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BOOK 4. LIVE Continued…

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

BOOK 4. LIVE Continued…

We have scheduled two nights for the recordings Wed Sept. 1 st and Sat. Sept. the 4th  Wed is done and we are heading for Saturday.

Ok now,  Sat is done, and we are heading for a second Wed. ((Sept the 8th) ok, that Wed is done and we are heading for a second Saturday (Sept 11th) and a six hour performance gig on Sunday and so forth and so on and so on…

When one is recording on one track (actually, one would be fine, but when one is more than one, the possibility for error is magnified greatly) as I was saying when one is more than one and they are all  recording on one track, actually,  five people playing  quick-o ka- split-o at full speed ahead on one track, you probably all together generate a “note bloom” cascade or “up fall” of an easy hundred thousand clangs and bangs (or musical notes if you prefer)

If the Bass or Conga or Drum hit a “wrong clang bang or note” it may not be a problem, however if the lead guitar, or primo screechist hits a clango bango  anywhere in the performance, you have to redo the whole blasted cacophonic all over again.

Not that I mind, I love to sing and as I never sing a thing the same way twice, it’s always new and fun for me. However, the boys in the band jave expressed  a strong desire for me to do  things the way we had rehersed them but …wella wella wella…you might as well try to squeeze a saltfish sandwich out of a turnip.

Not that I don’t want to make things easier for the MAAC men, it’s just that… wella wella wella, you might as well try to squeeze a chinchilla out of a mango seed

We have certainly gotten spoiled by “individual  tracking”(in which each instrument is channeled and recorded separately on it’s own individual track, to be  tweaked, vitamin fortified, polished and recombined with the others later, sorta like Grand Ma’s powdered taters or the KLIM milk that we endured as little ones in public school down in the Mambo Isles…

Friends, I could do a forty year rant on KLIM milk and the odd combination, the mis-measure of powder and water, Lord help us “Boiling hot water” that de chirums dem were led to believe was milk, and were forced to press our lips against every single time the blasted bell rang-a-lang LUNCHTIME!

The truth is, some of us, many of us, were every bit as big headed and bony as the kids used in fund raising appeals for the starving of the world, in fact more than a few of us were candidates for Feed The Children or UNICEF our selves and should have been first in line  for a can of spam and some powdered eggs,  but there are some things you would rather die than do, and high on that list would be taking a second slurp or sip of that toxic torture serum KLIM.

I think I can state as a most likely fact that not a single adult of free-will ever willingly drank a whole glass, cup or calabash of that stuff to “test the mix” before giving it to the “sweet little innocent, once open, once bright eyed, once trusting, children that we “once upon a time” were, down at Nisky School.

I know for a fact that some of the boys vowed to make it their life’s work to track down and wreak revenge on   whoever was responsible for not only making  this stuff, but further, convincing flubble headed grown-ups to make children (did I mention theretofore bright eyed, innocent and trusting?) drink it.

It’s a fact that the same flubble headed grown ups could have used just the threat of having to drink it, to uncover all the secrets of the children under their command, (which were secrets a plenty) and as an entirely effective non violent tool for  behavior modification, rather than the in-effective combo of KLIM torture, head banging, and “stand ‘im out to out swelter sweat in the hot sun” technique invented by  anonymous torture misters of the Battan death march, and perfected by first second and third grade teachers at Nisky. 

 Any way, as I may have noted earlier a certain Maryann was the sweet cool breeze in the popping swelter sweat of KLIM provoked childhood angst, and after four (or is it forty?) swacks (*attempts) at it, her remembrance song is EQ’d and done.

This means there are now only thirteen others to go. (lemme see forty times thirteen times a hundred thousand notes…)

You have probably thought all these years thought that the life of a singer like me was one unending sequence of passionate and perfumed smooches and the like, but now you see that in addition, we are obliged to be fluent in higher mathematics as well and well, Yo no habla mathematics high or low, perhaps because like most of the children at the old Nisky alma mater, I spent arithmetic time hiding in the bushes hoping to avoid KLIM time. Do I regret it? Not a chance in eleventeen!

More to the present, the record is going to be great fun for folks, full of upbeat live performances AND some pretty good crooney tunes as well.

Recording is supposed to be fun, not the grim, clock watching, knuckle gnawing exercise in anxiety that it too often is, or the stultifying mind warping technical spaghetti morass that “jargon junkies gone wild” would have us poor non-verbal (but occasionally verbose) bongo bangers believe it has to be.

There is great fun in playing music; there is great fun in listening to music, in other words, in sending, in receiving, music. That’s the joy, that’s the deal.

It seems like most if not all of the business around it, is one or another kind of strange parasitic attachment that diminishes the joy at either and both ends.

Which idea presents an Interesting opportunity for a biometric model to measure the potency of the juices siphoned away and to explore the alternatives available or inviting invention) That’s the kind of thinking that one  notices reverberating in the noggin, when one has spent one’s school years hiding in the  bushes among the land crabs, wild tamarind, acacia and catch and keep at KLIM time.

In any case, the new record is continuing apace, we have tweakage too do (additional percussion and EQ) and then mastering before sending it off for “pressing”.

This means that we have two new albums to release and promote, “The Virgin Islands Songs” along with it’s single “Surrender To The Sun” and Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band and it’s single “Shake A Bum” We are as busy as can be and with the new MAAC Variety Show now scheduled for every Friday evening, we will soon be even more so. I have to find a way to make more time for working on the Memwa? As I think it is important and perhaps more importantly, I thoroughly enjoy the writing of it.

 Here are two recent poeticals: 

“The Limpin Proletariat”

                                                                                                             Scott Fagan

 Ah the Limpin Proletariat, All lumped up and limping along

from mash up to knock down

to and fro

from pillaged to whippin’(whupped) post

from pooped to popped

and back again.

Pity the poor lucked out lumped up and limpin’ pope frazzled’ roll your own Mama’s a maniac cross eyed confused battered and bruised  proletariat with no protecting angel. nor avenging, nope..not allowed., wild eyed cactus relish pie perhaps or rattle snake salad in good gritty sand… sans suds.

Nothing real and good for the likes of youse or ye, ya dadgum grumpy weepin, wailing, cussed and concussed, (at and out) poor confounded contused and abused, lied to bribed and poisoned double disadvantaged, toothache struck depressed, and diarriac limpin’ proletariat, yearning to be freed.

 

“I Dance Therefore I Am”  (Vicstory)                                                                                    Scott Fagan

 I Dance Therefore I Am, (Hey, whad I ever do to you?)

I suffer and sleep I dream and I remember, I hope and I awake, I Dance, Therefore I Am

I sweep my arms up to Heaven and sing Glory Halleluiah Jubilation without end!

