The Revolution Has BegunÖ
An Open LetterÖ
I find that I have been amusing myself lately. I have noticed that I do that. Is that wrong? Iím not so sure anymore. I used to think that it might be wrong, but now I am tending to side with the idea that you have to be able to amuse yourself if you have any hopes of amusing anyone else.
I am afraid that I have become some sort of damaged goods, monkey. I am afraid that in this relentless pursuit of mine, I might have crossed some lines better left uncrossed. Iím afraid of this because I donít know. But, I guess you never really do, do you?
If you try hard enough, you can destroy all possibilities by focusing on possibilities. If you try hard enough, you can build something that keeps everyone and everything at bay. Problem is, after a time you lose track of whom is a friend and who is an enemy. Everyone gets the spear.
I have quite a stack of bodies now, Monkey. I have a long list of casualties.
"Casualties" is a fun word if you really look at it, isnít it Monkey? The word expresses victims. It expresses someone caught in the crossfire. But, at the same time, you canít escape the fact that the word "casual" hides in it. Itís relaxed, itís nothing.
Anyways, I once again find myself envious of you. I once again find myself wishing that I was the one just worried about day to day.
Today I moved back into my old neighborhood Monkey. The second only other place I would rather be then with you.
Today I came home. I like that. I like that a lot. I have come home and it feels very good. I have returned to the place that I love the most. You have your trees, I have my concrete roof and a space that I can finally call my own.
Did you read last months reprisal Monkey?
Boy oh boy, did that cause a little bit of a stir. A lot of a stir actually.
I canít help but wonder to myself, after all the comments and e-mails, I wonder If the guy who wrote silence of the lambs was ever called crazy?
You write one story that walks up to the edges of sanity, and all of a sudden thereís something wrong with your head.
There may beÖ
But the sad fact of the matter is that people no longer seem to be able to recognize a work of fiction. Not all people, just some. But nonethelessÖ
People seem to feel a need to make everything that a person they know writes about them. And egocentric species we are Monkey. If I had the inclination, I would tell you how many people took last months effort not only as a pseudo literal thing through which to gauge my personal sanity, but as a personal attack, you would laugh, Iím sure. You make a little comment about the weakness of people, and all of a sudden, everyone thinks that you are referring to them directly.
So before you start worrying Monkey, I want you to know that nothing I said was about you.
Iím sure you know that, but since so many have seemed to find cause to worry about such silliness, I feel the need to state it for the record and all.
Enough about me though.
I hear things have been going not so well on the island lately. I hear rumors that displease me. I did after all leave you in charge, and you have to keep a good eye on those spider monkey friends of ours. It isnít time yet, you and I both know that.
I hear that things have been difficult lately. I hear a lot of things that people donít think I hear. I have always been funny like that.
I will say that I worry about you a good deal. You have your ways of doing things, but at the same time, I hear of all these risks that you take and I worry. I know that you are trying to tell yourself that you have things well under control, but at the same time, I know that you are still afraid. You have been one of the few to know me quite well, and there is a closeness, despite our geographical separation, that lives in that.
I havenít heard from you in a while. Perhaps you are busy. Perhaps you have things in your life that require your immediate attention. Iím not sure. I wish I was. I suppose what I want you to know is that I have expressed my belief in you before, and that has not changed.
I hope a poacher hasnít gotten a hold of you.
You never really see them coming I suppose. But at the same time, you are one of my favorites, and I would hate to see you taken easily. I like to think of you as the type that would go kicking and screaming. That wouldnít just accept the obvious excuse as truth.
You always were a fighter.
And I hope you still are.
Anyways, I have rambled for long enough. I really do hope that I will hear from you soon. I really do hope that you are OK. If you could take the time to let me know, It would mean a great deal to me.
The Amazing Monkey BoyÖ
Red, The Blood Of Angry MenÖ
He says so much from his little box.
