WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Thursday, April 30, 2020

It Pays to Be a Vegetarian.

Some times it pays to be a vegetarian.

Maybe, especially in a global pandemic. Are they really going to force workers to work in meat-packing plants in the middle of a pandemic? Without a vaccine for the virus?

Seems punitive and risky.

Is eating meat an essential thing? Nope. You can get protein from other sources. And what about contaminated meat? The mind reels.

Remember: the meat industry is one of the major culprits in deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions.

Our meat-eating habits are killing us, and helping destroy our habitable environment. Don't forget lots of animals are shot up with antibiotics to make them bloated & fat. The animals that are slaughtered are sick, fat and treated abominably.

So, yes. Lots of reasons to give up eating meat. Some times it pays to be a vegetarian.

The a.m. soundtrack - Roxy Music's 2nd album, "For Your Pleasure." (1973). A knockout. The first track is "Do the Strand." It did not become a new dance sensation. But it probably should have. A fabulous band. Bryan Ferry, an uncommon crooner with a trill in his voice. Hair slicked-back, kitted out in tuxedos. The rest of Roxy looked like glam aliens. This is the last record also featuring the mad-genius Brian Eno. The band just wasn't big enough to contain two geniuses. Luckily we have the first two Roxy albums. A truly great and original band: sax, guitar, drums, Eno on various keyboards, Ferry and Mackay on various instruments too. The record stands up this morning. So fucking good. It features the greatest love song ever written about/and to an inflatable doll. "Your skin is vinyl.." Love.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Flim-Flam...

I was "running down a dream" yesterday. I won't go into the details, the story is still developing, but I was presented with a new set of facts, a budding new interest in me and my work, and it was surprising, confounding and a little bit unsettling.

I don't know if it was all real, or a mirage. I'm not sure if I was being humored, hustled, or courted. It was weird, all my instincts and intuitions seemed off-kilter, off- target. Was I deluding myself, hearing what I wanted to hear, or was this a real-deal opportunity? Was I just running down another rabbit hole? Was I living in my Own Private Idaho?

I bounced some of what was happening off my long-time partner. She listened to me run-thru the details, she laughed and then she said, "It's the perfect thing for you... FLIM-FLAM!"

Funny... I guess, it's true, my life has been one long, rambling, journey filled with smoke, mirrors, false-fronts, pipe-dreams and FLIM-FLAM! Stay tuned...

The a.m. soundtrack - New Order's "Substance"  (1987). I don't know why, I think of New Order as a band of film-flammers. A most improbable & successful band. Birthed out of the wreckage of Joy Division. Ian Curtis committed suicide, and a couple days later, undaunted, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris, were in their rehearsal studio conjuring up a new thing. I don't think anyone had any idea that New Order would become a massively successful outfit. Curtis was the driving force of Joy Division, the voice, the lyricist. This is a compilation album, singles & b-sides. Two discs. I am listening to disc two at the moment. You can hear the DNA of Joy Division in the tracks, but this band totally morphed into a dance/electronic powerhouse. Innovative. The sound of 80's dance culture. Computers, sequencers, the vocals buried in the mix, beats, fabulous melodic bass-lines, drums organic & electronic, Sumner providing unique, guitar sounds. Over time Sumner became quite the haunting, distinctive lyricist & vocalist. This band is about a total group sound. Amazing band. Amazing story.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Desperate.

"Yes. You are desperate."

That was a line floating in my head in the middle of the night. Sleeping deeply, engulfed in total blackness. Early this a.m. I woke with the lingering vapor of that line still in my consciousness. Weird. I don't feel desperate. But, you know, who knows?

We are still in the first stages of a global pandemic. The economy is crashed, and crashing. No one really knows what's next. The virus is loose in the land. Folks are falling ill, and many are dying. A vaccine seems like a distant glimmer in the eye. Some folks seem to think we are returning to some sense of "normalcy," if you asked me, that seems supremely delusional.

Still healthy. Still eating. Still have $ to keep going. But really, for how long?! I have no idea. What is on the other side of pandemic? Beats me. How does all this turn out? Good question.

The a.m. soundtrack - Chrissie Hynde - "Stockholm."  (2014). From what I can gather, via Marc Maron's interview with her on WTF, Chrissie Hynde was a shy-badass; from a young age she was into r&r and bad boys. She was a stone-cold biker-chick. It took her a few years of chasing after r&r idols, and a trip to London, to finally discover her own voice. Luminaries who rise up in her saga: Lou Reed & the Velvets, Beatles, Stones, Bowie, T-Rex, and then in the later 70's, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, the Clash, Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, the Sex Pistols, and the Damned. What a life. What a great r&r heroine. I like this record. It's billed as a "solo" record, but there are 25 people credited in the making of it. Neil Young guests on one track. Tennis legend (!?) John McEnroe too. It's kind of smoothly confected power pop. The best thing is Chrissie. Her voice, her attitude. It is a great uncommon thing. She exudes cool. She has an edge to her. There is also a softness, a grace in her voice too. The track with Neil Young really is my favorite. Makes me wonder, what if Chrissie could do a whole record with Neil Young and Crazy Horse as her backing band? R&R Killer.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Superb, Brilliant, Satire...

I think this is excellent. Superb satire. Just brilliant. SNL. Brad Pitt as Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Toxic Clown President as himself.


No live audience. No laughter. You have to provide the laughs yourself. 

This is just so good. It's absolutely devastating to the President. Does he look like a clueless, blithering, idiot? Yes, he does. No fancy editing. Just the man, speaking his own incoherent stream of nonsense.  I say let the man keep talking. The more he talks, the more likely Blue Wave 2020!

