Friday, July 02, 2010

Ideas and blogs and questions

I'm toying with the idea of starting my own blog. To get me back in the habit of letting my musings escape the confines of my cranium.

I recently realized the sad trajectory of my writing habit/dependency:

1993-2001: wrote in journal 2-3 times a week.
2001-2008: realizing that I love an audience, I begin phasing out journal writing and save myself for the Aloha Steamtrain gig diary and then this here Rockumentary. Journal is lucky if I touch it 5 times a year.
2008 present: Facebook. Writings are reduced to 3-5 sentences followed by waiting for instant results. This is horrible. Also, Googlechat or Facebookchat--there's something about chatting with a couple people in particular that bring out a slew of rapid fire ideas. I wish I was on a writing team for a successful show or creative team for some company that met only by chat.

In any case, yeah. (that last "nothing" sentence may in fact be the title of the blog) maybe I'll start my own blog. Do people still read blogs? Mine would have a loose focus. If you've noticed, I like writing about music. And relating it to my life. Music and me--my two favorite things to talk about.
I'd also try to hash out ideas. I'd like to sell ideas to people that would do something with them. For top dollar. Hee.

The good thing about a blog is that it's dated. So say I talk about this idea or that idea and a year later, that idea exists and no one consulted me, I'd perhaps have a case. Would that stand up in court?

Maybe my blog would be dedicated to ideas for things that I'll probably not do. Or forget about. I figure if an idea still floats in my head a couple years after the initial flash of inspiration, it's probably not a bad idea.

Here are three ideas:

1) The Ask Me Button Game--you buy a box of, say, 50 buttons (or pins or badges, whatever you call them). They each have a different Ask Me message on them. "Ask me what I did after my prom". Or "Ask me where I'd go if I could retire today" or "Ask me what instrument do I wish I was a master of" and when you have a party, everyone gets one. Maybe every 20 minutes you get a new one. That way, the guests, especially the shy ones, get talking about things other than their jobs.

2) 1966-74: The Book. So many mixes I make seem to have those years as a parameter. Why? I believe those are the 8 years when rock and roll existed as an unabashed, unselfconscious, forward thinking entity. The artists believed in it, the critics were on their side. And there are only a handful (relatively) of songwriters/artists who created and released their stuff through that entire span. Flying by the seat of their pants, trying and failing, changing people's lives, changing the culture, and being taken seriously. I'd focus on maybe half American songwriters (Dylan, Reed, Simon, Wilson, Young...) and half UK (Lennon, Mccartney (separately) Jagger/Richards (together), Townshend, Davies, Van Morrison...).
There are patterns that many of them followed: styles, spirituality, drugs, ambition, burnout.. That'd be my focus.

3) Dark Star video game--I'm not a video game guy, and I'm a fair weather Grateful Dead fan. But one thing that never fails to intrigue me is how between 1969-74, the band played the song Dark Star about 200 times, each averaging about 25 minutes, and each totally different, save the vocal part. Online, one can see many many writings, lists, etc about it. I've cross referenced lists and have tracked down most of what people say are "the best" versions. Usually this entails a particularly chaotic noise/feedback section (usually between the first and second verse, or about 15 minutes in), a pretty, pretty spacy, airy part, an unexpected and inspired riff that changes the direction of things, an unexpected jam that happened for the first time (aka "Feelin' Groovy" or "Tighten Up"), or (mostly) inexplicable musical blends that makes you think "what the hell kind of music IS this? Bebop drumming, bass drones, jagged rhythm guitar and bluegrass banjo licks played on the lead guitar with a wah pedal?"
In any case, I discovered about two years ago that I enjoy listening to the Dead--or some eras of them--while driving long distances, which I do a lot. (going against the popular notion that one has to be high and in a big crowd to "get" their music. I'm totally straight and alone when I dig the Dead).
Driving and listening to one version of Dark Star, I came up with a video game idea. Navigating a musical landscape based on several "famous" versions of the tune. Of course, one cannot actually improvise in real time in a video game, but one can program thousands of possibilities, which is pretty much enough. I think Deadheads and many others could go for it. And the more I read about the band, the more "closeted" fans I discover. Ones who just don't wanna get involved "in that scene" but secretly seek out certain things, which leads to more and more...luckily, I've drawn a pretty stern line in the sand at what I do not and never will like.

well, then. Hi and Bye. Let's see where this leads. Maybe this will also serve as the introductory entry in my new blog. Make a seamless segue....?


Tom said...


dennis said...

i always enjoy reading what you write and would of course enjoy more of it.