My Bliss Keeps A Beat

This past Saturday was like most in the Summer of 2020, this Covid Summer: hot and humid, Saturday Morning roads a buzzing with trailers and boats, nothing to do anywhere. So we have taken to long rides, good coffee and a playlist that gets created Saturday Morning.

I am always in charge of the Playlist, but serve up a helping of what makes my Girl tap her foot. Oddly more often Boy Rock like Janes, Rage, Soundgarden. She is a girl too. Despite this.

It is a team effort.

My own Saturday selection tend to run the gamut of British Glam and of course, some Goats. And a selection of what came out new that week, whatever it may be.

When you meet someone that you are supposed to meet, like in a real and lasting sense, you notice that as time goes by you tend to pick up on the musical history of your mate. Because everyone wants to hear something that makes them happy, makes them shake, even makes them sad.

It is personal. But if you spend enough time with someone, you find yourself being drawn into those same reactions.

And one of those reaction, which can not be underestimated, calculated, figured is joy.

So this past Saturday I set up my list and included some LCD Soundsystem. Julie and Carmen tuned me on to them when I still assumed that they were something I would not care for. And yes, assumed they were British.

LCD is outside of any style of music that I have taken on. Its dance music, with a real working brain…but the dance music aspect I could not wrap my mind around. It was like a buzzing all around me: a quick song caught in the kitchen, a song that popped up on Sirius….and when I would hear it, the reaction was the same: WTF Is that? (the only other band I had this same reaction too was TuneYards. Whenever something would pop up that I loved and was scared by, it was always TuneYards.)

So I downloaded the LCD Soundsystem final show, the MSG show that I would NOW kill a man to see. At the time I was unfortunately blissfully unaware.

But Julie was there. She was there and had the still pefect T Shirt to prove it. She was there.

So tripping our way through the Niantic area a song came on and she turned it up loud. Real Loud. The car shook. And the song began….

It was the live version of ‘North American Scum’ with additional assistance of Arcade Fire screaming along to the chorus. It was enthralling. Incredible. The road washed out around me as I just let go and whooped along.

It was pure joy of music too loud. It was the actual Bliss of brilliant song and brilliant band, at the tip top of their absolute magic and powers.

It shook me with how beautiful life is. How lucky I am to hear this song on this day. The genuine thrill of being genuinely scared by music.

The windows came down and Julie drove faster and faster. The world around seemed to slow. There was nothing but Julie and Me taking off for unknown galaxies in a little blue rocket.

I remembered what I should remember every day: This is what we get. Guard your bliss with more passion than you guard your money.

And turn it up. Loud.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 9

Dusk comes to the crossroads. A decided chill in the air as we press through November, and not having the finance to run the heater, I am layered in most of the clothes I brought.

Such a strange place. I feel invisible here. I expected that some local cop would eventually pull up and check my purpose. I thought that the folks who travel this route would be gawking at me, wondering what exactly I was up too. I have not seen a single person even look in my direction. It is solitude. And it should not be.

Things like this make me wonder. Is it this place, so often driven that it becomes automatic reflex to focus on the road? Is it my purpose here that allows a spectral anonymity?

It is a strange feeling to be in a wilderness while being about a 8 minute ride from a WalMart.

_______________________________________________________________________

Beyond the half way point of November and no signs of progress. No nightly visitors, no pens of flame or blood. Just waiting causing me to question whether this is my residency in Hell. If that is the case I could do worse.

It is sunny today. Most of the leaves have left. The lovely burnished red of the foliage replaced daily with naked branch and blue sky blooming. The grass going from summer green to earthen tones.

I know the rhythms of the seasons. I have lived here all my life. This land of Devils.

That is not said as an opinion. New England born and raised.And always driving distance to some place with ‘Devil’ or ‘Hell’ in the title. As far as I recall, this was Puritan lands back in the beginning, and anything that was considered unusual was named unnatural. And a place where mysteries let loose. Devils were always about according to the Puritans. And names such as Devils Den, Devils Hopyard, Satans Kingdom, Hell Hole were given to the places that pricked at the cosmological conscience were warned away from. 

