It belongs in a Museum!

By Raven Terrapin

Gulfport and the new Fuzz Factory was the landing for the last spice run of Direwood’s 2014 live tour. We ended at show 43, setting up 2015 as the year of milestones, show 50 on the horizon. I will also turn 40 this next year and I will be completing a full length album called “40” sometime during that time, though it may take the whole year to get it as good as I want it to be.
I have promised to take a hard objective look at Direwood and our future at that point. Right now I am living in the moment. It starts when JB makes it over after work with soup on the stove. We plug in and dust off, talk about what songs we want to do for “Left handed cypher #1″, a sort of council of war for deep underground hip hop in the local area.
Jams ensue, we rip through the set twice in between episodes of Portlandia and inhaling.
Pack up, load up, make sure we’ve got all the skulls we’re taking. That’s the real ignition point for me and the emergence of ‘Lil Mic,” when the skull collection comes off the shelf and gets wrapped in old t-shirts in the suitcase.
Drive down was nice and smooth until we drove around the block in the border of Gulfport space (read here industrial wasteland) trying to find the venue. I hate GPS. Half the time it doesn’t work. I make JB go into a diner to ask what street we are on. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s gonna be OK. Finally I park the wheels and get out and just start walking down the street looking at numbers. I let my senses adjust to the rusty dirty street light. I look down an alley and spot my punk rock friends and a little storage space turned into a room with a stage and speakers, couches, various musical stuff, like a small Venture minus all the weird mad scientist shit.
Load in try to set up a live stream and fail. Meet up with Orlando crew, namely Eric Cansouled and Paco Tuesday. Meet up with Figment, one of my fave emcees in the area and one of the few females straight ripping it up here.
Hugs exchanged, vibes on, Iatro of rest In Satin Silence gets us started on the perfect note with looping, beat boxing, his trademark gut screaming and feedback. This is as avant guarde as the night will get, the far left of the left side of the dial, just clinging to the cliff of rap. It’s like a concept dish made by a chef that tastes great but might just have been spiked with LSD.
Figment sets the bar solid boom-bap with the next set. Sort of comparable to Dessa of Doomtree, but more street, the energy is spiking now.
Next is Paco Tuesday, a super fill in on the fly after Justinhale bowed out. He’s got a very different style, north Chi town slow downed beats and flow. A lot of call and response, some dope anime references and a Blackhawks jersey.
Cansouled plays after that and he’s one of my all time favorites. He’s sort of a super sensitive emo rapper, apt to fold up the tent at any time cause he’s kinda shy and has no ego at all. I love him though he has the worst luck with shit getting stolen from him at shows. More on that later.
ABSTRACT MACHINE is now the Holley brothers, namely Bnen (yes, that’s right, Bnen), and Mir, AKA Bay Sir who I hadn’t seen live since they teamed up. Dude, this is like what would happen if El-P hooked up with Beck. Bnen has a super soul voice in a high range and he’s skinny as a rail, throwing his self all over the stage in freaky soul estatic frenzy.
We are up next so I duck out past the Real Clash crew and into the alley. I stretch out and pray. We light up in the circle, blowing smoke into the paint scented air near an building that looks like zombies might live in it, complete with a spray painted “No Parking” sign on the front. Someone set off a light and alarm on the other side of the parking lot, much laughter ensues as i set it off again by wandering right into the same trigger spot.
Set up the skulls, plugs, set pieces, rock out so hard. give everything to the set, every part of effort and zone right in and stand in stage inside my dream. My best friend on stage with me, the crown right in the palm of our hand. This is really happening. My friends are dumb dancing, screaming, hollering back. I find a cinder block to stand on and I am now nine feet tall and unstoppable.
The real Clash comes on after us and crushed. Crushed. The closest thing we have to the Roots, this awe inspiring group of dudes is real hip hop. There is hippies, hipsters, gangstas, nerds, tribal wizards, Sefus and students, drunks and straight edge kids together. We are united by this form of art called hip-hop.
Yes, god damn it. This deserves to be tattooed on your arm. HIP HOP IS ART. It isn’t treated very well, not given any respect despite the fact that even Dr.Phil probably bumps Snoop.
Your mom likes the Black Eyed Peas and your baby sister wants to be Nicki, god damn it.
I want to have my friends perform in a safe space, where you can speak your truth, there’s no fucking drink minimum and maybe a little class. Still, local hip hop is very much in it’s early punk rock phase here. Ride with this thought for a bit. Remember when normal people were scared of punk rockers? Sending vans of cops to break up shows and beating up members of Black Flag on a regular basis? No, y’all are too young for that. I’m almost too young for that and I’m nearly 40.
“Hip hop kids are bad, they might fuck up your place and twerk on your wall”. Well, 98.8 percent of the real hip hop kids I know (in fact, all the ones I know personally) are the nicest, humblest, sweetest, funniest people I know. We have fuck all to do with drive by shootings and crack sales. We’re just hungry artists trying to work inside a set of street rules, born on the ground and hot pavements of the shitty Bronx in 1975.
Someone stole a phone from the show. Lot has been said about it already, more will be said. Who knows who did it, in the end doesn’t matter who. Made us look bad, the hard working, sweet awesome poetry kids who just put on a minor miracle,. We don’t need a bad reputation, we were born the black sheep. Shepherd Boy records, motherfucker.
I want to do hip hop, real hip hop with my friends in a safe space where I don’t have to worry about being kidnapped and having my kidneys stolen, but until the upper crust starts booking all ages hip hop shows, meaning never, I will rip in the side of industrial warehouses that look like the Paper Street Soap Company house from Fight Club. I think i just heard a golf ball bang off some glass and Tyler Durden is cackling in the air. In death, members of project Mayhem have a name. His name is Robert Paulson.
Mystic is my wife, but hip-hop is my girlfriend she has been beat up and disrespected, the Goddess is real tired of bein called a bitch. It’s time to put the respect where it belongs and her crown back on her scared black beautiful face. I love her and you do too, so start treating her like the lady she is and have some respect Stand up when she walks in the room, pull out her chair and buy her a drink and the muse will dance all night with you. Belle of the Baller.

