Sunday, September 30, 2018

Letters To Patti Ann (Chapter 5) "The Ancient Secret of Perique Culture"

"hi patti ann,

i was cross eyed even before i got your little joke.  the past couple of days have been hard.  i know i probably sound like i'm always on top of things, but in reality i have to fight in my mind to stay there.  it's just not easy here in the big city sometimes, although living here can be quite rewarding if you truly work hard.  just when i think i'm at the end of my trials, another problem presents itself and laughs at me.  life is unbelievable, i'm sure i don't have to explain that to you.  my experiences here have taught me to keep looking for the positive light in all things, and to remain focused on it.  if we look the other way, for sure there will be no way out of the darkness. i hope you're battling hard and accepting all your challenges as they present themselves.  you can be a leader in the community if you want to, leading by example.  remember the patti fest?  i've never in my life seen so many people so alive in one place at the same time.  inside of you lies a great gift.  the spirit of the land. please keep digging, for me and for everybody.  i promise i'm here for you.  i'm making the most out of my opportunities, working my hands to the bone and uncovering many new talents.  give grande pointe some love for me. i miss her. the secret is safe with me. fight.



It took me 17 years to revisit these letters.  I knew they made grand gestures and that crazy things were happening in the world around me.  I knew the letters were defiant and had to be.  What do you say when your people are hurting and you've heard the secrets of the land and buildings are falling around you? You beat on the drum and sing the silence.

Once at an antiques fair in Round Top, Texas, a clairvoyant man selling rugs looked at me with an astonished look on his face.  He told me I was in my ninth life and that I can choose to come back if I wanted to.  This reminded me of "the dream".  Once as a child while breaking a fever, I had a haunting dream in pitch black darkness with a quiet like nothing on earth.  There was a sound of water sloshing around and complete darkness with a speck of light.  It scared the hell out of me and I didn't want to go to sleep for a long time.  Recently I had the thought that I could have been remembering being in the womb.  I am the Elephanthead after all and I just can't bring myself to rule this conclusion out.  I also can't rule out the nine lives.

What do we know anyway of the passages of time?  We have been taught by the same men over and over and over for their gain.  History (his story), Religion (another story) have been used to control the masses for thousands of years.  It's appalling when you take the time to look back on the actions of mankind.  And when I say look back, I mean 10's of thousands of years to get to this point.

When the Acadian settlers arrived in Louisiana, they were resilient and were used to living off of the land and minding their own business.  Before Louisiana, this culture had moved from France to what was called "New France" in Canada because of the natural resources on the land.  Unlike most cultures, especially the white man, they befriended the Natives and learned from them and exchanged ideas.

When I look back on Grand Point life in the old days, resilience keeps coming to mind.  The extreme heat,  and a summer harvest with very little profit.  Flour sacs became dresses and nothing was ever wasted.  From a young age, I always wondered where that resilience came from.  Death, hard work and sacrifice were a constant presence but there was always the joie de vivre. (Joy of Life)

When I sat with "Sky King" that day in Ms. Gladys' kitchen and he told me the long tales of the past, the dots started to connect.  There was a great secret that had been passed down from generation to generation but in the 1990's it was becoming a folk tale and no one was taking the old days seriously and the wise old predictions were coming true.

It turns out that Perique tobacco wasn't the only thing the Acadians learned from the Choctaws upon arriving in St. James Parish.  The natives had been here for many years and befriended the arriving Acadians and exchanged customs much like they did in New France.  There was nothing more resilient in the country than the native who lived for 10,000 years during the Ice Age along the Bering Land Bridge before finding a passage to the America's.  10,000 years during the Ice Age made the Louisiana heat a lot less extreme I'm sure.

On that day in the kitchen "Sky King" had my mind soaring and he began to fill in the blanks for me and the great silence of the Grand Point man began to make sense.  I say great silence, because men in "the back of the point" are notoriously quiet.  When I was a school boy I almost dreaded my dad picking me up from school because of his silence.  But "Sky King's" story unfolded.  He made me promise not tell anyone unless I wanted them to start thinking I was crazy.

