WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Friday, December 31, 2010

Where We Live

You never get to the future. It's always out there just out of grasp. It used to be the future was 2000, or 2010. Living in the 70's or 80's or 90's, 2000 seemed like some kind of marker. And in a way it was, but it wasn't really the future, just another year.

If you're an optimist the future will be better. If you're a pessimist the future will be worse.

But really we just never get there. There's some kind of process. The process of experience.
It's never definitive, always incomplete. That's where we live...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Live with Soul!

Soul. Live with more soul. That's a resolution. We live in a world of material. And the material just seems to multiply and fill up our world. It gets so you think the only thing that exists is material.

And we think we are material too. And maybe we are, but that's not all we are. And not the most important part either. It's soul. That's the important part. You can't see it, can't put your finger on it. And lots of people will tell you it's a chimera, a ghost, a mirage, an illusion and it doesn't exist.

They lie. Live with Soul. More Soul!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hazards

The Cold is a killer bitch. The Heat is a killer bitch too. And even a on Mild Day with no extremes in the forecast, you can find yourself on a slab in a morgue somewhere.

It seems Death isn't choosy about the weather.

The weather is just one of those hazards of a life. The elements conspire against you. Sometimes they caress you too. Either way, they are not really your friends. They are just the elements you must deal with sucker! So deal.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Personal Resurrection

A good sleep is almost like a resurrection.

Maybe not quite as dramatic as rising from the dead, rolling the rock away, and ascending; still there's something about hitting the pillow feeling hollow, burned out, and beat; and waking up sunny, filled up, and refreshed. A personal resurrection promising a new day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Live with Spirit!

I do think Religion tends to give Spirit a bad name. My kind of Spirit really has nothing to do with organized Religion. My kind of spirit life is full of questions and wonder. With very few certainties.

I think it's best to choose to live with Spirit. And I do think it's a choice. The jury is out. And really there are no certainties.

Still, for me, it's not really a question of belief, but one of experience.

There are those moments of light, of transcendence, of enlightenment, of oneness with the universe, and one can try to explain them, or explain them away. But still you are finally left with the experience.

One can choose to embrace those experiences or to discard them. I choose the embrace.

One can say it's all explained by neurons, and brain chemistry and DNA, or alternatively, one can talk of higher powers and angels and demons, and well both sides of that coin are just telling you a story, which you can choose to embrace or not.

Again for me, it's not so much the story I bank on, but the experience of my life. I have lived with spirit and it has carried me. Whether that's an illusionary experience or not, I guess I can't really decide. And finally it matters little. In some sense it's all illusionary.

Some illusions work better than others. Give me the Spiritual nature of life! Give me the amazing creativity of nature. I put my "faith" there. I think it beats the alternative. And ultimately that's more than enough!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Brothers

We weren't stoned or inebriated or foggy-headed in any way. We were both clear-eyed, clear-headed. We were talking. We both like to talk. We are loud and we like to hear our own voices booming away in a room. We are brothers.

We are alike in many ways. We are different in many ways. We are probably alike in ways we don't even know. We are probably different in ways we don't know either. We share DNA. We share lots of experiences. We know and grew up with lots of the same people.

We see things from very different perspectives. I have a few years on my younger brother. Which when we were young meant a lot. Which now seems to mean a lot less. My little brother is now bigger than me. He could probably hold me down and make me eat dirt. But we don't do that kind of thing any more.

We were alone together. Which doesn't happen often. So we talked. Probably did more talking than we have for a long, long time. And then we played music, me on guitar, my brother on harmonica. We played loud. We filled the room up with our sound. We sound good together. The acoustic guitar, the harmonica and our voices rang out into the room and it was good. Brothers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

One Step Closer...

I love this song. I know for some folks U2 is old news, but I think they are the real deal. They certainly know how to put on a big time rock & roll show.

I was once walking on the lakefront, a cold windy day, a dog on a leash, looking out at the frozen lake, and this song was playing on my iPod. It's hard to describe the feeling that came over me.

There was a shaft of light breaking across the horizon. My heart rose, my head spinning, the tears welling up. One of those amazing transcendental moments that are completely impossible to communicate.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Giving Season

So I guess it's the giving season...

Some days it's all smiles and words of endearment. And compliments. And people coming out of the woodwork to throw money at you.

And people who tell you how special you are, and how glad they are to know you. And all you can do is say, "Thanks." But inside what you are saying is: "Really?!?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dead Man's Boots

I walked through more mush than Nanook of the North yesterday. I can say that with confidence, because that Dude is long gone. I wore these heavy old boots, I call them the Dead Man's Boots, because I think (it's a hunch) their previous owner is no longer with the living. And when I put those boots on I swear something of the Dead Man is transmitted to me.

I bought the boots years ago for a theatrical production. They change the way I walk, they give me more gravity, the weigh on me, they make me feel like I'm carrying more than just my own thoughts, fears and dreams. I have a heavier foot with those boots. But they make me more sure-footed, they grip in the ice and the snow. They support my ankles and keep my feet warm even in sub-zero conditions.

