Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You For A Wonderful Year

Happy 2012 to everybody from us' to you's....And thank you to everyone that supported Paul's care in whatever way you could this year, it's much appreciated. And yes, I still do wanna sell Paul's Dylan collection, just got to get it all in boxes so please keep in touch about that if you're interested in buying his various books, tapes of shows and the like.

I also want to thank everyone that helped me get back out on the road again this year, that's what takes care of my soul and keeps me writing which in turn keeps me happy and thus, I'm much nicer to Alexander when he tells me he has extra homework he'd forgotten about.

Thanks especially to Jerry Lima who put some of the shows together on the east coast, and who couldn't be scared away even after I made faces at him, sent him unfinished/scrappy demo's and warned him I was part alien.

And thank you to those dear friends that let us musicians (Renata Bratt, Randy Hoffman and Paula Luber) invade their homes...Matt and Rachel in Brooklyn, David and Kathrine in DC and David and Elizabeth in Manhattan, Alan and Amyjo in CT, and Paula in Newton MA, oh yeah Amy in Hoboken......

And a very special thanks to Chuck and Susan Hahm and their kids, who watched Alexander while I went off on those little road guys are amazing friends.

I look forward to 2012 and more new music and more home invasions.....

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Trip to the Philosophical Santa

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

I Wonder Why

Donna Grace and CLB 1993 Tecate Mexico, photo by Paul

Another song from Club Passim's in Cambridge. Bob Colby recording us this past summer...
This is a song that's stayed near and dear to me all these many years later, from the Garage Orchestra time period. I wrote it in Paul and Donna's van, about a week after I met 'em. They were in a restaurant eating burritos with Paul's Japanese agent, Mr Asanto and I was out in the van convening with some blue jays about this melody...You really can't go wrong with a pretty song about loss...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journal Entry: September 1992

These are writings from my 1992 journal, five months after meeting Paul, and while writing the songs that became Garage Orchestra

Am I in love?
I'm afraid to admit I may be.
And he is so often on my mind.
Got a letter from him today, I like that.
hmm, wish he were here.
then again, when he is, there's little time
for music work. So much of our attention
being devoted to one another.
He is adorable, lovable, high strung,
a lot of nervous energy.
Mind on high speed. He self consciously
speaks in slower meter, keeping his voice low
and tries to make it pleasant. Which can come off,
well....self conscious. Then other times it sounds a little higher
and a little quicker and more nervous and sorta kid-like (almost) and it's
less controlled.
I like it better less controlled.
Sometimes, a controlled voice sounds a bit like a new age author reading
chapters from a positive thinking book at a meditation/prosperity consciousness raising seminar.
I don't trust those types.
A lot of white people try too hard.

(Ocean Beach, CA 1992)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ushers Into The Theater Of Life

Sebastian Green, CLB, Renata Bratt at NVA Theater, Carlsbad CA
(think we were singing a Carter Family tune here, "You're Gonna Be Sorry")

There are a lot of great things about being a guitar instructor. One of them is getting to work with young students that are just finding out who they are as human beings and some of them find out how much they love music, and some discover they have a gift for it. As a teacher, I think, we are just usher's into the theater of life, showing young souls their seat and then the rest is up to them.

Here's a really nice article on one of my guitar students, a 14 year old that's quite the natural on all things musical, but particularly bluegrass guitar. It's been fun and an honor working with Sebastian...

photo credit: Peter Meade

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Straight Outta Marysville

This is me and Paul 2 1/2 months after his bicycle accident/brain injury (April 15, 1995) 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 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

When she left Picasso,

the days were still warm, all the world was young
it was summer
or what was left of it.

When she left Picasso
there was nothing to be done to make the going easy
she was met at the end of the lane
by a man with a lamp
who showed her the way out
and which road to go
away from Picasso.

When she left Picasso
she couldn't eat or sleep
there was too little time
there was too far to go
and the future a steep/grade up/into the unknown.

