One of my biggest strengths (and weaknesses) is persistence. I have been told several times that I “don’t know when to quit.” That can be either a good thing or a bad thing, I guess, depending on the circumstances. I may have setbacks, which slow me down, change how I do things, or have to fight with my own brain, sometimes. But, I still keep trying.
A really cool drummer guy has unfriended me on FB and dropped out of our FB group. Admittedly, it is entirely my fault. I have been lost in my own headspace again, losing touch with everybody for too long. He feels like I have used and neglected him, which wasn’t my intention at all. I honestly get fixated on one thing or another and lose track of everything else. It happens to me all of the time. Does that make me a bad person or just a bad friend?
My social skills are shit and my behavior can sometimes be erratic.
So, I don’t think being in bands long-term are ever gonna work out for me.
It never does. But, the music scene is just about the only social life that I have, playing with other musicians, performing at gigs, etc. So, I guess doing short-term projects with other people is the only way I’m going to remain active in that community. I mean, I’m stubborn. I know this shit isn’t going to work out. But, I keep doing it anyway. Maybe admitting that, to myself, is the only way for me to move forward with anything.
Hello, I received a message from David Liebe Hart, from the Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! He finally raised enough funds to publish the comic book that I and others contributed to several months ago. The text is below, if you are interested.
Hello friends of David. We are excited to announce the Kickstarter campaign for our comic book, Heartman, starring David as the superhero who, along with his sidekick Chip, must save the universe from his evil nemesis Dr. Pain. Each of the beautiful 44 pages is illustrated by a different artist including DLH himself. With about 5 days to go we’ve reached our goal to raise enough money to order 250 full-color, finely crafted copies for $1500. You can order your David-signed copy now. There are also some exclusive rewards for donating extra $. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/884844058/david-liebe-hart-of-tim-and-eric-in-heartman-comic
August’s west coast tour will go from San Diego CA to Bellingham WA, and will have David joined by a 3-piece space-rock band led by Mo Troper. September-October’s tour, ranging from Las Vegas to Detroit to Boise, will feature me, Jonah, playing David’s backing music and video projection, along with support acts Chip The Black Boy and Whatever Your Heart Desires. Details and tickets for all the shows will gradually be updated at http://ArtByLiebeHart.com/shows in the coming weeks, but at the bottom of this I’ll paste complete details for the August shows.
I’m not dead, yet. Just thought I would remind everybody….who gives a shit. Family members sometimes call me every couple of months, to be sure that I haven’t passed away, unnoticed, since I keep to myself a lot. I can’t really blame them.
Anyhow, been stressing myself out to get things done and, counterintuitively, I got less actually done. I talked with a motivational coach about this, a few weeks ago. Getting an outside perspective sometimes helps. I have considered finding a new therapist, not having seen one in several years. But, this consultation was free. So, I tried him out first.
Basically, he suggested I break the problems I’m having down into more manageable pieces, working my way up to bigger chunks as I feel better. Most importantly, I just need to take my time, take my mind off what’s bothering me, and come back to what I’m doing later – when I feel like doing it. So, I’ve been spending more time with some hobbies, trying to chill the fuck out. Financially, I’m back in the hole again. That is adding some of the stress that I’m feeling, lately. I’m trying not to let it get to me, though. I’m trying to have fun… if I can remember how.
I have been rearranging my daily schedule, after I fell off of it for awhile. I missed doing a lot of things that I wanted to do. Maybe this will make it easier for me to stick to my plans and build better habits. We will see.
On a side note, I have been playing along with a FB request to list my top 10 albums. I am enjoying that. I thought about listing my favorite music videos, afterward. But, why wait? I will just list them here for you. I have different reasons for liking each one. These are chosen for being the best music videos overall, not just because I like the songs. It began as a Top 10. But, I kept adding more. Maybe I’ll do another one of these, sometime in the future.
