Uptones and Friends’ North Bay Fire Relief Benefit Follow-Up

The Uptones were motivated to get together by the horrible fires here in California. All of us have friends and family affected directly or indirectly by these disasters, so when Moose floated the idea of a benefit show at Ashkenaz, we pounced. As did our friends in Skank Bank, Matt Jaffe & the Distractions, and The Recyclists. We had a great turnout and a wonderful time and raised $1,780 for the fire relief effort. A huge thanks to everyone who attended or contributed from afar.

We donated the proceeds to the North Bay Fire Relief fund, run by Redwood Credit Union. You can learn about the fund and their efforts at https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief, and you can also donate there. For details about how they are distributing the funds they raise, here’s a direct link to that info. Fire survivors in need of assistance can apply for it there as well.

Ben suggested I deliver the checks in person, so I got in touch with Tracy Mooberry, who works for the group that manages the fund, and drove up to her office in Santa Rosa yesterday, and yes, we took a selfie.

$1,680 from the ticket sales and donations, and another check for $100 that one generous attendee at the event wanted to write directly to the relief fund.

We hope this helps at least in some small ways. Thankfully MANY others have stepped up and donated very generously to this and other organizations who are providing much needed help and relief where it’s needed. I’m also heartened to see how MANY musicians and artists immediately organized fundraising concerts and events. May our communities heal and recover. The love in the air is thicker than smoke.


That was a quote from Charlie Brown. Charles M. Schulz, rather. He spoke eloquently when he said “AAAAAAAAUGH!!!” He might not have used as many A’s. But the meaning is clear. It defies analysis because it is so clear.

Off we go. The wheels of justice begin to turn and we hope it’s not too late. Too late for what? Oh, we don’t know, survival of the planet, restoral of our crippled democracy, nuclear war avoidance, little things like that.

For god’s sake. My atheism is failing. I’ve been talking to god on a regular basis. It’s not the god they capitalize and call He. It’s a pan-gendered all-compassionate loving god which hates no one and flows with infinite kindness and mercy for everyone. It doesn’t have a name, nor a religion. It contains each and every bit of anything that exists or ever did or will exist, including each of us, part and parcel, and it has always existed and it will never die. You can’t call it the “one true god” because it takes as many forms as there are ways to perceive it, so you can’t write intelligently about it, and anyone who claims to speak for it is a fraud.

The coffee is good this morning. I’m writing fast because I have to go. Where? A walk in the cemetery. With a friend. That is my first errand. Then teach guitar to some kids. Then go see my BandWorks class do their final concert at the Ivy Room. Somewhere in there discuss situations around the north bay fires with my fam. Walks in cemetery are a ritual for me now. Post-dad’s-death, and as a way of gaining perspective, and maybe because I’m part Goth. I’ve blogged about it here a bit. And will likely do again. It’s a theme. Impermanence. Life, precious life. Stones, that say “Beloved Mother and Wife, 1898-1939,” representing a consciousness, a being, a soul if you will, a part of the beautiful infinity that I in my failed atheism will call God.

Good morning.


It seems to me somewhere between absurd and offensive when politicians or pundits or anyone else claims to know when it is OK or not to talk about something. I think we can talk about anything we like whenever we like. Guns it is, now, again.

Gun stocks went up after the Vegas shooting, as they do with such events. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, and they profit from gun violence. I can’t imagine a more sinister organization.

I don’t like guns. I certainly don’t love them, as some people claim to. I find that sentiment bizarre, honestly, and even sick. Own them if you must, be responsible and careful with them, but love them? I don’t follow. I love my guitar, it’s an inanimate object too, and I love it. Cars, I understand loving cars, polluting and dangerous machines though they are, I still get it, the love part – connecting to freedom and mobility, the open road – I can love cars. But somehow America also has a love for guns. Why?