When she left Picasso
it was a summer night
with the windows of the town fully open with light
and the terrible red eye of Antares staring down
from the bright net of stars called Scorpio.

and, what was there to be done with
the things he'd given her
the stories, the visions,
the children of nuclear fission
it was a hell of a way to go...

...when she left Picasso,
he wondered why
wanted to know the ways a bird can fly
so many had flown too close to the sun
but she has left me while our love was still young
and that rattled the soul of old Picasso.

When she left Picasso
the waves smashed on the shore
in the south of France
the rip tide was great
and pulled at full force
full of yearning for Picasso.

When she left,
and they kissed their last kiss
white hot as the first
he slammed his fist on the desk
spilling the green tea,
'women don't leave a man like me,
don't you know who I am, I'm Picasso'.

When she left Picasso
god he was mad
all the colors drained out of the room
and left were the etchings of structures of things
like bones and stones and tombs,
and the sucking black hole
at the end of the o, in Picasso.

When she left Picasso
she wasn't afraid
she had the right of the spheres on her side,
and the winds blew behind her and tousled her hair
and the gods in her did confide,
'we'd hoped you'd stay for a while,
but if you must then go,
you've earned your wings
with this Picasso'.

When she left
started her car
set the GPS for somewhere,
all the way down that long-haul road
were scattered bones of those that had gone before
lovers friends and foe of Picasso.

When she left Picasso
the Santa Anas were blowing
from California to Barcelona
the tin roofs of bordellos were coming down,
a chime from a church bell
the doppler'd harmonica
the sound of his voice,
his voice that echoed through her lost mining towns,
on the winds of desire that blew through the portals
of the P and O, of Picasso.

When she left Picasso
goodbye was still a hello
a fond waiting 'til next text or talk on the phone
every door left open
and buttons undone
like a nuclear wasteland
with all things in place
but the humans were totally gone.
Like this she said yes, to life and to love
and sent a wish out into the unknown
a kiss to all things
both fierce and beautiful
like this, she said no, to Picasso.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

the sweetest thing is....

the heart goes on loving...
the sad thing is the heart goes on loving...
the exasperating thing is....

the beautiful thing is the heart goes on loving and the sun shining.
the ridiculous thing is the heart goes on loving and the sun and stars turn round in the sky, over and over again.

the encouraging thing is the heart, goes on,.... loving even while sub-atomic particles move on, changing partners, making whole new babies and snowflakes.

the dumbest-stupidest most wonderful thing is the heart... goes on loving despite the weather here and what you've had for dinner.
the trickiest part is the heart.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Somebody's Angel

When I was a kid there was a popular song that told of a soldier who'd come back from war paralyzed and in the lyrics he was imploring his wife Ruby, to not take her love to town. She was apparently a floozy, I sorted out later, 'cuz what kind of wife would doll her self up and go into town nights. I'm not sayin' it's one of the best songs ever written, I can't be objective enough for that, but I can tell you it effected me enough as a little kid that the lyrics would go through my mind time and again. Other songs along the same lines, that stuck with me were Skip A Rope (Henson Cargill) and Jackson (We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout, we been talkin' 'bout Jackson ever since the fire ran out..)...these songs were all trying to tell me something about what the future held for us little some mysterious cryptic Cuneiform, that would let on just what it was to be an adult.

Somewhere along the way I realized that the Ruby in the Kenny Rogers song represented some kind of bad person, a woman that didn't take care of loved ones. I was a teenager in rural Ramona when Kenny Rogers came to play a concert in a remote part of our back-country. There were probably about a hundred of us teens and young adults on a lawn while he played through his hits. I don't remember much except that everyone sang along with the part of the song that went...."oh Ru-u-by,Don't Take Your Love to Town".

