red and orange galaxy illustration

Why I’m a Pantheist. And What About My Album “GOD”?

From my earliest memories, the universe has always been a source of profound fascination. The night sky, a tapestry of stars and cosmic wonder, seemed to pose questions that penetrated the very core of my being. My quest for answers led me through various domains – religion, philosophy, and empirical science. Yet, none offered the holistic understanding I yearned for. That is, until I discovered Pantheism.

At its core, Pantheism is a worldview that is both elegantly simple and profoundly deep: the universe and everything within it is divine. But let’s clarify what I mean by “divine,” as it’s a term often misunderstood. For me, divinity is not about an anthropomorphic God sitting on a celestial throne. I’m an atheist in that regard, finding no logical or empirical basis for such a deity. Instead, my sense of the divine is rooted in the inherent order that permeates the universe – an order that allows for the existence and functioning of all things.

This divine order is not a set of commandments but a natural, self-organizing system that can be observed in everything from the laws of physics to the complexity of biological systems. It’s the reason why planets orbit stars, why ecosystems maintain their balance, and why we, as conscious beings, can ponder our place in the cosmos. This order is the closest thing to “God” in my Pantheistic view, and it’s an understanding that fills me with awe and wonder.

When I first encountered the concept of quantum entanglement, it felt like a scientific affirmation of this divine order. Here were particles, separated by vast distances, yet intrinsically connected in a way that defied classical understanding. It was as if the universe itself was giving a nod to the Pantheistic idea of interconnectedness, an inherent feature of this divine order.

The first law of thermodynamics further resonated with my Pantheistic beliefs. This law, stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed but only transformed, seemed like another expression of this divine order. It’s a principle that can be observed in the water cycle, where water evaporates, forms clouds, and returns as rain, never being destroyed but merely changing form. This eternal cycle of energy and matter is a testament to the inherent order that governs all things.

The cyclical nature of the universe, as suggested by theories like the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, also aligns with this view. These theories propose a universe in a constant cycle of birth, expansion, and eventual contraction, mirroring the eternal cycles that are a cornerstone of Pantheistic thought and another manifestation of this divine order.

The concept of emergence, where complex systems arise from the interactions of simpler entities, offers yet another glimpse into this inherent order. Consider a termite mound: each termite contributes to a complex, self-regulating system, a microcosm of the divine order that I see as permeating the universe at all levels.

Fractals, with their infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across scales, serve as a beautiful metaphor for this divine order. Whether it’s the branching of trees, the course of rivers, or the structure of our lungs, these fractal patterns are a testament to the inherent order that underlies all existence.

So, why am I a Pantheist? Because Pantheism offers a framework that harmonizes the spiritual with the scientific. It provides a lens through which the mysteries and realities of existence can be explored and appreciated. In embracing Pantheism, I’ve found a spiritual home that satisfies my intellectual curiosity, fills my soul with a sense of divine wonder, and aligns perfectly with my atheistic rejection of a traditional deity. For me, Pantheism is not just a belief; it’s a profound understanding of the divine order that makes us, and everything around us, a part of this wondrous cosmos.

The Irony of “God”: My Musical Perspective

Now, you might be wondering about my album titled “GOD.” I have never explained this. This is a first.

Contrary to what the title might suggest, it’s not a religious work. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – it’s a satire, a commentary on how religious teachings, particularly those surrounding figures like Jesus, have been misunderstood and distorted over time.

I have immense respect for Jesus as a historical figure. He was a revolutionary who preached love, tolerance, and understanding in a time when such ideas were radical. However, I believe that his messages have been twisted and turned into something he never intended. My album “God” aims to poke fun at this religious misinterpretation while also shedding light on how I see the divine order that governs the universe.

Back then I have been accused of blasphemy and even been threatened by religious fanatics.

In the album, I explore themes that resonate with my Pantheistic beliefs, using music as a medium to express the inherent order and interconnectedness that I see in the cosmos. It’s my way of challenging conventional religious thought and encouraging listeners to consider a more harmonious and scientifically coherent understanding of divinity.

So, when you listen to “GOD,” know that it’s not an homage to a deity in the sky but a musical journey that invites you to question, explore, and ultimately find your own understanding of the divine order that makes this universe so incredibly awe-inspiring.

The 10 Best Drummers of All Time (According to Me)

In the world of music, there are legends who have the power to move souls with their rhythmic magic. Among them, the drummers stand tall as the untamed giants of the beat, the fiery guardians of the groove. Spanning across genres, from the smoky realms of jazz to the thunderous realms of rock, these sonic revolutionaries ignite fires within our hearts. Now, behold the divine pantheon of the ten awe-inspiring drummers who have transcended mere virtuosity to become symbols of passion, power, and pure musical wizardry!

