Saturday, April 30, 2016


artwork by Barbara Napeski
April 1, 2016
"Cul-De-Sac" performed by Genesis

"Soma" (live 2016) performed by The Smashing Pumpkins with James Iha-WSPC PREMIERE
"April Fool" performed by Ronnie Lane
"Find Another Fool" performed by Quarterflash
"Description Of A Fool" performed by A Tribe Called Quest

"25 O'Clock" & "The Mole From The Ministry" performed by The Dukes Of Stratosphear

"I Want You"
"Everybody Needs Love"
"You're All I Need To Get By" featuring Tammi Terrell
"If This World Were Mine" featuring Tammi Terrell
"Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)"

April 2, 2016

"Mama Said" (live 1994) performed by Lenny Kravitz

April 3, 2016
"The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines" performed by Joni Mitchell
"I've Had It Up To Here" performed by Weezer
"Jools And Jim" performed by Pete Townshend
"All Over Town" performed by April Wine
"I Like To Rock" performed by April Wine
"Judas" performed by Esperanza Spalding-WSPC PREMIERE

"I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive" performed by John Lee Hooker
"Weak Brain And A Narrow Mind" performed by Willie Dixon
"I Am The Blues" performed by Muddy Waters
"Five Long Years" performed by Buddy Guy

April 4, 2016
"Pride (In The Name Of Love)" performed by U2
"Blues For Martin Luther King" performed by Otis Spann
"By The Time I Get To Arizona" performed by Public Enemy
"Like A King" (live in Paris 2000) performed by Ben Harper
"MLK" performed by U2

April 5, 2016
"April 5th" performed by Talk Talk
"Come Alive" performed by Foo Fighters
"Today" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Fight The Power" performed by The Isley Brothers
"Primary/Ballot Or The Bullet" performed by Van Halen

"Elected" performed by Alice Cooper
"Super Tuesday" performed by The Shazam
"Just One Victory" performed by Todd Rundgren

April 6, 2016
"Money Talks" performed by The Kinks
"Ticket To The Moon" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Wooden Ships" performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash

April 7, 2016
"Blackout" performed by David Bowie
"Blue Eyed Hexe" performed by Pixies
"Raindrops + Sunshowers" perfored by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Vulture" performed by Iggy Pop-WSPC PREMIERE
"My Wife" performed by The Who

April 8, 2016
"Enemy Lines" performed by DJ Shadow
"Hurdy Gurdy Man" performed by Donovan
"Dogs" performed by Pink Floyd

"My Melancholy Blues" performed by Queen
"Need Her Love" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Mandocello" performed by Cheap Trick
"Sarah" performed by Thin Lizzy
"Akt Dit" performed by Dungen

April 11, 2016
"Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" performed by The Monkees
"New Song" performed by Howard Jones
"Funky Stuff" performed by Kool and the Gang
"Can't Stop" performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Built For The Future" performed by The Fixx

April 13, 2016
"The Moment" performed by Tame Impala
"King For A Day" performed by XTC
"Crystal Palace" performed by The Bible
"Over You" performed by Echo and the Bunneymen
"Walking In The Woods" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness

April 14, 2016
"Bodysnatchers" performed by Radiohead
"Funk The Fear" performed by Esperanza Spalding-WSPC PREMIERE
"Freewill" performed by Rush
"How Stupid Mr. Bates performed by The Police
"National Anthem" performed by Vernon Reid and Masque

April 15, 2016
"After Taxes" performed by Johnny Cash
"Money Talks" performed by Rick James
"No Refund"performed by Johnnie Taylor
"For The Love Of Money" performed by The O'Jays
"Money Won't Change You" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Outlaw" performed by War

April 16, 2016

"Record Store" performed by Trolley
"Power Of The 45" performed by Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys
"Spiral" performed by XTC
"45 R.P.M." performed by The Alarm
"Spin The Black Circle" performed by Pearl Jam
"White Vinyl" performed by The Silos
"Rock 'N Roll Record Girl" performed by Bobby Poe

April 17, 2016
"Lunar Sea" performed by Camel
"King Kong" performed by Jean-Luc Ponty with Frank Zappa
"Snoopy's Search/Red Baron" performed by Billy Cobham

April 18, 2016
"Funky Drummer" performed by JAMES  BROWN
"Tighten Up" performed by The Black Keys
"In 3's" performed by Beastie Boys
"3 Birds" performed by The Dead Weather
"Walking Down The Highway" performed by Buddy Miles

April 19, 2016
"Jesus Is Just Alright" (live 1975) performed by The Doobie Brothers
"Prime Time" performed by The Tubes
"A Dream Away" performed by The Cars
"Dig In" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"The British Are Coming" performed by Weezer

April 20, 2016
"Carried Away" performed by Sloan
"Red Eyes" performed by The War On Drugs
"Wild, Wild Life" performed by Talking Heads
"Long Distance Winner" performed by Buckingham Nicks
"Used To Without You" performed by The Pollinators-WSPC PREMIERE

JUNE 7, 1958-APRIL 21, 2016
April 22, 2016
"American Woman" (live New Year's Eve 1999) performed by Lenny Kravitz and Prince
"Dirty Mind" (live 1982)
"She's Always In My Hair" (live on "Arsenio Hall") performed with 3RDEYEGIRL
"Do Me, Baby" (live 1982)
Acoustic Musicology Medley (live): "Cream/I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man/Sweet Thing/Proud Mary/Sometimes It Snows In April"

"It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night" (from the "Sign O' The Times" film)
"Red House" (live New Year's Eve 1999) performed with Maceo Parker

April 23, 2016
"Dear Mr. Man/If You Want Me To Stay" (live)

"I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm A Star" (live 1984) performed with The Revolution
"Cool/Let's Work" (live)
"Gold" performed with The New Power Generation
"America" (live) performed with The Revolution
"I Wish U Heaven"
"Can I Play With U? (unreleased) performed with Miles Davis

"Purple Rain" (live April 2016) performed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

April 26, 2016
"Guitar/1999" (live)

"Venus de Milo" performed by D'Angelo
"Condition Of The Heart"
"The Beautiful Ones"
"Call My Name"
"The Human Body"

"Te Amo Corazon/Fury/Purple Rain" (live Brit Awards 2006) performed with Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman and Shelia E.
"The Rainbow Children"
"Black Sweat"
"Hot Thing" (from the "Sign O' The Times" movie)

April 27, 2016
"Sometimes It Snows In April" (live on "Jimmy Fallon") performed by D'Angelo ft. Princess

"Cindy C"
"Private Joy"
"What Do U Want Me 2 Do?"
"I Like It There"

April 28, 2016
"Somewhere Here On Earth/Diamonds And Pearls/The Beautiful Ones/Purple Rain" (from the "Piano and a Microphone" Tour March 25, 2016)

