Fete

The new album has gone through a whole bunch of different titles, from the first working title Rumba Pa Ti, which was a reminder to myself that I wanted to create an upbeat album, to Hu, which I’ll write about separately, to Indigo, and now Fete. This last one seems to stick for several reasons. When Jon heard the first track of the album he sent me a message that said “this song is a party”.

In Köln, in the mid-seventies, we always used the word Fete for party, pronounced with two syllables instead of one… Fete or Fête, comes from the French language. A lot of French words are used in Köln. Portemonnaie means wallet, or Pottmonné in Kölsch, the local dialect. The dialect word Trottewar comes from the French Trottoir, or sidewalk.

Although Indigo was my favorite album title for a while, because the song of that name started a new development for me, it became clear that Fete was the right name for the album.

Because the music is upbeat – joyful is the word several people who listened to new songs used – I wanted a strong color for the cover. I really haven’t used color in ages and for a long time my albums tended to use neutral or earthy tones. I opened Lightroom and searched the 16,000 images I have collected there for the word red. I played around with a few of the images – this is a photo I took when we performed at a theater in Ecuador a few years back – and this one stood out for me. I imported the image to an iPad and played with it. I like the hand lettering which gives the cover the feel of a personal postcard.
Fete
Fete is in the final stages and I hope to have the album finished by the end of July. The ListeningLounge is very old and rickety and I have been convinced to replace it by joining Bandcamp. That means that the LL will go away within the next few months, to be replaced by a Bandcamp page on this website. The album will first be released on Bandcamp in multiple downloadable formats – this should happen sometime in August. Next we will have CDs for sale at our concerts, although I don’t have a target window for that yet. I imagine I will also start selling the CD via mail order. The rest of the usual digital distribution, including streaming services, will have to wait a while.

Fete will be the first album, catalog number 001, for my new label HuHeartDrive.

Weird…

It seems that I am allergic to Apple plastic. To be more specific, my ears get infected from Apple earbuds. And that’s too bad because I find that Apple EarPods, AirPods, and the new PowerbeatsPro have really decent microphones, certainly much better than any other headset I have tried.

I first discovered my affliction in 2017 and in the fall of that year I had to go to different doctors several times before I was able to figure it out. It got so bad, at one point, that it was super painful to wear my IEMs during soundcheck and concert.

That I spend quite a while on the phone each day may have something to do with it, but it’s certainly strange that my ears are only affected by Apple products. It has to be the plastic, I figure. It also has nothing to do with Bluetooth, because the wired EarPods make a mess of my ears as well, and a Bluetooth headset by a different brand does not bother me.

I hoped the rubber tips of the new Powerbeats Pro would mean that my ears would like them. I wore them for a couple of hours the first day I had them… and they affected my ears badly. It must be that the plastic touches my outer ear… it’s the plastic, damn it. Has to be. I gave away the Powerbeats Pro and the new owner LOVES them. Of course, because they sound pretty good, Bluetooth works flawlessly, and the mic is great!

I wear my IEMs on tour around 2-3 hours per day but they must be made from a different kind of plastic because I have never had a problem. I also often wear Shure 535s for hours without a problem.

I have, so far, only found one other person that is affected by Apple earbuds, and couldn’t find anything relevant on the internet. (sigh)

Now : Time

The following is a post from September 2009, slightly edited:

Time has changed, or should I say our perception of time and especially our use of time has evolved. A long time ago we used to say “I’ll see you in Spring,” then we might have said “I’ll see you at the beginning of the third moon,” which became “I’ll wait for you during the second week of the seventh month,” until we arrived here: “I’ll meet you at 6:15, and don’t be late – I’ll only wait 10 minutes.”

The grid has narrowed, from a year to a nanosecond, and the hatch-marks are so close now that we can barely distinguish them. if your watch slows just a little bit you miss your appointment – unless you are a doctor: they are ALWAYS late for your appointment.

Is time an eternal and infinite and mysterious NOW or is it this finely hatched grid we have superimposed?

Of course it is both. The present moment versus measured time is also poetry versus data, which is also beauty versus information, or being versus having…

The moment, that now is poetry. The grid we superimpose is data. And isn’t that we seem to do to everything? Aren’t we choking all beauty with our grids, our data? Music and books have lost their magical beauty and have been reduced to data files and streams. Is it a teeter-totter that swings back and forth? Now towards poetry, now towards data? After these decades of reduction, will decades of expansion follow?

And that thought brings me to this: what do we need to change, what can we change?

