Monday, May 2, 2011

Freedom from the Freedom-mobile

There will be no song this week! The Song-A-Week Project has been put on hold indefinitely.

It has been almost 4 months that we have given ourselves generously to this project, those 4 months have been enlightening, ridiculously “productive”, and dangerously stressful. Though this project has given so much to me it has been absolutely gluttonous in what it has taken away. In these past four months I have come to know anxiety as a presence that is as constant as my own shadow but it was something that two of the people closest to me pointed out that really shook me out of my stress-induced coma. My wife, knowing me for almost 11 years as a laid back, grounded, playful and stress-free individual pointed out that anxiety had finally become part of my identity, she could see the anxiety, not only sitting in the cockpit with me but having commandeered the plane. Evan, my friend and fellow Screamer, reminded me of a time when we spent the majority of our days afloat, drifting between the garden and the piano, and what happiness and richness was present during these times. I was surprised by how foreign and distant this memory felt. In addition, whether it be a result of this project alone or the combination of crazy that I have filled my schedule with these days, the effect of this anxiety and overwhelm has started to manifest itself in my physical health... and that kind of scares the shit out of me. So enough! It is time to once again free myself from another cage I have built and climbed inside of... the irony here is that this cage was fashioned to look like a get-away car parked outside a prison and although this get-away car certainly took us miles away from the prison, it sailed down the street at dizzying speeds with doors welded shut. Freedom from the freedom-mobile.

There is no possible way that I can walk away from this project without honouring, and applauding all that it has produced. As I have said before, last year at this time it was taking me an average of 4 months to complete a single song and in the last 4 months we have created 16 songs. This was not a transient experience to be learned and lost, something has shifted, and although I may never again force myself to complete a song within a single week... it may just happen anyways. I have come to know my inner-critic intimately and I am certain that we will be walking the path of creativity together for as long as I live, however, it has become quite easy to distinguish his voice from my own and for a voice that will never likely go away, distinguishing a separation is as much as anyone can hope for. In the end there could have been no better way to quickly inject an intense level of music into my life than through a project such as this... Evan and I have a band now, The Screaming Room, we have a whole album’s worth of music to build from and perform- this is not how life would have gone had we not taken the stance that we did. Rather than tossing pebbles in the lake and allowing the rings and ripples to subtly effect our existence, we threw a boulder in, and although we were caught in the wave that was created, our lives will never the same.

This crew of CAWmuners have spoken many times about what allowed such a boisterous and lofty commitment to remain intact for four long months, and without fail it always comes back to you. The act of giving one’s word to the people we loves is indeed the framework for remaining steadfast to one’s commitments. So thank you to all of you for listening, for being a part of this project, your roll was as necessary as our own.

As far as The Screaming Room goes, I can assure you that you have not heard the last of us. We’ll get a website going here shortly and continue to post all the creations that arise organically and for those on the Island... look for The Screaming Room at your local Coffee Shop Jam.

Love. Love. Love.

Jordan

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Song #16: The River

When one allows the Tabla, a delay pedal, and an unbroken lyrical stream of consciousness to collide the result is... The River. I believe that this song symbolizes a new step on this journey- it was a rare occurrence during the writing of these vocals that I referred to the schizophrenic whispers of perceived popular opinion... I basically did not even consider what might "sound good" on this track, I just wrote. It was a playful and honest experience... It really does feels like a sacred event to write something entirely for oneself but to share it with others... thanks for eavesdropping :)




Song Title: The River
Song Length: 3:30
Contributions: The Screaming Room
Lyrics:

He said go when the captain said stay,
Now he's standing outside in the pouring rain,
But the Rain ain’t nothing but a river that strays,
And no river gonna wash him away.

And it better be I,
God damn it better be I...

Back to the paint can,

They scream like knives on canvas,
Carve Starry Nights like god then Gogh,
Keep Ear to the ground keep down,
Keep low like hopes in average homes.

And hope stands close to the well where the wishers go to wish in their Sunday clothes,
Little ones get grabbed by hope get tossed down the well when they get too close.

Oh hope you sexy harlot,
Please let our people go,
Tie the head of hope to my horse and the war-cry sounds like “OM”.

The incense is undressing itself, exposing its core revealed only by fire.
I dreamt a dream and it smelled of sandalwood.
It's ghost dancing like a strand of silk caught in a
Breeze, breeze,
We moved our feet, feet,
Like tin soldiers marching through a restless stream, stream.
I cant breathe, breathe,
No I cant breath, breathe,
There's something sitting on my chest that I cant see, see.

There's always angels at the bottom if you're willing to drown,
There's nothings new under the sun except all that above ground.
So I’m inventing the wheel from an old wheel that I found,

Voila

Gotta be, gotta-be, caught in the auto-dream,
I gotta a key to the cottage economy,
Calling me, Calling me, demanding all of me,
Slipping the dream beneath welcome-mat-ology,

Go, go,
and take your stones, stones,
I'm tired of feeling claustrophobic while at home alone,
They said roam, roam.
Within this zone, zone.
So I throw words into the night- follow the tone, tone.

Now I’ve got methods beyond magic that I use to deceive.
I've got a rabbit in my hat here and an ace up my sleeve,
I try make myself disappear each Saturday eve,
But it takes more than homemade vino to get my ego to leave.

So I breathe.

Stand to the sound of screams,
This rooms only got one key,
This wombs got a spot for me.
Bare floor begging for bare feet.
Now let a man sing off key,
Misspell every word he speaks,
Let laughter collide with grief,
Let reality collide with dreams.
Let me go mad, Mad,
Let me go mad, mad,
Let me explore each inch of suffering and laugh, laugh,
Let me go ja dra
Let me go spa bla
Let me just speak in my own language like gla ga gla.

So many pages of poems.
So many words pushed into existence by life-scented hands,
Calloused from hard work with delicate mediums.
Words that will not halt the passage of time or lunge steel rods deeply into the grinding gears of perennial change...
We write... and the restless train of progress screams through the night,
pushing up and down the same familiar tracks like an industrial age Sisyphus who speaks to a nodding shard of me...
but that shard of me is locked in a closet and whispers only in Greek.
I used to know Greek but have forgotten it entirely so as not to slip and understand,
to accidently stumble upon what I already know.
What I do know is that these words provide me with solace and insight but that is not why I write them,

I write them because it is as close as I will ever come to walking naked through time square.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Song #15: Happiest Man

This is a song I started years ago while Michelle and I were living in San Francisco... I had tried multiple times to finish this song but as long as my inner critic was looking over my shoulder it was an impossible feat. Well although my inner critic still stops by for tea he is no longer my roommate... its Song 15 for gods sake! So I pulled the shards of this song out and shared them with Evan and together, along with the beautiful voices of our wife/wife-to-be, we were able to fashion the shards of song into a something really satisfying. I would also like to send a special shout out to my always-amazing twin brother Mikkel who has been a lover of the shards of this song since the day they were forged, love you bro, bet you never thought this song would ever actually come together! I sure didnt but hell, there's no place for a critic in the screaming room.

Namaste.




Title: Happiest Man
Length: 5:07
Contributions: The Screaming Room, Mikkel for helping to keep this little seedling alive, the Sun for doing its thang so well this week, and a big shout out to the little red truck I just bought BOOM!

Lyrics:

I swear there's more homeless in this city
Than bedtime stories being read to the hopeful.
Sometimes I lay naked with the window wide
open and cold so I can feel like a local.
Outside North Beach is looking pretty
Like a scene from the fifties- the fog and neon lights,
And although the feigns are getting itchy
Its all poetry tonight... Right?
Its all poetry tonight...

Sweet something looking stranded on the corner
Miles away family dinner no one talks about the daughter.
And lord knows what she'd for five dollars,
On streets and backseats, blue, black, and white collar.