"Temptation" performed with The Revolution
"Anna Stesia"
"When You Were Mine/Blues In C" (live-Lovesexy Tour 1988)
"Planet Earth"
"Mellow/ 1+1+1=3"

April 29, 2016
Excerpt of "Peach" (live)
"When You Were Mine"
"If I Was Your Girlfriend" (from the "Sign O' The Times" movie)
"Somebody's Somebody"
"The Greatest Romance Ever Sold"
"Cinnamon Girl"

from the "Sign O' The Times" movie
"Now's The Time"
"Sign O' The Times"

April 30, 2016
"Stratus/That's It/All Shook Up" live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2009
"Come On" live London August 28, 1998
"Bambi" from "The Undertaker" live 1995
"All The Critics Love U In Montreux" live Montreux Jazz Festival 2009
"Summertime" band rehearsal/soundcheck Osaka, Japan 1990

Friday, April 29, 2016


1. "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" performed by XTC
2. "Always On The Run" performed by Lenny Kravitz
3. "Getchoo" performed by Weezer
4. "Roll Me" performed by Cheap Trick
5. "Elephants" performed by Them Crooked Vultures
6. "I Ain't Superstitious" performed by The Jeff Beck Group
7. "Dazed And Confused" performed by Led Zeppelin
8. "Birth School Work Death" performed by The Godfathers
9. "Tommy Gun" performed by The Clash
10."Numb" performed by Gary Clark Jr.

1. "If It Feels Good, Do It" performed by Sloan
2. "Simple Song" performed by The Shins
3. "Face Dances Part Two" performed by Pete Townshend
4. "Make The Weather" performed by The Waitresses
5. "A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)" performed by Romeo Void
6. "See You Tonite" performed by Gene Simmons
7. "Let's Not Play" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
8. "Time Wounds All Heels" performed by Nick Lowe
9. "Strange Relationship" performed by Prince
10."Last Train To London" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
11."September Gurls" performed by The Bangles
12."Taxman, Mr. Thief" performed by Cheap Trick


1. "The Energy Blues" performed by Jack Sheldon from "Schoolhouse Rock"
2. "Message From The Country" performed by The Move
3. "River Of Orchids" performed by XTC
4. "(Nothing But) Flowers" performed by Talking Heads
5. "The Other Way Of Stopping" performed by The Police
6. "Discipline" performed by King Crimson
7. "The Wire" performed by Post Social
8. "Air" from the motion picture "Hair"
9. "Gaya's Eyes" performed by Todd Rundgren
10."Thank You World" performed by World Party

APRIL 27, 2016

1. "The Life" performed by Wendy & Lisa
2. "The Dance Electric" performed by Andre Cymone
3. "Shortberry Strawcake" performed by Sheila E.
4. "Chocolate" performed by The Time
5. "The Good Life" performed by The New Power Generation
6. "Fifteen" performed by Madhouse
7. "Nasty Girl" performed by Vanity 6
8. "The Screams Of Passion" performed by The Family


Released April 1, 2016
NEW 2016 MUSIC: CONGRATULATIONS to the boys from Rockford, IL. on their long awaited and extremely deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Thankfully, for us fans, we have also been rewarded with "Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello," their first album in seven years, and believe me, it is a monstrous, beautifully loud, deliriously performed collection of hard rock and power pop in the vein of their band's classic first five albums.

While it is saddening that original drummer Bun E. Carlos was not part of the proceedings this time around due inter-political tensions, Daxx Nielsen, son of guitarist extraordinaire Rick Nielsen, handles himself superbly. Robin Zander remains superhuman with his lead vocals and bassist Tom Peterssson provides serious muscle on this 11 song set that never lets up, and eve grows in power with the melodic moodiness of their cover of "The In Crowd" and the outstanding "When I Wake Up Tomorrow."
Released March 11, 2008
Released January 2, 1986
Released March 3, 2010
Released 2015
Released February 1981
Released February 1977
Released October 14, 1981
Released March 31, 1986
Released May 10, 1988
Released September 26, 1995
Released July 9, 1996
Released August 24, 1987

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


JUNE 7, 1958-APRIL 21, 2016

Sometimes it snows in April...sometimes I feel so sad...sometimes I wish that life was never ending...But all good things, they say, never last...

April 22, 2016. Earth Day. The morning after. I remain in shock for I cannot fathom that he is gone. Truly, irreversibly gone.

Dear readers and listeners, in a year that has been brutally unrepentant upon the music world, I find myself writing a tribute to an artist that I honestly felt that I would never have to write for many, many years to come, perhaps even another decade or even more. But here I am. In shock, disbelief and utter confusion that what has transpired is indeed real and not some internet hoax, or false report or even a bad dream. I have often expressed that within my life, I hold a personal "Holy Trinity" of cherished musicians. One third of that Trinity carries The Beatles, another third carries Todd Rundgren and the crucial final third of that Trinity, of course, His Royal Badness himself, the artist we will forever know as Prince. And now, he is gone.

Like all of you, I am blindsided and teary eyed, for his importance to me throughout my life is immeasurable, bottomless and endless. In fact, even as I begin to write, I am having serious difficulty finding words for I am so overwhelmed. But, for this figure, who was so deeply instrumental in helping me to shape my worldview, my growing sense of self and in addition to delivering me into a musical universe so complete, individualistic and unlike any other, I will try my very best to pay proper tribute and honor. And how could I not, for how much this man gave to me.
By now, we are all replaying how we first heard the news. For me, I was in the Teacher's Lounge of my preschool enjoying my lunch break when one of my colleagues, with smartphone in hand, plainly asked of me, "Is it true that Prince died?"


It was here that I began running through my brain all of the recent information that I knew, recounting everything to my co-worker just as much as it was being performed for myself as I could not even begin to process if this question could have possessed any sense of truth.

I knew that Prince had cancelled a couple of recent dates on his extremely well received solo "Piano And A Microphone" tour due to an illness, most likely the flu. I knew that his private plane made an emergency stop to a hospital in Moline, IL just six days prior to his passing, reportedly for dehydration, yet he was released and back in his home of Minnesota the same day. I knew that the following day, Prince had been spotted riding his bike around his Paisley Park compound and studio, he shopped at a local record store for Record Store Day and even held a party that night at Paisley Park where he even appeared, addressed the crowd and showed off his new purple piano and purple guitar, which he explained that he hadn't even played yet as he was solely focusing upon the piano for the tour. And as is (or now "was") his wont, yet obviously regarding the troubling news reports, he cryptically stated, "Wait a few days before you waste any prayers." 

To me, it felt to be an ominous sounding statement to make and I couldn't help but wonder if there was a different, larger intent to his words. But seeing him in front of an audience and seemingly excited about the future, I waved any dark thoughts aside and breathed a sigh of relief that he was still with us.

