April, 2006

The Basketball Metaphor

There is a reason that I am a big fan of basketball.

Basketball provides a template for the great.  They do something amazing at any given point.  They excercise their will on the game.  I sometimes wish ordinary life was like that.

A few months ago, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a single game.  He was in a rhythm, in some sort of zone, that no one else had reached before.  He made the all of the men that played this game that fueled one of the biggest multi-million dollar businesses in a country full of mulit-million dollar businesses, look like little boys.  For just one moment, he was the ultimate king…not because of luck, or serendipity, or even  decision-making…he just took full control of a situation and dictated his own outcome.  I like basketball for this reason.  It is the same reason that Michael Jordan won 6 total championships…3 before his first retirement, and 3 more after he came back.

We all wish we had that much control over our lives.  In individual sports, we expect it- we expect Tiger Woods to dictate his fate every time he steps out on the golf course.  In team sports, we rely that much more on the abilities of our teammates to contribute enough to ensure the succesful result.

In basketball- it is both team and individual all at once.  It is the perfect combination of people management and personal will.  This is why I like basketball so much.  It is to find a way to bring together all of the gifts of the people you know, and yet instinctively rise to the occasion individually when there is no other option.

Basketball is about playing on a team, but taking matters into your hands when it counts most- when there is no where else to turn to.  This is why I find it the most compelling sport.  It is where a player shares the ball for 3 1/2 quarters, and then commands it for the last six minutes.  Why?  Because he needs teammates.  And then, when they have done all they can, he needs to prove himself totally.

In life, we are all too often scared to put that pressure on ourselves.  We will always need people to help us achieve our goals.  But, we are often to frightened to excercise our will on the game, when they are not able to help us, or when things don’t go our way- when we are down in the fourth quarter.  I know I am.

But, we are fortunate.  We can actually afford to put that type of pressure on ourselves over a period of time- where it is melted across various mundane activity and not isolated under the blinding light of a single shining moment.  It is our competitive advantage.  The hard part is to take advantage of it.  The hard part is… to “Be like Mike”.

Alter Ego

I’ll never forget the scene in Spinal Tap when David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel reveal the dark, godless force of Stonehenge.  It stirred a deep, spiritual connection to a world of sinful fantasy, dark power, and glorious hell.  In this extravagant world of spontaneously combusting drummers, one can feel a totally different kind of freedom.  This the world I think in which Lana Laro must have been born.

Who is Lana Laro?  The simple answer is that they are a side-project of bassist Devin Hannan and long-time band friend Geoff Primeau (aka front man Johnny Wang), who wrote two albums worth of songs, all from the wrong side of the tracks.  But Lana Laro could quite well be much more- a possible Yang to Lickpenny Loafer’s comparatively understated Yin.

With Devin (Colobrious Hammerstein) switching to the role of Satriani-inspired shred guitar, and Arunachal (Stanley “Skinz” Upwood) exploring painfully loud and ultra-traditional rhythms on the drums, Lana Laro might well be Lickpenny Loafer’s alter-ego…the Gollum inside our Smeagel.  With frontman Johnny Wang leading the way with his “No Holds Barred, and No Sensitive Subject Matter Left Unoffended” approach, the band serves up a promising mixture of audacity, insobordination, and punishment.  Add ex-bandmate and notorius Windsor bassist Matt Daviau (Mercutio Skidavarious) to the fold, and the circle is complete.

On April 1, 2006, Lana Laro will play its first and possible only show ever.  On April 1, 2006, the demons will come back to Earth one last to reminisce about the glory days.  On April 1, 2006, the world will experience sonic Armegeddon, if only for one more day.

Lana Laro is about rockin’ out- F’n A.  It’s about not giving a S—.  It’s about driving on a Highway to Hell, and growing bigger horns at every pit stop.  It’s about letting everyone know that Hades is still around, and he’s sick of our cultural revolution.  It’s about sticking a guitar (real or air) in your hands and turning the volume up to 11, when everyone else around can’t go higher than 10.  Lana Laro is about preserving the true essence of Rock n’ Roll- something none of these pansy, artsy-fartsy, progressive, new-age, self-important, I-don’t-know-what-a-distortion-pedal-sounds-like “artists” would know about.  Which is why Lana Laro was probably born in the world of Stonehenge- the most dark, fantastic, mysterious, and spiritually powerful rock in the world.