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Dreaming…

There is that time between Christmas and New Year when I am wanting to sense what the approaching year will bring.
I can feel gears shifting and am excited to feel out into what is coming;
this of course may be a phantom of my mind,
reacting to the illusion of the solar calender “end of year.”
But hey, it’s my mind and therefore my fantasy.

Anyway. I’m influenced by world events in this attempt at prediction. I wonder if others hold their breath while they scan the news for some huge event – a 9-11, a Tsunami – that really suggests a shift in the stakes.

But I’m just as influenced by what’s going on with me and my friends. Who’s sick, who’s had great news – breakdowns or breakthroughs.
I seem to be annually sick at this time of year. If you know me at all, you know that illness has been a major teacher, healer, pain in the arse in my life. One of the major benefits of moving to Topanga is that I have been very healthy.
This recent event is a rare outing.

Yesterday Lee mastered our new CD in London. We started it over 7 years ago and it’s been trundling along in the background ever since. It sounds fantastic. Everything has come together beautifully.
But, I was lying here in California, in agony (I’m not going into details); contrasting nicely with the elation I felt on hearing the tracks.
Labour pains? I felt like the 1950’s husband nervously pacing outside the maternity ward. Damn.
My champagne moment spoilt by real pain.
Many of my best moments in life have had that yin/yang balance. So what does that tell me about the coming year…..

So last night, I dreamt that I was with Jim Morrisson; just hanging out. In the dream, he told me I had a very short time to live; incurable, painful cancer. I decided to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
This choice was clear headed with no moral baggage getting in the way.
Do I want to die in loads of pain over a few months or shall I take responsibility and control over how my life end?

Now I’m unsure when the dream stopped and my awakening mind took over, but it went into great detail – saying goodbye to my loved ones, tying up loose ends, etc…
Knowing I had months to live in the dream, I started behaving from a more spontaneous instinctive place; a “fuck you” place.
I wrote from this place more and more directly and honestly about religion, politics, the world we human beings are creating and destroying. My usually carefully weighed up arguments, not wanting to unnecessarily upset those who believe in such institutions, were replaced by furious rants. Another character in me had control of the pen.
And the question arose in my mind – what would happen if I followed this characters direction, shared with people more directly from my being, without censor, in fact, with little regard for the recipient’s response…..?
I’m unsure of the answer. Would my life lead to a greater truth…?
Or just exile and loneliness; I think that’s my fear.
Actually I can see that in the last few years I have been coming more and more from that character in life and in writing: the darker lyrics of the last James CD are his footprint.

There is a book called “The Dice Man” which I read at 21.
It still has a hold in my psyche . The lead character makes decisions and chooses courses of action by rolling a dice.
He then accepts chance and consequence and the character it brings forth from himself.

Oh by the way.
The dream ended with a very exuberant life affirming
J
U
M
P.

Brixton, horse tranquilisers & swallow dives

The manager of the Brixton Academy, 15 years standing, said this was the best that he had seen us play and other kind words that would make a nun blush. All Larry’s previous days pain management efforts have come to nought. As he desperately climbs the food chain of tranquilisers from small child dose to horse and now we are in search of elephant stunguns… looking for relief from the fire that won’t go out.

Vip soundcheck: As a band we insisted upon these vip soundchecks because they were so successful in America. We enjoy the intimacy, humour and it focuses us. Best of all it relaxes us for the gig to come because we’ve already played a mini gig to some faces we will see again later. I’ll admit the initial idea was presented as a way to tour America without losing money this time, but its turned into something that we enjoy; and so far everyone who has been to one seems to think its wonderful too. So to ye naysayers check it out before you slag it off. In these high tech days where people no longer buy music, bands have to find more creative ways to survive. We will choose the ones that mix creativity with pleasure.

Once again we chose an insanely suicidal set list. This recent development was inspired by the American tour where we alternated 54 songs in increasingly bizarre orders and found much to our surprise that the audience loved it and we received the best reviews we have probably ever had. At the Hammersmith gig I thought we had lost the audience three quarters of the way through, only to realise it was part of my paranoid delusion. In Brixton Saul turned to me and said, “I don’t think we should play Don’t Wait That Long we’re losing them. ” Luckily James don’t have an efficient communication system worthy of its name and the set continued and was, dare I say it, fantastic. But this gives you an indication of how nervous we are playing to a British audience who we know many of whom have come to see the wham-bam-thankyou-mam Burger King James greatest hits and then get confronted with a 15 course meal at the Fat Duck (some hits of course included.)