And now, here I was receiving the news from a co-worker to the contrary and even then, I refused to believe it until I could see something for myself. I raced to one of the school's laptops and logged on-line and within moments, I read the news and saw that several friends on Facebook had already sent messages of solace and mourning to me, expressing their own sadness while also checking up on me as I read over and again variations of, "You were the first person I thought of."

I was just unable to process the news and since I had to return to the classroom, I knew that I had to keep it together. Yet, much later in the afternoon, as I took a few moments to myself up in the empty lounge and later still as I picked up my wife from her work and shared the news, my voice cracked and the tears began to flow. Prince was dead. Three words I never felt that I would have to say for quite a long time as he was the type of artist that I could have seen creating new music into his 80's. For me, Prince always represented someone or some entity that was just a little further ahead than the present. Someone or some entity that I always felt that I had to reach a little further to grasp and understand. And furthermore, Prince was always an individual that was constantly on the move, completely unable to pin down and so beautifully inventive, restless and forever searching, seeking and creating, seemingly never ending in tapping into the wellspring of inspiration.

And still, Prince was dead.

That night, I watched interviews and commentaries upon CNN, watching George Clinton and former associates and friends speak of Prince and to also witness their own confusion and shock over the devastating news. I later turned to MTV, which surprisingly (and rightfully!) returned to music, of all things, as they broadcasted archived concert footage and music videos that I had never seen before. With my cat Jada beside me upon the love seat, I soon fell asleep. When I awoke nearly two hours later, I heard the music before fully reconciling myself back to full consciousness. In those few moments, I had forgotten but when I saw the television, still showing Prince videos, I sadly realized that I hadn't dreamt it all.

Prince was dead. I didn't want to believe it but what I wanted didn't matter. He was gone. Truly, irreversibly gone.

The passing of David Bowie in January of this year upended me, and only very recently have I begun to feel some sense of acceptance with his death, as well as the ones that followed of my musical heroes from Kevin Junior to Glenn Frey and Sir George Martin among others. In comparison, Prince's death feels like the worst bodyslam imaginable and yet, still so unreal. Yes, there is a feeling of a dark echo when thinking of both Bowie and Prince's passings in regards to the shock and surprise of the news. Yet, the difference to me lies in the fact that David Bowie knew the status of his impending mortality while the public did not and therefore, he weaved it into his art, purposefully creating a final statement even if we did not realize it upon first listen. With Prince, the shock is even more profoundly shattering as he was a figure that felt to be miraculously untainted by time. This is not to suggest that I felt him to be immortal. I just felt him to be unfinished.

In the last 18 months alone, Prince released 4 new albums and was currently in the midst of his aforementioned tour. He even recently announced that he was writing his memoirs to be published in 2017. More music was undoubtedly on the way as well. With Prince, there was always the wonder and the possibilities of whatever could possibly arrive next for himself as well as for us, since we were joined together upon his ongoing artistic odyssey. Essentially, Prince just was not finished and it is unfathomable to me that he is truly, irreversibly gone.

It just makes no sense to me whatsoever just why it had to be Prince this time. Why him and why now? Perhaps it is something so simultaneously simple yet so sadly incomprehensible. That this is just a fact of that electric word "life," which is indeed a mighty long time but not long enough and as Prince often proclaimed, time is an illusion.
Believe it or not, there was once a time when I hated Prince.

It is so very true. There was a time when I could not stand the sound of his voice or his music and most definitely, not the sight of him. In retrospect, I now know that I and all of my beliefs and perceptions were being repeatedly challenged, experiences that I would have with Prince to varying degrees for the remainder of his life. But back then, when I was 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.

I remember thinking of him as the weird guy who sang dirty songs, who sounded like a woman and wore high heels and bikini briefs. And yet, he sang of God and divinity as much as he sang of sex and hedonism. A challenge if there ever was one as I could not reconcile those two aspects of his subject matter whatsoever. But again, I was too young to even begin to realize what precisely was happening.

I remember often seeing his music videos for both "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" and writing both of them off as nonsensical fluff regardless of what the fans, music critics and my beloved cousin Adam had to say about them. I was so stupidly self-righteous in my opinions that were honestly not based in very much of anything as again, I was too young. But then, I also remember seeing the full and nearly 9 minute music video for the dark, pulsating "Automatic" and feeling chillingly uncomfortable and confused by the themes of sadomasochism on display and yet I also remember being unable to turn away from what I was seeing and hearing. I was indeed captivated but I didn't understand how or why and the confusion just made me mad, frustrated and even more determined to dig in my heels regarding my resistance.
By the time "When Doves Cry" was released, I was ready to write Prince off for good but through its ubiquity, I very slowly found myself grudgingly enjoying bits of the song here and there until the fateful day arrived: the opening weekend of Prince's first motion picture, the now iconic "Purple Rain" (1984). 

Upon my blogsite Savage Cinema, I have previously and extensively detailed my experiences (which you can find in the April 2014 section) with seeing the movie on opening weekend out of sheer skepticism and urged on by the unbreakable trust I had in both Chicago film critics the late Gene Siskel and the late Roger Ebert, who each greeted the film with rave four star reviews and would later each proclaim the movie to being one of the Top Ten films of 1984. But in short, seeing the time that very first time was the point where lightning struck. Where I entered as the rigid skeptic and exited a passionate convert who had just seen the light.

After the movie, I walked from the movie theater and ventured straight into the Evergreen Plaza shopping mall and directly to the JR's Music Shop record store and bought the album, thus beginning my journey with Prince. While he never said so, I have a feeling that Adam felt rightfully vindicated as he was a most helpful guide since he was already a huge fan, quite possibly from the very start. I listened to the album "Purple Rain" (released June 25, 1984) constantly. I purchased the 12' single version of "Let's Go Crazy" (single released July 18, 1984) which featured not only the seven minute version of the song as featured in the film but also the non-album track "Erotic City," itself a jaw dropper of a song, one that forced me to hide it from my parents as well as one that slowly made me pay attention to the releases of his provocative b-side selections. Shortly afterwards, I borrowed and taped Adam's copy of the "1999" album (released October 27, 1982), and I have to say that I listened to that album even more, most often at night while doing homework or even later as I laid in bed for the night and to this day, it is one of the Prince albums I reach for the quickest.
Over the following years, throughout high school and college, I immersed myself within Prince's ever expanding and constantly evolving musical universe, which includes in addition to his own albums, his films, side projects, b-side singles, pseudonyms, and even bootlegs, all building blocks of his overall iconography and the purity of his iconoclastic artistic vision.