One of my neighborhood friends tells me I have a distinctive walk, he calls it the "darkness on the edge of town walk." I haven't told him it's the Dead Man's Walk, not mine...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hands

On the one hand, we have this amazing ability to create. And on the other hand, we have this uncanny ability to destroy. Aye there's the rub...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Everything in it...

Yeah, well, I can go with the Animist idea, that everything (plants, rocks, animals) in the universe is alive and infused with spirit. And that the universe and everything in it is sacred, or as Blake would have it "holy."

And yes, well the plants and the trees can live without us, but we can't live without them. And maybe we should find some humility in that reality? We think of ourselves at the top of a long chain of being, but what if we are just another link in the chain?

And every link is important and has a job or a reason to exist. Even if we don't know the reason. And we should be living a little lighter on this little crust of earth. Humbleness, and thankfulness, and joy...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Joy and Anarchy

I get these cryptic messages when I'm sleeping.

Not sure if they are words of wisdom from a higher power, or just random static chatter from my zapping/napping neurons.

Anyway last night it was: "More Joy and Anarchy!"

Friday, December 17, 2010

We Deserve the Truth!


If you build secret prisons and house people there, if you order people to torture other people, or you order people to fight an unjust war, (a war of choice where many men, women and children die needlessly), if you lie to people and pretend you are promoting "freedom" and "democracy," when if fact you are imposing the Iron Fist, if you make up evidence of "weapons of mass destruction," (when in fact they do not exist), if you unleash lots of fear and pain and destruction on people all over the globe to burnish your own ego and petty concerns, if you deploy diplomats and ambassadors in every nook and cranny of the world who lie and pretend -- well, if you are that person or persons, you get to walk around free and easy, they give you medals, and name airports after you, and give you big book deals, and quote you in the newspapers, and let you go on tv to act like a big deal.

On the other hand, if you expose the lies, if you reveal the truth about the war, if you shed light on the darkness around the globe, if you reveal the lies of the politicians and the diplomats and ambassadors, if you show the world that the narrative the Powers that Be are pitching, is a load of shite, well now that person or persons are considered a threat, an enemy that must be tried and put in prison.

Something is very, very wrong!

P.S. A simpler formulation: if you commit crimes against humanity, they applaud you and call you King! If you tell the world that crimes have been committed in their name, they condemn you and call you Enemy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cards

The cards keep coming. The Dealer is a monster. He keeps shuffling that deck, blistering fast. And he shoots those cards over to you quicker than a blink of the eye.

You get these cards and try to put them in some kind of order. You want to tell yourself a story with these cards. And sometimes the story is pretty neat and simple, and sometimes the story is fractured and convoluted.

And sometimes you just want to lay those cards down and push away from the table and take a long nap. But it's not that kind of game. This game you have to sit there and play. Round after round. Sometimes it's boring as hell, and sometimes it's just the most fun you've ever had with clothes on.

And you can never tell what's coming next, even when you can, if you know what I mean...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Perverse Pleasure

Yesterday was cold. So cold. Hell, it's Chicago in December. Cold. It's no surprise. Still the absolute reality of the coldness was kind of overwhelming.

Two pairs of socks, three sweaters, a pair of long johns, big old boots, massive gloves, a bulky overcoat, a silly hat. Lots of hot beverages.

There is a perverse pleasure in somehow enduring it all: the ice, the snow, the bitter cold, the stark chillness, the arctic air. Is it a punishment, a challenge, a test?

Or just the weather? Yes, the weather in the Midwest. Made it. Oh yeah, it's cold today too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Past and Present Lives

I start wondering how it is that all roads lead to this moment. Why am I here? And what the hell am I doing? Is it destiny? Was I born, did I go through all those years of tumult, just to arrive at this day, this moment?

I read this post from Kris Cahill, my great meditation teacher, about past lives and I wonder about where I've been and where the hell I'm going.

I have been baptized with dog's blood. I have been cut and scarred. I have grown hair and cut it too. I sing my songs. I put my boots on. I take them off. I inhabit this body like it's a foreign territory.

I think about string theory, and aliens and the big bang, and how many angels can balance on the head of a pin. I think of all the crazy shit of this world and I think my head is getting larger. Will it get large enough to encompass the universe? What kind of headaches can I expect?

My ears and nose are getting larger too. I pray for proportionality.

I remember and forget my dreams, I remember and forget the books I've read, the movies I've seen. I remember and forget myself. And I think there are important things that I've misplaced, that I've forgotten. That I don't even know about.

And I wonder if I've really done this in other lives in the past. And will I do it in other lives later. And I wonder why? What a funky, baffling existence. And I laugh too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kitchen Session

It all went sub-zero yesterday. We decided to play music in the kitchen. We set up our little p.a. with microphones, and our bass player came over and we ran through songs together. It was all so nice and cozy and warm.

