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 ————>

Testing 1…2….Testing 1…2

Happy New Year, ya filthy bustards (it’s a type of bird and now I have taught you something).

I am a simple machine. I am the definition of sanity in so much as I do the same things over and over and make them fly.

Did I get that right? No, I did not.

So here we are at the precipice of what started this blog in the first place. If you are not aware what that means, start at the first Blog and wit till you get here.

I’ll wait. Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo. Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo.

(Sing along at home! the words are Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo…..)

Done? Sweet.

So here I am home recording a record. A theme record. Even a concept record though the concept is loose and filled with holes. So theme.

As you can recall from just rereading every Blog I produced (you did, right? Right?? RIGHT????) that this Blog came about to take my mind off of making a record. It was a heavy record for me, emotionally, not sonically.

And when I did what people of my ilk do (record a heartbreak record and hide for three years), it was satisfying. A good record too. I’m proud of it. I had one goal for that record: I wanted someone to hear it and understand the wild weeds of how I really felt, I wanted to help someone, to let someone know that they were not alone. And I did get that.

And I should have made the goal mansions and brand new cars. Live and learn.

And then I sunk into the luxury of living a good life. I’m dumb but quite happy. She makes my planet spin and also plays a mean piano.

I always felt my own misery was my muse. I feel like I found myself in situations which would make me miserable and then all the good words flow out. It works too.

At what point though do you need to drive that particular muse to a bus stop and let them go? (See.. that is JpK fun cause a lot of that record was written on busses. I’m so fun. Look it at me. I’m fun.)

Fun.

Anyway…. Right, New Years Misery. Got it.

And by reading this you recognize that this whole process starts again. I did not create this blog as a marketing tool. Though should have. Its medicine.

And here we go again. New record that I have been sitting on has started recording, and again in a similar format to the last: obsession and excess headphone equalizing.

And when I follow myself up that path up my own bum, I will come here and complain, cajole, or worship.

Come on along.

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’.

aerosmith1972

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)

BOSS-Pedal-Wall

Crap Rises To The Top: News Edition

Are you an idiot? Am I? How about that dude? Is he?

It starts as an entertainment and creases its way into the general culture. It corrupts the culture and bleeds into mechanics of the machine, money and politics. And someone brings a camera and exposes it….and markets this discovery to the culture who allowed it, and we eat it up with a spoon.

All the while, we think we’re being ironic. But I think we just may be idiots. Cause we created Donald Trump…or allowed him to be created. That’s on our dime.

Let’s start here: News. We have a bunch of 24/7 news services, each with their own agenda, their own voices that multiply to true rabble. And despite the fact that it’s a big ole’ World, and their can be enough news to fill these spaces, that’s not what we get. We get one hour of news reported 24 times. And to fill that time, analysis by the endless parade of authors who just released unreadable (read? Like the color?) books on point of these superfluous non stories.

I have a news ticker at my job. Weather, ads, news ticker. A few weeks ago, this was featured:
‘Gwyneth Paltrow missed the recent Award Show to spend time with her daughter Apple’.
wtf. This is barely a factoid, and of no interest to anyone but her publicist and child. And I think the child is to young to read it, the publicist to far from CT to see it. So,….if this for me? Should I call her and thank her? Maybe send fruit?

 

As a brainwashing technique, a previous job always played CNBC, which if financial news. And what I noticed was that they turned the Stock Market news, traditionally rather dry…and deadly, if its bad news…and turned in into ESPN. Colorful loud hosts, big graphics, lots of colors and feigned excitement. Which says a few things:

1) Financial news is sports for people to shallow and bright for sports.

2) Not a lot of woman are watching.

Despite the fact that what they report genuinely effects us, even if in a years time (a single year are is new decade, haven’t ya heard?), they spoon feed us like Saturday Morning sugar cereal commercials feed Saturday Morning kids.

And let us all remember Brian Williams, who has been tore down based on lying on his resume. How can lying on your resume be a sin when you gig is lying?

