3.30.2010

Michaelangelo

I woke up
And I saw myself amongst the throng
Huddled in the vision of Michaelangelo's
Sistene Chapel
One of the naked guys
The one holding the corpse
Attention drawn to his immediate left
Naked as the day he was born
Sittin' next to some guy with a ladder
Sittin' on a green towl
He looks like he's a bit timid
Of the bald, bearded corpse bearer
Symbolic, I'm sure
Of something or another
I couldn't right tell you for sure
Although I can speculate
In my mind I can almost see the demeanour of this older man with the Willie Nelson beard
As being inconsistant
With the prevailing image of the
Status quo
His sermon falls on deaf ears
As he shakes his fist at YHWH
The ONE who inflicts the torture of life
On him
He preaches to no one
These folks are in heaven, it looks like
Sittin' on toppa them purty white cloweds
Everyone seems to be so happy
They got a lute player so they got music
They'll be okay

Too bad gatling harbor rain fell juggular do you really want to gurt he went down to viet Nam just toi get my way and yesterday I had to tell you of the weay I get the triuble mariuhaty rifdlao ha the frost on the pane was ht alkfjav oiuj g iithe number og the beast is 555555555 can't you hear the wind bloew is this the time oeonmfa h;ey little girlkl hey hey little girl this is the nmean you saw last night in the park I was the onfgoaj aojgf aoijf a men's room where lfgi'ak dfkk the kak ug aun dwn sa giooooyou didn't tell your mother did you? These folk got music blood These folk they got 9jja8jdfjl oaoj toa folk laifijje laj jjklaj had I known that was thw case I would never have let him use the car...Ever since she took that HIV test she'd been nervous. So nervus she could hardly eat or drink, her urine had turned a bright shade of powder blue flying up to meet you angel kdja gkll uappinw

No shit!
I was right there on the wall
Real as nothing else
just a few yards from God Almighty his bad self
Laying down the life on Adam

3.26.2010



Woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Wondering how long it can last. Hoping it will be for a while. But I know better.

That's one of the worst curses of bipolar disorder. Especially if you stay in a state of depression most of the time. The clouds sort of clear out of the sky. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you know that even if you get to the end of that tunnel you're only going to enjoy it for a short while before you get thrown back to the dark end. So you get to the point where you start wondering how long it's going to last. It's like watching a marathon of movies with sad endings. It becomes hard to enjoy the rest of the film if you know that they're all going to end on a down note. And that's my fucking life. I'm not talking about finding oneself in a state of bliss, enlightened, then coming down and moaning and groaning because you can't seem to make it happen again. Normalcy, that's the prize for me. Mental health...a life more stable. It shouldn't be so fucking hard, should it? But it is. It's like God dangling a carrot in front of me...the carrot is stability, a calm mind, an end to guilt feelings and uncontrollable hatred/meanness. To the extent that my sluggish schizo mind can be motivated, I chase after it. I get closer and closer. It's within my grasp. I catch hold and even manage to nibble a small bit from the tip. Then God yanks the string, pulls it away, leaves me to wallow in the failure and disappointment while he ties a fresh carrot to the line. I mean, it gets to the point where you just say, fuck it. Is it even worth it? Easier to just make a home in the depression. But if you do that for too long you really will feel suicidal, so when God comes around again with the carrot you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and the chase is on.

That's sort of the way it is, from a certain perspective...but the deal is this: the good days just come around without warning. I don't have any control over WHEN they come...obviously, if I did I would sure be having a lot more of them. Please don't get me wrong. I am grateful for the good days. I live for them. Still, they are tainted by the incontrovertible certainty that they will be soon over with and I'll be right back in the same shit hole I started in. See? I'm already starting to feel bummed. I'd better stop writing this and listen to the Deep Purple CD that came up in the "Randomly Chosen CD Game".

