Hey check out our good friend Kristen Kurtis at 92.9 KZZU. You can hear her live on the air Monday through Friday from 3 to 7pm up in Spokane, WA. She’s awesome and you can also listen online, so no excuses.
So we’re back at Thud after a fun weekend. Thursday and Friday were vocal days that went from bad to good. After straining my voice on Thursday, I almost canceled the next session out of anxiety, but thanks to everyone’s encouragement and Jim’s direction I delivered performances I’m happy with so far. We haven’t heard the final comps yet, but for all intents and purposes, the leads are done which is a huge fucking relief.
…which naturally led to an exhausting weekend of awesome. After finishing the vocals, Mateo, Shane and I hit up the Viper Room to check out our friend Dave’s band, One High-Five. They played a zany set with balloons and hula hoops which you should definitely check out sometime.
Saturday we threw a big going away bash for Mateo at Ba-Bar. Needless to say, we didn’t get out much on Sunday. Teo will be hitting the road tomorrow so we’re finishing up percussion today. The only thing left now is laying background vocals, doubles and some drum programming. And, of course, the little nooks here and there that need touching up.
We’re pretty confident we’ll be done with production by the end of the week. After that, the tracks will head over to Austin to be mixed & mastered by Thom Flowers. If everything goes according to plan, our first short-run should be available by the third or fourth week of July. iTunes might take a bit longer, but I’ll keep you guys posted.
“Existence itself may be considered an abyss possessed of no meaning. I do not read this as a pessimistic statement but a declaration of autonomy for my imagination & will and their most beautiful act of bestowing meaning upon existence itself.”—Hakim Bey
“Guns versus the greatness of God, armed forces versus mobile phones, batons versus mourning, lies versus cameras, state-run television versus Twitter, bullets versus Facebook, power versus dignity… who wins?”—Mir Hossein Mousavi, today on Facebook.
Hey check out yesterday’s episode of The Floppy Bob Show featuring Jade Catta Preta who is a hilarious stand-up comic. She talked us up because we are awesome but also because she’s Shane’s girlfriend. Thanks, Jade!
It has come to my attention that Ed McMahon and Bob Barker are, in fact, not the same person. Apologies. I deleted the line about McMahon hosting “The Price Is Right.” I guess old white guys all look the same to me. Is that racist? I’ve been in the studio too long.
Quick thought… In recent years, McMahon fell and hurt himself severely, and was also diagnosed with bone cancer. His injuries prevented him from working and his medical bills skyrocketed. What’s really striking about this is that if our healthcare system is so bad that even a lifelong celebrity like McMahon can’t stay on his financial legs due to hospital bills, how do the rest of us stand a chance? A majority of the people I graduated with don’t have health insurance, or have lousy coverage that still yields massive bills whenever they actually need medical care. To make matters worse, after a distinguished career in the industry, McMahon resorted to taking a degrading job singing a self-deprecating rap on ads for Freecreditreport.com. The whole premise of the ads was, “Hey, let’s get Ed McMahon to rap about how pathetic he is.” At least McMahon was lucky enough to capitalize on his celebrity. Imagine the millions of elderly and uninsured who don’t have that asset. Reforming our healthcare system is a crucial step toward healing our country’s financial mess. Let’s hope the GOP doesn’t dick us out of our public option yet again. If we voted Obama into office for anything, it was for free healthcare and an end to the war. We’ll give him time to bring the troops home, but the time is now for public healthcare.
Lead guitar has been going well. We had some technical difficulties that led to a slow start yesterday - namely 2 separate trips to the music shop to buy the same set of strings twice. But in spite of the bumpy morning, Shane plowed through two of the songs. We are working on the other two now.
We had to duck out early yesterday to catch Wilco’s amazing set at the Wiltern. They played 26 songs for nearly 3 hours. This was my first time at the Wiltern and it reminded me a lot of the Orpheum in Boston, but much nicer. The crowd was really positive and thrilled to be there because Wilco doesn’t come around too often. Jeff Tweedy was, of course, at his snarky best. Towards the end of the show he got the whole audience clapping, called them stupid for clapping, and then was cheered heartily for his insult. I don’t know many frontmen who can get away with yelling “You’re all stupid!” only to be showered with even more praise. When I saw Cake at the Orpheum, John McCrea went on a ten minute tirade about the importance of water to jeers and boos, making Tweedy’s direct attack all the more impressive.