Guns are at best a necessary evil, made necessary simply because other people have them. They are instruments of self-defense or aggression, justice or oppression. Guns in the hands of potential enemies make necessary the having of guns. It’s an ugly circle that started long ago. But what they do is maim and kill. That’s their function. How does anyone love that? Perhaps they are using a definition of the word “love” that I am not familiar with.

Much has been said about this week’s calamity in Las Vegas. I keep hearing the word “investigate” – on NPR and elsewhere – they’re investigating to find out the motive behind the crime.

The guy snapped. He snapped as men sometimes do. People debate whether he was insane or not, of course he was insane. Anyone who does that is insane, or there is no such thing as insanity.

The weapons he had purchased under our lax gun laws made certain that he was able to kill and maim a maximum number of people when he snapped. That is because of the efforts of the NRA. Because of their complete success in preventing any reasonable gun regulations.

I’m not so interested in the motives of the guy who shot all those innocent people, after all we can only speculate. I am interested in the motives of the NRA. Is it just money? Because they sure are raking it in. And the more violent our society is, the more money the weapons manufactures make. What is behind their sociopathy, and why are so many congresspersons so readily purchased by them?

As for the psychology of why some men snap and do this sort of thing, I found this article –
Why The Vegas Shooting Happened, and Why Men Keep Doing This – by Charlie Hoehn, good food for thought. I’m not sure if I agree with all of his assertions and conclusions, but I am certain he’s talking about some of the root causes of these terrible acts. Loneliness and isolation do drive people crazy, and there’s a lot of loneliness and isolation to go around these days.

I’m weary of the killing, the hating, the endless propaganda and lying, the gerrymandering, bullying, bigoted monstrosities yelling at us to become less kind, less thoughtful, more angry, and more fearful. “Resistance” is a word we use often lately, and I embrace it and I’ll tell you my resistance today comes in the form of simple humble compassion and empathy for all beings. Sometimes we can and should affirm to ourselves and maybe others, that we will not have our humanity reduced because others have chosen darkness.

Another day, another opportunity to be kind and thoughtful and generous in the small or big ways that we can.

What the hell. After such a meandering post I suppose I’ll include my song about guns. This is one of the last studio recordings by The Uptones, from 2009 I think it was. Followed by an XTC song that offers a practical solution. And one from Nirvana just.. because. And then “Why?” by The Specials, from their final release, and, that just gave me the title for this post.

Be safe ya’ll. Peace and Love, already.


Here are some resources to defeat the NRA if you have time or some money to contribute:

Everytown for Gun Safety is an organization committed to opposing the NRA and enacting reasonable gun laws. I sent them twenty bucks. A drop in the bucket but hopefully it helps. Join me?

This Rolling Stone article from 2014 offers some strategies and 411: How to Beat the NRA In 7 (Not-So-Easy) Steps

The image below says it all. If someone knows who to credit it to, please let me know. Thanks.

Doing The Time Warp With Engine

One of my favorite bands in the roaring 90’s was this four-piece from Berkeley called Engine. Their name suited their music perfectly. They sounded like a well-tuned engine made of guitars and drums. They had that synergy some combos have that makes them sound bigger than the sum of their parts. I enjoyed watching them melt stages in San Francisco often, when the South of Market live music scene was in full swing both over- and under-ground. It was a good time for bands, and Engine gained a loyal following, recorded an album, and signed to Caroline Records. Boom, suddenly they had to change their name. Another band owned “Engine,” and I and other Engine fans were dismayed. I expect the band was too. Anyway, they quickly adjusted their name, and went on some major tours with Jawbreaker, Counting Crows and other hot acts of the time, did a few more records and then disbanded. Reunited recently to play the big “Riot Fest” concert in Chicago, they decided to book a Bay Area show as well. I have my ticket. It’ll probably sell out, so I’d suggest getting yours now if you want to go. Somewhat rare in the world of band reunions, they have all four original members, the only four guys in the band at any stage back in the day. I think that’s neat. Also somewhat rare among rock bands, they don’t do any covers. I don’t think they ever did. They wrote all of their material, and each song frames the others, creating a sort of Engine-world that you can walk into and explore. I visited there often, and I look forward to jumping down that rabbit hole on Oct. 21. There’s talk of more gigs, and I would love to see that as well, but, there’s also talk that the earth is flat, so, you know, don’t sleep on it. Oh, one more silly thing. They were called “Alternative” as a genre, as was anything with a guitar after Nirvana. I think when “Alternative” became a popular music genre name, the American music biz began its final descent into total brain-death. The band plays Rock music. Or Punk, if you must. Now that’s sorted. A great band with a name they had to change, filed under “Alternative,” with lyrics about identity crises and alienation. It’s perfect. Oh, and their guitar and bass riffs are killer. And they’re my friends. Here’s the FB event page. Bye now.