The country, the USA, started on this side (meaning East)and so the oldest and more arcane history comes from here. It gets in your blood here, the dirty ground of real history. It redeems your daylight and electric candles as weapons against the cold Yankee nights.

There is blood in the ground here. Older blood sunk deeper into the soil. We have attached to our homeland witch hunts and Native American massacres, famous murder and forgetful grounds. As a kid, I ate this up. The book I would always own was the collection of Yankee Magazine Myths and Legends. There are vampires in Jewett City, mysterious ‘BOOMS’ out of Moodus, bodies buried beneath New Haven Green, the Melon heads stalk Dracula Drive in Yourtown, USA. Every part of the country reflects its age in its fears, whether it is roving gangs of homicidal hippies in the California hills or dead shot long dead gunslingers in the west.

Here, our history is longer and fears more traditional, rooted in mystical depths. And that brings us to Hell.

We use the tools we have available to review any threat. In these modern days, mysteries are knocked down with regularity. Science tracks the phenomena, action and reaction and creates a hypothesis. The concept gets debated, back and forth, sometimes for centuries.

Without the science, we are left with faith. What someone wants to believe, someone will believe. If you believe your suffering will allow you a better view in Heaven,you cannot be dissuaded. If someone avoids the simple carnal pleasures for fear of dropping down into Hell, you will not be convinced. Even using plain science, where facts are not negotiable, people will see what they want to in the results and base their opinions on this flawed logic. And will not be unconvinced.

The Northeaster woods crawl with witches and boil with entrances to the abyss. The shore speaks of ghosts of pirates and haunted lighthouses. The cities whisper with murders and long held grudges coming to boil. We are cold people, in a cold place. As cold as the stones that sit in our multitude of cemeteries. As cold as the bodies that lay beneath.

 And we will not be unconvinced.

—————————————————————————————————-

Cloudy night with a glow of the Moon distant. Deeper shadows round the crossroads tonight.

What will it be like when I am rich and famous? What will it be like knowing what waits when I eventually flame out completely. Is having nothing an audition for losing everything?

_____________________________________________________________

I have a song in my head. It shook me from a dead sleep. That has never happened before.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 5

And while other kids were picking up the guitar and drums, I picked up the pen.

My songwriting habits solidified as I opened up to new sounds. My heroes were always the singers, as I was naïve enough to believe that s they sang the words, they wrote the words.

I grew my internal world by moving beyond the sad boy songs into something more gothic and suggestive. I wrote horror movie scripts with kickin’ choruses. I wrote in cheap rock and roll clichés, practically the traditional folk of white suburban boys.

So when a gang of friends started to take it more seriously , they needed a singer, I said ‘I’m a singer.’

To me, singing was always an act of courage more than a skill. Considering the quality of voice that littered modern music, not everyone who sings should sing. The goal was to get them into writing original compositions as I had pads of material ready to go.

Off to the practice room, like our fathers and forefathers before us. 

My first live gig was a personal revelation. I was fat, morbidly so. As wide as anyone was tall. Decked out in denim vest with patches and spikes, we played a Battle of The Bands against kids far more popular than we were. That suited us. We were filled with rage. We played covers from obscure bands no one ever heard of.  Every other band had at least one Van Halen cover.

Impossible to say whether we were good or bad but we were assuredly loud and ugly. So we lost. Of course. This isn’t a movie.

Right after the cool kids were crowned, I stood back a grimy sweaty massive mess. A girl approached me. Maybe the first.

And time slowed as she intentionally walked toward me. She was a vision. Thin, blonde, smiling at me…looking at me. Everything dropped to a slow motion crawl as I noted the stage lights glinting off her silver choker…

___________________________________________________________________

Something is happening. I think something is happening.

I was lost in the tapping of half recovered memory when I saw a black shadow cross my hood.

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 – Part 3

My worlds met and married on a Sunday evening when I was about 13 courtesy of the King Biscuit Flour hour and the FM radio band.