Also, anyone who says the guitar solo is dead hasn’t seen Wilco. Nels Cline plays with spastic flails and eviscerating fury. Even Tweedy busted out a couple solos that were beautifully erratic and off-kilter.
We should wrap up guitars today and possibly start on keys. Either way, tomorrow will definitely be a day of keys and synthesizers. Jannette is a solid keys player and Jim is going to go nuts with different synths and gadgets to create an atmospheric layer. That’s the stuff that’s really going to make the song jump out of the speakers and really grab your ears. As the end of tracking approaches, I’m getting that sinking feeling of all the hard work that comes afterward. Making the record is easy, using it to pay our bills is an entirely other matter…
After spending nearly all day in the iso booth with huge headphones on, I felt like I’d been on an 8-hour flight. Never thought recording could give you jetlag.
Everything is sounding awesome and the record is really coming together. This part of the process is definitely rewarding, but also painstaking as you push yourself to the very limit of your abilities and beyond. I used Jim’s wonderful Yamaha acoustic which played great, but chugging 16th note chords first thing in the morning takes a toll on your bicep. My arm is still a little sore today. After laying down the acoustic tracks for “High Water,” we realized that the tuning on the 335 Gibson was off so we had to go back and redo it. We ended up going with Jim’s Telecaster through the Bad Cat which gave it the perfect tone. I’m a little disappointed that the Gibson won’t end up on “High Water,” but that should leave room for Shane to do some interesting things with his Rickenbacker 12-string.
After we finished acoustic guitars, we got started on vocals. We used the SM-7 for vocals on “Sand,” but Jim had to do so much EQ’ing that we ended up going with a more traditional vocal mic for “85 Bears.” Although we only finished vocals on “Sand,” we now have the perfect vocal tone dialed in with the right mic & preamp combination. It took some time to find the right fit, but it was worth it.
We are ahead of the game now. We weren’t planning on starting vocals until Thursday so it’s great that we’ve already gotten them done for one song. My guitar work is done so from here on out, all I’ve got left to do is vocals and I might jump on some percussion stuff next Friday. We’ll see. On Monday, it’s Shane’s turn again. He’ll be laying down lead parts which will probably take 2 days. He and I are also going to see Wilco at the Wiltern on Monday which we are stoked about. I’ve never had a chance to see them live and I’ve heard incredible things. With week 1 of recording done with, we are all itching to hear the finished tracks. We are making plans for mixing & mastering and if everything goes off without a hitch, the EP should be available mid-July.
Exhausted after spending 8 hours tracking guitar. I’ll be going back tomorrow to do acoustic and then start on vocals. In other news, the t-shirts I ordered a couple weeks back finally arrived. And so did our XBox that was in the shop getting repaired which means video games until I fall asleep. Commencing now….
So we finished tracking bass today and got to hear the edited drums. They’re still raw but they sound incredible. We used a huge 8x12 Ampeg bass cab with a great head that actually belongs to Jeff Abercrombie - bass player for Fuel. Jeff was kind enough to let us use it and he really helped us out by rescheduling his project so we could use the drum room on Monday.
Shane really nailed the bass parts. We went in there with a pretty strong idea of what the parts were, but Jim really brought it to life and Shane delivered some great performances. Getting the rhythm section perfect has been the most nerve-racking aspect of recording, so I definitely feel like we are over the hump, even though we’re not even halfway done. Despite the fact that we still have to do rhythm & lead guitars, keys, vocals, harmonies, percussion and loops/samples, I’m not as worried about the final outcome anymore. The rest will be a lot of fun as we experiment in search of the perfect guitar tones, select the best keyboard sounds, and finally track vocals. I’m dying to sing into the SM-7 (it arrived at the studio today and we got excited) and to hear the harmonies and loops.
Been getting some great feedback from our newly-posted acoustic tracks. Check em out. We’ll have newer tracks up when this full-band EP is available mid-July so stay tuned.
As we all know by now, opposition forces in Iran are using Twitter to organize peaceful demonstrations, warn protesters of danger, and provide information to the outside world during a media blackout. Yesterday, Twitter announced they would be shutting down for regularly scheduled maintenance which happened to coincide with today’s national strike in Iran. Immediately, the entire Twitter community mobilized to lobby the administrative staff. Thanks to users around the world, the maintenance was postponed so as not to interfere with the demonstrations.