In the earliest stages, I only have Adam to thank as he was the one always in the know as to what was in the purple pipeline and he ensured that I was up to date. It was Adam who informed me about The Family, the band who rose from the ashes of The Time yet only delivered one album before disbanding themselves. Yet, that one album, save for a track written by The Revolution's drummer Bobby Z., was entirely composed, produced, arranged and almost solely performed by Prince himself, including the first appearance of the now classic "Nothing Compares 2 U."  It was Adam who informed me about Madhouse, Prince's secretive foray into instrumental jazz, on which the debut album featured no album credits whatsoever but was later revealed to be entirely composed, produced, arranged and almost entirely performed by Prince. It was Adam who informed me about "The Dream Factory," a long abandoned double album designed to follow "Parade" (released March 31, 1986), but eventually transformed itself into a triple album entitled "Crystal Ball" before becoming the masterpiece that is the double album "Sign O' The Times" (released March 30, 1987). And after a time, I kind of knew where to keep looking in order to keep up with this artist who moved so secretly and seemingly faster than the speed of light and sound, and I rapturously attempted to keep pace.

Just very recently on my weekly Savage Radio show after I had played the track "Strange Relationship" from "Sign O' The Times," I mentioned on-air that for those of us who were with Prince from the beginning or for those who joined right at "Purple Rain," if you were a teenager in the 1980's or of that specific generation, Prince was undeniably nothing less than OUR Beatles. His path from his first album "For You" (released April 7, 1978) all the way though to the victory lap of "Graffiti Bridge" (released August 20, 1990) is one of the most astonishing runs that any musical artist ever could have conceptualized and yet, Prince was the one artist to actually achieve that spectacular goal.

If you listen to the albums back to back, you can immediately hear the rapid progression from the very beginning to the operatic breakthrough of "Purple Rain." It is as if each album is standing upon the shoulders of the preceding one, reaching higher and higher. From that iconic breakthrough, Prince then essentially re-invented the musical wheel over and over and over again through a level of creativity that was as fearless as it was ferocious. As I look back and listen, I am stunned that he did it just as I wonder how did he do it. But, also, I am feeling so fortunate and even blessed that I was at the right age to experience these works just as they were being released to the world and that I dove into them just as my generation did.
So much of that time, which contained some of the most magical music listening experiences of my life, formed the stronger than granite foundation as to why Prince has mattered so tremendously to me. Being an introverted teenager who didn't live near his friends from school, I was often alone and was therefore encouraged to entertain myself and sustain myself all by myself. Certainly, this led to many and lengthy periods of adolescent moodiness tinged with a deep sense of loneliness. This was the stage during which I began writing.

Seeing how Prince largely crafted his albums entirely by himself was more than fascinating to me as well as awe inspiring. Being a drummer as well as one who likes to mess around on keyboards and is an extremely frustrated guitarist, I am further awed by Prince's instrumental virtuosity, to essentially have the best musicians on call 24/7 and they all live within yourself. I happen to have a fascination with those whom are able to perform on a variety of musical instruments with proficiency. Again, Prince seemed to function in a class all by himself in this regard as his dexterity and agility from piano and keyboards to bass guitars to drums and percussion to, of course, his guitar fireworks catapulted him to existing as the ultimate one-man-band. To have the capacity, skill and talent to create this kind of art, alone and at will, amazed me to no end, and being able to compose, arrange and produce himself with a sonic inventiveness and clarity that honestly could rival the late Sir George Martin only made Prince even more formidable.

His prolific nature, one that fully mirrored the prolific nature of filmmaker John Hughes during those same years also grabbed my attention and awe. It cannot be over-stated just how ahead of the curve Prince was during the 1980's and early 1990's. Remember, save for 1983, Prince released an album every single year of the decade plus those aforementioned side projects, b-sides and then, there's all of that unreleased material now housed in The Vault. Just think and wrap your head around this: once one album was finished and traveled through the corporate pipeline to the record shops and then, onto our record players, Prince was most likely completed with the next three albums--therefore, he was ALWAYS ahead of us. Just as I would purchase an album and spend copious amounts of time and energy trying to figure out the musical world he had given me a gaze into, the next one had arrived and all pre-conceived notions were tossed out of the proverbial window as I then had to try and understand his world all over again. Those years often found me scratching my head and I remained consistently enthralled.

To think, this figure went from the basement funk of both "Dirty Mind" (released October 8, 1980) and "Controversy" (released October 14, 1981) to the dark, electronic eroticism of "1999" to the rock opera heights and glory of "Purple Rain" to the psychedelic wonderland of "Around The World In A Day" (released April 22, 1985) to the skeletal and orchestral funk of "Parade" to the double album magnum opus of "Sign O' The Times" to the densely structured, labyrinthine tale of spiritual transformation in "Lovesexy" (released May 10, 1988) to the comic book psychosis of "Batman" (released June 20, 1989) to the Paisley Park church family picnic of "Graffiti Bridge"--and all with albums from Vanity 6, The Time, Madhouse, The Family and Shelia E. and four feature films, all serving as combined side projects and sign posts as to the full realization of Prince's vision.

Yes, Prince was indeed OUR Beatles. But he was also OUR David Bowie, OUR Led Zeppelin, OUR Jimi Hendrix, OUR Miles Davis, OUR Joni Mitchell, OUR James Brown, OUR Frank Zappa, OUR Duke Ellington and OUR Mozart all in one. You could find all of the familiar elements easily enough to be certain, but with each new release, Prince increasingly created a musical universe that encompassed all that came before him and emerged into a style that defied classification other than existing as "Prince music." It was, and remains, as expansive as it is extraordinary. Certainly, Prince's music was designed to be as inclusive and populist as it was wholly uncompromising and yes, his music transcended race, gender, class as well as age and generation. It is a body of work that will welcome any and all who choose to take a listen. That being said, I strongly feel that for myself and my generation, Prince was OURS!

And, he was a Black man.
For a young African American male like myself who loved rock and roll as I did, at no point was Prince's ethnicity ever lost upon me. While Prince promoted a utopian ideal engineered to lift up all of humanity, he was realistic enough to understand precisely how the real world worked regarding racial politics. Earlier I spoke of how he challenged me and whatever beliefs I told myself to hold closely. This is a feat he performed for all of us as he forced everyone to take a hard look at their own individual prejudices and our whole selves. During my youth, music was undeniably segregated racially via musical genres: soul/funk/R&B=Black while rock and roll=White. Not only did Prince illustrate to us that essentially all of popular music possessed deep roots in the history of Black music, he simultaneously challenged all of us to move beyond our personal comfort zones through the amalgamation of a variety of musical genres. Screaming guitars over a pulsating dance floor groove. Punk rock sensibilities with infectious rhythms and soulful vocals. Prince's blurring of the lines that divided "Black" and "White" music therefore eliminated all boundaries leaving only GREAT music.