Let our true Statesman finish this for me. Ladies and Gentleman, Billy Bragg.

And remember, your not an idiot. That dude may be.
It says here that the Unions will never learn
It says here that the economy is on the upturn
And it says here we should be proud
That we are free
And our free press reflects our democracy

Those braying voices on the right of the House
Are echoed down the Street of Shame
Where politics mix with bingo and tits
In a strictly money and numbers game

Where they offer you a feature
On stockings and suspenders
Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

It says here that this year’s prince is born
It says here do you ever wish
That you were better informed
And it says here that we can only stop the rot
With a large dose of Law and Order
And a touch of the short sharp shock

If this does not reflect your view you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they’d rather you believe
In Coronation Street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement
Of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress

When you wake up to the fact
That your paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

Al-Roker

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.

Fifth-Horseman-head

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.

gia

Cock Rock Cage Match: Jonathan Richman VS Bad Company

It is a too rare treat to discover something unknown that completely confounds and compels you. Not something that you understand, not something that is reminiscent of some greater Universal work that you have loved all your known life. Not a genre or movement or draw on your hipster gland (‘this was made for US. THEY don’t get it’).

Something that steps into your head, pops the top and rearranges the contents until it fits. And starts subtly changing the definitions, the limits, of an art form. Personally, if not globally.

Something beamed in from some alternate dimension that was watered and fed on the culture your part of. But the zipper shows up the rubber monsters back. That’s not a regular monster. Not the monsters we’ve come to expect.

And where others get these particular kicks in deeper, darker LSD infused fugues, I opt for a more simplistic mind blowing. Make mine a Jonathan.

I never saw ‘There’s Something About Mary’. I never invested time in discovering The Modern Lovers. So I was completely unprepared.

With my first listen to Jonathan Richman, via a single dollar find at a flea, I was….uncomfortable. It’s hard to describe why. It’s almost felt like I shouldn’t be listening to this as a heterosexual male. It was effeminate. It was light and spare and the singing sounded like a joke. And the songs were simple and dumb.

Problem is I couldn’t stop listening. Morning, noon and night, that record became my constant companion. I wasn’t aware how much I was enjoying it; it was more akin to liturgical study. There’ was a great mystery within these songs. A personal X File.

I understood why I liked it. He is a walking history of Pop music as art form. Whether accurately describing, influence and actual sound of the ‘Fender Stratocaster’, or liberally borrowing everything in the American Rock and Roll canon for ‘Parties in The USA’, I recognized him as someone whose simplicity belied a truth, maybe a nostalgic truth, but still a truth.

And the arrangements he chose to work in were pure JpK bait. Spare, fat electric or thin electric, snare drum, maybe a bass. Some grand doo wop harmonies. I like my listening music to have lots of space for interpretation; let me make the melodies in my head, whether lyrical or musical. That way it’s a shared sport.

It is a universal truth and not one I’m the first to mention: the awesomeness of a rock and roll song is directly related to the number of instruments on it. Too many instruments, you are left to ride along. Too few instruments is like a Chinese fire drill. Everyone drives. Interactive and anonymous kicks. Good for everyone.

But….it took me a while to get here. Cause at first listen to Jonathan Richman, I could only think of Fred Schneider. In time, I came to love and admire the B-52’s, but that was not my first reaction. No. My first reaction to hearing the B-52’s was to take the tape out of the player (not my tape, nor my car) and whip it out the speeding cars’ window. But I was a kid. One expects to have such knee jerk reactions to alternative lifestyles at that age. Kids are dumb.

Which made my reaction to Jonathan Richman more….concerning. Cause I have evolved far beyond teens (I tell myself) and an adult isn’t allowed to have such juvenile reactions to things different. Not if they are NOT an asshole.

If you still believe all the things you did at 14 in the decade of 40’s, you may be an asshole. Ask someone you know. They will likely be honest, asshole.