Not only that, but Iranians are also using the online human network to enlist the aid of people around the world, such as hackers infecting the regime’s websites with viruses. People everywhere are setting up proxy servers to offer Iranians a loophole through the regime’s firewall. The sheer potential of resources being tapped here is extraordinary. While the mainstream media is prevented from covering the story, individuals with cell phone cameras are changing the world.
The regime is desperately arming untrained mercenaries with batons and chains to beat the Iranian people into submission. But they will not submit. With the help of strangers worldwide, the protesters will overcome. There is still a huge potential for a wholesale massacre, but at this point, Mousavi and his followers have made clear: they will not give up. With the new release of the protester’s demands, the situation has escalated from simple demonstrations to full on revolution. The people will not rest until the Supreme Leader himself is ousted. Even ceding the election to Mousavi will not end this. The regime has drawn blood and there is no looking back.
But the people of Iran are not alone. The world is with you.
So, we were supposed to start tracking bass today but had a slight change of plans. Mateo and I spent our newfound day off watching TV and nodding off. We’ll be back in the studio at 10am tomorrow to track bass and get started on guitars. Jim is going to take today to finish editing all the drums so we’ll be able to hear them tomorrow. According to Jim, these are the best drum sounds he’s gotten in 5 years, so we’re really fucking eager to hear them. He says the kit sounds incredible which is a testament to Mateo’s skill and Soultone Cymbals.
In related news, Mateo is cooking up some sweet album art for the solo acoustic EP I did with Toby Karlin. The EP is going to be titled “Take Care” and hopefully I’ll be able to announce a release date soon. There will be five all-new tracks on it until our full band EP comes out by the end of the summer.
We are thrilled to have David Sauer play some bass on the tracks tomorrow. He’s a talented musician who fronts his own great band One High Five. They’ve got a new CD coming out soon so check them out.
As soon as the acoustic EP is ready for sale we’re going to start booking for the fall. We should be playing a few shows around LA throughout the summer so check back soon for more info. I’m looking forward to finally hitting the road. We’ve been hiding out underground for the past couple years so it’ll be liberating to come out into the light finally.
Been in the studio over 3 hours now. Just finished getting all the right drum sounds. About to start tracking drums shortly. It’s already lunch time and we are getting kinda hungry, but we haven’t even technically started yet, so yeah. We ordered some excellent Greek food from Daphne’s. I’m a little apprehensive about getting done in time but that’s how these things always go.
There over 14 mics on Mateo’s kit right now. It sounds fucking HUGE. If we get the drum sound right, everything else should lock in. Today is pretty much the most crucial day in terms of setting the stage for the rest of the parts. I’m glad I don’t really have to do anything yet.
Filmmaking and music are very similar in that 90% of the time you’re standing around waiting for something to happen.
So tomorrow is the first day of the White Lights recording session. We’re doing 4 songs with producer Jim Roach (www.jimroachmusic.com) at Thud Studios in North Hollywood. Tonight we set up the kit, hit some stuff, mic’d some stuff, and got set up for an easy start tomorrow morning.
I stopped by my endorser, Soultone Cymbals, this past Friday and grabbed a few new cymbals for this session. Snagged a trashy pair of 15” hats, and a 19” extreme crash which is mostly unlathed except for the top middle. Combined with my 21” Soultone Classic Ride and my 19” Zildjian K Session Custom, the cymbals really sound great. The kit needs some tuning work but for the most part, we’re ready to go. This time around, I’m using a 24 x 16 DW Kick drum, an 8 x 12 DW rack tom, a 14 x 14 Pearl Masters floor tom, and a 6.5 x 14 DW 20 ply snare drum. All maple drums, and they are sounding pretty huge in the studio.
I’ve been in LA for about a year and a half playing with Nabeel and Shane (and most recently, our keys player, Jannette) and it’s really nice to be able to lay some of the 30 or so songs we’ve written down to tape. We’ve done a bunch of sub par recording over the past year and a half, and it’s going to be good to track something that sounds great before I check out of LA for a while.
I tend to fall in love with pretty much all of Nabeel’s songs, and the band is about to release three or four releases in the next year, these 4 songs on an ep, a 5 song acoustic ep, and an electronic and/or live record. i’m just psyched to have something to jam to on my ipod. keep your eyes peeled for White Lights in the future.
“Many like Adam Smith believed that all governments in the world could be reduced to just two - monarchies and republics - and that these were rooted in two basic personalities: monarchists, who loved peace and order, and republicans, who loved liberty and independence.”—Gordon Smith from “The Radicalism of the American Revolution.”
