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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recording Session #5

Yes, we did it again. We trekked down to the big time studio to lay down some more tracks. Yesterday, we brought in Nick Anaya from the 3.5.7 Ensemble to add tenor sax to 3 of our songs.

We had a little kitchen rehearsal with him first to familiarize him with the songs. He pointed out that one of our songs went from 6/8 time to 4/4 time. Who knew?!

It was a totally thrilling session - one hour of concentrated beauty. Nick is an amazing, intuitive player. He brought a great focus and professionalism to the moment. He did a couple passes on each song and there were smiles all around. His contribution will be a highlight of the record, no doubt!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Degrees of Crazy

You hear all kinds of funny arguments in the world. Again, if you assume that most human beings are crazy, it all starts to make sense. That's right, assume that your fellow travelers are seriously twisted, and everything starts to make a certain sense.

Of course, you must assume that you too are seriously twisted. So whatever is making sense to you, is also probably really crazy too. Again, I'm not talking about "drooling on your shoes" nuts. Most of us seem competent and coherent. We can tie our shoes. We can walk and talk and appear normal.

No, the thick veneer of normality is probably the first hint that the crazy lurks nearby. And those of us who insist that they aren't crazy, the ones that think they have the answer, the moralists, the ones who want to tell you how to live your life, yep, those are most certainly the most perniciously twisted of the bunch!

There is no normal. There is no sanity. Only degrees of crazy...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Humanitarian Bombs, Humanitarian Bullets!

I'm not jumping ship just yet, but if you would have told me that the guy I voted for in the last election would help bail out rich bankers, would be contemplating cutting programs for poor folks, and would be jumping into another war, I would have told you to quit smoking that wacky weed!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Soul-Full - Feeding the Soul

Back to the kitchen. Our little band got together yesterday for a "kitchen rehearsal." We had nowhere else to go, so we set up our equipment next to the stove and the refrigerator. The acoustics in the kitchen are quite good.

Anyway, it had been awhile since our band was all together in one room. We ran through a set of songs, some we've been playing for awhile, some new ones too. We were all really tuned into each other. Everyone was sharp and everyone listened.

There is something so powerful, so inexplicable, so logic-defying about 4 individuals all working together for one sound, one vibration. 3 voices, a guitar, bass, drums all shining, all blending, all adding to each other. Amazing.

It's a pretty unique circumstance, definitely a great way to beat the crazy (see previous post). And a positive alternative way to do the human communication thing. Intensely powerful.

The intensity level of the session was matched by an ease. Our music is very "soul-full" - full of soul and feeding the soul. We floated, and flowed. Afterwards it was all smiles. A very satisfying, life-affirming exercise. I recommend it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crazy is Our Aquarium!

The idea that the majority of human beings running around on the planet are "sane" or "rational" is getting more and more untenable. I mean, I wonder if I've ever really believed it. Sometimes I think the prevalence of the drooling, talking-to-the-wind types, kind of distracts us from the reality that it's everyone else you really need to worry about.

If you engage in a conversation of any length, basically anything after small talk about the weather, the crazy starts to rear it's head. Maybe we've grown so accustomed to the "crazy talk" that it becomes less and less recognizable as crazy talk.

No sense in going into examples here. I've been swimming in the crazy lately, and I've engaged in it too. Yes, I too can do the crazy talk, the crazy walk. But then I can sort of retreat into a dark corner of my head and realize that what is said, what is believed is crazy! It has permeated all areas of human behavior.

Beliefs: religious, political, social... Totally Over the Bend Nuts!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Grace

Heard a story about Tennessee Williams on the radio this morning. The phrase that resonated and stuck to me... "survive with grace."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Seriously Silly!

We are working on a little video for our song "Poison Cloud Coming From Tokyo." Hope to load it up to You Tube in the next few days. Why? Because we can. I know it might be a little like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, but in this case the theater is burning and the fumes, well, they are toxic and it looks like they are contaminating our water, air, and ground. That's the trifecta. Living things breathe in this stuff, or eat it, or touch it, and they die!

I know this is all happening a long way from our shores, but this crisis is a good example of how we are all connected. A nuclear accident in Japan has consequences for all life on the planet. It's not a happy situation.

Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker
explains in chilling detail that basically the whole nuclear industry is an act of imagination. It's all just a serious folly. We are all pretending that these reactors are safe and we will figure out what to do with the waste and everything is peachy keen. They aren't, we probably won't, and it isn't.

