Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red bass guitar photo session with Tanya”)

Tanya loved the idea of doing a photo shoot with my bass guitar. She is a makeup artist who is usually on the other end of the spectrum getting other models ready for photo shoots. In this session she had a couple of outfits that she wanted to  model and we picked the perfect environment (and the perfect bass guitar) for the shoot. Yes, it was chilly, but she was very professional and easy to work with. The end results got a “lot” of favorable comments and I hope you don’t mind me sharing our results with you today. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the pictures of Tanya. Have a great weekend and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Can a long lasting relationship survive without sex?”)

I had this talk with a friend of mine the other day. He kept on bragging about his sexual escapades with this one woman friend of his (as if I really needed to hear it), so then after a while I asked him one simple question. I asked, “If you could not have any sex with this woman, then what else would you brag about? Would you have any relationship at all with her? Would you even know anything else about her?” He just looked at me with a kind of complexed stare and after a small pause he uttered, “I just can’t imagine having a relationship with anyone without sex.” This brings me to today’s topic: “Is sex overrated when it comes to sustaining relationships?” Hey, we all have a need for it, but could we possibly get by “without” it? Men are very “visually stimulated” creatures. If something looks “tempting” then that tends to trigger stuff (at least in most men). However, once sex is over, what’s left? When a lot of couples get together it is often based on how “physically attracted” they are to each other. However, those physical traits are not guaranteed to last forever. Once those properties are gone, is the relationship “basically over?” For women, if a man doesn’t have the necessary tools to satisfy you in bed, how likely are you to want to stay with him without cheating at some point? For a man, if your woman let’s go of her figure and loses her appeal, how long will you be able to stay with her without wanting to see someone else? Normally a good looking man or woman will usually get our attention. If you are committed to someone, does that mean you “ignore” your human urges to look whenever that person crosses your path? I just thought this was an interesting point to mention today because this friend of mine was “going at it hard” about what he and this woman did together. My mind then started to wander and think about whether or not it is “even possible” to have a long lasting “sex-less” relationship. Could they even sleep together in the same bed without “feeling some sort of way?” I’m not sure if anyone has the answer to this (or if anyone wants to even try this experiment out for themselves to see if it can actually work). “We are what we are, and we do what we do.” As ridiculous as that may sound, it seems so appropriate when it comes to explaining our humanity. If sex is your main determinant for forming a relationship, then what “should” that say about you? Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer today. Please make the most of it.

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Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly

Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Can today’s performances do it like this anymore?”)

Yes, i do realize that I am from another “era.” I have seen the trends of music go through so many “different extremes” in my lifetime. I often wonder if the main reason I am “so critical” of today’s music is because I keep trying to “compare it” to the days when i “felt” music was at a higher level. I wanted to share the video below with you, not because of it’s great sound quality (the quality is fairly bad) and not because of the special effects (there are none) and not because of the lip syncing potential (this is one billion percent live) but rather to ask you whether or not “you” feel performances like this have improved or eradicated since this time. I want to share this because I don’t know of any modern day artists who can “do it like this” or still would even want to. This group is the legendary Temptations,  and they had a “string of hits” for Motown records. They performed under the concept that voices, presentation and movement were important to putting on a great show. I “love” this performance, but i also wonder if it is only because I was raised on it (or is it because this is actually good?). I would love to know what “you” think. Compared to today’s standard of performances, is this a step backwards or a step forward? Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always i wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“How artists and musicians should prepare for touring”)

