Thursday, September 30, 2010

N-Word Abstinence

Today marks (officially) 30 days that I've gone without saying the N-word. I'd like to see Chris Rock or Chris Tucker do it. I did it because they say if you can quit something for 30 days you can walk away from it. The truth is, I don't see anything wrong with the N-word used the the propper context. Yes I know the history of the word better than most blacks. It's origination in Denmark by slaveship captains. Yet that was 300 years ago. Why do blacks perpetuate the use of the word? Some would call it a chip glued to the should. (ever so conveniently).

It amazes me how television will bleep out the N-word, yet eagerly telecast GD this and JC that. Or the everso ubquitous OMG. 30 years ago, Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor did a hilarious SNL skit (back when it was funny)that ended with the N-word. Last night on The Biography Channel, I was watching Eddie Murphy talk about how he knew that skit by heart and when he auditioned for SNL, he played the Pryor role and Joe Piscapo played Chevy's role. Bio showed the original skit and Fn bleeped the N-word. WTF? They bleeped what they condoned 30 years ago? And this Bio special on Eddie was at 10:00 on Cable. Once again I ask: "Whisky Tango Foxtrot"?

I doubt the censors will ever bleep Whitey, Honky,Redneck,Cracker,White Trash,or any other reverse discriminating ethnic slurs. There's something about the N-word that just doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Parable of The Twins

Once upon a time, a set of twins were conceived.
Weeks passed and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy: "Isn't it great that we were
conceived?" Isn't it great to be alive?"
Together the twins explored their worlds.
When they found their mother's cord that gave them life, they sang for joy!
"How great our mother's love is, that she shares he own life with us."

As weeks stretched into months, the twins noticed how much each was changing.
"What does it mean?" one asked.
"It means our stay in this world is drawing to an end."
said the other.
"But I don't want to go," said one. "I want to stay here always."
"We have no choice," said the other. But maybe there is a life after birth!"
"But how can there be?" responded one. "We will shed our life cord and how can life be possible without it?" Besides we have seen evidence that others were here before us, and none of them has returned to tell us there is life after birth. No this is the end. Maybe there is no Mother after all."

"But there has to be," protested the other."
"How else did we get here?"
"How do we remain alive?" "Have you ever seen our mother?" said one,
"Maybe she only lives in our minds. Maybe we made her up
because the idea made us feel good."

So the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear.

Finally, the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had
passed from their world, they opened their eyes and cried for joy -
for what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Art and Competition ~ It Makes Me Sick

If there's one statement in the music Industry that I KNOW is true it's this one: "Anyone who enters a battle of the bands has already lost". You name the competition and I'll guarantee the only ones benefiting from it are the promoters.

The whole concept of an artist competing with other artists is just insane. That's why they're called arts and not sports. But in America we love our sports and have to try and make a sport out of everything. But the arts are the most extreme form of apples and oranges you can try to judge. Let's examine my rant:

You pick them.

Bob Dylan vs. Bob Marley

The Beatles vs. Metallica

Renoir vs. Picasso

Jimi Hendrix vs. Hank Williams

Monet vs. Patrick Nagel

M.C. Hammer vs. Fred Astaire

Gene Krupa vs. John Bonham

Yoko Ono vs. Lady Gaga (ok I just wanted to reference Lady Gaga)

But do you get my point? You can't say Jimi is a better guitar player than Hank Williams. As Eddie Van Halen once said in a response to an acusation by Eric Clapton: "He's right I don't play blues. I speak a different language." It's wrong to compare art. The better question is to ask is: "Is it art"? Which leads to; What is art? (Only history will decide)

I'm sorry, I get ticked off when I get emails from the ITC. (international Songwriting Contest) or the John Lennon song contest. Give me a break.

I just loath it. I'm sorry.

Why do the RIGHT thing?

WIFM (What's in it for me?)

When you choose to do the right thing;you're not scoring god points. I have no evidence, reason or hope that you're cultivating Karma. And as much as I love the Golden Rule; I can't say the good that you do will come back to you. For every saying that supports "Doing the right thing", there's a counter-saying that suggests that "no good deed goes unpunished". So WHY do the right thing in the first place? The answer is simple.


Gandhi once said:"No man can do good in one compartment of his life, while attempting to do bad in another. Life is one integrated unit. You can attempt to lead two lives, but eventually you will be exposed. More importantly, you will start to suffer the agony of duplicity. (trying to remember your lies and inconsistencies)

When you do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing; duplicity will never be a concern in your life. That alone is worth any Karma points you could earn.

"The more you choose to do the right thing for the sake of doing what is right; the more natural the decision will come and the more "whole" your life will be. (getting back to Gandhi) This wholeness or oneness is what we all want to achieve.

It's the only way to create a life without guilt.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


On labor day I was in a TV Commercial for the TRAVEL CHANNEL singing a song I wrote about "No Reservation's" Tony Bourdain" All in all it aired about 16 times on Monday.

I caught the first airing of the commercial at 9:33 AM PST then another 10 times after that, Twice on the 100th episode then again on the repeat. Plus I'm sure I missed it on the first two episodes that were shown before I woke up. I was also told it would air over the whole Labor day week end. I didn't see it. (not until Monday) But it was a rush finally making the small screen and not just doing a commercial but playing my Gretsch 6120 and singing.

All kinds of crazy thoughts start running through your mind. I think of the lucky breaks that some musicians have had. Take the 4,5,6's for example. Quentin Tarantino was on a plane in Tokyo waiting to depart. He was told the departure would be delayed so he got off the plane and went into a gift shop. In the gift shop; the clerk was playing a bootleg tape she got from her friend's indie band. QT heard it and said:"Who are these guys"? A month later "those guys" were being screened tested in Burbank and later would appear on Kill Bill 1.

That's the sort of timing that I think is essential these days to be successful in the field of entertainment. Timing is not everything, but it's almost everything. In the 60's Dave Clark (namesake of the Dave Clark Five) Had no Idea how to drum. But he bought a set of drums and the rest is history and it happened lightening fast for him.

Meatloaf showed up for a job as a valet parking attendant. The producer of an audition next to the lot asked him if he was there for a job and Meat replied "Ya, Parking cars". The producer asked "Can you sing?" Meat said yup. Mr.Big said "Well you better hurry and get in line for the auditions. Tell them I said put you at the head of the line." A year later we had "Bat out of Hell".

Previously I blogged about Jimmy Buffet's interview. LUCK, TALENT and PERSISTENCE. Now days I think being discovered is so much harder because of the Internet. Sure you can get your face and song out there, but it's crammed into a small space of bandwidth with millions of other wannabes. I felt very lucky to be a part of Tony Bourdain's 100th episode celebration along with Marky Ramone. (what an honor) but that was 2 days ago. Today I'm back to being the same undiscovered talented player, singer, songwriter I've been for most of my life.

If I had it to do again? I'd probably repeat this ordeal because I love playing that damn instrument. I can't fly an F-15 but this is just as exciting. When I throw my head back and solo on my "Wolfgang" it's like putting the wings back and going vertical. It's like flying upside down. I can't explain it. But if you've ever seen me play, you know I'm spiritually someplace else. Maybe that's as good as it gets.