Posts for 2006



On the Way to JFK…

Alloh, (that’s the french version of Holla-backwards), we’re on the highway to JFK, past the stone walls that awe us because farmers 300 years ago carried the rocks to the edge of the fields they were cultivating with their own hands. They are more beautiful than most art, and they are still standing, monuments of independence and self sufficiency.

We’ve been talking in the car about all the properties for sale, the great old barns with roofs caved in, what has happened to farming, to farms, to farmers that aren’t corporations. Through the maze of political discussions of electoral vs. Popular votes, the result of subsidizing farmers, Reaganomics, the recession in the 80’s, the only consistent beacon of capitalism being that corporate greed can be traced back from almost every ill, Dazza and I agreed that Philanthropy is the saving grace of this society. And the people who think and act for themselves.

The movie stars, say I, are the real political figures now, while politicians are just milking the broken system. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Oprah, Bill Gates, so many generous, conscious, incredibly caring people, doing all they do for the right reasons, there is nothing to be cynical about with these leaders. They change individuals, they change lives and yet, journalists have asked me the question time and time again, are these famous people really activists, what is the validity of their actions….it really begs the question; who else is getting good things done? See, I believe in humanity, and I think its because the government has become so untrustworthy and unprogressive that these individuals with Leverage have stepped up to the plate. It’s checks and balances, It’s true democracy, it’s what we were raised on and obviously it seeped in. Yay! And more and more I see why the general sovereignty of a state is crucial to the health of this country, because it’s the only way to rebel against the corporate government. It gives leverage to the people to vote on what’s good for them, like say New Hampshirians want to only buy local produce, keep their farmers alive and their community in tact, they could do that, as long as there are enough people in New Hampshire to buy the produce. I think the same thing could happen for alternate energy sources, California would be a big enough state to make it work, and yes the people of Cali didn’t vote on the alternate fuel prop this time, but allot voted for it, and next time, it could pass. Blah blah blah. It’s mired and slow but it’s still moving. Almost at the plane. Take care, S.


Good morning from the New Jersey Turnpike again

Good morning from the New Jersey Turnpike again, we had the best New York show I can remember. Thank you for bringing in that scintillating energy, my New York family. I felt I was celebrating being home with you.
Jason in Boston the night before asked why I named the Whaler album Whaler. It’s a strange answer.

At that time I had returned from living in London, and I had a big, stuffed Babar named Whaler. And the babar with the green vest I had bought myself sometime during the first album, Tongues and Tails, when I realized a great love was never to be mine.

The name Whaler was from my childhood, after the 200 year old whaling boats that docked in the Town of Sag Harbor, L.I., and also in Massachusetts where we took the ferry every summer.

I don’t know why the name Whaler comforts me, it’s a past life relationship to the world of whaling, the masts, the docks, the widow’s walks, the blubber pots, and now, in this time, the whale songs, the threatened extinction of the great, intelligent species, the decline of humanity from the brave living poetry to the killing machine. So there’s the weeping, the wailing, and the strong independence and sweet songs travelling through the shadowed sea.

Now, we’re leaving Philadelphia and we had a great time, I discovered a painter named Naswadba, a “new French impressionist”- I have decided I must study. A painting in the window of the Newman Gallery told me, the technique that is not brushes-the knife, I suppose. So I’m excited, cause at the Met in my city I bought a book that tells of drawing technique, I snatched it after the Americans in Paris exhibit. After tonight I’m off the road to dive into getting my next album sculpted and exploring painting on a deeper level. I hope.

My manager, Gigi, went into a meeting for her other act at Wind Up and came out with allot of new releases-they’re all great to listen to, but, are we in the 80’s again? First I saw the jeans and the hair 2 years ago, and now the 80’s has usurped the music scene. This gives me a chance to find the art in it, cause I ran from the 80’s in the 80’s. I took the AA train down town to 8th street and snuck into Pink Flamingos and Gimme Shelter in my army jacket, which I guess kids are still doing. So listen babies, I love to read your letters, I love meeting you for the first time, and seeing you again. The connection is so very real that I feel among the most blessed, because I love to take it in. Onward to the Berkshires, birthplace of W.E.Dubois. S.


