A Curmudgeon’s Guide to The Apocalypse

Hello Beautiful. Yes, you. Hi ya doing, Sweetness? Since everyone is either pairing up or bachelor’ng up till the storm passes, I assume we can be a bit more…intimate. Right? Yes? Ja?

Ja.

But maybe a bit of foreplay? Aww shucks, for you Kitten, anything. I know you can’t get enough of my blathering on like my opinion matters to anyone, so…this is for you, Hot Stuff:

I am a man before my time. I am version 5 of the model (of Man). I see the future and is the future.

I am The Omega Man. And guess what? So are you.

I was Social Distancing before it was all the rage.

Do you think I did NOT want to come to your gig / wedding / rescue? No, Sugar, I was training. For this.

Do you think it is easy walking around this brain with all of there genius thoughts and not near enough people to inflict them on? I had to wait.

It was a dream I had (that’s a lie; I don’t dream) that there would come a time when the whole world would see the appeal of the Curmudgeon. And now they line up at my door. Which I will never, ever open.

The very concept I hear tell of is how people need social interaction and are willing to risk their health to get it. The idea that restaurants and bars and casinos will close due to virus.

Yes, we are in the first 20 minutes of every zombie movie ever.

So since I’m all skilled and such and doing the Solitary thing, I offer some advice to those over grown with Social Engagements:

  • The Internet. The Internet gives madness and takes away sanity. Plus cat pix. But consider this: if you hear a guy in the park screaming about the coming Apocalypse, I don’t think you would take that as a viable news source. Now consider if you don’t see the park, don’t see the stool he stands on. Is he more viable? Now give him a Twitter. My point is people spread disinformation. Its not our fault, it’s fun! Do it! Do it now! The Earth is flat, Bigfoot exists, Wheeee!
  • Activities. What we rarely get is a place where the World stops and we have the chance to try something we never have. Like meditation or meth. What we have hear is a global pause button engaged. So what have you always wanted to do? You have a few weeks, maybe months, so turn off the TV and Make It Motherfucking So.
  • Go outside. Listen…I know. Outside is scary. But they have cool stuff out there. Sun (occasionally). Trees (a lot of those bastards). Grass (not yet). Consider this a time slip. You have gone back in time 200 years…or forward 1200…either way, no one is around. Skinny dip? Yes. Skinny BBQ? Yes. Skinny ride home? Sure.
  • Think Big. As noted, the World doesn’t stop for us very often. But here we are. So what new windmill will you be taking on? This is a freaky time. Aim high. But stay low.

Lets make the most of this Apocalypse. Yes, we will one day look back at this and think ‘What a time…’

…. or we won’t, whatever. Regardless…the Future Goes This Way ————>

The Eccentric JpK and The Spring Of Zen

By means of update on your author, I’ll say this: I was a rambling eccentric with a record coming out some season. Now I’m a rambling eccentric with a record coming out in weeks.

 

 Oh, and I’m an eccentric apparently.
It was mentioned by a dear friend. Spoken as a foregone conclusion so I knew it was true. And as I considered a response, a retort, a damning of this accusation, a how-dare-you style big over response (which i excel at cause I’m an eccentric), I found I had nothing. Like my brain spoke up and said ‘got a point…’.

ec·cen·tric

ikˈsentrik/

adjective

  1. 1. (of a person or their behavior) unconventional and slightly strange.

Well….OK. I would say ‘particular’. But how does one know when they rode off the road of colorful and are listening to the rumble strip of the unknown. Being eccentric in some way feels likes its a gateway phrase. You’re not right, but your not particularly dangerous. How does one know?

A dear friend mentions it. Right. With that conclusion-y tone.

Anyway. It’s time. Welcome to the Spring Of Zen. Everything over the course of this past year and change….from the end of Grimm to the beginning of my personal walkabout….from the opening lines of the new record to the final mastering… it all leads to this spring. Where we take my very soul and see what it’s worth on the market. I’m ready.

A soul gets cocky if you don’t threaten to sell it every once in a while.