I dance to be, to express me in unity with the oh so how many Millions or more that have danced before, that have wiggled and waltzed, romped and wagged their tails at one another making eyes making love, making… what you see.

This solitary is.

these sunken eyes

these shrunken hollows

this wayfared stranger

that has become of me.

like all things that die and have died,

all things that live and have lived

that love and have loved

that have breathed and wept that have called out in the cold uncaring night, crying SEE ME! SEE ME! SEE ME!

I dance therefore I am, I dance therefore I am,

I dance therefore I am!

 

Book 4. “LIVE”

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4. “LIVE”

This week the MAAC Island Band and I will be recording a” LIVE” album at Union Street Blues, in the MAAC Gallery in, Middletown Pennsylvania. We will be doing a number of interesting songs in a variety of interesting ways. Among them will be “Shake A Bum” a tune that a number of people are quite excited about.

I have plexed on this and concluded that folks are excited because the song is…well I guess there’s no other way to ‘splain it other than the song is plain out fun, It gets people up and shaking their bums. There is some talk about creating an iconic type visual of a hiney in motion, to go on T shirts and bum…per stickers, and perhaps even a poster or painting or two hilkighting and celkebrating the action described in the song. Sounds like fun on well… fun. We shall see.

One of the oddest things that I’ve learned in forty seven years as a recording artist, is that sometimes regardless of the enthusiasm for a song and they careful preparation in arranging and recording the song, sometimes, inexplicably it just doesn’t come off as intended. This has happened to every artist, every lyricist, every producer, every arranger and composer at one time or another.

That’s why in the daze of yore, the rule for a singles session was “always go in with three tunes”, because any one of them may not come out the way every one had hoped.

We are going into recording an album with fifteen, hoping to come away with ten if not twelve good recordings. There will be no multi-tracking; instead, we are doing it the old fashioned way. Play like heck hoping that no one instrument is too loud or trips over a cord or chord and upstruckalates the take.

And even though the band looks like a bunch of Frenchies and Tortola men (with un Ricanio stuck in the middle) the truth is they (excepting the Ricanio) are statesideers. Therefore the possibility of a “Contemporary Caribbean” tune losing its way through excessive engagement and entanglement and finally bogging down enmeshed with a sideways polka riff and the maracas from hell, is always a possibility.

But no, we won’t think about that, instead, we will be heck bent on creating the proper musical bed for a Carabilly Caruso, to screech and yowl against, with all the passion (purple and otherwise) he/me can struffel up.

There are a number of songs, each with their own story. However, I am aware that, more often than not it’s best to let the listener bring their own story to the song. The more that they can do that, the more personal their experience with the song is likely to be. Having said and knowing that, my little sweetie in the first grade down in the bongo Isles was named Maryann and she has been on my mind from then to now. Maryann left with her family to go to the states (in those days that meant New York) and I have never seen or heard hide nor word about her.

What an innocence we were. And will always be, to me.

How often I have wished her well. I have been singing about her from then to now. God Bless Maryanne.

Continues…

BOOK 4. One year into the Memwa?

August 24, 2010 3 comments

BOOK 4. One year into the  Memwa?

I started writing the Memwa? Ten days before my sixty-fourth Birthday (Aug 16th and Aug 26) now it’s Aug 24th, two days before my sixty-fifth. I began in St. Thomas where I was recording  (or attempting to record), my new Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs”.   I’m now in the states performing my concert version of “The Virgin Islands Songs” and working with a collection of musicians from the MAAC collective as “Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band”.

 I started out by committing to 1000 words a day for ninety days and was able to maintain that schedule through the commitment. Since then, (or more accurately, most recently) it’s become catch as catch can. In part because of the requirements of gigging, earning my little fazools, and my commitment to the collective… I have had great fun and lots of laughs writing the Memwa? Still though, it is far from finished, and it is clear that I will need to create and sustain a  more productive Memwa? schedule.

My eyesight has gone from great to glasses to fuzzy grey all over the place; I have to do something about that also. I have much , much more work (writing and singing and other things) to do, but I am feeling oddly spooky about turning sixty-five. I am generally completely unconcerned about the chronological tick-tock but at the moment, I am becoming afraid that I won’t be able to get it done.

Part of it, a large part of it is of course, is finding my success (or my audience as we like to put it these days) and having my work recognized as having had some value and creative quality.

This particular  life area is a mishmash of emotions which I usually deal with my unusually well-developed skill at  denial, however, even I am becoming concerned that, not only will I be going too quietly into that dark night, but I will be gone without raising enough ruckus or, God help us “blowing my own horn loud enough”, to leave any thing of tangible  value for my beautiful and long, long-suffering little ones.

If I only knew  which massive boulder to roll up Everest, or which 12 foot grizzly I had to wrassel mano a mano, or what heretofore impossible cosmo-mathological equation I needed to smite and solve… but I’ve been made dumb by that question since I’m six years old. And now I’m feeling that my time is running out. And let me tell you something, call me confused or a liar, or in pre-limino flagrento dementia, but I am certain that time goes faster and faster the older you get.

 I could easily pretend that that’s all I know about getting older, but the fact is, this Peter Pan has accidentally accumulated a small treasure box of shocking and completely unexpected information (and experiential knowing) about this grey ah…I mean great and mysterious stage of life.

Possibly first and foremost in importance, is the fact that chicks don’t look at you the same. And if you’re a chick, Cats (no not kitty cats, Hip Cats) don’t look at you the same either.

(Kitty cats however, do have a whole new appreciation of older chicks and  ex Hep, now no pep, Cats. I‘ve been told that felines consider old dears in their dotage to be a special gift just for them from “Super Cat” creator of the catmos.

 Why one wonders? Have you ever heard of young people braving the elements at all hours of the day or night to set out cat food in the darkest alleys and vacant lots of this or that Urban hell? Or living in pads (house or apt) over run by kitty critters?

 Well…now that I mention it, I have. My wild Annie the Artist Girl and I once lived in a basement apartment on west 84th street, with something like eight dogs and thirty two cats, all at once. Each and every one named something or other bean. Like You Bean and New Bean and Two Bean and Who Bean and Who-You Bean and You-Hoo Bean, all the way up past thirty two Bean to forty. 

However, while we were quite young in those days, we were also smote by chemistry that looked and felt like dotage, so possibly we cornfuseled (one of Annie’s favorite words in those days) ourselves and each other and cornfuseled the critters by extension.

Another thing about getting older, is you don’t look at the chicks the same either; there seems to be a much greater awareness that they are human beans, with feelings and hearts, disappointments and dreams and deserving of consideration and human kindness. One of the realities of lusty young men is that well…while we may have heard tell that chicks had feelings…other “mating” imperatives forced their way to the fore, not blacking, but “redding” out more subtle and sensitive considerations.

