New Radiohead Day, Trump Nights

I’ve been following Radiohead’s brilliant build up to the release of this new record. Disappearing from the frontiers of social media only to have the opposite effect. They stirred the conversation, reestablishing a distant name ever on the tips of tongues back to the center of reclaimed relevance. I dropped my phone this afternoon, broke it and disappeared from social media. And all I got was a panic attack.

And when I returned to social media I found out that Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee for the republican party. DONALD FUCKING TRUMP. I think I’d have preferred Game of Thrones spoilers. Not even sure how this is possible. I mean, he’s probably the president we deserve, our king of fast food culture, wielding clips, snippets and hollow slogans, catch phrases to rally anyone who doesn’t bother with a follow up question. Let’s make America Great. How? Let’s make America great. The two sentences an ouroboros, devouring each other into infinity. Last week when I was asking the Festival Gods if San Diego deserved Blues Traveler, Jimmy Buffet, Sugar Ray and the Goo Goo Dolls, all I had to do was walk down Newport Avenue on Saturday night to know that’s exactly the correct event for us. So when I take the pulse of America, the real pulse, not just heartbeat of my closest friends, but the America that you feel when you take a greyhound bus from San Diego to Newark, sea to oil slick sea, I get it. When Obama took office we heard a term Post-racial, as if electing a black man could erode all that blood thick lead heavy history. But as we took those strides forward, in view of masses, those quiet racisms once relegated to corners surfaced, they were aggravated, amplified, placing them in corners made them feel cornered and they started to lash out. And Donald Trump tapped into that sentiment. The first generation born mostly minorities, the status quo felt its back against extinction’s wall, saw gays marrying, a black president and legalization of marijuana as the end times, where we saw some amalgamation of progress and simple logic. But here I am both wrong and rambling. I saw it as an exasperated gasp, those antique tongues of the last generation to spit venom with such nonchalance, the refusal of a few aged hands to let go of tomorrow like it was the gun in a Charleston Heston sentence. But Donald Trump made it all the way through the primaries. Enough people swallowed his lies, but worse, swallowed his truths. We’re living through interesting times, polarized, the earth’s rumble before a drastic change. I’m as curious as ever to watch and partake in the unfolding.

To pass the time

Sometimes during a slow overcast shift you have some downtime to yourself. A moment for quiet reflection, a chance to channel your creativity. There I was cutting a construction paper penis to place inside a used Lenny Kravitz cd. I used a sharpie and pencil to get the equatorial afro dialed in. I folded paper to create a makeshift MacGuyverian spring, so that when the future customer opens the gatefold, the penis will pop out like one of those exploding snake canisters from a 1917 prank. I did all this because a) if you purchase a Lenny Kravitz cd in 2016, you deserve a cardboard penis surprise and b) I Remember! I remember not only Lenny Kravitz exploding with reborn relevance in the form of a rogue legless one eyed salamander and some volatile leather pants, but i remember getting a cease and desist from Lenny's Lawyer regarding my blog entry about his new exposure. I hope only hope I am working when someone picks up his 2008 release "It's Time For A Love Revolution" and gets a little leaping Lenny. 4 hours down, 7 to go.

Were you saying Kaaboourns?