The City of the Dead, The Undead, And Those That Shall Not Die

By Raven Terrapin

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I finally understand what old Satchmo was singing about after my life changing trip to the electric epicenter that is the French Quarter. I am blown away by the constant flood of colorful people, the bustling of the pirates, the overcrowded sidewalks filled with ghosts.
Here I undertake a holy pilgrimage. Surrounded by spirit. Past the Wolf River where Jeff Buckley drowned in the blues with his shoes on. To the Delta , through the wetland over the bridge and dodging crab traps at 65 MPH on the highway.
The source, that undeniable fizz, plugged back in. So much of this journey with Direwood has felt pre-destined in some way. Put on a path with no line but the horizon. To feel the arms of a grandma Mambo embrace me as her own child, a stranger, cutting through all the race, class, politics, history to whisper.
“It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be alright.”
I step back, dizzied by the power of the drums, the shakers, the chanting. Food and abundance, strangers embracing each other. Erzuli in full efftect, people sobbing, singing, a rum fire in the street.
I find a CD for two bucks by This Mortal Coil, “It will end in tears.” Well, Liz Fraizer knows a little bit about that. I hope that when it ends for me it ends in tears of laughter. I am Shaggy, you are Scooby Doo and this place is a mystery machine. Tommy and I lob insults and curses at Andrew Jackson in his own park.
A place where the gates are closed and bolted to keep the homeless from sleeping on the grass.
To stare up at the giant statue of Louis Armstrong and come to the epicenter of American music that is Congo Square, where Jazz began. This is the place where the slaves were allowed to play the feared and misunderstood drums on Sundays, set way back from the city near the break of the old swamp.
I find myself in strange, holy and unexpected Pagan-Christian land. There is church and holiness, right next to a girl pulling her pants down and pissing in the street.
There is constant motion and music. Old buildings soaked with blood and violence, with love and passion and joy and sorrow. Nothing ever dies here. It’s just covered by the big muddy.
There is no vale between the worlds. The demons and angels are visible and standing right next to you. Whoever put that gaudy Halloween sticker on Madame LaLurie’s mansion that said “spooky attic” with an arrow pointing up, thanks.
It’s New Orleans. You’re welcome.

