Sofa Sessions

You know, it’s fun being a performing musician. I’ve gotten to play on big stages with killer sound and lights, looking out at a patchwork quilt of faces looking up at me, feeling the electric pounding pulses from my head to my feet. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, as is being an audience member at a show like that – getting to see my favorite Artists bathed in lights and smoke and electricity, blowing out my ear drums with sheer awesomeness. However…

…there is nothing like the Experience of being able to sit directly across from a spine-tingling musician, actively doing their thing, completely unplugged. No sound gear, no electric frequencies between you. No elevated stage to separate you. No spotlights. No “performance”: just the Artist and the Listener, sitting together around a coffee table, making music and sharing stories. Raw. Organic. Natural. Real.

I like being a Listener in those scenarios, as well as an Artist. As a Listener, I get to Experience some truly amazing music, right in front of me, so raw and full of Here and Now that I could almost taste the sweet sweet melodies. And as an Artist, there’s something about sharing my music in that manner that makes me feel more…Connected…

I feel that both Artists and Listeners can benefit from Experiencing music in this way, and that’s why I wanted to start “Sunday Sofa Sessions“. It’s a monthly gathering of Artists and Listeners, where we take over the cozy couch areas of various local coffee shops and venues to make music, raw and unplugged. The Artists will play songs, share stories, jam on each other’s tunes; and the Listeners kick back and take in some killer good sounds. It’s an opportunity to cultivate real connections with your music, your Artists, your Listeners. I wanna feel all of that gooey good stuff we love about music, unplugged. Unfiltered. Organic. Just raw music you can taste. ❤

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Love Your Locals

Over the course of my 4 1/2 years living in Madison, I have learned this place is stuffed to the brim with truly great music makers.  The creative community here seems, for the most part, much like Madison itself: very grassroots, DIY, locally-sourced, organic-fair-trade kind of vibe, etc.

When I’m hanging out with my music friends, I often talk about how great it would be to be a thousandaire as a musician.  How great would it be if, after all the rent and bills are paid, I had $1000 in my bank – and all I’m doing is making music?!  Shit!  Why the hell are we all shooting for the fame-n-fortune thing, when we could easily be thousandaires?!  And anyway, most of us know that being in the big mainstream fame-n-fortune world means becoming a product and sacrificing a lot of creative control.  So my heart says, “Fuck the fame-n-fortune thing.  I’d rather make my music raw and unfiltered, maintain total creative control of my Art and all things related to it, sustain a simple lifestyle just making my music.”

This is a legitimate, tangible, attainable goal.  A REAL possibility.

For my part as the Artist, it takes focus and determination and love for my craft; it takes a lot of time and energy and resources, a certain degree of self love and care, and a building of an internal support system within myself to carry me through to an “I GOT THIS” mentality.  As a self-supported, self-managed, DIY Artist; it’s up to me to not only be always be on the path of ever-evolving my Art, but it’s also my responsibility to make sure the music as a whole is getting the support that is needed; that the music is hitting the ears of folks that dig it, and hitting the ears well, getting out there as much as it can, finding the flow and the people who are in it.

But what can we do as Listeners of local music to really support our local DIY Artists?  In truth: A FUCKLOAD.

There is SO much we can do to support not only local musicians, but the local scene itself.  If you come across a local Artist that you really love and you want to support them, there are so many simple-yet-powerful things you can do to help provide a support system:

GO TO THEIR SHOWS – Just do it, get some live music in your life, it’s soooo good for you.  Madison is fucking awesome for live music happenings, there’s something here for everyone.  And you’d be surprised at how much you can find for free (even if there is a cover, it’s usually only $5-7 on average).  If there is an Artist you really love that is playing a show, and you are free for the evening and can spare the $5, just GO.  They will be so grateful you did, trust me.  Your attendance is everything, you are the Listener: you walk into the place and you give your $5 monetary support, you get your drink at the bar which supports the venue, you place your body in front of a kick-ass band, giving them your eyes and your face, giving them someone to tell stories to and make noises at and practice on.  And you in turn get exposure to great live music.  Go to shows, it’s just good for everyone.  Bring friends.

