Tuesday, December 28, 2004

It Was 20 Years Ago Today...

It's hard to believe (I know) but today Caroline and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary here in fabulous London...weather holding sunny crisp and cloudless for the past few days, we've been visiting with her mum and dad and seeing old friends, taking long walks up Primrose Hill and around Belsize Village near our favorite Swiss Cottage Hotel, and generally maxing and relaxing as the postpartum Xmas haze slowly lifts. Today was spent in the stately Courtauld Institute of Art near Somerset House on the Strand inhaling the fantastic exhibition of Wyndham Lewis drawings they have on hand called "The Bone Beneath the Pulp" which I beefheartily recommend (Don became a big Lewis fan after I showed and occasionally read to him the work, and the entire Magic Band circa 1980 schlepped to the Manchester City Art Gallery the morning after our show there to see that gallery's Lewis retrospective).

We have another winner: Antoine Deville from France correctly wrote in with the info I requested about the Beatles Xmas Records, providing me with the actual lyrics (see the last blog)-- I was close but he wins the cigar in the form of a copy of the forthcoming Fast 'n Bulbous album . For those interested, check out www.scifihifi.com/beatles/ where the actual recordings are available as mp3's, and dig them in all their glory...

and also please note webmistress Tanya's splendid efforts as she has so graciously put up photos from the recent spate of Fast 'n Bulbous shows 3 blogs back or so in the entry entitled Tight, Also...


more later soon

lovexx
Gary

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

In Christmas there is no East or West

"Christmas Time is Here Again!" So sang The Beatles on their 1968 Christmas record, a tres psychedelique christmas cookie recorded specifically for and distributed to their wordlwide fan club (a collection of all of these annual Moptop mistletoe missives came out as a boot awhile ago)...this tuneful little ditty has been playing in my head repeatedly as a counter-soundtrack to the blazing big guns of the offical Pop Anthems that bombard one as holiday soundtrack fodder here in jolly old London (even on the Virgin Atlantic flight over, one was soothed or subjected to, depending on how you feel about it, a medley of Xmas tunes by Slade, Band-Aid, the Beach Boys, and my favorite, Roy Wood's Wizzard's Phil Spectorish "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day"). But the Beatles Goon Show-esque recording wins hands down for sheer aural pleasure, at least in the mists of this veteran of the psychic war's recollection, and someone at EMI was remiss indeed in not liberating it from the archives and sharing it with the world at large this holiday season (who, remember, must be Fed)...later on on that '68 fans-only record one was treated to Paul (I believe) doing an acoustic Syd Barretish singalong to the (half-remembered, remember)Learlike lyric "Happy Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy Autumn, Happy Miggle Moose, Happy Christmas to You!" First one to write in and straighten me out as to the exact lyric therein (and whether it was indeed Paul or John singing this bit of whimsy)wins an advance copy of the new Fast 'n Bulbous album.

So in London we are indeed...Caroline and I staying in our favorite hotel, a Victorian mansion gone slightly to seed (the way we like it)in a beautiful non-hectic part of city...the bar filled with chancers, eccentrics, and various raffish characters..went wandering down England's Lane today, Boxing Day, everything shut but a crisp brilliantly sunny made-for-strolling kind of afternoon, popped into the Violette Cafe to be greeted with a "Hey Gary!" and lo and behold it was my old friend Anton Corbijn, ze famousz photographer to the likes of U2, Beefheart (Ice Cream for Crow) and yours truly (the cover of my Gods and Monsters album)...hadn't seen Anton since running into him at Bryan Ferry's afterparty in the Radio City bar during the Roxy Music reunion tour...he was looking well indeed, and we spent a couple of hours or so in his most congenial company...

I Love London! More later, meanwhile

Happy Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy Autumn, Happy Miggle Moose
Happy Christmas to YOU!

XXLove

Gary

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7/03/2005 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kurosawas

10/15/2005 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kurosawas

10/15/2005 9:29 AM  

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bulbous Also Tapered

A little addendum to my last blog about Fast 'N' Bulbous: Danny Fields informs me that he actually played "Trout Mask Replica" on his own show on WFMU in 1969; he was given his own program there after several appearances guesting on Rudnick and Frawley's frolicsome Kokaine Karma show, driving out each week to East Orange New Jersey in a rental car paid for by Elektra Records, where he worked at the time. Besides being the first to play Captain Beefheart's magnum opus, he was prone to favor the 3 P's of classical music--Palestrina. Perotin, and Pergolesi, as well as spinning handfuls of new releases he would scoop off the shelves there. The Stones were predominantly featured on his show...

