When U2 Meets Willie Nelson

I was on the road all day.  I played Billy Bob’s in Forth Worth for a Holiday celebration.  I didn’t have much time to contemplate anything as we spent most of the day traveling, though the night sky was filled the entire way home with fireworks and I did see my first Independence Day drone!

A couple of my friends went to Willie Nelson’s picnic, which I have never had the chance to go to.  I have always found this song to be beautiful. It’s a strange pairing, but as far as I’m concerned it works completely.  It’s like someone recorded a cowboy ballad for a Michael Mann film noir.

Night of a Thousand Tuesdays – Couch By Couchwest

Night of a Thousand Tuesdays

I just got back from Florida at around 5am this morning from tour.  In the meanwhile here is a clip of myself performing a song called Night of a Thousand Tuesdays for Couch By Couchwest in a Florida hotel room.  Shot by Mr. Kevin Russell.  Just having some fun kids…

Night of a Thousand Tuesdays

No longer scared of ghosts or witches
Of the latter I’ve known a few

No longer scared of death or dying
It comes no matter what you do
No longer root for teenagers
In horror movies on TV
The serial killer in his mask
Is now the only one that speaks to me

I’ve spent too much time in the office
Hearing your senseless voice

It’s the night of a thousand Tuesdays
I could kill without remorse

When we’re young and innocent
We fear what’s hiding under the bed
Now if I met a monster
I’d embrace it and my end

I’ve spent too much time in the office
Hearing your senseless voice

It’s the night of a thousand Tuesdays
I could kill without remorse

Busy work and cold calls
Have stolen my youth
Cubicles and their walls
Have blinded me to the truth
The worst is when you pretend
That we’re a family
It’s turning me into an animal
That wants to see you bleed
That wants to see you bleed…

Spent to much time in the office
Hearing your senseless voice

It’s the night of a thousand Tuesdays
I could kill without remorse

The idea is that when you are an adult, no horror movie is near as scary as working endless days at a meaningless job…

Pussy Riot Stands Up For Eric Garner

This is Pussy Riot’s first English language video.  It is called I Can’t Breathe and it is in tribute to Eric Garner, the man that was killed by the New York City Police with an illegal chokehold.  They have commented that they stand in support with all of those that are victims of state violence.  I think the video itself is powerful as a piece of film.  I am someone that has long believed that art has a role in critiquing power.  One of the things that is as old as history itself is the idea that the elite try their best to divide and conquer those who have common cause.  One saw this especially during Reconstruction in the South where poor blacks and whites, who had more in common than either group had with former white slave holders, were pitted against each other, so the wealthy could retain their power.  Pussy Riot, in commenting on the piece, realize that Russia is more oppressive than the United States.  However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t also speak out against injustice wherever they see it.  I wish more artists in the U.S. would not only speak their political conscious, but also stand side by side with those in other countries with similar political aims.  In a world that is more and more interconnected, when multinational corporations are causing corruption at all levels, it is important that we stand in solidarity with those seeking justice, wherever they may be.  It is also important to note that non-violence is the best antidote to corporate and state violence.  Art, because of the powerful emotional connections that it can make, has a role that is complimentary to forms of non-violent protest.

Save Me From Life

Lifeguard – save me from life
Save me from life
Save me from life
Save me from the ails and the ills, and from other things – Morrissey

I know from personal experience that there are musicians that will try to turn every defeat into a victory, but that’s just not me.  Tonight’s show was one of those nights where it was a coin toss between suicide and slipping someone’s throat, watching them bleed out slow down the sewer drain.

There were some amazing moments.  Some of the people that came out to support me were truly exceptional.  Friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile, new faces that were a pleasure to spend time with.  One couple came out for their second show ever and gave me The Clash’s Sandinista on CD, along with two CD’s of rare track.  That is the kind of kindness that one can never forget.

But then there was a sound man that didn’t even know the set times and was rushing me the entire night.  I was supposed to play for an hour, but I only got 40 minutes.  I thought about sacrificing him to Beelzebub.  I would go to jail, and definitely hell, but I might live on eternally in local lore, creating the kind of darkly humorous story that would keep others alive in trying times.  A sound man sacrificed like a goat in front of horrified patrons.  Some of the other staff members were quite nice, so I decided not to create a local ghost story.  (Perhaps it will be a deeply held regret on my own deathbed.)

