Monday, April 30, 2007

the man who ate a beer glass...

painting # 31 done on september 26, 2002.
30" by 40" acrylic.

Shoe Salesman (versions 1 and 2)

shoe salesman (versions 1 and 2)
volume 3 number 11

"every now and then
you find someone
you really like,
but sometimes in the end
they may not
you right..."
and on and on go the bad shoe puns in this, the earliest of my songs ever recorded. written in 1972!
here are two versions in a row. the first is the original way I wrote the song (in a holiday inn room somewhere in ohio).
the second is a "dixieland style" version. at the Americana resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where Royal Recorders Studio was housed there was a jazz group called the Mike Barnett Trio who had played in the Americana lounge/restaurant for 20 years! they graciously came by to record an afternoon of dixieland. I intended to add clarinet, tuba, trombone, trumpet and perhaps even have a guest male singer, but it never got that far.

shoe salesman was written just before I joined Sweetheart, the band Frank Zappa found me in. Sweetheart played regionally across the south and midwest. one saturday we were close enough to the Canadian border we all decided to check out Canada (my first time there). we stopped at a place called the Happy Valley Hotel at about 3:00 in the afternoon. in what seemed to be a conference hall, the canadians were having a "talent contest" and despite the time of day they were well-lubricated (i.e. drunk) and rowdy. as we sat there having a molson my friends in Sweetheart egged me on to get up and play my "shoe salesman" song. just the kind of thing I hate to do, but eventually I gave in. I think I performed admirably and the canadians laughed in all the right places.
when it came time for the judging I won third prize, a canadian 10 dollar bill! (I still have it.)
second prize went to a pair of local favorites who played an accordian duet.
and the first prize?
to the man who ate a beer glass!

acoustic guitar, vocals: adrian
string bass: Mike Barnett
piano: Al Feeny
drums: Charles Mcfarlane
version 1 recorded on january 9, 1990
version 2 recorded on june 27, 1988
engineer: Rich Denhart
assistant: Dan Harjung
recorded at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wis.
length: 4:15

Monday, April 23, 2007


pygmies volume 2 number 3
recorded august 3, 1981
this early track is one of the last things recorded before the making of my first solo record lone rhino. it began as an experiment in drumming. we started by recording an african log drum part in 17/8 which would run throughout. then came the"drum kit". rich denhart had a type of barcus-berry pickup you could mount on just about anything. we put it on a flat piece of plywood and plugged the pickup into an early Roland delay unit, the DC-30. I could control the delay times with a foot pedal. it made fabulous machine-like noises and scraping sounds. next to that I placed objects such as a music stand and a piece of pipe along with a snare drum and bass drum.
gary platt (who engineered lone rhino and twang bar king) had recently made a series of field recordings. one was a very scary-sounding large sow. it became part of the drum track. we had something we called "throw down cymbal" which was done in this way: I would throw a cymbal on the floor while gary would fiddle with the speed of the tape machine. the end result was a kind of "gong" sound. rich had a old beat up van with a crusty noisy door. I slammed the door on the backbeat in the middle of the song. altogether it made for an interesting start to something, but that was all we had time for.

a few months later the GaGa crew (see peas volume 1 #2) finally convened in the Bahamas for the making of lone rhino with gary as engineer and rich as assistant. one late night I grabbed my fretless guitar and asked clif and bill to improvise with me over this drum track. you can hear parts of swingline, the track we were recording earlier that day. ultimately pygmies was not needed for lone rhino, but it was always a personal favorite.

saxophone: bill janssen

bass: clif mayhugh
fretless guitar, drums, and percussion: adrian
engineer: gary platt
assisted by: rich denhart
drum track recorded at Broken Prairie Studio in Champaign, Illinois
overdubs recorded at Compass Point Studio in The Bahamas

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Ludlow Junior High Marching Panthers.

we have established my affection for wacky sounds and experimentation.
just this morning I caught myself mindlessly tapping out sounds
in the steel sink in our kitchen.
but just how far back does this affliction go?

