Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the shape of things to come...

Capricornicus Psychedelicus

felt tipped pen on paper: circa 1969

Monday, March 27, 2006

work in progress...

Wait for me in the rain.
I'll come and never go.
Pray you don't wait in vain.
Cross my heart to show.

Wait for me in the sun,
or when the wild winds blow.
Rain remembers everyone.
Lightning cracks, thunder rolls.

Lady sits with folded arms.
Her shining knight is late.
He promised to keep her heart.
She only had to wait.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

my heart skips a beat...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

New York Doll - Galaxy Cinema - Cary NC

Welcome to the "Private World" of Arthur Kane. If there still beats within you a human heart, you need to see this. "New York Doll" is a Greg Whiteley directed documentary about Arthur "Killer" Kane's dream of reuniting with his buddies from the New York Dolls, specifically rekindling his friendship with David Johansen. If you don't watch yourself, you could pop a tear.

The New York Dolls' story has been told in far more depth than I can tackle here. Just let it be said that bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane, guitarists Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain, vocalist David Johansen and drummers Billy Murcia and Jerry Nolan created such a rift in the rock 'n' roll status quo of 1972 that five years later it had completely swallowed them up. Oh, but, that glorious racket they made had already changed the world forever.

Arthur "Killer" Kane had fallen from the top of his Frankenstein rock 'n' roll platform boots to the depths of hell, on the rails of the demon drink, broken marriage, attempted suicide and near fatal accidents, his life was tumultuous following the 'Dolls implosion.

Of the seven or so 'Dolls fraternity brothers, Arthur Kane saw the least continued success. He tried to get bands together without success, leaving behind one seven-inch vinyl 45, "Mr. Cool". He tried to get work in the movies.

He was the one who missed the 'Dolls the most. He had the most to gain by a reunion. After being fired for generally being too drunk to play, back in the waning days of the lipstick killing Dollettes', Arthur headed to the deep end and was ready to swan dive past obscurity.

Thunders and Nolan had helped usher in "punk rock" with the Heartbreakers, before their deaths, Sylvain had his Criminals and solo work and David Johansen had Buster Poindexter. Arthur seethed at the success of the cartoonish Buster buffoon and finally lost it after seeing Johansen driving the cab in Bill Murray's "Scrooged".

In 1989 Sisters Kimberly Morris and Erika Finlayson were finally, after several failed attempts, able to deliver the requested Book of Mormon to Mr. Kane's door.

Whiteley's even handed taste and credibility are preserved by the fact that this is the story of Arthur Kane the man, not the rock star converted to Mormonism. Whiteley had a wide open exploitation opportunity and to his credit, left that ground completely untilled. More importantly this portrait humanizes his friend Arthur Kane and his cohorts alike.

Kane was the original lead guitarist with Actress, the band that evolved into the New York Dolls, a job he gave to Johnny. He invited David Johansen to join. "Killer Kane", who got his nick from a Buck Rogers character, is shown to be a gentle, simple, unassuming man. He is not the outrageous screen filling rock star stage presence he once was with the jagged explosion of hair and those enormous platform boots. Instead we have a sweet, humble man living his dream with grace and gratitude. Arthur is still a giant presence.

There is a completely unplanned complexity and depth revealed here, the camera is simply capturing the unfolding drama of human feeling and interaction. Recording without taking a position, the arrogance, the vulnerability, the wisdom, the awe, the warmth and joy that oozes out of the screen in the scene when Johansen shows up for practice the first time. This documentary reveals Johansen's gruff exterior and it reveals much more.

It is generally believed that it was David Johansen that stood in the way of New York Doll's reunions for years, even when Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan were still alive, so, there is a whooshing deflation of anxiety when he finally strides through the door. Past tensions quickly melt as the boys embrace and tease and expose their genuine love for each other.

Arthur found some sense of peace with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that allowed him to cast off the demons of alcohol. His friends from the church collected the money needed to get his bass out of hock. Arthur had a dream that his band, that ragamuffin gang of misfits known as the New York Dolls, would give him the stage he needed to regain the joy of life.

