Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A short review of Henry Rollin's book Solipsist

This year my plan is to read most if not all of Henry Rollin's books.

I just finished Henry Rollins book Solipsist, 166 pages. I wanted to get in a few words – to share a brief review. Overall the book is solid. It is entertaining to a degree, but the sentences were boring. Almost all of the sentences began with I or me. Why not, take a look at the title, which means that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified. There were three segments I heard on some of his CD’s so they were not shocking and were different from the ego driven ejaculations on most the pages. Still, it’s a good book which drums up internal conflicts over and over again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Henry Rollins interview - On John Coltrane

Mike, hi. Here's the answers to your questions


When was the first time you heard Coltrane, who introduced you to his music?

===== My mother had Coltrane records and Miles records with Coltrane on them.



How did Coltrane influence your music and writing?

===== He didn't really. I am not a musician. I have written a lot of songs but it's just to get the words out. I always admired Coltrane for his truth and his purity. He was really going for something. He is inspiring because you can tell every moment he plays is sincere. I have never heard anything like it.


Since Coltrane wrote about his spiritual journey, can you relate to it?

======= No. I have no spiritual feelings at all.


I know you have your favorite albums that you continue to go back to. How often do you listen to Coltrane and what album do you continue to return to?

======== I listen to Coltrane often. I like the later material the best. '64 to the end. I do like the Atlantic period as well though. What I like most is the tone that he developed later on. Very distinctive.


You recorded with Rashied Ali, how did you arrange this?

========= I contacted him via Charles Gayle.


If you had to make a choice Eric Dolphy or Coltrane? Why?

====== I think Coltrane was more impressive compositionally and melodically. He was also more prolific. I think he influenced Coltrane more than the other way around. Both of them were obviously brilliant.


As a record collector, what is the rarest Coltrane album you own?

======= I don't have many rare Jazz records.


Are there any modern jazz artists you follow?

========== Not really.

thanks

Henry

A Stillness before the Hurricane


8/27/11
It’s raining lightly outside, quiet except for the idling train which will make one of its last rides for the day. Stopping service on the LIRR is unprecedented. Services will be suspended at noon on MTA, Metro North and the subways are part of the plans to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Flights to and from New York and Philadelphia are cancelled. More than 2.6 million people will be affected. Most events in the area if not all events have been cancelled, including my nephew’s birthday party which was supposed to take place tomorrow. Our church sent an email to cancel service. But I’ve been trying to brush this off. Even yesterday morning on the commute into work I thought Ralph the conductor was overreacting when he said he bought a chunk of dry ice for the freezer, in case the power goes out. Then I learned Long Island is due for a direct hit. The center of the storm is supposed to strike. My mind slowly accepted the stark reality - this can be a cataclysmic event. As I type, I feel as though this could be some of the last words I share with you; since the experts are telling us this will be more severe than Hurricane Katrina. We have batteries and food. We have each other, but the idea of losing the roof or the siding is a possibility, I cannot accept losing my wife or children. I look at the trees outside and am taking before and after photographs in my mind. There are calls for mandatory evacuations in Jersey and parts of the coast of New York, including parts of the city and of course Long Island. Last night, when the president came on TV and warned us, “All indications point to this being an historic hurricane,” that's when I looked at Ali and said, "we're in for it." There has been some overreaction , The Jets cancelled their only free practice at Hofstra on Thursday, the bank was closed this morning. The county executives made robo calls on Thursday to be prepared for the hurricane. Before I started writing, there was a message from our home insurance company, warning us and to take preventive actions, bring in garbage cans – into the house or garage, and if you have to file a claim here’s the number to call. When I went to get my hair cut and planned to go to the bank, which I mentioned was closed. I passed stores that were taping their wide store front glass. One store was bordered up, a gas station ran out of gas and there are lines at the stations and the ATM machines. Get cash! Panic has settled into our summer. What will it be like after it passes? The experts agree it will hit us late tonight, so we’d be deep in sleep…maybe. Our shed outside will take a hit and I expect it will collapse and then I can see the old garage will go down. The furniture is removed off the deck, the gas tank for the grill is disconnected and in the garage and we wait. I have my beers and books. It’s quiet outside at 11:44 in the morning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My wife has cancer


My previous post was a review of Bob Mould’s book. It’s been a few weeks since I posted a real entry. My wife was diagnosed with cancer back in June, and I’ve kept a journal that may be too personal at this time to share. Ali is in a great position as per her oncologist, DR. Michael Pearl. We went into surgery with hope that it was just cancer of the uterus. Just cancer is an oxymoron, but for a woman if she is diagnosed with any cancer this is the one to have, it is highly treatable, once removed, there is no need for further treatment. But after a full hysterectomy, Dr. Peal took my mother-in-law and me into a small room, and shared what he saw.
“I don’t have good news.”
Ali had a tumor in her ovaries; the cancer broke through the wall of the uterus and grew in the ovaries; as well as another small tumor about the size of the tip of a thumb in her left pelvic area. This would categorize her cancer as a stage four. She started chemo a few weeks ago and is due for another session on Thursday. She will lose all of her hair, but she cut off most of it before our trip. Ali is also participating in a clinical trial, and we’re confident she is getting the best care and the cancer is contained and yet I’m worried. We’re receiving so much support and love from family, friends and work, but no one can really touch on the wave of emotions we are coping with.
A vacation is what was needed, a break from reality. These past two weeks have been spent in Orlando at Ali’s aunt and uncle’s house in Orlando. The house feels as if it has been dropped in the thick woods, through the trees I was able to see the lake as I sat at the pool side. I’m writing this at her Uncle Phil’s condo in Hilton Head, across the street from the Atlantic, where we spent yesterday morning. We had four days at Disney, in all of the parks and travelled to Savannah from here, to see the beautiful city. Our minivan is holding up very well on this trip. There’s been some napping and laughs, but most of all we’re together. I have seen how our kids make Ali laugh and how they have grown and developed into individuals. Bella is the youngest, but she’s the toughest. Joe is very close to Ali and has rarely left her side or site.
In a few hours we will drive up to Richmond to spend the night and to see the confederate capitol. We’ll be home tomorrow night and on Wednesday morning I will be back at work. We are doing fine and with faith we know all things are possible through God.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review Of Bob Mould's autobiography

