“Opposition is actually the natural prerequisite for union. As a result of opposition, a need to bridge it arises.” ~ Confucious (The I Ching or Book of Changes: Richard Wilhelm translation)
“What is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
Aren’t the events happening around us simply metaphors for what is going on inside us? And are we not now a global community connected by technology? I believe that all of this separation can be seen as but an illusion, meant to be dispelled and healed.
I wrote the first part this song at the end of a long, isolated winter, the year after my father died of early Alzheimers. I hadn’t written in a while, and I just woke up one day and wrote the first two verses, chorus, and the beat.
When I first heard Brett Thorngren’s mix of Orbit, it hit me hard. Of course it was about a romantic interest from whom I had been separated!
So after a year or more of the pandemic, vaxxed and ready to tackle my bucket list: one of the most important: to go to Pearl Harbor, from which I had written a song, and an album, and had always wanted to see, but didn’t feel was possible. I made it happen. But after that, which can best be described as a “pilgrimage,” another level of meaning to this song hit me. Because I realized that this song was recorded at a time when I was literally in the middle of a breakdown, that when I was finishing writing and recording it, I was actually separating from - myself. What followed that time was a long period of extreme depression and inactivity. But I did reconnect, finally, in 2019, and began putting out music again. And I still have no memory of writing the rest of the song, and certainly not of recording it…
Yet one more trip / quest,: to Key West, most importantly, to the Ernest Hemingway house, (his writing being possibly one of the most significant influence on my own; the ruthless editing, a reduction of the narrative to its most salient points) I understood the song on yet another, and I believe the most important level, that it was ultimately a song about healing the separations on this planet. And though I am the guinea pig - the model for this narrative, make no mistake, as I had realized long ago, the more personal the piece, the more universal it becomes.
All CD sales include both digital and lyric/credits download...
Mike Watt, legendary (widely considered “one of the greatest bassists on the planet.” CMJ New Music) bass player and co-founder of the Minutemen, also of Big Walnuts Yonder, and 10 year player with the Stooges, has been producing his podcast for a while, and it’s a great one!
He not only allowed me to muse freely on this past year’s transformation, but encouraged it! The interview is sandwiched between a lot of great music, and I am honored that he has given me the opportunity to speak with him not once, but twice! All of his shows are a great listen, so please go and listen to this one, and subscribe! Thanks Mike!!!
Had a pre-convo convo with Mike today about what kinds of things we're going to be talking about tomorrow.
We specifically discussed that this will be a CONVERSATION, not just me talking about myself or my record, though of course we will touch on that as well.
I've got a really good feeling about this...
So again, if you're interested in listening to my a conversation about life pre, during, and post pandemic live, go to woodyradioblog.com tomorrow at 1:30 PM EST. Otherwise, the audio will be up on the AC website as soon as it's available...
Got a beautiful review by Jim Testa for NJ.com last night, so I really want to thank him!!! (But I feel the need to provide a bit of a disclaimer, with an intent tube honest and transparent - a lot of the facts are wrong, the lyric that is quoted is actually “right now Brooklyn seems a million miles away” and the title of “Monsters” is actually “Monsters (You can’t do it)” I guess this makes me a bit of an anal retentive regarding truth, and especially my lyrics and titles. I do not just throw things on the page - I edited and thought this shit all the way out, and it means something to me!)
Hey Everyone, My interview with Andrew Daly of Vinyl Writer Music is now online! Vinyl Writer Music is dedicated to providing passionate music journalism by music addicts, for music addicts featuring countless interviews with artists and key individuals in the music industry, as well as many interesting and unique guest columns. Go dig in!
Upon further convo with Andrew, I discovered that he is a fellow Aquarian! A quote from him - when I asked him if he had a “hard” deadline - since it was a written interview.)
“The best part of founding my own website, is I make the deadlines lol. I'd rather it be awesome than quick… I try and be very in depth. If you're willing to give me your time, the least I can do is give your work my full attention. I also want the readers to have a full and clear picture of the artists, so they can really get a hold on your work. At the end of the day, if I am not showcasing the artists, then it’s merely self-serving. I just can't do that.”
Me: A perfect Aquarian answer!
2020 (and into 2021) Much More Than Honorable Mentions
Some of the songs that got me through last year…
Tom Petty: Something Could Happen
Another of Tom Petty’s timely messages from the beyond. Warren Fu’s truly visionary video beautifully illustrates that we CAN throw away our pasts, and still the things of value will come back - even our hearts! An especially hopeful ending to the year that was largely a nightmare. Like the end of the Matrix, I can now see that the future is wide open…
Bittersweet Symphony: The Verve
This popped up on my Youtube feed after the murderous insurrection… which didn’t kill my hope, but definitely gave me pause. Yes, I can change my mold - And if I could do it, so can you. Plus - Richard Ashcroft was born on September 11. You can’t make this shit up!
Katy Perry: Daisies
This song came into my awareness at a time when I was super stressed and overwhelmed, trying to get my shit done, being blocked at seemingly every turn, and fighting the urge to just give up. So when I need to be inspired to keep going, I listen to this…
(And of course there was that fireworks display as she sang “Firework” at the Inauguration party!)
