Sunday, April 15, 2007

i asked belle for her thoughts about the making of the cd and this is what she wrote:

where to begin?
eric has never considered himself a musician. always operating with a different set of rules than the rest of us. he lives music every day. almost constant noise in one form or another. guitar, piano, never bass. never.

polarbear was an experiment in complicated noise-making. layer upon layer. I remember people were amazed by the integration of a laptop in the live shows. put off even.

polarbear was mostly about people realizing that eric was not who they thought he was. he was interested in making things difficult. dismantling song structure. pushing the technology.

help wanted grew out of a different process. it was written on the guitar. in fact his renewed interest in guitar was sparked by persuading him to play a cover (a cat stevens song as a present for a friend's daughter). it was clear that he was not happy about the idea. until that point I never ever heard him play a cover.

I think e was reminded that day to take another look at the genius of other people's work. leonard cohen. pink floyd. lots of pink floyd. in particular the pure genius of roger waters poetry (one of the few musicians e considers a real poet, as opposed to a great song-writer). by always looking forward he had forgotten to look back.

suddenly e was writing songs on the guitar that sounded like songs. help wanted grew out of his curiosity about that process. unconventional as always, he had somehow worked his way backwards to the place that most people start from.

process is always very much in evidence in eric's work. in music as in his life, nothing is hidden. he has a deep appreciation of the happy coincidence and of the beauty of imperfection. he is endlessly curious about everything (as you might have noticed).


ps

I should mention that we got a piano about six months ago. if you have a chance to see the 11th hour documentary, you will see what I am talking about...

32 comments:

-ea. said...

i get to be first on this one. i had no idea what belle had written until after i posted it. that was the deal. reading her post makes me so grateful again that i have a smart and surprising wife whose observations i learn from. even observations about my life as musician. when it comes to husbands and wives, we should choose wisely. i certainly have.

Anonymous said...

brilliant post. not knowing who belle was, i could tell she was your wife just by reading it.

cheers on the new album, look forward to hearing it soon.

-Jim

Anonymous said...

did someone say floyd?

rob said...

thanks to belle... a great read.. i'm sure everyone would love to hear from you again.

twas clear when hearing 'animals' on the radio many moons ago that eric was a
superb writer with guitar as well. some lovely changes in that number and the imagery the songed evoked for me was quite vivid.

Anonymous said...

My knowledge of your music stopped at Deconstruction, when I stumbled upon your blog today I became intrigued about Polar Bear and I am planning on getting some PB CDs as soon as possible. I am also really looking forward to your solo CD. Thanks for writing some of the greatest soundtracks to my life, I am so glad to discover you are still making music!

_Michael

matt volpe said...

Hey Eric,

Excellent post by Belle, very flattering and honest and genuine. One can tell she really knows her husband well!
Thanks for the kind words on lil Avery's bass playing from the last post. His pants are by the famous designer "Carter's" (hee hee), they are cool. Hope all is well and "Help Wanted" is coming along swimmingly. By the way, my work is sending me out to LA this weekend for a promo shoot I'm doing on Sunday. I'll be flying out this Friday and am around on Sat. doing prep work. If you have the time, perhaps we could meet up for a coffee, it'd be great to see you again. I'm sure I'll have a break in my sched at some point. I know this is bold of me to ask, however, I thought I'd take the opportunity to since we met one time before and through these posts we've gotten to know one another a little bit. No pressure of course, but here's my e-mail: mattjawsv@aol.com
Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to arrange a place to grab a coffee. If you don't feel cool about that, no worries. Hope all else is well and talk soon... Matt

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear your new record! I'm sure it won't be as shameful as Strays. Is it really true some of the songs they've released since Ritual were cowritten by you, yet you weren't given any songwriting credit or compensation?
Songs like:
Wrong Girl
Suffer Some
So What!
Kettle Whistle
Maceo

Anonymous said...

E,

Great read your wife provided us with.Nice to know her brains give her beauty a run for the money...

Drug Detox has been a SUCCESS....thanks for all the support...New chapter in life has begun..Forgot how great it is to feel good without chemicals..Shades finally pulled up in the house...

S

George D said...

This is a cool post, your wife should post more often, she obviously has alot of insight on you and its neat for a fan like me to get this side of the story. I cant wait till Help Wanted, i bet its gonna be a masterpiece. And hopefully you can get the credit you deserve, it really bothers me sometimes how some musicians are so great yet they dont get the "typical" recognition, but they get recognition in different ways. new people are getting hooked too janes every day thanks to dave and his socialite stuff, and youtube. I got addicted to janes 2 yrs after i got addicted to hendrix. So that was 7 months ago now ive been listening to janes and polar and porno and decon. And my guitar playing and music has never been the same since, the riffs and some melodies i record now are so fdifferent from when i first strted, thanks too you! but its all for the better i guess.

Hooray for music!!

Anonymous said...

So much comes to mind as I read these musings.....Many in history have purposely put down their art to pursue others, either through complete intimidation, as countless have with Shakespeare....but I have rarely heard of someone ignoring others work because of a complete possession by their own. Very interesting.