I remember being young and coming into my own as a musician. A performing artist by the name of Jean Carne asked me if I would go on tour with her. I was so excited about it. I kept thinking that I was going to hang out with “all the stars” and enjoy a great time doing what I loved to do. I had no idea about the “work and preparation” needed when it came to touring. I soon “found out…” We had a segment of gigs that we had to do in just a “couple of days.” I would love to tell you the very first city we went to but I “honestly can’t remember.” However, I “do” remember doing up to two shows a night, getting into my hotel room around 2:00 or 3:00 each night, only to have to wake up around 5:00 or 6:00 each morning just to catch the next plane to the next city. I was working on “fumes” but trying my best to ignore it. On day 5 of this tour I remember playing at the Riverbend outside venue in Cincinnati, Ohio. We were “opening up for the great jazz guitarist George Benson (who was one of the nicest celebrities i ever met). When it came time for us to perform, I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. I was “so exhausted” that I was actually “falling asleep while playing… standing up.” My head would go down (and then jerk back up) while playing and as much as I tried to smile and look happy, I was anything but. As for “‘all those stars” that I was expecting to hang with, unless they were on the same show with us I never got to hang with any of them. Then when it came to meeting interesting people I would come up empty on that end as well. Once the concert is over, everyone “leaves.” i was backstage waiting for the limo to come get us (which on many occasions wasn’t even ready to take us back after we were finished). I was getting a real “crash course” on how to “properly prepare for touring.” I also learned that you can’t “take a lot of items with you” because everything that you take you also have to “carry.” I had packed stuff that i didn’t even need, and with that I learned to “travel lightly.” I think the worst fatigue trip I had was when we went to London. We left from  the Newark airport at 10:00 PM. I remember at 1:00 AM my time seeing “extremely bright sunshine” through the airplane windows. I didn’t sleep the entire trip and once we got there they were 5 hours ahead of us time-wise. Needless to say, I was ‘jacked up.” I was really tired and didn’t know when to sleep or even wake up. I learned a great lesson from this trip. It is easy to see how a performer could turn to drugs just to cope with a hectic touring schedule. I had no intentions of going that route, but I had to find a better way to get my rest in between destinations. I hardly tour now. The economy is not the same anymore and while some still do tour it is not like it once used to be for most performers. I just wanted to share this for any “future performers or musicians” who are “hyped” about the prospect of touring. Please make sure to make the proper preparations so that you can survive the ordeal. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always i wish the very best to you that life has to offer today.

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Jean Carne and Brett Jolly in concert

Jean Carne

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Did Michael Jackson steal a song from Hall and Oates?”)

On a recent interview with legendary Pop duo Hall and Oates, they mentioned that  Michael Jackson told them that he “stole” from their hit song “I can’t go for that (No can do).” Surprisingly enough, the tune that Michael created with it was  the mega hit “Billie Jean.” For those who would like to check out the interview here is the link:

http://nj1015.com/hall-oates-talk-about-the-song-michael-jackson-says-he-stole-from-them/

When it comes to “any” bass lines, I can tell you “exactly” who stole  and who didn’t steal. Chic’s bass lines to “Good Times” was in fact stolen by “several people” including the “biggest  perpetrators” The Sugar Hill Gang (“Rappers Delight”). As much as people “think” that Robin Thicke stole the bass line from Marvin Gaye on “Got to Give it Up (Supposedly for the hit song “Blurred Lines”) there is “NO thievery AT ALL” on this one. The bass lines are “totally different.” Thicke may have copied the style, but NOT the music. Now, back to Michael. If  Michael stole the bass line of “I can’t go for that” then he did an absolutely “horrible job of doing so.” The bass lines to both tunes DO NOT match up at all. Not only that, the drum parts don’t match, the music doesn’t match and the melody lines don’t match either. If that was the best that Michael could do when  trying to steal someone else’s song then “everyone” should have been safe from this predator. There are only “so many” notes in the music realm, and while just about “all” songwriters are influenced by others it doesn’t mean that they steal from them. For the record, they are nothing illegal about stealing someone else’s “style of music.” A LOT of todays music has the same style to it, so if that were the case then they all should be suing each other in court. However, when you “sample or copy” a specific pattern  from another tune then that could lead to “copyright infringement.” The Chiffons song “He’s so fine” was a big hit and when i played for them I asked them about John Lennon (from the Beetles) and they told me that John “flat out stole their music and melody line for his big hit “My Sweet Lord.” Obviously they were right, because they took  him to court and “won” for copyright infringement. I will “gladly” point out anyone who steals from others, but on this particular occasion I must say that if Michael Jackson stole from Hall and Oates, then he was a very “poor criminal (NOT a “smooth criminal” at all)” so my response to this is simple:” “No could do.” I thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Have a great day.

