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Blog #2 - San Francisco [Jul. 20th, 2007|08:40 am]
Greetings from the Pumpkin bubble. It's been a fun and busy last couple of weeks, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to check in more often. I'll try to be better about that.



I think everyone in the band would agree that the first residency in Asheville, NC was a tremendous success on multiple levels. The people of Asheville-and all of those who traveled from distant places-completely happened their hearts and ears to us, and for that we will be forever grateful. So far, San Francisco has been a lot of fun as well. However, the energy here is much different than Asheville. Not better or worse, just different; it will be exciting to see what happens here as we get farther into the shows.

Some of you might be wondering what exactly we are do during these residencies. A typical day might go something like this: After we wake up, each us works individually in our hotel room-writing songs, working on guitar/bass/keyboard/drum parts, etc. After that, we head to the venue and practice for three or four hours. During these practices, we might work on something that didn't go well the night before, work on a new song Billy wrote in the morning, or just jam on new ideas. When we finish practicing, we usually have a few hours to ourselves before we have to get ready for the show, which on most nights lasts about three hours. It definitely isn't uncommon for us to play a song during the show that Billy wrote in the morning. So what you see during the show is a band actually creating and trying new things. I think we all feel it is a blessing to spend the whole day playing music, and I can't think of a better way to make strong musical friendships than playing together as much as possible.

After last night's show, Ginger and I, along with the War Tapes, headed out to Popscene to end the night. We had a blast, and I want to say thanks to Nako for treating us so well. The kids in the War Tapes are just wonderful, and I'm excited to see them rock tonight. If you have a chance, check their stuff out. You won't be disappointed.

OK, we're to Santa Cruz today to play one show out of the city. See you soon!

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Europe, Video and Asheville - Blog from Jeff Schroeder [Jun. 23rd, 2007|01:30 pm]
Asheville, NC – Thanks for tuning in. The last couple of months has been a real exciting time for both the band and me personally. Recently, someone in the Pumpkin family decided that it would be a great idea if a band member contributed a blog to the website in an effort to give all the internet people out there a closer look into the day-to-day experiences of band struggling to combat the unknown forces of "the road." For some reason, it was quickly decided that the person would be me (I guess that's what going to graduate school gets you…). So throughout the duration of the tour I'll be sharing stories, events, photos and all other types of nonsense that you might find interesting. Since we have a lot of ground to cover, I'll get right into it.


I think I can speak for all involved when I say that our recently completed trip to Europe was successful on multiple levels. We had a lot of fun together and did our best to bring the rock each and every night. While all of the shows were great and unique in their own way, there were some definite highlights. One stand out moment was the addition of Uli Jon Roth to the line-up for three shows in Germany. If you don't already know, Uli Jon Roth replaced Michael Schenker in the Scorpions and played with the band from 1974 to 1978, helping the band move out of their Kraut-rock roots and become the shuffle producing machine that they are known for today. His playing on these early Scorpions recordings is simply phenomenal and his influence within the rock guitar community goes largely unnoticed. But once you listen, you'll realize that his playing is beyond world class and on par with more recognized guitar players such as Ritchie Blackmore. I'd like to hear what Yngwie Malmsteen would have sounded like if there was no Uli Jon Roth. Besides being a great musician, Uli shared his beautiful soul with us, and for that we're all quite thankful. For a few shows after he left, Billy and I would just look at Uli's spot on the stage and acknowledge his spirit.


After a month of rocking in Europe, on Wednesday morning we got on a plane and flew from London straight to Atlanta to film a video for "Tarantula." I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that making the video was a blast, and all of the extras involved really made it a special moment that I think you're going to enjoy.



After making the video, we jumped in a van and began making trek to Asheville, NC. For about a minute, we all of got nostalgic about the days of touring in a van, and to make the moment even more authentic, we stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel just outside of Atlanta. The food was amazing, and we all tested our intelligence playing the wooden-triangle-with-holes-and-golf tees-game. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm sorry; and it's much too complicated to explain. But let me say this, we found out that our rhythm section, Jimmy and Ginger, are the most intelligent members of the band. We arrived in Asheville late Thursday night/early Friday morning. To protect the feelings of our driver, I'll just say that we made safe. I won't mention anything about the dirt roads that take you from Atlanta to Asheville.


On Friday morning, a bunch of us took to the streets of downtown Asheville to have a look around. According to BC, it only took about 30 seconds for someone to ask him if we wanted some "PB"-pure bud. Awesome. But it only gets better, a few moments after that, while walking down the street, someone else asked Billy if he would take a photo with his monkey sock (or something like that).


But in all honesty, the people that we've met in Asheville have been wonderful, and we're just as excited to be here as they are to have us.


Talk to you after the show.
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Message from the band [Jun. 23rd, 2007|01:25 pm]
Dear Friends,

Hello from the Mighty SP!

We are just arrived from Old Europe, and would like to send heartfelt thanks to all the fans who saw us play over this last month...the shows were truly memorable, and we are ever indebted and so very grateful for such a warm welcome back...

A few words then from us then about our 9 show residency in Asheville, and the 13 show stand at the Fillmore in San Fransico...our stated hope for playing so many shows in a fixed locale is to foster an environment of creativity, risk taking, and mutual community...to attempt to find some new forms (musically and aesthetically) that will point us future forward...this means playing songs not yet written, digging thru some forgotten ones, and a whole lot of rehearsing during the days ahead so the nights will be filled with chance...we hope that each of these performances can be a great adventure, and look fully to capture the spirit of the moment, wherever we all may be...

Also, a clear declaration of our new open-source taping policy...everyone is welcome to tape at our shows in whatever capacity they see fit...anyone is welcome and invited to document using audio, video, or picture cameras (cell phones are welcome)...although we do reserve the right to refuse anyone at anytime (especially if we feel the reason for recording is not for entirely altruistic)...God bless

BC 6/23/07
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Who wears short shorts? [Jun. 10th, 2007|09:21 pm]
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Pinkpop Festival [Jun. 5th, 2007|02:47 pm]
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New Smashing Pumpkins website is live NOW! [May. 23rd, 2007|09:10 am]


smashingpumpkins.com (revamped)
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ZEITGEIST album cover revealed! [May. 16th, 2007|10:35 am]
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Happy.Valentines. Day. [Feb. 14th, 2007|05:20 pm]

From the Smashing Pumpkins...

...circa 1992.



click

here
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From BC [Feb. 7th, 2007|09:07 am]
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The Smashing Pumpkins
6th album
'Zeitgeist'
07.07.07
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2007 (from billy) [Jan. 2nd, 2007|09:18 pm]
Dear Beautiful Souls,

Happy New Year to you! May 2007 prove to be a blessed year in every respect and every way...I send you every ounce of love I have in my heart...May the grace of Mother be with you...This year for us will see a new album of songs and a world tour of tears, and we truly look forward to playing again for fans young, old, and missed...So yes, tunes are being dusted off, while others are being asked to kindly submit to an upstart millennia and all it's asking...In our daily prayers, we send out the signal that all who should hear us come forward and be seen, and by extension, heard...when we opened the lid on this music box, we were pleasantly suprised at the music that played: familiar yet unknown, welcoming but not sentimental...and that is all we can ask...God has absolutely blessed us in every respect...for many years there were private laments about opportunities missed and hearts so broken, but no more...we have turned the page and moved on, from places and faces, names and games...this age calls for resolve and certitude, and the fire within to burn ever bright...if that fire should be connected to absolutely deafening guitars, thundering drums, and the melodies of snakes, then so be it! We love you! If you are meant to be with us, find us!! We have need, and our arms are ever-open...although I can say definitively we don't need jugglers...but we do need ???? (what?) what do we need!
With a smile and a wink,
billy corgan
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Jimmy's Love Letters .6 [Nov. 30th, 2006|09:49 am]
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Hello again!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. We have been very busy carving up the sonic landscape with oceans of guitars and a sea of fuzz bass. We are four songs deep and about a hundred guitars in! Every day is a little louder and every night is a little darker! Last night for instance, we were working on a song...a very beautiful simple song we had been playing since we got back together. A song that was never questioned because of its poignant simplicity. Suddenly, Billy looked up and said that he thought we should try to find something else in the song. A different feel. A new approach. Something besides drums, bass and guitar. We had Bo' (our assistant) bring in an old organ to see if that would change the vibe. Instantly the song was transported to a new place . A place of symphonic majesty that made us all smile.

It's really moments like these that make it all worth it.
Sometimes you just have to ask the question...........
At any rate, it sure was nice to play something quiet for a change!

JC


Photo Credit: BC
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Jimmy's Love Letters .5 [Nov. 15th, 2006|01:03 pm]
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Hello all! A quick update. We are moving along nicely in the studio. BC pulled off a magnificent guitar symphony last night and it is still ringing in my ears this morning. Eight guitars resonating in one big harmonic handshake! And the drums...........of course! Yes, things are sounding great my friends. Today we will be working on vocals and solos, tomorrow, who knows. We are channelers. Sonic students.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in artwork.
You are brilliant!
Love, jc.
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Jimmy's Love Letters .4 [Nov. 3rd, 2006|12:59 am]
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Hello again my friends. I hope this finds all of you well! We have been working day and night in the studio and I am happy to say that the drums are finished! After almost a year of work, to finally sit down and listen to the drum takes, one after another, was a truly joyful experience. I can honestly say that this has been one of the most musically satisfying and spiritually rewarding trips I have ever been on. And what a long strange trip it's been! Our music has pulled us ever closer to the Heart and the Heart is beating true. We are moving closer to the light now, so about halfway there. I hope you can join us 'O Children of the Sun' Love, JC

p.s. We would like to thank The Grateful Dead, Rush, Billy Thorpe for their guidance in this hour of need.


photo:kristin burns
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Jimmy's Love Letters .3 [Oct. 26th, 2006|08:29 pm]
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Greetings! Just a quick note to say that things are still in orbit around Planet Pumpkin. Almost finished with drums and then we're cutting BC loose to work his magic. Its great to see a bit of light at the end of a long musical tunnel. I definitely feel proud and privileged to be a part of this journey. I hope you are ready........... We are! JC
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Jimmy's Love Letters .2 [Oct. 20th, 2006|02:14 pm]
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Greetings and salutations! Its been a hectic week for JC as we have been tracking drums non stop. Things are sounding fantastic. Tracking drums is a bit like going to another planet for four or five or nine minutes. We recently finished up working with Roy Thomas Baker, (Queen, The Cars!), Working with RTB was not only an honor, but also one of the best musical experiences we have ever had. We are currently working with Terry Date (Pantera, Soundgarden!) and that is going great as well. The universe has a way of letting you know that things are right by introducing people like RTB and Terry into the fold. It..s all part of one big cosmic journey, in so that everyone reading this is hitching their silver chord to the Great Pumpkin Space Train! Hope this helps clear some things up for you. Don't forget to cast your eyes skyward this weekend.... You may see a shooting star. Love JC
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Jimmy's Love Letters [Oct. 18th, 2006|04:37 pm]
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Greetings from Pumpkinland! Sorry it's taken so long to write! I'm here to tell you that great things are on track for the future. As some of you know we are indeed creating music again. Music that comes from a place so pure it will burn the lies off the very souls of those who try to discount it. We have arrived at a place in our lives where truth and honesty prevail and we are creating from that place. I will try to keep these love letters short and frequent as we welcome you back to a place that rocks! Love JC
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SP Blog [Oct. 17th, 2006|06:00 pm]
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JC's 'Pearl of Wisdom' blog coming soon...straight from the heart of the studio to you.
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Back From the Dead [Feb. 20th, 2006|02:24 pm]
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I'm sure you are all well aware of my unpredictable behavior by now with my random disappearances, but I have once again returned. Although I do leave for long spurts of time, I always come back, and I promise you I will always come back with a fucken bang! Just trust me this once and you shall soon see what I have in store for all of you.........

love/bc
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Patience, patience.... [Dec. 11th, 2005|11:37 pm]
The surprise I have in store for you all will be announced soon enough....hold on to your horses. Afterall, good things surely comes to those who wait....Don't you just love the suspense?  :)
Love,
bc
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Cowboy Bill Back in Action! [Dec. 8th, 2005|11:48 pm]
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Hello everyone!

I have finally returned to myspace to check up on things. How is everyone doing? I have been away for some time now working on some very exciting things to come! I will be back to update more on things soon! Be good!

bc
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Following the Moon (1974) [Jul. 1st, 2005|11:43 pm]
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On a particular cool night, I am making my usual trek to the liquor store to buy my step-mother cigarettes…she has given me a $20 bill, which to my 7 year old mind is a tremendous amount of money…the moon is full, and as always when it is, I feel the call of the wild in my bones…the clean air fills my head, and for the first time in my life I consider running away…of course, there is nowhere to go, no one to see…I imagine I can live for a little while on the 20 bucks, but of course will have no way to get any more money once it runs out…I figure the best place to live would be under an overpass bridge, but I will have to figure out where to get some blankets…I walk particularly slow, weighing each aspect of my decision with each step I take…the situation at home is so utterly toxic to my nerves that I cannot possibly stand another night…it is a rare moment where I only think of myself, leaving my younger brother and anyone else I love completely out of the question…there is no one to be seen on my walk thru the back alley behind the stores, it's just me and the possibility of leaving for good…I come to figure that I will probably be caught, and will only get beat worse when I do…I have come to be used to the beatings, they are fairly regular now, it is just the waiting for the beatings that drives me insane…the pregnant pause between the release of the impacted energy thru violence and the long sweep of the tide out, till all is still…then, a faint rumble as it heads back into my direction, and the numb roar that comes up thru the floor, until fists meets temple, and the cycle is complete…

I have learned the fine art now of judging what is expected of me when I am being beat…it takes a keen ear to detect if the desired result is one of the following: submission, capitulation, confession, or negation…sometimes when I am being beaten down, the desired result appears to be tears, a bleating “no more, no more”, until the monster is satisfied…in stark opposition, sometimes the desired result appears to be to stop me crying, until a numb pall falls over the scene…as she beats me, she repeats over and over again “stop crying, stop crying you piece of shit”, and the formula reads that once you do the beating will stop…I learn the fine art of giving her whatever she desires, if only to feel that I am the one ultimately in control…

On a visit to my maternal grandmothers, I am up in my aunt's apartment, sitting on my haunches in the corner, staring at a curio case full of porcelain figures…I think calmly through the things that plague me, which at this age are that I hate cigarette smoke, and I don't like anyone to see me cry…I make two decisions in that moment I remain faithful to till this day…one, I will never smoke cigarettes, such is my hatred of the smell (I have still never smoked a cigarette in my life)…and two, that I will never cry for any reason (I would estimate that I have cried just 6 or 7 times in my entire life since that moment, the circumstances usually so overwhelming that I cannot override the feeling---my mother's funeral, absolute betrayal, the Pumpkins last show)…

So when I am beat now, if the desire seems to be to make me cry, I learn a sort of fake sob, dramatized to heighten the necessary effect…she doesn't seem to notice the difference between the fake version and the real deal, so this passes muster and therefore I never need to cry at all…

My father spends most evenings getting stoned and watching t.v…this becomes our time together, the most effective way to be in his presence is to learn to enjoy what he enjoys…for my father has little interest in what I am interested in…any attempt to get him to watch a baseball game perhaps results in a waving of the hand and a dismissal of the game as “boring”…fortunately for me, my dad likes to watch things like “Monty Python's Flying Circus” and “The Midnight Special”, which was a program that featured live music from new bands…this was in many ways my first exposure to international rock music not covered by our local radio…

Since we live so close to a world class bowling facility, my brother and I often go over to hang out and watch people bowl…the bowling alley is always well air-conditioned in summer, and a toasty warm in the winter (our home is generally kept on the cold side during winter to save money)…after a time, our curiosity gets the best of us, and we decide that we want to try bowling for ourselves…I have about $3 dollars saved, and since the board says it costs $1 dollar to play, I figure it's enough for the both of us, with some left over to get some soda pop…we rent our shoes, and proceed to have a blast, bowling for about 4 hours…when we go up to pay, the man behind the counter informs us that we have played 16 games, and with the shoes, etc, we owe him around $18 dollars…I unfortunately didn't realize that the $1 dollar fee was PER GAME….as luck would have it, my brother had recently found a $20 dollar bill on the ground, but it is presently hidden under the couch…I convince the man to let me leave my brother as collateral, promising I will return with the money…I run quickly home, steal my brothers $20 dollars, and come back to pay the fee, purposely not telling my brother where I got the money…because if he knew the money was his, he will refuse on principle, blaming me for the oversight since the whole thing was my idea…

