Thursday, April 30, 2009

...Are Some Thoughts of You

We meet again. Today’s track is another rehearsal tape for the Carlyn Lindsey Archives. This song, “I Idolize You,” by Tina Turner is one I remember loosing my mind on, one night on the dance floor (Bears—2004-ish). “CL & SD” had a few special friends with them that night. Todas Paegle was playing his flat-out killer guitar. I remember Dan Witherd had his trombone out several times that night (this song chief among them)--right before I lost my mind.

This is a very striped down track. What I love about it is how clearly Scot’s bass line is coming through, the obvious LINK between him and Carlyn, and the general kick-assness of the band. Bass is a tricky instrument. It has its JOBS, its duties--to hold down things down and to move things along. Too many notes are not necessarily a good thing on bass. I can remember Scot and Edward talking about “eat shit” bass lines. It this point in his musical career, Scot had really found a way to blend those two jobs, with a truly melodic approach that drove the band to the frenzy groove, while adding phenomenal sonic interest to the tune.

Today’s artwork has to do with whom we idolize. Sometimes idols are unlikely characters.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Subtle Parts

Something sort of soothing after the rattle of yesterday’s post—something with some subtle parts--somewhere between “Knights of White Satin” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Today’s track is one of a series, “Solo Instrumental Jam #1.” The drum track is the machine I told you he played like a typewriter. I always felt he got some really funky rhythms out of that little box. Then he’s got the real churchy organ track. Not wanting to repeat myself, I will repeat, Scot loved the gutsy, religious experience this kind of sonic field provides. Then he’s got the guitar things going on, which almost sounds like the track is being played either backwards, but most likely it’s being played through some kind of tricky box.

Today’s artwork also has some subtle parts. I, in particular love the expression on the face of the pot. Blow the piece up, after listening to the music, to see the sweetest, kindliest, and most forbearing of expressions, as you’ll see on any clay pot. I imagine such an expression on our own Mother Earth. This piece started out as a graphite drawing on a glossy paper. He went in a couple of times with color application. The elements, including sun, star, flower and pot, fore and background, are all acrylic wash treatments. The sky is all airbrush. The piece glows.

Sunflowers were one of Scot’s personal power symbols. For a time, he grew a batch every summer. The seeds all cross- pollinated and we got some really wild looking variations. The sunflowers attracted beautiful little yellow and black finches, which we got to look at close up. They did a very effective job of camoflauging themselves. I hope to grow some big ole sunflowers this summer.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Anyone?

Some of you who’ve been following the blog from the beginning will remember on my personal profile, I suggested I am usually good for a positive reframing. But sometimes it is hard, even for me. The reality is that we are just one news cycle away from some pretty big holes. It reminds me of the computer games my son James used to want me to play with him. Generation, neurological…whatever it was, I would always jump immediately into the big hole. I feel like that now--it appears we are playing on a course where the golfers ahead have left some pretty big divots.

Today’s track is once again, the first tape I picked up. I knew it was over there. I had listened to it recently. Somehow when I shuffled over to look through the tapes, and I saw Scot’s handwriting on the label, I knew today was the day for this song. The title on the label is, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” but I think there might be some infringement issues on that name, so I’m calling it, “Such a Mad World.” The track is another solo demo of material Scot wrote for “Folklore”, which never made it to the band. I love how at the end of the track, you can hear Scot just sitting there alone and on his quest.

During this period, (early 1990')Scot read several accounts of how songwriters who's lyrics he admired used a techniques of hallucinating sounds and words to various melodies. This approach opened up a wellspring of poetry from deep within him. Normally I don’t think of Scot as a guy gifted with gab, but I do have a huge box of this poetry though, which down the line, I want to go through and do books. Yes, poetry too! I think this song uses lyrics like Dylan does, poetic—but bitingly clear as to their meaning. As dark as the song is, please do notice the words Scot lays out for us at the beginning of the track, almost like a protective charm for a dangerous journey, “Hearts hold what’s waiting for you.”

