Friday, October 1, 2010

Paper Girl in a Digital World

Even though I swore to myself, and publicly, on this blog that I'd post once a month, I just can't seem to do it. Even though there's been all kinds of news to relate, like writing new songs, recording, playing with some new wonderful musicians (of late we're working with Kevin Hayes who played with Robert Cray for 20 years, and bassist Tim Eschliman who is playing with Commander Cody), I can't seem to get off my duff to blog about it. Maybe it's because Paper Doll Girl over here doesn't even seem to have a duff, or even a pelvis for that matter. Well, I guess that elimates the pesky problem of doll genitalia, or bloomers in this case. It looks like a strange immaculate conception; she is giving birth to herself and to her emotionless twin with no birth canal. Mystifying, her alternate blank face, presumably the back of her head. Well, if it's on paper, the back is already blank, so it would seem that this would be the face Doll Girl uses when she really wants to mask her emotion. Much easier cutting out this shape than tiny dark glasses, I suppose.
Bottom line, I think I've finally o.d.'ed on self-promotion, marketing and social networking. It seems everyone has a blog, and a Myspace and a website and at least one Facebook page, and a Sonicbids EPK and a Reverbnation site, and on and on ad nauseum. With all our "tips for musicians" and ruthless promotional tactics, it seems the only money being made in the music biz is by the folks providing these tips and how-to services. Just the artists are left screaming, whispering, or sincerely imploring, "Look at me, look at me, look at me."
Ambition is just a mask of the ego's sense of inferiority. I'm done, cooked, stick a fork in me. I'm making music for its own sake. Just give me a pair of scissors and let me run with it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Best Music You’ll Ever Make

As a result of a personal growth seminar he is participating in, Philbillie is producing an event called "Twang for Tots," a benefit for a children's music in the schools. It all started with our dear friend and fiddler Marisa Martinez who teaches at one of the most financially impoverished schools in San Francisco. We kept hearing horror stories about funding cuts and teachers spending out of their own pockets for the most basic supplies like pencils and the books. All these years, Marisa has been quietly buying art supplies for her class and teaching them to sing and draw. Phil and I went there once or twice to sing for these little munchkins. Once was Halloween. They loved it, they all sang with us and we watched the parade in the playground. But there were some sad and troubled kids in that classroom to be sure.

It has been a long-standing dream of Marisa’s to create a children’s CD, and so she has finally done it with "ABC and Chickens," with our good buddies, Eric McFadden, Paolo Baldi and others. Philbillie produced and engineered it. Marisa did the artwork, sang on it, played on it, wrote all the songs except a couple. I was pleased that she covered an unreleased song of mine, “Schroedinger’s Cat,” whose subject matter I thought was pretty advanced for the kidlets, but Marisa assured me that the meowing cat on the track would work just fine for them. So bleary-eyed Phil went down to the school bright and early to record the kids singing on several of the tracks. As a treat Marisa bought a pizza. Some of these kids don't know where their next meal is coming from.

Phil and I have regularly played shows for Bread and Roses, an organization that provides music for people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. They are dedicated to promoting wellness through the healing power of music. We’ve played rehab centers, cheered up abused moms and kids in shelters over Christmas, played for mentally disabled adults who could barely talk, but sure could sway to the music. We always have an indescribable feeling when we do these shows. A light feeling in the soul. It’s why we do it. The best music you’ll ever make is for the ones who need it the most.

Twang for Tots Benefit for Friday, June 4th, 7 PM

Restoration Workshop

630 Treat Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94110-2016

415 671-5219

Friday, February 19, 2010

Broken Record

Scarier and scarier, cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); I wonder how we will ever make enough money for treacle and new shoes, now that we must give away all our beautiful music for free. No one wants records, or tapes or even CDs now. How will we ever manage? Poor dear little songs! What will we do with them? How will they ever find ears to appreciate them? And she began to cry. But slowly a plan began to take shape in Alice's mind. Why, we'll sell them outright to television shows and adverts and films...yes, we'll take them to market and sell them outright. No matter! she said bravely. And so she tucked her precious songs into a lovely basket with bright blue ribbons and started off for the covered market. But much to Alice's chagrin, as she approached the market, she saw a long line down the lane, full of other people carrying baskets with even brighter ribbons, even shinier songs. Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, to gaze on the endless line meandering like a great snake; but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again. And then she began to blog...