Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama

Spelled backwards is a man a plan a canal panama.

A palindrome, of course! And a most timely one, as my relationship with Panama is developing nicely.

And, as I ponder the spiritual nature of aquatic feathered birds, I wonder… Do Geese see God?                 YES!!!, another palindrome!

Way back in the day, when riding my bike cross country, while visiting relatives in Iowa, I was frequently admonished for my vegetarian ways… “You HAVE to eat meat” To which I would reply…”Heck fire, Cousin Orville, exactly how did I get here from California?” In disbelief, he said… well, “Slap a ham on Omaha, Pals”          Yessir, another one.

When Adam first met Eve…   “Madam, I’m Adam”

Got one you’d like to share?             Erah sot ekil duo yen otog?

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How Do You Define Success?

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Three Hundred Miles From Somewhere, Guess I’ll Take My Time

North, South, East, or West…

That is the question.  West… now there’s a watery ride ahead!  Hawaii how I love thee… Spent a fine month there a while back. Thing there, is you’re pretty much always turning right, or always turning left.  haha!

North, and the winds sure blow cold way up there. So much to do, people to see, places to play.  But Seattle, I lived many years in, is kind of an 8 / 4 town.  8 months of bad weather, for 4 months of good.  Maybe I’ll go out to Alberta… and sing Neil Young tunes.

East… now, this ain’t Toto, Kansas. If yer gonna go east, ya better be ready for a long trip. New York? Boston? Nothing like an east coast dose of reality.  Better stock up on street smarts at Costco.

South… San Fran… L.A…. Cabo San Lucas???  Ahh, the choices, each with it’s own merits.

Only the shadow knows at this time.

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A Dead Billionaire, Or A Living Musician???

A long time ago, I played with a guitarist buddy, Jullian, for a garden party, at a mansion under construction, on Lake Washington, in Seattle. A sunny, beautiful day, and all the gliteratti were there. I walked through the house, during a break, and, though just the framing was in place, the fireplaces were all built. Many of them. Some that you could walk into without ducking.   And the six car garage…, or three cars, three boats, or two cars, one boat, seven Harleys, however you choose.  I spoke with the owner, very cool and friendly, and, because I had not counted, inquired as to how many fireplaces were in this little abode. To which he replied, “Well, my wife likes fireplaces, so we have fourteen of them”. Next question… “So, how many square feet is this when all is done?”  “Well, my wife likes to decorate, so we have 36,000 square feet” Last question… “Might I inquire as to how many people are going to be living here?”  “Oh, just me and my wife”.  Rumor had it that the CEO of a rather large, well, the biggest on earth, software company, was waiting until this castle was near complete, before he committed to his future floorplan. This was to insure that his home would be the biggest on Lake Washington, or just about anywhere, for that matter. Now, aside from the main house, there was a boathouse, built extending over the lake with pilings. This home was bigger than most, and was primarily an office, complete with saltwater aquarium, and a stuffed polar bear.

Then there was the ship. A one hundred & ten foot ship. Gold & teak, shiny and glistening in the sunshine of a spectacular Seattle day. Of course, it had it’s own dock, a little marina.  Then his daughter, pulling up in a turbo charged red Porsche carerra, with the top down, off to see a show with bf in tow.

Well, as the story goes, I made my $100, champagne and salmon, and a fine experience. Years later, I was very sad to hear that this fine gentleman had died when his Lear Jet crashed.  Though I still dream of a traveling life, I am also humbled, to be alive, and to have such great people to work with.   I thank the family of this person, for having me at their party, and wish you all the best in your lives.

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The Oregon Country Fair

Near Eugene, Oregon…

The longest running fair of it’s type, I believe since the summer of ’69. What began as a benefit for a local school, has blossomed into a glorious festival every July, where you may mingle with around 50,000 of your closest friends.  Held on over 300 acres, it is a wonderland of merriment and fantasy. Alice would indeed be very happy there. For pictures, lots of them, and more info on this miracle gathering on planet earth, check out their web site.

With more than a dozen stages, featuring all kinds of fantastic entertainment, there is a solar powered stage at a place called Energy Park. There, you can bake potatoes in a convection oven, take a solar heated shower ( heated by solar, and compost! ), and, if your timing was very good some years ago, you could enjoy the solar powered waterfall & pond that I created.  “Little Niagra”… flowed real good on the sunny days.

So, the stage at Energy Park, called “Kesey Stage”, after Ken, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Kesey, is completely solar powered. One time, Ken was backing up to unload some gear, and was starting to run over some flowers. Boy did he get a yellin at from Nancy, the coordinator. “I don’t care who you are… get the hell off our flowers!”    So, massage music on cloudy days, and rock & roll when the sun is shining!!! Actually, they do pretty good most of the time.  For most of my eighteen or so years there, I helped run this stage. Running the sound board, getting the musicians dialed in, their mikes adjusted, their confidence boosted, their “Carnegie Hall” in the country, ready to let them shine.  While I was most happy to do this work, and had a glorious camp just behind the stage, something was not completely right with the picture. Basically, that I was supporting other musicians, which was always an honor and a delight, but that I wanted to be playing as well. The fair, OCF, is pretty much the half way point between Seattle & Humboldt.  5 to 6 hours north or south.  All my years in these two places, I have yet to play with musicians who were passionate about going to the OCF.    Since most musicians don’t get paid money to play there, and to some, “exposure” is how you get hyper-thermia, they just didn’t want to make the long trek, to camp out and play for a bunch of shiny happy people, in the woods of central Oregon.