Day 1 went great yesterday. Shane came down to the studio to help fill out some of the scratch tracks. Played Jim’s Tele through a Bad Cat amp that sounded gorgeous. Pretty solid tone for a reference mix.
Packing up Mateo’s drums tonight and taking them over to the studio. We’ll be setting them up and mic’ing everything tonight so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow morning at 9. I actually won’t have much to do for the first half of the week. Drums and bass will probably take us through Wednesday, so I’ll probably track my guitar parts on Thursday & Friday.
I don’t know what guitars I’ll end up using. The intonation on my strat totally shit the bed and I don’t have the time or money for a setup. There’s no shortage of guitars but I’m a little bummed not to use my own.
As we were wrapping up yesterday, Jim mentioned that he’s going to get an SM-7, the only microphone that really captures my voice. Strange that he heard my singing and immediately knew it would sound great through the SM-7, but I guess that just proves he knows what he’s doing. I’m just thrilled to use one of those mics again. If I’m remembering right, I last used one when we recorded “Come & Get It” at LA Sound with our boy Griffin, a fellow musician and producer. The version on MySpace is actually a combination of all the scratch tracks, since we never ended up going back to overdub. Come to think of it, that whole song was recorded live with no punch-ins. We had wanted to go back to do vocals but scheduling conflicts got in the way.
Looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully Obama will come out in support of the protesters and call the election a fraud. Fingers crossed.
Following the Iran election on Twitter. SMS replacing MSM? It’s sad when CNN is beaten by Facebook’s little sister. Step up your game, CNN. Is it any fucking wonder news companies are going bankrupt? While I was reading several liveblogs of the student uprising and watching videos of fires in the streets and kids being beaten, CNN was yammering on about Letterman insulting Palin - as if she hasn’t been the butt of late night talk show jokes since her nomination.
But there’s something different about this election fiasco. While the Gaza offensive in January was simply destructive and brutal, the events in Tehran stir the soul. Students - kids - are standing up for what they believe - for freedom, for democracy - against a ruthless dictatorship. The protesters are using social networking tools to organize against a government that controls the media, the internet, and all forms of communication. The uprising is demonstrating the might of dedicated people to subvert a system that denies them justice. If the students succeed, their triumph will be a message to dictators & despots everywhere: mankind will no longer be controlled. We want freedom, and we have the tools we need to organize and govern ourselves.
Individual access to collective power is growing. Pretty soon, it will change the face of civilization. Humanity is evolving away from the old ways, slowly but surely, step by step. Evil & corruption have always relied on secrecy and the complacency of the masses. But as the eye of the people develops more and more access to the big picture through blogging, social networking and peer-to-peer sharing, the tyrants and imperialists are drawn out into the light of day where they don’t stand a chance. Sharing information, sharing experience, sharing our lives - that is how the revolution will be won, and that is how humanity will avert extinction.
“Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”—
To the protesters in Iran: Democracy is worth the fight. Be strong, be safe, and never give up. We are with you.
Listening to some Marley as I prep for the first day of tracking. We’re only doing scratch tracks today so it should be an easy day, but I’m still antsy to get started. Got up this morning and did some yoga, trimmed my fingernails, had some eggs, I’m ready to go.
I’ve been a bit congested the past week - I don’t think I’m sick exactly because I don’t have the headache or the cold sweats you get with a full on cold. It’s probably just allergies or something. I was doing fine until I strained my voice on Thursday. When I write songs I lose track of the time so I ended up singing the same 8 lines for about 8 hours. By the end of the night, my voice was shot, and my vocal chords were sore all yesterday.
Today feels much better though so I’m not too worried about tracking. The real question, how do I pass the time between now and 2 o’clock?
Spent 8 hours yesterday playing keyboards and sitting in front of my computer trying to record a song. Fairly successful - I got a few verses laid down, but no chorus yet. I want to get outside but it looks like this June Gloom won’t lift. Recording scratch tracks tomorrow so I gotta take it easy today. I haven’t gone hiking in far too long and there’s really no excuse.
The most frustrating aspect of being a musician is the waiting. Everything takes time and there’s no forcing anything. I’ve learned in the last year that putting pressure on people is not nearly as effective as providing incentives. The moment you stress and agonize over the details happening just as you demand is when things will fall to pieces around you.
