Monday, March 31, 2003

Last night we went to see the movie the Pianist. Did this guy deserve to beat Daniel Day Lewis for the Oscar? Well I dunno. He did a damn good job. I still they should have tied. Anyway, as we watched the cinematic replaying of Germany bombing and invading Poland and it's people, we would look over to the side at each other in horror, realizing that as we were sitting there in these beautifully decorated air-conditioned movie theatres eating our popcorn that thousands of miles away the Iraqi people are experiencing the same thing right now as thousands of bombs bombard their city every day and night and foreign American troops march in everyday giving them orders like they now own the country. They have no phones now. Water lines are broken, food shortages everywhere, whole buildings completely destroyed all around them. Malls and grocery stores filled with people have been completely demolished. And these foreign troops who march in are saying they are on a mission called Iraqi Freedom. As the people sit in total darkness without telephones and starve, their children crying, and listen to their city being bombed I am sure that they find it very hard to believe that the foreigners are there for their Freedom. It is very scary that something like this is happening in our modern time. It is even more frightening that something like this is taking place in the name of the great country of America and it's people. 
I just read this interview between ABC News and Iraq’s Defense Minister Aziz, who is not a Muslim but a Christian by the way, like many Americans, one of the few in Saddam’s cabinet. The interview is illuminating and very sad. Tomorrow is April 1st. Perhaps tomorrow we will wake up and someone will yell April fools! And we will realize that it was all just a dream—America are the good guys after all! yeah! Don't see it happening though.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Attended an experimental music performance tonight by an artist called Needle. Sound pieces with abstract film in the background. Made me wonder, is it possible to create pure sound and not make music? He did a pretty good job actually. Very abstract and non-linear. Pure sound. 

There are aspects of life on earth where you just sort of accept that we are fucked. Here in America maybe not as much as in other countries like say in china or Iraq. But still, when it comes to certain things, it doesn’t matter who you are, you're just stuck with what you get. With banking we’re fucked. Credit reports we’re fucked. Buying a house? Fucked. Parking tickets? Fucked? Those old people that drive slow as shit in the left most lane on the highway because they don't know that's the speed lane? Fucked. The post office? Have you ever tried to file a complaint with the post office? totally fucked. Get sick? Fucked. Go to a medical doctor? Even more fucked. Stay in the hospital? Totally big time fucked. Taxes? Fucked up the wazoo. There's just certain situations where we are just stuck with what you get is what you get. And that's fucked. But we deal with it. 

Friday, March 21, 2003

Went to the opera tonight. The marriage of Figaro by Mozart.  This was one of the best operas I have ever seen. It helped understanding of why Mozart is such a longstanding beloved composer. It was magnificent. 

Although everything seems so tainted right now by the bombardment of Iraq, and the media’s insistence on turning it into the action/adventure movie of the week.  

Thank God for people like Michael Moore or bill Maher. Tim Robbins appeared on bill Maher tonight and courageously spoke up against many aspects of this slaughter and got several thunderous applauses from the studio audience. bill made a funny but potent comment he heard in a bar the other day. “No matter what the outcome whether we win or lose, it can still be summed up with four words: ‘he didn't do it.’ meaning Sadaam. He may be thinking of doing it. He may want to do it. He may one day be capable of doing something. But he didn't do it.” So that's what bothers the rest of the world so much.

We’re all of a sudden back to the ‘well I'm scared you might hurt me so I'm going to hurt you first’ mentality of the middle ages. A dark time indeed for mankind if you know your history. And I have to say, it isn't that easy to know how you're supposed to feel about all of this, I think for any of us. We are experiencing one of the worst economic times in recent memory. People being laid off by the hundreds of thousands. The whole world seems to be mad at us all of a sudden. Even our own neighbors Canada and Mexico are against in this. We have a president in office who we aren't even sure if we really voted him in or not, who’s trying to burn down our forests and drill for oil in our national wildlife preserves. He comes off on TV like he is just about as dumb as dumb can be. it was just released this week that our social security and our Medicare will be bankrupt and out of funds by 2043, which is when a lot of us my age will retire. And worse than any of that, we’re back in a music meltdown like we haven't seen since the late eighties where alternative music which is so worn out and entirely nauseating is now the mainstream and anything even remotely actually alternative or cool or artistic is completely ignored by our radio and TV. Where is God when you need her?   