The a.m soundtrack - Annie Lennox - "Medusa"  (1994). Cover songs from Annie Lennox. It is exhilarating. There is something about Annie's voice. Gorgeous. Amazing. Not just beautiful, expressive. Nothing like hearing a superb vocalist singing some of the finest songs of our era.  How about Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Pale," or Neil Young's "Don't Let it Bring You Down," or the Clash's "Train in Vain," or Al Green's "Take Me to the River?" Nicely done. Great production, excellent band. The human voice can be such a powerfully expressive and evocative instrument. Annie Lennox, one of our finest vocalists. No doubt.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Music for the Pandemic.

A little self-promotion this a.m.

"King Snake." A new whitewolfsonicprincess song. It was inspired by a Gillian Welch song about Elvis. I wanted to write an "Elvis song," but it ended up going in another direction. A strange, surreal narrative poured out of me. The lyrics came before the Global Pandemic, but I think the lyrics take on an added resonance in these pandemic times.

If you pressed me about this one, I'd say the song was about the "fear we can't kill." A fear that is always with us. This is just a duo version of the song. We started working on this one with our band, and then the lockdown happened. So left to our own devices we took a crack at it. This is just me on acoustic and electric guitar, plus mini-Moog synth, and my partner in crime, Carla on vocals & percussion. Cover art by my Mom. Recorded on a small Tascam DR-05 digital recorder, (two condenser mics onboard), finessed a bit in GarageBand. Homemade Lo-Fi.

I feel good about this one, the first time a mini-Moog makes an appearance on an official WWSP song. I do imagine that once we get back to working on it with the band, a much different approach will emerge. Anyway, this one is stripped down, just the essentials. You can stream and purchase via Bandcamp.



The a.m soundtrack - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - "Hawk"  (2010). A fabulous collaborative record. Two great voices, male & female. Beautifully realized songs. 2 Townes Van Zandt covers. Isobel composed the rest of the tunes. Gorgeous melodies. A cool breeze. Light. Graceful. Inspiring. Love the strings. This one really grows on you. A subtle, beautiful, life-affirming record. A blast of sweet cool.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Please Rid us of this Pestilence, Oh yeah, the Virus too...

The current President of the USA suggested that maybe folks should think about injecting household disinfectants into their lungs to treat, or prevent, Covid-19. Folks, dare I say it, please, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

The current President of the USA is impossibly, tragically, dangerously, ridiculously, prodigiously, mind-bogglingly, STUPID! I mean, really, diabolically stupid doesn't quite capture the depths of complete nullity that must be the brain-matter of this pathetic human specimen. Brain? What brain?

One wonders, can the 25th Amendment be invoked for someone too tragically stupid to hold the office that they happen to hold? A worried, concerned nation turns it's lonely eyes to someone, anyone, in charge. Is there anyone in charge? Please, help rid us of this horrible pestilence. Oh yeah, and please rid us of the virus too...

The a.m. soundtrack - Ikue Mori - "The Painted Desert" (1995). A fabulous instrumental record. Ikue Mori is a Japanese drummer/percussionist collaborating here with two amazing and distinctive guitarists: Robert Quine & Marc Ribot. So good. The cover of the record sets the tone. Wide open spaces. Desert landscape music. Some of the music is mellow, some tracks build to an intense frenzy. A calm breeze then a major dust storm. A superb record. Three musicians really connecting and creating unique sounds. A blast of warm desert air.

Friday, April 24, 2020

America - We Murdered Her...

"Collective Responsibility," - "Collective responsibility refers to responsibilities of organizations, groups and societies. Part of it is the concept known as collective guilt by which individuals who are part of such collectives to be responsible for other people's actions and occurrences by tolerating, ignoring, or harboring them, without actively engaging."

Yes, read George Packer's excellent essay, "We Are Living in a Failed State."

Please read it, then weep!

Packer's words have the gravity of truth. Smacks you upside the head. The ship of state has taken on water, is sinking, folks are jumping off swimming to no shore. Who to blame? Every last one of us.

Yes, we have all conspired to murder America.  Some of us from lack of attention/energy, some from a lack of imagination, some from lack of care/empathy. Some from active hatred, and a determined idiocy and bad faith.

We laughed at the Toxic Clown President. It was a carnivalesque entertainment. Good for TV ratings, good for the chattering classes, good for the folks who just didn't give a goddamn. Good for the haters, those who love to divide.

Maybe we thought we were different. We were the Shining City on the Hill. We just lost interest. We grew lazy, indifferent. We neglected Democracy, and Good Government, we didn't value, Responsibility, Integrity, Honesty, Hard Work, Empathy for Others.

We forgot that we are all in this together. America has catered to its wealthy class, and left pretty much everyone else to fend for themselves. It's a sad story. Death of America. We murdered her in her sleep.

The scary, deadly Global Pandemic?! Yes. A wake up call.  No doubt. How to remake society? Reclaim good government? Revitalize Democracy? Here is our chance. The status quo is gone. Normal is no longer normal.

A new day beckons... I wonder if we are smart enough, if we care enough, if we have enough energy, and desire to rebuild, remake, a better union?

