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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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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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.

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Photograph By Def Leppard

Moon roof open, and the sun rides on our shoulders, a presence as physical as a particularly wise parrot, whispering suggestions in our ear, recalling stories of the last bikini you saw, the last time you were completely submerged in water, the last time you felt the sun burn your skin to red.

And we race to the shore. By we, I mean all of us, the suburbs have emptied and everyone heads south for the shore. It’s like The Great Expansion…if the settlers had fast Japanese cars. We pass people on the highway and they pass us again. Its like go carts, except everyone also keeps their eyes on the medians, the crossover strips, eyeing state cops, as they settle in for their particular brand of holiday cheer.

And the music is loud, it pours out of the open car windows, flows from the moon roof. It’s Def Leppard playing (her choice)…and it’s perfect. It brings me back to when I first heard these songs (for completists and time chasers, its ‘Pyromania’), when I was 18, when I wouldn’t be seen on a beach without a black heavy metal t-shirt and ripped flannel. It was an open challenge to the season, and we always won. Because the summer didn’t know it was playing. .

But that was years ago. And the landscape has certainly changed for the boy. Now, as we fly to the shore, I cast my eye to the passenger seat, and there sits the perfect summer girl. Long dirty blonde hair, makeup that gives a glimmer (gold, of course) to the flash of her blue/green eyes, a two piece bikini (hushed silver metallic), her hand hangs lazily out the passenger window…I allow my eye to follow her gold ringed fingers up her tanned arm, I watch how the wind blows her lace cover all around, a flash of skin, with a maddening repetition; the bikini top revealed, in time with every 10th white line we pass. In time with the kick drum, too.

The music, the clearly 80’s vibe of excess and a certain misogyny, big beats, processed guitars, too many vocals on the choruses, which made every song sound like a keg party you’re bored of. All irrelevant, as the boys from Brighton knew what they were talking about when it came to girls; I watch her sing along to every word, completely unaware that that is something she should be embarrassed of. Except the utter pretentiousness of this thought embarrasses me.

She is singing along, and now I am too…because I know every word also. They are part of me, much better remembered than the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lords Prayer and my mom’s birthday combined. We head to the beach, me and my summer girl, and we smile at each other a lot and kiss at the stoplights.

The question: Do your fantasies at 18, going to the place you never imagined with the company you never expected to have access to, maintain into your fortieth year?

The answer: Damn Fucking Straight.

Def Leppard  1983  on set of the Video "Photograph"  © Adrian Boot / Retna Ltd.

The Weight Of My Soul Versus A Ham Sandwich

I had a grand weekend. A victorious weekend, even. Creatively satisfying, with the raucous debut of my rebranding resurrection. Practical victories a’ coming. A moon as big as a balance ball shows me the way. A temperature that flirts with 50 this week.

This past 72 hours I have soared with eagles and swam with dolphins (metaphorically. I don’t trust dolphins).

So why do I feel like a Halloween bag that has had it’s candy removed and replaced with rancid turkey bones?

Why do I feel like the bottom of a crusty soup tureen that ignored good advice and moved to a city to fast for soup and ending up being served to the homeless?

Why do I feel like a ham sandwich served without condiments, wrapped only in a slowly sopping roll?

You know why. As do I. Welcome to Monday.

It’s a cliché, of course. It’s the punchline to a billion 3 panel comics. It’s the least exciting beginning to anything.

Despite what happens in our two days away, Monday always waits. Its the reset button that brings everything back down to earth with the subtlety of Skylab crashing.

But why? The logic doesn’t work. Any day of the year can be viewed as simply a day. Your birthday is just a day. Your mom’s birthday too.

I wake up on Monday and feel all the paranoia, all the pessimism, all the grisly bits that life brings with it. I can’t fight it and my best defense is to keep repeating ‘It’s only a Monday…It’s only a Monday….’

Alas, no luck in logic, no hope in hope. Just ride it out and await Tuesday.

Advice for the day: Keep your head low. Expectations are reined in. Keep repeating the words.

