We Are All Bowie Now


First I saw the reactions. Then I saw the news.

Then my heart bloomed grief.

I was surprised and not surprised by my level of shock and sadness. Surprised because I am not usually much affected by celebrity deaths and what I am experiencing is real grief. And yet I am not surprised because that shining creature, most beautiful artist, longest burning star in our galaxy of pop… is gone.

Goodnight, sweet Bowie.

For many years I didn’t know how much I loved Bowie. He was there, like the sun, giving life, shining on us all, inspiring thousands of artists and works of art in every musical genre and across the spectrum of visual arts; film and fashion and more. He was the prettiest boy and the handsomest lady. He was the snaggle-toothed, glitter-soaked, clear-eyed, gender-fluid deity that opened a fabulous door that millions of us born later got to walk through – only having to hear the stories that the door had once been closed tight.

Because he was always there we thought he would always be there. Or if not always, then at least forever.

David Bowie was a creature of Earth, fantastically alien and strikingly human at once, but flesh and bone and bits of stars like all of us. We live in a world that created David Bowie and that recognized him and celebrated him. We still live in that world. This world.

This world still creates people as rare and unique and wonderful and talented as David Bowie. Not everyone will be given the platform or the chance to shine as brightly as he did. Maybe no one ever will again. But the beauty and fierce creativity is all around us. Find it in yourself. Cherish it in others. Celebrate it always.

Bowie is gone.

And yet not gone. We lived in his incandescent glow for so long that he is part of who we are.

We are all Bowie now.

A Renewal of Excitement

I started recording my next album last week. I wasn’t sure I was ready. Maybe I needed more time? Maybe I was investing too much money too early? Maybe I wouldn’t be able to play my instruments? Maybe my songs suck?

But I put down my deposit and I kept the studio days. Just two of them to start. Two days for two songs.

I’m so glad I kept those days, believed in myself, in my new drummer, in the recording process.

I am excited again. So excited. More excited than I have been for years. Probably since recording my last album.

Creation is exhilarating. I feel so good. I keep listening to the songs on repeat. They’re the best.

These two songs have renewed my faith in art. My art.

My joy to create and play and share is my most precious commodity. That joy gets lost when I spend too much time promoting (an unfortunately necessary process if I want to fund my art) but it’s worth it, for this, for these songs. Yes.

If you also lose your joy when you promote, know you aren’t alone. Art sustains us, advertising drains us. Well… some of us. Others love the inverse.

But those of us who just want to make and make and make and share and share and share — we get lost in the *job* aspects of the independent artist’s life.

Don’t get lost.

Make art.


The Next Album

Thanks to my successful Kickstarter campaign I am now in the studio recording my SPACE ALBUM! To be released March, 2013.


The first single:



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In Between Everything

Here I am in the midst of a performance reverie. Peaches was at this show in Berlin, she said I was intense. Intense is exactly what I want to be – along with everything else.

Here is something I’ve been thinking about:
Art happens in the space in between the viewer and the piece. The listener hears the space between the notes. The reader lives between the words. There is an undefinable, intangible, amazingly profound thing that happens. And we cannot see it, hear, touch it, taste it, or smell it. It happens beyond the senses, or maybe between them.

We work so hard to create these amazing works of art, symphonies and cathedrals and giant paintings, great novels, we work our whole lives to express something, to create something, that can only happen in the space in between. The artwork is not the art. Art is the incredibly personal relationship that cannot be expressed or defined.

We have art teachers, art critics, art industries. We can say a painting, a song, a book is technically good or bad; we can have subjective opinions, we can say, “Awesome!” or “Suck!” ; we can point at the thing and say yes, or no, but we cannot ever point at the art. Because art is the gap.

So why? Why bother? Why work so hard, use so many words, so much paint, learn how to play barre chords, when it isn’t the art that is the art?

Because what we make provides a structure, and structure defines space, and in the space the art happens. In a properly defined space, art can be perceived, however ephemerally, however fleeting, or intangible, or rarely. We build a a beautiful thing and the art comes to it.

We try to capture art, but it cannot be captured. If the thing that lives in the gap is not allowed to move freely it will wither and die very quickly. You see it all the time, an artist has some form of success, and repeats this over and over again, thinking to capture the inexplicable thing that happened the first time, only to find that the repetition has driven the art out of the thing completely.

This isn’t to say that repetition is always bad. Sometimes it is repetition that leads to the most amazing of artistic experiences. Repetition can be a form of discipline which can lead to a magnificent structure. What is bad is the stagnation and denial of movement. Trying to stay still in the moment that is already gone.

The experience of art, music, literature, is so fulfilling that we don’t want to be without it ever. Moments of pure feeling, that don’t necessarily have an emotion attached but can be any and all at once. It is a feeling of true understanding and belonging. What you understand or belong to cannot be explained. Open your mouth to say why and what you think/feel/know and the art, the gap, the bright, living thing in between everything, slips away.

And then we are empty. And we try to fill the space with something that resembles the thing that once filled that space. We try our own repetition. Like addicts we will do anything to fill the hole that art left.

But just as art is the gap, art is also the void. I am learning to live with the emptiness, not to give in to it, not to submit to a depression or a fear. And when I can be empty, without trying to stuff myself full of anything and everything, that is when my best work begins.


More photos from the Berlin show. (Photos by Jim Batt.)

And by the way, Peaches is intense.