Sunday, June 30, 2013

Something To Smile About

Thank you roll-call to those of you who have (so far) contributed to my new recordings:

Philip Locke, Martha Lawrence, 
James Chadwick, David Feldman, 
David Williams, Sandra Perea, Scott Edwards, 
Timothy Daily, Monica Pasqual, Rob Metcalfe, Verb, 
Stephen Greenberg, Keith Shiraki, Kane Churko,
David Hartwell, Lizabeth Clark, Frank Soares, Franco di Totto, Eric Cocks, Rex Wilson, Eric Predoehl, Charles Samples, Steve Hochman, Douglas Farage, Brett Milano, Lucy Huntzinger, Robbie Tucker, Gary Schulstad, Gary Stewart, Robert Henkel, Rafter Roberts, Bob Colby, Todd Everett, James Cribb, Steve Holtebeck, Saint Cloud Computer, Simone Van Dam, Susan Hahm, Linda Smith, Richard Robinson, Richard Strell, Michael Brown, Jennifer Hanson, David Lakin, Anne Kuller, Kenneth Simon, Elaine Lafferty, Tahd R Frentzel, 
Barbara Sadak, Gene Brown

Yeah, I have something to smile about, more names on the list and things are looking up. Thank you friends....

Photo by Dennis Andersen June 7, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Obscure Music Theme Park

Awoke from a dream very suddenly with my heartbeat at 200 beats per minute. It's a jolt and a shock but it's happened before, it's called supra ventricular tachycardia. I got out the bag of ice and dumped it into a large bowl, filled it with water and plunged my face into it. Holding my breath and counting to 50. Heart rate still up, I come up for air and do the plunge again. This time the heart rate skitters a beat and returns to a normal, if slightly high pace. I throw on some shorts and step outside into the damp, cool beach air. Only a few stars peeking through the marine layer. It's June. 

In the dream I was at a theme park with Paul. We have been looking back at obscure songs that are acknowledged in colorful displays here. A few Disney type songs, some Japanese girl singers, some 60's girl-group singers. We wander through the park with it's colorful and melodic dioramas. 

By the end of the dream Paul and I are hunting through shipping materials, stationary, and office equipment at  some kind of big box stationary warehouse. We are crawling through the stacks of stuff, over and under shelves. One of us says "remember the old days when we used to have to climb up to the top of these shelves to get the stuff we wanted?"

Then Paul was talking about the music we'd just experienced at the Obscure Music Theme Park and the artists we'd taken in and watched and positively interacted with, and then Paul said about himself "I'm very good at that".

I might not have been exact in my understanding, I wasn't sure just what he meant, but I agreed. And he was very very good at a number of things, but particularly; being supportive of artistry whether that artists work has been acknowledged by other pundits or not. 

Paul was usually one of the first responders on the scene of a new musical visionaries work. He was a fabulous Sir Lancelot to an artists King Arthur. 

Years ago I asked him what he thought about a local artist that we knew, that had gone national and he said "You have to wait and see the body of work to know whether they are an artist or not".

The dream ended with me hanging out with the "healthy, Paul-pre brain injury" again, climbing around the great big shelves of the stationary store, while he threw, sometimes handed carefully items he needed for the office.

Paul's remains live in a box now, not unlike the boxes of books he'd tape up and send out daily, usually first thing in the morning. The screech of the packing tape pulling from the dispenser, applied to cardboard, a little extra over the name and address of the recipient. 

When the cremation company had me come by to fill out various papers regarding Paul's death they had me look over their racks of urns. About two dozen urns. At the bottom of the shelf was a taped up box. I asked if Paul's ashes could go in there. The lady said "that's the box the remains come in darlin'"and I said "that will do then, that's what Paul would want". 

That box lives on a bookshelf now, that oversees the whole of the living room. The box has Picasso's Girl Before Her Mirror and a Krazy Kat comic and a few playing cards pasted on it. Stuff Paul liked. And his glasses, the last pair, are atop the box so he can survey the room and all the stuff we are doing-watching me scribble this down in a book at 3:20am. 

I think my heart has sincerely settled back into it's slower more regular rhythm now, and I can go back to sleep. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Howlin' Wolf and Paul Williams

Photo by David Gahr
That's Paul Williams on the right, diggin' the sounds of Howlin Wolf, with Grace Slick on his right. At the Newport Folk Festival 1966. Though he looks kind of like a sound engineer (cupping his hand to his ear) he was just a fan that got to get up really close to the action.  CRAWDADDY The Magazine of Rock would have been out and in circulation, it's first issue coming out through Paul's dorm at Swarthmore in February of 1966. This photo was July of 1966 and Paul was handing out CRAWDADDY's like candies, everywhere he went, meeting Jac Holzman and getting him interested in placing ads in the magazine.

Below, may be the same performance of Wolf, with Paul dancing at 0:11-0:14

"If You Hear Me Howlin'" 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Generations of Williams- 2001

Paul holding one month old Alexander, must be November 2001. Paul's father Robert Williams came to visit us after the arrival of the new baby. Robert an Emeritus Professor of physics at the University of Washington and also a contributor to the physics work at Cern in Geneva, visited us several times over the years and stayed at our favorite beach motel a block from our house. 

