February 2003 Journal...
So I've been back to Europe quite a bit lately. Went to the MIDEM conference in Cannes, south of France to represent an independent artist's point of view in the current internet atmosphere, and then to a gig in Amsterdam, then Bremen, Germany. I'm painfully conscious of being an American in the larger context of Rumsfeld's "old Europe" more and more uncomfortable with our country's official hard line and the dangerous perceptions that are growing abroad.
The gigs were lovely. Thank you, all who attended. Amsterdam was a blast, I was fighting a very ambitious chest cold but only lost some high notes towards the end. Nonetheless, the mood was, as I had hoped, feisty and fun. Bremen was a gorgeous hall, Steinway concert grand piano, acoustics to die for. I had to get used to the pristine silence no drunken hecklers!! But, again, the audience was so attentive and lovely, I got to debut a song I wrote for another Disney movie, a sequel to Dumbo. Like Peter Pan, the movie may not be out for another couple of years it's such an arduous process, but at least I get to sing the song now.
Most recently, I've been in the studio working on a few new things, and most pressingly, I've decided to re-record and re-release "War" a song from "Plumb." When I was at the recent Future of music Conference in DC, Patti Smith spoke up from her panel at one point and asked, "Where the hell are the artists, where are your voices, why is no one speaking up, we're about to go to war and our names are on every one of those bombs!!" My song, sadly enough, is just as a propos now as it was when I wrote it shortly after the first gulf war. I thought I'd give it a little more urgency, re-harmonize, refocus it and see what would happen. It's at least a gesture, my little voice of dissent. Strange that Donahue has a new show and Hogan's Heroes' has been back in the news lately (see lyrics to "War"). Feel free to send it out, it's here as a free download: WAR. I think this is a situation where downloading is a great tool.
Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, B-52s, Soul Asylum) plays drums; Gerry Leonard (David Bowie, my Live record, Spooky Ghost) plays guitar; Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Merrie Amsterberg) plays bass
Other than that, I'm trying to stay warm in NYC. I was psyched about the massive blizzard, it's so nice to just stay home for a while, no delayed flights, stressful connections I made snow angels in Riverside Park, hot chocolate at home, and watched the cross country skiers shoot uninterrupted down Broadway. It's weird after a peaceful day like that to try to make sense of our new, crazy world. The malaise and uncertainty is everywhere. And the dull dread of the changed rules of reality. For generations now, things will be very different than we have known them.
Happy late Valentine's day, how ironic that that was Blix's next installation on weapons inspections. No love from Bush!! I guess all we can do is treasure OUR loves.
p.s. Wendell Berry wrote a piece for Orion Magazine that was excerpted in the NY Times on 2/9. Oriononline.org. It's a little comforting that the voices of common sense are coming out now. Dubya's new doctrine of preemption as our god-given right has got to be challenged.