during my junior high school grades 6, 7, and 8 my family lived at 33 Kenner Street in Ludlow, Kentucky. for the second time in our lives we inhabited the second floor of my grandmother's house.

grandma beckett. she was a strong person with a gentle nature. her life revolved around God and our family. she was a sunday school teacher very active in the church we attended and a very pious woman, but she allowed for humor and human fallibility. she loved her kitchen and her flower gardening.
during part of this period of my life my mother was impounded in a tuberculosis sanitarium for two years. my father worked two jobs to offset the costs. it was a dark time in the life of a 12-year old. I was not allowed in the sanitarium and could only shout and wave to my mother in her third floor room when we visited every sunday. grandma beckett took care of me for those two years. alongside my mother and father she was the most important person in my life.
when we first moved there, at age 10, I joined the Ludlow Junior High Marching Band. I played drums. such a great thrill it was to march in parades or to the football games at the stadium. our school colors were red and black. the Ludlow Panthers. it helped fill the hole in my life.

I met my best friend Kenny Nevels on the school lot in the sixth grade during a snowball fight. he is still my best friend. back then we were inseparable: either he was staying at my house or I at his. kenny was also in the school band, playing french horn. the school band was the center of my life. my aspiration was to grow up to be a band director who could teach everyone how to play all the instruments. but meanwhile I was busy practicing my paradiddles and cadences with the ever-present pair of sticks stuck in my back pocket. boy, I was cool.

my bedroom which I shared with my younger brother Tim was right above grandma's beloved kitchen. I had decided I needed a "faux" drum kit to practice on. in the corner beside my bed I wore down three distinct sounding patches in the linoleum. I pretended they were my kit. I practiced myself silly on those patches. what a racket it must have made for my poor grandmother to endure.
but she never said a word.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Anecdote # 373

Zippy The Chimp.
now that I've started on memorable venues I have to include
Madison Square Gardens.
for 3 nights running may 7, 8, and 9th of 1978 the david bowie band played there.
the thrill of the Gardens comes principally from all the famous people in attendance.
I remember scanning the front row and seeing Dustin Hoffman looking back at me.
off to one side of the stage sat Andy Warhol with his ever faithful entourage trying
their best to look nonchalant. somewhere in the audience were the Talking Heads,
Mick Jagger, Bianca, etc.
it was a rubberneck fest.

there are two things about our first day there I remember most.
one was the elephants.
elephants? you say.
during our soundcheck as I stood onstage suddenly from behind me
I heard the distinct sound of elephants trumpeting.
I turned around and sure enough,
there were four elephants being hosed down with water
by their trainers right behind my stage position.

beneath the massive round building called Madison Square Gardens
(why is it called madison square gardens? it's not a garden and it's not square)
there is a maze of tunnels and holding areas,
something like what Disneyworld has beneath it.
evidently Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus was playing there soon
and the animals were being housed in the bowels of the gardens.
they brought up their elephants 4 at a time for feeding and bathing.

you can't imagine how happy I was.

the second memorable event came between soundcheck and showtime.
in one of our dressing rooms there was a long banquet table
filled with flowers, fruit, drinks and other goodies.
a lot of people were milling about including a few small children.
all of a sudden the door flies open with a racket and in comes a chimpanzee!
he's dressed in a very loud orange houndstooth suit and he's wearing roller skates!
he begins careening around the banquet table, and starts chasing the kids
around and around. they're screaming with delight, food is flying everywhere,
the chimp is making those noises chimps make. ack ack!! total chaos.
we sat there in shock.
then his manager burst in.
how did we know it was his manager?
he was wearing the same loud obnoxious orange houndstooth suit!
he was passing out flyers about the famous Zippy the Chimp
who had appeared on 2,000 television..blah blah blah
but no one was listening to him.

we were fixated on a chimpanzee in a suit
rolling skating around david bowie's dressing room.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

preferably a #2 soft...