Today’s artwork is very open-ended. What’s up with this guy? A lemming on a unicycle? And what’s with the target on his back? Is he trying to head for that island maybe? The place he's leaving doesn't look that bad? He doesn’t look particularly scared? Maybe he’s got a parasail in his backpack? Maybe that's a flying unicycle!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Still Wild

Today’s track is another version of “Wild About My Lovin’.” For this track, Scot and John headed out to Bethel Lane for a Basement Collaboration session with Kenny Wright and Jerry Farnsworth. On this track, the boys were joined by Jim ______ (hopefully getting name). Scot loved the addition of brass!

Today’s artwork is silly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rock My Life Away

I listened to all of Side Two of this cassette, "Funhouse @ Pat O’Shea’s 11-1-85" yesterday. I was so taken back to that time. I got to thinking about all the friends who were there that night. Friends who were there who now live on a different continent, friends who now live in the far corners of this continent, a friend whose mom just died, a friend who died February 9, 2008…

Scot wrote this song, "Love to Boogie," shortly after we got to see Clifton Chenier at a little club on Grant Avenue in North Beach, called (for the moment) “The Raccoon Saloon.” Scot and I actually booked music at this club briefly after we returned from Europe in 1982. Clifton Chenier was divine. The whole night remains etched vividly in my mind. I will never forget the guy playing the washboard. We were sitting less than 15 feet away from him, and let me tell you—that sucker was loud. Talk about percussive! This you felt in your bones.

I too have never been to New Orleans. I hope to go someday soon. This song is dedicated to those friends of mine who love New Orleans and all the music and food and culture that bubbles up out of that part of the world. Lucky those who get to go to the New Orleans Heritage Festival which happens soon. Scot became nothing short of smitten with this music. I like listening to him set the beat at the beginning of the song--looking for that funky sweet-spot. The drummer (will get name) did a pretty good job for never having heard, let alone played the song before!

I was finishing up yesterday’s entry when the phone rang. Much to my surprise and delight, it was Edward Bachmann—featured on this and many other blog tracks playing bass. Wonderful catching up! Today’s artwork is a light-hearted piece that put me in mind of the message of today music.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Soul on Saturday

Meanwhile, back at Pat O’Shea’s with Funhouse (11-1-85), Scot heads for the land of soul; doing one of his favorites--“Midnight Hour,” by Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper. This song was in his set way back in the “T. Scot Bottom and the Rockabilly Funhouse” days. I’m pretty sure this is one of those songs he first heard in his brother’s room. Based on the stories Scot would tell, Big Brother Rick was one of his most profound musical influences.

When Scot was learning songs like "Sea Cruise", he recreated chord structure from memory; and later found his arrangements to be way off. This is where Scot first learned to love “The Beach Boys,” Dylan, “The Animals…” Scot especially loved Eric Burden, who was certainly one of his key vocal influences. The first song Scot ever sang was “House of the Rising Sun.” Oh what I would give to see and hear a 13 year-old Scot Halpin sing (while playing drums)--“House of the Rising Son.”

Today’s artwork is a pen and ink drawing (extra fine lines, not well captured--sorry), butwith some absolutely delicious acrylic wash. The piece is called “Barefoot” (or as Scot called it “Barefootin’).

Today's entry is dedicated to a great lady named Shirley, who passed over last Wednesday. May the angels guide her soul and comfort her loved ones left behind.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Black & White

Today’s track is dedicated to all the people who are responsible for creating “interrogation policy” during the Bush/Cheney presidency. At least we are past the dark days when those people were actually in charge! Bravo to all who are moving to expose the horrors that were perpetrated in the name of our freedom.

Today we find ourselves at another jazzbo Encore Café gig
(c 2003) with the wonderful Carlyn Lindsey & Snake Doctor. The tune is the telling, “Your Mind Is On Vacation,” by Mose Allison. This is one song that everyone had fun with, because it felt so good to just tell is like it was. Just to keep things fresh, the Snake Doctor line-up is as follows: Carlyn Lindsey-lead vocals, Larry Vessily-keyboards, David Witherd on sax, Tim Haas on drums, and my own beloved Scot Halpin, thumping in the groove. Scot loved it when Larry switched on the organ sound, and on this track, we hear why.

