Introducing the new work blog!

If you’re curious, pop on over to my new work blog and check it out. Not much doing there so far — considering I just put it up today — but there should be good stuff coming up soon. I’ll be migrating all of my work-related content over there in the coming days/weeks/months. I think it’ll be a lot better for me to separate work and personal stuff.

Lemme know what you think.

"Monster Fashion" video

Jarret Keene asked me to make some videos for the spoken-word pieces on his album Monster Fashion. This is the first one, the title track. The clips are made up of bits of things from the Prelinger archives and YouTube (mostly the former). It’s not exactly David Fincher, I know, but it’s cute.

A word of advice…

…if you are ever invited to do paying work for the City of Las Vegas, DON’T DO IT. I still haven’t been able to get paid for my performance at November’s First Friday. I think I will categorically refuse to do business with them ever again.

David Byrne Journal: 12.18.08: No More News

Interesting post about the dearth of serious journalism by David Byrne. (I love David Byrne.)

We tend to get all holier-than-thou when we look at countries without free press. We think their lives must somehow be more pathetic or sad. Needless to say, this attitude makes us feel better. But people go on. They know, or at least suspect, that they are being denied something, but they maintain hope and optimism. They don’t go around moping. They get on with their lives, and sometimes, at least now and then, feel like maybe the censorship doesn’t matter all that much. There are still reasons to be cheerful. We might like to think of life in an oppressive regime as sheer misery, but from what I can tell, it’s rarely viewed that way. Life goes on and people make do with what they have, and they fall in love and get drunk and sing and dance. It takes a lot — a whole lot — to bring them to the flash point, like what just happened in Greece. Mostly, people adapt to the way things are — and to feel miserable about it is fruitless. And that’s what we will do when there are only two serious newspapers left in the USA.

via David Byrne Journal: 12.18.08: No More News.

Sigh.

Went for a long walk, looking for my friend Gary to find out exactly what happened to Barb. Couldn’t find him. Decided not to walk all the way to Starbucks, got a Diet Dr. Pepper from the 7-11 instead and came back home.

Man, oh man. Barbara and I weren’t incredibly close, but I considered her my friend and I think she considered me the same. I always liked her very much. She was adorable and, conversely, possessed of a wonderfully foul mouth and a wicked sense of humor. She was someone I was always happy to see and hang out with, when I ran into her.

We emailed and spoke a couple of times while she was in New York acting. I hadn’t seen her, I don’t think, since she came back to Vegas, but I’d been hoping I’d run into her somewhere. I got an email invite from her the other day to some professional network like LinkedIn, but I hadn’t responded to it.

I can’t imagine Barbara dead. I can’t imagine Barbara killing herself. (I seem to have an unplaced memory of seeing her crying once, though I can’t remember where or why, but she never struck me as a particularly depressive person.) Worst of all, the last time she’d come up in conversation was when Alex told me, a few weeks ago, that she’d just gotten married in October.

Man, oh, man. That’s the second one of my friends to commit suicide this year. As somebody whose thoughts turn that way sometimes, I’m always surprised when someone actually does it — other people seem so much stronger than I am. But I guess I’m still here, which I guess means I’ve got something keeping me going. I just wish I knew what that was, so I could share it with people like Barb.

I’ll miss you, girl. I’m so sorry.

Jesus hell.

Oh, man. I just found out my old friend Barbara Rollins committed suicide.

I’m off the computer for the night. I’m gonna walk to all night Starbucks and get coffee. Don’t ask me any details; I don’t know anything other than that.

God damnit.

New track – "Redwood City Station"

I’m currently building a mini-site for Red State Soundsystem, as my old band site is on an expired web account (not mine, long story)…but for now, here’s something new: a total reworking of my older song “Redwood City Station”. It sounds to me like a cross between TV On The Radio, M.I.A. and David Sylvian, and features backup vocals by Miss Rosalie Miletich. (She doesn’t actually sing like this normally; I’ve processed the hell out of her vocals). This version is much more bangy and noisy.

Red State Soundsystem, “Redwood City Station”  [mp3]

I’ll be uploading the stems soon, if anybody wants to do a remix.

Sam Cooke @ Daily Mojo

I’ve written an appreciation of Sam Cooke, with some MP3s, over on the Daily Mojo. Please do check it out, as I think it’s a good piece. And if you don’t know Sam Cooke, check it out immediately. You’ll thank me.

If you’ve ever heard Sam Cooke’s voice, in songs like “Cupid”, “Twistin’ The Night Away” and “Bring It On Home To Me”, you’ll know it for the rest of your life; there is literally no other voice like it on Earth, never has been, and probably never will be. His voice was clear, strong, earthier, simpler and less operatic than that of other R&B singers like Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson…but when Sam Cooke sang a song it stayed sung. Even though his songs were, by modern standards, pretty simplistic, he understood what the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca called duende, the melancholy at the heart of all real beauty, and all the best Sam Cooke songs have a grace note of sadness in the middle of what is otherwise joyous rhythm and blues. “So Mister / Mister DJ / Keep those records playin’ / ‘Cause I’m-a havin’ such a good time / Dancin’ with my baby” he sings in “Having A Party”, and it’s the way he sings the word “deejay” that kills you, a minor key change that contains all the ambiguity and hope that must have gone with being a teenage or college kid in the early years of the 1960s.