I'm off tomorrow to London with Caroline; it's our 20th anniversary on Tuesday and we traditionally spend the holidays there visiting friends and family (my wife is a native Londoner).

I will be playing a one-off solo acoustic set at the 12-Bar Club on Denmark Street in the West End next Thursday night at 10pm, and I've heard great reports about this place...more dispatches from the front, soon...

xxLove

Gary

1 Comments:

Blogger Nom De Plume said...

The 12 Bar club is a cool little place (and I do mean little). It used to be The Forge when I lived there back in the Thatcher era, wherein I got to hear the mighy Bert Jansch among others. Not bad in the food department for a pub, also (by the way, you might want to nudge them to update their website to list your gig -- they still show "tba" for next Thursday).

Travel safe, and all the best to you and the mrs. on your "china" anniversary.

12/23/2004 10:15 AM  

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Also, A Tin Teardrop

Some more lucubrations on the Fast 'N Bulbous gigs (see yesterday's posting): the title of our upcoming album release, "Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind" (officially out in the world on Cuneiform January 20th) comes from a half hour audio tape I made of Don Van Vliet directly after his second David Letterman appearance in 1983 when he was staying with me here in my apartment in the West Village. For 30 minutes or so, the strain and stress of the Letterman show behind him (it was a cake-walk, Dave lobbed softball questions throughout while plugging Don's paintings in the form of the slides he brought with him from California), Don free-associated and extemporized in his inimitable childlike way in my livingroom, summoning up a host of phantom characters (his ur-baby, a 30's crooner, a hard living hobo, a country blues shouter, a tight-assed white collar WASPy boardroom exec and so forth) whose souls he inhabited so convincingly I fell on the floor laughing in delight and astonishment. These personae rolled off him like he was shedding skins, it was kind of like Robin Williams' manic verbal channel-surfing but Don was channelling something else that day, maybe there was something in the NYC tap-water (which he commented on with an off-the-cuff ode to its dubious purity:"Take a driiiink! Take a drink! Does it feel like somebodyyyyy, forgot to cleaaaan the siiiiink! Take a drink!!" He periodically punctuated this singsong babble with the basso profundo refrain: "MAFIA WATER"!")

Anyway in the midst of this aural exorcism (Don was usually at his best creatively with some kind of tension prodding him into wild flights of fancy; here, it was the sheer pleasure of release from having done this nationwide tv show so successfully), he dropped an incredible spontaneous down 'n dirty blues, line by line a la "The Dust Blows Forward" (which Bob Holman did a fantastic job reading Friday night at our show), limning the lyrics and rhymes as they occurred to him by starting and stopping his little portable Sony handheld tape recorder. It went something like this:

Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind
'N I Stabbed Another Bottle uh Wine
Ah was Hungry but I Knew I Had Time
The Smoke Stack Blew Me Down the Line

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! (Falsetto howl)
Little Baby Felt Fine!

Dig the rotten pork imagery in the first stanza, a direct correlative to the "Bacon Blue/Bread Dog-Eared" line in "Safe As Milk"
(describing the contents of an indigent artist's half empty fridge). And it gets better:

'N I Cracked Another Rack uh Bones
'N They Taste Like Cherry Stones

And so forth. Anyway, hence the Fast 'N' Bulbous album title (appropriate, we thought, as it's an album of moldy oldies... even if they are 100% beef, not pork).

We played this little field recording ditty on Friday night over the PA right before the band took the stage at the Bowery Poetry Club, and then kicked in with our traditional opening stomp "Pachuco Cadaver" (check out WNYC's archive as they have the whole hour-long show we did with John Schaefer on his "New Sounds" program on Wednesday up there... and it's a good 'un).

In the audience Friday night was my old friend the rock legend/raconteur/maker of scenes Danny Fields, the man who has done as much for promoting left field modern rock music as anyone alive, who worked with Jim Morrison at Elektra (introducing him to Nico and the Warhol Factory crowd), and later discovered and kickstarted the careers of Iggy Pop, The Ramones, the MC 5 and many others... Danny was also very likely the first DJ in America to play Trout Mask Replica upon its release, which he did with copious spins from the album in 1969 as a regular guest on Rudnick and Frawley's infamous Kokaine Karma show on good old WFMU. Danny loved our show on Friday, raving to me afterwards about the band, and also how much he enjoyed checking out the Bowery Poetry Club, which is rapidly becoming the favorite room of choice for discerning music lovers and hipster movers and shakers... it is indeed a great place to see cutting edge music, poetry, and theater in NYC.