Today’s artwork is another black and white piece. I choose it in keeping with today’s dedication, because some things just are black and white.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cookin' Something Up

The year is probably something like 1985. Scot was just starting to pick up the bass again after his sojourn into the life of a Rockabilly front man. The musicians playing today were known collectively as “Garbage Head Brown and the Flies of Renown.” Garbage Head Brown is doing the honors on vocals and harp. Rhythm guitar is being played by my, almost life long friend, Peter Smith. Peter sat behind me in freshman geography, circa 1968.

Scot obviously struggled with Garbage Head, who obviously had something going on (and obviously knew it). Scot’s playing is not the seamless flow of some of this blog’s recent tracks. At this point Scot was in learning mode--full-on ready to get down to the roots—an exploration that he pursued to the very end. What I love most about this recording is that it’s such a time capsule for me. I can tell you it was recorded at 62 Jansen Street, in the North Beach District of San Francisco. What I love most about it is hearing Peter playing his easy, true-hearted, rhythm licks.

The outfit played mostly at a little place called “The Tattoo Rose,” on Columbus Avenue, around the corner from 62 Jansen. “The Tattoo Rose” was operated by San Francisco tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle, for a short time during the mid-1980’s. The whole operation ran on the concept of the open mike. I remember the stack of acoustic guitar cases piled up along the back wall. The place was a perfect example of someone “cooking something up.” Mr. Tuttle got an idea, music was made, and a good time was had.

Today's artwork is a pen and ink drawing with loads of wonderful acrylic wash, and a touch of colored pencil. Blow this one up!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Pitch-In

We are finally to the real Earth Day. I’m imagining a spinning blue, green planet. A tiny spec of a corner of a universe—but here we are, with this thick, rich brine of a soup we live in. Throw in history and ethics and esthetics? There’s a lot going on here. I have heard it suggested that life here on this planet is a kind of school for the soul. We come down here to learn some specific important lessons.

The musical track today morph’s into CCR’s immortal, “Fortunate Son.” What initially attracted me to this track was Scot’s bass track. The balance that night captures the warmth of his playing, and the melodic and rhythmic surety of his style. I then liked how abstract Kenny got when he saw some space that no one was jumping in to fill. I like how Scot grabs the riff off the Rock and Roll morphic field and takes it to “Fortunate Son”, I then also love how Kenny jumps in—he can sing the song too! The whole time, Jerry cruises in and out of things. Scot knew a lot of the lyrics.

“It ain’t me.” That’s kind of been the theme song of the 20th Century. How can what I do, one little person, make the slightest bit of difference? The secret is—it’s the only thing that does. This ain’t just me saying this. And so for Earth Day, I do put out this message to step-up to the plate and make as many changes, little and big, as you can in the name of those who come after us. As far as who’s fortunate and who’s not--that’s a tough one.

Amma (google opportunity) tells the story of the man who wanted to end the cycles of reincarnation in this life. Amma told him he could, but that he would have to suffer A LOT before he could go; and I guess he did. He got everything. So how easy, how fortunate one is, may be just as relative as everything else.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Music That Breathes

Today’s music track is an electronic meditational piece. Scot was a long time student of meditation. It was hard for him. He had such a busy mind. He used to call it “having chipmunks.” As my friend Karen put it, you could walk down ten feet of aisle at the hobby store and he’d have fifteen different ideas. He did want to be able to slow that all down though, and one of the ways he tried to do that was through music.

He would often head to his keyboard and do improvisational jams with the electronics. He was very good at this. This is another long piece. What I like is how it is so minimal—so totally striped down, but occasionally he throws in a glib little curve ball, for interest—some little phenomenon within the breathing.

