) – which he hoped would be electric 😉

With a talent for graphic arts, he got into the High School of Music and Art in New York City (not FAME). He bounced through a few bands, before meeting up with a bass player, and they both answered an ad from a drummer, reminiscent of the forming of U2. Even though Stanley had played for years, he was not a great soloist, but had mastered the lost art of Rhythm Guitar. After auditions, they found a great lead player, and the band was formed in 1974. He knew that Eisen was probably not a great rock name, and wanted to honor 2 other hero singers – Paul Rodgers of Free and Paul McCartney of the Beatles… and thus was born Paul Stanley, a name you may recognize.

The band formed at the height of the “Glam Rock” scene in New York, and tomorrow I will fully tell the story around choosing to wear makeup as it has themes of management. For Paul, he played around a bit with which persona to choose but settled on the Starchild. “Each of us wears something that reflects who we are. I always loved stars and always identified with them – so, when it came time to put something on my face, I knew it would be a star”. And he is the one you see out front singing and mostly playing rhythm…

Music is mostly 3 chords picked out of an alphabet of 8 letters. You engage a key – like A. The rest of the song is built around the 4 (D) and the 5(E)… with memorable songs mixing in 2’s, 4’s, 7’s, to tease your brain that you don’t actually know what is coming next 😉 The role of the Rhythm Guitar player is to play those 3 chords and fill in the structure just above the Bass and Drums. That allows the lead player to engage, rip it up, soloing… knowing someone has the song “under control”.

🖋 A basic practice I have now adopted is the “3 Chords for the Year”. Some are refined each year, some are Cleaned Up and changed, but since doing this, I have found that they help control engagement more easily throughout the year. This year they are “Now”, “Enough”, and “Different”. You can guess what they mean to me, which is somewhat irrelevant as you engage. For today, what 3 Chords reflect how you want to set the structure for the music of your 2022? And leverage another important part of music I skip over regularly – those funny squiggles that tell you to…. wait… and be patient. The music will be back… but this pause helps you… (like these irritating three dots my editors hate… )

My Goal for this week is to engage with the elements of a great song.  You think you know Goals (the chords), but as we progress, there are places you will say “wait… what?” – exactly like a great song. The first time you hear it your brain is “confused”… and later, that is what your brain loves most. So stay engaged this week… From their very first album, the first single, and a great reminder of the MTV of my generation – the Midnight Special.  I probably saw this live… A great Overture of the whole KISS experience and their Goals – and a reminder from skiing that this process is again – Simple but Not Easy. But worth mining for… Black Diamond.

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