Thursday, November 28, 2002
Thanksgiving with the family in Arizona. Am I outgrowing my family? Is that possible? Could there be a worse dream to wake up to? Is that what growing into an adult means? Click your heels. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
Watched Paul McCartney on TV last night. What a great band he has assembled. Still carrying the torch. His vocals were awesome. Made me realize how we really need to start making a better living from our own music. Right now the general consensus is that bands don't make good money. One out of a thousand maybe make enough to get by. You’ve got your Eminems and your Madonnas. But most of us don't even make enough to live. And this belief is perpetuated and vehemently defended by everyone in the industry. ‘that's just the way it is,’ is the general feeling. We hear it all the time. every show we play, we’re told that we may have to play for free, or we’ll be lucky if we make five hundred bucks to split between all five of us plus pay the soundman, light person, flyers, transportation, etc. and a lot of times it's the bands that are at fault in the first place because they put up with it and so they set this precedent that all bands have to do it. They get so used to it that they never get out of it. It’s like, ‘I've fallen into this belief and I can’t get up.’ it's funny.
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
I'm in the airport. There is this Latin girl with a tight shirt on and no bra. Her breasts are just popping out. She has received more than her fair share of secret looks from other passengers here waiting for the plane. A few minutes later I looked up and she was standing up talking on her phone. Her nipples were really sticking out. And there is this guy sitting down about four feet away from her. He had a book in his hand but he was staring at her standing there talking on the phone and his mouth was hanging open, and then about five feet away from him there was this other girl who was staring at the guy and at the girl observing how this guy was so absorbed by the girl on the phone with the tight shirt and no bra, and she was completely absorbed in watching the two of them. She had this look on her face like, ‘I can’t believe that guy. Why does he care about that slut with the big boobs." And then I'm sitting there watching all three of them doing their thing. And I'm thinking, ‘I wonder if there is anyone watching me?’ Look how we watch each other. Each of us making our own little judgments about each other based on our own different sets of beliefs.
O.k. I'm on the plane now—America West—and they are playing all these country music videos. Man what is this? I think I have been in Miami too long. I feel like culture shocked. I'm sitting here looking at the TV and hearing this strange music and these goofy looking people and my mouth is hanging open. I forget that America is filled with people like this. I keep looking at the other passengers on the plane with me, like, “do you see this on the tv? Can you believe it?” Maybe they are from out west or something, flying home for the holiday. And they are used to it. The longer I live in Miami, the more I start to realize that it is not really part of the rest of the country. It's like we live in an alternate reality compared to the rest of America. I'm sitting next to his couple who packed their own lunch since airlines don't serve food anymore. They are eating bologna sandwiches on white bread with yellow mustard and yellow American cheese. I haven't seen something like that in ten years. I knew they sold that stuff in the supermarkets. I just could never figure out who actually bought it. o.k. so yea, Miami is not really part of America.
We’re in the air now. I'm watching the in-flight movie sporadically while reading and writing. Bourne identity baby!!! I love this movie. Great soundtrack. Reading time magazine—twelve letters from readers from all over the country saying they do not support Bush’s planned invasion of Iraq. I will scan these in. They receive thousands of letters per week one would assume with the printed ones being a small representation of the bulk of them. The media continues to report about the coming Iraq war (not a war at all, but really an invasion, since they haven’t attacked us and aren't really even a worthy opponent of ours) and all of Bush’s activities to prepare for this war on a daily Bas is. The media continues to ignore the fact that most Americans do not support Mr. Bush in this. and so when you turn on the television, you get bombarded by corporate bullshit and propaganda about an America that is not ours, but belongs to a hostile government who stole the presidency and will do whatever it wants to whenever it wants to regardless of the American people—as one reader wrote in to time magazine, ‘I will support Bush’s military action in Iraq as soon as he enlists his two daughters in the military.’ Funny.
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Tonight we went to see and hear Caetano Veloso sing at the Jackie Gleason theatre. After the concert we got to meet him. this was a huge event for me personally. I was awestruck. I gave him an autographed copy of Rise and Shine and showed him his name in the liner notes. Showed him how we covered a famous Brasilian song on the album. We spoke very briefly. Laughed some. It was a good feeling. He is much smaller in person than on stage. Older, greyer. Very soft and soft spoken. This was a dream of mine. This year I have had the opportunity to go see Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Boccelli, U2, and Caetano in concert. This has been a very good year.
Listen to the man sing.
The following is from an email by a man named John MaCenulty. It is good. Very good.
There are times when societal actions are extremely clearly wrong, outrages
that reach into us deeply. We feel a sense of hopelessness and despair that
things may be falling apart. A sense of wrong and dread pervades.
And there are times when things come to a focus and really are threatening.
It is not an illusion that will pass in the blink of a magical eye. Some
things are deep and structural, inherent in the way of things. They have been
going on for a long time.
Negative energies flare and wane. We are watching a flaring.
The history of humanity is the story of these risings and fallings. Ever has
it been so.
Yet within the structure of pain and suffering has been an awesome spiritual
beauty that has never been defeated by the awful things that have passed
through us. Hope seems to, indeed, spring eternal.
