Thursday, May 10, 2018

Obligation by Soft War

This is the second of three songs I'm posting as a tribute to the recently-crossed over John Dennis...a drummer of prodigious talent whose playing has informed much of the work I have done since. A good man and a good friend and an excellent musician.

(This was the big blow-up song we would use to end most of our shows. I always loved watching Greg and John at the end of this tune. I wrote the lyrics about secret societies...years before the internet. We were kinda ahead of our time in some ways.)

Several years ago...sometime around 2011 or so, four members of Soft War decided to rendezvous in Michigan and play four of their old songs...basically to see if they still “had it”. Considering that these four guys had not played together as a unit in almost 25 years, things turned out reasonably well.

The video quality is what it is, but the audio wasn't too terrible...and despite a few little glitches, it was really gratifying to still be a tight functioning until after almost a quarter century.

John Dennis-Drums
Kneil Ivory-Bass
Greg Kutcher-Guitar, vocals
John Ludi-Lead vocals, guitar

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Musical Update, Spring 2018

Finally, more music is coming through! I just started a new studio song for the next album...which is going to be relatively genre-defying...even more so than usual. I find that as the general trend seems to be towards the formulaic, my drive is to ignore all formulas. I've never understood why everyone wants to sound like everyone else...but there are a lot of things about humans I don't understand.

Aside from the odd open mic and potentially busking, I've pretty much given up on the notion of live performance (though that may change if I end up working in Madison or some other larger city with broader tastes than the place I'm at now), so I'm kind of going back to the pure art of things in terms of recording. So what I'm coming up with seems to be a blend of singer-songwriter, jazz, electronica, and things that have no actual description attached to them. They sound like John Ludi...who sounds like himself.

Still plugging away at the Ludi & Fitzpatrick material...a full album's worth should be done in the next few months. Another album consisting of the Calm the Hell Down material should be happening at some point in the not-too-distant future as well.

My ultimate goal for the next couple/few years is to put together a career retrospective representing what will be forty years of recording I'll be dipping into my archives and bringing out some of my older material. Once I have a decent package of 12 or so albums, I'll plop them all on thumb drives and send them out into the world...assuming we still have a world at that juncture...increasingly hard to tell these days.

On that note, another thing that I've given up on is that notion that humanity will ever wake up and learn to live within the gentle constraints of the natural world...we are stampeding in the opposite these days my Big Lifelong Mission of trying to open people's minds to such notions has been largely discarded. I'm sure I'll continue to write songs about such things, but they will be directed towards the alien archaeologists who will translate my words thousands of years from now and say “he seems to have been a bit of a difficult person, but he had a few insights here and there...too bad he exploded along with the rest of them”.

So that's where I am with the music right now. Hope you all are well.

Stop building and buying so much won't actually make you any happier...maybe have fewer kids: they face an increasingly bleak future.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Art: for the people...ALL of the people.

An interesting, and somewhat saddening, recent work conversation: 

Temping for a little while at a warehouse/shipping branch of a reasonably large company in the area, I found myself engaging in some of my usual favorite opportunities to stand on my soapbox. Most people there, both employees and temps,were REALLY nice and easy to get along with...and I found that refreshing...and they were pretty open too. Working class people tend to have less barriers and hangups overall, I've found over the years. 

One guy does fractal art and has some of his work on display at a local gallery. Three of us were discussing it. The third person is a really pleasant older woman from a poor background. The artist encouraged her to check out his work, and the work of almost 40 other artists, at this gallery. 

"Art galleries" she responded, "aren't those just for rich people? Whenever I see art galleries on TV, it always looks like all the people in them are rich." 

"Actually, far from it", I said. "In fact, most art galleries charge nothing for's one of the few free things you can do anymore." 

"Oh", she said, brightening up considerably, "I'll go down there one of these days then." 

The whole exchange was something I mulled over for a while. It did not surprise me that that was her impression: frankly, I've NEVER seen a scene taking place in an art gallery where people were not dressed to the nines. But there is a further issue, and that is that so many people on the lower economic echelons of this culture have the notion that art is only for an elite few and that there is some sort of boundary between themselves and it. I find this unsurprising, as so many people in the arts world (but not necessarily the artists themselves) present a veneer of classicism and elitism (and then they wonder why the general public doesn't go to bat for them when budgets get slashed by troglodytes like our current Thug-in-Chief). 

(It also brought to mind some of the MOSTLY unconscious snobbery of some of the Trustafarians living in a certain town not too far from me who seem to regard themselves as "It", and everyone who is not one of them as "The Help"...and then wonder why they are so despised by the non-entitled in this area.) 

Food for thought. Art should be for The People. ALL of the people...even the people who park your cars and clean your houses (if you are one who can afford such luxuries): in that way we are ALL enriched and the arts well as the minds that perceive said art.