A Wee Dream About My Not Wee Dad

Had a dream last night that my dad was dying, and we were all in the house I grew up in on Josephine Street in Berkeley. In reality my dad died suddenly about two years ago while I was away. The dream was nice and as these things go, his presence was very life-like and seemingly real. He texted me, which is funny, because he never actually used text messages. In my dream, he texted me from the next room, even though we were having a vocal conversation at the same time, as people do these days. He wrote: “Deep clay.”

We talked a little about how people live on in their loved ones’ memories, and I felt then a sense of responsibility somehow, to remember him as accurately as I can. I don’t believe I have ever had that particular thought, before this dream. Luckily it’s not hard to remember him, as I had the good fortune of knowing my dad very well. And he was quite unique, not an easy person to forget. This was a nice visit, although a little strange. He knew, in the dream, that he was dying, and he seemed not entirely concerned about it. As for what he texted me, I’ll just leave that without expressing an interpretation of it, for the words are fine just as they are.

Ranty McRantface Walks In The Cemetery, Again

Today’s delightful morning read was How America Lost Its Mind. Posting without comment. I have nothing to add as yet. On to other subjects, and possible rant, as coffee sets in.

My solo recordings are now in Pandora, so you can make an Eric Din channel and wowza it’ll take you to all sortsa related musics magically selected from their vast music genome. I listened for a bit and one thing that popped up was Critical Mass, with my good friend Michael Valladares! Approval. You can hear my tracks on-demand if you have a premium account there, or just jump on the “radio” train and see where it takes you. Here’s a link.

Walked in the cemetery again, this time with a friend. We enjoyed reading headstones aloud, especially the older ones. One feature we noticed is when married couples share the same headstone, it’s almost always the husband’s name first. Often it’s in larger type than the “loving wife”‘s name. Patriarchy even in death. I wondered aloud what arguments and discussions did or didn’t take place, when the bereaved families were having those stones designed and carved.

I especially love the old, retired names. No one calls their child Abernathy or Cornelius anymore, but perhaps they should. Josephine and Winnifred top my list. Sebastian, already. I might have a kid, just so I can have a Sebastian.

Reality, what a thing. Facts. Truth. A square is a square, a circle is a circle. That, and that the earth is round, and that child slave-colonies do not exist secretly on Mars, these little facts have always been part of the steady foundation of reason and science that we wake up and go to sleep in. Gravity in its reliability is a law, not a theory, and it wont keep you on the ground less, if someone tweets that it is fake.

Everything is upside down. It can’t last, and thank god (or whatever you may like to thank) that facts are permanent and indelible whether they are known or not, and that lies remain lies no matter how often they are repeated by how ever many raving madmen.

Will the Constitution of the United States serve its function, now that the test case it was designed for is upon us? Will the men and women who populate the checks and balances remove the tumor? Either way, vulgarity and baseness have taken on a legitimacy for some, that I didn’t expect to see, really, in this lifetime. In fact it’s odd, that some “conservatives” have become so foul-mouthed and uncouth, when in my youth, I remember the older conservative types generally frowned upon using foul language and they’d tell their kids to “wash your mouth out with soap” if they said naughty words. I wish they’d be around to hear the Mooch guy, whatever his name was, shortest white house career ever. Now that was entertaining.