Hellooooo. It’s starting again,

Hellooooo. It’s starting again, I’m at the airport with all the baggage, in the hot sun, waiting for the band, and a man sits behind me. He’s confident, healthy and humorous looking, he’s broad like a big animal. I sense he’s Australian. He asks me for a light, and my suspicion is confirmed.
How is everyone else? More later, S.

I should have said “he’s broad like a beach”, now that I’m standing in the cold slushes of Seattle. Sometimes when I get off a plane I wish I could be here, wherever the here is, on vacation, like to sleep and walk and draw and drink coffee and other private things, but I remind myself it’s like a working vacation. A vacation away from my life where the work I love is central, to the life where what I love is for two hours a night, and surprises in between, but the work to make it happen is blue collar, and that’s the gritty reality, which contains within it the stuff of romance.

Did I ever mention how often, when I’m heaving the drum case and guitars etc onto the cart at the baggage claim, a person comes up and says, ” I love your music, where are your roadies?” At first I felt defensive until I was told John Wayne always carried his own saddles.

I started by carrying my trap cases into the New York subways for all and sundry, at all hours, when I was much thinner and paler and totally alone, so this is really not a problem for me. In fact, when I flip on the lights in my storage and put my hands on my cases before I pack for a tour, I pause and a smile breaks in my guts, it’s the beginning of a physically demanding journey, but to where, and what will happen, and it’s pungently mine. Ah, and my fingers are stiff with cold..S


Notes From P-Town

Hello dearest oneletts, I know I’ve been remiss on documenting P-town, and I think that’s because it was so grueling performance wise, and on the other hand, so blissfully peaceful to paint in between.

The light, the sea, the dunes which I threw myself upon and wrote “I love you” to in the creamy orange sand, those gave to me, kissed me, held me in quiet raptures, but lawd it was hard getting the righteous sound to the peeps.

It was also hard on Gigi getting the righteous peeps in the club 2 times a night for all those blistering nights when every one should’ve been cuddled in their wee little beds.

Gigi and Huck Barking in P-Town
Gigi and Huck “barking” at P-Town

But we still had our inspired moments, and I met lit up faces who’s names I forget but whom I hope to see again along the road of change and fortitude.

I also finally got to have my party moment with dearest Ev and Sweetsexy Gail, Andrew, Tomohauk Warrior, Dazza and Ric who didn’t believe I’d ever have a dirty dry martini straight up with beau coup d’olives in their presence. Well, back into obscurity until November — S.


Bad Kitty Board Mix

Hey Babies, I’m sitting here in the afternoon, the cool palms of oceanic breeze are touching my cheek and running under the soles of me feet. I’ve been very, very busy, so much so that I haven’t had a summer moment, really, except one barbecue and two bike trips to the farmer’s market.

I’m moving, getting a new studio together, also building, and writing for the next album. It’s all very creative, the moving I’m grateful for because it makes me let go of stuff, and reflect upon the cycle I’m ending while I open up for the new one, and the building is awesome because I’ve prepared a long time for it and we’re using reclaimed timber, solar power, grey water etc. It’s also the neighborhood I identify the most with in these parts, and where my real studio already is. It’s a good place to have a root.

The song writing is going well, although it’s always strange to meet the new ones and wonder at the self that is emerging.
There is something else, too. The Bad Kitty Board Mix is coming out tomorrow. There is nothing so much to say about it except I’m glad it is, I feel it’s important in the stream of my work to let this go now, and it marks a bridge between my writing/recording life and our performing life. I say “our” because, as is clear on the Live album, it’s a relationship, between you and I, me and the Musos, the Musos and you, etc. Being able to have you own this album is also being able to have me own this aspect of my existence (reality as opposed to appearance, reality as presented in experience, the manner of being that is common to every mode of being-according to the dictionary!) and it’s influencing my next project.

