sb.JPG Musician's Diary 2000     back

 

 

sbportrait2.jpg (10308 bytes)

 

Jump to a specific date this week

Monday May 29 
Tuesday May
 30
Wednesday May 31  
Thursday
June 1
Friday June 2

Saturday
June 3
Sunday
June 4  

Previous weeks  

read the archive

back


Monday May 29

My public diary has been dark for the past few weeks. This is not because there has been a lack of interesting activity in my Pelota life. It is because there has been an intense load of extremely interesting, but confidential, activity. 90% of my energy has been pouring into the growing organism that is BootlegTV. Both the pace and the growth has been incredible. The other 10% of my energy has been pouring into the three bands that I play with: Seattle Guitar Circle, SB Roadshow, and the Brock Pytel Band. 

What, am I stooopid?  Perhaps.

Since my last entry, the world has turned cartwheels. Those closest to me (Curt, Dean, Bob, Jax, Bill) know that the world I live in is and always will be insanely full of activities and ambitions. And the pace goes in cycles.   I happen to be in the up part of the curve this year.  

Much of what I do involves transforming the impossible into the possible. Currently, I am earning my PhD in the Impossible. Doctor of the Impossible.  It has been a bit of a surreal few weeks: I was in an office recently that housed a life-size model of Jerry Garcia next to a life size model of R2D2. Ive already probably said too much. Hope Marc Geiger does not read this diary. Bet he does though.  Mark is very smart. And he really means well. Smoochy smoochy.

* * *

Received a very complementary mail from Matt Bruno last week. Im honored that such a talented guy had a good time at the SBRS show last week. Hope he comes to check out the SGC sometime soon.

* * *

There are so many potentially-interesting stories I could tell in these pages, most of which would only get me into trouble with my friends, co-workers, and complete strangers: 

sitting next to Karen at the CGT/Tony Levin show, soap-operas in the BTV office, a weekend retreat with 6 of the most motivated, aspiring guitar players on the planet, a visit to TellMe (and my old friend, Sanford Ponder), my impressions of California women compared to Washington women, how much I miss Argentina, CGT visiting Medina for a week, SGC on the excellent KCMU radio show, then the bogus cable access show, dinner with Carrie Akre, Barbara Mitchell, Charlie Hewitt, and Elizabeth Dameron at Gordon Biersh with Jon Auer singing in the background, a day trip to Vancouver to meet with an Athens, GA legend, an inspiring day-seminar with sister-Fripp, a presentation to the MDV board, complete with shiny props provided by DavidLV, attempting to tune Peter Murphy's 12-string guitar in a deafening backstage green room, a stellar SGC show at folklife, and a potentially life-changing meeting on Sand Point Road. But these stories have no place in this public forum. 

Yet.     

* * *

SGC at I-Spy, many weeks ago - 
Thanks to Travis Hartnett for the photo!

* * *

If told in these pages, these stories would be colored by exhaustion and a slanted perception since the events have now passed.  My recollections, while perhaps interesting for documentary purposes, would barely be useful for anyone else reading this diary, unless it were a competitor trolling for insights about how to kill BTV. Fat chance. Did I mention things are going well? Really really well?

* * *

Speaking of BTV, I need to keep reminding myself that BTV is really still just an embryo: conception occurred when we were funded. It seems that many in and around the BTV office are assuming we are further along that we really are. Birth will happen in September; until then, we are still forming our cellular structure.  

Many of our growing pains are still ahead.  What part of you aint seen nothing yet dont you understand?

* * *

Three SGC shows this past weekend, and one Brocksongs rehearsal.  Plus a full weekend of BTV preparation for next week. Despite the apparent complaining I do here about being exhausted, I do really enjoy my life and the amazing people in it. Playing with the SGC is one of the most satisfying musical experiences on the planet.  Playing with the SBRS and the Brock Pytel band is also extremely energizing.  

Lord of Order, indeed.

I am at times a cocky bastard: but I am also well aware of my weaknesses, and I generally know my place.  Forgive my trespasses, as I forgive those who trespass against me. Lead me not into temptation. For you own the real estate. And I wish to be a good tenant.

* * *

Tuesday May 30

Struggling to get back in diary mode.  Each day lasts about 40 hours.  The minute to minute dramas seem small compared to the day to day dramas.  And the day to day dramas are dwarfed by the month to month dramas.   The good news:  regardless of the resolution, the quality of the struggles within this team is quite high. 

Clean, resilient people make all the difference.

Despite the general focused daze I was in today, everywhere I went, I seemed to recognize everyone I saw.  Getting old?  Everyone blurring together?  Or perhaps I really do recognize everyone I see after 7 years of shows, work, and presence in Seattle? 

Stumbled through the morning sans caffeine.  Ran into a few glass doors as a result.  Never quite hit a stride or rhythm until after lunch.

Lunch with TobinB, GuyW, and special guest Brian Schmidt.  The talent surrounding the table at Noodle Ranch was formidable.   Not to mention HansR, JohnB, and MichaelS who coincidentally were sitting across the room.  The BootlegTV energy is invading this city slowly.

* * *

After lunch, a meeting to sync with some old MS friends now working at habit.com.  This small world is getting smaller.

* * *

Evening: pizza in the office with some Rivals.

Phone call from BillR after his Land rehearsal on my way home.  Some interesting political plans brewing for an intersection between a disgruntled Eagle and a post-Nirvana activist.  

Smells like Life in the Fast Lane.    This next week is getting Jampac-ed with activity.  

What else is new?  

* * *

12:10am -- Can't get Curt's 49 notes out of my head.  A good sign.  

