Sunday, February 04, 2007

every year on super bowl sunday there is a thought that occurs at least once, "i want to write a song about super bowl sunday". i never watch the super bowl. this idea comes to me every year as i spend an afternoon in a nearly uninhabited city, while everyone else watches their televisions. it is a particular space that i really enjoy. something beautiful about an empty city; like walking through an abandoned worlds fair. i am reminded as i happily move through this stillness that i have never felt like i was built like most folks. from the get-go my wiring dictated that i spend my time away from, rather than amongst, the herd. talking with belle over breakfast, there was a late teen/early twenties kid at the next table, alone on a series of different but uninterrupted phone calls. talked with the phone almost a foot away from his face. always curious to me. he was talking about betting on the super bowl. couldnt help but hear. now let me first say that there were a few things he said that betrayed he was a decent kid. but the substance of his conversations could at best be called inane. i began to think about my inane youth and about my nephew. hes four months old. how will he deal with the unforgiving gauntlet of youth. come his teens will he feel awkward and out of place as i did. if not, good for him of course. but i did think that it seems like my strategy might not have been such a bad one. you are suddenly hit with a tsunami of hormones while simultaneously realizing your parents and any authority figures in your life are full of shit; but you havent yet got the life experience to fully fill out your own world view. why not just lay low for a bit while the dust settles. learn a thing or two about the world on the down low then emerge an interesting young adult. if you are a young person, or feel love for a young person, who doesnt seem to have the herd instinct that most folk have, i hope to buoy you up a bit. i know that one of the most unbearable aspects of my youth was that people constantly told me that i was in the prime of my life. youth is everything. if youth was everything then i had nothing and there was nothing but worse coming? the most important thing that my mother ever told me was that her life didnt get good until her twenties. that was the only time i had ever heard someone say anything like that. i couldnt agree more. contemporary america doesnt really value aging but i do. for all of youths vigor there is also ignorance and self absorption. as a wise man once said," you dont often get anything in life. you only trade one thing for another." i for one am happy to trade in what i had for what i am getting from aging. so there. another super bowl sunday and i didnt write the song but at least this year i wrote something.

37 comments:

JDRMMR said...

I just read a great book by Ram Dass about aging:

"Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying"

His first book "Be Here Now" was also very good.

Chris (C. Brian) said...

EA,

Curious to know if you've read Tuesdays with Morrie or seen the DVD? Like you, I usually eschew crowds and sometimes bestseller lists! Last week, though, I watched Tuesdays with Morrie with a group of adolscents (12-18 year olds) in a psychiatric hospital, where I'm volunteering.

I thought Morrie's insight on living, dying, and aging were profound. (Perhaps the movie resonated w/ me because I recently lost a grandmother, and, coincidentally, she had read the Tuesdays book during her last years. Her copy was still sitting on one of her counters when we drove in to MI for her funeral.)

Interestingly enough, the kids - - many of them rebellious, antisocial, and mentally ill - - remarked that the old man was wise and intelligent. I was shocked and encouraged by their remarks because U.S. society does not revere our elders, which you pointed out.

Your description of the abandoned city on SSS reminds me of my Jewish friends describing the streets of Santa Barbara, CA on Christmas Day.

Anonymous said...

i'm with you Eric, I have never cared a thing about football. it seems like everyone I know has a freak out and goes crazy over the superbowl. i watched a lifetime movie instead.

curt

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Walters said...

Hi Eric, this part of your blog really stuck a chord in me.

"i began to think about my inane youth and about my nephew. hes four months old. how will he deal with the unforgiving gauntlet of youth. come his teens will he feel awkward and out of place as i did. if not, good for him of course. but i did think that it seems like my strategy might not have been such a bad one. you are suddenly hit with a tsunami of hormones while simultaneously realizing your parents and any authority figures in your life are full of shit; but you havent yet got the life experience to fully fill out your own world view."

