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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boiling Mystery, Raging Enigma

So it turns out Terra firma, isn't so firm after all.  We don't really know what the hell is going on below our feet.  We are walking around on the crust of the planet, but the center, the core, is a hellacious, boiling mystery, a raging enigma.


Makes you wonder what's really going on.  Is there a secret agenda?  We have no clue about the things we take for granted, and the things we don't take for granted either.


We also seem incredibly lucky to be walking around on this ball of confusion.  There is a mind-boggling universe of factors that make it all possible.  And well, most of what we do while we are here seems pretty damn lame.  WTF.


Still, we're here, as unlikely as that might seem, and we should try to do the best we can, while we can. Mother Earth is a sweet lady, and a raging, boiling, radioactive Hell-Cat too...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Unselfish Keef!

I blogged about Keef's other band a couple of posts ago.  I've been immersing myself in the X-pensive Winos live album recorded at the Hollywood Palladium.  It really is a great record, a revelation.  If you are a Keith Richards fan it's essential.


It stands up better than the Keith solo album Talk is Cheap.  That record is good (I own the original vinyl copy), and it provides the bulk of the songs in the live set, but the overall sound of the studio version seems dated. It's very 1980's. 


I think the prime culprit is the sound of the drums.  Was it the recording technology of the day?  Or was it just the sonic fashion of those cocaine years?  There's a falseness, a hollowness, an antiseptic quality to the drum sound that just does not sit well.


Anyway, the band sounds better live.  They really groove, they swing, and there's no studio sheen to contend with.  Keith is an amazing ensemble player.  And a great rhythm player.  Keith is known as a rascal, a pirate, an outlaw, but he's also a gracious, unselfish musician.  Here they do a cover of a reggae song. They nail it... 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Follow an Inner Light

The 2nd track from our CD 10+1 is now on Sound Cloud. This song catches our band in fine r&r form. I guess you could say this song is my personal motto.  Very pleased with how it all came together.  Love the Beatlesy backwards thing in the beginning.  And my white John Suhr Classic sounds pretty good in the instrumental break.


By the way, if you are interested in buying a copy of our limited-edition, limited-release CD, check out all the avenues for purchase on our whitewolfsonicprincess website.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lichtenstein Universe

A day off from any responsibilities.  Rare.  We went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective...


The Lichtenstein Universe is quite appealing; it's all surface, form, line, dot, splashy color, comic, light, edgy, funny, pop.  There is no darkness, no pathos, no drama (maybe comic melodrama!).  A breath of fresh air for sure.


Pop at it's frothy best.  So inspiring to see a good slice of a man's work, and all the work is dedicated to a vision of lightness.  And the low is elevated to the high. You smile, you laugh, you admire the light touch, the steady hand, the zen-like approach to art.


You are transformed in the process... that's the beauty of art.  And even drowning and death, well, we admire the color and form, and the overly-melodramatic situation.  Those tears don't cut... they are flat, another formal element.  Yeah, and Fuck Brad...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Redemption

I was learning songs for our guitar circle. This one from Bob Marley is one of the greats... redemption... it's for all of us... 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Keef's Other Band

I've been spinning the X-pensive Winos live album (concert 1988, CD released 1991) obsessively (my obsessions do not respect space or time!) over the last few days.  Certainly a band in superb form.  And no backstage hatred.  Maybe Keef made lots more money in that other more famous band he's in, but the long simmering feud he's had with their big-lipped, lead singer has pretty much doomed their collaboration over the last 25 years or so.


Mutual contempt does not make for great collaboration.


The X-pensive Winos is Keith's dream band for sure.  Sympathetic players all around. Keith's voice is cracked and worn, but it's just great for these songs. And the song-writing duo of Keith Richards and Steve Jordan was very, very fruitful... love, love, love this song... beautiful... and the whole disc is just brilliant!  Great guitar playing and the band is powerful and soulful.  Swings too!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Lost!

