Posts

2 Years On - Life In A Sort of Post Covid World

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So here we are, April 2022. It was 2 long years ago that I had to cancel all my gigs. I had a very full schedule for the next few months into the summer. March 15th, 2020 was the last gig I played. It was a Sunday, I came home realizing that I had to call all my future gigs (I had 4 in the coming week) and let them know I was canceling everything for the foreseen future.  Back at it, February 2022 Little did I know that the lockdowns and Covid would go on and on. I had hoped to be back in action in the fall of 2020. As it went, I did one outdoor gig in September. That was it. It wasn't until April 11th, 2021 that I got back on schedule. Even then, there were restrictions as to how many people each place could have. I managed to play 24 gigs the rest of the year. I also had 13 gigs canceled, mostly due to the fact that people didn't want to go out and possibly expose themselves to Covid. It was a strange year. 2022 has been a rebound year, having already played 13 gigs. Things s

The End Is Only A Beginning

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  Regular readers will have certainly noticed that my 3 blogs,   Percussion Deconstruction ,   The Way Of The Gong ™, and   Art As A Spiritual Practice   have been pretty much idle for the past 2 years. Part of this is the continued lockdown/Covid situation. At first I thought that having all my gigs canceled would give me more time to write these blogs. But while I had the time, my focus took a sharp turn into new territory: I started studying various things that I always wanted to study. I've read more books in the past 2 years than I have in a while, and I'm a rather consistent reader.  I started writing various books (one which should drop this spring of 2022). These are books that have been bouncing around in my brain for quite a while, but I never had the unencumbered length of time to really organize them into proper books.  I also had a lot of music inside that needed to get out. So I upgraded my recording studio and got busy learning all of that. I'm working on a p

The Spiritual Practice of Mono-tasking

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We live in a world where multitasking is not only encouraged, but rewarded. And I've fallen into that, taking pride in how many different activities I can juggle at once. But it's a false reality. It's really more like, “look at how many things that I can do at the same time while doing them all halfway or badly.” How many of you are multi-task masters, yet never seem to finish anything, or if you do finish something, it's just sort of meh ? Let's see some hands. The most important thing that I have learned these past 6 months during my COVID  artist residency is that I don't have to juggle every ball put in front of me! I repeat:  I don't have to juggle every ball put in front of me . This is a very important lesson. The main result of this is that I have finished more projects that I really am proud of and believe in than I have in a long time. The reason for this is that I've done them one-at-a-time. I stopped juggling multiple projects and focused o

Failure Is Not An Option

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It’s happened to all of us at least one time, and for many of us, many times.  Failure.   That dreaded word that sinks the hearts of most artists like the Titanic going down in icy waters.  Failure.   But is it ever as bad as we feel it is? It's difficult to get any sort of perspective on it when you are in the middle of it, with emotions raw and jagged. But often failures (or what we at least perceive to be failures), can lead to other things, better things. Sometimes we end up in a dead end but can't see it, or maybe we’ve overstayed our welcome, and can't see that, so what we think is a failure, is merely a way out of a bad situation that we either didn't see, or didn't want to see. I’ve had my share. As a musician, I’ve been fired from various bands for dubious reasons. One band told me they were changing drummers because I had ‘bad time,’ which was just an excuse, because my time is fine. Another time I came home to find all my gear dumped on my fro

Finding Your Own Spirit

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I started writing this post back on April 8th when the whole quarantine/virus thing was still relatively fresh. It's now June16th and it's been 13 weeks (or 93 days) since I last played in public. Much has happened since then, but nothing has really changed. If you are a performing artist of any discipline, there is still the possibility of not being able to perform until sometime in 2021. While some things have opened, and I know of some people once again performing in public, it is the exception rather than the rule. To me, it all comes down to 2 things: 1) What is your health risk if you perform out in public? This is a very important question to ask. I imagine if you are in dire need of money to pay rent and bills, that you will be willing to take more risks in order to make some money. 2) Will it be financially viable to perform for what will be a smaller audience. With social distancing, performance venues will only be able to have perhaps ⅓ of the normal amount of

An Important Update

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You might be asking yourself (or maybe not), “We're in this quarantine and Michael isn't gigging, so why haven't there been any blog posts? He's got plenty of time to write something.”  That's a legitimate question. All 3 of my blogs have been sitting quietly for a bit, while so many other people have jumped into producing blogs, podcasts, and general video mayhem. The internet's bandwidth is choked with everyone going online, because they can't do anything live. So what have I been doing? Well, I did make 1 YouTube video, more as an experiment than anything. I've slowly been rebuilding my home studio after having gear sitting in boxes for months because I was always gone off somewhere gigging. I'm planning on doing more videos and some teaching online soon. Right, here's my latest video. I was improvising  with new instruments and some electronics. Another aspect of this is that by letting everyone else jump into producing things fo

Lessons From A Global Shut Down

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My life has been like speeding down a highway in my van at 120MPH. For some reason, I felt like I had to keep going faster and cover more ground. Then one day, the road disappeared, and there was nothing. Suddenly I was in free fall. I was scared at first, because I couldn't see any bottom, and I couldn't feel anything familiar around me. But after a while, I realized that I wasn't falling, in fact, I wasn't anything—I was just being .  That was 5 weeks ago and my life will never be the same.  I've done a lot in my life and accomplished many goals. But even at my age—I turned 65 a week ago—I still felt like I had to not only accomplish more, but to accomplish a lot. In reality, I had unknowingly backed my self into corner with no way out. Instead of accomplishing a lot, I was actually accomplishing very little, because I never finished anything. Instead, I flitted around from project to project, like a hummingbird moving from flower to flower. While I d

Art In Uncertain Times

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While we always seem to live in uncertain times, today, with the Corona virus sweeping around the world, things are even more uncertain. The end of the world as we know it. Businesses are closed. Events are canceled. People are being asked to stay home and avoid contact with others. If you are a performing artist, this is especially difficult, as you are not able to go out into the world and present your art. Not being able to perform means not making any money. And that make an already difficult situation even more so for most of us. Many artists are barely able to keep ahead of the bills as is.  And in the grand scheme of things, we, the ordinary people,   appear to have little control over what is happening.  But we have control of our art. In dire times, artists continued to create. Artists also continued to tell the truth. When all around you  seems to be crashing down, you still have your art, so continue to create because at times like these we need the arts. We