Beethoven and Mozart wrote in times of war. Enduring beauty was created.
Now I pray again, deeply, for peace, fairness, justice, love in my world,
this beautiful, betrayed, discouraging world.
It is through the very act of prayer that I am fulfilled, not in the
answering of my prayer, in the very act.
When I seek the divine I create the divine. I activate that energy in my
consciousness and it comes into me.
The sadness without prayer is overwhelming.
I focus on the stillness and it comes over me, into me. There is always my
very nature, beautiful beyond all failings, a light within me that will not
I rise and fall too.
New web site address:
Copyright © 2002 by John MacEnulty
11/22/2002, St. Louis, MO
Monday, November 25, 2002
Such a sense of peace in the home tonight. I looked into the house through the windows tonight from outside and felt so lucky and so blessed. It looked so warm and dimly lit and cozy inside. Still thinking a lot about the marriage/relationship issue today. Too much to get into now.
Watched the movie Bombay tonight. Controversial film from the early nineties about the Muslim/Hindu riots in India. Need to study the Muslims more. Violence seems to follow them around from one end of the earth to the other. What is happening there? And it is such a recent invention, this Muslim God and religion, not more than fourteen hundred years or something. So what were they before they were Muslims? And did they fight and rebel and go crazy like this before they became Muslims? Before there was such a thing? Who are these people and why are they so angry and intolerant of others? I have spent a lot of time protesting violence against these people, marched on Washington to try to help bring peace to their lands, and spent many hours arguing with my Jewish and American friends about how we need to allow them their right be themselves and not bully them. but I am starting to see the other side lately. I am tired of hearing about their terrorist acts on innocent people. Need to research more. Tomorrow night we get to see and listen to Caetano Veloso.
Last great movie: Bombay. Good movie, slight cheese, but still good.
Current read: Life of Trotsky. And a photo book called Erotique, collection of historic erotic photography.
Sunday, November 24, 2002
In the line at the movies and feeling so heavy from this relationship thing. My mind was spinning from the confusion of not exactly knowing what I was feeling. Recognized the signs; unable to focus, more attention on myself rather than on the outside, feelings of discomfort and resistance. I stood there and forced myself to feel whatever I was feeling, let it all slowly unravel and untangle inside of me so I could take a look at what was there. I could discreate the beliefs later. Lets just take a look at them and free up some attention. So what I started noticing as I looked around inside was this feeling that I just wasn't ready to settle down and get married. Even though a big part of me longs for it. I have no problem with the idea of marriage. I can’t wait. I just don't know about the forever part of it. that's the part that sticks me. I told la Princesa about this. I told her that maybe I could see marriage if instead of promising forever two people promised five years with an option to renew type of thing. Of course she was upset. I think she walked out actually. But I had to be honest. Forever? The rest of your life. Later she admitted that she sort of felt the same way but it was just too much to think about, and too out of the ordinary and crazy to entertain the idea. But I think that is a much more logical and practical way to go about it.
All I do know is that a lot of my friends are already divorced. And some of them are already in their second marriages. And most of us have parents who are divorced. Not all of them, but the majority of them. I notice a lot of my friends also getting married and admitting that they aren't totally madly in love like they thought they would be but just still really wanted to get married and really love their spouse. For me I just couldn’t imagine doing that. still others are in relationships or marriages that are strained and not so deliberate. A lot of fighting. A lot of wondering what it would be like to be on their own. but maybe they have children now and can’t get out. A lot of marriages seem more Bas Fishy on avoiding pain and loneliness than experiencing love and passion. Not all of them. A few of my married friends seem really really happy. So the possibility is there. I just haven't gotten to the point yet where I am willing to subject myself or anyone else to that.
Saturday, November 23, 2002
Tonight was the last night of the play Decay. Several members of the cast and crew passed out cards to everyone. It was a packed house. Some people were standing. So we did it. We pulled it off. No money, no major production company. No big name producers or directors. No advertising budget. Just a bunch of artists dedicated to making it happen against all odds. A hot, no-air-conditioned warehouse filled to the rim with people watching live theatre by a group of poor actors and musicians making no money for performing every night for two weeks straight for no other reason than to turn people on to live theatre. This was the vision of the writer, Sasha, and the director, Nicole, and the producer, Enzu. We went along for the ride. And every night that place was near filled to capacity.
Last great movie: Brother Can You Spare a Dime, documentary about the Great Depression in America. Clark gable, James cagney, Greta garbo, FDR, Herbert Hoover, bread lines, stock market crash, wind storms, dust bowls, prohibition, what a depressing time. my great grandfather killed himself during the great depression because he lost all his money and couldn’t support his family.