And as usually happens, my immediate, visceral reaction revealed far more about me than the work of Jonathan Richman. Cause Jonathan is a man who loves woman. I would say he is right there with Paul Rodgers in terms of He Man chick slaying. Except in place of the scads of ex Zep groupies Paul dropped his bell bottoms for, I imagine that Jonathan had one woman he wrapped his twisting libido around.

Lets take Bad Company’s ‘Feel Like Making Love’. Demanding. In the vocal, you don’t get the sense that Paul doesn’t mean ‘making love’. I picture poses and literal fireworks. He sounds demanding. The girl may want to fake it and not upset the Tarzan of Love.

Now compare that too ‘Closer’ by Richman. A song about sharing a marital bed. With Jonathan proclaiming ‘closer…closer…’. He’s not discussing a close feeling or close deep talk. He wants in. He describes the dynamic with much grinding. Perhaps some frustration on his wife’s part cause the dude never stops needing to be ‘closer’. It’s erotic and truly identifiable for any guy whose ever been married.

Compare ‘Can’t Get Enough’ from Bad Co to ‘Every Day Clothes’. Now despite Paul’s insistent ‘I take what I want. And baby, I want you.’ I’m not convinced there’s much in it for said groupie aside from a night of telling Paul ‘It’s OK. it happens to lots of Cock Rock Stars.’ It’s not that it’s unbelievable. Its just a really authentic cartoon from a hack writer.

Jonathan digs his girl in her sweats and those unimaginable over sized sweatshirts. He’s likes that jussst fine. Jonathan is a realist. He loves his woman. He doesn’t need sheer fabric to remember whats beneath those figure flattening threads. It’s on his mind con-stant-ly. Closer. Below the clothes. Closer. Between the sheets, the clothes removed. Closer.

Take ‘Rock and Roll Fantasy’ and match to ‘Monologue About Bermuda’ for a real taste of fame and life on the road. Maybe it’s cause the concepts, the ideas that Bad Company existed in became so outdated so quickly that they couldn’t see….or just didn’t care….how cute they would be some day. Limousines and record companies covering the bar bills is so quaint it might as well have an ‘Olde’ before it. And sell Maple candy.

Where in the talk piece that is ‘Monologue About Bermuda’, you get the real sense of life in a traveling band: shifting sands, new influences, frustration, boredom, anxiety. A sense you are constantly repeating yourself. Plus it’s much funnier.

But…. boys love Bad Company. Everybody loves Bad Company. They are the waffle of Rock. Who doesn’t like waffles?

Richman is more of a crepe. Even I don’t like crepes.

But…I like Jonathan. I’m OK with that.

4071

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Life As Defined By Learning The Piano

Chords. Built on notes. I don’t understand how to play the chords yet so I work my notes. It becomes muscle memory. I hear the notes meet and feel them blend, foundations.

And yet my fingers play dumb, stoned, surfer, Picillo-ied. It falls apart. The swear that follows blows ash off the keyboard and echos with plate reverb.

So it’s notes and repetition. It’s cramped, non ergonomic positions and focus. And constant Rewind – Record. Repeat.

A mountain starts with a step. A war starts with a shot. A song starts with a note, and notes get piled on: harmonic, dissonant, octave. And chords come and you have flight.

Take time from the all consuming ALL of life and get here, in front of the keys. Learn. Take effort from the act of living well or surviving adequately and work on your timing. A half beat can be your doom or breakthrough. You can’t know until you know.

It’s sunny and 75 degrees. But I cover the window to keep the constant Park Ave traffic sounds manageable. It could be midnight or 3 in the afternoon.

Learn. 1.2.3.4. Notes make chords. Chords are progress. Joy.

There is a difference though. Tween life and learning piano. You can take lessons and training for one. The other. … not.

So I work the notes. Chords, broken Baroque by accident. Maybe. Maybe fate.

Tiny steps can be big trips.

And tiny trips can be big steps.

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Lessons Best Learned Via Parasite

It is NOT a dog eat dog world. If it was, there would be many more half eaten dogs laying about. It IS a dog eat dog food world. But as axioms go, it’s a bit thin.