BUY THEIR STUFF – I realize this one is tough sometimes, especially if it was challenging enough to pay the cover and buy the drink.  I am both a local music Artist and a local music Listener, and I don’t often have the money I need to support MY music, often leaving me with little to go back into the music community.  However…it’s really not that much.  You definitely don’t have to drop $25 on a t-shirt if you don’t have it; but most local Artist’s cds are around $10, some are $5, stickers are often free (and sticking em on your car shows your love for this band is mobile!), and even just tossing a few bucks in a tip jar for them can make a difference.  If it’s an Artist I truly love and support and I’ve got the few bucks to spare, I’m at least giving money in the tip jar and telling them how much I love and appreciate what they do.  There have been plenty of times when I’ve had to pass by a musician’s merch table because I felt I really couldn’t afford the $10 for their cd that night – but, there have also been several times when I’ve seen an Artist that moved me so much,  I have happily given my LAST $10 to get to take that music home with me (even borrowed the money from friends a few times).

“LIKE” THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA STUFF – Simple as that.  Make sure you not only “like” their facebook page, but share it.  Use the “share” button on the page, don’t just copy the link, because under that “share” button there are options: select the option to share it to your page, AND select the option to “invite friends”.  This is so simple yet powerful, and takes such little time and effort on the part of the local music supporter.  You have reach in and outside of Madison – your connections and reach will strengthen the local crowd for the bands and Artists you love, but you also become a gateway for establishing connections outside of Madison.  By connecting and sharing, you essentially help expose them to a national audience, instantly.

LISTEN TO THEIR CD – Sounds kinda weird, right?  Trust me, there are times I have bought a local band’s album to show them support, and then literally never took it out of the packaging.  I think this happens with a lot of us, for whatever reasons.  But take the time to actually play the album.  If you end up not diggin’ it as much as you thought you would, think about who in your life might really dig it, and then gift it to them.  ALSO, if you’re a local show-goer, you know how rare it is to actually understand the lyrics clearly in a loud bar with a loud band with semi-shitty sound gear.  Listening to the album gives a chance to really take in the stories of the songs, to curl up and Discover on your own time, in your own environment.  It’s an opportunity to really fall in love with the music, not just the band.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people talk about really listening to my lyrics only after they brought the album home, it’s pretty normal in fact.

SPREAD THE WORD – Tell your friends and family about it.  Share their music with others.  Share their shows on your facebook page and encourage people to go, even if you yourself can’t make it that night.  Help the Artists make flyers and pass them around.  Have Listening Parties and let them play shows in your living room.  Do what you can, anything you can think of, to spread the word that there is some great music being made.

 

Many of the musicians I know aren’t seeking to be “discovered” or to become rock stars; they simply want to make their music and share it with others, and hopefully sustain a reasonably comfortable lifestyle while doing so.  Don’t get me wrong, fame-n-fortune-seeking musicians definitely exist here in Madison, but I don’t know too many who are actively trying to “get discovered.”  It seems like less and less people give a shit about trying to attain that impossible mega-star status, because many of us realize that the average mainstream multi-millionaire rock star is a product – made and manufactured and sold to us, the consumers (look for a new piece of writing coming soon, called “Kill The Rock Star”).  Most DIY local/touring musicians I know are too close to our Art, too in love with our music, to ever give up control of it to a major record label or “talent” agency.  Many of us don’t want to become a product to be sold.  Like many other creative grassroots communities, there are a lot of people here making REAL art, REAL poetry.  Our music has REAL things to say, and we want to be able to say it raw, and unfiltered.

In a nutshell: we don’t give a flying fuck about being rock stars.  But we CAN be thousandaires, it IS possible to sustain a perfectly cozy lifestyle by making music.  There is truly great Art being made here.  With love and support and encouragement, we can only flourish ❤

…Whoa

Several years ago I died and came back.  This is my first attempt at a non-verbal word vomit about my Experience:

It happened in a dream. It was one of those crazy intense REAL ones, with thousands of people at dozens of locations, all of it the most absurd of cartoons at the most freakish of circuses – everything bounces back and forth between euphoric and terrifying.