Friday, November 22, 2002
Someone asked me what the three best things about the Internet were. I replied: email, access to unlimited information, amazon.com, and eBay. O.k. so that's four things, I know. You could also add online stock trading, netflix.com, streamable and downloadable music, alternative news sources, Internet radio, and ecommerce in general… but I digress. And I still know people who don't have the Internet. Crazy. Tonight I found this: http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Bye.html Check it out. it is an alleged picture of an alien waving goodbye. Read the text. Intriguing. Got me thinking a bit about aliens and that whole subject. Still waiting for the moment when the mainstream media announces that “aliens now exist.” Funny how we wait for confirmation of things we already know until it hits the mainstream. I think we all kind of know that chances are there are other intelligent life forms here. Just waiting for it to be mainstream. I am as frightened by it as I am excited, I will admit. The implications are mind boggling. Quite probable, inevitable, that it will alter the entire construct of universal truth as we are currently creating it. Wink wink. And what about God? Does he know these “aliens” exist? Raised eyebrows.
Kick butt in the studio today. Vancouver laid down another great guitar track on the song beautiful one. Great performance in the play tonight. Packed house. Tomorrow is our last run. I will miss it when it is over. More dates being added to our tour starting in January—Orlando, Jacksonville, Atlanta, South Carolina. Very excited to get out there and meet fans in other parts of the country personally.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
In the studio today working more on Vancouver’s guitar parts. Challenging. The vibe of Fred is ‘lets just get it done. It shouldn’t have to take forever.’ Normally the producer is on fire and inspired as much as the artists are. He keeps the flames burning when they wane which can often be the case when an album drags on and on; the musicians tend to lose interest after a while, lose their inspiration. I never do.
But more and more lately I have been starting to think that I am not really a musician, maybe a painter who just never learned how to paint, or a film maker who makes albums instead. I am often just as ‘musically inspired’ by great films or great paintings than I am by great albums. In fact a lot of times I notice that great films or paintings seem to more closely resemble what I am trying to create in the studio than most albums that get released. I absolutely hate normal run of the mill guitar Bas drum and vocal bands and albums. I just find them very boring and can’t get through them.
But I will put on Nabukazu Takemura, which is really just electronic noise and be totally blown away. My musician friends comment that ‘anyone can do that. It’s just noise.’ But I like it, and find it refreshing and remarkably inspiring. For the most part I don’t even like “musician’s music.” Never have. Never really developed a liking for it. This is something that I have always butted heads with other musicians about. If you're listening to music for the perfection of the craft of it, then that is one thing, which a lot of musicians are into. how well someone can play an instrument or sing. But that has never been my thing. Always preferred music that set a tone, created a mood, no matter the actual musicianship. Loved my bloody valentine. Play it for a lot of musicians who just don't even understand why someone would make that. “where's the songs?” they ask. Or “that guy is just making noise on his guitar. He can’t even play.” But I never cared about that too much. So I don't care how long an album takes to make. I just know when we’re done. It could be a year. It could be three years. I tell Vancouver ‘less “trying to play a part” and more “trying to cop a vibe.” And the great thing is that he is totally capable of pulling it off. He is some kind of boy-genius on the guitar.
If we can just get Fred to get on board and realize that we aren't trying to just make some standard rock album, but something deeper, richer. He will pull out songs by Cracker, or queens of the stone age, and that stuff is great. But I am thinking more along the lines of Citizen Kane, or Oliver Stone. He just laughs at me a lot. Thinks I am crazy. I told him today that we may have to add another layer of drums. And he just thought I was out of my mind. “Two totally separate drum tracks?! What are you? On crack?” I know he didn't sign on for that and in a way it isn't fair to now demand it of him, after all, he has to make a living, and we can’t just keep him working on this album for the next ten years, but somewhere there is a middle ground we will have to find if we’re all going to be happy.
Current Spin: A Taste of Asia. Ancient Chinese instrumental music.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Sitting with Bas, going through live shows on video trying to find cool moments to post on the website. We were talking about the Middle East, about why can’t humans just get along, and experience peace. He sighs, mumbles “it's just fucking Bush. What's wrong with him? He doesn’t give people an accurate idea of what the people are like. Every one just thinks that we are like these crazy war mongers. But we’re not.
Al Gore, Shroud of Turin,
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Performed another night of the play tonight to a packed house. Everyone was over the top. In those brief moments I was my character. Audience was clapping and laughing and really liked it. Afterwards the playwright Sasha gave this speech about how we needed to raise more money for the artists’ co op C-Roc and it was hilarious. People were rolling from laughter. He said things like, “look, here's the deal. We just want to be able to do this for our living and have people like you pay for it. so give us money. We need money. We need your money….we’re artists. We don't have to be rich. We just don't want to have to work, that's all.” Things like that. It was great.
Burning the candle at both ends right now. Spend most of my days with a severe headache, like a vice squeezing my head. Feel like I have no time. can’t even think straight. Craziness. La Princesa is mad. Says that she can’t see me anymore because I don't have the time for anyone in my life. I say we just saw each other yesterday. She reminds me, “that was two days ago you jerk.” And then she hits me. Two or three days feels like one day to me. crazy.