3.24.2010

You Don't Know Me That Well"

This is the song I recorded tracks for yesterday. Not too sure what I think about it just yet. I got a couple of good takes, though, and there's room for a different vocal part than what I laid down. That means I can work with the words a little bit. I may do that, or maybe not. Oh, and the "goddamn thing" part is just how I originally wrote it. That's the way I like it, but obviously I'll have to tone it down a bit before putting it up on the Internet.

"You Don't Know Me That Well"

I'm standing on a stage in some old smoke filled bar
A thousand songs to sing and play on this old guitar
And if you find yourself in even one
I'll leave this place tonight and know my job's been done.
But...

You don't know me that well
You don't know me even well enough to tell
That I'm giving you my heart and soul
The things that last and don't grow old
Did you think these dreams were all for sale?
You don't know me that well

You don't know a goddamn thing
You don't know a goddamn thing
You don't know anything at all

Now I'm playing for a crowd of twenty-two
And it seems like all of them have something else to do
You ask me how I keep on keeping on
You tell me I'm too old, I must have sang my final song
But...

You don't know me that well
You don't know me even well enough to tell
That I'm giving you my heart and soul
The things that last and don't grow old
Did you think these dreams were all for sale?
You don't know me that well

You don't know a goddamn thing
You don't know a goddamn thing
You don't know anything at all

Music Video of the Week: Natalie Dessay


"Tu del ciel ministro elletto" (Handel)
Natalie Dessay

3.22.2010


There was a 3.7 magnitude earthquake here last night. I've never experienced one, so it was kind of freaky. Like a bomb exploding from far off. I was listening to music, folding laundry when I heard a bit of a rumble...probably would have noticed it more had not the stereo been turned up as loud as it was. The laundry basket on the bed shook and I immediately realized that it had been an earthquake. I walked out of the room and the wife was walking down the hall to see if I'd felt it.

There have been a couple others in the area, but I missed the last decent sized quake that hit this town...I was in OKC watching "Avatar" in the IMAX theater when it happened. Let me tell you, it's cool but it's also quite frightening. I can only imagine what the people of Haiti and Chile have gone through with such powerful earthquakes.

3.21.2010

Rain in Tulsa


I was very disappointed that we didn't get to go to the opera this season. I'd really wanted to see "Rigoletto". But finances did not permit, so that was that.

However, we ARE going to see a Beatles tribute production, "Rain", in a couple of weeks. From what I gather it is a top notch production with all the bells and whistles. There are some song samples on their website and the players really do have the sound of the Beatles down solid. It's going to be at the Chapman Music Hall in the Tulsa PAC, the same venue the Tulsa Opera uses for their shows. It's an excellent facility and the fact that "Rain" is taking place there (as opposed to, say, the Brady theater or Cain's Ballroom) gives me an indication of how elaborate the concert will be.

Truth be told, I will probably enjoy this more than any opera right now. I've listened to so much opera over the last several months that I should really give it a break before I get burned out. Bryan is in a HEAVY DUTY stage of Beatles fandom right now, so there is no question that he is going to love it. My wife, who once professed to not even like the Beatles, has been won over a bit by Bryan's passion for the music so I have no doubt she will enjoy it and probably come away from it liking the group even more. Hell, it's the Beatles.

I've seen only one Beatles tribute band in all my days. They called themselves A Hard Night's Day and played at a club in Dallas. They were very, very good, although they didn't do the whole "appearance similarity" thing. The place was packed and EVERYONE was having a blast. I expect "Rain" will be significantly better, so I plan on having a wonderful time.


3.19.2010

Ordered my copy of Jonsi's "Go"

I pre-ordered Jonsi's solo album yesterday. I don't think I've ever pre-ordered anything before in my life. But I'm very excited about this one and there were several goodies included for those who wanted to shell out the extra cash to pre-order. Just 35 bucks, but the shipping and handling (from Iceland or the UK) is a staggering 7.50. I don't imagine it will be any more than $15 plus tax on day of release, so what persuaded me to opt for the "early bird special"? Well, it comes with a special limited edition DVD of Jonsi performing all the songs stripped down, in acoustic renditions. That will be interesting. Plus, I got an immediate download of the second single, "Go Do", which has only been released as a music video. 2 other unreleased song downloads are also included at time of purchase, and an EP will be available via download on the day the disc is released. All for those of us who got in on the ground floor, as it were. The website also promises "other goodies" between now and date of release, so it will be fun to see what they mean by that.