Best case scenario: when the aliens come, they come on a Friday, enslave us on Saturday and blot out our memories on a Sunday. And Monday at that point becomes day one.

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The Best Heavy Metal Record You Never Heard

When I consider this music, this band, it always brings me back to a specific moment: 16 years old, steering down blizzard conditions on foot, and marching forward. The wind made tangles of my too long, too unkempt hair, the crunching sounds of boot to ice muffled by parka and hat and headphones. Being removed from the aural added a nice effect to the movie of a life I felt I was directing / living. (I was 16, remember. Self importance and staging was my bread and peanut butter).

The image brings forth ideas of Shackleton or Hillary, but personally it felt like I was living in a Rush CD cover. White on white whipping winds with visibility so low it turned inward. I felt like a viking, left abandoned by his brothers for being toooooo bad ass. Or maybe a rebel taking my one man army to the kingdom. Blood beat in my ears, sweat flowed beneath multiple layers. The perfect ending was a bloodbath where I killed the King and claimed the Queen. And the people chanted my name.

Alas, the reality of it was a kid with a cassette Walkman (but no car) heading towards his shift at Finest Supermarket for Bulk Food duties.

This is the power of music, yes, but specifically the power of heavy music, heavy metal to out a name to it. This was a Mind Over Matter matter. I’m convinced this walk would not have been possible if not for what particularly I had in the Walkman. The music made me march, made me put myself into these terrible conditions cause I knew I could take it. I knew I was more than the sum of those parts. And any other music would have faltered and had me running back home.

‘Fifteen thousand feet, danger all around us
Mother nature fights, will she ever rest
What is there to prove, climbing up a mountain
Why do we do it, Why do we suffer?
Just because it’s there…’

Raven’s ‘Wiped Out’ (and their near perfect debut ‘Rock Till You Drop’) was a product of the NWOBHM era scene, in the year of our Lord 1982. For those who appreciate Metal, it was truly the last Golden Age (till the next).Saxon’s ‘The Eagle Has Landed’, Accept’s ‘Restless and Wild’, Motorhead’s ‘IronFist’, Scorpions ‘Blackout”, Venom ‘Black Metal’, Loudness ‘Devil Soldier’. Iron Maiden. ‘The Number Of The Beast.’

Look at Heavy Metal from that year. I could go on for hours.

Meanwhile…in Newcastle…a dirty and classic low budget label (that’s ‘Indie’ to you kids) named NEAT was recording something that would never be bested in terms of the amorphous but specif category of ‘Balls.’

Find a picture of Raven (the brothers Gallagher and Whacko) anD that paints the picture. These were not your usual British Heavy Metal stars. No denim, no leather. They looked like Soccer Hooligans. They looked absolutely insane. Not even including the football helmet Whacko wore to keep from continually hitting himself in the head.

This was a power trio that didn’t come with that vaguely souring Cream influence of endless soloing and the bottom falling out with every bass solo. They were jet fueled, nuclear. tight. Absolute Madmen, perfect for tying any PYT to a train track.

‘Wiped Out’ is a perfect Metal record. I should note ‘IMO’ or some similar disclaimer.

But No. This is definitive fact. Doubt me? Find it.

This record is a collection of some of my favorite things about NWOBHM:

Best opening cut of the era? Yes. It starts like a strange sci fi engine with special effects audio (surely discovered drunkenly) and the creep and still absolutely baffling ‘Listen here, Mission Control…Einstein Was Wrong….’ and then rips the time space continuum with ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Light’.

Now…lets dial back…..what sorta hogwash was that opening line about? It has puzzled me more than actual astrophysics (which I have no hope of understanding, so why try?)

Best Song To Play Out Your Droogy Fantasies? ‘Bring The Hammer Down’ The beat is a natural rhythm for dancing around the burning homes of the rich and privileged.

Best Riff In Metal: I gotta go with ‘Star War’. That’s a hard one….Ive listened to a lot of Maiden…..but I’m sticking with it.