Ah my Lord, it was all I… ah… I mean a lusty young man could do to keep his eyeballs from exploding out of his pounding head, and his arms from s’muffling and crushing her, and his lips from slobber-jabbering love lies and perfidiac promises ( every utterance as deeply felt as  Gospel truth, in the heat of the moment).

It was all a lusty lad could ever do and all the time too. But now? God has dashed, decreed and made it so, that the heat madness be splashed by the ice water realization that “My God, she could be my Grand Daughter” or “My God, she is my Grand Daughter!” Ah yes…

 From time to time (when I sit with old birds on a park bench like lizards in the sun), one or another will suggest that the “golden elder belles” see young men somewhat differently as well (Unless the old chick is stuck in panting mode).   I’m told that they see ‘im remarkably similarly to the young lusty “lunk noggin” that I described earlier.

I’m not surprised to hear it; I always suspected that the Grand Mamere’s had my number.

 There are a number of age-o-alities that it seems no one bothered to mention, (or if they did, it was in geriatric jargon perhaps in a treatment setting, about old, or rather, aging 60’s psychedelic casualties and how to break the news that they were what they were, to them.)

I will write what I can about all of that at another time, perhaps even exhaustively until it (and we) are exhausted. But, for the moment, the real shocker is that chicks look at you differently. (They most certainly are not seeing and responding to your beautiful, color phasing iridescent inside)

How interesting to wonder if and when there ever was a time or even a moment, in life when one’s outside was an accurate representation of who and how one really was inside.

All of that being whatever it may be, here’s what the wind whispers to me.

 “Sing for your life” and leave the rest to the Great Artist who first imagined us all.

And…Boy, stay ready for the ever-so-much more important   second set, which will be called for when you are tired to the center of your soul, and least expecting it…

Book 1. En Nueva York 57-58 Continued…And Book 4. In Anticipation Of Nicky’s Memorial, July 18th, Magen’s Bay.

July 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 1. En Nueva York 57-58 Continued…

It was the time of “Little Bitty Pretty One, “Wake Up Lil’ Susie”, “You Send Me”, “Honey Comb”, “That’ll Be The Day”, “Rockin’ Robin”, Don Larsen’s perfect game, Sputnik, and The Asiatic Flu. All of which made a big and lasting impression on me.

Years later I would spend two weeks in a tour bus with the Great Bobby Day (“Little Bitty Pretty One” and “Rockin’ Robin”) crisscrossing the US from Burlington Iowa, to Daytona Beach Fla, on a tour called the “Thirtieth Anniversary Of Rock N Roll”. Bobby Day was style and grace, talent and kindness personified. He was every bit as smooth, graceful and exciting as his tunes.

 The Everly Brothers big hit “Wake Up Little Susie” was one of, if not the first song in which I was consciously aware of “the writer” inserting a “twist” and intentionally shaping the story line. I had a sort of moment of objective “ah ha” clarity (and believe me it only lasted a moment) before I fell back into full on non-thinking subjective acceptance of the idea that “all the singers were for real, and all their songs were “true for true.”

Years later when my manager Doc Pomus, began teaching me how things really worked i.e. How a song was written, how a session was produced, how a record was made, what a Music Publisher did, how Elvis got co-writing credits on Otis Blackwell’s songs, etc I was quite disappointed and very much upset and disillusioned.

 I much preferred the illusion that the process was somehow magically organic, as if the song “emerged” from the singer while the joy and groove of the moment dictated the arrangement and the music played.

I was really disappointed with the truth. I felt as if something wonderful and life sustaining had been taken away. Of course I can now look back and (in knowledgeable company,) snerk aloud at what a silly and foolish boy I was, but the truth is I am still more he that any completely grown up me.

 The facts are… When I performed (and still when I perform now) the emotion inherent in the moment DID dictate the arrangement (the timing, the rhythm, the dynamics and sometimes even the key) and as far as possible, the song DID emerge Which is why I seem unable to, hardly ever or maybe never play a tune exactly the same way twice.

In my first gig in the states after “getting off the boat” I was singing at a great folk club/coffee house called “The House Of Pegasus” in Fort Lauderdale.

The manager turned to the owner and said”listen he even does his own fade outs”. I remember wondering “why would he mention that?” and then “aren’t we supposed to do that?” that’s how we all did it in the Islands. We didn’t or I didn’t know that fade outs were artificial artifacts of studio recording rather than an expressive and soulful vocally managed dimuendo. Ahh… my dear friends, you could have filled a google parallel universes with what I didn’t know then, and possibly even more with what I don’t know now.

 In any case, and lucky for me, it was a great season for song, Sputnik was the beginning of a painfully long, continuing and essential lesson in humility for “The Otherin” (and me too) and the freakin’ Asiatic Flu did everything but recycle me.

Often the “weakest” or most vulnerable part of the body is the first to go and in my case the weakest link resides in my poor frizzgaggled noggin.

When the fever (any fever) hits or comes upon me, my tenuous grip (on what foolish folk think is the one reality and I recognize as at most a temporary and consensual compromise) slips and I am gone. Replaced by a double babbling babushka balloon head, or “El Exehente Generalissimo Delirioso” aka the rock that wept, or the stone that squeaked and cried. Yezzer, I am vulnerable to fever.

 In those days Gale and I had no beds, we slept instead on folding aluminum lounge chairs, the kind with woven plastic straps across an aluminum frame. When the Asiatic landed in my noggin, I was allowed or encouraged (or a combo of both) to move  my recliner out of a shared bedroom and into a far corner of the living room, a sort of poor man’s quarantine, I s’ppose.

I spent two weeks out there in the ultra nunca never none land of delerioso serioso, babbling soliloquies all day waiting for Mud to come home from work.

 It’s interesting to note that you can pile all the blankets in the world on top of the poor soul trying to sleep on such a device and they don’t and won’t do a bit of good. Until and unless you realize that the cold air is coming up from under, through and between the plastic straps. It’s a pitiful, follyishous thing. I confess that it took me an embarrassingly long and uncomfortable time to figger’ it out.

God Bless Mother, the music in the background and Red Candy Apples (the only thing I would eat) for getting me through.

Interestingly, the Spanish flu epidemic (a related strain of two generations earlier) is what we think killed our people in Scotland, leaving our father Frankie’s Mother Sally, “an orphan girl alone in the world” and encouraging her migration to New York, her career as a tragic bar room singer, the arms of the naughty, cowardly married Irish rascal that knocked her up ah..Ah mean got her with child and then denied the little lad for fear of “The wrath of wife”. Our little orphan girl Grand Mother Sally Travis, Died in turn in the TB wards on Welfare Island at 26, leaving little Frankie all but orphaned himself. Crikey, Yikes! it feels like I’m having a flu-mo delerioso flashboink!