Artwork, this and a lot of other recent pieces are all DWM (drawn with mouse). I loved the ethereal floating, dream-like quality of this image. Gots lots to catch up on. If you are a regular visitor, I urge you to go back a ways, I’ve been filling some missing parts. Check out especially now: Cast Party, Needed This, and He’s In the Jail House Now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Needed This

Getting round toward’s Earth Day. As I was driving across the state of Illinois, I turned on the radio. The guy on the air was advising the folks not to pay too much attention to Earth Day; that what’s important is the father and the son. Hummmm…

Been wicked busy these days and slightly limping along what with the journey to the center of my heart last Monday and a false alarm heart attack on Friday! In keeping, today’s musical track is a fabulous rollick. It’s about the true joy of doing some deep listening. “Round and Round” was co-written by John Williams and Scot Halpin and will remain a “Plank Road” treasure

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cast Party

Just to be clear about tenses, I’m writing yesterday’s entry today. Yesterday was the final performance of “Pajama Game,” the high school musical my son was in. It turns out, that play is about something. It is about labor and management, and unions and the difference even just a little bit more would make for so many.

One of the parents in the cast took the lead on organizing a cast party, and so there we were, in one of our beautiful local parks, living it up—it’s good to celebrate after you’ve worked real hard. The show was an all around smash! The bittersweet note was that many of these kids are moving on--their little cohort must necessarily disband.

Today’s music is one from Jerry Farnsworth’s Top 10 pieces. This is a swingin’, kick-ass version with Jerry on guitar and lead vocals. Scot is playing bass, and wailin’ in on harmony. Kenny Wright is there singing his heart out and playing drums, doing some of that swingin’ I was telling you about before. Tom Smith is there too, doing that amazing thing he does with his instrument. The song is called “Pink Champagne.” (Still checking on authoriship.)

Today’s artwork is a pink bubble of love. This is a collage of techniques starting out with a graphite drawing, painted with acrylic wash, dropped in on a digital background, and then he scribbled in the bubble hearts, with what looks like a digital stylus. Cheers! Pop! Cheers!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dealing with Today--Today

Screwed up production today—sorry. I’m so far behind, I don’t have time to try and make it any better. This is one of my all time favorite Scot Halpin originals: “Memory 17,” written for “Folklore” in the mid-1980’s. I’m so sorry that the vocals (and therefore lyrics) are sadly buried in the mix. Don’t know why this happened. It sounded great through the headphones!

This is a solo Folklore demo. All the little details on the tape tell me the story of its recording. It’s late. Scot is sitting alone in his studio (our front room on Page Street). Our bedroom shared a door. I would lay awake in our bed, listening to him lay down tracks like these. Here’s what I hear.

He’s already recorded the vocal track. You sure can’t hear it here, but along with the vocal track, there is another scratch guitar track. He’s playing the track through some kind of output, and jamming along with it on the famous Kay guitar.
At the end of the track you hear him the part again, a different way.

I’d so disappointed that this track lacks the full punch being able to hear the vocal track would bring, but for my own purposes, I could listen to Scot play guitar like this as long as he wanted to play. He could get downright symphonic, was absolutely always first and foremost--rhythmic, and captured here, wonderfully harmonic.

I dedicate today’s track to our son James, who turned 17 last Saturday. “Unchain the boat, we’re going to make it.”

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Hole

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Band Graphics

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cross Town Traffic

More tense-bending. Today is actually Tuesday, but I’m writing about Wednesday. I guess that would make now, last Wednesday.

Had to take my dear sister to the airport today. We hopped in my low-ridin’ 1996 Buick Park Avenue. Now there is a comfortable car. Low story short: I was thinking about the nature of cross-town traffic, when I heard this song. I guess we call that projection.

This piece is another, more rockin’ improvisational electronic jam. (When I say another, you would have to jump to a future now--aka Music That Breathes--to know what I mean.) Scot would lay down a rhythm track and just jump right in. Somehow, he is playing string bass on this track, not keyboard bass. Not sure how it was recorded. He tries to come in with some thing else a couple times, but doesn’t make it—like a kid trying to get into a jump rope and not finding an opening. Once the music gets going I think you’ll see where I got the driving/traffic sensations that captured my thinking so well.

As for the artwork, I was thinking about the cross-town traffic thing that could be going on under the water. This is another hand-colored etching. The plate was created in the mid 1990’s. This is a digital morph of the original intaglio piece. It’s called “Love Soup.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He's In the Jailhouse Now

Monday, April 13, 2009

Journey to the Center of My Heart

By now it’s yesterday, but yesterday then, I had my body altered. It turns out that I had this extra node in my heart; an electrical matter. I now think of most matter as an electrical matter--the charge of life.

