Thursday, December 29, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Alexander and I, Renata and Guthry Hahm visited Santa today and he gave us all a talking to, saying "the best things are free, like visiting the library or spending time with a family member." He told Renata to not get into Guthry's toys and he told Guthry to not get mad at his sister if she does get into his toys.
Then Santa pointed to Guthry's head and said "this is what's important, all that knowledge you get from studying at school, doing your homework and going to the library, and they can't take that away from you."
With all this free advice I wanted to ask him a few philosophical conundrums myself, like: "How did the 1% get there and how can I do it too?" or, "Was the God Particle made by God?" or "how do you find the one "blinking bulb" on the tree so your lights won't blink?"
Thank you to the Hahm family for taking Alexander on camping trips with them this year and making it possible for me to do a little bit of touring with my band mates.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
This is me and Paul 2 1/2 months after his bicycle accident/brain injury (April 15, 1995)...at the American Bookseller Assoc. convention. The doctors and nurses and therapists who were working with Paul had asked him not to go the the convention, it was in Chicago, they wanted more time for his brain to heal. But there was no talking him out of it so I went along and made sure he stayed safe.
You're wondering what I mean by 'safe'? It was just a month earlier he had come home from the hospital and on that day he went raging, out of the apartment and down the street because his mother had told him the chicken wasn't finished cooking yet. One minute he seemed perfectly normal, the next he was yelling at me he wanted a divorce...fine, except we weren't married. Or, he was waking up early in the morning, getting out of bed and peeing in a cardboard box in his office. Or, he was crying profusely over a passage in the children's film, James and the Giant Peach. It was a challenging adventure to be sure.
Before his accident happened I was just beginning to write songs for the follow up album to Garage Orchestra. I'd only had a few songs written so far...Talking With A Mineral, Diane of the Moon, I'm a Tumbleweed. Me and the core members of the Garage Orchestra: Randy Hoffman, Renata Bratt and Chris Davies, we're just beginning to workshop some of the tunes. But mostly we'd been touring throughout 1994 and 95 for the Garage Orchestra album.
We'd done a bunch of shows with the Smithereens, one of the shows had a new band opening before us, Weezer. The guys in Weezer were super cool and we all hung out behind the theater together after the show, discussing how much we liked each others music. We'd gone out as a 3 piece, me on guitar, Chris on bass and Randy playing timpani/vibraphone/percussion...
Anyways, when April 15, 1995 happened....I was in a bit of a funk. So many friends and fans were so enthusiastic about Garage Orchestra (released 4/94) and I'd gotten some great reviews, but nothing was moving my life closer to easy. It was tax day. I was driving home from a rehearsal with Randy and Chris and had a feeling of being hungry, and I thought to myself I'm not gonna stop to eat because I want to grab something with Paul, so I waited and I hightailed it home. I came in the apartment and no one was home, so I fell down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Next minute our neighbor was banging on the door and shouting for me to follow her...the accident had happened a block from our place, on a big hill going down to the beach on 3rd street. But I've written of this before...
Long story short: Once Paul was out of the hospital, out of inpatient rehab, out of outpatient rehab ...our lives were supposed to be normal again. Wrong. Bringing your loved one home after a brain injury is kinda like bringing a feral animal home, one that loves you, but is none the less, feral.
That first month he was home I wrote the song Unknown Master Painter. I must admit, I had the overwhelming feeling that I wanted to get in the car and drive it as far east as I could go. I wanted to escape, at the same time I knew I wouldn't. A few family members, Paul's family, were calling and inviting me to leave him. One said, "You're too young to have to live a life like this. You should leave now and let yourself have a life. He may never be the same again"
I didn't listen. In fact, I didn't understand what she was talking about at all. How does one leave someone that they love? Especially in their darkest hour. Plus, I was still too in love with Paul. You see we'd only just moved in together the year before. It was still in the intoxicating phase. But now, maybe with a big shot of Haldol mixed in. And then, there was that ever-present desire one has to want to fix it and make it all better, however impossible and delirious that fixing may be.
