Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Art of Bill Saunders, News from the Grammys, Deep Blue by David Niall Wilson

So as I mentioned yesterday, my son, Eric, also is drummer for a wonderful Captain Beefheart tribute band founded by Bill Saunders, a/k/a Doctor Dark. When we visited Bill at his home last fall and I saw his artwork, I fell in love and have been meaning to showcase some of his paintings here for some time. Now is as good a time as any, huh. I have lots more pictures and I hear there are some great stories behind each painting -- I just need to get them from Bill! Or, if you are interested in hearing them first hand from the artist, there is contact information on his website. Cool? Cool.

Amazing, though, how many musicians and writers are also talented artists. Just off the top of my head: John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, and John Entwistle. I made John a link because you should really go visit his site -- there's a wonderful memorial to him where there are several stories from "regular" people who've met him; there's artwork and CDs for sale, etc. I went to John's opening at an art gallery in Philadelphia about a year before his death...he was sitting in a loft like second floor peering down at us...apparently his hearing was so bad at that point that the sounds coming from crowds of people upset him terribly and the only way we could have a one on one meeting with him would be to buy a painting and have him personalize it. Weird. Who would want a personalized painting? It's one thing to have an autographed book from Neil Gaiman (ha ha), but to have "To Robin, Love, John" on a painting? Bleh! Anyway, when he realized everyone else pretty much felt the same, especially as his paintings started in the thousands, he eventually came down and joined the crowd with earplugs.

And if you're not hip to his solo album with Joe Walsh, oh my God, you are missing a classic from your collection. It's called Too Late The Hero and I've provided you with my absolute favorite place to buy hard to find CDs on line, Djangos. Too Late The Hero is a song which will give you chills, but I'm partial to another song on the CD called "Talk Dirty". (Big surprise) and "Try Me", which has lyrics I naturally adore and if you know me personally, you'll see why when I give you a little taste now:

I can tell by the smile you're trapped in
You've been smoking your breakfast again
Real life specimen, Space Captain
Know where to stop but you don't know when.

Try me, I could be all that you need to get high
Try me, I don't promise to teach you to fly
Try me, I could be all that you need to get high
Try me, I don't promise to teach you to fly.

Yeah, so all I need is to meet a "Me". Ha ha -- just kidding. No, really, I am. But I can never resist a cheap joke.

Speaking of music, one of my pals attended the Grammys last night because he played keyboards on a nominated song. He may not want me to identify him because of the nature of his "playful" e-mail, so I'll keep him anonymous....but here's what he had to say:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Well, ----- didn't win and neither did Nickel Creek. However, I really had an AMAZING time at the Grammys tonight. It was really excellent! There were so many great performances and not very many lame ones.

The performances I enjoyed the most were by U2 with Mary J. Blige doing "One," Bruce Springsteen playing "Devils & Dust" by himself, Kelly Clarkson was stunning, Paul McCartney played "Helter Skelter" which made me freak out because I LOVE that song so much, and then Linkin Park took the stage with Jay-Z and eventually Paul McCartney and they did "Yesterday" which was also really amazing. I also enjoyed seeing Madonna.

So I had a really great time. And no, _____ didn't win, and neither did Nickel Creek, and sadly, Kanye West did manage to win a couple, but I had an excellent time and I hope that I will have the honor of attending again in the near future. And I can still say that I played on a song that was NOMINATED for a Grammy and that's still pretty freaking cool.

The end.

Music is the best.

P.S. The lamest thing Kanye did, which wasn't on the telecast, was that after he lost for "Record of the Year," he walked around the stage trying to get people to cheer for him.

So that's from my Grammy nominated pal, straight from the event last night. Pretty wild, huh?

I'm gonna forgive him for loving Kelly Clarkson and Madonna, etc. because he's only 27 years old and he's an amazing, amazing musician...but otherwise, I'd be giving him major shit about that. And ugh, have I mentioned how much I loathe Bruce Springsteen? Oh well. Nobody's perfect, not even my aforesaid talented pal.

I also really, really despise U2 and can't believe they won 5 Grammys...wait a second, this is a country who voted for George Bush, Sr. and Jr. so I guess I can believe anything.

In other news, readers of this blog will recall my bizarre "encounter" with author David Niall Wilson a couple of days ago and David is now my e-mail buddy. I am in the middle of reading his wonderful, wonderful book, Deep Blue.

Here's a synopsis:

Brandt is a down-and-out guitarist and vocalist who believes his life has hit rock bottom. He can barely make the rent on his apartment, he drinks so much he can barely make it to the crappy gig that keeps his band afloat, let alone play when he gets there. When he leaves the bar one dark night with a bottle of Jose Cuervo in one hand and his guitar case in the other, he finds he's locked out of his apartment with nowhere to go. As he stands alone in the dark and feeling sorry for himself, he hears a lone harmonica being played in the distance. The sound is deep and powerful, and something in the music draws him away from his doorway and into an old alley where the homeless gather around garbage-can fires. What he finds there is the harmonica player -- an old black man who can play the blues like Brandt dreams of doing himself. When he begs the old man to teach him, Brandt finds that he has been both gifted and cursed.

Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about Deep Blue:

In this engrossing, poetic novel of spiritual evil and the possibility of salvation from Wilson (This Is My Blood), a burned-out musician, Brandt, is playing in an obscure band when he hears a homeless black man, Wally, play the purest blues on the harmonica he has ever heard, music that encapsulates all the pain of the world. Brandt begs Wally to teach him how to play the same way. He disregards Wally's warning that he would have to take the pain into himself, and then play to purge it lest it consume him. Brandt's performance that evening changes the lives of his fellow band members. Together they discover that they can play not to wake the dead but to settle restlessly roaming spirits. Opposing them is a sinister figure masquerading as a man of God, who wishes the pain to go on and on. As Brandt and the other band members slowly and convincingly come to realize that a larger world surrounds them, Wilson demonstrates that a horror novel doesn't need gallons of blood to succeed, that spiritual terror can be even more effective.

Of course once I finish up reading I'll have more to add as well, but if you do nothing else today, buy this book, pick up the Entwistle CD, and get in touch with Bill Saunders a/k/a Doctor Dark about his amazing artwork.

Trust me - you'll end up having an awesome time.