These are the events that bring us here:
  • I fell in Love and I got my heart broke. Particularly galling since I am such and expert on the framing and phrasing of Love. Or thought I was. Until.
  • My band fell apart. OK, self imploded. CC is a nightmare.
  • Which was timely since the material I was now writing was deeper and personal than anything I’ve done. And I knew I had to sing them.
  • And started working with the wind beneath my black beating wings, Julie Kay, Cello.

And this was where it got deep. When I brought these songs out and we played them in a duo style, a sound came from it that was hushed and powerful, but equally raucous.

My expectation….following the traditional wisdom of art and creation and marketing of such things…was to create a vaguely middle of the road type record, something that takes songs over my career and records in their most sell-able state. Bass and drums and guest spots.

 

But first….Julie Kay and Me, and it changed all my directions. The dynamic between the plucked cello and acoustic, between the lyric and the weighty space a duo arrangement leaves took on an almost ‘Astral Weeks’ intimacy. And I’m all about that freaking record.

 

The fact is….in my personal listening tastes….little I listen to is that traditional. I like weird singers with brill lyrics and POV’s that take thought. I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats. (Not true, but not far from false). So why make a middle of the road record when I wouldn’t buy one?

 

Now back to bullet point. I’m a formatting nightmare.

  • My goal was to record this growing record as a concept record exploring loss, in all 31 flavors. It was therapy to start with, but gained mass as it grew. It was a narrative, my story about The Girl, but the songs cut deeper and revealed things I never said out loud. And it became clear to me that what I was creating wasn’t simply a unit to shift. It was a first aid kit for the self obsessed at times of heartbreak. And I know I’m not the only one.
  • So I decided to cash in a Christmas bonus on a 32 track digital and write my Great American Novel. I knew the sound I was chasing.
  • But I also have talented friends. I asked, cajoled, and requested ex Citizen Spy picker Adam Hagymasi to have us record the duo arrangement for half the record and let him add whatever he thinks is appropriate in his private studio. And he did, in spades. He created something beautiful and engaging and that rocks too. I’m excited, too excited, to share that.
  • And to keep it true and faithful, I brought Dave Hogan in to add some vocals and guitars. He came ready to play. The effect of the ebow, balanced against the cello, makes a sound that makes me spastic with bliss.

Four players. 16 songs. 18 months. I’m not convinced the 4 of us have ever been in the same room before.

 

 So Welcome To The Spring Of Zen.  Eccentric approved. The new record ‘The Zen Of Losing’ by Jason P. Krug will be out by April 1st.

My next blog will be an exploration of a song on the record, where it came from, or just an anecdote related. It’s a process for me, a personal organization,  that I will share publicly. To personally remind me how I got here. And that’s ‘The Girl’.

 

 The Future Goes This Way —————>

Join Me.

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The Nu Spiritualism: Indie Music Marketing

The thought came to mind while watching the apple music commercial. Clarity. I am being marketed too as a creative artist with something to say, even in this glut of like minded folks.

Like you. And you.

And why shouldn’t I be marketed too? I spend money (or consider at least ) on books and websites to connect me to the largest audience possible to hear my songs.

And I realize that my decision making on where to put myself virtually is knitted together texts of faith and angle, something that gives a small advantage. Cause it’s the wild west out there. No one has a clue and the maze reconfigures monthly.

And it brings me to the spiritualist movement of the late 1800s all of knocking tables and ectoplasm. People went crazy for trying to reach across the veil and commune with the dead. And for every request, new technologies of bad science and melodrama were devised to refine ones access to the beyond.

I won’t be so cynical as to use the idea 9f snake oil salesmen. I do believe every new online music platform or least starts with real belief. It’s simply were cynical creatures. When some one sees a need, someone else needs profit from it.

Consider how we got here. The desire to share music among friends via Napster. In it’s design, it wasn’t created to upset the apple cart. It just did.

So pick your poison: seance or EPK? Spirit photos or the dream of going viral on YouTube? Tarot cards or download cards? Ancient texts or Twitter?

Whatever your choices, pack an extra thing in your ole’ kit bag: Belief.

Belief confounds the Improbable.