Too, it seems that E has worked very much like MOST artists did prior to the Moderinists like Lawrence and V. Wolfe who actually worked to place the label "artist"(musician) as a dignified and respected distinction in their lives and the lives of future "artists(musicians.) Interesting that these labels can be an obsticle if they are anything at all.

As for the process on the new album, I'll turn Shakes words upsidedown here and just say..'Turn on the light, and then turn on the light'.

Can't wait for the new work while I still enjoy the old work.

Be well,

SR

Ryan P said...

Hey E-
what was the first instrument you learned to play?
R

C. Brian said...

Belle and EA,

What an insightful, fascinating post about creativity and musical process of an artist.

Was suprised by Belle's comment that EA never picks up the bass; how do you, EA, keep your chops honed on the instrument? And what do other instruments - - guitar and piano - - bring to bass playing when you return to it?

If willing to share, how did the two of you (Belle and EA) meet?

Anonymous said...

Eric-
You usually like the photo sites I point you too, you gotta check out www.newwavephotos.com.There are so many bands I worked with back in the day and lots of photos of lost friends too.I am sure you know many on that list...check it out.

S

-ea. said...

jim rob michael - thanks for the kind words.

-ea. said...

matt volpe- thanks for the invite. i hope your trip was good.

-ea. said...

anonymous- i dont really remember what some of those songs are, wrong girl, so what. so im not sure about those. then maceo i was around for but i dont think i deserve any credit for it. that was entirely a perry invention if i recall correctly. suffer some i probably would be credited for a co-write on that one. and finally, ironically, kettle whistle i wrote before janes addiction even existed but no, i have not been credited for nor compensated for any of them.

-ea. said...

s- very nice. shades up. light in. glad to hear it. congrats.

-ea. said...

george d- thanks for the kind words. somehow inspiring someone to make art themselves is always the best compliment.

-ea. said...

sr- what is the shakespeare quote you are referencing?

-ea. said...

ryan p- first instrument was acoustic guitar. my father had one, dont know why actually because he doesnt play. will have to ask him that. but i digress. i used his guitar and a 'burl ives' songbook that had those little pictures of chord positions to figure how to play. i didnt know any burl ives songs so i had no idea how to play his songs so i just started making my own.

-ea. said...

c. brian- short answer is ive got no chops. i dont really need them to play bass like i do.

guitar bass piano synths are always related to each other in my mind. as i play any one i am picturing how i would approach what im doing with one of the other instruments. i rarely play without composing.

belle and i met because she was living with a high school friend of mine in venice. incidentally that high school friend is one of two sisters who are both co-directing the '11th hour' doc that i just did some music for.

-ea. said...

s - thanks for another blast from the past website. immediately went for the joy division pics. then from there to bow wow wow. had a teen crush on that one. that girl was easily the cutest mohawk that ever happened.

matt volpe said...

EA,

Just got back from LA. Trip was great, thanks. Your welcome for the invite, perhaps next time I'm in town. My work sent me out to direct a promo shoot for the 2nd season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? I worked with a lot of the cast members and got to work with Stan the man Lee himself (creator of Spiderman, Fantastic Four, etc) I am actually not a big comic book person, however, to do this project I have to get into it a little bit. Stan is 85 and one of the most charming gentlemen you could ever meet, not affected and really a creative and kind individual. I imagined he's aged with grace. Were you ever into comics? Anyway, had a great time, I stayed at Le Montrose hotel on Hammond Street in West Hollywood, nice hotel. I was cold though as the weather was cooler than here in New Jersey! It got to be around 80 degrees here...the irony was funny.
Okay cool, gonna hit bed, talk soon and hope all is well by you! Matt

Anonymous said...

I'm really dying to hear the new stuff eric. Perhaps with today's methods of communique, which werent as powerful during polar bear days, you will finally you get the recognition you have so long deserved. Can we expect a official eric avery myspace with a couple preview tracks?


n.m.

Anonymous said...

ea.

i'm aware you are avid hockey fan. i found this video on youtube a while back... all laughs aside, it definatly raised a eye brow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOEEk01OCFY

take care mcv

Anonymous said...

thanks eric. kettle whistle is one of the most interesting songs you've written. it sounds very drug-influenced in the best way possible. i wouldn't guess there are any more gems like that you've written prior to janes that were never released and perhaps stashed away?

matt volpe said...

Eric,

Happy Birthday! I think read somewhere your birthday was 4.25. Hope you have a great day.
All the best, Matt

tikkuria said...

Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Put out the light, and then put out the light...

V.ii line # 7 from Othello.

I did say I turned it on its head:)

Be well,

SR

George D said...

Happy B-Day

esqfool said...

Happy Birthday Eric!

So much for my hockey predictions huh? Good call on the Sharks, they handled Nashville with ease. So much for my prediction of Pens with an upset. Ottawa is going for it after last year's fall out.

Take it easy!

stan said...

hey - happy birthday and congratulations on the upcoming CD. i look forward to listening to it. coming up to the bay area at all? stan