Posts Tagged ‘Music Business’

Book 4. Dear Carol and Book 4. De Barracks Yad Bay And Beach Club And Book 4. “Yeah But Can You Sell 300 Tickets?”

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

 Book 4. Dear Carol and Book 4. De Barracks Yad Bay And Beach Club And Book 4. “Yeah But Can You Sell 300 Tickets?”

 Dear Carol,

Please forgive me for not responding more quickly, I was away from my computer and in New York, as you will see later in today’s postings.

Gale and I have thought of you, your big sister Ruth your little brother Kent or “Kennet” (as people call him), and your parents, many more times than I can say. I am very sorry to report to you that Gale died not long ago (April of 08) and up and to that time we spoke about you and your family often and with great fondness.

I recently did a concert at the “J. Antonio Jarvis Museum and Learning Center” in Pollyburg, which is also the defacto home of “We from Upstreet” (an organization that you may be familiar with, or may find interesting to look into.)

In any case, because of the time that Gale and I spent living “Upstreet” (we had already moved twice, and had been in both Catholic and Nisky schools before coming  upstreet) I was invited to join the organization and I did with great pleasure.

 During  the concert I performed a spoken word piece called “De Barracks Yad Bay And Beach Club” which was very well received, I am posting it here again today in hopes that you will enjoy it. There is much more to write about the people, places and things of upstreet and you can be quite sure that you will find the Daniels family therein.

I have seen Kent from time to time through the years and have often asked about you and Ruth, I am glad to know that you are well and I certainly hope that she is also. Please pass my warmest regards along to her if you can, and know that because of your many kindnesses the memory of you and your family is always with me. Do you remember our little club and its Theme Song “Home Home on The Range”? Yep! And when we children would pack a little picnic lunch and follow Ruth along “Beljan Road” to go swimming at “Long Bay” (before Pearson Gardens and Yacht Haven?) Yep and.. and..well, God Bless you Carol, thank you for writing. My email address is looking forward!  

Book 4. De Barracks Yad Bay An Beach Club

 It jus so happen dat one day roun de bay dere by de Barracks yad a big truck come an dump out a truck load a san. Wha! Yeh meboy, (I se to meself) now yu talking boy, now yu talkin’ lemme go lay doun in it.

 No sooner said dan done an I was de fus man dare. Boy, ah lay back an cross me leg an crass up me han dem behine me head like ah contemplating de clouds in de clear blue sky. De nex second, ah jump up ana run back home to de head a pave street for me Muddah towel ana umbrella fo style, den ah grab up a can a sardine, two French bread ana red soda ana fly back to de beautiful new san at wha I kno gon soon be “De Barracks Yad Bay an Beach Club” Yeh meboy, ah se to meself now yu talking now yu talking.

 By de time ah reach back, three o fo touris had done fin de spot, but ah tro doun me self right in de middle ah dem, put an me shades ana open me sardine.

Jus den a big hard face man se “Hey Buckra, wha de hell yu tink yu doin, yu can’ see we come tu mix up concrete an cement?” Ah se “wha? Yu crazy? Wha yu commin’ to de beach tu mix up concrete and cement” De man se “Is you is de one who crazy, who de hell tell you dis is a beach, we makin’ a watahfront fo  bigtruck cou pass here” Ah se “wha? Is YOU is de one who crazy, look de beautiful blue watah de, look de san here, look de people in de middle. We here in de Barracks Yad waitin’ bocoups an many years plus fo somebody to bring de san fo de beach. Man de people dem  been laydin doun in de mud full a crab hole an rock stone an badein’ in de watah  wha de bottom fulla broke shell an beer can. De chrirren dem billin san calsel outtah mud an don’ talk abou when de gut runnin and de nightsoil commin’ doun, den dey makin mud pie outta dat!

 No man, we waitin’ two hundred years an mo for dis san tu come (an fo somebody to plug up de gut) We ain’ wan no concrete and cement fo de beach, how de people dem gon lay doun on concrete and cement?, why yu wan tu have to jump up wid yu coal pot an yu fry fish and yu mabi an yu blanket an everyting, everytime some schupid muddah skunk ina bigtruck want tu pass. Yu crazy? No man, bring mo san! Dis is de place right here me boy, in fac we should exten de beach all de way from Wes Indian dock to Cha Cha Ta…ah.. ah mean French Toun!

Yu kno de beach belongs to de people dem and dat way every day will be like Christmas Mahnin fo de whole ah Charlotte Amalia me boy. Man sellin fraco an jumbi bead lef an right, woman sellin pate an benye by de poun. Touris frum all ovah de place commin to see de most beautiful town in de wurl, wid de bigges an de bes and de most beautiful beach in de wurl, rite in de middle ait. An de people dem will own de whole ting!. Man ah tell yu bring mo san! Bring mo san!