Was in the studio today recording Vancouver’s guitar parts. Spent the first hour arguing with him and Fred the producer. Trying to get them to see that if we don't create something truly remarkable, truly innovative and fresh and magical that there isn't any sense in us doing it, I don't care how many people buy it. he says, “don't you just want to sell records? People don't buy CDs because they are innovative Fishy. Listen to the radio.” I said I didn't care. I explained to them another perspective… “look how fucking lucky we are, you are. Here you have this opportunity to come in here for free and Fred, we’re paying you to help us do it, and here we have this opportunity to come in here and show the world who you are, whatever you got. You have this opportunity to lay it down on tape, all of us together and create whatever we want. So what are we going to create? Radio music? Are you a guitar God? Or are you just some guy in Miami who plays the guitar? What do you want people to think when they put this CD on? Well I know what I want them to think. so lets fucking make it happen.” Well it worked. He played some amazing parts. Truly brilliant guitar playing, textural, exotic, wild, surreal stuff. it may kill us but we are making something very special with this one.
Monday, November 18, 2002
Sunday, November 17, 2002
Today was a beautiful day. One of the best Sundays I have had in years. This morning we went to a Jewish baby naming ceremony for a friend of mine. Seven God fathers and three young pure godmothers bless the new born baby girl. One hundred and twenty-five people all gathered together to celebrate the birth of this baby. Very beautiful. It really confirmed for me my goal of having a big family one day.
Later came home and spent the day writing, drawing, painting, sleeping, and making love, while listening to Indian trance dervish music from the fourteen hundreds. Living and breathing art. I so needed a day like today to reaffirm what is important to me. Freedom beauty truth love and art and all those other ideals that sometimes we get so busy to remember their importance in our lives. Later tonight we saw the movie Frida about the Mexican painter Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera. So inspired that I couldn’t stop my leg from shaking during the whole movie. My heart was filled with passion and my head was filled with ideas. I spent half the movie taking notes. It cemented for me the ideal that art is not so much about public opinion or accessibility as much as it is about originality. Creating something new. Something that has been hard to remember during the recording of this new album of ours. Because it feels like we are being so pressured to create something that is commercially accessible at the expense of creating something wholly original. Well not anymore. I can promise you that.
Current Spin: Echoes of the Forest: music of the central African pygmies.
Last great movie: Frida. Amazing. Beautiful. inspiring.
Saturday, November 16, 2002
Just got done with the Saturday night performance of the play. The final one for this week. Really intense tonight. We were all on fire. The crowd really felt it. Still feeling sick. So didn't hang around too long meeting and greeting. Fighting a depression of some kind. A general malaise. Feelings of resistance. It's that feeling of waiting for something to happen and you're thinking, "now when that happens then I can be happy." And I am not exactly sure what that is. Just waiting. Bored. Sad. I know I'm not the only one. I see it in everyone. They go out and drink. Get drunk. Smoke pot, take pills, eat, watch TV till they fall asleep, whatever. Something, anything to fight the feelings, the pain.
I have felt those desires crawling up in me lately. “O.K. well you know tonight, the play is over, I'm just sitting here. maybe I'll just do this….” but I am beyond that. It doesn’t even seem like an option now. Now there is a strong desire for purity more than ever. So when the feelings do come up I would rather just feel them and explore them—if you have to cry, you cry, or if you have to scream, you scream, let it out—get to the core of them, find out where they are coming from. I have been here before. I know it is a short road between agony and relief; between grief and happiness. Although it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. But the key is in feeling the feelings, owning them, owning what's underneath them, and then letting them go, and then refocusing on your true self and your true desires.
I remember when me and Cleo broke up. We had moved down to Miami together and by the time we actually moved here, we were already broken up. So here we were in this brand new city that we worked so hard to make this big move to, but we were separated. Lived in separate houses. We told ourselves that it was only temporary. That we were doing it to get some space so we could work it out and get back together, but both of us knew I think inside that it was over, that we were going to be moving on. We both started dating other people. Sharing our experiences over the phone or over dinner sometimes. And little by little it became more and more apparent that it was permanent. That it was really over. We never talked about getting back together. We talked about everything else. Her new house, my new house. The new city we lived in. Work. Money. Friends. But we never discussed getting back together. I would lie in my bed at night some times and feel so overwhelmed with sadness and with longing and maybe cry a little. I would call her sometimes and she wouldn’t answer. Then she would call and I wouldn’t answer. This went on for about a year. Back and forth, each of us staking claim to our boundaries. A little more each day.
Friday, November 15, 2002
Tonight was the opening night of the play Decay. Good crowd. Relatively good performances from all of us. Very exciting backstage. Totally dark except for a red light or two. For an hour before we go backstage to start the performance everyone kind of jumps around the room, paces, mumbles incoherently, makes funny sounds to themselves, practices their lines over and over again, puts on their makeup, stares at themselves in the mirror reciting their lines or talking themselves up. fun. Backstage everyone just paces till it's their turn to go on stage. Back and forth we pace throughout the first half of the play, trying not to bum into each other. Funny. Everyone goes from smiles to this intense look. Very different than putting on a rock concert, where everyone just kind of drinks and smokes and stands around and then maybe you let out a few screams and yells and then on you go up. actors are very intense. I have started to look at it like the difference between art and craft.