I have a 13 year old son and we've been bumping heads quite a bit the past several months. That quote from you better explains to me what he's going through than anything the supposed experts have had to say.

Thanks for your thoughts. They really give me a different perspective and I appreciate it.

As far as the Super Bowl goes it was more of a Super Bore than anything else.

Latter
Mike

Michael said...

I think I know what you mean about the beauty in an empty public space. One of the ways I accomplish this is by taking walks by myself in the rain.

On one occasion a few years ago when I was still in high-school, I was at Whistler, Blackcomb (a small, but well-known ski resort/village) here in British Columbia, Canada during a huge sponsored snowboarding festival. There were international athletes competing, there were free bands (Black Eyed Peas...yuck), and thousands of people in the streets. In the space of a few minutes, all the trendy young people retreated into the bars, and I was left completely alone. It's still one of my favourite memories.

Michael said...

It just occurred to me that I should amend my previous comment by noting that it was rain that drove the masses indoors and not some sort of "Great Canadian SARS Attack" or something.

Ryan said...

Hey EA-
I could never understand the fascination with youth myself. My friends joke now that I was born 41 years old. I believe it is because as an artist/painter I've always believed that each day I paint or draw I learn something new, and therefore I've become a better artist/person. What more could a young man with a brush or bass ask for.

A walk around the Fair in Sevilla,Spain is pretty awesome not a bad way to spend an afternoon i agree.
Thanks for sharing!!!!
cheerio-
R

Anonymous said...

Many themes run conguently here.....wide open spaces, proximity to people, and proximity to ones self in contrast to others in time. I read these entries and artists, usually writers, come to mind. Here it is Vonnegut Jr. who lamented something more or less similar to this....'Beethoven farted around in Germany and music came forth; I began farting around and contempt for civilization came out'. When I was younger I found out who I really was at my core....my essensce. Much to my surprise and occasional chagrin, it really hasn't changed. That actualization was profound for me, but it wasn't until I grew and matured that I found my proximity to humanity. That youthful renaissance was etched in stone and it was mournful, more or less, as I understood acutely my lot had been ascribed to me rather than achieved by me. I felt ashamed and angry much of the time because I was afforded so much and so many others simply by some cosmic twist of fate were born into something less than fair.....tragic in many cases. I have spent a great deal of time in my adulthood trying to reconcile these ascribed horrors and even more time digesting that my "proximity" to others who don't yell into a cell phone about bets, but are really in dire need is very distant. Adulthood has taught me that in many, many occasions the status quo is a VERY powerful and obstinate foe. All this, and more, brings me closer to Vonnegut's view or even Bukowski's as he so simply and brilliantly puts it....."Born Into This".

It is for these reasons that life without art would be, well let's jsut say, less than it is. It really is the only thing that seperates us, even if it is barely measureable, from some of our more base and savage animal brothers.

So just a little thanks here to our host artist for his contribution; it doesn't go unnoticed.

Ooh, just a walkin plus sign today.

Respectfully,

SR

matt volpe said...

Hey EA,
I hear you about all the hullaballoo around the Super Bowl. It's a bit disconcerting--I usually am very psyched for it and then when it comes on I pretty much tune out because it's not as interesting as I had anticipated. I guess I really have a special place in my heart for the day because it's a good excuse to gather with my family and friends-- much more interesting to me than the game. I understand what you mean about the alone time though, as those are precious moments in life for sure. I'm glad to hear you may write a song about the SSS phenom one day.

BTW, how's your little nephew doing? I hope all is well and you guys are having a blast. My boy Avery turns 8 months in a couple of days. He's fat and happy at the moment,and saying Da da all the time. We're taking him on his first little trip to Florida tomorrow for a long weekend. It'll be a great little get away from the 8 degree weather we've been having in NYC lately.

By the way, do you like Fugazi? They are one my favorite all time bands. Their bass player Joe Lally is a huge inspiration to me and an awesome player. Joe recently just released his first solo CD called There To Here and it's a really cool collection of songs and memorable rolling bass lines. I highly recommend it if interested. I hope Fugazi gets back together to make some more music soon, they've been on hiatus for a while. Just wondering if you're a fan.