Christine and The Queens: People I’ve Been Sad
This came out in May, and yes, a lot of us were sad by then…
Justin Bieber: At Least For Now
Of course written before the pandemic, but Justin is a Pisces, so psychic! A song that at least I needed to listen to in 2020 - A LOT.
FEBRUARY 20, 2021
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. AND KAMALA HARRIS
The 46TH President of the United States and the FIRST WOMAN to hold the office of the Vice President!!!
For the first time since I left my mother’s house, I am proud to be American…
From the 46th President’s inauguration speech:
“In this winter of peril and significant possibility, I know speaking of unity can seem a foolish fantasy these days- I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know, they are not new. It’s been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh, ugly, reality: that racism, nativism, fear, demonization, have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured, through Civil War, the great depression, World war, 9/11, through struggle sacrifice and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments enough of us, a new purpose has come together to carry all of us forward.
And we can do that now, history, faith, and reason show the way; the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces; stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage, no nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis. And challenge and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the UNITED States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America, when we’ve acted TOGETHER.
And so today, at this time, in this place, let’s start afresh. All of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire - destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.
My fellow Americans we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this.... and today we mark the swearing in of the FIRST WOMAN IN AMERICAN HISTORY elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris! Don’t tell me things can’t change!
… to all those who did not support us let me say this: hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. And if you still disagree so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably... and I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did! Saint Augustine said that a people was a multitude: defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we Americans love that define us? As Americans I think we know: opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor and yes, the truth. We must end this Civil War that pits red against blue, world versus urban, conservative versus liberal, we can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility. And if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes. As my mother always says: just for a moment, stand in their shoes.
Because here’s the thing about life. There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. There are some days when you need a hand, while other days we are called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country can be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree. My fellow Americans in the work ahead of us, we’re gonna need each other. We need all our strength to persevere, through this dark winter... we will get through this together, together!
...We all understand the world is watching… So here’s my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances, and engage with the world once again. not to meet yesterday‘s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example! We will be a strong and trusted partner For peace, progress, and security. For all those lost in this past year to the pandemic… we’ll honor them by becoming the people in the nation we know we can and should be. The question: will we master this rare and difficult hour where we meet our obligation to pass along a new and better world to our children?
… (from the poem) “American Anthem” there’s one verse that stands out, at least for me - “the work and prayers of century have brought us to this day, what shall be our legacy what will our children say? Let me know in my heart when my days are through. America, America, I gave my best to you. Let’s add, let’s us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through our children and our children’s children will say of us: they gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land.” - The 46th President of the United States: Joseph R. Biden Jr.
He might as well have been reading from the Aquarius rulebook. Finally equality can begin to be realized, for THE FIRST TIME in this country, (which I have long been accustomed to calling the United States of Hypocrisy - for A LOT of reasons) FOR REAL THIS TIME!!!
JANUARY 18, 2021
Today is Pedro’s official birthday. Made up like today’s MLK Day, as Dr. King’s actual birthday was January 15. Pedro’s birthday was made up for an entirely different reason: because he spent a year on the streets of NYC before he found his way to the shelter where I found him. A year old, likely to be euthanized because of it, with his jaw wired from having been hit by a car, and a respiratory disease. So having gone looking for a kitten, instead there was Pedro, damaged just like me. And when they put us in the “getting acquainted” room and I got him in my arms, he instantly head butted me. And it’s a corny quote of a cheesy line, but he had me at hello. I couldn’t take him home for weeks because he had to be fully recovered first, so I would walk over to the east side every few days to visit him - that’s how in love I was! The day I took him home, a little over a month after my first stay in the nuthouse for suicidal depression, it was the happiest day I had had in a LONG time. And while my family disapproved of my getting a cat, thinking it was too much for me to handle, my doctors saw it as a good sign: a commitment to living.
Now when I think about the fact that he came onto this planet just as I was in LA trying to make a record - even as I was falling apart, I can’t help but think that he came here for me! His beautiful soul knowing I was going to need him. BADLY. And he was one of thse few who helped keep me alive when that was the last thing I thought I wanted. He brought me joy. He brought me the closest thing to peace that was possible during those years. And he gave me comfort and love. And he helped see me to the place of healing I’ve finally found. I thank the universe every day for him!
So this little video is from a day that had been more than usually stressful. When my friend William called and I told him about my day, he said “well you seem pretty Zen now?” And I sent him this photo and said, “with this cat in my lap, purring, staring into my eyes with love and adoration, how could I NOT be Zen?”
So Happy Birthday Pedro! Thanks for 13 years of companionship and love. You saw me through the darkest years of my life, and you mean the world to me!