The years have not been kind to him, I canít help but think. Thatís the funny thing though, he still has that resistance he has always had. Even though he'í still bleeding fresh, I canít help but be amazed at his resiliency. He still has that fire in his eyes.
Itís amazing how submission and defiance can loom so similar. Theyíre not that far apart I think. Close neighbours at the very least. Perhaps they occaisionally argue who is keeping better care of their respective lawns.
I think about all this as I look at him kept so nicely, yet so crushingly. And from the winds she asks me if I could ever bend my back like his. I have a hard time coming up with an answer. I could go for the obvious sympathy play and suggest that it was bent like that a long time ago.
I donít though.
I find that these days, sometimes the best response is simply no response at all.
And still, I have a hard time taking my eyes off of him. I donít think I have ever seen anyone that I would so like to be like. Completely beaten, but defiant. Caged and owned, but refusing to accept that as the end.
Iím sure he would never realize what a role model he is to me. Iím sure he would, if he could spare the strength from his struggles, laugh at the idea that I, in all of my freedom, respect him more than I could ever say. But thatís half the point I suppose. Itís not about whether or not heís trying to impress anyone. Itís not about him trying to have some effect on me. Heís doing what he does based on survival alone.
I wish I could say the same.
I would like to think that from him. I will learn that from him. That uncompromising drive.
In the end, who knows. Rather than come up with some sort of meaningful answer, I simply drink my watered down beverage, and try to figure out how it is that I can take myself home tonight, wherever that isÖ
Thank You NikkiÖ
Back to The Beginning.
A Lot has people have asked me how I started into this. There are the usual run of the mill answers about how I may or may not have sung in the church choir as a child, how I may or may not have taken piano lessons from what seemed at the time from a crazy English woman who kept her house altogether to dark and had an overabundant collection of stuffed animals. I could tell the story that despite my never having learned thing one about theory, or having never been able to retain any understanding of how to read sheet music of any fashion except the things that I write down or draw to try an remember what exactly it is that I may have just played, I have always needed to play and sing.
People ask me two questions about this thing that I do. The first is invariably why. That answer, if not obvious, is for only those that know me best or have the patience and inclination to try and figure it out.
The other question is how I got started actually playing in a band. I have always had a sneaking suspicion that the story is actually a bit of a let down once told, but this is my little space to do with what I want.
As always, no one is forcing you to read this by holding a gun to your head. Well, not yet anyway, but oh, on that sweet, sweet dayÖ
Always with the musicians and the vansÖ
When I was eighteen, I took part in a program that was designed to bring the day camp experience to small rural communities. Iím not sure how many people applied for the job, but I do know that two teams of two were put together, and by fate or whatever particular force you or I choose to believe in, I was paired with Dunstan. Dunstan was my age and t he son of a preacher. I was a far cry from the son of a preacher, although my fathers chosen occupation does indeed rhyme with the word.
Thatís the first time I have ever noticed that. How oddÖ
Dunstan was a rawk guitarist, and he even had his own band. They were a Christian band with absolutely terrible lyrics and music that came straight out of eighties hair, but the fact of the matter is that I thought what Dunstan was doing was pretty fucking cool. Largely because it was something that I had always wanted to do, but had never had the courage out of the fear that stops so many of us from doing the things that we want.
What if someone laughed at me?
The insecurities that prey on us never cease to amaze me. I was so insecure that I did everything I could do to not let on that I was fascinated by the fact that Dunstan could play guitar, not only that, but play it in front of people.
So the summer went by.
We did the day camps, for most of the summer, saw a lot of cool things, and hopefully gave some kids a slightly brighter summer.
At the very least, we got to play with one of those big ass parachute things. Always loved those, as far back as I can remember.
So one day while driving I popped in a tape (whoops, there I go dating myselfÖ), and it was one of my favorite bands, Live had just started to get big, and throwing copper was one of my favorite tapes at the time.
So there we were driving through miles of prairie (itís a long drive from Oyen to Calgary when all you have to look at is fields, sure many poems have been written about the "glorious farmlands" and such, but when you get down to it, after a while it all starts to look like just a bunch of fucking grass), and I was convinced Dunstan was asleep in the back of the van.