Consider where I came from: comic books and horror. Literature, of a type. At least literate. This was what occupied my head until that night.  I was a fan of music, as I had brothers and sisters and cool cousins who would treat it like a religion.

My sisters brought me Deep Purple and Black Sabbath when I would crawl around the carpet and just stare at the covers. My cool cousin brought me to Yes. My extended family brought about Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have forgiven them. Jackson 5 was on the radio and then a heavy dose of AM radio classics as my parents were a bit older than everyone else’s.

A record that had a big impact is a record I despise, to this very minute. Terry Jacks ‘Seasons in The Sun’ was proof of evil in a blissful world. I would weep like a smaller child every single time it came on. Just that opening vocal melody would make my face scrunch up like I was slamming lemon juice.

Though painful to listen to, and deliberating to me little kid ego who could not keep it together at all, that record showed me that songs can hurt.

The first record I ever wanted was the 45 of ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. My brother wanted ‘Golden Years’ by Bowie. Our Dad bought us both in the same day. Those two record were seeds to a burgeoning personal revolution. The grit of Thin Lizzy matched with the suave alien Pop sound of Bowie had an effect I would not recognize for years.

I stumbled from books on Parapsychology into comic books. Obsessive on the things I loved, this is all I did. It was natural, trading mysteries on outdated and rained upon books for full color magic pages. And superheroes were the extension of what I wanted to be. Having super powers looks pretty prime when you’re a kid where you are generally powerless.

All these influences, all these mixed media muses lay dormant in me as I continued the business of growing up.  Until that night.

Sunday night , 8 PM, and school the next day.  I settled in my room and turned on the radio. It was a rite as my brothers and sisters before me had. I think it was the talk more than the music for me as I was raised on AM talk and police scanner chatter. The sound of distant voices and noises was always soothing to me.  I have lived within listening distance to 95 most of my childhood.

When people want peace, they aim for silence. For me, the opposite is true.

A big voice came on the radio heralding the ‘King Biscuit Flour Hour with BLACK AND BLUE!!!’ (the exclamation points came through the speaker like an aural typeface). I faced the speaker like the DJ was going to bounce through it.

What came next was screaming. A horror flick soundtrack played over massive cabinets . Massive bell ringing. Then the guitar. It was ‘War Pigs’. And it changed me.

I spent the remainder of that 13th year in my room, eschewing the outside as I bought and played out every Black Sabbath record. I had friends who thought I evaporated. My room went from full color Marvel art to black and red. I started sporting Satanic gear everywhere I could.

It felt right.I felt like I belonged to something. Heavy Metal was my religion. I sold my entire comic collection for an Alice Cooper ticket in the city.

I do regret that.

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 Part 2

To say I came here without expectations would be false. I have big expectations.
To say I came here without thinking it through…. that I am not so sure about.

I do not believe in an afterlife. And yet I come to this road and I wait. I come every day. Every day.

I have left my job. It kept me away from this place. Where I need to be. I need to shake some shit up, in an astral sense. Poverty does not scare me. We are old friends.

I am afraid. Terrified. Afraid of what will happen when he comes. Afraid of what will happen if he doesn’t.

11/3/18_______________________________________________________________________
It started with books, long days at the local library gaining knowledge on a number of subjects pretty to my dark mind: ghosts, New England lore, multitudes of ‘Phone Calls From The Dead’ and other 60’s paperback parapsychology propaganda, horror movies and Colonial history. The information I needed was learned though legend and cheap literature. And that knowledge did little except give me a reputation for being the fat, weird kid. Or so I thought.
________________________________________________________________________
Sitting here, alone in this deteriorating auto, acoustic in the back, crushed cigarette kicking up, I wonder if this was why it was important. Was this date fated?

Even asking that sets me in place as myth. I am not myth. Yet.
_________________________________________________________________________
Words worked within me. Not the paperbacks I studied or books of legends I stole. It was words sung out loud. The meaning behind the act of saying anything to anyone a all.

After Kara came Shannon. After Shannon, Michelle. After Michelle, Krystal. Into infinity. And each had a song written for them, a pledge contained in every line and my heart woven throughout the lyric. They were not songs proper as I was not handy with an instrument. They were verse / chorus love letters no one would never hear or see.