Our little song is sort of silly. But it's a serious silly...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Julian Schnabel's "Miral"

When you say "this film-maker is an artist" it is absolutely true if you are speaking of Julian Schnabel.

He has made an amazing string of films. Beautiful, indelible "artistic" films. And he brings his painter's eye and supremely artistic sensibility to all of his work.

His latest film is about a Palestinian girl growing up in Israel. Which is no doubt a highly-charged subject that is already bringing a lot of heat and controversy. Some people just don't want to see a "Palestinian" depicted as a human being. I figure it is a must-see film, just as Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly were must-sees too.

"Like I said, the concept of having an even hand, to make something more balanced — I don’t think that’s the job of an artist." - Julian Schnabel

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Exactly

Some times I have trouble understanding what I'm thinking at any particular time.

And then I wonder, how does one make the leap of understanding what some one else is thinking at any particular time?!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poison Cloud Coming from Tokyo

Poison Cloud Coming from Tokyo was "triggered" by recent events. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. At least that's what all the authorities are telling us. Hell, being exposed to a radioactive cloud would be like getting a CAT SCAN. Maybe multiple times? Over and over? Right?!?

Anyway our new song emerged out of our own little nightmare world. I hear a little bit of Joy Division, X, The Violent Femmes, The Ramones, Yoko Ono, and The B-52's in there.

It's a 1:50 second blast of Pop Madness. Check it out!


The Singles from WhiteWolfSonicPrincess

Monday, March 21, 2011

Exports!

Three Wars! Simultaneously! It's as easy as falling out of bed for the Good Old USA!

Bombs and bullets! Our greatest exports!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Last Refuge

Momentous shit seems to be happening everyday. There's so many people on the planet now, our schedules are so chock full of big-time events. No sense in panicking. And fleeing seems futile, since there's nowhere to flee to.

We retreat into our heads. Not really safe there either. But it's the last refuge.

I barricaded myself in my little home studio yesterday. Working on some new "self-recorded," "self-produced" music.

New songs. Kind of like those old cave paintings. Sitting in my little enclosed space, creating my own little world. Almost like a religious or "magic" act. Conjuring something inside. To bring outside later.

And the inside is just reflection of the outside. A facsimile. I sacrifice an idea on the altar of my own craving, and create a song with a little life of it's own.

And the world of momentousness just rages on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wondrous Machinery

The Fat-Cat Wizards of Authority are behind the curtain, working their wondrous machinery, trying to convince all the little people, the down-trodden masses, that everything is okay.

Life on the street seems to be telling another story. And the divergence between what the rich ones want us to know and think, and what we are learning and thinking on our own, seems to be expanding.

And maybe the wondrous machinery isn't so wondrous anymore. And maybe once all the down-trodden ones realize they are being tricked by elaborate fakery, maybe those Wizards of Authority won't appear so authoritative anymore.

The curtain is pulled back more and more often, showing the Fat-Cats in all their reality-denying glory. And maybe the down-trodden ones will start to look around and count their numbers.

And maybe they will come to realize that the Rich Ones aren't rich because of good luck or divine right, but because the game is rigged, and the rich are rich because the poor are poor.

There are the few with all the money, and the many with their sore feet and tired arms and empty hands and new-seeing eyes and hungry mouths. And maybe one day the light-bulb blinks on, and they click their heels together and RISE UP!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Circle of Empowerment

Strangelovian nightmares were dancing in my head yesterday. Maybe it was all those early years hiding under my school desk coming back in full force?! Even as a small child, I knew that hiding under a desk was a kind of lame and panicky way of dealing with a nuclear holocaust.

And there is a certain cold logic that a dark radiating plague would be a result of a series of unforeseen "accidents" and not a mad act of martial malevolence.

We had sunny blue skies in the heartland yesterday. No dark clouds of radiation in sight. Still a major uneasiness hung over me even as I basked in the sun (armed with a hat, sunglasses and SPF 30). Serious events unfolding a long way away just make me feel even smaller and more helpless than usual.

I'm left with my own little life and the few meager things I can control. I can rearrange my meagers! It's a little circle of empowerment, (sort of like a friendly noose), which seems to get smaller and more hermetic every day. Still, it's a life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dark Clouds

And then some events occur where you struggle to find an "upside." I mean, not every dark cloud has a silver lining. And if you see one, well, maybe you're an idiot.