Most accurate psychopath vocals: John Gallagher, the whole record. He sings like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family looks.

Just Do It:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuTdnkDflmE

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlwqOOszr-M

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wiped-Out-Raven/dp/B00005V4UV

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When Klekolo Was The Center Of The Universe

With the date approaching (one week….April 3rd for The Expanding Uterus Opening, MAC 650 Gallery, Middletown Connecticut) of the next stage in my solo ‘career’, I find I have had my memory dragged up and down Main Street these weeks, to review (whether review is required or not) and consider the town, the city that has played so central to an unusual amount of my past couple of decades. 

 
I gigged in near every venue, open mikes at the ones I haven’t. Played live on WESU on a few occasions.
 
I have worked all over the city, including a longer stint Labor Pimping. To be a Labor Pimp is to send dangerous addicts into dangerous work for little money. It’s morally reprehensible, as am I, but no benefits. I was on a first name basis with every convict and addict on Green Street (RIP) till I split and had to stay out of Middletown for a few years. 
 
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering existence by the boat launch, watching the Arrigoni Bridge rust and be re built. Or at least re paved.
 
I saw bodies loaded into the State Morgue, knew a few who tossed themselves off the aforementioned Arrigoni. 
 
I’ve seen wild fires, and walked the streets drunk at every hour of the day. I have took part in things that would bring a blush to the internet if I spoke them here. 
 
I never heard of Middletown before my company worked here. It sounded exotic, oddly. I think cause coming from Fairfield County, I wasn’t sure of anything north of New Haven was still considered Connecticut. I was pretty dumb for someone pretty past kid age.
 
I worked in the Cake Building. 7th floor. I was surrounded by co workers who knew equally jack about that town. We heard tales of murder and parades and maniacs. Our view showed us the sun on the river ever morning, like an ever moving impressionist mural.
 
I fell in love in Middletown, in that same building, on that same floor. A love forged walking the Wesleyan Campus. 
 
Being the more social, high energy, low fear of strangers creature she was, she was the first to now only note the new addition to Court Street, Klekolo World Coffee. And the first to boldly walk in and extend a hand to the owner, one Hollie Rose. Hollie had her own energy and drive and was funny and charming and clearly powerful in ways that weren’t easily defined. 
 
Paired with her equal and opposite BFF, Yvette, they made a powerful, heady combo. Yvette was equally powerful in these unknowable ways, but was quieter, let her silence speak the volumes that both Hollie and myself traded in. She had a sweet openness equal to a thinly veiled menace which either was palpable or utterly imagined by me. Either way, I dug them both quite a bit.
 
I was new in town. I had made no connections since alienating everyone from home. And I found myself dropping by Klekolo more and more. Hollie and I had…and have….a strange telepathy, vaguely manic, sorta self depreciating and egotistical. We grew tight.
 
And Klekolo just grew. I was there at the right time. They started hosting music and I played solo for the first time, in Middletown. The reputation of a free thinking, real speed grassroots business was a cache in Middletown, a college town with one (or 8) Dunkin’ Donuts’ (sue me, fuckers). They hosted art and summer fests and I was there, trying out my bedroom based songs in the actual sun.
 
I caught one of the best local bands I ever saw there, in that small store with SRO, people lined up outside the window to catch a glimpse. It filled me with the joy of Rock and Roll and a uncontrollable envy and resentment. But no ability to not acknowledge what I witnessed. That band was called Bug, then the Silver Bugs and then The Butterflies Of Love which got huge in Sweden, I hear.
 
Meanwhile Hollie and I started an all encompassing, ever continuing conversation about the state of our souls. And when I see her next, that conversation continues. We also exchanged music, which became a massive influence on what i would do and have done since. 
 
She introduced me to Pavement and Soul Coughing. I introduced her to Morphine. I clearly won.
 
It was a time I recall with a certain glimmer, like a cinematic reveal of a golden moment. It is a me that looks younger in the few existing photos than I did in photos of younger ages. 
 