I saw this a few weeks back and have been thinking about it off and on since. There are many ways to approach any subject, of course, and when the subject is former New York Doll, Arthur "Killer" Kane, there are really two stories, there is Arthur the man and "Killer" Kane the "miracle of God's creation" back on stage, Thunderbird bass in hand, where he belongs. It is a story about a life saved, a dream realized and then tragically, a life lost. Arthur died from leukemia on July 13, 2004, just weeks after the Morrissey organized 'Dolls reunion show at London's Royal Festival Hall 2004. He was 55.

"New York Doll" should be out on DVD by the time you read this or shortly after. Release date, April 4, 2006. At the theatre or on DVD, don't miss it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Put a peephole in my brain...

Andy - ink on paper 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

send in the clowns...

crayon on paper 17 x 22

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm a poet, I know it, hope I don't blow it...

I think Bob Dylan said that.

fire, fire burning hell
up from my busom swells
a demon bound by no desire.
fire. fire. fire.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Susan Cowsill & the Mid-City Ministers
Pour House Raleigh NC 2-11-06

Went down to the Pour House Saturday night with no real expectations. I didn’t really know Susan Cowsill. I was completely unfamiliar with Cowsill’s music but oh, what music she and this band make. Oh, I knew the Cowsills. “Indian Lake is a scene you should make with your little one” and of course they scored big with the definitive, or most well known, version of “Hair”.

Now, little Suzie is all grown up, having shaken off her tambourine, except for occasions of reminiscence. After nearly forty years in the business, lending her golden pipes to the backgrounds of everything from Hootie & the Blowfish and the Dwight Twilley Band to Redd Kross and Nanci Griffith, Susan is ready to take her place at center stage.

Susan was also a key member of the critically acclaimed but little heard Continental Drifters, along with Peter Holsapple, Vickie Peterson, Ray Ganucheau and Carlo Nuccio, later Russ Broussard.

The late Continental Drifters drummer, has assembled a cracker-jack band to spice up Cowsill’s country pop gumbo. Chris Knott keeps all the holes filled with his ringing, chiming, tube amp Telecaster stylings, the King of Mardi Gras Rob Savoy thunders in on bass and Broussard handles the beat, complete with chest mounted scratch board to reveal his zyedeco background. These guys are top notch and Susan is the match of all.

Ex-front guy with Cowboy Mouth, and Blues Runners, time proven bassist Rob Savoy and Russ Brossard lay down a bedrock bottom that allows Ploughboy Chris Knotts to dip and soar with his Fender hoodoo. All this and Susan’s golden throat applied to her intimate songs and there is magic in the air.

Susan will tell you that this grouping is a band, in the old school, equal footing for each quadrant, sense. But, guess what, Susan Cowsill is the star here and husband Russ is running the show. Susan held up her end of the rhythmic attack on, I think, a Taylor acoustic and a reissue DanElectro U2.

One memory tickling highlight was her beautiful rendition of Donovan Leitch’s “Catch the Wind”. Susan Cowsill is on the road promoting her debut solo album. Her adopted hometown was laid to waste by the might of Katrina, a storm that claimed the life of her brother, Barry. After weathering all the storms, little Suzie is in the spotlight, where she belongs. She has survived a business that eats people alive, displaying the style, grace and wit of a true professional. She is able to share those experiences and all of life’s twists and turns with us. That is a rare and prized quality.

I walked into the Pour House with no expectations beyond their excellent draught beer selection. What I got was a pleasant surprise, a mature artist at the top of her game. She has something to say and an intimate personal way of sharing those thoughts. I am witnessing the flowering of a new and important artist. Cowsill will, firstly, appeal to the ladies but the lads should not ignore this vital artist.

Just Believe It!

Monday, March 06, 2006

in the back room she was everybody's Darling...

silkscreen on paper 11.5 X 15