You'd like to think that "Everything will be all right." Still some of those dark clouds are really, really dark. And well they might be radioactive too...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Raw Data

Supposedly, we humans are good at pattern recognition. We see patterns in random events. Sometimes we even see patterns where there are no patterns. Still, this human is starting to discern a pattern. Lots of raw data is piling up.

Lots of really "bad" things seem to be happening around the world. Now of course, we can assume there's lots of really "good" things happening too.

But the bad things seem really, really bad. And they seem to be accumulating.

And well, even thinking optimistically, I presume that can't be good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Black Swans Around Every Corner

Seems the world is swimming in Black Swans.

When is a Black Swan a Black Swan? And when is a Black Swan not a Black Swan?

And if rare and unexpected events happen all the time, are they still rare and unexpected?

And if we expect to see Black Swans around every corner, why are we still surprised when we do?

Are we just wired that way?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wishing, Having, Wasting, Lasting.

I'm still reading Shout, Philip Norman's opus about the Beatles. Almost done. The major sections of the book describe an arc. It goes like this...

The Wishing, the Having, the Wasting, the Lasting. Which kind of tells a story right there.

In this particular narrative it turns out the Wishing is probably the most inspiring part. Also the most revealing. I just loved the scruffy Hamburg days, the days when it was all about the playing, the honing of a sound, the trials and tribulations of a working band.

The Having is the story most of us know; at the heart of it is the bizarre Beatlemania phase. Totally inexplicable. The frenzy, the madness, the celebrity culture swirling around like an out of control carousel. Turns out Beatlemania was an ordeal for the band. On the one hand, amazing love and adulation, on the other, the music drowned out by screams. The Fab Four turned into performing monkeys.

The Wasting kind of kicks off when Brian Epstein kicks off. The Beatles are still making amazing, compelling music, in fact they create music that is just overwhelmingly great, (where did it all come from?) but the band concept begins to crack and fragment. The Beatles form Apple and then start to play businessmen. It's clear they were better musicians than merchants.

And then, well, you know...

And finally when all is said and done, we have the tracks. And there is a dazzling exuburance that these four people laid down that just can not be explained away. You must enjoy it! And we do!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Messy!

And some act as if we are all in it together. And some act as if we are all pitted against one another. And some act as if it's a little of both. It sort of gets messy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trouble with Middles

The beginnings are always promising. The endings always clean and swift. The middle part is where it gets complicated.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Myths to Live By

"Well, yeah, of course it's a myth. Sure. So what? I've built my life on myths."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WhiteWolfSonicPrincess on Sound Cloud!

We just joined Sound Cloud. It seems like a really cool music site with a really nice music player. Check it out! The old MySpace site has just become this weird Zombie infested place. Here's our song "Everything is Everything!"Latest tracks by WhiteWolfSonicPrincess

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

He Was Acting, Right?!

If you've seen this movie it seems you either think the dude has totally lost it, and he's lost it so bad, he's so clueless, he doesn't realize how bad he looks in this "documentary," - fat, self-aborbed, whiny, petty, ridiculous; exhibiting all the behaviors of the worst sort of debauched Frat Boy, with delusions of Hip Hop glory.

Or you think this is all just superb acting. Maybe the best acting performance since Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. A seamless performance, where Joaquin Phoenix risks it all to portray a character of our time, the time of our berserk celebrity culture. A character he totally inhabits to the nth degree.

And if you go with the second interpretation, and I do, then you realize this is just a brilliant movie that uses the whole celebrity machine in the most subversive way. So even as everyone was wondering what the hell happened to Joaquin, ("Is he really off the rails, is he really chucking his acting career just when he reached the top of his game?"), he and Casey Affleck have constructed a movie that exposes the whole Hollywood myth-making machine, and plays with the expectations of a celebrity industry that loves to eat people whole and spit them out.

The movie is funny, and makes you think, and tests your patience, and makes you marvel at someone willing to risk everything for a role. I mean, someone even willing to demean his own image, his own "brand" in a culture where brand is everything.

Superb, thrilling, silly. Excellent. A great companion movie to The Social Network. These are movies of the moment.

The last sequence in "I'm Still Here," when Joaquin "walks the river" is beautiful and dare I say it "metaphorical." And transcendent.

Monday, March 07, 2011

There Will Be An Answer...

We played the local open mic Saturday night. We played one original and one cover. The cover was a Beatles song, yep, I've totally been on a Beatles kick, and somehow I convinced the Lovely Carla that we should sing "Let it Be."