It was hard. My musicians were supportive and understanding and we fit in rehearsals when we could. The accident certainly set us back and I was left without any feeling of where the creative process was going, and then quite suddenly the cellist Renata had to move away to the east coast. So it became an issue of timing.
Somewhere in there I had a conversation with Paul about what the album should be and he brought up the idea of a Fire Sale, that is getting rid of all the songs I'd had in my arsenal, and hadn't released. And so that became the spirit of the album.
We recorded it in the fall of 1995, about 6 months after Paul's accident. Thinking back I don't know how I pulled it off at that time. It seems astounding now, considering what I was going through with Paul's recovery. And his insistence in getting back, quickly into his regular life pace. So we went to Europe so he could do a lecture tour, and he took a job as a music editor of a HiFi magazine, and I made an album and I watched over Paul's progress and his care.
This is the fire that brought forth Straight Outta Marysville. And it is back in print now, as of today in a digital only format..at iTunes and the like. I heard some of it today for the first time in over 12 years and it is an odd album, full of peculiar characters and plenty of youthful anxiety and some beautiful if minimalist orchestrations...Lenny Kaye once said to me that recordings are photographs, Marysville is then a photo album of my 1995 with a few amazing musical friends.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
This past weekend we had a visit from Paul's longtime friend, novelist Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude etc...). Jonathan shared some stories with Paul, reminding him how they'd met at a science fiction writers convention in Berkeley in the 1980s... and how Paul had been wearing a Meat Puppets tee-shirt at the time. In fact, that same tee-shirt is still in a drawer here at our place, I never had the heart to throw it out. I always loved that he had a Meat Puppets shirt....and what a great underground band.
One of the charms of Paul and his wonderful brain, when it was working properly, was how open minded he was to music that was out of his realm of experience. For a guy that was so much a part of the 1960s he was not the least bit stuck there.
I was talking to someone recently about Paul as a music listener and recollected how Paul, when he was writing the One Hundred Best Singles of Rock and Roll-in the early 90s, wouldn't write off a single, (some suggested to him by friends with fannish fervor), until he'd listened to it nearly 100 times. He used to say, "you have to learn the language of the artist".
Paul introduced me to Jonathan in 1993, he was working at a book store on Telegraph, just before his first novel was released, Gun With Occasional Music. Jonathan let us stay at his place in Berkeley for the night and headed out of town, good thing, I was sick as a dog....high fever the whole bit, but I was wildly in love and Paul had a grand time combing through Jonathan's robust CD and record collection, playing stuff like Grant Lee Buffalo and Pavement for me while I broke the fever.
(photo by me at Paul's nursing home here in Encinitas,.... I might add our son Alexander-who just turned 10 this week,- was frolicking with Jonathan and Amy's boys Everett and Desmond while the boring adults conversed)
Monday, October 10, 2011
Thank you Brendan Coakley for writing and reminding me of this passage from Paul Williams book Das Energi. These particular words really speak to me right now as we approach a full moon in Aries.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I'm playing my first show in San Diego in over a year, on Oct. 8th...at a lovely little theater in Carlsbad CA.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
"Cindy Lee Berryhill's triumphant return to New York"
Thank you Jim Bessman (and New York)....
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Fathers Day at the nursing home with Alexander and Paul and a big red ball....we picked up a card for Paul on Sunday and I saw a bin full of these balls and threw it on the cashiers belt. Alexander asked what it was for and I said "I think daddy will like this, remember how he used to love tossing the ball around last year, let's try it again." Every time we've bought one of this balloon-like balls they pop within a day or two, but what the hell, it's Dad's Day..and so I bought it.
We spent an hour just outside of Paul's room, outside the sliding glass door tossing this thing around. It's been ages since I've seen Paul act so lively, and smile so much. It was a hit. So I put his name on it in black marker and left it in his room in a corner, hoping he'll occasionally get a bounce or two out of it.
Paul was pretty tired after our little game of catch, he didn't even want to go out for coffee with us afterwards. So off we went, leaving him in his room, ( just behind him in the photo above), with enough daylight left to catch an eyeful of glamorous blue glitter from the Pacific Ocean on our ride home.