And its just another day in the neighbourhood,
Beautiful people doing what they think they should.

I don’t believe that seeing their pain as beautiful is a problem,
No, I believe its just bring their pain home.
And yes, this is just my opinion,
But its all opinion, so choose your truth well.
Its all perception,
So choose your truth well.

I’m the happiest man I know,
So why are the songs I sing so sad?
This beautiful world seems to be feeling low, low, low...
So I just smile and write it down.

I was sitting in a well, drowning in sorrow.
I was living in a lesson that I'll learn tomorrow.
But I found that well was dry and I was high on dying,
Oh ego, you slipped in while I was surviving.

And though the backdrop begged for dancing,
We chose to use these two old feet to pace.
While the ghosts of zen lunatics stumbled through San Francisco,
Our ghosts held us in place.

I’m the happiest man I know,
So why are the songs I sing so sad?
This beautiful world seems to be feeling low, low, low...
So I just smile and write it down.

The struggle seemed to serve the sour occasion,
Just scratching at the floor in heaven's basement.
Then I felt the wind from an open door brush against my wings,
Oh master, it was I who attached the strings,
Of freedom, it was I who attached the strings,
So I'm looking the mirror singing:

Unchain me now, Unchain me now,
Oh my ego, you've helped me to survive but,
Unchain me now, Unchain me now,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Song #14: Tiny Bird

When I sit down to write the words to a song I have no choice but to let the music itself do the writing. The music always is trying to say something but needs a translator such as myself to communicate the song’s story. I really have no choice in the matter- if I try and impose my own story onto a piece of music that is already telling a different story the result is confusing and never works. Of course, being that everything is everything and that one can find the whole world within a grain of sand, at times can be quite easy to find myself in the story that the song is insistent on telling. However, the fact remains that many of these stories are not my stories at all, there are times when I have trouble relating to the story in a personal sense- it is someone else’s story, some stranger’s struggle and victory and I am happy to relay the story for them.

This was certainly the case for this song. Evan came up with a brilliant melancholic tune that transforms into a jazzy groove and from the moment I heard it I knew what story the song was trying to tell (at least the story it was trying to tell me, perhaps other translators would have heard something else)... the story it was trying to tell was the story of the Tiny Robin.

The song has consumed me this week. The first part of the song left me in a state of creative hemmoraging, it flowed out of me without barrier. The second part of the song however, and what turned out to be the bulk of it, was groovy as hell but it wasn’t screaming at me to relay a message... I was at a loss. I spent days listening to the same 3 bars of music over and over waiting for it to whisper in my ear but nothing came. It was only when I heard my wife humming soulfully in the background over the music I had set on repeat that it became obvious that this section of the song was not for me... it was for Michelle Dack. I asked her to come into my studio space and once she had stood squarely in front of the microphone I pressed record and asked her to basically hum whatever was there for her. We did this only once and the melody she had come up with combined with her vocal tone was exactly what I needed to hear the other half of the story and so I took each syllable from her original freestyle humming session and attached the words. Every “dee” “dum” “oh” “ahh” and “la” received a new symbol, one found within the bounds of the English language and in the end the rest of the story was told. Thank you so much to my amazing wife and muse, Michelle Dack... you kicked some serious ass on this song.

I hope you all enjoy this song. This song is not about a truth but a perspective of hopelessness and detachment. It is about a couple looking, with somewhat of a resigned and cynical view, to the future they believe is culturally inescapable.

Much Love. Happy Sunday Evening.



Title: Tiny Robin
Length: 3:56
Contributions: The Screaming Room (a particularly generous contribution by Michelle Dack). Artwork- Thanks to Jordan Westre for the amazing artwork that accompanies this song.

Lyrics:


I would just read the paper in the kitchen,
And sip on my coffee and build my opinions,
And let the headlines interact with my bio that the world wrote some time ago.

And you would be rushing with your toast and briefcase,
So conscious of the lines that your holy smile makes,
And you'd spend your days becoming the master of... doing a thousand things .

The kids would be happy and we would be jealous now,
We would resent the wise things that they'd tell us 'bout,
We'd say the right things and think the wrong things,
And they'd be loved.

And we'd go to work, the kids would go to school,
for the most sacred hours, for our awakened hours.
And we would reconvene and as if we knew each other,
Just to fall asleep.

And we would make love like they told us on TV,
You'd wear the good stuff and I'd say the right things,
And I'd love you deeply, too deep for you to see,
We'd be the lucky ones.

What shall we do with this tiny robin?

Id live my life,
And you'd live yours...
I'll be home,
When you're gone.

We'd lose track of the dreams we once had,
As the days roll on,
And the years, and then gone.

And I'd smile, and you'd smile
just to fool ourselves,
I'll be home,
When you're gone.

I would try so hard,
To be all that a good wife should be,
But you'd lie, and I'd leave.

What should we do with this tiny robin?

And I would just live and do what Im supposed to,
Laugh at the right times and speak when I'm spoke to,
And do what it takes to prove to the world that I'm a "good man".

And I would just live and do all that I should do,
Scared to look too close at all that I could do.
Put on a brave face and prove to the world that Im a "strong woman".

And we would make love like they told us TV,
You'd wear the good stuff,
And I'd say the right things,
And I'd love you deeply,
Too deep for you to see.

So what shall we do now with this tiny robin,
That shoe box aint doing too much for this orphan,
We've fed her for months but summer is over and its time to pack it in,

So leave her some food and a few shiny things,
A bed made of cotton for her useless wings,
At least she's distracted at least she’s alive, what a lucky bird.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Song #13: Too Many Ghosts

Too many ghosts- This song is neat. It is a song about the shields we build in response to unfavorable events of the past, shields used unconsciously in the present as filters through which we interpret the world around us.

Oh perception, you are a fickle beast,
Serving the ghosts of the past,
While using the present to speak.
Boo hiss... Too Many Ghosts.




Title: Too Many Ghosts
Length: 2:45
Contributions: The Screaming Room
Lyrics:

Evidence in my head,
Puts you at the scene.
Tampered photographs,
Are clear enough for me.

Whispers from the well,
Were witness to the crime.
Voices young and scared,
I believe them every time.

Oh my insidious mind,
Open to kickbacks and bribes,
Always creates what it finds,
Truth in those plastercine eyes.
Let me shape them, let me change them
with hands of a child.

Evidence in my head,
proves you heard the scream,
Confessions left unsaid...

Boom- the shattering glass past is adamant,
blooms in sharp addicts that grasp to fast batterment.
Whom I ask, tattered the trust and then scattered it,
I hear the gossip of ghosts that got grab of it.

I got a hunch that this hunch is embedded,
Slipped between the covers of some fear I’m in bed with.
Like Sipping on the kool-aid with a cyanide edit.
It tastes so sweet but makes me feel deathish.

Evidence in my head,
Keeps me from your truth,

And I don’t know how,
I could've pulled you down,
and called this truth...
and now I know that the deepest beliefs need to be stripped of their crown.

Too many ghosts to see you now,
Too many words to hear a sound.
This old night, This old morning,
Nothing's true,
But somehow I know you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Song #12: The Weather

Happy Sunday evening to all. It has been a fairly laid back week of song writing- this song The Weather was based on another Wine Cellar jam that we had awhile ago. Similar to the song Tattered Shoes, the goal was to honour and maintain that electric, in-the-moment experience of improvisational music while also whittling away at the raw material so as to make the end product more clearly resemble the intended thematic undertones. Also, we of course tried to maintain the floaty-echo-ocean sound that is naturally occurring in our wine cellar.

Thanks to Michelle and Nicole for stepping forward as vital members of The Screaming Room and singing their hearts out without the liquid courage that usually accompanies and facilitates our recording sessions... what professionals you ladies are becoming!