I saw the Kaaboo lineup and I wondered if at the moment of announcement the lead singer of Candlebox was like "WHY THE FUCK WEREN'T WE SUMMONED", if the bassist to Hootie and the Blowfish recognized the perfect opportunity for a reunion show, if The Rembrandts were taken out of cryogenic sleep, thawed for the work to be done. I don't want to talk shit about the lineup, I mean, obviously I do want to talk shit, Shit is all I can think of talking. My fingers are racing across my keyboard like I was Ron "Typewriter" Mingo (look it up), like I was the organ player from Deep Purple relegated to a clerical position. But I'm in bands. Bands who could potentially benefit from playing said festival. And my big mouth will likely cost us an opportunity. But a lineup including the Gin Blossoms, the Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Sugar Ray and Third Eye Blind gives me pause. Unless it’s some grand plan to rid the world of lameness with a can of raid the size of the Empire State Building. Maybe it’s a festival designed for every dude who ever took advantage of a passed out girl circa 1996, like this is their 20 year reunion celebration or something. I decided to air my grievances because I realized I love San Diego. I came here 17 years ago with the intention of brevity, and here I am. I remember seeing killer bands at Street Scene. Eclectic line-ups that satiated both the absolutely unadventurous as well as those sympathetic ears digging a little deeper than the fm spoon fed. I was excited that we were attempting to have a major music festival return to this area code. Now I feel like I’m watching the end of the Dark Knight when Batman is talking about the hero Gotham needs verses the hero Gotham deserves. Is this the festival we deserve, with Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, Jack Johnson and Fall Out Boy in bold, the font might as well be made out of a bunch of limp lenny kravitz dicks. Last Street Scene I went to had Arthur Lee of Love, the Allman Brothers, De La Sol, Wilco, the Skatalites and REM amongst many others. I hope the best for this festival. I hope the years deliver it an eclectic lineup matching its potential. I hope for its evolution (revolution?) But I don’t wanna ever go to a festival where I run the risk of being in line for fried dough with an enthusiastic Ted Cruz in front of me trying to quickly get enough confectionary sugar on his funnel cake to be peaking for the Blues Traveler set like it was HORDE 1996 all over again, no thank you. Hit me up when you’re booking locals

I wasn't supposed to be there!

I wasn't supposed to be there. This will likely be the engraving on my tombstone. After the massive bag of cat litter falls on my head from on high at the Costco that I had stopped in to use the bathroom because my car had broken down. So many of my sad posts begin "I wasn't supposed to be there."

He probably wasn't supposed to be there 

He probably wasn't supposed to be there 

The heater in my van was on full blast and the off switch stopped working, the off switch had retired, it was in the Florida Keys on a hammock listening to Jimmy Buffet. I was parched, so I stopped at a supermarket for a beverage. Upon entry I saw someone I wanted to avoid. Someone that makes you realize that childhood games of tag and hide and go seek were all rigorous training exercises for this exact moment. These are thoughts a grown man has while hiding behind a stack of avocados at a local Vons. I was quickly discovered. It is weird when someone says "what are you doing here?" And the correct answer is "cowering behind the avocado bin, hiding from you, if I was jason Bourne, I'd have kicked you in the throat and gone about my day or had conjured a better exit strategy." It was one of our more talkative Cow customers who's uncanny ability to dominate a conversation reminds you of Dream Team Olympic Basketball, but the dunks over the Pygmy nation were sentences. So there I was, my limp body a punching bag for this pestering pugilist of words. And he asked me for my facebook page so he could phrase punch me in my down time too. The devil on my shoulder shouted "give him a fake name", then the angel said "fuck this dude, smack him with an avocado and run." So I opened my mouth and my brain was thinking about the beverage I had initially endeavored to get and I said the first name that came to mind, "alfred howard" immediately followed by an audible "shit". I could have said "Flamius Flerb" but my stupid brain was off on a hammock in the keys, too relaxed to be bothered. This guy has appeared in several posts. He thinks he is an amalgamation of john Lennon and Bob Marley and the world isn't ready for the genius of his music, but I'll personally send you some if you need to know why I ran away from him like he was a guy with a clipboard in front of Whole Foods. Well, this life is ruined.