Perhaps we can sometimes choose walking and biking over driving, like choosing to vacation in an area we can discover on foot or bicycle, as opposed to doing ten cities in two weeks. Perhaps we can discover ways to counteract the tightening noose of time that we are ourselves superimposing on our world. If we can insert a little space into our time, little balloons of NOW, those spaces will act like airbags in cars that save us from a collision… they will create little bubbles within the tightening net of measured time.

In the Middle of the Night

A few weeks ago I was awoken by a sharp knock. It was the middle of the night, perhaps around three, and I jumped out of bed. Being one of those people who naturally flip that switch from asleep to awake very quickly I immediately moved to the bedroom door and listened. Silence. I opened the door and nothing stirred. I opened the front door and there was only darkness and silence outside.

I thought about the sound I had heard and noticed that something was wrong with it. It hadn’t sounded woodsey enough and the reverb accompanying the sound was also wrong… What was going on? It must have been a dream.

First I went to bed and back to sleep then, in the morning, after all of my brain came alive with a cup of coffee, I realized something.

Our brain can’t record sounds or sights, or smells for that matter. It can file the experience for future reference and categorize the type of sound, for example a knock against a wooden door as opposed to a hollow metal door. Then when we hear that sound again, we can compare notes and realize it was a wooden door we heard.

When we dream we are so involved in the emotional aspect of the dream that the details don’t matter much. The brain creates an *impression* of a knock on a wooden door. And it is good enough because it got me going, didn’t it. But I am musician and the impression didn’t last long in my waking state.

I don’t remember many dreams, in fact I hardly ever remember one, and perhaps that’s why they seem very real when they do spill into the waking state for me. Note to self, try to make it sound a little more realistic next time.

Snow

A snowflake is like a thought, crystalized. That thought-snowflake is complex, but tender and fragile. Any amount of wind will change its path, its direction. Just like a new thought, which floats into my consciousness and looks to connect with something.

A warm object, like my stretched out hand, will dissolve the snowflake. If the crystal lands on my tongue, it’s gone. If it lands on that dog’s back, it’s gone. But many snowflakes together make an avalanche. Many snowflakes become a white-out. Snowflakes are nature’s painters, because they paint the landscape and change it completely. They are meditation teachers, because they say stop what you are doing and find warm shelter where you can watch our dance, perhaps while drinking a hot cup of tea.

In 1988 I lived in a tiny house, on Santa Fe’s East side, that was built as a studio for a Japanese landscape painter in the Seventies. It was a lovely, small one room building with a pitched roof that had a tiny bathroom and a small loft where I put the futon that was my bed. The painter hailed from the north of Japan and apparently never felt cold, because the house only had terribly inefficient electric baseboard heat, no windows to the south to gather warmth, and huge windows to the north, which only seemed to make the house more cold. During my first winter in this house I had to ask the landlord to put a wood burning stove into the room. He was a kind man and within a few weeks he had a small stove installed. In the evenings I would let the fire die before climbing the ladder to my loft bed. In the mornings I huddled in front of the stove, shivering, to build a fire to get warm. Within a few weeks I became quite good at starting a fire quickly.

On my birthday in 1992 I moved into a house I bought, and where I would be able to build a studio. Two friends helped me move and it took only three small pick up truck loads to move all of my belongings…. But there was something about that little one room house that I still remember fondly.

Boston… another memory

My loft was on Thayer Street. In the early Eighties it was a pretty rough street, now it looks very nice.

I remember playing at the Rat – which was what everyone called “The Rathskeller” – with Roger Greenawalt‘s “Dead Lennons” one night. It was more performance art than a musical show. Roger would call up musicians a day or two before a Dead Lennons gig and would often ask them to play an instrument they didn’t usually perform with. I played drums. Easiest gig ever. I walked in and asked the drummer of the band that was scheduled to play after us whether I could use his drums. He was probably relieved that he could leave his drums up all night and said yes. I think I might have brought drum sticks.

Roger knew every single lyric for every single Beatles song. He would call out the first tune and we would play whatever we wanted. Roger would somehow manage to sing the Beatles’ song to the ensuing music. Then he would take requests from the audience. I never saw him stumped by a request. He would simply count off the tune and get going. Did I mention that another rule of the Dead Lennons was to never ever rehearse? Usually the mix of musicians he called had never even played together!

I shall always remember the night that a drunk guy yelled at us between songs, demanding that we stop playing those damned covers and start doing something ORIGINAL. I laughed so hard.