Monthly Archives: January 2015

I Bury Neil or Layers of Wrong

Sometimes growing up and listening to so many amazing records from before I was of age I wondered what it was like to actually be alive when an album comes out that is timeless so when it happened I was pinching myself. Me, Jim, Maureen and Billy were blown to smithereens by Rust Never Sleeps while working at a summer camp in Lake Of The Woods in 1979.


I thought the title song was about creativity (it’s better to burn out than to fade away), thought he meant to stop if it isn’t working, no regrets, better to be true to yourself than to keep coasting on auto-pilot.  He sure got flack for it over the years from John Lennon (below) to Kurt Cobain’s suicide note (also below).

PLAYBOY: You disagree with Neil Young’s lyric in “Rust Never Sleeps” — “It’s better to burn out than to fade away….”

LENNON: I hate it. It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. I don’t appreciate worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or of dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison — it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive. Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo. They’re saying John Wayne conquered cancer — he whipped it like a man. You know, I’m sorry that he died and all that — I’m sorry for his family — but he didn’t whip cancer. It whipped him. I don’t want Sean worshiping John Wayne or Sid Vicious. What do they teach you? Nothing. Death. Sid Vicious died for what? So that we might rock? I mean, it’s garbage, you know. If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why doesn’t he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many times, like all of us. No, thank you. I’ll take the living and the healthy.


(this is the part near the bottom)

Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I’m too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

Peace, love, empathy.
Kurt Cobain


But the worst is surely Don “easy listening” Henley from the Eagles – longstanding champions of what Kyp Harness calls a “snoozefest”. It must hurt when Don Henley lectures Neil Young about Neil’s poetry. It was what stood out for me when I tried to watch the documentary about the Eagles, stood out for surrealism.


So many layers of wrong.

Layer#1 boring songwriter snubbing the  one who takes risks.

Layer#2  misunderstanding the metaphor (assuming I didn’t).

Layer#3 Henley is all about being on auto pilot.

Layer#4 Cheap dramatic end of the film remark by Henley-as-philosopher.

Freaking Out

tiff-hotspots-03I popped into the Future bakery to get a coffee like I always do while I’m working at my studio at the Tranzac. The music they play over their speakers possibly reflects the zillions of stores who do not play cds but pre-programmed satellite music. Maybe they do it because it’s convenient….or maybe they do it so they can avoid Socan’s licensing fees? Socan It’s a weird subject because Socan licenses business’s that play music ostensibly to redistribute income to musicians. I think it costs the business about $100 a year. But people everywhere play music and some business’s are offended at the idea of paying a fee for playing music. It’s easy to understand the catch 22 of it – musicians want people to enjoy their music especially if they already bought it and people who have it want to play it because they like it and Socan is suppose to collect music on behalf of the musicians they represent and part of that is licensing commercial places blah blah blah ….and so more and more business’s utilize satellite services and dodge the Socan fee. I don’t know what program they are playing at the Future Bakery but the playlist has some nice surprises, the Kinks, Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake and those pesky Beatles. nina-simone-men-detail

And while standing there the other day I heard something interesting then realized it’s Katie Stelmanis (Austra) who a few years ago was on the same label as me and other pipsqueaks who were on the Blocks Recording Club and even though last month we closed it down after 10 years.

Isn’t it surreal (and beautiful) that someone from that circle  (Blocks or the Tranzac) ends up playing through the Future Bakery speakers and I bet the Future Bakery people are oblivious that it’s a local artist. There was one other person I recognized from the Tranzac alumni sitting there eating his lunch, the brilliant drummer Jake Oelrich and I said Hey Jake you hear that?img_5682-a-1024x906 jake

He said uh huh. I said you know who it is? He said no. I said it’s Katie Stelmanis she played the Tranzac not long ago. He went back to his food but in an alternate universe an alternate Jake gave me a hi five and said that’s amazing Bob I totally share your perspective and astonishment. I’m freaking out this very moment Bob.

Latest From The Harpwellian Government

1984Prime Sinister Harper working to make good “you won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it” – increasing the punishments that appeal to his voting base. I’m dreaming of a post Harwellian world that doesn’t end like Humpty Dumpty and we rebuild the clear cutting of this Bryan Adams, Blue Rodeo & Rankin Family fan.



jim and harper