It was an intimate session. A bass, an acoustic guitar, and three voices snaking around each other. Sounded pretty good. It was basically just for us. And that was enough.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Honey, Gimmee the Covers!"

Working on a poster for a show we're gonna do in late January. I think we're gonna call the show "Honey, Gimmee the Covers!"

I had an idea for a photo for the poster. So we set up a tripod and put the camera on, and gave it a go. Snapped a ton of pictures. The idea in my head and what we actually came up with kind of diverged, but...

Here is my favorite one...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

An Outlier...

Krugman, again:


"If you ask how it’s possible that a handful of bad actors can get their way so often, the answer has to be, wasn’t it ever thus? What we call civilization has usually been a form of kleptocracy, varying mainly in its efficiency (the Romans were no nicer than the barbarians, just more orderly). Yes, we’ve had a few generations of government somewhat of, by, for the people in some places — but that’s an outlier in the broader sweep of things. So never mind the hive-minds; good old greed still rules."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mud Wrestling

Politics really is like mud wrestling...

And Obama is this amazing, graceful boxer, he could be the Champion of the World, but instead of entering a boxing ring where he can dazzle us with his uppercut, and his fancy footwork, and his champion smile, and his superior strategy, he has to enter the mud wrestling pit.

And his opponent is a freaking pig. Muddy. Wallowing in mud. Oinking, smirking, burping and farting and daring anyone to take them on. And the pig is fat and sassy and supremely greedy. It only cares about it's own freaking piggishness. Shameless.

And our poor champion has to take on the pig. That's his job I guess. And well, he gets muddy. Really, really muddy. And he starts looking less graceful and less dazzling. Or maybe he's still graceful and dazzling, it's hard to tell, there's way too much mud!

And it all gets a little hairy and the mud is flying, and everyone gets dirty. And the mud is relentless. We are all drowning in the mud.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wars

There are wars of attrition.

Wars of commission.

Wars of omission.

And then there are those Eureka moments! And the war is over...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Recording Session #3

It was back to the recording studio yesterday. We are the middle of tracking a bunch of songs. We trekked across the city, a caravan of two, the Lovely Carla and I, lugging 3 guitars, a little tube amp, and some percussion stuff on the train.

It was bone-chilling cold. We looked like a couple of arctic, nomadic, gypsies heading off to a sub-zero hootenanny. It was all quite mad. We are searching for "the sound," that we hear in our heads, trying to get it all down in little recorded tracks.

It was just me, in a little padded room, with my guitars. The Madness of Jimmy Jammer. I blasted through the tracks, adding guitar flourishes and embellishments. Plus I did one long ripping solo, a blast of total, in the moment passion.

Afterwards I was totally drained. We're getting closer, still lots of work to do.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Dick-head Party

So when the Republicans, the Dick-head party, are in the majority they have everything their way.

And when the Republicans, the Dick-head party, are in the minority they have everything their way.

That's politics the American Dick-head Way!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Living Proof

Sprawled out on the couch, I listened to Son Volt's first record yesterday afternoon. It's a little classic, that I listened to often when it first came out. It was buried in a stack of cds. I put it on and it didn't disappoint.

"We're living proof that nothing lasts."

Son Volt is probably one of the great lost bands. Couldn't keep the original line-up together. Didn't sell enough records or find their audience. Still really good stuff.

Anyway, since I was feeling like a candle that someone had blown out, I thought: "Sometimes we have a body, sometimes we are a body, sometimes we feel like less than our bodies and sometimes we feel like more than our bodies."

Later I reviewed some pictures from our Saturday show. I definitely like the ones with the softer light. I'm just not a big fan of "the flash." Too bright. Too much detail. Too unforgiving. There's a harshness to all the edges. Give me soft edges. Give me a little blur. Give me a little distance.

Those hard edges seem to get harder and a little edgier as time goes by...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Gratifying!

Yes, we did a show last night with a couple of other bands. People donated toys for kids. Lots of good vibes all around.

I do love playing music, and hanging with other musicians. I love talking about gear and tone and checking out other guitars and amps.

I love when things go well, and the sound is good, and the audience really gets into it. During our set I looked out and people were dancing and smiling and toasting each other. It was all quite gratifying.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Good Time!

I'm not that big on tradition or nostalgia. But sometimes I do fall into line. Tonight we have an event which we've hosted for a number of years, at least 3 or 4. It all starts to get hazy for me.

"What did I have for dinner yesterday?"

It's Toys for Tots. We throw a party, get a bunch of bands to play at a little bar, invite people to bring toys for needy kids. The Marines, yes, The Marines come and collect the toys and deliver them.

So tonight we have four bands: The Alltunators, WhiteWolfSonicPrincess, The Telepaths and Daddy Burger Swag doing their thing. It snowed last night so it's gonna be real Christmasy. Nice toasty neighborhood bar. Lots of alcohol. Perfect setting for a good time or some unfortunate mayhem.

