Silent Thunder

When I woke up this morning, this phrase came to me like an intimate confidante whispering in my ear.

Don’t get me wrong…I like it Loud…at least sometimes.

When I’m in the mood, I like Rock music so loud you can feel it.

Symphonic music live, is surprisingly loud; to listen to it properly at home requires speakers and amplifiers more than capable of generating noise complaints from the neighbors.

The passion of opera cannot be fully appreciated in the hushed, whispered tones of your neighborhood library, but that’s what headphones (…really good ones) are for.

In my twenties, I played electric guitar in bands so loud that you would have thought you would bleed through your eyeballs and your ears would ring for days afterward.

So loud that once, while playing a feedback solo in a seedy little bar in Terre Haute that was practically built on the railroad tracks, I broke a window.

Ten thousand watts was a lot of power, even for an entire band, given the venues we played back then.

But between the trains and the drunken audiences with no respect for much of anything, it was about the only way to drown out the noise and command their attention.

I once lived in a neighborhood across the street from the Miami Jai-alai fronton, just slightly north and east of Miami International Airport. It took a stack of Marshall amplifiers just to drown out the noise from the fly-overs, but when the cops came, I didn’t even hear them pounding on the door until they turned on the yelper.


Although it was a time of reacting to an anti-war culture as well as a worldwide cultural war, the irony of the fact that Rock sounded so warlike was not lost on me at least, even back then.

Jimi Hendrix’s live album, the Band of Gypsies contained a song called Machine Gun that echoed exactly that kind of sentiment.

Much later, I built an amateur radio station that used a six hundred watt linear amplifier.

That doesn’t sound like very much…six hundred watts…most hair dryers and electric hotplates are around fifteen hundred watts; but coupled to a three-beam Yagi directional antenna, I was able to send voice transmissions clearly to anywhere in the world.

Now the Internet allows us to communicate with a much larger audience with no limitations of weather or atmospheric conditions like ionic flux and even provides translators for languages of which we may have absolutely no kin whatsoever with a minimum of expense, expertise, or equipment.

During those years of attempting to communicate creatively, I began to recognize that it seemed as if certain trends of inspiration seemed to come almost from out of nowhere, echoed by other artists as well as audiences receptive to them as if they had bounced off the ionosphere in much the same way that long-range radio waves do.

Emerson touched upon the concept of how the transcendence of inspiration seemed to “stand hand-in-hand”, and that “one shock was felt the whole world ‘round.”

In those days, it took weeks or even months to communicate, and yet it was clear enough to him then how the common consciousness of One Mind unites us.

Before thoughts, or words we are all one…we are all the same; time does not exist, distance is irrelevant and we are all immortal once we shed the yoke of duality.

The physical world that is bound by impermanence, illusion and futility dissolves within the realization of the power of the vital essence of life itself as the noise of the entire world trying to shout over itself is drowned out by the silent thunder of the present moment.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 




Chazz Vincent


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