Every year I did play, and often at 4 am along the pathway, or at the Ritz Sauna, with shiny, happy, & naked people, or at someone’s camp, sharing wine, a crackling fire, and the sweetest songs you ever heard;   with guitars, bongos, singing, my flute, and sometimes a didjeridoo, harmonica, or maybe even an Apalachian harp. No finer music have I ever heard, than what I experienced at the OCF, and I saw Bob Marley!

So, the deal is that I dream of playing at OCF, with a dream band. Hopefully next year, OCF 2011.  Never too soon to put out what you are thinking of. Visualize the path you want to follow, and head on down the trail. To all at the Oregon Country Fair, I love you, and though I have missed a few years, I shall return.  Together we shall be again.

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By George, I Think I Have Found The Lever

Ahh yes, here it is… hiding just behind this little smoke screen.

I always knew it was out there somewhere. That great lever in the sky, that can send my songs flying.  This cosmic lever I think comes down to three names… Chris, Jill, & Michael. The power trio from heaven. Not playing instruments, at this time, but actualizing the mechanisms of the industry, to engage me and launch the rocket, that has been on my drawing board for years.  There’s more than one way to peel a banana, I say. Lights, camera, action… campers.  This show is getting ready to hit the highway.  The world is in for some flute tootin good enough to make Grandma Klampett want to dance the tango.

So, strap yer selves in, and get ready to roll. This band is getting ready for the really big shoe.

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How Much Is That Steinway In The Window?

In Seattle, back in the day, during one phase I spent a lot of time at a Kinko’s, in an office building lobby, working on a really cool portfolio for my band. The manager was so impressed with my efforts, that he said that all the resources of “his” Kinko’s were free to me from then on, without limit. I sure hope world headquarters doesn’t read this!   The Canon color laser copier, a big deal at the time, was mine to toy with. I’d use it until it screwed up, then the manager would page the repair guy on the double. The staff would politely inquire at to when I might have a break, so that they might possibly be able to assist a paying customer with their color copy needs. So generous was I, that I would even show them how to use it, without charge, for my tutorial services. That is, just so long as they didn’t require a lot of time on “My” machine.

While I was doing this project, a lady approached me and said that she worked for an advertising agency up on the 43rd floor, and did I perhaps want a job?  Very flattering, but it was fluting, not selling, that was my motivating factor. Upon completion, one of these portfolios ( this was pre web site days ) got into the hands of a lead executive with CBS Records. He was very impressed, telling me that this was the most impressive portfolio that he had ever seen produced by an independent musician. No record deal ensued, but it was a very positive affirmation. I did get a nice “Thanks, but no thanks” letter from Windham Hill. So excited I was, to come home to a message from them, only to find that they had moved their office, and were telling me that there would be a delay in them getting back to me as they got settled in their new space. Best wishes, but no deal. I didn’t really want to be a part of the whole “New Age” juggernaut, anyhow. Though the money would have been nice.   Forty seven point three blue moons later, “Shadows” emerges from the shadows.

While I was working on this project, I kept wondering about the Steinway grand in the lobby. Never did anyone play it. One day, I went up to the management office for the building, and inquired as to wazup wit da Steinway? Twenty minutes later, I walked out with a check for $1,500, as a down payment for coordinating a Christmas music program during the lunch hour. I would hire other musicians, pianists, and otherwise, to play. They would each get 4.3 minutes of fame, or there abouts, as the building’s occupants made their way from the garage to their office… music to switch elevators by.

Since my role was both as a coordinator, and a player, I could play, or not… just so that someone was there. Well, the first week, I scheduled entertainment, and, promptly, well, most expeditiously, if not with the greatest of speed & downright quick footedness, made my way to the airport for a week of skiing at Mt. Bachelor, near Bend, Oregon. A spectacular week of perfect conditions. I called the office during a lunch break at the lodge, while sipping a beer. They said the music in the lobby was so nice, that they were all late getting back to the office. Jealous they were at my skiing adventure, but appreciating the good tunes all the same.  This was to be my only ever paid vacation as a musician.

Encouraged by my coordinating prowess, I repeated this feat several more times in neighboring buildings. Kind of a “You must be good, if you work for them” sort of thing. In one building, they wanted a piano, a good one, for their lobby. I hooked them up with the only available Steinway in the region.  The piano folks said that use of the piano was free, and the charges were for delivery & tuning, and picking it up after they were done with it.

Musicians don’t Need to be poor!

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My Other Car Is A Rolls

Speaking in metaphors…

My CD “Shadows” is the by product of a canceled recording session. Recently, I had $10,000 budgeted for a session with local musicians, all the tunes chosen, arrangements done, studio booked. We canceled it at the last minute, mostly due to the reality that I didn’t have an adequate promotional platform. The musicians were hired hands to record a CD. There was no talk of it being an ongoing band.  Under those circumstances, it probably wouldn’t have sold very well.

So, out of that change of plans, “Shadows” came about from pre-existing recordings. Several from another life time, 2 from a recent video shoot, a teaser from another CD, a little gem from a coffee shop gig, and a mellow tune from an old guitar buddy.

My Rolls-Royce is on the drawing board. With my new 22 K gold Lafin head joint, and my new dream team coming together, I think a new CD will soon be in the works. Great players, a fine studio, fantastic packaging, and a strong post production plan… something really good may happen.

Not that “Shadows” is a Yugo, or anything. It is good for what it is, but I can, & will do better. Speaking of a Rolls, did you ever see John Lennon’s psycadellic Rolls Royce? All flowery, colorful from the 60s masterpiece.  I’ll start with a skateboard.

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Recording Dreams… Part Deux

There goes O.J.’s appeal, and the next, and the next, and the next…

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Researcher Says Recording Dreams Possible

Yessir, I read it on the BBC News today.

Soon, we will all be in jail.

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