Started the message to the world site to voice our simple views about this attack to the rest of the world, the gen x view. Should be up in a day or two.

On the back porch writing. About 1:03am. A whole family of raccoons just walked by me. Slowly turned to face me and we all just kind of froze staring at each other. Like ‘who will move first.’ So I moved a little and they all ran up different trees and stared down at me for a while. Cool. I told them, “o.k. look, I'm just as freaked out as you guys are. So I'm not going to hurt you or anything but just don't think you're going to jump down on me or anything o.k.? I'm just going to turn around now and keep writing now.” crazy.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Attended a lecture on urban planning and public space making tonight. Interesting. Learned about what makes a good “village” or “town center.” Cool stuff.

Today we started bombing Iraq. When are people, everywhere, going to learn that it's not national pride that we need, but international pride. Yes I'm proud to be an American, sometimes. But I'm a lot more proud to be a human. I'm proud to be a citizen of the earth. When are we all going to wake up and start realizing that? Join together and really start kicking ass and helping each other as a collective of humans rather than these little tribes of “I'm right, they’re wrong” mentality against each other. If I hear the word “evil” one more time, from either side..... 

Makes you want to stick your head out the window and scream, “this is fucked up people!” like in that old movie from the seventies Network. You know, looking forward and pretending to look back at all of this, it is just a fucking nightmare right now. Especially for America. We have lost our pride because of it. We had a shot. At really standing up and showing the world that we weren't the big bullies that everyone claimed we were. That we were going to be the exception to the rule of what a super power or what a world empire was like. I think we lost that shot today. I am receiving emails and instant messages from friends in many other countries who are just horrified at what they are seeing on their own news about it. They are obviously getting a much different perspective on their own news of it than we are here in America. Lets not kid ourselves for a minute. This is not being glorified in most other civilized nations around the world like it is here in America. For us it's more like, “today I have sergeant William whatever from bumfuck usa and he is going to talk to us a little about the tanks our brave troops are driving....” and then every once in a while you see a little blurb about all the protests going on around the world, as if they are about as insignificant as Britney spears birthday. 

And in the meantime I get these emails from friends in other countries. “Fishy, I feel so bad about the poor Iraqi people. Their whole city is on fire. There are explosions twenty stories high all over their city. What are they thinking right now? Are there even any survivors left?” and as Americans we are just kind of sitting here helpless. “Well uh yea we know. Sorry about that.”

O.k. enough of that.  
Here's a little tidbit from a friend from Iran who now lives in Seattle:

Friday, March 14, 2003

We were just in Atlanta, GA. Here's an interesting viewpoint recently published in the New York Times (Sunday, March 9, 2003). It's an article by former President Jimmy Carter. It is one of the most concise and literate and non-partisan summaries I have read about this current Iraq invasion fiasco. I wish I could be as rational as president Carter. My feeling at this point is that George w. bush should either stop his crap or get out. With the current state of our economy and the ever-growing hatred towards America by the international community due to W’s blatant disregard for justice, law, and order that we have worked so hard to build over the last fifty years, I find it hard to believe that people aren't taking to the streets at this point demanding his impeachment. Just the very fact that the news media here in America is ignorant and audacious enough to call this proposed invasion of an almost defenseless country a “war” shows that there is something terribly wrong with what we are currently calling “an impartial and free media.” If we ever had any doubts before, now we know. and now they are all going bonkers because it appears that Iraq has started rigging explosives to their oil wells in defense in case of an attack. So what would we do if a bigger country shipped 200,000 troops on the banks of America and threatened to attack us at any minute? Would we not try to defend ourselves. Michael Moore was right. our country has been taken over. And we need to take it back. But this isn't our parent’s America anymore. We don't have to sit around like idiot puppets and watch as this gangster totally ruins everything we have worked so hard to achieve as a nation. We can do something about it. watch closely over the next few weeks. If international opinion does not change soon about us and our economic outlook improve, there will soon be calls for him to step down. America will not let this happen. At least not the younger generations. O.k. enough with me. lets see what jimmy has to say...   
Just War — or a Just War?