The pond that sits just across from our apartment becomes a place where I just go to sit and stare, a small piece of tranquility from the urban sprawl that we live amongst…I watch the men fish, pulling their dirty catfish from the water and plopping them in their white plastic buckets…I always feel sorry for the fish, with their uncertain fates, swimming around in a bucket…one afternoon, I spot a teenager I know a little bit who lives in one of the townhouses next to the pond…he is bleeding from his head, a severe gash cut right across the top of his brow…I ask him what happened, and he tells me that someone from across the way hit him with a rock…he doesn't know who didn't it, but vows revenge…the pond suddenly loses it's luster as a peaceful place to sit, so I stop going…
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a final embrace. [Jun. 21st, 2005|08:39 pm]
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dear friends,
today is the day the record comes out...an obvious and not so subtle opportunity to say "HEY!"...but honestly, i am not writing for all that...i am writing to say thanks for all the great feedback, the love, the occasional vitriol, and confusion, about what all this means...today, a few more pieces of the puzzle are laid bare, and it's up to the crows to figure out what it all means...for me, it is about LOVE, GOD, and MUSIC, and not necessarily in that order...i want to say "THANK YOU MYSPACE" for being so incredibly awesome and cool and unique! i am very grateful to all at myspace.com who have made this a great experience for me, a chance to be your creepy buddy every once in awhile...for those that have been keeping up with my 'confessions', i apologize for not posting more and more often, it has just been so overwhelmingly busy lately with the records release...that and the travel! ugh...
anyway, i am happy today, and i thank everybody...thank you, thank you, thank you...
now go buy that record! :)
love bc
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A message to Chicago from Billy Corgan. [Jun. 21st, 2005|08:14 am]
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Today is a special day in my life as it marks the release of my very first solo album 'TheFutureEmbrace'. For over 17 years I have been proud to represent Chicago as an artist through my words and music, and am continually humbled by the undying love that I have been shown from this city as one of its native sons. I'd like to take this moment to address all that is going on in my musical life, from the new album and the current tour, to the future of The Smashing Pumpkins.

I had the opportunity to record 'TheFutureEmbrace' CD here in Chicago, and its embers bear witness to this town's unique soul. I have done my very best to create something fresh and exciting to listen to, and I hope you get the chance to check it out. Having just returned from a tour of Europe, I am now set to play 18 additional dates in North America, beginning tomorrow in Atlanta. After that we head to Japan, and then Australia and New Zealand for the first time since 1998.

'TheFutureEmbrace' is an album of hope, and represents fully my desire to make music to stand and to fight for. Encouraged by the musical progress of the record, I have already begun writing new songs for a subsequent solo album I hope to start by the end of this year. Plans are still in the works to finish my 'ChicagoSongs' DVD, a group of songs about the city. I'm also in the process of writing my life story on-line, updated almost daily and not so ironically entitled 'The Confessions of Billy Corgan'. It truly has been a creative time for me, with many new revelations.

Many have assumed that the decisions I have made over the last few years have been to try to get away from something. But what I have been really trying to do is find that same kid again, the one who believed he could change the world with a song. There is an old saying that goes "you can't go home again," but I believe that your home is wherever your heart lies.

When I played the final Smashing Pumpkins show on the night of December 2, 2000, I walked off the Metro stage believing that I was forever leaving a place of my life behind. I naively tried to start a new band, but found that my heart wasn't in it. I moved away to pursue a love that I once had but got lost. So I moved back home to heal what was broken in me, and to my surprise I found what I was looking for. I found that my heart is in Chicago, and that my heart is in The Smashing Pumpkins.

For a year now I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know what I have made plans to renew and revive The Smashing Pumpkins. I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams. In this desire I feel I have come home again.

'TheFutureEmbrace' represents a new beginning, not an ending. It picks up the thread of the as-yet-unfinished work and charter of The Smashing Pumpkins. I know this city gave me the gift of music, and it is my honor to share this love that I have with you from the bottom of my heart. There is still so much work to do, and as always, so little time!

Rock on and may God bless you!
Billy Corgan

BillyCorgan.com
SmashingPumpkins.com
mySpace.com/BillyCorgan
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monday night t.v. [Jun. 19th, 2005|11:10 pm]
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we is gonna be on letterman tomorrow night
u.s.a.
not sure what we are gonna play but it's got to be good!
be good too...
bc
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TheFutureEmbrace Release Party [Jun. 17th, 2005|06:59 pm]
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Celebrate the release of The Future Embrace with Billy Corgan at the Adler Planetarium!

Enjoy TheFutureEmbrace, cocktails, and the summer solstice with Billy Corgan. Admission is free with your purchased copy of TheFutureEmbrace.... available Tuesday, June 21 @ all Borders locations or pick it up at the event for only $13.99.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The Summer Solstice
6:30PM - 10:30PM
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois

This event is all ages. Parking is available.

See you soon!
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Ticking Time Bomb [Jun. 15th, 2005|04:56 pm]
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A memory: I am in a fabric store with my father and brother…I’m around 6, he’s around 4 years old…my father is taking forever, and my brother is frustrated that he is not paying attention to him…so he starts acting crazy, and my father keeps asking him to calm down and leaves him with me to look after while he is busy getting whatever it is that he needs…suddenly, without warning, my brother pulls his head back and rams it down on a metal clamp that is attached to a low table…he looks at me with puzzled eyes, and then quarts of blood begin to literally spurt out of his head…I have never seen so much blood in my life, and I almost pass out at the sight of it…my brother’s delayed scream sends my father flying back to where we are, and as my he asks “what happened?” a woman who just happened to be standing there says, “I don’t know, he just went nuts and threw his head into the table”…my brother is wearing a cute white baseball jacket, and it takes the blood well so that now he looks like a murder victim to be…my father’s hand is pushing on his head, compressing the spot, but the blood just keeps shooting out between his fingers…we run to my dad’s car, an old yellow Duster, and speed off manically towards a hospital…now it is my job to keep him from bleeding any more…it seems like he has lost a tremendous amount of blood by the time we are pulled over by the police (they see my dad run an intersection), and once they see my brother up close, they give us a dramatic rescue escort to the hospital…

The area behind the grocery store becomes our daily playground, your basic wasteland of asphalt and garbage, with rotten produce all over the ground (I learn a lesson the hard way when I decide to kick a tomato and it’s blood juice goes right into my eye)…the workers at the store generally tolerate us and our antics, ignoring us when they are busy and striking up conversations when they are bored…one lame employee in particular takes it upon himself to try to chase us off the premises by showing us a badge and telling us that he is a cop…we smartly reply that if he is a cop, what is he doing working at a grocery store…to this query, he has no reply, and leaves us fully alone after that…in order to help the family save money, we often collect coupons at the store, hoping to make some contribution to the constant problem of not having enough whatever; enough money, enough food, enough time…at one point, the store runs a promotion whereby during a certain time period, you will get a 10% discount on your next purchase based on your collected receipts from the previous month (as we average around $200 per month on groceries, our savings would be around $20 or so)…I get it in my head that since there is no set limit to the savings during the promotion, if we collect other people’s receipts, we can save even more money for our family, so I recruit my brother to stand outside of the store with me for hours at a time, asking each patron who comes out if they would be willing to give us their receipts…most, unaware of the promotion, willingly hand over their tickets, and between these and the one’s we honorably dig out of the trash, we manage to collect over $2,000 in total receipts in about 2 weeks, thereby saving our family the equivalent of one whole month’s groceries…the store manager is not pleased, and lets us know…

We get it in our head that we want to camp outside, and our parents agree as long as we will stay in the small enclosed concrete porch area behind our apartment and not leave…having never been camping, or slept outside before, we go crazy making our plans…my father informs us that if we are going to stay outside ‘for real’, we are really going to have to follow it through, which means no coming inside in the middle of the night, not even to go to the bathroom…he emphasizes that if we want this to be a true experience, we must prepare for this as if it is a real night out in the woods…we talk to some of the other parents in our little area, and 3 of our other friends are allowed to join us in our adventure (2 boys and a girl---one boy from across the way, and the brother and sister we are close to)…we all pitch in and build a compact tent out of moving blankets, filling it with toys and snacks and water, preparing for the long haul…the parents all say goodnight, and close the doors, and we are left alone…we are ecstatic with the freedom, and each noise of a passing car or a truck being unloaded becomes ominous in the midnight air…our only light is a single flashlight, and I do my best to try to creep everyone out by telling some scary stories…finally, after all is talked of, and every bit of sugar is consumed heartily with the hunger of a newfound terror, everyone puts their head down to a restful, exhilarated sleep…

After a couple of hours, I awake to the breeze, and it begins to rain drowsily, and the soft pat-pat of the water on the blankets sounds like a small, tight tapping drum…then the thunder starts, and the water pours down in buckets…the tent begins to flood through faster than we can push the pockets of rain off to our side…the blankets beneath us soak up the water, so now we are wet, cold, and miserable, and there is nowhere for us to go…the kid from across the way is the first to run home even though we make fun of him for being a momma’s boy…he says he doesn’t care what we think, and since his warm, dry bed is just 25 feet away, he makes a hasty exit…the brother and sister, made of tougher stuff, last a few hours in this storm of biblical proportions, but when the lightning draws close and just above us, they decide they have had enough…so now it is just my brother and I, sitting under an ever-collapsing roof, unsure of what to do now…my brother says he wants to go in, but I remind him of what our father has said about toughing it out…he ignores me, quickly leaving our tent to make the short beeline towards our back door…within moments, he is back, soaked with rain because the door has been locked for the night…so we sit like this for hours until the storm passes on, finally throwing off the wet blankets, sitting together on the back steps as the morning light breaks…my brother passes the remaining time quietly eating dog biscuits while I try to wring the heavy blankets out…

We learn every square inch of our tiny neighborhood, riding our bikes as if we are constantly on an unseen assault…you can always hear us coming because, following the trend of the day, we have clipped baseball cards to our spokes, which make a terrific rattle as we approach…our world is small, but it seems huge, this suburban utopia of ill-planned grottos and empty parking lots…our home life is a strange and constant contradiction, the normal family with 2 kids and the pretty wife and the dad smoking a joint while he is eating his dinner…I am known as the big eater in the family, the joke being that I have “a wooden leg”…it is not unusual for my father to bet me to see how much I can eat, or how quickly…one particular night, he challenges me to eat a whole bowl of spaghetti…my prize if I “win” is to be 3 large chocolate cupcakes for my dessert…after shoving all this food down, I also force down the chocolate treats as well, not because I am hungry, but because I have won and have proven my father wrong…I am very happy and content, that is until I throw the whole concoction up…but I don’t mind, because I have won the bet, and that is all that matters…

The grocery store runs a new promotion, this one a bingo style game where you must collect all the pieces of a given row, and if you do, you win whatever prize is on that row…the largest prize available is if you get the middle row fully, you will win $2,000 cash…so once again, my younger brother and I take it upon ourselves to master this as well, and we take up our old spots outside the store, bothering customers as they come out for their bingo pieces…the manager tries to shoo us away, aware of our ruthlessness, but we just ignore him and tell him the sidewalk is public property…each time we get a new token that we don’t have already, we place it on the supplied game card which is taped to the refrigerator door…after about 3 weeks, we come up with what appears to be the magic piece, and we go crazy as we the responsible party for winning our family the $2,000 prize…however, there is a problem, as the piece in the center square has accidentally fallen off, and just in case, my step-mother has written that the piece “fell behind the refrigerator” on the card…at first, we figure that maybe the missing piece is not at all that rare, so we dig clumsily thru all the extras tokens to see if we have it…we become really concerned when we realize that the missing piece is the hardest piece to get in the whole game, so we must find this piece, or we don’t win the money!!...all 4 of us start searching frantically as best we can to find it, ultimately pulling the refrigerator away from the wall, and all the drawers completely out…we search for around 4 hours, late into the night, but the piece is never found…

At dusk one evening, my brother and I are walking near our home when our attention is drawn to a loud ticking noise…we both ascertain the ticking is coming from a parked car, so I nervously poke my head underneath the car to see what might be causing the sound…my brother figures it to be a bomb, and not sure if I agree with him, ask him “what do you think we should do?”…he suggests I knock on the door of the apartment that the car is parked in front of, because maybe it is their car, and if it isn’t, maybe they can call the police…the job is now mine, so I knock gingerly on the door, which is answered by a nice middle age lady…I ask her sweetly, “ma’am, is this your car?”, cautiously pointing to the car out front…”yes it is son, but why do you ask?”…”umm, I hate to bother you so late, but I believe someone has planted a bomb beneath your car”…she calls to her husband, and I quickly repeat my story…he laughs and says as he pats me on the shoulder, “I appreciate your concern, but that is just the sound an old car makes when it is hot and cooling down, so don’t worry about it at all and run along home now”…

Out playing one afternoon, I come home for a drink of kool-aid when I find my step-mother breathless with excitement…she asks me if I want to know a secret, a secret a cannot tell my father…“are you ready?”…after a long drawn out pause, she says nervously, “I’m going to have a baby!”…it is the happiest I have ever seen her…”don’t tell your father, because I really want to surprise him”…when my father finally comes home, I avoid him like the plague, because I do not want him to see the secret in my eyes…after a time, the moment finally comes when she decides to tell him…he is sitting at the kitchen table, watching a t.v. program with the sound off when she comes over and tells him “I have a big surprise for you”…his response is puzzling to me, as he straight ahead, not looking at her, and without emotion says “you’re pregnant”...she jumps excitedly into his lap, but he does not seem at all happy about the big news…
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(no subject) [Jun. 10th, 2005|10:19 pm]
[Tags|]



Paris, land for lovers once and lost...
Hello friends, how are you?
I am doing alright, I suppose...
The tour has been very interesting, to say the least!
Some of us are living in the future, and some of us are living in the
past...
I suppose you could say that I am living in both places at all times, I
choose for today to just be in this place...
And that is not pretense, that is just real...
I am very pleased to be finally heading back to the great land down under
:)
It will be a real thrill!!
So please, no more petitions!!!!!!!!!!!
If there is anything else I can tell you sitting here today, it is that you
are now looking at a picture that is half-complete...
Years from now, when you see the whole picture I am going to paint, I hope
we can remember this moment together, this moment of hope and doubt...
Where all the shadows meet the new warriors of light and give it a good old
duke out and may the better side win...
(it's like the movies, we all know how this ends...)
I promise you now that no matter what you hear in the next 60 or so days, no
matter how unreal of fantastical or strange, let me tell you now what it
means...
It means change...
It means possibility...
It means LOVE in the grandest sense of the world...
And most of all, it means hope...
And I a'int talking about music...
Love love love you
Bc
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A Declaration of Independence [Jun. 8th, 2005|10:11 am]
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The first time I ever witness nakedness on a woman is with my step-mother: my brother and I are fighting downstairs, while my father and my step-mother are up in their bedroom…as is it the early afternoon, the general rule as always is to stay quiet during the day, to not wake my father…things get out of hand between us, and the next thing I know she is screaming my name and holy hell from the top of the stairs…her hair is sticking out all over the place like a dandelion, she is still in her underwear, wearing some sort of loose t-shirt…unbeknownst to her, her left breast is hanging out of the top of her shirt, swinging down towards me as she screams…