Something, however, always has to go awry, and Janice called me today freaked that a whole section of thank you’s and even publishing information was left off the final printing. We have no idea why, and even though they (Lightyear) can put it on the next printing, I highly doubt the first 2 thousand or so will be recalled in order to put back what they mysteriously left off. It is nobody’s fault truly, we’ve all made our absolute best efforts to present you with a complete and accurate CD representationon of the people who so generously contributed. Please accept my apology for the mistake and let me say it right here until the next printing, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU GIGI GASTON, JANICE HAGEMAN, TAMARA SQUIRE, TERESA REYNOLDS, JERE ARNOLD, KATHLEEN HILL,  GINA SLEDGE, AND FRAN BAKER — WITH EVERY POUND OF MY SWIMMING, STRIVING, SLINKING, RUNNING, DREAMING BEING FOR YOUR GLORIOUS CONTRIBUTIONS TO MY LIFE, WORK AND YEARNING. THANK YOU FOR SHOWING YOU, SHOWING ME, AND SHOWING UP. I KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE LEFT OFF THE MARQUEE, AND IT WONT HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Adore you, Sophie B. (Fie)


Back in the U.S.

Hello, I’m on the plane to come back to the good old U.S.A. London was delightful, it was the best time I’ve ever had there. I actually took one of those double decker bus tours and sat in the blue sky sun with those wispy, delicate clouds that stretch so lightly across the atmosphere in Spring and Summer.

Double Decker Bus

I enjoyed so much the thrill of learning more than I ever have, like the Lion the witch and the Wardrobe, walking into the furs and entering a continually unfolding and opening world, my imagination and the wonder of that which makes London London.

I admit I appreciated the bigness of each great design, the relevance and the one time only truth of it all more than even when I lived there. I almost took it for granted that “the sun never sets on the British Empire”. Indeed.

Rebels

What I also understood is that in terms of humanity, it will never be so again, and so whatever it took to create these monuments of spirit and heroism; war, the endurance of suffering, sickness, intrigue and deceit, whatever it took, I’m thankful it got done.

Monuments

No wonder Bill Gates came along and made our lives detour into cyberspace, there’s no more space and time here for such greatness. Evolutionally, it was the next jump. We have too many people and too many rules and too powerful weapons to create such stalwart, lasting glory. We are too commercial. Too “deserving”.

I also thought that if London or Sydney or New York or any city were being pounded like Lebanon is and Iraq was, it could never be built again. Never ever like it is. It would be vile. And it is. We have nothing to do as a humanity but to retreat. Retreat from war, retreat from Global Warming, retreat from greed and self-centeredness. We must pull back. We must retreat.

Gotta shut down, S.

Back in the U.S., stopping for a moment at Washington, Dulles. This is not America.

Plane Food

Did I mention there were bunnies outside the window at Guilford? That was fun, they stay out all night nibbling grass-as opposed to smoking it. That must be so healthy. For my dogs grass is coffee, for rabbits it’s food and for me it’s a place to lay down, especially when there are signs to “keep off”, like around the castle off High street. I fell asleep in the afternoon of the first day-I wasn’t the only one breaking the law-it was heaven.

I am reading “O Pioneers!” By Willa Cather, it’s so timely for me, it’s teaching me about enduring where I am with most flexible attitude, and enjoying the vision of what my patience and fortitude will divine, and appreciating a place I hitherto may have disparaged. It’s also just fantastic summer reading. Then I will start a book called “Mutant Message Down Under” given me by a lovely person at Guilfest.

S


Hello people of the light,

I’m on the plane to London for a concert in Guilford Surrey for the BBC. Guess what? I took a bio-diesel limo to the airport, and they had Biota water for the passengers, which are totally biodegradable bottles-made from corn and apparently go back to being corn like in the earth. Now, I saw “the Inconvenient Truth” and I am inspired afresh. I feel Gore is a mixture of an 18th century philosopher and Thoreau and himself. I want to support him, I sincerely hope he runs, I’m going to campaign for him until he decides to.