In this dream, throughout all the various locations, I was hallucinating that my friends and loved ones were actually other people – people who were either trying to hurt me, or people I saw hurting or neglecting others. My loved ones literally became different people, sometimes crossed genders and/or race. If I wasn’t hallucinating that they had turned into other people, I was hallucinating that they were doing horrible things. I found my partner in a dilapidated crack den of a room, engaging in an orgy with my relatives, while a small child played with sharp knives on the floor; yet as I’m on the verge of a panic attack over the unattended child, they’re fully clothed and comforting me, telling me there’s no child anywhere, there’s nothing wrong here, that it’s all in my head. At one point I was on a bus, hallucinating that a scary bulky hooded man was attacking me. We struggled and I managed to throw him off the bus. But the instant I did so, the hallucination cleared and I realized I’d just thrown my partner’s sister off the bus.

There were many scenes like these. I felt in a perpetual everlasting state of fear and gripping anxiety, lost in the hallucinations around me, sad and fetal and helpless that this might be my new reality. I remember walking with my partner outside in a parking lot of a health facility, being guided like I could barely even walk. We walked up on a few masked men robbing someone. As we walked up on the scene, one of them turned his shotgun on me and pulled the trigger. The bullet made impact right between my eyes, and everything in Existence slowed down drastically.

Each tiny detail of what is to follow took me years to experience, AND no time at all.

The first thing I remember from the moment the bullet made contact was my head whipping from the force of the impact, and seeing a super slow-mo blur of colors and light from the sunny day outside in the parking lot. I remember a physical sense of being heavily knocked off-balance, and then I remember starting to fall to the ground. There was a realization that I had been shot, but I didn’t feel any pain in my head. Somewhere during the beginning part of the fall (not even half-way to the ground), dazed in the whiplash of colors, everything slowed down even more, to the slowest of slow.

I asked a question without speaking: “Is it time? Am I dying?” I didn’t direct it toward anyone in particular, I just asked, as if to direct it toward everything. I remember using those words, but the feeling and Intention behind it was more like “Is this an opportunity for death?”

A voice that seemed to somehow come from a Presence next to me, within me, and within the Everything, replied: “Yes.” If the Voice had a face to show me, there is no doubt she would’ve said it with a motherly, comforting smile. She was warm, profoundly loving, patient, kind, familiar; like she had been with me throughout every moment of my entire existence.

Immediately I was relieved. I’d been experiencing such pain throughout this damn dream and I was ready to be free of it. With the warm loving support and guidance of the Presence with me, and her confirmation of this Invitation, I welcomed Death with a profound gratitude…


The important thing to say about this welcoming of Death: it wasn’t sad or helpless or anxiety-ridden or fear-based, or anything like that. It wasn’t a dramatic kill-me-now-I-can’t-go-on kind of a thing, nor was I scared or in any physical pain. Yes, I wanted to be relieved of my burdens; but at this point in the dream, I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was basically a drooling, catatonic psych patient, so I wasn’t experiencing any “emotional drama” at that point. Death simply extended an invitation, and I made the choice to go. I was ready to be free of all of my burdens and the welcoming of Death was as simple and innocent as finally getting to set down the ten heavy bags of groceries you just brought in from the car in one trip after a long day of working at a high-volume restaurant. Kinda like “Ahh, yeah, finally, that feels nice!”

Time/space slowed even more drastically.

I have detailed memories of a lot physical sensations between the time I received the Invitation for Death and the precise moment I chose to go. During this “dialogue” with the motherly Presence, I think was “technically” still in the process of falling to the ground after being shot in the head; so I was lost in the infinite motion-blur of colors that was the parking lot and the people around me, and felt a perpetual sense of gravity pulling me to the ground.

Then as Death settled itself over me, there seemed to be a thin reddish/pinkish tint start to settle over my vision, like the red side of 3D glasses or like someone had turned on one of those red colored light bulbs. As the tint settled over, I felt my whole body tense – every single muscle I had, all over my body. My whole body was contracting, every muscle tensing itself hard. I felt no pain at all. Instead I felt my self extending out of my body somehow.

As my muscles tightened and the reddish hue settled over my vision, I felt my insides, my inner being and warmth…my Me…somehow start to extend out, passing through my skin. I was about to shoot outward at any moment in all directions, at inconceivable speeds. Then as I could feel the start of it (the Invitation), the Presence confirmed the Choice; I welcomed it and said “yes.”

