Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Super 8 From 1988

This is Super 8 footage Debbie "Fluffy" Spinelli shot of our tour, my first, in 1988...(with the exception of the shots of us on stage and of Fluffy in the van-those were filmed by my then manager, Bruce Solar). 

Most of the locations are Boston or New York City. My archivist, the wonderful Alan Bershaw, took the footage and matched it with the song Yippee! from the 1989 album. He said "The timing on the footage and the song were almost exact, so an accidental almost perfect fit." 

The song comes from my second Rhino album, Naked Movie Star, recorded in mid-town Manhattan and produced by Lenny Kaye. Btw, Fluffy is playing drums on the track.

The shots in the van are me (w the hat), Waygone Rex Wilson (making faces) and Bruce Solar. My friend Rick Saxton was driving but you don't seem him much. The big stage was a club in Boston called The Channel. The goofy-step dancing is downstairs at the Pyramid Club, while their dance music rumbled the floors above us. 

A point of fact: the first show I played in NYC was at the Pyramid on Avenue A...$200 for 15 minutes and introduced by the great transvestite gogo-girl Happy Face. Iggy Pop was in the audience. My first paid gig (I knew there was a reason to leave San Diego) and what a blast.

photo by Ed McKeon 1988 @ The Iron Horse
(our opening act was Shawn Colvin)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Meaning of Lights

Two lights way up on the sheer face of a hill, in the dark. One light up higher the other one lingering beneath, waiting to be joined by the slow moving upper light. Over the course of an hour we watched, from a fundraising party w all it's lights and soft nostalgic rock, and there at the side of our consciousness these two climbers found there way back to one another in the dark Mission Trails Park. 

By the time we left they were still half way up the hill but nearer to one another. Two lights helping one another down the rock face of life. That's companionship. 

I've had some time now to think about partners, lovers, companions since not being immersed in one. At first it's like. WTF! And then things settle down and you remember it was you there all along. Nothin' really that different. Two lights are a nice thing when they help each other on the rocky stuff, but it's not worth it if it causes the rocky stuff. 

*      *      *  

What does a writer do that doesn't write, or a lover that doesn't love?

"Satellite's gone
up to the skies
thing like that drive me
out of my mind"

"I watched it for a little while
I like to watch things on TV" 

Satellite of Love, Lou Reed

Maybe that's what's goin' on here...watching tv. 

Before I made my first Rhino album I was living in San Diego and the recording engineer at the studio I sorta managed, made a cassette of some Velvet Underground songs. It was amazing of course. Life altering, the kind that makes you feel like 'how did I live without this before?'. I read whatever I could about the Velvets and the Warhol scene. The year before my friend David Ruderman gave me the Sheldon book on Dylan, and now the Velvets brought a different perspective on NY scene. I had to figure out a way to get out of San Diego.

Right after that I got some money from my tax returns, $700, it seemed like alot of money. I bought a $400 Greyhound Bus pass that allowed me to go around the U.S. wherever a Greyhound would go. The day I bought my ticket a lady behind the counter gave me her old Greyhound busline tome that showed me every line in the country. It was amazing I could anywhere. And I could do it for the length of the pass which was one month. 

After a week and a half of the rest of the country, I ended up in Port Authority, New York City. First time, for this Los Angelino. Already, the smells, the bums, the different ethnicities of humans, the buildings, I was utterly in love. 

Within a month I met most of the musicians that became the foundation of what we called Anti-folk. Lach, Kirk Kelly, Roger Manning, Billy Syndrome, and a handful of other musical losers we were. Playing at the newer, not even the old one, Folk City, and some place around the corner and these places didn't like us. Mostly because we had the nerve to laugh at their outmoded concepts of acoustic music. We wanted to be the Lou Reed, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie or whatever of our day. We wanted to make our own downtown New York scene. So we did it....weirdos that we were...Tryin' to remake the cool New York thing that we'd heard in the grooves and seen in black and white photos. 

There's a film that my friend and drummer Debbie Fluffy Spinelli made of us touring around the east coast around a few years later. I just got a copy of it recently (in fact hoping someone can help me find a way to get it copyable and get up here). At any rate, it's us nodding to our roots, that New York 60s thing. And I thank you Lou and others for that great great inspiration you gave us. 

*      *      *

When you cry, let it be fierce, let it bring down the empire of clouds

I don't know why I haven't been into writing lately. It's been a strange time. I'm sorta putting one foot in front of the other doing things the seemingly right way. Working when I need to work, resting when i need to rest. Seeing friends and doing taxes. It's not the least bit fun. But it's okay. I don't have a husband in a nursing home anymore. I don't Have to be here in Encinitas. But my prime directive has shifted to some place I can't pin down anymore. 

I don't mind getting down the mountain by myself in the dark so much. I'd been afraid how that might feel. I mean, I was with Paul for over 20 years. But I always did stuff on my own anyways and with varieties of friends. That's the musicians way. There's just something, rather comforting I suppose, in thinking that there is another light there that is waiting for you to take your next step down, closer to ground and the way out of the park.

*      *      *

We stood with a park ranger watching the two lights descending the mountain. "Has anyone ever gotten stuck way up there all night?" 
"Sure have" he said, "helicopters came in the whole thing. But nothing 'til morning. Pretty wild out there, so those folks will have to make it on their own."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Saturday Oct 19th, 2013...LitQuake Presents A Tribute to Rock Writer Paul Williams

@ Aquarius Records
1055 Valencia St. San Francisco
Hosted by Denise Sullivan
Rudy Rucker
Ron Colone
James Greene Jr
Cindy Lee Berryhill
and a special offering by
Trina Robbins

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Amnesty International Fundraiser Tonight

Tonight is the annual Amnesty Int Fundraiser at the Ould Sod on Adams Ave. San Diego
Show starts at 4pm, but I'll go on around 5:15 and play for 45 minutes. 
Cool event, always fun. 

Some of tonights proceeds will (the poster-maker didn't get this quite right) go to making a 
plaque honoring Paul S. Williams and his support of The International Bill of Human Rights (Paul
published it in book form with an intro by President Jimmy Carter). 
The plaque will go under a tree which will be planted in a San Diego park along Adams Ave. 
Very cool thing for the local chapter of Amnesty to do!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thank You Friends...

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

Richard Robison, Thomas Spath, Richie Strell, 
Michael Brown, Bart Mann,  
Franz Fischer, Clay Berryhill, David Trautman
Daniel Whitworth, Mark Pringle, Rich Coparanis, 
Michael Lanning, Christopher Hartford, Ed Cole, 
James Gillespie, Robert Lloyd, Karl Schmidtz, 
Stephen Stiles, JoEllen Adelman, Gary Stewart, 
Eric Bosse, Helen Kearney, John Beaver, 
Hal Hinderliter, Simon Rowland, Laura Kurner, 
Jamshid Faryar, Philip Locke, Martha Lawrence, 
James Chadwick, David Feldman, 
David Williams, Sandra Perea, Scott Edwards, 
Timothy Daily, Monica Pasqual, Rob Metcalfe, Daren Wang
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,
Jennifer Hanson, David Lakin, Anne Kuller, 
Kenneth Simon, Elaine Lafferty, Tahd R Frentzel, 
Barbara Sadak, Gene Brown

(photo David Schwartz)
Our trusty mixing engineer Shawn Everett hard at work on one of the new songs this week!

We still have a ways to go to reach our goal. 
Please help us finish these songs by contributing to the PayPal on the right....