When you go up on stage to play a rock concert, at least for original music, it is like this spiritual artistic experience. Are you focused? I don't think so. It's more like you are lost at sea. In space. You are at one with the music and the audience and you are just part of the whole thing. Just flowing in the art of it. you have no lines to remember. Yea you have all these lyrics to remember but this isn't conscious. You already know them subconsciously. They are just a part of you. so you're not thinking about them. you're not thinking at all. you're just trying to play as well as you can and get into the art of it as much as you can, to capture some kind of impalpable, intangible, ecstasy for you and the crowd through your interpretation of the songs. And every night that interpretation can be totally different. The four of you may play each song totally different than you did the night before. you may stick within the same general guidelines or play roughly the same chords, but that's about it. the way you play, and the notes you play and the notes you sing and your phrasing and everything really is totally different. That's the fun of it. that's the rush. That's why we do it. that's why people go to live shows. To see and hear that experimentation.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
I have been thinking more about the whole thing about lying and humans the last few days. It is said that everyone lies. That if you say you don't lie, then you’re a liar. Funny. Because chances are it's probably true. But I think there is a big difference between certain kinds of lies. Maybe. maybe not. That's another story. But for many a lie is not that big of a deal. But for certain there are some people who attempt at least never to lie. They are loyal to the truth as a cause. As the most holy cause we know of. And indeed I would say that the truth would be the most holy virtue we can attempt to uphold as human beings at least right now in our present state of evolution.
Religion is considered holy, which is ironic at best, because it is a system founded on lies, or at least half truths, and wannabe truths. People fight and kill for their religious beliefs. we have all heard the phrase ‘holy war.’ Again, ironic at best. if a person is being honest with themselves chances are they probably aren't fighting a holy war. They are probably fighting for land or for their country or for the protection of their home. But they are tricked into believing they are fighting for their religion or for their God, usually by their government. Governments are notorious liars. That's their job. Military men are trained liars. That's part of their job. You learn to become an expert liar, in case you get caught, in case you are overheard by the enemy, or the people you serve. You have to lie. Think Oliver north, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. think Lyndon Johnson and the Tonkin scandal during Vietnam. Think anything that has to do with government or war or military. All through the eighties the American government secretly supported Sadaam Hussein, gave him money and weapons, yes even chemical and biological ones, because they were in a war with Iran, and we wanted them to win because we were so against Iran at the time. but they did this in secret. They consistently lied about it to the American people. ask your average American on the street if they know about this and they will look at you like you are crazy. Were they wrong for lying to the people? I don't know. I'm too new to all of this to pretend I know the answer. I don't know if I will ever know the answer to that one. should governments be allowed to lie to their people? I don't know yet. That's all I can say.
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
You get to a point where you can sense when someone is lying. You can hear it in their voice. If you're not listening for it or conscious of this ability you may never notice this. You may just be aware of something weird in the space when you are talking to them, and may not know what it is. But once you start to realize this phenomenon then you get really good at picking up on when someone just lied to you. It's really amazing. They walk away or you walk away or maybe they are still talking and you are totally aware that they are lying. Or making stuff up. it's like their line doesn’t get delivered fully. That's what it feels like. You hear it but you don't feel it. You feel something else instead of what they just said. Even if they are looking at you right in your eye—especially if they are looking at you right in your eyes, lol, if it feels a little weird then there is something there other than what is being said. Some kind of incongruence.
I am thinking of this because it has presented a big lesson for me over the last few weeks. My assistant recently quit. This isn't the first time this has happened. From what I hear I am not the easiest person to work for. I have heard eccentric. I have heard just downright crazy. Some last for a week. Some last for a year or two. But normally when they leave, it is very clean. They sit down. We have a talk. They explain that they have to move on, or whatever, maybe shed a few tears and they give their two weeks notice and then over the next couple of weeks we sew everything up and find someone else and then usually the old one teaches the new one the ropes for a while and then moves on. Maybe they’ll call a few times a week to make sure everything is going smooth and be available for the new one to ask questions etc. That's the way it normally goes in the world. But this wasn't like that. She didn't quit as much as just disappeared one day. One day she just left and didn't come back. No call. No letter. No resignation. Just gone.
Monday, November 11, 2002
Being in the play, learning acting has done something to me/for me. Has opened me up in a way I had always wanted. On Saturday we played Churchill's hideaway in Miami. This place is a total dive but one of the few places left to play in the entire city for a rock band performing live music. Churchill's was the first club I ever played in my whole life many years ago with broken spectacles. We were 18 years old. Green little kids so eager to just be on stage. We would play three sets a night! for hours and hours. For little crowds of all of our friends. And we would drink on stage and be so drunk by the time we got off that we couldn’t even see straight. Back then I couldn’t even tune my guitars. Dave or Matt would do it for me. I didn't know how to get good tone from my amp and didn't know what good tone was. I couldn’t play the guitar to save my life. but we had fun. So it was great to be back there, where it all started. So many years ago.
