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Posts Tagged ‘Stephin Merritt’

Book 4. What a Wonderful Gig!

May 8, 2011 2 comments

What a wonderful gig we had in Brooklyn yesterday (Saturday 5/7/11) at the big Convergence in Red Hook Event. What fun!

The MAAC Island Band fluted and banged their socks and maracas off and I (while breaking three strings myself) sang like a banshee in flames. The dancers  twirled the colors swirled and the music that makes happy, ruled the land.

Many a girl from yesterday was there, piffeled up with perfume and looking all shiny and new. Each as enticing as ever.

There is a communal space (parallel to the muggled mundane) in which “them that makes the music and them that receives it” are intimately bound in transcendental joy, breath to breath, beat to beat, spirit to spirit. I thee, you, me… a “we”. A “we” that is at once plural, that is at once singular. A “plural singularity”, a delight to sing in, a delight to sing from, a delight to sing  to. All in all, past wonderful.

We will be back in New York for the big “Make Music New York Festival”  on June 21 st.  Musical artists of every kind will be playing simultaneously all over the city.  We “Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band” are scheduled to play at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (46th and First, across from the UN) from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. We can hardly wait! Perhaps we will see you there!

Here are two more tunes from the LIVE Album “Shake A Bum” I hope you enjoy them.

Here is “Mademoiselle”

and Here is “Where My Lover Has Gone”

Book 4. Virgin Islands Singer Scott Fagan to perform at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big “CONVERGENCE IN RED HOOK” on May 7th 2011

May 1, 2011 6 comments

 Here is The Press release for the upcoming NYC gig.. followed by the “Backstory attachment” to that press release, that folks got. It’s here because this sort of stuff is interesting, and necessary in this business.

I have added the Theme form “SOON” and The Theme From “The Virgin Islands Songs” You will find them at the very bottom of the page.

BWAC.org is a great venue and we very much enjoy our time there, come on down (or up as the case may be) if you are free.

For immediate Release:
 
Virgin Islands Singer Scott Fagan (Subject of Jasper Johns Lithograph “Scott Fagan Record”, Author and Lyricist of “SOON” the very first Rock Opera produced on Broadway, and Father of 2009 OBIE Winner and Magnetic Fields front man Stephin Merritt), is coming to New York to perform at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big Spring opening “CONVERGENCE IN RED HOOK” on May 7th 2011.
 
Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band, are currently promoting their LIVE Album “SHAKE A BUM” which includes selections from Scott’s new Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs”. Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band will perform three sets between 1 and 5:30 PM.
 
The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Cooperative is located at 499 Vanbrunt Street, Brooklyn, NY. For Directions please visit bwac.org 
 
Please contact  Shari Brandt  717-944-1187 at the Middletown Area Arts Collective. www.middletownarts.com or scottfagan@lilfishrecords.com  
Thank you!

SCOTT FAGAN “De Real Ting Mon”

Scott who? Scott Fagan. Here’s the 411…

 Scott Fagan is a brilliant musician born in New York City and raised in the Virgin Islands.  This talented artist has a one of a kind sound with a Caribbeankick.  Scott has been an international recording artist since leaving Charlotte Amalie High School in 1964 to sign with Columbia Records. During that time he has released nine albums and multiple singles, in addition to writing and appearing in “SOON” the very first Rock Opera produced on Broadway!

 His Caribbean consciousness is manifested throughout his work. Scott’s musical innovations underlie the “Contemporary Caribbean” or “Caribilly” genre widely popularized by Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney, and others.  His very first album, “South Atlantic Blues”, released in the summer of 1968, now recognized as a classic, inspired Jasper John’s lithographic series “Scott Fagan Record” part of the permanent collections of museums all over the world, including MOMA, The National Gallery, and The Tel Aviv.

Scott’s albums: “South Atlantic Blues”1968, “Many Sunny Places”1976, “Sandy the Bluenosed Reindeer”2000, “Buried Treasures, (The V.I Songs Vol. l)”2004, “Dreams Should Never Die” The V.I. Songs Vol. ll) 2005, ”SOON”2009, “The Virgin Islands Songs, The MUSICAL”2010, ”Buckra De Paehae” ( a spoken word Calypso Comedy album)2010, and most recently his LIVE album with The MAAC Island Band “Shake A Bum”2011, Can all be found at www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com

 Scott Fagan has spent 40 of the past 47 years, trying to revive his career after being “blacklisted” by the “old school” Music Business for his Rock Opera “SOON”.  Scott wrote “SOON” to bring attention to the “absurdity and cruelty of the music business, and its destructive effects on artists and society”.

Here’s what Martin Brookspan had to say:
“The tide of Rock musicals reaches its high water mark in SOON… an inventive, imaginative, brilliantly realized creation.”

Emory Lewis said:
“SOON is a hallelujah blessing, glorious music easily the best score of the season… I loved every rocking minute.”

And John Schubeck:
“Staggering shots of meaning. Dynamite in so many ways.”

In spite of reviews like these, and a cast which included Peter Allen, Richard Gere, Vickie Sue Robinson, Nell Carter, Marian Ramsey, and Leata Galloway, SOON was pulled the day after it opened.  Ironically, Scott’s son, Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archie’s, The 666’s, and Future Bible Heroes fame, recently won the Obie award for his first musical “Coraline”. Quite a chip off the old block…

 So, where’s Scott Fagan now? He’s busy busy, gigging with the MAAC Island Band, promoting the LIVE album “Shake a Bum” and Scott’s own Calypso Comedy album “Buckra de Paehae”, keeping an eye on two of his musicals  in pre-production.  First is “The Virgin Island Songs”, scheduled to debut inSt. Thomas,Virgin Islands, and the other?? “SOON” scheduled for November, in Johnstown,Pennsylvania.  That’s right, “SOON” is back in production!