Lost.  Feeling lost.  It's not a foreign feeling.  Lots of my time on the planet has been an adventure of the lost and found.  No use fighting it.  It's a feeling that you can trust and run away with.


Some people (like Chet Baker) would counsel: Let's Get Lost!  Sometimes you seek lost-ness, and sometimes it just descends upon you like a little dark cloud of madness.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Impossible Course

OK, yes, we are embarked upon an impossible course.  That's just the way it played out.  Character and circumstance.  And the road is filled with impossibilities.  They are numerous and glimmering.


They can hypnotize you and lead you on.  And you are led even as you lead.  You are making the wave and riding it too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Faking It!

According to this little article, it might be healthier to be optimistic.  And if you can't be optimistic, you can fake it.  And faking it might be just good enough...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

IF

"If you want to die, do that.  But if you want to live, get on with it." - John Lennon

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Good One!

Yeah, that's a good one...


Am I living life?


Or is life living me?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Attention to Detail

One theme that emerged from our McCartney show last night (besides singing and playing McCartney songs is a supreme challenge): Attention to detail. All those little seemingly insignificant details matter.  


One note in a chord makes a world of difference.  How you coil a cable makes a huge difference.  Showing kindness and attention to your fellow beings is all the difference.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pop Culture Origin Story!

Tonight is our McCartney night.  A bunch of performers will gather at a little coffeehouse and play Paul McCartney songs.  We will be putting our band thru the McCartney blender.  We are backing up some folks and doing a mini-set of our own...  our set looks like this:


She Came in Thru the Bathroom Window
Why Don't We Do It in the Road
I Saw Her Standing There
I'm Down
Let It Be
I've Got a Feeling
Lady Madonna
The Word


A pretty quirky and amazing collection of songs.  There are so many other great tunes that others will be playing.  Here's the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show all those years ago.  Cute little guys in matching suits.  They seemed so happy and exuberant.  It was only later we found out that both John and Paul had lost their mothers at a young age.  And that Lennon especially, was a very flinty, bitter and sarcastic character.


But those guys channeled that angst into shiny little pop gems about love.  And it was all so captivating.  Their story is the pop culture origin story.  Rock and Roll was birthed in Sun Studios by Elvis.  But pop culture exploded into a massive global phenomenon with the Beatles.  Changed the world for sure...

 

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's All About the Love

We are all amateurs when it comes to living.  And we are making it up as we go.  And sometimes we think we know what we are doing, but we really don't know what we know,  and we really don't know what we don't know, and this can lead to mishaps, regrets and sometimes to tragedy.  


We are amateurs in the sense that we are in this game for the love of it all.  And sometimes there doesn't seem to be enough love to go around.  And we think that the silver and the gold and the material things we accumulate are more important.  More tangible.


And yes, sometimes, the material of life seems more substantial than the spirit and love of life.  The spirit and love seems flighty and ephemeral.  And they are.  But of course they are also more substantial and essential than anything else. It's all about the love, and the lack of it, and the need for it.  And the ability to give it and receive it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Three Wise Men

When I am at low ebb I always reach out to certain sounds, certain voices...

Neil Young's - "Harvest," "Tonight's the Night," "Live Rust"
Bob Dylan's - "Time Out of Mind," "Live 1966," "Live 1975," "Highway 61"
John Lennon's - "Plastic Ono Band," "Imagine"

They are my three wise men for sure...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Lesson There

And then we are reminded that love and happiness come like the rain, and they evaporate like the morning mist.  And we find that in the most important things, like life and death, we are powerless.  We experience and endure.  And a loss is just a loss.  There's no lesson there.  Or maybe the lesson is that the loss, and the silence that goes with it, is like a vast ocean with no bottom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bansky Graffitti Art!

Bansky graffitti art.  A young boy "slaving" over an old sewing machine.  Making a Union Jack.  The face of 21st century "manufacturing."  Wages of Sin, wages of fear...