Saturday night we—the transcendence—played the best show of our careers at Churchill's as a band. at least I did. I cannot help but feel that it has something to do with this acting thing and the subtle influence these crazy people have had on me. I felt so open and free and inspired and happy to be there on stage with my boys singing and playing. Throughout our concert people would walk out of the room, others would come in. It was late, past 1am. Normally I would obsess on that during our shows. Oh my God, why are they leaving? Don't they like us? are we too loud? Are we not loud enough? Are we not hard enough? Are we too hard? Do my vocals suck that bad? Do we not look cool enough? Something clicked on in me over the last few weeks. I decided to stop worrying. I don't know why. I just made a conscious decision to stop. Instead of focusing on the people who were leaving, I focused instead on the smiling faces who were singing along to every word and clapping and looking like they were having so much fun. I focused on the people dancing and jumping up and down. I focused on the great songs we were singing and how much I loved them and how much I loved being in this band with these guys who are so good and so talented and who give up so much of their lives to be up there with me playing. I would look over at the Piano Man or Vancouver and they would just be rocking it out so hard and sincere and I felt inspired and happy to be me. at one point after the show was over we got our money for the night. a total of fifty four dollars to split between 5 guys. Do the math. I was exhausted and still had to get my equipment off of the stage. i spoke to the God I keep in my head like many of us do, ‘God this sucks. I can’t believe I am still doing this. I have to load my own equipment. I am here in this grungy old bar in the worst part of town and I just spent hundreds of dollars to do this by the time I get done paying the guys and transportation etc. God I am just going to quit if you don't help me out here right now! I am tired and frustrated by this.’ and God said, ‘you can quit if you want to. It's totally up to you. You’ve quit before. Do you remember what it was like? You weren't very happy when you quit making music last time. do you remember? It's up to you. you'll come back though.’ So in that moment, I realized that he/she/it was right. I just enjoyed the hell out of that experience. So was it worth it? yes it was. We sang love is you and the people in the audience sang along with us. We sang oh you pretty things by David Bowie and it felt so great. This was a good show. I cannot wait till our next one.
Current Spin: Franco Batiato, Café Paix. Great contemporary Italian singer/visionary.
Saturday, November 09, 2002
Another rehearsal tonight for the play. We are having so much fun in this. There are only seven of us in the play. Every night before we start to rehearse we do all these really fun exercises to warm up. this builds a certain camaraderie between us so we feel like one. and then we get into it. I am so impressed by all of them. they are so warm and open and friendly and willing to be vulnerable. Totally different vibe than the musicians set. No chip on their shoulder and very little attitude. Sure they are a little moody but it's pretty stressful to suck yourself into some character that isn't you and really try to be that. You're totally putting yourself on the line. I have just been in awe of them since we started working together.
The director is named Nikki. She is a total pro. Only 27 years old. So impressive. They really take it seriously. If bands took their work as seriously as actors and theatre people do, instead of sitting around smoking pot and talking all the time, they would be a lot more successful. I have learned a lot from these theatre people. they are very serious about their craft.
Current Spin: Midnight Oil, 20,000 watt RSL.
Friday, November 08, 2002
An email from a friend: this topic is everywhere these days, for good reason,
“Is it legal (as far as copyright laws go) to burn CDs at home and distribute to your friends as gifts? An item on Haley's Christmas list is a CD burner; she wants to make CDs for her favorite music and give it to her friends as gifts ... I am not sure but think gifting is OK but
selling these type of CDs may be illegal - thought you could shed some light ..... “
O.k. literally it is not legal unless they are for yourself only because then those other people will not have to buy the cds for themselves, so the artists lose money and concert tickets go up even higher because it is the only way that we can make our money now. But some people argue that if people like the CD they will go buy it anyway to get the artwork etc, so I don't know the answer for you. I personally don't even like burned cds for myself because you don't get the real thing—you don't get the true artist’s vision---and half the time they don't even work, but a lot of people her age do like them cause they don't have much money, so I kind of think it is the wave of the future unfortunately. So we will see. I think it is inevitable that, A, people will keep doing it, and that B, we will start adding royalties to CD burners and blank CDs to pay the artists that are creating the content that warrants their existence in the marketplace in the first place, and la princessa , that if it does continue, that concert tickets will continue to go up because musical artists will have no other way to support themselves or their families except from live appearances as more and more unique ways of obtaining recorded music for free become available to the consumer.
Thursday, November 07, 2002
Absolutely beautiful day today. it finally got below 80 degrees in Miami, a miracle perhaps… today I went to pick up an Italian suit I had had custom made at Zegna, one of the top three Italian suit makers in the world today (Brioni, Armani, Cannalli, Zegna). That's what they tell me anyway. This was my first time doing this. They take your measurements and help you choose the fabric and the style of the suit and they send it off to Italy where they make this handmade suit for you. And then it comes back a month later. Very nice. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in a way. What a joy. I like it so much I have decided to wear this suit for our concert at of all places Churchill's Hideaway on Saturday night. That will be very funny and stupid, but I will do it anyway. In fact I just may wear this suit everyday for the next few months no matter where I go.
