Category Archives: music

what have i done?

what have i done…

i performed shows in front of over 20,000 people…

i performed shows with more people on stage than in the audience…

i’ve written two novels (so far)…

i made a triple play single handed (in little league)…

i scored a goal with the back of my head (the only one i scored in over ten years playing soccer)…

i’ve been the subject of a documentary film…

i’ve been on television…

i made music for movies…

i sang on television commercials…

i’ve thrown drunk people out of my bar…

i’ve read poetry on the job as a bouncer…

i’ve been hit by a car (more than once)…

i tossed rowdy parents out of a little league baseball game…

i swam in three oceans…

i met many of my musical heroes…

i met a handful of my literary heroes…

i’ve seen a ghost (or what i thought was a ghost at the time)…

i’ve had heart surgery twice…

i’ve lived longer than the doctors thought i would…

i made friends with people who were supposed to be my enemies…

imade enemies of people who were supposed to be my friends…

i am still falling in love with my wife…

i’ve seen the inside of the human body…

i’ve nightmares…

i procrastinate (sometimes)…

i wrote a play (that has never been performed)…

i sang in the car at the top of my lungs…

i ate more than i should…

i drank a lot…

i smoked…

i left people who wanted to hurt my family in the past…

i graduated college without using a computer once…

i challenged myself to a duel…

i told my one of my favorite bands i should play drums on their next record, and i did…

i cried in public…

i crashed into my best friends car…

i saw air supply in concert…

i waited in line all night for concert tickets (not for air supply)…

i waited in line all night to see a movie…

i stayed up all night talking…

i stayed awake for three days working on music…

i lied to make myself feel better…

i lied to help someone i loved feel better…

i told the truth and hurt someone i cared about…

i’ve hated myself…

i’ve loved myself…

i’ve let people help me…

i tried to help others…

i’ve smiled at strangers…

i held on to anger…

i’ve let it go…

i’ve lost trust…

i found it again…

i’ve been truly happy being myself…

i lost too much time to fear…

i stared into the mirror and watched the freckles in my eyes turn into stars…

i’ve watched constellations ride from one horizon to the other…

i’ve looked into the sun until my toes ached…

i found faces hiding in cloud formations…

i tried counting raindrops…

i made snow angels…

and devils…

i blew all the air out of my lungs to take in a fresh breath…

i read a book so wonderful, i immediately started again from page one after the end…

i sang “you make me feel like a natural woman” in a karaoke bar…

i let my little cousin paint my toenails for my birthday and let them grow out…

i got a tattoo on my honeymoon…

i sang on frank sinatra’s microphone

i rode an elevator with lemmy…

i married my best friend…

i fell down stairs…

i watched fireworks with my kids laying down on a major league baseball outfield…

i watched my father breathe his last breath…

i haven’t been the same since…

i never expected life to turn out like this…

i colored outside the lines…

i stayed up too late…

i played by the rules…

i broke a a few laws…

i never meant to hurt anybody…

i ate the last piece of cake…

i saved a life…

i try to make a difference…

i never give up…

i talked too much…

i am too defensive…

i don’t believe in myself enough…

 

…to be continued…

6.7.16

-a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gutted

 

 

it’s the beginning of the month and i had every intention of posting a new edition of my newsletter today. sitting at the keyboard most of the day, staring at this white screen unable to summon any words… let alone thoughts that make any sense when put in sequence.

i am gutted.

sad.

lost.
i want to get to work, but i need to allow myself time to grieve for this wonderful experiment that unfortunately failed.

Booktrope basically gave me the opportunity to become a writer. what i mean is, i played with words most of my life as a side note. i never once expected or even thought of myself as an author. i performed and composed music, until eventually that music became songs with lyrics. some rhymed, some didn’t (which mightily pissed off more than one singer.)

books and poetry were a part of my life since childhood. there were books forever at my bedside and on tables regardless if they were school assignments. jots of a line here and a phrase there hidden on bent cornered inside covers of paperbacks brought me to the songs we eventually sang on stage in the various formations of my bands.

once the music was taken away from me, i disappeared. i crawled into a deep hole intent on damaging myself beyond repair. on the shove off the cliff suggestion of my wife, i started writing to stay creative. some of those small stories became a blog. i never expected anyone to read it other than myself, a few friends and former band mates.

Booktrope took notice of one of those short stories, expressed an interest and it eventually grew into my first novel, “the Key to everything”. one could make the suggestion that i could have done it myself. i could have found confidence inside to realize the story, find an editor, cover artist and self-publish on my own. sure. easy to say. not so easy to do for someone who never dreamed of it as a possibility in the first place.

this chapter has ended. finality. period at the end of the sentence. THE END. i am fighting to remain peaceful and positive though that is against my nature. i flip/flop from wanting to scream and throw my laptop against a wall one minute…the next i’m looking at my three published books on the shelf and smiling at all of the unexpected and wonderful things that have occurred over the past six years of my life.

none of the new friends i’ve made would be here if it weren’t for the opportunity provided by this subversive little publishing experiment. i wouldn’t be a member of ARIA (the Association of Rhode Island Authors) and know all of these terrific people i’ve come to consider a family of sorts. all of the horror writer communities i am now proud to be a part of. the independent authors who are always so supportive and fun to plot world domination with. the artists and editors and not to mention the readers! (i heard that someone even went so far as to get a tattoo of something from one of my books)

i spent my entire life making music and never sold more than a handful of records to friends and family. but now, people around the world have bought and read my books! imagine someone in Germany reading about my demonic squirrels. a Spaniard or two has visited my strange hospital room where a pregnant woman waits to give birth to something unspeakable… people in the United Kingdom are looking at the storm brewing sky hoping the sound in the distance is not Beethoven…

while struggling inside to figure out the next steps…i am deeply honored to have been chosen to begin this journey in the first place.

thanks for reading.