My Mom's First Rock Show

I've probably told some version of this story before, but here's some background preceding the next chapter. Of all the music I played loud on my stereo through adolescence, Pink Floyd stuck indelibly to my mother. It permeated the walls of our small apartment until she started to ask what it was I was listening to. I thought they were the first queries of an intervention, but I noticed a genuine interest. I get why it wasn't the Sonic Youth, Ministry or Ghostface Killah, but Pink Floyd is still a Yao Ming's reach for a fairly conservative African American lady who was born in rural Georgia as the forties shut its eyes and who's drug experimentation peaked at a shared colt 45 (I more than made up for her). She's not just into Another Brick in The Wall. She owns More, Obscured by Clouds, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Wish You Were Here and the Wall (and apparently some live dvds). I can't really picture her listening to the abstract noise forays of Interstellar Overdrive on headphones whilst staring at a lava lamp, I don't think the Syd years fit the cravings of motherly ears, but she's into everything else. I remember going through a bad break up years back and trying to talk to her about it and it was clear that her attention was elsewhere when she rushed me off the phone and said "Pink Floyd is on pbs right now, I gotta go!" She also told me a story about some little old church ladies coming over after sunday service and my mom played Welcome to the Machine as they sat down to Gin Rummy and Peppermint candy (or whatever old ladies do after sermon) and she told me they got scared and left. That's my mom playing weird psych rock for a fleet of old black church ladies, perhaps the proudest I've ever been. Until now. My mom somehow scored one ticket to go see David Gilmour 10th row center. At 69 years old my mom is going to her first Rock N Roll concert. I wish I was there to hold her hand because when the lights go down and 10,000 people simultaneously spark up their doobies and my mom gets hotboxed and starts seeing the kaleidoscope within, she may need some explaining. I'm imagining questions like "should I taste this guitar solo? Have you ever touched magenta? Did someone just say "if you hear this voice you're dying"?" I'm half hoping my mom is wearing a tie dyed skull and roses t-shirt with some sweet blue blockers and a new carefree attitude when I see her next time. Maybe she'll stop buying me khaki pants and hoping I'll get a real job one day. That crystal ship has sailed.

Take This Noise Away

Sometimes I wish I could heed my own advice. Last night I was performing with Dani Bell and the Tarantist and during the song Hired Hands she sung the lyric “Turn the news down / it’s killing me / how much sorrow can you see / how much sorrow can there be?” It’s the fragility with which she handles those words that made me feel so much last night. 

I glue my eyes to the glow of tragedies, searching for a “why” that never carries any kind of weight. I don’t know if it’s a quest to stay informed or an obsession with the bleakness unfolding, but it captures me. I’m reintroduced to myself daily. Some news cycles hit tough skin and roll off, the redundancy of it all, just another Wednesday in America. And then other moments make my emotions feel like a slug, headlines are a cruel child pouring salt and the writhing is uncontrollable. I was driving towards the gig, listening to NPR as the details were unfolding and the newscaster said “we’ll have the latest on the shooting” and I was struck with this devastating déjà vu, on this exact road, on a similar time of day, the sun touched my skin through the same open window and I had heard that exact newscaster say those exact words with the identical defeated tone owning his voice. “We’ll have the latest on the shooting.” I can’t recall a time when so much joy and sadness occupied the same moments. Music my celebration with the ones I love and at the same time it’s a mirror held up to the struggle we all partake in, the quest for understanding, something utterly unobtainable in the face of this. Birdy, Dillon and I were working on a song a few weeks ago, probably after a different mass shooting, I can’t even retrace the silhouette of this malevolent muse anymore, but the words seemed relevant and I long for the day when they don’t. Lately every post I write just feels like I’m plugging some past reflection into a thesaurus and throwing the same stale questions at a mute and indifferent God.