I’ve been researching all the alternative fuels and I’m trading in my truck when I get back from England. I feel very positive about what could be the direction of the U.S., if leaders like Gore can gain more and more momentum. My neighbors laughed at me last night when I was expounding upon the fleets of taxis, UPS and FEDEX vehicles becoming Hybrids, I was excited about the Brazilian Tribrids, I’m thrilled about the investment gurus backing Ethanol companies and technologies. Why do we have to ruin the Earth anymore, why do we have to be cynical and sad, it’s a lousy attitude. If I were a polar bear without an ice cap I’d want humans to plow forward with answers and innovations rather than regret.

I’d want hopeful children rather than despairing ones to think of me.
It’s true I get awfully frightened about the future of all beings, in the wee hours of the morning, and yet, that’s a sensible fear which is motivating, not debilitating. It’s a glorious morning. I hope to hear from you on these issues.

On the Way to Guilfest
On the Way to Guilfest

Bye for now, S.

(P.S. Hello to John Gentry Tennyson)


WomenforWomen.org

Hello friendlets,
I want to tell you about something that’s been roiling in my heart for a while, and when I watched the Angelina Jolie special, the feelings steamed out into action. The women who really got me on that special were the victims of rape and mutilation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, their pain seized me, I wanted to go there immediately and hug them and help them and stay with them until they are strong enough to live on and change their worlds. Although it’s not that easy, the soldiers there are among those committing this violence. Without getting into that debacle, and staying focused on the women, I went to the UN website and investigated, then I called someone from there because I couldn’t get my donation to the women of the Congo, it kept saying, “thank you for donating to East Timor”, which I’m happy to do, but I was really emotionally tied to these women in the Congo.

Then something beautiful happened, I opened my mail and there was a letter from WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL, I’ve heard of them before and actually brought them up in meetings (as a possible charity) for this huge project Gigi and I are trying to get off the ground. (I can’t wait to tell you about that one, but it’s hush hush until we get the funding.. we may have got it, though oh, Hush!) Anyhoo, this generic letter comes, and it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Please take a moment to peruse the website,


Notes From The Road: Orlando and Jacksonville

ORLANDO

We are in a driving rain storm, thunder, lightning, every time it rains I feel like a child. Private, unknown, a part of the grey solitude. New York in the rain is more like stone than anywhere else, an island adrift in the universe, veils of black, white and purple opening and closing onto the swishing street. Red lights, green lights, amber yellow, keeping the pulse, calmly signaling the way in the darkening afternoon. The hush that comes with rain in the city, maybe everything will stop, because inside of everyone there is a significant pause.

But we’re on the road to Orlando, lightning zapped the green marsh and there were flames for a moment. Rock is trying to zigzag around cars so we can catch a glimpse of ‘cat woman’ and her ‘kitty’. Gigi wants me to email our assistant rather than write road notes, and speaking of letters, I wanted to thank Chris in Chicago for his. Beautifully written. And, as the drops fire onto the window shield all over again in rapturous omnipotence, I want to also thank David @ the Modesto gig for your words.

Later, S.

JAX

I am revived!!!!! We just peeled out of Waffle House on our way to Jacksonville, Rock’s regggae mix is scuffling through our ear holes, and the sexy rain mist is just ahead. Last night was really a blast, House Of Blues brimming over with gaiety, there were even butches in the men’s room flawlessly aiming at the urinals (so I heard).

It was so mixed though, that it was difficult to make the right song choices. I’ve decided that I want, instead of people coming up to me and saying why don’t I play such and such, that you should make me a set list. Yes, write the set list you want us to play and Janice will tell you how to post it, I’m not promising to play your exact set, unless it feels groovy, but I will incorporate your suggestions for sure. I realized that I don’t know which songs are your favorites, except the obvious, so I’d love to know.

