Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Magic, Loss, and Absence

I've been putting off this post for reasons you'll read at the bottom-and in the interim we lost two of the legends who can be heard on several of the regularly played tracks on the station.
I can't add much to the discussions by better and more knowledgeable fans and writers-I can only add my own thoughts and feelings.
Charlie Haden and Tommy Ramone were both giants. Men who became famous in their own genres despite the fact that their best known performances were in bands as opposed to them being solo artists.
With Haden, one could make a valid argument that he is well known as just "Charlie Haden, Monster Bass Player" but (IMHO) but both he and Tommy Ramone probably had the most exposure as band-members.
Either way, their loss is huge to music lovers and to culture. If you are a musician or a music fan, you have been not only touched by their art, but also-even if in only a small way-influenced by them. They came from different generations and had different approaches to art, but they were dedicated to their art. You can hear it even if it may not always be front and center. These two very different musicians were the pulse of countless songs many of us have grown-up and lived with our whole lives.
The cliche about the rhythm-section is that they are the heartbeat of a band. Sometimes things become cliches for a very good reason. They are what make your feet move and your tail-feathers shake. They are often taken for granted until you really just listen and realize their sensibilities and allow it to move you in ways beyond the mere physical response. Rhythm-players are often a hidden intellect and soul behind great music and are usually unappreciated by the general listening public.
In honor of Charlie and Tommy, here are a couple of tidbits of their art that you might not be aware of......

Looking like an old hippy (kinda hilarious) Tommy banging-out some old favs....

...and Charlie doing what all stand-up bass players secretly wish they could do.

On a more personal note-especially for those of you who have been listening and following over the years I am going to be brutally honest. I try to avoid posting negative things about others, but this is not a negative thing about someone else-it its a negative thing about me: 

Kat has apparently left the building.
For the station she has been an integral part of shaping the sound and the programming. Her excellent taste in music combined with a different cultural background from my own and the fact that, despite our cultural differences, we think in very much the same way made her my go-to.

Kat-who I have often referred to as my "Personal Curator"- led me in the direction of so much great music and many great ideas. She is responsible (among many others) for bringing Zola Jesus, Ida Maria, The Horrors, and Little Dragon to my attention. She was also a valued sounding board and consultant on all things related to the station (and many things in my personal life as well). 
It is going to be a task to keep things at the same level of quality going forward.

To you, the loyal listeners and readers, I apologize. You stuck by through thick and thin as I struggled to keep things on an even keel after Loudcaster went dark. You stuck-by when I wasn't sure how I was gonna keep the lights on and cockroaches had literally begun infesting my electronics because I was so poor I was stuck in a shitty apartment (I never told you that, I just looked at the map and saw that people were tuning-in and listening and reading the blog from all over the world. It helped.).

Now there are more of you than ever and every time I look at the listening hours for the day I know that I was right to worry myself sick about keeping everything going.
Kat was right there the whole time. Sending me ideas for music. Helping me keep my chin up. 

Putting up with my shit and my baggage.

That is how battles and wars are won. Not alone, but with people who keep you going when it is a worthless, hopeless, stupid idea to keep going.
Then you come out on the other side and see that it wasn't in vain and you look for the ones who kept you going....and they aren't there.
And it's your fucking fault.
Even if it was just a mistake....

99%  our friendship was the written word. Text messages, Facebook, Twitter....many people today think that is a shallow and superficial way to be friends.
I don't. 

Up until most people had telephones or the cash to buy cars and plane tickets (so, like, only for about the last 70 years or so) people who didn't live near each other became closer via the written word. Since the first time someone got the idea to put a missive on something, hand it to some dude and ask him to take it to a faraway place and deliver it to someone, History has been changed by relationships which happened almost entire via ink on paper.

As I see it now, the only difference is you don't wait months to get a reply.

Kat and I were friends via Facebook (thanks to a mutual friend) for about a year and a half before we met face to face.
At the time of our first meeting I was just getting through the roughest parts of some of the roughest shit a person can go through. I was ready to go back out into the world and have some semblance of a life.

About 20 minutes into our first face to face conversation I had a sensation I had never had before. It was like my soul suddenly jumped up and just went "FUCK YEAH!!!!!".

I spent the rest of the evening just having a nice long conversation with her and our mutual friend, then a quick hug and an exchange of phone numbers and we were friends. That was still one of the most relaxing and enjoyable nights in my recent memory.

When I looked back at the written history of our friendship-just the texts via my Google Voice account-there are well over 500 pages of collapsed comment threads. Some of those threads contain hundreds of messages. There were periods of 36 hours where we exchanged over 300 messages-not including Facebook and Twitter.
Maybe a thousand or so pages of correspondence-including the things deepest, darkest, or most important to me. Fears, plans, hopes, happiness, sorrow....and a lot of things that probably horrified the Squares at the NSA who were eaves-dropping....

Now, that is apparently gone forever.

For me, my heart isn't just broken, my soul is broken as well.
Kat was a once in a lifetime friend. 

You know how when you talk to yourself  in hope that your subconscious will answer-back with the right thing?-Well, talking to Kat was like that for me except it wasn't my subconscious talking back to me- it was a real live person (and not the neighbor's dog telling me to shoot the mailman). I could say anything that popped into my head and never offended her or grossed her-out (except for twice, but that is between me and her).

Unfortunately I was unaware of just how different our cultures are. Apparently, in retrospect, we Mainers are rather like Klingons and I treated her like one of the crew of the Warbird I grew-up on.
I know no other way.

I either hurt or angered her to the point that she apparently won't ever speak to me again. She has refused to respond to any communication and has deleted me from all of her social media accounts. I try to tell myself that I was blessed  to have that friendship for the time I did but it is tough when you planned on someone being part of your life forever and then you do something dumb and they go away.

It is like someone died and this is the obituary.
Over this past week I vomited blood once. Yeah, it's that bad.

One of the reasons I am here doing this is because I refuse to accept the status quo. I refuse to believe that I have to put up with the crap being hawked on our airwaves and that people have forgotten what great music is and how great radio can be. The attitude which sponsors that type of action often translates into trouble when dealing with personal relationships. I try to make allowances for my difficult personality, but at the end of the day, I am just me and that won't change.

To paraphrase Bukowski-she was the little bluebird inside my heart that wanted to get out. She got out and flew away. 

I won't ever forgive myself. This one is gonna leave a mark. 

Kat, we miss you. We love you.
I'm sorry. Please come back to us.
@Fukerthecat has even crawled into a whiskey bottle with her guns and won't come out.

" there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up? 
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you? "

-Charles Bukowski*

I'll admit. I've wept more than a little.

*reprinted without consent, but fuck-it, I'll argue desperation and fair use for fraudulent journalism.

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