ATLANTA — Profound changes have been taking place in American foreign policy, reversing consistent bipartisan commitments that for more than two centuries have earned our nation greatness. These commitments have been predicated on Bas ic religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise decisions and mutual restraint. Our apparent determination to launch a war against Iraq, without international support, is a violation of these premises.
As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel Bas Fishy on eschatological, or final days, theology.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Grassroots petitions online and offline to impeach Bush have started popping up. going into New York times later this week. Over 100,000 people signed on the first day. They are expecting a million by week’s end. Strange times we live in indeed. I think I just wrote about this a few days ago. It was obviously coming. This isn't our grandparents America anymore. No one is safe. Democracy is actually starting to turn into (gasp!) Democracy. 

Watching the president’s news conference tonight felt like the end of an era. The end of America’s golden years. The harkening of the beginning of the decline of the roman empire in modern times. The beginning of world war III is what some are calling it. A new cold war. Only this time it's not us versus Russia. It's us versus the rest of the world. When people say evil dictator now you have to wonder who exactly they are referring to. I'll say it again, for the record, it is a strange time to be alive. 

Monday, March 10, 2003

Good show tonight at smiths old bar in in Atlanta, Georgia. The band was on fire. We played fantastically. Learning a lot about what we need to do and not do on the road. Dues paying. Exhausted by the second show. Out of breath from singing and jumping around so much, but by the end of the set we were way up and could have gone on for another hour. 

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Up all night tossing and turning. We have had to cancel seven shows in total for the upcoming tour due to Infinito’s decision to stay in town to keep his cover gig. We didn't have enough time to get a sub. So we are only playing a few of the shows. I finally got out of bed and looked at the clock . it was 6:36am. I hadn't slept all night. just tossed and turned worried about the clubs, our agents, the fans. Our reputation, everyone’s hard work. I took half a valium and finally passed out about 7am. Slept till 10. The guys came and picked me up. I told the guys if I have to ride in the van with Infinito right now we would come to blows because I am so mad. Vancouver acted as a middle-man, helping calm me and Infinito’s tempers. I wanted to fly instead. They convinced me to stay on board and take the ride. I am glad I did. we have had a blast so far. Me and Infinito blew up at each other for a while, screamed and shouted, and then it was all over. We decided to come up with a band agreement and all sign it so everyone is clear about what our commitments are to each other. All of that is pretty unclear right now and now is when we really need it the most. The thing about being in a band versus a normal job is you are so dependent on other guys. One minute you can be going along doing your job and in the next you can become totally unable to do that same job just because of one guy in the band. So that aspect of this whole thing totally sucks. But when you do come together and make great music there is nothing more euphoric. 

We wrecked the van already, not even out of South Florida. Smashed into a cement pole. Picked up the newest song order--version 4---of the new CD from Fred’s house. It's almost there, not quite. Lot of songs on this new album. some very hard songs and some very soft ones. Drove all the way up to Brunswick, GA. Stopped for the night. we take turns playing stuff from our own CD collections. Every guy brings his own bag of cds. I made everyone listen to Phoenix of course. Father Bloopy played 2 cds of Beatles recording session bootlegs. Listening to ‘because” from abbey road. It was so beautiful. I thought, how can you write this? I closed my eyes and created that I will write songs this beautiful one day. that I write songs this beautiful. I tried to feel it. Vancouver ended the trip by playing the most horrible thing I have heard. Utopia’s third album. I felt like a rat in a cage being slowly poisoned. We all shared with one another where we were when we first met or when we first saw the others for the very first time out in the scene, on what stage at what club, and reminisced how we all came together to form the band that we are now in. 

Saturday, March 08, 2003

My day was awesome but challenging!!!
Just got back from dinner with Fred and friends who engineered and produced the new album. we went out and celebrated the completion of the project. 

Had a great photo shoot during the day. Brilliant. Cannot wait to see the photos. 

But things with the band are totally out of hand. Drummer is spazzing out all the time. buying a house for the first time. Very nervous. Not himself. Gigs getting dropped left and right. agents not faxing us the contracts. Crazy. 
Tomorrow we leave early for the mini tour. Tonight I just want to sleep. I hate long drives. 

