Credit: Fally Afani

I'm reading a book called "Musicophilia, Tales of Music and the Brain" by Oliver Sacks.  It's a delight.  I've been thoroughly engrossed in descriptions of people who lost the ability to appreciate music.  I'm not afraid anymore.  But I can empathize to a small degree.

Way back in the year of our Lorde 2003, I played in a metal band called Tinge. I got the gig because I ran into a guy that I went to elementary school with back in 1933-97 named Tell. We just shot the shit and it came up that I play bass and he was in a metal band. He asked me to come out some night and jam for fun. The bass player on that particular night wasn't available so they were just gonna get together and jam. I went and did my Claypoolesque slap stuff and whatnot and they asked if I wanted to play in the band. I said, "Sure". They called up the bass player immediately and let him go. There was some sore feelings between him and the band for a while.

I say all this to point out that it was loud.  We played loud and we played hard.  But that is nothing compared to Ashley. Ashley can play louder than any drummer I have ever played with. Genre doesn't matter.  He doesn't always play this loud. It's definitely a tool in a very diverse toolbox for him. He can do pianissimo through forte just fine. But when we, as a band, are all in the pocket together and we are playing "Bananas" to a crowd that is soaking up the energy we pour out and begging for more... well... Ashley says "Okie-dokie" in his head and demonstrates that Fortissimo is just the beginning. He'll add about three "iss"es to that word when we hit the 12/8 outro and build and build and build.  If any normal man were to swell like this, he'd have to be admitted to the ER with the worst case of priapism in western medical history. (A later aside to this. I would be super interested in a professional decimeter about 4 feet from Ashley when this happens. Just curious.)

I say all THAT to set the stage for describing an experience I have occasionally when the volume gets "Ashleyissimo". It doesn't always happen but when it does, it sounds like all the sounds become a strange cacophony of metal crashing into each other. I can't tell what chord is being played and I can only tell where the beat is because I can feel the vibrations from the subwoofers.  I entirely lose my ability to discern music. It becomes noise and energy. It's not bad, but it's not recognizable anymore.

When reading "Musicophilia", this exact description was given by Mr. Sacks when he talks about amusia from a person he interviewed.  My experience has a label. Woo!

It got me to thinking. What do people hear when they hear my music. What do sounds sound like? Silly questions like "Does red look the same to all people?" become applicable and at least in the world of music, the answer is a clinically-supported "NO".  

On a slightly related note, maybe I should get those fancy earplugs that Mr. High C uses at our shows. I understand why...

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