Commander Cody – Two Triple Cheese Side Order of Fries
Barnes & Barnes – Fish Heads
The Residents – Third Reich + One-Minute Movies (Moisture, Act of Being Polite, Perfect Love, The Simple Song) It was a toss-up. They’re both good.
Billy Joel – Pressure
Cyndi Lauper – She Bop
Weird Paul & Ben Blanchard – Maybe You’ll Find Some In the Garbage
ZZ Top – TV Dinners
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Voivod – Psychic Vacuum
Twisted Sister – Be Chrool To Your Scuel (ft. Alice Cooper, Brian Setzer, and Billy Joel)
Van Halen – Hot For Teacher + David Lee Roth – Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody (I couldn’t decide between these two, either. It was a tie)
I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.
As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.
The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.
I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.
The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way, it shares some similarities to The Banana Splits, The Archies, or Green Jellö.Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.
I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.
My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.
I thought I would give you some GOOD news, for a change.
My van has been returned and drives better than it did before. My aunt loaned me enough money for the tire. I think they tightened something up to stop the wheel from wobbling. It helps. But, I got an estimate for repairs to the damaged tie rod and related issues that still need fixing. I do not think I can do this by myself. It looks like more than I can handle. The van still has trouble starting up. Someone said that the teeth on the starter may be worn out. I have a new one to replace it with. I couldn’t get the old one off. It is too tight and I’m not strong enough. But, it doesn’t have as much of a transmission problem as it did before. That could just be because they added enough fluid to it, finally.
My bank account balance is not in the red for the first time in months! I think I’m finally catching up, at least a little bit.
I’ve gotten a bunch of new pen pal letters, lately. I’m looking forward to replying to all of this mail. I’ve also been mentioned by some very prominent YouTubers, lately (Wow!). Maybe I’ll get more traffic on my site.
I have found and fixed my webcam problem. It was a system glitch. Not sure yet if I will include a vlog with today’s blog. Maybe I will post one after I finish this new painting I’m working on.
Today’s song from my collection is a Nirvana cover by Flipper. Enjoy!
“All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I’m an additive person—the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can’t see the connections, but they are there.” ~ John Zorn
“Cute, cool, and creepy”, is how I have been described by some folks.
Usually, I am classified by my contemporaries as an outsider artist-musician.
Davin Brainard (time Stereo) and Warren DeFever (His Name Is Alive) observed that I do not intentionally TRY to be perceived as weird, that I just naturally AM….. making comparisons to Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston. I guess that I will just go along with those descriptions.
Music, Art, and Noise /
Videos, Movies, and Multi-Media /
Voice, Tapes, and Reed Trumpet /
Bass, Baritone, and other Guitars /
Keyboards, Computers, and Custom-Made Instruments /
Plunderphonics, Electronics and Junkyard Percussion
I enjoy creating what I refer to as “Prog-Punk Noise-Rock”, a strange pastiche of styles tied together. I have collaborated with plenty of other artists over the years with wide degrees of proficiency in many genres.
I have been obsessively into art and music my whole life; drawing, painting, playing with tape recorders and making noise. I built my first guitar from a badly beaten-up body & neck that I found in someone’s trash. A friend’s dad gave me the electrical guts from an unknown 1950’s guitar. Additional parts were improvised from pieces of found junk and purchased from a music store.
When I was a twelve year old kid, back in the 1980’s, I was just a runt of the Detroit hardcore punk / heavy metal scene . Lacking enough money to buy any good equipment, I purchased a cheap microphone at a pawn shop, built a homemade mic stand, and passed myself off as a vocalist. I sang in whatever groups that I could find, gaining experience and learning whatever that I could. Mostly, it was shitty cover bands, playing in basements, getting yelled at by uninvited drunks that we suck. Eventually, I improved my bass & guitar skills, playing in many short-lived groups that went nowhere.