At that instant, all that I am was immediately released outward in all multi-dimensional directions, and into a spinning fractal of pure white light. It felt like I was being pulled in every possible direction at super-sonic speeds into this light, via the mother of all magnets. I can still feel the “physical” sensations of it all, it was like being on all the roller coasters and carnival rides I’ve ever been on simultaneously. It all happened so fast, I was out of my body and through the light in an instant.


What I found through the light is something I will never have the “right” words to convey, no matter how many times I recount it or how many people I tell this story to. It is simply impossible, our puny human brains just don’t have the gig capacity (yet). MY brain certainly can’t wrap itself around any of it – in fact, I’m in a perpetual state of utter fascination and awe over what I went through, and my inability to wrap my puny human mind around it is the whole motivation for this big ‘ol word-vomit. But anyway, in an attempt to describe it…

There was Nothing. Simply Nothing. The richest, most bountiful Nothing there is. It was an eternal black void, a vast and endless emptiness…simultaneously just overflowing with ENDLESS possibilities of what could be. It was THE canvas, empty and ready for painting on.

And I was the center hub of it all, the Source of All That Could Be, the Ultimate Creator.

I had within me all of the memories and experiences and stories of every last living and “non-living” thing there ever was or will be, throughout all conceivable and inconceivable time/space dimensions. All of the Stories. I was eternal, limitless, formless, existing as Existence itself in this rich Void. It was as though I contained all of the blueprints necessary to create whole UNIVERSES! This wasn’t just something I knew in my mind – I didn’t have a mind, I had no body. It wasn’t an instinct, or a gut feeling, or anything like that. It was TRUTH. It was the only Truth there was.

I could go on and on about the lifetimes upon lifetimes that I had experienced while in the Void. Everything I felt in the Void was so instantaneous/simultaneous yet so forever, that it’s challenging to “stop” and put my focus on one experience or another (at one point during this experience I begin to “zoom in” on Dana Perry’s Life Story in a little more detail, but I’ll get there later).  I experienced very detailed lifetimes of all that had ever existed or will exist – but in a world where time isn’t a thing, all of these experiences were happening simultaneously, and throughout eternity.

It’s the Void, the Silence Where All Sounds Are Born, the Space Where All Things Are Placed, The Nothing Where All Somethings Begin – and I was the Creator.


And so…

I had basically become thought. The source of thought – the Ultimate Creator, containing all of these blueprints for Existence, able to instantly think anything into reality, simply by becoming the thought. My being – all that I was now– encompassed all the Stories of the Universe, and they all radiated from within me simultaneously, unless I made a Choice to focus or “zoom in” on one Story or another (I had access to the “files” on the full-sensory, first-person experience as “Dan” or “Clara” or “Oak Tree” or “Kitchen Chair”).

And if I was focused on all stories of Existence at once

Encompassing all Stories (becoming all of Existence, everyone and everything there ever was or will be; not focusing on specifically being “Dan” or “Clara” or “Tree” or “Chair”, and instead having all of those experiences at once) seemed to have caused me to essentially “exist” as nothing but two very real and powerful, very distinct thoughts, and the feelings that come with them. All that I was, all that Existence was, was somehow distilled down or compressed into these two sensations: I call them the What-If and the Whoa.

The What-If thought/feeling is the raw craving for pure Discovery.  It’s a curiosity so thick it makes you drool, and tingles the insides. It’s a feeling of I-wonder-what-happens-if that is so intense, the brain is on fire at the need to KNOW. It wants to Learn, to Discover, to intake and throughput data. It’s a child ready to play, wiggling with excitement and anticipation over the possibilities of what her playtime will be, what kind of character she’s going to become and what crazy adventures she’s gonna get into.

The Whoa thought/feeling is just that: fucking WHOA…
It’s the full range of “reactions” to things, all rolled up into one big great reaction. It’s the thought/feeling that happens as a result of satisfying that curiosity. It’s the learning that happens as a result of craving Knowledge. Discovery has happened, the child is in full play, it’s the full scope of reactions after any curiosity has been satisfied, and all possible outcomes rolled up into one. And it seemed to have caused the most intense “WOW!” feeling there ever was…in fact, consider it the source of all wow.

