wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Besides That...

Shadow-Dancing.  Yes, we are a funny species. We like to wrestle and dance with shadows.  Sometimes we get lost in the world of shadows. Sometimes we get so lost, we end up neglecting the things of the world that are sitting right before our noses.

I suppose we sometimes we do this as an intentional strategy. Some of those things of the world are "bad news," better left for another day.  But sometimes that other day is today.  Maybe we should move out of the shadows and seize the things of the day?  What's the worst that could happen? Oh, yeah... I mean... besides that...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Waning Day

At the lake front yesterday.  The sun was setting in the west, and I was looking east at the vast and dangerous body of water called Lake Michigan.  The water was still.  A small flock of Canadian Geese were floating in the water, looking like wooden decoys.

It was around 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and already the sun was setting, and the setting sun tossed an array of colors across the water. There were pinks and blues and yellows too, glinting, sparkling, dancing in the still water.  I was wearing dark sunglasses which made the colors more vibrant and surreal.  It was one of those hushed moments.  I could hear myself breathing, breathing in the air, breathing in the essence of a waning day.

It was one of those nothing moments. It seems that nothing was really happening.  But everything was there before me.  Everything right there in that moment.  It sort of felt holy. A holy moment.  A feeling of peace and well-being flooded my body.  The moment was so vibrant and alive.  I was in the church of no church.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Catching My Breath!

Yes, just like "Piggy" in "Lord of the Flies," I have "ass-mar."  I've had it since about 13 years old or so.  I remember collapsing into a snowbank, gasping for air, and my little brother lugging me home.  That was when I realized that breathing doesn't always come easy.

Over the years, I've tried lots of remedies.  Lately I've been using my Tibetan Sea Salt inhaler and it seems to help.  I also take hot baths and soak my body in aromatic spices like peppermint and eucalyptus.  I take vitamins. I take a special mushroom concoction. I do breathing exercises.  I treat myself like a Pharaoh or something.  And it's all for just the simple pleasure of catching my  breath.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stunning Brilliance!

Recently watched "Cross-Fire Hurricane," an HBO documentary about the Stones.  It's kind of a visual snapshot of some of the events much more fully explored in Keith's great book.  You get a little visual whiff of  the Stone's glory years from the mid sixties to the mid seventies.  Pretty amazing story.

The band was born into a maelstrom of sex, drugs & violence.  And they embraced their bad boy image with enthusiasm.  There was a time when rock & roll really was the sound-track of our lives, and those Stone's songs resonated with great social & cultural significance.  There was a true "counter-culture" and the Stones were at the forefront of it, whether they wanted to be or not.

There are flashes too of the Stones from the 80's onward.  The shows got bigger, the audiences got broader, the great bounty of money flowed in,  the band traversed the world like a great r&r dinosaur and they were embraced by the mainstream culture. The music sort of shrunk, got smaller, nearly got swallowed in all the flash and thunder of the 24 hr. media monster.  Still those r&r gems from the early years have never really been tarnished. Stunning brilliance...


Monday, November 26, 2012

R&R Party Time!

I love doing this Holiday show.  We've participated 5 or 6 years in a row.  It's always lots of fun.  And it's for a good cause: raising toys for needy children.  There is no down-side to this one.  It's just a cool r&r party.  We have a killer line-up this year. It's not to be missed!  And hell, maybe even Elvis will make an appearance...?!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In His Bones and Blood

Although my last name has a distinctly "Germanic" flavor, the German influence in my blood-line was always discounted in my family.  The German guy was a one-off, he fled the family, leaving his wife to raise two young boys on her own.  Lots of pain, humiliation and guilt tied up in that little act of cowardice.  He may have had his reasons, but no one knew what they were, or at least the people who might have had an inkling, weren't talking. And that act turned out to be a life-long betrayal with reverberations for a couple generations of the clan.

So it was left to the Irish side of the family to pick up the pieces, to pull together, and to try to make it in the world, to raise a family, to get up and face the day, and to carry on. So it's the Irish side of the blood-line that was always revered and celebrated.  I always thought of myself as Irish.  And that Irish-ness meant a little craziness mixed in with a resilient toughness, and the ability to laugh and to carry on.  

And I can pass as Irish. I see it in the mirror every morning. Although to be fair to my mother's side of the family there is a healthy dose of Polish in my genetic make-up and there was always talk of a dollop of French blood in the line too.  And god knows what else?  Truly I am a white-bread 3rd generation mongrel of the first degree.