He told me the Choctaw chief sat down with one of the early settlers named Pierre and shared some principles.  Principles that would help the new settlers develop their own private culture that could endure and avoid mans unavoidable traps.

"Man will be blinded by his riches.  His world view will become small and he will think that he is much bigger in the universe than he is.  He'll forget the thousands of years that proceeded him and remain ignorant to the thousands more approaching.  Man is a grain of sand.  Empires build up and then they fall.  For a thousand years.  And a thousand more.  Man will lose perspective.  We have come to live off the land and to nurture and remain close to the great spirit.  To save the spirit of the land. To dedicate our efforts to the greater good. Work is a blessing."

"To dedicate our efforts to the greater good" hit home with Pierre and the early settlers  who had settled on the Mississippi River.  These teachings were saved in a wooden box and would endure up until The Great Flood of 1927.  When the waters dispersed into the Blind River, there was a point that formed just off of the Mississippi River.  The point would soon be called "Grand Point" and settled by its new founders and the secret of "Perique Culture" would endure and soon thrive now that they could distance themselves from the big plantations and the changing customs of the time.  The tales of the natives were becoming true but it would be a hard thing to resist the desire for the riches that were happening right there on the river road and it was a horror show.

"Sky King" had said enough.  It was about as much as I could digest for a 20 year old.  He said there was more.  In that wooden box there was a message carved on a "cop cop". (wooden mallet used for hanging tobacco) "It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand".

I know the great silence.  I sing it.  The secret.  Patti Ann did too.  I was a howling wolf back in Brooklyn writing letters to her and she was a lion climbing to the mountain top.  She was conquering her long rows of tobacco.  Tonight I'm howling at the harvest moon.  It's hard living among the confused with not many to look up to.  I wish there were a chief.  Hail to thee.

 They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Letters To Patti Ann (Chapter 4) "Ode To The Sky King"

"hello patti ann,

i had a nice day off today.  it is finally nice and sunny here, with a little cool breeze at night.  i set up my front patio with a table and chairs and we had beers and listened to music.  we are all finally able to relax and have some fun after 3 years of grueling work.  hope things are well with you.  i'm still thinking of you a lot.  i've been thinking of my friend charlie that died in november a lot.  i wish he were still here, he would like this time of the year with all the girls on the streets.  today was one of them days where you just appreciated life.  it's hard appreciating life sometimes though, it's so hard for all of us in our own ways.  it's hard to keep perspective. i'll do a better job keeping in touch, it's just when we're in the studio, it's long hours and my mind doesn't function the same.  i can't wait til you could see all the things we're going to do.  I believe we can make change. hopefully, everything is going well over there for you, hope to hear from you soon.  do you have a chance to read books? i'm not sure if you can turn pages, but if you can read on the computer or something it could be something nice.  so many worlds to discover by reading.  i've been able to escape many mental prisons by reading with an opened mind.  anyway, i'll talk to you soon.  



Road maps!  Remember them before we had access to anything in the palms of our hands?  Information was like heavy cargo on the back of big trucks and took time to get delivered all the way to Grand Point.  I always loved the feeling of going on the book mobile to check out books.  I knew all those books were my little gateways out of town, out of our mental prisons.

Tobacco people are tough people.  You harvest in July in the humidity and heat and then you have to hang it in the shed and process it.  There was always one guy who could walk the beams and hang the stalks without becoming nauseous over the strong smell of Perique.  After a day in the field there wasn't much energy to spend reading or cultivating the arts.  It was the furthest thing from one's mind even though a few managed to pick a guitar beneath the tree.

I'm sure my ancestors were grateful to learn the art of Perique tobacco farming from the Choctaw Indians, but getting up every day, day after day with those long rows waiting for you in the hot field was what one had to look forward to.  It must have been a prison.  My dads generation wasn't having it though.  The automobile became their freedom.  Just like the Native Americans learned of the horse, the Coon Ass found his car.  A whole world opened up to them.