It was the creating of worlds with unknown outcomes. It was creating characters, even in simple sketches of syllables. It was my license to become a Gentleman. It was all the brave words I never spoke, all the proclamations I kept private. I went from drawing Spiderman on my notebook cover to capturing phrases overheard or misunderstood.

An act of Zen recording these simple rhyme patterns on a lined sheet of paper, my printing block, my pen unsmudged. I recognize this for what it is now. Control. Sanity. But I was 10, so Sanity was an over reaching abstract.

The concept of chorus, where you distill the lyric and kick in something punchy, something melodic or a slogan, was burned in my brain from living in a culture that valued such acts of market driven trickery. Not that I minded. I felt writing a good chorus was comparable to winning a sports competition, except after your done running, hopping, playing, scrimmaging, all you have is a memory.

I have 4 lines that can define you. Call the unnamed conspirator on their pride, labor, spit. Raise or dash them. And they will live on forever. This is my power, what I was given. I made myths.

I still believe that too. And this is where it led. This shadowy clash of flat top roads and the suitable scent of sulfur.

8_devil-at-the-crossroads-lo-res

Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

Profane ideas and anarchy
The atmosphere slips from static to rabid
Spotlights spin and kill the battery
Bodies in the basement, heads in the attic
Seduce with cruelty, destroy with flattery
Amping up the electrical addict
Cigarette City, Celebrity nudity
with every cheap exchange shot cinematic

Bad weather, good natured
Green means stop, red means floor it
Watching the watchmen and tablature
Fight it, Fuck it, Ignore It
Social scavenger, local massacre
Ramming speed, four on the floor it
Breaking down the unnatural ambassador
If you can’t join it, deplore it

No regrets but no one forgets
Your ass is a star but your still on the dole
No regrets but no one forgets
You sold your soul without a loop hole
No regrets but no one forgets
You bought in for a bigger role
No regrets but no one forgets
No regrets but no one forgets

Sex and state and God and fury
Fear and truth the line is blurry
Peace and love and fascist fashions
Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

download

Horton Hates The Who. Do You?

Of all the grandiose mysteries this experience called Life offers us, the current one stuck in my craw, the one I stutter on the hard consonants of, is the legacy of The Who.

For those who are too young to understand (or to think this is a half baked, fully stoned Sci Fi reference…or even a pronoun), The Who was a Rock Band. Not a Blues band turned up. Not a R&B band (yeah, that’s right, come at me Who fans…).

The Who were big. Bombastic. Smart…maybe overly so. The Who were required listening if you lived in a Classic Rock Town. The Who made amazing music, killer singles, created a sound that would in time be bled of purpose and become ‘Radio Rock’.

As the big bands of the time continue to be worshipped, deified in these days of ‘All the best music is ollllld…..’… not The Meaty, The Beaty, The Big nor even The Bouncy. I have dear friends whose taste I trust implicitly who can’t even listen to the stuff. And look upon the World at Large….there is still Zeppelin Radio Hours and Pink Floyd Nights and endless Beatle-y bits. But The Who is fading.

Why? I am not even the biggest Who fan…but I know why they are great. Some truly great songs, a real Rock and Roll attitude not hampered by fear of offending, concepts that are occasionally dumb but…ambitious. A literate lyric style unique to the author and the sound. This is where Punk came from, in attitude, in ambition.

So…sure. Rock Stars deservedly. But…..what happened? I am going to take some fairly unthunk up guesses…cause I don’t know. Do you?:

1) The Never Ending Ending: Sure the reunions were cash grabs. Sure, it was ridiculous that they continued to even exist after Keith Moon died. Is that it? They may have been the first, right? Certainly not the last. I will say though…the cash grab does come off a bit worse for wear from a band that seemingly had an ideology once upon a time.

2) Pete: Yeah….Pete. It is an uncomfortable subject. It is a hazy subject. Let me tell you how uncomfortable: I have no interest in looking it up. Pete has always been a polarizing figure. What was flippantly revolutionary…what was thrilling, the calling out of the culture for what it was…sold out / selling out…. with age and an excess amount of press facts and statements came out that were…creepy. You have the Internet too. If curious, go digging.