No, the world itself is a dog. Domesticated, generally, but still a wild creature. Unpredictable. It will greet you with slippers almost everyday. But will occasionally bite you. Hard.

No, if you want a lesson within the dog dynamic, let’s call it for what it is: you can’t find a better teacher than the tick.

This doggy world has two types of travelers: the fleas and the ticks. The fleas are not particular in their needs. They have abilities to leap into different worlds (like perhaps your needs would be best served by taking up residence on an Irish Setter?). They have no commitment to this dog in particular. They are shallow and light as air. Bright light would shine right through them.

You know fleas. They generally come up in cautionary tales. Someone who had such potential but they lacked patience. So they bounce. And they will forever bounce until their short life span ticks down. And in those last seconds they wish desperately to come back in some next life as a butterfly or a Datsun.

They lack the courage of their convictions. They bite and run. They irritate and….well, flee. And ultimately the endless fleas become a memorial roll who you barely bothered attaching names too.

Be the tick. Focused. Visceral. Get your hooks in and feed. Become part of your doggy world; let its blood flow into you, become one with it. Own it, at last. Own it. Have no fears of the cigarette end nor tweezer. When they come for you, dig in. And if you can’t stay, can’t outlast, persevere, leave something deep down to remind them of you.

Infect this world. Ride it out. Don’t let yourself be thrown away.

Do not let go. Never let go.

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High Five My Ghost, Ya’all! (Clap!)

OK, Here I am. But I’m not really here. I hear a mystery ‘click clack’ of keyboards, so I know I exist somewhere. But I’m not here.

This is my state lately. I’m a ghost in this world. I keep my obligations. I show up for appointed work schedules. This week I’ve even performed before a lovely crowd of New Haven eccentrics and held my eccentric own. All of those folks saw me live in technicolor.

But I wasn’t really there. I’m always elsewhere these days. Even as I type this, my real desire is to go find a cheap, build able sound baffle.

I’m making a record. It will be out come spring…
OK, not spring…a hot summer release….
OK, maybe not.
Fall. Definitely fall.

Writing songs, capturing moments of angst or joy, in a slow hymnal or quick yip jump fashion is my calling. And good fortune gave me a voice to sell them with and a rudimentary understanding of guitar that allows the songs to get writ.

What I wasn’t provided with was the technical way of thinking that engineers use to wring out the full potential of simple songs into hushed or clattery moments of beauty. A sense of appropriate miking techniques. A subsonic sense of hearing squeaks and bumps as they happen so they don’t haunt come the mastering. I’ve decided at this point to not only learn all this stuff, but create what I believe will be a proper representation of myself in sound, lyric and style. And one I will die defending.

If its listenable. At all.

So as you see me, shake my hand, write me and get written back, know that beneath every word is a distraction. As I provide valuable customer service at my job, I’m really trying to remember the myths associated with ‘Pet Sounds’ and doing the math to see if there is anything in them I can use.

As I drive to said job, I now travel with a coffin sized bag of Cd’s basically encompassing the history of 20th century recorded music trying to note the subtleties / similarities tween Howling Wolf and The Hold Steady.

If you see me shopping and stop me, I will appear completely corporal and present, but I’m really trying to figure out what the fuck lo-fi really means? Is it a reduction of instruments used…or using the standard set up and recording it poorly? Cause one is called ‘folk’ and the other is called ‘garbage’.

Which raises the important question: what is a quality recording?

I grew up listening to the classic 70’s records, as I was force fed classic rock via the radio. This was, in my opinion, the beginning of the Big Record Fetish. Huge monster drums and rumbly bass, cutting guitar and multitudes, many, choirs of virtual angels mixed in with church bells and congas and Moogs by the mouthful.

And this casts my memory back to the days when something called ‘Behind The Music’ was on (kids, ask yer parents) and how castles and haunted mansions, scores of weirdo hanger on’s grabbed a shaker and contributed, and how the record company paid for it all.