The a.m. soundtrack - Dire Straits' - "Making Movies"  (1980). This is my favorite Dire Straits record. It starts with organ and piano, then the rest of the band kicks in and Mark Knopfler's fabulous electric guitar makes its entrance. Knopfler has a sweet touch, his guitar-playing is beautiful, distinctive, indelible. Never overbearing. Solid, distinctive, inventive songs throughout. A tight band. Knopfler's voice is reminiscent of "New Morning era" Dylan. Charismatic, evocative. Plus there's a song about expresso... I mean, shite... it's an all-around fucking killer record.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

"The New Conditions of Life." - Albert Camus

I hand my blog over to Albert Camus and his 1948 novel, "The Plague." Page 67 of of the Vintage International Edition. The first page of Part II. When Albert mentions, "plague," feel free to insert "Covid-19."

"From now on, it can be said that plague was the concern of all of us. Hitherto, surprised as he may have been by the strange things happening around him, each individual citizen had gone about his business as usual, so far as this was possible. And no doubt he would have continued doing so. But once the town gates were shut, every one of us realized that all, the narrator included, were, so to speak, in the same boat, and each would have to adapt himself to the new conditions of life. Thus, for example, a feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike and - together with fear - the greatest affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead."

The a.m. soundtrack - Cat Power's "The Greatest."  (2006). A total knockout of a record. No doubt, a masterpiece. I remember first hearing it. Blew me away. Still resonates this morning. Chan Marshall is backed by a fabulous, tremendous band, The Memphis Rhythm Band. We used this record as a "template" for the sound we wanted for our band's first record, 10+1. I mean, it's trying to catch lightening in a bottle. There just something about the warmness  of the bass and drums, the big, bold, powerful sound, cut with an ease, a looseness to the vibe, no wasted notes, no over-playing, songs just perfectly-realized. A perfect record. Chan Marshall's voice is an odd thing of beauty. Evocative. Beautiful. An underlying sadness and joy in the doing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Pitch Perfect for Our Times.

Yes. I received my copy of Albert Camus' "The Plague"  in the mail yesterday. Last night I blasted through 63 pages, finished Part I in one fell swoop. Yes, it's great. Pitch-perfect for our times.

I realize I am one of those people scrambling, desperate for some context, desperate to fashion, to fabricate some kind of meaning and wisdom from our present predicament.

What jumps out at me is that we should all have known that a pandemic was coming. It's part of our human experience. It's a matter of the historical record. We should have been much better prepared. The key is to catch any outbreak early, and do our best to prevent the spread across populations.

Of course, that didn't happen. We collectively failed miserably. There were smart folks (scientists & doctors), who knew the danger, but the rest of us (especially our governments & politicians), pretty much ignored them. It didn't take long for the virus to reach pretty much every country, every human population, across the globe. Stunning. And bad.

As Camus points out in the the novel, our collective failure is a matter of hubris, a lack of imagination, we are too small-minded, too self-absorbed, thinking that it can't happen now, it can't happen here, it won't happen to us.

2020 proves that folly. The revolution is here, now. Everything has changed.We are the clever monkeys. Sometimes we "out-clever" ourselves.

This morning I hear REM's Michael Stipe singing in my head, "It's the End of the World As We Know it..." Yes, but the kicker to the line: "And I feel fine..." is a lie. I don't feel fine at all. No one is fine. Everyone is under a cloud of potential infection. It is sad, tragic, terrible.

A dark time, no doubt.  We must carry on, do our best, but this new reality alters our lives, and will do so for the foreseeable future. Too bad, I mean, we really, really fucked up. We are in for a bumpy ride.

The a.m. soundtrack - The xx's - xx (debut album). (2009). A laptop album, which is not usually my thing, I usually like to hear a full band in a room together making music. But this laptop album is amazing. A stunningly great record. Opens with an instrumental, and from the first notes it grabs you. Something new. Unique. The record has a gorgeous, hushed beauty. It's got heart, and soul. It's so human. There is a deep well of emotion in the voices, a quiet sadness. The voices, male and female, create a special, intimate vibe. Maybe that is the key. The two voices singing and recorded together, at the same time? That comes across.  Surprisingly great. Love this one. Yes, dare I say it,  it is a life-affirming work of art. A bright light in the midst of the darkness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Echo...

Living in my own little Echo Chamber...

The a.m soundtrack - Mazzy Star's "So Tonight That I Might See" (1993). Lots of echo and reverb and minor chords. Pretty much one tone throughout. I don't really hear words, I just hear a sound. Hope Sandoval's voice is melancholy, depressive, moody. Words get swallowed up. So not sure what the record is about, it's all a bit glum. Not so much a record, an echo of a record.

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Long, Frustrating Trip...

"Are we there yet?"

We may be at the end of the beginning. Probably not at the beginning of the end. This looks to be a long, frustrating trip. Avoiding the virus, keeping safe, staying home, sheltering in place.

Be calm.
Take care.
Breathe.
Meditate.
Go for socially-distant walks.
Eat well.
Sleep well.
Do home-projects.
Find lots of little diversions.
Netflix.
Listen to the news, but in small doses.
Listen to music. Always.
Pick up your guitar and strum.
Dream of better days.

The a.m. soundtrack - J.J. Cale's  "Anyway the Wind Blows, Anthology" (1997). Chill. Relaxed.  Sonic Valium. All of these tracks sound like they were recorded at night, in someone's living room, trying not to wake the kids. J.J.'s voice is the calm in the midst of the storm. Rugged, smooth, he is the ultimate smooth operator. Same with his guitar playing, restrained, a thing of beauty, no wasted notes. No frills. Beautifully played. Solid, well-constructed songs, with heart and soul. All rounded tones. No jagged edges. Eric Clapton borrowed some of these songs and made them big hits, but Eric was the rank imitator, J.J. is the genuine article. A career retrospective.  Solid.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Era of the Recluse...

Allen Ginsberg from "Howl" (1955) - "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix..."