Monday, May 14, 2012

Wye Oak's "Civilian"


We had a rental car yesterday.  Red.  Sporty.  Sleek.  And we rolled the windows down and turned up the CD player.  And we played Wye Oak's Civilian.   And we agreed it's a really wonderful record.  Shimmering, dynamic, ethereal, dreamy.  And that's good!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Killed the Vibe

And then the smiley-face authority figure crashed the party and killed the vibe.  Why?  That's what authority figures do.  


They are actually threatened by the creative endeavor.  The creative impulse is also a pleasure principle.  And pleasure is a threat to the hierarchy.


Creativity and pleasure; they are their own realms, not bounded or ruled by authorities.  They are generated by the spirit and the heart.  And the spirit and the heart cannot by ruled or guided or bound.


So our little circle of creativity was a circle or anarchy, and the smiley-faced authority figure was scared shitless.  Because in the middle of that little circle "authority" has no sway.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Right Thing

Yes, maybe the guy said what he said because he thought it was the right thing to say.  As simple as that.  Maybe there wasn't an ulterior motive, maybe we can take his stated position on the issue at face value.


I know that's hard to do.  We live in a world where we rarely take anything at face value.  We look for the secret motive.  We wonder where's the money? Who get's paid off?  What cabal of people, met in which dark basement, and signed off on the statement?


But maybe none of that happened.  Maybe the guy just stated the obvious.  I know it's too simple, and if it's simple, you think: simple-minded.  But maybe sometimes people just say and do the right thing because it's the right thing to say or do.  Maybe that is the explanation...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Two Modes

Yes, you pinball between between two (at least) modes...


There's the caring madly, deeply, greatly about the world and it's people and things...


There's the barely "give a fuck-ness" about the world and it's people and things...


I think you need to hold both these modes in your consciousness.  You carefully modulate between the two.  Makes you an interesting character... at least...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Faith in Faith

And then you strip it down to the essentials.  One of those essentials: Faith.  You are left with having "faith in faith."  A belief in the act of faith; belief in believing in something you can't prove or point to.


I am not talking about dogma or religion.  Just a faith in having faith.  It's not much, it's a very slim reed to cling to.  It's a paltry thing to stake a life on; but it's one of the essentials just the same.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Could Be My Motto!

Broken Hearted Toy weighs in on our new CD 10+1...


"Spiritual Confusion!?!"  


Yeah, I guess that pretty much sums up my earthly existence up to this point...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Highest Grade!

Doing research for our Paul McCartney night on May 19, I came across this video of Joe Cocker and his awesomely cool Mad Dogs and Englishmen band.  So good.  I always think of Leon Russell as a piano player, but his guitar playing at the instrumental break is rocking, soulful and perfect.


White-Boy Soul (Joe is channeling Ray Charles) of the highest grade!


Monday, May 07, 2012

Unthinking!

Yes, this is good.  Thinking is important.  But unthinking is important too.  Over-thinking can kill the vibe, destroy the buzz, kill your creativity dead.


You can out-smart your own creativity...


Dylan:  As you get older, you get smarter, and that can hinder you…You’ve got to programme your brain not to think too much.” 


Yeah, your knowledge is helpful, but then you need to just let it flow baby.  I find the best stuff, songs, monologues, etc. come unbidden, they catch you by surprise.


You can't think yourself out of the box of conformity.  You ride the vibe and the box vanishes!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sonic Archeology

A friend of our band pointed out that if you do a YouTube search of whitewolfsonicprincess (our cool new website can be found here!), you will come across this video of an earlier incarnation of the band doing "Lady in the Sand." This is from 2008. It's kind of interesting to watch it now. The rough kernal of the song is there, The Lovely Carla's voice is there, Sanjay on drums is wonderful... but there is a tentativeness that sort of hangs over us. 

You can see that Carla and I (I'm the one in the funny hat) are still working through the song. As Lou Reed once put it we are: "Growing Up in Public." 