A Dead Man’s Life (The Joji Harada Story)

Lets start at the beginning.

10406532_1439543619633132_2896134595692988880_nIn a hospital in Yokohama Japan, a young woman’s water broke. The blanket covering her legs was lifted, and there was blood everywhere. Her child had choked on his umbilical cord and bled out. An emergency C-section was performed, that totaled four and a half minutes. That’s how long the baby was dead. But they were spared the permanence of death. The doctors said there was a 65% chance of the baby dying, and a 75% chance of the mother dying. The baby had already been dead for four and a half minutes and around five minutes the brain starts to sustain serious damage. The hospital they were in was small and didn’t have the tools and physicians to be able to tell how damaged their new born son was. And so it was that the new father took the child and climbed into a military chopper, and flew to the nearest large industrial hospital.

The mother didn’t see her child for a full week. The post mortem depression started to sink in, and she recuperated. Her baby, who had died and come back to life within it’s first few moments in our world, was gone from her. She didn’t know how tall he would be able to grow, how athletic he would be, how strong his heart would be, how much mental damage his brain would have. But all of the fears, all of the statistics were defied by nature, faith, and granted a little help from modern medicine. She grew healthy, and strong, and so did the child and soon the time came for them to be reunited.

The father took the infant, put him in a car seat, and began driving him back to Yokohama. He turned on the stereo for the ride and Led Zeppelin was the first music the baby ever heard. Soon the family was reunited and as the child grew his mother would always tell him, that there was a reason that god gave them both a second chance. And with this weight on his shoulders, Joji, the boy who died, began to live his life.

With the full understanding that every breath he took since birth was essentially a divine gift, Joji felt like destiny had something planned for him. Some trick up it’s sleeve, and some mission for him to complete for the betterment of humanity. And even as a little boy he began searching for it, all be it sometimes in the wrong the place.
Joji’s family moved to Tacoma from Japan when he was 2 maybe 3 years old, and he still vividly remembers it. His mom worked very hard to educate him, and help him grow up with a generally straight moral compass. But Joji had trouble finding friends and the majority of children he hung out with were of the delinquent variety. Who’s hobbies included vandalizing, vandalizing…and acting like vandals. He didn’t speak any english and the bad kids would let him hang out, as long as he helped them vandalize local business’s and homes. He had no comprehension at the time of the separation of the local and corporate business’s only of rebellion. He used to lay up at night, unable to sleep, and he would hear a women’s voice speaking to him. In the moment he could hear every word she said but after the fact the memory would disappear as soon as it came. He has synesthesia, so sounds appear as colors to him, and this spirit voice in the night had a wispy blue color to it. It seemed on a spiritual level to reinforce what his mother had told him about there being a reason he had been spared death.

Joji didn’t actually end up feeling comfortable speaking english at all until around 4th grade when his family moved to a slightly higher end community that they couldn’t afford. It was near the financial crisis, and beginning to become increasingly difficult for his father to find work. Joji went back to Japan every summer and it was kind of a bummer to have spent the whole school year cultivating friends and then leaving when school was over, but it gave him a sense of pride in his heritage. When you move to another country and travel back and forth so frequently you can’t help but analyze things a little bit more, and there was a lot to analyze. He more of less grew up in a series of military complexes and communities, and it classism became grotesquely obvious. It seemed to him that much of America operated in the same segregated ways the military structure did. The lower level was scum, racist and uneducated. The higher levels were better educated and treated fairly in most circumstances. This led to him wanting to participate in delinquent activities as a youth. It seemed as though the government was hell bent on controlling everything, and the more they told the people what to do, the more the people wanted to contradict and rebel against them. From the small scale of the classroom, and biking around with friends, to the large scale of political action and social justice. The United States was a country that glorified freedom, and his mother felt like in moving there, they were less free then they’d ever been in their entire lives. And it did really feel way. In Japan the laws were strict put more in service of safety, then in the constriction of thought.

As he traveled back to Japan in the summers. He was able to see much of Japan development as well as his development and personal growth in America. His sense of Japanese pride strengthened with these visits back home. A lot of the craziness and fear that he felt surrounding the United State’s laws and legal system started to be adopted more frequently in Japan, and it was sad to see the mimicking of these “Western Policies”. He still had the ambition and weight of a survivor and spent a lot of time struggling between the life that his parents wanted for him, and the life that he felt destined to live.