But wait, there’s more! You can catch Scott Fagan and the MAAC Island Band  live in New York on May 7th, 2011 (from 1-5:30 PM) at The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s big spring show “Convergence in Red Hookwww.bwac.org 

At The United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York’s Citywide Music Festival (Make Music New York) on June 21 st at 4:00PM, 

Or at Scott and the band’s stateside home base the Middletown Area Arts Collective (MAAC) (www.middletownarts.com) at 3 South Union Street in Middletown, PA.  (Contact Shari Brandt at 717-944-1187).Thank You!

The Theme from “SOON”

The Theme from “The Virgin Islands Songs”

Book 4. Brand New Grandson…Jacob Max Charles Fagan! “Dreams Should Never Die” and “El Gringito”

April 13, 2011 4 comments

Book 4. Brand New Grandson…Jacob Max Charles Fagan!

My boy “The Bix” (Scott Francis Fagan) Son of Patricia Trepuk Evelyn Nelthrop Fagan and Great Grandson of Max Trepuk (of M.E. Trupk and I. Levine fame) has just had a little one. Here’s a photo of the fine young gent.

Jacob Max Charles Fagan

The Newest Chip off the Old Block

 He is not one bit better looking than his father or Grandfather (me)  at his age and so unfortunately, is not terribly likely to be able to get by based on looks alone. This means the lad is destined for hard work and long labor and may expect to start his first job  well before nursery school.

 Such is life for the likes of we…

Too bad he doesn’t look like his Grand Mother Patricia, why then the boy would be “King of The World”.

However, if he brings even a quarter of the happiness, delight and joy to his father, that his father has brought to me, then there is great cause for high kicking and hot footed celebration all across the land, and I welcome him with all my heart and soul.

 God bless you little Jacob Max Charles Fagan, you are most certainly a chip off the old block. Welcome, Welcome, to the World.

Here is “El Gringito” from “The V.I. Songs Vol. ll”  ’cause the dear lad is “Un Cuarto Puertoricanio”

 and  “Dreams Should Never Die” from the same CD to mark the occasion.

Feliz Navidad! Looking Forward!

Book 4. Two More From the “LIVE album ” Shake A Bum” Here come…Soon and Where My Lover Has Gone

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Book 4. Two More From the “LIVE album ” Shake A Bum”.  Here are Soon and Where My Lover Has Gone.

Here are two more from the LIVE album “Shake A Bum” 

“Soon” is the theme from my Rock Opera “SOON”.  This may be one of my very favorite recordings of the song because of the “harp” or harmonica intro. Let’s see what you think. 

                 Soon                                                                                                                                            Scott Fagan/Joe Kookoolis

 Soon everyone will see, everyone will know, the long, long night is over  We will look and we will find we’ve left the past behind, it’s over

Soon all the world will say look we made it all the way, tho no child was ever blinder it will be a very special sun, that shines on what we’ve done, oh listen

I want you to listen..

 Soon there will come a day, our love will show the way, and all men will be brothers

And I will see that day or die, with all my life I’ll try, with every breath I’ll talk it and shout it and sing all about it

 Soon maybe not today, maybe not tonight maybe not tomorrow                But I, won’t let a chance go by, I’ll really really try, don’t you ever doubt it

 Soon there will come a day, our love will show the way, and all men will be brothers And I will see that day or die, with all my life I’ll try, with every breath I’ll talk it and shout it and sing all about it

 Soon maybe not today, maybe not tonight maybe not tomorrow But I, won’t let a chance go by, It’s a case of do or die, won’t live with out it

Soon, Soon, Soon, Oh I know it’s coming soon…

  “Where My Lover Has Gone” is a crowd favorite on gigs and online, let me know what you think.

Where My Lover Has Gone                                                                                                    Scott Fagan

 Morning comes down very heavy on me

Nothing at all like a new day should be

This morning saves it’s glory, for someone in another story

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

 There’s no glad surprise for these sad eyes to see

No trace of the grace that her face had for me

These grey skies have no rainbow, cause rainbows are where ever she goes

Somewhere a song where my lover has gone

Somewhere the sun is shining, good old time silver lining

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

 Morning comes down very heavy on me

Nothing at all like a new day should be

This morning saves it’s glory, for someone in another story

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

Where my lover has gone, where my lover has gone…where my lover has gone… where my lover has gone.

 We are still hard at work on the “Shake A Bum” video…that’s coming soon.

Book 4. “Sloop John B”

February 13, 2011 3 comments

Book 4. “Sloop John B”

Here is an interesting cut from the new CD “Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band” LIVE! “Shake A Bum”. “Sloop John B” is one of very few tunes that I do that is not one of my own. This is how I did it in Nassau on my way from St. Thomas  (on the 50 foot Ketch “Success”) to sign with Doc Pomus and Columbia Records  in  July of 1964. 

 “Sloop John B” has been a part of me for so long now that it is completely filled with nostalgia. Which means that when I sing it, I of course, think of home and each and all of you…

This is how I felt the song then and how I feel the song now.  I hope that you will feel it too, I do believe that you know exactly what I mean.

