Monday, September 25, 2006

Advice from strangers:

Laugh loud and often.

Go barefoot in the spring.

Never underestimate the power of positivity.

Carry a Sharpie in your pocket and everything will become art.

Imagination is more important than education.

I'm third. (God first, everyone else second)

Dont let instruments gather dust. If they do, give them away or trade for a new instrument.

Most of us go to our graves with music still in us.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gus Zoppi jam

Yesterday was pretty cool. I wandered into Gus Zoppi, which is a Ma' and Pa' music shop around the way from my house. I've been randomly wandering into this store for many years; in fact I even took the only four piano lessons I could afford there. I was stoned as hell. There were alot of people all waiting for various things: lessons, assistance, you know.. I was in no rush so after brousing the slim selection of classical guitars I eventually picked one up and tried it on for size. It really wasn't anything special. It was a Fender, however it looked as if it were an exact clone of my classical which is an Ibanez. It even sounded just like my guitar.

I sat on a stool with my back turned to most of the store. I got the chance to play a few melodies I have written over time and after a while it became an ambient backdrop to the growing population of Gus Zoppi-goers. This really isn't the interesting part of the story though. The interesting thing is that about ten minutes into my music I suddenly heard a bass beginning to play along with me. There was, no doubt, a man playing bass guitar and sitting with his back to my back and without turning almost completely around I would have never seen him sitting there. I didn't stop though and neither did he. We just jammed.

I've jammed before. Thousands of times. It truly is one of the greatest perks of being a musician that you get to share this form of communication with other people. You make blank stares at each other and you do not speak with your mouths but rather your music. It's really cool. One could imagine the limitless possibilities of what sorts of conversation come up in a jam session. A good jam sessions is when both of the musicians allow each other space to take the lead. A bad jam session is when one musician gets greedy and selfishly steals the "spotlight". Therefore it is good to be humble when jammin' because it is, of course, a learning period.

It is fun to jam with lots of people at the same time. I remember when me and my roomates used to have long intense jams at the Trumbull house where we would play continuously for hours. People would jump in and out picking up different instruments and rotating. One person would take the lead for a while and when his or her drive was running low another would pick up where they left off. This is yet another example of how fun it really is to be a musician. This whole conversation takes place with nobody uttering a single word; that is unless there is a singer handy. A singer can make a good musician but they must remember that their lyrics are an instrument in and of themselves and just like their voice or any other instrument they should strive to be just as humble.

So here I was jamming with this stranger. It came out beautifully and anyone listening would have believed that we wrote this music together beforehand and brought it in to perform at Gus Zoppi. Something very strange happened however. Something very unusual occured that I have never experienced before. When the bassist left he never once looked me in the eyes. In fact he never looked at me at all, he just kept to himself and walked away. It dawned on me that I have never jammed with someone who I did not look in the eyes. We communicated 100% absent of what one would consider to be typical communication. We did not speak a word to each other, there were no gestures nor body language, and we never looked in the eyes. We communicated using music alone. This is one of the greatest things about being a musician.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ghosts Underwater

Had a dream a few years ago that I'll never forget..

Many of my dreams involve water. Sometimes my entire dream will take place underwater. The whole flying in dreams thing for me could easily be interpretted as swimming but because I can only breathe underwater in dreams I will always have an easy way to tell when things are getting lucid. So this dream I had a few years ago:

I remember being at a pier of some sort. It was late. There were magnificent shades of dark blue all around me that I can almost taste when I think about. I was above water at the time. I remember looking down into the night water and seeing two faded sources of light pointing aimlessly through the water. Like an inscect who cannot fight the temptation of unexplainable light I dove into the water head first. I swam deeper and deeper and before long I realized that the lights were actually the high beams of an unfortunate car that was still running. I can recall hearing a faint radio echo through the water. The car was smashed under a huge boulder or chunk of rock. There were four people inside, none of them living. I swam up to the car for a closer look and what I saw still makes me shiver. It was four unfortunate souls who died struggling to get out of the sunken vehicle. The expressions on their faces and the positions of their bodies suggested that they tried in vain to free themselves. I don't remember thinking twice about what I was about to do. I opened one of the doors and the body of a young girl, about my age, came floating out. Careful not to touch the body I kept my distance but never took my eyes off of her. She was pale and her face looked lifeless. I can't say that I wasn't scared however I don't remember being able to think logically about this situation at hand. I should have swam to the surface and called the police or something but I was lost in this horrific moment. We floated for several moments and our faces were always directly in front of one another although I refused to get close. I saw the car fade into the distance and the music turned into a hush. Only moments before there wasn't enough light left to see anything, her eyes opened and looked directly at me... naturally, this is when I woke up.