Additionally, Prince was savvy enough to understand that image is EVERYTHING. Prince formulated integrated bands for the entirety of his career, vehemently announcing that when it comes to finding great musicians to play with, race and gender are meaningless. And even so, as a young African American male, it meant the world to me to see this Black man playing rock guitar, for in seeing this image, Prince made me feel less alone in the world and he even instilled a fair amount of pride in myself for loving and playing the music that I did.
This outlook worked its magic just as effectively and as equally regarding the role of women in Prince's universe. Yes, we did have our scantily clad temptresses like the late Vanity and Apollonia. But, most importantly, some of Prince's most trusted, frequent and invaluable musical collaborators have been women. The Revolution's guitarist Wendy Melvoin and keyboardist Lisa Coleman, percussionist/drummer Shelia E., The New Power Generation's keyboardist/vocalist Rosie Gaines and bassist Rhonda Smith, dancer Cat Glover, and 3RDEYEGIRL's guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen and drummer/vocalist Hannah Ford Welton are just some of the prominent women Prince associated himself with as musical peers and colleagues, all of whom proved themselves to be of superior quality. And believe me, dear readers and listeners if you are ever able to locate a copy of Prince's now difficult to find "Sign O' The Times" concert film from 1987, which he also directed, you will not only witness one of the best concert films ever made, you will see performances from Cat Glover and Shelia E. that are so blistering that they nearly steal the whole from from the man himself!

Prince demonstrated and exuded his pure, unadulterated admiration, affection and appreciation of women through the songs and especially with his bandmates, always presenting them on equal footing with himself and giving them the freedom to fully display their fearsome musical chops. While this was an area in which I did not feel challenged, so to speak, again Prince understood that the image was EVERYTHING. Seeing women performing rock and roll was indeed a rarity and to witness these virtuoso musicians was powerful, to say the least.
Also, regarding women and gender as a whole, here is where Prince quite possibly challenged me the very most. As I previously stated, when I was younger and misguidedly offended by the existence of Prince, never did I ever realize that through his priceless falsetto and the fashion, he was challenging me (and all of us) to confront our notions of what constituted masculinity and femininity. Wondering whether Prince was either "straight or gay," as he sang in "Controversy" was definitely a crucial element of the building of his mystique. Adopting his persona of "Camille," the androgynous character with the sped up/higher pitched voice in the later '80s only continued the gender bending.

Yet, as we all know, Prince was quite the Lothario utilizing a more "feminine" appearance through which a "masculine" sexual appetite traveled, and to considerable success, he challenged us with matters within the sexual arena regarding desires, attitudes, preferences, fetishes, dreams, fantasies and stark emotional realities. One thing to realize about Prince's massive output of material regarding sex and sexuality, is how he always injects an emotional universe within the songs so that the music exists as being much ore than risque material and occasional dirty words. Some songs may be more playfully lascivious than others ("Let's Pretend We're Married") or more openly graphic ("I Love U In Me") but most of the songs utilize sex to explore themes of isolation, hurt, pain, longing, connection/disconnection, jealousy ("If I Was Your Girlfriend" may be one of the finest songs he ever wrote regarding some of this subject matter) as well as pure romance, love and unabashed vulnerability. He challenged us to really think about what is sexy as well as what is sexuality and in doing so, Prince was really my first teacher in matters of adult relationships and the emotional landscape that is inherent within those relationships and connections.
By often merging themes of the body and the spirit, where foreplay could be viewed as prayers and intercourse could pave the way towards salvation, Prince's evolving exploration of spiritual matters gave us a window into how he viewed existence and therefore, challenged us again to confront how we all saw existence and our place within it as individuals and as members of the global and even cosmic community. Even when inserting The Lord's Prayer into "Controversy," opening "Let's Go Crazy" with his now iconic "Dearly beloved...," or the entirely of the "Lovesexy" album and even detailing his conversion into becoming a Jehovah's Witness with the somewhat polarizing album "The Rainbow Children" (released November 20, 2001), Prince never really told us what or how to think about God, the universe and everything. He was never dogmatic. He just recounted life the way he viewed it, completely without compromise or apology.

Prince's uncompromising behavior regarding the creation of his art, the cultivation of his persona and artistic legacy is legendary. Often possessing a rebellious streak, Prince would always travel against the grain, marching to the beat of his (and ONLY his) spirit's drummer. To me, Prince achieved precisely what an artist is supposed to do. He did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted however he wanted and if he alienated even his biggest fans, then so be it. This was his art and no one else's. He often confounded me. Often. He frustrated me at times as well. But I realized that this was part of the deal if you wanted to follow Prince upon his artistic journey.  Everything may not make sense to me or to us but for Prince, it was exactly what was needed to happen at the time...just as it is for all of us as we live our lives.
This aspect of Prince's personality was never more evident than during his epic battle with his record label Warner Brothers during a large portion of the 1990's over his Master recordings, the frequency at which his music could be recorded and released and the overall rights of the artist in an industry that does indeed seem to exist to exploit artists. Not only did he write the word "Slave" upon his face, this was also the period during which he ceased utilizing his given name favoring an unpronounceable symbol made of the conjoined signs for "male" and "female."

Much has been written about how figures like David Bowie and even Madonna have transformed and re-invented themselves over and again. Yet neither of them evolved to the point where they did not posses a name or eulogized themselves within their own albums. Yes, it was preposterous. It was confusing, maddening and even prone to ridicule. But Prince remained steadfast in his crusade, never admitting defeat but keeping up the good fight long enough where he was indeed the ultimate victor where he reclaimed his name and received ownership of all of his master recordings and the publishing rights as well.

For me, his uncompromising nature taught me so very much about integrity, success, failure, perseverance and how to keep pushing forwards even when it seems that nobody understands or believes in you. Prince taught me that in times during which I may feel it best to just give up and roll away because I am unable to face yet another obstacle or tribulation, I hear the following lyrics in my head from the song "Daddy Pop": "Whenever U say that U can't/That's when U need 2 be trying."
Now, we arrive at the culmination of all of his challenges and life lessons: the nature of genius. Prince has been called a "genius" for as long as I am able to remember and to that sentiment and opinion, I agree completely. Even so, I don't think that I ever really pondered what being a "genius" actually meant. Now that Prince is gone, I have been thinking quite a bit about Prince's specialized brand of genius, and I think that I now realize, even more than ever--that genius is not just given. That genius does not simply exist for a chosen few. We are all capable of genius. The potential for genius exists in every single one of us. Prince demonstrated with every single song, album and performance that genius is something that is EARNED. And I do not believe that any of you would argue with me when I express that few individuals earned that title as much as Prince did.

Prince taught me that genius arrives through diligence, determination and a demonstrative dedication to one's craft and work. He was known to be a Herculean bandleader and taskmaster but I cannot even begin to tell you how many times musicians over the years expressed the sentiment that while Prince could be unstoppably demanding, he never demanded anything of anyone else that he wouldn't demand of himself. He saw your talents and made you reach heights that you felt were unattainable. He illustrated the true nature of genius by being devoted to the work itself, always knowing that genius doesn't just arrive and that once achieved, that genius must be shared to continue the elevation of us all.
For quite some time, I feared that the general public had somehow taken Prince for granted. That we had this beautiful genius existing in the world at the same time as the rest of us and he was still pushing boundaries forwards, releasing timeless music and serving as an advocate for performers and society and quite possibly, no one seemed to really care terribly much. Was greatness among us all of this time and we were just too busy or distracted to fully appreciate it? Those fears so completely wrong after news of his passing was heard around the world.

