Vote Blue 2020

Vote Blue 2020

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Idiots Then, Idiots Now!

Steve Pinker tells us that we aren't getting dumber, no, we are actually getting smarter.  I think this is a really, really hard sell. Especially if you live with your eyes wide open.  Also, I think we must recognize our species possesses absolutely amazing powers of grandiosity and self-deception!

Pinker: "It’s easy to focus on the idiocies of the present and forget those of the past. But a century ago our greatest writers extolled the beauty and holiness of war. Heroes like Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson avowed racist beliefs that today would make people’s flesh crawl. Women were barred from juries in rape trials because supposedly they would be embarrassed by the testimony. Homosexuality was a felony. At various times, contraception, anesthesia, vaccination, life insurance and blood transfusion were considered immoral."

Yeah, but I think this just shows us that we were Idiots then, and we are Idiots now too.  Our essential Idiot-Nature just manifests itself in new, progressive and infinitely innovative ways!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"I am the Ressurection, and I am the Light" - Ian Brown

Why are my head and my ears submerged in this album released in 1989?  I can't explain it (except that it sounds great!).  It is NOT nostalgia.  I hate nostalgia.  I am not pining for another time and place.  I don't really remember the year.  I don't have fond memories of the time.  I know I was younger then, and I can guess I was pretty much lost (directionless and clueless), since most of my time on earth has been a sort of stunned daze of wonder.

I know I was alive, walking around on the planet.  If pressed, I think the most important event of that year would be the Fall of the Wall!  You could make an argument that that was actually not only the beginning of the death of Communism, but also the death of Capitalism too, but that's probably best addressed in another blog post.

So I've been obsessed with the Stone Roses debut album, and it is a stunner.  Chock full of powerfully great songs. I vaguely remember hearing about the band, but I think the British hype machine was in full throttle over the band, and I don't know, maybe I tuned it out because it seemed like hype over substance.

But, I was wrong.  I recently plunked down (20 some years late)  $5.99 at my used CD store a month or so ago, for the Remastered Version of the disc with one bonus track (Fool's Gold -which is funky and cool!), and from the first two lines of the first song on the disc I was sold...

"I don't have to sell my soul/he's already in me..."

Ian Brown is not a great singer in a "great singer" kind of mode, but he is an awesomely evocative rock and roll singer.  A guy with a limited range, who uses it to best advantage.  And he's got something to say.  He's got a smart, sneering delivery and he uses lines like "I am the Ressurection and I am the light," to great effect.

And the band is just superb, with an absolutely wonderful drummer, a funky and soulful bass player, and an inventive, melodic and inspiring guitar player (John Squire).  And they meld all these players into one very tight and soulful unit.  And there is a  mix of classic 60's Beatles/Zombies kind of pop, stirred up with Dub and Reggae and Funk.  It's really a great album (certainly one the best debut albums ever), with at least 8 or 9 absolutely killer songs, and it sounds fresh and lively today.  It may have emerged out of the Manchester scene in the late 80's, but it really does transcend that time, even as it reflects it too.

Anyway, so happy to have discovered this one.  I was just mindlessly flicking through stacks of used CDs and it called my name!  I look at is as an act of archeology, excavating sounds from the distant past, and spinning it on my "laser" machine and bringing the past and present into the eternal now! Time travel stuff.  Soul music!

UPDATE:  So maybe they don't transcend time for all comers.  The Lovely Carla this morning has her own take on the Stone Roses... "I don't care about the Stone Roses, they are so 80's!"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hold On For Life

I love pop culture.  I swim in it.  But I'm usually on the margins of music, theater, literature, movies.  I find it's in the little side pools, in the little dead-ends, the little failed and strange experiments where I find the stuff that really speaks to me.

There's a lot of pain and broken dreams and aborted projects to be found in the marginal waters.  But that's where I usually find the "artists" who have something to say to me.  I find those are the waters where I end up doing my work too.

It can be lonely, and counter-cultural (although counter-cultural is just another snack for the voracious appetite of pop culture) in a way, a harder road, but the rewards are substantial when you find kindred souls in your space, and when you do work, hopefully good work, that connects with people, even if it's only a handful people.  And even if you "know" them only through their work.

Want examples, sorry, maybe another post...

Anyway, I rarely watch network television, I rarely swim in the mainstream of the flowing, raging, beast of pop culture.  But once in awhile I do.  The overwhelming lameness of the raging tower of Babel the Beast, the total cheapness of the Great Star-ship Pop is a sight to behold.