BOTH of these sensations are simultaneous – I was existing as these two thoughts/feelings at the exact same time: the What-If and the Whoa. And through the veiny network of it all…around them…through them…within them…there was a third VERY powerful sensation, the most powerful yet…

It was CHOICE. A Choice, an action, a spark, a decision to Move, to manifest, to Create, to bring into being. It was the life blood that flowed through the veins of the What-If and the Whoa – the Choice, the tool of manifestation, the hands of the Ultimate Creator.

Typically in our world, Creation is a somewhat chronological experience. We start with a wonder, a curiosity, a picture, a craving to know/discover, a Question (a What-If). Then we make a Choice, we make a move; we create, put into an action, attempt to satisfy that craving for Discovery. Then we Observe what has been created/manifested in order to learn, to give ourselves that “eureka!” moment; after being the author of the Story that has been written, it is being read like an excited child. Learning happens and we achieve Discovery. We have our full scope of reactions to the different parts of the Story, our full range of feelings and reactions and drawn conclusions that can happen after Knowledge is gained (the full spectrum of reaction all rolled together is what I call “the Whoa”). Typically, this is the Creative/Discovery process, and in our world it seems to be just that – a process, somewhat chronological.

But in this Void, when I was the Source of All That Is, I existed as all of these at once. I was the What-If, the Creator, and the Whoa. I was the blank canvas, the artist, and the Observer. I was the blank pages of a book that had yet to be written, the author that is actively writing the book on-the-spot, and the reader that is reading the book on-the-spot and being taken on the adventurous journey brought on by the Story. Basically, I was a complete paradox…the most perfect and complete paradox there ever was.  Utter perfection in pure chaos.  I was the Question AND the Answer AND the Space that lingers between/within/through them. I was the flame, the spark that caused it, the oxygen that fed it.

I Existed there for forever, living all Stories simultaneously, writing them and reading them all at the same time, throughout all forms of time and space. I felt every tiny detail of all of it.


At some point though, I chose to “zoom in” on just one Story in particular. I’m not sure what sparked it to be honest, but it was a curiosity about my life – about “Dana Perry’s” life. I was the Original Author and Reader, and I was wanting to read one of my favorite books: The Life Story of Dana Perry. Then I felt the Presence again – the person that was with me when Death first embraced me, the one that told me I was dying and that it was ok to go. I felt the Presence come to me like a very nurturing mother-figure, about to guide me through the Story like a child being read her favorite bedtime story, as if side-by-side on a warm comfy couch.

As we “sat”, the Presence started to show me the Story of my life. What I saw was like watching a movie:

The most beautiful piano music I had ever heard started to play as the scene started with the “camera” focused the top right corner of a room with blue walls and some kind of white criss-cross/diamond/checkered/maybe plaid patterned lines. As the music played and the “camera” started to slowly pan down and out over the rest of the room, I knew I was being shown the Story from the beginning – from conception and childhood – all the way through to my death. But my very child-like wonder came forward once again, and I inhabited a new thought:

“Hmmm…I wonder about the part when I died though, what did that look like?”

IMMEDIATELY, the very moment I became that thought, the Presence and I were “hovering” over the scene of my death. We were back in the parking lot, my lifeless body was on the pavement, lying in a small pond of blood, my curls gooey and matted. People were standing over me, around me, but time was essentially frozen. I observed the scene with my child-like wonder, not saddened or frightened by any of it, just simply looking and inhabiting pure wonder. I felt the Presence there with me, watching me like a mother watching her infant discovering for the first time what fingers and toes do. Pure. Innocent. Warm and Loving. Supportive. Encouraging.

As I observed the scene of my death, there was just something about it that didn’t seem…correct.

It just didn’t seem like that’s how the Story was supposed to end. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t not like it, it just…didn’t seem like it was the right ending to the Life Story of Dana Perry. I was fine with the Story’s ending, but at the same time, felt as though there were other possibilities that might be more…fitting.