3) Sell Out: Is it because The Who were so quick and successful at selling out? Is it the mystical but commercial codex that translates the electronic binky intro to ‘Wont Get Fooled Again’ into the phrase ‘Buy Me’. Is it the irony of The Who selling so completely that I hear more of them in car commercials than on the radio?

4) The Concept Records (and shows)? The creepy English dance hall vibe? The just below the meanness in everything they say and do? The movie ‘Tommy’ (to me, a true dividing point that jackbooted my sicker inclinations towards baked beans and laundry soap).

dr-seuss-horton-hears-a-who-ss1

Re: Tonight’s JikiJikiJa Singles Night – Practice Tapes

A few words about tonight’s Singles Club release. And those words are ‘Practice Tapes’.

My life can be cataloged through Practice Tapes: boom box recordings (on cassettes!), jamming around someone’s big recording deck or in the current Zoom style tech. And frankly, I would not have it any other way. It is not simply the material that I created, the songs. Much of it is about the errant noises that pop up within. The voices (in harmony) of friends long lost, either to my world or the World in general. The pure adrenaline of folks with a central purpose: bring the song to its fullest and best arrangement, which is experimentation. Even the sound of my own voice (which I think anyone who knows me recognizes I love dearly). My youth, my growly screaming youth into my smooth Rock Croon I wear these later days.

Pictures exist but beauty (and memory) fade. Records exist but considering I have put out about 6 records and have written hundreds of songs, some songs get forgotten. And then remembered due to these infancy tracks of a melodies first steps. I have never kept a diary but can track my emotional growth…then backslide into stoned bellowing…then a bit more emotional growth…. then a deep slide into shallow Rock and Roll (the best kind) followed by….now.

If you are a songwriter, you know exactly what I mean.

I recognize that the aural quality is rarely releasable. I just don’t care. Life is short.

Which brings us to tonight’s track ‘Gods In The Garden’. A Practice Tape featuring me, Julie Kay on cello and Jack Adanti on shaky & beaty things.

A song I wrote and did not think much about. Maybe because it was a love song and I was being dark this past few years. Maybe cause I could not identify where it came from within me and it felt like an interloper. JikiJikiJa probably has not played this song since this recording.

Till I found this recording…and whatever damage I had related to this song faded. Perhaps cause I am not as dark as I used to be. Maybe cause I can truly relate with it now on a far deeper level.

Give it a listen. Let me know what you think. I would apologize about the bass frequencies but…. Life is short.

Gods In The Garden

It Blooms in November
Its a challenge to the senses
It opens in the rain, all spice and incense
And I fall too, I fall into you
I press every petal
Drop to my knees, let the day begin

And the days have collected bled of meaning
Except a taste I never lose that haunts my evenings
I carry ghosts hid in deep embraces
The Rabbit runs, The Wolf chases

And in the Garden lay Eden. And in the carpet we play
Between cloud and field
We are revealed
By the will of The Gods Of The Garden

And it beams bright in the grey, it sneers at the season
I feel it ever day Its beyond reason
Its beyond treason
I cant pretend it dint matter
That mirror that saw us true…it never shattered

And in the Garden lay Eden. And in the carpet we play
Between cloud and field
We are revealed
By the will of The Gods Of The Garden

1200px-Compactcassette

Is Distraction Contagious?

I have things to do. I am very important.

I have a record to record. And a spaceship to acquire. A set to write (for next week’s Wandering Uterus show at Mac 650 on Main Street Middletown, CT! Ahem).

Busy, busy boy. So why can’t I do any of it while I trip away the day reading about Fyre Fest?

At first I thought I was having a mental block. After further thought, I believe it is your fault. Yup. Allllll you. It’s a social issue clearly as I am the tippy top of mental health. Right? Right (answer the voices back).

Distraction. Where is was often a much used word, it is now a craze. It is muttered at screens and speakers, responsible for late arrivals. Conversations about the distractions we deal with personally and communally become conversations that distract us from what we should be doing. Which is…living, I guess. Playing in the flowers and fishing and shit.