In Prince's home state of Minnesota, most certainly, Paisley Park and the First Avenue and 7th St. Entry nightclub have been the home of two massive memorial sites. Cities around the world have adorned their buildings and lakes with the color purple in tribute. Musicians from Bruce Springsteen to Pearl Jam to even David Gilmour have all paid tribute to our fallen, beloved artist in live settings. And in my city of Madison, WI., tribute events at local nightclubs are being scheduled and the marquee upon the city's legendary Orpheum Theater carried this message:
Yes, thank you for the music.

To see the outpouring of sorrow from heartbroken friends and fans has been deeply sobering, as we are all full witness as to how the life of one man can truly change the world for the better. Even if that person is "just" a rock and roll star. News of his boundless compassion and private philanthropy has been hitting the media and being shared throughout social media to our own enlightenment. He may have presented himself as an inscrutable otherworldly figure when in reality, he was acutely in tune with the ways of the world. Yes, he wrote songs of social consciousness, racial politics and spiritual deliverance but to now see how deeply he placed his own words into action has only illuminated our continuing understanding of this man who is now truly, irreversibly gone.

And that is why we now have the music to console us, to bring us together in the communion of mourning, tribute, celebration and dance and for an artist who created a veritable mountain of material (and with mountains more tucked away in The Vault). I feel that it is our duty to keep his legacy and his spirit alive by exploring and sharing all of it. I believe that it does Prince's legacy a disservice to uphold "Purple Rain" and not much else, despite its brilliance. It always frustrates me when the masses and the industry performs this very musical crime. For Prince, throughout his career, "Purple Rain" has been regarded as his peak, which is completely unfair to all that surrounded it. In many ways, "Purple Rain" served as Prince's albatross--the song, album and film that audiences and even critics would not allow him to move beyond. Granted, it was indeed a tricky position for an artist of Prince's caliber and creativity to be confronted with, For if he did just make "Purple Rain 2" I guarantee that we would not be speaking of him the way we are right now. So, in respect to his memory and the full breadth of his legacy, I emphatically urge those of you unfamiliar with his body of work to dive right in and try absolutely all of it.

Prince's entire life was contained within the music, therefore making the entire discography essential because when you listen to every note, you are indeed gathering his entire life story. From the kid in a candy store innocence and unending creativity of the 1980's to his full resurgence in his final years and all of the peaks and valleys in between, Prince was giving us every piece of himself. We can hear his joy quite certainly. But when you listen to albums and material released in the 1990's, during his battles with Warner Brothers, we can hear his confusion, his doubt, his anger and pain and even his insecurity--so powerful for an artist who exuded the highest confidence and belief in himself. We can hear when he is fully engaged and we can hear when he is seeking and sifting, we can hear how each song moves from one to the next, making his entire legacy function essentially as ONE song.

For me, I have been listening to album after album all over again, watching video footage and all the while being amazed and heartbroken, dazzled and saddened that this seemingly unstoppable force of nature has been ceased by time itself. Yet, as he once wrote, "Life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last."

There is no conceivable way for me to know, but I would gather that he would not want fr us to mourn terribly long. That he would want for us to join together, regardless of race, gender, age, class and generation and simply dance, sing and rejoice in the music at the party he has hosted for us since his debut album in 1978. To laugh and learn together. To play instruments and create together. As with David Bowie and Michael Jackson, I firmly believe that Prince was yet one more figure who inspired more people that we could ever fully realize from singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, arrangers, filmmakers, writers, poets, philosophers, choreographers, dancers, painters, clothing and costume designers and countless others. I think that he would wish for us, no matter what our station in life, to give to the fullest of our abilities, to become the very best of ourselves and share those gifts with the world, hopefully uniting all of  humankind in the process of our ascension. All we can do is to try and we have the finest soundtrack to guide us along the way.

Even so, I have been crying quite a bit because as with all of my heroes, Prince was a friend to me. I know that he lives in me for the remainder of my life but even so, it hurts to say goodbye.

Saturday, April 16, 2016



Esperanza Spalding: Lead and Backing Vocals, Bass Guitar, Piano, Synth Bass
Matthew Stevens: Guitar
Justin Tyson: Drums
Karriem Riggins: Drums, Percussion 
Corey King: Synthesizer, Trombone, Backing Vocals
Celeste Butler, Kimberly L. Cook-Ratliff, Emily Elbert, Fred Martin, Katriz Trinidad, Nadia Washington: Backing Vocals 

All music and lyrics by Esperanza Spalding
"Noble Nobles" Lyrics by Esperanza Spalding/Music by Esperanza Spalding & Corey King
"I Want  It Now" Music and Lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

Produced by Esperanza Spalding and Tony Visconti

Released March 4, 2016

I am feeling that there is something in the air...

If you have been regular visitors to Synesthesia, you are already more than familiar with my concerns and laments over the current state of music in the 21st century concerning its overall devalued state. From an arsenal of plastic performers, a homogenization of musical genres by what feels to be a small team of writers and producers in addition to the homogenization of commercial radio stations across the country, the listening experience as I experienced it throughout my life has been significantly altered to a form that is indeed more passive than active. Now instead of running over the same old ground at length again, I wanted to turn my attention to something more encouraging, as I am having the feeling that all is not lost.

I am wondering if audiences are experiencing some sort of a craving, a desire for something more substantive regarding the state of the music that is being disseminated. With the concerts I witnessed within the previous year to the young musicians and songwriters that I have met to the albums that received massive acclaim, I wonder if there is a cultural need for committed songwriting, innovative production and honest to goodness musicianship again--a commitment to learning and delivering their craft with the utmost skill, passion and purity. It is as if, music has been reaching backwards in order to find a way to move forwards.

At this time, I am thrilled to turn your attention to Esperanza Spalding, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter/bassist and undeniable young creative force within the communities of jazz and soul via her celebrated albums the more baroque leaning "Chamber Music Society" (released August 17, 2010) and the more R&B influenced "Radio Music Society" (released March 20, 2012). While I have heard both of those albums and was indeed impressed by what I heard, they also did not quite grab me that completely. Even so, it was just enough of a push to keep my ear to the ground for whatever may happen to arrive next.

"Emily's D+Evolution," Spalding's fifth release, is the sound of complete arrival as she plunges into more jazz fusion territory that is as amazingly dizzying and demanding lyrically as it is musically. If the album happened to have two hands, it is a work that undeniably took those hands and grabbed me by the collar from the first sounds and the playful yet defiant opening words, "See this pretty girl/Watch this pretty girl flow..." before blasting off into the album's first track and declaration of purpose and intent, "Good Lava."

