Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heaven is a place on earth

Sunny Sunday morning back in NYC, and still buzzing from my show last night at the Living Room on the Loisaida with Gods and Monsters, my boys Ernie Brooks, Billy Ficca, Jason Candler and Joe Hendel blew their hearts out per usual, plus we had Mike Edison on theremin (a regular Clara Rockmore he is...great surnames, both of 'em) to ratchet up the instrumental madness on "One Man's Meat", Mike's written a recent blog describing his last foray on stage with us at the great Gods and Monsters 20th Anniversary blow-out at the luscious Gramercy Theater here June 11th, which ran recently on his blog at PopMatters.com, videos are starting to surface from that legendary one night stand in Yoo Nork, check them out now (there's 4 clips from both my solo set and band set up there now, with more to come soon), you can also take a gander at Gods and Monsters first ever gig in June 1989 at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in Prospect Park Brooklyn, brought back alive by Giorgio Gomelsky God bless 'em...you can see that the origins of the band were grounded in a specific jazz-rock fusion thrust, liberating to play live (and we still dip into that bag during our current set), but ultimately dissatisfying to me as a modus operandi after a couple gigs in that format, as I wanted to write and play actual SONGS (sung blue), which I started to begin writing (and how...) in the summer of '89...

Gods and Monsters at The Living Room NYC 7/18/09

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...and who should be sitting in the audience last night but my childhood friend Jamie Schiffner with his lovely daughter, I haven't laid actual eyes on Jamie since o habout 30 some very odd years, it was delightful to see him again, he and I took lessons from the same guitar teacher in Syracuse Mr. Christensen (and wot's in a name?), Jamie was really good from the getgo, my 9 year old self hung in there with the lessons for about a month in total agony as my fingers grew raw and rapidly sore from the rather high action on my crappy rental guitar, wasn't till my folks came back from a trip to MEXICO (yeah!!) with a nylon string Spanish style guitar that I rapidly began evolving on my own (friends don't mind just how you grow), the other kicker in meeting Jamie yesterday also, bringing it all back home, is that I remember that the very first time I specifically heard The Rolling Stones was in Jamie's parents' house, when "The Last Time" came wafting ever so majestically and forcefully over his older brother Scott's transistor radio (tuned to radio station WOLF, quite rightly) while I was over visiting Jamie in May 1965, imagine my surprise (shock and awe) hearing Brian Jones busting out that deceptively simple electric guitar groove for the first time (a close inspection of any live footage of the band circa that era reveals Brian is playing it-crafty fella- not at all in first position on the first three frets, as is the received guitar mag wizdom)--ahhh, that SOUND, a wolf-whistle if ever there was one to my adolescent ears of which once heard I have never quite recovered from to this day, first cyclic hypno-riff to burn itself meme-like into my teenage brain (beating out the chanted refrain "Turn Turn Turn" by a few months)--

Gary, Jamie Shiffner and his daughter, The Living Room 7/18/09

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...and just how this particular saudade squares up with recent events is namely, that I just got back from Bogota Colombia night before last where I was working in the studio on a new arrangement of this very same song Latin-stylee with the legendary Andrew Loog Oldham, producer emeritus/Stones Svengali/ultra-pop catalyst-- as important a figure in his own way as Dylan in terms of upsetting ye olde Apple cart, jacking the musico-cultural evolutionary process up to warp speed, forger of the badboy template group-wise (a smidgeon of Gene Vincent laced with a pinch of Marlon Brando crossed with a soupcon of Jean-Paul Belmondo) that eventually begat Punk Rock as we know it, flouter of convention, re-writer of rules, loather of slowness laziness standard issue greyness, I could go on but jeez let's just say Andrew is one in 6.722 billion, and has emerged over the passage of so many years post-Stones unscathed and in truly magnificent shape, sharp as a needle still, with a mouth, wit and sensibility to match (and also-- be it known--a really big and generous heart... a true gentleman)...go and get his books "Stoned" and "2Stoned", which are must-reads for anyone remotely interested in this bidness of music, and classics of autobiographical artistry... and check out his daily Sirius Satellite Radio show (guaranteed to raise a smile!) on Little Steven's great Underground Garage channel...