Two doors down from our duplex lives a family with 2 kids roughly the same age as my brother and I…they are very nice people, so we spend a lot of time hanging out at their place, eating their food, with the mom serving as our occasional babysitter…the older child, the one my age, is a cute tomboy who is rambunctious and outgoing, playing football and baseball with us boys…my brother is not competitive like I am and doesn’t like sports, so it is good to have a close friend who likes to play games even if she is a girl…it is not unusual that her and I are left alone in their house or our house to play, as we are fairly mature kids by most standards…one night, left alone to our own devices, she asks me if I want to play a game…always up for a competition, I ask her what game she would like to play…she tells me she wants to play doctor, and when I ask her what the rules are, she explains in a vague way that I am the doctor and she will be the patient…not fully understanding her point, I agree anyway…she takes me behind the bar in the basement where it is very dark, and lays down on the cold floor…she tells me that she is ready now to be examined, so I innocently pretend to check her heart with an imaginary stethoscope, and take the pulse from her wrist…she seems fairly restless, so I ask her what is wrong…she doesn’t say anything in return, so I just continue to play along, asking her the kinds of questions doctors ask me; “does your stomach hurt? are you sleeping ok?”…I find this game kind of stupid, but I am intrigued by why we are playing this game in the near dark…she asks me if I want to check her some more, and I say ok…still laying on the floor, she pulls down her pants to her knees, exposing her hairless vagina…I have never seen a vagina before, and I just stare at it, shocked at the difference between her and I in this particular area…my head starts to buzz, as I am overwhelmed by the strange sensation of arousal…she just lays there, not moving, and I am not sure what I am supposed to do, or what she wants me to do…I feel ashamed with the overwhelming feeling that I am doing something wrong, even though no one has ever explained anything to me that would remotely indicate this as wrong…she wants me to touch her, and when I don’t, she suddenly pulls her pants back up and says “ok, now it’s your turn”…I am so freaked out by all of this that I tell her I am bored now and that I don’t want to play anymore…it is also on this same night that she explains to me very carefully, and in great detail, that there isn’t such a thing as Santa Claus…

Back at school for second grade, I am excelling in my studies, and am told routinely that I am at the top of my class in reading, science, and math…teachers point to me as an example to my other classmates that I am what they are looking for in a student, particularly in leading class discussions and encouraging smart questioning of what is being taught…as a reward for my good scholastic efforts and my poise in public speaking, I am asked to read a portion of the Declaration of Independence in front of the whole student body and their parents as part of a nighttime school function, which appears by all indications to be a really big deal…since the demonstration is still a few weeks off, I am given extra time by my teachers away from my normal studies to prepare…

Each day after lunch, all the kids from grades 1-6 are let out in the schoolyard to play for a half hour…since baseball is my favourite game, this is normally how I spend my time outside…one afternoon while we are playing, I hit my ball over to an area of older kids whom I do not know…when I approach this group of kids to get the ball back, one boy about 3 years older than me refuses to give it back, laughing at me in front of his friends…this starts a dumb game of me reaching, and him snatching it away each time…I start to get more and more angry, and as I approach him he starts to back away slowly, then breaking into a dead run…now I am chasing him, incensed that he will not give me my ball back and smarting from him mocking me in front of his friends…as I chase him, I am still carrying the small baseball bat that I hit the ball with, and I warn him that if he does not give me the ball back I am going to hit him with it…finally he grows tired of being chased and stops, standing close to the brick wall of the school…I make one last effort to get the ball from his outstretched hand, and when he snatches it away from me one time too many, I whack him in the head with the bat…it seems like I do not even hit him all that hard, for I am just trying to scare him more that I am trying to hurt him, but down he goes like a sack of potatoes…

My step-mother is called to the school, and I am asked to explain myself in front of her and the school principal…I am frustrated by the fact that neither one of them seems to sympathize with my side of the story, that I was the aggrieved party in the matter…after being sent to sit in the hallway for awhile, my step-mother finally emerges to take me home…they have not decided on my punishment as of yet, but they are going to let me know the next day after school…the following day at school I find it really hard to concentrate, because I feel so humiliated by what has happened…many of my classmates are impressed at my violence, but I am horrified by all the negative attention, because I have never been in trouble at school before…I take great solace in being a model student, as it is the one controllable aspect of my life, and something I can excel at without limitation, unlike my daily home life…after the school day is done, I am taken into a room by my teacher and the principal…they inform me that my punishment will be to stay after school each day until I have written 1,500 times “I will not hit anyone in the head with a baseball bat”…the other part of my punishment is that they are taking away from me the honor of speaking in front of the school, effectively demoting me from my position as the head of my class…I ask if there is anyway that this can be changed, for I am very regretful for my actions and was very much looking forward to speaking at the school function…I am told firmly that their decision stands as is, and there is nothing I can do but to serve out my punishment…no one ever asks if there is a similar violence in my home…

When you consider that your standard piece of white school-paper has around 26 lines
on it, you can see that writing anything 1,500 times is quite the chore (around 60 pages)…after the first day of staying an hour or so after school, I have only finished about 4 pages worth, or around 200 lines…for me, this is going to go way too slow…since each word is “I” in the sentence I must write, I devise a system by which to speed up the process…I just draw a straight line down the page, quickly making the dashes, using the bottom dash for the top of the next “I” as well…this speeds me up considerably, as I find other ways to mass produce subsequent words (the “N” in “not”, the “H” in “hit”, etc)…this is fine and good until my teacher discovers what I am doing, and makes me start all over again at the beginning, tearing up the 15 or so pages I have already completed…

My first encounter of being chased after by a girl also happens in this same year, in this same schoolyard…one of my classmates, a pretty girl with long blonde hair, keeps following me around wherever I go…I can’t for the life of me understand what she wants, because when I ask her if she wants to join in whatever game we are playing, she always says “no thanks”, but instead just sits and stares at me…she is always doing stupid stuff to get my attention, but I just keep ignoring her because in my eyes she is acting dumb…her frustration with my ignoring her finally boils over on during one recess, and she starts chasing me around, grabbing at me…when she can’t catch me, she strips off her leather belt, and starts trying to hit me with it…when she does hit me, it doesn’t hurt that much, so I just laugh out loud…this frustrates her more, so she hits me even harder, and I laugh harder…each time I laugh, she hits me, again and again and again in a total frenzy Iuntil a teacher finally comes over and breaks the whole thing up…
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In the Court of James [Jun. 6th, 2005|05:29 pm]
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We move 2 short blocks from our little nest in the cul-de-sac on Lynn Court over to another townhouse development on James Court, which sits just behind a large grocery store…our unit is the last one in line, just next to the loading docks…if you go out our front door, you cannot access the alleyway, so we get used to hopping the fence, which is about 6 feet high and made of scratchy wood…our backyard (if you can call it that) is a fenced in piece of concrete, approximately 5 feet by 5 feet…there are 4 homes in each row, and about 8 rows in total…my room sits in the upper corner, so I have a clear view of the front porches and docks…on the other end of our row is a large lawn that runs the entire length of the development, perfect for playing football and baseball…just across the street from that is a deep pond, where people often fish for catfish…the entire neighborhood is filled with these different kinds of housing projects, thrown scattershot around to the point where nothing is beautiful and all is ugly…

Even though we are just a stones throw from where we used to live, the geography of our old house cuts my brother and me off from our old friends, and as the days pass we see them hardly at all, except in school…the new neighborhood has lots of young people, and we luckily make tons of new friends…the parking lot of the supermarket is perfect for baseball games, the fence of the huge car dealership next door providing proper home run distance…the supermarket itself sits at the end of a long row of businesses, starting with a very large bowling alley, and continuing on through a liquor store, a drugstore, a Chinese restaurant, and some other junk…the road just in front of the market is a large route that runs due east all the way to the lake in downtown Chicago, just over an hours drive…across from that is another set of large stores as well…so when we are bored, we just go to the stores and walk around in the air-conditioning, looking at stuff we know we cannot buy…

My step-mother not so secretly smokes, but she has promised my father who she is deathly afraid of that she has quit…when he is not around, or sleeping, she sends me covertly to buy her cigarettes…she gives me a hand-written note that says “to whom it may concern, please sell my son a pack of whatever brand cigarettes…thank you”, and then she signs her name to make it all official…she has sworn me to secrecy, and tells me in no uncertain terms that my father is not to find out she is smoking…the implication is as always that if she gets into trouble, there is much greater trouble waiting for me…when I go to the liquor store, I most often times run into the owner, who works in the back…he is not very nice, and as he makes the sale, I stare at a faded black and white picture of him as a baby, naked on a bearskin rug…I wonder how this mean old man came from this smiling, happy baby…

I call her mom now, even though I do not think of her as my mother…she functions as a mother would, providing meals and making sure we do whatever it is we are supposed to be doing, but it is so without cheer or grace that it creates an uncomfortable feeling with all it touches…my real mother hovers in the distance, over where the bright lights of the city bounce off the clouds at night…but she cannot help me now, not in this place of bombed out souls…

The anxiety of the past year since moving in with my father and my step-mother starts to add up, causing a nervousness in me that will not quit…I feel often that I cannot breathe, so suffocated am I by the oppressive nature of the household…my father seems to do drugs more regularly now, and seems to be too slow to catch on that I know he is up to doing things he shouldn’t be doing…he still thinks I am too young to notice such behaviour…at night, the nightmares start to come, the worst kinds of demons chasing me thru black forests…I begin having a series of dreams where I am lost in a concrete only world of no other people (I still have this dream occasionally, but for 20 years almost weekly)…I wake up many times during the night, fresh from falling, waking up just before I hit the ground…

I am often given bathroom duty, being expected to clean the toilet and the shower to a military level of cleanliness…I must get my step-mother to come in when I am done cleaning so that she may inspect the work herself, standing there awkwardly as she looks closely at the areas around the toilet, sink, and bath…if I have missed anything, she tells me I must clean for another long period of time (like another half-hour), and not to bother calling her until I am positive the area is perfect…because the bathroom itself has already been cleaned once, I spend a few minutes re-cleaning the area, and then just sit and wait the appropriate time in silence before calling her back…the first time that she comes into my room screaming in the middle of the night (my father isn’t home normally until 5am) involves something that has displeased her about the bathroom’s lack of cleanliness, and she drags me out of bed by my hair all the way to the bathroom down the hall…she shoves my face into the base of the toilet, so close that I can smell the odd mixture of cleaning solvents and urine, asking me if I feel that this area is clean…not knowing how to answer, she insists that the toilet is filthy, and makes me clean it all again in the middle of the night…her frequent night attacks, which involve being woken up suddenly with her standing over me screaming at the top of her lungs also include beatings and the occasional shove down the stairs…being thrown down the stairs usually involves something to do with cleaning up the kitchen…the terror of all of this gives me a terminal case of insomnia, and makes me a very light sleeper (I still suffer with insomnia at times, but it has gotten a bit better---it was very terrible for almost 25 years or so)…when my father comes home, I lay in bed awake listening to her prepare him food…I dread these sounds, the sounds of pots and pans and cooking, because it means I will have to do the cleaning up later…

I start wetting the bed almost every night…the first few times, my step-mother takes the wet sheets off wordlessly…after the first few incidents, she starts to get very angry…if my father is aware there is a problem, he doesn’t show it…my bed wetting seems to send her into overdrive, and she compounds the problem by telling me that something is wrong with me, that if I was normal like all the other boys and girls I wouldn’t be having this problem…I am terrified of her, so I start trying to hide the evidence as it were if I have wet the bed…I get away with this a few times, but she takes to checking the bed every morning, often before I get up…if she finds that I have wet the bed, she makes me stay in it for hours, as punishment for what I have done…I just lay underneath the wet covers and ask God to please kill her for me because I hate her so much…this is the time that the real violence of my life begins, becoming intertwined with all that I do and all that I am…
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Milan-o [Jun. 4th, 2005|01:50 pm]
[Tags|]

friends, fans, freaks
let's meet
have a laugh
you can sign an autograph for me

Duomo
milan, italy
5 pm
in the front
tomorrow
sun, june 5th

and please, don't send a million "please come to (your city here) emails"...
i can't be everywhere
i am not even sure i am here!
ok? ok!
love, bc
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(no subject) [Jun. 3rd, 2005|09:19 pm]
[Tags|]

I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU LOVE ME
I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU HATE ME
I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU THINK I'M THE GREATEST THING EVER
I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU FEEL I HAVE LET YOU DOWN
I LOVE YOU BECAUSE I KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE...
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
I LOVE YOU
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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The Toy Hammer (19??/1985) [Jun. 2nd, 2005|08:26 pm]
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My father once asked me if I had any memory of the story of “The Toy Hammer” …he said that my brother, when he was still an infant, ended up in the hospital covered head to toe in bruises…the police were called in to investigate, and when questioned, my mother told them that I had beaten my brother up and down with my toy hammer…my father was asking me simply if I had any memory of any of this…I said that I didn’t know what he was talking about, and it seemed to me that it was the type of incident that I would have remembered…my mother was still alive when he confided all this to me, and as he told me, he went on to say that he was never comfortable with her version of the story…the police questioned him as well, but he had told them that he was out of town at the time…all I had to add to this is that my mother had never laid a hand on me in my entire life, nor had I ever seen her hit my brother…he ended all this by saying “thanks, I always wondered about that…"

On my 18th birthday, I go with my father to the International House of Pancakes, our regular place to grab a bite to eat for breakfast…my father and I are alike in that we like to eat the same thing at the same place everyday, even if it is my birthday, so this is nothing special…my father tips the cook often (a certain rarity in a fast food joint), so the chef always kicks in a little extra on the food portions as a way of taking care of us back…my dad always tends to be a little sentimental on holidays and birthdays, so it is not unusual when he starts waxing rhapsodic about how I’m all grown up now and how we are both getting older (he is just a bit over 20 years my senior)…he repeats some of his favourite stories from my youth, and I just bask in the rare glow of his direct attention…after a bit, he gets kind of quiet, and his face gets this funny look, and I know something is coming…”there is something I have to tell you”, and by the look in his eyes I get nervous, thinking he is about to tell me he is going die of some rare disease (not an unusual occurrence with my father either)…”I don’t know how to tell you this, and I always figured I would wait until you were old enough to hear it”, he says ominously…”you know, I met your mother when I was a young man, and like any guy who is just getting out of the house, I was chasing girls all over the place”…at this point, I for the life of me cannot tell where all this is going, but I know it can’t be good…”anyway, your mom and I were both just 19 when you were conceived, and obviously you were an accident, because we weren’t really planning on having a child yet, and as a matter of fact, I couldn’t even of told you at that time whether we were going to stay together at all…we’d only been together a short time anyway…so around the time I was going out with your mother, I was also seeing this other girl”…now I am totally stumped, for I have never heard of this other ‘mystery woman’, nor how she figures into my life story (or my birthday for that matter!)…and why he has waited these many years to tell me whatever he is going to tell me has me on the edge of my seat…even though we are in a busy restaurant, all I hear is the sound of my own heart throbbing in my ears and his weedy voice…”so yeah, around the same time that I got your mother pregnant with you, I also got this other girl pregnant at almost the exact same time”…the look in my eyes must have given him pause, because he stops for a moment and says “I’m sorry I am telling all of this to you now”…I stutter out some form of a question, and he continues on…”even though I told this woman that I didn’t want a relationship with her because I was more serious about your ma, she went ahead anyway and had the baby…I lost touch with her shortly afterward, so I don’t know what happened to her or the baby…but I felt that you should know that somewhere out there (he sweeps his hand vaguely in the direction of infinity), you have a half-brother”…now I am falling out of the booth, as my mind reels thru all the souls in the known universe…so many questions start to fall from the sky into my lap; “is he alive, where is he, does he still live in Chicago?”...I suddenly feel a great responsibility to find this person, and claim them as one of my own, whoever he may be...I ask my father, “do you know his name?”…”well, I don’t remember the woman’s last name, but I can tell you what his first name is…I told her not to do this, but because I was the father she went ahead and named him Billy”…

A few years later, I am at a party at someone’s house I do not know very well…there are lots of strange faces, shadowy spots and loud music is playing…I spy a familiar face across the room, a face that looks incredibly familiar…my first thought is “it’s him!”, but then I immediately talk myself out of it…”it can’t be”, I think…he looks at me, and I stare at him…he smiles, and I smile a sort of “how do you do?”…I don’t know whether I should go up and talk to him, for he has this reminiscent twinkle in his eye…I don’t know what to do, so I do nothing…how do you go up to a stranger and ask, “hey, are you my half-brother? did my dad get your mom pregnant and split?”…maybe he doesn’t even know the truth, if it is even possibly him at all…maybe I am creating this all in my mind…he seems to be my age, around 6 feet tall, and the nose does look about distinctive…the entire scene lasts for 15 seconds, and nothing does happen, the moment gets lost, and I leave the party and the face behind…
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ola! [Jun. 1st, 2005|07:20 am]
[Tags|, ]

Portugal tomorrow!
first show...
we are excited, my dear friends...

new song up on my page
'now and then' (from the forthcomin' cd/futureEmbrace)
one of my faves
hope you can check it out, if you a'int to busy dancin'
or cursing
or being crazy
or listenin' to death metal
love
bc>

ps we are staying in Lisbon tomorrow night if anyone wants to hang out/then we have 2 days off in BARCELONA
Gaudi cathedral anyone?
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(no subject) [May. 31st, 2005|05:24 pm]
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Hello friends!