I'm betting: good time!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Last Liberal

The Last Man Standing. No not Obama (he may have been the Liberal's Hero, he is clearly not a liberal - maybe "pragmatic?" But in the face of the Republican Idiocies he seems gullible). Starting to wonder about him. I mean Paul Krugman. I often read his columns and his blog: The Conscience of a Liberal.

He seems to me to be the one man saying everything that needs to be said. Not sure if anyone besides me is listening. He was right about the folly and horror of the Iraq war. And he was right about our financial collapse and ridiculous bailout of the financial sector.

So yes, he got a Nobel Prize for Economics. But even other economists seem to do their best to ignore this guy. I guess for some, the guy who is always right and always wants to tell you about it, is kind of annoying.

He's right about our war against the poor. Despicable. And now he's wondering if we've finally seen what stuff Obama is made of.

"Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction."

I hope he's wrong. But Krugman's track record has been extraordinary. Clairvoyant!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

War of those with much, against those with much less.

The Banksters and Wall Street Kleptocrats continue their relentless crime spree. Now it's the people of Ireland who have to dig deep in their pockets to pay for the sins of the Financial Class.

And the Political class just nods and does their bidding. Accomplices to the crime.

And they call it "austerity." The wealthy commit the crimes, everyone else pays the price. It is a full-scale CLASS WAR. But if you point it out you are denounced as a "socialist." No one bothers to invoke Karl Marx anymore.

So when the wealthy wreak war on the poor and middle classes it's called "necessary financial measures." When the poor and middle classes squeak and march they are treated like spoiled children who just don't understand.

It's war by other means. War of those with much against those with much less.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We Smoked!

Well we followed what was pretty much a disaster show with a raucous and righteous show last night. A wintry Tuesday night in the Big City. The Telepaths played between an acoustic opener and a young kid band that filled the house and rocked the place.

The Telepaths were in fine form for this show. I had extra strings and an extra guitar just in case I broke something. Our drummer was hitting so hard he broke a stick, it went flying - shrapnel!

So we were on the big-time stage of the Elbo Room in Chicago. They got the monitors, the lights, a kick-ass back line; a vintage drum kit, vintage bass cabinets, great sound person. Even a fricking smoke machine.

And we smoked. We did. We did our Telepathic "psychedelic garage" thing and it flew!

*NOTE: Our friend Erika took this picture of the Telepaths at the Elbo Room on her iPhone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

River of Black Snakes

I usually don't try to puzzle out my dreams. They are usually so strange and surreal, no good through-line. Usually plot-less. They are like really bad art films. Abstract, fractured. Very French.

UN-HOLLYWOOD.

Often times I wake up scratching my head. WTF? "Who made this pretentious piece of shit?"

Last night it was all pretty clear. More like a Monte Hellman kind of thing. I was on a river, the river was a highway, I was leading a caravan of people - swimming ahead of the pack, I was the scout. And there were BLACK SNAKES everywhere. I was evading them, wrestling with them, trying to clear the way.

The river was filled with BLACK SNAKES and it was my job to clear them!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Seeing...

Sometimes I see the world as it is, or at least as I perceive it...

Sometimes I see the world as it is, or at least as I perceive it, and I see it as something else too...

Sometimes I see the world only as something else...

Sometimes I don't see the world at all...

Sometimes...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adventures in Ass-Mar!

I suffer from the malady Piggy in the "Lord of the Flies" called "ass-mar." It's something I've carried with me from an early age. I have the ability to breathe the world in, but sometimes I can not breathe it back out.

This leaves me gasping for air, gasping for life.

Little furry pussy cats can be quite toxic to my system, sending me into a tailspin. Also cold air can turn me into a fish flopping around on the ground mouth agape. Usually "Ass-Mar" comes to me like an annoying old friend, nudging me, tapping me on the shoulder, demanding payment for sins now long forgotten, or maybe never committed.

But sometimes he comes to me as the Angel of Death. Someone recently reminded me, "You could die," from an attack. I've had a few bad ones in my time. The most memorable when I was 15 or 16 years old. I collapsed into a snowbank, gasping for life. My little brother picked me up and carried me home. If it wasn't for him, I guess, I wouldn't be here typing these words now.

Yesterday was a bright, cold day. About a 1/3 of the way into my run I had to stop. The cold air was trapped deep in my lungs. I was drowning. My head spinning from lack of oxygen. Little black stars were swirling around in my head.

It's kind of funny. One minute feeling bright and shiny and the next the Black Angel of Death is sitting on my chest. Suffocation! I walked home gingerly, like a damaged toy on delicate cat feet. Made it back to our toasty apartment, took a gasping hit from my trusty inhaler and my lungs opened up like a golden flower.

The Black Cloud lifted. The Angel disappeared. The rest of the day I was reeling. Even a tiny glimpse of your demise can put a new glow around everything you do...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pie Country

Yes, well, most of the year I stuck to a vegetarian diet. Keeping fit. But yesterday, (who am I to buck tradition?), with sharpened knife, I took on a turkey. The turkey lost, I won.