(In no particular order, although Gavin Harrison and Simon Phillips are my 2 absolute favorites)

πŸ₯ Drum roll, please! πŸ₯

Gavin Harrison

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in England, Gavin Harrison showed an early interest in drumming. He joined Renaissance at 19 and later became a sought-after session drummer. His work with Porcupine Tree and King Crimson has earned him numerous awards and accolades.
  • Current Projects: King Crimson, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, The Pineapple Thief
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gavin’s precision and creativity are unmatched. His ability to weave complex rhythms into accessible music is pure genius.
  • Fun Fact: Gavin has authored several drumming books!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Simon Phillips

  • Biography: Born in 1957 in London, Simon Phillips began playing professionally at the age of 12. He’s played with a wide range of artists, including The Who and Toto. His powerful style and versatility have made him one of the most respected drummers in the world.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Protocol
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Mike Oldfield, The Who, Judas Priest, Michael Schenker
  • Equipment: Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Simon’s versatility and power behind the kit make him a force to be reckoned with.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played on over 400 albums!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Mike Mangini

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in Newton, Massachusetts, Mike Mangini’s drumming journey began at age 2. He’s played with Extreme and Steve Vai, and in 2011, he became the official drummer for Dream Theater. His incredible speed and precision have earned him several World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Current Projects: Dream Theater
  • Artists/Bands: Dream Theater, Extreme, Steve Vai
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Mike’s technical prowess and speed are jaw-dropping. His solos are a rollercoaster ride!
  • Fun Fact: He holds five World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Gergo Borlai

  • Biography: Born in 1978 in Hungary, Gergo Borlai was a child prodigy, starting to play drums at age three. He’s known for his fusion of jazz, rock, and funk and has played with artists like Scott Kinsey and Gary Willis. His unique style has made him a prominent figure in the drumming community.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Various Collaborations
  • Artists/Bands: Scott Kinsey, Gary Willis, Tribal Tech
  • Equipment: Ludwig Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gergo’s fusion of jazz, rock, and funk is a rhythmic feast for the ears.
  • Fun Fact: He started drumming at age three!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Nick D’Virgilio

  • Biography: Born in 1968 in California, Nick D’Virgilio is known for his work with progressive rock bands like Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train and Genesis. He’s also a talented singer and has contributed to numerous albums as a session musician. His melodic sensibility and technical prowess have earned him a dedicated fan base.
  • Current Projects: Big Big Train, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Spock’s Beard, Genesis, Tears for Fears
  • Equipment: DW Drums (and many others), Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Nick’s progressive rock chops and melodic sensibility are second to none.
  • Fun Fact: He’s also a talented singer and plays the guitar!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Sarah Thawer

  • Biography: Based in Toronto, Canada, Sarah Thawer is a self-taught drummer known for her unique blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz. She’s a YouTube sensation and has performed with various jazz ensembles. Her innovative approach to drumming has made her a rising star in the music world.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Independent, Various Jazz Ensembles
  • Equipment: Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Her: Sarah’s blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz is refreshing and unique.
  • Fun Fact: She’s a self-taught YouTube sensation! And she drums with her face, too. Her facial expressions are something!
  • Watch Her in Action:

Buddy Rich

  • Biography: Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, Buddy Rich was a jazz drumming legend known for his incredible technique and showmanship. He led his own big band and played with greats like Frank Sinatra. His influence on drumming continues to be felt today.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1987
  • Artists/Bands: Buddy Rich Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey
  • Equipment: Slingerland Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Buddy Rich Signature Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Buddy’s showmanship and technique are legendary. He’s the original drumming superstar.
  • Fun Fact: He once had a drum battle with Animal from The Muppets!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Jeff Porcaro

  • Biography: Born in 1954 in Connecticut, Jeff Porcaro was a founding member of Toto and an in-demand session drummer. His groove in songs like “Rosanna” is timeless, and his feel for the music made him one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1992
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Regal Tip Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Jeff’s groove in songs like “Rosanna” is legendary. His feel is simply magical.
  • Fun Fact: He’s one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Marco Minnemann

  • Biography: Born in 1970 in Germany, Marco Minnemann is known for his incredible independence and creativity on the drums. He’s played with The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, and Joe Satriani. His ability to play a different rhythm with each limb is mind-blowing.
  • Current Projects: The Aristocrats, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani
  • Equipment: DW Drums, Zyn Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Marco’s creativity and independence on the kit are out of this world.
  • Fun Fact: He can play a different rhythm with each limb! He always seems to have the most fun behind the kit.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Chris Coleman

  • Biography: Born in 1977 in Michigan, Chris Coleman is known for his gospel chops and has played with a wide range of artists, including Prince, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. His soulful playing and finesse have made him a favorite among musicians and fans alike.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Prince, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Chris’s chops and musicality are insane. He plays with soul, power and finesse. Very hard hitter, super groovy.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played with everyone from Chaka Khan to Prince.
  • Watch Him in Action:

So, there you have it, my personal top 10 drummers who’ve ever graced a drum throne. From legends of the past to modern maestros, these drummers have shaped the way I hear and feel music. πŸ₯πŸ’₯


Cover Extreme Six

REVIEW: Extreme’s “SIX” – A Symphony of Sonic Surprises and Unapologetic Authenticity

(Isn’t the album cover extremely awesome?)

