Saturday, December 20, 2008

Candles and Cognac

It's now a little easier to handle
Thoughts at the end of a long day
She's around my neck like a noose
Instead I wish she'd squeeze my juice
Feelin' like a cold Italian pizza, anyways
And it's just about another day to drive
Another stop where I don't order fries
There's a lot on my mind and on my plate
And maybe I miss my parent's front gate
Ah, so easy to make friends but so alone
It's close to 4 a.m. and I'm rambling on again
There's a place called somewhere I call home
I'm running out of money but I still got time
She certainly smells debt on my new collars
Isn't it harder to make those American dollars
So I drown with the clowns almost everynight
I let go under in a big claw foot cast iron tub
I can surely use a little Japanese rub and tug
My feet are so tired in these dirty stinky boots
And I'm not really sure about these rusted roots
Candles and cognac as your nails scratch my back
I'm going to go see a therapist for what I may lack
Candles and cognac and I already start to feel back
Candles and cognac and I'm feeling a little rockstar
Haven't you heard? I don't need you at all to go far
written around midnight December 20, 2008
Best of December's Roses,
John Alan French

Friday, December 19, 2008

Would You Say You're in Love?

hot ashes and passion
organic cigarettes and love
alcohol and cotton balls
what did you say about love?
these songs of freedom and
those songs about death
freedom = or death.
i like to say i'm in love
though signs are all around
still tomorrow never knows
i see that writing on walls
and i know there's aliens above
hot ashes and passion
organic cigarettes and love
alcohol and cotton balls
i like to say i'm in love
would you say you're in love?
would you say you're in love?
would you say you're in love?.
(written december 18th)
best of december's Roses,
giovanni french

december's children (and everybody's)

This poem by Andrew Loog Oldham inside the jacket of December's Children is kinda cool and provides an iridescent insight into the heads of these crazy kids from the sixties -across the pond and in America and "in the shit." ...However, you will need to click on it so it opens on its own page to view it were it's actually in readable size.

DECEMBER'S CHILDREN Released - 1965, on London/Decca Records (now Abkco Records). Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham.

Mick Jagger - Lead Vocals, Harmonica
Keith Richards - Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Brian Jones - Rhythm, Slide and Lead Guitars, Harmonica, Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals
Charlie Watts - Drums, Percussion
Bill Wyman - Bass, Backing Vocals

Additional Personnel - Ian Stewart, Jack Nitzsche, J.W. Alexander

Best of Winter Roses,
John Alan French

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Sifting Through Magazines ...

OK, so I subscribe to a few magazines and also buy some at Borders or wherever in addition to The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal ...
One of the Mags I have delivered to my home is a local Mag called Maniac
I started seeing this Mag in the local Starbucks I visit almost everyday when I'm around and have time and it was a smaller, simpler publication back then (literally in actual physical size and in the size of what it printed) but it did not lack ambition.
"Quality and not Quantity" = that's what I dig and for a little Mag it delivered something refreshing, popping and cutting edge that the larger local Mags lack (and still do - well, most of them) and, yes, even the national and international publications I read.
I like this pic above from the Fashion Spread "In the White Room" with fashion model Kate Upton and photographed by Maniac publisher April Hubal - Maniac Entertainment Issue December 2008. It's clean, crisp, fresh and yet provocative and sexxy.

And, well ...
this pic above from the Fashion Spread "In the White Room" with fashion model Kate Upton and photopgraphed by Maniac publisher April Hubal - Maniac Entertainment Issue December 2008 is SO TOTALLY SMOKING RED HOT = A++++++++++++ it needs taken out dinner.

However, as the highs and the lows go, as Maniac has increased in size (physically and in publication and distribution), unfortunately there are some not so cool, cutting edge, provocative pieces.

For instance, the article called "The Impending Sexiness of Maroon 5" sucks = and not just because it's about Maroon 5 and they suck! But, "the impending sexiness" doesn't even make sense. What would make sense is if it was titled, "The Impending Death of Maroon 5" = because in a few more years who is going to care about them any more because they have not contributed anything significant to rock & roll, music or the culture beyond the trappings of the cheesy facade of what spoon fed "radio listeners" and people who watch MTV consider "cool" pumped out by the big corporate cookie cutter machine.

I don't listen to the radio. I don't watch MTV = There's the information HWY and then there are vein like HWYs that connect and pump life into this big body of land we call the USA = And instead of just being spoon fed crap like Maroon 5 (which, by the way, I threw down this edition of Maniac in disgust because that article about the lead singer's "sexipades" is everything I hate about today's superficial, status and image oriented music industry = lacking substance, rawness and genius) and surf the information HWY and go truckin' through these Americana Blues and find some actual, cool, real music and artists to dig.