Before the natives knew the freedoms of the horse, they had no leisure time and spent days hunting for the nights dinner.  It was very hand to mouth.  The same went for us I'd imagine.  I remember farmers knocking off at 5 and going home to shower and putting on a new work uniform and heading to Dave's Store for a night cap before doing it all again the next day.

The "Sky King" had different ways to escape town.  I don't even know his real name.  That's how it is and was in old Grand Point.  One goes by a nickname their whole life and when they die their real name appears on the obituary and no one ever knows who it is.  I know for sure his last name was Martin.  I had always heard stories of him being a pilot.  I think he may have learned to fly in the military.

One day in my years after college I went to visit Ms. Gladys who was getting on in years.  "Sky King" was sitting at the kitchen table.  Just me, him and Ms. Gladys and he began to tell me stories of landing airplanes in peculiar places.  Like on a strip of land in the Atchafalaya!  He pulled out a map and made a hard sell to me about knowing where the Arc of the Covenant was in Mexico.  He had it all plotted out and was in cahoots with someone who had all the geographic knowledge.  This man had an imagination, but I was right there with him in believing anything was possible.  I had been away at school for four years in Mississippi and knew there was a whole world out there.  And besides I was watching my parents crop grow right before my eyes with opportunities coming to us that no one ever had before in the way back country town.  2.5 miles of winding road seemed like an eternity from the rest of the world in those days.

I was born a generation or two right behind these folks.  Factory's came to the river and people slowly left the field for better incomes and more stability.  Some people believe we choose our situation that we are born into  and we pick our families, mothers and fathers to help create the desired outcome of a life we want to achieve.  It's a nice thought but it's hard to believe I'd choose such a hard road with so much death around. But then "Sky King" told me of the ancient secret and then I knew I was in the right town.  In the right life.  I'll get to that later.

A friend of mine who recently experienced the sudden loss of her brother told me she couldn't believe I lived with that from an early age.  It was always around.  My mamere had pictures up of her two kids she lost and it was haunting.  When you live like it's your last days, one can evolve pretty quickly.  One book, one conversation with a pilot and next thing you know I'm the "Sky King" and instead of searching for the Arc of the Covenant I'm excavating life and trying to find meaning and to make sense of it all.  One thing is for certain.  If it weren't for death none of this would mean anything.  Patti reminded me of that.  Our mortality makes time precious. I'll be back again and again.  With secrets.

"Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely."-Buddha

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Letters To Patti Ann (Chapter 3) "Behind The Wheel"

hi patti ann,

nice to get a good laugh at that message you sent.  things are great here, feeling a big sense of accomplishment finally.  the sun is shining, and cool.  i'm as tan as uncle winn in the middle of the cane field, well almost.  i got a few new hats too.  they're a lot like the ones the old men used to wear in grand point.  i think todd has one of papere's old hats.  my music is really coming out good.  i can't believe it's my creation.  this is what i wanted to feel since joey died.  i have peace now, because i haven't quit living, you know? evolving.  there's much for us to be thankful for.  hope you're battling and trying to move on.  we have a duty to live truthfully, and honestly with ourselves.  we must fight hard to squeeze out every bit of ourselves while we're blessed with life.  you are a living flower, if you can continue to dig deep and continue to blossom, there will be much life surrounding you.  i'm thinking of you today.  happy mothers day!  it's the greatest mother's day, lil maddy can kiss patti ann.



They call me an elephant head because I don't forget a thing.  I remember things in detail, like the warmth of Patti's legs when I learned to drive by sitting on her lap.  My first time behind the wheel of a car and it was in the Poirrier's prized Chevrolet Vega.  For some reason, it seems there must have been cigarette smoke because wherever Patti was there was Tina too.  Not that Tina smoked but she was born wild and loose and was free.  It's a hard place to get to as a human, that childlike state.  When I got to the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in NY, that's the first thing they tried to get us back to, was our inner child.  To act on instincts.  