Still, when we made the trip to Dublin it felt like a real homecoming. I easily tear up when I hear Danny Boy.  I'm a big fan of Van Morrison, U2, the Pogues and Sinead O'Connor, and Samuel Beckett and James Joyce and blah, blah, blah.  Erin Go Braugh!


And the list of famous Irish people is quite impressive, you can review the list yourself.  Anyway, listening to Shane McGowan this morning stirs the blood for sure.  Anyone for a Guinness this early in the AM?  This is a great Christmas song.  We're thinking of trying it with our band for our next show. 

Shane is one of those great, sodden, tragic, Irish poets.  He always sounds half-crocked, or no, maybe fully crocked... and maybe he always really is, but he's a great songwriter, and he sings with a gravity, authority, and raging, ragged beauty that seems grounded in his bones and blood... 
  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Master Filmmaker - Ben Affleck?!

Yesterday we saw "Argo" the latest movie from master filmmaker... Ben Affleck.  Yes, really, I just put "master filmmaker," and Ben Affleck in the same sentence.  Hard to believe?  Yes, but really...

Seems there is life after "Bennifer" the "super-couple" years spent with Jennifer Lopez. Anway, "Argo" is a great movie.  Entertaining, thrilling.  Based on true events. It's a period piece, Jimmy Carter is President, there's the hostage crisis in Iran.  The story is all so true, it's seems completely implausible. Well done Mr. Affleck!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sweet Thing...

Thinking of bringing this song to our band... one of the great tracks from Van Morrison's 1968 album "Astral Weeks", which is absolutely one of the all-time greatest records to ever see the light of day.  It never fails to enchant.

The Waterboys did an amazing cover version of this song on their blazingly wonderful album "Fisherman's Blues." Just a beautiful, incandescent song. For some reason, I think our band could really bring it... I'm gonna bring it to our next kitchen session and try it on for size!

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It all comes down to the hugs...

Lots to be thankful for today.  It's kind of cool to have a day dedicated to thankfulness.  There are very few traditions I follow.  But getting together with family and breaking bread, or in this case having a feast with all the fixings, is a good one. It's good to see everyone that is still around, and to think of the ones that are no longer around.  And yes, there's the food, the talk, the football, the singing of songs, but really it all comes down to the hugs.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Kitchen

The kitchen.  Great acoustics.  Good lighting.  Many, many sessions spent in the kitchen with my acoustic guitar and a little digital recorder. Yes, that's where the majority of our songs start.  Little riffs and melodies just sort of appear... in the kitchen...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Does Time Reveal?

Yesterday I wrote about Gillian Welch and David Rawlings here...  there are the good times, the bad times, and then just time...

This song has been resonating with me the last few days.  Time is the great revelator for sure.  And Gillian Welch is an amazing singer/songwriter, and her partner in crime, David Rawlings is just the best.  This take was supposedly a "mic test," and it sounds so real, so genuine, so casually perfect, and in the moment... you can see why this was "the one."

And what does time reveal?  Everything...


Monday, November 19, 2012

Holy Motors... Yes!

We went to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago yesterday afternoon.  We saw Leos Carax's new movie "Holy Motors."  Don't want to review it. Don't want to try to sum it up.  Don't want to critique or explain.  Don't want to diminish it in anyway. It's a great, beautifully visualized mystery.  Definitely worth seeing.

It's about dreams, movies, life.  Some absolutely stunning images.  And it's a really strange, baffling, wonderful film. Very French.  Loved, loved, loved it.  It kind of opened me up and cleansed my brain.  Sort of deepened the mystery of my own life too.  Really. Highly recommended.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Status Quo

There are those who benefit from the "status quo." And those who suffer. And that's where the conflict,  and the trouble begins.  There are those holding the apple cart up, feasting on apples, and there are those trying to upset the apple cart, those hungry for apples. That's the human thing in spades.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gloriously Implausible!

BTW - the quote "We all fall down," comes from Tony Scott's movie "Domino," a film loosely based on Domino Harvey's real-life story.  And Domino's story is actually more layered, and complex, and interesting and tragic than the actual film.  The real-life Domino died of an overdose before the film came out.

I recently saw Scott's movie after reading this amazing tribute by Kim Morgan.  "Domino" the movie seems to me to be an instance of "style over substance," and Keira Knightly is sort of implausible in the lead role, but at the same time the style is so lush and over the top and flashy and cool, and Knightly is so charismatic and gloriously implausible, I think the movie works.  Yes it works, even though it's sort of hyper and ridiculous too.  And maybe Tony Scott really didn't get his due as a filmmaker and maybe Kim Morgan helps make the case.

