12-05-10 LA CA: 0656 hrs. Whenever I come back from Africa, I miss it immediately and want to get on a plane and get back into it. For me, the continent is a different planet altogether. Things seem more real there.
It took a long time to climb out of the place. Two flights. One from Entebbe, Uganda that stopped briefly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick up more people and then onto Dubai. At one point, the woman sitting across the aisle from me looked in my direction and proceeded to sneeze an incredible amount of her accumulated nasal storage all over the right side of my face, shoulder and arm. The trajectory was only outdone by the velocity of the particles. I just sat there with the sheen of whatever was in that woman’s nose and stared at her. She went back to whatever she was doing before she decided to coat me with her natural resin. I said to her, “That was disgusting.” She just looked at me and went back to staring at the screen in front of her. Was this our first date?
A three hour wait in Dubai and then onto Los Angeles. That is the longest flight I have ever been on, about sixteen hours. It passed fairly quickly, it only felt like fourteen and a half.
Last night, we did our Frank Zappa show at KCRW. Originally, I was going to do the entire show on Mr. Zappa but something changed that. Yesterday, I got a letter from an old SST-era associate who gave me the following link:
Armando Acosta, drummer of Saint Vitus has died. As I read the obituary, I saw that there was a memorial service that had transpired a few hours before. I wish I could have gone to that. There was a link to where you could leave some words for the family and when I went there to write something, there were only five postings. That’s pretty lame if you ask me. Armando was a great guy and his band was awesome.
So, the last fifteen minutes of the show was three Vitus songs. If you dig the band at all, I bet your words would mean something to the family so if you get a chance, please write in.
I got a nice letter from a member of the Zappa family thanking me for doing the show, that’s pretty cool.
There is much to tell about the last two and a half weeks. I am sure you have had the experience where things you saw and went through make more sense a little later on, after you are gone from the area. That’s what has happened to me on this trip. The level of war junk in the ground in Southern Sudan was incredible. I think I wrote you about it a few days ago.
Kevin Morra from Swift River was on the trip with his video camera and we shot a lot of stuff. We interviewed half a dozen kids who had been abducted by the LRA in Uganda. They told us stories of committing atrocities, watching people get killed, escaping and how they got through it. Remember, these are kids telling these stories of murder and mutilation. They were all the same. Hardly any expression on their faces, staring off to the side when they would talk. When the interview was over, they all just drifted off without saying much. I don’t know what kind of adults they will make. Thousands of Ugandan kids went through this.
I am looking forward to seeing what will be happening in Southern Sudan next year post Referendum. I wonder if the media will cover events there. I am very tempted to try and get back out to Juba and see what the city is like on voting day, January ninth.
Here’s some information on the for National Geographic show:
Also, there are shows happening in February in NYC, DC and LA. You can check the site for availability. I was hoping to do fifty shows next year but I don’t think I will get that many. Hopefully there will be some shows in Australia as well later in the year. I will keep you posted on that. Shepard Fairey and I have conspired together yet again and there is a really cool looking poster going to print soon. On the ticket part of the site, you can see it. I think this is his best one yet.
It’s 0745 hrs. Sun Ra live in Paris is playing in my office. I have all the doors closed and am heating this one room. The rest of the place is a dark and very cold box. I have a ton of work to do today and on the less then three hours of sleep I am on presently, it will be “one of those days” as they say.
I have a very busy week. The Nat. Geo. press is starting on Tuesday. Radio, TV, phone, etc. Friday is the finish line.
Thanks for reading this. Henry
12-12-10 LA CA: 1137 hrs. I got back from the radio show last night, fully intending to listen to some music soon after I got in, I was turning the lights out. I got at least six or seven hours. It usually takes me about a week back to sleep that long.
Last week was a blur of activity, jet lag, sleep deprivation and the strangeness of slowing down and settling into the “thing” of LA made things somewhat dream like.
If you were wondering if that was my voice on those Verizon ads all over television, you were correct. I did the vo for another ad last week and will go in tomorrow after a few hours of press to do another one.
I have been doing fairly nonstop press since I got back here last week. The National Geographic Channel show I worked on Born To Rage hits Tuesday night. You can check your local listings for time but it will be around 2000 – 2100 hrs. I reckon. I think it came out well. If anything, Peter Coyote did the narration. He is one of my voice over heroes and it’s cool to be on a show he worked on. His voice lends a certain credibility to things.
It wasn’t all work last week. I went to an HBO function, it was a screening of Carrie Fishers one woman show called Wishful Drinking and it was great. She wrote the whole thing and delivers it so well. I am looking forward to seeing it again. I had no idea she was that brilliant.