 Yes, It was the winter of our discontent, my poor finger was bent forward and taped to the palm of my hand (if that whompin’ girl had seen me, she would have whupped me silly), Gale, in a flurry of belonging longing or longing to belong, joined a cigarette smoking,  garrison belted, black leather jacketed gang, she was now known by two separate noms de guerre “Mike” and “The Cat” and in a flushed rush of tough teenage solidarity forever, she shaved her eyebrows absolutely and completely, clean off.

Mud was ready to get herself and her sprung off sprung back to the Antilles, The Archipelago, The West Indies, The Islands of The West, The Caribees, The Spanish Main, The Blessed Virgins…Continues…

 Book 4. In Anticipation of Nicky’s Memorial, July 18th, Magen’s Bay.

 I nave been invited to sing at Nicky’s (The Mighty Whitey) memorial scheduled for July the 18th at Magens Bay, in St. Thomas. I am arranging to be there and prepared to sing my heart out. I am so happy that Tuts and Tim and Nicky and I recently took a little trip together up to Jos Van Dyke to see the Fox. We were talking with him and Tessa about doing a three man concert there featuring Ruben, Nicky and Myself. That sadly will never be.

Take a look at “A Little Trip To Jos Van Dyke” and “Continued..A Little Trip To Jos Van Dyke”  (March 2010) In them, I‘ve tried to capture some of what was wonderful about the time together.

Book 4, Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band at The 35th Annual Middletown Fair

June 15, 2010 1 comment

BOOK 4. Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band at The 35th Annual Middletown Fair.

 Up in the states, I am a member of and involved with The MAAC (Middletown Area Arts Collective) MAAC is located in Middletown Pennsylvania, a gritty little town that was once a crossroads of the old canal system (The Union and Pennsylvania Canals met and joined here) then a railroad town, an/industrial center and finally the home of Olmstead Air Force Base.

 All of those economic engines have come and gone (the base closed in the sixties) and with them, much of the heart and spirit of the place and its people. The town is most recently known for being the location of the notorious and near catastrophic Three Mile Island Nuke plant meltdown. A not inappropriate illustration of the present state of the Middletown, and its burgers.

It’s the kind of environment in which art is not taken seriously, if, taken at all. The kind of “banged in the noggin” environment where art is likely to be considered (when considered) a serious waste of time.

It is the intention of MAAC or the Collective, to transform the town into a center for the arts and artists. I am a very active supporter of that idea for a number of reasons, and if you’ve been reading the Mem.wa?  Reasons, the genesis of which, I don’t have to explain.

 Moreover, however and in addition, I am strumulated by  (as if I needed any more challenges)  the idea of  collective consciousness in action and  the fun in  making music with folks lacking in big city disillusionment, who actually still make music for the love of it.

(You certainly have my permission to assume or conclude that my own constellation of motivations for making music may be somewhat more constrangled with conflicting complexities than the simple pursuit of joy however, believe it or not, the joy  found in the “magic moments” in-side the transformational experience of singing/making music, is still the jumbo juice of it all.)

 We are going to be doing a one hour concert at the upcoming 35th Annual Middletown  Fair, and I am looking forward to the gig. Here is our little local one sheet and the boys (and girl) in the band.

SCOTT FAGAN and The MAAC ISLAND BAND!

www.scottfagan.com   www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com   scottfagan@lilfishrecords.com

 SCOTT FAGAN and The MAAC ISLAND BAND have been tearing it up at the Middletown Area Arts Collective since Scott came up from  St. Thomas at the beginning of May.

Scott Fagan (Singer) has been an international recording artist since he left high school in St. Thomas Virgin Islands to sign with Columbia Records in 1964. He presently divides his time between The MAAC collective in Middletown and his home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Some reviews…

  • Cashbox Magazine:
    Spinal Tap melodies…His range is phenomenal
  • Billboard:
    “A Poet”
  • William Krasilovsky, Author, THIS BUSINESS OF MUSIC, l & ll:
    “Scott Fagan is a genius. I’ll certify that.”                                                                      
     

The MAAC ISLAND BAND is:

Rafael “El Jefe” Martinez, (El Congero) Rafael was born in Armaguerros, Puerto Rico; he has been a “Congero” for over twenty Five years and a “Pennsylvaniero”since 1973.

 Drew Washington, (Bass) Originally from New Mexico, Drew appeared at the MAAC Gallery in Middletown one winter night for an open jam and immediately became the BASS Man of Choice for the MAAC ISLAND BAND. Drew has been playing at the highest levels, for over thirty Years.

Tim Griesemer (Drums) is well known through out Pennsylvania (and beyond) for his extraordinary gifts as a drummer. He is master of a wide variety of percussion instruments and has made it his business to “pass it on”

Barbara  Vajda… is a Croatian Steelton Guitar Goddess with a long musical history in Pennsylvania. After a hiatus to raise little ones, The Goddess is back with SCOTT FAGAN and the MAAC ISLAND BAND.

 Friends of MAAC may pop up or chime in as the spirit moves them and time will allow.

Sound Engineering for SCOTT FAGAN the MAAC ISLAND BAND is by digitaldave, 30 Years on the knobs.

CONTACT Tim Griesemer Home 717-944-3023 Cell 717-439-1919 or Scott Fagan 717-592-0853 scott@lilfishrecords.com   

My little joke is that at sixty-four, opportunity is once again knocking at the door, the problem is finding my glasses my walker and my wig and then getting my shakity self to the door in time, or possibly, even hearing the blasted knocking in the first place, or if I do hear the K’ NOK  figgerin’ out what the heck it is. I’m a tellin’ ya..

 The gig is over, and we did a great job. I am very grateful to the “Great Artist” for giving me the gift and ability to sing, I just love to sing..And thanks to all that is good, I was able to sing like a banshee.

We have another gig,(this time a two hour concert) scheduled from five to seven on the 26th of June here in Middletown, at the old log cabin down by Swatara Creek. (No I’m not kidding,  for reals)

The new CD “Scott Fagan’s The Virgin Island Songs, Live in Concert” will be coming out in July with the new recording of “Surrender To The Sun” as the single. While we are trying to promote the release, we will be busy recording The MAAC Island Band and my self, live in Middletown.

Playing live shows and singing up a storm is great fun for me and I hope that we will be able to gig and that I will be able to  continue singing as well as I am for a long long time. In order to do that, we need to find an agent able to book the gigs.

It’s a new world and the dawning of a new paradigm for music and the relationship between music creators and them that love music. I wish that my beautiful partner the Great Cocacola (Kookoolis) and the many friends of “SOON” were still around to see this day. What a Cabruncle the Music Business did to the Music Business… We will sing and play and, “The Great Artist” willing, love, clear thinking and collective effort, will find a way…yep! Continues…

 

Book 4. Paradise to Paradise Portals, A Music Business Q and A, Seagulls In The Snow…

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4. Paradise to Paradise Portals, A Music Business Q and A, Seagulls In The Snow…

 We are here this fine evening, Tuts, Mary, myself and approximately three hundred others, for a concert.at Christ Church Methodist Church in Market Square. A genuinely beautiful two hundred plus year old,  “old-time House Of God” polished Mahogany rafters and pews, hanging lamps, elevated preacher boxes and discreet iconic Methodist symbols methodically placed to maximize the opportunity for methodological salvation..