As a grizzled veteran of the rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster, having clocked up a half-century on this spinning rock we call Earth, I’ve been a passenger on the Extreme journey since the band’s genesis in 1985. Their latest offering, “SIX”, is a testament to their musical evolution, a sonic tapestry that weaves together the threads of their past while boldly striding into uncharted territory.

“SIX” opens with “Rise“, a track that hits you like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. It’s a powerful opener that sets the tone for the album, a narrative about the fickle nature of fame that resonates with anyone who’s been around the block a few times. It’s a reminder that success is transient, a theme that echoes through the annals of rock history and reverberates in the hearts of seasoned fans like me.

Next up is “#Rebel“, a track that lives up to its name in every sense. It’s a rebellious anthem that channels the spirit of Marilyn Manson, a stark departure from Extreme’s usual style. It’s a bold move, but it’s this willingness to push boundaries and experiment with new sounds that has kept Extreme relevant over the years.

Banshee” and “Other Side of the Rainbow” offer a softer side of Extreme, with their intimate ballads that hark back to the band’s earlier days. These tracks are a comforting reminder of the band’s roots, a nostalgic nod to the past that old fans like me can appreciate. They’re like a warm blanket on a cold night, a familiar comfort that wraps you in a cocoon of melodic memories.

Small Town Beautiful” and “The Mask” continue this trend, with their well-crafted rock music that breathes the spirit of the 90s yet finds its place in the here and now. These tracks are a testament to Extreme’s ability to evolve while staying true to their unique sound. They’re like a fine wine, maturing with age yet retaining the essence of their original flavor.

Thicker Than Blood” and “Save Me” are where the album takes a turn. These tracks are a departure from the band’s usual style, with a modern, US mainstream rock sound. It’s a surprising twist, but one that showcases the band’s versatility. It’s like stepping into a time machine and being catapulted into the future, a thrilling ride that leaves you breathless and eager for more.

X Out” is undoubtedly the standout track on the album. It’s a kaleidoscope of influences and styles that highlights Extreme’s musical range. Bettencourt’s guitar work here is particularly noteworthy, with dazzling riffs reminiscent of Van Halen and a musical structure that echoes U2’s modern phase. It’s a sonic masterpiece that showcases the band’s musical prowess and creativity.

On the other end of the spectrum is “Beautiful Girls“, a track that can only be described as an inexplicable mishap on an otherwise flawless album. Despite the band’s obvious musical prowess, this song seems to fall out of line and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit, a perplexing anomaly in an otherwise seamless sonic landscape.

The album concludes with “Here’s to the Losers“, a poignant ballad that serves as a fitting end to the musical journey that is “SIX”. It’s a reminder of the band’s ability to evoke emotion through their music, a skill that has remained consistent throughout their career. It’s a heartfelt farewell that leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and a longing for more.

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Nuno Bettencourt (right) probably is the best guitarist this planet has ever seen.

“SIX” is an impressive album that showcases Extreme’s musical maturity and creative diversity. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to evolve while preserving their unique sound. It’s an album that will delight long-time fans of the band, like me, as well as those being introduced to their music for the first time. It’s a rollercoaster ride of musical mastery and unexpected turns, and one that I’m glad to have been a part of.

To further immerse myself in the Extreme experience, I plan to attend one or two live shows in 2023. There’s nothing quite like the electrifying atmosphere of a live concert, the raw energy of the band, and the collective excitement of the crowd. It’s an opportunity to witness the magic of Extreme firsthand, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it.

For those who wish to join me in this musical journey, you can purchase the album and merchandise on the band’s official website here. The site also provides updates on the band’s upcoming live shows, including dates in the US, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and several European countries.

Footnote: In my enthusiasm for the album, I sought to purchase the t-shirt featuring the striking gorilla album cover, only to find it was sold out. A testament, perhaps, to the widespread appeal of this latest offering from Extreme. Here’s hoping for a restock soon. After all, what better way to celebrate the release of “SIX” than by wearing it on your chest?