I did the listening get together last Thursday night at the Echoplex. Basically, I sat onstage and played rare songs from my archives for a very cool audience. All proceeds went to KCRW. That’s how I wish the radio show was every Saturday. It would be great if there we could do the thing with a room full of people hanging out. There is something about listening to music with other people. As many of you do, I listen to music alone quite often and that has a magic all its own. It’s the way I prefer but hanging out with other humans, that’s a good time too. If you managed to get a ticket, thanks so much for showing up. If you tried and didn’t, thanks for trying.
Today, it’s been all analog. I started with a Dead Machines tape called Life Recording One, then went to the new LP version of the Pop/Williamson classic Kill City and now am checking out a Robert Pete Williams album pressed in Italy called Blues Of Robert Pete Williams. If there’s a bad recording of his, I have never heard it. He’s like Skip James or Fred McDowell, it’s all good.
There are some shows coming up. They are next year but time flies, so I wanted to start putting the information out there. If you go to the site, you will see the NYC Feb. 08-12, DC Feb. 13 and LA Feb. 16-20 dates.
As well, we are working out four shows in Australia. So far, it’s tentatively set for Mar. 06 & 07 in Melbourne and 08 & 09 in Sydney. North American dates are slotting in for the rest of March and a bit of April. These are going to be small venues. I wanted to get out and do some shows in 2011 since I will be turning fifty, there’s no way I can let that go without a few shows. It’s not like I’m getting another crack at that one.
If I had my way, I would be on the road all the time. Hopefully, I will get some summer festival dates in Europe. It’s 2012 that I will do the big tour, like the one I just finished. I am hoping it starts in January and goes until late November.
I would like to write more here but I am just out of time. Thanks for reading this. Henry
12-19-10 LA CA: 1215 hrs. This day is a hard one for me. Today will mark nineteen years since my friend Joe Cole was killed. I am not sure of the exact time but I think it was a little after midnight. Every year, I am awake and thinking of the event in that time. It’s always the same frustration, there you are with the facts and there’s nothing that can change them. Still, after nearly two decades, it still remains as vivid as when it happened. On the morning of 12-19-91, it was clear sky and cold. Today, it’s dark and raining like there’s no end in sight. There is a lot to consider on this day and then again, there isn’t. As to the facts, they are what they are, what they have always been and will be. Those who knew Joe Cole are set to hang out and deal with it. It would have been better if Joe Cole was someone that no one liked, so his passing wouldn’t have been taken so hard but that wasn’t the case. Joe Cole had a lot of friends and they really liked him, so when he was killed so suddenly and horribly, it really hurt those people. Making the calls to all those people was extremely difficult. No one took it well, as you can imagine. I am sure some of you have been in a position like this, forced to deal with incredibly awful circumstances. There is no choice but to just deal with it the best you can and adjust. That’s the thing, you adjust. You find yourself adapting and dealing with the information minute to minute. What you thought you couldn’t do, you’re doing. Things you never imagined needing to be done, you’re doing them like they were one of life’s many eventualities.
Last night’s radio show addressed both the exit of Joe Cole and the passing of Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart. We played some Beefheart songs in tribute. One of his band members called in to thank us. Nice to know who is listening. I know some people are saddened by the Captain’s passing. I am, of course, but when it comes to death, I always look at the age. He got sixty-nine years. That’s a pretty good ride, not everyone got that long. It was a good show but somewhat subdued, considering the occasion and information. Next week, I think Tha K is closed. What a rip off! I will make a damn radio show anyway. I usually start working on them Sundays as they have to be ready by Wednesday to file for the LA Weekly.
Speaking of the LA Weekly, my boss asked if I had interest in doing another feature for the paper and asked about a certain artist we play on our show frequently. I affirmed my interest but until the artist says yes or no and the work is completed, will I tell you about it. I am hoping I get to do this. I have many questions to ask this person. I did a feature on Grinderman that made the paper and I posted it on the site as well. I got a total of one letter about it. I thought it turned out pretty good. I thought I would get more feedback about it.
Last Friday marked the end of the work year. That is to say, the press dealings are over with, no more meetings, unless something comes up and relatively quiet phones. I think I have one more interview and that’s about it. It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do though. I will be off the road until the end of the year, working on book projects and other things around the office. On that front, there’s an endless amount to accomplish and I will be working every single day to get it all done. I have one hard deadline in early January, to hand in all the parts for the photo book, tentatively called Occupants, and have some chapters of the next journal book ready for Heidi “Trouble” May and I to start editing/arguing over.
Every year, Trouble gives me Christmas presents. This year, this thing, the Entity, if you will, gave me two t-shirts. One black, one gray. Both had words on the back: Heidi Rules!!!.