Just for the record, here’s what they did. Tiny cathiters (tubes/pipes?) were inserted into my veins/arteries? One came in from my neck, one from my groin. One was a camera, one was a wave burner (similar to a micro wave). Don’t know which came from which end, but they ended up meeting literally at the center of my heart; their objective being to 'eliminate' the extra node. Wow! Western medicine has gotten some things right. My only regret is the buzz cut.

Today’s artwork—more instant digital sepia aquatinting. Today’s music—a striped down BC (Basement Collaberation) track—three people really going at it. Today’s entry: short.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Having To Do With Water

Happy Easter Everyone! Having to do with water today, means I wanted something that would point to concepts such as rebirth, renewal, and the beauty of the bud. How water does that is a bit of a leap, except to say that with water, there is a washing away, a cleansing of body and spirit—it’s about the purity of water, newly cleansed by the Earth, bubbling up pure and sweet, or how about falling through rainbows as raindrops?

Today’s music track, “I Roam the River,” is an arrangement of a song from Scot’s “Folklore” material. Scot created this arrangement for an installation at the Headlands Center for the Arts. I will try and find a photo. It was fabulous, but for today, l will just say, Scot is singing and playing on all the tracks. I like this rollicking beat. Scot grew up on the Mississippi River and the concept of a rushing body of water moving by his doorstep probably suited his Aquarian nature very well.

Today’s artwork brings to mind a related story. This piece is a photograph of an original acrylic painting, done on rag board. The lines were drawn first with a piece of raw graphite. The water and the girls are transparent acrylic wash, but the sky is a thick acrylic enamel, as are all the electric spatters.

The story this piece brings to mind is the time my friend Andrea took me canoeing in the Mississippi River. We were pulled up by one of those river islands you read about in Mark Twain, when a huge river barge went by. When I looked down, all the water had been sucked away by displacement. There we were looking down into the thick, thick mud, waiting for the water to return.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today is Scot's and my son, James’ birthday. Happy Birthday, Dear One. You are lucky because you are a kid who really got to know his father. You had lots of adventures, just you two; but there was always the ‘us’ to come back to. Our family. Our little trio. Our little band of gypsies—complete with road show.

Scot and I were together for 15 years before James was born. We could have very easily missed it. Scot came to the notion of fatherhood with trepitude. His own father was complicated and demanding, concepts like ‘ethics’ and ‘morals’ were discussed. I think for him, he saw the job of father as too big a bite to chew. The actuality of being a father was a whole different matter. He became among the most devoted of fathers.

When James was born in 1992, Scot was reborn. Everything inside him that was innocent and sweet--sprang forth. His work became all about color and simplicity and connection with the brightness of being made eternal--via parenthood.

For ten years, we sold this work at the country’s top juried art fairs. It meant a lot to Scot to have this audience. It was exciting to see so many people respond to and engage with Scot’s profoundly human visual philosophy. I will be taking this and a lot more of Scot’s artwork to NYC in May, as an exhibitor at the Surtex International Licensing Show, held at the Javitts Center.

Today’s piece is another one that has many names, but for today’s purposes, we’ll call it “Catch!” It’s portrays the time of expectation before a child arrives into ones life. It’s about the opening of one’s life to the mystery of service—truly caring for another. I remember a line from the movie, “City Slickers.” “The guys were trying to distract themselves from the reality that they were solidly out in the cold. I think it was Billy Crystal who asks, “What was what was your happiest day of your life?” He immediately excludes the days your kids were born. That’s pretty much a given.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Water Meets Land

Today’s track is a piece of electronic music Scot created in 1986 while he was an Artist–in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. I’ve talked a little bit about this experience. (Who Influences Who-03/24/09). Because this residency happened during the first official year of the center’s existence, things were still kind of wild and wooly. There were a couple of artists who never even came out, but we were there all the time. Scot took over the entire attic space of the building that housed the resident artists’ studios—several thousand square feet (I’m guessing). Our headquarters were in the middle peak of the attic, with a set of three arched windows that looked quite like the captain's quarters circa 1803. The view was magical. From up so high we looked over the whole wild canyon to the right and down past a huge tide pool, filled with aquatic birds, on down to Jade Beach on the left.

