I reintroduce myself into the fray as a result of pissing off some yutz in the name of truth and perception. Ask me how!
Music, Verbosity, and Anything Else
Friday, August 03, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Bill Watterson was right; the days are just packed.
Precariously balanced on a careening Radio Flyer wagon holding an inner monologue with my stuffed avatars and discussing social and personal contracts...this is the life.
So, my singing sucks. Sunday, Antiprince and I adjourned upstairs to the fancy-schmancy recording gear and he drove the equipment while I laid down guitar and vocal tracks.(It's really quite impressive, how that guy picks up on technical shit so quickly.)
Upon playback I had to leave the room, overcome by laughter and embarrassment. What I heard was both hilarious and painful to hear. Start with this: imagine Chewbacca swallowing a kazoo.
So much for American Idol.
Okay, Jean's questions. I hope I can salvage a 'B' despite the tardiness.
1. We take all kind of pills to give us all kind of thrills, but the thrill we've never known is the thrill that'll get you when you get your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone. What do you love about what you do? I guess what I mean, is if it was just you and your music on a street corner with nothing else in the world, what would keep you warm?
In music everyone and everything is beautiful.
It may seem a gross oversimplification, but most people are grossly oversimple. Music keeps me sane and crazy, amused and passionate, elated and tragic. These things are common amongst all people and I want to reach out with sound and meet people there. Maybe it's to remind others of this commonality, or maybe it's to find a link to my own turmoils and joys in the world outside of myself. Plus, as far as music goes, I think my way is the right way.
2. I am also disgruntled with the current state of music, and I have a few ideas about how to fix the situation. It's really bloody and loud, though. Where do you think the weakest link in the chain is?
Recently the FCC began measures to crack down on the practice of industry payola. Though payola was outlawed in the days of Alan Freed little has been done to actually curtail it, thus it has run rampant. This of-late gesture by the FCC has prompted many large local-market radio stations to preemptively offer weekly scheduled slots for local artists. Alas, for the stations, their redress will not stop litigation and payola will atrophy as a mover and a shaker in the industry.(Of course it will never go away completely, but it greatly needs to be addressed.)
It is the first step of many to take. In my humble opinion capital and legacy drive the industry. The folks with the bucks and the first dibs on the many opportunities made available invariably protect and advance themselves and their own.
The recent bear market in CD/album sales is a fine indicator. According to a joint marketing study I heard about on NPR's Marketwatch not long ago(when I first heard the FCC story) the general consensus was...
The reason behind the CD market slump is not so much the downloading industry as much as the music just sucking. I nearly drove off the road. A corporate groupthink as pertaining to aesthetic values was described. It sounded like a case for sacking the British Monarchy- hemophilia, bad music, fucking the little guy at every turn, prima nocte, and so forth.
I say it's time to open the floodgates and let the Lombard hordes in. A little sacking now and then, historically, has proven to be a good thing.
3. Tell me a pet peeve that has nothing to do with music. Something that really pegs you as a freak. Tell me yours, I'll write a post about mine.
I've been enjoying a long-sought balance in my life as of late so things just don't bother me as much, it seems.
I'm a fucking liar. Two things really piss me off.
1) Obnoxious single red LED message lights. Like the one on the cable boxes. If I'm at someone's house and their descrambler's tell-tale heart is pounding I must make it go away. Or, chop it up and stick it under the floorboards. Drives me fuckin' crazy.
2)My mother's bitterness at herself and at, in turn, the whole world- or anyone else happier than her. Actually, I've downgraded this to a pet peeve from an outright philosophical dilemma. As much as I love her I'm not helping her to carry that burden on my shoulders anymore.
4. You're on a life boat, in the middle of the ocean, with an older man that keeps talking about he paddled to school in a life boat everyday, a small child that will not stop singing the theme song to Dora the Explorer, and Justin Timberlake. The life boat is not going to hold up much longer at its current capacity. Someone has to go. Who and why?
Can Alfred Hitchcock be resurrected to direct this?
I had to wait until 11:30 for Dora to come on; I just didn't know it...
Okay, it's 11:32.