But the real carnage came during dessert. There was that poor, very delectable apple/cranberry pie sitting on the counter just smirking at me. I decimated that sucker.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

THE GAMES

As they say, life is not a "zero sum game." But of course, we actually play many games in a life. There's the main game - Life. Then there's all those little games: Family, Religion, Power, Military, Government, Money, Job, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Art.

Some games are fun, and some are a freaking chore. You can also play a fun game and make it a chore, or play a chore game and make it a freaking blast. You can choose the games you play, although sometimes games are thrust upon you by friends, enemies and FAMILY!

And some games are a "zero sum game." Some games are rigged. Take the Government & Power & Money games. It seems there are those who make the rules and there are those who play by those rules. It turns out the RULE-MAKERS play the game really well. Funny how the rules favor the RULE-MAKERS. And the RULE-MAKERS are always blathering on about how everyone needs to play by the rules.

And then there are the chumps, the marks, the commoners, the simple people who play those games by the rules. They think it's all a legitimate game and if they play well, hell, it's party time! Turns out that's pretty much a freaking myth. Here in America they call it the American Dream! They call it a dream for a reason!

Now of course, if you are playing the game of Life, these little games are important, but they aren't the main game. The main game is about LOVE, and HAPPINESS and HAVINGNESS. And LAUGHTER, and FORGETTING AND REMEMBERING. And the main game isn't zero sum.

So we can play lots of games, some we win, some we lose, some we refuse to play. And still finally we are left with LIFE. It's the best one and we MUST PLAY - that's why we are here!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Devil Spawn of Scarface

The God-fearing Western Capitalists were so afraid of that turbaned, bearded dude lurking in a cave in the mountains of Pakistan, they didn't notice that the BANKSTERS were living it up like Al Pacino in Scarface.

It turns out the death of Western Capitalism was brought by the Western Capitalists themselves.

And most of the politicians and the huddling masses still don't know that the game is up. So governments are shoveling mountains of bucks to the Banksters, hoping they will do the right thing. And of course the Banksters think the right thing is for them to continue living like the Devil Spawn of Scarface.

And we are all in thrall to their wealth. We bow down to it. We are such Piss-Ant Peasants. This experiment in Capital has failed miserably. When will we wake up?!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Problem-Solving!

Another looming problem: Healthcare in America. Seems the population is aging. More old-timers will need more and more operations, medications and long-term hospital care.

I think there's a simple solution.

You feel like you are getting older? That your bones are disintegrating? Your joints are sore? You can't remember things like you used to? You are tired? You are depressed a lot? Your body is completely falling apart? You are afraid your arteries are clogged and your heart is pumping out of control and you ain't gonna live forever?

Forget the tests, forget the meds, forget the long-term hospitalizations!

"BABY, GET USED TO IT!" Problem solved - Next!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Asian Carp Standard!

So I'm reading Ian Frazier's masterful write up on Asian Carp this morning while drinking massive amounts of coffee. At the same time, I've got the radio on, it's NPR blaring about the Debt and the Deficit.

I'm in problem-solving mode.

So I figure since we now have way more Asian Carp than we can stand, and way less dollars than we need, we will reformulate our economy to the Asian Carp standard. Let's establish a Federal Reserve of Asian Carp. Let's pay down the debt in Carp. They are silly, ugly fish and we are a silly, ugly country (at least some of the time).

Our paper currency will now be backed by Asian Carp. We are back to being wealthy and healthy and a little oily and fishy too! "Problem Solved! Next!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Epic Fail

Epic fail. The Telepaths played a show for Zombies last night. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I broke a string during the first song of the set. I did not have a spare. My guitar kept going out of tune. I improvised with five strings, but it was not a happy experiment. The sound was bad. Our lead singer blew out his voice. I blew out my voice. Our bass player stepped on his cable and went silent for a brief time. Our drummer was having problems keeping time. It was a full moon. The booze flowed. It was a long night. Very unsatisfying. Afterwards a few of the patrons told me I sounded like Stevie Ray Vaughan and complimented me on a "rocking set."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recording Session #2

Back to the big-time recording studio yesterday. Pretty intense. We worked on vocals. Very intimate. The Lovely Carla did about 4 1/2 hours of singing. We are in such good hands with a very experienced recording engineer. He's kind of a wizard. A guy who used to record to tape. He said in the old days he'd be on the studio floor splicing tape. Now it's all digital. Sound is even more malleable.

It became clear we are now in collaboration with the sound engineer. We want to keep it all live and organic. Trying to capture the poetry of the songs. He's got an amazing ear, and basically the soul of a poet. We lucked out.

Lots of work left to do. Step by step.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deed

And of course, once the knife is squarely embedded in the back, once the deed is done, "I'm sorry," just doesn't cut it...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"All My Friends are Going to Be Canines"

I have a soft spot in my heart for Larry McMurtry's "All My Friends are Going to Be Strangers." One of the all-time great literary titles. Plus the novel itself is quite funny and kind of existential in a distinctly American way. I remember reading it when I was hitch-hiking across America back in the late 70's.

