Looking back at this year and seeing where I am, I feel very grateful. Although not in perfect health or pain-free, I feel pretty darn fortunate for my health and friends, especially as I play witness to James Atkins going through cancer treatment. The fundraiser at Chop Suey (Photo above) was an incredible weekend. The Gits reunited for this show (with Rachel Flotard on voice, doing an amazing job honoring Mia, while singing just like Rachel.) Hammerbox (sans James and with Fiia McGann on bass) played a great set of old tunes (guitarist, Harris Thurmond flew up from Austin). Alcohol Funnycar played a rare set, and Selene Vigil from 7 Year Bitch came up from L.A and sang some of the Bitches ole tunes with AFL backing her (Jason Finn from Presidents of the United States of America on drums), and Valerie (7YB drummer) in the audience up from SF cheering her on. Also playing were Coffin Break, STAG (Friday only) and moi on solo guitar. The room was one big ball of love and nostalgia, and mostly heartfelt, hard-hitting rock. It was medicine, to not only James, but to an entire community who came together for a comrade in need. It was an echo of the old Seattle. The old rocker days of the early '90s when we were young and innocent, fearless and bombastic. It all felt the same that night, as it used to. But with a respectful hindsight that only comes with maturity, loss and experience. It Was Magic This Medicine.
So I am thinking about this time last year. James and I had just gotten together as couple. He loves Christmas. I don't mean that casually. We had a great time decorating the tree, watching christmas shows, listening to music, eating and drinking holiday cocktails and behaving in ways that most rockers would question. But we didn't care. Well, he can't eat or drink at all right now. Nor can he work. If you are interested in learning more about James and his music and his battle with cancer, you can visit this here site. I have been doing a good deal of writing about this experience- witnessing someone with cancer and the cancer system, but I haven't published any of it (yet). We plan to have Thanksgiving and Christmas in a decadent fury in February when hopefully his throat will be open.
A lot can happen in a year. At this same time in 2014 I was contemplating the orchestration of the song cycle I composed in 2013-14 and recorded with producer, Kramer; and debating whether or not I would release the record myself amidst a lot of anxiety attacks. The record company I had been working with just folded. I did end up self-releasing "Element 115 (Uup)" 6 months ago on my own new label, Mettle Records. It is getting great reviews from cities and towns all over the country and in Europe and is being played on BBC Radio! I played the song cycle with a 10-piece orchestra in June and spent the summer filling orders of the record and planning the next step. But life happens. So, letting go of that record for a while, I am composing what I think is the follow up song cycle inspired by the last part of this 2015. I am so moved by the state of the world, the suffering of so many, the anger of so many, the hopelessness and fear felt by so so many, and the hope...And my dear friend simply fighting for his life. Music is a way of communicating the unspeakable feelings- the feelings with no words. I don't really know what this music is going to be yet, but I am thinking of it like the giant hug I felt at Chop Suey a few weeks ago. Medicine. At least it is for me writing it. I am currently in the state of Negative Capability (John Keats).
Thank you to every one who has supported my music and me, and who has checked in with me and James and wished us both well. I wish you all a loving and graceful holiday and the happiest and good luckiest of New Years. We all need it. Keep the love. Keep the hope. Keep the music. That's my Amen. G
OH! And as a holiday gift to you and your friends, I am offering for the next few weeks killer prices of my record! Please visit HERE to learn more.