As a spouse to a man who had a serious brain injury which later turned into early onset of dementia....I've come to see Ruby in a new light. Within the lyrics you see that she's at home with him by day, and by night she goes out...but doesn't she deserve a life beyond being a care-giver? Maybe she goes to bingo at the church, maybe she meets a girlfriend for tea, or maybe she has a clandestine affair with a man, or maybe she's dancing with the lipstick lesbians at a dive-bar. Ruby deserves to discover who she is despite the fact that her husband can no longer do the things a husband can do.

I met a young woman a year ago, she had just lost her husband to the war inAfghanistan, she'd come to me for guitar lessons. She was pushing herself to do things she hadn't done before, to find ways to move on, discover who she was now....It's very hard work, this moving on business. But it's the business of life. Loving.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jonathan Lethem and Paul Williams

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

She Enjoys Her High Life

photo credit: Peter Meade
Randy Hoffman, CLB, Renata Bratt @NVA Theater 10/8/11

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.

"She enjoys her high life; does not enjoy anxiety. So she stops hesitating and does what she has to do.

She does not live in a state of bliss, though perhaps she feels herself moving toward one...

or toward...something, she doesn't know what it is but it is the way she has to go, the journey toward it is the only life she enjoys.

It is hard, it is exciting, it is satisfying, lonely, joyous, frustrating, puzzling, enlightening, real; it is her life, that's all.

She accepts it. Sooner or later a person begins to notice that everything that happens to her is perfect...." Das Energi, 1973

(Paul wrote Das Energi at age 22 while living on a commune off of Vancouver Island)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And now, after her triumphant return from the old coast.....

She returns...
I'm playing my first show in San Diego in over a year, on Oct. a lovely little theater in Carlsbad CA.
There will be a few laughs, a coupla tall tales, at least one sob story, a likely visitation from an intriguing extraterrestrial...and some brand new songs

New Village Arts Theater
Saturday Oct 8th
with Renata Bratt on cello
and Randy Hoffman on glockenspiel
and percussion....
plus a few special guests
box office: 760 433 3245
*reserved seating*

comic courtesy of the late great William Rotsler
and inked at CorFlu 1996

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Attention Bob Dylan Fans...

I will be selling Pauls collection of Dylan reference material to the highest bidder....the collection includes biographies, reference books, box-loads of cassettes and cd's that are bootlegged recordings of many shows, a few tour posters or tickets. Mostly stuff Paul used as reference material for his 3 book series Bob Dylan: Performance Artist.

The recordings were made by fans over the years and sent to Paul for the purpose of research/not for commercial use. They probably go back well into the 1970s ....(though I admit there are many boxes in storage I haven't investigated)

Ya'll come and get em'. Were cleanin' house around here. me at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 2001: The Month Before The Baby Arrived

(Mom, Clb, Paul, Anne Berryhill, the cake I couldn't eat, Sept 18th 2001, Alexander's baby shower)

In early September of 2001 I was very pregnant. I had moved back in with Paul (we'd split up 1999-2000, then re-engaged our marriage but had continued living apart, he here in Encinitas and me in West Los Angeles)and I had quit my girl-friday job at Lookout Management/Vapor Records.

I decided I was simply too pregnant to be.. say, picking up and delivering shoes to Lookout client Neil Young or fetching David Crosby from the airport or fielding calls from any number of living legends. So I said my goodbye's and loaded the Corolla station-wagon and moved back down to San Diego County.

As normal, 2001 was a hot September and I spent a lot of time walking and hanging out at our local beach, Moonlight. The city had recently retrieved a bunch of sand from some other locale, and it had dumped and spread the new dirty looking brown stuff all over the popular beach. Most locals weren't very happy with it. Along with the new sand came a bunch of sting rays and so everyone was having to shuffle step through the waves.

I wasn't swimming. It was a red tide that fall, where the waves look dirt brown by day and at night glow with the bioluminescence of millions of phytoplankton, algae. Lovely and compelling by night. But too toxic for a pregnant lady to swim in. Paul and I took many walks down to our beach that month.