And, last thing, sorry to write so much, I just wrote and produced a couple of promos for my most absolute favorite movie of all time--JAWS. (It's airing on the Sci Fi Channel, where I work). That movie is whole reason I'm in the arts. Period. I wanted to share them with you (and everyone else here) if you were interested to see. They're fun. Here's the link:
http://homepage.mac.com/mattvolpe/FileSharing41.html
You can download the quicktimes and play them down. Hope you enjoy them if you watch them!

Best to you E and talk soon,Matt

Anonymous said...

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=5647988&blogID=226892430&MyToken=7b501f88-fd03-4339-af46-bb6422c98808


Not only does your music inspire people, so do your words. This is a blog a friend of mine wrote sort of expanding on your idea here.

Looking forward to the solo material.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Eric, I really love the Janes song LA Medley. I listened to it yesterday for the first time in probably 10 years. Can you tell me how that came about? whose idea was it to mix those cover songs together? Did it ever have more parts?

Thanks, Eric!

Anonymous said...

Eric- When your nephew gets older will you take him through the "Uncle Eric" musical timeline and try to get him interested in music ?

S

P.S.- One of my homeboys happened to hear the first minute and a half of LA SONG , and he brought to my attention that it had a nice high-hat,kick drum-rap sounding melody to it . Put the CD on in your car and turn it up and then step outside your car..It sounds like music to a rap song...

-ea. said...

jdrmmr- never read ram dass. isnt his western name something really ordinary and therefore funny? he was a phenomenom in my youth.

-ea. said...

chris c. brian- poignant story about your grandma. i cant remember how but i came across the 'tuesdays' book before starbucks started distributing it. i think thought it was wise in a plainly spoken way.

yes christmas. i amlmost mentioned christmas in the post. being a grinch for years i have moved amongst the jews at matinees on many an xmas day.

-ea. said...

mike walters- glad it helped mike. 13 years old. wow. let the games begin, right? a-d-o-l-e-s-c-e-n-c-e.

-ea. said...

michael- its interesting how evocative these stories are. there is something so cinematic about them.

-ea. said...

ryan- i remember being twenty-ish years old and realizing that the things that everybody found interesting about me at that age was based on my being twentyish years old. that when i continued to be more interested in classical music, art, dance, science etc. than i was interested in nightclubs, as i became 40 years old people(girls) would no longer think it was interesting. those interests in a twenty year old rock musician made me intersting. the same list in a 40 year old makes you a bore. to some people (girls) anyway. i remember the apartment i had this thought in. near cochran and 3rd in hollywood in the late eighties.

-ea. said...

sr- interesting post. i would say that i am only now, over the last few years, sort of finding out who i am. i feel that in a sense i have changed alot over my life, or more precisely, i have found out who i am not. i think that as life began hurting, when i was, say, five or six, i began to try and figure how best not to hurt. so i began to blend who i intrinsically was with who i thought i should be to survive. that process really takes over in adolescence. then my mid-twenties was a transition time. my focus became a process of sorting out. which bands did i really like and which did i just like liking. what films. what clothes. what beliefs. this process has continued to this day. i have sort of uncovered who i am. but unlike some would say, i have not simply become the person i was when i was a boy. i have been changed by this process of uncovering, this life, and lifes hurts and joys. i might better approximate the boy i was, but i am not simply him.

-ea. said...

matt volpe- nephew is good thanks. had my first solo babysitting duty. good time.

much respect for fugazi. how could you not. loved their first record dearly. will have to check out lallys cd.

downloaded and watched quint. i love you that you love jaws so much. i stayed in the theatre for at least two (if not three) showings back to back when it first came out. my boyhood dream was to be a marine biologist so i jumped on the 70's shark phenomenon with glee.