We spent massive amounts of time on the beach, nestled in behind some tree stump; trying to find anything leeward. We combed the beach and criss-crossed the headland bluffs. While we were in San Francisco, I was aware of living ‘on the edge of the Western World.’ When we’d go down to the beach (which was often) I would always wonder how the water knew when and where to stop (for the most part)? How was it that this huge--huger than the trillion dollar figures people are throwing around these days—knows to stop right there. That day after day you could go back and that the water will stop there at basically the same point; my point being, I guess that there are these edges—points where things do indeed stop and something else starts.

Today’s track is taken from a larger piece called “Headland Response, Parts II & III. In Part II, we hear the comforting swish of the waves. Things do bubble and build. Through out Part II, we are aware of the water, but also of something maybe slightly dangerous—like how about maybe the rip-tides there that could pull you out in minutes (although going in the water was something you did only in a wet suit.)

In Part III, Scot deals with the element of fog. To a sailor, fog is a dangerous thing—not being able to see. This boundary--this edge becomes dangerous in another way. You can’t drive your ship upon the land. That is why we invented--the fog horn.

Today's entry is dedicated to someone born today, who is celebrating, guess where? Yes, the beach. Happy Birthday Honey. Love to you and the whole gang.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Patterns

If life were only as simple as the titles of self-help books? I’m here with you first thing today. It feels good. The sun is just cutting into the room. Today, we jam on. Yes, another tune from Jamula. On the whole, Jamula didn’t bother with lyrics. The thrust of the outfit was to explore the world of the improvisational instrumental—while at the same time honing personal improvisational chops.

But today we get, “Divas Do As Divas Will,” and not only is Jerry singing, but I do believe that is Scot singing harmony (also sometimes Jerry would lay down a second vocal track or two, which this kind of sounds like too.) Jerry and Scot didn’t usually sing together—another new pattern. Here’s a slow bluesy kind of a jam, with lots of room to let your ears wander around the sonic landscape.

Not sure about the story behind the song, will try to get more info from Jerry. I think we can all agree that divas will do, as divas will. There is a certain type of energy that cannot be ignored. I’m not sure I would categorize our Momma Earth as a diva, but she certainly does as she wills. I guess that’s my inspiration for today’s artwork. I’m pretty sure the body of the Earth and the body of the woman are drawn from the same template

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Light Touch

Today’s Jamula—riff-o-matic tune starts somewhere around “Hell-o Josphine and heads out from there. Jamula once again, means Jerry Farnsworth on guitar, Tom Smith on mouth organ, and Scot Halpin on bass. The boys were joined that night by Kenny Wright on drums. This track thins out a little towards the middle, but I love how each of these guys--like a dog with a bone--gets to gnawing—eventually crackin’ through to the marrow.

Today’s artwork, another woman on a ladder. Is she a pilgrim or a dreamer? Another Claris Works piece done in the late 1990’s.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Is Not A Loop

Ha! Shall we call that the first laugh? Remember what I said about yesterday’s short track? Guess what? We’re not done releasing. We’re not done making room for love. We’re not done getting filled up with love either. 9:22—a blog record. I only bring this up, because I know it’s hard for everyone to try and fit the blog in. As I told a friend today, “Imagine how I feel?” I wanted to keep the tracks around five minutes a day. At five minutes a day, taking in the whole memorial blog would take 1.26 days. There will be those who sign on and those who don’t/can't. I’m not sure what long-term effect not keeping to the five minutes target goal might have.

Scot wrote this song, “I’m Releasing—To Make Room for Love,” in the mid-1980’s. We both got inspired by a whole series of books based on the concept of creative visualization—“Creative Visualization,” by Shakti Gawain chief among them. I had just finished reading “The Dance of the Wu Li Masters.” I was inspired by the notion that we might actually be able to create a reality we simply visualized. Scot and I also became inspired about the concept of mission. We created our own mission, which I will probably bring out one day along the line.