That’s when I realized this is not a government at all. Our federal government is set to “Away.” It’s a “reality TV” show driven by ratings and advertising revenue, with a cast of cynical and insane clowns who hate each other, wielding immense power while staggering in random and unpredictable ways like drunk children fighting over a flame-thrower.

A zombie apocalypse would be benign by comparison. Will the Union survive this? We’ve survived many challenges. This is a new one. All our awful presidents plus the good ones all had this thing in common: A desire to serve for the good of the nation, as they perceived it. I didn’t agree with many of them, but they clearly felt what they did was not exclusively in their own self-interest, but also for a greater good of some kind, for at least some cross-section of the public, if not for everyone. Anyway that’s gone, for now. What ever will happen next?

Popcorn sales are brisk.

Everything Is Wrong (Except The Things That Are Not)

The number of Wrong things is mounting. Each horror makes the others seem trivial by comparison. It’s Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” on gasoline. Each day we go to sleep and things have reached a new level of absurdity. Then in the morning, we wake up and things are twice as absurd again. We live in an article from The Onion and satire has lost its outline.

So we navigate our days, looking after ourselves and our communities the best we can.

In my corner of things that matter less than the demise of everything, we find the music biz becoming increasingly even more absurd (yes, it is possible). One Chris Castle has just posted a breakdown of what the corporate busy-bodies are trying to do now. Read it here with air-sickness bag.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party has come up with a slogan so tepid it makes skim milk look like your favorite beer. Get another air-sickness bag. Ready? Here it is:

“A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

They spent money and did focus groups to come up with that. Shut up. Look, the orange buffoon has a slogan. It’s meaningless and stupid but it’s a slogan, and a lot of people relate to it and it helped him only lose the popular vote by about 3 million. Slogans can help. The Democratic Party needs some help. A good slogan would help. This one is shite. I am sad.

What else, lead singers committing suicide. Chester Bennington, on his friend Chris Cornell’s birthday, in the same way, are you kidding me? Send in the zombies already, this can’t be real. These guys are so loved and so successful and so talented, what would make them miserable enough to do that? I do grieve for them and pre-dismiss any snarks about them. Clearly they had their reasons. Clearly they meant business. More sadness.

The unpresident wants to pardon himself. That’s great, I appreciate his work as a comedian. Firing everyone and everyone lawyering up against each other and doing exactly nothing good for anyone. It makes me think, for some reason, of the vacuum-beast in Yellow Submarine, which sucks up everything and everyone around itself until everything is gone and he stands there alone. Don’t go near that thing.

Small good things. One small good thing at a time. We can do these things and they have meaning and they help. Yesterday morning I saw a woman’s car stalled on a freeway off-ramp and a man was preparing to help push her car to safety. I pulled over and got out and helped. Lo and behold the guy was an old friend of mine, Steve Lew, fellow musician and fact-enthusiast. We chatted as the nice woman waited for a tow, we caught up and went on our merry ways. It felt nice. Steve sent me a young guitar student earlier this year. I recently taught her to play Ziggy Stardust. This made her very happy. This made me happy. The Gods smiled and were happy. Now I am happy. Good morning.

Last Dance With SoundCloud

I used to love SoundCloud. I thought they had a great interface for both music listeners and creators. I recently heard they were having trouble, but I uploaded my latest single there, hoping the experience wouldn’t be awful. I quickly found out that the worst stories I’d heard about SoundCloud’s demise are true. You can read more about the sordid mess here if this interests you. Long story short there’s fake “plays” being sold to artists and you get hassled by bots and SoundCloud is barely paying for real plays anyway and they’ve laid off half the company and closed offices and it’s going down like Titanic. Meanwhile the CEO says everything is great, because that’s what CEO’s do, I suppose, to extract the last bit of blood from a dying, once-beautiful beast.