-ea. said...

anonymous- i was charmed by your friends blog. i will probably always feel an affinity for the restless souls of the world.

-ea. said...

anonymous- if i recall correctly the la medley was perrys idea. some would say presumptous, some might say audacious, idea that we were going to put ourselves in the context of la's great bands.

-ea. said...

S- i would guess that my nephew will be interested in his folks (actress/writer), his grandparents (actor) and his uncles stories. i do know that i will interest myself in whatever he is into.

"P.S.- One of my homeboys happened to hear the first minute and a half of LA SONG , and he brought to my attention that it had a nice high-hat,kick drum-rap sounding melody to it . Put the CD on in your car and turn it up and then step outside your car..It sounds like music to a rap song..."

told my wife about this one. you nailed it. that was exactly my intention when putting a song about la together. i expressly discussed with the engineer how we could make the song sound like a rap song from inside a car. well done.

Anonymous said...

The older I get, the less tolerant I get. I find that I don't forge meaningful relationships very well anymore. Youth, for me, was a much more maleable time where ideology often eclipsed status quo. Everything I surmised ignorantly about business and money and western values turned out to be dead on as I have grown up, and I don't like it. It seems that most I meet are driven by status or money and further that everything in close proximity to those things is cancerous. I found much more profound experiences coming home fucked up to my parents house and watching Sally Struthers in Ethiopia. Funny, I remember my first plane ride to a far away place. When I landed, I deplaned and got seriously depressed because the people were so different there. All that came to mind was how very small this world is......just hours away on this sphere was a great deal of suffering. It just shattered the disconnect I had always managed to delude myself with. All this results in a great deal of free time to read and listen to music. There, there is no one else.

Just wondering here. It seems as if you minimize the impact of Jane's a bit. Is this a result of humility, grace? Do you feel that Jane's deserves a place amoung L.A.'s best bands....best bands ever, anywhere?

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...

Eric-
One thing I forgot to ask is, where was the location for the audio during the first 30 seconds of Fire In The Hole ? Love the helicopter before song kicks in....What great bass lines in the middle and end of the song!!!

S

cavalfilter said...

gb shaw: "youth is wasted on the young." i always thought that summed things up well. tough to deal with one's youth issues. one thing i know for sure is that re: youth and life: by far, >95% of my life's regrets are things i didn't do rather than things i actually did and take responsibilty for. then the rub is when you try to make up for the things you wish you had done, you are trying to relive the past - a certain time and place - and that never works b/c there is always a new set of circumstances. when you come up with a solution to all this please tell me.

ram dass was richard alpert, a jewish ex-harvard psychologist turned eastern neophilosopher pop mystic - confused like everyone - who eventually backed off the whole holy thing. he had a stroke. not sure if he is still alive.

eric, does it surprise you that doing things other twenty y/o's are doing is attractive to others but doing those same things as a 40 y/o isn't? we are all looking for something/somebody different. i guess as a 40 y/o we should act as 20 y/o would ....

can you recommend some music for me? i am tired of the 1000 songs on my ipod that i listen to over and over.

stan

matt volpe said...

Hey EA,

Glad to hear your nephew's doing great and the babysitting went well...good job. It's pretty amazing to be around a newborn--they're so fresh, innocent and a pure definition of beautiful.

Just got back from a little 4 day excursion with the family from Florida. Nice warm weather down there cpompared to the 20 degree freeze happening up hear in NYC. Great traveling with the little guy, he held up well on the plane to and from a-ok.

Thanks so much for taking the time to watch my JAWS spot! I love that you love JAWS and sharks too! That's awesome. So cool that you were contemplating a career in marine biology back in the day. I at one point had similar aspirations but later realized my calling was more in the artistic world. But sharks will always be a major part of my life.

Hope all is well and when you get a chance to check out Lally's CD, let me know what you think! All the best, Matt

PS estatic to see the Chili Peppers got their grammy last night, well deserved and about time!

Anonymous said...