 Book 4. “Yeah But Can You Sell 300 Tickets?”

 I have been a Recording Artist since I first signed with Columbia Records in the fall of 1964, and have been subject or exposed to most every original and derivative permutation of art/music and business related bull jive steamin’. Every hipper than thou conceit, confabulation, confusion, slight of hand obfustication (compounded I confess by crock pots of chemistry guaranteed to lift the veil, and expose the heart of matter AND the matter too, listened to every triple speaking squeaky charlatan and predatory Piranha, every well intentioned honey, and her Father AND her Mother, Cuzuncle, Cuzauntie, Police Chief, School teacher, sponsor, Chaplin, shrink, business and financial advisor and attorney, music biz, patent, copyright, real estate, personal injury and divorce. Every cross-eyed, trembling lipped visionary, explicator, explainer, translator, voice from the clouds, fortune cookie, Gypsy and know it all, know nothing available. Every ambitious author, handbook scribbler, how to coach, wanna be publicist, agent, and queen bee, every bartender, dealer, secretary of the meeting, founding director, Psychologist, Professor, lunatic and even to my partner in lilfish records, Tutsie.  And nothing has ever been quite so clear, so illuminating, so to the point, so completely question AND answer in one, so insulting and inspirational so in out all and every thing, as the question put to me this past Friday October the 8th, 2010, in New York City.  “Yeah But Can You Sell 300 Tickets?”


Book 1.MORE The Blessed Virgins. and Book 4. LIVE Continued

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 1.MORE The Blessed Virgins. and Book 4. LIVE Continued

The time between 1958 (when we returned to the Islands) and 1964 when I sailed away to “fame and fortune” in the music business was very eventful or full of “stuff” some of which I have already touched on in earlier entrys,(see 11 through 16) but much of which remains to be seen or said, writ and read.

We were young teenagers straddling multiple (many multiple) worlds, and because pool is undeniably the perfect allegory for life (in some quarkatronic parallel dimension), you will comprende when I say, it seems like one day everything is racked up tight n’ right and the next your worlds are rocketing  away in the slam crack!  echo-math of a resoundingly  good breaksplosion.

Further with the poolagory,after rocketing apart, by God they hit the bumpers and come ricocheting back towards one another (or not) often colliding to make even more mayhem, and so and so on until finally all is calm and quiet again except that everything is where it wasn’t before and what wasn’t before now is, and on top of that there is a fair possibility that one or more balls (worlds) are  gone and of course, no sooner do you adjust to that, when slam bang crackola mam,  everything changes again.On second thought,  Maybe war is a better allegory, but what would we call it? Warality, or perhaps reality?

Anyway, I am very relieved to have finally discovered or received, resisted, and finally accepted that change is the only real constant (now don’t think that I think that I’m making a statement of ultimate wisdom,e fact or universal truth ‘cause I know as well as the next psychedelic casuality that things ain’t always what they seem, and even ultimate truths are subject to their context or the shifting physics of sub atomic worlds and quantum dimensionality,( man it’s like one has to be a Zen master Psycho  Scientist to step out of the door  and hold your ever-changing own with the question of “what the heck’s goin’ on?’) anyway, I didn’t know this stuff then and so I often hoped, hoped with all my heart that nothing would ever change, that every thing would stay just the way it is this minute this hour this day forever…

Those were the times of course in which the world was as sweet and slow as golden honey (ah yes…against the blue blue of the countless shades of blue sea)

Rather than the times of violent chaotic change, or the happy/tragic occasion of a friends family (like the family of the The Girl With the Golden Skin) moving away from our “low cost housing community” to their own beautiful new home on a hill  with the Million dollar views and the cool Island breeze…)

There were many golden days of the greatest camaraderie Cont…

PS Here’s a whimsical little piece on perhaps a Quantumized here after..

             “Dead As Dust”.                                .                                  

 (Dust To Dust I’ve heard them say but..)   

I’ve been told someday wemust 

 all wake up dead as dust                                                                                     

dead as dust.. what could that mean?                                                 

organic stuff with rocks between?                                                                

Have you ever looked at dust?                                                                          

 It’s alive!!! (except for rust)

 A universe of universes there,                                                             

 (between the bread crumbs and the doggie-hair)                              

 and the mites (lil bugs big as elephants                                                  

 with faces like mosquitos eating peppermints)                                   

but if the dusts a little wet,                                                                                

that doubles the universes that you’ll get

Great googamooga could it be                                                                         

 that that is what becomes of me?                                                                  

We (I’ll) turn into the space between                                                           

the color blue and the color green                                                                 

 and fly in thirty different directions                                                                 

 all at once in thirty sections?