Yep, there I was in Pirate Cove Studios Bogota last week working on "The Last Time" (a Mick 'n Keith gloss on The Staples Singers' "Maybe the Last Time", which Dean Bowman and I cover incidentally in our Chase the Devil duo incarnation), working/playing (the best prescription for a happy life I know) as part of a new album project produced by Andrew O, mixing Latin grooves, beats, electronics and whatnot with new instrumental versions of the Stones' Big Hits (high tide and green grass), with my guitar both acoustic and electric to the fore in the company of some coolass Latin American musicians, including Andrew's protege, the amazing young Colombian pop singer/multi-instrumentalist Juan Galeano, whose debut album produced by Andrew about to drop any minute now (I played on it in fact)...

Gary gets ready for action recording at Pirate Cove Studio, Bogota Colombia, 7/8/09

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So to run into my childhood friend Jamie last night at my gig was quite a kicker, in so far that it brought me around full circle, memories of how I first became a major Stones fan by overhearing them casually at Jamie's parents house as a boy, to working now with Andrew on this here Stones Latin project, to running into Jamie again after lo all these years and the subsequent rush of site-specific first time Stones memories...quel mindfuck...

which is the thema of this here blogfest, namely:

my 2 week 2 day Latin American immersion...

what a great summer it's been so far!! And it ain't over yet (off to South Korea in a couple weeks to play the Jecheon Music and Film Festival outside Seoul...and then direct to Paris and environs for the Rochfort-en-Accords Festival...

...wasn't hardly back home from closing the Malaga Film Festival for less than a day when I was off to Sao Paulo to play "The Golem" at their First Fantasy Film Festival known simply as SP Terror...

and how I loved Brazil!!

On the ferry from Bertioga Brazil | 

Sao Paulo by night taken from Gary's hotel room, 7/6/09

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And Sao Paulo...man, what a beautiful Blade Runner-like landscape of skyscrapers and ultramodern buildings intermingled with old Brazilian architecture, bustling with people, very high altitude made it (like Bogota) delightfully brisk and damp and noirish (my favorite climate)...the lovely artistic director  (same surname as my Mom's side of the family), a native of SP who has lived in London for many years and now shuttles back and forth, warmly greeted me upon arrival and generously set me up on the 27th floor of the Quality Suites Bela Cintra, a beautiful luxury hotel downtown quite near the city center, close by the wonderful arthouse Cinema Reserva Cultural, where the festival events were taking place and where I would be performing on Friday night to close the festival...and man, did they have a groaning board (heheh) of fantastic cinema on tap, including a print of my favorite film of last year, "Let the Right One In", which I've already saluted in an earlier blog...first night there after feasting with Betina on nuevo-Brazilian cuisine I went to see an advance screening of a great black comedy/erotic horror thriller, an Amer-Indie flick co-directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel which hasn't opened officially yet, entitled "Deadgirl"--superb film, check out the trailer...

Gary plays on Pop Loaded Brazilian music podcast site, Sao Paulo Brazil 7/2/09

Gary playing live solo on Brazilian music website Pop Loaded, Sao Paulo Brazil 7/2/09

Gary and renowned Brazilian horror film director and star Coffin Joe (Jose Mojica Marins), Sao Paulo Brazil, 7/2/09