I remember hearing ‘Range Life’ for my first time. 
 
I remember my first Pony Express.
 
That place on Court Street became the center of my Universe. I was ready for it. It was ready for me.
 
And I pull back….a long crane single shot that starts at Klekolo and pulls back to the Solar System entire. Cause that’s how it actually was.
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Last Letters From The Land Of The Midnight Hour (1)

Darling Emma,


I found my way to the Windsor depot today and what a treat to receive your letter and parcel of girl scout cookies. The cookies were delicious and to answer your questions:


1) yes I think using your dwindling inheritance to open a poorly planned restaurant is an excellent idea.


2) no, my schedule does not allow I listen to the new or any Pink Floyd album.


3) ‘candor’ and a ‘can do attitude’ rarely sync.


4) no,  I have not heard from Bass Mike

I carry on here on the hinterland, steeling myself for the ticking down disasters that weigh on my pride and ever growing crop.

I have grown real wings. Then moved to an Undersea Kingdom. 

The skills I gained back on the farm (song structure,  salt-on-the-table lyrical imagery, good hook making and melody) go starving in this town of dance remixes and (shudder) jazz.

I came to share and communicate and be one with the people. But I am cursed cause I don’t know how to get the ladies on the floor.  Cause I can’t vamp a chicken dance if you spotted me a beak and feathers. Cause I don’t know the traditionals like ‘Mustang Sally’ and ‘Whose Makin’ To Your Old Lady (While You Were Out Making Love)’.

I came to provide that soundtrack to a thousand personal victories and horrors, freeze dried in time, awaiting an audience that relates to them. Maybe even needs them, requires them. But I fill my choruses with too many words,  I fear, I ignore natural rhythms for 6 more syllables. 

While the world goes about its business and gets on the dance floor for the repetitive verses of ‘In The Midnight Hour’. Which gets played morning,  noon and night, 365, 24/7.

Repetition is Hell, someone brighter once spoke.  It certainly wasn’t Wilson Pickett.

And I soldier on, my optimism dinged up but functioning.  I have one thing I was brought here to do. Too late to go back to school.

Emma….think on me, when time allows. See me here with my hands in the dirt trying to dig….something.  Panning for gold in dead river beds. 

Yours Truly
JpK

PS: No, I don’t use Twitter.  It sounds like an endless bazaar of bullshit.

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A Musicians Guide To Craigslist or ‘Why I Took Up Painting.’

This article was created out of frustration and rage and…OK, there was coffee, perhaps a lot…about our hunt for a drummer for an original band in these United States. It is about art and commerce and dudes and dickheads. And genuine curses. And in that vein…if you’re a drummer…and wanna be in a kick ass rock and roll band…inquire within…

Craigslist is a microcosm of the World at large: Most people lie and the ones who don’t should.

Does that sound cynical? Is this a rant? Sure. I’m rant-y.

I didn’t start out this fragile shell of a dudeman. Craigslist made me my own monster…which is me. Ya dig? The closest thing I can equate it with is a cross between La Costra Nostra and Match.com: as soon as you think you’re out of it – done with it, watching it fade in the rearview– the next exit is where you began. It’s a Möbius strip.

Craigslist is Capitalism at its finest and most petty. There are jobs there that will cost you money. There are dates that…well, will cost you more money. It’s like a dream where you find the outlet store for all you desire but can’t find your wallet. And you see your picture hanging above the cashier station.

Focus…focus…(exhale)…OK. I will not speak to the various parts of Craigslist I’ve never clicked on; did you know they have discussion forums? I KNOW! I am speaking from the point-of-view of someone eternally seeking a drummer. I tread those boards, spread out my geographic search, rationalize how it’s okay to work with someone a six-hour drive away, get disgusted at myself for cheap rationalizin’ and start again to new cheap come-ons and people who don’t call back. And again, I consider what a lovely solitary pursuit painting is. And dream away…

So…this list is not a ‘To Do’ list. ’Cause I’m not sure what ‘to do.’ I consider this a cautionary tale for musicians. At the next practice, hug your drummer and bass player (guitar players hug themselves, so save it). Tell them how special they are and how much you love them. It’s OK if they steal a little, can’t work the bridge right, if their girlfriend is the most annoying creature who was ever spat onto the planet. Love them.