Off now to see the new exhibit at the Neue Gallerie uptown, a wonderful museum dedicated to 20th Century German and Austrian art (Klimt, Schiele, Grosz, Beckmann et al) housed in an old mansion... I'm eager to check out their new exhibit dedicated to the spirit of the Comic Grotesque in Art.

The collected work of Don Van Vliet would fit comfortably right in there:

"Like a Finger in a Thrown-Away Glove!"
(from the "Pork Chop Blue" session, 1983)

Love,
xx

Gary

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Tight, Also

Up at the crack of dawn this morning, I couldn't sleep for buzzing about the terrific Fast 'n Bulbous show we played last night at the Bowery Poetry Club here on the Lower East Side. It capped a week of tight ensemble playing with the boys (my partner Phillip Johnston on alto sax and arrangements, Jesse Krakow on bass, Richard Dworkin drums, Joe Fielder trombone, Rob Henke trumpet, and Dave Sewelson baritone) on a couple radio programs beloved of the free spirited musical community of NYC.

First up was Irene Trudel's Monday afternoon show on WFMU, an oasis of insanity in the flatlands of Jersey. Irene and I are old friends, and in fact, she met and later married her husband Peter Keepnews on the freezing cold set of the "Skin the Rabbit" video shoot back New Year's Day 1993 (this little gem actually got played on European MTV! another time, another story...) And I've been making live appearances on WFMU for years, starting back in the days when it was a little hole in the wall on the Upsala University Campus in East Orange University, to the renaissance years when it was ensconced in a suburban tract house down the road apiece, where I brought Jeff Buckley for his first ever live radio broadcast in 1991...now it sits in a small office building in Jersey City, a multi-level hive of off-the-wall free-form folderol, and we got an extemely warm welcome from program director Brian Turner and co. Irene set us up with the help of my good friend, the recording engineer/Gods and Monsters sax player/computer savant and for this occasion Gary's guitar tech, Jason Candler...4pm came the countdown to infinity...Irene introduced us...we launched into "Pachuco Cadaver"--and we blew the roof off the sucker! Our show (4 songs or so) should be up in the WFMU archives, so check it out...some pictures were taken and they should be posted here soon as well.

Fast 'N' Bulbous with Irene Trudel | Gary with Irene Trudel, WFMU, Jersey City NJ, 12/13/04 (photos hosted by flickr)

Click on a photo to enlarge

Next up was our Wednesday blow-out on John Schaefer's "New Sounds"--John is a saint to the experimental music fringe in New York, and years ago he had the excellent good taste (on my recommendation) to hire Irene to be a part-time recording engineer at his enclave, the city's public radio station WNYC FM--so we sounded fantastic, naturally, and played even better (in all honesty), and got to do a good solid set of 4 tunes punctuated by a lot of good natured spritzing and bantering in the recurring interview segment between John, Phillip and myself. Again there should be some photos up shortly.

John Schaefer and Fast 'N' Bulbous | Gary and Phillip get serious with John Schaefer on "New Sounds", WNYC, 12/15/04 (photos hosted by flickr)

Click on a photo to enlarge

Then last night it all came together at our live show at the Poetry Club. Started with mc and Poetry guy Bob Holman reading some of Don Van Vliet's gritty surrealistic poems and lyrics, I followed suit with "Infra-Grams" from the hard to find "Skeleton Breath Scorpion Blush" collection, then Denny Walley, in town for a few days with his lovely wife Janet, came up and the two of us blew through a dual guitar version of "Steal Softly Through Sunshine" from "Trout Mask Replica" which we had nailed down tight with The Magic Band--it sounded really ripping here in this stripped down arrangement. Then the band came on, and all hell broke loose...like I said. I'm still buzzing...