Cowboy Bill here, back for an afternoon sojourn of words to caress your aching temples, cause I know you've been thinking too hard about all sorts of stuff that don't matter to Zeus or his brother Abe!

Packing up my bags to get my caboose over to dear ol' Portugal, land of sad-eyed womens and sensitive men...

They'll kill you with the garlic over there, but I sure like their music of longing...

So here we go, off to tour the world one more darn-snikety time... I don't know how many more of these old Bill's bones can take, but we are sure gonna give a good try...

Soon I will be in the capitals of Europe, scouting for prospective wives and future friends to kickstart this new cult of personality that is all things to this here moving rodeo...

Hope you can get along for the ride, and let me shine my lights in your eyes again!

The prairie dogs out my door are howling for me not to leave this land I love so much, but I just tell 'em by the shine of a silvery moon that a man just has to do what he has to do and there a'int no 2 ways about it anyhow so I best get to movin' and stop all my hissy-fittin' about missin' here or there...

So here I come, now lookout!
Heyahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
C.B.
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In the Shadow of Ruins [1993] [May. 30th, 2005|06:04 pm]
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It is a bright, sunny day, this first day of marital bliss…I am happy, for it is all over in my mind, literally and figuratively… during the wedding, all sorts of flowers and gifts have arrived from all over the world, a tribute to our union and my growing international life/fame…I am now a married man, and see my wife within the context of my blood family, she is me and I am her…in the 6 years of our being together before this, through the many ups and down of breaking up and making up; infidelities (from both sides), betrayals, and crushing moments of love in the best sense of the word, the path has all led to this day where we are now nestled together in this beautiful old home on a tree lined street…my biggest issue with Chris has always been her disappearing, and my motivation to be married has had everything to do with her insinuations that she cannot fully be herself or be present if she does not see the commitment from me towards the relationship…that is all in the past now, so I walk into this first day of marriage full in the belief that my wife will finally show up and be here with me, every cell of her body alive with faith and security…she can no longer complain of feeling unsafe, because I have given up all others and chosen to be with her…

The same living room that held the ceremony is now strewn with these hundred of gifts, and the entire piano and dining room table are covered with bouquets and vases filled with sumptuous flowers that fill the air with sweetness…somewhere in the midst of yesterday’s mayhem, a friend had tipped me off to look for a certain ‘delivery’…with Chris out of the room, I go looking for it, heading straight for the most elaborate and expensive looking flower arrangement, guessing right on the first try…it is from Courtney, and the card simply congratulates me on my marriage, but it is what it doesn’t say that speaks a thousand words, so I put the card in my pocket…we spend hours going through the gifts and cards, writing down each one so ‘thank you’s’ can be given specifically to the things given…I hold my breath when we get to Courtney’s bouquet, and lie to Chris by telling her there is no card, acting as if it is a curious occurrence for such a beautiful gift…

Before we leave on our trip together, Chris and I scramble to put together the artwork for the album…since we are set to leave the day after the day after the wedding, we only have this single afternoon to finish everything, or the album will be pushed back…any attempt to this point of working with the label to get what I want artwork-wise have proven to be frustrating and disappointing…so it falls on my shoulders at the last second to get it done, and Chris is recruited in because of her art school background…taking copies of a bunch of old photos, some of strangers and some of my family, we draw and write the lyrics on them in such a way to evoke a lost photo album (like one would find in somebody’s attic)…in some corners, the words are barely legible, in others they ring loud and clear…we work diligently for around 8 hours straight to finish, with us drawing on our hands and knees on the hardwood floor of the house… although I am not satisfied with the results, they will have to do…I choose to leave the back photo of the booklet untouched, a picture of my mom as a child, sitting on the moon at Riverview…

Our honeymoon, which we leave for the day after the day after the wedding, is to be in Cozumel, Mexico…it is my first visit internationally that isn’t with the band so I am a bit nervous because there is no one with us to handle all the arrangements necessary, but all goes well and we arrive at the hotel without incident…no one has informed us before we arrived that it is rainy season here, so we spend most of our time in the room watching the tropical downpours from the concrete slab they call a terrace…Cozumel itself is just a boring tourist town, so there is little to see or do of note, and we spend our evenings in some bar watching the NBA playoffs (they have a satellite dish)…even on my honeymoon, I am besieged by managers and record label people pushing for answers about the band and the small details surrounding the album’s artwork…the precedent set and the overriding constant is that nothing is sacred in my life, not my marriage, not my honeymoon, not my peace…

The highlight of our trip is to be a visit to the hallowed ground of Chichen Itza, the uncovered ruins of an ancient Mayan city…Chris books the trip, which includes a plane flight to get there, and casually mentions in passing that if I want to cancel, they need 24 hour notification…the trip itself is thrown in jeopardy when, less than a day before we are supposed to go, I come down with a most horrible stomach flu that has me throwing up almost hourly…it is now too late to cancel, and Chris begs me to just forget about the trip because she is so worried for me and my health…because of my stern Irish genetics (or is it Irish cheapness?), I insist that we go anyway…

The plane flight is a horrible affair, as we take the one hour ride on some apparent civil war leftover that has no air conditioning…I sweat profusely and feel like I am going to die any second, but I just keep telling myself over and over that this is my one chance to see this ancient city because I know I will never come back to Cozumel ever again as long as I live…we land in the middle of the jungle on what seems like a runway but would barely pass for a road…once at the gates of the city, we are herded into a English speaking group and assigned a tour guide, a squat native who cracks lame ‘American tourist type’ jokes that you know he has told a thousand times before…he tells us we must stay with the group in such a patronizing and condescending manner that I have begun to dislike him already…there is little shade as we head out to tour the grounds, and the temperature exceeds 100 degrees in the blazing sun…I feel awful, but the once hidden city is incredible to behold, and I am grateful that I have persevered in coming…I love history, and being in this spot helps me soak up some of this once amazing culture…Chris and I start to lag behind, attempting to avoid our guides quasi-political soliloquies about how the Americans keep taking advantage of the Mexicans (which I feel is self-serving and an unfair intrusion standing in the midst of a defunct culture)…somehow, he is trying to draw parallels between the invaders that destroyed this inspired society and the onset of American culture in Mexico, which in my heart is quite the stretch…

He sets the group up by giving them some information and pointing them on to the next spot, and then goes out of his way to come up to me at the rear of the group to say something…at first, he does his cute ‘come along little American tourist’ routine, which I a’int buying in my beleaguered state…when I don’t respond immediately to his nudge, he shifts his demeanor and tone to the angry man that he is, and gives me some shit about the rules…I tell him to fuck off, that I am ill, that I don’t need his vision of this place, I am doing quite well on my own, and if he presses me I will make sure that I vomit in his particular direction, to which he backs off and leaves us alone for the rest of the journey…this turns out to be a blessing, as Chris and I get to move through the site at our own pace, stopping in whatever shade we can find so that I can rest a bit…

Back from the honeymoon, we inquire about the 2 videos that were shot of the wedding…Hippie Bob tells us that, much to his dismay, his camera ran out of batteries after only one minute, so all he has is Chris coming down the stairs…this is so typical of him that we just laugh it off, figuring we are safe with my step-mothers husband’s camera…much to our dismay, he tells us that something went horribly wrong, and for whatever reason half the screen (the top half) of what he shot is missing, in it’s place only digital white noise…(the hired photographer of the wedding, an art school friend of Chris, has some dispute with Chris over the photos, so we never get the negatives from her, the only surviving pictures we get are just one small set like you would get from any grocery store)…

The day after I return from Mexico, I get an alarming phone call from my mother’s boyfriend…”something has happened with your mom, she is in the hospital”…when I press him for details, he tells me nothing bad has happened to her per se, but that she had a little ‘meltdown’ and the state is now trying to commit her…he tells me that he found her wandering my neighborhood, claiming that space aliens were after her, and not knowing what to do, he took her to a hospital, where he unknowingly had signed papers to have her commited…she is now on a 72 hour evaluation, and the state now refuses to let her go…I ask him “did something happen”, and all he can tell me is that maybe she took too many diet pills…

I finally get my mother on the phone from the hospital…”Get me the fuck out of here!” she growls, and asks me to please hurry and find a lawyer to pry her out…she is afraid she will miss work, and they will fire her if they find out…since one of my good friends is a lawyer, and I ask her to intervene on my mom’s behalf, and through name dropping and threats of legal action, springs Martha in about 8 hours…I never discuss this incident with my mom, because she doesn’t want to talk about it…to her, it is in the past…
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A Warm Summer Day [May. 28th, 2005|01:11 pm]
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The wedding is set to start at 4 o’clock, with the justice of the peace due to arrive just before, around 3:30…so when 3:30 rolls around, and the judge so far is a no show, the nerves overrun me and now I am ‘officially’ nervous…I plant myself in the backyard, close to Jimmy, because he fully understands my normal pre-show jitters and knows just how to keep me loose in a pressure filled situation like this (he makes me laugh by cracking dumb jokes)…I start to feel like this is all another gig, but unfortunately one I cannot control or stop or smash my guitar to let out the built up frustrations…I am now playing the role of ill-fitted husband-to-be, and the reality of my decision to get married suddenly transfigures into the reality of actually getting married to someone, and that is a far different concept…in my mind, I figure at least I am getting married to the right girl, the one who is in my heart…

The judge shows at 4, his wife in tow…he is a retired judge, ‘off-duty’ of course, who makes some money on the side performing non-denominational weddings…instead of apologizing for being late (the expected thing in my eyes), he launches into a full description of the uncomfortable colonoscopy he just had and how this has him running a bit slow (not exactly what I want to be thinking about as I take my vows)…he plays the role of The Judge to a tee; gruff, amusingly impersonal, and calling out the shots to no one in particular as he moves through the crowd (”let’s get this show on the road!”)…guests spill out onto the front porch and out the back door because the house is too small to accommodate everyone inside, so only the closest relatives are nearby for the actual ceremony…the house has no air conditioning, so everyone is sweating bullets as the hush starts to goes over the crowd…2 friends are videotaping the affair, my step-mother’s husband and Hippie Bob, one camera from the throng assembled, one camera over by the stairs…I get into my designated spot, which is just next to my baby grand piano, with the window to the street just over my shoulder…the oohs and ahhs cascade down the stairs as Chris starts come down, resplendid in her white gown and as beautiful as I have ever seen her…

My head goes numb as the priest doles out the words, and I can’t hear a thing he is saying…the commitment of the moment overtakes me, and I well up inside with emotions indescribable…I am taking the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken in my life, and I am not sure how I feel about that, but it’s flames consume me and I am now on fire with life and love and possibility…I open my mouth and the words “I do” tumble out like rocks, and when I look at Chris as she mouths the same, but she looks like she is a million miles away from me, her eyes glassed over, her being somewhere else…she is not very good in front of a crowd, and I feel like she has disappeared somewhere inside, away from all of this pomp and ceremony…if there ever was a time I needed her to be present with me and for me, it is right now, but I can’t find her…the judge says “you may kiss the bride”, and I do, a moment out of the fog I am about to go into, and I just say to her in her ear over and over, “we did it, we did it”…I know I have made a mistake, but I don’t care as the tears roll down my cheeks…I feel very alone…

Afterwards, congratulations start and hours seem to pass in well-wishes…when I finally catch a break and head towards the catered food, it is all gone, every single morsel, none of it having been saved for the bride and groom…upset and hungry, I head to the porch, summer dusk settling in, and spend some quiet time with a high school friend, someone I had idealized in my teenage years as the perfect girl…she has the raw beauty of a movie star, and the cool grace of someone who is born beautiful but doesn’t seem to care…she asks me how I am feeling in the secret way that says “you don’t look alright”…I confess I am not sure what I have just done, and tell her back in the same secret way that I am glad she is here with me on this day, because she understands my dreams, even if she will never be a part of them…

As nightfall settles in, the house cools and the party gets started…my mother has finally calmed herself down, taking the kitchen and the back porch area over in order to do her best to avoid any contact with my step-mother, insuring she has an easy spot she can smoke virtually non-stop (there is no smoking allowed in the house)…the different camps divide peacefully, step-family holding court upfront by the porch, father’s family in the middle rooms, and Martha in the back, her dominion intact…my mother has hired a bartender from her local pub to pour drinks, so she is, as always, in her element…

I transfer back and forth between camps, barely seeing my new-bride as we work overtime to talk some with everyone…heading towards the kitchen, I see a man I do not recognize, but whom I immediately figure to be a friend of my mother’s boyfriend…he asks me if he can take a picture of me, and without hesitation I say “sure, no problem”…he is obviously drunk, but that is nothing special at this time of the night…he asks me if I can sign the picture he has just taken, and then it hits me…”who are you?” I ask him…”why, I’m your neighbor, and I want to get an autograph for my kid”…I tense up and blurt “who invited you here?”…””why nobody did, I just figured I’d come down and join the party, I mean, you’re a big celebrity and all and I wanted to be able to tell my friends I got to go hang out at a big celebrities wedding!”…this is all too much, this blatant invasion of one of the most sacred moments in my life, and the absurdity of this guy in my kitchen becomes the knife of all my hatred of the world of appearances and the entitlements of strangers…”Get out” I command him, almost under my breath…”What? What’s the big deal??” “Out I say, out, out, out”…a relative who knows where this is going to go just by the attack posture of my body saves me by escorting the gentleman swiftly out the door…as he goes I can hear him protesting along the way that he “didn’t mean any harm” and “what’s the big deal, aren’t I cool enough to attend the rockstar’s wedding?”