Scot’s master’s thesis at SF State was a book called “Picturing.” It was pre-photo-shop days. The premise of the book is that a person, who does not feel creative in their own right, could use the magic of photocopy reproduction to cut to the chase and COLLAGE their way to a more creative self. In this book, Scot teaches us how to use collaging to heal the past and to try to re-cast the future.

This is not a loop. Scot is playing solo guitar. However, please notice, the distinct bass line. The distinct melody line. The vocal line shifting and sounding a whole lot like a few Buddhist monks I’ve encountered. Scot is playing all these notes, all these lines, and at the same time, clearly focusing in on the intention and message of his song. I recommend singing along. I’m guessing you just may find a part. What I find interesting is how much kafuffuling is going on before the song, and then how instantly he settles in--also that he waits a good second or two before he breaks into his next song.

Today’s artwork, started out as a 20 X 24 acrylic on canvas painting, and ended up as this digital print. It’s called “Reach.”

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm Releasing--To Make Room For Love

Get ready for some adjustments—-a bunch of shifting around to start out with (be sure that Scot is the only guy in the room), also get ready for a really short track (making up for those recent eight minute tracks)--then there's that scrunchy end at the end (but believe you me)--this is some good stuff! Not sure what the weird percussion is all about?

I came of age during the actual “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” For those of you who bother to check in with their daily horoscopes, you might know--we are now actually IN the “Age of Aquarius”--it happened just a few months ago--although if you try to sing it that way, is doesn’t work out nearly so well. Scot was a true Aquarian-- a soul who who travel greatly and (who I believe) has returned again and again to help us understand the brine of creativity.

Today’s artwork: Remember art in a minute? Scot really was at toxic levels when it came to printmaking. Rembember reaching into the acid baths? In the early 1990’s, he discovered dry-point engravings—into plexi-glass plates. This was a god-send; the reason being, we could clean up with vegetable oil! NO MORE SOLVENTS (Yes, the inks were still toxic, but Scot used lots of little squares of soft paper, cut from a phone book or two, to do his wiping. (Less skin to ink contact.) If you are into intaglio—-wiping is something you can lovlingly focus in on.

O.K., so here’s the truth, this is a print from a plexi-glass plate. In the early 1990's, Scot did a lot of drawing directly into plexi-glass plates with a sharp needle—-true dry-point (there's no replacing the first few prints--that burr is glorious. There's only a print or two with it). Yes, drawing directly into into the plate constitutes dry-point engraving. But for anyone who has read this far, I am going to give you an interesting tid-bit. This piece was drawn into the plexi-glass plate with a sodering iron! (Yes--the ever constant search for art in a minute.) The tell-tale sign is the pooling at the points (more pooling!). With a sodering iron, drawing directly into plexi-glass, one must move quickly. So much for the reduction of toxicitity. (How toxic is burning plexi-glass?)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Lovely Racket

Today I circle back around to the Old “Plank Road.” I am now imagining playing hopscotch on the boards of an old beach walkway; the chalk lines faded and smudged; I’m hearing the clackity-clack of my stone as it skips across the squares. This music reaches deep within, reminding us of our older younger selves.

In this recording, “Plank Road” pulls out all the stops. We’ve got John Williams singing and playing full-tilt boogy from start to finish. Dig that kazoo! We’ve also got Scot stomping his drum, thumping his bass, and singing—all way out he’self—from somewhere across the room. I was never sure how much of this song was Scot and John’s. The arrangement, which I love, for sure is theirs. Looking to the internet, I see that Peter, Paul & Mary are credited with the lyrics, but it seems like this song has a component that must go farther back? Yes. No?

Today’s artwork is an angel triptic. I’m not sure what the story is with those wings? Once again, this is what I consider to be Scot’s classic graphite technique, with both acrylic wash and digital manipulations. These wide-eyed beings remind me of some angels I’ve known here on Earth, one particular one--by the name of Ellen--comes to mind. Fortunately for us, she left us a beautiful daughter who looks just like her.