Twain too had a similar quote on youth.
"Those who can, do; those who can't teach". I love GBS, but I can't help but to question his wisdom sometimes. He was afforded the luxury of being "young" well into his late 20's I believe as his parents supported him through failures in other literary mediums until he found himself. He wasn't short on ego either as he unreservedly compares himself to Shakes in the 7 pager for kids, Shakes v. Shaw. Lol But his does beg the question.....is the journey to find oneself internal, external, or a combination of both?
He did explore this very theme too in a brilliant play entitled, "Major Barbara". Stephen was young and full of clear and focussed humanity. If memory serves, he is desribed in the chatacter notes as a person with a "high concscience". I always look to this play as Barbara struggles with, and Stephen rails against their estranged father's source of wealth....a munitions dealer, when I begin again to view the world with a unilateral eye. Shaw leaves the reader with a clear problem of ethics, with no apparent area for remote reconcilliation, as so many abstact ideas that rely on perception do. Just wonderful and provacative stuff! I am presently enrolled in a Shakes class, but GBS falls to number two on my all time list from the greeks to Shepard. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I suck at computers....

Twain has a similar quote about youth being wasted.


GBS spoke about "doing"

-ea. said...

sr- i think history will decide. as it moves along creating a canon from everything left standing. i dont know if janes will make the cut. you usually have to have a larger or longer effect on culture it seems.

-ea. said...

hi stan - ">95% of my life's regrets are things i didn't do rather than things i actually did and take responsibilty for" so so true. but i think back and i just wasnt fearless enough. until i had really lived a little i couldnt shed that restraint. unless you have some of the brash fearlessness of some youths i think you are doomed to these sorts of regrets.

music? i dont listen to much pop music im afraid. i generally listen to podcasts and when i do listen to pop i like quirk. do you know arcade fire 'funeral'? blonde redhead 'misery is a butterfly'? i am presently listening to 'the good the bad and the queen', damon albarns new cd. i dont like it as much as some of his gorillaz work but i do like some.

you coming down anytime soon?

-ea. said...

anonymous- thanks for the info about shaw. i have never read/explored him. i only know him from all the pithy quotes always credtited to him.

Anonymous said...

Shaw is awesome in his own right but has always been fascinated with the worship of Shakes. His title for it...bardology. There is a wonderful photo of him posing naked for Rodin in "the thinker" pose. Rodin complied and used it for a version. Shaw was a strange and brilliant bird. He's much, much more than the quotes or his quirky nature might suggest imho!

Again I revert to literary metaphors here, but you seem to equivocate a bit here. Ralph Ellison has landed comfortably and deservedly within the American canon for just one contribution...."Invisible Man". So, at least, in the literary world one need not be prolific to stand up to the masters, even multi published masters. There are examples in music too. Without getting too close to the light like the moth, I think Jane's is worthy of a thesis (for the years 86 - 91) In very short terms, I think that sociologically and politically we were poised for an explosion of "outsider" art, and Jane's paved the way in the late 80's and especially the early 90's. Those "windows" of opportunity for this type of art are limited and correlate directly with political climates in proportionality to fear, economics, and peace or wartime. This in conjunction with the music, and much more of course, makes Jane’s one of the best of all time, again imho. So yes, history will make their own evaluations (for better or worse), but do you feel that Jane's managed greatness?

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...

ea said: shut the fuck up already SR. lol

-ea. said...

sr- yes i equivocate because i dont and couldnt possibly know. 'was great' absolutely. i know im biased but from 86-91 there was no better rock band imNho. 'achieved greatness' i cant, in fact nobody can, say that. i dont think that there is any singular contribution that makes janes a real candidate for the great canon. just being great doesnt usually get it done. and many bands helped pave the way you speak of (x comes immediately to mind) and it depends at what arbitrary altitude you assign as the point at which outside art got high enough to get inside. scholars make these distinctions in hindsight.

Anonymous said...

Thank you E.