For some reason that title was swimming through my consciousness yesterday as I walked the streets. Maybe it has something to do with betrayal and friendship and my naive propensity to trust that people will usually do the right thing. I guess, sometimes they think the right thing to do is embed a knife squarely in your back.

So I think my version of the title would be: "All My Friends are Going to Be Canines." I mean with the canine class you get what you get. Fur and paws instead of the grubby hands of all that needing, wanting, grasping...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Running Lives

And then there are all those wonderful people who just want to run your life for you. It's not that they are doing such a good job of running their own. No, in fact, they are expert at making a wreck of their own lives. But somehow, they think it's time they took a shot at running yours, even if it's into the ground. Good intentions and all that...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Amazing Power

As long as we are alive, self-invention and self-renewal are still possible. Possible every day, probably every moment of every day. This is a source of both hope and responsibility.

If you aren't happy with your circumstances, you can change your circumstances, or at least change the way you think and act within those circumstances. Which is an amazing power that we have, although it may feel like a certain powerlessness.

We don't have to be the person we were yesterday. We don't have to be anything anyone else thinks we should be. We can accept new ideas, new feelings, new experiences as they come to us and interpret them in a new way. This newness might actually be a simple shift in perception.

Doesn't seem like a big thing. But it's planet-cracking, world-changing. Mind-blowing. Just the kind of experiences we should have each and every day...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Backbone

The other thing I love about Keef's book is his discussion of his musical obsessions and influences. Keith studied the blues of Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, Little Walter, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, as if it they were the Priests of the Holy Grail. He happily acknowledges he learned, mastered and made his own, every guitar riff Chuck Berry ever devised.

We also meet some of the unsung heroes of the Stones saga: Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys and Jimmy Miller. I have always thought that Jimmy Miller was one of the great rock & roll producers. It seems George Martin always got the greatest accolades for his work with the Beatles, but Jimmy Miller's string of albums with the Stones is totally mind-blowing, I mean these are all arguably in the top ten or twenty best rock albums of all time: Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goat Heads Soup.

As Keith says they are the "backbone" of their work. I still listen to these records today, oh these many years later. And not as some nostalgia trip. They just happen to be some of the best r&r recordings in existence. They stand up today. You can put one of those discs on right now and they kill! And even if it's hard to define what Miller actually brought to the table, the "groove" the "feel", the "vibe," whatever, (maybe he was smart enough to get out of the way?!), the results are undeniable.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Keef's Book


After reading Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, I jumped into an autobiography from our very own, real live Steppenwolf Keith Richards. I'm in the middle of his book
Life right now.

It is certainly one of the best books on rock I have ever read. I'd put it up there with the finest stuff including Peter Guralnick's Elvis Books and Nick Tosches' "Hellfire" about Jerry Lee Lewis.

I mean, I think it's actually masterful. Keith wrote the thing with James Fox, a novelist and friend, and together they have created a superb book. Amazingly Keith remembers a lot, and his life time memories encompass a fascinating chunk of our world.

Keith's voice comes through in spades. He's funny and humble. He's a combination of Long John Silver, Captain Kidd, the Vampire Lestat, Monkey Man, Rock & Roll Junkie, Riff Master, and Lord Byron with a Telecaster.

And the times of his life include everything from his birth during World War II (1943) to now. An amazing slice of time. He was at the center of a hurricane of a rock and roll journey. He is a very cool character. One of the great characters of our time. And now a great character in literature too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Know Your Enemy!

I have found that having a NEMESIS is a useful thing. You now have someone to define yourself against.

As in, "I am this, not that." And as Billie Joe Armstrong tells us, "Know Your Enemy."

"Silence is the enemy
Against your urgency
So rally up the demons of your soul"

Still it's a surprise when you find your Nemesis can multiply! And well thinking of Lombardi this just makes you tougher, it just doubles the pleasure!

And it's an instructive lesson: the best, most useful Nemesis you can find is probably right now called "Friend!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some Days

And some days it seems like you have rocks in your pockets. And shackles on your feet...

And some days its seems like your engine is turbo-charged. And you have wings on your feet...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Trap for Fools

Just like Hunter S. Thompson, I have found it necessary to befriend a lawyer. It may seem like a drastic step, and really, at the time that I first hired him, it was a drastic step.

But it turns out that my lawyer is absolutely the perfect lawyer for me. He has come in handy in a couple of cases, lately he helped us buy some more time at our storefront space so that we could do our Lennon Bash.

Also he's on the case of a much bigger case, we've been in the trenches together locked in battle with some real bad actors. So anyway, last night we were on the phone strategizing, and making jokes.

It helps to have a lawyer with a sense of humor. But I know this is the lawyer for me when he starts quoting Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Calculus of Energy

I think a well-lived life means tossing yourself head over heels into whatever you are doing at any particular moment. To seek out those all-consuming situations and just giving it all up.

You might end up with some bumps and bruises, hell you might get cut to the bone, still if you're in the game, it's probably best to play it to the hilt.

