things I like

So I guess you could say this post falls in the category of things I like.  As many of you who have followed my blog over the years knows, I love the 4AD music label(specifically the earlier years – the past 10-15 years have been somewhat hit/miss). One of the bands that I enjoy from the earlier years is RED HOUSE PAINTERS.  I recently acquired their SHOCK ME ep.

This recording features 4 official tracks and one untitled “hidden” track (at the end of track 4). Released in 1994 it really is a wonderful collection of covers and original material.   For this post I want to focus on the title track which is a cover of the KISS song Shock Me (written by Ace Frehley) that was originally on the KISS album LOVE GUN.    In fact there are two versions on this EP (the electric and an acoustic version).  Both versions are very solid and very unlike KISS.   Which is one of the things I love.

Don’t get me wrong; I love kiss I actually saw the Alive II tour at a local venue called the Richfield Coliseum (near Cleveland – which no longer exists – how time flies) on 8/1/1978 and what a show!  But that was in my fist pumpin’ hard rockin’ teen years.   Maybe you’re not a fan of KISS or are not familiar with this song.  That’s okay.   Ace Frehley wrote this song after an event that actually occurred on the KISS’ ROCK AND ROLL OVER tour where he was nearly electrocuted.   If you’re familiar with KISS you can imagine this song has the tell-tale chugging hard rock sound that many love from the make-up clad quartet.   I’ll post that video at the end of this post for comparison sake.   But first I want you to listen to the RED HOUSE PAINTERS version.

RED HOUSE PAINTERS have been described as slow core and folk rock. While their music inhibits both of those worlds this song is definitely in the slow core vein.   One of the things I enjoy about it is that is has a very Velvet Underground feel to it.    The second iteration of the song which is acoustic sounds familiar yet very different.  I can sit with my eyes closed listening and imagining Lou Reed and Peter, Paul & Mary singing this.   It really is quite beautiful.

The EP has ephemeral/ethereal cover art that 4AD was known for in the early days.    If you don’t recognize the image – it is a detail of an old broken down upright piano keyboard.   A beautiful simple image that resonates so well with the RED HOUSE PAINTERS sound.   Dean Carlson of ALLMUSIC described this version of the song and the EP as “Somehow quietly splendid”.   I look at the KISS version of SHOCK ME as the “I dare you to” version and the RED HOUSE PAINTERS versions as the “surprise me” versions.  Because even though the lyrics and music is the same the songs couldn’t be more different.  And I think a great original cover of a song that basically re-invents the songs potential is also great art.  I think I’ve said all I can at this time.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Finally the moment you have been waiting for?  Here’s the KISS version from a concert in 1998 in all their makeup and costumed glory.   🙂

two halves of a creative life

I just wanted to share this wonderful video from a YouTube channel I’ve followed for a few years.   Enjoy.

And I would like to add that you may go through this cycle more than once. I know that when I was younger my creative life revolved around music.  Then it evolved into theater and film.   Finally my creative life has been in image making and photography.   Also as many of you know from my posts I also dabble with writing and poetry which has been an arc over most of my life so it to has had it’s own creative cycle.   I’ve found that key aspects from all the previous iterations of my creative life have followed to the next.    So I guess one might say that in previous cycles of my creative life,  when I came to the evening of that cycle, I changed to a different primary form of creativity.   Therefore I would start the cycle all over again.    I want you to remember that no matter how many times the cycle of creativity turns you will always retain something of the previous cycle.   It will be a foundation and can be an inspiration and influence as you start a new cycle.    Take care every one.  Peace and blessings.

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*notice.  I have decided to start opening up comments on certain posts to promote discussion and possibly alternate views.   So if you have some ideas around the subject of this post – please feel free to drop them in the comments section.   Or if you prefer a more ‘private’ dialogue about this post, any post or anything in general, I have added a contact page to my site which can be accessed from the page menu at the top, and in the sidebar, of this blog.   Thanks everyone for your support. 

Easier Sung Than Done

Autumns End #1

Something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.  We as human beings have a habit of blowing things out of proportion and making them seem more important than they are. 

I want you to think about what makes you angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless.  It might be relationships, politics, health, personal economics/finances, business, religion, culture, media, the environment etc.   Nothing is off bounds.  Everything matters here.   I’m guessing there is at least one thing that immediately comes to mind for every individual.

Now. 

Let it go. 

Let it go now.

And yes, that seems easy; but it’s not, especially the more invested you are in the subject whether it’s emotionally, spiritually or intellectual investment.   