Also the power ( = energy over time ) of Peter Murphy's performance on Sunday night is still tingling in the back of my neck.  

Even well after midnight, Inside this slouching body, there is a clear wish to play music.    

* * *

Wednesday May 31

Transitions.  Up at 7am.  Now at 12:18am, I can barely keep my eyes open. 

* * *

Ug.

* * *

Billboard hits the subscribers today.  BootlegTV on the inside cover.  The word is out.  So far, a "big nothing," to quote the Roches.  

Repercussions to follow.  Repercussions always follow.  Must sleep now.  

* * *

Thursday  June 01

Meetings all day.  Circular discussions leading back to where we began many months ago.  This is a process of translating visions into products.  It is unbelievable how much energy this takes. And reiteration, and reminding, and re-explaining.

The relevant metaphor of the day: this planet has reached a new position in relation to the sun -- all of the same resources, mass, tools, and landscapes are the same, but the sun is now shining on a different section of the sphere.  Does this change anything?  

Yes.  

It is now late spring, summer is just around the corner, and the seeds which were planted in early spring need weeding -- otherwise, the harvest may not be sufficient for harvest.  

Lame metaphor.   But that's what you get at 12:58am.   

Dinner this evening with Bill Barrett, Scott Bedbury, John Lapham, George Murphy, and Kevin McLoughlin.   Finding myself again surrounded by another amazing team of experienced and articulate thinkers who also happen to be excellent doers.  Note: need to increase the ratio of effective, intelligent people who can get stuff done.  In the meantime, Scott's big brain is ticking over some significant branding questions.  

Tomorrow (today) we begin the next phase of today's (yesterday's) meeting at 8am.  So what am I doing awake? 

Saying a prayer.

* * *

Friday June 02

Began this day on the wrong foot, but recovered gracefully.   Another long day of collaborations and meetings.  This is a difficult job, mostly therapy.   

* * *

Spent an hour this evening playing with Curt and Brock downtown, then some quick "dinner" and early to bed.   Tomorrow is just another work day.  But looking forward to sleeping in.   Also looking forward to the return of DavidS.   Badly in need of synchronization. 

* * *

Many bright spots in human relations today: And Cyndi is a gem.  Embroidered on her shirt today: "grumpy."   Good meetings with Barbara, BillR, KevinM, SteveE and BryanL, StephenB, and the entire BTV team.  Large and small team meetings throughout the past two days: synchronizing with the extended team.  Time for brainstorming, ideas, and vision is over.  

Time to do. 

* * *

Now for me, time to sleep.   Not envying Curt who will be getting on a plane at 5am.   

* * *

Saturday June 03

Another long day of therapy.  Many meetings and and a Rifff dinner reunion of sorts to Honor Nicci Noteboom's birthday.   Highlight of the day: an informal status meeting with Stephen Brown late in the evening -- sleeping easier tonight knowing that he is on board. 

* * *

Before bed reading: Stephen Jay Gould, Full House, The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, essays on human limits.  Some interesting insights in the last chapter (An Epilog on Human Culture) on performers pushing the limits of what is possible.

* * *

Sunday June 04

Sleeping in and a quiet morning at home, reading in bed.  

* * *

"The history of the triple somersault is a history of death; as long as there have been circuses, there have been men and women whose sole ambition was to accomplish three full turns in the air.  The struggle to master it has lasted more than a century, beginning with the old days of the famous leapers who worked with a springboard, and after the triple somersault has killed more persons than all other dangerous circus acts combined.

"Subsequent history illustrates the joy and frustration of pushing envelopes toward a nearby right wall of strict limits.

"In 1982, Miguel Vasquez, flying at seventy-five miles an hour to a catcher, his brother Juan, first threw a quadruple somersault in public performance.  

"If science stands too far from a right wall to worry about limitation, and if great performers nearly touch the wall but do not feel diminished by restricted domains of potential improvement, then a third category of creative arts does face a potentially painful dilemma based on our decision to adopt an ethic of innovation that awards greatness only to those who devise a novel style (a criterion not always followed in Western history, but very strong at the moment.)

"Given an ethic that exalts perennial originality in style of artistic composition, the history of classical music (and several other arts) may fall into such a domain.  One composer may exploit a basic style for much of a career, but successors may not follow this mode in much detail, or for very long.  This perpetual striving for novelty may grant us joy forever if a limitless array of potentila styles awaits discovery and exploitation.  But perhaps the world is not so bounteous.  Perhaps we have already explored most of what even a highly sophisticated audience can deem accessible.  Perhaps, in other worlds, we have reached the right wall of styles that a sympathetic intelligent, but still nonprofessional audience can hope to grasp with understanding and compassion.

...

"I can't believe that a musical virus, now extinct, was then loose in the German speaking world.  Nor can we deny that many more people of equal or greater potential talent must now be alive and active somewhere on the planet.  What are they doing?  Are they writing in styles so arcane that only a rarefied avant-garde of professionals has any access?  Are they performing jazz, or (God help us) rock, or some other genre instead?  I do suspect that these people exist, but are victims of the right wall and our unforgiving ethic of innovation. 

- Stephen Jay Gould, Full House, The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin

* * *

Cancelled dinner with a Posie.

Cancelled rehearsal with Brock, Curt, and Bob.

Sigh.  And yet, still much to do. 

A long afternoon and evening in the office.  Working with real animals tonight, driven by the desire to succeed by building a solid foundation.  

* * *

To sleep, owing an urgent email or fax to MartinS.  Hang on Marty!  A response coming tomorrow.   

For now, to bed.  

* * *

back