they may not be the type of japanese fans I wish I had a million of but they are the type of japanese fans I have often used as percussion instruments*. on records such as house of cards, bumpity bump, and bird in a box those were the main percussion sounds. back in the 80's when performing in san francisco most groups (talking heads, krimson) stayed in japan town at a lovely hotel called the Miyako. it was everyone's favorite then and still a great place to stay now. right down the street is a small mall called japan center. I would always stock up on these fans at japan center. you see, if you tap them with a pencil they don't seem to make much of a sound, but if you put them right up to your ear and tap they have a remarkable variety of tics, tacks, and thumps. you can play them all around the sides, on the fan itself, or even on the stems; all different sounds. and they sound even better on a vintage stereo AKG C-12 microphone like the one I've always recorded my vocals with. I move them around while I play to create natural stereo effects. and you play them with a pencil! they're too delicate for even the lightest drumstick. the trick is finding the right fans. each one sounds unique. I wonder what the japanese store clerks must have thought of the strange man who would come in every year or so and spend an hour tapping on their fan selection with a pencil...

*more about odd percussion choices coming up in the next download pygmies, an unreleased track loaded with oddities including a frightening-sounding pig.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

two fans...


is anybody home?...
(inset here the sound of crickets from the bugs bunny cartoon with the singing frog
...hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gaaaal

I'm surprised no one has commented on my last blog
about my favorite guitarists, playing at the royal albert hall, etc.
it took two hours to write!
maybe my warning scared you off?
hey, I was only joking. don't take this stuff so seriously.
I enjoy and really look forward to your comments.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Anecdote # 282

warning: the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily your opinions.
they are in fact my opinions, which you may chose to disregard.

thank you. the management.

there are three guitarists whose influence I would never want to shed.
one is dead and two are living.

My Favorite Compliment.
when in my mid-teens and in my first teen band the denims,
our bass player Mike Wilshire would invite me over to his parents house.
I was the drummer in the band and as such,
I'm certain I had never even touched a guitar at that time.
mike always had the coolest new records.
(he introduced me to the music of bob dylan and jimi hendrix.)
mike played a new single from one of our favorite bands the yardbirds.
the year must have been 1964? I'm guessing.
side one was called jeff's boogie.
the flip side was over under sideways down.
I loved both songs but the guitar playing on jeff's boogie simply amazed me.
I was hooked on everything jeff has played ever since.

strange sidebar: in 1965 the denims played a show on galbraith road
on the outskirts of cincinnati. the public address system (as it was then called)
was provided by an infamous pair of brothers, the taggert brothers.
known for their outlandish behavior the taggerts would show up
at a teen dance in a customized hearst with gold plated lanterns.
their p.a. system which everyone rented included gold plated microphones.
they raised chickens in their plush apartment they shared and fed them
a special blend of chicken food which would clog their throats and cause
the chickens to say what sounded like "fuck, fuck". so they had these
chickens walking around in their apartment saying "fuck, fuck," while they
would entertain...I couldn't make this stuff up, could I?!
anyway, the night the denims played I noticed the taggerts had
a very nice tape deck running so I asked if they were taping our show.
"oh yes dear", said myrtle, "we're taping over last night's show."
"well, who did you work with last night", I inquired.
"one of those new british bands...oh, yes.. what were they were called?
the yardbirds!"

jimi hendrix was the most stunning guitar player ever to walk the earth.
but he was more than a guitar player.
a true blues singer. otherworldly songsmith.
a social phenom....a messenger.
and like some visionaries he burned as fast as a comet streaking across the night.
then he was gone.

jeff beck kept going.
a pure guitarist.
new sounds. new inventions. new tricks.
way back to jeff's boogie in 1964
he had chops, but he was not a chopslinger.
he had humor, touch. taste.
he evolved to give his guitar a voice.

fast forward nearly 20 years and I was standing in the balcony of a club in london. some loud band was playing but I was paying no attention. I was certain the guy just around the corner of the balcony (which was an open walkway, not a seated balcony) was jeff beck. I kept looking at him. and he kept looking back! just as I decided to head towards him, he did the same towards me.
"You're him!" I said. "You're that guy with the elephants!," he said. it was love at first sight.
unable to talk over the din, we had a good shout at one another. jeff even invited me to come out to his house in the country the next day. unfortunately I was far too busy plummeting to stardom. (a lost opportunity I will always regret.)
over the years we have become friends, bumping into one another as often as we can. usually we have some wine and tell funny stories until one of us has to go
(which ever one has a concert the next evening.)