But do you think the tree in Autumn wants to let go of its leaves? Or that it’s easy.   And yet it does.  The tree feels the pain of separation with each leaf – sometimes a thousand times.  Year after year the tree will let go of its leaves.  The tree does not know what the future holds but it continues the cycle.  

So for all the things that seem so important at the time – in the long view – they are not important at all.     

They are about as important as a “pebble lying on a gravel road”.   So let it go.  Sometimes it’s easier sung than done.   I found that singing this song while I’m thinking of these things helps me keep things in perspective and remember what’s really important.

Maybe a nice practice would be to write down all these things than anger, frustrate (…etc.) you.  Then like Autumn leaves – burn them. Let the worries and cares turn to ash.  Then wash them away. 

Hey man, you don’t know what you’re missing
You count your curses and forget about the blessings
Don’t you think you should learn a little lesson
What are you waiting for?
 
Hey man, what makes you so special
Can’t seem to find the angels for the devils
Don’t you think that if you learned to love a little
You’d live a whole lot more
 
Let it go, let it go
This is smaller than you know
No bigger than a pebble lying on a gravel road
Let it go, let it go
Got to leave it all behind you
Give the sun a chance to find you
Let it go
 
Hey man, there’s no time for crying
You made your bed but don’t think its fit to lie inWasted on the ground when you know you should be flying
What are you waiting for?
 
How can a man not see
It seems so clear to me
You’ve just got to live and learn
Smile at the simple stuff
This road ain’t long enough
To miss a single turn

a study

This image is simply titled STUDY #1.    It was completed entirely in Photoshop using various tools like line drawing and selection.  Added color and multiple layers for composition.    I also layered in some texture from some of my own photos.   When I first finished this I was so exhausted that I felt quite indifferent.  But 2 months have passed and I find it very rewarding, even enjoyable.   I hope you enjoy it also.  

Enjoy this warm track by Manhattan Transfer:  “Capim” featuring Brazilian singer/songwriter Djavan from their album BRASIL.

Tired of politics? Check this out!

So are you tired of politics and the media?   Well here are two fun videos.  Mashups of old movie stars dancing to contemporary tunes.    How many movies in the clips can you name?  

First up is the theme song from the movie Footloose. 

next how about some funk? 

1 poem, 1 new artwork, 1 haiku

DISAPPEARING LIGHT

we have become so enthralled

self-absorbed in our own light

when we look up at the night sky

we cease to see the stars

fleeing

from our own manufactured urban brightness

when all we do is watch

we’ve stopped looking

we are trapped by the light of our devices

and all that we see stops us from seeking

RESIDUAL

Stars have disappeared

City lights prevail at night

Leaves fall from the tree

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJXsIeqOKT0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y9ALfeXztw

el camino

*el camino translated to english means “The Way” – more than a vehicle.

EL CAMINO

Out in the wilds

in my rusted 1969 El Camino

pulled off the side of a desert road

the only light

a cigarettes glowing ember end

the stars my only friends

“Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room”

on the radio

quiet like

listening outside to inside conversations

yet here I am alone

staring off into the night at

a glow

far off on the horizon

the site of an alien invasion?

just another boring city

that never sleeps

I decide to NOT “go toward the light”

comfortable under the shadowy blanket of night

resting in my inspired darkness

sitting in the bed of

El Camino

insanity

Well the headlines keep getting worse – stranger and stranger – like the story of the Michigan Militia group Wolverine Watchmen arrested for a plot to overthrow the government in Michigan by arresting the Governor and trying her in the groups own makeshift court.   The Michigan Militia has been troubling to the history of the state that goes back decades.   Formed in 1994 by a former US Air Force veteran.  First made the news in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by members Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.    

Militia activity is increasing and is linked to white supremacy but the federal government has repeatedly failed to dismantle and disband these organizations with their “criminal” ideologies and activities.   We now pay the price – forget about terrorism from abroad.   We create our own! 

Canadian music group, Moxy Fruvous, known for their ability to mock, attack, chide, parody, satirize and lampoon life’s insanities, wrote and recorded a song titled Michigan Militia in 1997 after the Oklahoma City bombing.   Sadly it continues to be relevant – maybe more so – in the trump era.   I’ve always loved this music group and I post this song here (lyrics below). 

I like to keep it in the refrigerator.
Keeps the powder dry, and the action quicker.
Let me be your American Gladiator.
Find enclosed an adhesive N.R.A. sticker.
 
A letter t’ you from where I been holed up
In this bucolic, agrarian compound.
One step ahead
Just ahead
Of the government bloodhound.
 
The gas is off, it’s a national showdown.
BUT…
Sure wish that I could visit you,
My sweet betrothed.
In a couple a’ days
We’ll all be free,
Or we’ll be dead.
 
