Monthly Archives: April 2016

Epitome of Orignality

I had no sooner completed posting my semi-regularly scheduled Thursday Morning Blog last week, when my eldest daughter Tejai rang me up with the terrible news. While at that exact moment there was no confirmation, it soon turned out to be true. The eerie irony was that I had just took “America” from “Around The World In A Day” off the turntable, because it was just too funky to blog to.

I was a 13 year old dreamer when I stumbled upon the “For You” album at my aunt’s home in Houston where I spent the summer that year. Absolutely Everything Changed. Something way deep down inside me knew that this was the way Artistry was meant to be. MJ was tight, but he didn’t write all his own songs; he didn’t play all of these instruments and (until “Off The Wall“) he didn’t sound like a Free Man. This naked, afro-haired, almost white dude (on the inside cover) holding his guitar was very free!

A euphemistic mixture of Little Richard/Sly Stone/James Brown, his music scared, challenged, seduced, coerced, inspired, encouraged, engaged & empowered me. This Fearless Explorer was as close as I had come to ultimate idol-worship until a decade later my personal faith convicted me into respecting his genius for its worth alone.

Although I never dressed or tried to wear my hair like his, I did skip two days of my high school junior year dissecting the “1999” album. And I would fight anyone who said anything negative about him in any way! I was among the true few who felt that (although grateful the rest of the world had finally caught on), “Purple Rain” was not his best work and had it not been for the opening guitar sequence of “When Doves Cry” (with that sadistic groan) the public at large wouldn’t recognize his brilliance.

Beyond the astounding music, bizarre antics, incredible live show, mystique, exceptional songwriting and strikingly beautiful women was a stubbornness that every single EntreMusician on planet earth needs to reconsider and incorporate into his/her own branding.

While Debbie Harry, Elvis Costello, Nikki Sixx, Katy Perry and other stars rail against YouTube, Spotify and other Streaming Services for fair pay, this Original EntreMusician fought for his rights, stood his ground, recouped his masters and then pulled all of his music off sites he deemed inappropriate before his final curtain call. A Gangster to the end. Thorough Originality from the first note.

Who fills the Void? Will it Take Another Century or Will You Take Over?

I’m listening to his fantastic Eponymous LP now…

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Insanely Committed…

Twice in previous posts, I cited instances where I’ve needed to Discontinue a Project and a musical relationship; in the former, prematurely; with the latter, after enduring several difficulties I choose never to repeat. So Today I turn my attention to those Areas and more importantly, People, to whom I’m Insanely Committed and from whom I thankfully receive the same devotion. Yup, this does double as an appreciative “Shout Out” to them!

The Vision of SounDoctrine with members past & present. Despite the various iterations this experiment has taken both on stage and in studio since 2002, I keep in regular contact with over 95% of the guys and gals even as life has moved on.

Phil The Beat is not just my brother in law, he’s my BROTHER and his faithfulness In & Out of Music has been 24/7. Janis Jones, whose star shines brighter with each passing day remains forever the First Lady of SD. She’s ready to sing at a moment’s notice, but deeper still, she’s a True Friend & Sister I’ve known since fourth grade. We’re on this journey together.

Jim Couchenour, Songwriter Extraordinaire, always carries a Ballad in his Pocket and Warmth in his Heart. Dynamic Brothers Cliff & Nate Barnes are the initial thread in the SounDoctrine fabric and remain a huge part of the future thought. Frank “Alowishus” Walton, Mitch Lawrence and Dylan Waters each carry brightly lit torches alongside me as Brothers and into SounDoctrine‘s tomorrow. Big Ups to Janet Write, Tara Amill, Paul Douds, Rob White, Rick Young and Michael Austin – each just a text away.

Chris “Thumbper” Rhodes. Enough Said. If You Know Me, You’ve Met Him.

Jerry Thompson, with whom a near decade of intense brotherhood, transparency and integrity weaves thoroughly through our journey. I can’t imagine being involved in anything personally or professionally where his wisdom, advice and influence doesn’t weigh in heavily. Iron Sharpens Iron.

