The Joker – The Latest Installment of CMAL

My latest installment for CMAL (hosted by is about subversion in music. Here’s an excerpt:

There’s something freaky about the Joker. Not necessarily the character from the Batman franchise, but the actual playing card. You know that image has been in our collective consciousness for a very long time. He’s in Shakespeare (King Lear), countless songs, poems and countless creepy medieval woodcut prints.

It’s unsettling – the way he smirks at us, knowingly.

Carl Jung declared the Trickster (or the Fox, Jester, Clown, Fool, Joker or whatever you want to call him) an archetype found throughout human culture. He is both stupid and observant, foolish but wise – a rebel.

Frank Zappa (1940-1993) believed that stupidity is so prevalent in society that it ought to be examined, in his autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989) he proclaimed:

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it’s so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe…I say there’s more stupidity than hydrogen and that that is the basic building block of the universe.”

[Click here to read the rest of this installment]


Can’t Make a Living

Well, I’m now a columnist.
Toronto’s the iNDiEMACHiNE.COM have decided to add regular columns to their already excellent website and they’ve asked me  (along with some other local characters) to contribute! My soon-to-be-weekly column, CAN’T  MAKE A LIVING starts today.  As a special introduction CMAL is scheduled to run for the next 5 weekdays and will appear weekly thereafter.

CMAL is about surviving the world of indie music.  I plan to make it mostly anecdotal and opinion driven, but I will use real world examples and quotes to back me up from time to time. My first topic of discussion is what I call The Big Why, of making music – you know, that sinking feeling you get every once and a while when you wonder if you should quit and start leading a “normal” life.  For me, this is a very complex, perplexing, quixotic issue – so why not tackle it first? Good thing they are running the first 5 installments daily, because it’s going to take me 8 or 9 segments just to touch on this topic (and without using words like quixotic).   WARNING: If you are one of those people (and I know there’s a lot of you out there) that make music “for the pure love of it,”  and don’t see yourself as an artist – you might not dig the first 6 installments or so, but I implore you to stick with it.  I will (eventually) champion your point of view but not before getting some of the header stuff out of the way first.  You’ll know what I”m talking about if you keep reading.

Anyway, I’m really excited about this! Here’s an excerpt from my first installment: Perseverance Part 1: The Big Why:

There’s a great lyric from the Walkmen song, We’ve Been Had:
Well I’m a modern guy I don’t care much for the go-go
or the retro image I see so often telling me to
keep trying maybe you’ll get here someday
keep up the work, kid. ok
I close the book on them right there
Sometimes this verse epitomizes how I feel about music. Every so often I’m hit with what I call The Big Why – basically, that moment of existential crisis when you ask yourself, “why am I still doing this?” If it hasn’t happened to you yet (oh fellow indie musician), I guarantee it will at some point. It might be on some sore and hung-over morning after a tour or during a family function when your cousin (twice removed) asks why you’re over 25, not in school, and still working at Starbucks. Let’s face it – being an indie musician these days can seem like a lot of hard, thankless work…
Here’s links to the rest:

[click here to read the rest of PART 1]
[click here to read the rest of PART 2]
[click here to read the rest of PART 3]
[click here to read the rest of PART 4]
[click here to read the rest of PART 5]