JimmyDumps (2020) - "I saw the best minds of MY generation become Howard Hughes-like. Alone. Paranoid, wearing surgical masks and rubber gloves, hiding at home, streaming Netflix, washing their hands frequently & furiously..."

Yes, we are all recluses now. No, we aren't all paranoid reactionaries, and no, we don't all store our urine in jars, and no we aren't all millionaires, and no we aren't living all alone at the Sahara Hotel in Vegas.

But we are spending lots of time at home, in our pajamas, letting our hair and finger and toe nails grow. Unkempt. Unsupervised. Goofing off. Sheltering. Waiting for the storm to blow over.

The a.m soundtrack - Neil Young - "Neil Young"  (1969). Yes. Neil Young, another major weirdo, hermit, recluse, total artist & geek. He has driven so many musicians, managers and fans over the edge with his crazy, zig-zagging ways. This is his debut solo record. A great collaboration with Jack Nitzche (the Dark Prince of r&r), and David Briggs ("Be great, or be gone"). It's a big production. Excellent, with two really great songs, "The Loner," which could be Neil's personal anthem, and the long, rambling, surreal, totally raw, live acoustic track "Last Trip to Tulsa." This was all before Neil hooked up with Crazy Horse, and just after he flaked out and escaped from Buffalo Springfield. Haunting. You just knew this guy was gonna be great for a long time. Yes, a major weirdo. But the finest kind of weirdo.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Protection from an Invisible Menace...

Report from the streets...

A trip to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. It was grim, sad, a bit creepy. My friend and I soldiered on, masked, gloved, gathering necessary supplies.  You could feel the "fear" in the air. Nearly everyone on the street and in the store were masked and gloved too. Plastic shields were erected at the cashier stations. Most of the visual cues, medical masks, surgical gloves evoked concern, fear, folks seeking protection from an invisible menace.

The streets were pretty quiet. Not a lot of folks out and about.

I kept thinking of that great Larry McMurtry title, his first novel, "All My Friends are Going to Be Strangers." So appropriate for the day.

I also flashed on Hunter S. Thompson's title, "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," but this one could  be updated: "Fear & Loathing in Chicago, Detroit, Teheran, Mumbai, Tokyo, L.A. New York, etc." I mean fear and loathing in any city big or small where folks congregate.

Also I flash on Jean Paul Sartre and his great insight in "Nausea," - "Hell is Other People." Unfortunately, that seems apt for our present circumstances. The menace underlies every conversation, every embrace, every human encounter. Family, Friends and Foes are all now equally risky.

I just ordered up some new books to read, Albert Camus' "The Plague," (never read it), and "The Stranger." I have read "The Stranger," long ago in my young, rebellious teenage years, a time when when I was mad at the world, and rebelling against pretty much everything in it. Youth. It's a funny thing. I think revisiting Camus is in order. We are all Existentialists now.

We made it home. The bleakness and fear kind of hung over us like a black cloud. It's gonna be a slog. We need to find some projects and distractions to keep our heads in the game. I have a feeling this is gonna be a long game...

The a.m. soundtrack - Portishead's "Dummy."  (1994). Stunning. Sultry. Super-cool. Chill. Sexy. Trippy. From the first notes you know you are hearing something new, something unique. A knockout record. Still sounds totally fresh this morning. Another record that brings pure joy. Perfectly realized music. Incorporates sampling, scratching, loops, but relies on gorgeous lead vocals from Beth Gibbons. A tremendous debut record. Unmatched. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Hanging Onto the Day...

Hiding out from the virus.
Cooling our heels, and sheltering in place,
furiously waiting, patiently waiting, for a vaccine.

This will be the grand theme around here, maybe for the next 18 months. This virus is here with us, and it's not going away.

Every day one goal = stay healthy.

Maybe this has always been the goal? Maybe this is all just a reminder? Nothing else happens (as far as we know), unless we are alive and healthy.

It used to be carpe diem, "pluck the day," or "seize the day," but now it's "hang on to the day for dear life."

Feeling like a little wisp of a vapor-trail. Pretty insubstantial. Days are long, uneventful, except inside our heads; in our heads it's all a series of crazy happenings, silly dreams, uncommon worries, existential doubts, crashing and colliding.

It's all a bit overwhelming and exhausting. Funny. This new reality is just dawning. The revolution is here. Now. It reared it's ugly, deadly head just a few months ago. It came to us in a nasty, super-contagious, and mightily deadly, viral entity. And then, EVERYTHING CHANGED!

Daily, mundane activities are now considered risky: standing in proximity to someone else, speaking to someone too closely, gathering in groups, touching things that others have touched. Other People are risky.

The past is always with us. Events from the past have lately been bubbling up. Reminding me of who I am, who I used to be. It's the "same" me.

Hanging onto the day... hanging by a thread... keeping safe and sound... as best we can...

The a.m. soundtrack - Nineteen Thirteen's "Music for Time Travel & The Dream."  (2017). Arty. Gorgeous. Dreamy. Beautifully-realized music. This is a time-warp. A head-turner/head opener. A vivid, brilliant dream. A collaboration of fabulous, wonderful, creative spirits. Inspiring. Life-affirming. "Cellist Janet Schiff and Percussionist Victor DeLorenzo (founding drummer of ​Violent Femmes) create the new and dynamic sound that is NINETEEN THIRTEEN. Schiff plays a cello that was made in Romania in the year of 1913 while DeLorenzo plays a set of drums made in modern day America. Together their music suggests mystery, romance and future thought​.​"

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Really, Really, Really Dumb Idea...