Where Spalding and her bandmates possess and propel themselves into a superlative power trio groove, one forceful enough to make devotees of Rush and Cream snap to attention, Spalding's plentiful lyrics, all of which are delivered through her pure, crystal clear songbird of a singing voice, are words of simultaneous warm invitation and unflappable conviction directly to all of us listeners.

"lone ranger,
I see you like the view
wond'ring from a distance
what my pretty peak can do

come brave me

don't march up in your 
discerning shoes
I see right through the cool
layered around your 
glowing fuse...

so let loose
that mountain
of good times, good lava
we all know you wanna

see this pretty girl flow
wait 'til you feel it"

"Good Lava" is a stellar album opener, from the superior musicianship to the flowing cavalcade of melodies flowing inside, out and around each other and with a wild velocity that demands the fullest of your attention and focus, so as not to miss even one deliriously executed moment. It swaggers and completely sways itself around you, leaving you undeniably charmed, thrilled and curious as to where the ride of this album will indeed take you. And for me, upon first listen, Esperanza Spalding fully connected to my musical spirit in a way that had previously evaded me. I was in the palm of her hands and ready for whatever should follow.

Now remember what I had already mentioned about reaching backwards to move forwards? Please allow me to perform the same as I explore this album for you. Unlike Spalding's two immediate prior releases, "Emily's D+Evolution" carries a specific and deeply idiosyncratic musical pedigree that holds an enormous appeal for my sense and sensibilities.

The jazz/rock fusion approach most certainly but beyond the more aggressive performances, I found myself drawn to the album as the titular "Emily" is not only Spalding's middle name but also the moniker for Spalding's fully conceived alter-ego, as depicted on the album cover as well as promotional materials and music videos, she of the day-glo colored spectacles and wild, psychedelic attire. By utilizing the role of a character to communicate through, Spalding has created an entire album that serves as an exploration of Emily's worldview from issues of spirituality, racism, sexism, and individuality to the trials of confronting and transcending fears in order to ascend and finally, arrive, albeit with successes and inevitable failures existing as essential stops upon her life journey.

"Unconditional Love," "One" and "Rest In Pleasure" each serve as ballads but none are traditional male/female stories as they each feel to chronicle an even more crucial love story between either Spalding and Emily or Emily with her spirit or even both. Regarding matters of the metaphysical, the slinky "Judas," and especially the outstanding "Earth To Heaven" gives Emily's perspective upon our societal relationship to religion and spiritual matters, while spotlighting our all too human failures and even the rigid convictions we place upon something that is ultimately not tangible and impossible to fully comprehend simply because we are human. Spalding (or is it Emily?) sings the following passage:

"burn or charge or hate
church men debate
how to curse a sin and 
their burden of upholding 
the law
what if the heavenly boss 
turns out 
to be ruling without orders"

Stretching the conceptual canvas even wider, "Earth To Heaven" masterfully spotlights all of the contradictions and conundrums of or relationships with the here and now and the hereafter by maintaining a rightfully and deeply complex outlook while always remaining warm, inclusive and wholly empathetic as there are essentially many roads up the same mountain and that we are essentially all upon the same journey.

"there are no perfect 
amends here
you just get to keep on
getting there getting there
there's no promise or test 
you just get to keep on
getting there getting there
no virgins or saints here
you get to keep on 
getting there getting there
all good children and evil
are even here 
just getting there
war man's cross on
their shoulders"

Race, from self-perceptions to the perceptions society places upon you, takes center stage with the dark "Ebony And Ivy," with its descending chords mirroring the lament contained in the lyrics, which state, "it's been hard to grow outside/growin' good and act happy/and pretend that the ivy vines/don't weigh our branch down."

The more acoustic driven "Noble Nobles" boldly confronts the roots of racism and the the lies of school book history lessons with a matter-of-fact incredulity. Again, Spalding (or is it Emily?) sings:

"talking founding fathers with a free philosophy
that don't mention me
or the stain of red blood on their hands, at all
now, we all
replay it 'til we understand, the moral
of, a story we're shooting again, tomorrows

The final third of "Emly's D+Evolution" centers around Emily's life purpose, integrity and sense of self in an ever shifting world and universe where such matters feel to carry less and less currency. "Change the way I see my life/why would I? why would I?," asks Emily within "Farewell Dolly." Perseverance and urgent warnings sit at the heart of "Elevate Or Operate" in which Emily stresses how she (and we) should continue to push ahead regardless of the obstacles and failings or else we suffer to find ourselves forever serving the desires of all others except ourselves. The propulsive, ferocious "Funk The Fear," which is filled with rhythmic chants and catapults itself into a monstrously performed outro, finds Emily imploring us to "FUNK THE FEAR.LIVE YOU RLIFE/'cause in an instant, it could be gone/and all the waiting was in vain."   

The album closes with a true jaw dropper. Spalding's spine tingling, unrepentantly defiant and even slyly sinister cover of Anthony Newley's "I Want It Now," is not only a selection that sounds like an unlikely yet astonishing amalgamation of Queen and Rogers and Hammerstein, it is copiously filled with an unshakable determination sprinkled with the influence of our dearly departed David Bowie--certainly not surprising as Newley was one of Bowie's major influences and Spalding co-produced the album alongside Bowie's longtime collaborator and friend Tony Visconti.

The influence of David Bowie over Esperanza Spalding's "Emily's D+Evolution" cannot be overlooked even though Spalding's artistic vision and aesthetic is markedly different than his. Yet for this new album, it is as if Spalding has reached backwards to the era of glam rock (or more to the recent past and present with hip-hop) as the album is indeed conceived and executed through the worldview of a character much like how glam rock and hip hop utilized artifice and alter egos to bring out the true spirit of the artist in question.

But even moreso and more importantly, what Esperanza Spalding has achieved so inexplicably (and almost metaphysically) is to reach backwards and tap into the type of musical spirit that I truly felt that we would never be able to hear again as it was so individualistic and idiosyncratic. And that particular musical spirit is the one t hat belonged exclusively to none other than Joni Mitchell. And I do not necessarily mean the Mitchell of "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Both Sides Now." I am specifically meaning the Joni Mitchell that arrived and existed throughout the 1970's with her heavily jazz influenced and unquestionably genre defying works which included the likes of "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns" (released 1978), "Hejira" (released 1976), the double album "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" (released December 13, 1977) and her collaboration with Charles Mingus simply entitled "Mingus" (released June 13, 1979). If you have not heard those albums, they will indeed provide you with the roper signposts as to what you may find upon  Spalding's album and if you already do know those albums, then you know precisely what I am writing about.