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Next day I was up early and was picked up in the pouring rain to tape a 4 song solo set for the supercool Brazilian music website Pop Loaded (special thanks to lovely Ana Carolina Monteiro for hooking it up), and you can see the results here now,
including "Fata Morgana", from my last album "Coming Clean", about a Mama Bruja :-),
"Rise Up to Be", my original instrumental that I gave to Jeff Buckley that became the instrumental basis for our song "Grace", a medley of "One Man's Meat" from my last album into "Swamp T'ing", from the forthcoming Gods and Monsters album produced by Jerry Harrison, and "Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro", my tribute to the great South African jazz pianist Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim)...the guys at the Pop Loaded studio couldn't have been nicer, and they were so enthusiastic about my performance, it was a wonderful feeling indeed...I then raced across town in a cab for lunch with Jose Mojica Marins a/k/a Coffin Joe, one of the world's greatest living film directors and actors, about whom I have written about extensively herein--Marins is the missing link between Mario Bava and Luis Bunuel, and his character, the gravedigger Coffin Joe, one of the all-time greatest on-screen horror icons ever with his eschatological rodomontade spew and villainous sadistic cackle co-existing nicely with lurid visions of Hell and Catholic redemption, he was present for a final meeting of the Festival judges who would vote on the best films submitted to the festival to be announced right before my performance that even, Zé do Caixão was very fit and friendly in the flesh as it were, with a to-die-for (heheh) young coffee-colored bombshell on his arm, and sporting long yellow talons on both hands, 4-inch fingernails that are quite real...he's working with the artistic director on a new Coffin Joe film project for worldwide release, keep watching this space...meanwhile, run don't walk to Amazon.com and treat yourself to a DVD copy of Marins' 1967 "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse", the most hallucinogenic fever dream of an art-horror masterpiece ever committed to celluloid...

Then it was on to the sold-out, packed cinema, where I set up with my guitars and fx directly after the last film in cimpoetition to be screened in record time, the awards for best films in competition were announced, I was introduced by Betina--and then played "The Golem" as if my life depended on it...my guy Paul Chisefsky here in NYC had prepared a special Portuguese-subtitled version specially for SP Terror...and at the film's end, I received a standing ovation...third standing ovation this summer after my shows with "J'Accuse" at the Holland Festival in June...afterwards I played a solo acoustic set at an afterparty held at a fabulous large roomy house in Sao Paulo occupied by various cool young folks who worked during the Film Festival, they swayed and danced as I played after midnight in a trance (I was half-dead from jetlag at this point but I can always play, every time), got a great hand from the crowd and then went back to the hotel to sleep for a few hours.

In the morning I rode out to the lovely sea-coast town of Bertioga with the artistic director and her friend Micha and spent an idyllic weekend in her new house, the temperature increased about 10 degrees as we got farther away from Sao Paulo, and the town was so charming and friendly, we feasted on fish at a local sea food restaurant when we arrived, and once again right before we left on Sunday afternoon at a local annual festival celebrating the fresh catch of Tainha...MAN!! The sun was out in force, and under a giant tent chockablock with family feasters, we bonded with one of the festival major domos, a kindly older gentleman who gave us the lowdown on the history of Tainha in the region (not a native fish, but a few years ago they began laying their eggs there near Bertioga, and it has become quite a local industry)... 20 bucks bought us a giant grilled fish, manioc, potatoes, veggies, which we sprinkled liberally with lemons and limes and devoured--mmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Gary gets ready to chow down at the Tainha Fstival, Bertioga Brazil, 7/5/09

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I LOVE BRAZIL!! What a gorgeous country--and the people I met there--everyone of them--- were soooo friendly and helpful and gracious...(and the same goes for Colombia, in fact, as you'll see)....

Then it was back to SP traveling over some of the most scenic, lush countryside I've ever glimpsed outside India a couple years ago... I took some pictures out the window of the weird Alphaville-ish cityscape at 1:30am, and at 6:30am in the morning I was off to the airport for my 5 and a half hour flight to verdant, radiant COLOMBIA...

Spent the first day getting oriented in the company of Andrew's elegant and soulful wife, Colombian stage and screen actress Esther Farfan and their great enthusiastic son Max, ensconced in a really lovely hotel the Lugano Suites with a fantastic rear view of Montserrate...

then it was work work work in the studio under the benevolent guidance of my old friend Andrew and his crew of crack Latin musicians, laying down multiple guitar tracks of Stones' classics I had arranged in NYC, the folks in the studio were super great and the works went so fast, they captured a wonderful sound on both my '46 Gibson J-45 and '66 Strat...