I had to walk actually, doctors orders. But I was pretty ambitious about it, marching up and down the steep stairs on the beach bluff called Stone Steps (120 stairs in all). A recent medical test made my obstetrician think I might have gestational diabetes. The fear was I would have too large of a baby. In fact, Grandma Berryhill had two sons that were over 13 pounds, she definitely had gestational diabetes. I was a border line case.

At any rate, I had to cut all the sweets out of my diet, eat one piece of bread a day, stick with the fruits veggies and meat diet and then prick my finger and test my blood sugar three times a day. So if I walked after I ate, you see, it would bring my blood sugar down and I would fare well on the tests. So I did a lot of walking.

Paul and I lived in the same apartment building I live in now with our 9 year old son and the neighbors loved the idea of a child on the way. Checking in often on how the pregnancy was progressing and helping us get the landlord to give us new paint and carpet.

The apartment was clean and ready for a kid. But I didn't have the proper baby-care tools. So my girlfriend Patricia Michal's held a baby shower for us, on the weekend of September 8th or 9th. Lots of friends showed up, mostly friends without kids I might note, and Paul and I came home with a car load of stuff, the usual stuff, and I piled it all in the living room, ready to process another day. Also, I knew in a week my family, the Berryhill cousins, were gonna have their own shower for us at their place in Laguna, so I'd wait and see what we had after that.

Paul had been seeing a therapist since our separation, and now with a baby coming he was inspired to work on unfinished business with his kids from his first marriage, their mother being, Sachiko. He invited both sons, now adults, to visit us one at a time and participate in a series of therapy sessions with him, a place where they could lay out some of their truths and feelings about having Paul Williams as a father.

It was a good thing for Paul. He'd always had trouble controlling his anger, (the brain injury didn't help), and he was doing a lot of good work on finding ways to handle his feelings and look at who he'd been to others in his life, how he'd effected the ones he loved. It was a promising time.

We were involved in a Buddhist study group at that time. We'd both been studying the Buddha's philosophies via a Vietnamese monk named Thich Naht Hahn (who'd been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize by Martin Luther King) . Nhat Hahn had a monastery in east county we'd visit sometimes and the monks would visit our San Diego study group. After a night of reading and discussion the head monk came and sat with me and Paul and talked to us about the importance of bringing mindful peace to the home we'd be bringing the baby into. He was a pretty amazing person, with both a child like quality and a heavy intelligence vibe at once. I felt a strong connection with this monk, sadly he passed away, from diabetes, the same day our son was born. I always felt they'd passed one another with purpose, through the ether's, on their ways from heaven to earth.

This was our life in the month before our son, Alexander was born.

One morning Paul woke me up a little early, he was a bit rattled. His second wife Donna Grace called to tell us that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. Apparently she didn't know too much about it because Paul didn't have anything more to tell me about it and I pictured it in my minds eye as a private plane. And there was no TV to tune into, I haven't had a TV in my house since, 1991, actually the last broadcasting TV I had was when I lived in New York City.

That morning I had an appointment with my doctors office. Because my obstetrician was so concerned about me having gestational diabetes they were putting me through a series of "stress tests" which boiled down to strapping on a belt contraption and blasting the fetus with some crazy loud blips and seeing if it moved around(no wonder my son is sound sensitive now)...

On my way to the doctor, a half hours drive, I listened to the LA news station I usually tuned into, 1070AM...and was shocked to hear that it had been a commercial passenger plane that had hit the tower. By the time I got into the doctors office they had the TV's on and going full blast. I was in line, checking in when the second plane hit the other tower. The room had a mutual gasp and we all knew it was a planned thing. It was awful seeing all that go down, and I'm just sitting there waiting to be called in and then I'm supposed to take a stress test?

I listened to the rest of the events unfold on the car radio on my way home and I made a decision. I was pretty upset, who wasn't. I decided to not take in the news for the rest of the month. No hunting for pictures on the computer, no tv at friends homes..only enough radio to know whether the cataclysm's were coming west. I didn't want Alexander's last few weeks in the womb to be filled with stress hormones. I still think I made the right decision.