Pop culture is beyond good and evil.  It's beyond comprehension.  You can't sum it up or put it in a box.  It is the the raging stream of our existence.  It is a cloud of unknowing, it mows us down with it's cheapness, it's glamour, it's raging celebration of youth and wealth.  It swallows everything, and spits it out too.  It's degrading.  It's ridiculous, it's awe-inspiring too.  It rolls over us all.  It's doesn't care if we love it or hate it.  

Some of us struggle to the margins and live on the fringe.  There are shelters in the neglected areas, those places where very few want to go.  You can hold on there.  Hold on.  For dear life.  At least for a time.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mysterious Gothic Twins

I don't know why, when I saw this mysterious, gothic-like twinning of the lead singer of whitewolfsonicprincess...

I thought of this from Mr. E. A. Poe... 

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!' This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!' Merely this and nothing more." 

Maybe it's because the image seems to be conjured up from another time and another place. Strangely familiar and unfamiliar too.  Magical, mystical twins...  I know these women well.  And at the same time, they are a total mystery to me.

And the Man behind the camera?!  I think he's not a man at all.  No he's the Black Raven himself.  A dark, desiccated old crow softly croaking "Nevermore," as he snaps away with his little black box image conjurer.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Complexity is Good!

We live in a world of complexity.  We evolved out of complexity.   But it seems many of us crave simple solutions.  Simple solutions to complex problems.  Wouldn't it be nice?

This craving for simplicity is dangerous.  Leads to oppression.  Leads to prisons of the mind.  Leads to shackling of our imaginations and our creative impulses. 

You see the Fundamentalists of all stripes (religious and political) railing against our complex modern condition.  They propose restrictions, rules, and laws, regulating our thinking and behavior.  They want to go back to the old ways, they hit us over the head with the old books.

They appeal to us with simple "truths."  Of course, these truths are really simple, backward lies.  Lots of people find these lies attractive.  They think: better to live with bright shining lies, than the complex, disturbing truths of complexity and uncertainty.

They are wrong.  Better to live with the uncertainty.  Better to unleash the creative, imaginative impulses.  Better to accept the complexity of our situation.  Better to immerse ourselves in the complexity.  Complexity is good. Complexity is us. We can handle it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

whitewolfsonicprincess live on Sound Cloud!

We posted two whitewolfsonicprincess tracks on Sound Cloud which were recorded live at St. Luke's Church in Evanston, IL on 2/17/12.   The natural "wall of sound" of the room is pretty amazing. These two tracks will be vying for a place on a future release. 

These are pretty "raw" tracks, no tweaking or sweetening, but we got a good stage mix and the vocals are nicely up-front. They were recorded on St. Luke's on-site recording system by Bill, the resident Phantom of the Church. Bill has lots of experience recording in that space, (two professional microphones strategically placed and dangled from the 70 ft. ceiling), but usually it's church organ music or the church choir. 

Anyway, we are pretty happy with the results...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Free Lunch Time Kids!

I'm still riffing off the previous post...

Nothing to something to nothing.  

Isn't that too weird, and too much nothing?  Doesn't it bum you out?  Not me.  To me, all that nothing actually seems pretty liberating.  I like it lots more than all the religious mumbo-jumbo conjured up during my youth; all that Guilt, Judgment, Suffering, Pain, and all those rules written in stone.

If I'm following those scientific whack-jobs correctly, the Universe may have just unaccountably sprung up out of nothing.  The Universe may be the ultimate FREE LUNCH! The Universe and our time in it, may be just one big Gift conjured up out of nothing, by nothing.  Cool.

"I got nothing, Ma, to live up to..." - B. Dylan

There are always those self-satisfied, usually well-fed, almost always conservative business-type people, who are for sure living off the labor of others, who are glad to tell you that there's no such thing as a free lunch. 

Guess what Boneheads.  It's all a freaking Free Lunch! And we are free to do as we please.  

You ask, "Isn't that dangerous?  What about Good and Evil?"  Well, we get to make our lives as we choose.  We get to construct our own moral code.  We can choose to live with heart and soul and love, or not.  It's up to us.  And that's just the best news I can imagine! 

It's Free Lunch Time Kids!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nothing to Nothing? Hell, it's Something!

Science gets it's own section on Tuesdays in the New York Times.  Just in time to carry on with my theme of the great mystical nature of our existence.

