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Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The MySpace-ness Music Stuff and a Brief History of My Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy

So, if you're on MySpace (and I've "Friended" you there) then you probably know that I've got a new music page up (haven't seen it yet? go to http://www.myspace.com/lemurshaman and check it out). I had the idea while I was on tour, to just sort of start putting stuff out there, see if there was any response. So far, and admitedly it's only been like, 12 hours at the most, but the response has been kind of nice. The people that I wanted to hear the music are hearing it. Since I do a lot of things in a small way (theatre, poetry, saxophone) most people don't know that there's this entirely other side of me that actually has been around and doing stuff for a lot longer than the theatre or the poetry (well, almost as long as the poetry)...

When I was 3 I wanted to be a drummer. When I was 8, I wanted to be in KISS (I wanted to be Gene Simmons (a.k.a. "Dragon") because he had the coolest makeup and spit blood). When I was 13 (and already starting to become the effete geek I was for most of high school), during lunchhour I would hide from bullies in the library and listen to the Beatles or my sister's Pat Benetar tapes. I would dream of being a rockstar. By the time I was 14, I had Queen's "Night At the Opera" completely memorized and was starting to look to my friends to start bands.

Mark Lancaster, Tim Lang, and Tony Gomez all had instruments (bongos, a Casio Keyboard, a 5 stringed guitar) and I coralled them on weekends and we made music, including a cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's "Find the Cost of Freedom", and a song that involved slowing down the "Samba" setting on the keyboard until the rhythms were almost unrecognizable. We called ourselves "E%" and made our friends listen our Radio Shack Dictophone tape until the writing wore off. Nowadays, they'd call it low-fi, and if we had lived in Brooklyn we'd have had a three album deal on K Records and would be huge in Belgium, but since it was Tucson, we languished in obscurity.

When I was 15, a bunch of my friends who played band instruments and I (I had picked saxophone through some wilful perversity that made me not want to be predicatable and play drums) started a band for a talent show. We called ourselves 909D (after the rehearsal room we practiced in) and, when then talent show was over, the bass player, the drummer, and I tried to put together a rock band. We called our selves (after much debate, and mostly because of me) HarborcOat (yes, with the capitalized "O" and everything) after my favorite song off the R.E.M. album Reckoning, even though we sounded exactly nothing like R.E.M. We recorded three songs at a real recording studio (Westwood Studios in Tucson, for those who keep track of such things), and promptly broke up because I had to go to a swim meet.

I did a couple of bands after that, and then went to college where I played saxophone with a pop-punk band called Dennis Mitchell and the Wilsons. The band was good but I really wanted to sing and write the tunes. I met a guitarist named Chris Kaufmann, and we ended up forming a band called (after much debate and mostly because of me) Plunge. My record for choosing band names poorly continued unabated. But we were cool because we had two awesome drummers and were the loudest local band in Tucson - we were measured at 125 decibels on stage, with no soundsystem, just the instruments. I got vocal nodes from singing in that band (actually "pre-nodular formations" but whatever).

Then our bass player left and we couldn't find another one (always had a problem keeping bass players in that band, probably because Chris and I were always telling them what to play), so the band sort of fell apart. Then I moved to New York, started doing the singer-songwriter thing around town, had to quit because I had no friends and nobody to come to my shows, and got back into theater.

What's the point of all this non-sense (and congratulations if you've read this far through what is, I'm fairly certain, my most rambling, incoherent post yet)? Just to say that, while all this was going on, I was also: acting in shows, writing scads of poetry, and playing saxophone all over the place. And some of you know parts of this (my theatre friends know one part, my poet friends know another, friends who have known me since college know another), and none of the parts really seem to overlap, you know? But I love the music. That's, in some ways, the part that has the least compromise, the part that is the most self-directed.

So I'm starting to come back to it... maybe I'll do some open mics and see if there's any interest, maybe get a show. Baby steps. Just to see what happens. Suffice to say, if you've listened to the music (and, again, you can find it here at: http://www.myspace.com/lemurshaman) let me know what you think. Do you like it? Hate it? Want to make babies to it? I'm interested. If I get a good response, I'll start posting other new songs. I've been writing a lot, and I've got a bunch of songs to share. Let me know!

Next time, more about the sordid history of PLUNGE!

1 comment:

  1. Wow - at least for the NY stuff - I've seen it all!

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