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The Zen Menu – The JK’s at Klekolo World Coffee

I’ve made much hulla and some baloo about my love and appreciation of Klekolo World Coffee (https://jasonpkrug.com/2015/03/26/when-klekolo-was-the-center-of-the-universe-2/), the home of my spiritual rebirth and purveyors of fine bean. So it seems only right that one of our rare gigs (Julie Kay and Myself, of course) is at this very place. And yes , on this very day.

And we’re bringing something special tonight. A taste of a harvest meal upcoming.

Since The Grimm Generation went on super secret hiatus, I started crafting songs about loss. Conceptual. Very real. And a record was born. Still cooking with our top scientists working on it (Hi Adam!). So what we have here is a preview of whats to come. Played live in one set. Acoustic voice and stompy foot. Cello sensuality in pluck and box. Lyric driven, image laden. We’re coming from and for the heart.

So as a delectable aperitif, the set, as it will be played tonight at 7:00 PM at Klekolo World Coffee, Court St in the grand old dame of Middletown.

For your consideration…

‘Push Play’ – ‘…whats so special about you?’
‘Twin Twisters’ – ‘…As good an epitath as any for us…’
‘Hidden Lake Smells Like Gunpowder’ – ‘There’s not enough medicine to make me feel. And EVERYTHING is medicine…’
‘Determined To Fail’ – ‘…past the cracked cross of the Evangelical warehouse’
‘Last Leaves To Fall’ – ‘… These nights, they expire. All hope. All desire…’
‘Your Body Betrays You’ – ‘… have I got your attention?’
‘Lush’ – ‘… As we wind together like vines, we bear fruit in this unbearable heat…’
‘Last Days Of Rome’ – ‘… And we squandered what we were given. It wasn’t healthy, but it was Home…’
‘Ring It Out’ – ‘I’m a bad liar. I won’t hide it. You fill me up and I get drunk with it…’
‘Believe In Me’ – ‘astral are just pricks in the dark’
‘Nu Constellations’ – ‘… aren’t we done with all the gravity of old reputations?’
‘Cut Down The Moon’ – ‘…a war was fought. No one knew….’
‘Outloud’ – ‘If you want to love me, you can love me.’
‘The Boy King’ – ‘the allure of the utter wreck, The Boy King takes another sip…’
‘Saving Grace’ – ‘…It’s intimate. But a different kind…’
‘I’ve Never Been Here Before’ – ‘I kicked some friends when they were down. I kicked up dust till I cracked the ground’
‘The End Of Mystery’ – ‘… Regards unopened, ghosts in the wire. The songs stay unwritten, nasty looks from the choir…’

And plus, paying respects to where we came from…

‘Bigger Than’ (The Grimm Generation) – ‘All my sad songs are about you now.’
‘St Joan (Of Rt 495)’ – ‘Cops are scary’

Please join us for a live viewing of the upcoming album ‘The Zen Of Losing’ as performed by Jason P. Krug (vocals, guitar) and Julie Kay (cello) at Klekolo World Coffee, Court St in Middletown, 7:00 pm sharp.

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Brush Your Death 100 Times A Day

After a brief period of death and resurrection (I should note that I neither died nor was resurrected. I do tend to be dramatic ) I have come out the other side of this mortality wormhole with knowledge. Well….not knowledge. ….let’s call them paranoia based lessons to live by. Or die by. Whatevs.

1) when we get sick, we go into Safe Mode. All higher functions miss the Start menu and you lose all ability to color your world or place your self in the frame. It’s hard to consider the Great American Novel when your your thoughts go into rogue survival mode. It’s ok.

2) freedom of choice drives everybody crazy…..to paraphrase X. And without the ability to appropriately focus on my entertainment choices, I let go and listened to satellite radio. That’s my version of giving up. And though I understand the appeal of new music discovery, I found the content was too light, too repetitive. It was good for my distracted state, but what does that say? Is the fear that if we get overly engaged we will drive into the ocean over and over?

3) life is precious. But precious things are by their nature dull. Live agressive.