Dennis Overbye explores "why is there something, rather than nothing?"

It seems the wackiest people out there on the intellectual fringe are the cosmologists and the physicists.  They have some strange, weird, and seemingly irrational ideas about the Universe, and how it came about, and where it's going, and what it's composed of, etc.

And we don't need no stinking God-invention to explain things and to make us feel important or give the thing some kind of "meaning."  That I'm afraid is all up to us.

If you read the article you will be rewarded with trains of thought like this:  
"Why, for example, should we assume that nothingness is more natural than somethingness? Indeed, you might ask why it is that we think there is something here at all. The total energy of the universe might actually be zero, according to the strange bookkeeping of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, as Dr. Krauss points out. “The universe,” Alan H. Guth, a physicist at M.I.T., likes to say, “might be the ultimate free lunch.” Even space and time themselves might be a kind of holographic illusion, string theorists say. You might think to dispute this by kicking a rock, but remember that both the rock and your foot are mostly empty space, prevented from intermingling by electric fields." 
And this: 

“Maybe in the true eternal multiverse there are truly no laws,” Dr. Krauss said in an e-mail. “Maybe indeed randomness is all there is and everything that can happen happens somewhere.” 
And finally this:

"If nothing is our past, it could also be our future. As the universe, driven by dark energy — that is to say, the negative pressure of nothing — expands faster and faster, the galaxies will become invisible, and all the energy and information will be sucked out of the cosmos. The universe will revert to nothingness. Nothing to nothing. One day it’s all going to seem like a dream. But who is or was the dreamer?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stars, Viruses and Us

I love science.  I love how it kicks open our heads and shows us how much we don't really know.  And I also love how the scientific paradigm is a mobile periscope.  It's always moving.  And what we knew yesterday, isn't what we know today, and probably isn't what we're gonna know tomorrow.

So as we try to explain the universe, and ourselves, to ourselves, the light shines on knowledge in new ways, and opens up new mysteries.  And science is a great tool, and a wonderful adventure, but of course it's limited by our very human boundaries.

We now know were born inside stars and we have been changed and molded by viruses.  We embody the high and the low.  So above as below.  We are a crossroads, a meeting place, a microcosm of the macrocosm.

We know a lot.  But really, it is so little that we know.  We are dancers in the dark, brothers and sisters to the stars, the viruses, and everything in between. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Circus-like Gypsy Vibe!

We are finally going to press on our new whitewolfsonicprincess CD 10+1.  The disc and the packaging are now in the hands of the printer.  We hope to have everything back to us in less than 2 weeks.  We will be doing a limited-edition CD run with a 16 page booklet with lyrics, production notes and photos.  Our CD release party will be held at the Red Line Tap on April 1st.  Yes, that's right April Fool's Day!

The last piece of the puzzle was working with an amazing photographer named Michael Doubrava.  Michael took photos of our band, which will be featured in the booklet.  Michael works with the old technology, a  clunky, large-format camera and black and white film.  He's a true master of light and shadow.  His photos capture a little bit of the circus-like gypsy vibe of our band.  Really!

Anyway, I hope you will visit Mr. Doubrava's website, it's quite the inspiring, mysterious and cool place.  Here's the latest photo he recently posted called "Flowerbolt."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Unquenched Desire

This morning I walked to the lakefront and stood on the beach, watching as the sun bathed everything in it's big, bold all-enveloping light.  The suns rays lit up the water and sparkled off the waves.

I watched as a "bird-dog" ran across the beach and chased after seagulls floating in the water.  The gulls took flight and circled above the dog.  The dog ran into the water and floated with his head poking out of the waves.  

The seagulls kind of squawked and twittered at the dog.  That dog had no chance of catching a seagull, it was kind of comical to see him even try, but try he did, over and over; he danced in the waves and then came back onto the beach and ran like his tail was on fire.  He was a little being possessed with a desire to commune with one of those floating, swooping, diving feathered creatures.

There was no communion for that dog this morning.  Just the unquenched desire... 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Road to Somewhere

Maybe you are wondering how our show at the church went last night?  Or maybe you aren't.  Well, we did have the perfect venue for an amazing experience.  An old, majestic building, with unbelievably great acoustics.  And we put together a nice line-up of performers.

We had a fairly typical turnout.  Normally we play in small rooms, and we can pack them in; in this case we had a massive room, so our little crowd looked kind of sparse spread across rows and rows of pews.