Patti was much more reserved and observed more and let Tina have center stage.  These little road trips were insane for me.  At this time I could only take my bike up to the old school yard where we played baseball but here I was behind the wheel going all the way to the "New Road".  Well it wasn't quite a road yet.  It was a long stretch of dirt that would go from east to west along the River Road about a mile or so north of the river.  The back of Grand Point would be the back no longer.  And we were indeed in the back and Gramercy was the big city.  It was a special kind of freedom when we'd spend a night or two in Gramercy at my maternal Grandparents house.  Two quarters in my pocket headed to the bakery on Main St. felt really good.  It felt like a city. I always took note of the same feelings I'd have years later in NY when I'd take a break to walk down to the cafe.  

In the late 90's,  I was going back and forth to Louisiana pretty regularly.  A new airline was starting called Jet Blue and you no longer needed a booking agent to book a flight.  I'd book a $69 flight one way armed with my portable recorder and my new found perspective and love for Grand Point.  It was absurd.  I was making a record.  Years before while reading many biographies, I convinced my dad that Marlon Brando was just a dude from a  country town and that I was going to the same acting school as him in NY.  My parents were always opened minded, especially with me because I was forever challenging the status quo.  I had a hard time with footsteps and following them.

Ms. Alice Winston came off as a mean old lady at The Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting.  Everyone was frightened of her but I kinda liked her and the way she'd teach the class over looking New York smoking a cigarette and never flicking the ashes.  They'd just drop to the floor.  She was from a golden era. She was getting on in years and we were constantly compared to Marlon Brando cause he was still Stella's prized student and Ms. Alice was around in those times when Stella started her school.  It was grueling for an introvert.  9-5 everyday of the week, up on stage having to perform or put yourself out there in some capacity.  Before long it became natural but I always had a chip on my shoulder about it because I had this Grand Point accent I couldn't get rid of and the European actors had these big open beautiful voices.  Those diction classes gave me a headache, trying to get my lazy Cajun tongue to move and annunciate.  

Much confidence came out of my year at the Conservatory though.  To have these teachers who have seen it all tell me I'm an artist was all I needed to run back to my apartment every night to write music.  These were the things going on for me when I first moved to NY, when Patti first lost her normal life and the letters began.  There was no road map for me.  Everything was instinct.  I had finally convinced my parents I was an actor and now I was sitting outside my East Village apartment telling my mom I'm a musician and I'm leaving the Conservatory.  It was a safe place at Stella.  It was part of New York University and there were many talented, smart folks around and the best thing about it was having a coach again or mentors to push you.  Leaving this behind was really scary cause I'd be on my own now.  Or at least that's what I thought.  

The wolf would begin to howl again and this time Patti would barely escape it's grasp and become my muse.  Trips to Louisiana became very important.  One to see Patti and two to gather information and stories.  Someone told me the old "Daves Store" had been moved behind the Stock Pile Bar and I went to see it before heading back to Brooklyn.  It sat vacant and I peeked in the window.  I could smell the smoke and Little Millers.  I saw Kerry scratching on the 8 ball while the place was packed with bare footed kids waiting their turn to climb the winners bracket.  I saw Mr. Yolande smash his big farm hand on the table and grab the foreigner Pat East by the neck.  (Foreigner=anyone north of the New Road)  I saw myself, Patti and Tina behind the bar grabbing a Pop and some "Grand Isle Candy" (Starburst) after our drive out to the New Road to see the huge airplane that had landed in an emergency so the "Sky King" could run home.  "Bye Mr. Milton"..... "Bye Mang".

"Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art" -Stella Adler

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Perique Culture....A letter to Reese Fuller

I just came across more "saved draft" letters in my Yahoo account.  I'm not sure if I ever sent this but I just found Reese Fuller on line and resent it.  Years ago when I was newly signed to Atlantic Records, I was on a plane reading an article in Louisiana Life by Reese on "Perique Culture" and I was excited and had much to say on the matter.  I had just made my first record and was luckily signed by Atlantic Records out of all the artist out there making music they picked little me from Grand Point and my first song was called "Perique".

hi reese,

i was so happy to see you send something my way.  last week in the interview, your name came up and i recognized it from the article in louisiana life magazine.  

one day i was just getting back to louisiana from new york for a quick visit and rest, when i saw t-boy on the cover of the magazine.  i was happy about the angle of the story how someone besides me was talking about "perique culture".  you weren't talking so much about tobacco, but people.

i'm a grande pointe boy who was raised in the back of grande pointe.  i fished in the pointe de cannes, down the red dirt road.  my dad, danny louque, was a little bare foot tobacco boy too.  his papere, clarence, had the good fortune of the factory job late in his life, and so did my mine.  my dad took it one step further out of the field and started his own machine shop right there in the back yard in the field on the rich soil and it grew like wild fire.  

up came from the ground for me was oppurtunity beyond my wildest imagination.  before i knew it, i had a nice car and was headed off to college.  needless to say my world just burst wide open.  

in your story you mentioned perique culture and wether it could be saved or what will happen to it.  man, i see it changing so fast and it scares me.  not that i'm not a progressive man, but because some simple beauty's are dying each day.  my dear friend, mr. pitt just died a little while ago.  he was a from a martin family who farmed perique.  it was he who i worked for as a boy.  when i moved home from new york for a break, i worked the fields with he and ms. bridgitte, what lessons i learned.  i saw a man connected to the earth and her cycles, living in complete harmony with her.  going from grande pointe to new york so many times has been a great study.  in new york i can take my work ethic and attack my weaknesses like a savage lion.  when i boarded the plane leaving new orleans i waved goodbye to my teary eyed mom with my chest out proud without a doubt that it was on and papere knew it too.  

i want to send you a package soon, maybe tomorrow.  i'm not gonna send you the typical press kit from the label, i'm sending it straight from my shed.  i came to new york and found my field, my crop.  perique culture is indeed alive.  alive in a new products.  grande mamere said, geaux dut geaux before she laid her eyes to rest and i haven't stopped yet.  

i would love to sit and chat at some point.  maybe take you further  into perique culture.  i'm headed home for a break on april 27th til the 4th of may for jazzfest.  if you're in town you must get in touch, we're gonna have crawfish.  anyway, i'm thrilled to hear from you.  talk to you soon.

dustan louque 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Letters To Patti Ann (Chapter 2) "Into The Wind"

hello patti ann,                                                                                                   September 11, 2001  Brooklyn, NY

can you believe how life is.  it just goes where it wants.  what nerve.  sorry it has taken so long to write again.  i've been in shock since this morning when i woke up and heard the tv on in my living room.  the first plane had pierced american soil and i was all snug in my bed sleeping heavily about three miles away.  it didn't seem real until i stuck my head out the window and saw the smoke and the people running across the bridge.  i ran into one woman who had just gotten across the bridge, she was in shock.  she didn't know where she was.  then it was real.  realer than i ever wanted it to be.  this wasn't what it felt like when i studied American history.  this was frightening.  i'm strong though.  i've been in my own sort of boot camp during the making of my record.  we all knew that life was about to change.  i knew we couldn't go on cruise control forever.  I hope you're well over there.  i'll probably be moving back to new orleans soon.  it's just not good here. there are guys with backpacks on the subways.  it doesn't feel right anymore.  it would be nice to see you more.  i am of no use to ya'll over here.  no use to the kids.  no use to louisiana.  i'm excited about the challenges that lay ahead.  glad that i have them.  thankful to be free to go head to head with em.  i'll be fighting til somebody takes me.  hope you'll be right there with me.  i'll talk soon.



