Monday, February 9, 2009

Zane Musa Quartet

It was electric! Zane Musa has the divine mischief and syncopation of Monk, on the saxophone. He's like the reverse of a forklift-roadkill-death of a squirrel, barbecued and unstruck by lightning out of a canoe on the Snake River in Wyoming. 

 When he blows the molecules start doing their jobs better and people all over New York and Paris, snap up in bed in a cold sweat as he holds the tonic to bursting thresholds. 

I've been a fan of Zane's from Danny Masterson's Thursday night sessions at the Roosevelt in Hollywood. If you haven't heard Zane Musa then think of this as your new mission.

Back of Charlie O's coaster

Front of Charlie O's coaster

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Don't Be Frightened to Display Your Talents"

is an oblique strategy by Brian Eno. The Evangenitals recording engineer Tracy Chisholm has a deck of these in the studio. The Evangenitals, the Los Angeles band I play drums for, spent the whole weekend in the recording studio.

Because it was so ridiculously exciting and inspiring I thought I would share with you a revelation that I had about the recording process. When I thought about it deeper it really has to do with the creative process as a whole. Natalie Goldberg says in her incredible book WRITING DOWN THE BONES,

"First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something. The internal censor usually squelches them, so we live in the realm of second and third thoughts, thoughts on thought, twice and three times removed from the direct connection of the first fresh flash."

I remember hearing that Kerouac frowned upon revision and I found this in his biography at

"Kerouac's method was heavily influenced by the prolific explosion of Jazz, especially the Bebop genre established by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and others. Later, Kerouac would include ideas he developed in his Buddhist studies. He called this style Spontaneous Prose, a literary technique akin to stream of consciousness. Kerouac's motto was 'first-thought=best thought'"

The power of first thought energy is absolutely crucial in EVERY ART FORM. My revelation was that fearless resilience is needed to go from, WHEN THE RECORDING LIGHT IS ON, being free, in fearless first thought rapture of the timeless zone to, WHEN YOU ARE HEARING PLAYBACK OF THE RECORDING, being brutally honest, objective and analytic.  Then being able to switch between modes effortlessly and quickly with a SILENT EGO.

Many people develop a negative relationship with recording (making art) because they remain in their critical, analytic brain while they are creating. The critical brain annihilates first thought energy and the spontaneous joy of invention and cosmic mischief.

It is essential to be able to return to that PRIMAL and INNOCENT state when in the act of creation. This will free you from the fear of radiating your true and authentic self and the utterly terrifying depths of your latent talent.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The First Piano

I have been corresponding with Joe LaBarbera about the MFA program at Cal Arts and also to solicit advice about teachers and concerts in the area. I made a list of all the stuff that I am eager to learn, jazz, Afro-Cuban, rudiments, brushes, hip-hop, sight reading, etc. 

The first thing that he wrote back was that I should learn piano in addition to my pursuits as a drummer. This is a guy who toured the world with Bill Evans. He is a serious jazz drummer and jazz historian.

Because this advice should be SERIOUSLY and SOBERLY considered by every drummer, I am going to post another picture from my
pilgrimage to NEW YORK

 It is the world's first piano made by the guy who invented piano; Bortolomeo Cristofori. BE HAUNTED BY THIS IMAGE :)

Louis Armstrong's House

I'm on disk nine of the Ken Burns History of Jazz 10 DVD set. Even though it is a VERY mainstream slice of the highly dangerous and beautiful art form of jazz, one of the main things that I have taken from it is that Louis Armstrong is an American Bach. In the Court of King Oliver he is the successor of the throne. The improvisations and innovations of Armstrong spawned an entire art form, an entire way of understanding rhythm and melody.

Louis Armstrong is widely misunderstood as just a mere entertainer because of his showbiz aesthetic yet in fact he is a Patriarch of Jazz, a complete virtuoso and innovator on the trumpet, and a musical force so huge I now refer to him as the fountain head, or the Holy Grail.

I was in New York last weekend and I made a point to make a pilgrimage to his house in Queens. It was a sad tourist trap that should be converted into a temple/shrine and upheld with silence and reverence and yet it was still amazing to stand in his den and pay homage to the founder of jazz, the real King of Swing.

Here is a photograph that I took of his doorway because I was not allowed to take pictures inside. I think it is an appropriate metaphor somehow :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The word ISN'T describes Zen and Hinduism in one fell swoop. 

The paradox of IS being N'T is the crux of Zen.

 In Hinduism

and the apostrophe = BRAHMA, 

creating the universe out of the uncreated silence of Shiva to BE maintained by VISHNU the IS integrated and inseparable from it's own absence!