November 16, 14:24
The Sonic Sanctuary
Happy Birthday, Baelana.
How do I have an 18-year-old daughter? It boggles the mind. But here we are. And while she goes through what I’m told is pretty typical 18 y/o girl stuff, I can only stand by and wait to see where I fit into the picture. It hasn’t been fully explained to me yet.
The cloud over my head is finally lifting. Pretty much killed the weekend. I’m sure a small part of it was fatigue from last week’s road trip. But there is no real need to go anywhere now, which makes me fairly happy. Even if there was somewhere to go, it wouldn’t be in my best interest to try and go there. Outside, the city is beginning a voluntary lockdown due to COVID. Unfortunately, it looks pretty much the same outside now as it did a few days ago. People aren’t gonna learn. We’re gonna be stuck in this for awhile.
My sister and I have already called off our Thanksgiving plans. I don’t harbor much hope for Christmas, either. But it’s out of my hands. I’m doing my part. We’ll just have to see if the rest of the world decides to join in.
Today’s Big Bit of Adulting came in the form of a consultation towards shades. I love my view, but it presents a glare problem where my television is concerned. So I endeavor to fix it. Plus, it will add yet another level of “adulthood” to my home, which I thoroughly enjoy.
Meanwhile, new music makes its way to me for review. The good things about reviewing music is I get to hear a lot of artists I would otherwise never know about. The bad thing about it is I rarely have time to become a true fan and follow that musician’s career path. There are too many other artists vying for my time. It’s a good problem to have, to be certain. But a problem all the same.
November 17, 10:34
The Eye Doctor
I didn’t get my glasses quite right last time. I love the frame, but the prescription is a tad off. This is made all the more frustrating when I think about how much I paid for them.
Friends have recommended Warby Parker, so here I am. Even before my appointment, I’m thrilled. I can get the frame, my prescription, AND a Transitions lens for $300 LESS than I paid for the glasses on my head. I’ve wanted sunglasses for ages, and I can finally go back there again. Of course, this also makes me furious where my current glasses are concerned. Lesson learned.
Had a great Zoom-based “Happy Hour” last night with Erik and the guys in Sons of Ra. It was strictly social, so there were plenty of laughs and lots of great discussion to be had. Hope we get to do that again soon.
November 18, 12:34
The Laundry Room
How I’ve gone this long without washing clothes is a mystery. Or not. I have a LOT of socks.
The morning read was followed by cleaning up and making my way here. Writing work awaits me. And I’m trying out a few new bands for possible addition to my musical world.
I’ve also found a solution to a serious problem nobody asked me to resolve. Still, I think it would be helpful. I plan to bounce it off a couple of people soon.
Where else would I be?
Actual writing has been taking place in the form of reviews. It’s a good sign. It tells me I’m continuing to settle in to the new digs. Listening, making notes (which usually have to be hand-written), and articulating thoughts. I confess: I have been spinning my wheels a lot of late. But I can feel those wheels starting to turn again. It’s a process.
A disappointing curry dinner will not deter me from making further progress. Dinner is becoming a bit of an issue. My cooking has been so-so at best lately. DoorDash is far too expensive. I need to take a step back and rediscover my game. I enjoy cooking. I need to get back to doing it right.
I’m hearing some fascinating music.
November 20, 00:05
The Captain’s Chair
Happy Birthday, Sara.
Up far too late Wednesday night, which turned Thursday into a bit of a loss. There was a late writing rally, but nothing hugely substantial. Fortunately, I’m already a bit sleepy. I hope to be out again within an hour.
The book train is back on track. Interviews are coming in and potential connections are being made. Some of my non-book interviews are shaping up as well. The urge to go full-on music journalist is getting close. I’ve been saying that for days, I’m sure. But this feels different. Maybe it’s the second lockdown. Then again, I hope not. Being stuck in place has made things more difficult than I thought it would. Strange how that kind of thing flows.
The Captain’s Chair
A fairly full day. And for the first time, I got to spend the afternoon doing what I moved up here for.
Today’s activities revolves around Sons of Ra. Erik invited me to a video shoot featuring him and Keith Wakfield, the band’s bassist. I was a bit surprised to realize it was my first time on a video set for such a thing.
They were being recorded by Doozy, a couple of nice photographers I plan to get to know a lot better.
Once that work was done, I was called in to conduct an interview with the chaps.
I hadn’t written any questions down before we started. I already knew our chemistry would be fine and I had a couple of inquiries in my head. From there, things just flowed. This is not a method I would use with every interview. I just had a hunch it would work this time. Fortunately, I was right.
This is why I moved. This is what I want to do with the rest of my days. Once we get past The Bug, this is how I can spend my time: talking to musicians about music, writing about, podcasting about it, maybe coming up with a small lecture series. I don’t know. The point is, I’ve never felt more in my element. A duck in water, as it were. It never occurred to me to worry or be nervous, because I knew what I was doing. And for once, I actually knew it.