 Oh I hope and pray there’ll be                                                                       

some of me left of me                                                                                                 

so I can dig this dance electric                                                                          

from my dusty new prospectric

 I wouldn’t miss the streets of gold                                                    

 patrolled by strict prophets of old                                                

 declaiming ‘bout the days of Heaven                                                            

  like  nutty buckets outside a  seven eleven.

 I’d rather be singing with my dead dust band,                                

 with my new name “dead as dust dude man”                  

 everything that is, I’ll be..                                                                                  

  part of it… all part of me


Great googa mooga I mean, really?                                                                

part of it… all part of me?                                                                                      

going up while going down                                                                                      

 left and right and round and round                                                                    

 out in the country, while in town?                                                                   

In silence AND rip-roaring sound?

Dead as dust might be exciting                                                                 

 (though the dyings not so inviting)                                                         

 Although some folks go from here to there                                          

 rocking in their rocking chair,

Other  people wake up dead

Intheir jammies  in theirbed                                                                                                                           

I guess dead as dusts a kind of blender                                                          

 that takes our mollycules and                                               

friends them every wich-a-way                                                                                     

from Sapphire beach to Botney bay.

Me in the sea me in the air                                                                                  

me in all things everywhere                                                                        

instead of like a dull vacation,                                                                           

 life’s (er..deaths) an exclamation!

Wow! wow! did you see that?                                                                            

 I’m a doggie AND a cat                                                                                          

 I’m seeing through my ears AND eyes,                                                      

Hey!, Wot th heck? time really flies!

Dead as dust don’t sound so bad,                                                                       

 not the worst trip I’ve ever had                                                                        

 but for now if you don’t mind,                                                                              

 I think I’d rather stay behind…….

I think I’d rather live some more                                                                 

and dance around the ballroom floor                                                      

 but with every little mote alive                                                                            

 I give my word that I will strive                                                                         

 to live much more considerately                                                                       

  of every little dust ball that I see

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Book 4. “LIVE” Continues

I have decided that I would like to  have some Background singers on the “Shake A Bum” album, so I have found two good candidates ladyfairs, and we will do our first recording session this Thursday at 10 AM.

It happens that female background singers are just about my favorite musical instrument of all time, I simply love them, and everything about them..and perhaps most of all, their attitude. Yes yes I know, sounds mighty fishy but, they are an instrument with attitude, attitude that can, that must be able to shift and change at the drop of a hat or chord and change with absolute confidence. They are an instrument that is aware of it’s own iridescent beauty. A thing transformed, from the very first breath, the reality in and all around them changes to something extraordinary and  grand.

Something extraordinary  grande and wonderful like a full concert grand.

They are, I may have let slip that I am fond of back ground chicks, having said all that I do hope the chicks can sing.

I’ve listened carefully, I think they can, but we shall see. You just never know until we are all singing together. Then it becomes like a game of give and take of musical tag  a vocal dance of mutual inspiration and communication. I wish everyone could know the joy of creating a joyful groove and singing your heart out. When you are through you are often depleted in quite a physically and psychologically healthy way. If they can sing we will finish this album as quickly as  possible and get out on the road to promote the heck out of it. It’s goint to be a great release  literally and figuratively and I will be hoping to see folks I’ve been missing all over the world. For example, did you know that I have a serious coterie of fans in Prague Czechoslovakia? From as far back as South Atlantic Blues,along with a following in Asia? And Scandinavia? I can’t wait and the band is raring to go.. we shall see.


BOOK 1 The Blessed Virgins, and “LIVE” Continued…

September 22, 2010 2 comments

BOOK 1 The Blessed Virgins, and “LIVE” Continued…

So it is a gray and raining morning in 1958 and I (known for convenience and contrivance in this piece as I, Me, He, The Boy, The White Boy, the Artist and other convenient phrases (mebbe even) Scott Fagan) am standing on the edge of a road with no name other than “De RoadDoun De Road” (which was and is) he main road from town (Charlotte Amalia or Charlotte Amalie, for odd linguistic reason (mostly charitable I suspect) both are (like CariBEEan and CaRIBBYan) considered to be correct) to all points west.  Brewers Bay, Bordeaux, Flamingo Pond, Fortuna, Botney Bay, Santa Maria Bay, Pull Or Be Damned, and other romantic piratical places. I am wearing my New York City black leather Jacket  while breathing deeply of and thus absorbing at a molecular level the reality of rainy season in the beautiful, but don’t doubt it, strange, Mambo Bongo Isles.