Title: The Weather
Length: 3:40
Contributions: The Screaming Room
Lyrics:

The Weather

I guess I'll disappear,
I guess better go.
Guess I have to lose myself,
Guess I have to.
As pictures turn to grey
I forget what "they" say

Nothing is lost
Nothing is found
We have arrived,
And were alright,
Yes were alright for Now.
Yes were alright for Now.
Yeah we're alright.

I held my breath,
Just to... defend source of it,
Found myself faint, bearing the weight of my child.
So I took a deep breath and let go,
I Opened my coat to the cold,
Tore down the blinds from each window.

Nothing is lost
Nothing is found
We have arrived,
And were alright,
Yes were alright for Now.
Yes were alright for Now.
Yeah we're alright.

Skip that stone across the surfaces,
Ignore lectures on what my purpose is.
And would could be worse what could be better,
If we spent our whole lives talking of the weather.
The beauty's in this the beauty's in this,
Lets praise the arbitrary and shallow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song #11: Seven

The eleventh song, entitled... Seven. The long story short is: Evan, noticing that I have recently been using my Korg synthesizer as more of an elaborate inscence holder than a keyboard, asked if he could bring it down to his house and fiddle around with it and that is exactly what happened. It was only a couple days later that he showed me a heart thumping groove that he had come up with, in 7/4 time no less- the groove sounded heavy, a little dark, a little hopeful, and crawling with character so for me it was love at first listen. Once again Evan has amazed me with his ability to stretch so naturally in any musical direction, that’s my kind of musician.

The 7/4 time signature is not the easiest to work with- as far as lyrics are concerned I had to find completely unintuitive spots to plant my words in. At the same time the 7/4 time signature is really only difficult because we have all spent our lives immersed in a culture which really only acknowledges one time signature, particularly in popular music, that being 4/4. It is not only an interesting experience to work in 7/4 but listening to a song in 7/4 is a equally intriguing.

After listening through the song a few times Evan and I both agreed that it needed some amazing drum work at the end, something really incredible, something that neither Evan nor I would be able to pull off... luckily I have an amazing friend who is also an amazing drummer- I like to call him Bread Beard but to most he is known by the name Syd Beagle. Syd was the drummer for my last band LuciDream and is currently creating and performing some amazing stuff with the band Reckoner, he is also an all around solid human being- so when I asked him if he might be able to throw down some drums for the finale portion of this song, he went ahead and made it happen! What Syd came up with at the end of this song is god damn amazing... THANK YOU SYD!!! Well, enough chatter from me... this song is about another sleepless night in the life of an insomniac who spends his time walking the streets of his mind. Om. Love. Good night.




Title: Seven
Length: 6:23
Contributions: Syd Beagle on god-like drums
Lyrics:

My friends are full blooded fools,
With their cartwheels on the concrete at midnight,
Abandoned the bar-rooms and stools,
To stand up to that shit that don’t sit right.
Fluorescent city relentless,
The cabs and their horns are caffeine.

Might as well walk through these...
Concrete canals are in labour,
And the babies are learning to scream.

Their faces are faintly...
Familiar, forgotten, forsaken,
The portraits on these city streets.

The Dreamer is working the night shift,
And the night wont rest.
The Sleeper has gone back to bedlam,
Inside his head.

I don’t like the way he's looking at me ma,
Neon lights and shifty eyes got me feeling,
I don’t like the way he's got us running from the,
Don’t ya think his anger looks a lot like mine,

Fluorescent city...

Relentless so I’m running,
Lights camera comfort and the,
Monks on the corner,
Issue tickets if you're rushing,
Yesteryear is something,
silent shadow in the back,
So my panic button,
That I wear begins to flash.

Concrete canals are in...

Labour keeps it moving,
Only birth on these electric,
Streets and all that’s human,
Shuffles on and shuffles past,
I can see the kids,
Drowning all their toys in gas,
Letting sulphur wander,
To the friction on the match.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Song #10: My Garden Fence

SONG #10!!!! How did that happen!? This project has been anything but easy but there is something about reaching the tenth song which makes the next 42 seem that much more attainable. I was in a state of break-down last week and really appreciated the words and energy of everyone who stepped forward to lend some love. I'm going to be experimenting with a new song writing method next week in which I only allow myself to work on the song 2-3 hours per day and I will have to accept whatever is created at the end of those hours. Stay Tuned!

This song entitled My Garden Fence was inspired by an incredibly beautiful day we had this week. I was trying to decide what this next song should be about and so I went out onto my deck to clear my mind. It was a sunny day and the ocean, which you can see through the trees on our property, was dancing with light. At the same time an incredible double-layered rainbow could be seen, so defined and present it looked as if it could support me walking on it! As if that weren’t beautiful enough, a bald eagle came swooping down with a baby eagle close behind it learning to fly and then three small deer came trotting through the back yard.

It was a remarkable experience and yet it is these remarkable experiences of pure beauty that I seem unable to write about in my poems and music. I find that I always need to offer a hint of grey to create an experience of honesty and that if I were to write about an experience as pure and holy as the one described above that it would sound inauthentic, strange I know. So I find myself drawn to the beauty found behind the contrasting experiences that coexist within a given moment. So here is a song about that experience and about an incapability to write about the sun without mentioning the shadows. Enjoy...





Title: My Garden Fence
Length: 4:44
Contributions: The Screaming Room
Lyrics:

Cant let that rainbow rest on wide eyed open ocean,
Fall on fault lines, fall on fear lines on the face of some violent angel.
And who are you holy dream to dance upon my garden,
At least the garden fence is looking like it (just) lost its only friend.

But all I see, is gold,
And the first chapter of fairytales,
When the kids, are told,
That the dragon's roar's just distant thunder.

The smile is wide, with no “fuck you's” held behind the curtain,
And the sigh of spring that held its breath for months is letting go...

Dont give me innocence, give me a pacifist that keeps a gun at home.
Dont give me eloquence, I like my Shakespeare soaked in piss and cheap cologne.

As thunder grows to beating wings the mothers with their aprons
Leave flour on their trembling hands and reach for wide eyed children.
But one child races through the village, as the straw roofs feed the fire,
Head strained towards the smoke filled sky he smiles and waves to the beast above him.

And the Gods themselves say damn that’s beautiful.

I used to sit, and hold,
My pen against the workbook page,
Where the dots, were bold,
I'd connect the scattered unrelated.
And from the world,
Of disconnected sparks of madness,
A picture rose, emerging in uncommon beauty,

A single line, drawn between two dots,
A children’s book and the grin of a death row inmate,
And a hint of madness to let the beauty sing.
Without the concrete, the rose is just another pretty thing.


Don’t give me innocence, give me a pacifist that keeps a gun at home,
Don’t give me eloquence, I like my Shakespeare soaked in piss and cheap cologne,
And you can keep your flawlessness, I like a scar or two on the face of every poem.


As gunfire slows to the scent of powder, Christmas in the trenches,
Soldiers crawl from muddy posts against the generals orders,
Thousands rush across no mans land avoiding corpses,
To embrace and share a cigarette with those that they've been hunting.

And the gods themselves said damn that’s beautiful.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Troubled.

I am not sure what to do.
I look back at the last two and half months and I notice a collection of things... some very positive and some very negative.

On the one hand I notice that I have a collection of 9 songs, a new band, and new relationship with song writing and I notice that my life is once again filled with music... awesome.

On the other hand, I notice, that I am constantly in a state of anxiety and overwhelm, that I am having trouble sleeping, that I am rushing through everything else in my life so as to make time for the weekly song, that I am having trouble being present with my loved ones, that I have no time for other sources of joy and health such as working out and meditation, that I feel like an overworked, under nourished, absentee husband. On top of it all, there is no time to work on any other musical projects, or develop a song/set to perform.