I’m leaving my song there, although I have removed the embed from my own site. I’m leaving it because the lyrics just seem right for this.

They’re making music with artificial intelligence
to be enjoyed by artificial life,
I’ll take it all in, watch babylon fallin’
Eatin’ popcorn with my artificial wife

The song is “Everything Is Wrong” and you can hear it (for real!) and download it here. You wont be spammed or asked to log in or give me your email or your firstborn or anything. Just play it and feel free to share if you like it.

Farewell SoundCloud. I shall miss thee.

A Walk In The Cemetery With The Summer Of Love

I sometimes walk in Piedmont Cemetery when I need to put things in proper perspective. It’s a great place to wander, and on a weekday morning like today there’s hardly anyone there. One thing that impressed me today was the fountains. They’re sprinkled throughout the grounds and they all have basically the same design, and they’re all running. The whole place is beautifully maintained and among the few people I saw there this morning were some dedicated groundskeepers. I noticed the sound of the fountains today, in a way I hadn’t fully appreciated before. It’s so soothing, so meditative, so nice. Running water, like the sound of a creek, I mean there’s a reason people meditate to sounds like that, recorded or by actual creeks. I realized that these fountains with their multiple spouts were perfectly designed to create a sound very much like a little waterfall. Or perhaps rain. It’s lovely. And as you walk around through the monuments and dedications to departed loved ones, you can always hear these fountains. You approach one fountain and it gets louder, as another fades to quiet behind you. It’s very musical and I took a moment to applaud the architects of this.

I thought of my dad, naturally, as he was a composer and appreciator of found music in the tradition of John Cage. Like, you decide to hear the world around you as music, and thus it is. It’s a thought I’m grateful to have learned early in life, as it’s given me decades of fun and entertainment. I mean the sound of the freeway, right now, airplanes passing and echoing through the city, it’s all music if you want it to be. Easiest thing in the world. So in the cemetery I considered my dad at length, and had what I will call a nice visit with him. What I wasn’t prepared for before he passed, was the absolute permanence his presence would hold with me. At times I miss him terribly of course, but as often, as today, I simply hung out with him. We had coffee and a chat and wandered around, looking at stones carved with the names and dates of fellow travelers.

The history there is endless. You pass one grave and you pass a lifetime of stories. Of love, of struggle, of success and failure, of relationships with so many other souls. And in these gardens there are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of these. I took some pictures and mused, there’s no way my dad could ever walk through a place like that and not take some photographs. I didn’t used to, I was far too lazy to mess with film and develop it. But instant satisfaction from my iPhone? Hell yes. In the course of my walk I realized that I’m doing more things like my dad as I get older, not less. Or maybe I am just noticing them more now. I don’t know. Like I said, he’s here, and that is just a trip. Someone said “What is remembered, lives.” I thought of that today and smiled, what an incredible thing is human memory. It can be awful, too. Best to do things you wont regret! As much as humanly possible.

That’s the 1st one I snapped, that started my little “chat” with my dad. He used to refer disparagingly to movies or TV shows that he found unoriginal, as “Plot number 5.” He maintained that most Hollywood productions followed narrow plot templates and that they were making the same things over and over again. So when he reached a moment where a story seemed rote, he would grump “Plot number 5 again!” and turn it off. So, here we were at plot number 52. Random association and I’m going with it. A “chance event” as John Cage would say.

I am a chance event. Me growing up in Berkeley was a chance event. My parents met in Germany and my dad had been accepted to the Hamburg Conservatory when they got engaged. But he also got accepted to UC Berkeley in the music department, and being that Berkeley was his hometown, it had a certain appeal. There were other factors involved, but my mom once told me it could have been a coin toss, at that point. So my brother and I would have been born in Hamburg. You can’t really describe two more different places in the 1960’s than Berkeley, California and Hamburg, Germany. Either one fine – I love Hamburg, I love Berkeley. Apparently, they had one of the coldest winters in living memory that year in Germany, as they were deciding. And California looked bright and sunny and warm. The Beatles were new and rock and roll was rock and roll, and Kennedy was president and Martin Luther King’s thundering voice was touching the hearts of men and women around the globe. America.