  It's one thing to make a vow and another thing to live up to it.  When Joey died in the factory explosion, life became something completely different.  I had finally gotten around the fact that grandparents die but tragedy was something completely new, well maybe not completely.  For whatever reason God, the creator or whatever you need to call him/her wanted to expose me to death.  He wanted my face up in it.  Like the time me and my cousin Mudgun were sitting with Papere and we heard a loud screech and when we got out there time stood still and there was a kid suspended in mid air who had flown off the back of a motorcycle and was plunging to his death right before our eyes.  I wondered if I would have run fast fast and dove if I could have made a play to save him.  It was a recurring nightmare for years. Rest in peace little Brandon.

  It was easy living up to vows when playing sports.  It was a little more difficult being a little smaller than most but if you wear bigger shoulder pads and work harder and have that god damn mountain on your back because of these vows, then you play big.  It's easy because we grew up with balls in our hands and that's all we had to do in Grand Point and I was much younger than Joey who taught me to throw floating passes over the defender.  What a clown he was. So funny.  I don't think I can remember him ever being mad or angry or mean to anyone.  He taught me to wear my hat high on my head and throw pitches down the pipe.  Little leaguers had no chance, I was learning from the best. The Poirrier's were well known athletes along the river and taught me  and my brothers how to dress for games and wear our baseball stockings correctly.  We invented so many games. My favorite was garage ball.  The batter stood in the garage and the pitcher just 10 feet out of it and pitched against the wall where a big square strike zone was marked by tape.  In order to get hits, we had to hit line drives and home runs had to soar really low and just carry.  I loved making all of the older ones proud.  

It's easy in sports, because your coach gets up on a table and gives you the speech of a lifetime to get you to rise up way more than you ever could on your own and then your teammates are there to boost each other up.  When my playing days were coming to an end,  I left McNeese State after a year and realized I wasn't 6'4" and that my real work was just beginning.  

  In south Louisiana, football is king, it's what we do and how we express ourselves.  I was a bit lost without sports for awhile. I loved to practice and to feel improvement and see the results. I could be quiet and just let my play speak for itself.  Louque men are traditionally pretty quiet and I wasn't much different.  I began to have all these thoughts of trying to piece the dots together....all these things I saw but I started to let it go.  The task was too daunting. I had no idea what to do with all those things I had learned in sports and life or what to apply it to now.  I think many in the River Parishes can relate to this.

The "911 Letter" was one of the last letters I wrote to Patti Ann before I moved back to Louisiana from New York but many came before.  Years before, when I first moved to New York, Patti fell ill with meningitis and lost her arms and legs just like that.  Those beautiful legs were gone.  I was pissed.  I mean it was enough to take one kid from his mother but to almost take another and leave her so helpless!  It was hard when I went home to visit and I saw her for the first time.  

  When I went back to New York I began writing letters to her.  What do you tell someone who just lost so much?  I knew I needed to be there for her somehow but in the end she was there for me too.  Looking back, in a way, I became the coach standing on the table in tears trying to will his team with their backs to the wall to get on the field and play.  I was on the table for both of us.  I wanted to express all these things I was seeing but didn't know how and it would take so much strength to get through the insecurities of being a guy from Grand Point, Louisiana in New York making a record for the first time.  When I was getting weak and the years were passing since my vows, Patti became the person who wouldn't let me turn from them.  She held my hand as I told my Grand Point story and helped me to believe in it, to believe that we were artist too. Americans.

  Everyday moments became the moment right before the big game when your coach's speech is almost biblical and the walls are coming up around you and you must persevere.  I became like my old coach, "Coach Tim" for Patti.  I stood on the table and told her she could throw farther into the wind and that if she stood in the pocket just a little longer everything would open up.  

"Sisters, human life is the unforeseen, everything is transient and egoless.  Only the world of Enlightenment is tranquil and peaceful.  You must keep on with your training." -Buddha

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Letters to Patti Ann (Chapter 1) "Down Grand Point Lane"

hi patti ann,

today is a great day.  i saw you practically running with no legs, somebody else's legs.  wow.  what a sight.  thanks for making me a stronger boy and a wiser man.  thanks so much patti for fighting.  it's your unique gift to the world.  when it is received it is the most precious gift.  hope you kick your feet up tonight.  your grande pointe feet.  