SLOOP JOHN B MEDLEY

Trad Arr Scott Fagan

Intro..                                                             

 We came on the Sloop John B, Grandfather and Me Round Nassau Town we did roam, drinking all night we got into a fight, Oh Lord I feel so bad I want to go home.

The first mate well he got drunk He tore up the people’s trunk Constable had to come and take him away, Sheriff John Stone Please leave me alone Oh Lord I fell so bad I want to go home

 So Hoist up the John B Sail See how the mainsail sets send for the Captain ashore let me go home I want to go home Please let me go home Oh Lord I feel so bad I want to go home

 Delia Oh Delia, Delia all my life If I hadn’t ‘ave shot Delia she would have become my wife, Delia gone one more round Delia gone

 I got drunk and I shot Delia I shot her in her side, The next time I shot Delia she bowed down her head and died Delia gone one more round Delia gone

Ninety nine years hard labor Judge that’s no time, for what I’ve done to Delia it should be nine hundred ninety-nine

Delia gone one more round Delia gone

 Jailor oh Jailor, Jailor I can’t sleep, all around my bedside I hear the pattering of Delia’s feet Delia gone one more round Delia gone

 Hoist up the John B Sail See how the mainsail sets send for the Captain ashore let me go home I want to go home Please let me go home Oh Lord I feel so bad I want to go home

We came on the Sloop John B, Grandfather and Me, Round Nassau Town we did roam,  we were drinking all night we got into a fight, Oh Lord I feel so bad I want to go home.

Oh Lord I feel so bad I just want to go home.

You will find the CD here…www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com

Book 4. “LIVE” Captain Creole, With Mighty Whitey Dedication

January 23, 2011 1 comment

Book 4. “LIVE” Captain Creole, With Mighty Whitey Dedication…

I’ve  loved Nicky ever since he showed up as an eager, inquisitive,  freckle faced  kid in an Anglican school uniform, some time in the early sixties. He had a great spirit and a great big heart even then. Nicky, aka Mighty Whitey,  offered me the sincerest sort of complement  through the years by doing many of my original songs, including La Biega Carousel/Tutsie, Lord Cherrigo Sad, Archipelago Man, and Captain Creole.

I will always miss his laughing eyes and his sense of adventure, but most of all, his camaraderie. We  were comrades in a very select fraternity.

The dedication verse is now part of Captain Creole, and touches me  with the kind of  hopeful joy that Nicky embodied, each and every time I sing the song. My wish that it may have a similar effect on those of you that feel the way I do, about our friend “The Mighty Whitey” Nicky Russel.

CAPTAIN CREOLE

  

(Words And Music, Scott Fagan, ASCAP)

 The word spread through The Virgins, the Old Creole was dead  He died in the night of the full moon light, in a sword fight, in his bed, Some say he was crazy, he had a rum dream in his head But I will tell you, in his words, what Captain Creole said…

 He said “Old Pirates never die dry your eyes we don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The Dancing Senoritas, the Ghosts of Buried Gold, The German and The African,that battled in his soul,The Jolly Jolly Rodger, The Treasure Ships of Spain, Called out to him and bid him come… back to The Spanish Main

 Because “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes they don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The word spread through The Virgins, Like the ringing of an old ships bell, The Preacher turned to Heaven, but most folks bet on Hell. The Old Creole was sinking, the Old Creole was gone, And we cried in the light of the full moon night, Whispering his song

 He said “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes they don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 RECITATION: THIS ONE IS DEDICATED NOT ONLY TO CAPTAIN CREOLE HIMSELF, THE LATE GREAT CALWIN MARTIN MOOLINAR, BUT  TO OUR BEAUTIFUL FRIEND THE MIGHTY WHITEY, NICKY RUSSEL, WHO SANG THIS SONG SOO WELL AND  CALLED IT HIS FAVORITE OF THEM ALL. GOOD WINDS, GOOD FRIENDS, AND GOD SPEED …FOREVER MORE”

 Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes we don’t ever die, Old Pirates never die, they just sail awayyyyyy”

 The recording is from the current “Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band” LIVE CD “Shake a Bum” found through the link below.  www.thecollectedworksofscottfagan.com

Book 4. The CD is Shipping. And Book 4. “Granfaddah Buckra An De Ol’ Geeal”

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

 Book 4. CD is Shipping and Book 4. “Granfaddah Buckra An De Ol’ Geeal”

The cover is done, the dedications are made, the printer is partially paid, and copies are on their way to lil’fish in St. Thomas. Our outlet there is “The Virgin Islands Cooperative store” on the corner of the waterfront directly across from “tent city” aka the Venders Mall. For the moment, email orders are,,, orders@lilfishrecords.com

We continue work on Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band “Live” album “Shake A Bum” we are anxious to get that finished so we can set up some concert appearances back home. We are happy to do benefits and fund raisers here there and anywhere as long as they are legit. Talk to us. I am thrilled that The Buckra tickles so many people, I love that kind of schupidness I always have and always will.  I guess that is why

the CD is dedicatrd to Mango Jones, Brownie (and Walter) Ms. Arona Peterson and her wonderful “Undah De Market”  Daily Niws column and all Virgin Island artists yet to come. Perhaps I ought to have said all Virgin Islands Artists  devoted to and specializing in “schupidness” but one needs to be supportive across the board, and, more seriously, we must encourage and support Virgin Islands Artists in every way that we can. It’s just so.

