Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wood Sheddin'

When Scot and I and James (age 3, now 17) moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1995, we were launching our newly improved summer art fair business, we had sort of jettisoned our San Francisco “music-thing.” I think this was a similar moment to another story told in the very first entry of this blog(03-09-09/“The Transparent Dimension.”)

When Scot and I left San Francisco permanently in 1995, honestly, we had some hard feelings under our belt (music-wise). I know now that a city is a city, and people do come and go. I really relived THAT feeling when I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago. I looked around and saw myself, moving to SF in 1974. I saw myself at 19 - 39, wide-eyed at "The City," and tucking in. The thing about that is, that as people move on: so do loyalties, and so do “hook-ups.”

For a long time after we’d moved to Bloomington (two years?), Scot was pretty content to play the role of the summer art fair—really cool--graphic artist. He was—-no if ands or buts about it—-thrilled to see people lined up to buy his artwork. We talked about the music and thought about what might come next, but Scot already had a lot under his belt, indigestion-wise, as far as the music “BIZ” went. Rejection is a complicated word—-it brings into question the difficult question of what is of benefit and what is not. In the frozen winter of 1997, we moved to our second place in Bloomington. Once we got settled in, I immediately began to notice Scot rummaging around to make some room for music.

He bought a couple of $100 keyboards (which by 1998, meant quite a lot technologically in his hands). I refer back to the days--not that long ago--when “double-tracking” was state of the art. The recording of one’s self was not the democratic affair it is these days. One had to twist dials and make patches and deal with an extreme level of technical working things through.

He started doing (at least) daily (what I called then and now) “Concerts for the Angels.” He would fire up a few tracks on his newly acquired keyboards: Cassio Etal, and soon (let me witness), everyone within sonic distance was communing with the angels. I, personally, considered each and every one of these “concerts for the angels”--a blessed event. Not to be too dramatic, but that’s the way it was.

Around that time, Scot started checking in with the music collection of our beloved public library, the MCPL (Monroe County Public Library). I have referenced Bloomington as an extreme music town. I can’t stress that enough. I have a friend who has been the property inspector of some real estate I’m buying (I ask myself: “What’s cheap?”) and this guy happens to be a deeply respected music friend who’s got his own huge music credentials. That’s the way it is here in Bloomington.

Once Scot discovered the library, and the indescribably amazing collection of music that is housed there, he took off. He went into what he called his “wood-shedding period.” He had no desire and no instinct to do anything other than to play along with the best he could find—-all the people who were grooving along the way he wanted to groove.

He’d stand alone in a dark corner of his room, jamming along to every god he could flop into his CD player. He spoke to me about the concept of wood-shedding. He felt safe—-practicing. He knew that he had instinct. He even knew he had a gift—but he was always humble. I think what this part of his life was about was about was making himself worthy.

Here’s the lowdown on today’s musical track. No, this is not Carlyn, even thought one can imagine her doing this song. Sad to say, I cannot properly credit this song. Shortly after the dawning of the wood shedding period, Scot reached out locally.
One of his first contacts was a guy who had an ad up in the local music store. (I’ll have another story about this very circumstance—later.)

Scot hooked up with a guy named Rob who lives somewhere south of Bloomington. Scot answered a ad—reaching out into the darkness. Turns out (being Bloomington) the guy was interesting. He was teaching drumming. He had been making his living as a drum teacher/drummer his whole adult life. Scot went down a couple of time to play with him, and one night there was this girl there.

She is only refered to as “Rob: Female Singer” on the tape. I remember him coming home from this session. He was always amazed when he encountered ordinary people who have their soul in line with the music. This, as yet unidentified “female singer,” had a little kid there that night. I remember Scot commenting what a sweet little kid he/she was.” That kid is probably graduating (or near) from high school this year. MY, MY, MY.

When Scot started playing out, being the dyslexic he was, he taped (or scrawled) every contact he made on a scrap piece of mat board. One day, that piece of mat board went missing. At the time, is was a problem, and rather inconvenient, because it contained info that had been experientially collected and suddenly—was gone.

I remember the business card taped to the mat board. I remember that Scot loaned this guy a bunch of really cool CD’s which I can’t list, and have to let go. Any one with a proper credit—who remembers this night—please contact me. Sorry about the cut-off at the end, but that's another song.

Artwork--another black and white piece. Woodshedding. That's a black or white issue. You are either practicing or you're not. Sorry about the scary imagry. I was riffing of the lyrics of the song--the visitor soldier--another sort of black and white encounter.

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