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I’m fencing off this little piece of heaven.
Cross the line and you’re electrocuted.
Polishing up my AK47.
It’s a constitutional right, can’t be refuted.
 
Now they got us on TV,
And makin’ us look stupid.
Shot of me flippin’ my lid,
At that mutt reporter,
A classic case of race dilution
Houston,
 
What is the problem?
I’m fighting for you, and a blue-eyed Jesus.
America first,
The rest get the pieces.
 
Na Na Na Na.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
Fighting for your honour,
Like would any Afrikaner.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
Our numbers are strong, and it won’t be long
’til I can tell you, Trisha, that we won.
You’ll be ecstatic, just like that night
You told me up in the attic.
That was your wish again,
To be back in a purified Michigan
 
Down on…! down on…!
… the farm?
 
Well, that’s my wish again,
To be back in Michigan.
 
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
(Well, that’s my wish again, to be back in Michigan)
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I hope you like the double barrel,
I think it goes with your apparel.
Happy Birthday, Trisha,
(Well, that’s my wish again, to be back in Michigan)
I’m in the Michigan Militia.
 
I like to keep it in the refrigerator.

pallets in red and blue

 

FYI- this will be my last post for this month.  I’m taking off the rest of September.   God willing, I will see you all in October 2020.  Peace Out.

Got a problem?   Too Bad, “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye!” 😉

It’s time to fly this acid world, retool and re-energize.

weather protects memory

Have you ever heard a song or album and the weather seemed such an integral part of the experience – so much so, that every time the weather conditions are right you still remember that song or album?   Well it’s happened to me.   Repeatedly.   

Today,  it’s “raining cats and dogs” and I spent a fair amount of time on the road looking from some rainy day photo ops.  It was raining so hard it was keeping time with Led Zeppelin’s song “Bonzo’s Montreax” (from the CODA album) which was playing in my car.   But this is not about that song.   

During my drive I realized it was exactly a day like today when I purchased my very first RUSH album, A FAREWELL TO KINGS (on cassette and vinyl).  The album was released September 1st, 1977.  I was 17 and only had a drivers permit.  I was only working on the family farm and had saved my allowance for this purpose.  I got to the car and greedily unwrapped the cassette to play in the car.  The weather was dark and cloudy not unlike the cover art with the post apocalyptic setting – the landscape crumbled and the crown of the king lying on the ground. The king plopped down on the throne like a puppet whose puppeteer had fled or a jester frozen in time – the joke had been played once to often.  I popped the cassette in the player and it started to rain.  I took the scenic route home through the countryside past hill and dale, field and farm listening in amazement and feeling transfixed as “Xanadu” blasted from the car speakers.    by time “a thousand years had come and gone…” I was completely enthralled, mesmerized in my rainy day drive.   I got home during “Cinderella Man” and felt lost in the myth, the poetry and story telling.   I continued to just sit in the car and listened thru to Cygnus X-1 (Book One) as the rain continued to beat on the car roof.  Wipers off I mused and wondered if Cygnus X-1 would have a Book 2 in this musical adventure.   The transformation was complete I was a RUSH fan.     For years to come A FAREWELL TO KINGS, HEMISPHERES, PERMANENT WAVES and MOVING PICTURES would be my favorite RUSH albums.   I would listen to them frequently.   

Well with Todays rain it was time to revisit the memory and the feeling of that first listen.   And though I am older I find it still extremely enjoyable and satisfying.  It’s just one of those things.   🙂

talking animals

keep this in mind for this first video:  part 1 us men will never grow up and that’s why you love us.   Part 2 looking for Alan VS Steve … but it’s really Gerald.   LOL.

and for this second video… Part 1 – a good running joke…. Still hasn’t figured out it’s Gerald.   Part 2 Practical jokers are birds of a feather. 

And okay since the first video drew a connection between animals and James Bond.   Enjoy this from the Muppet Show.    Teeheee

International Dog Day

Happy Dog Day.    August 26, 2020.    For all my friends who are dog lovers.   
This has always been my favorite dog song. 

And of course, another favorite artist Laurie Anderson had a great movie and soundtrack  called HEART OF A DOG.   here are two tracks from the soundtrack.

Finally a track by Rush

we need more of this…

we need more laughter.

some favorite songs about laughing

I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life – by Sarah Vaughan

Funeral Tango by Jacques Brel covered by Scott Walker

Only Want to Laugh by Dusty Springfield

The Laughing Gnome – by David Bowie

Laughter by Bruce Cockburn