Friday, September 15, 2006


When I first moved to the Bellcrest some four years ago I remember feeling like I was finishing a chapter of a good book and about to begin a whole new story. I had just finished putting in my two years at community college where I took an exciting dose of art, acting, and philosophy classes and I was about to dive into the unknown of what my future education would hold. Four years and a couple of degrees later I am finishing another chapter of my life and now I am about to begin anew.

I remember the night before I moved into the Bellcrest. I can't recall exactly what my dreams were like that night but I do remember what I thought about while lying in bed. I pictured everything I have come to know as home so far and I began to imagine it being destroyed. In my head I pictured every home I have ever lived in crumbling to the ground. I imagined every school I have attended breaking apart into nothingness. This might seem to be destructive thoughts but I like to think of this as 'deconstruction'. Piece by piece I remember disassembling my memories until I was completely sure that my subconcious is secure and I am positive that nothing was going to haunt me in the future.

This is exactly what I did when I moved out of my last house on Commonwealth. Piece by piece I deconstructed everything I had come to know as home during my adventures in Detroit. I started with the Bellcrest; this was the easiest. I simply let the entire building implode in my imagination and crumble on top of itself. I then moved on to the Trumbull house and let the building next to it fall over and rip a huge chunk out of the side of the house when I stayed. This really isn't too hard to imagine considering that when I lived there the building next door did actually fall onto our house however in my imagination it left a clean gap right where my room was. Finally there was the Commonwealth house. In this instance I imagined the Zen Room peeling from the side of our flat and smashing onto the garage below. And it was finished.

I don't like to hang onto things. Everything I need in stored nicely in my heart and it has never let me down. I've followed my heart ever since I can remember and my heart is to blame for this crazy adventure I am about to embark on. This metropolis has been good to me and I am thankful for every moment I have been a part of but I feel the ground beneath me shaking. I feel a giant crack forming underneath my feet and if I don't move soon I am going to fall. So why fall when I've learned how to fly?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


washed boats..

..leaving in 24 days

To all whom are concerned, I am going to be using the same email adress as I always have ( during my entire stay in Samoa. I would love to stay in touch with as many people as possible so any and all emails are appreciated. Even more so I am super intruiged by the idea of written letters like the once they used to use before computers and typewriters. I find them to be very personal and therefore much more exciting to recieve. I think that is true for everybody back home as well because everyone likes getting mail. Staying in touch is groovy.

Needless to say I've been an avid fan of old blogs kept by Peace Corps volunteers, especially those in the South Pacific. I've learned an awful lot about the different emotions that volunteers experience during different stages of their commitments. In the Peace Corps there is a three month training period. During this time I gather that volunteers tend to become extremely overwhelmed with their sudden life change and often lose communication for much of their training. This is because volunteers work 5 days a week and take field trips on weekends. In addition to the time spent in training we also have to learn the language to a comprehendable degree. My entire livelihood for the next 27 months will be acted out in a foreign language and for that alone I am starting to get excited. It is a very exciting time right now and I am fighting anxiety pretty well. I've been washing boats all summer so I have adapted a generally laid back attitude in all walks of life these days. Washing boats and spending much of my days at various marinas has made me very imaginative. I often imagine that I am waiting for my ship. I stare at the sky at times and imagine I was in the middle of the ocean and could see nothing but water in all directions.

This morning I was at Coney and I talked with a random stranger who told me that imagination is more important that education.