Treu Love, Pt. 2

Bob talks about his entertaining daughters, his 2 (almost 3) former wives, and how defining marriage at a dinner party may not be necessary.


That recorder doesn’t make me nervous, incidentally.  You’re going to ask me questions and you may not get answers.  I’ll even try to make stuff up if I have to, but there’s a whole lot of blankness on the subject of love.

I got some general questions. You said you have a daughter, right?

I have two daughters.

Do they live around here?

No, unfortunately. They grew up here. They were both born in La Crosse, they both went to school here, they both went to university in Madison and they became entertainers. My youngest daughter, improbably, spent a few years working as an aerial acrobat with the Cirque du Soleil.


It was and I loved watching until I found out there were no safety devices, but by then she was out of it and she didn’t tell me or her mom until it was over. She married, of course, a helicopter pilot, naturally. So he’s in the Air Force, and they were just transferred from Vegas, and then they got transferred to Cheyenne, and now, just two weeks ago they were transferred to Shreveport, Louisiana. And the other daughter lives, still basically in Vegas, Henderson. She’s married a lawyer who works for a big firm there and it’s not likely she’ll be moving here any time soon. They’re both far away and that pretty much takes care of my travel budget. And the question of love, of course, they’re right at the top of my list. They’re my heroes – they are very, very decently good people.

That’s what I was kind of thinking.  So, were you ever married?

I’ve been married a couple times.

Are your daughters from the same wife?

Yeah, they were born to my first wife within a year and a half of each other.

How old were you when you got married? Your first time?

I was just twenty-one.

And how long did you stay married?

Twenty-some years.

Oh, that’s good. If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?

If it gets too personal or complicated, I won’t get into it. That’s a question not so much I won’t, but I probably couldn’t.  It was more of a slow kind of separation. Separating took a long time. I just spoke with her this afternoon.  She lives in Idaho now and we’re good friends. I’m still friends with my second wife as well.

How long were you married to your second wife?

We were together for close to ten years, but we were married four. So it was a much shorter marriage, but we’re still good friends. I came close to getting married a third time. At that point, a friend of mine said, “You know, You’re not good at this.”

That’s sad.

I guess it depends on whether you feel like marriage is the goal of everything. I don’t know if it is or not. I don’t disapprove of marriage. I think it felt good to be married when I was married, for the most part, but I don’t advertise it for everybody, I really don’t. I think there are lots of other ways people can be really happy in relationships.

There are a couple of questions that I’m very shy of asking people. For example, if I see you together with somebody all the time, even if I know you live with the person, I would be very shy to say, “Are you married?” I’d also be very hesitant to say, “How much do you make in a year?” There are just some questions I don’t feel comfortable asking people.

I have one set of friends, a couple. Here I’ve known these people for twenty years, but didn’t know whether they were married or not. They didn’t fuss about it, but my first wife and I knew them quite well as a couple. “What do you think? Are they married?” We kind of batted it around ourselves, but we didn’t know. And then we were at a dinner party and I’m thinking maybe this was when I was single again; I don’t think my first wife was there. In the middle of the meal, a young member of the Spanish Department at the time suddenly said, “Well, you know, Joe, Sarah, everyone wants to know: are you married or not?” Everybody looked stunned, except Joe and Sarah. They were very happy to say, “No, we’re not married, we’re not going to get married, we don’t believe in that.”


Treu Love, Pt. 1

A 2013 interview with author & scholar, Bob Treu, about love. First, his story on art & failure leads to a discussion on music & rejection.

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

Listen to the first three EPs, keep up with new releases and playlists, and help the band unlock new tools for a better streaming experience


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 “Even The Score” Music Video Out Now

The girlfriend’s spinning bottle takes aim at multiple guys’s hearts, letting them fall and shatter in this video twist on spin-the-bottle. 


“Even the Score” is the first track off Washing Away’s Part Three – EP (2016), with lyrics about a cheating girlfriend now looking to seduce an ex-boyfriend.  The video’s theme is a take on the youthful game of spin-the-bottle, with much different results. The props and scenes are limited to what I could do alone. Here’s how it worked.

I needed five bottles of soda, floss, pink sponges, a nickel, tape, and card stock. I cut five hearts out of the sponges and tied four of them up with floss. The floss was a sample from the dentist. The fifth heart got shoved in an emptied soda bottle. The empty one is the spinner, but it is tough to keep a bottle spinning in one place. A nickel taped to the bottom stabilized it for the camera (the other coins didn’t work as well). I taped up the other four strips of floss to my cabinets to hold up the full bottles in a lose knot with the heart around the top. I used soda instead of beer to keep a sense of innocence and youth. The bottles balanced on the edge of my kitchen counter on slips of card stock taped underneath so I could stealthily pull them off. I used a sheet as a backdrop and put couch cushions and blanket on the floor so the bottles wouldn’t break until I was ready to film them.

I hope you enjoy it. You can click on “CC” in the video to see the lyrics.

For further viewing, check out my Vimeo Channel or other Washing Away posts. Feel free to  e-mail suggestions for other music videos you’d like to see. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.


Washing Away’s Part Three EP Out Now

Driving tempos & rhythmic hooks ratchet up the tension in this third EP as the protagonist feels used up and his secret tryst is uncovered.

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.


Video Appreciation – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s "Astonished Man"

This groove- and beat-oriented song about tracking down the singer’s lost father is given a new perspective with a mock B movie horror video.


“Astonished Man” is the lead-off track from A Man Alive (2016), the fourth album from Thao & the Get Down Stay Down (2003 – ).  The song (and album) is about her relationship with her estranged father.  The vocal groove and sharp beat drive the song. Repeated words and phrases emphasize the rhythm with the cracking drums. The simple guitar riffs and buzzing synth bass further emphasize the rhythms. The guitar is mostly choppy, but does include some swirling effects in the background. The music builds and breaks down and builds again. Throughout the song, auxiliary instruments add more texture to the song. There’s a shaker, tambourine and a cowbell-like sound from the percussion. Violins add to the atmosphere and intensity along with layered vocals.

The video creates a different kind of atmosphere, a seeming of murderous pursuit.  It’s setting is the stage of a horror film, complete with eerie lighting, fog, skulls, stained glass, and dramatic camera movement to set the scene. The video highlights weapons like an ice hook, ax, chainsaw, butchers knife, switch blade, and tenderizer mallet suddenly casting shadows in the lightning or breaking through walls and doors. Thao sings to the camera alone, in parts with a prop knife in her head and covered in fake blood. She even appears headless on the floor, though the camera reveals her attached body underneath.

For further viewing, check out Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s video for “Holy Roller” or more Video Appreciation posts. Feel free to  e-mail suggestions for other music videos you’d like to see covered. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Click “Continue reading’ to see the lyrics.  Continue reading “Video Appreciation – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s "Astonished Man"”


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

Arens’ uses gold-painted women to create seven idol-like trophies illustrating this Big Boi + Phantogram EP that exalts the Cardinal sins.


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.