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Kathy Sledge (who sang lead on the big hit “We are Family” for Sister Sledge) and Brett Jolly

Kathy Sledge and Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Winter photo shoot of Brittney and red bass guitar”)

This past month in Philadelphia the winter temperatures have been brutal. While we haven’t gotten anywhere near as much snow as we had last year, it has been cold beyond imagination. Brittney is a real “special” kind of model. If we schedule a shoot and there is a rain storm, snow storm or cold temperatures, she “never” wants to cancel. She is a true professional who “knows” how to make adverse situations work. This day was “very” cold (and this was probably one of the shortest photo shoots I have ever done) but she did an excellent job just trying to “look like she wasn’t freezing.” Yes, it did snow that day and it was on the ground but it was a great session. This weekend I present to you Brittney and her red bass guitar shots. Hope you enjoy and as always, i wish you the very best that life has to offer. Have a great weekend.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“My choice for best stage entrance EVER!”)

When it comes to an “incredible all around performance,” very few could match the energy, detail and intensity of Michael Jackson. He practically did “it all.” He sang, he danced, he had awesome stage presence, and he would make an audience virtually “exhausted” after watching his show. You could tell that he spent a lot of time in preparation for his shows, from the effects to just about everything else no matter how small. This particular video clip i am about to share with you has got to be (in my mind) the “greatest stage entrance EVER!” Even  though you cannot see the crowd, you can hear them going crazy just from the very first minute that he actually “enters” the stage. Once he finally gets into the song, the dance moves are just great. In this scene he adjusts his microphone a lot while dancing, but i think that may be for visual effect more than anything else. His microphone is definitely “on” for this song, but i do suspect that he is also singing along with his vocal sample track. If so he does a great job of faking it. I don’t think that is a bad thing, because how can anyone really sing this song so perfectly and move like that without literally passing out onstage? If I had to motivate any child to want to become a performer, THIS is the video that I would share with him or her. You may not be a Michael Jackson fan, but I don’t think “anyone” could argue with this particular performance here. I never got the opportunity to perform with Michael onstage (even though I always believed that one day I would). It would have been an  honor to do so, but now that is one dream that will never become reality. A show is only as good as it’s “impact.” Needless to say, Michael Jackson deserved his title as the “King of Pop.” This video only “confirms that fact.” He is missed, but with videos like this his  memory should live on “forever.” I invite you to check this out and see how it “should” be done… Thank you, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer today.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“How to build on a child’s musical gift”)

So I was asked a simple question… “somewhat”…. A parent told me that she had a child that was learning how to play piano. The biggest issue that the parent wanted to know was “What music should I make my child listen to?” A red flag popped up immediately when I heard her utter the word “make.” You see, playing music is an “art” and when it comes to artistry I just don’t think  you should ever try to “force” it. When you “make” someone become an artist you stifle their creative ways and inhibit a child’s desire to explore. For example, when I was young my mother found that I could actually play piano on my own. She “immediately” put me into “piano lessons” where the teacher tried her best to teach me how to “read” music. To this day it never worked. The problem was that i was an “ear” player, and i didn’t see any joy in learning how to read music. I rebelled a lot and actually left the piano alone for a while over this. As long as a child has his or her own “natural intrigue” then i believe it is best for a parent to build on that. If a child is “interested” in piano lessons, then by all means go for it. Now, as for what type of music the child should listen to, I suggested that she let the child check out any and all types of music or whatever music the child desired. An artist sometimes needs to explore on his or her own the world of creativity. I loved figuring out a song on my own without the help of s music chart. I remember one time performing a gig with the New Jersey symphony at the NJPAC center near New York City. They had a song that they wanted me to play, and they put a stand with a chart in it in front of me. My eyes opened wide because I didn’t know how to tell them that I could not read music. So as I sat down in the chair, I leaned forward as if to “pretend” that I was studying the chart, and when they played the song I simply “followed by ear on  the fly.” I breathed a rather “hefty sigh of relief” when they congratulated me on a great job.” They say that a lot of artists are weird, and I can agree. I probably should have learned how to read music, but for some strange reason I always felt that if I learned  how to read music, then I would have depended too heavily on it and my natural ear for it would have dissolved. A gifted child should be motivated to enhance his or her craft, but i just don’t believe that a parent should “force” a gift. I told the lady to let her child listen to any and everything, and as the child’s artistry grows, so will grow the musical range of what that child listens to. I believe that most of us have a gift of some kind. The joy in life is in being able to do what you love to do and excel at it. For any parent reading this who has a gifted child, I hope that you keep the “love” for the child’s gift “intact.” Let your child “tell  you” what he or she wants and see if you can help those creative juices flow. I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Have a great day.

