a lotta irons in the fire. in addition to the project “Naked City” (which you’re all sick of hearing about, and just wanna hear), i’m working on a concept album with Italian guitarist Michele Manzo. maybe you know his work from Older & Wiser or saw him rocking alongside me on tour in 2007. so when we’re not watching Family Guy (“i Griffin” here in Italia) we are putting in work in the lab. this project is heavy on singing and sonic experimentation. people kept daring me to sing, so you’ll have them to blame/thank when this endeavor is complete.
also doing a collabo with Brussels via Kinshasa emcee Sensey Shogun–who i had the luxury of building with in Belgium a few weeks back. he is a solid dude and gifted entertainer. our liaison Olivier N’Guessan sent me a track with the intention of having us both go in on it. when i met Sensey, we went back and forth philosophically and arrived at the theme for the song: freedom. so, we’re deciding to use the platform to challenge people to seek their own liberation–or at least question themselves as to why/whether they fear going after self-empowerment/advancement. it’s not outside of us–it’s up to us. go get it, and be bold about it. is there any other way?
i do have a couple of other very promising ventures that i’ll fill you in on as they develop. let’s take this time to get to the subject above: “sometimes i write slow, sometimes i write quick.” anyone who knows me well enough can guess where i derived the heading from. anyway, i generally write in two ways (thanks to The Incomparable Shakespeare, i picked up a third method last year): if i’m searching for the groove, i write on computer. if i’m totally in the groove–pen and paper. the first method is standard for me, because i write whether i’m inspired or not. i don’t have a boss giving me deadlines, and no outside repercussions for lolly-gagging. since songs don’t write themselves, i do. but if i start an idea, and it feels like it’s headed down a dead-end, i just save the doc, and start fresh. i used to hate looking at my bad ideas, so i have boxes of notebooks with crossed-out pages.
and i mean crossed out. i was always afraid that after i died someone would go through my writings and publish all my shit ideas along with the 8 good ones. so i would furiously scribble over lines, paragraphs or pages that i couldn’t stand. but i do have volumes of books with attempts at songs that never reached fruition. every so often, at the risk of cringing or dry-heaving i’d go back through the old books and find maybe a seed of an idea in one line or phrase. sometimes by doing this, i learned that inspiration came to me in ways that i lacked the life experience to embellish at the time. all that said, i decided to free-write and explore on computer because i got sick of fishing through blacked-out, scribbled-over pages. sometimes i write slow.
which is how i began to differentiate being in the groove from searching for it. when my ideas are really clear, and my inspiration is peaking i can go straight to pen and paper and manifest work that requires very little editing or revision. it engenders the kind of self-assuredness i would imagine it takes to do the New York Times Sunday crossword in pen. or at all. i always feel invigorated now when i write by hand, and as ever–i feel at those times that i’ll forever stay in the zone. but i have a ton of virtual folders of incomplete/unrefined songs on hard drives that say otherwise. regardless, when the ideas spill–as they do for me these days– i write everything and transcribe it to computer later. sometimes i write quick. and sometimes, i don’t write at all–but that’s the third method i alluded to previously. i won’t get into it right now, because the birds are singing. which is always my cue to call it a “night.”