So I started singing along. Generally I only did this on long walks in the country where I was sure no one would hear, but I knew Dunstan slept with earphones on and metal blaring, so I figured I was safe.
Iím not sure if it was because Dunstan wasnít actually asleep, or if I got a little carried away, but the end result was that he came up into the front of the van (almost scaring me to death and sending the van over the edge of the road into oncoming traffic which would have ended this story quite early).
So he comes up into the front seat, sits down and we both break out into hysterical laughter over the fact he made me jump so high (again almost ending in our deaths because my eyes kept watering up). Once things had dies down, he turned the music down, and looking straight down the road, simply asked, "So, do you wanna be in my band, I need a singer".
Initially I thought he was joking. He wasnít.
Ironically enough, in the next town, we met a kindly old grandmother who was what I would easily argue to be one of the best guitarists alive, arthric hands and all, if she is still alive. She sold me my first guitar for $50.
The first song I ever learned was U2ís "Running to stand still".
Three chords and the truth sorta stuck with me.
When we got back to Calgary, we began rehearsals, played some local shows, did a small southern Alberta tour, and hot back home.
People say that girlfriends in bands are a bad idea. I agree. Dunstans girlfriend was in the band, and she and I did not get along in the slightest.
Eventually we realized it was best to go our separate ways. Iím not sure what ever happened to the rest of the band. I do know that Dunstan moved to Europe and is now an amazing guitar player, working his way up the list, and soon to be in the top 10 at the very least, in Canada.
And he cut his hair.
I was a fan of that move.
I keep playing because itís in my blood now. What I found in music was something I have never found anywhere else, and I intend to keep doing it until either I stop or somebody stops me.
But theyíll have to work real hard at that I think.
The Revolution Has Begun
I am sick and tired of the way that music has been treated over the last 10 years. I have been building up for this for quite some time. I am tired of the talk. I am tired of the fact that music is about the bottom dollar. Bars are taking less and less live music these days, because it just isnít cost efficient when then can have cheaper versions and less people show up. Everyone seems to be just giving up on the lower end of things. No one cares about the people just getting started, and bands come and go faster than menu items at McDonalds. Bars will only bring in 1 band because they canít afford 2 or 3 that can draw a crowd. So the scene shrinks. The bars lose faith, the audiences lose faith and most tragic enough, the artists loose faith.
So now itís time to change things up.
I am building an army. Itís only a guerilla force as of yet, but is growing, and some of the best minds that there are in this city are in it. There are no ranks, there are no levels, there is only one goal.
We are going to use the weapons you gave us. We are going to use the lies you sold us, sharpen them, and return them to you sharpest possible end first. We are going to come out of the places that you know so well. And well we show you that we will not be turned up. We will be heard. Our cause will taste victory.
The Revolution is here. The time of begging and pleading has passed. We will force that which you want so desperately with the force of a thousand singers never given voice because of how you do things straight down your throats.
There are those of you who know you are our allies, there are those of you who might thing yourselves enemies or targets. You have nothing to fear. Our war is not against any one person, but rather idea and thoughts that have poisend what music should be. Our war is with the status quo. Our war is with apathy.
Our war is with product that diguises itself as music, when really all they do is try to sell us someone that we want that we could be more like. Better yet, that we think that could be like because thatís what we have been told.
The Revolution is here. The only sides are this. Either you want to see a live scene in this city like you never have before, or you donít. If you do, then for Gods sake, take one night a week and go see a band, any band (preferably the shows that the bands that have chosen to join our little insurrection, but thatís just a given, right?). If you donít care about the live scene, and you donít suppoty the venues that do support music.
If you donít I suggest you immediately go to your nearest Dr. You are suffering from something called cranial/rectal inversion, and Iím told with surgery, it can in fact be fixed.
As always, love more hate meÖnate@natepike.com