It depends on if the old guy can sing or not. Okay, here it is. I can see where non-stop Dora would be excruciating(Though Bob the Builder is downright fucking murder)so if the old guy can sing, we'll learn Dora in a day or two and cast the wee one overboard. If the geezer is tone-deaf, over he goes. Justin, the child and I could eventually reharmonize the song and we'd put together the best Dora the Explorer theme song cover band ever. Plus, it's got that Paul Simon "Late in the Evening" thing that just grooves.
5. Lastly: does this blog make me look fat?
Hell, no! Nothing is as sexy as a little black blog.
Right on, Jean. Way to questionate. I'll have that taxes post up before the quarter so I can be adequately pissed off.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
That girl Bimbo has quite the filthy curveball.
1)Your team's suffered as have the Cubs. I don't think that guy with the ground rule double was truly a Cubs fan. So let's say there's a game that hangs on a ball that you can reach, causing a GRD so the Sox win. Do you do it or do you let the God that clearly hates the Sox so bad rule?
Absolutely I will do it. I will yawp "Jeffery Fucking Maier!" at the top of my lungs as I do so.
Besides, The Cubs, Royals, Celtics and Knicks are higher up on His shit list, methinks.
So, let us proclaim "Hallelujatosis" and thank David Ortiz for the live chicken sacrifice before Game 4 in the '04 ALCS.
2)Someone on Sesame Street must die. Who is it and how do you do it?
Guy Smiley always liked furries. They're why he took the job in the first place. Hell, maybe he liked them a little too much. It all started with his first assignment as attaché to Cookie Monster. The fuzzy blue wreck was impossible to corral, but Oh! what sexy fur! What sublime strabismus!
From that moment on he chased every Muppet in town. Eventually, he crossed paths with Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count.
Through a series of misadventures The Count purchased twenty kilos of high-grade heroin from Snuffleupagus only to have it yoinked by Oscar. As Oscar and The Count were former lovers(or blood bonded, perhaps...)the latter convinced Guy Smiley to reconnoiter Oscar's trash can using seduction as his means of entry. Of course, Guy and Oscar ended up on a five-day meth binge. The Count found them naked in a felt embrace behind Mr. Hooper's since-closed store, whisked Smiley away and did what vampires do best.
Rumor has it The Count's Diablerie failed and Guy Smiley is in Fraggle Rock, slumming around with Boober Fraggle and living under a Doozer tower.
3)You can step back in time to witness any moment of musical performance or composition: which?
At first, I felt certain performances might have made my soul burst wide open; then I realized what a 'fuckin' A' cool thing that would be. I'm torn between four.
A) The first time Freddie Chopin played the Fantasie-Impromptu in C# minor, sometime in 1834. He did not care for the piece. My hero; what an idiot.
B) The debut of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, May 29, 1913. As far as I am concerned, the most adrenaline-inducing symphonic piece ever penned. Opening night for this "ballet" saw outrage, fighting, and ultimately rioting in the streets. Le déjeuner tue la moitié de Paris, Stravinsky l'autre moitié. I am so fucking there.
C) Herbie Hancock, Actual Proof(Thrust, 1974). A first take World Series grand slam. Herbie, drummer Mike Clark(what he does on this track is the stuff of legend)and bassist Paul Jackson, after an hour of "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo's", went into the studio with the intention of sticking it to the producer that insisted they use some middle-school Mickey Mouse groove. And stick it to him they did.
D)Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys. New Year's Eve, 1969, at the Fillmore East. Hendrix's most exploratory playing and the soundtrack for many of my lost collegiate hallucinations. It's the kind of show I would have told the birds in my backyard about.
In the end, I go with B.
4) If you were a girl, what would your name be?
You asked for it.