I could not sleep tonight because I realized that these last few months have passed more quickly than any months before them... they have evaporated. This thought then connected with a concept that has been raised in so many conversations recently that as you get older the days, months, and years pass more and more quickly until your children are parents and you are trying to rediscover the joy of slowing down. Now this got me thinking that although there are many variances from person to person as they age one element that seems somewhat common is that we all get busier. We enter post secondary education and get bombarded with books and exams, and then when we graduate and settle into a career and work our asses off 5 days a week and think and worry about the ins and outs of the career for the other two days, and then a baby comes along and what’s left of the wisps of free-time is reduced down to nothing at all, this is not to say that the time spent during these experiences is not time well spent, I am simply commenting on the experience of the speed in which time passes. And as all of these events pile upon one another time seems to move more quickly. This was of course a “broad-stroke” portrayal of life, however, regardless of how one chooses to live their life, if they adopt our cultures broken-record industrial revolution message of "be productive, be busy, be important" then chances are, in one way or another, we are all getting busier and busier.... and along with this busyness, years are passing more and more quickly. And what are we racing towards? A cold, hard, stop. Or even if there is an after-life or reincarnation, what in our busy days applies to these two scenarios? Really.

It seems to me that filling each moment of everyday is a sure fire way to reach death sooner. It is the act of being present and having time to notice the subtleties of an experience that brings the flavour of length to a day. It seems that our culture has forgotten this, or perhaps I am just completely wrong.

I have been thinking on death recently. I seem unable to be unfearful of it. I do not blame myself for this lack of courage, I have been built with a biological imperative to try by whatever means necessary to survive and yet I must face the fact that the only inevitability in this life is that I will not survive. It seems like some sick joke that we should be part of such a paradox... welcome to the world, there are two basic rules: 1. You must survive 2. You will not

With such a heavy paradox I too can empathize with the need to stay busy. I have certainly had little time to consider the death dilemma during the last 2.5 months and in a way it has been a much more comfortable path though the path is more of an airport conveyor belt that hurries you in the direction of your departure. But in the end we will all consider the death dilemma. We usually see it pop its ugly head up every once and awhile and shake it off and quickly refocus on the task at hand. But as we step closer and closer to the end of our lives it pops its head up more often which only accelerates the rate at which we throw ourselves into our distractions.

This is a rant. I am ranting because I have become aware of the fact that I am single handedly accelerating my life by filling each moment with a task... I am sprinting towards my own death. Can one be fully present to each moment while being chaotically busy? Probably. Can I? Probably. Am I? No. Are you?

This music project has given me so much but tonight it has scared the shit out of me because it has become a conveyor belt beneath my feet. I am completely unsure what to do. I do not want to stop making music and I do not want to cut off the pressure that has been applied to my creativity by giving myself a deadline. Perhaps I need to turn this into a Song-every-two-weeks project... the simple act of writing that is hard. I do not want to reneg on my commitment, especially if this is just a roadblock to some breakthrough that awaits. And hell if I remove some music making time I will probably just fill it up with another commitment and be in the same boat I am in now but with something less joyful than music. Damn.

Not sure what to do.

Anyways. I feel that writing this has brought me some peace and that perhaps that peace might stretch itself into a very short session of sleep.

Love you all. I wish all a moment of space between the tasks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Song #9: Put The Gun Down




Title: Put The Gun Down
Length: 4:18
Contributions: The Screaming Room
Lyrics:

The baby cried,
The gun was loaded.
The trigger jammed for eighty years.

Spent his life looking up that barrel.
Cause you cant avoid the concrete when you're falling through the, falling through the..

Air.

We stand still with hands in our pockets,
As our sand castle concepts get swallowed as the waves come in,
We sing...
Grand Central station hymns,
Breathing out and breathing in,
Revolving doors that rest their eyes only to reopen them,
Sleeping, only when broken down.

And we climbed that tree.
As autumn soaked the leaves.
They bled so happily,
When the north west winds came to blow them down.

And meanwhile at the store,
Yellow tape and crimson floor.
The sky never looked so blue,
You never looked so grey.

Cause you cant avoid the concrete when you're falling through the falling through the air.

We hold tight like Catholics and tourniquets,
Evacuate the hermitage,
I think I hear St. Peter now,
We scream,
Facing two imperatives,
Scared to death and scared to live,
Breathing out can only be avoided if ya dont breathe in.
Sleeping, only when broken down.

And we climbed the tree
As autumn soaked its leaves
It bled so happily as the winter winds from the north blew them down.

The Mormons at the door,
Empty beer cans crowd the table and floor,
"Do you know god?"
"What a ridiculous question."

I am god, don’t you recognize me?
You are god, that much I can see.
...There are no lines that run in-between,

I am here, dont you worry bout me,
Here is all that it needs to be.
Heaven is when all you've got is all you need.
You cant outrun the concrete when you're falling through the air.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Screaming Room

Well my friends, the time has come for this collage of song shrapnel and shards of contribution to collide into a singular entity commonly refered to as... a band. Evan, myself, and our wonderful wives will from this day forward be refered to as...
THE SCREAMING ROOM.
I wont go into the painstaking process of coming up with a band name but I will leave you with a poem that I wrote years ago which seems to capture the intention or lack of intention that can be found behind our music and which inspired the name of this newly formed band.

A SCREAMING ROOM

Everyone needs a safe place to go crazy in.
A small space with thick walls.
A screaming room.

A single key sanctuary.
An empty room in which one can freely slide between dreams and waking life without farewells to dream madness at bedside sacrifices.
Bare walls.
Empty room bursting with self.
Free to climb walls, laugh fully, and cry loudly.
A place to shake off everything one possibly can.
A naked room to be naked in.
To bare our beauty to four bare walls and bare ceiling.
To sing off key in a hundred different voices.
To explore, to mine, to find every corner of ourselves and turn them inside out so that our soul's lint and antique pennies are devoured by the light of surrender.
A place to be entirely ourselves in all our madness and beauty.
To let go and sprint towards Nirvana.

For outside of that room my spirit is muffled.
If I sing too loudly, the neighbors complain.
If I dance naked while screaming alien syllables in spontaneous languages known only to my tongue,
My own judgments will turn against me.

I want to scream ridiculous chants of self-discovery,
I want to misspell my own name.

I need a small space with thick walls and one key.

A screaming room.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Song #8: Valentines Day in D

Such an enjoyable song to write to. Mad props to Evan on this one, he put many hours into the instrumentation which in this case really inspired the writing. This song is diverse in it's parts... it kind felt like I was writing 4 different mini-songs. Enjoy.




Title: Valentines Day in D
Length: 5:59
Contributions: Sir Westre on instrumentation.
Lyrics:

Theres a small table thats sun bleached and waiting,
at the heart of a city that we know nothing about.
Surrounded by strangers all speaking in colors,
we could learn to paint with the words that dance out of our mouths.

Its hard to say, what were looking for.

There's a young boy at the corner of this and that street,
abandoned by the world that stops to give names to such things.
And if we had a compass, a map, and all the time in the world,
only a guess would bring us to those nameless streets.

Its so hard to say how we'll find, what were looking for.

There's a lonely train thats been looking beyond its own track,
but its feet wont budge beyond the rails and ties,
He sure as hell wont go on, he sure as hell wont go back,
so he just stands and stares beneath the baritone sky.

Its hard to say, anything at all.

We may move like mean it,
Do not let the circus see.
The clowns no longer amuse me,
The lion is beggingto be free.
And we may search the house of mirrors,
For that open window dream,
But when you opened your eyes love,
Thats when I felt the breeze.

Back me into corners now the bird in me is burdened now.
Burdened like the betting man who's betting hand is bourbon bound.
Cant believe in burdens when its gravity that gets me down,
It... aint... pass... ing... through, the circus is the town.
I suppose im crazy I suppose that this is solid ground,
Om mane padme let me lose all that I thought I found.
Oh mommy poppy, taught me how to paint a dismal town,
Flood the streets with red until each shred of grey is underground.