It's ten years later. All the pictures I didn't see, the famous photos I missed I'm allowing myself to see now. And Alexander went with friends to a 911 memorial in San Diego today. On the way home he asked his friends mother, " Who flew the planes into the buildings" She said, " The people that planned the attacks" He said, "You mean they planned it and did it knowing they too would die?" "Yep, she said, noticing how incredulous he was looking." Alexander: "But how could someone plan their own death?" ...

Alexander was born October 16, 2001, six pounds seven ounces, and despite the doctors fear of a large rotund baby brought on by gestational diabetes, I had one of the slimmer babies born that day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sorting through multiple decks of playing cards on Paul's bed. Now he has a full deck.

Lately It's been hard to collect my thoughts and put them into a reasonable form. They've been running like wild ponies to the four directions. But I will make an attempt to type a few words today...

I've thought a lot about Paul lately, and the kind of life he lives at the nursing home. The bad food for one. I try to bring him a bagel and lox once a week.

He isn't fairing so well these days. I got a call from his doctor on Sunday (that's right Sunday...) and he wanted to talk to me about Paul's deteriorating mental health. He recommended anti-depressants (who wouldn't be unhappy living in a sterile Medi-caid run nursing home..?) I explained to his doc that we'd been through 5 or 6 different antidepressants several years ago and they all only managed to make him sleep more (up to 15 hours a day) and then get crazy when he tried to cut back (like when he bit his 2 year old son's arm). The doc agreed that might not be the way to go.

He suggested a visit to a psychiatrist. But you actually need to be able to converse, even minimally, with a psychiatrist in order for him to see what your needs are and then administer medicine based on what you've revealed about yourself. Paul rarely talks anymore. He'll answers a few questions in one word answers. The doctor pretty much agreed.

And then Paul's doctor told me, short of the antidepressants or psychiatrist, Paul could use more family visits. "Can some other family or friends come visit him more often". I told him it was all pretty much me, with the exception of an occasional visit from a family member that lives far away. He'd had a few regular visitors over the past 2 years but Paul didn't want to get out of bed for them.

That's when I realized that Paul's well being was based on whether I was visiting him (and his 9 year old son Alexander). He might live or die (you see he's not wanting to get out of bed anymore) based on whether this person, ie me, is able to see him more often.

So it poses the question...does one life go on hold for another?

In the past two years, since my husband was entered into a skilled nursing facility, I've slowly come out of a time I can call, care-givers burnout. When Paul lived at home, our son and I couldn't venture out, it had become too hard to take Paul anywhere. I payed for a sitter to stay with Paul while I was at work or went out to a movie. It was a very expensive time and we lived on a short leash.

Since then I've discovered I love to run. I run about 3 miles 4 or 5 times a week. It's a blast! I can go on short trips to other cities to visit friends or play some shows now. I can take our son to the movies or do something wild and go star gazing with an astronomy club. I can join up with a running club and meet new friends. It's like becoming a young adult again for the first time, where you don't have to ask your parents and borrow their car. Alexander and I can do stuff.

So I might have sounded like a right ol' asshole to Paul's doctor but I told him, "What I'm doing is the best I can do, visiting him once or twice a week. And it all falls on me, so this is what it looks like. It's just a sad situation. But let's make the best of it. "

And anyways, I won't go back to that place of living half a life. And i definitely don't believe Paul would want me to. Paul was always on the side of living wasn't he....

Let the wild ponies run free.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Two Songs From Club Passim

Our pal Bob Colby, from the colliding worlds of science fiction and rock and roll, recorded some of our show at Passim's in Cambridge, MA last month....

These are two of my new songs: Thanks Again and The Adventurist with my pal Renata Bratt on cello and Paula Luber on glockenspiel.