My Y-chromosome donor thought only names beginning with a "J" were cool(and him with an "S"...). So, Jacqueline 1,000,000 32 Flavors 4th of July Adam and Eve Akimbo Amazing Grace Animal Angel Food Angry Anymore Anticipate Anyday As Is Asking Too Much Back Around Bliss Like This Blood in the Bathroom Bodily Born a Lion Both Hands Brief Bus Stop Bubble Buildings and Buildings Circle of Light Cloud Blood Come Away with It Coming Up Cradle and All Crime for Crime Deep Dish Dog Coffee Done Wrong Egos Like Hairdos Everest Every Angle Every State Line Face Up and Sing Falling is Like This Fire Door Fixing Her Hair Freakshow Fuel Glass House God's Country Going Down Going Once Good, Bad, Ugly Grand Canyon Gratitude Gravel Hat-Shaped-Hat Hell Yeah Hello Birmingham Here for Now Hour Follows Hour How Have You Been? I Know This Bar Icarus If He Tries Anything If It Isn't Her I'm No Heroine Imperfectly In or Out In the Way Independence Day Itch Joyful Girl Jukebox Know Now Then Letter to a John Letting the Telephone Ring Light of Some Kind Looking for the Holes Loom Lost Woman Song Make Me Stay Make Them Apologize My IQ Names and Dates and Times Napoleon Not a Pretty Girl Not So Soft Oh My My On Every Corner Origami Out of Habit Outta me, Onto You Overlap Pale Purple Phase Pick Yer Nose Pixie Platforms Promised Land Providence Pulse Raincheck Rockabye Roll With It Rush Hour Second Intermission Serpentine Served Faithfully Shameless She Says Shrug Slide Sly Small World Soft Shoulder Sorry I Am Superhero Swandive Swim Talk to Me Now The Diner The Next Big Thing The Slant The Story The Waiting Song The Whole Night This Bouquet Tiptoe 'tis of Thee To The Teeth Trickle Down True Story of What Was Two Little Girls Untouchable Face Used to You Virtue What if No One's Watching? Willing to Fight Wish I May Wishin' and Hopin' Work Your Way Out Worthy You Each Time You Had Time Anander.
I had my name changed at 18 to accommodate the title of every Ani DiFranco song. Not only did I piss off the town clerk but she had the nerve to criticize little items, such as my not alphabetizing the "The" song titles correctly and my inconsistent capitalization. That bitch.
5) How does the rest of my song in Question 4) go?
My Achilles' Heel, lyric writing is. I hope to change this soon. As for the question itself I feel the song would beg a tragicomic oeuvre. The next problem would be putting the whole thing together- I intend to do this as a "real" project, as in making it a good song.
You have sprung a project on me. I promise; when it is done you will be the first to hear it.
Thank you, Sirach. I will treasure it always.
A great white shark can reproduce when a male's length is around 3.8 metres (12 ft) and a female's length is around 4 to 4.8 metres (13.3 to 15.8 ft). Their lifespan has not been definitively established, though many sources estimate 30 to 40 years. It would not be unreasonable to expect such a large marine animal to live longer however.(From Wikipedia)
I'm ready to accept my penance.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Okay, AP...let's play!
1) If you weren't a musician, what kind of career would you have?
Growing up, I always wanted to be Dwight Evans, the Red Sox right fielder. Along with the hereditary religious zeal I watch Sox games with I always liked moving fast on my feet. I wanted to do something that kept me busy, active and perhaps in a little bit of danger(until I cracked my skull open at eleven). So, right fielder, starting pitcher, fireman, field naturalist/anthropologist/paleoanthropologist/paleontologist/what Bill Pullman did in "The Serpent and the Rainbow." As long as I'm hyper.
2) Who do you miss?
Karen Rome. In college my three best friends were she, Aaron Kaplan and Jordan Feinstein. The latter two will turn up again in my life but I fucked up with Karen. The first day I met her I kissed her. For the remainder of the next three years we became completely platonic. When I left school she began to make overtures to something more and I accepted. We had sex once and it was never the same after that. I greatly miss our friendship.
3) Who influenced your greatest musical influence?
I knew I wouldn't get off that easily.
There is something about the exquisite and perfect tenderness of Chopin that is consummate for me. It seems as if he augmented his prodigious talent with happy bucolic Polish life.