In 5th grade he got the opportunity to be in a “master music class” The actual drum kit with all five pieces, is an instrument which does not exist in the classic 5th grade band, in which you learn hot cross buns, and eventually, god willing move on to the glorious Mos Eisley cantina theme song. But in this master class he got to see his teacher play a drum kit, and the moment he sat down at one he fell deeply and passionately in love. The low frequencies of the kick drum coursed through his veins like they had been there all along, the high frequencies of snare seemed to complete a song that lived inside his heartbeat. Upon entering his house after school that day he immediately declared to his parents that he wished to play the drums. As you can imagine this was greeted with some hesitation. As a parent, the drums are perhaps the loudest, most expensive and obtrusive instrument your child can take up, and their declaration of their love for it, is not unlike a promise that you will never really have peace and quiet in your home. His mother was already a gifted classical pianist and had hopes that Joji would enter the arena of music with a saxophone or a trumpet, but he convinced them he was committed. When he was very little, almost so young that he doesn’t remember his parents had gotten him a Mickey mouse drum with a shoulder strap that he apparently carried around for a full year and was constantly beating to make rhythms. You see the seed had been planted long ago.

His parents found him super cheap lessons once a week. After that he started taking lessons from different people all around the city, just so he could learn as much as possible. It was huge passion. He started playing in rock bands before he was even ready too. He was obsessed with fills and had an inability to stop laying down fills. This got him shunned out of many bands, and lost him some friends in music circles. He was criticized heavily for this, but he didn’t care. He thought most of those people just took themselves to seriously. When he got a little bit a older and little more level headed he started to reign the fills back, and found that there was always these sweet little pockets within all compositions that fills fit snuggly.

1795865_591168730962649_263928197_oThe first song he ever wrote on and instrument other then drums was on the guitar. He had a crush on a girl at age 16 and he decided to ask her out, he would write her a song. He started saving money to buy a guitar, and his parents found out and purchased him a guitar from a local wal-mart. He learned a few basic chords, wrote some cheesy lyrics and serenaded here. It worked. But more importantly it was through this that he discovered that the drums were there to embellish what was happening with the words and progressions of the other instruments.

He started teaching himself more guitar and more piano. He even learned some Beethoven etudes. And just like any teenager who takes it upon themselves to learn a Beethoven etudes, teenage rebellion ensued with a fury. His rebellion included but was not limited too, stealing from coffee shops, and slashing some tires. At the time he has little comprehension that his behavior was most likely affecting some one close to him instead of the country as a whole. He began only speaking English, in hopes of making more friends. He wanted to be more white, he though people would accept him more. He started dating, looking for love. He ended up getting hurt a lot, because no one in high school knows what they want, even if they claim that they do. He started drinking and experimenting with drugs. When all the self destructiveness came to head, and all the of his rebellious statements were seen to only affect those in his community it all became depressing. The music his was making at the time was largely influenced by hate not by love, and he knew that all had to change, and that change had to start with him.

This is when he met the girl, the infamous inevitable first muse of every hopeless romantic. She was a pianist and a athlete. Joji consider athletics to be less superior then music, This was a notion he promptly made up, upon their coupling in order to in sense direct her towards his ambitions. It was a selfish act, because she loved athletics, but music was easier for him. His expectations of her ultimately led to a distance between them, metaphorically at first and eventually physically. He tried to change her for three solid years, as they fell in and out of love countless times. Her name was Allison.

High school ended. Maybe it was their parents expectations, or perhaps the excitement of leaving your childhood home, hopefully for bigger and better things, but they moved apart. Joji went up to Bellingham Washington to Western Washington University in pursuit of a business degree. He’ll confess nowadays, that the degree choice was more to appease his folks, who he loves dearly, and that he dropped the business part after about a year. He would frequently go home, but not to his childhood home. Just to his hometown to see his girl. He’d shell out bones to stay in hotels, he’d stay at friends houses or in his car. The whole scenario and the extremes he would go to be with her, seemed unequal, or one-sided but it’s what you do for love.

