88.9 Hey Radio, Grandpa Loves Rhinos, and Me

Yes, that's the real name of the band, Grandpa Loves Rhinos.

Alright, without further ado, let's dive into the article.

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The first thing you probably think when you hear about the band Grandpa Loves Rhinos is, "What's up with that name?" I know that's the first thing I thought. Well, it's a literal statement. The band is two brothers, and their grandpa really did love rhinos. He even had a room full of collectible rhinos.

There are some other interesting things about this band. One, they decided that the title of their first album would be a bit of advice, "Better Eat Your Wheaties". Is that advice or is that a threat? Good question, but I'm not going to go there. Next is what I find most interesting. Here is a blurb from their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/grandpalovesrhinos/

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Grandpa Loves Rhinos hails from the state of Idaho and is comprised of Paul and Seth Hyde, brothers who are geographically separated due to their killer jobs in the US Air Force.  Seth, a fighter pilot, and Paul, a satellite controller, write and record music together over the internet.

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I think it's pretty awesome that they seem to be making good progress as a band that isn't even in the same location. This is becoming common in companies, they're called distributed companies. I teach English online and one of the companies I work for is completely distributed, meaning that there is no office location at all. Maybe more bands will start doing this since the technology is available. But, it might be hard if you don't have the strong personal connection developed as brothers. Time will tell. It seems to be working for Grandpa Loves Rhinos because they signed with Indie Vision Music in 2018 and released this album.

Today we shall take a look at their song "Aquaman". I pulled the lyrics off of https://grandpalovesrhinos.bandcamp.com/. They aren't is the greatest format, but we can work with it.

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you dragged him down into a wishing well, i guess it’s your wish to hide him under the water, it refracts your face and contracts a space, some distance aside from all others, I won’t follow in and I won’t throw money, my 2 cents won’t help you here, plus the water’s lookin' chili and I don’t wanna mess up my hair, could it be that what i need is just a little nudge along? cuz i could use a “3,2,1”, so guess i'll dive in slow with risk of drowning underneath, aquaman, if i find you, you better help me breath, no scuba gear and 2000 years, king the 7 seas and creatures of the deep, you're so misunderstood, they setup a zoo, submariner zombies and ghouls, let's find Atlantis before the robots do, you need to help me breath, when you drank his blood did you, did you become like aquaman, or did you turn into another underwater vampire?

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Now, obviously we're talking about the DC Universe superhero Aquaman. And, the Aquaman movie with Jason Momoa did just come out this year. I saw it, I liked it. But, this isn't referring to the plot of that movie. I'm guessing I would have to look into the comic books to be able to explain some of the lines of this song, but I'm not going to go through all of the lyrics. Instead, we're going to take a bit of a different look at this one.

You can tell that there is a bit of a plot here, but it is a very loose plot. Basically, someone needs help going into the unknown, doesn't get it, slowly goes in anyway, hopes that Aquaman will find and help him, but fears that bad things will happen. This is a pretty straightforward hero journey. But, it doesn't fill in all of the details like in a novel or a movie. One of the reasons it doesn't do that is because a song is short, but you could fill out a story a lot more than this in a song if you wanted to. So, the story being like this is on purpose. Why? Good question.

I think there are two reasons. One, this works well with comic books. In comic books a story is told with pictures and a few words. In between those pictures there's a little bit of space. Your mind fills in that gap to create a story. In the book "Understanding Comics" Scott McCloud calls this filling in process closure. It's an amazing thing that the mind can do. In a movie you don't need to do very much because there are a lot of frames, with a lot of detail, moving very fast. In a comic there are a few frames, with less detail, not moving. It's a different experience. As an aside, I think the pop punk sound that Grandpa Loves Rhinos has goes well with some comic books.

Next, fictional stories can be viewed in two useful ways, either as simulations or dreams. A simulation is usually detailed and orderly. This would be like reading an Aquaman novel. A dream on the other hand can be crazy. They can skip around. They can seem to not make sense, but really your dream is trying to solve a problem in a way you just can't understand yet. This song is more like the dream and less like the simulation. We jump around a bit and get the general idea of a story based on these odd little pieces that just barely fit together. It's fun, I like it. The research in this area is amazing, and if you're interested I suggest you start with "Why Fiction May be Twice as True as Fact" by Keith Oatley.

I could talk about literary theory all day, but hopefully I've already given you something to think about. Listen to the song. Watch the music video. See what you think about it and feel free to let me know.

Jeff Martin

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Well, I think that went well. I'm trying to clarify my writing. I need to interrupt myself less, and I think I did that here. And, I need to use easier words in my writing, meaning less jargon and technical language. I also think I was able to accomplish that here. It's hard for me to do because I'm thinking several things at once and want to write them all down. I also want to clarify everything and make sure that I state when I'm not sure about things, but that isn't actually very useful. It's usually distracting and confusing. So I'm working on cutting through that as well. Writing isn't just an art, it's also a skill.


You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com


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