By the way, in answer to the OneOftheThree.co.uk review suggesting we should rest Out To Get You, we’ve tried. But it’s still so alive as a song, and Saul’s solos are still so fresh and unexpected, that it’s impossible to do so.

I loved the gig so much that when I was standing on the crash barrier I allowed myself to swallow dive into the mosh. The last time I did that was in ’95 in the same venue. Thirty people went down under the crush. I realised that if someone had got injured, I would have felt responsible, so I haven’t done it since. I think our audiences are a little more conscious now. If you see me heading your way be gentle with me I bruise easily. I’ve always loved that image of Iggy Pop standing up walking out into the audience raised on peoples hands; well a boy can dream.

Captain’s Blog – Hospitals & Hammersmith

Well it wouldn’t feel right without last minute dramas.

Little goes smoothly in our world; hence “getting away with it all messed up”. After the marathon bus tour of the USA a 7 date UK tour looked like a spa. Then Larry’s rushed to hospital. His bad back of Porto becomes the prolapsed disc of Hammersmith. In rehearsal the day before, our focus is on what kind of set we can do without him; how desperate we became was reflected in me playing “Lookaway” on acoustic guitar.

As the night continues his prognosis and gung-ho hi-tech treatments become worse – an epidural, then an epidural with a general anaesthetic. He’s in agony unless prone. I ring the tour manager, the long suffering Thomas, to research getting a tip up bed we can put him in onstage. Larry’s pride won’t have so it’s suggested we all have our own beds; Solidarity, a highly original theme probably never realized before, for good reason. In the event a toxic overload of painkillers, alcohol and adrenalin – traditional rock and roll medicine get him through. I have never seen a dressing room clear so fast on the administration of a pain killing suppository. We have to stop him moving too much on stage in the next gigs. A chant of “Larry no, no, no, no, no Larry. No, no, no, no, no Larry” (to Johnny B Goode) is requested if he so much as puffs his chest into the pose of an axe hero.

Bring on Brixton.

Snow, dolphins and magical creatures

Unexpected snow that brings the country to a halt. Went out with some student friends for a snowball fight at 11pm. Groups charging each other and shouting, played on skateboard ramps and a children’s playground. Brings out the kid in me. I was stranded across town – no vehicles running. Walked 3 miles home with no complaint.

On my tweet I sent out a petition form to protect the dolphins slaughter linked to the documentary “The Cove” about the yearly Japanese slaughter of them.  I couldn’t watch the movie, it’s a slasher film. I’ve been swimming with Dolphins in the wild many times. I will eat most things. It’s the paradox of life – we kill to live. But there are some creatures off the menu.

Recently watched Beluga whales for hours – in a flippin’ zoo – with my kid. Now they clearly come from some magical realm that no longer exists, the realm that unicorns come from. I believe they are under threat and I’m amazed they still stick around.

In the name of Corpocracy we are destroying the creatures that make this planet an amazing home.

New Album

Blog.

Four letter word.
Never read one.
Never written one.

Looks like I will be maintaining one for the next few months. Will be beaten into submission if I don’t…

Lee Baker and I have been making this album for years. KK wrote some of the songs with me a while ago. Only now have the stars aligned……

Working title is “In the Palace of the Moon Princess” – it’s a quote from David Mitchell’s amazing new book “A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.” The title also fits with one of Lee’s original art works that I want to use as the cover. Terry Bickers plays some amazing guitar on a couple of tracks and while Lee was in LA we recorded the Silverlake chorus (a choir) on some tracks in my living room with us all wandering around the room singing random ecstatic lines. I LOVE it – hope I’m not alone.

I think Lee and I have deepened since Bone, or is that aged? No fillers. Should be out in the Spring. Watch out for my flyers at the upcoming James gigs and sign on to my mailing list and give feedback. About time I had my own website, check out the news page to see who I have to thank.

Once up and running our forum will be monitored!