They have just released a new film “Strange Powers” about my son (also a writer, singer and recording artist) Stephin Merritt and his band “The Magnetic Fields”  I think that two of my recordings from my CD “Dreams Should Never Die” (The Virgin Islands Songs Vol. 2.) “Where My Lover Has Gone” and “La Biega Carosuel/Tutsie are in the film. Incedently, I have been credited as writer of La Biega Carosuel but La Biega is an old Virgin Islands Folk song, that predates us all, What I did write is “Tutsie” and created  the medley and arrangement of the two together. When a writer arranges a PD (public domain) folksong the performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI,  SESAC) credit him or her as writer)

I learned La Biega Carosuel directly from and at the knee of, the notorious “Ruppee” aka “The Vampire” aka “De Obeah Man” aka The Emporor Of The North” aka “Captian Creole” aka “Calwin Martin Moolenar´ himself,  of Estate Nelteburg and all points beyond. In any case, it is a very busy time, and that is good.

Here is another Buckra piece, I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did and do writing and performing it. 

Book 4. “Granfaddah Buckra An De Ol’ Geeal”

A time when I wa small ah went to see me ol’ granfaddah de ol’ Buckra de Paehae de fus fus fus. Ah sae “Granfaddah! Ah come tu see yu!” He sae “Ok den, look me hare, but yu gon got tu bettah stay ou de way, a Ol’ Geeal coming to see me fo something an ah don wan yu get mashup when de action start!” Ah sae “Ah Ol’ Geeal? Ah Ol’ Geeal? Who it tis, granfaddah, who it tis? He sae “Ah me bouy, don worry bout dat, yu gon see, don worry bout dat.”

 I sae “but Granfaddah, wha kina action yu gon do wid a ol’ Geeal, yu gon teach ha how tu fall asleep in de chair? Yu gon teach ha how tu take out an put in ha teet dem? How to play domino?  Granfaddah, Yu tink de ol’ Geeal gon wan tu hear bou when yu poisen yu self an almos whole a dounde road,  when yu cook up dat Barracota in de olden days? Oh how yu used tu tief Mango?  An Granfaddah wha yu gon gee she tu eat? De Ol’ Geeal ain gon wan no  sardine and French bread to wash doun wid kool aid, Wha wrang wid yu, Granfaddah, you don know you too ol to have a ol’ Geeal?”

 “Ahh meboy” he sae “ahh meboy” das wae yu wrang, you mubbe tink yu Granfaddah ban ol’? Yu dunno yu Granfaddah is a sharp boy? Yu dunno yu talking tu de man de used to call “Buckre de Pale-Male, de champagne ah Gingerale?” Ahh mebouy, in dose days Yu Gran Papeeto had woman like mosquito, woman like whelks, like genip, woman wha couden done me boy. Yu tink ah spen me whole life scratchin me baney? No Sah, Yu tink all I cou do is siddown onna salfishbox outside de kitchen do? No Sah, Not me me bouy, De ol Buckra still know a ting or two, yu gon see, don worry bou dat!”

 De minute Granfaddah see de Ol’ Geeall by de do, he suck in he belly an he  stann up straight straight, den he sweep off he hat an he bow doun low like Erroll Flynn, he sae “Come right in my darling, come right in my dear,”

 

Bouy, ah couldn believe me oy dem, de Ol’ Geeal wa de famous Carnival Queen from Nineteen Fifty odd and we da see ha pitchure in de newspapah almos every week for doin something good, Dis Ol’ Geeal is like de fus lady of de lan. Wha sh doin hare wid me Granfaddah?

 

 Before ah could ask ha dat question, she watch me straight in me face and she sae “Good afternoon young man, I’m hear to take de measure of your Grandfaddah’s curtin rods” and wid dat de two a dem went straight in side de bedroom.

 

De nex ting yu know, ah hearin’ “tee hee hee” and “tae hae hae” den something fall doun on de bed an de spring start to squeak and squeal , an Man, ah embarrass to tell yu wha come nex, ah hear de ol Geeal  sae “OY!, OY!” Den she sae “Oh me dahlin’  Paehae yu know das how ah like it, yu know das how ah like it,” den she start tu bawl out “Oh Godee, Oh Godee!” (Ah sae to me self “what does dat have tu do wid curtin rods?”)

She SINGIN’ now, “Yes Sah, Buckra, OOWEE!” She SINGIN”now! “Yes Sah! Buckra, OOWEE! Yu got me goin, yu got me goin OY OY,” ah hear dem bouncing up an bouncing up! “Oh Godee Oh Godee!” She bawl out “Don stop now don stop now!” Den a “KA_POW!” ah hear de bed broke doun! An den all ah hear is notin atall, noting atall  den de Ol’ Geeal say .. “Hello? HELLO?”

 

De nex tin I know de Ol’ Geeal bus out tru de do bawlin’ out “Oh God! Oh God! Sonny boy come quick, yu Granfaddah Dead, Yu Granfaddah dead!, Ah done kill yu po Granfaddah, Oh God Sonny boy, ah sae yu po ol Granfaddah dead”

 

Ah went in tu see fo meself, Man de ol’ boy wa white like a ghos, he oy dem wa roll back in he head, he toung hangin out de side a he mout,. De woman bawl out “Oh God I’s a murderah, I’s a murderah! Ah done kill de sweet ol Buckra!”

Den she sae “Ah got to get outta hare befor me chrren dem fine out, ah gato go, I ain wan me chrren dem know I ain wan nobody kno”…an wid dat she pick up ha wig an she run ou de back and clime doun in de gut an clim up de uddah side a de gut, den she broke thru de chicken coop an she wa gan..