(Full disclosure: the purring is actually Fiona. I recorded her yesterday Am when SHE was in my lap, because I really wanted the full effect with this Pedro pic)
LATEST NEWS / BLOG
E's TOP 11 CORONAVIRUS SONGS 2020
This year my top videos are going to be different in a few ways. First, I am doing my top 11 videos, for the No. 11 in the I Ching - Peace, and who doesn’t want that?! Number one will post on January 1, so that we can bring that intention into the new year. This year I’ve chosen from amongst seekers and teachers young and old, even from artists who are no longer with us, at least in body. But they all came in this year to SHOW US THINGS, things we’ve not seen before, even if they had to do it from the other side. These all also hit me on a very personal level, but I was stuck at home, pondering my life, as I trust you all were as well. They are also not listed in order of any judgement of quality, but rather in the order of how my (possibly yours too?) consciousness has evolved this year (IF we’ve been paying attention!) And because I believe everyone went through some kind of transformation this year (I certainly did!) this is my kind of theme,: how can we move from darkness back into the light. I can only hope it went that way for you all as well…
No. 1: This song, “Ghosts” by one of the original “woke” artists, Bruce Springsteen, is a perfect intention to carry us into 2021, When I saw he & the E. Street band perform it on SNL the line that stood out was “I’m alive” and when I looked it up and saw the title, it was a perfect reflection of my assumed theme/purpose: to be alive in the present, we have to deal with the ghosts first! And yes, there can be an advantage for staying on this planet for a while…
No 2. If we have been shifting between the five stages of grief all through this year, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s collaboration in “Rain On Me” was a shift into that one about acceptance. “I’d rather be dry but at least I’m alive…” No matter how many tears it took, or will take, yes. Absolutely.
No. 3. Confusion Wheel: this, Tom Petty’s Sept 10 message from the other side from, as we all sat in our confusion and uncertainty - wondering what was going to happen in the U.S. presidential election, describes exactly WHERE I WAS, at least! Can’t speak for the rest of you. But the reissue of “Wildflowers and all the rest” gave us many gifts and clues as to where we’re headed…
No. 4: This song, Life’s a Mess, by the late Juice WRLD, is one of several messages we got (and that are going to be here in the top 11) from someone already on the other side, in an afterlife collaboration with the brilliant Halsey, who of course is still here! Perfect description of where we found ourselves on July 6. And I can’t help but feel an intense sadness of Juice Wrlds’ passing at such a young age, and his ability to be so open with his desire for pure love and acceptance. I certainly share that with him. Do you?
No. 5: God Only Knows by For King & Country featuring the great Dolly Parton. Yes, I realize this came out in 2019, but I didn’t hear it until this February. And did I need it! Thought it was a love song when I first heard it, and it struck home then. I guess I heard it when I needed to. Only later did I realize it was a Christian song. And now in December 2020, it is yet another of those prescient songs written by those who were tapped into a future we could not have imagined before. And of course, Dolly herself is certainly a goddess, and a savior, since we all should know by now that she helped fund the vaccine that may save us from this virus…
No. 6: This song, Mood by 24kGoldn featuring iann dior is - simply irresistible! What an amazingly fun and upbeat way to talk about relationship issues and depression! I’m totally in love!!!
No. 7: It took a while for Harry Styles to fully win me over, and strangely it wasn’t his dark stuff that did it, but Watermelon Sugar, released in the spring, and “Dedicated to touching!” Couldn’t stop listening, and so had to accept that I love it! Also found out last night that if you post the #HereForRMHC with any photo or video, that McDonalds's give $100 to the Ronald McDonald House! (Look it up, they do great stuff!) A good reason to share this, or to post your own pic or vid with the hashtag!
No. 8: Katy Perry's Daisies. Almost put up a sad song this morning, but then I remembered what day it was! This came out on May 14. And it kept me going when I wanted to give up. Nuff said….
No. 9: Yes, I love The Weeknd (and the weekend!) I think this song, Blinding Lights, is probably how everyone wants SOMEONE to feel about them…
No. 10: Today is Savage - Megan Thee Stallion is not only empowering black women with this song, she is not only empowering WOMEN! She is calling on everyone to empower themselves!:
No. 11: Demi Lovato’s intensely personal and vulnerable performance of Anyone from the 2020 Grammys. If that didn’t touch you, well… And I hope with all my heart that she does find peace.
POSTPONED - ALPHA CAT LIVE Q & A: NOW SUN, 2/14/21 @ 12 PM EST
I'm afraid I bit off more than I could chew, and didn't realize how exhausted I was until I almost fainted in Target yesterday getting a replacement power cable for my laptop! So I am going to take some time to rest and deal with some things I haven't had time for lately. And I really hope you all have time to actually get some R & R with your loved ones for the holidays.! So I am moving the Q & A to Jan 17, so we can ALL recover from this incredibly challenging year! (What an understatement!)
So on Sunday, January 17, at 12 noon EST, I will be doing the live Q & A over Zoom with those of you who would just like to ask me stuff. I am not just going to talk AT you, I want to hear what you all have to say!
So here’s how it works: YOU send an email to alphacat with Q & A in the subject line. Include your name (first only is fine) and one or two questions. Depending on how many people submit, you may or may not get in, but your question might still be addressed. If you have the ability to raise your hand in the zoom, and there is an opening, you may also get to ask a question during the zoom. You can ask pretty much anything, and I will respond the best I can. I will do a minimum of an hour (if people show up that is) and depending on how much energy I have, a max of 2.
The rest of the rules will be posted on the AC website soon... maybe after a good night's sleep and a Sunday off?