And the mystery of it all - Energy makes Energy!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Recording Session #1

Up early, sipping coffee, listening to the rough mixes of our recording session yesterday. It was an amazingly intense experience. 4 1/2 hours of very focused work.

We've lived with these songs over the last year. So walking in the door we knew we were damn tight as a band. And we lucked out to meet an absolutely extraordinary sound engineer. He had everything set up, microphones everywhere to capture the live sound.

The goal for this session was to capture the bass, guitar and drums working together as a unit. I wanted it to sound to live, warm and organic. Even in it's rough form I think we were successful.

And the Lovely Carla sang live with us in another room. We could hear her and see her through a little window. She was doing what's called a "scratch vocal," although she gave it her all in the moment, some of the best singing she's ever done. And it sounds extraordinary to my ears.

There were smiles all around. Lots of work left to do - overdubs, additional instruments, vocals, backup vocals, etc. But this was an incredible experience and we are getting closer to "that sound!"

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Big-time Studio!

Well, well, well. This is going to be a totally new experience. Our band, WhiteWolfSonicPrincess is going into a big-time Chicago recording studio today. It's the full band, bass, guitar, drums, with the Lovely Carla on vocals.

The studio is in a big old house. The 2nd floor is a state of the art facility. We loaded-in last night and did a little sound-check. We have an ambitious list of songs which we're going to track. We will blast through our set a couple times and see what we get.

I'm really excited to finally get our bass and drum combo tracked in all their glory.

We've done some home recording, and we've done some live and rehearsal recordings but this is the real deal. Our recording engineer is a pro, he's also an amazing guitarist. He's heard us a few times over the last year.

It seems like a marriage made in heaven. We will see. Hope to capture that "lightening in a bottle!"

Friday, November 05, 2010

Life Time Themes...

1. As a writer, I have come to realize that I usually have the last word. At least in my own realm. This has been a feature and a bug in the fabric of my existence since the early days.

2. Fight the Power. Always. And always pick your fights with those with more power than you. Otherwise you are just a bully. Which means most of my fights have been with bigger, more established people and entities. Which means my win/loss record is not exactly peachy-keen-sterling.

3. But then as per #1 one I do usually get in the last word. For what that's worth. I get to feel just a little bit better as I lick my wounds.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

When will the Banksters think Gangsters and Wall Street Kleptocrats be held accountable for Crimes Against America?

This is the message pasted in the window of our now sadly abandoned storefront space. The Lovely Carla took the photo. You are seeing the reflection of the building across the street.

Just in case it's not clear, it reads...

" When will the Banksters, think Gangsters and Wall Street Kleptocrats be held accountable for Crimes Against America?"

I suppose that's what you'd call a rhetorical question. The author? A-non-y-Mouse! The ghost of John Lennon hovers...

Merit Bank of Ohio, you probably think this song is about you. Don't you?

We Are Steppenwolf

I continued with my Hermann Hesse quest. I just finished "Steppenwolf" maybe his most famous and controversial work.

You can see why it was so influential in the 60's culture of Amerika. Sex and drugs and r&r (actually jazz).

Hesse himself thinks the novel was pretty much mis-understood. He's so good at depicting the "despair" of the modern world. Maybe not so convincing on the way out of that despair.

It's a hallucinatory trip! A hall of mirrors. Again it's a "spiritual" novel about the "essential work" of trying to dismantle a personality, a personality that is defined by the family, the church, the state.

It's "not for everyone," maybe for "madmen only." The work inspired the Magic Theater in 60's California, the rock band led by John Kay, and of course Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

And what is the way out? Humor! Chop that EGO down to size! Don't take yourself so seriously. Live. I loved the novel. It totally resonated with me. It's CLAIRVOYANT! One of the great works of our time. Sometimes we have to take a step back to take a step forward. Steppen - Wolf!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Smoke Clears - My Spin

As a long-time Political Junkie, I must say, the junk just doesn't have the same kick it used to. Maybe that's inevitable for someone who came of political age in the Dark Prince Nixon years.

My spin...

1. The smoke clears and Obama is still President. It wasn't a referendum on Obama, he wasn't on the ballot. I mean, some folks might think he's a socialist, a commie, a pinko, a Chicago agitator. Ha! Ha! He's Mr. President to me!

2. Lots of conservative Democrats were replaced by even more conservative Republicans. No great loss.

3. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, probably the most decent person in the Senate, needs a job. Obama better appoint him to something cool! Soon!

4. Government is not a business. It's not supposed to be about profits - this whole "fiscal discipline" thing is a bunch of hooey! The Fed can print up money. The whole business ideology/analogy is a bunch of shit. Basically all those conservatives who think government should be run like a business need to get their heads out of their asses.

5. The country is still totally screwed up. I don't think it's just the fault of government - although many if not most of our politicians are toadies to big business. We are ruled by an oligarchy of rich folks - corrupt banksters and Wall Street Kleptocrats. Not one of them were kicked out of office. The problems of this golden land run very, very deep.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Video of Radio Man

Here's a video my brother made of an early version of "Radio Man." We recorded the song at the now defunct Golden Roach Studio. That's the Lovely Carla on vocals, Sunny Jimmy on guitar and my brother on harmonica. There's also a little studio trickery to kind of sweeten the whole thing.