I was a writer / photographer for The Jam Rag, a widely-read local music paper, while still a teenager and made friends with other artists along the way. During the 1990’s I was a cameraman, roadie, and occasional collaborator with Princess Dragon-Mom, Mog Stunt Team, His Name Is Alive, etc.. I also performed in a few experimental noise groups; Bionics, Edible Audio, Fresh Farm Raised Catfish, etc.
The Island of Misfit Noise began in the summer of 1998 with only Mystic MarshaKat and myself. She played keyboards & guitar (classically trained) and I played bass & guitar (mostly self-taught). Both of us were former members of N2-Submission, the backing band for our then-roommate The Impaler “Detroit’s Vampire Poet.”Our duo’s name changed a couple of times, before settling on the IOMN. Other musicians came and went during a period of 15 years, with she & I being the only constant members of the group. She also left in early 2013. MarshaKat and I remain friends. She may continue to assist in some capacity, just not as a full-time band member.
I resurrected the IOMN as a recording project in late 2014, with collaborators from Michigan to Australia. We exchanged material back-and-forth until some music was completed. The style that we made is very freeform. A few collaborators from the IOMN have joined me in other projects. Some of them have experience in film & television and are producing low-budget movies with me.
For years, I tried to arrange having dual drummers play together in a band. We managed to do it a few times, which was great while it lasted. Most drummers are not into that, though.
I always needed to be collaborating with somebody, whether an individual or a group. It gave me confidence and motivation. I would bounce ideas off of bandmates, get a feel for their capabilities and preferences, to find which direction that we were going in. I depended a lot on their input to filter my ideas through. I was always looking for feedback, trying to be as democratic as possible. But, this approach slowed us down. In hindsight, it was a mistake, like driving a car with the parking brake on.
I tried for ages to put a band together. But, I could never manage it for very long. After years of trial-and-error, I have come to the conclusion that I simply lack the necessary social skills to keep a stable group together. I am focusing primarily on composition and recording, for the time being. I will return to live performance when I am certain that the project won’t immediately disintegrate. Assembling the right line-up and keeping it intact is a big obstacle for me. I would like to eventually have a live group again. At minimum, I would prefer having (at least) a decent drummer to accompany me. I get uneasy being on stage alone. But, an ideal line-up would include:
Myself on bass, vocals, and tapes.
A creative drummer. Someone who is comfortable playing with additional percussionists, drum machines, noise, or other unusual stuff.
Maybe two guitarists who could also contribute more percussion, keyboards, samplers, vocals, or whatever other talents they may possess.
Maybe I will just go back to replacing musicians as I go along…. again.
Some of my current projects;
Island of Misfit Noise is an ongoing multimedia project, begun in 1998 as a musical group, with a constantly rotating membership. It has since expanded into no-budget film-making, music videos, and a series of comics. I will continue to add material to this as I go along, with additional collaborators. There are no other permanent group members. Live performances are very unlikely.
Theee Urban SpaceCat (Cassette-Zine) is a publication of my artwork, ramblings, stories, correspondences, miscellaneous found objects, music, commentary, and anything else packaged with a cassette tape or compact disc of my recordings… whatever they may be. It is an outlet for all of my artistic endeavors, combined into one package, modeled after decades of correspondence with my friends. I wish to publish an issue every three or four months. The lack of adequate funding has rendered publication more sporadic than originally intended, though. I’m posting digital versions online until I can get enough cash together for printing physical copies. So, they will be available, eventually. But, I have no idea when.
Mike Damn Nobody is my experimental noise project; incorporating tape loops, circuit-bending, custom instruments, and anything else available to make a racket with. Live events have a more chaotic theatrical presentation than my other projects. Recordings are available on RecycleTapes (homemade cassettes, from re-purposed materials) and digital download formats.
Mike Nobody Superstar is just me, by myself, performing somewhere with my crazy setup as a one-man-band. I’ll make that work, somehow, for now. This doesn’t apply to other Mike Nobody output.
MykNobody is an alternate spelling sometimes used when I’m painting or making other art, just because.
