Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Barnes and "The Art of the Steal"

I recently visited the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA.  It was a dream come true to see all the great masterpieces in the Barnes collection, but I felt that twinge of guilt giving my money to the very people who stole the paintings... and big business, it is!  It was a thrill to see the paintings and I stayed for hours.  These are (for me) the highlights of the works.  Though I am partial to Matisse and the Fauves, Post-Impressionism and Picasso... I loved the entire collection.  Watch "The Art of the Steal" to understand the story behind the paintings.

Monday, March 19, 2018

In Transition

Sandy's new single is out... "In Transition" owes its sound and inspiration to the Electric Phoenix a cappella group from back in 1987 in Austin, TX.  Listen HERE.

In Transition

Vox, like a frightened sound, moved me…
sounding like the demons leaving.
Tore at the fears of my soul.
I can’t fear those things, I know.
(But) phoenix moved me most when she’s in flight.
Ignited pyre, consumed in flames of light.

That’s the way I am.
It’s just the way we are.
In transition for the moment… here and now.

Repeat the cycle out of ashes.
It’s the moment of transition.
Passing from life to death to birth -
the death of love, the birth of life.
The keenest sense of mourning loss of time.
Letting go of hours is a crime.

Feeling the change, seeing the score,
we’ll come lately, never more.
Don’t explain or justify.
Define and mourn but just don’t cry.
Fashion is two people that keep living.
Justice never sees to it they’re giving.

That’s the way I am.
It’s just the way we are.
In transition for the moment… here and now.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Great Joys

Listen to Sandy's new single here.

The Great Joys
[a journey through past, present, future]
rushes from inside and I’m feeling so alive
to experience the joys in the Land of Memory.
So take me to the Kingdom of the Future
where in the rose-awakening
my water’s smile is amber dew
and blue of dawn can’t break
the harmony of the whole.
I’ll carry all that’s wanted
to give new light
to the dimmest eyes so they can see
on the inside.
Mystic drama moves within
as I want eternal present.
And the evil that devours me
is the fruit of my own choice.
And when my intuition fails,
I ignored that still small voice.
Let the heavens weep -
and the stars will rain -
to heal and cleanse -
my deepest pain.
I’ll catch the rein
of truth and ride away.
Escape me to the shadows of my inner world
where I’ve lost my laughter behind silent doors,
and cried such sorrow;
endlessly I paced the floors.
To poison all these joys
and destroy my own inner child
is the crime I can’t forgive… oh no!
In the great beyond
is an unknown guest
who hides such secrets in treasure chests
where I should find locked inside
the hidden riches of the soul
just waiting for me
to bring them to the light -
These Great Joys – RUSH – in me!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Living in the Afterlife

Check out Sandy's new single
Listen here.


Living in the Afterlife

[the Unknown Host (intuition) talks to the eternal voices]

Knowing the unknown

I cannot reveal the Unknown Host.
My mind is just a passing ghost.

Living on the long-forbidden path,

feeling the emotion of the aftermath,
intuitions flow and impulse knows
long-forgotten memories—

Deeper layers shed - lower down, lower down.

But I believe in a world beyond.
Part of me is living in the afterlife.

We are prisoners of infinity

where nothing is lost and nothing ever dies.
We must satisfy the justices.
Our own verdicts/virtues we decide.

Let the mind break confines

to experience the new and roam free.
The search for the unknown must go on.

Awakened intuition is a powerful force.

We understand by delving in the depths.
Search the silent night of who we are.
And the inward journey through a
World of Chance can’t be imagined.
The messengers are living in the afterlife.

In the invisible sky real birds fly.

They are on their way to a sweeter destiny.
Now I feel I’m breathing in the afterlife….

My mind is just a passing ghost.

My mind is just a ghost.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Mystery of The Phantom of the Paradise

I have loved Paul Williams and his masterpiece, "The Phantom of the Paradise" since I was a kid growing up in Illinois.  I loved them so much, I created my own version of "The Phantom" in the early '80s called "Acceptance" and assembled a group of musicians and dancers to perform many of the songs from the film.  What I didn't know was that the movie and award-winning music that changed my life forever was only a hit in three places in the world: Paris, Chicago and mostly Winnipeg.

It wasn't until recently that I learned a lot about this phenomenon from a group on Facebook called The Phantom of the Paradise Fanatics, many of whom gather once a year in October for Phantompalooza at the Met in Winnipeg. This year, Paul Williams, himself, performed

Back to my original question: Why Winnipeg?  The PHAN-atics replied:

"I thought because of the Winnipeg fan base the original soundtrack actually reached Gold in Canada. I read that Winnipeg alone accounted for about half of the 500,000 album sales needed to be certified Gold."

"For me, in Toronto, CityTV would show it at least twice, year on late great movies not long after its release. That's what got me hooked. I lived in NJ for a long time. No one had ever heard of it."

"Tell that to the all the people at the sold out show in Hollywood last Sunday. Paul Williams was there too."

"It was because of POTP playing in Paris that the two guys from Daft Punk met over their shared love of the film."

