Change

October 6th, 2008

Greetings and Salutations,

When Sam Cooke sings “a change is gonna come” it just resonates with me. I hear Sam now and then over on XM’s Soul Street. When change comes, there’s never enough preparation I can do to be truly ready. I don’t know how to act or respond. I just lost a dear friend of mine whom I’ve known for 21 years. It reminded me of the time when I lost my father. I get numb and I want to do something to keep my mind off of it.

I had a sudden awareness earlier today. When death occurs, it’s the living that is shocked with suffering. I truly believe that when someone crosses over, they are no longer in suffering but at peace. They are in a different dimension but can see us. It’s like I see you, but you can’t see me…….gotcha! I will miss my friend. He’s probably off smoking Cuban cigars and eating greasy food. Good for him. Meanwhile, us folks over at the ranch get to shake our empty pockets, shell out lots of money for expensive groceries and try to hold on to our now 10K funds from being eaten up.

I’m about to record again for the first time in years and I’m frightened to death of it and excited at the time. I’ve spent time away preparing myself in a much needed way, but again I’m not prepared for the emotion of saying goodbye to one chapter and starting a new one.

I’ve been writing and revising new songs over the years. I want to get things just right, the perfectionist that I am. I even question if I am doing the right thing and then I then I hear that ‘tiny voice in my head’ that fast forwards 10 or even 20 years from now saying, I wonder what it would have been like if I had recorded again. I don’t want to be in that position to wonder what I should-have-would-have-could-have done. The time is now. That ‘tiny voice in my head’ says now is the time and will continue to hear it.

In Good Health

July 26th, 2008

Greetings and Salutations,

I went to get checked out the other morning for my annual breast exam. I couldn’t procrastinate any longer by my records and I’m pretty vigilant about these things. Besides, I’ve heard the horror stories and dare not take a chance. I scheduled my appointment for 8am in the morning so I could be first in and first out. My FIFO strategy seemed to work. I was out of there in an hour including in-take.

I was really dreading going this time. It’s usually fairly routine for me but the facility where I usually go closed or was merged into another nearby facility. The gist of it all is that the new place was undergoing re-construction and the whole place was a construction zone. It’s a wonder that they were allowed to remain open. I must say that I was concerned, but I really didn’t want to go elsewhere. The same doctors from the old place had moved over into the new place and it’s important to keep the same set up, if at all possible, for consistency sake.

I arrived at the place with doubt on my mind. I walked into the facility and there was no one is sight. The room was dark and yet I could here voices in the back. I pulled out my cell phone and called the facility while on the premises. The nurse came out to get me and walked me around this construction maze. I said to myself. Self, you must be mad for doing this in this space, but still I persisted.

Finally, I arrived in a well lit reception area with other patients. Drats, I wasn’t first but I got called in right away. The bathroom experience was dreadful but they were quick to remedy the situation. Needless to say, I didn’t do any tipping. And off in the distance I heard a raspy voice of a woman who called me in to get squeezed.

I followed this woman into the examining room and she gave me instructions. The sound of Regis blared on a dusty old radio in the corner of the room. I asked, what is that noise. She looks at me and kept fiddling with the machines. It was a whole 5 minutes before she introduced herself to me, but that was cool.

She went about about her work with the utmost confidence and ease. In order to make myself comfortable, I decided to strike up a conversation and introduced myself. She apologized and told me her name was Doris. I learned that Doris was in her 60s and had been fiddling with mammaries for 40 years. My comfort level went from nervousness to extreme calm. Fear not because Doris was in charge and she handled those controls as if she were a captain of a ship. Aye Captain.

I felt safe with Doris because she knew what she was doing. She made me feel comfortable. I was in and out of there in a flash. Holy compression! It’s all about compression……so sayeth the journal article on the wall. Compression has been her life, but I managed to get her to smile even if she seemed at the surface somewhat grumpy. Doris was cool in my book.

I smiled and said, you’re the best. And I sped off in my car with a thought of coming back next year. Can you believe that? Construction be damned. As long as Doris is there, I’ll be back next year and the year after. Now I get to go play poker in Boca Raton in August in association with a live auction for cancer prevention. More on that story later.