Take This Noise Away

Captive audience
Captured by the glow
And the phantom rings
Of a lifeless phone
It's a napalm dawn
And a bloodshot sky
When your favorite song's a
Broken lullaby
Give me open road
Give me setting sun
(Be)fore I overdose
Rhetoric and guns
I can't take the weight
Of another word
Though I'll wait for you
Like a dream that's been deferred
Deferred

Will you save me from
All you can think of
Will you show me some
Something strong as love
Maybe just distract
Me from all the print
If the papers bleed
Will you let me squint
I'm so tired of
New distopia
And I'm fired up
And I hope you just
Cool and calm me down
Tame my flame and crown
Put this fire out
But don't let me drown

Just take this noise away
Take this noise away

History repeats
Like a lunatic
Running through the streets
Shouting at the bricks
And they pray for change
Yet they act the same
Sit and watch and wait
Lightening strikes again
So if this is it
If we're going down
On a sinking ship
With corroded crowns
Will you hold me close
Watch the sun catch fire
And remind me why
It was worth a fight

With Love in tough times

Combing through facebook is such a strange lens to behold the world, a tapestry woven from our minutiae, our grandiosity, our hopes, fears, laughter, ignorance, triumphs and failures. A sea of varying opposites occupying the same space. A show announcement, a photograph of my friend’s children growing so noticeably since I’ve last seen them, 100+ dead in senseless violence, a racist rant from an unexpected source, whispers of a Guns n Roses reunion. Everything always happening at once. The infinity of these strands braided together in a rich fabric and the fabric is covered in blood. I tuned out today, taking in ocean, the turquoise waters turning cerulean, the subtle change in season and the soft brevity of silence. My mother is going to Paris next week and texted me, asking if she should still go. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I opened my screen and I fell down the rabbit hole of links. I read the words that should elicit more than calm numbness. Headlines that should shake hearts like seizures elicit no measurable reaction, just another invisible weeping, mourning for exactly what we are, not what we lost, humanity no longer a term of endearment, no longer a mark of advancement. I didn’t no how to respond. You can’t hide from tragedy, it lurks in all corners, it’s homeless yet resides everywhere, volatile, rabid and unpredictable. A world in an eternal war with itself, internally and externally, and if fear governs our decisions, where is there left to hide from it? You’re not safe in a movie theatre, at a concert, in a school, walking down the street. My answer to her isn’t the aforementioned paranoia. There’s enough of that rampant through all this. I told her to keep her eyes open and continue to be the opposite of all we see as negative. In a world out of balance with violence and hate tipping the scale, that she keeps creating art and kindness and help add weight to the side of virtue. There’s two poles to human potential and for every bit of ugliness exhaled by the darkness, it’s our job to react with a breath of light. With Love

Take Down That Penis

This morning I received an “urgent” email from a “web sheriff” and Lenny Kravitz’s lawyers regarding my blog’s usage of his floppy cock. Poppycock I say! Apparently the usage of the magnificent gif of his little almond brown baby arm’s emancipation is copyright infringement. Though I wish we were all in a room together so I could say “More like Cock-y-right infringement” and then someone would give me a high five so heroic that all the glass in the building would shatter and they’d decide to allow our usage of his image. I was actually trying to show someone his pants shattering mishap on Sunday and I had to scour the internet for a once omnipresent and omni-pleasant gif. It appears that Lenny’s done well to rid the world of a joyous memory, a moment of perfection captured. It made me think that somewhere out there there’s a lawyer who studied hard, put him or herself through college, late nights of caffeine and diligence to rise to the top of the class and make a difference in the world and then life and necessity collaborated on the cosmic joke we call reality. They created a position for this person in the world. You are the Kravitz cockhunter, your job is peruse the dark corners of the internet to find traces of Lenny’s manhood and eliminate them. I mean seriously, no one reads my blog, that took some effort to find. I think back to a time I got shitty drunk and slept walk naked and asked someone (my mother actually) if they wanted dark meat or white meat on their chicken plate (I worked at Boston Market that summer). This was in the days when big brother’s lidless eye was watching, but fortunately didn’t provide every human being with a cell phone for capture. But had an image of this moment found its way to the internet, me dangling in the loose breeze of existence, ruined by a plastic handle of summertime gin, muttering nonsense about gravy and mashed potatoes, naked as the day I stepped foot onto this cruel planet, to what lengths would I go to remove it? I guess it depends on the way the wind was blowing at the time (and mostly if that wind were a COLD wind)…….