The party is pleasant and anti-climatic, and when all the guests and friends and family finally gone home, Chris and I decompress some of the tension of the day by cleaning up a little, happy to have our home and our life back to ourselves…the hour comes and it is finally time to go to bed, so we head upstairs hand in hand for the first time as husband and wife…she is beautiful, my wife…a sweet soul, whose entire demeanor is that she doesn’t want to hurt a fly…when we join together, it is as close as I ever feel to her lost heart, because normal everyday life just overwhelms her…I slowly take off her dress, laughing, and we kiss tenderly in a moment that only happens once in a lifetime…and I feel her closer than I ever have, and ever will again…

A couple of months before the wedding, Chris had informed me in a passing moment that she was not going to change her last name…when I had asked why, she had said that she was worried her family name was going to die out if her children did not bear her name…she assumed I would have no problem with this, but in all reality it bothered me immeasurably…maybe if she had changed her name, I might have taken a different possession of her and her being and her life, and she of mine…but standing out here on the top porch, me looking at the dim stars, and her asleep inside, I realize nothing had really changed at all…
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Wedding Bells Chime [1993] [May. 26th, 2005|03:37 pm]
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The day I am to be married is a beautiful, almost too warm kind of affair, with about 150 guests all crammed into my mid-sized Victorian house…my fiancée Chris and my mother Martha had worked very closely in the planning of the wedding and all of its varied details (as well as Chris’ mother too, but not in co-ordination with my mom)…Chris’ approach is “don’t worry about it, I will handle all the details, you just watch t.v.”, and my mother’s approach is “why don’t you seem to care more about your own wedding?”…since we both live together already in the house, it is a natural fit to stage the wedding there, because the house is a symbol in our minds of the type of love that we have: sentimental, old, delicate, and wishing…with about one month to go, there was a noticeable shift in Chris attitude as the pressure of the details began to mount, and I felt great appreciation for her handling of so many of the nagging details (most noticeably the logistics of trying to fit 100+ guests into a house that really only held about 40)…my mother, somewhat representing ‘my’ interest in my nuptials, starts getting more and more detail oriented as the days have gone past, and slowly begins to make Chris nervous with all her small questions…Chris, not wanting to offend her future Mother-in-law, tries her best to comply with all my Mother’s requests, but starts turning to me for help and advice about my Mother’s mercurial nature…what is odd to me is that after 20+ years of being more like my friend, my mother suddenly is becoming my ‘Mom’ in a very real sense, and it is something I am not used to at all…

Chris comes to grab me, telling me “you’ve got to talk to your Mother, she’s on the phone and she’s a little wound up”…as I pick up the phone, Chris makes those eyes that say “good luck”…Martha starts out by asking me why I don’t seem to take any special interest in any of the details surrounding the wedding…I tell her that that is not true, that Chris is keeping me well informed, and since I am paying for much of the proceedings, am pretty responsible for how the money is being spent…she chastises me for not seeming to care more though, and I tell her “Mom, we already live together, and have been a couple for almost 6 years already…it’s just a wedding day…of course it’s special, but in many ways we are already married”…suddenly, she explodes and starts screaming with that razor voice of hers “it’s your fucking wedding!!! How can you not give 2 shits about your goddamned wedding???!!!”…I start asking her to calm down, but now she is in a fit of rage…she hurls insult after insult, distorting the phone as I try to hold it far enough away from my ear until she is done venting…there are only 4 days to go to the ‘big day’, and I can’t believe how wound up she is over placemats and streamers…

My approach to all of this is to treat it as a casual affair…but against my best wishes, the wedding has sprawled out of control; too many guests, too much pressure to care, too much of everything except what I wanted it to be, which is to marry my wife in a calm, gentle ceremony…

We are up very early, because there are so many things that need to get done before the guests start to arrive…we have not had any physical contact for a month in a vain attempt to keep our coupling as pure as possible, so we have a good laugh first thing because we miss being together so much…my mom arrives with her boyfriend, and after we eat a little breakfast, I am in the backyard putting up streamers, moving chairs into place…already, Martha is uptight, something in regards to the balloons…it is way too early for this stuff, and she starts getting upset with me because the balloons are not just right…I do not want a repeat of the other day on the phone, and I just keep saying to her over and over, “Mom, it’s my wedding day, please relax”…she insists that I open the garage, which is dirty, so that she can make a display with the stupid balloons…I am already nervous, and she is just making it worse…in contrast to all this attention from Martha, my father, who has been divorced now from my mother for over 20 years, has not added one effort to this day…his primary concern seems to be whether or not I expect him to contribute any money to the pot, and is relieved when I tell him not to worry about it…the difference in their attitudes towards me getting married strikes an odd balance, and just adds to the surreal nature of this day…one parent caring too much, one parent caring too little…my step-mother, on the other hand, feels a bit dispossessed…Chris has tried to include her in the planning, but as usual anything that involves my real mother negates her ability to safely navigate her petty manipulations, so she has just faded from view on this one…many of my step-family are coming, plus the Corgan side, as well as a few from my mother’s side…this alone puts tension in the air, because this is one of the only times in my life that the 3 divisions of my family-in total are forced to be together in one place, and there is a lot of bad blood and suspicion that goes way back…

With around 2 hours to go, and many of the guests having already arrived, Chris goes upstairs with her ladies to start getting dressed…I am wearing a borrowed suit that is too big for me, and scuffed shoes…my mother is frantically trying to dress up the garage entrance at the last moment, and I keep telling her to leave it alone and enjoy the moment…with Chris out of action, I become the de-facto person to ask anything of, so I spend a good deal of energy getting everyone situated, parked, and pointed in the right direction…I just want to crawl in a hole and get the whole thing over with, because if I am not on stage, I usually do not like being the center of attention…everyone is dressed very nice for this warm summer day, and many memories of years past flood my mind, good years and bad years all mixed up to make this moment real…since the incredible success of our 2nd album, many have showed back up at my door, looking for I know not what, but wanting to be part of it somehow, and where I fit into that I am not really sure…but today, they are all here, and I try to remain grateful, seeing this as a fresh opportunity to start over in my life; with my family, with my friends, and with Chris…
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The Gulf of Mexico [1994] [May. 23rd, 2005|06:54 pm]
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As is often the case after a show, we board the bus and hit the road, watching movies and eating bad food to pass the time…this drive is about 5+ hours, so the sun is just about to come up when the bus hisses to a stop…the damp breeze of the ocean rolls up onto me in my half-sleep, and I can spy the water just over the road, so I make a small mental note to come back around during the day and check out the beach…turning, I am a bit stunned to see that we are staying in some sort of motel nightmare, splashed down here on a whim in the 60’s as a heady mix of Jetson’s futurism mixed with hurricane reality…I ask no one in particular, “what the fuck is this place?”, but no one listens cause they have heard it all before and all they really want is a closed door with a bed behind it…my room stinks of mildew and is just big enough for that same sought after bed, but out goes the light, and I am fast asleep…

The phone rings way too early, jarring me out of a sweet, humid sleep…the window is open and the sun pours in as the ocean air sweeps through the room…it looks like a beautiful day…”Did you hear the news? He’s gone and killed himself”…my first twilight thought is that it can’t be true, because even I have been reported dead two separate times in the last year (driving down the road, my father had recently heard a report that I was dead, so it must be a rumor or a bad joke)…the t.v. in the room is one of those standard pieces of shit where you need a remote to turn it on, cause they hardwire the front controls off so you can’t jack the channels around to get the movies for free…I flip on CNN with the sound off, figuring if there’s any truth to it that they would have it…there is nothing on at this moment except a general news report, so it must just be a mistake…then I start to think that maybe they won’t care at all and that this might not be the source for information…about 20 seconds in they flash his picture…the talking head is talking away, and my stomach drops about 1,000 feet…I mumble to whoever is on the line for a minute or so, but I don’t remember what I said…they remind me that they are very glad I am still here…I put down the phone, and all is really quiet now…his picture is still up on the screen, frozen…it is one of those rare moments in life where the entire world seems to be stopped, waiting for the next breath…my mind races around to “where is she? I hope she is alright”…I sit on the edge of the bed and just stare at the screen…I cannot believe my eyes, it is just all so sad…I don’t pray, but I do now…I pull myself down to the floor, my back pressed up against the bed, the t.v. screen just a foot away from my eyes…I say a prayer for his soul, thanking him for all the good he has done…I pray a lot for his child, who is now without a father…and I start to cry and I don’t stop until there are no more tears to cry…
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tuesday TUESDAY tuesday [May. 22nd, 2005|12:49 am]
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Dear friends,

Billy Corgan would like to cordially invite a select few fellow Chicagoans to a super secret, super special, super limited fan meetup on Tuesday afternoon. Details are spelled out below...please read carefully!

- The meetup starts at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, May 24th.

- The super secret meetup location is in Chicagoland. Winners will be notified of its whereabouts at noon on Tuesday and must provide their own transportation to the meetup spot.

- There is a limit of 80 people for this meetup. We are picking 40 people and each winner may bring one friend.

- Both the winner and the winner's friend must be 18 years or older, have a driver's license/state-issued photo ID, and sign a waiver to appear in any footage filmed during the afternoon.

- No cameras, video cameras, or recording devices of any kind! Everyone will be subject to search.

- To enter, please follow each of the following guidelines or your entry will be disqualified.

1. Guess a number between 1 and 100 (integers only).
2. Email your guess to info@billycorgan.com as the subject of the email.
3. For the body of the email, please type in your full name.
4. Only one entry per person...strict!...cheaters never win!
5. The first forty people to guess the correct number will be selected.

All entries sent to Billy's MySpace account will be deleted! We will post another bulletin when the contest is closed.

Good luck!
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The Athens Games [May. 18th, 2005|02:20 pm]
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The pressure of recording ‘Siamese Dream’ mounts day by day with no relief, and seemingly no end in sight…we take Sundays off, but because we are so fried we normally just spend the day sitting around the apartment watching T.V., not even bothering to go outside or do anything relaxing like go to a park…Jimmy and I in particular are sucked into the vortex of being trapped by the album, giving us nowhere to go and nowhere to hide…we are absolutely consumed by it’s making, and secretly wishing it all to be over soon…

Each morning I wake up around 8am and get right to work…since all the songs are ‘written’, musically speaking, my entire focus is on finishing the much discussed and much fraught over lyrics…songs where the lyrics are pretty much finished even remain a stoic concern, as I continue to pick over each and every line until it seems there is no more doubt, and that there isn’t any other way…on the fairly unfinished ones, in order to focus my attention and guide me when I get lost, I have a little plastic box that is filled with white index cards…each card has written upon it a random thought, a quote, a passage from a book, a collection of themes, song titles, or a set of lines without a home…when I get totally stuck, I thumb through the box and look for inspiration, and when a card gets used it goes to the back of the box…this helps me achieve a stronger cohesion throughout the lyrical themes, and brings together all that I am trying to say into a bigger story and message…

My weapon of choice is my typewriter, a basic $100 piece of plastic that has no ability to correct mistakes…I had once read somewhere that Bob Dylan liked to type his lyrics, because he felt that the actual kinetic process of typing, along with the rhythmic sound of the keys striking helped him write better…I don’t know if that is true, but I take this to heart, typing every line over and over until I get it just right…there is only one problem with this method, and that is that I am very superstitious…I work on every song basically the same way…first, there is a ‘raw’ page, where I try to intuitively generate the raw materials for a songs lyrics, and therefore mistakes are tolerated and welcome…working this way, I generate page after page of subtle variations on a particular theme…for example, if the lines in question are something like: “I had a dog, and he was grey, I took him home, and made him o.k.”, that would be typed at the top of the page…this would be followed by an optional play on the words, something like “I had a thought, and it was grey, I look for home, and there I’ll pay”…doing this all down the page, I might then put in a fresh piece of paper, and ‘steal’ the lines I like best…so in the case of putting together the 2 examples, it might turn out something like this: “I had a thought, and she was grey, I took her home, and there I’ll pay”…and so on and so forth until it would take some kind of shape that seemed to say whatever it was I was really trying to say…this becomes a way of ‘intellectually’ approaching the album’s deep themes of abuse and betrayal without having to be in the true emotional space of those emotions, and allowed me to stay in said space for longer periods of time because the temperature in there isn’t as hot…once a lyric submits to the will of this process, I go for what I would call a ‘final’ page, which has it’s own set of rules…’final’ doesn’t necessarily constitute the end of the road, but rather the beginning of the end of the process…each page looks about the same…the title sits alone at the top, and then the lines as they stand at that given moment are typed out in a concise, perfect and error-free form…if I make even a single error, either in spelling or how the paragraphs separate themselves, I rip the page out and start all over again on a fresh piece of paper (the backsides of pages that have errors are never used)…this is a maddening process, because I make plenty of typing errors along the way (I type normally with 2 fingers), and often times get lost in the thought of a particular lyric and miss that I am supposed to separate what should be 2 distinct paragraphs (or sections)…I do this because I take my mistakes to be a sign that something is amiss, and that perhaps my concentration wanders in a particular moment because it is not good enough, and that if it was I wouldn’t make a mistake…this creates a heightened state of awareness, enforcing that each line must ring, resonate, and be approved from upon high (or possibly down below!)…even when a page is finished, and ‘perfect’, I may change my mind in the next second about one word and the whole process starts all over again…

I usually don’t listen to anybody else’s music when I am recording an album, because I don’t want to be influenced at all by whatever another artist is doing or has done…if I do fancy a little something to take my mind off of my work, I will usually listen to something that is as far away from my musical style as possible, so that there is no spill into my soul…I had never been a fan of the blues, especially the ‘old-timey’ kind, but for some reason I had picked up a re-issue collection of a seminal blues singer named “Blind Willie McTell”, who had recorded sides in the 30’s, 40’s, and again in the 60’s (when he was ‘re-discovered’ by some college kids---little did I know at that time that Bob Dylan had once recorded a song called ‘Blind Willie McTell’)…during quiet mornings, one song stuck out in particular, because it rang the bell of my heart in the way I was feeling day after day…the song is called ‘Belle Street Blues’, and in the song the singer talks about how Belle Street whiskey will ‘make you sleep all in your clothes’…the songs appeal to me had everything to do with the way he sang his blues, not so much what blues he was singing about…

Jimmy disappearing for a day was not an uncommon thing…avenues of finding him would suddenly dry up, and you knew that he was up to no good as those in his inner circle miraculously didn’t know where he’d run off to, or perhaps they didn’t want to know…the first day of his disappearance, I head to the studio as always at my appointed hour of 11am, and tell Butch what is going on…this is not the first time Jimmy has vanished during the making of this record, so we take it as business as usual and plot the day around his absence, dealing with bass and guitar tone issues (our failsafe position if we are not tracking drums)…the second day, we start to get concerned…we ponder whether or not we should call the police because maybe something terrible has happened…we make some calls, and everyone spoken to says they haven’t seen hide nor hair of him…so we spend the day editing drums, which has an ominous bitterness to it because we are all hating Jimmy, and listening to him play take after take just deepens the bile…day 3, we are in a panic, calling his family and friends back up in Chicago, fearing the worst…we come to the conclusion that if we don’t hear from him by the next day we are going to file a missing persons report…none of us truly believes anything terrible has befallen him that isn’t of his own doing…the next morning, someone lets us know they had seen him the night before at a concert…not knowing we are freaking out looking for him, this person tells us that Jimmy was in great spirits, and that if he saw him again he would let him know we were looking for him…we decide to take action, and call up the local radio station in Atlanta and ask if we can go on the air…they are willing, and we do a live interview where we announce to all of metropolitan Atlanta if you see our drummer, will you ask him to please come back, call us, whatever…this is dealt with in a semi-humorous way, you know, “ha ha, a’int drummers ca-ray-zee!!”…

Now that the word is out, we get a report from someone that night that they have seen Jimmy at an R.E.M. show in Athens, Georgia, which is about an hour away! We are absolutely ready to kill him now, and almost no work is getting done because of the obvious distraction of the forever imploding drummer…we as a group come to the conclusion ‘fuck him”, let’s just focus best we can and let him have his day in the midnight sun…finally, on the 7th day, he calls our apartment…I speak to him sitting on the floor in his room, his stuff scattered everywhere like one would expect from someone who is running out the door for a night out…he tells me that he has done so much cocaine that he literally went blind, and this so freaked him out that it woke him up…he is contrite, and all I can tell him is Vince is coming to pick him up and not to move…waiting for him to arrive, we decide to put our foot down finally…when he arrives, he goes straight into his room for awhile, and when he comes out, we tell him to sit down because we have something to tell him…he is going to finish his drum takes, and then he is going into rehab…if he refuses, he will be fired…
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(no subject) [May. 17th, 2005|09:48 pm]
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Hello friends, Cowboy Bill here, back again to harass and sassafras you about all things under the sun...now, don't get me wrong, a feller has got to earn money to buy his beans, but I figure it can be done all dignified like, so let's get this wagon train pointed east so I can get my keyster over to Portugal and get back to doing what I do best, and that's livin' large on the big stage...I'm talkin' show biz 112%, in all it's baubles and bells and whiz-bang showin' off bling blang style, lookout! Huahhh...

Right about now I can't even remember how I forgot to play this infernal six-string torture device called a gee-tar...Katy May strung up my stallion with some cat gut strings, and it sounds like molasses here and there when I get to strummin' and pickin' just right...me and the band have to make hay and get this show together lest them impassioned Portuguese start throwin' garlic at my head, or is it prawns? Can't remember, doesn't matter, move on slow...

Anyways, life is good, got some action up on myspace.com/billycorgan
Got some words up there I hope don't cause too many pangs in your heart, even put a new tune and might get all crazy-like and put up another...who knows? Not even me!