 

Ah sae “OH Godee!, OH Godee!  De ol Geeial done gan an le me here alone wid me po dead Granfaddah”… Ah sae “Oh Godee, how ah gone tell me Mammie, who it tis kill me Granfaddah? How ah gone tell me Mamee wha dey wa doin in de bedroom? Wha ah gon tell de Police?

Ah dunno what u tell de whorl?”

 

Jus den ah hear what soun like me dear ol Granfaddah voice sae “boy wha wrang wid yu, yu bettah stop yu bawlin befo ah hit yu some clout”..when ah tun around, it…it… look like ah see me Granfaddah dae sittin down good as gol an winkin he oy

 

Ah sae “but Granfaddah yu done dead like a ol keeat, de ol Geieal done kill yu, yu ain know yu done dead awreaddy Granfaddah? Yu don tink yu bettah lay doun?”

 

He sae “Ahh me bouy, don be schupiddy, yu keean see das me good way tu get rid a dem guirl? Das me lil trick tu mek dem go home when ah done had me way wid dem.” He sae “Ahh me Bouy…don worry bout a ting, an jus wait til yu see de two Ol’ Geeal wha commin’ tomorrow”!!!

Book 4. Words Are Music…

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4. Words Are Music…

 I am more than a little careful (or try to be) with my words. Apparently, far more careful with my words  than I am with what I use my words to actually say. Sort of like a painter whose little “pointillios” (what ever the heck that word means,-I’m making believe it refers to little pointed daubs of paint, that all together make up a little part, maybe a very little part of a pitchure ah..picture) In my example the pointillios are perfect, but the picture it’s self may be vulgar, ill-advised or estupido in the extreme.

And so, because I’ve been told (more than once)  that I’m capable of that, and I suspect that it may be true that I am capable of that, I have to be careful of that.

Aside from the fact that I think that words are music, they also have meaning  and beyond that, sometimes maybe even, a mind of their own.  I don’t know about your words, but from time to time, one or more of my words,  have (in spite of locked lips and a screeching no, no, fer God’s sake no!  from the brain), have slid down the nostril slide and out on to the upper lip or moustache, and then leapt from there, out into the air, Sounding for all the world to hear, exactly as if they had been intentionally spoken.

Those are words with a “mind of their own”, but just try to explain that to someone who my “self-directed” provocative words have just stimulated to the verge of imminent and  eye popping violence.

In addition, I s’pose I  ought to let you know that I’ve already had the shocking experience of kicking my own bottom, butt or bum, with my own boot, thereby stimulating that timeless question “jeeze-ka-weezel, wot’ n why th’ heck, did I do that? In other words, I’ve had the opportunity to inventory by own actions to the point that, well  you’d think I’d know better by now.

But, but, but…

I do get off-balance (unbalanced?) when the meanings of a word or words are misconstrangled, or words are used to mislead intentionally or even (as often happens,) unintentionally.

Now you might think that I’m about to launch into a rant about the lying “rat wings” of our established, corporate sponsored so-called political parties and their polluted propaganda and propagandists, and perhaps I ought to be doing just that, except I believe that less of that sort of thing, would be more of a better thing, all around.

My concern is more personal, and has to do with one of the unfortunate and unexpected side effects of being a singer, which is that one is then subject to all sorts of stupid jive from all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons.

For example, here are some excerpted things  about yours truly, (me)that a writer in Toronto recently presented in an article about my son Stephin Merritt.

 “Fagan was a folksinger in the ’60s folk revival, then a singer-songwriter with enough cachet that Jasper Johns did a painting of one of his records, then wrote an anti-music-industry rock musical in 1970-71 and, he claims, was blacklisted from the biz. He then retreated home to the Virgin Islands, where he had grown up, and has stayed there doing music in a sort of Jimmy Buffet vein ever since

The writer goes on to say “He (meaning me) and his mom were abandoned by his own musician father.

 And “You can debate the legitimacy/ickiness of Fagan’s blue-eyed-Caribbean style as much as you like”, He (meaning me again) “is this sorta white-rasta guy who sings in dialect”, “and who (me again) happened to leave you (meaning Stephin) and your hippie mom to fend for yourselves”

Friends, so much of that is so far from truth, that it is pure (well not pure, more like toxic) fiction and it hurts my feelings. Why? Because the idea that someone would present information as factual with out caring to check the truth of it, is disheartening, depressing, and upsetting Why? Because we all work long and hard at becoming who we are, and, at not becoming who and what we are not. To be so easily misrepresented leaves one with the feeling that our hard work, behavior and ethical choices didn’t and don’t matter a whit.

 When someone presents themselves as knowledgeable enough about me to write about me, I think the  first question ought to be “when and where did they meet” and “how long have they known each other?” other wise I think the writer  ought to begin by saying “Hey, I don’t really know Scaddy Waddy Doodles, or anything about him, I’m just going to pretend I do, so my editor and readers will think that I’m important and worldly and hoop, hup, hap, hup ahh…hep hoop, ah..well, anyway, know stuff.

I’m just going to be building on second or third hand (or worse) information, and extrapolate jive crap across cultures that I don’t know or understand.

That way, us naive “true believers” will know right off the bat that the writer is making it up, in fact, maybe even making it up on top of  the making it up that someone else did before, and we will know not to take it seriously, not to believe a word that is said (unless of course they claim to be sorry, but working with words with a mind of their own, in which case I for one will understand perfectly).