Fast 'n Bulbous record release party, Bowery Poetry Club NYC, 12/17/04, photos by -max- (photos hosted by flickr)
Fast 'n Bulbous in action, left to right Gary, Jesse Krakow, Dave Sewelson,
Joe Fiedler, Phillip Johnston, Rob Henke (not pictured, Richard Dworkin on
drums)


Gary on fire

Gary knows the score

Gary and Jesse click clack for crow

Denny Walley and Gary steal softly through sunshine

Gary and Jesse Krakow do the do

Click on a photo to enlarge

more sooner than later

yours,

xxGary


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeanette

10/15/2005 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeanette

10/15/2005 7:43 AM  

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sunday Blessed Sunday

Gary performs solo acoustic at the Rubin Museum of Himaylayan Art, NYC--12/11/04 (photos hosted by flickr)

photos by -max- | Click on a photo to enlarge

Sunday night and I am staving off the the plummeting temperature outside by listening now to an album that was sent here by Nom De Plume (the winner of my Don't Say We Didn't Warn You contest, see blog #1), Nom has sent me a CDR of music by the French traditional folk group Malicorne as a reciprocal gift for the copy I sent him of my album with Jozef Van Wissem, "The Universe of Absence"--and I hear a certain affinity in the make-it-new transformation of medieval harmonies Jos and I were going for, albeit with a Gallic twist. Alan Stivell, whose "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp" album was a favorite of mine in college, was one of the guiding lights behind Malicorne, and I find this music irresistible: haunted, misty Bretagne landscapes presided over by ethereal male and female voices entwined in delicate French plainsong, traditional instruments blended with modern Lanois-like soundscapes (reminiscent in part of very early Bruce Cockburn on the True North label). For fans of the Young Tradition, Forest, Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention--I strongly recommend Malicorne. Thank you Mr. Plume, you da Nom(an).

Yesterday I played two superb gigs: the first was a solo steel guitar concert in the new Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art, which recently opened in the building that formerly was Barney's, on 7th Ave, and 16th Street. What an amazing space! The building retains the spiral staircases and general layout of the old clothing store but has been reconfigured as a lavishly appointed spectacle for the senses, most likely boasting the most elaborate display of Tibetan art on view in this hemisphere:
whirling friezes and tapestries of gods and monsters, witches and demons, saints and sorcerors running riot in a luminous play of sensual and vivid colors. Thanks so much to my friend Brian Cullman, the erudite polymath musician who arranged for me to play there (Brian is booking regular Saturday afternoon musical events in the space under the heading of Spiral Music)-- he set me on a batik covered throne-like chair on the ground floor near the bottom of a central spiral staircase, so that when I played my unamplified steel guitar reverberated magically up and down the galleries. Many strollers by commented on the marvelous acoustics and how the guitar floated ambiently up to the topmost viewing space... I did 4 hours without much of a break and could still be playing there now, I was so inspired by the beauty of the art surrounding me, I felt it my duty to sacre the paintings...in the midst of my performance which ranged over a wide swath of my acoustic oeuvre (maybe 40 different pieces) a guy walked up and introduced himself and lo and behold it was someone from my high school days that I hadn't seen in about 30 years or so...turns out he lived in the neighborhood of the museum and was just checking out the scene. I love New York!

After a long but delightful afternoon playing my heart out (I love to perform in open public spaces like this, I did a similar solo concert in a beautiful old church in Hamburg a few years ago, and performed my acoustic Chinese pop repertoire last year at the Bonn Kunstmuseum, which had a similar vibe, great acoustics too; played a couple years ago for ORF TV in the new Viennese modern art museum, come to think of it), I split for the John Lennon Tribute at the Bowery Poetry Club, a benefit concert for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. It was a really well thought-out program, with many excellent performers, kudos to Bob Holman and John Kruth for organizing this, and while I didn't see all of it, I did catch Genesis P. Orridge do a heartfelt version of "Mother" (his band Throbbing Gristle was one of Don Van Vliet's admitted favorites), and heard Syd Straw sing a shimmering "Across the Universe". Mad puppeteer poet Edgar Oliver did a way-out spoken word version of "Cold Turkey" backed by aleatory scrapings from the house band, who were ace... as the evening's final turn, I played a solo electric version of "Tomorrow Never Knows", bringing Michael Schoen, a young intense Manhattan-based singer, up to sing, and he was great, holding his own while I attempted to levitate the room with my guitar-- and then the group rallied en masse for "All You Need is Love", where I reconnected onstage with my old friend and Du-Tels partner Peter Stampfel, who was looking dapper indeed with his new moustache. It was a really good feeling to be up there with all those folks in front of a great and loving audience. John Lennon was someone whose death brought tears to my eyes, and I do not cry easily...