Keep to the script boy keep it on auto pile-it-high with a bow on the peak,
Back in the woods where the gods and the dreams retire for a night of hide and seek.
Seeked for the fifth time this week this time something split inside of me-
This world aint built for the curious or I aint built for curiosity.
Even as I write that, right there, right now Im getting called out by the God in me,
Dont write it just cause it sounds dope who you trying to impress with your polished speak?
Truth is not the end truth is not the...

I dont know much, in fact all that I know,
is more of a hunch I just guess as I go,
We could point at the ground and call it high or low,
Whatever serves our feet dancing.

If I had to guess I would guess its all here,
Crowded with beauty thats shrouded in fear,
But theres something bout running the same race for years,
It doesnt serve our feet dancing.

Its so hard to say when its time,
To leap off the edge of what keeps me confined,
And maybe tomorrow I'll feel more inclined,
But now, now will be fine.

Late again!

One minute to midnight and once again I am staring at a green bar on the computer screen that indicates the status of the uploading song. I think that in the future I will have to make 11am the cut-off time for the creation/mixing process and let that little green bar take it's sweet time. This week's song should be posted in 10 minutes or so. Its pretty awesome. Love yall.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Song #7: The Highway

We have journeyed through many so called "genres" thus far on this song-a-week adventure but what would a genre collection be without a good 'ol Celtic shanty? This song is about hitting the holy highway.



Title: The Highway
Length: 4:29
Contributions: Thank you to Michelle Dack, Nicole Monk, and Evan Westre for providing the necessary pub harmonies.
Lyrics:

Someone toss me naked into pools of vibrant colors,
Dye my dreams a shade of sun and marinate in melting moons.
Why must my home always feel one stretch of road away,
Someone toss me in that pool,
Someone send me on my way.

Because the highway holds my heart,
But these four walls hold my mind,
So I’m staring at the clock,
While dreaming of the time,

When I see this concrete border,
As just a dotted line,
And now I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind.

Yes I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind,
There’s only one thing that would keep me,
And she’s sitting by my side.

Nothing frozen calls me my soul sprints past landing pads,
I want to make my home in movement, build these walls with wind and dance.
My back is tired of strings though it’s I who pull them tight,
Someone toss me on the road,
Someone send me t’wards the light.

Because the highway holds my heart,
But these four walls hold my mind,
So I’m staring at the clock,
While dreaming of the time,

When I see this concrete border,
As just a dotted line,
And now I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind.

Yes I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind,
There’s only one thing that would keep me,
And she’s sitting by my side.

I know the mind’s machinery, I’ve spent years working those gears,
The push and pull of madness who’s method appears clear,
Now my face is streaked with oil and blood and the age that comes with fear,
Someone toss me out the door,
Someone get me out of here.

Because the highway holds my heart,
But these four walls hold my mind,
So I’m staring at the clock,
While dreaming of the time,

When I see this concrete border,
As just a dotted line,
And now I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind.

Yes I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind,
There’s only one thing that would keep me,
And she’s sitting by my side.

And what if this is nonsense or just the restlessness of time?
What if were swallowed by the highway and miss the gears of our mad mind?
What if every passion’s just a season and these leaves are looking dry,
Then someone turn this dream around,
Someone send us back tonight.

Because the highway holds my heart,
But these four walls hold my mind,
So I’m staring at the clock,
While dreaming of the time,

When I see this concrete border,
As just a dotted line,
And now I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind.

Yes I’m on the 101,
With nothing on my mind,
There’s only one thing that would keep me,
And she’s sitting by my side.

And let the other side of this yellow line be as sacred as it’s twin,
Who sends seekers in opposite directions only to meet within.
This is not a tightrope were walking on, the highways not that thin-
So why be fearful of a misstep,
When one can only step within.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Song #6: Keep It Steady

Well here is song #6... but I use the word "song" VERY loosely. Its more like a couple verses over a few notes... this is what a song sounds like when it ends up being half done... I guess I have to post it anyways... I have been staying in Calgary for the last week teaching programs everyday and planning everynight and blah blah blah blah, complain, whine.... anyways- this is more of an idea of a song, recorded completely on my little black voice recorder... neat.





Title: Keep It Steady
Length: 2:36
Lyrics:

Turn off the radio,
There's nothing on.
We've all stopped because the green light that we raced towards is gone.

The morning lie,
The rush hour smudge,
The busiest of times causes chaos to inch forward through the mud.

And I look out,
Into your car,
Red wax upon the thinning lips, wrinkles pulled tight by some blade in some steady hand,
And your steady gaze holds a reckless need to hold steady
keep it steady like a fault line in denial
How you doing? I feel steady. I feel... steady.


And I go ahead and judge the shit out of you...
And creep closer to my fears and further from the truth....

And then its gone,
It all descends- to the sadness
that I find behind those darkened shades this culture keeps you in.
And I fall in love with your courage-
And build monuments in my head,
For your failed search for option 2 when option 1 left you all but dead...

Push out of bed,
Push down the road,
Push through the house of soft depression that we’ve made into home.

The light is green,
And green means go,
Now push like ancient buffalos in the one direction that we know.

Its all cliché,
Its oh so old,
No pain no gain,
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so its best to suffer...

Slow....

But keep the good times rolling,
This street can look one way when its the only way were going.
There's a crossed out sign on a door but "Option One" is faintly showing,
But in its place someone wrote the word "survival" and "keep going"
Keep Going Keep Going
Where the hell is door two I'll kick it down if it wont open

All these people that I love have no choice but to keep going,
Born into worlds of hungry clocks that swallow every moment-
There's no time for your hunch the clock's alarm is all that’s certain,
So get on yer feet and walk this one way road with purpose.
And try and stay steady, always steady, try and stay... steady

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Song #5: Un Concours de Regard Fixe




Title: Un Concours de Regard Fixe
Length: 8:28
Contributions: Jordan Dack on Vocals. Evan Westre on Guitar, Bass, and Drums. Jordan Dack and Evan Westre on Wine Bottles. Michelle Dack appears as Jordan's personal motivational coach. Caroline Trudel is the official English to French translator on this track.
Lyrics:

Take the wise words that we learned last spring,
Gather the poems that we've used...
To carve cafe knapkins into sacred things,
Assemble the 10,000 truths.

Lets take whatever the next storm brings,
And push it through Plato and see if it sings.
And if that raging storm dont sing,
I'll buy you a bottle of something.

I drank from the goblet of jewish kings,
I dove into siddhartha's center.
I pushed through the pages of angel wings,
and attached myself to the feathers,
But what is the use of these sages and kings,
If they leave me in the worst of the weather.

I know that these words arent much my friend,
They love to inspire and to sing,
But when sitting across from wide eyed circumstance,
They... tend... to blink.

So what child is missing, which bulb is out,
This line of lights is too dim.
I checked the connection between the beliefs,
And Im certain I plugged that bitch in.

And if it dont sing, We'll have to rethink.
The table where the theories blink.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The First Month of Music...

To be entirely consumed. To have each stretch of stillness soaked with an overwhelming presence of a deadline... Sunday is coming, Sunday is coming. Although Sunday does eventually arrive it never seems to be satisfied for all it takes is a few hours of sleep or another bottle of wine before Sunday is coming yet again. Though menacing at times, it is comforting to think that, when left to its own devices, my mind is a vehicle driven by an anxious man who wont take his eyes off the rear-view mirror and although my current experience is not without anxiety, the driver has stopped looking behind him and now has his eyes focused squarely on the road ahead. There seems to be little time to be concerned about money or my business or any of the intermittent turbulence on this life-ride, I simply do not have time to indulge in such things... Sunday is coming, Sunday is coming.
So now I find myself existing constantly within a song. No fleeting melody is taken for granted but is rather hummed in repetition while I fumble for the small black voice recorder that has become a good friend and tireless listener. Oh the scraps of sacred delusion that that little black recorder has endured!