Keep riding, stay strong in your saddle...
C.B.
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5 years [May. 17th, 2005|06:16 pm]
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After almost 4 months of not even touching my guitar once, I am at the literal ‘crossroads’…I am flat broke, somewhat living off the grace of my new girlfriend, and going nowhere fast…my dreams of instant success in music have all come crashing down, and I am starting to believe that whatever ‘it’ is that one must have, I just don’t have it…looking at my dad’s life and his constant hand to mouth existence is depressing…I am really very proud of my father and his enormous gifts, but this adoration comes with a high price…logically speaking, if my father, who in my eyes is immensely more talented than I, couldn’t make it to the big time in music, how is it even remotely possible that I could expect anything even close to success from my musical life…my dad is a much better singer than me, an incredible guitar player, and many would argue even more handsome (certainly more charming!)…plus my dad even walked and talked and looked the part, something I couldn’t accommodate with my lanky stroll, inherently negative attitude, and ghostly white skin…I never thought of music as something I would just do part time…being raised with a very high aesthetic of what ‘good’ music was, and to some degree what constituted success at all, put me in a different position than say someone whose parents tolerated or opposed their musical dreams…my dad cast such an immense shadow over everything I did musically that if I hoped to accomplish anything at all as a musician, I would have to accept that it would probably always pale to his successes, which honestly weren’t successes at all…this thought haunted me, the idea of taking on the ‘family business’, and pushed me quickly towards quitting the entire notion of succeeding once and for all, and most likely for good…

There is a discount bookstore up towards what we in Chicago used to call a ‘5 Corners’, which is where 2 streets cross at 45 degree angles, and a third street slashes thru at an off angle, creating in effect 5 true corners…in the old days before malls, these were always major shopping hubs because people could take buses from all over the city to one particular spot, shop, and go home (this particular corner is anchored by a Sears department store)…the bookstore is just off the spur of that, and I notice one day as I ride the bus by that they have a ‘help wanted’ sign up in the window…I go in one afternoon and speak with the store manager, a really nice girl in her 20’s who talks to me at length about books and art, and by the end of our conversation tells me I am as good as hired…a real job!…the only catch was that I would have to meet with her district manager the following week to finalize being hired, but she goes on to assure me that she will put in a good word for me, and that I needn’t worry about it at all because she really needs the help around the store…I float home on cloud 9, so excited am I about the prospect of getting a real job and pulling myself out of the horrible situation I am in, you know, the one about having no future…

I go home and tell my dad the good news, and call up Chris and tell her it appears I have finally gotten myself a real job…playing music is the farthest thing from my mind in this moment, because my self-esteem is so low that I just want desperately for everyone to stop looking at me like I am a complete and utter loser…so on the afternoon of the interview, I slick back my hair and put it in a clean ponytail, drag out my one white shirt (the one I use for weddings and funerals), and borrow a boring tie from my dad…as I ride the bus to the store, I have already made my mind up that if they want me to cut my hair short to get the job that I will, because it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore as a statement of who I want people to think I am anyway (I figure if my long hair is the only thing between me and a steady income, then it will have to go)…I am pretty nervous as I walk through the front door of the store (I’ve never had a proper job interview), but am relieved when the first person I see is the same store manager who got me this final interview…she asks me to wait for a moment to see if her manager is ready for me, and quickly returns and tells me how to get back there to the offices…as I walk away, she gives me a warm smile and says “good luck’…

As soon as I enter the office, which is just big enough to fit 2 people, the faint smell of weed hits me softly upside the head…it is a lingering smell I am very familiar with, as my father smokes around 10-12 joints a day…the district manager, who is in his early 30’s, has that crumpled “I am smarter than you” vibe, and right away gives me a funny amused look…he asks me to sit down in a plastic chair, and begins by asking me the basic questions like what is my educational background (high school honors, no college), previous job experiences (part-time college book store clerk, pizza delivery), and a few other empty, stale questions…every answer I give is met with a tiny smirk, and I start to sweat through my clothes because, for whatever reason, this interview is not going well…I start to crash down from the high of thinking I was just about to get a job to how fucked I am going to be if I don’t get this job…the tone of the questions shift to things like how will I know I will do a good job, or can I be trusted with money, and it occurs to me that this not-so-closet stoner is enjoying fucking with me, trying to get me to fail…I start to get quietly angry, because this guy is not smarter than me, and I don’t give a shit what he thinks of me or my life…the tone starts to get mildly combative between us, but it is still veiled under the polite decorum of a ‘professional job interview’…he finds the nerve to ask me if I am capable of alphabetizing books, to which I sarcastically reply “I think I can handle that”…the epiphany comes, and my mind splits open when he asks me just one final question: “so, where do you see yourself in 5 years?”…and as God is my witness, these few words came rolling out of this innocent mouth…“5 years? Well, in 5 years I will be famous and I won’t need a stupid fucking job like this”…to which he smiled like an evil cat and said simply, “Ok, whatever, thanks for coming in…we’ll let you know”…

As I am leaving the store, I pause and say goodbye to the sweet manager girl as she was just beginning to ask me how the interview had gone…I tell her “not so good’, but that I so appreciated her giving me the chance…I try to hold my composure until I get across the street and call Chris from a payphone, whereupon I break into sobs and tears in front of the whole world, crying my heart out at my cursed luck…I feel the lowest of the low, not even being able to land the most menial of dumb jobs stacking books on an empty shelf…I rush over to Chris’ apartment, in my white shirt and boring tie, to try and console my sorrows, spending the night…and so it is on the bus ride back home this next morning that I make the most fateful of decisions…
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A Miracle on Harlem [May. 15th, 2005|05:50 pm]
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Having a new girlfriend changes my life in a number of ways…for one, it allows me to focus on music less and less, because now I have somewhere else to put my energy…living in the constant insecurity of whether I have made the correct choice in choosing music as my main pursuit in life has worn me down to the point where I just don’t want to think about the future anymore…money is a constant issue, and strangely, the fact that Chris believes strongly in my talent in some ways makes me relax and just forget about writing for awhile…my father is constantly on me to get a job, the not so subtle inference being that he doesn’t believe I have a future as a musician…he tells me that it is a hard life, and I believe him, but underneath that warning lies the fact that he doesn’t have faith in me…having finished my ‘pseudo’ album, I stop playing guitar completely, spending all my free time over at my girlfriend’s apartment or hanging out at the record store…for the first time since I had first picked up a guitar at the age of 15, I contemplate the idea that maybe being a musician just isn’t my destiny, and that I really should be doing something else…it is as if a spell has been broken…

Chris buys me a monthly bus pass so I can come and visit her anytime I want…she has a decent job to help her pay some of the bills she incurs while attending school (she sells t-shirts at the Hard Rock Café part-time) …she feeds me and comforts me and my worn soul, making me feel important for the first time in my life…this love and attention is so welcome that music quickly becomes a fading notion because I am getting all that I need from her…after a time it occurs to me that I have not picked up my guitar for a couple of months…I open up the case and stare at the thing for awhile, and all this does is remind me of my failures…I start to consider more seriously that I need a steady job, hoping that I can get myself back on feet financially…but what I am really saying to myself with this thinking is that I am starting to believe myself that I am not going to make it in music…I have grown tired of living like a rat with my father, and his own atmosphere of failure seems to add to mine…music becomes my enemy, the thing I attach to my problems and my father’s problems and my family’s problems…it just screams ‘no future’…it is not just a direction home that I am seeking but a way of life I am beginning to reject…being with Chris offers me a fresh chance in life, a better chance than music seems to in this moment…she is someone or something I can actually see, touch, and experience…love, life, and victory is right in front of me, not ‘out there’ in some place I can never reach…so I put all my energy there, with her…

When Chris and I walk through the streets of her immigrant neighborhood, the kids call her ‘Madonna’ because her bleach blonde cut (usually combed straight back) looks like the pop idols most recent incarnation…I am embarrassed by this kind of attention now, the kind where people stop and stare and point…within one short year I have gone from drawing all sorts of attention to myself to wanting none at all…everywhere I go, I just wish I was invisible…and so it is on one warm evening that Chris and I go to the movies out somewhere near my dad’s house (ironically just near where my mother was committed)…after the movie is over, we have to catch a bus back…because it is a Sunday night, the buses are running fairly infrequently, so we decide to go ahead and walk up to the main corner where we would probably switch buses anyway…we are just in front of a parking structure attached to a mall when a car goes by with 4 guys inside…the guy in the passenger seat yells “fucking freaks” as they roll by, and I immediately yell without much thought attached, “FUCK YOU!!!!”…the car goes down about ¾ of a block before it screeches to a halt, as if it took them a second to say “did he just say what we think he said!?”…suddenly I realize the street is deserted, there is no one around now, and the light is just going out of the sky…right out of a movie, the 4 guys comes spilling out of the car, walking briskly towards us…

Time stands still, and I flash back to walking the drags of my hometown when I was a kid with my friend Bob…as we walked under the train underpass, Bob took an empty beer bottle by the neck and smashed the butt end against the concrete wall (like they do when they are christening a ship)…”what are you doing?” I asked him, frightened by his sudden aggression…”I’m making a weapon in case anyone jumps us”…and somehow this thought sticks in the memory bank for a future day…

The 4 guys from the car are now only about 20 seconds away from reaching Chris and I…because the light is dim, they can’t really see us in great detail, we are more shadows…if we run they will catch us, and the mall is closed so we can’t go inside for any help…I frantically look on the ground for a bottle, hoping to be able to defend us against these idiots…I can’t believe my eyes, because I cannot find anything at all…however, sticking up out of the asphalt, for whatever reason, is a steel rod, the kind they use when laying concrete to make it more secure…without thought, I grab for the piece of steel, hoping to wrench it from the ground…mysteriously, it pulls out easily, like King Arthur with Excalibur!...quickly turning, I hold the metal rod (it’s less than a foot long) behind my back, and I can tell by the body language of our 4 would-be attackers that they didn’t see this miracle occur…they are suddenly upon us, quickly making a semi-circle to pin us back…words start to fly at us, “fuck you” this and “motherfucker” that…the tension is electric when one punk steps forward to shove me…”I wouldn’t do that if I were you” I tell them…they laugh out loud, “and why the fuck not you piece of shit, what are you gonna do about it?”…I brazenly flash the steel rod, getting tall as it rips thru the air…“now back the fuck off, or I’m gonna break your fuckin’ skulls” I tell them calmly…there is confusion because they are so hopped up on the thrill of possible violence that they haven’t considered at all the possibility of them backing down…the standoff lasts about 30 more seconds until the de-facto leader decides to take a step back, and the rest of the dumb dogs follow…“don’t let us see you around or we are gonna kill you” one of them tosses at me as they head back towards their car…their leaving is unbelievable, a true miracle in my eyes!…they get in their car and head off in the same direction…

Chris and I stand there for a minute numb and shaking until it hits me cold…once they realize that I am just one guy with a piece of steel and that they are 4 morons with a car they are going to come back looking for us, because their egos won’t be able to handle the fact that they backed down to some pale fag with long hair (cro-magnon logic!)…so we run and hide in the parking garage, and sure enough, about 3 minutes later they are back, cruising up and down the same strip where they just saw us (doing frantic u-tuirns)…they finally head off in the direction we had been headed, figuring we must have gone further up…we are afraid to wait for a bus on any corner, so we walk for another 2 hours down side streets until we get back to my dad’s house safely…

The spring passes slowly and wonderfully, as I make ends meet here and there and try to hang on to my youth just a little longer…a few blocks from my dad’s is a schoolyard where some of the local kids play baseball on an almost daily basis…at first, I just hang out and watch them play, but after a time I am invited to join in when the sides are uneven…looking the way I do (which is at this point is nothing radical, but in this area is pretty edgy) the guys are surprised I can play…not only do I play well, I quite frequently help my team win, and this creates an interesting dynamic…no one wants to claim me as ‘their’ friend, or take the risk to call me at my dad’s to come join them play because I am too ‘weird’ looking, but if I do show up, different people will argue over who’s team I end up on…I start to bring Chris to the games, and to them she looks even weirder than I do (again, nothing shocking---even the blonde hair is gone, replaced by a dark honey brown)…what they don’t realize is her father is a huge Yankees fan, and she has grown up watching baseball, so she enjoys watching the games as well…she appreciates me confounding these guys with my decent set of baseball skills and my anti-social attitude…it is something we laugh about on our walks home…her coming to watch me play re-connects me to a part of my past that I had thought was long gone; the competitor, the athlete, and the warrior…and this feels good…

I try to stay in my father’s good graces by doing whatever he needs me to do around the house…he is still insisting on receiving his $150 dollars per month, but is willing to lop off certain sums if I do odd jobs for him…one day he tells me he wants me to paint the entire house…so, it’s up on the roof in the blazing sun, and it’s beyond boring…so I go back in, grab my boombox, and put in my Joy Division tape that has one album on each side, taking it back up on the roof with me…after 4 hours straight of Manchester’s finest, my dad’s girlfriend, on a PMS bender, comes screaming out of her house “I can’t take it anymore!! I can’t take fucking take it anymore!!! Turn that shit off, it’s making me want to kill myself!! How can you listen to that music??”…I try to calm her down by putting on Prince instead…
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Father Knows Best [May. 14th, 2005|11:06 am]
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I am standing in the kitchen, talking to my father…about the past, about the future, about whatever is going on with us…my father is sweet person, who means well, that is until you do or say something that crosses one of his many emotional boundaries and then it’s everybody for themselves…living with my dad the way I do, in the wake of having returned home from Florida a complete and utter failure, has finally settled into a peaceful routine that feels equitable…I am not reliant on him beyond the roof over my head, and he doesn’t ask much from me beyond us getting along and me doing the dishes regularly…the place is such a dump that the concept of ‘clean’ is a kind of surreal subjective notion that involves the appearance of frugal, stark order, but everywhere you look are signs of creeping oblivion…being musicians as we are, it is common that you would have a Marshall half-stack in the kitchen, serving as a temporary spot for cups, dishes, keys, bills, or dog treats…my father has a Doberman Pinscher that he loves more than life itself, a dog named ‘Conan’…he regularly comments how perfect the dog is for him, because the dog loves him unconditionally and doesn’t know how to speak…this in my father’s eyes is the perfect relationship, something he not so secretly asks and wishes of us…I absolutely adore my father, and have a hard time telling him anything that might upset him…he has reinforced idea throughout my whole life that if it isn’t that important, he really doesn’t want to know…so it is odd to me, standing here talking to him in that same ruined kitchen, that he appears to be open when talking about the past beyond the anecdotal…

Having left us to live and essentially fend for ourselves with our step-mother around 8-11 years ago (it depends on who’s counting), I am finally feeling secure enough in my relationship with my dad to open up about some of the things that happened at home when he wasn’t around…I have come to rely more on my real mother to be the filter of all that has happened, for she is more consistent and doesn’t end up laying the blame at my feet…her position is one of good friend or confidant…she listens, points out who she believes was at fault (usually my father, but she hates my step-mother too), and reminds me that those things are over with now, etc…if there is any fault in my mother’s position about the past, it is that she has never fully come to grips with the fact that she abandoned us as well…in her eyes, she has never fully ‘left’, but consistently been in our lives the whole time…which is true to a fault…my father, on the other hand, cannot deal with the damage of his own decisions, generally taking a “well if it hurt you, it hurt me even worse” position, which renders any talk or argument about the past dead on arrival…so this is something new, to try to reach out to him in this way, to find some empathy in his heart and heal some of the still raw wounds…

We are talking about whatever when it suddenly takes a sharp left and we go into talking about the very real abuses of my past…as is his custom, my father talks about how he was abused as well…I counter by offering up some abuses that he was not aware of, and he gets quiet as my emotions rise…I am not blaming him, rather I am just letting him into a space that I have never asked him to come into before…feeling overly confident, I don’t hold back, because there is no longer anything to hold back for…I am off and running now, going into detail and over the cliff as I am prone to do…he is calmly leaning in the doorway to the middle room…the front door is open, and the sun is coming through…it is a beautiful day, and this is a moment that I have waited for for a very long time, because I finally have a pathway from my heart to my father’s ear…

He stops me, and repeats something that I have heard from my grandmother many times (his mother---in other contexts), a basic soliloquy about how life is tough and the only way you can survive is to forget about these things and move on…it is a fairly sophisticated nullifying argument, a means to an end that once served a whole generation though world war and nuclear terror, and he robots it back to me almost verbatim…I tell him he doesn’t realize what he is saying, which is if you essentially bury it, IT will go away…which is not true, because one only needs to look at the drug abuse in his life, the chaos surrounding him, and the trail of tears in his wake to realize that this has not been an effective strategy…I don’t want to bury it, I want to dig the bodies up and properly and honorably bury them with dignity…this is not a call for sympathy, this is a call to action, because I do not want to die, or live in the shadow of symbolic death, which for me is to live but not really be alive…

I lose my cool with my father for the first time in my life, and drop the mask that I have learned to wear, which is the one of the dutiful son, who endures and protects him from reality even if the walls are falling down around my ears…my voice rises, and I chastise him for looking the other way…I tell him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t there, that he doesn’t know what happened, he has no clue what was asked of me…and he is only now making it worse by telling me his version of events, which gives major credence to what he went though at the time, and no credit to the sacrifices of his children…it is a moment that all children must inevitably go though, the moment when the parental edifice comes toppling down…they can no longer save you, for you are on your own, and maybe you always have been…my father is stunned, for he has never seen this kind of emotion from me…he is used to me being emotional, but I have always refused to break down in front of him…the emotions wash over me, and I cannot control my mixture of rage, anguish, betrayal, and sadness…I break down in tears and leave him standing there, cursing that I bothered to tell him anything at all…
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Those Eyes [May. 12th, 2005|04:50 pm]
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The Year is (still) 1987…!