There are a spate of Fast 'n Bulbous shows happening this week, beginning tomorrow at WFMU on Irene Trudell's show...

and so to bed!


xxGary



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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Coming in from the Cold

drawing by Henry Meyer; Gary and recording engineer Bernard Amaudruz (photos hosted by flickr)

first known photo of Gary with guitar, age 10 (hosted by flickr)

Gary in his parents' backyard, Syracuse NY 1974, note snazzy custom-made Beefheart button (hosted by flickr)

Click on a photo to enlarge

Laid up at home for a couple days now with a spectacular head cold, my second this season...home is okay by me as the streets of the West Village where I live are a sodden miasma of 30 mph winds and chilly driving rains. The sky is crying, Elmore James sang, and in truth the floodgates seem to have opened up in tandem with the sad news of my friend Kevin Coyne's passing. And yet another death just reported to me, that of a fellow Syracusan, Joe Behnke, who did construction jobs in and around my building, killed in Iraq...it truly feels like the universe of absence this week...but perserverance in the face of tragedy, I am more determined than ever to rage against the dying of the light (Lucas derives from Lux, the Latin word for light; and in truth, I have always felt I was on a musical quest to throw light into dark corners). Improve the shining hour...

And indeed we were throwing off much light and heat at the Knitting Factory last Friday night--my longtime band Gods and Monsters celebrating 15 years in action all present and accounted for with the added firepower of our brilliant spiky jazzy horn section (Jason Candler on alto sax and Joe Hendel on trombone), and guest vocalists Ellis Hooks, Amica, and China Satomi augmenting the rhythmic fury of Billy Ficca and Ernie Brooks. We just cut a track with Ellis in the studio singing a new version of "Grace", the song I co-wrote with former Gods and Monster Jeff Buckley (the original version has become an anthem, particularly in France, where they play it every day on the national radio)--and Ellis was in rare form live at the Knit, and gave a spectacular stomping performance. He is truly a modern soul man. We encored with Muddy's Mannish Boy, and rocked the house down...

Much live activity happening soon, getting ready to play a solo performance at a tribute to John Lennon gig at the Bowery Poetry Club this Saturday night, a benefit for New Yorker's Against Handguns...and then Fast 'n Bulbous celebrate the release of our new Cuneiform CD "Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind" next Friday night Dec. 17th there, with special guest Denny Walley sitting in. The new CD is out Jan. 20th, but my co-leader/arranger Phillip Johnston and I thought we'd ring out a little Beefheartian cheer now in order to ring in the New Year properly in NYC...

Meanwhile enjoy the photos herein (webmistress Tanya has promised to size and post them at the top of this blog soon, in exchange for a little Stoli--chocolate just won't do anymore!): the exuberant colorful drawing is by the visionary Swiss artist Henry Meyer who was inspired to create it spontaneously at my recent session in Lausanne with Gerald Zbinden at Artefax studio, Henry sat quietly in a corner and sketched and painted while we we threw thunderbolts ...there's also a shot of sweet and patient studio whiz Bernard Amaudruz.

I hope the other two photos, retrieved by my sister Bonnie recently from the Lucas ancestral manse, and cataloguing various stages of my "fine fine superfine career" (pace Frank Zappa) make you smile as much as they do me.

Stay stay stay warm...

Gary

5 Comments:

Blogger Professor Batty said...

I spotted your name on the updated blog list, I thought it might be you...and so it is. A while back I had the chance to catch your Beefheart tribute at the Walker Art Center, I brought my 20 year-old son along. Thanks for giving us a chance to hear the Captain's music played live again, we both really appreciated it. I thought I may never get another chance to hear that stuff played live, you (and the band) did a great job, I also enjoyed your comments and Don's poetry. When Don and the Magic Band played across the lobby (The Guthrie Theatre) thirty-some years ago, my life was changed forever. I never took my epiphany as far as you did, but I am most pleased that you are keeping his fire burning. That music is still ahead of its time (maybe only 20 years now?) Thanks again.

12/07/2004 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mannish Boy was HOT!! As was the rest of the show, it was a great set. Feel better! --Tanya

12/07/2004 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Fiezta said...

Without any doubts Mannish Boy was HOT!! =)))

5/11/2005 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mothlight

10/14/2005 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mothlight

10/14/2005 8:14 PM  

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Perchance to Dream

Had the weirdest experience yesterday, early morning...

