Treu Love, Pt. 1

A man on public radio has written a book about the importance of failure, especially if you’re in the arts. People don’t recognize it, but if you’re in business or other places, fear of failure keeps people from achieving. I can kind of see it as a general theory. Here’s the story: as an experiment, an art teacher teaches a ceramics course divided the class in half.

He took half the class and said, “At the end of the semester, your grade will be determined by weight. We’re going to weigh every piece that you do and so many pounds will be an ‘A’, so many pounds a ‘B’, and so on.” He took the other half and said, “Your grade is going to be determined on your single best piece.”

Now, all of us — especially if we work in arts — we’re sure of what’s going to happen. We’re sure that best work is going to be done by the people in Plan B where everything depends upon doing one good piece, and the other side will create tons of crap. It’s not what happened. The people who were just told, basically, forget about grades, just create a lot of stuff. That was the real message: forget about being evaluated all the time, just keep doing it.They learned, they progressed, they got better, they did some of the best pieces. Isn’t that fascinating? I wish somebody had told me this fricking story forty years ago.

That’s kind of the stuff I see a lot of, especially in music. You may not be the best songwriter right now, but just keep working on it and you’ll get better. But I feel like everything I have to do has to be perfect, so its even hard to get started.

See, what it’s meant for me as a writer, is that I am so demanding about what I do, especially poetry and fiction, the stuff that I care deeply about. I tend to take rejection way, way too seriously. For someone that’s worked as a magazine editor, that’s stupid, because I know firsthand that if you send a piece in to any literary magazine, they’re going to have thousands of other pieces, the process is way too fast, and you should never say this is the final judgement on my work when it gets rejected. It’s crazy to do that — It’s just wrong. I know that and yet…

My friend Matt Cashion is a writer. He’s much smarter and he’s always on my case about this, because he’s younger and more energetic, too. I’ll send a novel off and it’ll get rejected and I won’t send it off for six months, but he will get rejected, but have four other copies out to different publishers. As soon as one gets rejected, he’s writing somewhere else. He keeps the US Postal Service in business. His approach is right. So anyway, that’s my story.

You can relate that to our topic here, about love in general and just getting out there and just keep on trying.

So you mentioned music – are you a musician?

Yeah, I play bass.

You play what I think of now as a bass guitar. Have you ever played a stand-up?

No, that’d be awesome.

It was. I played back in the early 60’s. I don’t want to say before bass guitars were invented, but it was close.

That’s what I was thinking. I know Paul McCartney played a bass, like a bass guitar, but it still looked almost like an upright.

So you’re doing music. Are you playing with a group?

No, not really. I’m just kind of working on my own music and having friends fill in where ever I need them, mostly drummers. It’s hard to find a drummer.

No kidding. You know the story of the Beatles, right? They started out with a drummer, and not that they’re bad guys, but they were always very ambitious. They had a chance to record if they got a decent drummer. That’s when they found Ringo and they just said to the other guy, “Bye! You’re not one of us anymore.” And he watched the Beatles get rich and famous and it drives him crazy.

Yeah, I bet. I heard in one of the Beatles later albums, Paul McCartney just rerecorded all the drums, replaced all of Ringo’s drumming.

Really? That’s interesting, isn’t it?  I don’t know, I guess it’s how it sounds when you get it.


Follow Washing Away on Spotify

If you listen to music on Spotify, there’s a small thing you can do that will be a big help to me: FOLLOW me there! Once I get to 250 followers, Spotify will verify my account, which opens up some cool possibilities for my music, and I’ll also be able to keep you updated whenever I release new songs or playlists. If you have a second, please click follow on Spotify. It really will be a huge help. Thanks!

You can also follow Casual Gaze and Half Dug or read more about Washing Away. Click ‘Continue reading’ to check out out Washing Away ‘s Discography, a Spotify playlist of my songs spanning 2009 to today. Continue reading “Follow Washing Away on Spotify”

Washing Away’s Part Three EP Out Now

Washing Away's Part Three - EP Album Cover
Listen on CD Baby

The four-song album is available for download and streaming Friday, May 27th. Lewis got back together with Andrew at Shock and Audio to work on his most rocking songs yet for this third EP. While originally written between 2003-2005, Lewis refined them in 2015, substituted an acoustic guitar and keyboard for the electric guitars. When it came to getting in the studio with Andrew, they retained the electric guitars of the original demos, but kept some of the changes. Since Steve wasn’t around, Andrew programmed drums. Lewis played bass, lead guitar and sang all the vocals. Andrew added his take on the rhythm guitar, too. Like past EPs, the songs are linked together by short instrumental interludes, giving them continuity through the finale.

These song continue to tell of the bassist’s involvement with his guitarist’s girlfriend. The girlfriend’s flirtations raising suspicion that she’s trying to seduce her ex-boyfriend. The guitarist may be oblivious, but the bassist is not as naive. Why would she do that when she’s got a boyfriend and a side guy? The chorus of “Even the Score” explains it.

Keep on coming back for more / Ways to relieve this sore / Had her heart broken before / Do it back and even the score.

Later, others are suspicious of her cheating which leads to a confrontation. In “Getting the Story Straight,” her friends are talking and she’s got explaining to do. The girlfriend denies any wrongdoing. Is she as innocent as she claims?

He’ll hear what went down from the origin / She had good intentions followed through with a grin / Surely, its not all true, the story she’s revealed / A night with a former love with details concealed.

This is too much for the bassist in “In Between.” His internal conflict between the band and the girl drags him down, but he’s determined to keep rocking. It would be foolish to believe that she loves him.

He’s got to get away from causes of lament / And find some other way around this deterrent.