Then, the Presence once again presented me with a Choice: I could re-write that ending if I wanted to, but it would require going back and playing the character of Dana Perry in order to do so. Instead of existing in the Void as Existence – as all life stories at once – I would need to “plug in” to the first-person experience of Dana Perry if I wanted to alter any part of her Story. And so, in the very same way that I was presented with an Invitation from Death, I was now presented with an Invitation from Life. The Presence with me made it known that I have a Choice, and so I made the Choice to come back and continue writing The Life Story of Dana Perry.

The moment I made the Choice, I awoke. I shot straight up, gasped for air like I had been drowning or suffocating for hours and could finally breathe again. I felt my heart pumping fast and hard in my chest, felt my blood flowing hot through my veins. I weirdly became aware of other organ systems doing their things – tubes and veins and muscle contractions, internal organs twitching, fiery pulses of electricity in my brain. It felt as though my body had been literally shut down and re-booted. As “reality” came back into focus and I realized I was at home in bed, I immediately broke down in a heavy sob.


For about 2-3 weeks following this experience, I wanted to die. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I just felt so…contained. My body felt like a cage. I felt uncomfortable in it, so much so that I remember the sentence, “Dude, bodies are fuckin’ weird,” almost escaping my lips. And I was also very aware that I was tasked with inhabiting the role of “Dana Perry” once again (plus all the little Stories that come along with that character) and it brought a weight back onto my shoulders… which made me even more uncomfortable in my body.

I let myself cry easily and often. At one point I remember being outside, asking out into the Big Everything “why am I back? What’s the point?! What am I supposed to be doing here?!” Then I felt a warmth settle over me, and a voice came into my head saying “well…you ARE something of a fine musician, are you not?” It felt to me like that very same Presence was there with me, in my head, giving me a little motherly nudge, encouraging me to go play, that everything is taken care of. I felt a great big confirmation that I was put here to keep making more music.

Life is an Adventure. A ride. It’s a Story, unfolding as you live your life. The Story has love and adventure and trials and triumphs and gripping terror and heart-pumping action and heavy loss and joyous gains… You are the Author, the Main Character, and the Reader, experiencing from all points of perspective, simultaneously, reading the book as you’re writing it. You are a Masterpiece. A walking, talking, holographic, interactive Story. And there are countless Stories on this planet – and the Earth herself is a Story, among countless other planets’ Stories throughout space/time. Embrace your humanity, and love it.  Being human can be fun, we can build shit and call for pizza afterwards.

That is our purpose. To just BE. We are here to Create, and to Experience that which has been Created. Live your Story, you’re the only one that can.  The very fate of the Universe depends on it.

This experience was several years ago, and The Life Story of Dana Perry has definitely taken some wicked heavy turns that I certainly didn’t see coming. But I suppose that’s the way every good Story should be.


 

Don’t be afraid to touch yourself.

When you physically touch parts of your own body, there is no line between what’s touching and what’s being touched. It is so understood within us that every part of our body is a part of ourselves; we don’t need to be reminded that our hands are extensions of our arms, our feet extensions of our legs, our heads are connected to our necks, etc.

Each time you touch any part of yourself, you are aware of the part that is being touched AND the part of you that is doing the touching. You touch your nose with the tip of your finger and you feel sensation from two points of view: how your nose feels on your finger tip, as well as how your finger tip feels on your nose. Also, no matter what’s being touched or doing the touching, you feel an overall touching of YOU. YOU are being touched, and YOU are doing the touching.  It’s close and comfortable, even more so than a lover’s touch.

So touch yourself. Do it. Clasp your hands together. First, treat it like you’re using the right hand to feel the left hand; let most of your touching-sense intake come from your right hand, let the right hand tell the story of how the left hand feels. Let your right hand feel all the different characteristics of your left hand; the lines, the hairs, the warmth/cold of the left hand’s skin… all of it. Let the right hand be the storyteller, the record-keeper, the Observer of the left hand. Now switch it around and do the same with the opposite hands. Take mental/sensory notes of the different sensations.  Then let both sides tell the Story, feel them together as one, let the line disappear.

Now reach out your dominant hand and touch the things around you. Place your hand on the wall, plant your feet firmly on the ground, pick something up off the table in front of you and turn it around in your hands. Do this like you are touching yourself, with the same warmth and understanding that these things are merely extensions of you, all parts of your physical body.