Till the bottom fell out mainly based on some crazy culture’s feeling that music should be free. And they freed it.

Not my point….my point is what is a good recording? The BIG records….the Zeppelin’s and Electric Ladyland’s…..the wispy drug fueled progressive records…. are not what I listen too now. And I haven’t for a long while.

What I listen to is best described as stark and minimalist. My Holy Grail, The Mountain Goats. My conscience, Vic Chesnutt. Old Leonard Cohen records. Muddy Waters on Chess. Sparklehorse

What matters to me is purity, subtlety, and this is where I’m drawn. I have no issues with the quality of the recording, the click clank of tape recorders, the shouted out ‘1,2,3,4’, the misplayed chord on a single tracked guitar. It thrills me, to fall in so deep to music, and it doesn’t matter if anyone else understands it.

So then….why do I feel the need to make a BIG record which is clearly beyond my ability and interest?

Whose approval am I subconsciously seeking? Griel Marcus? Yours?

Music is practically free. But now, so is the musician. We need not fit the suit that will make us a Superstar (Johnny Bravo style). Odds were always long and have now gone astronomical. We are free to be what we wanna be, Marlo.

I sound convincing, don’t I? Yeah.

Meanwhile …. there is beauty in creating. Even alone, confused at what to do with my Send’s and BUS’s. Hopelessly lost in my effects. I add a guide vocal for cello recording Sunday (shout out to Julie Kay! Hi Julie, see you tomorrow!) and get lost in a moment, the guitar in my headphones, I sing a sad song and connect with the lyrics I barely remember writing. It all came back to me in a flash and I remembered every injury, every wound that made this record important to me.

Make the record you want to make. Don’t over complicate it. Keep it pure and simple.

And send half your tracks to a legitimate scientist to record.

And if you see me this summer (which you likely won’t. I’m making a record), forgive my distraction, my 1000 yard stare. Pretend I’m there.

But I’m not. See you come fall.free2be

Sometime’s I Almost Feel. (In Memory Of The Attractions)

A blog on Memorial Day Weekend? Why???

Why not just write it and bury it in the ground? (Cause the geocache’ers will find it and sign there own name and let the coordinates slip).

Is it at least in some way relevant to this Holiday based on memorializing our fallen heroes? (No. Not even a little. I’ll save that for people who just MIGHT get read on Memorial Day)

Why aren’t you outside? (causes your Mama’s not. So there.)

Since I am clearly writing for an audience of one, I’m gonna throw a shout out. Hey JpK! (Hey! High Five! )

No. This ones for me. And it’s about what to me equates to the best band Rock and Roll ever produced. And I’m clearly not seeking a consensus on this.
Take a truly masterful and epic tick tock madmeister of timing, who creates big weird rhythmic Universes within simple and short A-B-AA-B-AA-B song styling, drummer to the Sultans, Pete Thomas)…

Add the quirky twin to this soulful cyborg, a bass player capable of holding down, driving on, creating weird hooky high lines (his work on ‘This Years Girl’ still operates as ‘perfect bass’ to me), a perfect touch for a kiss or a stomp, the 4 string king of suburban soul, Bruce Thomas….

Factor in musical prodigy quality music theory and farfisa based dramatics, part Leonard Bernstein, part the Che Guevara of melody, a real Mad Doctor feel and just killer imagination for turning ordinary basic songs into deeply felt cinema scene and themes, the best name in Rock and Roll, Steve Nieve…

And lead by the scurrilous, scabrous bespectacled bard of longing and liking, skilled with abilities to weave syllables into fabric that can coat poor misunderstood boys and girls, to bright for their own goods. The slash and absolute-itude of rhythm guitars, the contorting emotional cannibal originally known as Declan but upgraded, evolved, promoted into royalty, Elvis Costello.

Ladies and Gentlemen (meaning Jason), I introduce to you your favorite music if your not a dickweed, Elvis Costello and The Attractions.

