Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Post Performance

So!  I survived!  I sang three songs that I wrote, live, in public, and no one died! 

Sheldon, my trusty producer/interpreter, had my back the whole time (I looked when I fucked up a line and he didn't turn to salt or anything!  He just kept that beat a'flowin'!) and I held onto a mic stand for dear life and sang.

The three songs were

Lili Elbe Radiating
Juliet
Leaver (this one is going to be on the new album)

I did really want to perform Lili Elbe with all of her initial players, but circumstances said otherwise.  So, Sheldon and I did a special remix for a live backing track and propped her up like The Bride of Frankenstein (complete with Halloween -the movie- theme mash-up). 

I miffed the timing on Juliet.  Just a bit.  But I didn't die.

I forgot a line in Leaver (a new song that had a second verse rewrite the week previous) but I didn't die.

I was recorded.  I didn't die.

I want to do it again.  Not because I crave the attention.  That was the nerve-wracking part...the silent anticipation. 

I want to do it again because I want to do it BETTER.

With a full setlist.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Performance

 
 
So tonight, I perform in front of an audience for the first time since I was much younger (plays, choir...THAT young).  I'm surprisingly zen-calm about the whole thing.  I get the odd flutter of barfing butterflies, but nothing unmanageable.  Three song set at my employers' Halloween party, opening for two other bands.  The more I think about it, the more I seem to feel I'm overthinking it.  So, I've spent the last 12 hours (aside from sleep) immersing myself in other things, like finally watching the 'new' Star Trek movie (I liked it, in an Empire Strikes Back kind of way), cleaning (look at all that organized Tupperware!), and other people's music.  Here's a selection of some nice things I've been listening to (and I just noticed that Blogger is making my text all centred.  I like it for this post, so it stays).
 
 
Sky Ferreira.  She has an album coming out next week, after a long term of hype-machine, which I was avoiding because, well, I'm a suspicious kind of guy, and I heard enough of her 20-something antics that it made the oldster in me Harumph.  Then, this video was put in  my face.  I immediately flashed to Madonna's Borderline (song and video).  Media keeps pushing The Next Madonna down our throats with each overblown showgirl who comes down the pipeline with similar bombastic stage performances, etc.  What the media forgets is the simplicity of Madonna's beginnings:  street fashion, a belly button, and well-crafted pop songs.  Case in point for my pick for the true heir to Madonna's kingdom:
 
 
 
Son Lux.  Heard this on an internet radio station.  I love the swirling mess of it, the operatic reach it goes for.  So much percussiveness, I just love it.  A bit of St Vincent, a bit of Roxy, a bit of Mercury Rev.  Best listened to loudly. 
 
 
 
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.  Another swirling behemoth with operatic reach.  Literally.  First Nations/Chinese opera electro rave up amazingness.  Think Buffy Sainte-Marie crossed with a Sonic Youth bassline, all produced by Dave Sitek, maybe?  Crazy goodness.  Again, crank it.  Psych-rock that I actually enjoy.
 
 
 
 
Ok.  I should probably go drink a gallon of green tea (did I mention I've had a massive flu - the worst I've had in years - leading up to tonight's performance.  I was afraid I'd have to switch to Marianne Faithfull covers for the set.  Which would still be fun, but I really wanted to stick to my original songs.  Alright, maybe I'll practice Why'd Ya Do It.  Y'know...just in case...)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Road to Album Two

My collaborator/translator/martian interpreter has returned, and I'm so glad, because we've basically folded right into what I've developed on my own for album two.  The plan is looser this time, although I have a good inclination where I want to push the sounds this time around.  After a quick stall, a disconnect on some of the noise I'm drawn to, we are on the rails.  Four songs simultaneously on the working board.  After such a heavy first half to the year, I'm so relieved to be creating music again.  And so quickly!  That's the genius of this collaboration; the four corners of the room are holding a lot of energy.  I only wish I had a month of no responsibility to pump this out. 

Meanwhile, plans still swirl around First Night on Earth, my first album.  We're gonna do a small CD-R run, so there's some semblance of a physical copy in the world (maybe a small cassette run as well).  There will be a live show, which I'm trying to pull the kite string on... I have willing players, I just need to make sure I show up...  And I am collaborating with an amazing team of filmmakers to produce a short film around one of FNoE's songs.  Very exciting, and unfolding in ways I only dreamed about.  Fingers crossed....

I'm getting interested in life again.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cat

 






Paquito was an unwanted cat.  He belonged to a flaky guy who dumped him onto his parents, then, when they told him to take the cat back, he dumped him on his ex-girlfriend, who, in turn, dumped him on myself and my former boyfriend.  I wasn't looking for a new cat.  I inherited two with the then new relationship.  One had recently disappeared, and the other was a very affectionate, high-maintenance princess.  So, Paquito wasn't expected.  But, like anyone with an ounce of humanity, I have a deep affection for animals, so, yep, he stayed. 

Paquito, probably reacting to having been mistreated his entire short life, was near-feral, only leaving his pet carrier (which I suspect he spent many an hour locked in thanks to his previous owners) to use his litter and hiss and howl at anyone who came near.  I felt so badly for the scared little guy, and luckily I was on days off when he arrived.  So, I just laid down by his carrier, while he growled at me.  He had a little red fabric mouse toy I was told he liked to play with.  I was there for a long time.  Eventually, he came out to bat at the mouse while I held it, hiss at me, and return to his carrier.  A start.  I left him alone. 