Why? Because it stopped being fun. While there is nothing wrong with being serious about music, or making money off it, once that becomes the sole focus, you’ve gotten off track. Because the simple fact is, if it’s not fun, it won’t work. Not only is it not worth doing, but it’s also not going to happen the way you’re trying to force it to happen.
But the flip side of that is, of course, that it’s not always fun. How do you balance the need for progress with the necessity of joy? I’ve found that the only real option is adjusting your own attitude. That old saying, “If you love something, let it go,” could not be truer. I’ve often compared being in a band to marrying multiple partners, because the mingling of desires, aspirations and egos is akin to a committed romantic relationship. Just as you can’t force a relationship with someone you’re in love with, so too you can’t force the creative process with your musical partners. As I said the other day, art is a scheduling nightmare: it’s damn near impossible to consistently get 5 people in the same room at the same time on the same creative page. So many hours of waiting and anticipation go into those precious few hours in the space.
This waiting becomes even more prominent when you involve other parties—like producers, bookers, & promoters. For example, we paid for studio time in Sun City nearly a year ago now, but we haven’t actually gone there to record. A combination of factors have continually postponed the sessions—either unpreparedness on our end, dissatisfaction with the songs, or scheduling difficulties with the studio itself.
As it stands now, we start recording at THUD in Studio City on Monday. Actually, my first day of work is on Saturday to lay down scratch guitar & vocals for reference. While it’s great that we’ll now FINALLY be recording after almost a year of waiting, this next week of waiting is almost unbearable. After being patient for 12 months, we are bursting with anticipation.
But another voice in my head is quietly warning me to savor this quiet lull before we dive head first. Because the unfortunate truth is that recording the EP is the fun part, the easy part. The real work comes after, when we need to become more than just artists, but alchemists, turning CD’s and download cards into dollars.
The past few days I’ve had some great conversations about music. Yesterday’s meeting with Jim concluded with a lengthy conversation about the difference between playing precisely and playing with feel. There are a million technically skilled musicians out there, but it takes a certain kind of player to offer a performance that really *feels* right. Music is more than just hitting the right notes at the right moment, it’s about how the note is hit. There is an unnameable quality found in all inspiring performance. All the articulation could be there, the rhythm exact, but without that nameless thing—that soul, that spark—the tune lies there flat.
We shared our frustrations about the myriad players out there whose playing is so precise that it’s devoid of energy. The dynamic quality of a living, breathing person creating a sound that is blemished by the person’s own personality & limitations is significantly more alluring than mechanized precision. There’s truth there, an honesty that evokes humble confidence. Don’t get me wrong, playing to a click is important, and getting the right pitch is essential. And I love electronic music and drum machines. But without that extra something, the music lacks personality. Without that organic touch, the sound remains stale, not ever quite feeling human.
Spending the day hanging out with good friend Corey Schreppel, we discussed all that’s happened in the two years since we last saw each other. Corey’s a highly skilled producer, not to mention an insanely talented drummer. He produced Riot! Riot!’s album “This is an Emergency” back in 2006 and has been one of the main pillars of the band Captain Pablo—a legendary circus rock extravaganza like Tom Waits on a meth binge. Our bands gigged together a bunch back in Boston and swapped a few members (CP band leader Dave Stephens was our original lead guitarist and Toby Karlin played bass for us and horns/djembe for Pablo). Since we graduated, Dave’s had two kids and put out a full-length Captain Pablo record that blows faces off. Toby’s toured nationally with the Remus Lupins. Corey’s produced a whole number of great bands as well as recording more orchestral works for the New England Conservatory. Now that we are all getting settled in our adult lives, it’s exciting to see so many of our peers establishing themselves and doing what they love.
We’ve gone through a tumultuous experience the past few years. As I said to Corey earlier today, the most consistent aspect of our journey has been this: just when all hope was lost, doors started opening. We’ve all heard the old cliche, “Always darkest before the dawn.” For White Lights, it’s practically our motto by now. Every time our plans fell apart before our eyes, the universe came through in a pinch and offered us a new way.
Ultimately, success is a state of mind. Only you decide when you’ve failed. There will never be a singular moment indicating that you’ve “arrived.” Don’t do it in hopes of that moment because it won’t come. Do it for the moment in front of you, for the joy of doing it, for the thrill of the ride itself, not the chimera of reaching some imaginary destination. Do that, adjust your perspective in this way, and you’ll realize that success is a matter of time, not fate.