at the time of first meeting jeff as now,
I was working with the last of my three guitar influences: robert fripp.
to say he has had a profound effect on me personally would be like saying
"hey adrian, you gotta big nose". pretty obvious.
(yeah, but how would I smell without it?...terrible. brummp chee!)
like jeff and jimi, robert has carved his own giant niche
into the overgrown mountain of guitarists.

but back to london...
Royal Albert Hall, what a strange feeling to play there. you can feel the history. as if to remind you, the dressing rooms are filled with lovely black and white photos of past performances. the beatles and the stones on the same bill together! imagine. led zeppelin. jimi hendrix.
krimson played the royal albert in 1995 with the double trio. there was a guide who, after soundcheck, took us to the top of the dome; very precarious. you could look 135 feet down into the auditorium. it was an honor to play there but musically the experience seemed a bit cold, sterile. a better london show was at sheperd's bush empire on july 3, 2000 with the last quartet: robert, pat, trey, and myself. it was also the sight of my favorite compliment.

I remember bill bruford was in the audience and I really wanted to see him.
after the show there is a customary bar you retire to to meet friends,
and press the flesh as they say.
I walked in hoping to find bill
and ran straight into jeff beck.
we hugged and shook hands.
while he shook my right hand he pretended with his left hand
to be sawing my arm off
at the wrist.

and that was my favorite compliment.

Staged Fright

staged fright volume1 number 9
curious as a cat am I when it comes to sound.
my penchant to monkey with machinery landed me
"The Best Experimental Guitarist" award 5 years running
which put me into Guitar Player Magazine's Gallery of Greats*.
so I have no complaints about the hundreds of hours I've spent
or the years of life extension I'd have were they to be returned.
but it did come as a blow when so many favorite relied-upon sounds
were accidentally erased forever by myself and ken latchney.

this piece was released as a bonus track only on the japanese version
of guitar as orchestra and faithfully illustrates the kind of
magical mischief which may happen if you twist knobs long enough.
I could never do this again.
which is what makes it unique.

I don't know about the rest of you smarties but this will be
filling the air of our front porch come next halloween night.

*a good thing, I could never compete face to face with the chopslingers
if experimentation was not considered a virtue.

guitar synthesizer: adrian

engineer: noah evens
recorded at studiobelew on march 15, 1995
length: 6:30

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Great Erasure

following in the footsteps of The Sorrowful Tale Of The Wrecked Refrigerator
(see anecdote # 303) comes another saga from our children's learning program
The Worst Days Of Our Lives
or As The Stomach Churns.
told in contemporary fairy tale form.

Once upon a time there was a zappa-headed boy named andrew.
curious as a cat was he and this kept him happily occupied all the wee hours.
he loved to tinker with sound modules and cause them to do unexpected things.
to no one in particular he would read aloud from his japanese manual:
"Please Now To Edit: turn Purple knob to Fantasy setting before holding
button for 2 seconds forward, please."
in this way andrew would make the most unlikely of sounds.
and thus he did for hundreds of days!

one afternoon his friend ben came over to play.
"Let's download your programs to a back up disc," said ben.
"You know how to do that?!," said andrew excitedly.
"How hard can it be," came the reply.
so andrew read aloud from his japanese manual while ben
pushed all the right buttons just as the manual instructed.
"What? That's not possible!" exclaimed ben,
It has bulk erased all your programs!"

try as they may, soon it was apparent all those hours of work
and the most unlikely of sounds were lost forever.

the two foolish boys were so distraught they cried out,
"We deserve no better fate than to be stripped entirely naked,
and put in a barrel which is studded inside with pointed nails,
and two white horses should be harnessed to it,
which will drag us along through one street after another,
till we are dead."*

The End.