This song is dedicated to all people with the initials ML. The artwork is dedicated to three sisters--and to Ellen (who was one of three sisters)--and to her daughter, whose name is a beautiful whisper. It is also dedicated to a friend who sits on death watch with her mother--someone who just may have played hop scotch on a beach boardwalk.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blues Here Eventually

Thanks to Carlyn Lindsey & Snakedoctor. Tonight I’m bringing out a rehearsal tape. Not every band would want their rehearsal tape circulated on the World Wide Web. No worries with Snakedoctor—rehearsal or gig makes no difference in the clarity of their mission—“Either rock thine socks off, blues ya’ in the goo, or break your heart.” Everyone one had a talent they brought to the table and a job to do. But this was supposed to be the blues. Hats off to anyone who knows who is credited with these lyrics. I was sure surprised—Van Morrison! Don’t usually think of Van as blues man. I love Carlyn’s laughter at the end of the track. Fun was clearly being had—I do believe Larry picked up the accordion for the last 16 bars.

Artwork--sepia again. If the world could only be one color, may it be sepia. I have always had this thing about brown. Maybe it’s my brown eyes. Maybe it’s the fact that my mother dressed me in brown for most of my childhood. Brown is a color that you can crawl into--it's nutty and warm. Sepia has the added advantage of having a little red in it--even a little more warmth. Imagery discussion--short: roses, snails, beards, pyramid, flying creatures, chalice/begging bowl, big eyeball, a couple gazing upward, a row a pill bottles…

P.S. Happy Anniversary Richard and Betty.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Holding a Space in Time

Today’s track is another of Scot’s original “Folklore” tunes, “Heave Ho Jericho.” Once again, Edward Bachmann is playing the bass, Johnny Law is laying down the drum track, Scot is playing lead-ythm guitar, singing, and has double tracked the keyboard line. The music had so much depth, and what was amazing is that they could basically play it all live. Scot was at the top of his game vocally. He was really taking his voice more seriously at this time (which was 1988 according to the date on the demo). I remember him actually doing some vocalizing before these sessions. All the “Folklore” material is very ‘Whoesque” to me.

The artwork for today is another quick pick from the ‘Art By the Ream” collection. I love this image. It captures Scot so sweetly—his texture and the way energy flowed from him, through him, into him and all around him. The pyramid is such a glorious symbol—perfection, permanence (?); a mystery from our past to fuel our future, and those are some nice, really big red lips too?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Tonight we are leaping off into another extreme. “Long Tall Texan” has been part of Scot’s repetoire since the “Double Cross Band” and the early days of the Roosevelt, a la 1979. Maybe even before. There are those who’d know. Tonight’s track is a playful pick-about by the Basement Collaberation—Jerry Farnsworth/guitar, Kenny Wright/drums, Scot Halpin/bass & vocals. I love Scot’s laugh at the start of the track and the general silliness in the room. Some good times were definitely had.

Today’s artwork—a least a ten-gallon hat, wouldn’t you say? Here’s another one for the purple people. This piece started out as a graphite drawing on, I believe, Bristol board. I loved it when Scot used graphite. He could do such amazing, simple shadings. It looked so classical. On top of the graphite, he has laid a wash of acrylic pigments (more pooling). He did a series of these graphite angel faces with gold leaf halos. They were amazing. People used to come into our booth at art fairs and ask, did he do any more of those angels? No, he unfortunately he didn’t. They were definitely not art in a minute.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Building Something Is No Joke

O.K. For those of you who were feeling slightly 'interuptus"'s 8:03 minutes more. First off, regarding the artwork, notice the hammer—notice the nail. (If I may, notice the heart.) Building something. Just how does one do that? Have you ever tried? I did once. I thought I would make a mini-green house in my back yard. I had gotten the idea from you-know-who. He was growing you-know-what. I thought--I can do that too. It was a disaster. The whole thing wobbled and flopped.

OK, this is Loop de Loop 5. What I recommend is that you turn off all the lights in the room, except for anything that flickers, and then give way to the beat. And then since you can't do it at the same time, after the music, be sure to blow this one up too.

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