Steve Schappell-My Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Let's talk about ASIA....the band, not the continent.

Hello again,

Yesterday, I was listening to some CD's in my car, and got caught up in the past.  Funny how a song can transport you to another time and place.  That got me thinking about a musical journey.  With that in mind, let's hop into the Delorean and punch the coordinates for June of 1982.

Our Delorean stops in the small town of Hamburg, PA.  Picture this.  It's Another sunny summer day, as I ride my bike through town and to our local community pool.  While there, a song comes on the local radio station they play over the speakers.  "I never meant to be so bad to you.  One thing I said that I would never do..."  I found out later it was "The Heat of the Moment," the first single from a new band called ASIA.  They were formed with (4) English musicians from other successful groups into this new super group.  Geoff Downes (from Yes), Steve Howe, (also from Yes), Carl Palmer (From Emerson, Lake and Palmer), and John Wetton (King Crimson and Uriah Heep).

I immediately liked the combination of rock and roll, progressive, and synthesizers, that were put to good use in their 2nd single release, "Only Time will Tell."    I made sure on our next trip to the mall to pick up their record for my collection.  Now remember kids, this was the 80's and most records were just that, Vinyl.

So, evenings were spent in my room, listening to their album on my Sears Stereo Cassette System with (2) Speakers.  Talk about Hi Fidelity.  I enjoyed every song on their album, over and over again.
Now, you know that some songs connect in a way that when you hear it, not only are you transported back, but you feel like you are actually there.  Song #8 on their debut album is called "Cutting it Fine." An almost 6 minute song, with 4 minutes of no singing.  When I play that song, I am back in my bedroom, lights off, except for plastic Christmas Candles in the windows, some snow falling outside.  It is 2 nights before Christmas.  16 years old, and everything was alright in the world.

Now hop back into that Delorean and fast forward to early 2009.   The band ASIA has released several albums and gone though several personnel changes.  I have lost track with the band, although they are and still remain one of my favorite bands of all time.  

Somehow when searching online, I looked them up and find out they recently released another album called "Phoenix," and like that mythological creature that rises from the ashes, ASIA re-unites with the (4)  original members of Downes, Howe, Palmer and Wetton.  This time, I buy the CD and download it to my iTunes.

Now, music can do many things.  It can cross boundaries and borders, it can speak to young and old, it can make you happy, or comfort you when you are sad.  It can make you think and it can have you sing along.  And for me, this album was the comfort I needed during my divorce.

You see, I thought about writing a book on my divorce, with each chapter relating their songs from the album.  It's hard to explain the pull that music can have on a person.  I connected with their music from the start, not so much on a lyrical basis, but on their music and sound that was different to me.

However, I started listening to the lyrics from this album and want to share some of that with you.  An aside, that this was not the only thing that helped me get though my divorce, but was a therapy nonetheless.   So, there are some of those songs, and what they meant to me.

The first track is called "Never Again."    Here are some of the lyrics and chorus: "The darkness that I knew is no more, the sun will shine for me, of that I can be sure.   This is the day of my ascendance, A time for life, a time for independence.  NEVER AGAIN...will I bear arms against brother, NEVER AGAIN...will I wish evil on another.."
-The song gave me hope that I was embarking on a new chapter, a painful one, but one with hope.  I already had that hope in God through Christ, but this helped and reminded me that I needed to forgive others, as I have been forgiven.

"Nothing's Forever"You know that Nothing's Forever, it's just for today.  Can't live for the future, forget yesterday.  And hold on to life, for in moments it can fade away.    Maybe I'm following too closely, Sometimes you can feel you've had enough.  Make the most of what you have today.  Just hope and pray, for those you really love."
 -This reminded me that nothing on this earth lasts forever.  A divorce changes so many things.  We had to sell the house the kids grew up in.  Their relationship with their parents would change.  Our friendships changes.  And to pray for my kids and our relationship after everything that had happened.

"No Way Back"  "Push forward again, I reach the point of no return.  No condemnation remains, No more bridges to burn.
Keep on working the room and the end is in sight.  Something unknown propels me now, leading me to the light.  I got to be free it's life on the edge for me, the harder it gets the harder I try...and there's NO WAY BACK."
 -This was a duality for me.  There was no way back from the way it was before.  But though the hurt, I sought counseling and God showed me there was light on the other side.  I also was seeing a (selfish) freedom from the marriage, and that I could try new things, make new friends, and move forward.

"Alibis "ALIBIS, little lies, procrastination.  Secrecy, Duplicity, the end of you ALIBIS.  Goodbye your tiny whispers of comfort.  Never the victim of circumstance, you had me deceived."
-This was straight forward.  I was not aware there was anyone else, until it was found out, and then the reality of everything became clear.

"Parallel Worlds "And somehow deep in the night, there is a girl and she feels how I feel.  Cause were living in parallel worlds.  
-Funny, I would listen to this and wonder if there was someone out there who was going though what I was, and could understand my situation.  Little did I know that 2 years later, God would open a door that led me to Shari--my wife.

"Over and Over"Over and over again, we will resolve our true destiny.  Only though love our passage guaranteed.  Let it lift me up above
-This song was like God speaking to me.  The rest of the song has an ethereal quality to it.  God could help lift me above my circumstances.

"An Extraordinary Life"
"A perfect day, or so I say from where I'm standing.  This rollercoaster ride, fate will decide the ending.  The smiles and frowns, the ups and downs of fortune turning. The twists and turns, the lessons learned.  The bridges burning.  Nights to remember and never forget.
Go seize the day, wake up and say, This is an extraordinary life.  Enjoy today come what may.  This is an extraordinary life. 
I gave it all, my cards have fallen.  But I'm still alive.  And in the end, I believe my friend, I will survive.  Glory and heartache, and all of the Joy.  All of the good times and all of the bad.  Responsibility is totally mine, I rightly stand accused.  But I believe that I can change.  Yes, I can change my world."
-I encourage you to find this song on Youtube.  It summed up to me what I was experiencing and going through, and what was so follow.  It also helped me to see that it is an extraordinary life that We live.  I have (2) great kids, I had friends and a church family that I have gotten to know much better over the years.  And I met an amazing woman, who brought 4 more young men and women in to my life.  Plus, a dog and cat and grandchildren.

Thank you ASIA, for allowing your music to enhance my life for many years.  Thank you for the healing power of music.  May music in whatever form you listen to it, continue to enrich and enhance your life every day.

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