Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tesla, Drugs, Rock n' Roll- and Spring.



Tesla
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You have to expect the occasional snafu. Take, for example, our upcoming Monday night show.

It's at the Derby (nice place), being promoted by Bob Leggett (great guy) at 9:30 (perfect time slot). However- Jake can't get off of work.

So we kick it acoustic, with me, Joe and Rem. I'm not paying for rehearsal space for that kind of hootenanny night, so I tell the guys to just come to my house and we'll gather ourselves.

I approached with a certain amount of trepidation-we have nitpicked these songs to get them where I like them, and taking Jakeypoo out of the equation was a Matzo ball I didn't want to chew. However, when Joe & Rem arrived, Joe said "I have some ideas".

Touche. Joe breathes ideas; now it's actually going to be a pretty kickass show; Joe plays acoustic with a level of authority that says "We don't need no stinking drums". And since I've been taking guitar lessons, I don't feel as exposed in this kind of milieu.

Don't misunderstand, though- I don't want to do this often. I like Jake behind me, banging away. (That didn't come out right.)

But it's reassuring to know that we CAN do it.

As we were leaving, the quote of the night occurred.

Somehow the discussion of a certain artist came up and the fact that she has no butt. Rem said he didn't really mind that, being a breast man. Joe said,

" I can take or leave breasts, but the ass...."

Rem replied- "Ha! Bring me the mammaries!"

There's nothing more that I can add to that.


Drugs
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Appropriately enough, as I type this I'm listening to the amazing, the dirty, the badass, Steve Earle.

"..seems like I've always been in prison...like I've always been alone."

Wednesday morning I did an interview with Monty Myer at Take 12 Radio- it's the only all-recovery radio station. Me and the guys are playing this summer's Freedom Festival that celebrates folks who've gotten clean and sober.


As we talked, I thought about all the people in my life who've struggled with substance issues- some outgrew it, some overcame it, some went in and out of jail, some still drift through the days - and some died. The reasons they got there were varied- but usually they were rooted in pain- physical, mental, spiritual. An ache that won't subside, a past that won't be forgotten, a life that isn't what it was supposed to be. And I wonder how in the hell I dodged the bullet.

Maybe it was ma's deep fear of alcohol as I was growing up. Maybe it's my distrust of my own mind that keeps me from putting more confusion in it. Maybe it's hubris.

Regardless, for all those people in my life, I was suddenly intensely glad that we're doing this show. It was a moment when I remembered why I'm making music- to make the world better, if I can.


Rock n' Roll - (fun tidbit)
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I'm getting a new guitar. I have an endorsement with Stagg/EMD music, and they gave me the sassy black acoustic I bang around with now. The new one is a hollow-bodied jazz style electric. I'll be bustin' it out at the Derby April 9th.

Between now and then, my guitar teacher is going to help me to not make an ass of myself with the thing. He says it shouldn't be that much different than playing what I have now, but I want to be on top of my game!


Spring
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( And now, even more appropriately, I have on Jet City Woman)

As I headed out the Wednesday afternoon, I was delighted by the weather- about 79 degrees in the Valley and sunny. I got in the car and put the windows down. Maybe because I spend A LOT of time in the car (I am The Road Warrior- I drive no fewer than 2 hours to and from my kids every day, and thanks to my years in Philly, I can parallel park a stick shift pickup truck in a space the size of an ordinary household sponge) or maybe because I am getting to a certain 'age', but I talk to myself in the car sometimes- that is when I'm not screaming some song out the windows like a banshee. This particular afternoon, I laughed out loud as I drove with one hand and put my other hand under the passenger side seat to pull out an ancient cassette case (YES, I SAID CASSETTE!) and flip it open. The arm of my sunglasses was gripped between my teeth as I grinned and said, "You know what time it is-Shtick it to ya!" I popped the tape in and cranked the volume, as all around me, passing cars heard:

"UP ALL NIGHT! SLEEP ALL DAY!"

So in that spirit, I came home tonight and downloaded some Queensryche, Steve Earle- and Blue Rodeo. The changes in seasons always make me nostalgic.

(iTunes shuffles- "My dark angel, she gave me diamonds for eyes..")

For example- if you've never heard Dark Angel by Blue Rodeo, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's one of the most beautiful songs ever, and it always puts me back...Christmas Eve 1995.

It was Douglassville, PA, around 7:30 p.m., and I was in the parking lot of a tiny country inn where we'd just eaten dinner. I was sitting in an old Mustang looking at my hand and the new diamond ring on it. He turned the ignition to get the heat going and Dark Angel came on. He pulled the car out, and we drove down the dark rural road in silence. As the song played, it began to snow, and I saw my whole life passing through the headlights like the soft, white flakes.

"Sometimes I feel I'm living in someone else's dream.."

My whole life has always been turned on a riff, changed by a bridge, or saved by a lyric. Music is my weakness, my strength,
my soul and my reason. And strange as it may seem, spring and Slaughter always remind me of that:)

I thought today, in my reminiscences, of all the people who've been disappointed by the decisions I've made in loyalty to the music. Childhood friends, family, boyfriends and musicians. It seems I'm always leaving someone behind in pursuit of this intangible thing. First it was to make the music, then it was to make the music BETTER.

When people tell me what one of my songs has meant to them, I know 2 things:
1. That it didn't come from me. To do all that this person has said, it must have come from a much larger, more loving force than me.
2. The responsibility I then have to that. If God is going to entrust this to me, then I better do everything in my power to make it as good as it can be.

And that often entails making unpopular decisions. Decisions that are hard even for me. But I know they are necessary.

Life is fluid- people change, situations change...just like the weather. But for every end, there is rebirth.

It's spring.