 The last time I was in this Church, it was dark and very late at night. I was a  fifteen year old teenage boy, on my knees, and begging God for a miracle intervention in the  just reported pregnancy of my teenage girl friend. A Solomonic miracle was delivered, no pregnancy, but a (our) child would come anyway, only a few years later.

So, I feel an unusual reverence for and a strong personal connection to this church, and to the direct connect “paradise to paradise” portal that may still be floating from pious to pew in this magical place.

 The concert presents a brass ensemble from UVI (The University Of The Virgin Islands) along with a few young (and quite good) singers (Junior High School) and various combinations of older singers (duets, trios) from various schools and Churches around the Island.

There is some mighty fine and sincere singing and the brass ensemble fills the Church with wonderful harmony. The Church in turn, creates and returns some extraordinary harmonics. We are awash, bathed in a sea of beautiful sound, coming and going and swirling all around us, up our noses in our ears, in side and out side, from head to toe. I leave vibrating like a polytonal pitchfork, porked and done, it was wonderful.

A desperate gent from New Zealand came by “Shaky Acres” recently, asking for help. His wife is relapsing on crack. She sent him out to sell her ring and he came here instead. We spoke with him, got him some NA Numbers and sent him back to see the MD that had been successful in leveraging his wife into treatment in the first place. I gave him my number. Later, I led a ninth tradition meeting, it’s unbelievable how flipsos and dipsos and dopes, actually developed and sustain a program as radically effective as 12 step process, one that actually saves lives all day and night all over the place, all over the world. A process that  actually works if you work it.

A Music Business Q and A.  

I recently went to the UVI library and the car broke down in one of the parking lots (this one is on the very top of the hill just behind the library), while waiting for repair, I sang “standards” into the wind, for three hours. “Answer Me My Love” “This Love Of Mine’ “Mona Lisa” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” “You Belong To Me” “Smile” “The Way You Look Tonight” “Some One To Watch Over Me” and four or five others. It was great fun. I just love to sing and I just love these songs.

I need to find a way to record some of these tunes they are timeless and wonderful..  

However, that is so much easier said (sung) than done. The whole freakin’ crazy business of making music for fun and profit, is like a  toxic mudball of megalo-maxi-maniacs, divvied up into starry eyed Tinker Pans and hook fingered Captain Crooks.” Unfortunately, it seems like the solution to dealing with these folks is buried smack dab and dribble, in the middle of the always elusive swiss cheese riddled Executive Center of the even more elusive grilled ham and swiss cheese pickled and riddled brain.

 In fairness tho, my problems with the music business is just part of my across the board problem with authority. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I’m an anarchist, I truly do understand the value of organization and the need for empathy and practicality in governance, but I am a child of chaos (generations of active, often violent alcoholism) “blessed” with hyper-vigilance, meaning the ability to sense and see danger, duplicity and dishonesty.

Consequently while I acknowledge, appreciate and embrace the real need for an organized cooperative effort to plan for, develop and sustain any career in the arts, and fully realize (from long personal experience) that artists can’t do it all by them selves, I deplore the fact that so many of the people who have stepped in to manage and market musical artists, and the businesses around them, have been so God-awfully hypocritical, self-seeking and dishonest.

The answers to the multifaceted question of how and why the music business “collapsed” are long and multifaceted themselves. Within the larger question, are a number of less general, more specific questions, the answers to which, when added together (but not counting serendipity) provide some thing close to  the sum total of what happened.

Among them this..

The question of how many singers (and other musical artists) with great and potentially wide appeal, became pigeonholed or typecast (meaning “locked” into one type of song, one type of music) is interesting, the answer to this “secondary” question, I think provides some insight into the larger one.

 Here’s an attempt to illustrate how this sort of thing occurred..

Singers are one thing, audiences are another. If a singer sings a song that is particularly moving or satisfying or rewarding for an audience member, the audience member is likely to want the singer to “do that again”. What could be more natural?

 If the audience member actually had some control over the singer they might be tempted to use that control to try to recreate the satisfying reward experience for themselves. That’s fairly natural also,

However, while a singer might  do a few “requests” the singer wouldn’t turn the control over what he or she sings to an audience member for long, as that would be silly and potentially self destructive. Simply because the audience member will naturally try to create a series of reward experiences primarily for them selves.

If the musical judgement of the singer is permanently superceded by the subjective reward seeking judgment of an individual audience member, chances are good, the outcome will be bad.

If the audience member is in fact a record executive (generally, a group of people with no more musical talent or taste or knowledge than any other group of lawyers or accountants). and the reward that the executive gets from the singer singing a particular song or type of song is money and job security, then it’s easy to understand why they would want (and if they had the control, make) the singer do the same type of thing over and over until the reward response is exhausted.  At that point an audience member (or executive) might say I don’t like him as much as I used to, he’s not as good, he’s just not that interesting anymore,…and move on to the next singer, to repeat the same cycle all over again.

 Of course, It isn’t smart for any artist/singer to allow that to happen to him or her however, once you signed with a record company, the contract specified, (for most of us), that they had the control over every thing..including selection of material, producer, arranger, musicians,  when, where and what you would record. And,..releases. Who, what when and which recordings to release and to promote and when and what to spend on the promotion of the recording, and finally, when and what to give the artist as payment,

And remember,  for the most part (with the exception of the break out up and coming “new guy” who was quickly absorbed by the established biz) the  music business executives were a small, relatively closed fraternity made up of men who knew, agreed with, were protective of and supported one another.

 So while it wasn’t smart or creative or satisfying, you didn’t protest or resist it, or you might wind up as a sixty four year old “broke to the bone” singer, fighting mano a mano with sixty pounds of angry mosquitoes over a vienna sausage, down in the steaming hot bongo isles. Theirs was the only game in town, and the great majority of singers (and musical artists of every kind) have had their lives, their art, and their careers compromised and all too often, seriously damaged by it…not to mention how cheated the real audience was and is,  of all that music, that they never and will never have the opportunity to enjoy.

 I think any one can see, that it’s not good business for an executive to have that sort of control over a musical artist because..

1.     That kind of constrictive thinking immediately narrows the potential and appeal of the artist, and then it’s only a matter of time before the audience gets tired of the same old thing over and over again.