And what a great closing line for the film. And yes, we do all fall down...

Friday, November 16, 2012

We all Fall Down!

People have sex.  They have sex with other people.  People not their husbands or wives.  It happens.  All the time.  So sometimes "the scandal" isn't really all that scandalous or shocking.  But it is sort of an intriguing story when you see intelligent, successful people doing really stupid and silly things.

You see Generals with lots of medals on their chests acting like besotted teenagers.  You see accomplished, married women competing for the attention of these over-decorated men.  There's jealousy and lust and people acting like hormone-addled kids.

It's kind of funny.  And I guess in a way it's satisfying to know that those folks aren't any different than other folks.  It's kind of the human story splashed across media landscape.  It's ridiculous too.  And pointless.  And these very accomplished people have no one to blame except themselves.

One moment a figure of respect and honor.  The next a figure of foolishness and disgrace.  And we all fall down!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Snap!


My photography teacher many years ago said: "The camera always lies."  I think this is true.  One snap tries to capture a moment.  A still from life.  But life is not still.  It's an on-going process.  A stream that cannot be corralled or contained.

Still, people take photos.  Some are art-less and some are art-full. For me an art-full photo adds to the mystery, it reveals and conceals at the same time.  It's not documenting a moment, it's a poetic evocation of a moment. 

This is a long way to saying that our friend Nancy Chambers took a bunch of photos at our recent show at the Underground Wonder Bar.  They all looked so good, so mysterious, so poetic and art-full, I decided to add a photo page to our band website.  

Nancy focused the lens on the Lovely Carla and I, the rest of the band didn't make it in the frame.  So yes, these photos lie, they don't fully capture the reality of that night.  But they do capture something sort of mysterious and beautiful...  they sort of capture the spirit of our little sonic experiment. Thanks Nancy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Refrigerator


We signed a new lease on our apartment.  We asked for a new refrigerator.  And it arrived yesterday.  Big, shiny, white, roomy.  It just gleams.  Everyone is very happy. Freezer on the bottom, lots of shelves and compartments.  It's amazing how a new refrigerator can just change the energy of our little household.  We are all glowing positivity this morning...

The refrigerator made me think of Ellyn Burstyn and her role in "Requiem for a Dream." "Requiem" is a great, and powerful film about people in addiction and survival.  It's beautiful, brutal and surreal.  I've seen it a couple of times, and certain scenes are just seared into my consciousness.

I longed to hear the wonderful and amazing soundtrack to the movie. Original music by Clint Mansell. I'm playing it now.  It is haunting, breath-taking, really one of the greatest movie soundtracks ever recorded.  Yes, it's that good.  So glad we got the refrigerator, so glad it made me think of Ellen Burstyn, so glad I remembered the soundtrack, so glad I'm playing the CD now.  It's a very good morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It Was Lost

I was reading about The Stone Roses and their original manager Gareth Evans.  Evans is kind of a larger than life character in the mold of Andrew Loog Oldman, Brian Epstein, Malcolm Maclaren.

Here is Evans talking about the Roses downfall and it definitely resonates across the human spectrum.  Think Big Time Coaches, Church Elders, Boy Scout Leaders, Wall Street Financiers, Politicians, Four Star Generals... etc.

"They definitely began to believe in themselves to such an extent that, to them, they seemed indestructible. That is very dangerous and foolish.  But it's a classic situation, isn't it? Not just in rock and roll, but in all business, in all life. Outrageous fortune arrives, either by luck or skill, it's doesn't matter which and it brings with it something incredibly destructive. The belief that whatever you do, it will all be for the best because you are so special.  I'm telling you. Nobody is special. Nobody. The Roses had a lot going for them but they also lacked a lot. As soon as they lost sight of that fact... it was lost." - Gareth Evans

Monday, November 12, 2012

Processing

You have to be able to process the good news.  Just like you need to process the bad news.  And there's always good news and bad news to process.  So you need to be "processing" all the time.  It can be a challenge.  And it takes energy. And sometimes the news is either so big, or so little, you are always being challenged not to miss it and to digest it.  It is all part of the picture.  It's all part of the game.  And the game never ever stops.

Of course this dividing up of information or reality into good and bad is pretty arbitrary.  And it can kind of float and morph.  The challenge is always to see clearly.  

And it seems we have different and sometimes contradictory "systems" for processing sensory info.  It's all such a complicated thing.  Life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Superlatives!

