Monthly Archives: July 2017

wary

I was into Brian Eno with my teenage pal Campbell. We were like a secret club listening to Another Green World, Before and After Science, Taking Tiger Mountain By Surprise. Eno was an underground artist then not well known, then the ambient series emerged and it disappointed me, I found them only fit as a soundtracks for a documentary on torture.
 
CUT TO 1994 and I’m living in the country driving home down long country roads in the dark listening to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and they announce they are about to premiere music produced by Brian Eno of a band from the Soviet Union blah blah blah, it’s a big deal, he found them so unique, behind the Iron Curtain is still a fresh thing more or less – then they start the music and it sounds like all the Eno albums from the 70s, the ones I liked but strangely missing was whatever suppose to be “unique” about these Rooskis.
 
Realized then to be wary of things I produce sounding like me. My contribution should be realizing the artist’s work before doing anything that exposes my own musical habits even if they ask me to play. Maybe Eno knows that too (?) but he sure coloured the whole thing like his other records. What a surprise when I realized George Martin was the producer on Blow By Blow by Jeff Beck. The only clue that the same person produced that and the Beatles catalogue is intense creativity, stimulating design, and talent out the wazoo. What a cool thing to be known for.

mood rings

I lost my voice more than once when I toured my songs night after night. Tried voice lessons. It was a frustrating new age experience. Told to lie on my back and breath deeply then allow whatever vowel caveman like sound to emit with my exhalations. Got dizzy, wanted to stop. She said keep going. She pressed on my belly. ” Can you feel it?” she asked. I didn’t feel it. Tried again with another teacher 2 years later same strange experience. Was told we were finding my diaphragm but we only found dizziness and nothing tangible.
 
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It happened a few years later, after I had given up expecting there was anything to learn from voice teachers, at Stella Walker’s apartment, who was a voice teacher, visual artist and comedienne. I was there not for reasons of voice but just hanging out gabbing about whatever. It was by chance I brought up the inconsistencies I have reaching a certain high note. She brought up the damn diaphragm again but something happened. She showed me how to do it without no mood rings or incense. Maybe it was just time changing my ability to understand or maybe she was a better communicator but finding my diaphragm changed the rules, forever. Changed my competency and gave me technique.
 
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When producing records often I ask singers to visit her to expand their base of technique if they don’t know enough about it. It’s like getting a drummer to buy rims or a guitarist to get set up. It’ll make the final results more powerful.

the other view

Was in a traffic jam on Parkside Blvd adjacent to Toronto’s largest park, High Park, maybe similar in size to New York’s Central Park. And there at 10:30 am standing on the grass was a 70 something older woman in orange blouse, blue pants, white leather purse and a sign shaped like a ping pong racket but 3 times larger. Slowly made out the text she was bobbing up and down showing motorists. “Don’t Give Up”
 
What a mysterious radical woman. Seemed like there was no other purpose then stating “Don’t give up”. She looked more reminiscent of someone getting picked up at the airport but I concluded she just wanted to share something philosophical. How cool is she I thought. And which thing specifically was she targeting with “Dont give up”? Maybe the soul crushing reality that Trump became America’s president or maybe the environmental degradation severely threatening life or did she mean Human Rights? So many worthy things so little time. Don’t give up!
 
Then the the other side of the sign became visible – JW.ORG
 
Took me a second to see more clearly.
 
Now I get it – this wasn’t about radical consciousness, she’s trying to secure her eligibility for eternal real estate after she is dead, felt like a stranger sneezed on me.
 
Reminds me of Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter raising over a million dollars (radical) but thinking it cool to expect local musicians to join her on tour for free or actually free merch and beer (not so radical).