 2.     The singer or musical artist is by nature (or performance experience), more musically in tune with the broad spectrum of audience likes and dislikes than any individual audience member would be. Therefore, the musical artist is the one most appropriate to make the musical choices. Their job is to “take their audiences with them” for as long and as far as they can go. If a artist were free to  give their audiences diversified  interesting offerings, it could mean life long interest and product sales. Ah..kinda like the Beatles.

 3.     The old paradigm approach was short-sighted, exploitive and destructive to the Art of music, the Artists that made it, and the audiances who loved the music. Destructive to the very things that the business of the music business depended on.

 And now that the short-sighted have blown their paradigm, without laying the ground work for a new one, they have left themselves, their artists and their larger audiences up crits squeek with out a paddle.

 Other “so called” smart people have literally stolen the music business away from the music business, and while the new “smart guys” haul in the digits hand over fist, Artists are in an even more vulnerable situation than before.

 I hope that Artists will be able find a way to organize themselves (and their multigenerational audiences) to take control of the entire chain from creation to collection, because it is painfully clear that these new raptors, ah I mean business men, care even less (if possible) about the Art of Music, the Artists that make music, and the people that they make it for, than the previous raptors, ah..business men did. We shall see. I will try.

Seagulls In The Snow

I looked out my window in the states this morning, and by God there were seagulls in the snow. They were diving and dipping and flying in crazy circles, and who knows why. I am presently a hundred miles from the Sea, but one block from the Susquehanna. I’m not surprised that these guys go where they wanna go and do what they wanna do, they are fantastical.

I see them as romantic flying herds of diminutive, ravenous, omnivorous Dinobirds, singing a wacked out song-a-lingo that stirs the heart and has stood the test of (millions of universal “circle the sun” units of) time.

What a pleasure to see and hear them here, I hope our song lives as long, I like ‘em.

 

Book 4. Who Sez Huh? Who Sez? Book 3. Popeye and The Crystal Cathedral

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4. Who Sez Huh? Who Sez?

 While I haven’t gotten “The Virgin Islands Songs” completed as a full cast recording, I have written it and can perform a one man version of it… so it does exist, and it does contain the silliness and emotion, the feelings and the fun that I wanted an audience to experience as “The Virgin Islands Songs”

 It looks as though the full cast recording may have to be done in another place, in another time. Too many things are getting backed up. Having finally attained “the age of reason” I am able to “reasonize” that I don’t have any time to waste.

One way or the other, I have to keep moving.

 There is a certain freedom around this question of creating so-called product now that one has next to no expectation of being paid for it. I confess that I (having been in the music business for forty-five years now) have developed a sort of built-in automatic “Biz Monitor” an “adult music business voice” that pops (uninvited) into many if not all internal creative dialogs, to say almost always “Scott, you can’t do that, nobody wants that, it’ll never sell” (I further confess that while there are a few things to which I’ve said “Yeah, you’re probably right” there are many more to which my response is “Oh yeah! Who sez, huh? Who sez?”  and “so what” This is one of those occasions.

I think that “my audience” will understand, if I can ever find them, they are the most elusive non group I’ve ever never known, I do have a few or perhaps multiples of a few solid “committables” although I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon of late. In those instances where I’ve come down from Olympus to answer “fan email” personally, I’ve some how managed to turn enthusiastic fans (some committible since South Atlantic Blues) into people I’ve never heard from again.

 Perhaps I’ve been too effusive, and their responses something like “Nah, a big time handsome mysterioso (did I say handsome?) recording artist dude like Scott Fagan wouldn’t, couldn’t, really write all that nice stuff to me all by himself could he?, it must be some kind of crazy psychedelico algorithmico generated form letter” Heck no, I’m not gonna put up with this on top of his obscurity, it too much hard work to be a big fan of somebody you’ve never even seen or never even heard (and if you did probably confused him with Lou Rawls or Lou Christy or Monty Rock the Third, heck no, it’s too much work. So I’m not gonna like him any more, cause after all I put up with for him.. HE SENT ME A FORM LETTER!.

 Anyway, as I said, there are (or were) perhaps fourteen or fifteen of them (my audience) scattered across the globe (in the most AMAZING places) there were an important few (including the head of the world-wide Scott Fagan Forever Fan club) in the Woman’s Detention Center in Greenwich Village, but unfortunately I don’t know where that “all important list of addresses” has gone, so now I’m going to have to wait for “The Fabulous Fourteen or Fifteen” to re-discover me all over again.

The fact is I’m a sixty-four year old singer whose train has left the station. Fortunately, I’ve got some fans, followers and friends who are still true believers, still willing to run alongside the tracks with me, in an attempt to flag the blood dragon down when “she’s comin’ round the mountain when she comes”, or shooting and raining sparks on the huffy puffel trail up the Big Rock Candy Mountain or somethin’

 So, with their help we will begin. (what the heck is it that’s beginning?)  It is the next phase of “The Virgin Islands Songs” more specifically, the beginning of promoting and performing the one man version, which began  very appropriately at the Cultural Institute, in the J. Antonio Jarvis Museum, on Polyberg Hill..just across from the Alton Adams Home. In St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

 Chico (Gus Edwards, Tutsie’s brother, the pre-eminent Afro-decended Playwright in America) said some important things..he said that trying to do it all (Write it, Fund it, Rewrite it, Cast it, Arrange it, Sing it, Rehearse it, Record it, Direct it, Produce it, and Promote it,) is too much for anyone to have on their plate. He suggested that it made sense to simplify the process by lessening the requirements for a production by doing it as a one man show.

This makes a lot of sense where moving it forward as a performance and production is concerned, however it confuses me at depth because I am inclined to think in musical terms. Towards enhancing the musicality of a thing as an automatic response. and always always, towards creating musical recordings.

 Additionally, there is the fact that I’m going to have to do different content for most stateside audiences because they probably are not going to get the spoken calypso humor of the Buckra De Paehae pieces. But we shall do and we shall see and it will be a fun and exciting element of the “Second Coming”.

 Once upon a time in the music business, if you were an artist armies of smarmies would swarm ya trying to steal you away from the oh so honest upstanding trustworthy and upright personal manager or agent you were already signed and committed to. It was awful. They would try to get at you through your wife or girl friend, promising them this that and the next thing. It was really anxiety producing, unpleasant and depressing.The truth is I would rather be rejected than smarmed  because ultimately, it’s up to me to find my way. I just hope me poor bent cogi-tater organ doesn’t snap crackle and pop under the strain! This is probably what that danged missing “executive center” in the brain is supposed to solve and resolve clickty clackity, lickty splito. We shall see…yes we shall.

 Book 3.  Popeye and The Crystal Cathedral

 In the context of all the above, the various difficulties of my life, are the consequences of my failure, this is a line of information that keeps coming to mind and with it, the opportunity to get more clear about the causes of my failure, and what to do about them.