Over time, I have received some frequently asked questions. So, I will add this below, if anybody really wants to know:
Gear Geek Stuff:
I don’t have a rehearsal space, just a tiny apartment that serves as my home-based studio/office (aka The Spacejunk UFO). Recordings done here have an unpolished lo-fi production sound, as a by-product of makeshift equipment used.
I have two multi-track machines;
one cassette (Tascam 488 MKII 8-track Portastudio)
one digital (Roland VS-1688 Digital Audio Workstation)
On my computer, I use whatever freeware programs that are available online. Mostly, it is used for sampling and drum machine programming. Two old broken boomboxes serve as studio monitors. I also collect various types of tape recorders (cassette, micro-cassette, reel-to-reel, 8-track, etc).
I prefer recording electrical instruments directly, via preamps or cabinet emulators, and mic-ing up an ambient “room sound” for acoustic tracks. Analog tape is good for getting a saturated compression sound, well-suited to percussion instruments or creating tape noises. Digital is good at getting a cleaner sound. I record the bulk of my material at home. My original plan was to lay basic tracks on tape, bounce them to digital for overdubs, then take the tracks to someone else for mixing & mastering (maybe at a higher quality studio with a good engineer) or figure out how to do it myself.
I don’t have very high quality microphones;
A modified telephone receiver, with an XLR jack installed
an old abused Radio Shack mic from the 1980’s
another stolen from a karaoke machine
two USB microphones, from Guitar Hero, I think
several consumer-grade tape recorder mics from the 1960’s-1970’s
My bass / guitar setup has evolved over time into an unusual hybrid rig, splitting the instrument signal three ways, combined with various effects into a “sonic sandwich”;
one through a bass amp (SWR)
one through a lead guitar amp (Marshall)
one direct to mixer (Line 6 POD)
Miscellaneous samples and noise collages are prepared on cassette tapes and played back with a pair of foot-controlled Dictaphone machines fed directly into the mixer.
I have two basses;
1987 Guild Pilot with Kahler tremolo. I use recycled copper/nylon picks, for more attack and articulation.
Jay Turser copy of a Höfner’ 500/1 violin “Beatle Bass”, like Paul McCartney’s. I use this shorter-scale bass mainly for cleaner finger-playing techniques.
I have two guitars;
Line 6 Variax, to achieve a wide variety of tones.
Ibanez RX60, with a Seymour Duncan Humbucker I installed at the bridge. I regularly use it for alternate tuning, usually tuned-down like a baritone.
Two other guitars are currently on loan;
BC Rich Masterpiece
Ovation 12-string Acoustic
I prefer Ground Roundwound strings, for their smooth feel – yet bright tone. Stainless steel armored instrument cables are also very durable and minimize ground noise.
I built a homemade drum kit, affectionately referred to as The ShitKit. It is a hodgepodge of crappy drum parts acquired from thrift stores with a collection of scrap metal junk added, for a clunkier sound.
I have a Korg M3 music workstation synthesizer, as well as a bunch of cheaper keyboards and electronics to mess around with. I don’t understand how to use everything it is capable of. I need to continue reading the manual.
My collection of effect pedals and rackmounted gear varies. I have sold things when I needed money really bad. I have fried others beyond salvage. Sometimes, I can replace these. Sometimes, I can’t.
My attempts at custom-building circuit-bent & experimental instruments have yielded mixed results. I can get some interesting sounds out of them, if the darn things don’t self-destruct first.
I also have ideas for some custom basses & guitars that I would like to get professionally made. Adding other instruments to my arsenal would be fantastic.
My songwriting style is a mix of eclectic influences juxtaposed together. I like combining a bit of everything, when I can.
Sometimes it is harmonious.
Sometimes it is schizophrenic.
Sometimes it is simple and accessible.
Sometimes it is noisy and irritating
It can be almost anything, depending on the song. I am writing within three basic categories;
Solo: material that I can play alone without additional players.