Take my word for it, the two songs you can download at purchase are PHENOMENAL. I wasn't sure about them, because usually there is a good reason why songs don't make it to the albums they were recorded for. Not saying that they are always sub-standard, but almost always they won't rise to the standards of the rest of the production. These two songs, however, are really great, and if they are "outtakes" in the typical sense of the word, this album is going to be stellar...a record that will hold it's own with every important and seminal album ever released.

Jonsi is in FINE form on these tracks. I don't think he's ever sounded better. You could hear it on "We Sing Endlessly...", the strength and timbre of his voice. Still singing the bright falsettos, but with even more control and fullness. The first single, "Boy Lilikoi" (released about three months ago), had a distinct Marc Bolan feel to the singing. Intentional or not, it was impossible for me to listen to the song without feeling like Bolan's spirit was being miraculously channeled. But he sounds like nothing but himself on these other songs. Passionate. Majestic. Soaring and free. Angelic and natural. Pure. The first time I listened to "Go Do" on my stereo my goosebumps had goosebumps. His voice sounds like that of a grown man who has yet to lose his innocence. It's asexual (IMO) and so it doesn't appeal to the poles of gender that most popular music does. It makes language unnecessary. Though he sings in English on a good portion of "Go" I have to say that I could care less. His thick Icelandic accent makes it too difficult for me to understand..."All Alright", from the last Sigur Ros album, was the first time he sang a complete song in English...I STILL can't understand all of the words. I even dispute the lyric sites because I haven't found a one that didn't have a couple of very questionable interpretations. Same with "Boy Lilikoi"... I'm not satisfied that any of them are 100% correct...that's all fine by me. I hope there's no lyric sheet with the album.

Musically these tracks are so multi-layered and rich that you are going to have to spend some time with them. Like a forest that seems daunting from the outside, but once you're in everything becomes full of wonder and excitement. Like nothing you've ever heard, and that's another reason why you'll need to wait a couple of spins before the magic is worked.

It's just about 3 weeks until the album gets here...something special to look forward to. That's always a good thing to have.

3.18.2010

THE BORNLESS SPIRIT from Larry Carlson on Vimeo.


This is one of the best things I've seen from Larry Carlson.

Alex Chilton 1950-2010



Alex Chilton, rest in peace. I don't think most folks would know just how important this guy was to pop/rock music in general. His death is a significant loss and if there is any justice in the world he will receive, post-mortem, the attention/adulation he always deserved in life.

Chilton's greatest success was as the leader of the Box Tops, whose song "The Letter" is a certified classic which you can still hear in frequent rotation on the oldies radio stations. If you don't know, he was the man behind Big Star, one of the most well respected bands in the "underground" (I'll call it that, though what I mean is "bands who deserved a lot more attention than they got when they were together"). If you've ever watched "That 70's Show" you've heard one of their songs. "In the Street" is the theme song for that show. R.E.M. have cited them as a primary influence. It's very noticeable on their first few albums (their best, IMO). "3rd/Sister Lovers", their last studio album, consistantly appears on critics "Best Album of All Time" lists. It's certainly one of my favorites. Chilton himself went on to write, record and perform several other records, though he never quite equalled the "success" of "3rd". Still, he became a cult figure of sorts and...get this...even had a song named after him, by no less a band than the Replacements, another band whose Big Star influence is substantial. If you like the Beatles, there's a very good chance you will like Big Star, though I wouldn't start out with "3rd". Probably best to discover their albums in the order of their release, their consistantly excellent work (beginning with "#1 Record", progressing to "Radio City" and culminating with "Sister Lovers").