Covid-19 is King. Covid-19 is calling the shots...


Hey, how many of you out there want to sacrifice your life so we can "re-open the country?" I mean yeah, sure, your life is important, but really, I mean, what about the economy?

Looks like our Toxic Clown President and his boot-licking minions are getting antsy. They see their political fortunes shackled to a sinking economy. Yes, the U.S. economy, hell, the Global Economy is basically the Titanic and it has smacked into the iceberg and is sinking fast.

Are the rich and powerful really floating the idea that the "little people" just need to go back to work and to shop like everything is just peachy keen? You know, just pretend, just forget, that there is a Deadly Global Pandemic currently threatening the life of every person on the planet.

Something tells me this is a really, really, really dumb idea... I mean, WTF...

The a.m. soundtrack - Silence. No music this a.m. Silence. Room in my head to contemplate the stupidity of some of my fellow human beings. A little voice tells me: "Listen to the experts, the scientists, the doctors, ignore the Loud Fat Man in the White House, he is truly a menace to us all."

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Word is "Avoidance."

The word is "Avoidance."

I mean, I know, in the 60's the Fab Four sang:  "... have you heard, the word is Love?" 

We all thought Love was the word, the word is Love. That's what J. Lennon and the Beatles told us, (oh yeah, Jesus, more biblically, and less musically, told us too), but nope, at this time, on this day, the word is "Avoidance."

What will we avoid today?
What will we not do?
Where will we not go?
Who will we not meet?
How many folks will we intentionally avoid on the street?

"Serpentine, Serpentine!" It all about evasive action. What a world.

The a.m. soundtrack - Mile Davis' "Jack Johnson" (1971). A great, genre-busting record. A big bold powerful sound. Rock, Funk, Jazz, Groove. Some considered it "radical" at the time. Miles' music for a documentary about the great, mythic early 20th century boxer. Two long  tracks, 50 mins of music. Some folks called it, and derided it as "fusion." No sense putting it in a box. It is just music. Played by the finest musicians imaginable. It is not "traditional jazz." An incredible lineup of players. The great electric guitarists  John McLaughlin & Sonny Sharrock, keyboards by Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Michael Henderson bass (funky & slinky), and the fabulous drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Cobham. To these ears just perfect. Miles had the vision to bridge all borders.  He was always an innovator, unafraid to explore and take the music in new directions. This sounds fabulous this a.m. Snow is falling, I'm thinking about what I'm not gonna do today. Don't even want to enter the ring. Embracing the vibes, avoiding everything else.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The New Rules...

Some folks are struggling with the new rules:

biology over politics
science over P.R.

scientific modeling over gaslighting

data over ideology

you can't spin your way out of a viral infection

the Loud Fat Man on our TV is delusional and will get more folks needlessly ill and stone-cold dead

it is time to tune that fucking toxic, know-nothing, narcissistic sociopath out, I mean, well past time...

facts (surprisingly) do matter

as my t-shirt from Bloodshot Records reminds me "Alt-Country, Not Alt-Facts!"

it pays to listen to folks who know what they are doing, those who listen to experts, those who make decisions based on science, data and facts

The a.m. soundtrack - The Trees - "On the Shore." (1970). British folk-rock. One of the great "lost" bands. We discovered them when our lead singer visited Vintage Vinyl. The Trees' music was on the sound system there, the Sony CD reissue 2007. The owner recommended the band, telling our lead singer that they reminded him of our band whitewolfsonicprincess. She ended up buying both of their studio albums. This is their second (and last) album. Beautiful. Haunting. A bit trippy, touches of prog-rock. Love the guitar interplay, the prominent acoustic guitars, backed by trippy electric guitars. A very different vibe from Fairport Convention. I love Celia Humphris voice; delicate, evocative. A great rare find. Yes, we should all "LISTEN TO THE TREES!"

Monday, April 13, 2020

I Live in a World of "I Wonder..."

Painting by my Mom.
This is a painting in the "Tarot Series" from my Mom. She is amazing painter, an amazing human being and fiercely creative spirit. This is magnificent.

I have always had an affinity for "The Fool" in the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. My life can be summed up in that card: walking obliviously, happily, basking in the sunshine, nearing a cliff, a little doggie nipping at my leg.

The Fool = "Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, bewrayment." 
This morning I am feeling very "Foolish." I woke up with these words on my lips and at the tip of my consciousness...
"I wonder..."

I wonder about it all. I wonder about everything. At my best, I am always in a state of wonderment. I find it is the best way to face the day, to face myself, to face others.

I wonder what's up? I wonder what is going to happen next? I wonder... I mean, yikes! Look out for that cliff you Fool!

The a.m. soundtrack - Curtis Mayfield's "Super Fly (soundtrack)" (1972).  A tremendous record. Beautifully-realized and performed by fabulous musicians. Gorgeous, soulful, funky. "Socially conscious." Curtis' voice is slinky, smooth, sexy, a wondrous instrument. On the opening song those drums sound like gunshots. Ratt-a-Tat! Maybe working on the soundtrack was a liberation for Curtis? This is just fabulous, fine, beautiful, creative. Curtis reimagines the world. Violence & drugs = dead ends. You want to be in Curtis Mayfield's world. A better world for sure. A world of slinky, sexy vibes and grooves. A better world yes, indeed.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

I Used to be a Mystical Beast Too...

I dreamed of that nasty, deadly pathogen, Covid-19 last night. I mean, what else would I dream about?

I woke up this morning and read an article in the New Yorker about the lockdown in Wuhan Province in China, and another article about the lockdown in New York, NY too.  I mean, what else would I read about?