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Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones” and “My song”) and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Elvis Presley… Blue Suede Shoes”)

Whenever I need to cover a song vocally I often look it up on Youtube first. Just about every song imaginable can be found there. Well, one day I decided to check out an old song that seemed kind of fun to do, and that is when I came across this video of Elvis Presley singing “Blue Suede Shoes.” Elvis was a musical cult hero during his time, even though his career had been tainted by personal issues and drug abuse. I wanted to share this particular video with you for several reasons. For one, the art of lip syncing goes back many years, even during his era. If you check out this video, Elvis walks onstage and the atmosphere is perfectly quiet. Then if you notice the song will start without any count to lead him in. He is just a “fraction” late coming in at the beginning. Also please take notice that there is “no microphone” for him to sing into, so there is no way his voice should be amplified that well over the music. Finally, when it comes to the guitar solo part, Elvis “looks like” he is “really getting down” while playing it. The problem is that his guitar is not hooked up to any amplifier for sound and his playing motions show that he is “clearly NOT” playing the guitar solo at all, but rather “faking it” to make people believe that he is. For the record, I am not trying to disrespect Elvis at all, but rather just trying to show you some of the “tricks of the trade” that have been established for a long while. To the untrained ear sometimes it is “difficult” to tell what you are hearing when checking out a live concert. Many of today’s artists will do the same thing in order to “convince you” that their shows are authentic. I invite you to check out this rendition of Elvis Presley singing Blue Suede Shoes and  you can come  up with your own conclusions. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Taking the risk to improve versus standing pat”)

Some of us are perfectly fine “just where we are.” We have our little comfort zones set up where we may “struggle from time to time” but for many of us it beats dealing with a worse scenario so we get complacent. Most of us would “love to do better” but it seems like there is always “something in the way that blocks us from reaching that next level,” and most times that “something” is usually “us.” We want to see our full potential but we are often “afraid” to “take the risk” when it comes to “going for it.” Some people are afraid of “failure.” That fear can be really damaging, because if you have this fear while actually “taking the risk,” then often your goals will suffer for it. For instance, have you ever known someone who wants to date but “knows” in his or her heart that the other person is not going to like or accept them? That is a “defeatist” mentality that will often do you more  harm than good. Your chances of accomplishing great things will often depend on your level of “confidence” while attempting them. Take this example: “If you are going to jump from one cliff to another, shouldn’t you put your FULL EFFORT into the jump?” The last thing you should focus on is “failure,” and yet we do that all the time. Some people think about failure so much that they “make it happen” just from their own negativity. Have you ever “reflected back” on your life and then wished you had done some things “differently?” I think we all have. If we had known how things were going to turn out then we might have made a different decision other than the ones we made. Well, you “still” have that opportunity. If you can read this, then you can take that little “idea” you had and invest in it. I fully understand if you don’t have the money for it “yet” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t initiate the “other” factors needed to get your idea gong. When it comes to achieving great things, there will “always” be risk involved. You  can’t even win the lottery without “at least” taking the chance on “losing a dollar.” i define “potential” as “Something that has not been reached yet.” For me, in order to “get someplace” you first have to “go someplace.” I realize that this may sound like a “pep talk” and I am sure some people will look over this and not be fazed at all by it. That is fine. However, for those of you who feel you deserve a much higher level than the one you are now experiencing, you have the power to try something different. You only have one life, but if you are able to read this then you have had “several chances” to improve your “quality of life.” You are only as good as your dreams if you choose to act upon them. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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John Ellison (In white…He is the man who wrote the 3rd most covered song of all time… “Some kind of Wonderful”) and Brett Jolly (to the right with red bass guitar)

John Ellison