It’s sort of like when (oh oh here we go) someone presents them selves as sufficiently knowledgeable about music and the music business, to present themselves as an “expert” a knowledgeable and reliable insider. I think the first questions then ought to be “when can we hear your music?” How many tunes have you written? How many publishers have there been,  How many tunes have been recorded? How many record deals have you had, How many producers have you worked with?. Or, how many decades have you been in the business, at exactly what positions, when where what, and so forth

Because with out their own honest to God experience inside the music business, the writers knowledge is most likely consumer level misinformation, and not to be taken seriously. (You do know that we are talking about “show “:business, and that folks that are not really part of the gritty backstage world are seeing a show, right? And that while music critics, disc jockeys (and DJ’s) and other so called “in” crowd people may get a “Backstage Pass” to make them “feel” important, they aren’t really privy to what is really going on behind the scenes, right? You do know that right?)

It’s like a tourist sailing through the Islands on the Disney Princess and then presenting them selves as expert on West Indian culture and race relations. Or a guy in Toronto assuming that the confused political correctness of contemporary Canada, is reflected in the  cultural realities, racial identies, and racial and musical melting pot of the Caribbean.  It’s obviously silly, never the less, it can be  upsetting.

What are the real requirements to be a knowledgeable and expert writer about the clash and conflict between art and the crassest commerce? Between artists and those who are in the business of exploiting them and their art?.

You know something? I think I’m just realizing for the first time, that that is exactly what these “critics” and self important self proclaimed expert music business writers are doing. They aren’t in the business of creating music, they are in the business of exploiting music, and the people that make music.. They don’t have to know a blasted thing about artists or the music business really, they just have to convince an editor that they do, or in the case of blogs, they just have to convince themselves that they do.

I am naïve, and the small example, is just a small example. But what  does one do if the self proclaimed are spreading misinformation about one, and one is the one in question?, (that is one good question) Perhaps one ought to consult an astrologer or self proclaimed expert on public relations on this, but then what are the requirements, or the qualifications to be an astrologer or expert on relations with the self proclaimed experts on anything?

I confess that from while time to time I may have a slippy grip on the silken strand (or is it a rubber band) of consensual reality,  never the less, I am still four square in the game.  I guess that’s just another reason why there’s no business like show business!

PS. If we are able, we sing a Spanish song in Spanish,  a French song in French,  we sing a song that’s in English, in English, and we sing a Calypso song in Calypso, if we are able.

 

 

BOOK 4. A Nip of Nepotism

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

BOOK 4. A Nip of Nepotism  

I was talking with Tuts at Shaky Acres recently, when something in my pocket started to attack me. Rather than a noxious, notorious tropical pocket skink, it turned out to be my trusty telephone, vibrating like a lusty electric jumping bean.

“Allo? Allo?” sez me, and within two words of the response, I’d recognized a voice I hadn’t heard in fourteen years or more, as belonging to one of my favorite people in the world “Jon Mayer, The Jive talking, Piano Playing, Be Bop King of the 13th Galaxy and the world” (I call him that, he makes no such claim, except for the be bop piano player part.)

 He is much more humble about himself than I am about himself, (which may play a part in why he enjoys talking with me) Jon and I have traveled through more than one world of woe together and shared the dramatics of traversing the seemingly endless grey quicksand between the dark and the light in the far in and far out Californias.

He is a very funny fellow and is kind enough to pretend to be amused by the products of my own pitiful wit and my efforts to keep up with him in conversation. After a number of laughs he got my email address and said he was sending me a link to his newest and first video. After viewing it (a beautiful rendition of the classic “On Green Dolphin Street”) I felt an obligation to be frank in my email response, which is copied here.

 “Dear Sir,

I must say I became quite anxious for you while watching the video, I would have thought that in preparation for such an important engagement as one in an official concert hall in a far away and foreign country, you would have learned the whole song all the way through, and practiced it at least enough times to be able to play the blasted melody. 

Why, at one point or another, you must have played every friggin’ note on the piano looking for the melody. And then just when it looked like you’d found it you forgot it all over again, and the guy playing that big “ukulele on a stick” had to take over for you while you tried to find your place.

I was so relieved when it ended and the people seemed not to notice what had happened and gave you a nice round of applause and (because I know that you take a certain pride in your looks)  it was very nice that some of them even whistled at you.

 I’ve been told that the longer one stays away from  food additives and other naughty chemistry the better ones memory gets, however that hasn’t happened for me, because it seems the longer I stay away form the bad stuff, the older I get. And the older I get, the less I can remember. So my advice is that you’d better be real nice to the guy who plays that “ukulele on a stick thingy”, because you’re going to have to rely on him more and more and more.

Your friend and #1 or 2 (depending on how your current wifey feels about you) fan,

Scott  

 Jon is a real beauty; we were together in California when the “new John Mayer” started to become known. What an experience, it was for him; you work all of your life to get your name out there and bouf! It was really disorienting.

I must say, he responded like the Be Bop Maestro that he is.

I have a little “kinda likea” experience when I google myself or am confused with or accused of imitating some of the folks that imitate me, but dang!

In Mayer’s case because the other lad is fairly gifted too it ultimately reflected well on the name…but can you imagine?

