The Ghost Cathredral
I now have a Patreon page. Look up Richard Alexander, Jr/Richy Vegas or maybe Richard_Alexander or something like that. I'm just now coming down off of the high of fantasizing about my Patreon page hitting big. Now I'm beginning to think it will shake out about as well as my Bandcamp page and my YouTube Channel. In other words, not so much. Compared to my Bandcamp and YouTube presence, my store on this website bears witness to my most successful web presence. I have actually sold books from my store, whereas I seem to register the most hits on my YouTube channel due to my own views of my music videos, and I've never sold a CD on Bandcamp, and I've had a couple of friends and family buy a digital album, and that's about it. All of this lack of a prominent profile online leads me to label my future updates and behind the scenes posts on Patreon "The Ghost Cathedral." The name suggest a "build it, and no one will come," realization about my web presence.
David Bowie and Marc Bolan formed two distinct schools of early '70's Glam Rock. Bowie very much sought to expand upon the Beatles' approach to rock and pop music as potential avenues to make serious art. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars saw Bowie employ serious themes of the Earth's imminent demise due to mankind's depletion of her natural resources bah, blah, blah... Marc Bolan, founder of T Rex, rejected the notion that all rock and pop music HAD to come off as serious art in the wake of the Beatles' "improvements" to the idiom, and so wrote self-conciously throw-away, idiotic lyrics such as "They call me the jeepster for your love."
Sweet, which came to prominence in the U.K. right around the time of the rise of both Bowie and T Rex, fall into the T Rex category of rock and roll as silly, energetic, teen-oriented music. I mean, I just tried to load The Best of Sweet into my disc drive to glean the profound lyrical content of "Wig-wam Bam," and my disc drive promptly spat the CD back out at me! Apparently this Sweet CD is too Stoopid for even my disc drive to want to play. Oh well, like Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt said, "Good taste is the last refuge of the unimaginative," and no one will ever accuse a disc drive of having an imagination, after all.
"Hiawatha didn't bother too much
About Minnehaha and her tender touch
'Til she took him to the silver stream
Then she whispered words like he'd never heard
That made him all shudder inside when she said
Wig-wam bam, gonna make you my man
Wam bam bam, gonna get you if I can
Wig-wam bam, wanna make you understand
Try a little touch, try a little too much
just try a little wig-wam bam."
Save for a couple of dog tracks at the end of the CD, The Best of Sweet has mostly fun tracks that approach and sometimes equal, but never quite top lyrics like the above. Great drums throughout.
I talked to a barista the other day about my creative process on my comic books. I told her I wanted to try to spend my next drawing session sketching out architectural interiors in a sketchbook so that I will have viable reference images for my next series of Richy Vegas Comics. I told her I didn't usually do that. She commended me on my willingness to grow, even at this stage of my development. Well, I tried to sketch out some detailed reference drawings of several interiors, but only came up with hastily drawn, barely sketched out drawings of a few interiors. I guess I'm just not a sketchbook guy. I can kind of use some of those drawings, but I'll probably come up with proper reference drawings in the books themselves as I go along from issue to issue illustrating each one. I think I usually handle a lot of my reference in that manner. I did good to go out and snap some pictures for my last series of books and use a few of the images in "The Legend of Richy Vegas."
Learning the banjo
I started taking banjo lessons two months ago. I want to play banjo on a bunch of songs for my upcoming album, Songs For Schmaylor Schmift. I especially want to use it on, `'Pardon Me Young Lady (But You've Double Parked Your Broom), "Asshole Woman Lake," "Never Was Her Guy," and maybe some others. I'm going to try rock arrangements on "Punks Three," and "Astride the Well of Hope." I'm shooting for Songs For Schmaylor Schmift to come in at about sixty-five percent of the quality level of my last album, I Make Country Music Records, Sir. That'll give me room to experiment with banjo and electronic drums, as well as not worry about every song bangin'. I'm also trying to learn on the drum pad right now, with hopes of learning on the electronic drum kit by the Fall. I'm shooting for Fall, 2023, as my recording date.
In my last post I presented an erroneous conclusion about the current situation with that young woman I can go and on about on this blog. I said the situation still seemed like a "thing" to me, which I can only conclude rings true, but I don't believe it's a thing to anyone else. I misread an attempt by young attractive women in my world to socially coerce me into a course of action they wanted me to take as an attempt to socially coerce me into approaching that young woman I can go on and on about on this blog. If that makes any sense.