Or suffer….

5) Should Musicians be Paid?: Hmmmm….let me consider this….oh! Yes, you DICKS! Yes, artists should be paid for their work. Does every artist get paid every time? No. Look…even though ice cream is awesome, is it a breakfast food? No. There are fundamentals in this World, great thresholds that can’t be crossed. I think I’m fascinating…will Salma Hayek? Likely not. If I buy new sneakers, can I run faster? Of course, yes, I can. Not everyone on this free site is a world-class musician…and a case could be made that world-class musicians have no concept about what Craigslist is. (What Would Johnny Cash Post?) There are hobbyists about. Is that a problem for you? Are they cutting into those big cover band gigs? Not likely. Perhaps you can calm the f**k down? (Note: if you want to respond to a club seeking free music on Craigslist, go to town. You can even use the tried and true ‘Can I come and eat at your place for free?’ line.)

4) Re: Re: If you see this on a Craigslist musician ad, follow it. It’s good stuff. More than likely you have two wags barking at each other about something that happened on the scene 15 years ago (when there was a scene, harrumph!). And I’m sorry…but it is entertaining. My golden age of Rock Journalism was the Bangs/Reed wars in Creem. Those were also petty and posturing exchanges doing neither any favors…but there is something oddly compelling about watching music geeks fight. You will never understand the intricacies of the exchange, but that’s not why we slow down at car wrecks. It’s not in order to check the brake linings or consider the cause. We slow down ’cause were bored and life is fleeting.

3) Originals vs. Covers: I am in an original band. I don’t condescend to cover bands (though admittedly I don’t see many). And this is an argument that we need not have anymore. It’s over, Johnny. People want to go out and dance, drink, laugh. This is made easier by small comforts, like friends you can stand and a song you like. This isn’t a sin. It IS a drag for those of us who want to create new standards – new works that live beyond us – but really, nobody ever said artistic success is easy. People need familiar things. When you see a band having a good time, cover or original, you are having a good time. And if you can sing along to the chorus, have at it! Ultimately this is about entertaining. I find it interesting that bluegrass or blues bands don’t get dragged into this fray, ’cause ultimately, many are cover bands. But the songs they are covering are bigger than the band and the listeners. It’s a communal experience, a song everyone knows in a style everyone wants. So who’s to say that a few decades from now we won’t honor a band that does faithful recreations of “Who’s Making Love” in the 2000s style? Wanna know when you’ve made it? When cover bands play your originals.

2) CAPS: Okay, how long have we all been at this Internet stuff, huh? Can we all get together as a culture and say, ‘CAPS LOCK.’ Shouting (metaphorically) that you need a bass because you rock doesn’t convince. I’m all for clever language and good promo writing. I’m a fan of the language and do feel there is a place for capitalization. Like at the beginning of sentences. And names. Acronyms. But when I see anyone present anything in all caps, I always have the same reaction: ‘OMG, that is so cute! I remember my first beer too…’

1) Brian Methany: ‘The voice was just a hum in the head with talk and talk and talk over nothing and shallow lows at breakneck speed toward giant trees and very near to everything is the rambling in the head these days of nothing…A work of art withdrawing into the tenuous relationship between the lyrical phrase and its musical counterpart. Confronted with a disquieting self-familiarity, the songs portray modern dilemmas with hints of foreboding and finality; yet, a reassurance of life as being not such a disengaged and distinct experience.’

This reads to me like the journal of a 13-year-old, lovelorn Lex Luthor…but…I know Brian Methany’s name and he don’t know mine. Rock On, Brian Methany. Oh, and by the way, if you’re a drummer, get in touch. (sigh…)

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