I never saw Husker Du; I had a copy of Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. The second album is one of my favorites. I saw Bob perform a few years ago in Irving Plaza; the last time was at a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, where performers played REM songs. He came on the stage, plugged in his guitar and kicked ass in his rendition of, “Sitting Still.” I read Bob Mould’s autobiography See a Little Light. This is one autobiography I wanted to read, so when I saw it on sale at the Borders which is closing like the others across the country, I bought it. I don’t believe I’m a fan of this form of writing, I expect the worst. There is a strange balance when reading an autobiography, between the sense the writer is self indulgent and narcissistic to perhaps sharing struggles that inspire. I’m writing this a couple of days after finishing the book, but my first thought would tip the scale towards self indulgent. Mould has many issues he is honest but cautious addressing, there is a sense he is not being too open. He is a professional and knows what buttons to push for the public, but keeps his soul.
When writing fiction one of the rules is to create a character that people will admire. When writing an autobiography the writer should consider how they come across to the reader. I didn’t labor through the almost 400 pages, but I wish Mr. Mould would elaborate more on his emotions. The book is a series of relationships, events as well as synopsis of his songs and life at the time the songs were composed. Being a fan of Husker Du there are stories of the struggling band, barely enough to eat and earning pittance. The story of their break up is chronicled in the book; it was not Grant’s addiction to heroin. The band signed a contract with Warner and that was the beginning of the end. The band became a job. Egos played and still play a part that keeps the band in the past without a hope they’ll reform. Let’s see, since money motivates. The money Husker Du earned intoxicated Mould though he gave up drinking at 25.
Mould struggled to hide his homosexuality for years till he agreed to address it in an article in Spin. He was upset for the way he was portrayed since he said he was not like most gays, in other words he was and is not an effeminate male. I think his coming out was a way to promote his new band Sugar and to rid the Husker Du past. He shares his desire for the burly men - even military porn, as well as some episodes that I felt were leaning towards indulgencies, but without sharing too much of his motivations, other than going through some “dark” times. Most of his relationships with men are long lasting. He moves fairly frequently, from his upstate New York hometown to college and a young career in Minneapolis to Hoboken, then across the river to New York City off to Austin and to DC and finally to San Francisco. His music like his moves has developed - even influenced his personality. He currently DJ’s for a certain group of burly men, referred to as bears. But I’m disappointed to learn he’s sort of retired from performing with a band.
Would I recommend this book? I would, I cared for the SST stories and Black Flag plays a part in Mould’s past. The early days are well chronicled, but this book could have been shorter.

Review Of Bob Mould's autobiography

I never saw Husker Du; I had a copy of Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. The second album is one of my favorites. I saw Bob perform a few years ago in Irving Plaza; the last time was at a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, where performers played REM songs. He came on the stage, plugged in his guitar and kicked ass in his rendition of, “Sitting Still.” I read Bob Mould’s autobiography See a Little Light. This is one autobiography I wanted to read, so when I saw it on sale at the Borders which is closing like the others across the country, I bought it. I don’t believe I’m a fan of this form of writing, I expect the worst. There is a strange balance when reading an autobiography, between the sense the writer is self indulgent and narcissistic to perhaps sharing struggles that inspire. I’m writing this a couple of days after finishing the book, but my first thought would tip the scale towards self indulgent. Mould has many issues he is honest but cautious addressing, there is a sense he is not being too open. He is a professional and knows what buttons to push for the public, but keeps his soul.
When writing fiction one of the rules is to create a character that people will admire. When writing an autobiography the writer should consider how they come across to the reader. I didn’t labor through the almost 400 pages, but I wish Mr. Mould would elaborate more on his emotions. The book is a series of relationships, events as well as synopsis of his songs and life at the time the songs were composed. Being a fan of Husker Du there are stories of the struggling band, barely enough to eat and earning pittance. The story of their break up is chronicled in the book; it was not Grant’s addiction to heroin. The band signed a contract with Warner and that was the beginning of the end. The band became a job. Egos played and still play a part that keeps the band in the past without a hope they’ll reform. Let’s see, since money motivates. The money Husker Du earned intoxicated Mould though he gave up drinking at 25.
Mould struggled to hide his homosexuality for years till he agreed to address it in an article in Spin. He was upset for the way he was portrayed since he said he was not like most gays, in other words he was and is not an effeminate male. I think his coming out was a way to promote his new band Sugar and to rid the Husker Du past. He shares his desire for the burly men - even military porn, as well as some episodes that I felt were leaning towards indulgencies, but without sharing too much of his motivations, other than going through some “dark” times. Most of his relationships with men are long lasting. He moves fairly frequently, from his upstate New York hometown to college and a young career in Minneapolis to Hoboken, then across the river to New York City off to Austin and to DC and finally to San Francisco. His music like his moves has developed - even influenced his personality. He currently DJ’s for a certain group of burly men, referred to as bears. But I’m disappointed to learn he’s sort of retired from performing with a band.
Would I recommend this book? I would, I cared for the SST stories and Black Flag plays a part in Mould’s past. The early days are well chronicled, but this book could have been shorter.