I am relating this tale as an introduction to our next download staged fright which may be the last recorded example of my work with the beloved GR-1. more to follow...

*that last bit I pilfered from the grimm brothers story "the goose girl".
what a barrel of laughs they must have been.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anecdote # 191

at age 19 I made the stupid mistake of moving away from the warm comforts of my parents house on 117 valley drive into my own sleazo apartment only a few streets away. it was in the basement of the apartment building. I was wretchedly poor. true to the joke (what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? homeless) my girlfriend had a car and a job. she helped pay my rent. some days it was so bad I would ride my bike back to my parents house for a "care package" of campbell's soup and bread.
one day I decided to clean up my basement dwelling. I propped open the back door which led to the parking lot and went to work. one cleaning product I had was a can of Drano Clog Remover, a nasty concoction of chemical crystals which hissed and sizzled when put down a drain. oddly, the can was the size of a hand grenade and was covered in dire warnings:
Keep Water Out Of Can At All Times To Prevent Contents From Violently Erupting Or Boiling Out.
if even one drop of water was present in the can this would cause a chemical chain reaction. I poured the proper amount down the drain and closed the lid. I was sure there was no water anywhere near the can.
I continued to clean in another room, knowing the drano was to be left for 20 minutes to do its dirty deed. when I returned to the bathroom I knew immediately something was wrong. there was a sizzling coming from the can. as I picked it up it was burning hot. in one split second, as if in slow motion, I turned and launched the burning hand grenade toward the open back door. as my hand moved past my face it exploded full force.
there was the immediate surprise BOOM of pain as shards of metal stuck in my skin and the horrid stinging of chemicals burned my eyes and began to fill my lungs. within seconds I could not breath or see. I fell to the floor choking and crying, my ears ringing from the explosion, and began crawling down the short hallway to the kitchen. I could only see an opaque blur but could make out the phone. it was a touch tone phone. I felt the numbers like grail and called my mother. my lungs burned like a forest fire and I could barely growl my words.
the ambulance arrived. my poor mother was waiting at the emergency room. I don't remember much from there, but the next day I was back at my apartment. my head was fully swathed in a bandage which had to be changed once an hour. my eyes were glued over with a thick salve.
I could not see. for three days I was not sure I would ever see again.
on day four the doctor seemed to think my vision would return.
my friends threw me a party. sort of. they turned on the tv and turned the sound off. funny guys. as they left they shook my hand and wished me speedy recovery. eventually I was shaking hands with celery, cheese dip, beef jerky, and god knows what. funny guys.
to this day I have deep scar tissue a bad case of acne would be proud of.

beat box guitar, the painting...

was done on monday, november 11, 2002.
it was painting #36, measures 30" by 40", done in acrylic with mixed media.
it now belongs to robert fripp, one of 8 paintings he bought.
I assured him it would look good in the back of any closet in his home.

Monday, April 9, 2007

P Type

p type
volume 3 number 14
howard the piano sits in my living room. he has lived with me for 20 years now. how did I find howard? he was in a house I was buying in lake geneva. the sellers were planning to move to florida. I persuaded them to make howard a part of the purchase price. that's how I came into possession of my first and only piano. to be honest I am a less than adequate pianist but I use it primarily as a writing tool. my piano songs are very different from my guitar songs. when I first got howard I couldn't keep away from him. I was so thrilled to have a piano at last I began teaching myself by writing left hand bass lines like the one in p type and then building non-descriptive chord changes around them. by non-descriptive I mean chords which had at most a third or a fifth and did not dictate my choice of melody as would say a diminished chord or a flatted fifth.

for me, beginning a new record first involves a long process of contemplation. I like to sit quietly and imagine what I want the record to sound like. in particular it helps to have a sense of the musical components you want the record to have. the basic building blocks. stravinsky said a piece of music needs parameters, i.e. I'm writing this for these 8 instruments.