The above video is the opening track from that last album and one of my favorites.


3.16.2010

Who knew Diet Mountain Dew was so good?

This all happened about two and a half weeks ago. I’d meant to post it then, but my wrists and a couple fingers on my right hand began acting up and I couldn’t type it. They’re feeling a LITTLE better now, so…


I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about this or not. I can’t get over the negative feelings. I can’t just put it out of my mind. Maybe I’ll feel better if I post it.

Part of it is because I know it’s my own fault for providing the opportunity for circumstances to turn out the way they did. I feel as if I deserve what happened.

But by the same token the incident seemed so…I don’t know…blown out of proportion, maybe?

Ah, what the hell. I’ll try to get it out of my system by laying it all out for you.

A friend of mine invited me to come with him to see this music studio that was supposedly the most incredible facility of it’s kind, if not in the whole state, then surely for the immediate area. This friend had hopes of possibly getting his foot in the door as an engineer or sound man in return for free studio time in lieu of cash. He’d met and spoken with the owner, whose name was Lance, once before. It seemed a realistic possibility, so we went there to have a look at the place.

Lance, as I understand it, is not a seasoned engineer. In fact, I gather that he is new to the profession. I don’t know this as a fact though. But on the day we were there he had invited a band to come and play for free so he could iron out some issues he’d had with the mixing board. They were, I think it fair to say, less than stellar. But hey, it doesn’t take talent to bang away at “Can’t You See” for an hour while your “producer” tries to figure out which essential cord is unplugged.

First of all, let me say that the studio is, indeed, awesome. I’ve only been in one studio in my whole life that even came close to this one. Everything you could want or need to settle in and make a record was in this place. No doubt you’d have to shell out some serious money to book time there (note: I later found out that the going rate is fifty bucks an hour, which probably isn’t too bad considering how nice the studio is, but a little pricey for the caliber of bands and musicians the owner is likely to attract).

The entire thing was built and owned by Lance S.. I knew absolutely nothing about the guy other than this: He had to be a rich motherfucker. He seemed a little distant and aloof when I first saw him. But I didn’t give it a second thought because such is the way of many wealthy people. I should have gotten an inkling of the magnitude of his sour nature when I met his eleven year old son. Not a formal introduction, mind you…just my friend and the band waiting outside, hanging out for a little while, and this kid was there playing with (driving?) what looked to be an extremely expensive radio remote controlled car. He was quite good at it. It was fun just to watch it, I can only imagine how cool it must have been to own, at the age of eleven, no less.

He put it away and retrieved a basketball. He began doing tricks with it, and wasn’t half bad, but then he started to get snarky with a couple of the guys in the group. I can’t really describe what was said and/or done…I’m really sorry I’m not able to do that, because you’d know I was justified in taking the point-of-view that..

Even so, I didn’t even consider that the kid was spoiled as rotten as a month old banana. I just thought he had a bad attitude.

I only bring him up because in hindsight it seems that his hateful demeanor set the stage for what I came to learn about his dad.


Okay---by the time we got inside the building I was really thirsty. I mean to say my mouth was dry as a desert and I needed a drink badly. I’d seen literally CASES of beer in one of the rooms so for some reason I thought these wealthy folks were of a hospitable nature. So I didn’t think much of looking in the refrigerator to see if there was anything to drink. Admittedly, in retrospect, it was disrespectful to take a can of soda without asking for it. Still, in my defense, there were several on the shelves and I thought we were guests. I really didn’t give it a second thought figuring, you know, who’s gonna care, right? Who will even notice?

Apparently I was wrong.

My friend and I were sitting in the lounge talking about the possibility of getting some free recording time booked there. Lance walks in and across the room to adjust the video screen behind us…at least I assumed that was the reason he came in. He picked up the soda can and put it back down…I thought he was just moving it, but later I realized that he was checking to see if there was anything in it. He wanted to know if someone had left it there or if I was drinking it.