Things are just starting to heat up when I take the 60 second stroll over to the gas station that sits on the southwest corner of Austin and Addison avenues to make a call on the outdoor payphone (this gas station is somewhat famous for having been robbed by a fairly famous former college basketball star, someone I once saw play in a big game when I was a kid)…this is payphone option ..1 because it is a little more off the street (than the option ..2 payphone), and sits in the shade after 12 o’clock, which is perfect if you hope to have a longer conversation…it’s around 2 o’clock in the afternoon when I dial her number, a girl named Chris (a boyish sounding name to my ears)…she picks up, and we have one of those stop-start chats you have when you like someone, don’t know why you like them, and can’t think of a whole lot to say because you don’t really know them at all…she tells me she grew up in a small town in Indiana that’s just over the border from Illinois, and that she is attending school at the college of the Art Institute, which impresses me right away because you have to have some kind of talent to get in there…we talk some about art, and my frustrations with music, and how there is no school one can go to learn how to be a rock star…she asks me why I didn’t go to college, and I tell her my usual story about how I could have gone if I wanted to, but instead made the leap fully into music proper, a choice that so far wasn’t looking like such a hot idea…after about an hour on the phone, we come around to the notion of getting together, and she invites me to come over to her apartment in a few days to have some lunch…I ask her what time, say I will be there on the dot, and thank her for taking the time to talk to me…as I hang up the phone, I can be caught grinning ear to ear…

I am almost finished with my ‘album’, which is nothing more than a collection of songs I have been working on for no one…by no one, I mean that there is really no one to give it to once I am finished, and I question ‘who’ I am making it for…on one hand, I am excited to be doing something that has meaning to me, connecting more deeply to myself through song and exploring new ways to produce my sound…on the other, I am really disheartened because there really isn’t anyone that interested in what I am doing…I have completely disconnected myself from the downtown arty-goth scene of former friends, live out here on an island with my crazy father, have no connections to anyone in the music business, and have even lost touch some with Lenny and his friend the guitarist that he played in the band with…and the person I most look up to in this world, both as my idol in real life and a musical giant in my eyes, my father, couldn’t care less about the music I am making…

I take the same bus that I take to get over to the record store with, the Austin Avenue bus north, over to Foster, and then take that bus east over to her apartment…I have given up on my over the top, goth-haired Robert Smith wannabe look, and am letting my hair grow out some…part of the reason I have toned down my look is because I take the bus all the time, and appearing incognito is just an easier way to get around the city (less hassle)…the day is hot and dusty, and the bus ride takes forever…I find her apartment easily, which is just off the main corner…I ring the buzzer, and she tells me she will be right down to get me…I have a choice in that moment, the first moment she will see me this way…I can act natural, or I can act cool…I take door number 2, put on my sunglasses, and lean against the cool marble wall…this is how I am standing when she swings the door open (she later tell me that in the first moment that she saw me standing there, a moment she described in exact detail, was the moment she ‘knew’)…

Usually when you meet someone new, there is a whole dance that you have to go through before you become an actual couple…a ritual that demonstrates that the man is interested in the woman…he must prove his desire, willingness to be faithful, and individuality as a solitary spirit offset against all the other suitors…and she must prove her purity, desirability, and overall softness…this is not always the case, some move quicker, others don’t care for it is a game like any other, but I think if you look close it always comes down to the same thing…”do you want me and no one else?”…

Her place is sunny, small, and cute…she lives alone in this studio apartment, the couch doubles as the bed, and there are various pieces of her art laying around…against the wall she has one of those cheap stereos that your parents give you when you go away to school…her hair is just starting to grow out some and is dyed white-blonde…her face is softly round, with the biggest most beautiful eyes and these little, little lips that she paints fire red…her parents are Hungarian and Italian, the Italian side giving her her handsomeness, the Hungarian side creating the drama…to me, she is so simply beautiful that I cannot put my finger on it…she makes me a sandwich in the kitchen while I thumb through her records…I am surprised because she has really good taste in music, a little different than mine (more dance/new wave), but good taste nonetheless…we talk for awhile, and from that point forward there isn’t a moment where we are not together…like 2 kindred lost souls, we simply go from being strangers to a partners, skipping right over the dance…there are no kisses, because there is no hurry, for we are now together…

On my second visit to her place, I bring along the ‘album’ I have been working on…the entire running order lasts somewhere around 40 minutes, and we sit close together on her couch as it plays thru…I don’t know what I am expecting her to say when it is finished, but I am very surprised by what she does say…she tells me that she is very impressed, being fairly specific about what elements of the songs attracted her, accentuating the positives and downplaying what the music is lacking because there is no band backing me…I have recorded all the songs by myself with drum machines, overdubbing the guitars and basses, and am pretty used to the idea of people not ‘getting’ what I am hinting at, instead focusing on what isn’t there, as opposed to what is…she is the first person in my life that tells me I have a true future in music, that she believes I really can be successful…just her telling me this, in the kindness of her room and the with the grace of her heart, changes my life forever…
it is as if someone has finally found the right key to fit the lock of my heart…
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Nothing Ever Changes [May. 11th, 2005|09:29 am]
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Because of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, most of Chicago’s primary neighborhoods are laid out in a fairly normal blocked grid system…this effectively locks in the neighborhoods, and most still retain some semblance of the old way of the corner shop, the kind that has a specialized business that works well in a somewhat closed community…the corner by my dad’s house, for example, had your basic small, lo-fi grocery store, an insurance dealer, whatever (junk)…just down the road was the book shop that I worked in part-time, a hot dog stand, more junk…most things one would want could easily be gotten to by bus or bike, and so it was one fateful day that I took a ride down Austin Avenue about a mile north up to the corner of Lawrence Avenue…I wasn’t doing anything in particular that day, was bored out of my mind actually, when I dropped in on a dusty record shop that I had seen while driving in someone’s car (I had made a little mental note to check it out)…this particular intersection has it’s own set of shops: a pharmacy, a cheap steakhouse, woman’s clothing, a delicatessen, a pizza delivery joint….nothing fancy, really, except for this vintage vinyl hole in the wall…

The guy behind the counter says hello, and I start thumbing thru what they got…of course he doesn’t know that I don’t have any money, but I figure if I find anything I really want, I can always come back and get it…there is no air conditioning in the place, the heat is stifling, and the only air blowing is one of those fans that cycles back and forth…the racks are handmade with found wood, the albums sit in peach crates…pretty much a dump…the guy puts on a decent record, something I recognize from the 60’s, not totally obscure but something one would have to have some knowledge about to even recognize off the bat…I comment on this out loud, and the guy is surprised I know what he’s playing…we start tossing back and forth on different records, different bands, and before you know it, I am sitting there for a couple of hours keeping this guy company…I don’t have anywhere to go, and the music is good, so I am happy…he tells me that it isn’t his place, that it is owned by ‘some fag into show tunes’ and that he hates working there…that he wants to quit soon and get a better job…I notice after a while that almost no one comes in the place, and start to wonder how the owner even keeps the doors open…the clerk puts on some stuff I have never heard before, and I tell him I think it’s great, so he just gives me the records…”take ‘em”, he tells me, “I don’t care, keep ‘em, bring ‘em back, tape them, don’t worry about it”, so a friend is made…

I start visiting the record shop almost every other day at first, eventually every day…at first I am kind of sniffing around for a job, but even after I realize that that is probably not going to happen, I still come around just for laughs…thru the store, I meet a whole new cast of characters…Mike, the clerk…Cuz (who’s name is also Mike, Mike’s cousin, called this to avoid confusion)…Crazy Johnny (Mike’s best friend)…Hippie Bob (a German immigrant who’s dad is a U.S. citizen)…and ‘I-talian’ Nick (a much older guy who seems very mentally unstable---drives a really fast car, has a huge record collection)…on the first day that I meet Hippie Bob, he asks me if I want to go look for a job with him…I tell him that seems like a good idea, and the next thing I know, we are driving around in his old car…I don’t know where we are going, because looking for a job with Bob means driving around sort of looking for ‘Help Wanted’ signs in shop windows…fortunately, we don’t see any, so we just kind of cruise…as we do, he tells me that he is a musician, and looking to start a band…this guy seems really weird to me, not the kind of person I want to be in a band with, and I beg off the notion, lying to him by telling him I really am not all that interested in starting a band…he starts to tell me how great he is on the guitar, citing Frank Zappa as his main influence, telling me he is better than Zappa…I mention that I think Frank Zappa is a pretty good guitarist, and I highly doubt that this freak can play that well, but I am listening…when he senses my doubt, he says why don’t we go over to his house and ‘jam’…now, I just met this guy, and for all I know he is coming on to me and this is some sort of vague pick up routine (albeit a stinky one…he reeks of stale cigarettes)…Bob’s hair is fried out, he has big bottle glasses, and he is wearing clothes that went out of style 25 years ago…summing him up, I come to the conclusion that Mike from the record store wouldn’t have sent me along with this maniac if he was all that dangerous, so I tell him, “alright, let’s go to your apartment and see what you got”…

He lives in a small basement apartment alone, with almost no furniture outside of gear…right away I notice the Farfisa organ, which is the same kind of keyboard that the Doors used to use…Bob tells me that in his band he plays the organ and the guitar…his guitar is some cheap weirdo deal that has push buttons, ironically making all those Frank Zappa phased-out sounds…Bob knows I play guitar, and maybe because of the way I look, has already concluded that he can play as well, if not better than me…now he wants me to be in his band!…he hands me his guitar, and after 30 seconds sits open jawed as he spits “fuck man, you really can play! Holy shit, fuckin’ Hendrix!!”…I hand him his guitar back, to which he plays some atonal noise wonk that makes no sense and isn’t musical…he can’t play, but if you close your eyes tight you swear he is fucking with you…I make the mistake of asking him “in your band, who plays the keyboard when you are playing the guitar? Or do you sometimes just play the keyboard, and no one plays guitar?”…to which he replies “I do”…I tell him that I don’t understand, and he says “oh, no man, I play both the keyboard and the guitar AT THE SAME TIME!...here, let me show you”…he hooks up the organ, and sits on a chair so that he can reach the keys with his right hand…he puts the guitar on his lap, hits a chord, and then plays the keyboard for 2 seconds, switching back and forth, trying to make some sound with his left hand on the neck as he makes a mess with his right…it is the worst shit I have ever seen or heard, and he enthusiastically asks me “what do you think?”…I tell him he is fucking awful, to which he just laughs and goes right on playing…

I am mostly working on music alone now, because Lenny has told me that he is getting too busy with work, so our writing sessions will have to wait for awhile…I have been listening to more 60’s rock lately anyway (the influence of the records I am borrowing from the record store), many on the psychedelic tip, and want to try to incorporate that more produced sound into my songs, somewhat differing from what we had been doing at Lenny’s house…working mostly in the morning and late at night, I start making an ‘album’…it is my first attempt at putting together a cohesive group of songs, and this puts pressure on me to write different kinds of songs like one would find on any good album (one with a flow)…my father has moved into the studio control room because that is where his sole air conditioner is, so he gives me his room in the back, which is helpful because there is a lot more room to work…I have found an old console stereo in the alley that works, all tube, and sounds great, so I put this in my new room and hook up all my wires…I decide to call the album ‘nothing ever changes’, cause that’s the way I feel…I write out a map of emotions that I want to have on the record…for example, instead of songs per se, a track listing might read like this: fast song (good opener), heavy groove song, slow song, spacey song, long dark song, sad song, and so on…if I had a song already that fit one of these categories, than I would just write that in instead…this helps focus me to write towards something, as opposed to sitting around waiting for the ‘muse’ to arrive, which generally speaking produces sad slow songs (my natural cadence)…I am really excited by all of this, because it finally gives me something to live and breathe and die for…

Life is now simple…write, find money, hang out at the record store, try to stay out of trouble, try to find a new girlfriend…so this is the backstory of my life the day I muster up all my nerve to call the girl with the Betty Boop face…
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The March of Sherman [May. 10th, 2005|03:37 am]
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The first time that the Pumpkins played in Detroit in 1989 was at a small local show that drew about 50 people…as is common at the time, we often would just stay on stage after we would finish playing and greet anyone from the audience that might want to come say hello to us, or get an autograph…while doing that, I met a tall striking girl and her rocker boyfriend, who is a musician…we talked some, hung out some, so the next time we played at the same venue a few months later, we hung out a little more and got to know each other a little better…along the way, I started liking her, and as the situation with the boyfriend seemed to come and go, her and I started seeing each other some in the period following our first album…because she lived in a different city, it was more of a long distance thing, the connection being more talk than anything resembling a real relationship…so when I call her up from Atlanta and she tells me she is basically homeless, I take a leap of faith to make her mine and invite her to come live with me…I paint a fairly carefree, rosy picture, since I am single and have nothing to lose…I figure it can’t be that bad, for she has a gorgeous face and a sunny disposition…and the best body on a girl I have ever seen, period…

As our days grind on in the studio, all pressure is mounting on Jimmy…the success of every session weighs solely on his shoulders, something he is not used to…the big question every day sits whether he can top himself and play better than he has ever played in his life…we are counting on him to finish all the drums first, and I can tell that even though he is putting on a brave face, this type of microscopic attention is starting to freak him out…Jimmy is the type of musician who is at his best if he is not thinking…this doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he is doing at any given moment (he does), but rather what he does is so complicated that it’s best if he doesn’t pay too much attention, a act like juggling with dangerous objects…because you can juggle 4 knives fairly effectively if you really don’t pay much attention to the fact that you are juggling 4 sharp knives…and this is what it is like for him, playing some of these songs at 100mph…I look for ways to help him, and notice if I give him too many details after a take, he plays worse and worse, overburdened by thought…also, he doesn’t play well if you criticize him openly particularly, or directly, but responds really well to overall grand concepts and encouragement…the general feeling for me when I work with Jimmy is one of true honor…he will absolutely kill himself and play his fingers to the bone trying to get you what you want musically, if you will walk with him thru the darkness of the whole ordeal…take after take strips Jimmy of his natural confidence, and I try to stay in the spot with him, reminding him of how far we have come, and how we are both going to get there…we start to speak a secret language no one hears, not even Butch over the open mikes…James and D’arcy don’t say a word, either because they don’t understand or don’t care, as this part of the process becomes mine and Jimmy’s exclusively…I spend a lot of energy trying to soothe him, to get him to play consistently so that we won’t have to chop up all his drum takes so much, both because the editing is so time consuming (sometimes a whole day) and the very act of slicing apart his grooves destroys his urgent swagger, killing the bands natural feel…I secretly go along with all this idealism, believing in Butch and how it will get us all where we want to go…unknowingly, I am deftly balancing two worlds on a pin, one the world of the mighty Pumpkins and our sloppy yet defined passion, the other the growing perfectionism of a coming corporate age…