Grace Jones – Corporate Cannibal

July 10th, 2008

Greetings, Corporate Cannibal is awesome. Grace is back and in black and white too. This is going down as new classical Grace in my book. Grace is delivering ambient, avant garde, funk with rock subtexts and rhythms to die for. Corporate Comrades, don’t turn the other cheek! Put some Grace in your face.

Stage Fright

July 7th, 2008

Stage Fright or ‘Fright Night’ as it sometimes feels like is something that I deal with constantly. It’s this little private war that goes on in my brain. The little grey cells deceive me. It’s similar to the nervousness that I get when flying in a plane but that’s whole separate conversation. It’s the fear of failure and/or high expectations. Somehow I manage to pull it all together, naked feelings and all.

When I’m on stage there are funny feelings in my stomach and I feel like one of those drones from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. It lasts for about 10 seconds than it goes away. During those 10 seconds all hell breaks loose in my head. Am I going to forget the lyrics? Am I going to stumble and fall over my own feet? Will I stutter? What if they don’t like me? Will I be able to open my mouth? And it lasts for just 10 seconds. I wrote a song about it. It’s called Dark Caverns.

But alas, I take my brain out of the deep freeze and do the job that I was called to do at that critical moment. I stand tall…… okay not so tall, and deliver. When I am in my element, which is when I am singing I am totally connected because I am doing what I truly enjoy the most. La Voz (the voice) takes over and the spirit of the moment is seized.

Those 10 seconds of fear are inevitable and so my goal is always how can I be totally prepared so I don’t have it to think or worry about my performance. For me that usually translates into practice, practice, practice. I can practice like a demon on steroids. No, I don’t do or condone the use of steroids but I do believe in drinking locally roasted coffee and it has to be the very best. Perhaps its part of the problem but I support my local Roasteria.

The other aspect of Stage Fright is wondering who is going to bother to come out and see me any way. It’s a Catch 22 situation. Besides, with the price of gas inching up to $5 a gallon, it’s a wonder we can all afford to go anywhere let alone to a concert. In fact, there is correlation between increased gas prices and my Stage Fright.

You see, it goes like this. If Congress had better reigns over the U.S. oil barons, speculators and better solutions to long term sustainable and cleaner energy, we would be less co-dependent upon non U.S. resources.

Taking it a step further, if our government provided incentives for businesses to build an infrastructure for a green economy, legislation that spawned new manufacturing here in the U.S, permanent tax incentives for consumers who go green, it would create new jobs and ‘fuel’ the economy. People would have new job opportunities and our dependency on oil would be reduced U.S. auto manufacturers would have fewer lay offs. We would shift significantly to cleaner energy sources that were safe for the environment. Al Gore could then go play golf on the green.

Finally, people would have more disposable income and perhaps more leisure time and could afford to come see me perform. The awareness of a potential increase in audience attendance would ease my fears, thus reducing my sense of Stage Fright. So if I procrastinate, know that it is done in absolute protest or our staggering economy…..yeah!

You see, it all makes cents now. Don’t you think?

Jersey City Pride

August 28th, 2006

Saturday, August 26th marked my return to the stage for the first time in two years and it was a wonderful experience. I made an appearance at Jersey City Pride and. It couldn’t have gone any better. Working with the crew at JCLGO was great. Their stage crew and volunteers run a first rate operation. I was very impressed by their level of professionalism and hospitality.Performing really does something for me spiritually and I must never let it go that long again. That was then and this is now. Since I sang at the beginning of the show, they asked me to sing the national anthem. That followed with “Whatever It Takes” and “Too Good for You” to complete the set. I was really feeling it and the sound was just awesome. The weather was good to us despite the overcast clouds. I was a bit cold because we were right off the Hudson River on Exchange Place.

Just before going on stage, I had the chance to meet the wonderful Karen Davis. We discovered that we both had the Black Rock Coalition in common. We spent the time reminiscing over who we both knew in common in the early 90s. Karen Davis is a remarkable rocker, singer/songwriter/guitarist. She’s got a great voice, plays a mean guitar and killer boots. Go check her out sometime at http://www.sonicbids.com/karendavis or http://www.ezfolk.com/