4) if you survive, show off. Go public. Maybe plan a date to show off how alive you are with a dear cello playing friend. (Klekolo, August 18th @ 7:00 pm)

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Your Parents Did It To Aerosmith

…And of course that makes sense, now. Here in the future (where you and I will spend the rest of our lives…). Cause look at them. Your parents, I mean.

Older and out of touch. With a ton of stories you will never hear from their lips. Good ones. Maybe a bit too much eye liner to combat the clock. Maybe Dad releases a country themed single to capture the market that he never knew existed till some Desmond Child’ish creation said ‘Hey Dad! Cornpone is the new black!’.

You listen to this decades Aerosmith and consider your folks and think ‘sure. I can see that. My parents are lame. Of course they would copulate to soundtrack music’.

And sometimes it takes a dude on a coffee buzz to adopt the Lester Bangs style of ‘wise’nd old coot’ to tell you the truth. And it may make you a bit uncomfortable hearing it. But that’s my job ….. no, jobs pay something….my calling. Yeah.

Here’s the truth: Aerosmith was once the coolest band on the planet. And your mom ran around like a tramp. And your dad followed her like a dog. God Bless America.

It’s is easy to forget….no…it is IMPOSSIBLE to remember how great 70’s Azimuth was. Not simply as ‘The USA’s Rolling Stones’ but the real skill, the real composition of a great Rock and Roll band, in every form. Live, studio, drug fueled exploits, models, childish inter-band turmoil (cause to be a Rock Star is to adopt teen hood as a lifestyle. And teens is dumb).

(Except you. Your special).

They wrote big hits, even then. ‘Dream On’ right out of the gate. ‘Mama Kin’ on that same debut record. But they really got interesting with their sophomore ‘Get Your Wings’. I suggest you go to the library (just kidding, kid)….I mean hit YouTube and find it and listen all the way down from tip to tail.

What you will note is that in the space of 2 records, they went from the blues based Boston band done good to something that started a whole new page in the Book Of Rock and Roll. ‘Lord Of The Thighs’ is page 1. I always wondered if this was Steven’s lil’ jab at the darker more Sabbath’y band of the era with that title, substituting ‘Your Thighs’ for ‘Of This World’. Alas, we will never know since Steven has clearly gone mad with syphilis and the drugs to treat syphilis (I’d like to direct the court attention to exhibit A, American Idol’…).

Aerosmith was firing on all cylinders at this point and continued with ‘Toys In The Attic’ and ‘Rocks’ and, in my opinion, deserve every blood red penny they make and throw at their butlers now based on this work.

The key to Aerosmith to me personally was always Steven Tyler and his incredible, indecipherable, single entendre lyrics and delivery of them. Tongue twisting, brilliant use of phrasing and rhyme. Really, the very first white rapper.

And his focus, which was always sex, girls, sex with girls, drugged sex with girls, sex with druggy girls. He elevated what could be considered a marginal (though fun sounding) life into real degenerate poetry. And had the voice, the linguist genius to wrap these images into unconscious on the beat jags that you find yourself singing at the most inappropriate times.

And why? Because they were young and did it like they wanted.

Like your parents. Who did it standing up. Listening to ‘Seasons Of Whither’.

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See The Boss Pedal, Be The Boss Pedal: An Argument For Digital Effects In Normal Conversation

As a clear sign that I have been driven mad, I have permanently effected the affects of this particular medulla oblogata with my recording within Dante’s digital pit, I have come to the realization that digital effects are not just for music.

Furthermore, I need to make a miracle machine (which is tricky as the dog ate my engineering degree) that puts digital effects where they belong: conversations. This may require we all walk around with permanent earphones on to get the effect (big and fat), but what are words worth? They are worthless unless you can EQ them to a listenable form and then blast them through BIG reverbs.

Effects will be the new punctuation. They will say. When I create the machine. I will be hailed as yet another distraction (like iphones and Instagram and insulin) that is keeping us from becoming the species we should be, in our most perfect and docile form.

Dull. Dullllllll. Im So Bored with your plain, simply heard speeches. Do me a favor…ask me that in Flanger. Phase me, baby.

Consider how it can really emphasize the conversations you are already having?

Don’t you feel cheated when you are angry and yell at someone and it simply dissipates? Try that with a big hall reverb. Now THATS angry and impossible to ignore.