Band: material that requires other musicians to perform live.
Album: material that is very difficult or impossible to be played live at all, created solely for recordings.
Lyrics are kind of an afterthought for me. I’ll write down any ideas I get and go back to them later if I am working on something. But, music comes first. Lyrics might be personal or political. They may be strange and surreal. Overall, it is “the little world”, “the big world”, and the creative use of language. Generally, the more abstract the music is, the more abstract the lyrics are as well. I like leaving things a little open to interpretation rather than always being explicit.
I’m a huge record collector and music fan. I love attempts at all genres and styles – constantly finding inspiration from albums that are just all over the map … and I’m all about that. I’m all about diversity. I’ve played with musicians from many genres. Everything in my output is interconnected. It just comes out mixed-together, filtered through whatever resources available. It’s a bit like combining Frank Zappa’s Freak Out List and the Nurse with Wound list into one mutation! Rock & roll is the glue holding it together. Some notable influences include;
Bebe and Louis Barron
Jared Warren (KARP, Big Business, Melvins)
Big City Orchestra
Bipolar Gentlemen + Toxic Water
Nick Blinko (Rudimentary Peni)
Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic)
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
William S. Burroughs
Robert Smith (The Cure)
Brian May (Queen)
Brian Wilson (Beach Boys)
Buzz Osbourne (Melvins)
Captain Beefheart (The Magic Band)
Billy Childish (Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, Thee Milkshakes)
Chris Squire (Yes)
Chuck Mosley (Faith No More, Bad Brains)
Cliff Burton (Metallica)
“Colonel Tom” Parker
Comets on Fire
Cop Shoot Cop
Lux Interior & Poison Ivy Rorschach (The Cramps)
D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles)
Dale Flattum (Steel Pole Bath Tub, Tumor Circus, Milk Cult)
David Grohl (Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper)
Destroy All Monsters
Gerald Casale (Devo)
Bob Log III (Doo Rag)
Doug Henderson (Krackhouse, Spongehead)
Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys, Beck)
East Bay Ray & Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles Records)
The Electrifying Mojo (Charles Johnson)
Evolution Control Committee
Fat Mike (NOFX)
Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips)
Flying Saucer Attack
Frank Zappa (Mothers of Invention)
Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre)
Geddy Lee (Rush)
Geezer Butler & Toni Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Gene Simmons & Ace Frehley (KISS)
Berry Gordy (Motown Records, The Last Dragon)
Greg Ginn & Kira Roessler (Black Flag)
Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, Riot grrrl zine)
Helios Creed (Chrome)
Hide (Ultra Bidé)
Ian Mackaye (Minor Theat, Fugazi)
Iggy Pop & The Stooges
Invented Thing Quartet
Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report)
Jad Fair (1/2 Japanese, Strobe Talbot)
Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
Duane Denison & David Wm. Sims (Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard)
Jojo Hiroshige (Hijokaidan, Alchemy Records)
Joey Agresta (Joey Pizza Slice, Son of Salami, Salami Junior)
Joey Shithead Keithley (D.O.A.)