I am thinking about, worrying about, trying not to think about Covid-19 right now as I write this blog post. Of course, what else would I be thinking about, worrying about, trying not to think about, and writing about in this blog, except Covid-19?

I didn't turn the radio on this morning. I dreaded hearing about Covid-19 and all the human wreckage across the planet over the radio-waves. I mean, what else, besides Covid-19 am I trying to ignore?

Did you know that parents in China call their kids "shen-shou" a word that roughly means, "Mystical Beasts."  Parents in China are wondering when they can send the Mystical Beasts back to their cages. "The cages are the school."

Funny. Yes. I used to be a Mystical Beast too...

The a.m. soundtrack - The Kinks' "Muswell Hillbillies."  (1971). One of the great Kinks records. This troubled, edgy, often squabbling band sounds like they are having fun. I just snagged a used CD copy of the album, I used to own the vinyl, but it got washed away in a flood long ago. Haven't listened to this one in a while. The Kinks at their musical best. Smart, catchy songs. Uncommonly intelligent. Great r&r and musical hall, and funny and insightful too. Couldn't wait to put it on the BOSE music system this morning. It filled the kitchen up with just the finest sound. Love, love, love this record. Makes me smile, and I can even forget about the virus for a bit. I always thrill at the build of the first track, "20th Century Man," it starts with an acoustic guitar, then builds, and builds, so fricking exciting and great. Every song hits the bullseye. A mystical beast of a record...

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Bit Bewildering...

Good Friday 2020.

If I part the cobwebs in the catacombs of my brain, I can still sort of discern some meaning, a shred of a resonance, a fading echo. I remember all those church services as a wee, uncomprehending lad, wading thru a brutal replay of the Stations of the Cross. It was pretty harrowing. I knew something big and important was going down. Poor Jesus. He seemed to find himself in a very bad scene.

It was all so guilt-inducing. Sad. Shameful. Strange. The Nuns kept telling us that we all had something to do with it. My fellow classmates and I were somehow a party to it all. Not sure what that was all about. I was always a bit bewildered by the whole spectacle. I always felt bad for Jesus.  He seemed like a nice enough guy. Maybe misunderstood?

This morning I wake up to Good Friday and the Plague. Covid-19 is having it's way with Humanity. It's all a bit bewildering this morning too. There is tragedy and terror loose in the land. Makes one sad, and maybe, uncomprehendingly guilty. Strange.

We are all so fallible, mortal, iffy, marginal, subject to all the bad shit that nature and man can conjure up. Terrible things happen to ordinary folks. Every day. It just doesn't seem right. Poor Humanity. Poor Jesus. Maybe we have all been misunderstood?

Bad shit going down. Just trying to carry on, to try to make it to the other side. Is there another side?

The a.m. soundtrack - Arcade Fire's "Funeral."  (2004). An incredible debut album. A band, a sound, fully-hatched, perfectly-realized. A stunning debut record. Breathtakingly good. Exciting. Catchy. Lyrical. Profound. Arty. Sad. Glorious. Win Butler's voice always reminds me a bit of David Byrne. Regine Chassagne's voice a thing of ethereal beauty. Anyway something new, unique. Birthed out of a series of family deaths. A sadly joyful emanation. So good & brilliant. Sounds so alive and fresh this Good Friday morning.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Out There or Intrinsic to Human Beings.

We had pasta for lunch yesterday and listened to Terry Gross interview the very prolific author Stephen King on the radio. It was a fabulous interview. We do believe Terry is one of the finest interviewers in the business. Great, thoughtful, insightful questions. "Fresh Air" indeed.

Stephen King expounded on his grand theme, which I paraphrase as: "ordinary folks facing the extraordinary." Pretty much nails it. And it's something we all can relate to.

I especially loved his discussion of Evil. Is it a force "out there," or is it intrinsic to human beings? Great question. No good answer. But a great freaking question. I think of "Christine" that demonic automobile mowing down promiscuous teenagers. Freaky. Scary. Hilarious.

So yes, Stephen King once wrote a book about a global pandemic, and now we are all living in a Stephen King novel. Maybe we have always been living in a Stephen King novel. The demonic forces are all around us, maybe inside us too. Who knows?!

I wonder how it all turns out?!

The a.m. soundtrack - Ibrahim Ferrer's "Buenos Hermanos."  (2003). A beautiful breath of fresh sound from Cuba. We discovered Ibrahim via the Buena Vista Social Club. Love his voice and vibe. Joyful. Gorgeous. Beautifully played. Piano, organ, guitars, horns, various drums and percussion. Soulful. Groovy. Classic Cuban music. Music that moves, and can move you.  Fresh sound, fresh air.  Helps chase the demons away this morning.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Times are Biblical.

Is a rain of frogs next?

Yesterday it was sunny & in the 70's here. Uncommonly nice. Lots of folks out and about, we took two longs walks. We wore bandanas around our faces and social-distanced.

Every one here in our blue bubble seemed cooperative and responsible.

Later in the evening, the sky darkened and there was a thunder and lightening show. Hail started falling, whacking cars in the streets and knocking against our windows. It was so strange and surreal.

Reports of death, near and far. This Covid-19 virus is everywhere, bringing illness and death to humans all over the planet. It's scary & sad, and tragic too.

It's also maddening & infuriating. The experts tell us all of this could have been handled so much better. We knew something like this was coming. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREPARED! 

The President lies, denies, and points a fat, toxic finger of blame at others. Seems a sociopathic narcissist is not equipped to be competent and responsible. Who knew?!

Times are Biblical.  What next?!

