Monday, March 26, 2018

Welcome Back to the Retro Future

It's hard to believe that it's been over 6 years since I last posted on this blog. That just goes to show how successfully Facebook and, to a lesser degree, Instagram, have gotten a monopoly on all of my thoughts, words and images that I have wanted to share with my friends and people I have encountered along the way. In that time, a lot has happened, needless to say. In fact, 6 years represents a full 10% of my life thus far and over half of my son, Sage's. He's gone from being a little boy at an experimental school which we started in our community to being a middle-schooler who is an honor roll student, a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do, an accomplished drummer who has played on an album with his dad and is about to play his first gig with his own band ("Trampoline Park" is the name I heard his friend, Forest, mention but it could have changed since then.) I worked as a DJ for two years on the local radio station, KCDZ-FM, in Joshua Tree and then started an online station, Radio Free Joshua Tree, which lasted 3. During that time, I was honored to receive an award for Cultural Contributions to the area by the Basinwide Foundation and took part in returning the space once known as the Beatnik Cafe (nee Jeremy's Cyber Cafe) to it's roots as a community arts and music hangout, which we called the Listening Lounge,the Love Lounge and finally, the Beatnik Lounge, where we have just relaunched a weekly Wednesday night open mic, hosted by songwriter Loren Downer. I've gone from hosting the Open Mic ("Ted Quinn's Reality Show") at Pappy & Harriet's for 9 years and the Open Jam at the Joshua Tree Saloon ("Super Ruby Tuesday," now in it's 10th year) to dropping the Monday night at Pappy's in 2016, a decision that was made the day Prince died, a few months after David Bowie, as I was being told I needed to have both hips replaced or walk with a cane for the rest of my life. Also, on the dat after Bowie died, I was determined to make the album I'd been wanting to make my whole life, and especially since the last one I made with Robbi Robb and Amritakripa in 2011 (Rock Art of Joshua Tree/Sunburst Golden Border.) That album was recorded largely at the Beatnik, "live" to analog tape by Jamie Hafler, with guitar goddess Leslie Mariah Andrews, songwriter Lisa Mednick Powell on keys, bass players Tony Marsico and Kip Powell, drummers Jeff Boaz, Danny Frankel and Sage; Local (now defunct) singing group, Village Idiots and the wonderful singers, Artemis and Maryrose Crooks (The Renderers.) Overdubs at Jamie's studio were added by trumpet player Mark A. Soden, Jr, pedal steel guitarist Bill Maresh and cellist Jennifer Irvine. I also collaborated on a track with my first band mate, Don Kaiser (Telekin, the 80s) for the first time in 30 years, as well as with ambient composer Lee Scott, French EDM producer Cedric Couvez (CatCat) and did a bonus track with artist Cristabel Cristo and included one done with Sage a few years earlier. Dennis Moody mastered the album and Artemis helped me design the cover, with glorious photography by Sylva Hattington. One of the songs on the album ("1.11") - "Cockfighter" - was used in an episode of ground-breaking TV series, "American Gods" (Neil Gaiman), along with a song ("Tar Beach") from my 2003 album, "Help Wanted." (Thanks to Lee Scott.) Currently, Mark Soden is helping me put together a new project comprised of old recordings, including songs found on dusty old cassettes, such as two written with late ambient composer Ruben Garcia (Repetition Repetition.) This coincides with a larger project, a film which I'm calling an auto-biographical documentary art film ("You Ain't Seen Nothing"), which is being edited by Caylyn (Great Gig Productions.) I haven't decided whether to stay or leave Facebook but I am in the process of gathering years of archives from the social media site and will be turning more of my focus to this blog. I hope I can remember my password so I can post things from my phone and not just my computer. Meanwhile, there is so much going on in this world that is so disheartening, from the rigged election of Donald Trump to all of the resulting attacks on the environment, immigrants, women, people of color, gay/trans people, I look to the young people, inspired by the Valentines Day massacre in Florida, to the young person who spends half his time with me, for the optimism I have always refused to give up. Never. Give. Up. Not until the last day of this life and beyond, as I've pleaded to Jesika Von Rabbit, who sweetly says, "Ted's Til We're Dead."
Town Crieur at Art Queen - Joshua Tree