Michaela Write absorbs my obscure, abstract musings and tries (hard) to put some order to them so I may get the work done. She’s more than an Executive Assistant; she’s a Little Sister who both challenges & inspires us to keep the train on track.

While my focus here was toward the EntreMusicianal area of my life, I must confess, I have the best ‘day job’ in the world, along with the best ‘boss,’ Bishop David L. Thomas and the spectacular team and congregation of Victory Christian Center, where I serve as an Associate Pastor. The Life Lessons, Love & Leadership are immensely foundational to Whom I Am & All I Do.

My Heart & Soul To My Lori Lynette (talk about Crazy Love) and All My Devotion to Our Daughters Tejai, Nia & Ayana. I’m Tremendously Blessed. What More Can a Man Ask?

 

I was grooving on The Crusaders’ “Unsung Heroes” & “Second Crusade” while writing this.

 

Walking Away…the sequel

Last Week, I transparently shared about a project I needed to dismiss myself from. I appreciated all your feedback on where you’ve too needed to do the same. This week I set forth a Different Scenario where saying adios is the Very Thing to do to Live Your Best Life, Personally and Professionally.

Before I begin, please know that I must be as generic as possible in my descriptions to protect the anonymity of this individual. In no way do I wish to cause embarrassment or to speak ill of this musician’s person. I highly respect their talent and genuinely love them. My goal in this post is aimed toward providing Encouragement & Advice to All EntreMusician’s based upon my Knowledge and Experience. My Convictions about Commitment Run Deep and My Persona is that I never wish to Walk Away from Anyone or Abandon Any Project without cause, but I have learned that beating dead horses attracts more flies.

I hired a True Gunslinger for a recent gig. All the Chops and Acrobatics included. Ironically, they were to replace Another Musician who could, but would not adhere to our agreement, so I had to bid them ado. The Gunslinger provided every indication that they would Learn the Material, Attend the Rehearsals (which were to be paid) – and the performance itself. Great!

The First Rehearsal was missed, but I was extended the courtesy of forewarning three days in advance. The Second Missed Rehearsal came with a 24 hour advance notice, but I was assured that the Music was already learned and they were ready to go. On the day of the Third and Final Rehearsal, not only were they 45 minutes late, but showed up without their instrument…one was provided, but was needed for another part of the rehearsal session. And then there was this Attitude. As if the other musicians in the room were somehow beneath the Prodigy, there was very little engagement to the point of being offensive – not in words, but in the air – you dig what I mean?

As a Man of Faith, I later contacted the individual, expressed my concerns and prayed with them for Spiritual Clarity and Collective Integrity. I then did the same with Each Musician so we would All be on One Accord.

I am grateful I was Prayed Up for said Performance as I needed to be totally prepared for what was to come. I received a call around Sound Check from the Absentee with a question about the Sheet Music previously sent. I was told they’d prepared extra copies to bring. No Mention, however of when. I should have asked…

As we assumed the bandstand two minutes before Showtime, I made my MD aware that he would have to play the part of Two Musicians when the time came to do so. The venue owner was not amused. The club was jam packed, and even if/or when the Unfaithful were to arrive, there was no way to safely get their gear to the stage, as it was surrounded by the paying patrons. This was to be a straight up concert presentation, without breaks.

We Agreed to Grace the Missing Musician with Another Ten Minutes, which still didn’t prove enough, so we began. During the Final Chorus of the Second Song, I noticed Gunslinger had arrived and assumed another musician’s instrument and we continued with A Show – but not the one we had rehearsed and planned for. Praise The Lord our Audience was unaware, thanks to the brilliant musicians Gunslinger had offended the week prior.

I paid the Musician in full for the show, minus the rehearsal portion, ignoring the flood of excuses of why they simply could not arrive on time. I later contacted them by phone to express my heart, disappointment and desire to remain friendly. I will, however, never hire them again. Another Appropriate Place to Walk Away From.

 

I was listening to “Jasmine” again by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden while I typed this. A Most Calming Piece of Music which has ever existed. 

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