I hardly noticed until he looked down at me and said, in a petulant, accusatory voice, “That’s MY Mountain Dew.” Just exactly like some kid who doesn’t want to share his toys.

I was apologetic, but the expression on his face never changed. The guy was truly annoyed and offended that I had taken one of his Mountain Dews. He didn’t say another word. My friend tried to lighten the mood by introducing him to me. He did shake my hand, I’ll give him that. I said, “I’m sorry to have offended” but he remained as condescending as I’ve ever seen anyone.

He left and the whole atmosphere shifted. I wanted to express my anger at his obnoxious manner, but I knew that I was at fault. I never should have drank his soda---I had no idea it was even HIS and it should have been completely obvious that I hadn’t taken it for any sinister reason. It wasn’t anything personal, you know? Just a fuckin’ 50 cent can of pop. I hadn’t thought much of it. But I guess you really have to pinch pennies when you’ve shot the moon with such an expensive recording studio.

And so I didn’t feel like I was in a position to be offended by his actions and attitude towards me personally.

But simply the IDEA of someone being so hateful TO GUESTS…this was the first impression he wanted to make with me? Would it have turned out the same had I been someone who could have contributed to the success of his venture? And whose to say I might not have been just that kind of person? But apparently he didn’t care, because the only words I ever heard come out of his mouth were, “That’s MY Mountain Dew.”

How does a person get to the point where a little thing like that is more important than perhaps getting to know someone with whom you share something in common? A potential friend?

He walked in and out of the room a couple of times after that, but said absolutely nothing, almost as if he was still upset that someone copped his last soda pop (which it WASN’T…there were several more in the refrigerator…had that not been the case I would not have taken one).

My friend was a little uneasy about the whole affair. I could tell he was mentally assessing the guy, having come to the same conclusion that I did about him. He later told me that Lance was nothing at all like that when he met him the Saturday before. That was hard to believe. Meaning to say that it was impossible for me to imagine the guy as anything more exalted than an asshole.

My friend relayed a message to Lance, basically asking if we were going to be allowed into the mixing room. We had thought that he’d wanted to give us “the grand tour”, so to speak.

The response? He said (through an intermediary) that we could come in, but admonished us, “Don’t touch anything.”

HUH?????

The level of condescension was raised considerably, I thought. I don’t know if he was being a jerk about the Mountain Dew incident or if he came by it naturally. I kind of got the impression it was the latter. I mean, I am 47 years old and my friend is a few years older than me, so we don't need to have to be informed of something that is basic studio etiquette. Another reason why Lance was so obviously a rookie, to think that two guys who have been in music performance and recording for probably 80 years collectively would need to be lectured about something like that.

Regardless, that was the last straw. Now he’d pissed off my friend, who hadn’t done anything to deserve such out-and-out disrespect. I told him I was sorry that my “transgression” could have been detrimental to his plans for the situation. He told me he didn’t think it was like that at all. I hope not, but the end result was that he got just about as disgusted as I was with this rich-ass bozo (maybe even more so).

We walked out of that place and it couldn’t have been soon enough as far as I was concerned. My buddy was trying to decide “which bridges needed to be burned”…I don’t know what decision he might eventually come to on that front, but I wouldn’t think there would be any reason to keep him from going in either direction, other than the obvious difficulty there would be in working with a guy like Lance. I wouldn’t blame, though, if he went back to negotiate whatever he needs/wants. There’s no question that getting involved on the ground level of a music production company like this one would be a good thing. I’d very happy to see him hook up with something like that no matter what I thought about any of the staff.

As for me? I wouldn’t go back if you paid me…(he said, not being offered any money to go back). I don’t think I could be in the same room with Lance, no matter what happened---even if he were to apologize to me for “having a bad day”, or whatever it was that made him so irritable.