I can't remember exactly how long it took, a couple days, a week, but eventually I came home to find Paquito stretched out on the glass kitchen table.  Not fond of that notion, but so happy to see him out of that carrier on his own volition, I let him stay put.  The other princess cat made sure he kept to his areas she allowed him in.  But, eventually, litters, and food dishes were side by side, couch naps meant princess on my chest, and Paquito on my legs.  When the princess cat suddenly died, Paquito slowly felt comfortable to go where she never allowed him to go.  He was always very respectful of territory.  He became playful, and almost mellow.  Amazing changes. 

Those are my first memories of Paquito.

A lot of years passed.  I've had to let a lot of things go.  Paquito was 16, and Paquito was the hardest.  That cat loved me like crazy.  He didn't give a flying fuck about another single person, give or take the odd few he decided to investigate.  He was my shadow, and my constant through the past few years, which have proven to be the hardest, roughest years I've lived through.  Paquito would sleep right in the crook of my arm.  He would curl up behind me when I was feeling sick.  When I was crying, he would stand on my lap and stare at me, and nudge me with his head, almost like a cartoon cat.  When he disappeared a while ago, I felt like someone scooped out my insides.  I felt cheated of his last days.  I wanted him to be comfortable, and lazy in his golden years.  When he came back, I laid on the floor next to him as he drank, drank, drank water, then walked away from me like nothing had happened.  Perfectly Paquito. 

I came home last night to realize I had a really hard choice to make.  I wrapped him in the big fur blanket he loved, and held him as I drove a very long drive.  He died in my arms around 12:30am, July 18, 2013.  I will miss him like I've never missed anything before.  That's the best I can do for him.

I don't have a shadow anymore.


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Some Stuff

Summer's arrived. 
My friend, and producer moved away, then moved back.  We are gathering fuel for album project two, with both new and familiar players interested in helping.  Album one still orbits, waiting for his next phase, next form (and I'm really excited, but don't want to jinx it by being specific).   James Gandolfini died, and my Sopranos marathon is in full swing, with season four revving up right now on the teevee.  I have a roommate now, who is great and fun and thoughtful and I hope she feels the same about me.  I've sold off a lot of stuff, given away a lot of stuff, made room for new stuff.  I'm having a glass of wine and trying to relax, suffering with temporary deafness in one ear, thanks to water being trapped against my eardrum due to a fucked up sinus system.  This is aging, I think, and carry on, telling everyone about it and dragging everyone down with me...

I am listening to lots of music again, but not much of it is new, really.  What I have discovered has been really great, really inspiring.  Maybe I share? 



The Lion and the Cobra/Siouxsie's Scream in the form of Savages.  I like them a lot.



Death Grips is loud, confrontational, kind of sexy, and really addictive.



I love suave romantic electro, and Blood Orange gets it really right, to my ears.  Ear.  Dammit.  Although, the girl with the hole in the back of her skirt.... please don't let that catch on.

I've also been listening to a lot of Mark Lanegan, Joanna Newsom, that new Alison Moyet album, the new National album (which might be my favourite...hmmm), a Conny Plank ep that reinforces my excitement in early Eurythmics work.... lotsa stuff.  Gotta put it aside soon to start work on the songs (who all were giving me the silent treatment, but I've stopped trying to be something I'm not.  They're speaking to me again...)

Reading some comics too... Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt is really great, really fun stuff.  Catalyst Comics came out last week and is obnoxious in all the ways I like, so I'm on board for that.  Nice to see A Distant Soil back on the racks; Colleen Doran really deserves the shot to wrap up her story.  Beautiful drawings. 

Ok.  Sopranos beckons.  Need to sleep.  Ear ringing keeps me edgy, and in kind of a constant state of distraction.  Thanks for reading. 

Age Ain't Nothin But A

I had a birthday, recently.  As usual, I was feeling perfectly fine, until I wasn't.  The emotions around my birthday creep up on me every single year, whether I am prepared for it, not prepared, or think that it isn't going to happen.  It does, every time, and I want to start a bonfire in my alley.  I wrote this about mid-way through my actual birthday, taking a quick break at work.  I thought I'd actually make it through the entire day without anyone finding out.  Not that I don't appreciate well-wishes, I just kind of balk at attention directed at me.  I sent this as an email initially, then realized it cut to the heart of why I hate my birthday.  Since I was 18, I've struggled with the reasoning behind my rage.  I think I got it this year.  Age=Wisdom.  Fine. 

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i'm sitting here at work (! sitting... i never sit... but my sore foot has forced the issue) thinking about why i'm so tense about The Birthday.  i'm in relatively good spirits.  a buncha people posted well-wishes on my facebook.  my family called me.  my roommate made me an awesome breakfast sandwich.  Paquito's still alive.

i just don't like getting older.  i'm angry at myself for not trying harder to achieve my dreams.  i'm angry now that my deep rooted fear of failure nails me to my seat.  i really just want to make art and be left alone.  until i don't want to be left alone.  that's the dream.  

i dunno.  i sometimes think i'm being a big baby about it...not wanting people to know my age, having them find out and go through the 'oh wow really?  you don't look a day over WHATEVER' motions.  i'm tired of participating in a conversation that just doesn't fucking matter.  i guess that's at the root of it.  i'm tired of time wasting.  i do enough of it.  can't we all just talk about what really matters, what we all love, what makes us tick, without all the stigma, the cultural pressure?  quit fucking make me tell you how old i am.  it doesn't matter. 
 
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So cranky!  I was actually feeling fine.  But as I picked away at the scab, I got more entitled.  I don't ask (ok, rarely ask) anyone's age.  Mostly out of respect, but also because it's none of my business.  I don't judge people by their age.  Yet, I don't feel the same respect reciprocated, in most cases.  It opens a flood of personal questions, that, quite frankly, tread on my boundary.  You want to talk numbers?  Let's open a bottle of wine and make a night of it.