You see it clearly at play in the White House, and I wonder if we will ever not fall for it.

We LOVE to outraged. The GALL of whatever impossible stupidity that gets spoken aloud. And we can not help but take the bait. We whisper ‘distraction’ beneath our breath and then weigh into the ridiculous debate that really never deserved to be debated.

As we speak and get all self righteous, a much more malignant and meaningful monster slips in the door. Or a much more important bit of evidence gets lost in the fray about if the president knows much about history. (He doesn’t but this is not new information).

So it is Trumps fault? My personal distraction? I wish. (Remember. It is your fault)

No. It is deeper. And maybe even more ugly.

Why was Fyre Fest such a media event. It is the same reason Trump was elected. We want people taken down a few pegs. That is Leaf and Right.

People who voted for Trump wanted to ‘drain the swamp’. Too many people of power pulling power moves. So they voted a new cast of snivelers in their seats. They found the optimism that the country operated with unrealistic. And cut their won throats doing it. Bummer, since healthcare…..Etc.

Now the Resistance rises up and burns down everything Trump says or attempts to say. Like he is not a stooge, a patsy. They talk about how outrageous and sad it is (which…it is.) and miss the mark about what to do about it. I won’t pick a side. I clearly have already picked a side.

But then… Fyre Fest. It is a haters dream team. First it involves Ja Rule, who really does suck. And privileged rich white kids playing God with no concept of how that usually ends up (I am speaking of the organizers) and pictures from the scene of sad rich kids looking a bit nervous (I am now speaking of the attendants). A $100 Million dollar lawsuit. A lot of indie types weighing in on the ‘We knew it would be like this’ side. Horror and heartbreak (OK, not really) and recriminations from the Bahama Tourism Board.

How can you not dig into that? Whatever your lifespan, and whoever you choose to follow that span with, that’s good mental eatin’! Cause we allllll hate rich people, right? Yeah!

It’s a different disaster from our daily disasters and variety is the spice of life. Wisconsin loves Fyre Fest. As does Texas and Massachusetts. We all like big failures we are not responsible for.

It puts things in perspective.

It talks about what’s important.

Us.

Fuck. Wasn’t I supposed to do something? Fuck.

hqdefault

Keep Your Friends Close. F&#k Your Enemies

I am rich with poverty and poor in everything else, but i do have my treasures, my precious things, I have a cabal of weirdos and free thinkers flanking me who I call friends.

And I don’t pretend that plural is toooo plural: they number few and are rare finds like a flea market Rolex.I trade quantity for anxiety. Gladly.

Despite this haberdashin’ prose, I am a cartoon curmudgeon. I am that slightly cool slightly angry character writ into a million sitcoms:

I’m good with quick funny line, but don’t hug me cause I have issues. I am poorly written in the flesh.

In order to realllly ‘get me’ (and as proven by Facebook, few are interested in that investment) you need put me in the proper setting. Caffeine’d up. Not terribly straight. Steered into subjects I can speak too (music, relationships, the sad state of horror) and given the freedom of enough rope to hang, I will pontificate and perform naturally. I will be funny and something close to charming. I speak and rant till the words just spin around me and I feel myself lift from the ground (note: not terribly straight at all).

And my friends are similarly wired. Each has a windmill to tilt at. Each has a strong opinion on things and will, state it with grace and humor.

Certain friends will spin along with you, on their own separate trail of destruction (or construction if your feeling generous) and the effect is two separate conversations lost in the sound of spinning…but every advice gets through, every question gets answered, in an almost natural cadence of osmosis.

Its a hard trick. But if you work these mechanics long enough, its the only way to fly. It’s a new language. Its real flesh and mind interconnections, quicker than digital, more stable than Plymouth Rock.

Ultimately this is about freedom. We don’t choose where we were born from but we choose where we really live.

And today….I wish these things to you all. We can all be millionaires even after the money is nothing but colored paper.

Keep your friends close. Fuck your enemies.
3008685