You see he always had this problem, of wanting things he can’t have. He remembers confessing this his mother. She said she was already aware of this conundrum. Then the day came when she told of him of a Buddhist scripture that translates to the impermanence of life. His mother is not actually Buddhist but her philosophy and ideals have often echoed the practice. In the scripture, you learn of the five sufferings of life. I you are aware that you want things, but cannot in fact have them, you will be content in life. It is natural to want everything in your life to be permanent, to earn them to have them forever. You want your accolades, your skills, your reputation to be forever. To reflect the type of person you are, your status, and the decisions you’ve made if your life. Most of all you want love to be forever. So if you can remember the five suffering of life, you are always aware, of all the things you want. You can find them engraved in Joji’s skin to this day, as a sigil reminded us why we suffer.

Throughout college his on again off again relationship with Allison, contributed to his cannon of songs as well his outlook in general. He wrote numerous songs about her, and for her, and he started taking the lyrical constructs of these song to and even grander scale. Love is a feeling that is applicable to almost anything in life. If you write about it from your own stand point it will be applicable to all of society, for we all earn for, and give it constantly. When the relationship between them would get shitty, as all things do from time to time, he could listen to his compositions and learn a lesson.

Joji started using hallucinogens on semi regular basis, including research chemicals that were not yet even in the eyes of the DEA. He would start tripping and hit record on the popular macbook app garage band, and sometimes emerge with 6 hours of nonsense and sometimes there would be a song in there. Upon one of these occasion the trip started to overtake him, the air became colors, one second he would be on a forrest floor and then the landscape would flash to a bustling city. As the world visually moved around him, and his connection with reality was lost. He came to the absolute conclusion, that he must be dead. His immediate concerns upon arriving at this verdict, was who would comfort the grieving woman in his life. So in this altered state, acting under the assumption that he in fact was dead, he composed a song called “For Ghost” which he wrote to comfort his girlfriend from beyond the grave. Upon sobering up, and he had no recollection of even writing the song. But when he went through the audio log he found it, the gem in a stream of chaos. He listened to it, and it was the very first time he fell unabashedly proud of something.

The Tibetan book of dead says that when one dies, you essentially have the greatest hallucination of your entire life. In western civilization we associate this moment as your whole life flashing before your eyes. It is heavily recorded by near death survivors. Theres a sense of irony in the concept that when you die you experience your whole life, on every level, the atomic, the personal, the physical, from every aspect from the molecular to the grandest scale. So what does it mean to be a man who died before he ever lived?

The drug inspired writing process became a habit. A hidden, secret habit, but practiced non the less. The garage band audio recording became standard. Sometimes the whole endeavor proved to be unfruitful, and sometimes he would strike gold. Psychedelics continued to influence his music and he emerged from this process with about seven songs. There were many songs he didn’t keep. The final time that he did this “trip heavily and write” process, he was singing his heart out with his eyes firmly closed, upon opening them he saw a huge dark figure looming over him and then it disappeared. After a few more strange and horrifying hallucinations he slowed his roll down a bit.
The seven songs he had, he workshopped and reconstructed, making them stronger, and then posted them on sound-cloud. This peaked the interest of lot’s of i-phone carrying hipsters in the music department. A friend of his who had acted with his as a rhythm section in a Seattle based band, listened to them frequently and started writing bass progressions to go with the songs. This guy, Cory, he helped the compositions become strong in was huge in forming the trio that would known as “Joji”. These sound-cloud recordings were the genesis of what would become their first LP “Mügenhan.”
1400181_558375514241971_975604999_oThe records opens strong, with a smooth reggae influenced ode to the personal insecurity one feels from a one sided devotion to true love. Theres a rule in theatre that you decide all the rules of what you can do with the first ten minutes of a play. This song really does this, it gives you both the content, vocal ranges and instrumentation that will carry you through the rest of this journey. The whole album is layed out in chronological order. This gives it the vibe of a concept album, as you walk in the footsteps of a young man who is desperately in love, and feels often that his feelings are unrequited, or taken for granted. They reference the constant flux of his relationship. There are soaring moments of pure joy, and equally tragic ones. The whole plot leads us to a pivotal song on the album, which is the “queen” break up song. It’s on piano with big strong chords. It’s called “Short Message Service” and opens with the lyrics “From the valley you should’ve came all the way, just to tell me, that your gone.” It embodies the pain in a lack of closure. Joji sings “One second it’s the rest of our lives, the next you spending all your time, fighting me.” You can tell he no longer yearns for this unrequited love, be he does want an explanation, or even a theory. It still bears the grind your teeth mentality, of if you don’t want me, I’ll be gone faster then you can blink The album was produced by Josh Saul. The album name actually stems from the late night recording process, which was fueled heavily by coffee, and Cory came up the idea of calling it “mug in hand” which then became one word, and they made up a description of said word for the release.