Anyway, I love my friend, Jon Mayer, and if you like Be Bop you will too. I’m delighted to have heard from him. Here’s his link

www.youtube.com/mrjazzjon

 Back on the “confused with trail,” some folks get me mixed up with my son “little Scott” who is a writer, a former producer for Dr. Wiel, A Chef and a Caterer in New York City. When that occurs I get demands for more information about “Butch Australia” or natural remedies for Hammer Toe or for my super secret recipe for soup for sixty (I always start by saying “Well…first you gotta scoop ten gallons of Hudson River water into a Zabar’s brown paper shopping bag and”..) (I tell ‘em the same thing for both Hammer Toe AND secret soup)

 I get calls from “Mothers in Laws to be”, insisting that they should come right over to my pad to taste my recipe for “Caribbean Gefilte Fish” or “Langousta de La Sahara” or something else equally intriguing, like Belgian Guacamole over frozen Alaskan truffle fish, (My beautiful Bix makes the most extraordinary (and super delisioso) cultural culinary combos probably because of his family’s Virgin Islands background combined with my own), The boy is a major cris-cross of culture combos himself)

  These “Mothers In Laws to be” ladies, do this in anticipation of hiring me (actually him but they’re confused, Capeche?) to cater their daughters and “sons in laws to be’s” “Weddings Of The Century”. When that happens I always say “Yes yes of course my dear flower plum, but first I’ll have to run over to my fish traps at Hells Gate to see if we’ve managed to catch any Caribbean Gefilte Fish amongst all the funny little Hudson River White Fish in there” That usually gets them off the line in a hurry! 

 The Bix’s mother, the beautiful “Annalee” ah.. I mean Patricia, (here she is telling her story “Betty Crocker and The Mango Tree”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5pTKr321yk

calls from time to time complaining that the Bix’s business has fallen off, I listen and cluck along with her…”Yes yes, he’s such a smart boy, yes yes, he’s such a handsome fellow, yes yes, he’s such a wonderful Chef.. (I hope it never occurs to her that the problem may begin when people try to contact him and wind up talking recipes with me instead) After all it’s her fault, she’s the one that insisted on naming him Scott, I was going to name him “Little Maxie Whatchamacallya”)

Ah well…I promise you the Bix is a much much much better cook than I am, here’s his link http://www.tipofthetonguenyc.com/

 (As a matter of fact almost anyone who doesn’t start with ten gallons of Hudson River water is a much better cook than I am)

 And while we are, or rather while I am, practicing nepotism, here’s a link to my beautiful boy Archie’s (no, not Little Archie’s) online comic book. http://skullforcecomics.blogspot.com/

 and a LINK to my long lost but recently found, beautiful son Stephin’s site  http://www.houseoftomorrow.com/

 My little girls have better sense than to let their Dada know any thing about how to find THEIR websites, let alone what the heck is on them. You’ll just hafta google ‘em to find out.

Incidentally, on that Hudson River soup, I just want you to know that you won’t need to salt or season it in any way. That soup base is so fraught with exotic seasonings of every kind that it bubbles before it boils…it’s really quite exciting.

I would say you ought to try it, but there’s no way that I’m going to be responsible for that. It’s kinda like that Japanese Blowfish thing, except I hear there’s an eight in ten chance you’ll survive the blowfish, but if you get a Hudson River White Fish stuck in your throat,  brother you’re gonna have an irresistible urge to hang or shoot yourself within seconds.

 Well, that’s just about all I know about soup, weddings, natural remedies and baked Alaskan ice cubes…

 P.S.

Here is a link to MAAC the collective that I’m hooked up with in the states http://www.middletownarts.com

And the collective’s performance space, AKA Union Street Blues http://unionstreetblues.net

 

Book 4. and Book 1.The Concert, and We From UPSTREET!

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 4 and Book 1. The Concert, and We From UPSTREET!

I’m writing from St.Thomas, having arrived yesterday, Sunday, January the 24th. (One of my very favorite days of the year, by virtue of the fact that it is the Birthingday of my beautiful twins Lelia and Archie)

I am here to do a concert performance of The Virgin Islands Songs, for “The Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute” and the “J. Antonio Jarvis Museum and Learning Center”.

Tuts and I have just returned from meeting with the Director, Myron Jackson and his extremely talented assistant Yvette Finch and taking a look at the performance area. 

The stage will be set up under a tent on the grounds and I will be looking south, directly at the hillside location of the “Bandmaster Alton Adams” family home. Alton Adams is the most highly regarded musician to have come from the Virgin Islands, he was the bandmaster of a local Virgin Islands Brass Band that was so good, that the Navy enlisted the whole Oompa kit and kaboddle, and sent them all around the world representing the USA. They were gentlemen of color each and every one, whose sense of possibility and self had not been saddled with the innumerable and onerous burdens of segregation. They represented themselves, the Islands and the Country well, and made beautiful music for many years.

Bandmaster Adams is considered second only to John Phillips Sousa in quantity and quality of Marches composed, and authored our own “Virgin Islands March” the Official Anthem of the Virgin Islands, which is a wonderful song. His Grand Daughter is the afore mentioned extremely talented Yvette Finch who on top of everything else, is a brilliant singer, and his Grandson is Cliff Finch the extraordinary Bass player on most of my album “Dreams Should Never Die” (The Virgin Islands Songs Vol. 2) which songs make up one third of the score of “The Virgin Islands Songs”. If ever I had occasion for inspiration it is certainly this coming Sunday. As I will be (from the stage) looking directly up at Bandmaster Adams familial home, with his granddaughter looking directly and me and his grandson’s wonderfully melodic bass leading us away from staggering off one musical precipice after another. Yes indeed, this ought to be stimulating and fun.