In the studio again all day today to finish up my guitars. We finished. Now it's time for Vancouver to do his guitars, then piano man’s keyboards, lead vocals, background vocals, handclaps, percussion and various other little things here and there, and then were done. The tracks sound great. I hope we can finish it fast enough so by the time it comes out we still like what we made. maybe by January, we can be done.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
First voice lesson today with yet another teacher. While I was away I really felt into this other new teacher I had. Whenever I thought about her I felt bad. I did not feel good inside and I have learned to trust these feelings now. To follow the feelings always. If something feels good, if it feels clean and clear, and light and makes you feel happy, then it is a good thing. If something causes a disturbance in your body or mind, then have a look at it. Something is trying to tell you something. Easy enough. So, I just felt into it and decided that regardless of all of her awards and reputation and boasting and such I would prefer to experience my music in a much more joyful way. music for me is so important and such a reservoir for joy and happiness in my life. I hated the way that she made it seem so stern, desperate, and negative, telling me I couldn’t have a glass of water during my lessons and such. I really started to feel sorry for her and take it on myself like o.k. if I keep coming here I can make her feel better, make her happier as a person. and then I kind of let that go. Well today was a good lesson. Happy. Clear. Sang well.
So I'm in mikes cigars walking around and I look over across the room and I see this really hot girl and I think ‘wow, who is that?!’ I recognize that shirt. And then I realize that it is mirror on the other side of the room. It's me. I think I must look pretty feminine. Holy shit, I look like a chick.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
We are rehearsing every night now for this upcoming play. Every night till midnight or later. These are long days. Wake up, go to the office during the day, rush to the studio to record, then straight to play rehearsal, and then home to eat a late dinner. Maybe get to sleep by three or four, and then try to wake up by nine or ten to start over again. Crazy. But I am learning so much from these actors. They call it getting the bug. They are so much fun and wild and open and free. By Friday I feel like I just have to pass out.
Monday, November 04, 2002
Watching this WWII documentary. Hours and hours. Amazing. Buy it if you can. its fantastic. So educational, illuminating. This is before the UN and NATO. Countries just attacked each other all the time. no one was really without blame. It was almost as if humanity had not yet discovered the difference between right and wrong.
Germany wants to take over Poland so they cut a deal with Russia and they just split the whole country down the middle. Just take it over completely. Absolutely no respect or care about their people or traditions or culture. England decides that they will fight Germany but while they do it it would be a good idea to take over Norway because of their oil. Of course this mission of theirs failed but it just goes to show, even though they were supposedly allies, how allied were they really? And to whom? It is just unfathomable in this day and age. Or is it? the whole reason we invented the UN and NATO and other peace organizations was to enact rules and regulations to prevent exactly what Bush is proposing we do to Iraq right now. and the whole world is telling him that. and still he persists. It is rather frightening in the context of watching this history of world war II. Political scientists are saying that this could very well be the beginning of world war III if we go ahead with this. so I think we all have a vested interest in doing whatever it takes to stop Bush from this plan. This is pivotal time in our history regardless of how behind it the mainstream media seems to be. they do not matter. They never will. What matters is what we want. The people. this is our country. This is our land. This is our lives at stake.
After the recent theatre hostage crisis in Moscow, I became curious about Chechnya; who they were and why were they holding people hostage and blowing things up all over Russia. The first red flag was of course when the media described the perpetrators of the incidences as “the rebels” or “rebel forces.” This usually means “the good guys” or “the people”, but don't try telling most people that. Because they’ll think you're crazy and call you a “rebel” too. So for the last week or so I have been studying the history of Chechnya.
As it turns out, my suspicions were right. As usual, Chechnya is a country of people who want sovereignty and their independence from the hands of a larger, more powerful and evil country, Russia. Russia has been trying to take over their country and people for over four-hundred years now. The rest of us sit and watch it happen. We don't help the Chechens, even though Russia has been committing ethnocide on their people for hundreds of years. Killing and deporting millions of them. We the United States and other civilized countries around the world participate in Olympic games with Russia, have tea with them, etc etc. same thing with China, even though they have murdered millions of Tibetans and taken over their homeland as well. Same thing with England and just about every country on earth over the centuries, but specifically Northern Ireland.
Sunday, November 03, 2002
Good weekend. On Friday we finally heard from the big time talent show organization. We auditioned for this thing months ago and they refused to give us any info until the official announcement. Well that was Friday night. And we won. So we are very happy. We weren't the only winners but we will receive the award for best unsigned artist of 2002. And we will perform live at the televised awards show. So that is very groovy. Last night went to see Elvis Costello at the Jackie Gleason theatre with Omine. Elvis’ voice is stronger than ever. He just has this amazing voice. Today I received an email that I will be able to go backstage and meet Caetano Veloso and present him with this song I wrote for him called Caetano when he performs here later this month. I am so excited, I can’t believe it. he is one of my biggest influences and inspirations.
We have been working on getting our radio station up, Transcendent Radio, on our website. www.transcendence.com. A lot of fun. Playing all the music we love as well as a lot of tracks from various albums of our own.
Last Movie: Punch Drunk Love, by PT Anderson. Well Paul is a brilliant filmmaker. This one is small, very singular in scope but still has that other-worldly quirkiness that makes him such a visionary stylist. Adam Sandler finally shows that he is no longer simply a comic actor. He pulls off a fantastic performance.
