yellow tent under starry night

My 50 Simple Pleasures in Life

Life is a series of moments, some grand and some simple. While the grand moments often steal the spotlight, it’s the simple pleasures that really make my journey worthwhile. As someone who has lived in various corners of the world and experienced life’s many facets, I’ve come to appreciate these small joys most. They are the unsung heroes that add color to my days and warmth to my soul. Here’s a list of 50 simple pleasures – inspired by this – that make my life great.

  1. The first sip of morning coffee when my house is quiet.
  2. A long, hilly hike with breathtaking views.
  3. The sense of accomplishment after finishing a challenging project.
  4. The first cold beer on vacation.
  5. Walking through a snow-covered landscape, feeling the crunch under my boots.
  6. The smell of rain hitting hot asphalt.
  7. Pouring a glass of wine perfectly without spilling a drop.
  8. Hearing an old favorite song on the radio.
  9. The sound of wind rustling through the trees on a quiet day.
  10. A juicy ribeye steak fresh off the grill.
  11. The satisfaction of completing a difficult bikepacking route.
  12. Seeing a mountain range in the distance.
  13. A freshly cleaned E-Bike, ready for the next adventure.
  14. Sitting around a campfire, enjoying the natural surroundings.
  15. Finishing a good book and feeling content.
  16. A deep and meaningful conversation with friends.
  17. A clear night sky filled with stars.
  18. Nailing the perfect mix or master in my music studio.
  19. The earthy smell of freshly cut wood.
  20. A spontaneous bikepacking adventure.
  21. The joy of discovering a new hiking trail.
  22. A moment of genuine, natural gratitude.
  23. The feeling of heavy muscles after a good workout.
  24. Capturing a great photo or video during one of my outdoor activities.
  25. A moment of solitude, far away from crowds and noise.
  26. Strumming my guitar and losing myself in the music.
  27. The thrill of reaching a summit and looking out over the landscape.
  28. Discovering a new track that I can’t stop listening to.
  29. Watching a distant thunderstorm roll in.
  30. The feeling of freedom when I turn off my phone for a day.
  31. Diving into genealogy and connecting with my past.
  32. The rush of wind against my face as I bike downhill.
  33. Taking an unplanned detour and discovering something new.
  34. Watching the sunset and reflecting on the day.
  35. The satisfaction of fixing something that’s broken.
  36. The freedom of an open road and endless possibilities.
  37. Using an old tool that still works perfectly.
  38. Dipping my feet in a cold stream on a hot day.
  39. Writing with a pen that glides effortlessly on paper.
  40. Walking through morning fog when the world seems softer.
  41. The thrill of a fast E-Bike ride.
  42. The excitement of releasing a new music track.
  43. The first snowfall of the season.
  44. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filling my house.
  45. The satisfaction of solving a complex problem at work.
  46. The feeling of sand between my toes.
  47. The adrenaline rush from an extreme outdoor activity.
  48. The peacefulness of a deserted beach.
  49. The joy of cooking a new recipe to perfection.
  50. The comfort of my favorite old sweatshirt.

While the list is personal, I believe that the essence of these joys is universal. They remind us to pause, to breathe, and to savor the small moments that often go unnoticed. In a world that’s increasingly complex and demanding, these simple pleasures are my sanctuary, my moments of zen.

I hope you find your own simple pleasures that make your journey just as rewarding.

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?