From 1823 to 1826, Fryderyk attended the Warsaw Lyceum where his father was one of the professors. He spent his summer holidays in estates belonging to the parents of his school friends in various parts of the country. For example, he twice visited Szafarnia in the Kujawy region where he revealed a particular interest in folk music and country traditions. The young composer listened to and noted down the texts of folk songs, took part in peasant weddings and harvest festivities, danced, and played a folk instrument resembling a double bass with the village musicians; all of which he described in his letters. Chopin became well acquainted with the folk music of the Polish plains in its authentic form, with its distinct tonality, richness of rhythms and dance vigour. When composing his first mazurkas in 1825, as well as the later ones, he resorted to this source of inspiration which he kept in mind until the very end of his life.
Like Mozart, he was identified as a special talent at a very young age. Both were heroes to me as a child and that may be why even then I felt betrayed by the adults who did not notice me in the same way. Like a Force-sensitive Jedi-to-be child who is disregarded by the Council, so seemed my childhood. Yet, since then I've gotten somewhere on my own, and now I greatly desire ephemeral life influences like these.
4) Who is your favorite fictional character?
Gods, where to start? Jorge of Burgos, Sherlock Holmes, Gregory House, Darth Vader, Holden Caulfield, Professor Peabody and his boy Sherman, Eustacia Vye(she's out there somewhere...and in reference to question #1, maybe I should have been a reddleman...), Captain John Yossarian, Colonel Kurtz, Jane Eyre, Roland of Gilead, 1900, Marvin the Paranoid Android. An incomplete list.
My favorite characters? Real people.
5) Is there anything new under the sun?
Yea, me. You. Cellular mitosis. The '07 baseball season.
Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate!
You WILL update your journal/bloggy thing/whatever with the answers to the questions.
You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
J'aime la neige.
I couldn't imagine a year without the fall foliage, the snow(how else does one get the opportunity to write so much shit in the middle of the work day?), sweltering summers and those darn New Englanders. Plus, I'd miss donning my bayonet and Wiffle Bat as I hold back hordes of advancing Yankee fans. I love this rivalry, the best in all of sports.
The stairs were narrow, unlit and steep. Aromas of gin, coffee and cigarette smoke billowed at me from the top of the stairs. As I ascended I saw my good friend and bass player beckoning me to approach his mentor and college jazz instructor. Accompanying them was a notable area guitar teacher, something of a small legend. He had been built up to iconic status by my band mates.
Have you ever had your hopes built up and subsequently shattered in such a fashion? I expected to meet this guru, have him acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses then help me to realize how to manifest them into performance, musicality and confidence.
Instead, I got a lesson in cocksuckery. The guitar teacher, upon my inquiry, decided I should consider never playing again- he never heard me, having left after our conversation. I have received negative reinforcement before but this felt gratuitous and just plain fun for him.
My bass player, following this, insisted I sit in with his combo which consisted of he, his jazz teacher on tenor and a drum machine named "Victor(see footnote)."
The Sarge suggests "Autumn Leaves." Okay, I've got the Stanley Jordan "Autumn in New York" album, and it's the first track. I know this, right?
Not so fast. Jordan's track cuts the B section in half; the true choruses are twice as long. It threw me off big time and as the changes passed by in unexpected fashion I became completely petrified.
So, what do Sarge, Nick and Victor do? Victor doesn't know shit, he's a drum machine. Sarge, however, sits down in the corner for EIGHT choruses. For seven choruses I was a model for Edvard Munch. Sarge seemed to enjoy this, passing furtively gleeful glances at my "friend."
So, for about ten minutes(it seemed like eons)I stood frozen at the Frog and the Peach with my dick hanging in the soused wind. At song's end I made a hasty laconic exit; with my Spiderman trick it took about three seconds.
A brief aftermath- soon after this a full-scale blitzkrieg ensued and I severed all ties with these people. May 6, 2001.
Stage fright elicits images of musicians displaying phobias in the face of performance. However, I saw it affect everything in my acumen and persona; I prefer to call it "Life Fright." I blanched at life in general. Music was simply the thing I placed at the center of my life. Small wonder that it became such a source of all-overs.
Fast forward six years. That person seems like a faint shadow of who I have become.