While lying in bed in that suspended state of reverie between dreams and waking, I flashed on a recording session with Kevin Coyne I took part in in Dusseldorf in 1997. For those unfamiliar with the man's work, Kevin was one of the great unheralded geniuses of contemporary music, a mad English singer/songwriter/poet/painter and larger than life diamond geezer, once dubbed "the British Beefheart" (he was much more than that), once bruited as a replacement for Jim Morrison in the Doors, a favorite of the influential UK radio host John Peel who issued albums by Kevin's first band Siren in the late 60's on Peel's own label Dandelion. I first heard Kevin in all his bluesy whimsical glory after I sent my parents on a mission in the spring of 1969 on one of their regular trips to London to bring back for me my boy Syd Barrett's first solo album "The Madcap Laughs", and the clerk in the shop on Oxford Street pressed a copy of Siren's first album on them to also take home for their Anglophile son (he also talked them into bringing me back a copy of Black Sabbath's debut...guess which album I wound up treasuring...in fact, I think I'll burn the first Siren album into ITunes right now).

Many years later I came to collaborate with Kevin after the booker in a club in Belgium I was playing solo casually mentioned that in his estimation he thought the two of us would be a good fit playing together; I jumped at the suggestion and took Kevin's phone number from him (Kevin had relocated to Nurnberg Germany), called the man up, and we hit it off instantly,.. it is thus on such impulse that many of my best collaborations are born (the producver Hal Willner similarly casually suggested to me a collaboration with Tim Buckley's son Jeff for a tribute he was putting together for Tim's music, the rest is history...)

Anyway I arrived at the studio in Dusseldorf some months later with two full instrumentals I had composed with Kevin's voice in mind, and finally met face to face with this rather ruddy, Dickensian looking gent with a twinkle in his eye and his young German band of rock-jazz adepts, and we were off. I quickly taught the band their parts and we cut two backing tracks like one two three...and then without so much as a break Kevin strode into the vocal booth and completely and spontaneously off the cuff extemporized the full lyrics and melodies to "Wonderland" and "English Rose"! And--what songs they were--they were perfect!(Well, I did suggest that he change the title of the first from "Disneyland" for fear of possible copyright infringement...the chorus "I'm goin' to Disneyland" actually referred to something else there again, I'll leave you to track down a copy of the amazing double Kevin Coyne CD "Knocking On Your Brain" on which these songs appear to find out just what that was...)

Kevin had the amazing ability to come up with the goods, each time, on the spot, with no interference of right/left brain mediation to inhibit the flow, it just poured out of him...and he wrote whole albums this way, well over 40 I believe at last count. My favorite later album besides "Knocking On Your Brain" is "The Adventures of Crazy Frank". And I rank these 2 songs as on a par with my work with Jeff, they were that good. In fact, we cut another 5 unreleased songs in 2000 in a studio in Nurnberg when I stopped over to stay with Kevin and his wife for a couple days off in the midst of a lengthy solo tour...and there are some real gems among them.

Anyway I was lying in bed yesterday morning in a hazy dreamy state, ruminating on the details of this first encounter in Dusseldorf, and finally fully woke, around 8:30am, shuffled out of bed, went over to my computer to get my email from the night before, and discovered in the form of a terse message from my friend, the English music writer Mike Barnes, that Kevin Coyne had passed away that very day.

I was staggered by this...and my wife, also surprised, remarked to me that I had mentioned my working with Kevin to her in a very recent conversation.

Kevin had been knocking on my brain.

And I will add that I have been sorely grieved by his loss--he was, besides being one of the greatest writing partners I've ever worked with, a really really warm, sympathetic, and down to earth guy, with no use whatsoever for the petty posing and snobberies of so many of the characters I've met up with in this business of music. I will miss him dearly. Along with the recent loss of Kevin's good friend and champion John Peel, this has been a very sad time for music indeed.

Postcript: I had lunch later in the afternoon yesterday at Doma with my friend John Cameron Mitchell, the creator and star of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"--an extremely gifted actor (he was superb as Laura Bush in a recent benefit production of Tony Kushner's new play here at Cooper Union), and an extremely nice guy--and his natural grace and good humor did much to dispel the rather dark cloud hanging over my head by the untimely death of my friend Kevin.

Gary

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