Still there is a nice bohemian vibe to this early incarnation, and Charles Joseph Smith provides his interpretive Mary Magdeline dance bit. And Sara T. does some nice jumping around with her bass strapped to her body... it's all sort of "artful," a low-down bohemian vibe, not exactly "bad," but maybe pushes on the boundaries of what we'd consider "good."

This is a long way from the version to be found on our disc 10+1. We finally worked our way into the song, and the latest incarnation of the band really helped bring it to life way beyond our original vision... this is kind of sonic archeology... I'm not embarrassed by it by any means, no, it was all part of the working process...

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Yes, Mangles - But I like It!

Didn't know this existed.  Happy to have found it.

Alex Chilton covers/mangles, elevates/evicerates, the Archies' bubble-gum classic "Sugar, Sugar." 

Friday, May 04, 2012

So Brilliant!

We're working on Paul songs for our McCartney night coming up on May 19.  What I really like about doing these Rock Icon shows (we've done Dylan, Lennon and Neil Young previously), is you get to delve into a catalog of songs and make discoveries.

For some reason I was really hesitant to do a McCartney night, he's so ubiquitous, it almost seemed redundant, but some of his songs are just so amazing.  He's certainly the most musically sophisticated of the group.  And his melodic sense is stunning.


Sometimes he's a little too sweet for my tastes.  But then again the man can rock out.  And his collaboration with Lennon was just one of the most thrilling and satisfying musical partnerships in the history of music.


I'm learning how to play "Blackbird," a solo acoustic song.  It's just a beautiful gem of a song. I think it's one the Lovely Carla will sing. Learning the tune on guitar is a challenge and a pleasure.  Not so much technically difficult, but it's stunning how he uses the whole fret-board with unique chord shapes. How did he come up such an approach? McCartney makes it all seems so effortless. So beautiful. So brilliant...




And we're thinking of doing this one with the Telepaths. I love this video. You know with all that crazy screaming, and an under-powered P.A. that they can barely hear themselves. It had to be a real challenge. And hell, they give it their all. Exhilarating!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tongues of Blood and Fire!

Someone just paid big bucks for this painting. Poor Edvard (now long gone).  He isn't gonna see a penny from the sale. "The Scream" is definitely an iconic work.  That little bald-headed specter seems to be a stand-in for us all!
"I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature.... for several years I was almost mad… You know my picture, 'The Scream?' I was stretched to the limit—nature was screaming in my blood… After that I gave up hope ever of being able to love again." - E. Munch

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

More Pricks than Kicks, Or More Kicks than Pricks?


We live in Samuel Beckett's universe.  
Yes, we do.  
We live in a sea of questions that we can't even verbalize. 

We can't go on.  
But we must go on.  
We just must.  
Until there is no longer any "must" left in us.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Unfit to Lead

Yes, this seems to be a story where success and power accrues to one man and his organization.  And that success and power leads to hubris, arrogance and law-breaking. And all that success and power is used as a club to beat down competitors and anyone else who stands in their way. 


It's kind of breath-taking how such successful, powerful and well-heeled people end up doing such repulsive things like phone hacking, bribery and intimidation.  And you marvel at how long these people ran their own little kingdom and lorded it over lots and lots of people across many countries.


And for many, many years people just bowed down to the power.  It's amazing how people will bow down to the power.  Boot-lickers!  They admire and are envious of the success, and the audaciousness of the whole enterprise.  But then surprisingly someone objects, someone stands up, someone reveals that the emperor is really a hollow bully and all his little minions are well-dressed thugs and mugs.


And slowly it all starts to unravel. And slowly people start to really "see" what was so obvious for many, many years... and then well, all those little spineless people who were so admiring, and so silent, finally start chattering.  


And it's not a pretty story, really, it's hard to identify with any of the players.  But it is kind of entertaining to watch the Big Man finally called out as a Craven Little Man.

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