John Bonham & Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
John Entwistle (The Who)
John Oswald (Plunderphonics)
John S. Hall & Bradford Reed (King Missile)
John Zorn (Naked City, Painkiller)
Juan Garcia Esquivel
Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening, K Records, Dub Narcotic Sound System)
Kevin Rutmanis (The Cows, Melvins, Hepa/Titus)
Kramer (New York Gong, Shimmy Disc Records, Bongwater)
Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone, Graham Central Station)
Larry Mondello Band
Kevin Strickland & Larissa Strickland (Laughing Hyenas)
Lemmy Kilmister (Motörhead, Hawkwind)
Legendary Stardust Cowboy
Les Claypool (Primus, Sausage, Oysterhead)
Lightning Bolt + Black Pus
Lisa “Suckdog” Carver
The Los Angeles Free Music Society
Christian Vander (Magma)
Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols, New York Dolls)
Malcolm Young & Angus Young (AC/DC)
Marc Bolan (T. Rex)
Mark Sandman (Morphine)
Jason Martin (Brown Cuts Neighbors, Power Animal System)
Masahiko Ohno (Solmania)
Hal McGee (Dog As Master, Cause And Effect cassette label, Haltapes)
Curt Kirkwood & Cris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets)
Ichirou Agata (Melt-Banana)
Masami Akita (Merzbow)
Gary Modlinski (Junkie Munky, The Mod)
Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk)
Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE)
Bill T. Miller (Orgy of Noise, Out of Band Experience, Kings of Feedback)
My Bloody Valentine
Nihilist Spasm Band
No-Neck Blues Band
Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black)
Pat Smear (Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers, Melvins)
Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop)
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
John Spencer Blues Explosion
R. Stevie Moore
Robert Fripp (King Crimson, Fripp & Eno)
Rob Wright & John Wright (NoMeansNo, Hanson Brothers)
Roky Erikson (13th Floor Elevators)
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band
Corey Rusk (Necros, Touch and Go Records)
Greg Sage (Wipers)
Scott Lucas (Local H)
Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh)
Shannon Selberg (The Cows, Heroine Sheiks)
Six Finger Satellite
Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
The Space Lady (Susan Dietrich Schneider)
Stan Lee & Leonard Graves Phillips (The Dickies)
Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever, Animal Logic)
Russ Stedman (Teenage Slots, Minor 2049er)
Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac)
Sun City Girls
Sun Ra & His Arkestra
Syd Barrett & Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
Tall Dwarfs / Toy Love
Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, Zeni Geva)
Hound Dog Taylor
They Might Be Giants
Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy, The Greedies)
Tom Morello & Tim Commerford (Rage Against The Machine)
I will play almost any instrument available to me. I might not be good at it. But, I’ll play it anyway. My attempts at drumming have been pitiful. My foot coordination is terrible. I finally ended up positioning the bass drum sideways, playing it timpani-style.
My vocal type is in the Low Tenor / High Baritone range, kinda high and nasally. But, I give it a little growl on the low end. Sometimes, I will incorporate wordless vocalization, mouth sounds, crooning, screeching, gurgling, whispering, screams, babbling, and electronic effects. It gives it more variety and masks my natural voice a little bit, which I’ve never liked very much.
My guitar / bass playing skills are, pretty good, not virtuoso… but still, pretty good. Both are pretty similar. My techniques aren’t meant for showing off, just to be used as an accent. I believe that I’m a better bassist than a guitarist and a better composer than a musician.
I used to tape our band’s jam sessions in their entirety, take that material home, then edit it into a foundation for songs. I’m not such a great improviser when multiple people are in the room, unless it is chaotic noise. I prefer composing alone, instead. It is probably better if I record things by myself, give it to others, let them pick out what they like, add their parts to it, and vice-versa.
I visualize music as abstract sounds, in waves, shapes and colors… like a rainbow oscilloscope. Tape editing / manipulation is often used as a compositional tool. Sheet music feels a little too rigid to me. I will sometimes score parts out on paper where I think it is appropriate, like on percussion instruments. Sometimes, I’ll jam riffs onto demos and pick out the best ones later. Sometimes, I’ll sing everything a capella, bang on junk, make noises, and interpret it later. On rare occasions, I’ve had entire songs pop into my head while I scramble to get it recorded before I forget.
“Thinking too much can ruin a good time” – D. Boon (Minutemen)
When I am creating music & art, I probably do my best when my brain is turned off, just mental finger-painting, on “auto-pilot”. Everything that I am doing is sort of revealed to me as I am doing it. So, I don’t really know what it is until I am finished. Conscious messages don’t work very well for me. Stressing-out about money, transportation, food, and living conditions REALLY messes-up my mojo a lot, though.