Since the Second Coming has not yet impressed any journalists (or for that matter anyone other than those still impressed by the first coming…well not true, some folks are saying some very nice things about my singing and treating me like I’m the greatest thing since freshwater, but they’re way back up in the states), I will probably have to review the concert for you myself.

Actually while I would have real difficulty reviewing the performance from the audience prospective while at the same time swacking the guitar and screechin’ on stage while saying nice things about how well and goodly handsome myself are, it probably couldn’t be much worse than what you may have read about me already. I suspect that some of you are aware that the lasting echoing journalistic statement of the entire forty five years of the first coming, is the oft (really oft, irritatingly oft) dismissal of me as “Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Field’s father, who did an album for ATCO in the 60’s, the obscure folk singer Scott Fagan ) 

If however (for reasons known only to me, until I finally spill the beans in perhaps book Twelve and a half) there are no post concert comments coming from yours truly, you may feel absolutely free to make up all kinds of stuff yourself…because even though I am with out question a real high ball, Ah, I mean a real high brow, ultra double artsy dude, there is no business like show business, and my dear dear friends, in spite of the best intentions of mice (“mike men”) and musicians, you just never never know.

P.S. Am I anxious? Yes I’m anxious…but I will do my best, to do my best, and then I will do my best. 

 We From UPSTREET

Yesterday after our meeting at the Jarvis museum, I pointed out to Morita (Morita is Tut’s ex-wife, the Mother of his fourth child, daughter Jamaine. She is also the Grand Mother of Tut’s Grandson “Nikell” who is the cheery little round headed fellow riding along in the truck with us. Morita is also a former class mate of mine to whom I carried sweet messages of young love from Tuts, at Charlotte Amalie High School) The “wall house” (concrete block) at the head of “pave street” (the century old name for Main Street) in which I used to live and which qualifies me to be accepted as a member of the “We from UPSTREET” organization. Whew!

 “We From UPSTREET” is a neighborhood organization very similar to the “We From DOWNSTREET”neighborhood organization in fact they are almost exactly alike except they are on opposite sides of Charlotte Amalie, UP on the East and, DOWN on the West. Each is convinced that their “We from” is best and better than all the rest (and there are many, ie. We From DOUNDEROAD, De SAVANEROS, We from ROUNDEFIELD, Dem from SILVAHDALLAH and so forth). Which is of course quite true in every case. Yep,

 When I pointed out the house and told her that I had lived there, and that that’s what made me a member of “We from UPSTREET”, she said “Man you live all over the place, you mus’ be a part of everyting” I said “Yes, that’s right, I did, I am” while Tuts chimed in “Yes, that’s why everybody know Scottie.” 

It was true and it was a very interesting reality, an interesting alternative to actually having a home and belonging somewhere. Was belonging (to a degree) everywhere. I am really grateful for that, as it allows me to feel at home just about everywhere I go, at home and all over the away.

 The “smoke truck” (a mosquito eradication truck, spraying what was commonly known to be DDT, out of a high pressure nozzle mounted at nose level for leaping, laughing, gyrating children) came to visit UPSTREET once or twice a week just after nightfall. When that high pitched hissing, the crazy flashing lights, and those billowing clouds of smoke arrived, it meant hysterical fun for all the children in the neighborhood. We would disappear into the thick white smoke, leaping and laughing dancing and carrying on to beat the band, for what seemed like hours on end.

More than once I realized a certain odd power as I emerged staggering, oiled to the bone, from the cloud and bystanders (who had no reason to suspect or way of knowing, that the pale apparition was one of two white children  (Gale and I) who had moved into their part of town), would cry out in shock upon seeing me “Oh GOD! Look a Jumbi! It was great fun.

 I learned or (began to learn) a great many things in our time living  “UPSTREET”. Among them, that even “good” children could be “taken away by the government” never to be seen or heard from again.

 When we first came to the house at the head of “Pave Street” I was befriended by two brothers, Tony and Joe, who appointed themselves as my protectors. They lived with their father in a very interesting old wooden structure on “The Beljan Road”. An actual “Sail loft” left over from the days of the massive canvas square riggers and the great Clipper Ships. Tony and Joe were bright, alert, friendly and kind boys (maybe nine and eleven years old) that for the most part, (when not taking care of me, seven going on eight) took care of themselves.

Their father was a large silent shambling man, who (in retrospect) was not able to properly care for them. One day they said goodbye by announcing that they were going to be sent to the dreaded Mandahl.

Gale and I had been in the Islands long enough to have heard one and another teacher, parent, or grumpy citizen threaten a child with “Ah gon sen yu ass Mandhal if yu don behave” We knew that being sent to Mandahl was akin to being delivered to de “Ol’ Man stinkin’ toe” who stuffed disrespectful and naughty children in his crocus (burlap) bag and took them away, most likely to cook and eat them for supper. Tony and Joe hadn’t done a thing to deserve such a fate…but the day came and they were gone. 

In reality, the dreaded Mandahl was the only resource that the system had for children without the benefit of parental or familial care givers. While I never saw them again, from time to time I would hear that they were fine and doing ok. I hope that their’s is a tale that ended well.

Years later, while still a minor myself, I watched helplessly as social services put my younger brothers Larry and Lonnie into foster care. But that, (and how I managed to avoid being snagged by the system myself), is another story… which soon come…