Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Love Is A Sentimental Heart

We dropped in on my brother-in-law's family last night and everyone seemed to be holding up. Yes, there was food. Yes, there were tissues. Yes, there were kids running in and out, blissfully unaware of all that was happening around them. My youngest nephew kept on talking about building a human ladder to heaven, while the older one talked about how "Mimi, Pop Pop, and your Dad are going to have a party in heaven and get kicked out"

I've retreated today inside Smashing Pumpkins' 1996 Aeroplane Flies High singles box set. I've made good on my long promise to myself to digitize it, which I need to make sure I still listen to it in physical form, digitally it's just too convenient! I'm cataloging recording and production techniques as I begin to plan our new recordings. New songs = new chances to approach the same equation with a whole new kind of math. Plotting recording set ups is a good distraction while preparing to concentrate on the OTHER reason everyone gets together. There is such a taboo around talking about death, but how much closer to life can you get than either weddings or funerals?

Driving around yesterday, looking at the sleepy, placid white on grey on blue Pennsylvanian clouds that dotted the sky, I thought of Bob, having spent his entire life in the area; and how the sky looks the same whether or not he is here. Oddly comforting, I wondered how it looked to him the last time he laid eyes on it, and said a little prayer to myself that somehow he could see it through my eyes, or that of his family or grandchildren. There is a photo of him with his youngest granddaughter (my neice) that captures the contrast of young and old, but between you can see this air of humility that hopefully someday Elizabeth can connect to. This was your grandfather. He was fiery, but he was loving and would spare no energy to let you know how excited he was to be holding you, and wanting to get a picture with you.

I'll post the obit link when I can find it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Someone Great

I am sure you have heard the song "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem. It's pretty ambiguous in subject matter: it could be about a broken relationship as much as it could be about death of a loved one. While it's probably about the former, I have chosen to hear it as the latter.

For these reasons, I could barely listen to it when my dad died. Or my mother-in-law died. Now, my brother-in-law's dad, Bob Strunk, Sr. has passed. I am left without comfort, without reason. People get sick, I understand. I've got this LCD Soundsystem song I can listen to finally, but still translate it as the passing of someone great. But for the love, could people stop dying? Just for one year. I know what you are thinking, that people die every day and not everyone has the justice of having lived a full life, but this is my third year of marriage, and the third loved one who has passed since taking my vows. Where is the solace in that?

Bob was full of enthusiasm for life and people and stories. He didn't know a stranger and would tell it like it is. Or told it like it was (Forget grammar now.) I've got so much to say but so few words to say it in.

people People PEOPLE! Go call your parents and tell them you love them! It doesn't matter who you regard as your parents, biological, foster, other; tell them you love them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Scratch any cynic and you'll find a disappointed idealist"

Thanks to all for supporting us this past weekend on our threefer! Starting off Thursday at L'Etage, picking up a surprise show Friday in Phoenixville, and rounding it all out in Chris' back yard with big ole barbecue with friends and family. Expect an assembly of visual oddities to surface on our website very shortly. There was everything from a post-grad dance party invasion to drunken men channeling Bono while vocalizing to our songs to cornhole in the backyard (wow, that sounds bad. Cornhole is bean bag toss to everyone else but eastern Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyans.)

But again, with the good news comes the bad. George Carlin has died. Being in a band while faced with adversity, second only to "What Would Andy Kaufman Do?" is "What Would George Carlin Do?" in axioms to help young artists fight a world of BS with more BS.

I wonder if they'll play "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" in a glitzy, star-studded tribute during primetime now. If so, my how times have changed!

be well,

ps- we're going to incubate for a little now and tighten up some new songs for you, as well as attempt to record some of the new ones (on demand!!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Clash- London Calling

Would you believe when I first heard London Calling I didn't like it? It was sprawling mix of music very unfamiliar to my circa-1994 grunge-tinted ears. It's amazing how with a little bit of digging, you realize that current music isn't as current as you think. This album was my first course in the drift of ideas from one generation to the next, and how there is nothing completely "new," just a series of information being transmitted and decoded by a different, sometimes younger set of musicians. This has been my best defense against writers block: not worrying about wearing your influences on your sleeves. (aka, Guns of Brixton basically being a template for the Beastie Boys)

There is something incredibly liberating about this ideal! Think about the mass of information out there waiting to be reinterpreted! Of course, you can be TOO derivative, but part and parcel, you are giving a melody, a chord, an idea (whatever!) renewed life. What a better way to pay tribute, especially in this world of information overload. It makes complete sense, just as much as buying albums to support musicians who make music you love to enable them to keep making music.

The record store I picked it up in doesn't exist anymore (Cornelius, NC). I had returned Sleeps With Angels by Neil Young having decided that was not the best "so you want to listen to Neil Young" album, and decided The Clash were my next conquest. It took me years to finally penetrate it's veneer and now I listen to it nearly once every 4 months or so. At the time I had no idea that Sandinista! even existed...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

These United States (not the band)

While MFA is not an overtly political band, but Barack Obama has just clinched the Democratic nomination and it is a watershed in the history of our nation. OUT OF MANY, ONE! The irony of a candidate being the beneficiary of his opponents' campaign finance reform work is not lost on us! Some of us were Clinton supporters, others Obama supporters, some part-time McCain advocates, alongside one "hey, I would be happy with both," either way our country is poised to move forward in one grueling stroke of electoral history. Hopefully they can all get a little sleep now, and rest up for the presidential campaign!

No matter what you stand for or who you stand with, make sure you vote in November!

ps- I've got some killer footage of These United States playing TT The Bears in Cambridge, MA that I will upload once I get it OK's by the band. Check 'em out!