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King
My drawings tend to be stream-of-consciousness, cartoonish and surreal. When I paint, it is often a mixed-media style utilizing whatever materials that are readily available; spray paint, acrylics, house paint, stencils, marker pens, found objects, and collage.
I have very little to no training at anything. I did well in high school drafting, wood shop, and art classes. That’s about it. Regretfully, I never attended an art school. I would have liked to. I am mostly self-taught, occasionally reading books on the subject. But, I don’t really spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s up with art these days. I do not have much interest in current trends.
My work could be categorized as Abstract, Outsider, Pop Art, Art Brut, Raw Vision, Folk Art, etc.. These are labels found in the art world. To me… art is art… I’m an artist who is still looking for the right label only because everybody wants descriptions. They want you to EXPLAIN to them what it is that you do. People love folk and outsider art because it is spontaneous and devoid of most influences. Most people think that I’m pretty weird, anyway.
In the past, my paintings & drawings were usually given to friends or destroyed and discarded. I started selling them locally in the 1990’s. But, not really understanding how the professional art world works, I only sold items in person at music venues or record stores, wherever I happened to be. I’ve been reluctant to take it any further than that. But, there seems to be a growing interest in my stuff. So, I’m making it more available.
Having a standard uniform of your own is useful. People like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Steve Jobs wore clothing everyday that was nearly identical to all of the other clothes that they owned. It saved time and brainpower finding something to wear, when their entire wardrobes were virtually the same.
My physical appearance doesn’t change very much, day-to-day, either. Nearly everything I own is secondhand; from yard sales, garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores. I’ve always been a t-shirt and jeans guy. If I can’t find an outfit for under $12, I probably won’t buy it.
Sometimes I’ll try out new things, making small modifications to my so-called image. None of this is permanent. But, my typical everyday outfit includes;
Goatee & long hair.
Black jeans with a black button shirt (black goes with everything).
Converse Chuck Taylors, with boot laces, have always been my go-to shoes.
Belts adorned with a Captain America shield buckle.
Mix it up a little with different t-shirts.
Red glitter nail polish adds some color and sparkle.
Personal / Rules of Conduct:
My lifelong struggling with mental illness sometimes gets in the way. Clinical depression, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are a debilitating combination. Medications help to keep the highs and lows manageable. But, they aren’t a cure. Music & art is my other world that I live in.
I seldom drink alcohol (preferably alone, when I do) and I loathe beer. I don’t smoke tobacco or abuse any drugs. It doesn’t really matter to me if anybody else does, unless it gets in the way of working or becomes obnoxious. Marijuana and hallucinogens are more tolerated than harder drugs.
I have little patience for perpetual fuck-ups who will constantly flake out on me. A policy that I am now implementing is No collaborations without a deadline. I have been told that this was one of my mistakes when dealing with previous bandmates. I guess that I left everything too open-ended. People require deadlines to get them off of their ass, apparently. That might be true. Unless someone says something to me, I will probably work alone and take forever doing it. I am still interested in making music & art with other people. But, I think establishing a time frame for collaboration projects would make them go along faster.
I am an atheist. I don’t believe in whatever Hell you think I’m going to, let alone your invisible friends. You can believe whatever you want to believe. But, if you’re a religious zealot (i.e., fundamentalist creationists who think that the flat Earth is 6,000 years old or 72 virgins await them in the afterlife because they won’t eat bacon) I would prefer not to hear about it.
I am open to different ways of thinking – but aggressive sexism, racism, homophobia, or trans-phobia is not tolerated. I am LGBTQ-supportive and have friends from all sorts of different backgrounds. Bigots are not welcome. Go away.
There are not many groups that I believe I would fit into if I didn’t begin from scratch. I never had any delusions about “making it big” or getting rich. Earning a decent living as a self-employed artist-musician would be great, if possible. I am content if I make enough money to cover expenses, have a good dinner, and pay a few bills.
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