This past month has been strange. To go from writing three songs over an entire year to writing four within the last month has been a shift. My makeshift studio, once more of an abandoned novelty, is now littered with empty cans of beans, wine bottles and coffee mugs all holding the same half inch of black oil-like sludge... artefacts- not of visitors but of inhabitants. The truth is that to make a commitment is to build a home. Goals and dreams seem to be more like mirages to bend one’s step in the direction of but a commitment is something to inhabit.

There are other commitments I have chosen to inhabit- I have chosen to build and live within the home of an ever-blooming relationship with my wife, I have chosen to build and live within the commitment of being a support to my family, and I have chosen to be open to new possibilities and commitments as they arise... it is not easy to live in multiple homes at the same time! I have found myself visiting my other commitments less often as I explore the urgency of this new commitment- this will surely be the first lesson I learn on this adventure for I have beautiful people in my life who are not afraid to let me know when I am occurring more as a house guest than a host. So although I have given myself a week to create each song, I am learning that there is no way that I can surrender every waking hour to this end or I will find myself a very lonely, very hungry man at the end of this year with only 52 songs to nourish me. So much for a song-a-week, I am going to have closer to three days to dedicate to each song so that I can tend to my other wells of joy.

Each song has been its own universe, with its own lessons. I am a firm believer that the entire world can indeed be found with a grain of sand and that everything there is to know can be learned within this very moment. This seems to be true for every song we create- each seems to hold microcosmic manifestations of the big ol’ BOOM lessons that we forget while marvelling at the shiny things (though I am certain that even the shiny things can teach us a thing or two billion, and besides, I like shiny things).

In the song Tattered Shoes, Evan and I explored the concept of maintaining the environment within a recording rather than placing all the elements within a recording studio “vacuum”. Evan mentioned that in many of the old jazz classics one could hear the faint “clink” of glasses, the soft hum of concealed chatter, and the general approval of the audience that the band was playing for. This was a level of contextual integrity that I had never explored and so we chose to see what kind of magic we could stir up. In the Tattered Shoes track we not only maintained the sounds offered by the unique environment we were in (which in this case was the cement wine cellar in the basement) but we also added environmental elements that we felt would capture the context that the song itself was already hinting at. So we added sounds of glasses, distant chatter, a conversation that we decided had to be in French (not that either of us offered any logic to support this choice, the choice itself seemed so obvious that it needed no defence!) and then I pulled the vocals a lot further back in the mix so that the listener would be offered a sensation of sitting amongst a crowd, enjoying a glass of wine, and watching a band play from a comfortable distance. The result was certainly not the crisp attack of the “recording studio vacuum” but if you pour yourself a glass of red wine, light a few candles, and turn the volume up on this track you may very well be transported... we certainly were, but we had a few bottles of red wine.

The other joyful challenge with the Tattered Shoes song was taking what originated as an inspired drunken jam and transform it into a song. We are blessed with an amazing, sacred, walk-in wine cellar (though our wives would call it “a creepy concrete room filled with spiders and ghosts and a disturbingly eerie rocking chair”). One day Evan strummed a chord within the room and what bloomed was a reverb fit for the gods... from that day forward there has not only been spiders, ghosts, and a rocking chair within the cellar but also guitars, amps, mic stands and a floor littered with stained wine corks. It is the ideal space for spontaneous fits of inspiration gently corralled into the form of music. The song Tattered Shoes was based entirely on one of these fits. The task of turning a fit into a formulaic, clean, cookie-cutter song is not an easy one... so we didn’t do it. Other than tightening up a few parts here and there, we allowed the song to be what it was- a small raft floating aimlessly in the direction of everywhere. The perfectionist in me tried desperately at times to re-write some of the free-styled lyrics that had arrived in the cellar’s moment but inevitably I surrendered to the majority of it. The resulting song is something I believe the majority will likely pass over but I am certain that Tattered Shoes holds the combination lock to the subterranean vaults of the few and will find its home there.

Eyes on The Ground was like kicking the shit out of a wood-planked stoop on a warm country evening. It started with a rapid fire guitar riff constructed by Sir Westre- the riff itself was electric, in fact the tempo we ended up recording the riff at is about half as fast as Evan is able to play it. Needless to say, I was impressed. At the same time, that which is impressive on guitar is usually exactly the kind of riff that is really tough to write over. Words and vocal melody’s need a whole lot of room to muck about in- they need an open field where they can jump and roll around- it is my belief that it is within the breathing room that all the magic happens... this coming from a writer who’s hip-hop background can have him packing each glimpse of emptiness with swollen syllables! It is another lesson I am learning, to allow the cracks and corridors of breath.

Working with other musicians has never been easy for me. I have been writing songs, in one form or another, for 15 years and I can count the instances on one hand that I have spent actually working in the same room with another musician or writer. I am blessed to have discovered a brilliant musician within an amazing friend and I think that if any music partnership is to work it will be between Evan and I. I think we are learning to be honest with each other while maintaining a high level of respect for each other’s art. I know that he can do things musically that I can only dream of and this can be intimidating at times- my inner critic can show up and say “Jordan, who are you to comment on this part in the song” but when all is said and done, before melody and poetry, my art of choice is that of creating an experience and I’d like to think that I have become quite good at that. It is also a treat to have someone around that balances some of your musical tendencies. Evan, a lover of organic sounds and traditional methodology can sometimes raise an almost imperceptible eye brow when I have found the thickest, lung-shaking digital kick drum on the computer paired with a snare that sounds like a whip and gun shot have collided. I’m obsessed with the thud crack thud crack, I wish someone would take Leonard Cohen’s albums and line each song with a drum track that would make a veteran gun slinger hit the ground. I need a thud crack that causes uncontrollable bodily responses! I like that Evan and I can have a dual of eye brow raisings and at the same time we can both stretch ourselves in each others direction just far enough to honestly say when something works and when it does not. We found a pretty incredible compromise on the Eyes On the Ground track... the THUD THUD THUD THUD which is the “base drum” on the track is in fact a combination of sounds that we recorded around the house. We combined the sounds of empty suitcase slapping, door knocking, dryer pounding, and fireplace hitting to create an extremely thick sounding THUD and for the rare shaker sound that enters the song we recorded a bag of nails hitting the concrete floor. I think Evan and I have a ways to go in working seamlessly with one another, or at least I have a ways to go to learn how to work seamlessly with anyone, I get the sense that Evan is pretty well versed in this area. I do feel sorry for him at times because he has to put up with an “experience junky” who would vote for a single note being played in succession over a Mozart composition if it threw the listener off their chair and gave them the desired experience. Not to mention the fact that I have spent all of my musical life tucked away in my own cave refusing to create along side anyone else... I have much to learn. But Evan is an “experience machine” and is an expert in creating universes through music and this is why we do work as well as we do together and this is also why it is so damn exciting to continue on this path with him and explore the endless possibilities that await. We both do what we do for the same reason, its for the BOOM. Here’s to you Egus.

The Jar was a very interesting scenario. I had written the main riff and the first three lines on the Tuesday and had attempted to add on to this spark everyday throughout the week, without success. So there I am on Sunday afternoon, only a few lines written, only one riff constructed, and no path that I pursued as far as melody or chorus and bridge riffs seemed to work... so at about 8pm on Sunday night I let out a scream that went a little like... “F&@(@*# THIS!” and I proceeded to write and record the song (over the single riff) within the next two hours. I just wrote and then recorded it. I had allowed myself get to the place where I literally could not allow myself to care any longer because I would not make the deadline if I did, so I just opened my mouth and left all my judgements aside... out of complete necessity. Well what do you know, it s one of my favourite tracks now. That song was basically written and recorded within a 2 hour time span (though I spent about 36 hours staring at a blinking cursor on the computer screen before hand). Another invaluable lesson learned!