It saddens me to know that there are such people in the world whose circle of compassion is so limited. I don’t get out a lot, and I sure don’t like to meet people. But I was in the mood to be friendly, maybe even to begin forging a relationship. Apparently the feeling was not mutual.

Fuck him, eh?

That felt good.

3.14.2010

After my medical issues a few months ago I was told that beer would no longer be in my diet. Not too much of a big deal, because I'm not much of a beer drinker. With the medication I've been on the last few years I'm not supposed to drink it, but I've fudged on that. A couple of brews don't seem to effect me too much. Can't get drunk, no, but I have never been the kind of person who enjoys getting sloshed. My vice of choice has always been pot, though I've had to cut down on that severely as well. But this time I respect the sheer amount of pills I have to take on a daily basis. There's surely no way I could handle even a swig or two of the good stuff with all those pharmaceuticals coursing through my veins.

Even though I am not such a beer-alcoholic that I've had withdrawals with this dietary change-up, I do enjoy the flavor of a good barley pop now and then. So, to compromise, I've been trying out some of the non-alcoholic variety. There's not a lot of variety available at Walmart, so my exploration has been somewhat limited to O'Douls, Busch NA, Coors & Sharps. I haven't tried the latter, having been warned that it may not be to my taste. I tried a St. Pauli Girl non-alcoholic the last time we ate at Old Chicago, and it was excellent. Had a skunky flavor to it that reminded me of Heineken. Would certainly like to have some more of that, but haven't taken the search to the liquor store yet.

I actually like the Busch stuff. The carbonation is heavy and that helps me get out those gassy burps that seem to get stuck in my chest, causing intense pain in the chest area. A few swigs of Busch and I'm good to go. I like canned beer, too, and this is the only kind I've found that comes in cans. It's a dollar cheaper than the other stuff Walmart carries, which isn't a bad reason to choose it over the others, but truth be told I probably like it best of all.

O'Douls is quite good. Weren't they one of, if not THE first non-alcoholic beer on the market? They've been around for a long time, so I don't know. I recall thinking that O'Douls wasn't very good...but you have to take into account that I was comparing it to alcoholic beers, and no, it doesn't stand up too well against the big shots, Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Michelob, etc. But if you stop drinking beer for a few months and suddenly get a hankering for one, it is actually quite a good substitute.

The Coors version is pretty damn good, too. Probably tastes a little more like it's namesake than the others. But now, even though I've only drank a couple, I already have a "guilt-by-association" issue with it...

I bought a 6-pack of bottles yesterday (as far as I know it doesn't come in cans). The first one was pretty good. Not quite as fizzy as the Busch, but it seemed like the taste might make up for it. But the second one...I noticed that the bottle didn't seem quite as full as most of them do when they are full. It was only a small amount of difference, so I figured there might have been a problem at the bottling plant. I didn't notice that the twist-off cap wasn't quite as snug as it ought to have been. Only in retrospect did I consider the possibility that it was loose. Even then I wouldn't have thought too much of it. But the beer was flat, so I decided I'd better check the other bottles before opening them.

The third one was okay, but the fourth had at least one-half of the beer missing. I knew, at that moment, what I expected had been the case with the second one. Someone in the store had wanted to see if non-alcoholic beers were worth considering and decided to taste test it in the store. The realization seemed confirmed by the fact the the twist-off cap on this bottle was even looser than the other.

"That's why you need to buy cans," my wife said, though I think she was more concerned with the dollar saved than with my predicament. "Wash your hands, there's got to be a lot of germs on that bottle." Indeed, she was right about that one. What I didn't tell her, though, was that I had taken a sip out of the first bottle that was in question. That's how I knew it had been flat.

Oh, man...I hate it when something like that happens. Something you know you would never do, but you accidentally wind up doing it, and then there's no way to take it back...what an awful, disgusting feeling. It doesn't do any good to wipe your lips or rinse your mouth, the damage is done.

I think the other two are fine.