-a

5.2.16

p.s. these two songs have been running through my head every since the news landed on friday…

 

 

 

this particular addiction – 4.27.16

 

 

My head is always drumming. I can’t remember a time when the beats weren’t there. Speech patterns are instantaneously interpreted and mapped out on the mind drumkit. The rise and fall of pitch moves up and down the toms and cymbals for accent. Quarter, half, dotted eighth notes are written down on the flowing pages of imaginary scoring sheets. A lifetime’s worth of rhythm stored in the file folders behind my mind.

I took my first drum lesson at the age of ten. I remember it so clearly… Going through a nearly hidden doorway in the wall of guitars and basses, passing by a glass counter top displaying sticks, metronomes, pedals, pads and music books until finally entering the tiny, sound proofed room in the back of Action Drum & Guitar that would become my second home. Walls covered with posters and torn out pages from music magazines. Photos of famous drummers and percussionists lit up by colorful stage lights, sweat dripping from foreheads lined with concentration and the strain of athletic effort. Growing familiar with their names and faces over the years, my record/cassette/cd collections filled by their discographies.

4-27-16 this particular addiction heartdrums

Thin as a rail, all of eighteen or nineteen years old, my teacher seemed an experienced adult filled with sage advice about not only how to hold a drumstick, but how to talk to girls and be the ever elusive and desirable “cool”. My small blue notebook filled quickly with rudiments and patterns appearing similar to hieroglyphics to the untrained eye…

Single Stroke Roll = RLRL RLRL

Double Stroke Roll = RRLL RRLL

Paradiddle = RLRR LRLL

Flamadiddle = lRLRR rLRLL

I became an initiate into an ancient and powerful brotherhood. Historically, tribes only allowed Kings to play certain rhythms. Drums were the first instrument. Drums mimicked the heartbeat. The rhythm of all life existing around the world. Village boundaries were defined by how far away the drum could be heard. Drums played an integral stone in the architecture of human history.

Signed, sealed, delivered I was all in. Though I haven’t been able to play my drums for a few years now, I am still in. I always will be. When I close my eyes to sleep, my first dreams are of playing drums. I sit at the kit meditating on life and the groove of it all. Similar in many ways to being an alcoholic, once a drummer…always a drummer. Fortunately this particular addiction is not life threatening.

There is no moderation to the way my mind accesses this way of being. Everything stems from and returns to the drum. The tempo of walking. Footfalls in the snow. Teeth chewing. Breathing in and out. Keys typing on the keyboard. All of these are patterns. All of these patterns have rhythm. All of these rhythms are drumming.

mindrums (actually this is Terry Bozzio's setup, but it's the closest thing to what is inside my head)
min(d)rums
(his is Terry Bozzio’s real setup, but it’s the closest thing to what’s playing inside my head)

People live their lives in rhythms. They quite literally “walk to the beat of their own drum”. Some rhythms complement each other while others fall out of sync. Have you ever had a conversation with some one new and nothing you or they said seemed to fall in place? Then you meet someone else and every word flows smooth as dancing. Those rhythms are what create friendships, even romance.

I have an application installed on my laptop to create the sounds of an old typewriter when I type so I can hear each rhythm the words/sentences/paragraphs/stories create. Every story is a unique and wonderful set of grooves to my ears. I feel their dance. When they don’t work, I stumble and fall along with them.

Most of my closest friends are musicians. Many of them drummers. Trained or not, professional or hobbyist, we all speak the same language that pulses beneath the words we actually say. There is a knowledge there that brings us together. Birds of a feather… We, as humans, enjoy the company of people who understand the world in similar ways to ourselves.

Now, in the virtual world of Facebook and Twitter, the friendships I have found are mostly lovers of the written word. Poets, novelists, readers in addition to those of us who enjoy geeking out on our various types of fandom. While the rhythms of our conversations are heard one-sided while I’m reading the posts or stories they write, there is a definite shared background that can be felt like a musical groove.

I used to be able to associate people with certain types of grooves. My Algebra 2 teacher in high school always made me hear a disjointed, a-rhythmical pattern in my head. But sitting in English class, I’d be tapping my pen on the desk so much, Mr. Scheff took them away from me nearly every day.

I often wondered if other people heard or felt people in specific ways like I did. The memory of the smell of lilacs or the light blue tint from a stained glass window in a church during winter. I can still play some of those people rhythms on the table with my hands. Others are gone. Lost in the back of my mind behind far more important things like Saturday morning TV show theme songs and commercial jingles.

Whether I am performing or not anymore, the drumming is always there. I have a feeling it will play under the tinnitus in my ears until everything else goes away. I don’t view that as a negative. It’s rather comforting in fact. I love the drums. I love rhythm. It pulled me in as a little kid and hasn’t let get yet… and I don’t want it to.

a.m.k.

4.27.16

writingmusicOST3.16

here’s a playlist of some music i’ve been listening to while working over the last month or so.

(please don’t picture me dancing. it’s unpleasant.)

here’s some of the the albums i couldn’t find on SPOTIFY…

The Gary Burton Quintet with Eberhard Weber

Ring

Ring

Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus

Wayward Sons

Wayward sons

Matthew Revert & Vanessa Rossetto

Earnest Rubbish

Earnest Rubbish

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Everybody’s Talkin’

Everybody's Talkin'

The Joy Formidable

Hitch

Hitch

en joy – alex