When I first met the legendary (Little) Jimmy Scott, I told him how I first saw him singing with Lou Reed on the “Magic and Loss” tour the day the LA Riots began. I told him how I’d only listened to that album once because every time I’d try again, I’d start to cry uncontrollably. I asked him how Lou could sing a song like “Harry’s Circumcision” in such a detached almost comic way. Jimmy looked at me directly in the eye, put his hand on my knee and said, “He doesn’t feel those things like us.”
Thank goodness for that. Whatever it was that Lou had, and it definitely made him sound like a jerk sometimes, it led him unflinchingly to a truth. One of my favorite Elvis Costello lines is, “The truth can’t hurt you, it’s just like the dark. It scares you witless. But in time you’ll see things clear and stark.” It seems Lou had no fear of darkness. And his stark portraits created a huge space for the listener’s empathy.
Howie Klein gave me a compilation that Sire Records was using to promote the upcoming “New York” album that started off with “Dirty Blvd.” then kicked into a retrospective beginning with “Heroin” by the Velvets. I was obsessed with it. I’d had the Velvet Underground Andy Warhol record and knew it was supposed to be great, but I never got it until I heard it all in context. Lou was the anti-baby-boomer. He took all the confusion of that generation and handled it introspectively. But he also kept in touch with the streets and the music that could transcend, if not on this plane, but further out. When I think of Lou I hear (one of his heroes) Dion sing, “Fly, fly, fly away” at the end of “Dirty Boulevard.” It’s one of the grittiest descriptions of New York imaginable, but the hope is still there in both music and lyric. Lou showed us the grit, but in that sober portrait, the transcendent always seemed possible.
Fly in peace.
Looking forward to a nice fall evening in Glendale with friends, guests and surprises.
We arrived in Paris on September 1, just a few days after the church bells rang out across the world to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. (more…)
Out by the pool in Johnson City, TN
Guitar geeks at BWI.
It’s been four years since I walked into that launch party and marveled at Harvey Leach’s beautiful guitars…then realized they could fold in half! Since then I’ve taken my VAOM-06 all over the US and Europe. It’s become my main guitar not just out of convenience, but because I love the way it feels and sounds. Inspired by my pal, Kenny Burrell, I put flat wound strings on it. It mellows the tone to where the Brazilian style stuff I like to play feels nice and yet it cuts through when finger picking or strumming. The intonation is spot on, too. Thanks to the team at Voyage-Air Guitar for bringing me into the fold.
Just stepped out to take out the trash this evening and could feel autumn in the air. I know those of you who come from places other than Los Angeles may be giggling at this. But it’s true. Even the subtlest of changes can inspire the feeling of heart soaring possibility.
So this is where I start. My site is new. It feels fresher, cleaner. I get so much of my inspiration in the shower, I don’t know why exactly but since I upgraded to a ShowerHeadly shower set up, I can feel even more songs coming to me.
As a song changes from performance to performance, there may be changes, different riffs we’ll explore before the next site comes along (probably sooner than the four years it’s taken for this wholesale redesign to come about). But this is the foundation from which I hope to reach you for the next piece of time. Hopefully things will make you laugh, smile, breath and maybe get you off the web and into action occasionally (perhaps that includes coming to a show – Angelenos, there is one October 26 in Glendale at Left Coast). I’m hoping it will inspire me to interact more regularly with you in a place away from Facebook (though I’ll stay active there). And I’m hoping to bring more music and other musings to fire our senses. Life is good!
Hi! It’s been a crazy few months, but here we are in October and I’m just back from 18 days out with Disappear Fear and we’re playing tonight at Genghis Cohen. It’s been really inspiring to get out and see how a master folkie like SONiA works. I’ve been playing bass, and will tonight, but I missed the guitar too much to be more than a half time bassist. So, please come out to see this great band, hear some great tunes and giggle at me with that Fender P-Bass in my hand at my old haunt. Hope to see you all soon!
Featuring “Magic Trumps Reason,” “Noonday Sun” (with Nailah), and “When My Lover Calls.”
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Featuring “Stack of 45s,” “Mystery & Wonder,” “Come By Here,” and “Perfect Little Mess.”
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Featuring “Good Day in L.A.” & “I See Everything”
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Featuring “Democracy at the Point of a Gun” and “Sand, No Ocean.”
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