ANOTHER BIRTH IN THE FAMILY!!!
2003 is off to a great start in the family of human beings, if you forget about the State of the Union, as there is yet another love-child on the planet (here in the Morongo Basin). A few days prior to the arrival of Elias Knight Mueller (January 20), Madisyn Cecilia Garcia was born Jan. 16th 2003 @ 3:05 pm. She's a lovely 8lb 10z 19.5 inches long. Her proud parents are Johnny and Rachel Garcia. Johnny (Uneeda, Hermanos, Kyuss) was the first person to book time at the re-opened Rancho, where he recorded vocals for a song he called '100 days' in honor of that period of mourning after Fred Drake's departure. Mourning has broken. We will celebrate what would be Fred's 45th birthday this week (January 28) by acknowledging two new beautiful January desert babies. Fred is no doubt shining his love upon both Madisyn and Elias from his star in the big sky over the Rancho. All of us at the Rancho send a big welcome to Madisyn and Elias, as well. May you both have long, healthy, happy, peaceful, musical lives
a friend who is new to the u.s. asked me to recommend a beatles album. other than saying, "all of them," i made a starter list with some commentary:
hi- thanks for hanging out and listening to tony and i play last night. it was nice seeing you there. being a huge beatle fan, it's fun for me to be asked to recommend a starting place for you. while i think that, eventually, all of the beatles records may be essential for you (they made huge leaps from record from record, sort of a fast-forward evolution of great popular music, spread over a seven year period), i would like to recommend the following:
1. 'rubber soul' (1966) this was the transitional album that took them from being light-hearted boys
playing old style rock and roll, rhythm and blues to some more experimentation with folk styles, with
herbal 'medicine', bob dylan and eastern music (sitar, eg) beginning to influence their approach. plus, they had grown weary of their status as super pop idols and began writing more introspective lyrics. it's a beautiful album, especially two of john lennon's early masterpieces 'norwegian wood'
and 'in my life.' it still sounds as fresh as it did the day it was released.
2. 'abbey road' (1970) knowing that this was to be their final album as a band, they pulled out all the stops and produced a great summation of all of their influences in style and tone. george harrison, the youngest beatle, was finally coming into his own as a songwriter on the level of his masterful older 'brothers,' lennon and mccartney. harrison's 'something' is one of their most gorgeous love songs. his 'here comes the sun' reflects all of the optimism and wisdom of the spiritual seeker that he would remain through-out the rest of his life. lennon gets in plenty of his james joycian wordplay with great humor and imagination. mccartney's
inspired final suite 'the end' was a fitting way to end their collaborative years: 'in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.'
3. & 4. 'revolver' (1966) and 'sgt. pepper' (1967) take the experimentation of 'rubber soul' miles
farther. they were experimenting with psychedelics and john cage-inspired avant garde music through
this period. 'sgt. pepper' is considered one of the pivotal records of all time, capturing the spirit
rising flower power movement and disaffected youth. some of mccartney's ballads are the loveliest he
ever wrote ('here, there and everywhere,' 'for no one' and 'she's leaving home.') lennon and harrison
were expanding their conciousness at a rapid rate. their work on these two records were the soundtrack to the so-called 'summer of love' in 1967. 'eleanor rigby' and 'a day in the life' may be the pinnacle of lennon and mccartney's work as a songwriting team.
5. 'the beatles' (aka 'the white album') (1968) is a double album brimming with more groundbreaking
sounds and styles, from gritty english electric blues to music hall, to serene, reflective pieces inspired by being introduced to transcendental meditation, to the new influence in lennon's lifeof his new love, yoko ono, the conceptual artist who would inspire his greatest art.
6. 'with the beatles' is the early classic whichcombines their love of motown, rockabilly and soul
music. they were sucking up everything going on in honest american pop music (not the plastic variety
favored by the 'squares.') lennon and mccartney were prolifically re-writing the possibilities suggested by their earlier rock and roll idols. it was also the record that inspired 'beatlemania', not the broadway play, but the love affair that kids of all ages had with these four irreverent, scruffily handsome boys who would go on to transform the face of the world through their music, personal style and outspokenness. this record tore down the wall between classes. these were working class kids whocould not be denied. besides, they could harmonize beautifully and their tunes were instantly infectious. after their appearance on a national tv
variety show in early 1964 (three months after the assasination of president kennedy), they revived
hope for millions of people in the u.s., where the mood was definitely quite depressed. in the days
after that appearance on the 'ed sullivan show,' more musical instruments were sold than at any other
time in history. they unknowingly gave the gift of self-expression to a generation grappling with
issues of racism and the escalating war in vietnam. they spoke of their love of black music, eastern philosophy, pacifism, they sang not so much against war, but in favor of love ('all you need is love' -with signs declaring that idea in mulitiple languages - was sung at the first-ever worldwide satellite broadcast at the end of 1967 to many millions of viewers.) that influence lives in every peace march, every environmentalist, every feminist, every spiritual movement and every free speech advocate. historically, there is no way to overestimate the importance of the beatles. none of that would have been possible if they had not been very good singers, songwriters and non-elitists.
also of interest:
john lennon's album 'plastic ono band.' (1970) he deconstructs the 60's dream and brings it to a painfully personal level. still espousing 'love' as his personal savior, he writes and sings with raw urgency about everything from the pain of losing his parents to his world class fame and influence.
ultimate lennon masterpieces, 'mother,' 'working class hero' and 'god' are three of the deepest, most real pieces of music i've ever heard.