Their second recording is titled “Pray” it’s a slighter shorter album and features some songs that didn’t make it on the previous album as well as some new ones. Theres drugs, love, and anarchy. There’s a hope for his homeland, and wake up call for his other homeland. Political action is another theme, including unjust killings, and the myth of the American dream. He writes like a soothsayer who is literally laying down the events of the armed forces and police reacting violently against the people and their rights to assembly and free speech before it happened.
To Joji the basic concept of magic is making someone look one way while you do something in the other direction. The Kansas City Shuffle. This is repeated in American politics frequently. The language which this events are presented with matter as well. You can always trick some one into thinking you said something when you really didn’t say that at all, which makes you defendable and able to cause a ruckus. We in the United states look up to that, we idolize it, the blinding effects of word play. The more one is aware of it, the easier existence seems to be. Joji says through his music that the separation of all topics into little categories of things like politics, love, war, in is a distraction by itself, and if you look hard enough you can relate all of those things. Everything is connected.

All of the universe has a fabric running through it.

1723639_1400234880230673_1184723841_nToday Joji is not the heartbroken misanthrope he previously was, although he wouldn’t trade his mistakes of his past for anything, it made him who he is. He is with a women who loves him with same burning passion that he loves her. When she speaks he see’s the same blue wispy colors he say when he was a child when he would hear that women’s voice before he fell asleep. The future holds writing more music with her. He loves her more then he has ever loved anyone or anything. She is a very talented opera singer, and with the two of them, their respect for each other, and some help from some friends, they could most likely hammer out something that would both push the limits of pop music, and be emotionally complex.

Surf, don’t drown

By Raven Terrapin
Direwood finished show 42 and it was a wild ride. We drove out through a non-stop heavy rain, looking at the flooding and there were already numerous cars in the ditch on the highway to Ft.Myers in route to what was billed as “Downtown Abduction 3,”.
This was in celebration of the sneak release of “Digirat,” a comic created by Watts Hopp and Larry the Alien of Future Lab Rats. They had several monitors and tablets set up to look at the upcoming series. I also got a preview of my own character in the comic book, a sort of yellow Octopus man with glasses who acts as an inter dimensional Shaman. Obviously that was boss.
We hung out, made some coffee and loaded in during a break in the rain which had already collected in several inches of water in the parking lot.
The hostess, Wendyl Jay, played several songs to kick off the small gathering, keeping it all in stride like a piano playing Stevie Nicks and even laughing off a board crash as being the fault of her fathers ghost, the legendary sound pioneer Desmond Elliott.
Next came Biomechanical Raptors, which was a one man band with a lighting rig and giant alien head mask. I really enjoyed his more out there musical sensibilities which should bring him to the Venture Compound at some point where he will do well.
I enjoyed his alien disco music with some custom made keyboard noises and it seemed as though the night was going to take off.
We played next, in front of a bunch of little ones, so I quickly made sure to change “fuck” to “funk” as much as possible. I’m not into censorship, but I’m also always aware of who my audience is.
We had a fun set, I gave all my energy to it and people seemed to be into it, even yelling encouraging words and hooting. It was a really strange vibe, but I’m sure everyone was having fun.
The PA took a shit during “Hugh” but we sucked it up and kept going. I wanted to cut a song from the set, which is a trick I sometimes use, knowing that less is more, but the rowdy audience that seemed like they thought they were watching a comedy set at Coconut’s wouldn’t let me. So, we played all of our songs. We ended up the show with the one-two punch of “Screwtape” and “Killing Time.” At the end of “Killing Time” someone yelled “Holy Shit!,” so I’ll take the win.
I recorded the set but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. Hollow Life even had a vocal solo while I stood by and bobbed my head like a proud poppa.
Made some good memories, rocked out, had a good time. Got sick the next day, probably from standing around in Noah like water levels in my bare feet while all sweaty. I should have learned my lesson from Black Beauty.
I ended my night making a Houghton connection with my dear friend Dharma and playing a game of chess with Mystic. We almost always play to a draw, a bloodless battle which after it is over, like Hendrix said “The Jack’s are all in their boxes and the clowns have all gone to bed.”
We have a gap in time until our next show and I’ll be heading to New Orleans for a much needed re-charge of inspiration.
Love to y’all. Sometimes you wipe out, end up with a bloody nose and a nose full of water. Doesn’t stop you from trying again. Heal up. repair and ride out one time.