Friday, March 07, 2003

Today I spent twelve hours in the studio finishing the album. Yes that's right. finishing. I walked out of there and looked back inside and thought, wow, nine months gone. O.k. so where to now? the recording is the easy part, the fun part, the pay off. now is the hard part. Touring and marketing.   

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Dig this. there was a time in America, as late as 1966 and this is true, that women were not allowed to run in marathons. Totally true. They would apply and they would be denied and laughed at. It was thought that the female body was not capable of running far distances, or for that matter participating in any sports, except maybe grass hockey. A lot of us just don't remember this because we grew up watching women in sports. But year after year women would try to apply to the Boston marathon or the New York marathon and they would be denied. Finally two different women found a way to sneak in to the marathons, by only using their initials on the application and saying they were men. They got in and they finished the races. Both Kathy Switzer and Bobbi Gibb were disqualified from the races—in fact, Kathy Switzer was physically attacked by the Boston marathon promoter while she was trying to run the race. But they proved that women could participate in sports without keeling over and dying or worse. 
Hearing about things as ridiculous as this going on just thirty years ago inspires me to contemplate what similar travesties are going on here in America and all around the world that will one day seem hard to believe and silly. [I have to take this one, forgive me] but I guarantee that one day humanity will look back at the war monger mentality that is currently occupying America’s White House and find it very hard to fathom that our president’s mind could only go as far in his thinking ability as “I'm scared. They’re a threat. Lets invade them.” and of course a majority of the American people go right along with him. I wonder how different the “American people” would be thinking if we had someone different, someone more transcended in that same position. Someone more enlightened and creative. Hhhmmmm. Would they help up the evolutionary ladder in everyone just through their position of leadership? 

Monday, March 03, 2003

Letter to cdbaby

Hey guys,

Miami is a tough town for local music as you may or may not know already. its over 65% Latin now, and about 20-25% black. So us “gringos” who make pop/rock music and still listen to it are a very small minority here in Miami. That's why you don't hear about bands breaking out of Miami. Over the last twenty years we’ve had maybe two—mavericks (country) and Marylyn Manson who was more of a broward/palm beacher—he never played in Miami and still doesn’t. [We’ve had a few lesser knowns like nuclear Valdez and Mary karlzen.] And Broward County (fort Lauderhell) is not part of the Miami scene—they cater to more of the mainstream alterna-schlock you hear on rock radio—bands like Endo and New Found Glory have come from there recently. And also most recently Dashboard made it out of Palm Beach about an hour up from here. Bigger cats like Lenny and the bee gees live here but don't actually play here. but the sick thing is that we have an amazing scene here with amazing talent. I'm sure all of them are already with CD BABY so I'm sure you already know their names—if not we can drop them on you. If our label had more money we would put out a lot more of these bands besides just our own band. There's so many talented bands and singer/songwriters. Really really good stuff going on here. What there is not is so many fans. I think maybe there are about fifty music fans here in Miami. I shit you not. 

More peace petitions floating around on the Internet. is an amazing bit of democracy in action. Hundreds of petitions about almost anything. I just don't think that petitions are what we need now if we want peace in the world. I think that people, all people, need to be speaking up a lot more, protesting more. Demanding a peaceful resolution. Doing whatever it takes to get the American government to take notice. But I can honestly and sadly say that I don't think that it is going to happen. America is asleep. The American people have been bullied and brainwashed into believing that we are fighting a just war. And worse yet we are constantly bombarded by Gallup polls that show that 70% of the people here support the war, whatever that means. Yesterday Iran warned America that the worst is yet to come. France now says that they don’t know whose side they are on, American or Iraq. Syria is now supposedly helping Iraq. The Turks want to move in. It wasn't like this a month ago before we invaded. The world has turned against us. People in hundreds of countries around the world are protesting us. It is not a good time to be an American. But we are an innocent people. and we need to remember that. We are being force fed constant propaganda from all sides telling us that we are right in this bombing and invasion of this other country. So we sit on the sidelines and watch.  