Gary and Colombian pop singer Juan Galeano take a break from the studio, Pirate Cove Studio, Bogota Colombia, 7/7/09

Misty Mountain Hop: Gary in Bogota Colombia, 7/8/09

Gary with legendary producer Andrew Loog Oldham and Colombian pop musician Juan Galeano in the studio, Bogota Colombia, 7/9/09

Gary and Colombian pop singer Juan Galeano tear it up at the Black Mama, Bogota Colombia, 7/7/09 | photo by Silvia Bustamente

Gary after interview with Ingrid Gonzalez and Sofia Villar Forero for ShoworldMusic.com, Bogota Colombia, 7/7/09

Welcome to the Jungle: Gary and Caroline Sinclair, Apulo Colombia, 7/13/09

click to enlarge | photo by Esther Farfan

Juan Galeano and I played a very cool set one night at the swinging Black Mama club who run a weekly music night under the name Circobeat, we did 4 songs including a terrific version of "Mojo Pin" sung by Juan that gave me chills he was so soulful and passionate in his vocals, here's a clip of us performing one of Juan's songs courtesy the folks at Showorld.com, a Colombian music website who arranged an interview outside the club before we went on with lovely Sofia Villar Forero and Ingrid Gonzalez...there are some amazing shots also of our set taken by Silvia Bustamente which you can view here.

Esther Farfan and Caroline Sinclair, Bogota El Dorado Airport, 7/9/09

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The next day I went and did an interview with Juan, Andrew and Max sitting in for the national rock radio station Radionica Colombia with hosts Willie Vergara and Philippe Siegenthaler, they played a whole bunch of my music while I waxed rhapsodic about coming to Colombia to record and play (quite naturally!)...that night Caroline flew in from NYC to join me and my studio work finished, we spent a delightful day together culminating in seeing the amazing Cuban ensemble Orquestra Aragon in downtown Colombia with Andrew and Esther...and then we took a 2 hour magical mystery tour in the dark to the jungles of Apulo outside Bogota, arriving 2am or thereabouts to Andrew's jungle fortress compound, which I have to say was as comfortable and luxurious a hideaway as anything you could imagine, nestled away in a secluded valley miles away from civilization, we swam there and feasted and just chilled out for 3 days of pure bliss, taking long hikes every morning into the jungle...I am so so glad I had the chance to relax out in the country for a few days in both Bertioga in Brazil and Apulo in Colombia this trip, my life seems such a series of rare stolen moments when I finally do get to mellow out in between the frenetic run-up to recording and touring (which, don't get me wrong, is sheer bliss in the actual moment I'm making music live or in the studio)...and I have the warmth of the sun within me tonight remembering all the good times in Latin America as I write this...

and then it was back to lovely misty Bogota on Tuesday late afternoon and last minute shopping and sightseeing on Wednesday (a visit to the spectacular Montserrate monastery overlooking Bogota via tram way up the mountain side)...

Gary and Juan at the Theatre of the All-Seeing Eye (note flag of Colombia), Bogota, 7/16/09

Backstage in Bogota with Yeimily Medrano, star of the highest rated soap opera on Colombian national tv

Backstage at The Theatre of the All-Seeing Eye, Bogota 7/15/09 l to r: Jose Sanchez, Angela de Sanchez, Caroline and Gary, Yeimily Medrano, and Juan Pablo Lizarazo

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and that evening I played a special solo concert at the way-cool Theatre of the All-Seeing Eye in downtown Bogota with my special guest Juan Galeano and received such a great reception from so many of the new friends and new fans I'd made on the trip, I so hated to leave the next morning but leave we did at the ungodly hour of 6:30am for the airport, as I had to get back to NYC and rehearse my guys for this show last night at the Living Room...

and prepare for my next sojourns...

Meanwhile check out this new music video young Gods and Monsters keyboards and trombone whiz Joe Hendel created for a "LuvzOldSweetSong", a track from our forthcoming studio album produced by Jerry Harrison--a clip featuring my guys plus young It Boy around town, Liam McMullan (Patrick's kid)...

also check out the complete Pop Loaded show featuring my 4 solo clips, which I just got sent a link to by the lovely Ana Carolina Monteiro (Ana Bean).

and listen to the special radio edition of Pop Loaded, where host Lúcio Ribeiro spins the audio portions of some of the clips I recorded, plus a whole bunch more of my music, intermingled with cool tracks by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, and Noir Desir, and raps about Howard Stern, Johnny Marr, and, uh...

(don't speak Portuguese...

or Spanish for that matter...

yet!)


xxLove


Gary

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