Roller Coaster of Love

By Raven Terrapin

IMG_0974-1.JPGFinished show 41 for Direwood. This was the night to welcome back good friend Billy Mays 3, AKA Infinite Third after an entire year away in the mountains and it was glorious!
Big hugs everywhere abounding. Beach balls amused the usual group of malcontents mixed with the always funny to see first timers blown away by the spectacle of my Mecca, The Venture Compound.
Direwood played five songs in a very punk 17 minutes. I like these small sets almost better then the longer “headlining” slots. To me it’s the difference between a four round bout or a 12 round slug fest. The mindset is different. The training is different. I even pick different songs geared for a shorter set.
It was also the closing night of Emmy Lou’s art show, so the back gallery was covered with disturbing childlike yet arty weird jellyfish and masks of crayon colored disfigurement.
Josh Martin started the show out with some nice horn layering using Abelton and some really nice sax work. This set the perfect tempo for the spirit of the evening was was chill, boho, slightly off in the best way.
Mother Sky and Chris Charbauno played solo guitar work very much in the same style, using loops and pedals to create fields of ambient.
It was very fun to play right in front of DJ Hollow Life’s parents during our show and it was the first time they had seen us since he joined the band a year ago.
The Venture Compound regulars play as a strange group of family that you know well, then the weird family that you kind of know, that might be your third cousin.
There’s a group of Hindu shirt wearing white dudes with beards praying on the floor twenty yards away from a giant orange “chicken” structure in the corner.
There’s a collection of old equipment including a destroyed piano and enough vintage mixers that it looks like Lee Perry’s Black Arc.
So much fun to be part of this crew.
Billy Mays was the star of the show, his face beaming as he wrung storms of chords out of his Les Paul. It occurs to me that Mays has created a new style which is almost “anti-shredding”. He’s playing liquid guitar solos but it never, ever dips into wanky or cheesy. His work is like a fluid Jerry Garcia style but in a much more modern context.
Great to get a giant hug from him. I drove down and back from the Compound which was a big deal as well. I don’t usually drive so it was like taking moms car out for a ride. Pretty scary and thrilling. Hollow Life did has best to act as my Sulu and only got us lost briefly for a minute.
I also got to see some dear friends like WW and Momma Dee-Dee. I had a chance to discuss coffee with Sara Corascate, who is being scouted by the Afghan Wigs. In many ways, as I have said before, this is the minor leagues of alternative rock. Some of choose to stay playing where we are never going to make any money and only be rock stars on the weekends. Some of us dream of the big time. I look at it the same as other men who play pick us basketball. I’m never going to make the big leagues. I’m way too old to get called to the majors.
I’m also lucky that I never quite made it to “sex. drugs, and rock and roll” in a Motley Crue style. I’ll take all three but not mixed up like a terrible shooter.
So, I feel fear of the waves coming, I learn to paddle out, I wait for the right one and then catch it. It’s over and time to go home before I even know it.
Any night that features a 3-d RaeF performance with a giant screaming Gary Busey head is one for the books. Hipsters, punkers, hippies, arty weirdos, old people, young people, a few dogs, some lasers and smoke machines. 15 tv’s playing different movies all at the same time.
I wasn’t old enough to experience 1967 but I’m alive in 2014. I’m a white guy playing hip hop music rooted in the African tradition using machines and computers made in Asia. This new world is a stone groove, baby. Far out and solid.


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