I don’t expect nor care if you agree. Based on all the bootlegs a boy can buy, this was an incredible and unmatched set of lads live. On fire isn’t enough. We need discuss the atomic to get even in the ball field.

Live they combined punk fury fueled by the good ole’ days of cocaine, the beauty of listening to the appropriate amount of music from all over the planet, so the country is country, the soul is soul, the snozzleberries taste like snozzleberries. Wicked twists and turns of tight practiced over toured enthusiastic burning out and upwards.

Let’s talk Long Player records. From ‘No Action’ to ‘I Want to Vanish’ that is decades of brilliant adult themed pop music. And each record has a different feel, a different sound, but is corralled by Elvis’s spit phrasing and Steve’s kooky carnival or sub classical leanings. When you consider that only 2 records separate ‘This Years Model’ with it’s pissed off youth fused punk rock pop to ‘Imperial Bedroom’, which is a different animal, big British, tribute laden by whatever drove the Little Hitler. But clearly the same species.

And consider ‘Brutal Youth’ and ‘When I Was Cruel’ and recognize they not only held there own against the clock, but improved, fleshed out colour with visible brush strokes. While most bands that late into career would be hailed for still being relevant, The Attractions bent the bar into twisted shapes just to make it more interesting to hop over.

And I include ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, considered one of their worst records. But still better than most other bands best. I speak of ‘Inch By Inch’ which is as perfect a tribute to online stalking as any, though written far before the Internet. ‘Worthless Thing’ with it’s accurate view of Rock and Roll myth making. ‘The Comedians’ just for that chorus (and yes, a better version was done by Roy Orbison).

And the songs. Man, the songs.

‘I Want You’…epic and terrifying and beautiful.

‘Less Than Zero’… empty apathy deeply felt, perfectly rendered. OK, his perception of America was a little bit comic book, just like Bowie. But …why not? Elvis Costello was a provocateur. A major mensch.

‘Lipstick Vogue’….Wow.

‘Beyond Belief’… Jumps into the track from the first beat and spins the lyrics, the sheer volumes of syllables and imagery attached and a vibe that is unmistakeably Elvis.

‘It’s Time’….a genius F.U. song…devastating, if the type of relationship ending at all falls in line…

‘Uncomplicated’….plodding, Goon Squad (oh yeah, and ‘Goon Squad’!!!) stomps in the room and lays you to waste, belittles your belief’s, your culture, your very DNA. In short, don’t break up with genius songwriters.

‘Night Rally’…specifically the existing footage from some long gone British pop show….my original VHS copy had weird distorted lines that ran down the left side…and based on the energy, the darkness, the fire that spilled out of every speaker and flickering tube, I miss that distorted stripe. It made this vision of a true warning of impending cataclysm and Nationalism seem like it was viewed in a loop in Anne Franks attic.

Anyway. As you go about your BBQ’s and Parades, as you soak in that sun and soak down them suds (I guess), Remember Elvis And The Attractions. Or don’t.

No one will read this anyway.

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This Blog Was Found Buried in a 200 Year Old Foundation

Good Day! My name is Jenn or Heather or Mickey or Ray. I am young or old or authentic or have secret bad intentions. Odds are good things will end badly for me, and certainly for my friends.

My single skill relevant for recording in writing is my ability to hold a camera steady while Im being horrifically murdered. Or lightly tortured. Or chased. I am the found footage camera man.

And I run this joint now.

Though my hand is shaky and my footage ultimately to dark, I am the ultimate in embedded. I know what you want. So when this film ends and I meet my grisly fate, Ill spit a lil blood into the lens so you really feel it.

I came this way. I started in horror (OK, factually I started in PBS Holocaust Films and Vietnam on my TV) at the right time. We’re a culture almost beyond scaring. We have access to 50 terrifying things before breakfast everyday. So old standards such as Poe just got a bit creaky, right? Whats a genre to do?

Go POV. Like porn, but less disturbing.