But the music was of a high quality and the sound was big and powerful.  We closed the show with a pretty strong set.  We threw in a bunch of new songs just keep us and the audience on their toes.  We had a few shaky moments, but overall it was a fairly satisfying outing.

Not perfect, perfection always seems just out of reach, sitting out there like a mirage or something.  This was really more a work in progress.  And there is joy in just the process of working through it.  It was not the show of shows, but another solid show on the road to somewhere...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sacred Spaces

As I mentioned in this previous post, we are doing a "r&r" show in a church tonight.  Playing music in a sacred space.  If we were truly enlightened of course, any space could and should be sacred.  The priests will tell you that you should be in church to find your sacredness.  And if you read lots of Zen literature, well, you think you have to be in a monastery or on a mountaintop to get off.

But really, I think you can be anywhere.  I think we can make a space sacred just by our intention, our focus, and our willingness to be open to communicating with the moment.  So yes, I've found a certain sacredness in the rain forests in Puerto Rico, the majestic shoreline of Big Sur, on a rock on the coast of Spain, on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, at the Temple Bar in Dublin, on the side of a desert road in New Mexico, in a little black box theater in Chicago, and yes, sitting in meditation on a chair in my little livingroom.

I even had an amazing, mind-blowing moment of transcendence the first time I visited New York City, standing in the middle of Grand Central Station at rush hour, waiting to meet a friend.  I will never forget the mad rush of emotion and light in the face of such a massive wave of humanity.

Anyway, you don't have to be in a church to celebrate the sacred.  It's everywhere.  Not a bad motto to live by.  Still it is kind of cool to be playing in a someone else's designated sacred space.  Kind of heightens the stakes a little.  I think of the Grateful Dead playing in the Great Pyramid, or the Cowboy Junkies recording their first album at Trinity Church, or Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye doing rock and roll outlaw poetry at St. Mark's Church in New York.  Maybe our show doesn't quite rank in that list, but of course, for us, it does.

You can make little things into big things, and big things into little things if you put you mind, heart and soul into it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Art of Yes and No

In theater, in improv, you learn the power of "yes," and "yes, but.."  You learn that "yes" is needed to keep the game moving forward, and that every "yes" can lead to discoveries, unlikely adventures, and satisfying conclusions.

"Yes," can also can propel you into lots of jams and unfortunate circumstances.  Sometimes you can build prisons of the mind and soul with the word "yes."

In life (which is basically just a very long-form improv), you also learn the power of "no."  No is a very useful tool.  It's a way of cutting and pruning away things in your life.  It is a negation, and a blunt knife that should be used sparingly and wisely.  But "no" can save you lots of pain and heartache and keep you out of ridiculous and time-wasting detours.

The trick of course, is to balance the yes/no quotient in our lives.  There is no easy formula or operator's manual on the shelf to help you out.  You are left to rely on your own wits and no-how.  And you rely on experience, intuition and gut instinct.  Not exactly the most reliable tools.

So yes/no, it's another art, an art that we practice and kind learn as we go...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Like a poison dagger...

In the heat of the battle, the epithet "Hippie" is hurled at me like a poison dagger, like some deeply cutting and existential insult. Ha! Kind of like "Upstart" was to Rufus T. Firefly.

So I go through the inventory in my head...

Love the Grateful Dead?  Check!
Hitchhiked across America in my youth? Check!
Visited a commune? Check!
Carried a dog-eared copy of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance" in my backpack? Check!
Actually like the smell of patchouli oil?  Check!
Like to sport long, unkempt hair? Check!
Think Love is the answer?  Check!
Dabbled with mind-altering substances? Check!
Still ask the question, "what's so funny about peace, love and understanding?" Check!
Have seen "Easy Rider" more than 10 times in my life, and still think it's great movie? Check!
Eat tofu and brown rice often? Check!

On the other hand, I do bathe regularly, I don't wear tie-dyed shirts, I don't say "groovy," and unfortunately,  I don't really think we can all just get along.  My default mode is "smile on your brother everybody, and love one another right now," but then again, I know we live in a dog eat dog world and the long knives can come out at any time.

I guess Hippie is alright with me.  But maybe Hippie with an edge?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Just exited a bruising battle with a fellow creator over what started as a simple disagreement over an unfortunate circumstance, that devolved into a really ugly confrontation over life, art, creativity and happiness.  It was kind of unfortunate, and also very instructive.