It was a return, for my dad. For my mom, a new adventure. They actually sailed into New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty, after a journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Can you imagine? A few years later they were enjoying the Summer Of Love in Golden Gate Park, and my mom has told me the “Be-In” was the happiest day in San Francisco and all creation. I was there, I was two! I was a two year old hippie.

I wonder, if I had been born in Hamburg, what would be different. Would I be a musician? Would I have different values? How different? Different how? It’s hard to know. My parents would still be their great selves, but how would we all have been different? The thought entertains me.

As I walked among the stones, I marveled at how unique and brilliant a life is. And how random things can seem. One of my favorite John Lennon quotes is, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I recently used that in a new song, actually! Shamelessly took it for the chorus. Works well! Thanks John. Hmm. Three Johns in this post. My dad, Cage, and now Lennon. More chance events.

I’ll publish the aforementioned song. I published “The Laughing Man,” yesterday. It’s about death, and God, really. For an alleged atheist, I sure have been finding God a lot lately. I even capitalize it now, where I used to use a little g. What is it that happens to our souls when we die? Here is my definitive, authoritative, completely certain answer: I don’t know! That’s my religion: not knowing. I could make a church of not knowing. We’d have services where we all chant “I don’t know, I don’t know!”

The sense of impermanence weighs differently when you likely have less days ahead than behind. So I’m publishing my songs while I’m here. Not going to not do it. Because things can tend to go by

When you’re four years old, a year is basically forever. The idea of doing something “next year” was meaningless to me. I lived right in the moment. This little house we lived in on Josephine Street in North Berkeley with its jungle backyard, was a vast universe of wild rumpuses and colors and light and music. God I was lucky to be born where and when I was. And to have such sweet and creative parents. And friends. I’m very grateful.

I’ve got a song on my EP called “Dad.” It’s about my dad. Subtle, no? I wrote it about a year ago and it’s a wild, short punky ride. It has all the love and pain and anguish and glory it ought to have, and it wrote itself very, very fast. I recorded it with Mikey and Bennie (a mini-Uptones if you will!) a week later. That tune was a doorway for me, somehow. Whatever was left of my writers block, was obliterated by that song. See, I love it when OTHER people write personal, soul-searching confessional stuff. But me?! You want to know what’s going on under the hood with me?! Noooooooo!! I write topical stuff, political songs, hell, I only recently wrote my first girls-name song! “Sweet Lacy Anne,” it’s also on my EP. But to delve into the darker scarier inner bits like therapy? To plow the minefields of one’s mind and let out the gnarly bits? I leave it to Bob Dylan. Hell, John Lennon! Dude was fearless about it, just let it all hang out. He’s the most famous person I ever thought I knew personally, just from his work. And after my dad passed, and I wrote that song, I realized that I’m not afraid to do that sort of thing anymore. If it happens to be entertaining, great, but I’m letting it out so it wont stay in here.

It’s a sunny summer day in 2017, fifty years after the Summer of Love. When I was a baby, and a young kid, the Beatles were not just my favorite band, they were my favorite anything. “All You Need Is Love,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “And I Love Her,” Love, Love, Love, Love, Love. What a marvelous message to start ones life to. I’m glad to carry it.

I’m off now to teach some youngsters how to play “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

Oh, there were turkeys at the cemetery. No way my dad would have passed them without taking their picture. Long live rock, be it dead or alive.