This is not to express in the least that Esperanza Spalding is a mere copycat. Not at all, dear readers and listeners. It is just so uncanny to me that Spalding has tapped into a musical spirit so ephemeral and so effectively that she has truly unearthed something that I felt that all of us would never be able to hear again as it was so exclusive to its originator, the inimitable Joni Mitchell, whom has ceased recording and performing since 2007 and also whom we nearly lost last year due to a brain aneurysm. And yet, upon hearing Spalding's album, Joni is HERE!!!

You can hear this influence and spirit throughout the entirety of the album through Spalding's vocal phrasings and mostly through her ability to magically create musical compositions that are simultaneously demanding and wholly accessible as they are bursting with melodies upon melodies--often several simultaneous melodies--that intertwine and bloom into bouquets of sound. And through reaching back, Esperanza Spalding has pushed herself and her art a quantum leap forwards as she has created a veritable manifesto, something that could even be viewed or heard as a companion piece to Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp A Butterfly" (released March 15, 2015), last year's mammoth, densely layered work of social/political/global/introspective examination and exploration. With "Emily's D+Evolution," Esperanza Spalding, via her alter ego, emerges as the spiritual "yin" to Lamar's explosive "yang."

And with that, I simply wish to leave you with Spalding's (or again, is it Emily's) own words from the album:

"i wanna break the rules with you
and see the dream come true..."

Esperanza Spalding has more than accomplished her part. Now it's up to you!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2016


Has it really been three years?

At this time of writing, I am sitting in the study at the computer, just doing what I tend to do most days..."play" DJ for my imaginary radio station WSPC solely by following my musical spirit and picking songs that I am able to find upon You Tube and then post them in a sequence to my Facebook page, thus creating a "set" of music friends are able to click upon should they choose to do so.

It is what I have done for years, and I would suppose more truthfully, for the majority of my life. Of course, technology was not nearly what it is currently during my upbringing in the 1970's and 1980's and my young adulthood in the 1990's, but that said, the sustenance of music and all that it has delivered to me and graced my life with is only something to celebrate and therefore share with whomever, wherever and whenever. This is just who I have always been and who I feel that I will forever be for I love music that much. It is that tremendous of a gift to me.

With the creation of Synesthesia, I always intended this site to exist completely as a virtual home of celebration and decidedly not criticism, like my sister blogsite of Savage Cinema where I write film reviews. Even so, for both sites, my intent was to write as purely and as honestly as possible while always remembering to write for any potential readers as opposed to writing for any other writers. What that essentially meant to me was that I was committed to always finding ways to say whatever I felt needed to be said but hopefully with purpose and grace and not the type of knee jerk venom and vitriol that has truly littered the internet. As music has provided me with limitless joy, I wanted Synesthesia to be a joyful place for you as well as myself, and if you have been visitors to this site, I deeply hope that my joy has been felt through every word that I have written.

Writing about music remains difficult for me as it is really not at all like writing about films or books. Music is so ephemeral yet so enveloping and how can mere words really capture the full quality of what I am listening to and how I am responding to it? But I really love trying! I truly do and again, I hope that you can see the honest attempts as I try to share with you thoughts and emotions about something that is so important to me.

The evolution of Synesthesia has been as organic as I have always wished for it to be. I just wanted a place to write about albums and musicians just like sports fans trade baseball cards and jaw about states and scores. I wanted to have a location to compile my obsessive list makings of songs and alums I have been listening to as well as trying to write explorations of the music that has grabbed me tightly and forced me to pay rapturous attention. Some of the first ideas I had and wrote for the site have been discarded because they began to feel like chores, and never did I ever want to have anything regarding music to feel like a chore. But, it has been very exciting to also see what Synesthesia has become, especially over the past year.

By writing about local bands to Madison--from album explorations to extensive interviews, my annual experiences at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison campus radio station WSUM-FM, reports from love shows I have attended and now, with my adventures in the real world of community radio with my Savage Radio program on WVMO-FM, I have found myself capturing glimpses into the larger Madison music community from supporting local businesses (record stores, concert venues) to the musicians, DJs and radio stations. Perhaps this site is a way for me to be a tiny part of this great community. But even so, it allows me the set-up to showcase the individuals who really make this great community what it is. I am tremendously humbled to bear witness and for any times that I have been able to be within their company.

Most of all, I am humbled by any and all of you who have ever visited this site and have taken the incredibly valuable time out of your busy lives to read anything that I have written. Never will it be lost upon me about everything that is jockeying for our collective attention spans and to know that anyone, anywhere has decided that my words were worthy of their time, that is all that I could ever ask or hope for. I thank you so very kindly and please always know that my gratitude is bottomless.

And now, as I head into the fourth full year of Synesthesia, I  promise and pledge to continue with the same passion and positivity that I have always wished for this site to contain. And as always, for the music that you each experience--and if there is also anything that I may possibly inspire you to pursue for yourselves and in turn, what you may inspire me to seek out, let us all play it LOUD and LOVE it like the finest of art, for that is what music truly is.

Music is art. Music is life. Music is...THE BEST!

Friday, April 1, 2016



Today--specifically April 1st--I took a quick trip to the record store--B-Side Records, even more specifically.

I was on my way to work but I needed to stop in and purchase a couple of new releases and impulsively, I also picked up a third new release. Inside, store owner Steve Manley had The Beatles playing over the speakers at full tilt while several patrons of varying ages roamed around, picking up this album or that, just soaking up the atmosphere and while my visit was brief, those moments were as tremendously warming as they have ever been throughout my life.

Dear readers and listeners, I am unable to tell you how much of my lifetime has been spent inside of a record store. But I am able to express that every single moments that I have ever spent inside of a record store have been nothing less than illuminating and joyous as they are not only environments where the magic of discovery can always be found, the sense of community is paramount to the overall experience. You never even have to speak to anyone. You just know that you are generally in the company of like minded individuals who are all happily wandering upon the same musical journey as yourself. But, trust me, if you do happen to speak to someone, whether a patron, clerk or proprietor, your visit will be enhanced in ways that are immeasurable. At least, that is precisely what all of those experiences have been like for me, and believe me, I would never steer you wrong.

On Saturday, April 16th, the national Record Store Day will occur and I simply implore you to head out into your respective cities and seek out your local record stores and just take it all in. I am already planning my day, hoping that I will be able to visit both B-Side Records as well as Mad City Music Exchange, where that communal spirit and the love of music will triumphantly fill the air. While I just do not have the funds to purchase one of the specialty items that will go on sale exclusively upon that date, I do intend to make a purchase to support the local businesses that have always been there for me whenever I have felt the need to visit--either to make a purchase or just to spend some time on the search allowing the full environment to sustain my spirit.

I don't mean to make this sound overly metaphysical but these environments are indeed sacred places to me and besides...they are so much fun!!!

Support your community by supporting your local record store. Those of us that already do so will always return. And if you have not done so before, make Record Store Day your first of a new lifetime of visits.

And whatever you happen to pick up for yourselves, always remember to...

...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!