Inspired by my disdain (i thought maybe hatred is too strong of a word even though that's the correct emotion) for Maroon 5 and the piece by Maniac's Patrick Smith, I wrote my own little piece below about someone you won't hear on the radio or see on MTV but, surely, is a hero and has saved rock & roll, today's music, poetry and the cheesy industry from totally sucking.

Here's a true, organic Maniac ...

Jeff Tweedy / Solo

Complex and dangerously catchy, lyrically sophisticated and optimist and a romantic."—Pitchfork

Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy performs a special solo show. When Tweedy takes to the stage you'll hear the stripped-to-its-essence song craft that is at the heart of Wilco's wide-screen sound, as well as Tweedy's always canny choice of cover songs.

Jeff Tweedy / Wilco

Jeff Tweedy was a founding member of Uncle Tupelo (often considered a progenitor of the alt-country movement from the late 80’s/early 90’s.) When Uncle Tupelo parted ways in 1994, Jeff struck out on his own with several Tupelo band-members and called the group, Wilco. With Wilco, his songwriting has blossomed into very personal and engaging style while the music, changing continually over the years, seems to reflect his attitude toward the words themselves.

Early on, the songs were more lively, less personal and that attitude was clear on Wilco’s debut, AM. By Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, however, the openness seems to have been harder to bear and the poignant songs were buried under swaths samples and distorted soundscapes. Now, after a very public split with collaborator and band member Jay Bennet (revealed for all to see in the documentary,I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,”) another dense, personal, album (the aforementioned, A Ghost Is Born) and a stint in rehab; Wilco is touring behind one of the best albums of Tweedy’s career, Sky Blue Sky.

Jeffrey Scott Tweedy (born August 25, 1967 in Belleville, Illinois, United States) is an American songwriter, musician, and poet. Tweedy formed cowpunk band The Primitives with high school friend Jay Farrar. The band changed its name to Uncle Tupelo in 1987 after Primitives lead singer Wade Farrar went to college. After releasing four albums, conflicts between Tweedy and Farrar caused the band to break up in 1994. In 1995, Tweedy formed Wilco with John Stirratt, Max Johnston, and Ken Coomer. Wilco has released six albums and found popular success with their albums Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. The band also released two collaboration albums with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5. Jeff Tweedy has been the recipient of two Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Album for A Ghost Is Born. Tweedy has also participated in a number of side groups including Golden Smog and Loose Fur, has released a book of poems, and has released a DVD of solo performances. He was originally influenced by punk and country music, but has recently reflected more experimental themes in his music. Tweedy has been afflicted with migraine headaches since he was a child, and this ailment led him to a dependency on painkillers. Tweedy also has been diagnosed with clinical depression and is prone to panic attacks.

Letters to Santa. They do some really cool stuff for underprivileged kids where every year they have a living room benefit concert with Jeff Tweedy. They record it and it ends up online somehow (something to do with vacuum tubes, I think).

Best of Winter Roses,
John Alan French

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sorry Rob Fortunato ...

... "Self Portrait" ... taken 12/13/08 while getting ready to do some blogging and watch SNL...

Sorry, Rob Fortunato, I know this sucks compared to your work but you shoot celebrities and I'm nothing and I know posting something like this of myself when you offered to shoot me is absurd ... Yet, this is some sort of essence of me ... Hey, man, you know I'm a kinda shy guy - Do you remember when you interviewed me on film on a set at Penn State University in Happy Valley? Yeah, those bright lights made me sweat ...

At any rate, this was taken almost immediately after watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That movie mostly takes place in Hawaii. My grandparents used to live six (6) months out of the year in Hawaii (Honululu) and six (6) months out of the year on Mercer Island (Seattle) and I am the only person in my family never to visit Hawaii - and even want to do so. I heard the Beatles really weren't into playing Hawaii because it was in the middle of the ocean. So, watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall and looking at some of the "extra" type people, I kinda realized that you can take a meidocre, dick weed (male or female) and place them in Hawaii and because they're in "Hawaii" with its beautiful back-drop and hang-tight, cool lifestyle that they will seem appealing and ultra cool. However, these meidocre dick weeds (male or female) in Pittsburgh will just be meidocre dick weeds (male or female) in Pittsburgh - And, for you to be - not just from Pittsburgh - but living in Pittsburgh and have something going is far more interesting and of substance and the kind of everyday gritty beauty which makes for good Warhol type "pop." Well, at least for a fucking geek like me.
Best of the Winter Roses,
John Alan French

P.S. Looking forward to seeing you over the holidays