So yes, post-Omega (see previous post), I think it's true we live in a era where science and art have demolished all of our certainties.  Blame it on the Enlightenment.  We killed off the Kings, we dismantled the Churches, and we put our eggs in the scientific paradigm basket, and were carried away by an "art" that declared that art was pretty much anything, and nothing, and everything in between.

We live in a post-Apocalypse age, and we didn't even need atomic explosions, or world-wide viral infestations to devastate us.  Blame it on the memes. Blame it on R&R too.

Now I happen to think all this is for the good.  Yes, we live with the "uncertainty principle," we can't cling to musty old books that tell what is good and bad; and everything is "relative," and "subjective," and in turmoil.  And there is no going back.  The scales have fallen from our eyes, and yes, we did murder our fathers, and screwed our mothers... and we are the measure of ourselves.

And how do we measure creativity, and imagination, and how do we know what's good, and what's worthwhile, and what's beautiful, and ugly, and how come it sometimes seems like a moving target, and not only is the target moving, but so is the Marksman, and the bullets, or arrows, or whatever, are shaky, and malleable, and, man, why is it, when it comes down to it, that we can't really count on anything?  

Except maybe our own ingenuity, and sense of humor, and sense of "fun," and "play," and our curiosity, and imaginations, and well damn the torpedoes, they are coming for us anyway, so in the meantime we have to live, with gusto and class and grace and  whatever that all means... and we must keep our eyes open, and wonder... about it all...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Creatures of the Wheel

This gentleman, let's call him Lens Man, wormed his way into the apple core of my existence.  It's not often you meet a kindred soul, a soul, who when you look at him and talk with him, sets off all kinds of synchronicities, and converging contingencies, and opens one up to the tragic, poetic nature of our post-Western Civilization experiment.

Let's just say the two of us have much in common, even as we have both broken off from the human tree and flowered in our own deformed and splendidly ragged ways.

Lens Man: "Jimmeh, I'm gonna jack you up like a Goddamned Mule!"

This Gentleman introduced me to the wonders and the secret pleasures of Omega Man.  It's a post apocalyptic nightmare film from the 70's, starring the almost always bare-chested Charlton Heston.  The dialogue is profound and absurd.  So funny, so lacerating and true.  The acting is stilted and perfect.  The stunts are all real and clunky.  No CGI.  It is a perfect film.  A classic for sure.

It is a film loaded with insight and decadent pleasure for those of us who know that yes, we are all living in the wreckage of Western civilization, a place where science and art has already decimated us, mowed down our certainties, exposed us to the deep horrors of the human imagination and left us nursing the psychology of the survivor.

We are are trying to survive being survivors in the bleak wreckage of our own making.  We are creatures of the wheel.  Masters of the machines.  We are the fallen.  Omega!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Other-Worldly Sonic Space

Over the years, most of our creative work has been in the realm of theater.  But the last few years we've really put major amounts of focus and energy into music with our band whitewolfsonicprincess...

We have played music on the streets, in parks, on the beach, in living rooms, kitchens, up in the attic, in low-down punk bars, bright and shiny sports bars, little, shady, raw and funky rooms, cavernous antiseptic places, also, art galleries, theater lobbies, black box theaters, little storefront spaces, outdoor fests...

This coming Friday we will be playing in a Church.  This is one of those majestic cathedral-like spaces.  An amazing, soaring space, with a 70 ft ceiling.  The acoustics are just other-worldly.  Usually it is reserved for organ music and a full-fledged choir, but we will be putting on a rock and roll concert.

We were in there last night doing a full blown sound-check and band rehearsal.  It's just the most amazing, lively sonic space you can imagine.  Little sounds wafted and reverberated with such a full sonic kick.  Big sounds just washed over us like rich and lively waves of sound.  The natural sonic reverb is just over-powering.

We were a little worried about being swallowed up in such a big, majestic space, but it turns out it's probably the best room you could ever imagine to hear and play music.  This should be inspiring!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Clearing!

Sometimes success blows relationships apart.  You read about it and see it all the time.  And sometimes failure does it too.  Really bad shit happens, or maybe even not so bad shit happens, and the stress of the moment does funny things to people's heads.

People's insecurities, and foibles and disenchantments come to the fore, and all kinds of raging emotions come pouring out.  It's times like these where you find out of what kind of stuff people are made.  All of us are a complex and mixed up collection of oddities and deformities.