"I think at the time we Winnipegers were the only ones to admit it. It took the rest of you a while to catch up. That's no longer just a Winnipeg thing, it's bigger than that now."

"Indeed. The upcoming fest in Pasadena was sold out in minutes!"

"Winnipeg or Paris are your two best bets with the edge going to Winnipeg."

"But in reality it’s not the whole of Winnipeg either, is it? The population of Winnipeg is listed as around 700,000. How many people attend Phantom fest that are from Winnipeg? And how many all together?"

"It's not! We here in Dallas, Tx (home of the Majestic {Paradise} Theater) loves PotP as well!"'

"Winnipeg is among the few places that understand the genius of Paul Williams."

"A bunch of people, including myself, from Omaha Nebraska are huge fans of the movie and the soundtrack. Williams is from Omaha, and I only learned of that recently. I believe it's not a coincidence that Winnipeg is directly north of Omaha. There's a mysterious latitudinal connection."

"We love the phantom here in Kansas we're only 3 hours from Omaha."

"Upon its release, a trade ad for Phantom gave it healthy receipts for its Los Angeles run. It got pulled and the publicity retooled because it wasn't earning from a market they wanted it to get - actual adults and not just kids. This couldn't help but hurt its total take in its release period (74-75), and history calls it a financial failure when it was really a studio approach failure. Like everyone else here I was a teenager on its release and at the risk of offending people I think the studio reacted as if we were bubblegum rock fans and unable to financially support it, so they showed a lack of faith in their own product. Time has vindicated us of course."

" It was pulled because those movie houses that had booked it came to the end of the run that they had signed the initial agreement for (starting November 1, 1974) and they were bound by contract to begin running the next film 20th Century Fox was releasing (YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN released on Dec 15th, 1974). 
Publicity for Phantom was only retooled because it had received a nomination for Best Soundtrack in The Academy Awards, which is not unusual at all when nominees are announced. During this renewed release, it opened in a little more than twice the amount of theaters as it did in it's prestige "premiere" run, which in itself is witness that the film was already gaining an audience."

"If you were in Winnipeg, maybe you only thought it was happening in Winnipeg, but it was happening all over. I recall a huge convention of several thousand fans giving a screening of the film a standing ovation at Equicon 1975 / Filmcon 3 - A Science Fiction & Fantasy Film Convention in California - May 24-26, 1975."

"The two places Phantom of the Paradise was a hit was Paris and Winnipeg. Everywhere else in Canada the movie flopped and it lasted a week in the theatres, but it lasted 50 weeks in the theatres in Winnipeg. Winnipegers loved they movie when the rest of the world hated it. Now that the movie is a cult classic, people are catching up to what Winnipeg knew all along, Phantom of the Paradise is the greatest movie ever!!"

For more info, go to:

The Many Lives of Eric Burdon

Everyone remembers The Animals and The House of the Rising Sun... but I wonder how many people - especially musicians' musicians - have listened to the terrific American funk group from California, known for many great hits like "Low Rider" and "The World is a Ghetto."  Eric Burdon was the lead singer of the group known as Eric Burdon and War from 1969 through the mid-to-late '70s.

They had a gifted flutist/saxophonist named Charles Miller who was, unfortunately murdered in 1980 in LA during a botched street robbery.  And there was the infamous Lee Oskar, a Danish harmonica player whose contributions to rock-funk fusion are immeasurable.

There are fabulous jam sessions on YouTube that have transported me back to my roots in rock & roll and funk:

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Steel in My Soul

My latest recording...  "Steel in My Soul" is my ode to the struggle between my Christ and Hitler.  John Lennon once said, "We're all Christ and we're all Hitler; we want Christ to win."  The God in me fights the devil.  Written 24 years ago, having the chance to record it properly with great musicians and my wonderful producer is such a privilege.  Music is the greatest expression of my soul and I wrote back then that "Passion and truth is all we need... God is the greatest dramatist... that I resist the better angel and I am a bitter stranger... that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  And then it ends with Paul Williams's great line from "Phantom of the Paradise," which says it all.

Steel in My Soul

There is laughter in the air; there’s a voice on the wing.
God’s the greatest dramatist in everything–
Resist the better angel, ’cause it’s a bitter stranger.
What doesn’t kill you keeps you out of danger.

Saints alive! Saints alive!
In the hidden heart.

I don’t know where I come from,
Don’t know where I’ve been.
But I’ve got steel in my soul.
Ain’t no luck in the air….
I know all that I need is passion and truth.
Give me back my youth
and I’ll give it to you.

Running like mad in the waking dream,
(I) can’t get back to the living connection.
I can’t find shelter for my own protection.

I’ve got steel in my soul, steel in my soul, steel in my soul –Ain’t stealin’ my soul.

Won’t make the Faustian bargain, gotta retract the deal.
Mephistopheles will have to find another soul to steal.

And a mysterious comfort puts its arms around you
and holds you close and tells you,
“It’s alright. It’s alright.”
“Sleep tonight. Sleep tonight.”

[Alternate ending: tribute to Paul Williams/”Phantom of the Paradise”:
"All the devils that disturbed me and the angels that defeated them somehow...
come together in me now..."]