You bolt toward the intersection. We catch you just in time and you struggle in our arms as you scream, “Don’t you see it? Don’t you see it?”
You point to the intersection frantically. We ask you, “What? What is it?”
And you cry and you beg, “Please tell me you can see it. I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. Just tell me you see it.” You grab my shoulders, your eyes owl wide and red and you say, “You of all people… you should be able to see it. I thought you of all people would see it.”
"What are you talking about?"
"I saw it before. Last week, I saw it. They said they would come back for me. Such a pretty white light. Can’t you see it? It’s so beautiful, so bright. Tell me you see it."
We drive you back to your apartment and boil some tea. On the floor of the kitchen, leaning against the stove, you tell me about time traveling on the islands and how the light fell on you mid-cigarette. How several days disappeared, slipping through a leak in your brain. You tell me and I believe you, I believe something happened to you.
You said you saw this light again when you came back from your trip. The light found you on the corner of Wilshire & Sepulveda. They told you they’d come back for you. You said you wanted to go with them, but they said no, promising to return to rescue you. As the rest of us burned, you’d watch from above, you’d watch with them, shining down and smiling bitterly that we did not believe you, that you tried to show us something we couldn’t see.
The next morning you forgot what happened, and we ran the other way. You called and you waited, but you couldn’t get a hold of us. We couldn’t stay to watch, we didn’t want to know what would happen next. You forgot, but we never could. We had come face to face with a force beyond our naming, and had no desire to encounter it again.
But I hope you were right. I hope they came for you.
Trying to arrange full band rehearsals with our producer and scheduling recording dates has been a clusterfuck. Spent about an hour on Friday panicking because we had to reschedule all our preproduction sessions. Luckily, it all worked out (fingers crossed) and we’ll be meeting tonight. We are eager to hear what Jim has to say. We’ve been with these songs for over 6 months now, so it’s exciting to hear someone’s fresh perspective. Being in a band is like saying the same word over and over again until it’s meaningless. I’m pretty sure the songs are good but I’m standing too close to tell.
In other news, check out Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica. Amazing Caribbean food right on the beach. Also, go see “The Hangover” at least once. Trust me.
“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.”—Don Juan
I keep having these recurring dreams, all on the same variation. You might classify it as a standard “chase” dream—you know, when you’re running like hell from something unspeakably horrible that pursues you relentlessly till the adrenaline rush wakes you up. When I was a kid, it used to be lions that were chasing me. But over the past year or two, I’ve been having a mutated version of the standard chase.
A couple years ago I kept dreaming that I was in a boathouse on the upper deck. I had to get out right away before I was caught by an Asian man disguised as a janitor. I managed to get out and far away, hiding in some bushes in the driveway of an apartment complex. But then I realized that I forgot something in the boathouse and had to go back. Mustering up some courage, I braved my way back to the boathouse, found what I was looking for, and just as I was about to leave, creepy janitor man found me.
Several months later, maybe even a year, I had another dream that picked up where the first one left off. I managed to get back to that apartment complex, and took the elevator to the 11th floor. There was some kind of party going on—it reminded me of a college trip to Montreal with a bunch of American kids partying and puking in and around the hotel.
Eventually I made it into an apartment to hide out. A birthday party was going on. They were lighting the candles on the cake, but when the birthday girl blew them out, the power got cut. Pitched into darkness, everyone huddled at the center of the room when distant explosions cast an ominous hush that sobered everyone up. I peaked out the window down on the city streets below: men in black masks doused cars in gasoline and set them ablaze.
I ran to the other room to gather all of the guests away from the windows. Footsteps echoed through the hall—heavy boots marching with purpose. I locked the door but it was too late: a thick white gas was seeping under slowly filling the room. Sprinting to the bathroom, I wet a hand towel and put it over my face. But I inhaled too much gas. As I passed out, I woke up.
Several months later, the dream continued. A group of soldiers were carrying me away. I became a little lucid and managed to make the soldiers disappear. But I knew that was only a temporary fix. I ran out of the building and down into the street where it was now morning. To complicate things, buildings were exploding left and right, and there was the foreboding sense of something huge approaching. Each explosion sounded more and more like the steps of a lumbering giant. An angry giant.
While I was home for Thanksgiving last year, I had a dream where I was sent to an underground prison for a one-year stay. We stayed in dormlike rooms with cement floors. Four people to a room. The only view was of the prison yard outside. I was sweeping the floors in the cafeteria when something happened. It was something beautiful I can’t recall, but enough to wake me.