Friends in other countries are emailing me telling me that CNN is not telling the whole story, only a very biased American government controlled side. They sent me to yahoo to get a more global realistic perspective. Yahoo has been surprisingly unbiased and bold in their attempt at reporting ALL the news about this invasion from a worldwide perspective. is a great place to start. Just yesterday in Boston, Mass, they had the largest peace march in thirty years in that great city. 
"This war spoke to me as being wrong, unjust, immoral and certainly not what American values are all about," said Susan Hughes, a former member of President Bush's Republican Party who lives in Groton, Massachusetts. 
"Bush started this war to depose a dictator, but now we have an administration that is acting like the dictatorship we are trying to take out," the 46-year-old said as she prepared to march through Boston.
And hundreds of other peace marches and protests all over the world. The Italians are really getting angry and very active in their protests. And many other cities across the globe. It is inspiring. BBC news is also doing a good job at telling the whole story. CNN and other American networks like ABC etc are just totally government controlled at this point here in the states. They report nothing about the shopping malls and grocery stores that are being bombed and the hundreds of civilians that are being killed everyday in Iraq. For the record, as an American, it is hard to know really if the media is just totally controlled by the government here, or if they are just scared to report all the facts, or if they just don't know the facts like some of the other international media. But it has gotten to the point where watching CNN has just become totally nauseating if you are even a remotely intelligent person.   

We are making last minute changes to the final mixes for the new album. 13 songs plus a few interludes. The crowd in Orlando we played for last week was shocked by our new harder rock sound, and some said they liked rise and shine style better, but still seemed to enjoy the show. The new album is so straight ahead rock and catchy, not the most ambitious thing I have ever done artistically, but perhaps the most simply and sinfully satisfying. It is the most heart felt and from the gut rather than cerebral thing I have ever been a part of. The band listened to the final mixes tonight at rehearsal and really got off on them, albeit with a few comments here and there about mix issues. We should have this baby wrapped up by week’s end. set for a may 1st release date if all goes well with package and design. Our mini tour of the southeast has turned into a mini-mini-tour due to scheduling conflicts with band members. Still looking forward to meeting fans in Georgia but will not hit the Carolinas this time out, at least not until the new CD hits radio and stores in mid summer. 
Current Spin: Nipper’s greatest hits of the 20’s. I love these songs from the 20’s and 30’s. Something about that sound. 

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Phone interview today with some guy named Andrew Beckett from Dallas, TX who is writing a new book on independent artists including upandcomers and some more notables like Johnny Cash or Aimee Mann who were once major artist s but who are now or once were indis. He thinks that independent music is on it's way to exploding now the way that independent film did a few years back. an interesting tat a tat. 

Tomorrow we are scheduled to perform at a peace rally. It may only be three of us on stage because some of the guys don't want to support a peace rally now that we are at war. I think that the general objection is that it appears that if you support peace or are against this invasion, not war, then you are un-American or supposedly don't support “our troops.” I am so thoroughly bored with responding to stupid ideas like this that I'm just not going to say anything. 

A lot of people are being pussies if you ask me. Voicing their opposition to the war but then not wanting to speak up in public about it. Now is the time when we need to stand up and voice our opposition the most. I understand the fear. I mean, God, who wants to wake up one day in prison or get the shit beat out of them or get killed or whatever. If the sixties taught us anything it taught us that the people speaking up did not matter too much here anymore like it once may have in pre-grassy-knoll-times and that if you did speak up too much you got pepper sprayed, shot at, beaten, battered, harassed, imprisoned, and of course killed. So yea I know how my bros are feeling. It's some scary shit. And the more this invasion/not war, drags on, the more pro-war people are starting to get around America. You can feel it in the air. Now that our own soldiers are getting killed, our people are getting more and more vigilant and jingoistic. Less open-minded. It's becoming more and more of an us against them mentality. Even though in the bigger picture of course it has nothing to do with us against them. It's a few men in our government against a few men in their government. But now thousands of innocent people are getting murdered all caught up in this thing. Us and the Iraqis are just people trying to get on with our day to day lives. 

But speaking up against these atrocities is something that if you do believe in you should just do. bite the bullet. Take the plunge. Stand up. And speak out. So tomorrow we go up as a band united, just not a full band perhaps. 

Fleshed out a great song called if your baby could. Can’t stop hearing it in my head. On such a roll these last two years. .

Later today we did a photo shoot for the site. Tried to do it front of the federal courthouse, but they had it all blocked off for security reasons. No pictures. So we chose another location. Eventually a security officer came up and made us stop there too. but we got some good shots.