In the end, the guitarist finds out about his girlfriend’s and band mate’s infidelity. The  fate of the band hangs in the balance.

For further listening, check out my recordings or other Washing Away posts. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Art Appreciation – Kii Arens for Big Grams’ Self-Titled EP

Big Grams' Album Cover

Kii Arens‘ (1967 – ) artwork for Big Grams (2015) is a series of trophies features golden women depicting the seven deadly sins. Rather than condemning these transgressions, the premise of this seven-song EP is a celebration. You can check out the all the trophies and descriptions on Big Grams‘ page.

  • Sloth – a woman covered with a sheet and smoking from a bong
  • Pride – a woman crowned with a tiara and receiving her own trophy
  • Envy – a woman holding a knife as she looks over her shoulder at another woman happily sniffing a rose
  • Lust – two women embracing and also appears on the EP cover
  • Greed – a woman dropping cash while drinking wine
  • Gluttony – displays a woman with her arms around a large ketchup-covered, crinkle-cut French fry.
  • Wrath – a woman crouching with a gun pointed up at another woman ready to come down with a chainsaw

Arens has also designed Eagles of Death Metal album, Heart On.  He has created concert prints for musicians such as Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, and Tame Impala as well. Aren’s has even had stints as a DJ, MC, guitarist and vocalist, and video director.

Feel free to check out more Art Appreciation posts or e-mail me suggestions for artwork you’d like to see in a future post. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "So Inevitable"

We’ve reached the last Washing Away song in Part Four and this EP series. “So Inevitable” comes from the point of view of the dumped, with water body references throughout – clearing, pounding, separating, and providing perspective. The lyrical metaphors still seem good, so I didn’t change them. The melody was a challenge and my voice wavers a bit.  I think it works given the subject. This was also the first time I adjusted the equalization at all. I was getting some distortion on my S’s in “seems so …”, so I turned it down at 10K.

The music has a melancholy hook and plods along, building to the end.  There is a bit of a climactic moment as the verses reach the chorus, but it’s just a bittersweet taste of the unfulfilled hope of making it as a band.  This is the second song to include bass chords – the first was in the introduction on “This Game.” I used some consonant ones in the bridge to show a little optimism that there will be other opportunities to make music.

Check out more Songs of the Month and posts about Washing Away. Please e-mail me suggestions for my songs, too. And if you value Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics.

Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "So Inevitable"”

Art Appreciation – Nigel Evan Dennis for Clair de Lune’s Marionettes

Clair de Lune's Marionettes Album Cover
Nigel Evan Dennis began designing as Electric Heat the same year that Clair de Lune formed and released their first album, Marionettes (2004). He has done album artwork for bands including another Minneapolis band Pomegranates and rapper Common. Dennis’s other commercial work includes shoe advertisements and magazine spreads, such as Playboy layouts inspired by Tron:Legacy and Back to the Future, Part II. On his website, there are also links to his fine art prints and mandala-like hand-painted records. Dennis is a musician as well, composing a score and playing in the band, A Lull.

The album artwork for Marionettes is a bit rougher, but still has the energy of his other work. The main design in brown is an bursting collage of the band members, animals, trees, and towers.  Many birds, a gazelle, and a zebra are in the mix. while an elephant stands apart next to an Olde English “Shadow.” A water tower, bell tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and antenna towers peek out. There are also some odds and ends mixed in — an old camera, cassettes – (“CLAIR DE LUNE” on Side A and “MARIONETTES” on Side B), orange slices, a crown, and a windmill. Swirling cords, arrows, and stars ornament the imagery.

The base layer is a two-tone orange on the front and faded shades of blue and purple on the back. The are mostly splashes of paint, but there is a cityscape and skyscraper in the orange. The faded colors are mostly splashes, too, but there maybe a phone and “1982!!” in there. The inside of the booklet is even more faded behind the credits and likely just splattered paint.

The disc has a cassette labeled “CLAIR DE LUNE” that looks like it is falling across the disc, but the drops are birds and streaks are towers. The band name and album title appear vertically in the spine on the tray card. “Your body cant carry the [indiscernible] anymore!” is under that, ornamented by a skull and crossbones, hearts, and a spray paint spot.

Check out more Art Appreciation posts. Please e-mail me suggestions for artwork you’d like to see in a future post. And if you find value in Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click “Continue reading” to see a poster showing the artwork on the outside of the disc, and watch the “Passenger View” music video in the same style as the album art. Continue reading “Art Appreciation – Nigel Evan Dennis for Clair de Lune’s Marionettes”

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "The Last Straw"

In “The Last Straw,” the band is nearing their big show that kicked off Washing Away‘s EP series with “Welcome”. They’ve got the songs and almost have enough money saved up to record an album, but it’s hard to tell if everybody is on board. The guitarist seems uninterested, but hopefully a successful performance will reignite his passion.  The lyrics are bit different from the original demo and now have the same chorus throughout the song and references the song title. I changed “money” to “savings” in the verses, because it sounded a little less silly. I also replaced “washes out to sea” with “fades from memory” in the last verse, because the line didn’t fit with the song even though the project is Washing Away.

Musically, there’s a strong rhythmic emphasis that goes with “break” at the end of the chorus. Also, the interlude is a reprise of the bridge to “Welcome”, referring to the big show, and climaxes violently before subsiding softly. I wanted the song under four minutes and the bridge was a bit long. I cut the interlude in half and took out the intro part that was after the first chorus. The introduction and last verse are a little different, too, with the bass and drums coming in after two measures of the intro and longer notes held out in the verse.

Check out more Songs of the Month and posts about Washing Away. Please e-mail me suggestions for my songs, too. And if you value Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "The Last Straw"”