The girl from Detroit arrives with her car, the kind of car that all those kind of cute girls drive (a sort of sports car that doesn’t go fast)…I am happy to see her, for it is lonely here in Marietta, and the prospects of meeting anyone special over at ‘T.G.I.F Fridays’ is fairly slim…I show her the lay of the land, and where to put all her stuff in my sparsely decorated bedroom…in fact, there is almost no furniture, save for the bed…the only thing of mine in the room is my 8 track cassette recorder in the corner, and my electric typewriter, which uses the 8 track’s box as a makeshift desk (I kneel down when I type)…at first, it is what you expect, romance and happiness, a gentle and welcome distraction…she says she is an artist, but as the days go by she doesn’t appear to be creating anything…she is welcome at the studio at any time, but mostly chooses to stay at the apartment and ‘work’…she seems displaced, but I am not sure what I can do about it…as the weeks go by, she starts to drink, usually a bunch of beers so by the time I get home at 11, she is a bit out of it and lost…this creeping drama starts to turn me cold, and within a short while of her arrival, we are sleeping on different sides of the bed…I don’t know what is happening between us, or with her, but whatever it is, it seems to be having a devastating effect on her psyche…she lasts almost 6 weeks, which sounds like a decent amount of time, literally speaking…but when you consider that we almost never see each other beyond these faint mornings and nights, it is as if she was a ghost that came, wept, and left, forever leaving her mark on the album…forgotten, but not missed…

To break up some of the incessant drum takes, we focus some on bass and guitar sounds, doing lots of tests with microphones and pre-amps, guitars and speakers, to try to bring the overall picture into a clear vision that seems readily achievable…although we have a fairly large budget (precisely 8 times larger than our first), money is being eaten up rapidly by the accommodations and studio time…even at this fairly early stage, we are already behind schedule and by logic over budget (if you calculate it out)…as is their custom, James and D’arcy pay little attention to these ‘tests’, leaving the technical aspects to Butch and I…since this is now our way of giving Jimmy a break, he is generally not even at the studio during this work…

Jimmy starts to lose it, regressing back into hanging out with losers and making quick friends with local addicts…I had hoped that by coming down to Atlanta (my real reason for getting out of Chicago) that we could keep him isolated from these types of temptations and stay focused…at first, it is a few simple ‘I had a few too many’ mornings, and we work around his hangovers and sudden ‘flu-like’ symptoms…but you can see the storm cloud coming, because he gets this certain look in his eye…at night, I try to engage him by playing video game baseball against him, and we have some wonderful times beating up on each other, each claiming his own bragging rights…many evenings, he just comes home and goes right to bed…but like some hidden clockwork, a ‘friend’ will suddenly appear at the studio to take him into ‘Hot-lanta’ for a night on the town, and he’s gone, quicker than you can say ‘wait’…this has a strange rhythm to it, these calm days and sad, crazy nights, and it is something you can get used to, like a tax you learn to pay…this is all manageable of course…that is until he disappears without a trace…
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(no subject) [May. 10th, 2005|03:21 am]
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hey y'all,

if you get the chance tomorrow, please check out the online premier of my new musik video...
song's called "walking shade"...you can find it all 'official like' on good ol' Yahoo! Music...

That's http://music.yahoo.com

Gonna send info on actual/gasp! north american tour dates tomorrow as well...ok?

L, bc

TheFutureEmbrace - coming June 21
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2 Sets of Siamese Twins [May. 6th, 2005|02:59 pm]
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The studio we are working in is about 20+ minutes outside of Atlanta proper, a distance that escapes us as being too far to have any kind of social life…our first thought of course is to where we would be able to hang out on a nightly basis, and with Atlanta looming just over the horizon, we figured fun was a sure bet (wrong!)…little did we know we were in the beehive of the very white deep south, Marietta, Georgia…we are set up in one of those temporary living communities, where people rent month to month in case they have to leave suddenly…James and D’arcy share one apartment, while Jimmy, Vince, and I share other…James and D’arcy’s place is about a 3 minute drive from ours, which adds to the sense of isolation between the two camps and insures that outside of work, we will almost never see each other…our roommate Vince is one of James’ high school buddies turned employee, and his job is to take care of whatever (whatever breaks, whatever needs to get done---prompting the infamous jam/rant song “where’s vince?”)…

In order to save some money, our first order of business is to spend some quality time with Butch Vig (our producer) in an Atlanta rehearsal space, to go over all the songs and weed out what is in or out…Butch sets up a portable make-shift studio to record us for later reference, and we get to work for a few days in earnest…this is pretty much a repeat of how we work at home, just doing a lot of chopping and cutting and last second lyric scribbling…to add a little something to the sense of urgency, we have booked 4 shows at a local club, hoping that the combo of working with Butch first and the concerts second will get us in gear and over the final hump to fully prepare the songs to be recorded…James and D’arcy are much more comfortable with Butch around because they feel that there is someone new to pay attention to them and heed any of their concerns…this is something Jimmy and I silently find amusing, because there is a bit of a show to the whole thing that we are long bored with…behind the scenes, there is one way we do business, but in front of anyone else, it’s just a charade that I tolerate…

Because we have been cooped up for so long, the shows go fairly well energetically but are a bit of a train wreck musically…without forethought, we have transferred our normal practice set-ups to the stage, which means we are using the Big Muff fuzz pedals live…this proves to be a fatal mistake, because without the density of a small room around us, our guitars sound very thin and undefined rendering us sloppy and loose…jumpy nerves add to muddled arrangements, missed opportunities, and to top it all off, most of the songs do not have any lyrics…I skate by by singing my normal in-practice pig-latin, which to someone not paying much attention sounds relatively close to the actual English language…

The recording studio itself sits coyly in a very normal office complex…built by total vintage gearheads, our attraction to the place is simple: away from Chicago, able to make the ‘old’ tube sound…the control room is about standard size, which means it fits about 4 people comfortably, 5 is a stretch…the actual tracking room is a prolonged concrete rectangle, acoustically designed for maximum volume and deadly booming drums (for those interested, you can see this studio fairly well in our home video ‘vieuphoria’)…we spend a few days moving the drums around from wall to wall, hoping to find the optimal sonic spot for Jimmy to play in…we end up opting for a back corner, and from that point on, he never moves…for the tracking, we set-up in a variation of our circle, with me in front of Jimmy, and James and D’arcy off to my left and Jimmy’s right…our amps sit in small isolation booths to keep the sound from bleeding in on the drums, and we all have to wear headphones…standard procedure is to pick a song, and focus on arrangement and drum tones…for Jimmy, the snare he uses on a particular song is a big deal, so he and Butch spend a lot of time going back and forth about this head or that cymbal…then we’ll play for a bit, go and listen to the takes, and then make last-second verbal changes…once we all agree upon a ‘final’ arrangement, we play together until one of 3 things happens: we get the take all playing together, we don’t get the take all playing together, or Jimmy complains to me that James and D’arcy’s playing is throwing him off and asks me to remove them from playing along at all…there are various incarnations of the third option, which could be Jimmy asking Butch to town them down in the headphones, or asking me to lose James but keep D’arcy or the other way around...because this is a new album and a fresh opportunity, there is a sense in the air that this time around the recording and the associated processes will be different…any variation in the beginning of the album of the ‘let’s all do it together’ concept causes immediate tension, and Butch is squarely placed in the middle...this is something I bristle at, but at the same time realize that it is possibly a means to an end…James has a very good memory, and the recording issues with him normally center around timing and tightness…D’arcy on the other hand commonly gets completely lost, which throws off Jimmy’s concentration, blowing the take…in addition, he hates her sense of timing, and the way it makes his drum takes fly all over (we know as we record that we will not keep anything that the 3 of us record, we are simply there to assist Jimmy to play with the right ‘feel’)...I try to keep the peace, but quickly realize that the old way, which is essentially me and Jimmy, is still the easiest way across…I privately express to Jimmy that I understand his growing frustration, but to pace himself because it is going to be a long recording process…

After a lot of discussion, Butch and I agree that the best way to save time is to get all of Jimmy’s drum parts done first, before we start to zero in on the bass, guitars, and vocals…Butch, coming off the huge sales of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album, has become even more obsessed with perfectionism as a means to success...where on our first album ‘Gish’, because of time and money, many of Jimmy’s drums were done in just one take, now Butch wants more...with the stakes and budget being much higher, he now pushes Jimmy to a level of idealism that he has never asked of any other drummer...being a drummer himself, Butch picks up on subtle nuances that would escape me, and therefore doesn’t allow Jimmy to get by with less than his best...at first, it becomes a gentle ribbing contest between the two, with Butch tweaking Jimmy that he can do better, and Jimmy pushing back by saying Butch couldn’t even attempt half of what he (Jimmy) is doing...even when Jimmy does a great take, Butch takes the 24 track master and slices it up with a razor blade to create an even more perfect version that no human could accomplish...this sets such a high standard for Jimmy that he begins to lose confidence in himself, and this translates into him making mental errors in arrangements, so focused is he now on perfect timing...because Jimmy is a total savant on the drums, he has never had to examine his playing to this degree before, because drums have come so readily to him...Jimmy starts communicating to me that he cannot handle the pressure, and this adds to his lack of patience with James and D’arcy...whereupon, they start complaining to Butch...and this is the way the circle starts to go round...
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Singing Happy Birthday While Bombs Go Off [May. 5th, 2005|04:42 pm]
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I hear my dad’s heavy footsteps come up the stairs…ever since the incident with the refrigerator, he has pretty much stopped hitting us so I am not so much afraid of being beaten per se, but rather him showing any disappointment with me at all…my choice to skip school and spend the day waiting it out in the park is obviously poor, but I hope I can make some sense of it…I am always expected to think like an adult and make adult decisions no matter what the situation…I calmly try to explain to him what happened with my forgetting the permission slip, and my rationale for not knowing what I should do…unfortunately, my father and his remoteness can never be called into question as a causal force, so this is not something I can rely on to get me out of trouble…as I explain to him my predicament, he appears to not be that angry, and I start to believe that he might just possibly let the whole thing go and maybe opt for some extra chores instead and throw in a cautionary “don’t ever do that again”…once I am finished talking, there is a long pause as if he is still debating some other information that I have not considered…he gets real cold in the eyes (they slit when he disconnects), and basically tells me that this act is not something that can go unpunished, even if it is my birthday…I can hear the party in full swing just beneath us as my father takes off his belt and tells me that he doesn’t want me making any noise, the implication being that he doesn’t want anyone downstairs to know he is beating me…he kicks the living hell out of me as I silently take it, and the whipping is pretty severe…once he finishes, he tells me to go down to the party and not tell anyone what has happened, nor should I betray any emotions of distress…it’s too late to cancel the party now, so I might as well just act like everything is normal…

The party is a completely surreal experience as I am expected play the part of a 6 year old having his wonderful birthday party with his enthusiastic friends…pictures are taken, songs are sung, candles are blown out, but I am absolutely dying inside…between the stress of the day spent worried in the park and the welts ringing all over my back and backside, it takes all my power to keep on acting as if nothing out of the ordinary has occurred…I am cheered immensely when I receive as a present a brand new G.I. Joe doll (just like my uncle Guy has---he has a collection of the older dolls)…after the cake is served, the kids are all told to move the party to the basement so that everyone hopped up on cake and cookies can go crazy…I am just about to head downstairs when my brother comes up behind me and whips my new doll down the stairs and it breaks immediately, the arms and legs coming off in a fashion that cannot be fixed…this is all too much for me, the last straw really, and I vainly attempt to appeal to my step-mother as to the unfairness of what my brother has done…she responds in her usual cold but fake warm form, telling me that my doll being broken is the kind of thing that happens to terrible children like me, and that I sadly deserved it…

We move about 2 blocks away to a slightly bigger apartment, one that has a bigger shared side yard and a small enclosed concrete porch area where we can play… the new place straddles the back loading dock area of a major food chain…there is constant motion in this area as trucks pull up with produce deliveries at all hours of the night…we constantly dig in the dumpsters to see what they are throwing out, and create a de facto baseball field in the side parking lot…it is dirty and funky, but a perfect place to ride bikes and play hide and seek…we will still attend the same school, so this helps in the transition, but even though we are only blocks away from our old apartment, the isolation of that cul-de-sac cuts off all the old friends and we just don’t see them anymore beyond school… we also get a dog, an inbred black poodle who, in classic Corgan fashion, goes unnamed and therefore acquires the ubiquitous name Doggie…because we have more space now, I am given my very own room, which looks forward onto our front yard and the front stairs of the next row of townhouses …I like having my own room and the privacy it affords, for I now believe I can close the door and read my books…that is until my step-mother again forbids it…

The food market is part of a long processional line of normal boring businesses, and I am almost daily sent to secretly purchase my step-mother cigarettes…she will send me along with a few dollars and a hand written note that says “please sell my son a pack of brand whatever cigarettes”, with her scrawled signature attached…it takes about 5 minutes to walk to the liquor store, and I do this so often the man behind the counter stops asking for the note…I am sent at all hours of the day and night because my step-mother does not want my father to know she smokes, so I am instructed to be very careful that he doesn’t find out…she makes it very clear to me that if I get her in trouble that I will be in even bigger trouble…

I start to collect baseball cards, being given a head start by a relative who passes on to me some of his old ones…I endlessly organize and re-organize my cards into different orders: by team, by favorites, by year…having been introduced to fandom by my maternal grandmother, I closely start following the teams and their progress, making note of individual statistics and who might be playing well at a given time…so it is that I am in the kitchen one morning when I begin to blab on and on to my step-mother about all sorts of things related to my home team, The Chicago Cubs…I am just making casual conversation, uninhibited for about 5 minutes while she is cleaning some dishes…suddenly, without warning, she stops and says “do you think I give a shit at all about what you are talking about?…do you think I really care about anything that you are interested in, ever?”…the air sucks out of the room, because we are the only 2 people in the house, and I am frozen solid in my tracks…I feel absolutely naked…after this incident, she begins to harass me if I leave my baseball cards lying around, as if the very sight of them makes her angry…this begins a pattern that will last for over a decade, which is that if there is something I love she must destroy it…I take to hiding my cards in a loose panel that sits next to some cabinetry in the kitchen…I feel that the cards are safe there, because my hiding place is unknown to anyone but me…after a month or so of using this hiding spot, I go and find my cards missing, immediately suspecting my step-mother…I ask her if she had done anything with them, and she tells me that she hasn’t seen them…but she goes on to add that if someone were very smart and wanted to keep their baseball cards safe, that that would not be a very good place to leave them…

One happy day, a yellow bird arrives, a little songbird that is put into my room because he makes so much noise…I am given the job of feeding the bird, and take pride in bringing him out of his cage to try to get him to talk…he sits proudly on my finger and seems happy when I pay him lots of attention…over time, I grow very fond of this bird with no name…I take to leaving his cage door open and letting him fly around my room freely, something he really seems to enjoy…on one chilly morning, I let him out and leave him alone in my room, just for a few moments to go grab something…when I return he is missing, and I cannot find him anywhere no matter how hard I search…I for the life of me cannot imagine where he has gone…I go get my father, who happens to be awake, and he comes into the room, quickly pointing out that my window has a small hole in it and that he must have gone thru there…the hole was very small, smaller than the bird, and it seems impossible to me that he could have gone thru…my dad explains that he was probably motivated to go outside where there were other birds for him to play with…I ask my father if he thinks he will come back, to which he replies that he believes the bird is long gone…at first, I am saddened thinking about him leaving, but then when I think of him playing with his friends, it cheers me up…I ask my father if I think the little bird he will be o.k. out there? he just shrugs to himself and says, “nah, he’s probably dead already”...
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