Here little Alexander seems to be sussing out the situation from the two wise men. Years, earlier, in 1995 when Paul was in the hospital for the brain injury Robert came to visit and I spent many a dinner with him talking and questioning him about his time working under Oppenheimer during the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. I'd read the Richard Feynman books, loved them, and got a real kick out of these first hand stories of Roberts. 

One of the real 'take-aways' from that extraordinary time with Paul's father was how sad he seemed to be, or maybe a better word is 'lost' on how to be a father, especially in a crisis time. My job ended up being of a reassuring nature, helping him see how Paul was improving (and he was). Robert was quite unnerved by his sons injury, and I suppose fragility. Paul seemed to have a kind of invulnerable quality to his personality, an incautious, reckless intellectualism that made him seem sorta unbreakable. 

At any rate, here in these photos, 6 years after the brain injury, father and son are in a jovial mood and taking pictures with baby and a sunset over Moonlight beach. This was a time of so much promise; we had been separated and now back together, a beautiful baby boy, and Paul was looking deeply into himself finding new ways to create balance in his emotional life, and we were very active in the Buddhist community around Thich Nhat Hahn's Deer Park. A lovely, though mommy-tired time. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Yep It's My Birthday Week

Alexander and multi-instrumentalist George Doering in David Schwartz' recording studio. 

This is where I will be recording 2 of the new songs on July 12/13/14 thanks to the help of the Patrons that have donated to the cause. In return you will each receive a copy of the recorded songs and out-takes. 

What I'd  like to do is raise at least $1500 before the first session to help cover some basic costs. To the right is a donate button that takes you to PayPal and the cash goes into an account I've set up just for these sessions. 

For now, I'm by-passing the Kickstarter type templates, which often take 10% off the top and then you have to pay out another, maybe 14% in taxes, because those companies have it structured like a business. 

I'm using the Paul Williams method here...On his Dylan books Paul asked for Patrons to buy the book upfront and he would send them the book signed, a few years later after it was written and bound. Sometimes folks would give him a little money extra and sometimes a lot but it would all come together and he was able to afford to write the book for a year and pay the rent.

Thank you to everyone so far that has contributed. I look forward to sharing our summer sessions with you... 

Some of the musicians playing on the tracks include 
David Schwartz, Randy Hoffman, Nelson Bragg, Renata Bratt, Paula Luber, Keli Ross-Mau', and more ....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Vision Carriers and The Sonic Society of the Stars

To Making of CLB's New Album

There are times when all things seems to be what they really are, and you can live with a sense of security in knowing that what you know is probably shared by somebody else out there. And then there are other times when what you see is not what you get, and the photographs are blurred and the suffering seems to be one thing one instant and quite another a minute later. And those times you wonder what is real. 

Those are the times when poetry, art, music become a real tangible thing. I had a conversation with a friend today,  Frank Lee Drennen, a musician, and he said "take carpentry, you can show someone what you've built out of wood and tiles and they can see it say, "Oh I need that". but it's something else when it's music. " 

When do we need music? When the carpentry fails. When Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel have cut the correct lines in the foundation and all things are squared off and right, but something is still wrong.  That's when we need a Steam Shovel of the soul. 

When I can open up my mind a crack and let the heavens fall in, I can hear music. Not the DJ that plays reruns of stuff I heard yesterday, but the music of  Dante's Angels. A sonic society of the stars. All I have to do is keep the mind open a tiny crack and something might leak through. And it's blurry and hazy and nebulous until it falls on the right instrument, a vibraphone, a voice, a cello. And then it becomes a thing, something almost tangible. 

Next month I will begin the process of making the new songs whole, fully realized arrangements. You've heard some of them straight out of the oven here on the blog, as I've written them (and posted them with little movies). It's been a good forum and now those songs get to grow up and become recordings.  

Twenty years ago, when I met Paul he was a very keen supporter of my musical vision of that time, the music that was  to become Garage Orchestra. He took me round to meet all kind of musicians-saints and angelic-helpers; Paul Rothchild (Doors), David Anderle (Brian Wilson's Smile), Van Dyke Parks....I called him my Vision Carrier.  Paul also believed that artists need patrons, bards need kings, and techies need venture capitalists. 

You, readers and friends, are my Vision Carriers now. 
I can use your help. I hope you'll help me see this vision through.

In return I will send to you the early unmastered songs and later, the mastered songs, so please be sure to leave me an email address on your Paypal donation

In regards to fundraising websites, which many of you have suggested for this musical project, I may indeed end up over at one of those Kickstarter type templates. For now, I thought I'd try this without the middle man taking a cut and appealing to those of you that I have known. 

(photos by Kirk Kelly at the Treehouse on Ave A and 2nd in NYC, the show was projected on a building across the street)

"A woman of Cindy Lee's capacity as a lyricist is unique.Her insight and raw ability to articulate the human dilemma and articulate it in short order is peerless. Somehow I get the impression she knows her legacy will outlive her."
-Van Dyke Parks