At first, simply take in the sensations of the thing itself. Use your dominant hand to take in all the characteristics; the hard/softness, the texture, etc. Now allow yourself to extend. Extend the feeling of your physical body to accommodate the thing you are touching. Allow it to be another part of your body, so much so that there is no question. Fill yourself with it.  Do it until the lines of distinction disappear.

Touch a flat hand to a table surface; feel all the characteristics of it, but also see it as an extension of your physical body – feel the size and sturdiness of it, as if you yourself were made of the same materials. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, feel the connection between your feet and the floor.  First feel your feet, then feel your shoes like they’re just part of your feet, then feel them connect to the floor, allow the floor to be just an extension of your feet. Now take in the entire floor throughout the room; let your feet – your body – extend out to the entire room. Place a firm flat hand to the wall, and let the entire structure of the room become your skin.  Go even further, let all the stuff and things in the room become an extension of your body, your many limbs and organs; the tables, the chairs, the dishes, the dust bunnies, the dirty clothes on the floor, the mustard stain on the carpet.  All of it.

Now let your body become the SPACE in the room, let the air and light be an extension of you. Let all the sounds and smells become part of your actual body, as if they are all originating from YOU.  Breathe that Space in deeply, feel the walls of the room expand as your lungs expand.  Exhale fully and let your shoulders relax, feel the room settle back into itself just as you are settling into yourself.

Now go outside, and let yourself extend over everything and everyone you see, for as far as you can see. Touch things. Touch people. Interact with the world around you, as if it’s all just an extension of your body, as if it’s YOU. Not just you on the inside, but you on the outside. You PHYSICALLY. Feel yourself extend over miles and miles, feel all the different parts of you now. Even other people, other bodies; see them as if their body is just another part of your body, another one of your limbs, more of your skin. Especially the SPACE around you; allow it to become a part of you, see the space between things. Let the glorious pockets of Nothing that surround you become living and breathing, and be the one to give it that life and breath, just as you yourself are alive and breathing.

There is no line between you and the world around you, they are One and the same. Nothing is ever truly lost, everything is accessible, doable, tangible. It’s all right there at the edge of your fingertips, because it’s literally at your fingertips. Everything around you is an actual, physical extension of YOU. Do not be afraid to reach out and touch yourself.

Weapon of Mass Expression

One morning during the tunes-n-coffee ritual, I was reflecting on how much Gratitude I have for being a musician.  There truly is no greater Gift.  I felt my heart open as I thought of all of my noise-making brothers and sisters, from right here in Madison to the other side of the planet.  I drifted into fun little daydreams of some massive world-wide event happening that would require all of us to play at once to thwart a major planetary threat.

As I thought about the Truth of what music really is, and the sheer impact it has on us, and what it could be like if we came together as Artists, this piece of writing came out (a song is brewing as result of it, I’m kickin’ some chords and lyrics around the office):

 

Calling all Musicians:
This is not a drill. Your time has come. The world needs you. Humanity needs you. It’s time to stand up and ROCK THE FUCK OUT!

The type of music you make does not matter, nor does it matter how “good” or “bad” you think you are. Stop comparing yourself to other musicians anyway. Stop wondering if you’re better or worse than, more or less deserving of this or that. It doesn’t matter if you’re “professional”, or if your biggest show was at home in your underwear for an audience of posters on your wall – we are all on the same team, with the same mission: to ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.

Because know this: you are not the “likes” on your fucking facebook page. You are not your album cover. You are not a number of downloads, or the amount of merch you sell at your shows. You’re not what time you play in the lineup, how many people you can “draw”, how much money you have, and you sure as hell are not your fucking “image”. In fact, you aren’t even your music…you are merely a vessel for Music to pass through. You are a POWERFUL FUCKING FORCE.

Music is a language of the Universe – the ONE SONG. Open yourself up and let the music radiate from your very cells, throw yourself into another dimension of colorful Expression – lose yourself. That’s your job: to just ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.
Play your songs. Make your music. Do it with PURPOSE, with INTENTION, with a FORCE. Don’t stop, no matter what happens around you. FOLLOW your music, listen to what it tells you and obey. Play as often as you can, everywhere you can.