george harrison's 'brainwashed' (2002) is the last testament of a man aware of his impending death and
fully conscious of the state of the world at the turn of the century. in the end, he recognizes the
'brainwashing' done by the media, big money, governments and the military and offers his own take
on cosmic conciousness; 'if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.' all of
this is done with a great sense of humor, love of life, upbeat music and the sounds that he and the other beatles innovated. don't get me started! i could go on, but i think you
" 'all you need is love?' i stand by it!" george harrison 1987
A BIRTH IN THE FAMILY
Ronda and Aaron Mueller, founders of the High Desert Living Arts Center and Gallery in Yucca Valley, Family Drum and Glass makers, longtime friends of the Rancho, supporters of Dig Your Own Cactus and all around sweethearts of the desert, are the enlightened and beautiful parents of Elias Knight Mueller, born at 10:29am on January 20, 2002 (Martin Luther King Day). Elias is a healthy boy, weighing in at 7 lb 5 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. We know that his life will be filled with love, art and music. Congratulations to Ronda and Aaron, as well as to Elias for his excellent choice in parents.
last night at the beatnik cafe, friends gathered to celebrate the life of brenda mcclintock. a tape sent by sean brennan (brennan brothers) opened the evening, with the song, "who will sing for me?' that musical question was answered by a succession of her friends. randy stone, brenda's spiritual brother, dressed in a beautiful native american style leather and bead shirt which she has made, played a few songs for her. his performance was deep and real, bringing the crowd to tears with its quiet, heartfelt dignity and quiet strength. jane allingham and bill maresh played a few gram parsons tunes, including 'hickory wind,' with their close harmonies and bill's sweet pedal steel playing. steve fuji played some more gram tunes, including '100 years from now.' elia arce read lorca's 'the weeping' with veronica gordon reading the english translation, while tony mason's guitar gently wept in the background. then elia did her poem, 'cholla' in brenda's honor. rojer arnold played a few songs, including 'hollywood cowboy.' then, tony, painter john schreiver, ray woods, bill maresh and i did 'cowgirl in the sand,' 'she's a rainbow,' 'no expectations,' and 'mr.soul', with rojer joing in on nylon string guitar and harmonies. then we did a few of my songs, 'death of cool,' 'warrior' (from tony and my dig your own cactus days), 'skylight,' and 'to smokey for fred.' the evening started out appropriately somber and ended up in a rave up celebration, as brenda deserved and would have wanted. it was so great playing with such a great, impromptu band. it was a night i'll never forget. later, linda hoffman, the single best silver lining which circled the cloudy days of fred's passing, took a bunch of us out to denny's. steve fuji and i reminisced about the rock and roll denny's days in hollywood.
dear sweet gregg arreguin. we will miss you. all of our love to jill and sophia.
for more about gregg, go to www.ranchodelaluna.com
In Memory of a Grievous Angel
The high desert musical community lost one of its'
most precious, unpredictable, generous and loving
spirits this past week. Brenda McClintock was a true
believer. As her friend Randy Stone said, "Brenda's
whole life was about music, art and Native American
As founder of the Gram Parsons Federation, Brenda
brought countless musicians and fans to Joshua Tree to
pay honor to one of her musical heroes, long before
the ascension of an entire counter culture known as
'alt.country.' As the designer of authentic Native
American clothing, she founded Pocahontas Leather as a
teenager in 1977. She continued making her beautifully
detailed leather and beadwork pieces until her last
days. Meanwhile, she turned down many invitations to
go out on the town, saying she didn't have anyone to
watch her ailing mother.
Born June 7, 1959, she was endlessly proud of the
Rolling Stones' song, "Tumbling Dice," where Mick
sings about rolling "Sixes and Sevens and Nines..." -
like it was her own little wink from the Glimmering
Brenda will be missed for her laugh, her love of music
and musicians and for the wild sparkle in her eyes.
Brenda was one of that rare breed of rock and roll
women who lived on the edge of ragged glory, always
with feisty charm, self-effacing humor, raw power and
a heart full of soul. I will remember her as a
supporter and friend who always wanted to give a nice,
long hug and who always made me smile.
My mates from Dig Your Own Cactus, Tony Mason and John
Schreiver, will join with me and others of her friends
in a musical tribute to this beloved flower child and
warrior. The musicians and friends she knew and loved
are welcome to participate. As a believer in Native
American spirituality and the spirit of rock and roll,
she would want her friends to celebrate her life the
way she lived - with music.
Friday, January 17th, 8pm at the Beatnik Cafe in
Joshua Tree (760) 366-2090.
P.S. Please forward this information to anyone who
last night i was feeling almost unable to walk across the room at home at 8pm and thought i may have to stay home in bed, elia made a protein drink which revived me enough to go, we went to the beatnik, eric (nee snot) did 'neon nirvana' words i wrote at age 17, to his tune (bob kuhn had written one way back when but snot wanted to find words in my old books and put his own music to some), i sang a song for the first time since i wrote it, 'piano playing fingers', on new years eve 1983 into 1984, with don kaiser, a haunted new years song, then, sang a harmony with shawn on tom waits 'sight for sore eyes.' fully energized now, we left for marco's rancho, linda hoffman, debbie and edgar and eddie and their dog simba, dennis and carlos, veronica, sue, elia and me, where marcus and conrad had already arrived from l.a., where the telescope was set up and, as i'd given linda a map to freds' star, a guy named bill found it and we all took a look, saying hi fred, happy new year fred, the night was cold and clear and still and full of stars and orion, with fred cradled in his arm, stood guard over our heads in a black, sparkling dome.
today, somehow we reassembled eventually and visited noah purifoys' heavenly dream of life. we had a sighting, then a visitation, photos of dennis at noah's feet. then, somehow, the caravan arrived at the cotonwood tree for one portrait, then to the doorway for another, before flying away in a painted van, leaving me here, where shawn and ray and kevin are being recorded by tony, with black and white tv noise, dogs and coffee. pretty soon, i'll go home and get ready for the variety show. this is the first of january 2003.