in early 1988 having settled into my new piano practice routine I imagined the left hand bass line piano parts as the main building block for a new rash of songs. combined with lean amounts of instrumentation, upright bass and light percussion (egg shakers or these cool japanese fans I would play with a pencil) with guitar used as color and for soloing, and a vocal sound enhanced with a certain type of processor called AMS. in that way I had a specific sound in mind for mr. music head which guided my production.

the earliest batch of songs all ended up on the second side of the record (remember it was the days of vinyl). songs like hot zoo, motor bungalow, bumpity bump, and bird in a box all have the sound I mentioned above built around the simplest of piano lines. after a break for touring (with the bears?) I started what would become the first side of the record with more songs from the same mold: oh daddy, house of cards, one of those day, and bad days. by then I was ready to move on to other musical areas like 1967 and cruelty to animals.

so what happened to p type?
when I write a song the melody is usually there from the start. then I labor over the words far more than I ever do the music. why? because when you place words on something you are defining it to some degree. the listener can no longer fully use his or her imagination. words color music. over and over I listen to an unfinished song until it tells me what it wants to be about. p type was one of the early songs and I knew it needed a soulful vocal. (in fact, I was using as my vocal inspiration a song from bowie's young americans record called somebody up there likes me.) but try as I did, I could never work up the emotional head of steam necessary to find the right words. so it was left behind.

ps: but it would make a fine candidate for our smarties contest coming up later this year.

piano, bass, drums, guitar, egg shakers: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
assistant: dan harjung
recorded at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wis.
on february 4, 1988
length: 3:19

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Anecdote # 909

Drummer Humor.
in the 80's krimson there was an american woman who took a fancy to robert.
so much so that when he returned home to england following one of our tours
she was there in his house waiting to greet him!
"your slippers and your pipe, master fripp?..."
she had broken into his house and had been living there several days.
after the authorities evicted her and and then deported her from the country
poor robert spent a small fortune erecting a wall around his property.

similarly in the 80's there was a young man (I'll call him J.J.) who eagerly followed the band from place to place. he insisted he was supposed to be in king crimson.
the first time I saw j.j. was in pittsburgh a few hours before our sound check. he was standing across the street waiting for the light to change. he was wearing his best john melon cougarcamp outfit, blue jeans and matching blue jean jacket (or perhaps he'd seen an early denims photo.) I had just nipped out of the hotel to get my favorite candy bar (then called forever more now called milky way midnight) at a nearby convenient store. the light changed. I crossed the street, but he stayed put. as I walked past him he suddenly blurted out, "I knew you'd be here!". what?
he then launched into a strange diatribe, "in keeping with the vicissitudes of the music industry and the inner mosaic relationship between fan and artist I must inquire...blah blah blah."
sheesh, all I wanted was a candy bar.

leaving the back stage door of various shows I would often spot j.j. who would always talk to me about being in king crimson. his being in king crimson.
once he wrote to my management about king crimson's upcoming tour of europe. he inquired: "since I'll be joining the band on tour will I need to apply for a passport or will my driver's license suffice?"

one night after a show bill bruford and I walked out of the building together.
there was a coterie of fans waiting behind a chain link fence. sure enough, there was j.j. earnestly pleading his case: "I need to play with you. I'm supposed to be in the band. I need to play with you for six minutes!" he keeping insisting, "I'm supposed to play with you for
six minutes
this piqued bill's interest.
he stopped in front of j.j.
bill asked,
"do they have to be consecutive?"

brummp chee!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Anecdote # 808

if you were to go on an international plane flight
and if you were to take along the scrabble tiles
A E E E G H H I J L N N T T and U
and if you were to scramble them into
as many phrases as you could come up with
and if you wrote each phrase down on your little notepad,
eventually you have one called thela hun ginjeet.

that's exactly how I arrived at that title on a flight to london.
the song was originally titled "heat in the jungle"
but robert correctly suggested a better title was needed,
something in keeping with the manic-africanesque
nature of the song, but less obvious.
so I used the same letters as "heat in the jungle"
to make anagrams on the plane.
the one I liked was thela hun ginjeet.
but what does it mean?
who cares, it sounds good and sings even better.

and if I had a dollar for each time I've explained it,
I'd be writing this from a sundeck in maui.