Here’s hoping that feeling never fades.
In today’s mail, this remarkable tome. Any time I think I’m obsessed with an artist or band, it takes about two seconds to find someone on the next level. I thought I loved Frank Zappa, but Charles Ulrich is on a COMPLETELY different plane.
Perhaps they should have named this the Encyclopedia Zappa-tanica, as it contains every little detail about every single one of Frank’s records. Seriously … it boggles the mind. It’s not a biography. It’s a reference book. And I’m thrilled to have it in my collection.
Naturally, this spurs me to listen to Zappa, which I do as I read.
November 22, 14:03
The gloom outside is being reflected inside as well, to a certain extent. The new day dawned with me waking from a dream involving trying to share a meal with three people who once meant the world to me, but their roles have since been significantly diminished. While at the table, I struggled horribly to get a napkin from the metal dispenser (are those still a thing?), which led me to take out my frustrations on a nearby vending machine. I left the eatery to walk directly to a small town police station, where I turned myself in for property damage.
It was pointed out to me that I must be dealing with some kind of internal struggle. It’s the best interpretation I’ve heard so far, as I have been dealing with something personal and difficult.
Sunday breakfast didn’t help matters. A new home means new appliances. And that means getting to know said appliance. My oven and I don’t quite see eye to eye when it came to biscuits.
The same can be said for my new toaster, as we have very different ideas about what the “medium” setting means.
The struggle is real.
Jazz is helping. Coltrane, Kamasi Washington, and now Joe Pass, whom I haven’t given nearly enough credit to over the years. What an amazing guitarist he was!
A light nap seems to have helped as well.
Time to read, as my interest in today’s football games is cursory, at best.
Fresh food arrives, and I reminded that my refrigerator organizational skills are complete and utter crap. To say nothing of being reminded of the things I forgot. Sigh …
I posted this fiasco on my Facebook page, and a dear friend rode to the rescue. Order had been restored.
Spent a good chunk of the afternoon organizing the metric ton of promo albums sent to me for review. CirdecSongs days are about to become very busy, indeed.
And I found an interview with Bernie Worrell I was unaware of. Guess I know how I’ll be spending a couple of hours tonight.
November 24, 17:38
The Reverberation Station
This behemoth arrived in the mail today, so I am spending a small chunk of my evening with it. This will go on for several days, off and on.
I went back and forth on getting this for some time. In the end, I decided that if I’m declaring King Crimson one third of my Musical Holy Trinity, then I owe it to them to hear where it all began. And it can be argued that both this band and progressive rock began here. So, why not?
Spent part of the afternoon pouring over swatches, ultimately decided on the shades I want for each room in the new home. I’m not gonna lie: I’m rather excited by them. They’ll mark a major stride in putting the rest of my home together.
It seemed most logical to bounce them off the most dominant furniture in each room. In the end, I think my mother would be pleased.
November 27, 19:41
The Reverberation Station
King Crimson a la 1969 thunders away, this time from the Fillmore East. This was a serious band! That it spawned a genre’s worth of bands makes quite a bit of sense.
I’ve been trying to figure out the “old school” proggers. The ones who seem hopelessly stuck between ’69 and ’74. Yeah, there was some great music made during that era. It is more than worthy of respect. But the music kept going after that, even if punk did seem to stomp all over it for a bit.
More importantly, there are some amazing prog-driven bands out there now, whose sound had little to do with the early era. Yet so many fans have blown them right off. They can’t get away from that “carnival” sound. And that’s too bad. They’re missing out.
My new glasses arrived today. They look pretty much like the old ones, but the prescription is more efficient. And tomorrow I can try out the sunglasses mode.
Took a little time to move Ongaku to the larger pot in an effort to give him a little room to breathe.
He’s a little crooked, which stirs up the military OCD. But I’ll let it go, for now. As long as there’s growth, I’ll be ok.
It occurs to me I never discussed Thanksgiving. Probably because there wasn’t a ton to it. It took 10 minutes each to prepare and clean up from my meal, even if I did use a few more dishes than usual. I was truly thankful to see the appliances and I are beginning to understand one another.
There was a pleasant Zoom call with old friends, and a reunion call with a buddy I haven’t spoken to in more than a decade. It was nice to reconnect.
Since the overhaul, nearly every musical experience is a new one. This is particularly true of older music. Tonight I found myself experiencing Brand X as though it were something completely foreign to virgin ears. The sound quality of the vinyl was simply stunning. The depth of the bass, the crispness of the drums, the punchy midrange of the guitars … it’s hard to believe all that information had been in there all this time.
For now, I wind down with reading and a little opera.
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell
Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org