The video itself is all my brother's doing. Nice work Dude!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Gnarly!

Being human is such a gnarly exercise. To be fully human you must delve deeply into your own gnarly-ness.

You must own it.

You won't be rewarded with anything except even more gnarly-ness, but hey, no one promised you a rose garden!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black Forest State of Mind

It's a long story, maybe the story of our times. A guy buys a block of buildings. He's gonna tear them down and build condos. But then the bank forecloses on the guy, he's bankrupt.

So the old building sits there unoccupied.

Then our little arts group Black Forest gets a sweet deal to occupy one of the little storefronts. In the meantime, the bank then goes belly up and the FDIC seizes it. The assets of the bank then get assigned to another bank in Ohio.

We carry on doing our thing. Shows and rehearsals, parties. Living it up! The community loves it.

Finally the bank in Ohio wakes up and decides they want everyone out. Eviction notices are posted. We go to court to get more time. The Judge gives us more time. We do our Lennon Bash, the best event ever.

And now we have to vacate. So this weekend we are taking it all down. Lights, fabric, projector, musical equipment. Everything must go. And then it's just an empty space. May sit there empty for a long time. Still, once we vacate (flee!) it's just a little, sort of shabby space, a dingy little storefront - a tiny little void in the hood.

It was really the vibe we filled it with that was extraordinary. It was us. We filled it. Our art our music, our creative vibe! The people who came to share that vibe made it something...

So now we exit. We are on the hunt for the next space to fill. Where do we bring that vibe next? The Black Forest State of Mind is a mobile thing! What location do we haunt? Where will we land?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Secret to Slickness

A woman told me yesterday that she described me to another woman thusly: "He's a gentle soul."

And I thought, "Honey, you don't know about the Tornado inside of me."

So last night we dressed up and played a show. I slicked back my hair with Brylcreem. "A Little Dab Will Do You." Very shiny.

I guess I must have looked dangerous or adorable. A Bad Boy. Women were brushing up against me every which way. Looking at me with bedroom eyes. One even asked for my autograph.

Love that Brylcreem. I checked the tube. The ingredients are a secret! But of course, you can find them on the web: water, mineral oil, beeswax, fragrance, calcium hydroxide, BHT, dimethyl oxazolidine, magnesium sulfate, and stearic acid.

Friday, October 29, 2010

All Roads Lead to This Bad Actor!

Can one company stand in for all evil? All of what's wrong with America? Can one company be so completely despicable, with a hand in all kinds of mischief and bad blood? Can one company and it's affiliates have it's dirty fingers in all kinds of tragic pies: Iraq, Afghanistan, BP Oil Spill, etc.

Can one company spawn so much death and destruction? And did it really pay off our own Dr. Evil Dick Fucking Cheney? YES IT CAN!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chip On Your Shoulder

And that chip on your shoulder... where'd you get it? What are you gonna do with it? And just who are you mad at anyway?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Will To Live

Hesse got me thinking about will. I suppose you can impose your will on yourself. And if you change yourself, do you change your world? But it's a little harder to impose your will on the world. At best it's a collaboration.

And your partner has more than the kitchen sink in it's arsenal. And it seems to delight in throwing obstacles in your path, maybe just to see you dance.

And so you dance. And you improvise. Always improvise. And try to be light on your feet. Like you have a hot-foot, or you're dancing on stars...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Demian

I'm on a little Hermann Hesse kick. Just finished Demian, written in 1919. What's kind of interesting and maybe surprising, all the themes and questions in the novel, are still relevant today.

If Siddhartha was a story of Eastern enlightenment, Demian is very much a European, a Western Journey. I swallowed it whole. It's seems like a fever dream, and my dreams became more vivid while I read it.

What's funny, much of the language of the novel is inspired by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche and yes, even that Jesus Dude... it's the search for the authentic self... it seems like the essential work...

But now 100 years later much of that language has been replaced by Neuro-biology, by drug therapy, by pharmacology...

It seems people today in our culture no longer search for the authentic, instead they fill their lives with POP CULTURE and PRESCRIPTION DRUGS... I wonder how that all works out...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wikileaks vs. The Empire of Lies

Secrets. I was always of the opinion that a free society, a Democratic society should not have secrets. And of course our Dark Empire has many, many secrets...

So I guess I am happy that there are people willing to risk it all to reveal the dark secrets of a Dark Empire. People like Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange.

If the acts of an Empire can't stand the light of day, then that Empire will rot from the inside. Let the facts out. Let the truth emerge. This is not about "personality," it is about the truth.

If we can't handle the truth then we must accept that we live in The Empire of Lies...

And if Bush was the instigator of much of this darkness, Obama is the caretaker. It must stop!

Blog Archive