Current read: set your voice free by roger Love
Current Spin: Josh Groban. Modern pop opera. An absolutely flawless voice.
A reunion between a small group of us who all live in different parts of the country. But we try to see each other a few times a year. Michael and Beth Ann just recently moved here to LA. So we all decided to meet here after Thanksgiving. I really wanted to get to know LA a little better. My heart is pretty much sold on New York but just in case I thought I would check it out. So we all flew in today at different times. Very nice to be here together. Tonight we went to sunset strip to check out all the clubs and bands. Pretty scummy, dirty, raunchy for the most part. A very big Fort Lauderdale. Nothing like beautiful fashionable New York or hip and stylish Miami. But being with this spiritual family that I have collected over the years has been very nice so far. We stay up late and talk about what we are all experiencing in our individual lives and then we advise each other, help guide each other, feed off of each other.
A lot of talking about what I was writing about last night. That the energy now around the world has accelerated so rapidly that it is apparent to everyone that IT is happening. Something has shifted. Things are moving so fast. Changes occurring so quickly around the planet. Things are rapidly shifting into place for everyone, or out of place, depending on how you look it. You are either prepared or not. Either way IT is still happening. Something big is happening. Something horribly incongruent and earth shaking is happening all around the world. It's getting harder and harder just to find time to get a haircut or cuddle up with a good book.
Saturday, November 02, 2002
Still in AZ. I just walked outside to relax and write a little. I was standing up, lighting a cigar, when I heard this super fast fluttering, like a bird on over drive. I flipped around and this bat was headed right at me. I ducked. It skimmed my head and hit my hair a little. I ran to the sliding glass door to take a breather for a moment. And then it came swooping around the corner to make another attempt at me. I ran inside. Crazy.
Today my brother told me this story that happened recently right here in phoenix. A kid was at the local strip mall down the street this summer. A swarm of African bees attacked him. Came out of nowhere. He tried to get away from them. Went into a panic. Ran out into the street and got run over by a car. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't happening right now. Whatever “it” is. It's happening. A man gets a call. His father is dead. He goes to the funeral. Leaves his wife at home to work. Comes home the next day, his wife is laying dead on the floor. He is stricken with extreme grief. He goes to the funeral. He gets a call on his cell phone. His general manager who works directly under him just got run over by a semi-truck on the highway. This man was my brother’s wife’s step father. The dead wife was my brother’s wife’s mother. The next day his wife has a baby. My youngest niece. Our lives are turning into movies.
Friday, November 01, 2002
Rehearsing every night for this play called Decay that I have stumbled into. Having a great time learning the art and craft of acting. The other cast members who are all trained actors in one way or another have been very nice, showing me the ropes and teaching me the technology of it, and the vocabulary. Scripting, blocking, crossing, off book, all this new nomenclature, a lot of fun. Fascinating really. I always took acting for granted till a few weeks ago. Now I am just in awe of people who can do it so well. It is so transparent when they are doing it, you don’t even know that they are acting. I get chills watching everyone rehearse. They must think I'm funny. I clap for everyone when they rehearse a scene, but I just get so impressed. Then I go up and try to do my part, you know, I still have the script in my hand, the rest of them have already memorized their lines. I'm digging it. I love getting to know them, these actor types. Totally different than the musician types I've been hanging out with forever. I mean these are the same people who were in drama class in high school, you know. And we never hung out with them. They were always the biggest geeks, and we were always really hip and cool. We played guitar, surfed, did drugs, smoked, and always dressed cool. And they just didn't. The drama kids were always God I don’t even remember; well for one thing they never dressed cool. They dressed like poor geeks. You know I'm stereotyping here, but for a reason.
Well here it is ten years later, at least for me, and the lines have all blurred. There are still these huge differences. I'm sitting in this den of inequity where we all rehearse every night, this artists’ work space, where I think maybe a thousand people live or something. You're working on something and people just crawl out of corners with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and no shoes on. It's wild. And then in walk these actors and actresses. And it's just so wild compared to the musicians. They are so prepared. They have all these notes on their script and they are so reserved and then all of a sudden they burst into this scene like no body’s business. And you are like shocked. Also they are so friendly. Compared to musicians. Who are so caught up in themselves and worried about being taken seriously and all of that. Where as the actors are pretty open and friendly people. I mean really, the space will be half filled with musicians who live there and half filled with actors who are working out of there and you can really tell the difference between the two groups. And I can relate because for a long time I was one of those dark and moody serious musician types myself. But I gave that up. God I am so much happier now, having my attention out, rather than in. Well that's a different story, but I'm digging this acting thing. These people are real, which is really funny to say, because they are actors.
Also Transcendent Radio is here. it is so cool.
Current Read: Tropical Truth, a story of music and revolution in Brasil by Caetano Veloso
Current Spin: Alone Again by Father Bloopy. Sort of an underground t. rex meets dinosaur jr., quirky trippy lo-fi.
Last Movie: The World at War, the 26 hour documentary about world war II