When the "So Long" years came to a close.  I couldn't really look back.  So much had happened.  Some of the scenes were horrific.  It's easy to judge myself when I look back at my work or writings and to think of myself as overdramatic but when I read my last letters to Patti Ann, it seemed apropos. 

    I avoided it for years.  I knew in my old Yahoo account I had saved every letter I had written to her.  And here it is, I'm here crying trying to "effing" put it all down on paper. Put it to rest.  It's so beautiful to me when someone comes to me professing their love for "So Long" because I was able find something beautiful and find some joy amidst all the horror.

  Patti Ann was a smart girl from the country who had that simple joie de vivre.  She loved her dad and kids and was an aerobics instructor in the 80's with those leggings that covered her beautiful natural legs.  I used to be proud to be her cousin when guys from the city would look at her in awe.  I always felt country because Grand Point was truly country back in the day.  The Pointe de Cannes they called it and the strange cars would pass by real slow on Sunday's to observe our simple little lives.  Mamere on the swing with chicken stew on the stove and all the bets were in.  All bets were on Montana and phoned in to Buck's bar.  That was "nip and tucked" like a local's lawn at dusk on a Saturday before LSU kickoff.  Everything in its right place.  Everything was still there.  Joey was throwing spirals in the front yard.  

  Joey was Patti's brother who would be taken from us in the coming years but that's a whole other story, that's a chapter....a lifetime. That life experience is the root of my record, "So Long" and Patti the fire beneath the pot of resilience.  I've never been one to turn from a challenge.  One morning in 1988, we were woken by Aunt Marie's screams and she came running into the bedroom hugging us...he's gone...he's gone.  Now I'm a person that can't talk before coffee and here it is all the screaming.  It was tragic.  It was a howling wolf at your door that wouldn't go away.  Your head was in its throat and that's how it was going to be.  It was loud those screams! When the dust settled, I was standing outside all dressed for school and my dad asked if I was alright and I just shook my head.  I stood in silence and vowed to live a great life and pay whatever the cost to follow my instincts and find myself.  

  Well it's Sunday and the Saints are playing their first game and that's enough looking back for now.  I guess the pot is boiling now and the word is out.  I'm flowing like Marie!  I hope soon I'll have the courage to read another letter.  I peeked at the next one and it was dated September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn.  The world was about to change.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Thieves of Joy......

You want to see me mad....try to make me follow in someone's footsteps and do what they're doing.  Every cell of my being has to be into the next step for me to take it.  I don't care if massive success awaits, if it's not my step, it's not my steps.

When I was first signed as an artist, I had just spent 3 years running around New York City mostly alone reading, researching and buying records and listening....a whole lot of listening.  I think I spent more time thinking about what it is we were trying to do, than actually doing.  For me, it wasn't music we were making exactly but more of a collage, a painting with sound scapes and mood.  I listened to a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane "Blue Trane" in my little East Village apartment while in acting school.  My appetite remained soaking whet and I was never bored and I was very careful not to become one of those downtown guys chasing models.  It can be done, whole days trauling in the cafes looking the part and getting no work done.  After an early evening stroll for a coffee at Cafe Gitane, it was time to get to work.  In the early days it was really hard to feel like I was getting things done.  An artist has a canvas and he finishes his painting and moves onto another.  We were entering the digital realm and the possibilities were immense.  All of sudden we had too many options and had to start narrowing down the focus.  Looking back, three years is not that long for someone who had never made a record or been in a studio before, not to mention playing instruments and writing lyrics and singing.  

When you make a good record, there is a well worn path to this jackass at the mic and I wanted no part of it.  I hated seeing pics of me, positioned to be the next big thing with images resembling past artist.  All this new technology and we're expected to have careers like the old heroes.  Fast forward to now, I'm on a strange new path.  I don't recognize it and it seems like it could be uniquely mine.  All the different streams are starting to add up to what looks like a sustainable career.  Defining ones own success is very important.  And uh....oh yeah...comparison is the thief of joy!