Wednesday, July 27, 2005

To the Bridge?

I don't mean the "B" section of a tune. I mean "The Bridge" in the Sonny Rollins sense, the woodshed. Time to stop my musical activities and undertake a serious re-appraisal, and re-vamping of my playing.

Gigs of late have been far too up-or-down. Either really good or really bad. Plus, it's been feeling harder and harder to pull things together. Life keeps throwing up obstacles.

There will be a few moments when I think my playing is getting somewhere near where I want it to go. Other times I can't believe how much I suck. Just nothing of value coming out of the guitar.

Also, it's been getting less fun of late. The stuff surrounding playing, I mean. Most of my gigs - no wait - ALL of my gigs of late were either for no money or a loss (gas, tolls, paying the other guys). And the one project that seemed to be going somewhere is quickly turning into a hassle.

And I'm getting berated furiously to put together my old band, which I really have no interest in doing. "Wasn't it the best band you've ever been in?". "Yes, but it isn't the best band I EVER want to be in". It would be nice to think that there's something better around the corner. I'd choose something different and worse over something the same, anyway. That doesn't seem to register. It feels like getting back with an old girlfreind because you know you'll get laid, but in the end the relationship still sucks. Sure, she may call you up and say she just wants to sleep with you one last time, and then she'll never call you again. Sounds like a good deal, but before you know it you've got your own personal stalker and the orders of protection are flowing like rain. You know it's a bad idea, but the prospect of a breif encounter with something really good makes you forget all the crap that's sure to follow.

I just feel that there is so much musically that I need to get together to really say what I want to say, running from one thing to the next may be counter-productive. The combination of a bad gig, stuff falling through, stuff that should be good turning not-so-good, all combines to make becoming a hermit really attractive. Combine that with the news that Ted Greene passed away, a guy who made a huge impact on the guitar world in possibly the most understated way ever - but someone who could serve as an example of dedication to your ideals, even if it means doing less (recording, preforming) than other people think you should, all these factors are pushing me towards "the bridge".

RPI Ted.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Propoganda? Campaign Flyer? Local News?

About 2 weeks ago I got, in the mail, a lovely brochure detailing the many fine parks on Staten Island. It was quite an impressive piece of work. Larger than 8 1/2 x 11 (probably 9 x 13) on glossy paper with pull-outs. Pictures all over the place. My first thought was "this is nice, makes me want to go to the park RIGHT NOW". My second thought was "hmmm, I wonder who's paying for this?". I mean, it had to cost a pretty penny to produce. The layout and design, the copy, the photography, the printing and the postage – all this had to add up to some serious coin. And on top of it, we got two – since my wife’s last name is different than my last name. Two, to the same household. I wondered if everyone got one. I asked around a little, but some folks hadn’t gotten anything.

The pamphlet was "Presented by Borough President James P. Molinaro". Right there on the front page. Well, it is the beginning of the summer, and they may just want the residents to know all the opportunities, and take full advantage of everything the Island has to offer. I wanted to call and ask about them, but I put the thought aside.

Then, last week, we got two more of these brochures, this time telling us how the BP has done such a wonderful job creating left turn lanes all over the Island and how he’s fighting overdevelopment (a day late and a dollar short, for sure, to say nothing of the almost crushing irony). This time I had to call. Too many other people were getting these, and they just felt too much like campaign flyers, rather than public service announcements. In fact, a quick perusal showed that the BP’s picture appeared in that one (in total, with both covers, it’s about 12-14 pages) no less than 10 times, and his name at least that many, even discounting captions on the aforementioned pictures. Are my tax dollars funding his re-election campaign?

Well, I called Borough Hall today and spoke with a nice fellow named Harvey. I told him that I wanted to know who these brochures were going out to – were they going to everyone on SI? (Or perhaps just registered voters? Or just Democrats?) I also asked him how they were being paid for. I assume that the office of the Borough President has a budget for promotional materials for the Island. But when those promotional materials tout the glories of a single politician to the point that you want to barf, well then I think we’ve moved away from promotion and into campaigning. I left my name (my real name, so I expect the IRS to be calling soon) and number, and he said he would look into it and get back to me. This was Monday (today, 7/11) at around 1:30 p.m. I’m going to wait till the end of the week, and then try calling again if I don’t get some kind of answer. At that point I may take to writing some letters-to-the-editors. I will post updates as this progresses.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


All thoughts and prayers and wishes are with London today.