Later, my mom told me that she had had a dream that I was being held prisoner somewhere. The CIA and FBI had swarmed my parents’ house in Virginia. My mom noticed my dad standing on the curb outside. He glanced at her, but then made a run for it. My mom knew he was running to see me, and she fell on the ground weeping, “I want to go too!” She called me the next morning to tell me about her nightmare and to make sure I was keeping out of trouble.
A few nights ago, I dreamt my sister, mom and I were cowering in a closet as bombs fell on our town. Last night I dreamt that while the band was touring, we were arrested in a foreign country for some bullshit charges. We were locked up in a hellish prison. There was clearly some kind of war going on. We were being starved, and the guards would routinely plant illicit substances amongst our things to justify torturing us. In my dream I had two younger brothers who were there with me. The guards came looking for someone—a leader of the resistance who we had helped escape. The youngest of my imaginary brothers wore the leader’s hat and claimed to be him. The guards laughed, what with him being a ten-year-old boy. But the boy insisted he was no boy at all, that he was a grown man in a dwarfish body. He cracked some joke and the guards laughed, “This one’s a clown,” as they took him away.
There was a soldier’s helmet on the wall that covered up a secret message the leader had etched before his escape. I lifted the hat so my imaginary middle brother could read it. “What does it say?” I asked, but as his eyes went wide with recognition, the guards took him away too.
The guards noticed I was chewing on some seeds I had found in the hat. One barked, “Where did you get seeds in the south sector?”
I panicked, insisting, “I found them on the floor, I swear.”
"We’ll see about that," the warden said as they searched my belongings. Of course, they found drugs that couldn’t possibly be mine, and they took me away too.
My dreams are seldom remembered, and even rarely interconnected. The disturbing themes of these nightmares—destruction, war, imprisonment, and apocalyptic chaos—could just be a sign of the times. A subconscious reflection of the real world we already live in. Or at least, I hope that’s what it is. In the past, I’ve had many dreams that were prophetic—for lack of a better term—in that they presented me with images of a future I ended up experiencing almost a full year later. I’ll save those dreams for a different day, but needless to say, these nightmares of captivity leave me with the uneasy feeling that they, too, are memories of a future yet to be.
Spent last night tracking guitar for an upcoming acoustic EP. I’ll be going back tonight to finish up vocals. Hopefully we’ll be posting them up within the week. Many thanks to Toby Karlin for taking the time to help us out so soon before he skips town.
I keep meaning to head down to Venice Beach for some much needed rejuvenation, but also to scope out the scene for busking. The summer months are the best time to hit the streets for tourists’ change, but the three best spots (Venice, 3rd Street Promenade and Hollywood) are in three different cities, each requiring their own permits. And since I’m pretty sure each person in the band has to get their own permit, that makes it all quite an expensive endeavor. But assuming the money is good and the crowds are strong, then we should make our investment back relatively quickly. These CDs will definitely help that.
Also, anyone want to donate a couple thousand bucks? Yeah? Okay sweet, thanks. You’re the best.
Check out this article over at Wired. Open source as a political movement? Mentioning peer-to-peer economies as a realistic alternative to modern hyper-capitalism has gotten me laughed out of many polite conversations, but could it be inevitable? The article points out that an economy based on sharing has been steadily building - could it swell to redefine government itself? A rising tide raises all ships: online collaboration, cooperation and decentralized distribution of work has yielded miracles in a short time. It’s not so crazy to suggest that these emerging methods & technologies could have a positive developmental effect on the state.
For example, Wiki-legislation could allow citizens direct access to govern themselves in a pure democracy, not simply a representative one. Public finances could be made… well, public. Ever wonder where your tax dollars really end up? There is finally technology in place to grant the people true oversight in political affairs. However, there is an argument to be made that a neutered government stripped of power would be inefficient, and ultimately, weak. After all, presidents and politicians need some breathing space to effectively lead the nation. But I think the goal would be to transition our society into a state of self-organization, able to adapt to rapid changes. Unfortunately, the clock is running against us. Massive changes across wildly different spectra are converging faster than we could imagine.
Even politicians like to admit that governments are ineffective at getting things done. They hold up business as the obvious alternative. Today’s successful entrepreneurs are capitalizing on sharing by creating new and clever ways to share. But neither business nor government is efficient enough to tackle the myriad problems coming our way. This article gives me hope that as the current system eats itself, a new one is quietly being born.