And ever since, I have been running from witches and zombie, aliens and serial killers, evil dolls, rabid dogs and one memorable time a shark. Which wasn’t pleasant but the sun felt good.

And when ultimately asked how I can keep feeling while all my friends are:
1) Infected
2) chainsawed
3) possessed
4) generally murdered

… my reasons are simple:
1) It makes this horrific reality seem like a movie so I need not feel it.
2) I must capture this FOR SCIENCE!

It’s is a heavy yoke I carry. When it all goes bad in a supernatural and general unpleasant sense, push the red button. Catch it all. Let it rest in the Everytown USA Police Department filing cabinet till the Resurrection. My final resting place.

But never the monster, who is a cash cow. Like we’ve learned from every True Hollywood Story, fame has teeth. Its a dog-eat-monster-eat cameraman world out there.

I started in horror. But I wont stay there. My found footage creations have crossed platforms, crossed over, infected all film genres now. Except westerns cause…well, duh.

Know me. I am you. OK, not you, your not fictional. I am the visual every man. I am dying for you.

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Kisses!

How To Write A Love Letter To A Bastard.

There is something particularly intimate in songs b an artist and their industry. People who create music are generally passionate about it, and the evidence of this passion is bearing constant small and large rejections, taking mega doses of Optimism X and smiling as everybody dances around you to terrible music.

I would say its almost romantic the relation tween musician and Industry, but it’s closer to God like worship and Devil fueled fears. It’s like being in love with the most popular, coldest, cruelest bastard that ever sprouted legs and walked. You are always left wanting, every day you are Last Years Model.
And we’re all dating the same chick. And one day you are in her favor. And the next day she denies your name.
So to find people kicking against the pricks in song is tradition, even if ‘song’ is the particular prick.
And of course, I love this type of song deeply. Even if you believe a singer comes off as less authentic while singing about love, when singing a bitter tribute to a record label who screwed them.
This is a big subject, worthy of a book…..but I got work in a few, so a random well loved sampling:

Pavement ‘Cut Your Hair’ – a timely guide to getting played on 120 Minutes in the early 90’s. But as relevant today as ever. And if this entire blog can be summed up in to two syllables, it is Malkmus’s sneering of the word ‘career’. He makes it sound like a joke. Which…it is, innit?

Van Morrison ‘Showbusiness’ – As far as I know, not released on anything except ‘The Philosophers Stone’ compilation, but a long, nasty, genius meditation of The Music Business cut with the perfect tone of Irish cynicism.

The Kinks ‘Rock and Roll Fantasy’ – From the Grand Statesman Hisself. This song gives me pause every time I hear it. Not simply cause its beautiful. And full of hope. But the core belief (so core its the actual title) that to dream this dream is to predict this will end poorly. Even if your the fucking Kinks.

Mott The Hoople ‘The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople’ – Mott The Hoople was on the skids when Bowie offered them ‘All The Young Dudes’. And that changed their fate considerably. After touring incessant, then a big Pop hit and endless touring, dressed like 20 year olds, being 40 year olds, feeling 100 years old. In this, lyrically the pulling apart (and simultaneously recreating) The Mott legend member by member, the real point is Ian’s voice, which sounds as weary as weary gets. It doesn’t make having a big hit record sound like that much fun.

The Replacements ‘Left Of The Dial’ – A fine slice of 1985 birth of Alternative history, but slung with enough real rock and roll and subtle lyrical imagery (Paul speaks like a Dead End Kid and it comes off like a modern James Joyce) and unhinged enthusiasm that clearly proclaims ‘We Mean It. Maaaaaaaaaaan.’

Bob Dylan ‘Positively Fourth Street’ – Which gets special notice due to the opportunity that Dylan uses the Music Industry to attack his fans. On the AM radio, even. After Dylan went electric and created an entire new form of this Rock and Roll, his folky fans turned on him. And being Dylan, it wouldn’t do to let that stand. Its viscous and totally on point.
I missed many here. I count on you, dear reader, to write my wrongs and share good F.U. songs to The Music Business.

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