The show was the first in a series we did on the east coast, driving around in a Ford Impala (I didn't know they still made the Impala), during the great heat wave of July 2011. After Boston we hit the DC area, Philly (108 F) then NYC (105) , playing double bills with our pals from SF, Blame Sally. Except for Rob, it was an all woman show, which was great 'cuz we could get dressed back stage w/out a worry.

As is often the case, I forgot to bring CDs to sell, but that was okay because we were playing songs from Garage Orchestra which is out of print and then about 6 of the new songs which are yet to be in print. So somehow it all evened out. (Plus, I kept forgetting to pick up my end of night cash but the Sally girls had me covered me on that...'what you're supposed to make money? I thought I was on a vacation in Tahiti')...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Paul and the Boys

Paul playing Scrabble with his son Alexander and his grandson Kent, young Seth is directly behind Paul

Paul's oldest son Kenta, who has been visiting this week with his family says this: "Alexander, Kent and I played Scrabble with my dad on Friday. We only made it through 2 rounds (due to the boys' impatience) but my dad did come up with reasonable words (anti and glue) and added up all his points."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some More of Paul Williams and his son

Alexander and his dad, Paul Williams at home playing catch...we sometimes do this at Paul's nursing home here in Encinitas, where he's resided since June of 09. He doesn't seem to know he doesn't live with us anymore, which is a sort of blessing, as he has no distress about his situation

Paul gets interested in something written on the ball, like the manufacturer's info, this is the extent of his reading nowadays.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alexander and His Dad Playing Ball

You can get a little sense of how Paul is doing from these little vid's...he's at his strongest and happiest here...alas, most of the time, these days, he sleeps his time away...

What is so interesting here is that Paul can barely walk down the hall without teetering over, in fact some friends that visit him regularly suggested he use a wheel chair now...but here is throwing a ball around with good says a lot about what part of the brain is being used for certain functions.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

American Cinematography

Here's a song I wrote this week....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shows on the East Coast Starting 7/19...

I'll be playing a few shows out on the east coast next are the dates:

Starting next Tuesday 7/19 Passim's in Cambridge, MA,

7/20 Jammin' Java in Vienna VA,

7/21 World Cafe in Philly,

7/22 Canal Room NYC...

Here's a little bit of me in New York last month...this was our sound check er, first song... (thanks again to Lach and Steve Varaja for saving the day and jumping on the sound board with spontaneous enthusiasm...

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This photo was taken in 2002 for an LA Weekly cover story on Paul Williams and fellow iconic rock journalist, Richard Meltzer (who wrote for CRAWDADDY! Magazine in the late 60s).

Half the story revolved around Meltzer's writing and the other half of the story was the writer's take on Paul's philosophy of music writing....that of being a subjective listener. Which is something like this: a music fan which reports the news from his/her own planet of experience, way of moving sound through density of flesh, and then the thoughts that emerge about those sounds, having hurdled down halls/neurotransmitter highways....

I love this idea of Paul's. But, of course, it's not only Paul's idea for the claiming. Paul's old friend Philip K Dick asked the question 'what is real?' in many different ways in his books.

Schrodinger's Cat, brings a similar question in the language of Quantum Physics. "Theorists who accept the pure version of Quantum Mechanics say that the cat exists in some indeterminate state (ie, alone in a box), neither dead nor alive, until an observer looks in the box to see how things are getting on. Nothing is real, unless it is observed." (John Gribbin, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat)

If it's all subjective, then It comes down to the question: what is real? Paul's take was sort of a... 'who cares, if i like it, it defines me in some way .'

Williams James said, "Religion, therefore, as I now ask you arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine."

In the course of Paul's conversation with Alec Hanley Bemis, the LA Weekly writer noted: "Williams likens his approach to music to Henry David Thoreau's 19th-century nature writings or The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James' 1902 take on faith. "My concept was never to rate music in some kind of critical context," Paul explains as we walk along the beach. "Instead, I ask: Why is this so powerful? In what ways is it affecting us? What is the experience?" "

"There is a very famous old line: I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like," he adds. "The greatness of art ultimately has to do with subjectivity. Anything else is, to a large extent, an illusion that there are right answers to the question. Traditionally that's the French Academy approach to literature, the high school approach to literature. The correct answer is: 'Victor Hugo is the greatest French writer, because that is what the academy has agreed.'"