And when something happens, and a person turns, revealing something they've never revealed before, well, it's always interesting, and surprising,  and sometimes inspiring, or sometimes disappointing, even when it shouldn't be.   It's always just a very human being thing.

And Jesus, or Buddha, or the Dali Lama will remind us that we must forgive...

But you know, life is short, and there are always surprising turns coming around the bend, and if someone turns on you in the heat of the moment, in the depths of the down, if they lash out, kick others out of spite or fear or whatever, well,  you know, if you find you can't really count on them, or consider them worth spending time with, that's when you gather yourself together, take a deep breath, and summon those trusty all purpose words that come easily to the lips like a salmon to the surface:  Fuck That Guy!"

It's an excellent time-saver, and a clearing to boot!  And of course there are many fish in the sea, and plenty others who you can call "friend."  At least until the next crisis erupts!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Urban R&R Diary Part # (God Only Knows!)

Last night was an unlikely adventure.  The Telepaths had a show at Beat Kitchen, we were headlining on a Thursday night, (both a blessing and a curse), on a 4 band bill at one of the top-flight rock clubs in Chicago.  Our bass player couldn't make the show, and I was on my own to get there and back.

So I trekked across the City on public transportation.  Yes, a commuter rocker.  I brought out my little 5 watt vintage Silvertone amp and put it in a travel case with wheels.  I had my pedals and cables in a little bag across my shoulder (sort of like a bandoleer) and I lugged my Telecaster in it's hard-shell case.  I trained it and bused it across the City.  It all went quite smooth and easy. The train was a clear shot to Belmont, and the bus stop is right out the door.  Public transportation really works in Chicago!

I was a little worried about the amp, it's got some old time vintage tubes and really those tubes are amazing, and of course I did not want any casualties. But we all made it in one piece.  

On the way, I found out that our drummer wasn't going to make the show either.  Shite!  Suddenly our powerful 3 piece with vocalist was going to be a stripped down and bare 1 piece with vocalist.  Talk about being exposed on stage!

And all the other acts: Intimate Machines, Audiobon and Farewell Captain did powerful, balls to the wall, r&r sets.   I must say as the night unfolded I was dreading getting up onstage.  We play very simple, elemental garage rock, and the noise and chaos created by our drummer is a huge sonic piece of our very fractured puzzle.

But we got up there and gave it our all.  Turns out one of the other bands features one of the Telepath alumni, so we had a second guitar to add some flourishes and highlights to our songs.  We totally lucked out on that score.

And my little 5 watt Silvertone sounded massive through Beat Kitchen's powerful P.A.  It was a totally grungy, fuzzy, over-saturated sound, and it really stood out from all the other bands what with their powerful Fender and Marshall amps.  

After our set, the sound guy said some kind things about us, saying he was tired of the standard 4 piece rock band.  He said it was sort of refreshing to hear something different, and he thought sound of the Silvertone was cool!  I always make a point of talking to the sound guys.  They usually don't blow smoke up your ass.  Those guys have heard it all.

So, yes, sometimes less is more, unless it isn't, and it's true, for sure, we were something different.  It was sort of a mess, but we made it through in one piece.  A blessing and a curse for sure.

I almost forgot the best part of the evening...

I hopped a cab for the ride home and got picked up by a fellow musician.  The cabbie was a tabla player from Sri Lanka!  We hit it off immediately, sort of like we were part of a secret club, or priesthood, and in a way, I guess that's true.  Musicians speak another universal language. The cabbie played some traditional Indian music on the cd player for me for the whole ride home.  I paid him, tipped him and wished him well.  He smiled and said, "I bless you, I bless you, I bless you."  So yes, a real blessing too!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ravings of the Debauched!

This curiously strange correspondence sailed through the ether and hit the parched shore of my inbox yesterday.  It seems it would have been better written on parchment with blood-red ink, and delivered by a desiccated, old Raven tap, tap, tapping at my cellar door....

Dear Jimmy Mule
I think you are a fine human being, despite your grim, hideous, frightening, ghastly, monstrous, demonic, awe-inspiring, Jacob Marleyesque, wraith-like visage (unsettling as it is) with which you cheerfully greet the world as only a Laughing Madman could, or would even dare to.

Sincerely, and with the Deepest Sympathy, I remain your loyal servant and, I pray, your friend (despite all of our deformities),

Dear Mr. Mule-Skinner,
I like my scar.  It is my friend.  Goes with me wherever I go.  Please tread lightly around my scar! I have earned it.  Yes, it is a badge, a sign, a mark, sort of like the mark of Cain, but in this case, let's call it the Mark of Jimmy Mule.