The observant observer might notice and remark that “this white boy wearing a leather jacket by the side of the road”appears to be neither here nor there” in truth of fact or fact of matter, the  observant observer need not have been any more perceptive and insightful than a lizard, even the most casual, disinterested passerby,  in fact, any living thing (including mule, cow, goat and braying jackass) seeing him would likely register immediately that “this boy is somewhere and something else” thereby triggering an automatic and immediate “note to self” the universal trans-species translation of which would be something like “I’d better keep an eye on this guy”

What they were less likely to notice was that the odd duck out in the rain was awash with intense impressions, which were self organizing into the foundation of an interesting combination or integration of cultural (and musical) rhythms and realities.

For example, the sights and smells of that grey and rainy morning in 1958 would be lifted whole cloth to become the song “Hidaway” in 1967, which he would be screeching and yowling (singing) in a big time music publishers office in Rockefeller Center one morning in 1968 and seized on immediately by his writing partner Joe (AKA Jose Silvio Martinez) Kookoolis to convince the professional staff that the song was an integral and representative part of an “Opera” ah..a “Rock Opera” that he and the neither here nor there boy, were just about finished writing and that “of course” this entire brand new and mighty fine score would be thrown in as part of our song catalog, for the publishing agreement that we were at that very moment, there to discuss and negotiate.

 The smell of my leather jacket was always a thing of wonder to me and no less so that morning. It filled my head with a secret satisfaction, a confident security likely well-known to the well armored since time began.

In my head is music, specifically or essentially the  liberation theology of rock and roll but shot through, tinted and tinged with related  genre upon genre and sub genre upon sub genre and reshaped by the crisscrossing  cultural realities that it would be tasked to represent.  

In my eyes, the most fantastic green and blues filtered through and bordered or framed by low hanging silver clouds that make the sky no more than 300 feet high.

In my sniffer, a soggy sweet perfumed mix of rain, cow dung, salty sea and the fruit salad scent of wild tropical flora, and  ah…in my heart the first deep stirrings of love for “The Girl with The Golden Skin” It’s a fine case of time and place all over the place. And a good example of how it is/was to be me then and now, or perhaps more accurately now and then, meaning sometimes…

In that moment however, the white boy is acutely  aware that he is the “poorest” white boy that he has ever known or even ever seen, his sense of self is unfortunately now somewhat negatively impacted by shame related to this, and the knowledge  that his pitifully alcoholic  step father (yes the Mother dear  has for reasons best know to God and those few of his angels who fully comprehend the effects of paternal suicide on a  nine-year old daughter, rape at 16 as a first sexual experience, in an alley in Washington DC, the befogglement of early mid-stage alcoholism and the mind-boggling conflicting mis-information (coming from in side and outside the mind) related to so-called co-dependency, hooked up with Howard again) who as mentioned before, is an extremely public and universally disrespected  drunkard and laughing-stock of the community.

 What’s the community? Well as we all know (both here and there) they are many and varied.

he community of most  immediate concern to the boy at that time, would have been the 8 to 10 older “native” boys (known as “Dem Boy) in his immediate section of the Island” The Dem Boy community in number and position is  mirrored and repeated all across the land (the I land) “Dem Boy” are the seemingly magically omnipresent absolutely judgemental shapers of values, morality and behaviors for any younger boy subject to their pressures. “Dem Boy” are the gatekeepers of conditional acceptance (it would be interesting to know which society where in the world this “Dem Boy” social structure developed) or eternal dis-approval and damnation  in young man land. Rather, “local young tough guy man landl” meaning the young man land of the economically disadvantaged, as opposed to young men of privilege land (color or cash) who are contemptuously dismissed by “Dem Boy” (in the short form) as “Auntie-men” or in the long form as “schupid auntie-man muddah skunts”

 All of that to suggest and illustrate that the young “neither here nor there white boy” felt very strongly that he had much to prove and consequently was (by circumstance, environment and temperament) on his way to becoming “something else” or more specifically, an “other than ordinary recording  artist”, whose interesting integration of cultures and music, would someday prove uniquely unusual and confusing to major labels, record bin organizers, and music writers, (most recently one self-aggrandizing and insulting “know it all know nothing” from  Toronto, Canada). 

So,  the boy by the side of the road with no name, turned out to be a white artist from the predominately black West Indies whose integration of his own cultural and musical influences, continues to present it’s self in most interesting  and amusing ways. entertaining even as in the “LIVE “currently in production”  “Shake A Bum” album by Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band,

Yes indeed, It is interesting, to say the least, to see and understand so clearly how things express and work themselves out.

As further illustration of the potential for joy inherent in the great cultural combo platter of life described, here is a rough mix (pre back ground vocals) of the “neither here nor there boy by the side of the road’s” composition and current recording of his somewhat tantric and liberating mantra “Shake A Bum”

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.


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.