It would be impossible to explain exactly how I came to be "New and Improved Der(with more stain fighting action!)" but suffice it to say two things stick out as precipitants. First, I am surrounded by truly interesting, thoughtful, generous and inspiring people. Thank you, all of you. It's like having a new lease on the universe.
Secondly, as a result, I feel more in tune with my own energy, needs, desires, et al. I'm poised to begin living life my way, and the prospect of discovering what that is is incomparably exciting.
More news...on Monday I went to New York to see Les Paul. At 91 he doesn't quite have the chops he once did(check out old recordings of Les Paul/Mary Ford- he was a certified badass)but his showmanship is matchless. Sitting on top of a grand piano, hitting on his 24-year-old Aussie bass player(she was stunning, and very good but it was obvious the soundman wanted to fuck her)he seemed as if he was sitting next to me. I thought he might ask me how the salmon and lentils were. To wit, he became something of a watermark to me for stage confidence. And, as performing legends go, I could emulate worse.
Music is magic as long as listeners can acknowledge the trick happened. Hand in hand with musicality walks vulnerability. I guess I'm not so afraid of such a thing anymore. Wait until I get that voice coach. Corey Glover from Living Colour, Broadway cats amongst his clients...I'll be kicking ass and taking names, soon...
Footnote: Victor was introduced to the fray by a music store manager/keyboardist who was later busted for displaying a full regalia of beer bottles, whiskey, and cocaine and mirrors to his District Manager. Sarge is a Napoleonistic dipsomaniac. Nick seemingly became a complete egotist. The guitar teacher has been dutifully engaging his students in that inimitable snarky negative reinforcement; many of my students were formerly his and I hear about it quite often. Turns out, folks like encouragement.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
I've had a tumultuous relationship with God since my late single-digits.
As a young child I remember the joys of Sunday; perhaps one thousand feet from my home was a stunning piece of architecture where my grandfather, my brother and I would walk for 10:00 mass. I still regard those as some of my happiest memories from childhood. The beautiful building that let me in for no good reason, unbelievable stained glass,the wonderful incense aromas, Latin, Polish and English in one-and-a-half hours, all this talk about love and the good things we should do to each other. It inspired me to learn the name of every church in town by sight. At five I considered becoming a priest.
On one of these trips to church with my Aunt Anna when I was six I was given an album of Van Cliburn playing Chopin. I listened to the Ab "Heroic" Polonaise about five hundred times before I broke the record. I still intertwine the two entities in memory, and the piece still touches something way down inside that gets me blubberingly and uselessly happy.
I'm not sure exactly when this all changed, but I am only now coming to realize how it changed and what it has become. I know as I grew older and attended public school my fellow parishioners were not-so-fellowly as they used to be. I could understand the sermons more and more and the priests sounded peculiarly like that guy on TV, what with his pledge-driving and all. One sermon used three boxes of laundry detergent in an attempt to campaign for what God washes his clothes with. Believe it or not, God washes with Cheer. He has boycotted Tide and Gain.
I began to search for the answers myself- without a guide, naturally, but is there any other way? The bible is a scary fucking book to a kid of 9. It's a highly contradictory tome, with some beautiful stories and ideas and some really Moroccan-Leather-Tanning-Works-dirty stuff. Concurrently being a science geek as well I found that my faith and my reason were completely divergent.
I'm embarrassed to reveal how The Name of the Rose came to be my favorite book of all time. I saw the movie. I was eleven. The murder mystery aspect was enticing, but the implications against the organized church were astounding to me. Brian Dennehy presented it on The Movie Channel and liked the book very much. I saw him as oozing brains and wisdom, so I read the book. My relationship with the church was never the same. How dare you hold information! All people have the right to know all things that affect all others! I've since read the book four more times and I pull something different out of it at each sitting but at that time that's what it told me.
Father Joe didn't want to hear a fuckin' word about it. "The avarice that men display," he said, "is no more evident than in intellectualism for that must necessarily unseat God." So, I got Confirmed and got the hell out. Perhaps I confused the Church with God for a long time, and I hope there is some redemption in that.
But when assholes like this start running their mouth off I have to wonder if I should call myself "Catholike."
Friday, March 09, 2007
My fourth of five tags, as follows...
