Life during the lockdown and one finds oneself turning to the online world for community, support, and solace. The pandemic is a global phenomenon after all, and it would seem by the swell of blogs and posts on social media that millions of people the world over are doing the same. Social media explodes with information, disinformation, misinformation, distraction, and instruction.
One of the most shared posts by the online artistic community tells me ‘use the pandemic and the new reality to write that song, that novel, that screenplay you’ve always wanted to’ but this merely serves to impose a feeling of guilt -after all learning to adapt to the restrictions is difficult enough without the added pressure of trying to summon the muse and create new music.
What if I have no new ideas at my immediate disposal to inspire new tunes or fresh ideas to share with other musicians, let alone an audience?
There were a few years there–the late 60’s and early 70’s–when underground FM radio thrived in Chicago. FM was new then, not yet corporate, and it offered, on weak frequencies, some very eclectic and adventurous broadcasting. I’d stay up late at night and record from the radio—musicians I’d never heard, but who fascinated me: Sibelius, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Skip James, Ornette Coleman, Doc Boggs. The tapes had no genre boundaries or even taste parameters, really–half the time I didn’t even know if I exactly liked the stuff I was recording. I didn’t yet have enough musical context to fully appreciate it. But I craved the soundscapes the tapes created. Avant garde and folk musics seemed much the same to me. It was all musical texture—fresh and new, especially the stuff that was old.
The conversation always goes the same way. Our friends, our family, they eventually say something along the lines of “You guys are pretty good, I bet if you wrote songs that were more mainstream, you could make it.”
First of all, that’s assuming we haven’t “made it” and what is “making it” anyway? So often in the music industry, we are constantly aware of the ones who have “made it.” Their videos are full of gold chains, models, fancy cars. They make money hand over fist and have crews of a hundred people making sure their every photo, blog, article, makes them appear to be super human. Yet their songs? Their lyrics? Almost always the same regurgitated fluff.
The song Too Late off our recently released EP Smoke Signals, which to the naked ear sounds like a love song about two people who are realizing they may be near the end of their relationship is, in fact, an analogy of a story that happened to myself and a friend of mine while backpacking across Europe.
A few years ago I was traveling from St. Ann to Kingston, Jamaica. While on the highway I noticed a police jeep signaling me to stop. I wasn’t speeding nor was I doing anything out of order. So I hesitated a bit to make a halt. But the cops insisted. Therefore I finally pulled over.
My brothers and I started out deejaying and producing as Chalice Palace Music in the late 90s, still Teenagers. Most of our productions were with local upcoming talents from our hood. At that time, we never had a distribution deal, so most of the work was unreleased until 2004 we released a few 45s. But we still had a long, long way to go until to receive recognition.
Hi, my name is “StickyFace” aka GiddiCase! I was on the road for five years with Perfect Giddimani. While I got really tired sometimes carrying all his stuff, it was still kool because I got to see the whole world even though I didn’t have eyes!