What about ordinary dull conversations with people in the grocery line? Slip in some Digital Delay…and slowly build it, so your words leave your mouth and are suddenly bouncing, bouncing everywhere, every direction, every corner and crevice of the subconcious till theres no option for anyone but to turn away and look at the Star or People Magazine.

Late night and early morning? Need to talk to people but your too wasted to form words? Compression. Everything you say will have more impact, even if that statement is ‘I’m sorry I dropped the ball on the Perkins account.’. Your manager can only admire your honesty, forthrightness and deep sonorous tones. And this is how you get a promotion.

Tryin to explain away a prior bad act? Speak clearly through a Heavy Metal distortion. Raise the gain. Speak slowly and stare directly into their eyes and watch as they get confused, a little sad and go away.

Need a lil pickup in the bedroom? Ladies love a good Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, brother. Get all Issac Hayes and shit and lay it down.

My point being that we short change ourselves in terms of appropriate dramatics. Sometimes it takes a bit o’ science.

The REAL point being this record is killing me.

(dictated but not read in Vibrato)

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The Fifth Horseman: Playlists

What is an album?

For the sake of clarity, Ill put a definition on it: approximately 45 minutes of a single artist or group of artists (or ‘band’ as the kids call them today)whose intent is to capture your attention, imagination and share some personal POV’s….or big comic book epic’s about Norse Mythology, whatever.

The expectation was that if you can create a ‘single’, a pop length taste with hooks and ‘legs’ (thats Hollywood talk I’m just misappropriating) then that would serve as bait for you to buy a Long Player. And take a trip inside the mind of the artist.

There’s a certain level of bait and switch in 85% of these releases. We have all bought a record based on a single and came away disappointed. I don’t believe there’s any guile attached to this. It’s only natural to lead with your strongest move, and if you could dance to it, all’s the better.

It’s craft. It’s musicians giving you what you want….but adding in their own acts of personal exploration and musework. And all it costs is 45 minutes of your time. A worthy investment…if the album doesn’t suck.

What is a playlist?

A playlist is a bait buffet. All killer, no filler. No single artist, songs based on moods or holidays or just for kicks. Some playlists capture a time they were created and always bring you to that point. The songs act as photographs reminding you that you of forlorn summer or that you once loved Terrence Trent Darby.

In a sense, you become the artist. You create the moods, call the causes and use your own sense of what works using others work. You mix era’s and genre’s, speeds and volumes based on whatever you feel like. Why make ‘Blood On The Tracks’ when you can create ‘Divorce Playlist Volume 1′?

When we discuss whats destroying the Music Business, let’s call it for what it is: Freedom. The freedom of the listener to cull through the history or recorded music and pick the particular tastes they savor. It is creation. It’s imaginary radio where you are the DJ, the sponsor and audience.

As a recording artist, it is a frustration. As someone angling for that 45 minutes of your time, it’s another obstacle. Another distraction in an increasingly distractable world.

What happened is music making moved beyond the music makers and became the trade of anyone inclined. This is progress. This is new.

And the one thing Playlists offer is discovery. You can find sounds you never heard before but love as much as your ole’ Ian Hunter records. Carefully cultivated and collected in a thematic list.

Spotify is not the problem. Nor Apple Music. YouTube. It’s freedom of choice that buggers us. So we must stop freedom of choice at all costs. Individuals deciding for themselves has made this world sick and shallow.

Do I believe that? Sometimes, yes. Is it true? Yup. The war between being a fan and an artist too is harrrrrd.

As for me….well, I write singles.

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Free To Be Freaky: In Praise Of They Might Be Giants

My Fellow Americans.

I’ve come to you today to discuss the meaning of true Independence. In its most effective form. I am here to praise the American Weirdo.

For I have known them. I have sang their songs, eyes closed, every lyric accurate.

I have clapped and stomped for returning weirdo heroes. I have waved flags and pledged allegiance with simple slogans like ‘Everybody dies frustrated and sad and THAT is beautiful’ or ‘I’ve built a little empire out of some crazy garbage called the blood of the exploited working-class’.