Ranty McRantface In The Age Of Contradictory Advice

I love it when other people rant. It’s so entertaining! Myself, not so much. Usually after a rant I feel sheepish and a day or so later want to pull it down. This or that detail was imprecise and maybe this bit hurt someone’s feelings. I really don’t like the idea of bumming anyone out so the tendency might be to never ever talk.

This is contrary to current popular direction, is it not? Ranting is a career choice for many. I think ranting is the act of speaking without thinking. It’s not an intellectual pursuit. It’s “no filter” and other dumb things.

It’s best if executive officers do not rant. The former CEO of Uber ranted his way out. Unlike Rush Limbaugh, he was not rewarded for his ranting. Entertainers can rant and they do. It’s entertaining. Heads of state should not rant. The president should not rant. President Obama never ranted.

The buffoon-in-chief only rants. He’s in the entertainment business and furthers his “brand” and that’s it. What example is set for our kids? I mean this question seriously and I know it’s a discussion widely had among teachers, parents, any reasonable human being – how to frame this firehose of idiocy for our young impressionable beautiful kids.

President Obama set a fantastic example of behavior for men and boys. I’m not talking about his administration’s policies or anything like that now, I’m talking about him. He thinks before he speaks. He researches, he listens, he’s careful, respectful. He demonstrates as any reasonable man should, how we would like our young men and boys to grow up and behave. Now we have the opposite. The exact opposite. How to frame that? How to discuss it with young’uns? “You can grow up and be a scientist, an astronaut, or you can even one day be president of the United States!” Well damb, I’m not saying that this week. This gauche gold-curtained infestation of our nation’s highest office is among other calamities, a dreadful message to our kids. Here, boys and men, is exactly how you should never behave. It was naked and known, in the campaign, no secret. A minority of Americans, via the Electoral College, placed at the helm of state, a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Son, don’t be like that. Do not be like the president of the United States.

A friend once gave me some advice that I try every day to follow. Note I said “try” – for I am by no means a master at this. She basically said it’s best to act skillfully and not impulsively. Basic, simple thing, right? Man, it’s complicated for me. As an artist, I act impulsively, or I don’t create anything. The essence of writer’s block for me, was, simply being a self-editor before I let myself blurt. Fear of judgement, fear of not being good enough, fear of making something that sucks. So I didn’t make anything. I don’t have that problem now, writer’s block is gone from me and I don’t think it will return. I’ve become comfortable finally with the fact that sometimes I love the things I create, and sometimes I don’t. There’s songs I love one day and hate the next. It’s OK.

How must it be to never care? To be so void of self-reflection that you can rant all the time with no regard for truth or the feelings of others? I occasionally listen to AM talk radio when I need to suffer, and look, there’s guys on there, 24/7 for decades now, seething with rage and stupidity and narcissism, setting their example to humanity. It has an effect. They elected their guy. And the sickest part is they just do it for the money. It’s a game, it’s lucrative, Rush Limbaugh is very rich. Who knows what he actually believes? It doesn’t matter. His minions believe his garbage, and turn it into policy with their votes.

This quote from Bertrand Russell has vexed me from the day I read it years ago:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

I wrestle with that every day. As an artist, and as a man. Many of the best things I’ve ever done, the best songs I’ve written, the best solos I’ve played, even some of my rants, have been spontaneous outbursts and I look back on them with pride and no regret. In all caps: THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE!!!! Good lord, no. I’m awash in regrets over some of the things I’ve done and created and said, spontaneously. How to know when to shoot from the hip, and when to stop and reflect, listen, be silent, consider, be careful? I’m working on it. Thought I’d share in case anyone else who may read this, might also struggle in this way. You are not alone! I say a little prayer each morning, hoping to act skillfully, but not censor myself out of existence. And hoping that when I do act impulsively, it’s right and good, and something I can look back upon later and smile, rather than cringe.

Oh, and to my ranting friends, THANK YOU!! You often inspire me, and I love you.

Here’s some thoughtful and calming advice from Bill Hicks.

And here is the Great One:

Rantyface, out.