The a.m. soundtrack - Karen O and Danger Mouse's collaborative album "Lux Prima." (2019). The opening track is moody, shimmering, beautiful. Synthetic. Probably the best track on the record. Lately I have been obsessed with playing a mini-moog synth, so some of those Danger Mouse laptop vibes connect with me. The album is lush, moody, a bit experimental. A bit of an acquired taste. Repeat listens help. A record that grows on you.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Keep the Fear at Bay.

"Sheltering at Home."

They say we need to brace for a new wave of Covid-19 cases. Doing our best to stay safe. Trying to keep the fear at bay.

That seems to be the order of the day. For the foreseeable future.

The a.m. soundtrack - Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"  (1974). A real odd-beast of a record. A double-CD. The last Genesis album with Peter Gabriel. As they say it's, "complicated & surreal." It's definitely quirky and weird. A concept album, the concept is elusive, out of reach. Lots of huffing and puffing. Little of it really connects. I always loved "Carpet Crawlers" a beautiful melody, but not sure what it is all about. Some of it does sound nice on the BOSE music player. The record seems like some grand metaphor for something else. A mystery record.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Death Radio...

Death Radio: NPR.

Reports of death on the radio this morning. Death near and far. A long conversation about death and it's many rituals in many places around the globe.

This is unusual. Unusual times. A bit of a black cloud hanging over the morning and over the day. We have entered a time of reckoning. An era of consequences.

Life is a circle, a cycle. Death is just part of the deal. No one gets out unscathed. No one is untouched. All of us participate. Willingly or not.

Inescapable.

The a.m. soundtrack - Tindersticks' - "Tindersticks" (1993). There is a "hushed" nature to this record. The vocals are sort of buried in the mix, and mumbled, or quietly crooned. Beautiful arrangements. Lush orchestrations. Well-played. It's double album. 21 songs. It has always been hard for me to make out what these songs are about. I float on the sound, with meaning dancing just out of grasp. Beguiling.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Low-Bar or High-Bar?

Well. Covid-19 has upset the applecart, and upturned most of our expectations, hopes and aspirations. What a nasty/deadly little virus. So much death and destruction across the globe.

It feels like an accomplishment to wake up feeling relatively healthy: "Not sick today!"

Is it a low-bar or a high-bar? Not Ill. Still Safe.

We wonder can we stay safe until a vaccine? Experts are telling us we are at least 18 months from a vaccine. Seems like a small eternity. Can we stay safe that long? Is it just wishful thinking?

We have also read that some experts are thinking this is just the first-wave of the virus. We can look forward to a second wave in the Fall.  The mind reels.

We have adopted the new fashion, wearing improvised, non-surgical-grade, face-masks when we go outside.

We are reminded that so much of this crisis is beyond us. We can do our small part, washing hands, social distancing, wearing face coverings, venturing out as little as possible, keeping our heads, doing our best to stay positive.

Is it really enough?

Funny. Our lives have sort of contracted, our world has gotten smaller than we could ever have imagined.

No immunity/highly contagious = A deadly combo.  World in crisis. How will human beings handle all of this, over a lengthy period of time? That's a big question and a big worry...

The a.m. soundtrack - Afro-Celt Sound System - "Volume 1: Sound Magic" (1996). Dipping deep into our collection of CDs this morning. I don't know a lot about this band. We own two of their albums. This is their first album. It comes from Real World, founded by Peter Gabriel, which frankly was a tip-off  that it was worth a listen. "A musical group who fuse electronic music with traditional Irish and West African music. Afro Celt Sound System was formed in 1995 by producer-guitarist Simon Emmerson, and feature a wide range of guest artists." Yes. Very cool stuff. Head music. Body/Soul music too. Trippy, groovy, "World Music." A melting pot of influences. You think maybe it wouldn't work, but it really does. Sunday morning medicine.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Married to Nature...

Married to Nature.

Yes, it's an arranged marriage.  Maybe the result of a "shotgun wedding?"

Think of Wm. Blake's "Marriage of Heaven & Hell."

Blake explains that...

"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell."

So yes, being a Human Being means embodying, both Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell. We are body and Spirit. Spirit attached to Body. Body inhabited by Spirit. At least that's how if feels to be a human being to this human being.

We are the Marriage of Heaven and Hell...

It's a thorny, complicated thing... life...

The a.m. soundtrack - The Decembrists' "The Crane Wife."  (2006). Supposedly based on a Japanese folk tale. Who knew?! A tale of a man, married to a crane. He lives off the fruit of her labor. Of course, he abuses the situation, his greed becomes a destructive force, The Crane Wife suffers and finally flees, never to return. Yes, well it's a nicely constructed record. Musical, whimsical, intelligent, well-played. For some reason it sounds a bit nautical to me. There are elements of "prog" rock. Surprisingly a very clean-sounding production. Unlike any other record we own. Unique.  Yes. Married to nature...

Friday, April 03, 2020

Adaptation, Evolution, Improvisation...

I am fond of saying: "You Must Believe."

It is sort of my code. It helps to believe in something. Not sure what you should believe in, although something amorphous and nebulous is probably best. For instance, believing in a Better Day, or in Love, or Art, or Creativity seem like solid choices.

You must be ready to change your mind. Drop any preconceptions at the drop of a hat. You must be smart, and pragmatic. It's best to try to see & think clearly, day by day.

Too much Religion can kill you.
Too much Ideology can kill you.
Too much Reality can kill you.

You don't want to die for an idea. You don't want to be stupid. Let reality be your guide. Probably best to think of yourself sort of like a Private Investigator, or a Scientist. What are the facts? What's happening? What does the data tell us?