Our band whitewolfsonicprincess played at the Underground Wonder Bar last night.  It was an amazingly transcendent experience.  We played downstairs and it was packed.  A nice intimate room filled with people there to hear music.  The band just fed off the energy of the room.  One of our best shows for sure.  I guess I can try to drag out all the superlatives: exciting, inspiring, soul-stirring, soul-enriching.  It was all that and more.  Still riding the vibe this morning...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Neil Young's Psychedelic Pill

The last week or so my soundtrack has been Neil Young and Crazy Horse's "Psychedelic Pill." I  heard Jim Derogatis totally trash it on the radio.  Luckily I didn't listen to him.  He insisted he's a big fan but he was quite dismissive of the new record.  I have learned to be skeptical of critics, I tend to listen when they are advocating an artist or record, it's helped me discover stuff I might not have necessarily found on my own, and I tune them out when they knock or trash a record.  Too often I have found that a bad review does not mean that the work is "bad."

A good friend had texted me that Neil's new record was "incredible."  I pretty much agree with that description.  Lots of great music, two discs worth.  The music is superb and Neil's lyrics are simple and straightforward.  Of course, in my book Crazy Horse is one of the all-time great "garage" bands.  Big thundering, majestic.  And that's the case with the new record.  And Neil's guitar playing is superb.  Lots of long jams on this record.

There are a couple clunky lyrics.  I wish Neil would have turned the microphone off during parts of "Drifting Back."  The lyrical clunkiness kinds of mars some of the track, but it's really a minor quibble, not a major flaw.  Neil is Neil.  And on this disc Neil is being Neil to the max.  It's exquisite and fun and powerful and great.

Some of these tracks have already embedded themselves into my consciousness.  Neil has a way of writing a haunting, line, a haunting melody. And I love "Walk Like a Giant." Towards the end of the song you hear Neil's Black Beauty Les Paul Guitar provide the sonic testimony of a Giant, maybe a wooly mammoth, dying a violent, and brutal, feedback-laced death.  It's grungy and noisy and great. Breath-takingly good! Highly recommended! Derogatis can go suck a lemon!

BTW - I heard that Derogatis likes to collect little army men. A major collector of little army men.  Goes to conventions and stuff. That's says something about the guy... not sure what... but something...

Friday, November 09, 2012

People Won!

It is important to be FOR something, but it's also important to be AGAINST something.

So not only was I for Obama, but I was really, really against someone like Karl Rove.  Rove ended up fleecing a bunch of Billionaires of over $300 million for the conservative cause.  It's funny.  Every candidate that Rove's organization supported ended up losing.

Rove is a truly contemptible reptile of a being.  So happy to see him spinning like a top trying to explain why all those dollars went for naught.  People power vs. the money.  People won!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Good Days

This euphoria kind of carried me along yesterday.  Had an extra spring in my step.  I was riding a sunny vibe.  It's funny.  All I did was vote.  But I did feel like a small piece in a grand puzzle.  My vision of the country, my vision of reality, had sort of been validated.  And the good feeling just flooded through me.

We are living in the Obama Era.  That's how the history books will record it.  It's been rocky.  It's been frustrating.  But it's also been inspiring, and yes, hopeful.  I'm sure that euphoric feeling will fade.  But it will be remembered. We have to celebrate the good days.  Yesterday was a good day.  A very, very good day.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pure Unadulterated Joy!

Obama wins.  And the win is sweet.  And I love the coalition: women, young people, african-americans, hispanics, gays and progressives of all ages, races and persuasions.  A beautiful coalition.  The best of the country.

It's all so validating.  The result confirms my vision of the country.  Lots of problems.  Great divisions.  No easy solutions.  But there is pure unadulterated joy in the result. Obama is the right man for the time.  And he is the voice for an inspiring, and wonderful coalition.

I could not imagine the alternative.  And in my gut I never believed that the GOP vision would prevail.  Too backward.  Too retro.  Too small-minded.  Too selfish and unkind. Too unhinged.  Too blind to reality.

Still, Obama is not Gandalf.  And there is no magical elixir to fix things.  Just lots of hard work and focus ahead.  But so pleased with this exhilarating step forward!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Little Blue, Progressive Bubble

I must admit, I do live in a little bubble.  It's a little blue, progressive bubble.  I've lived in it pretty much all my life.  In this bubble things that are valued include: love, creativity, collaboration, kindness, grace.  There is a dedication to progressive politics.  Human rights.  Our motto: Human Beings First.  We are all the same.  And we all deserve to live fulfilling lives of happiness and responsibility.  We value rationality, logic, the scientific method.  We believe in "progress" and evolution.

