Monday, January 15, 2018
Sunday, January 14, 2018
It's fun catching up with tunes on Bandcamp by guys and gals I don't get to see much anymore. Last I saw Barry was at a BJ and The Tanks gig in the basement venue Shady Pines on West 11th in Eugene. They played "Give Me Back My Bullets." I love the way this record turns from porch recordings to ambient soundscapes and even mutated country gold. It keeps my attention in a way a whole record of any one of these vibes might not, and the songs are good.
I've circled back to a moment in my life many times, when I was riding in the car with my mom on 291 Hiway by the TG & Y in Liberty. I was older than 4 but younger than 6, I think, and I had been reading books about planets and stars, and I knew intuitively that our car was equal to or interdependent with or not that different from Saturn or a red dwarf star or a galaxy a trillion light years away. I had a big imagination and imagined my Mom and me flying through space in the Impala station wagon, and I reckoned that wasn't really any different than tooling down 291 on errands. I didn't have any sense that God made the car, or that the car was necessarily ordained as a standard psychic attachment point of consensual reality. LIKE A ROCK.
I guess I saw consensual reality and cosmic reality as one thing and then I probably wanted to go to DQ and get a fish sandwich and a cherry mister misty, and wasn't thinking along those lines any more. But I've always come back to that moment as a time I could have gone a number of ways: the dude on the corner talking to a baby doll head was one possible outcome, I guess. You can't see through culture too much, you have to participate, it's like clothing or insulation in a house.
When you call entire countries and cultures "shit-holes" it's such a small, ugly point of view. The complex mysteries of creation and the possibility we can do good things with it are more on my mind than a loudmouthed jerk engaging racists to maintain a burnt-out political party's cynical coalition. Working the margins with attention-seeking blurts between rounds of golf, to maintain a statistical edge.
Jeff Flake moral call-out in 3-2-1...then let's deregulate some banks. It's like a high school basketball team executing a crisp, effective give-and-go. Nothing NCAA or NBA about it.
So there I was, riding in the car with my mom, thinking trippy thoughts that other folks probably have on acid freakouts: we woke up here and we're not exactly sure why and it's scary and wonderful and interconnected and it's a miracle and you got to bring home the bacon and we should do our best and it's fun to ride around town and hang out with Mom. The true "shit-hole" in this news cycle is the cynical, ugly mind of the guy talking.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
SquidsKC are heading into the studio to record an EP soon and I've decided to revert to the old moniker, Dan Jones and The Squids, after confusing everyone in Kansas City with a band that plays mainly old material but has a new name. Considering I work in the world of graphics and branding, you'd think I'd have a better handle on that. I'm merging Facebook pages and will try not to be such a dork.
On other fronts, the Golden Motors did play all new material and we have a record in the can that just needs to be mastered and duplicated. This is one of those major loose ends in life that, when attended to, will probably break loose all hella creative energy. If only we had recorded the gig at Camp Putt. All Shorts Live.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Sunday, January 7, 2018
I've been coagulating some thoughts about social networking and artists and art and stuff. As I sit down here and write, I'm shooting for sweeping meme-worthy generalizations, but mainly it takes a lot of my time and psychic energy to be hooked on social networking. It has been helpful reminding people that I have been creative, have been in the trench and up on stage, and have something to show for it--but all of that is basically yesterday's box score. Bragging isn't good for art, and resting on old work isn't good for art either.
As I've had fun sharing visual art this year, it has been a good fit, in some ways. But overall, I think social networking can end up replacing or undermining creativity. Artists are usually attention-seekers in some way or another, and Facebook satisfies that brain chemical well enough, so why hunker down in solitude or with a group to do the work of making something? What if you miss something on Twitter? Well, making art has always been about missing something because you're busy doing something unique that only you can do. Our world isn't arranged to really encourage that.
On the other hand, Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram can be artful, can be weird, and can be creative and political--so this isn't a manifesto statement. One of the things that truly blows me away about Facebook is that people are writing again. The folks in high school who struggled through composition class are writing 500 word essays in comment sections. People are arguing, using rhetorical strategies. (Some toxic and mean). People who don't write letters are writing long letters to each other in real time. It would be really elitist to say social networking is not a valid creative outlet or means for interesting discourse or staying in touch.
It became really clear after the election of 2016 that automated bot-think really made a difference. I decided I'd post something original every day in my blog--which is a quaint backwater, relative to a Tweet-storm that lasts half a news cycle. I pretty well held to it and saw my blog traffic jump up by a really high percentage. Fast, off-the-cuff visual art is fun, short circuits my tendancy to ruminate, and is easy to share, unlike making an album. I kind of want people to know there's a place they can visit in the digital world where there's always something authentic going on even if it is silly.
I also want to be really aware of the addiction of social networking, and enjoy time with my guitar and pen and notebook again. I have, at this point, like a hundred albums worth of cover art.