Well my friends, there it is, the mother of all blog entries. I congratulate you for making it this far! But I must go now for it is Thursday and I have yet to come up with a single line of lyrics or bar of music for this weeks song. Evan is coming up this evening and we will see if we cant make something happen.

Much love to all of you!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Song #4: The Jar

Wow... what a week... what a month. Here is the fourth song of this adventure, once again it is absolutely different than any other song I have created... every week I seem to surprise myself with what comes out and I am always left with the feeling of "What was that?! And where did it come from?". Needless to say I love this song- I could pick it to pieces AND I love it. This has been one of the craziest and most rewarding months I have had in ages, I look forward to summarizing this first month's experience in a blog post that I will put together in the next few days.

Thanks again to you, the comments and love you’ve been sending my way are so welcomed and appreciated- Derek Rust, Syd, the Westres, the Monks, Matty Brown, Decline, Stewart, damn... you guys are gold. My fellow musicians and foragers of BOOM Egus, Nicole, and my beautiful constantly supportive wife Michelle... I love you all. Kind of overwhelmed with gratitude right now. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Here is... THE JAR.





Title: The Jar
Length: 3:32
Lyrics:

It was morning, It was sunlight, It was ancient, It was godless,
It was holy, In the morning. In the morning.

In the morning, it was hopeless, It was perfect. In the morning,
It was coatless, It was worthless, It was blooming, It was boring.

In the morning, It was virgin, On the verge of, something certain,
It was morning. It was pregnant, It was pavement, In the morning,

In the morning, It was ocean, It was open, It was old friend,
It was oh hell lets overlook the pretence and dive head first...


I try to keep all my friends in a pub down the road,
Just beneath a light blub that needs changing.

The shadows afford me the space that I need just in case they find out that I’m crazy.

A pause in the song, a moments that’s gone,
The shadows escort me out quickly.
And take me to my prison cell...

I try to keep this old world in a jar at the back of the shed,
Where the children are ageing.

With the door on the shed pulled tightly and locked,
It can feel like that jar doesn’t change me.

I hear it at night, that chorus of trains, Charging in every direction.
to Take me to my prison cell...

So I can feel at home, this fire's alive,
it swallows the night and leaves me with nothing but comfort,
Try to cut through the flames and find that its pain
Is nothing much more than a sunburn,

I try to keep my own mind from itself
Cause a sheet and light can be so damn convincing,

There's no looking behind but the voice starts to shake anytime
that I turn and stop listening.

It screams and pushes the nails through the mirage
And I watch as the jaded emerges,
And takes me back to my Prison cell.

I try to keep all I love in a room with a view and a door that’s been broken for ages,
I check in when I can- face pressed on the glass that I built for its general safeness.

Smile and blow them a kiss
And try to pretend that there's something about this that is sacred,
And turn to walk back to my prison cell...

So I can feel at home, this fire's alive,
It swallows the night and leaves me with nothing but comfort,
Try to cut through the flames and find that its pain is nothing much more than a sunburn,
So burn me now, burn me now.

I tried to keep whole self in a jar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Song #3: Eyes on the Ground



Title: Eyes on the Ground
Length: 3:58
Contributions: Jordan Dack on Vocals. Evan Westre on Guitar, Bass, and Piano. Michelle Dack and Nicole Monk on back-up vocals. Jordan Dack and Evan Westre on Suitcase Slapping, Door Knocking, Dryer Pounding, Nail Dropping, and Fireplace Hitting.
Lyrics:


Scrape off the tenderness and call it a sin,
Boy you better stay broken or you wont fit in.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God.

Squeeze in the back but ya better be heard,
And respect any voice that is louder than yours.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God.

One day soon you'll understand.

Hold still son while we make you a man,
Gonna press ya into product and present it to Sam.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on god.

Find a female who can fill in your holes,
A good lover to support all the lies you’ve been told.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on god.

We hold tight, we hold on,
We hold life, till the blood is gone.
I feel safe when the rope is strong,
The sweetest knots are better left undone.


Force out a child son give him your sight.
Make him hateful, make him fearful, make him right.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God.

Now work and keep working till its all that you know,
Till you cant help but push with your family at home.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God.

We hold tight, we hold on,
We hold life, till the blood is gone.
I feel safe when the rope is strong,
The sweetest knots are better left undone.


Clock out forever crawl away from the gears,
And thank god that you made it after all these years.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God

Now its time keep quite till the moment of death,
Close the curtains round the bed and savour the breath.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your mind on God.

We hold tight, we hold on,
We hold life, till the blood is gone.
I feel safe when the rope is strong,
The sweetest knots are better left undone.


Always on the run,
missing it some how,
The smudge of life...
Yesterday's upon me now.
Should I have said more,
Should I have chased less,
Should I have pulled the wings out from underneath the bed.

I did the best I could. I did what I was told.
They were just as scared as me, how was I to know?
I just held on for dear life and my dear life went cold-
With my eyes on the ground, and my mind on god
Oh god, oh god!

I held tight, I held on,
I held life, till the blood was gone.
But I felt so safe when the rope was strong,
I guess the sweetest knots are better left undone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Song #2: Tattered Shoes

Here it is! I have so much to write about in terms of the creative adventure that I have been on this week, but for now... here is Tattered Shoes...




Title: Tattered Shoes
Length: 7:33
Contributions: Glorious Guitar, Out-of-the-ordinary Organ: Evan Westre. Back-up Angelic Vocals: Michelle Dack, Nicole Monk, and the Bohemian Behemeth Baritone: Evan Westre.
Lyrics:

This will be fine,
And holy and holy.

These tree's aren’t mine,
But they know me, they know me.

...Over the stones that are polished by feet,
Beyond the barracks where man and god meet.
Just past the pubs where they're lecturing peace like
"where did you go? Where did you go?"
streetlights are shattered and shrapnel's in bloom,
The stench of the madness. One boy. One room,
One. Window. One smile Cause Joy is something you choose.

(hands outstretched hold them there)
Catching the moment when moments are gone,
Bottled within these empty bottle songs,
Drink and dissolve cause "self" is something to lose.

Joy takes shape in many shadows,
While we point past and pray for joy.
Lay down slow on that bed of arrows,
And let they're passion be my choice.

Who said the raindrops weren’t supposed to make me smile,
And who said I may not want to get soaked for awhile.
I choose, I choose, the joy within these tattered shoes.
To laugh when all is lost and lost is all that’s left to lose.

I knew i knew i knew that face,
It was waiting for me outside of my hiding place.
Oh oh oh I knew that face.
Waiting for me.
Where have you been...

Last time I saw you walked through the room like a dream,
Through the front door and then out the back door seamlessly.
So I ran after you found myself in empty streets. I suppose...
you cant chase after something that never truly leaves.

I’m not interested, in the strand that makes up the seams,
Show me the space between that which we take and that which we...
Leave
I need to know how not to need anymore.
I need some paint, a canvas that’s blank, and ten thousand things more.

When this canvas is crowded with colors,
There's no space for a see d.
Let our hands paint holes with pink rubber,
And plant all that we need.

Someone once told me, try to be wise.
Keep your eyes open, there's no such thing as surprise.
Oh that blank moment's got me again,
Again I’ve got myself loaded.

What to believe when we see the back-door never opened.

So I'll leave your scent at the side of the road,
And I'll walk myself, all the way home.
No need for streetlights,
I’m walking with my eyes closed anyways.

a few minutes too late...