Be open and vulnerable in your emotions while you are playing; in fact, you must strive for this every time. Don’t be afraid, the Listeners around you want this. We need our music to move us through our core, we want it to DO things to us, to help us throughput and express our emotions. All of the best music does this, no matter what “genre” it is, no matter what the Story is. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you play or how “good” you are – let your music MOVE, and it will MOVE. Just ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.

When we express ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our minds, our feelings- we’re helping ourselves to process the story of our lives, and the story of the world around us. If you are a musician (or an Artist of any kind), you have the ability and nurtured skills to EXPRESS, which is necessary to process shit. We ALL have the power to express ourselves in artistic ways, but it is the Artist that has nurtured Divine tools of Expression like music. It is the Artist that can really say it better; sometimes SO much so, that it feels like they’ve captured how YOU feel, as if they were in deep in your soul somehow, ripping out your insides and showing them to you.

Our insides are being shown to us more and more these days.  We’re ever discovering what we are, and what we most certainly are not. There is so much happening right now, we have SO MUCH to process, and too many of us don’t know how.  Sometimes shit just happens that is way too fucking overwhelming and we don’t know what to do with all of the feelings it causes, we don’t know where to direct any of our anger/fear/sadness/etc.  We need to get it out, to allow it to pass through somehow, to channel it.  Some people turn to such shocking means of channeling their emotions – sometimes quite harmful and damaging to themselves and those around them. I truly feel music is the best, most powerful tool we have to channel and process our bullshit – it has REAL power, to bring us into the Here and Now, to face ourselves and give whatever is needed within that Holy Moment.  Music has TRUE potential to save us and unite us all, because it is a gateway to inner Contentment.  And to me, real world peace means a world of Individuals with inner peace…

We need to scream and yell and have a good long cry, and then laugh through all of our tears and snot, and not be afraid to wipe it on the shirt of a stranger, and to offer your shirt for their snot in return. We need this to ACTUALLY happen – in real life, not just on facebook. If you’re angry, you can go ahead and use all the capital letters and angry-face emojis you want, or even little hugs-n-kisses emojis when you’re happy; but NOTHING feels as good as actual yelling, and real hugs-n-kisses. We need to make real life happen again, take control and open ourselves up to one another, be exactly what you are and let others be what they are. We need to love HARD, and maybe if we could process our own individual bullshit a little bit better, we can make it easier to let go and love a little harder.

Let’s DO this, my fellow music makers and Listeners. Let’s flood the whole fucking place with music, let it completely take over, use this Weapon of Mass Expression to de-clog some of our shit-caked pipes. Let’s play hard out there! Sing loud and fierce, all primal and shit – like our very existence depends on it, because it fucking does.  Do it all at once, until it rattles the Earth to her core and shakes off her old dead skin to make way for something more alive.  It’s our time now, we are being Called. It’s time to come together and ROCK. THE FUCK. OUT.

So this is a thing.

Writing used to be quite regular for me.  In my late teens/early 20s, it was not uncommon for me to start my day off with some form writing, accompanied by tunes and coffee.  While I do still have the tunes-n-coffee morning ritual often, there was a lack of writing for several years.  I write my songs of course, but the process of writing just to write – letting the word vomit push its way through – used to be pretty regular.  Over the last few years it seems I only do it when I really need it, but lately I’ve felt the urge to write as a means of regular thought processing,

I’ve realized that like most of us, I have a lot of stories to share; things to communicate, to speculate about, ideas and musings and whatnot, shit to say about shit, etc.  And I am often the one that is most entertained by my thoughts, much more so than anyone else could possibly be.  For me, when I write about certain things, there is almost always some sort of Grand Understanding that has been gained within myself by the end of it all.  Perhaps it’s the physical act of writing; the holding of the pen, touching it to a fresh blank page, chaotic firings of thought, dancing along with the swoops and curves of the letters…

Anyway…

While my music is always going to say it the best, I’ve been wanting to say it in other ways too – through painting, sketching, creating things, etc.  Things of that nature will eventually be found throughout the website, and here in the blog section is where I’ll be putting some of my writing.  May you find it stimulating in the brain-heart regions. ❤