So yes, we live in a Blue State.  And we live in a little town on the lakefront.  It is one of the bluest of the blue places in the country. It's a bubble of Blue-ness for sure.  So it's always surprising, and jolting, and eye-opening, when we bump up against conservatives.  In our little bubble, things like homophobia, racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism and bigotry are so old world, so passe, so uncool.  So conservative.  So Republican.  Yes, in our little bubble Republican is such a clunky old retro thing.  

But in this little bubble, we are not fools.  We know that lots of the country, lots of the world, does not live in this bubble of blue. And does not share our vision. It's a little baffling.  The blue bubble is so life-affirming and cool.  And we are so generous and positive on  social issues. Our blue bubble is so rock and roll.  But we know that life and politics is tough, and messy, and all progress takes work.  And struggle is just so human.

So yes, a bubble.  It's just a bubble.  And bubbles can be popped.  But today is not that day.  Today our little bubble world will not be popped, no, I'm quite sure it will be validated. And I am so happy... OBAMA!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Quest

The quest.  It's good to be on a quest.  It can be your guiding light.  It's best to pick one that goes on for a long time.  Maybe a life-time.  You will use it to focus your energies.  You will use it to gauge your progress.  It can give all you do, depth and meaning.  Even in those times when the quest seems for naught, or those times you wandered into a thicket of trouble, you know those episodes are just side-stories.  The true path is the quest.  And when you see the glimmers of what you imagine to be the fruits of the quest, well, you just validate all your effort.  Every moment of your life can be folded into the effort.  And hopefully the effort can almost become a zen-like effortless-ness. That's when things are going good.  That's acceptable on your quest too.  But the good and the bad and the ugly.  All are part of the questing business.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Probably Crazier

Yes, more politics.  It's very "top of mind" at the moment.  Can't wait until Tuesday, and then hopefully Obama can go back to doing his job...

What's weird is "conservative" used to mean level-headed, sober, practical.  But it has totally morphed in the Age of Obama into: hysterical, paranoid, illogical, anti-intellectual, anti-rational, anti-scientific.  Conservative Ideology has devolved into a strange, self-absorbed cult.  You can't debate it or argue with it.  And it is at war with myths and straw men.  

It's strange, and not healthy for our country.  You do hope that there is some kind of "eye-opener" that will change the dynamic.  But it looks like it will take more than just another Obama term to turn the tide.  Demographics seem to favor the progressive movement: empowerment of women, hispanics, gays, african americans.  The more our social agenda pushes forward, the more out of step conservatives become.  Do they get crazier, or maybe do they have a re-think? Probably in the short-term crazier...

Friday, November 02, 2012

Political Civil War!

I do think we are in the middle of a political civil war.  My theory is that the Bush years radically split the country.  His two terms in office were so devastating to the country and to the GOP.  He lied us into Iraq.  Condoned torture.  Opened our own little Gulags. Hyped the terror.  The Bush years are a real stain on the country.  And was a black mark for all of us who live here.

And the GOP just has to pretend it never happened.  

And then Obama has had to try to pick up the pieces.  He's pretty much been an Eisenhower moderate, but the GOP has to pretend that he's some crazy Kenyan, Muslim, Marxist.  Very, very weird.  And now Romney is just trying to lie his way into office.  The GOP is desperate to believe.  They are now a totally demented political party.

So yes, the political civil war rages.  We are planning an election eve party.  It will only be a party if Obama emerges the victor.  He must. He will...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Confident and Scared!

I'm very confident.  Which is sort of scary.  The number-crunchers Nate Silver and Sam Wang tell us that Mr. Obama is the favorite to win on Tuesday.  I find myself checking their sites for updates multiple times each day.

I am not comfortable being with the favorite.  Usually I like to go with the underdog. My life has been a long series of scenes of rooting for underdogs. But in this case, it is essential that the favorite win.  The alternative is just absolutely not acceptable.  Totally gruesome.

So yes, I'm confident. But I will cast my vote for sure.  I always vote.  My feeling is if I don't vote, I have no right to complain.  And then I will watch and wait.  There's a million variables.  At least.  When it comes down to it, no one really knows what will happen until it happens.

My prediction.  Obama is re-elected.  And the margin of the win will be pretty impressive.  And then a big, big, big sigh of relief!

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