Saturday, November 26, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors (Debris by Wax Theatricks)

It’s always been about the music.

When I was making 8mm films in the 70s, my aim was to eventually find a way to visualize music. Even before MTV, every time someone made a film featuring music there were people in it. I wanted to see the music itself.

I’m sure there were short, underground films out there, but I never saw one. The closest thing was Bach’s Toccata and Fuge in D Minor in the film Fantasia. Of course they had that unlimited Disney budget.

My experience of music involves shape, texture, patterns, and (for lack of a better word) dance. Imaging an artist playing the music misses the whole point of what I’m after.

Most of my life has been spent going after whatever that is. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds and time, I’ve had to keep most of it in my head.

The pursuit has had its ups and downs. I’m sure it cost me my marriage. My ex was always mad at me for spending so much time in my dungeon (basement studio).

Of course art is communication and if you don’t get it out there, it’s just masturbation.

Anyway, when I was a kid in the 70s, I spent a lot of time with a camera experimenting with smoke and mirrors.

I put together a small film made up of some of this stuff. I used the song Debris from the Wax Theatricks LP because it’s an instrumental.

It’s not exactly pure music because I used a lot of nature shots. It kinda looks like New Age film making now, but it was before that. Believe me “New Age” is not what I was going after.

As far as editing film goes, I miss the old razor blade and tape. It seems every digital edit I make affects the film negatively in two other places. I’ve had to use several editing programs because each has its own strengths. The learning curve fro each has been daunting.

I feel sorry for Fojammi because he was put in charge of producing the documentary of the Earwacks reunion. He’s been showing it to Dominic and me as he goes.Wow! We’ve been working on the audio end and it’s a lot easier.

Check out the link -----------

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Scrape

I have a routine on Saturday mornings. I get up early, write my blog, go rollerblading, spend a few hours in the studio and come home to a few beers and music with Valerie on our back porch.

Yesterday I decided to throw together some film I found as a surprise for the band. I started working around 6:00am and when I decided to take a look outside it was already getting dark. Man, I hate these winter hours.

I’m not sure who shot it, but I found footage of the band playing in the country. I could tell it was The Scrape right off the bat. I had footage of the band in my dad’s attic I shot for my movie Porkchop. How could I not use that too?

There was also a bunch of throw-away material I finally found a use for.

In the country film you’ll see Chris Howard, Jamie Blanke, Josie Christen, Pete Spoto, Moe (one of our roadies), my brother Patrick, Marge and Kay.

There’s a blurry shot of the only existing footage of Wuxtry Records in the 70s.

There’s also a blurry shot of Dominic and my girlfriend Jill clowning around in our apartment in the West End.

The photo is the original cover for the single by Matt O’Shea. He actually scraped a photo of me (that he took) with an exacto blade to get the effect. I thought it looked too much like Jerry Garcia and turned it down. He did do the final one, but I’m not sure I ever told him how much I appreciated all his effort.

Check out the link-----------

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I always thought Chaka Khan was talking to me when she sang, “I bet you wish there was 48 hours to each day!” I’ve been putting off posting until I could knock off some of the editing for my old 8mm transfers.

I’m starting with the easiest stuff first, but video editing software isn’t nearly as intuitive as audio software. I’ve been burning through days like they were minutes!

One of my unfinished films from the 70s was called Porkchop. In those days, everything seemed like a distraction. There seemed to be some underlying truth that I had to get at, something deeper and more real than religion or drugs. In fact, I could see a lot of similarities between those two things. They could both be satisfying, distracting, and sometimes horrifying. And of course, some were good and some were bad.

My roommate, Linda Freeland, agreed to play a part in the film for me. We got 3 or 4 takes and spent the rest of the day goofing off. That was a lot more fun. I have better films, but I love seeing her from those days.

The scene for the film is Linda shooting up with triple exposed shots of the St. Louis Cathedral and an out of focus shot of Dominic’s head. He played the protagonist (as usual).

I used the song Kites from my band Delay Tactics’ album “Any Questions?” We recorded the record just 5 years later, but by then I was a completely different person.

I’ve learned over the years that my experiences are far from a distraction. They are who I am.