I have seen great mobs of people from every conceivable age, race, religion come together and jump at once to the sound of accordion and large, miked stomping stick.

The uniform they wore was a huge giddy smile. Everyone of them.

For I have been to a They Might Be Giants show.

If you create something that is completely original, wholly unique, a true extension of your weirdo nature, a couple of actions are expected.

1) you alienate everyone
2) the few you don’t freak out are your audience. Cater to them. Water them, watch them grow.

And as you challenge the existing system we call The Music Business, you don’t settle for acceptance. You aspire to more. You create free phone songs and truly groundbreaking videos that quietly kickstart ‘alternative music’ a decade before the term was coined.

And you keep your eyes on the prize. Be good to your audience, give to them fully, freely. Let your enthusiasm, your absolute freak-muse, infect the people.

And keep working. Let the land rise to meet you. These connections will gain there own space and invite you in. And these shoulders will carry you into the wider culture.

But the culture is fleeting. To attempt to capture the culture is to bore the culture. The culture only desires the things that no longer need it.

So be not distracted. And start touring with a horn section cause the opportunity allows.

And you succeed. You become that invaluable element in so many lives. You do it well, and your odd peeps will teach their children using your words, your sounds, your bizarre character.

It’s a truly American story in it’s purity and hope. And how hard work and weird ideas can be a commodity. And it is as true now as ever.

This 4th of July, celebrate appropriately. Put on a big fake prosthetic fore head to cover up your real head. And grab a guitar and sing a verse of ‘Alienation Is For The Rich’ and see who sings along.

Weirdo.

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Cool Cousins Bring You YesSongs

The winds raises the dandelion seeds, a perfect marriage of force and natural aerodynamics. And brings you a yard full of weeds. The rain brings you mud and deepening soil and you check the radio which brings you the weather. And you bring your boots out today.

And cool older cousins bring you YesSongs and let your adolescent self play among the covers, the Roger Dean Universe, let you wonder at the 8 foot by 6 foot poster that could only fit on the ceiling of a suburban cool cousin bedroom. They let you borrow this record while they go about with their cool friends, tasting all the fruit the decade of the 70’s had to offer. Things I came to recognize as that decade was reconstituted and re-imagnined into ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘That 70’s Show’. And Stoner Rock.

Cool Cousins who took the time to treat you nicely, like family, and share with you. Whose natural excitement and nature would have them talk to you like an adult though you were far from one? And you appreciated it.

Cool cousins who drop the needle on side one and introduce you to your first real taste of classical music ‘Firebird Suite’ as it evolves / dissolves into ‘Siberian Khatru,’ a multilayered bit of beauty that leads into what first really nailed me about Yes. It wasn’t the musicians expertise and resume. It wasn’t the lyrics which (and I know every one) but are at best vague.

It was…and is…that incredible ability to create melodies via counter point vocals. The harmonies, the arrangements, still confound me. And thrill me, drive me.And make me try harder.

This moment:

Even Siberia goes through the motions
Hold out and hold up
Hold down the window
(Outbound, river)
Hold out the mornin’ that comes into view
(Blue tail, tail fly)
River runnin’ right on over my head

Vocals completely counter to each other start a conversation, a word art piece. Though the words themselves becomes sounds, notes. Playing between counter points and true strong harmony, sometimes within a single line. As I have grown old, I recognize others used these games methods, first that comes to mind is Simon and Garfunkel. I don’t believe anyone arranged their vocal harmonies as carefully as Yes did, and it’s something that I think went over looked in the list of reasons why Yes was genuinely an important band.

And this style, these vocals ….. This whole Universe…… started with Chris. Find some old bit of YesStory or YesShows on YouTube and watch that motherfucker work.

And the carefree friends of Cool Cousins come to bad ends. And Cool Cousins did too.

And Yes takes on a greater personal significance. It’s no longer a band on a label, during a time you were barely alive for. It becomes the stuff of personal folklore. There’s lessons within each side, memories trapped within each song,

So I mourn this day. I don’t mourn Chris Squire, though he was a true hero of mine.

I mourn my cool cousin David Santone. RIP.

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