With the recent passing of mega music stars Prince, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson all being related to potential addictions it is becoming more and more difficult to talk about their artistry without addressing the other elephant in the room; addiction. Addiction almost seems synonymous with artistry. Sometimes the pressures of being consistently creative have been to blame but most often the elephant was always in the room; however, exacerbated by the pains and pleasures of being creative. We’ve just often chosen not to see the tortured nature of the artistic soul.
There is nothing quite like the pressures of being consistently artistic on someone else’s schedule. Everyone expecting greatness from you all of the time, sometimes even becoming critical when you don’t surpass records you previously set. It’s not hard to see how someone could find themselves at a crossroads of pushing the boundaries of right between wrong; taking too many pills, not getting enough sleep, even when it means hurting, all for the sake of success. Success which by this time has become defined by others and not so much by self.
So as we mourn the deaths of the world’s most famous artists whether Whitney Houston or David Bowie, let’s remember that artistry is personal, creativity takes time, not every song, book or painting is meant to be award winning. The artist makes some art from personal satisfaction. Some music is created to heal the artist; some the world.
We should also walk away understanding that the nature of addiction exempts no one. Everyone is susceptible to the lure of it. Being an addict doesn’t lessen the value of the person or their creativity. Perhaps leaning in to the humanness of celebrities, artists and everyone may give them the space to get help, feel the pains of life, heal the pains of life and grow from it.
There is no silver bullet for addiction and all artists are not destined to addiction but there certainly seems to be something about the two that keeps them in the same room.
In 2016 we lost another legendary performer. Country stars like Merle Haggard, rappers like Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest, Glenn Frey of the rock band The Eagles, David Bowie, Natalie Cole, and most recently Prince. They have all passed on leaving behind musical legacies that will inspire current and future performers to achieve their musical ambitions. It’s tragic when we lose icons, but at some point we all must come to that moment in our lives. When musicians pass, we tend to feel sadness because no longer will we be able to enjoy new music from them. We can take solace knowing what they did leave behind will remain with us.
The most recent death of Prince was a tough one for many. Despite what you think about him, he came across as genuine. He may have been flamboyant and oozed a certain sexuality, but musicians across the spectrum recognized his talent and respected him for it. Prince is known for his sexually charged lyrics but is widely hailed as a spectacular guitar player. Most of his music could be classified as pop, but there are many bands and musicians that understood his amazing guitar playing.
Years ago the thrash metal band Sacred Reich paid homage to him. It was a time when heavy metal fans weren’t supposed to like rap or pop music just like those fans weren’t supposed to like heavy metal. In their song “31 Flavors” off their 1990 album “The American Way” one line reads:
Black Sabbath Ozzy’s voice is sick as hell Prince, Fishbone, NWA these are the things that I like to play Mr. Bungle is so very cool so don’t be an ignorant fool there’s so much music for you to choose so don’t just be a metal dude it’s cool fool
At a time when musical fans weren’t supposed to cross barriers, here was a band flaunting the diverse choices out there and Prince of all people being singled out was a stunning choice for young metalheads. Throughout the ‘90’s other bands followed this trend trying to break down unnecessary barriers. And Prince is a perfect example of a musician deserving this respect.
His talent crossed genres and earned respect from countless musicians. Prince’s song “Darling Nikki” from his seminal album “Purple Rain” was covered by the rock band the Foo Fighters as a b-side to a single and found success as a top twenty hit in 2003. In 2004 at a tribute for George Harrison of the Beatles, a collection of rock legends performed the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Prince on stage as part of the tribute. When it gets to the guitar solo, they give way to Prince as he shreds the solo and clearly shows off his amazing talent. Surrounded by legends of rock, they give Prince his respect proving he’s no normal “pop” star. He’s someone with true talent recognized by his peers.
It’s tough seeing people we admire pass on but it’s something we have to face. We can crawl in a hole and pretend it’s not true but that doesn’t help anyone. What we can do is appreciate the gifted individuals while they’re here with us and respect their talent after they’re gone. For stars like Prince, their legacy lives on in their music. Fortunately his talent was known and respected by his peers and fans long before he passed on.
Working out can be a dreadful proposition. The more you climb in years, the more of a struggle it can be. First, you work long hours all week, and the weekends aren’t much better because you’re trying to do everything you couldn’t do during the work week. If you have kids that workload increases, and if you work shift work, your days off are at chaotic times. Then there’s your significant other that you must devote time for and with. With all of that and more, working out is the last thing you want to do, well sometimes–bills anyone?
So you decide you’re going to make time to workout, and you’re searching for a great and reasonably-priced gym. Most of the so-called ‘deals’, aren’t deals at all, and membership costs are way out of your price range. Then, when you do find a great deal, location is a factor because the gym is farther from your home and/or neighborhood than you prefer which causes gas and mileage to affect your budget. Oh, let’s not forget the times you joined a gym and only went 10 times or less throughout the year?! Are there any other options!?
Here is an option, workout at home! You can do this without or limited workout equipment. Here are a few exercises you can perform and also will show what body parts that are being fine tuned.
PUSH-UPS: Main Muscle: Chest
1) Wide-Grip Push-up:Target Area: Chest
Start from a normal pushup position but spread your hands wider than shoulder length. This will force your chest to pick up the brunt of the work from your triceps and shoulders.
2) Narrow-grip pushup: Target Area: Triceps
Do normal a normal pushup with your hands just a few inches apart from each other underneath your chest.
Start from the push-up position. Take one hand off the ground and raise it straight up in the air (making a T-shape out of your body). Keep your eyes locked on your raised hand. Repeat for your other side. Add dumbbells to the routine to increase the intensity of the workout.
4) Single-Leg Push-up: Target Area: Intense upper body workout
Lift one leg up off the ground and do a set. Switch legs on the next set.
5) Feet-Elevated Push-ups: Target Area: Intense upper body workout
Do a normal push-up, but with your feet elevated on a stable platform like a box or bench. The higher the platform, the more you’ll work your shoulders, chest, core, and scapular stabilizers (the muscles that connect your neck, midback, and shoulders).
SIT-UPS: Main Muscle: Abdominals
First, lie down on the floor placing your feet either under something that will not move or by having a partner hold them. Your legs should be bent at the knees. Place your hands behind your head and lock them together by clasping your fingers. This is the starting position. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Breathe out when performing this part of the exercise. Once you feel the contraction for a second, lower your upper body back down to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
1. This exercise can be performed with a weighted plate being held by both arms resting on the chest. The way to perform this exercise is to cross your arms by making an X and grabbing the weighted plate. Note: Your hands will no longer be behind your head.
2. This variation may be difficult to perform at first so start out using little to no weights until you feel comfortable with the movements.
LEG HOPS: Main Muscle: All Leg Muscles
Movement: Simply hop on one leg. Land on the toes and not the heels, and perform in a rhythmic fashion.
Repetitions: Perform all prescribed reps on one side, then on the other. This counts as one set.
These are a few to start off with. There are others, and you can incorporate more into your workouts as you develop. Also, during your workouts, you can wear a slim waistbelt to help lower the body fat around your stomach area. It won’t keep it off that comes from working out, but equally, if not more important, is watching and controlling what you eat. Yes, that means cutting out or cutting down on fast foods, and eating more vegetables and water. Late night snacks—forget about it, but that’s another article.
Working out is like listening to Miles Davis’ jazz. It’s unorganized brilliance with a clear path to perfection.
Here is a 30 minute sample video from fitnessblenders.com which shows some of the workouts written above with others added in. Keep in mind these exercises were done without equipment!