Best to think of life as a long-form improvisation. Improvise. And always be moving, open, and willing to change direction.

Adaptation, Evolution, Improvisation.

The a.m soundtrack - Crumb - (The Soundtrack) 1995. A collection of of music from the documentary film about the great cartoonist R. Crumb. Classic old ragtime and blues. Lost. Obscure. An obscurity from an obscurity. Classic early American music, laid down on old 78 rpm.  Lost classics, revitalized. Breath of fresh air this a.m.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

My Own Devices...

Safe. Today.

I have always been a loner. So life under the coronavirus confirms the lonely path. I mean, I am not alone, I am hunkered down with a my closest loved one, and we are surrounded by our little birdies. A flock of 4. So even in our little bunker, we are surrounded by life. Living with the living. I have also been staying in touch with other close friends and loved ones via phone.

Still, I have always been a loner, and I have actually always been comfortable being alone. It's funny, later in life I got into theater and music, and found myself on stage in front of lots of people. But, really, being on stage is just perfect for someone who embodies alone-ness.

This morning I think of Bartleby the Scrivener and his famous saying... "I would prefer not to."

There is so much we can no longer do, we must kiss these actions goodbye:

to congregate
to meet
to crowd in
to hang out
to gather together

Theater and music are no longer communal things (until further notice).

A big part of my life has been canceled. Weird. Strange. Odd.

So I am left on my own, and I am owning it. I fill myself up with music, books, videos, playing music, learning a new instrument (mini-MOOG!), dreaming, laughing, crying.

So what's on the agenda today? "I would prefer not to" is my guiding imperative. So many things fall away... what is left?

Safe. Today.

The a.m. soundtrack - John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things."  (1960). One recent morning I played Hendrix's "Axis: Bold as Love", and my partner followed it up with this record. And it totally made sense. Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane. Ultimate musicians. Ultimate Artists. Unlike any others. They do kind of complement each other. So this morning I spin Coltrane. He takes some familiar standards and flies to distant lands. He is playing soprano saxophone for the first time on a record. Such a beautiful tone, such a beautiful, expressive vibe. It is a fantastic record, and a historic one. The first version of the John Coltrane Quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Steve Davis on bass, and the amazing Elvin Jones on drums. What is Jazz? This is Jazz and so much more...

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Wednesday Improvisations.

1. Well. I always did suspect it, but the coronavirus lockdown confirms it, I am Non-Essential Personnel. I have always been so, from birth to now. My whole life has been one long goof-off. My life and everything I have done with it is a whim of nature, a bauble, a knick-knack, a little improvisation and a diversion. Me and my life = A Luxury.  On the one hand, it makes me feel small, unimportant, a toss-off, but then on the other hand, isn't it sort of a kick? I mean, I am a lark, a breeze, a snatch of sunlight, a moonbeam, a silly, inconsequential dream. Funny and sort of Zen.

2. I am now dreaming in MOOG. Yes. I have been learning how to navigate and play a little mini-Moog synthesizer on an iPad. I have become totally obsessed, I ran down into the rabbit-hole, and have spent many hours mesmerized. I am composing music. Creating. I have no idea if any of it is good, or useable, I can't imagine actually incorporating it into my band whitewolfsonicprincess, but then again, just the pure act of doing it has been exciting and sort of liberating. Playing a Moog is such a departure from playing guitar. Lots of knobs and settings, an incredible array of sounds, so much time just getting something interesting to emerge. I think I'm in love with a Moog.

3. The coronavirus has made us glad to be living in a solidly "Blue Bubble."  We live next to a big midwestern lake, some days it looks like the ocean, and folks here are quite progressive. It is a famously, and long-time liberal bastion. Which means, lots of vegetarian restaurants, lots of yoga studios, lots of activists, writers, poets, musicians, photographers, high-paid lawyers, consultants, and folks with ways and means. It's not a poor town. It is a great place to live. And we have all taken the coronavirus seriously. So lots of determined social-distancing. We all pretty much tuned out our Toxic Clown President early on. Not sure if this means we will avoid the worst of the worst, but everyone is taking great care, trying to stay safe. Not sure how much it helps, but it is somewhat encouraging. There is a great, socially-distant feeling of solidarity with our fellow Blue Bubblers.

4. The highlight of every day has been a walk to the lake. It is a grand dance. Keeping distance from other folks. Every human being is an obstacle to be avoided. Best to assume everyone is infected. At the same time, of course, we are all in this together. Yes. We are all avoiding each other. But we are doing it because we care for each other. Pretty strange. Welcome to the Terror-Dome.

5. The radio tells me that now our Toxic Clown in Chief is selling death. After months of down-playing the virus, now he tells us this is something serious. Who pounded that message into his thick head? Wonder how long he can stick to the message of doom? Thank goodness we have local officials here who have been consistent and responsible from the start.

The a.m. soundtrack - Nick Drake's "Bryter Layter"  (1971). All three Nick Drake records are great. Each a bit different. This second release is a bit of a departure from "Five Leaves Left" a stone-cold masterpiece. Horns on this one. It's a little bit different vibe, great in its own way. Moody instrumentals. Fabulous orchestrations. Nick's voice & guitar playing is superb and captivating. This one was the first Nick Drake record I "discovered," so it resonates deeply with me. A brighter hush to the production. Hats off to the great Joe Boyd. Backed by some great musicians: John Cale, Richard Thompson, & other members of Fairport Convention. This one flows, sits lightly, resonates. Sterling. Brilliant. Grace.

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