I am getting mighty clear about the consequences of my failure, they are all around me all day and all night, they are everything I have and don’t have, everything I do and don’t do and they are debilitating and contributory to more and more and more failure.

 Well I ain’t a gonna take it!.. now effen ah kin jus figger out which button to punch which rock to roll up what hill, which road to take home.

I know that it’s drastically more subtle than that, rolling boulders up Everest is easy compared to getting a grip on these slippery invisibilities, many of which I’m confident, are comfortably anchored high above and behind me in the far confluence where cobweb, corner and ceiling gently conspire and quietly collude to collide.

Yep, an effen ah keep talking lak thet..it’s gonna be a cold day on rocky top before my blue moon turns to gold again. Yep, and If I keep talking like that, good ol’ Rocky top will be  sweetly tinkling sand on the bottom of the sea, by the time I make any sense to me.

 A while back I thought to my self “You’ve got to do better!” and I wondered “yeah but do what better?” and my answer was “everything.” And THAT made sense to me. Everything that I’m timid about, everything that I’m afraid of and try to avoid, everything that I dismiss as unimportant or beneath me, or square or… everything.

 This idea of accepting the term “failure” as useful and accurate is fairly new for me. I have absolutely failed at accomplishing what I set out to accomplish, and though I have accomplished other important things (which may after all be all that I get to accomplish) I have failed at what I set out to do.

 My father used to say “Fidel, I want you to watch Robert Schuller from the Crystal Cathedral, in fact we have a pane of glass there in our name, he’s positive and great, I watch him every Sunday” And I would feel a wave of pity and compassion for my father dear, living down in the friggin’ okeefeenokeeglades in an all but collapsed trailer. Breeding mosquitoes the size of humming birds and singing to his thirty or sixty or so leaping, barking, nonstop copulating Chihuahuas, having himself failed at what he set out to do. I would say not on your friggin’ life, thinking that the Robert Shuller Okeedooky was what allowed him to tolerate living the way he did, not realizing that it was the alcohol and likely his own dose of fetal alcohol effects that had melted his lofty dreams and burning ambitions into a warmish pool of Schlitzy piss.

Ah dear my fadder dear, your boy Fidel had a lot to learn… and is trying like hell to learn it.

Anyway, so last, (not this but last) January up in the states, I was watching Robert Shuller..when he mentioned one of my very favorite characters of all “New World” mythology “Popeye The Sailor Man”

 The Reverend Robert Shuller came on and introduced his guest speaker Bill Hybels, and Mr. Hybels introduced his Popeye inspired approach to changing one’s life.

Mr. Hybels launched right into his premise, which is that we all have an “I jus can’t stands it no more” and if we can identify it then we can change our lives. He asked the viewers to think about that and he asked.” What is your “I Just Can’t Stands It No More”?

I leapt to my feet and confessed aloud that my “I Just Can’t Stands it No More” is my failure.

 Now I know that some of you folks think that one of the more endearing things about me is my utter absence from the check out stand publications, and my quaint habit of laying so low that nobody knows a thing about me or my scandalous behaviors. Some of you have even gone so far as to track me down to ask for my obscurity formulae so that you can model your own business and life plans upon it, and while I don’t mind being able to come and go as I please with out the complications that so many others complain about, The fact and the truth, is I failed at what I set out to do. Which was/is to make a difference in the world and to provide financial freedom and security for my family and myself while doing it

 I thought that I could and would do it through my ability to sing and write and make records… I have been at it since July 2nd  1964 and although I am not a failure at singing and writing,or a number of other things, I have failed miserably at managing and promoting my abilities and the products of my abilities to produce financial freedom and security for my family and myself.

 Consequently, I have been materially “poor” and my Children have been materially “poor” all of our lives. Both parents, my sister and two of my three brothers have died materially “poor”. I was not successful at providing a breakthrough for any of them. Or any of the four mothers of my five children.

My Daughters Lelia and Holiday are still most vulnerable and the reality that I am not able to help them in spite of the fact that I am bright, inventive and more talented than many AND have given the past forty-five years to trying and trying and failing and failing,, brings me to where..  “I JUS CAN’T STANDS IT NO MORE!”

 So, with the help of the Higher Power I am going to change it. Here are elements of my Action Plan. I will assess my assets and my deficits and identify what I have to learn and do to reverse my failure and at long last… well, ahh …reverse my failure.

  1. I will keep a diary of the process. The diary will be helpful to folks and a valuable creative product in its own right…
  2. I will make an entry each morning (2 minutes) and each evening (4 minutes), the first stating what I intend to achieve that day, and the second, what I got done and did not get done and what I learned as a result and the remedy.

 January 25, 2009 AM

I intend to hold on to Popeye’s saying, “I Jus Can’t Stands It No More” write it down and see what if anything I can learn and do from that process. I intend to find a way or at least the beginning of a way to turn my failure into success, and to follow consistently the process that I outline or discover.

 January 25, 2009 PM

I have started the process of turning my failure into success. I have written my intentions down and have begun. I spent an hour and a half rehearsing songs from “South Atlantic Blues”. I will  out line the many ideas for potentially revenue producing projects, I will do the outlines in the morning.

 January 31, 2009

Listing the many projects that I started this week

 JULY 12, 2009 AM

Gosh, I had completely forgotten all about the daily diary entry aspect of this daily diary entry exercise, and have just rediscovered what I had written back in January! I am in St. Thomas recording “The Virgin Island Songs”. It has been interesting. but..good Lord.

 February 12, 2010

Gosh, I’d forgotten what I rediscovered I’d forgotten and rediscovered, in July! Good  Good  God  Amighty…

Book 3. and 1. and 3. Caribair and The Second Coming

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Book 3. Caribair 
It was hot as  double ultra caraho, so I went over to Lindbergh to get in the sea and cool off. I have a “beach outfit” that is the biggest hoot ever, it’s great fun to wear. My “beach suit” is an enormous blue flowery Hibiscus pattern shirt over enormous baggy blue flowery Hibiscus pants. The blues are out of kilter with one another and the Hibiscus are drawn by entirely different artists in entirely different styles. The closer you look the more mind boggling it is, just like any really good tourist outfit.
 Is it possible the tourists have been goofing on us all these years? I’m thinking yes.
 The water was wonderful, the contemplation of the clouds as I lay on/in the Caribbean was wonderful
 The sound of a DC 3 taking off was immediately recognizable to me and I stopped contemplating, and stood upright. to watch it..A very old DC3 with a more shrill sound than most, (but only in one engine) with “4 Star Airlines” written along the side.

I watched it climbing and banking south then east. Immediately after, a second one took off. The sound of a DC 3 is such a comforting reassuring sound from my childhood, I love them. 