I appreciate your kind words, your greviously sweet terms of endearment, but, I beg to differ Mr. Skinner, I am NOT in any way, shape or form a fine human being.  Human yes... being yes... but let's leave the simpering "fine-ness" of being to the blushing ladies, and the little dainty ones...

Yes, of course we are friends, kindred souls, and humbled, and shackled servants who recognize each other.  We both see a fellow DEFORMED NOBLEMAN!

We must stick together Mr. Skinner.  We are a dying breed.  Lonely, wraith-like phantoms, who can disappear at the lighting of a match.  POOF!

Jimmy Mule

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Let A Gazillion Flowers Bloom!

So yes, the decline of the music industry (see previous post) is a lie!  We are in a golden age of music-making and music distribution.  Anyone can make a decent recording with a little digital recording device.  Anyone with a little bit of scratch can find a modern studio with amazing tools to capture sounds.

And there are many, many ways to get your music out into the world.  Yes, it's a little like throwing a message in a bottle into the raging ocean of media; it's a daunting prospect to try to get your sounds heard amidst that Tower of Babel-like entertainment echo chamber we've created for ourselves, but it can be done.

It means that all the work is on the artist's shoulders, which is something whitewolfsonicprincess is going through right now.  For our band, it means that you create and record the music, but that's only a third of the process, the next third is creating the "packaging," and then the last third is coming up with some kind of marketing or distribution plan.  It's DIY on steroids.  It's a daunting challenge.  But totally empowering too.  There's no one to sell out to or to compromise with, except of course, ourselves.

Check out Terry Flamm's latest post.  Terry is a great internet resource who writes about music on an almost daily basis.  He tells us about a new release called "English Kills."  The music is available as a download via Bandcamp and the band's website.  This is a clear-shot road from musician to fan.  No great music behemoth standing in the way, acting as arbiter, or gatekeeper, or funder, or distribution channel either.   

That's pretty amazing.  Create the music and get it out there.  And maybe it's work that wouldn't normally get to see the light of day, and it has a chance, a chance, to actually blossom in a million ears!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Depends on How You Look At It!

The music industry isn't in decline.  

You knew that right?  If not, click on the link and read the article.  When people talk about the decline of the music industry, they are talking about a small group of major labels.  If you broaden your sights a little bit, you find that the old world music industry is a small part of a much broader, totally vibrant, and growing world of music, small independents, and alternative platforms that can reach us in a gazillion ways.

The music industry is thriving.  And although some of us look fondly on the early Sixties as a golden age, (back then music had a huge cultural significance - there was the culture vs the counter-culture), there is an amazing flowering of great music being made today all across the globe.  And it is all accessible!

There are bands and artists alive right now with amazing catalogs of stuff, and making some of the best music you will ever hear that stands up with the greats.  

Some of the faves in our record collection: Radiohead, U2, Wilco, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, Yoko Ono, Bjork, Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, The National, Arcade Fire, Patti Smith, Neil Young, Wye Oak, Sigur Ros, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Okervil River, Anthony and the Johnsons, The Flaming Lips, Drive By Truckers, Sonic Youth, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Lucinda Williams, My Bloody Valentine,  Patti Griffin, Tom Waits, Jakob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Johanna Newsom, Mavis Staples, Brian Eno, David Byrne... oh yeah and etc...

Monday, February 06, 2012

How Beautiful Is That?

Maybe this is old news.  I mean, I know others have pointed this out long ago... Carl Sagan: "We are star stuff."  Joni Mitchell: "We are stardust."  But I just love this from Kevin Kelly...

"We are all collected stardust. And by a most elegant and remarkable transformation, our starstuff is capable of looking into the night sky to perceive other stars shining. They seem remote and distant, but we are really very close to them no matter how many lightyears away. All that we see of each other was born in a star. How beautiful is that?"

Yes,  we are born in a star.  That's better than any other origin story you can come up with.  We live in an amazing, awe-inspiring and confounding place, and our lives are amazing, awe-inspiring and confounding too.

We were at the lakefront yesterday, the water was calm, the light reflected off the surface of the water, and there were more shades of color than one could count.  The water and sky mirrored and reflected each other.  We stood on sand, there were little pebbles, old shells, we were surrounded by big, hulking rocks.  Sometimes the simple things, if we really "see" them can bowl us over.