Well... the song is uploading. I apologize for not being my committment, the song will be up and shared within the next few minutes. This is not to assume that anyone is huddled around their computer awaiting the next track (that would be great if you were!) but I said it would be posted by midnight and it will not be. Michelle, Nicole, Evan, and myself have been huddled around candle light, red wine, and condensor microphones for the last 2 hours laying the final back-up vocals on this EPIC track... we hope you love it. C'est bon!!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Track 1: The Strange Ones

The first step on this 52 step journey has been completed and although I have definitely had some reservations about this first song I am so happy to have completed it! In fact I think it is safe to say that I actually like this song... not that like or dislike matters within this creative exercise!

It has already been such an educational experience- I got to watch myself as I bounced from one mind space to the next depending on what the voices within my head, and outside my head, had to say about the song. There was a time when Michelle, my wife, came in to my studio space to hear how it was coming along and I got the opportunity to watch as my own opinion of the song swung like a deranged pendulum in direct response to the look on her face as she listened. Then, when I shared it with my good friend Evan, I got to watch as my opinion changed yet again... he loved the song and ever since he told me this I haven’t been able to hear it as anything other than a great song! It really is amazing to watch this process and although it can seem petty and self conscious to be so attached to another’s opinion I believe that this is simply a human’s normal way of operating and to deny this is to place one mask upon another... I also realize that these chains and gags that hold me back are generally unconscious and exist within my blind spots... but sometimes, even if you are unable to see a boat that is in your blind spot, you may be able to catch a glimmer of sun reflecting off a ripple in the water, and observing and questioning that ripple will inevitably lead you to that boat and to a widening of your perspective. I guess that’s what this is about. I noticed something holding me back within the realm of music creation but I know that this is likely just the sun reflecting off a ripple in the water and if I pursue this microcosmic manifestation it will inevitably lead me to whatever holds me back in all areas of my life. Neat.

Well here its... The first song of many. I have never made a song that sounds anything like this... this is a good sign, I am already showing my inner critic who's boss! It probably goes without saying but please feel free to download the track, share it, etc.



Title: The Strange Ones
Length: 3:03
Lyrics:

Perfection you’ve bitch slapped my children,
The one with the limp is off crying in the kitchen.
And although I like the red rose on their cheeks,
I shudder to think how that rose came to be...
Perfection you’ve made just one shade of a human,
This beige looked so bold through your stardust illusion.
I glimpsed at the blueprints and saw the debris,
Forced in to acceptable homes by the sea.
And now I just shuffle along calling you helpful,
While prayers perish nightly at the point of your scalpel.
But he said there’s a crack,
Yes he said there’s a crack...

In everything, well here it is,
I’ve found a small weakness between the bricks.
So go head and let the light in,
And make sure to tell the strange ones where it is.

Back in the post war dream,
Covered in the cold from the ice upstream.
Got to be fast or they’ll notice the edge of the mask,
And they’ll see that the mask aint me.
Give me something genius baby,
Give me something real but crazy,
Give me Dylan in a pink Mercedes.
Now give me the opposite,
Fire all the architects,
Send that last prayer back down the oesophagus.

Try and live for the word,
Give to the poor,
Try to pretend that yer sure.
But the act is absurd,
More judges in my head than the skitz on third. Word.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Even Tougher Than I Thought...

First of all, thank you to everyone who emailed me or posted on this site- your words of encouragement are so beautiful and appreciated. It is so much easier to honor my committment when it is not only to myself but a committment I have made to you. Hmmm... perhaps easier is not the right word... I have not had the experience of any part of this being easy so far!

The time spent on the first song has been a nausiating collage of joy, frustration, and fear. I said I wanted to look the inner critic dead in the eye and sure enough we have been locked in a staring contest since day one. The voices in my head keep saying "at least the first has to be good, the rest can be crap but the first one HAS to be GOOD!". I keep thinking of who it is I have emailed about this committment and who is listening and who will like this line or that line or this style or that chord... I have wanted to delete this song so many times... I keep saying "this song is weird Jordan- no one's going to like it" and "why write 52 songs? what the hell is the point? you arent even trying to play shows anymore, or make a career out of this, why spend hours upon hours every week writing music that isnt even that good!!" The bottom line is this: my normal way of being would be to delete this song and never show it to anyone, in fact since I only wrote 3 songs last year, the math says that I will only be happy with 6% of the music I write this year... and yet I will be sharing 100% which means that 94% of the music I post here is music I would rather not share. But this is about honesty and this is about treating this life as the real deal, not a dress rehearal.

Anyways- I am almost done the first song and will have it recorded and posted on Sunday. It was not made to please anyone... it came out and I pressed record.

Listen to me haha so scared of disappointing anyone that I will try and convince you that the songs is crap even before I am done writing just so you wont get your hopes up... us humans are strange animals.

Love. Love. Love.
J

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Strange Ones

Happy New Year! "New"... not to be confused with "improved" or "changed" or "fixed" this is a NEW year! A year created upon the back of nothingness forged from the void that vibrates in the belly of BOOM! This year I will dance on that void, create from that void, and if need be go mad from that void. This year I am committed to the BOOM!

It is from this vibration that I am making my first completely crazy and entirely unreasonable commitment...

I am committed to creating, recording, and posting one full song every week for the entirety of the year 2011.

I am what one would call a "perfectionist"... my inner critic does not only sit in the audience, jeering and throwing the occasional piece of rotten fruit, but can also be found backstage and in the lighting booth and in the heads of the producer, director, and every actor involved... my inner critic runs the show while I stand, in some darkened corner, cursing it all. I find myself taking imperceptibly small steps towards the exit, fleeing the temple that was once the source and alter of all my joy, now a house of mutiny. I imagine the twisted smiles drawn on the faces of my reflections as I begin to dissolve into the coal-black smudge of surrender. This is not their temple. This is not my temple. But I sure as hell am the custodian of this sacred space! So instead of dissolving entirely into that smudge, or taking some small and steady step forward and away from it, this year I am committed to leaping, soaring, and sprinting towards the heart of the temple and forcing myself to look the critic dead in the eye, console it like the scared child it is, and then create. Create in the face of it all. When obstacles arise I will create anyways, when the critic in my head sneers and says “that’s not good enough” I will create anyways, when I sit cursing myself for ever committing to something as ridiculous as creating a song a week I will create anyways, and even when the voices in my head recruit fears and insecurities from every pocket of my mind and stage a ruthless rebellion against my creativity... I will create anyways. There have been too many 3-line songs, too many scraps of poetry written for god and torn to pieces by the snivelling voices in my head. Enough. This is the year of the BOOM.

Logistically, I need to lay out some ground rules for myself so that I don’t sniff out the loopholes in this commitment and slip through them when my higher self is not looking.

1. Each song must be completed and posted by Sunday at midnight every week without exception.

2. Each song must be “complete” and not created as a rough-draft or something to be perfected down the road.

3. Each song must be a minimum of 2 minutes in length.

4. I will allow myself to use the scraps of songs or figments of ideas that I have tossed aside in the past as seeds for some weekly creations, however I will not use any song that I have already completed creating as one of my weekly creations.

5. I will recruit the creative assistance and collaboration of my good friends and fellow artists but their role will never go beyond one of collaboration and I will never use their contribution as a way to let my own creative self of the hook.

6. I will not let any “reason” get in the way of creation.

Thankfully I will not be taking this on alone, I have been blessed with an amazing friend and talented musician, Evan Westre, and a remarkable wife, Michelle Dack, who will be essential collaborators and indispensible allies on this adventure.

And that is my first blog entry. It is great to see that my inner critic has already visited during this entry and has tried to keep me from pursing even the description of my commitment to creativity- even now it is telling me to go over this blog entry and change the whole damn thing... I will not do this. BOOM.

Love you all.
J

Oh perfection.
You have bitch slapped my children.
And though I like the color on their skin,
I shudder to think how it got there.

Your microscope,
Your scalpel,
Incisions between the breaths.
Where are the strange ones
You have sentenced to early deaths?