Bimbo's blog, Go, Go, Bimbo!
In the land of smartybootsbootses(west of Byzantium and north of the medulla oblongata) Bimbo may be the supreme potentate. Even a brief perusal if her work of late produces a dizzying set of mental and emotional catalysts.
So, here's where I rollover and expose my furry belly by getting all vulnerable and stuff. I am prepared to witness my fresh guts upon the keyboard and upon Edgar, the adorable Turkish Van with digestive issues- when I can upload photos you are sure to meet him.
The other weekend Antiprincess, Antiprince and I met with Bimbo under the auspice that dinner, activities and repartee amongst smartybootsbootses would happen, and there would be fun. Fun, indeed!
In the dictionary under "Be Here Now" it proudly proclaims "see Bimbo." Far too long has it been since one I've encountered could energize mind, body and soul in presence alone. I have to admit, I was rather taken by her.
I've always been a trivia guy. That is, I've been in the presence of reference material for so long I've acquired a palimpsest of true knowledge, and it suddenly occurred to me how dangerous this is. To not have the full context of a work yet to use it allegory, syllogism or critical analysis does the author and myself a grave disservice. Bimbo very much allowed me to realize this. Her intellect, empathy and understanding were inspiring to me; her beauty made it all more surreal.
A few days later, something went snap! A good snap.
Snap! It doesn't matter what happens- you just met another really cool person...
Snap! It's time to re-examine my Classical Literature. Where to start?...
Snap! Borders in Farmington has no copy of Dante's Divine Comedy? The fuck?...
Snap! If you develop a tonic in the second iteration it makes sense to do the same to the subdominant following it(so, Bmin6/9- Gmaj7#11/13-Bmin7b13-G#min7(b5))...
Snap! Is the bicameral mind an oversimplification of a system of avatars we conjure to "guide" us?
Snap! Thank you, Bimbo, for dinner, Hungry Hungry Hippos and waking me up.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Kneel Before Zodd!
Today I learned a phat new cantrip courtesy of the Great Antiprince. Apparently it's pretty easy though I'm so easily impressed I probably could watch a magician make a dung-ball float for hours. Think of it- floating shitstorms! The world will never be the same...
Here is my new trick.
I cannot fully express what this performance does to my All. Apart from the obvious mastery of the instrument, she is playing a guitar arrangement of every serious violinist's wettest dream, and her interpretation is appassionata to boot. Perhaps what finally does me in is watching her face. A sound such as this which lifts my soul to new heights is accompanied by the face of a chartered accountant attached to a ten-year-old Korean girl. The incongruousness of the music with the blank mug presents a certain musical irony that makes me a little sad and, coincidentally, heightens my appreciation of the performance. However, I am not without ugly questions. Did she learn the piece at gunpoint?(They're nuts up North, there...)Was she raised in a test tube labeled "Paganini, 24ve Caprice- Nylon Guitar" with only that in mind, to the detriment of her ever being able to play "Dueling Banjos?"
By that last, I recall a bit from Huxley's Brave New World in which a child was taught through hypnopædia that...
"The Nile is the longest river in Africa. It extends from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro northward to its delta in the Mediterranean Sea. It yadda yadda, blahbiddyblah, flammajamma jim jam, etc..."
"So, what's the longest river in Africa?"
"I...I don't know."
"What can you tell me about the Nile River?"
"The Nile is the longest river in Africa. It extends from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro northward to its delta in the Mediterranean Sea. It yadda yadda, blahbiddyblah, flammajamma jim jam, etc..."
"So, what's the longest river in Africa?"
"I...I don't knoooow."
12:08 EST, Washington, D.C.
Libby guilty on four of five charges. Who said daytime television was shit? Let the euphemisms begin. Hooray for euphemisms!
Incidentally, might this coincide with Cheney's deep vein thrombosis he brought to the mechanic yesterday? The only news I heard about it was last night, on a car radio at 3:00 A.M. while wrestling a supposedly aerodynamic car through the Trans-Siberian Wind(like the orchestra, somewhat evocative but ultimately a doggone fake)- the radio anchor sped through that bit as if he was auditioning for a Micromachines commercial.