Paul said: "To really care about the quality and originality of many aspects of your life in this way is human nature," Williams tells me in parting. "Sometimes this is a very attractive and ennobling part of human nature. You're saying, 'This is who I am.'"

* * *

And on that note I must sign off with some sad news: CRAWDADDY! The Magazine of Rock is once again being pulled out of circulation. As some of you may know, CRAWDADDY! was bought by the owner of Wolfgang's Vault about 5 years ago. His intention was to start the iconic rock magazine back up as an online only zine only. It lived in this manner at for almost 3 years, with an ambitious and talented staff that understood Paul's vision of rock writing. Now it will be folded into Paste Magazine, which is a new acquisition of the Wolfgang's Vault owner, and taken off line (except for some archived bits).

CRAWDADDY has seen its share of comings and goings, endings and beginnings. I send out my condolences to you editors and writers that have worked so diligently at CRAWDADDY these past few years. Thanks for the good work and keeping Paul's vision relevant. I know he has appreciated it....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CLB: New York's

"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.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alexander: portrait of the young writer

Here's a bit of Alexander's current fiction writing. I think you'll find it interesting in that it's about a relationship with a dad and a nine year old boy. A pretty antagonistic relationship in fact. And one that revolves around the dad not allowing any music in the house, especially rock. Ha. What's so fascinating, as most of you know, is that Alexander's real dad not only loved rock and roll, he was so crazy about it he started the first US rock magazine, Crawdaddy!, when he was 17 years old.

At any rate it's fascinating, and entertaining seeing what comes out of that young, nine year old, Alexander mind. Last year he wrote a very impressive science fiction short story from the perspective of a man-hero. With this story I can see he is now moving rapidly toward the "tween" years. Embodying his youth, a place where parents, even made up ones, become antagonistic. (photo: ABW asking questions of a Lego panel at Comicon 2010)

Chapter 1… Alexander Berryhill-Williams

“Will you stop all that noise up there?”

Hi, I’m Jack Barry. I am 9 years old. I like to play the drums. That’s what I am doing right now. And it is 8:30am.

“Sorry Dad,” I yell downstairs.

You see, my dad is not a big fan of rock. He never goes to rock concerts. He even put a filter on my computer so I can’t watch rock videos. Luckily, I know how to undo it. But I can’t watch them when dad’s around.

“I wish it was already 10:00,” I murmur to myself. Ten o’clock AM is when my dad goes to work. Then mom watches me.

I go down stairs. Dad is having his morning coffee and is reading the paper. The music section is in the trash. I take it out.

“Oh no,” says dad, his coffee cup empty. “Not on my watch.”

I put it back and head for the cupboard. Darn. We’re out of cereal. I make myself some oatmeal. My dad goes upstairs to get ready for work. By the time he’s done it is 9AM, T-minus 1 hour to dad leaving. I go upstairs and use the computer for half an hour. Thirty minutes countdown.

I decide to go outside. I run around the yard a couple of times and then check the time. About 9:45. I go in the kitchen. No Dad. I take the music section out of the trash.

“Did I not say no?”says Dad, entering the room. “I think I said no.”

“Sorry.” I say.

“Well, I’m off to work. See you tonight. And don’t even think of reading that. Clear?”

I nod. As soon as he is out the door, I rush upstairs. I get out my legos and start building.

It is now 12:00. I just finished the foot pedal. I go downstairs to eat a PBJ for lunch. I then go back upstairs to practice drums. I practice “The Final Countdown”, “No”, and “Dynamite”. Then I watch a movie. After that I read a bit of City of Ember. Now I am outside practicing basketball. I hear a knock on the door. Dad’s home!