Further, it was the aircraft of the greatest airline ever “Caribair.” Caribair’s DC 3s were painted a cool white with a golden stripe running along the side where the windows were (so the windows looked like little jewels set in a golden band or bracelet) the tail featured a classic image of “El Morro” the Spanish fort in Old San Juan, painted in Red against the Golden background of the mighty upright tail.

 The planes were immaculate, in and out and smelled of romance and sweet peppermints, the stewardess were the exact Spanish beauties of your dreams. The kind of ladies that inspired you to  get grown up, just so you could fling yourself babbling at their feet.

The dashing “Don Caballeros” in the crisp pilot’s uniforms were clearly capable and mucho macho. More than enough, to fly you into and through any “cat 10” Huracan! No problema..mon.

In those days, this airlines planes had never crashed. But if one did, (they didn’t, but IF one did) you knew that “You flew with Spanish Angels in the air, when you flew with Caribair” so if you did accidentally wind up with them in Puerto Rican Heaven, well… you knew you would be welcome there.

 Not only were the planes and people beautiful but the sound of the powerful always steady engines (seemed tuned to concert 440) A full throated celestial “A” chord that did not waver, that did not roar. Their harmonic consistency was the background sound every day, morning noon and night through the sweetest years of our lives. “dungderoad” in Bournfield.

 I lay down this afternoon on the warm soft sand as I had done through out the sweet days of yore, with the sound of DC 3’s taking off and landing in the background… just like a favorite song playing over and again on the juke box…

Book 3 And 1 And 3… The Second Coming 

 

The Plane climbs into the orange dusk above Charlotte Amalia, and I am on my way back to the states. As we bank into the setting sun, I think,” I’m doing it again, I’m doing it again. I’m leaving the Island, and going to the states… with the same intention that I held forty five years and lets see..five months and twelve hours and a lifetime ago.

 

To sing, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to prove myself, to demonstrate to other Virgin Islanders that we are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it, and be equal in this world, To get famous and… (lets not forget, or overlook, diminish or deny the primal, primary force that has driven many many men of music)… Chicks.

 

Only perhaps this time the priorities might be listed somewhat differently.

 To sing, to write wildly wonderful things, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to demonstrate to all Virgin Islanders that we from the V. I. are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it in this world, and this time to get the fame nesessary and sufficient to take care of the chicks I’ve got. (My daughters and Grand daughters, their beautiful Mamas and Mamas Grande)
 
I’m doing it again, only this time I have to do it right, But how to do it right is the mighty mighty question..begging (in my case) the obvious question “How or what did I do wrong?”
 The answer that comes is 

1. Do not drink or use absolutely no matter what

2. Do not allow myself to be constantly and continuously distracted by the promise of a kiss. Sublimate that to taking care of those already in my care. 

3. Do not be dismissive of ideas other than my own 

4. Remember to be grateful for the beautiful gifts that I’ve been given, and to let them shine. 

5. Stay committed to doing it better, by doing the things I do, better than I’ve been doing them.

6. Choose my battles thoughtfully and carefully 

7. Listen. and 

8. Learn 

9. Remember alsway, to pass it on.

While this octave plus one, of ideas may not be the whole story, it could lead to a better story than the one I’ve got.

Puerto Rico is below and the whole majestic Island is moving to the south east at five slow hundred miles per hour. Every dream and heartbreak, pot of arroz con pollo, beautiful bighearted, black-eyed, big bottomed beauty, and her Abuelita, every tousled haired little one and their sinewy armed Abuelos, every conga pounding, bongo beating, high note hitting, guapo big dreamer, every surviving Taieno and Carib, every Don Santiago de Espana, every child of Africa, every perfumed Princessa De la Noche, every hysterical television personality and dancing melocoton, electric plug, telephone cable, naval installation, politician, supermarket, history book and so on, is slipping away “al Oriente”. I will miss it when it’s gone.

On July 2nd, 1964, (forty five years, five months, twelve hours and a lifetime ago) It took the entire day, (dawn to dusk), to sail the fifty foot Ketch “Success” this far. Sailing into San Juan harbor in the dark that night, was a bilge-rat’s first lesson in finding the navigational lights hidden among the dancing neon, red, green and amber traffic lights and the ever blinking diamond twinkle of a major sea side city.

On July Fourth 1964, as we were leaving the harbor at Areciebo, bound across the dreaded Mona Passage for Hispaniola. I looked back towards “The Virgins” beneath the rising sun, and felt my heart all but break with longing.

I wanted more than anything to go back home (even though home was at that time, a small clearing on the side of Sara Hill.) I stood on the deck, looking back for a long long time.

In truth, no small part of my pain was the realization that “today, the 4th” was wild, raucous, rambunctious, crazy ruckus, Carnival Day in St. John. I felt ever so strongly that I should have been heading there, rather than here, going who knows where. (but clearly in the wrong direction).

The good question of whether I ought to have been heading east to England rather than west to the U.S. has been posed many times by sincere people aware of my history in the music business. While I very much appreciate their concern and perhaps it is true that I might have been a better fit for Britain, Truth be told, on July Fourth 1964, standing on the deck of the good ship “Success” longing for the “Islands of the Virgins” I was much more an “instinct driven, lusty, dipsomaniacal youth,” than a thoughtful, practical, prescient planner. Ah well…

I’m remembering how at 18, I was alone in the full moon night at the helm of a 50 foot ketch, under full sail, just off the coast of Haiti, holding a course W.N.W, on the Midnight to 4 AM watch, with four souls asleep below.

What an amazing series of moments. I was as hyper alert as I had ever been, hyper aware of the wind, the current, the strong pulling of the wheel, the glowing compass and what would happen if I slid off course. I was sure that I could hear the water crashing against the reefs that line the northern coast of Hispaniola, and if you ask, to this day, I could almost swear that I remember (clear as a ships bell), the leaping fires on the Mountain side and the crazy pounding of Haitian drums. My heart was pounding my, my mind was racing, and I knew that I would never forget that moment, that time and place, the spirit in that boy. And I never have.

There were many other wonderful exhilarating unforgettable nights at sea, standing at the point of the bowsprit, flying high and plunging deep above and between the dark and dangerous waves. Singing into the wind as it whipped my hair my open shirt and my words away.

Scrambling in crazy wind lashed rain storm to follow the Captain’s command, to haul in the franticly beating jib, in spite of the fact that it’s already slapped you silly. To this day I dream of magnificent beautiful flying Jennys…

Or still quiet nights when the sea and the sky and the stars in the sky ARE everything, are everything that is the world, everything that is except our poor little pondering noggins with their peculiar little imaginings,

A boy of beating heart, of fragile little (but conscious) brain, my feeble little man-child wonderings, sandwiched between billions of years above and billions of years below. A “consciousness” floating on a wood chip smack dab between double eternities. Yikes! There perhaps, the waddling baby duckling birth of reverence and humility. Continued…