Everything had a hushed, expectant quality.  Everything so simple and elegant.

I don't think there is any contradiction between a desire to embrace the scientific paradigm, in order to investigate our universe and ourselves, and at the same time, honoring the mystical nature of everything we see, and know, and don't know too. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

How It All Went Down

You are surfing around the web looking to see if things are getting better, or if things are getting worse.  You find evidence that things are getting better, and things are getting worse.  And things are the same too, or if not the same, there is this appearance of sameness that is probably a false appearance, because nothing is ever the same, even that happy innocuous sameness that sort of floods your senses.

And you remember that there was probably laughter and light in the Dark Ages.  And there were parties too.  And maybe the ages were dark, but there were those who were dazzled by the light of the stars, and there were people who were happy, and inspired, and had great sex, and they didn't really know they were living in the dark ages.  And well, that's probably how it goes.  You live in an age, and you don't even know the character of the age you are living in.  You live, you toil, you party.  And you leave it to others to remember how it all went down.

Things got better, things got worse, and things sort of seemed the same too.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Rock the Nave!

Our next whitewolfsonicprincess show is at a church. We will be playing in the "nave" which is kind of like one of those old, classic European-type cathedrals. It's a pretty awe-inspiring structure. Quite the theatrical setting. The stained-glass windows tell stories. There are angels suspended up in the rafters. There's that poor Jesus guy hanging on a limb. There are candles, pews, and amazing acoustics. 

It's an Episcopalian church and it seems this particular group of Episcopalians are friendly to women, to gays, to the poor, to dogs, bikes, and the neighborhood scruffs. We've been in there a couple times, everyone is very welcoming and friendly, and lightening hasn't struck yet. 

We put together a great bill of performers. It should be an incredible evening of music. It will be a "concert" which is kind of a change from playing a bar, although we do plan on having wine for our guests! We are going to do some quieter, more experimental type songs, monologues with poetic imagery and maybe some ragged electric guitar interludes.  We will also be rocking the house! Should be one of our "don't miss" shows!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Body a Battlefield

I came down with a nasty cold.  I've been dealing with it the last few days.  Lots of mucous, and, although it seems like mucous is my enemy, it turns out mucous is actually my friend.  All the symptoms of a cold are really just the body's defenses attacking the virus that has inhabited one's body.

So, having a cold means your body becomes a battlefield.  The runny nose, the coughing, the sore throat are just a result of the battle.  I Googled "What is a cold?" just to see what would come up.

Seems there are over 200 viruses that can infect you.  And there's no way to prevent a cold.  So we all endure.  One upside of a cold: no room in my body for worry or guilt.  It's enough just to be up and about, taking one step, then another.

So in that sense having a cold is sort of a clearing.  You get back to the basics of survival.  And you have the hope of a life beyond mucous in your future.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Noxious Clown Likes Noxious Clown!

The radio tells me that later today Donald Trump will be endorsing Newt Gingrich for President...

Ha, Ha, Ha...!

* Update:  Now CNN says Trump will endorse Romney, not Gingrich.  So maybe it's Noxious Clown likes Slighty Less Noxious Clown?  Same concept.  

Maybe Trump is for Romney, but the thing on Trump's head hearts Gingrich?!?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Personal Power

Personal power...

So I'm at the point in my life where I can be silent when I want to be silent.  I can choose the people with whom I spend my time.  I don't have to lie my ass off just to get along.  I don't have to put up with other people's nonsense - I mean of course, I do put up with other people's nonsense, (and my own), but I do it consciously and willingly and on the best days it can be amusing and supremely entertaining.

I'm always on the go.  I move. I don't stop.  Unless I crash in a heap.  That's the only time I really stop.  I swim against the tide, always, not by choice, it just seems to be my fate.  So yes, I see myself as the salmon swimming against the tide, swimming, always swimming, just because it's in-built.

I despise the liars.  I despise those who are cruel.  I despise those who kick people when they are down. I despise the nay-sayers who will subtly tell you you can't do this or that, and that's it's not really worth trying.  Despising is okay in my book.  It's okay to have enemies, they help clarify what qualities you should should shun and what qualities you should aspire to.

I dream.  I hope. I believe.  Those are important.  What I dream, hope and believe is a work in progress. So, yes, personal power, yes, I have it.  I do.  It's just a very tiny, invisible, little circle that sticks around me like a midnight cloak.

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