On the one hand, as someone at the coffee shop remarked, "you can't go wrong with the Beatles." Meaning it's probably gonna be a good song that lots of people know and probably love.

And that's the downside too. At first, singing "Let it Be" seemed ridiculous. Hearing my voice ringing out, seemed like satire. I mean, we aren't really going to top the original. And singing such a famous song kind of exposes your own weaknesses.

So we kind of re-arranged it so that I sang the verses and Carla came in on the chorus. And instead of a piano, I banged out the chords on my big old acoustic guitar. Plus Carla did some sweet tambourine work.

Suddenly we sort of made it our own. We both totally connected with the lyrics, it's a sort of mystical gospel-like incantation. "When all the broken-hearted people, living in the world agree..."

It wasn't perfect, but when we got to the end we were banging it out with total exuberance and I was surprised the roof of the place didn't just open up and the two us didn't rise up out of the place into the sky...

We didn't... but we might've!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

You Know that Band!

I'm reading Shout! by Philip Norman. I picked it up at my local used bookstore for $7. It's a story I know, I mean, it's a story we all know, it's basically the Pop Culture origin story for a certain generation, but of course, it's all the little details that make it an exciting and extraordinary read.

And you find out all kinds of things you didn't know...

I'm about a third into it. And really I just love the tale of the Silver Beatles and their time in Hamburg Germany. And I'm fascinated by Astrid Kirchherr and that great lost boy Stu Sutcliffe. And it all gets you to wondering if Stu was really that bad of a bass player. But of course, the guy that wanted the job happened to become one of the greatest bass players of all time.

And then there's the whole cast of characters: Lennon, Starr, Voorman, Harrison, etc. And there's grit and luck and happenstance. And events had to happen just so, or maybe the story would have been different. And the story rolls out like destiny. An amazing journey...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Breathing is Good. Pretty Much.

Of course mainlining the zeitgeist has it's drawbacks. Too much zeitgeist can curdle the blood. Which goes with the territory, I mean, you can't stay pure in this world.

That's not possible.

You bounce out of the womb into a contaminated world and must fend for yourself. Even if you have a little help from your friends.

So you take in as much as you can stand without losing your head. There is no purity. You breathe in, and hope the breath doesn't kill you. Breathing is good. Pretty much.

Everything is pretty much good. Unless it isn't, then well, good luck.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Mainlining the Zeitgeist!

My hopes are still high for the guy in the White House. But I hope he doesn't just see himself as some kind of super-cheerleader.

Whoever coined the "Win the Future" slogan, should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

It's not good when you can shorten the phrase to WTF. Which in my book has a totally different meaning. And maybe if the guy in the White House latched onto that as his slogan, everything might make more sense.

So every time you hear that guy say "win the future," think "WTF!" Every time you hear that "the White House is negotiating with the Republicans," think "WTF!"

You will be mainlining the zeitgeist!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

THINK NEW!

It seems this time around I'm always starting something new. New work, new band, new song, new play, new company, new thought, new blog post. I'm not very good at looking back.

Always looking forward. That's just the trajectory of my life. I don't know if it's good or bad, it's just the way it seems to work for me.

I have a history. I have a whole string of false starts, abortive attempts, interesting experiments, dead ends, lots of flotsam and jetsam, lots of discarded or misused dreams.

It's not very edifying for me to look back. So I look forward and THINK NEW!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Recording Session #4

Yeah we're still at it. I'm keeping track for you. We had a long hiatus, due to weather, sickness and money flow - tracking songs at the big time studio. Saturday we did backing vocals, some oohs and aahs, and also re-did a couple tracks live in the studio - bass, guitar and two voices.

It was totally intense and exhilarating. The clock ticks and time = money. We came in prepared, and the "live in the studio" stuff seemed pretty tight.

The backing vocals were tricky. Not sure how well they came out. I guess we'll figure that out in the mixing phase. Almost done with tracking - we're thinking one more session to add a saxophone and maybe harmonica.

Then it's mixing. Should be an interesting trip...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Crony Capitalism - American Style!

I guess if someone asked me, I'd sum up the whole financial crisis thing and it's aftermath, like this...

Rich Banker or Wall Street trader gets in trouble, the government (all the little people) band together and bail them out, make them whole again so they can get back to business as usual.

The Little people, the Common Folk, those who did the bailing out, well if they got in debt, or missed payments on their house, or lost their jobs, well, that's life baby, "shit happens!"

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