There were also certain patrons that looked like they had withered their lives away at the same barstool.  Indifferent to anything I played.  Indifferent to the songs booming out of the PA between sets, whether it was the Dead Kennedy’s or Iron Maiden.  They sat there like weather beaten wooden Indians.  These are the kind of people that, when they outnumber the living, can make a bar feel like a tomb.

Time has a funny way of healing all wounds rather quickly.  (Or as Nick Lowe sang, “Time wounds all heels.”)  I’m sure after a good nights sleep I will be ready for the next dash into the ring.  I actually played fairly well and there were some incredibly amazing souls in the room.  Usually nothing gets to me on stage.  I’ve played more shows than I could ever count and some are excellent, some are bad, and most are good.  That is the way of the world.  But something tonight left me feeling rather rotten and slightly evil.

One thing I’ve learned is, if you feel your mood darken, don’t try to prevent it. Embrace it and let it go as far as possible.  Eventually if you let it take you far enough, you will pass through the looking glass and emerge out the other side, cleansed and purified.  Laughing all the way to the…

Everyone is Gonna Lose

The Romans threw the Christians to the lions
The Christians gave Hitler the Jews
The Jews hit the Arabs with rockets
The Arabs bombed a middle school
The kids who survived will grow up angry
And find a new scapegoat to abuse
Meanwhile the owners divvy up the spoils
And now everyone is gonna lose

People worship strange gods and superstitions
But even god gets left behind when money is at hand
Money is really just a way to get power
And power is just a way to impose one’s will on another man
Man often thinks he’ll be around forever
But forever’s not that long I hate to break the news
We could have been kind, but we were selfish
And now everyone is gonna lose

There’s a dream over yonder
Over the bend, can you hear the trumpets sound?
It’s place of mystery and wonder
We tell ourselves instead of living in the now

We should all be in this thing together
But we form groups and then make each other choose
If we keep up this way of thinking
Everyone is gonna lose

Me, Christmas Day 2014

Ghost Songs

This afternoon I fell into the deep and dark sleep of the the hungover, only to awaken to a cold grey and white grave like early evening.  It looked as much like a dream outside, and a far more nefarious one, than the dream I had just been having on my couch.  Realizing that my dog had not been walked I put on my headphones and headed out the door.  I put on the last two songs from Bash and Pop’s album Friday Night is Killing Me.  Those songs would be Tiny Pieces and First Steps.

What an album!  It is one of those albums that I discovered in a used CD store some years back that has never completely left the rotation.  And yet it is an album so few people know about.  I wonder how many people even own that album?  It was Tommy Stinson’s first album after the breakup of The Replacements.  It is full of loose disheveled rock n roll.  The playing is simply fantastic, especially the guitar playing.  It has so many cool little guitar parts delivered with a ton of feel.  The production is organic and inviting.  It really is one of those great lost rock n roll gems, like if the Faces had some record out there that had escaped release.  It’s not music that will change the world, but it is a record that always manages to change my mood when I am listening to it.  I imagine it does that for other people that have discovered its charms.

It’s funny how the things that can mean so much to us, like dreams, are things that so many other people will never ever know.  How many great albums are out there that we will never hear?  Even more, how many great songs were written that have been lost to the sands of time?   Unlike many other types of art that must be rendered in physical form in the doing, usually songs that make it to record often leave behind many other ones that never will.  Shadows and spirits of sound that a songwriter may deliver in their living room, that are swept aside as the times change.  Ghost songs.  Not the songs of the dead, but the songs of the deceased emotion.

Maybe that organization of sound was developed into something better.  A lot of times it is just a numbers game.  You only get the financing to make so many records.  At the time you choose what you think are your best songs, although it can be very hard to judge your own work.  You record them, in a process where so many things can be lost in translation.  Then out of all of the recordings that are made only so many of them find an audience, often having nothing to do with the works validity.  Even for the most popular of artists it can sometimes be a losing game.

Friday Night is Killing Me is one of those records that at least got made, but has been largely forgotten.  It makes no difference, other than maybe in the financial bearing of its creators.  They made something great.  They took a chance and dreamed.  Even if they are few and far between, there are still people out there like me whose souls are warmed by it on a grim afternoon, as if we had suddenly stumbled upon the hearth of a friendly fire after a great storm.

One day you’re stumblin’ around
The next you’re thinkin’ of the town
And the friends that you thought would always be
With old friends come those greetings
That your eyes won’t be meeting
Though your insides want to embrace
You hardly recognize the face
With Chicago round the corner
Baby takes her first step today

Bash and Pop First Steps