I am glad that DADT was repealed. I am looking forward to the president signing it into law. It is so stupid to think that allowing gay folks to serve in the Military will be a security threat. As long as America still starts and maintains wars all over the world, no matter who is in office, America will need all the soldiers they can get, the country can’t afford to let its inherent homophobia draped in the guise of patriotism get in the way of enlistment. That’s what the homophobes don’t get. They are the ones who want all the military spending, increased troop force all over the world. They need boots on the ground. They should be happy that anyone wants to show up for a rotation through Afghanistan. McCain saying that it’s a sad day for America that gays can serve, he’s so completely out of touch. It’s bed time for the gentleman from Arizona.
2012 will be an interesting year with the House turning over to the steerage of John Boehner, the gentleman from Ohio. Anyone who can get a tan in the dead of winter and be in Washington, DC at the same time is obviously extraordinary. Cry me a river!
Last week, the show I did with National Geographic hit the screen. I did a week of press for the event. It’s a mainstream station so the press was the same. I talked to radio hosts who got my name wrong, insulted me, I even spoke to Dennis Miller. I am glad that it’s over for now. I do more press than anyone I have ever met, so I have to deal with every possible situation. If any of you were so inclined to check out the show, called Born To Rage?, I am sure it will be in repeat on the station.
Besides the press, the week was just things winding down at the office as 2010 gets ready to keel over. Until next week, thanks for reading this. Henry
12-26-10 LA CA: 1336 hrs. Damn. I guess this is the last one of these for the year. There is no way you need me to sum it all up and there’s no way I could.
However, it being almost the end of a very eventful and interesting year, I gots to say something.
I think that in a fairly free society, you get the government you deserve. If there are aspects what has happened politically in America over these last twelve months, you only have so much room to gripe. Perhaps things are going the way you want. Well, then, good for you, that’s what it’s all about. On the other hand, if you are less than happy with events, many millions of people who could be considered like minded did not vote in the last elections. A lot of people don’t take those mid terms all that seriously. They’ll be taking the results very seriously very soon. For better for worse, America always brings it on itself. That’s not an opinion, that’s just a fact. You can point to anything that has happened to America and by the end of your research, you will find that things could have been different. From election results to even, yes, attacks on America. By the people, for the people. It’s a rough room.
As this year closes out, I am at the desk most of the day. I am on deadline for the photo book. I am determined to hand in the manuscript early next year. I think I can do it. The days are spent here, at this desk for as long as I can stand it. I take naps in this chair, momentary breaks to distract myself and whatever else I need to do to keep plugging away.
There was no radio show last night. KCRW was on autopilot. I guess that was the right thing to do. So many people want to be with friends and family, it would have been a drag to make them haul their jams to the station and do it to it for no one. There was no way I could let the week slip by without doing a show, so as some of you know, I made one here and posted it for free download. If you go to the site page and look to the left, you will see the place to get your free jams. I would like to thank all of you who have written in from all over the world telling me that you have checked out the show. I got a lot of requests to do another one. Are you kidding? No problem. I would do one of those once a week if I had the time. I will be getting together with Engineer X this week to do some work and will do another one with him at the controls so the quality of the thing will improve greatly. As much as the lo-tech approach appeals to me, I don’t like dead air between tracks, so I am hoping to get another one of those done with X, so we can make it seamless.
Like many of you, I am done with 2010. I am done with it mentally and actually can’t afford to do anything else than get ready for 2011. The schedule is starting to fill up and I have some plans I want to act on later in the year. I am in very early stages of all that but I think, if I can pull it off, you will dig the results.
One of the things that’s happening is a bunch of shows. Not only are there going to be the shows in NYC, DC and LA but also shows in Australia and North America. All that starts in March and goes through mid April. Dates are firming up an as soon as they confirm, we will post them.
Thanks for checking out the National Geographic Born To Rage? doc. We have shot another thing so far that I think will be out in a few months. As to what will be done in 2011 with Nat. Geo., I wait to be told and will let you know what I know when I know it.
I hope that you all had a Christmas that was to your liking. Like many people, I really don’t do holidays. I don’t mind the down time but as to the rituals, it’s just not my thang. I am not at war with Christmas by any means but it’s just another day, made annoying that the grocery store was closed.
The building I work in is a cold cement block. I am in one small room that I have a heater in. The rest of the place is a cold, dark expanse. So, from this small somewhat space, I will be at it until the work is done. I will leave it here as I am too distracted by the book work to think of anything else.
Thanks for reading this. Henry
12-26-10 1411 hrs. Los Angeles, CA
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