I got your responses about which democratic candidate showed up to help the Katrina victims, and yes, Bill Clinton, but he’s not running for office now. My point is, there isn’t one person connected to us Americans willing to give meaning to our struggles with our government, with our lives as Americans. Everyone is just blabbing, playing one reactive issue off another in this superficial popularity contest. We should all demand more, as one, I bet it wouldn’t be so hard to find out the issues that are important to every single American, regardless of prejudice and circumstance. Global warming could be on it, getting off fossil fuels could be another, education, child care for working parents, healthcare for everyone, teachers getting paid more, tax cuts for individuals who serve the country instead of for corporations that drain it. Its easy when we deal in common sense. Does anyone know of the Ozzy Helen Condicott or Coldicott or something? She’s beyond brilliant and relatable, I need to put a link up so you can hear this broad speak.

Oh, I love this earth so, and I even love humanity, I can’t help it, I want to help all components work together with respect and dignity. Did anyone go to Ashes and Snow? I wept, I went home and donated twenty boxes of shit I don’t really need anymore, so permeated was I by the heavenly beauty of humans quietly, graciously living in the balance with Animals, Mammals, Birds and the Earth as the true stewards, the real sages and oracles. I may go so far as to say that the humans were not dominant, were as children, even the old humans, appeared to exist with utter deference toward all other species. Innocence, even reenforced by experience. There is a poetry and poignancy in the innocence of transgressing into experience, songs of innocence and experience, but there is another poetry of wrestling with experience to rise up innocent, not naive, not blind, but accepting all and choosing freedom of the heart.

Almost at Jax, gotta put you away. S


Every Hot Summer Body!

We are in Fla touring, actually, first show is tonight at the Bamboo Room…sold out, yay! Tommorrow night we go to the HOB in Orlando  and onward to The Fuel Coffeehouse in Jacksonville on June 3rd. I went swimming for the first time this summer in Palm Beach Ocean, I drug my thighs through the entangling seaweed and dove in, irregardless of what was in there. I asked a sunning beach chair lady as I approached the sea, “are there sharks in there?” She looked at me askance.

Anyhoo, I’m reading Mrs Dalloway on the planes again, why is it so much more powerfull each time I read a V. Wolfe book? Great summer reading because it’s sensual and eternal, states of mind perfect for lying prostrate on the tender sand. Even if it’s for ten minutes before load in.

Does anyone recall if there was a democratic candidate at the site of New Orleans after Katrina hit, when all of us regular Americans were doing everything we could for our affected fellow beings?

Some people flew thier planes, some took thier boats, some went on foot to help the animals, even I saved as many dogs as I could…but was there a democratic candidate actually there, helping people? I probably missed it, but we were arguing in the car last night, about who could actually step up and stand for something, and this question arose. Dazza said something interesting, that immigration was the new “gay marriage” card, a sort of divide and conquer strategy. What think you?

Enough of that, I’m playing, here there and everywhere, I saw one of the most beautiful towns in America last week, Cedarburg Wisconsin, lord have mercy do I want to go back. (someday).

Does anyone else ever have that sense when you get to a place, “this is where I’d like to raise children” or, “this is where I’d like to paint in obscurity”, or, “this is where I’m going to write a novel”, or, “this is where I’m going to study the sky”?

I met an Ozzy couple in the airport, they were from Sydney and so excited to be visiting mythic New York, and wanted me to tell them everywhere to go. I named every possible place in Central Park and then I threw in Mulberry street…and then if you want Chinese vegetarian food walk accross Canal to Mott street. I felt I couldn’t tell them anything about New York, I pounded my chest with my fist, “New York is my heart” I said. She nodded empathetically. What is this connection between Sydney and New York. Maybe the Dutch cast a spell, set the whole thing in motion. So, I’ll see you in some town soon.

S!