The True Story of Thela Hun Ginjeet.
the notting hill gate area of london at first glance seems like most semi-residential british neighborhoods with an occasional store or pub among crowded rows of little huts the english call "houses". only if you ventured down a side street might you detect the seedy underbelly where race riots had occurred in recent years and policeman had been killed.
a naive american guitarist would likely have no knowledge of such events.

in 1981 king crimson was in a studio in notting hill gate
recording our "honeymoon" record (i.e. our first) to be called discipline.
mulling over the shooting of john lennon the previous year
I was hoping to draw a disturbing lyrical picture of someone
who had been molested by someone with a gun
now being interviewed and questioned about it.
hence the working title "heat in the jungle".
all I had written to that point were phrases a person might say:
"he held a gun against me...this is a dangerous place", that kind of thing.
robert had a good suggestion,
"ade, why don't you take your walkman tape recorder and walk around on the streets saying your phrases into it. that way you'll pick up background noises and it will sound more like a real interview."

it was a nice sunny day so I set out walking through the neighborhood
practicing various ways of saying my phrases into the walkman recorder.
"he held a gun against me"...a car drove past.
oh, that'll sound nice in the background.
"this IS a dangerous place"...good, good, a dog was barking that time.
maybe I'll just go down this side street, it sounds a bit more noisy.

as I sauntered down a side street still speaking into my recorder
I noticed across the way a few ornery-looking rastafarians.
they were eyeing me.
they slowly crossed to my side of the street.
I rewound my tape recorder a bit to see how it was sounding.
suddenly I was surrounded by five or six rastas.
they were very agitated.
"what's that!? what you got dair?" looking at my walkman.
"nothing it's just a..."
"give it here!", the ringleader scowled
and he wrestled my tape recorder from me.
he turned it on and it said, "he had a gun...this is a dangerous place!"
it was like pouring kerosene on a ant hill.
"what gun?!! where do you see a gun? we don't have no gun!!"
now they were really worked up,
all shouting in that strange dialect.
under my hawaiian shirt I was wearing a talking heads tour t-shirt.
I showed them the shirt and said, "look I'm in this band, we're making a record..."
"you a policeman!" he shouted. "what gun? a policeman!!"
boy, they were mad now.
I really thought my life was in danger, my heart was racing.
they kept shouting incongruous things in my face.

then it was like a switch turned off.
they just let me go. backed away.
I don't know why, but they crossed over to their side of the street*.

so I started walking back towards the studio shaking like a leaf.
as I rounded the corner two policemen pulled up beside me
in a small white toy the english call a "car",
they asked me to stop.
they got out and began to question me.
what was I doing? where was I from? did I live around here?
they asked for my tape recorder and began taking it apart!
amazingly, they were looking for drugs.
they thought I was a drug dealer.
why else would a white boy with short hair be lurking in such a nasty place?

at last I made it back to the studio, my nerves shot,
I could barely make a sentence, I was so shaken up.
as I told everyone in the studio what had just happened to me,
robert secretly signaled the engineer to record what I was saying.
those bits of my mangled explanation
are what you hear on the record.

and thus a fictitious song about being molested
turned into a real live being molested.

* turns out the mean rastafarians were running an illegal gambling place
and when they saw me talking covertly into a tape recorder...

Man With An Open Heart

since one of you (and that's all it takes) said you like my paintings which try to look like something I thought I'd post this one you've probably never seen.
it lives on a wall in the studio.
in the whole spectrum of songs I've written/co-written for king crimson there are only two I feel showed bad judgment on my part:
man with an open heart is one of them, the other is two hands.
man with an open heart was a desperate filler (we needed something!)
which might have worked for a solo record (or not) had I spent more time on it,
but two hands was just a dud.
it pleased no one in the band, caused even more strife, and embarrasses me now.
my ex-wife wrote the words and even she hated it.
evidently I remembered her lyric incorrectly and ruined it.
but at least we now have this lovely painting as a result of writing
man with an open heart.
please accept this as my formal apology.