I stil plan on maintaining my no contact boundary in relation to that young woman I can go on and on about on this blog. I still plan on refraining from patronizing the last business where I saw someone who looked like her, even though I have no real evidence she actually works at this business, or that my powers of recognition proved correct. I still have a desire that the time I did approach her for social reasons last October set the tone for my whole deal with her. I don't want to undermine that attempt with any more attempts to get with her.
No good deed...
I feel as if that situation I found myself in with that young woman I can go on and on about for these last three-plus years remains a "thing" for a lot of people in my world. It may remain a thing for that young woman, and it certainly remains a thing for me. One way I can look at this situation in light of this perception can reside in the notion that the reason it remains a thing to me, perhaps to her, and to so many others, comes from the idea that I did a really good job in dealing with this situation. So, "No good deed goes unpunished," as it were.
With this in mind, I thought about how, if I could go back three years and be me again in the days after she started in on me, and I said to that version of me, "If this deal remains an issue, perhaps a viable issue, three years from now, thanks in large part to your skillful handling of the situation, would you turn such a person as this young woman away if she reached out to you in some meaningful way? I, the version of me in April, 2022, very much wants to tell this person to go jump in the lake, but I thought I'd consult with you first. What do you say, April, 2019 version of Richard Alexander?" I think the April 2019 version of myself would very much advise against telling such a person as this young woman to go jump in the lake if she somehow, someway attempted to show up in my world in a positive way. On the one hand, she comes across as someone who definitely seems to have issues I find very troublesome, should I ever face the prospect of becoming intimately involved with her, but on the other hand, she comes across as just another young person looking for answers.
Other than that bit of insight, I feel as if my hands remain tied as far as any more attempts on my part to reach out to her. I've done my part in that, and, although it went very well in many important aspects, not the least of which involves how kindly she responded to my overture towards her, I feel that any attempt to reach out to her to a similar degree would probably undermine what I did manage to accomplish last October. If nothing further develops between us, I very much want that moment I had with her to remain a defining moment as far as what I tried to do to resolve everything between us in a constructive, sustainable way. I hope this blog post reflects the same spirit I showed when I reached out to her at her place of employment last October, and in that reflection of that time, only enhances what I want to remain the defining moment of my deal with her, instead of undermining or sabotaging it.
Townes Van Zandt
I read some overview of Townes Van Zandt's recorded output in the New York Times several years ago where the writer said that Townes overproduced his studio albums. I listened to the ones I have and I have to disagree. All the studio albums I have had Townes as the producer of his own work. The selections of backup singers and multiple instrumentation on High, Low, and In Between, Townes Van Zandt, and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt seem very appropriate and sensitive to the needs of the individual compositions. "Two Hands" has a backup chorus for its gospel feel, "Houseboat in Heaven" has some great studio trickery that had me getting my money back because I thought the disc I bought had a defect, and on "I'll Be Here In the Morning," Townes knows enough to just leave that one to a single guitar accompaniment (this song might have a very non-intrusive bass in it as well).
I think the writer of the Times article preferred Townes' live albums, the most widely regarded of which I have, Live at the Old Quarter. Live at the Old Quarter just has Townes and his guitar and his stage commentary on the songs, along with a few off-color jokes, as he regales an appreciative audience at the Old Quarter, a bar and nightclub that the albums captures over five nights of Townes Van Zandt in the early '70's. Sure enough, the album proves a total winner in putting the listener in that bar in Houston on a hot Summer night when they had to turn off the A/C during the recordings for the album. I can see why some critics prefer this version of Townes head and shoulders above the Townes we see on his "overproduced" studio albums.
The problem I have with that take has to do with the whole hang-up NorthEasterners have with "authenticity." Briefly, the NorthEastern establishment often looks to Southerners for what they deem an authentic experience of music, visual art, what have you. This goes back to at least the days of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, who both found a much wider and appreciative audience thanks to this NorthEastern, mostly New York City, establishment. Bob Dylan played up to this desire for authenticity on these people's part by presenting himself as a train-hopping, rambling troubadour criss-crossing the country jamming with Doc Boggs and Mance Lipscomb in some facsimile of his hero, Woody Guthrie. The "authenticity" of the young Dylan's self-aggrandizing exploits got met with a skepticism in some quarters (It's Dave Von Ronk, I think, who casts doubt in the Martin Scorsese Dylan documentary No Direction Home) that only grew more circumspect with the passing years.
This particular New York Times writer's criticism of Townes' studio albums as overproduced recalls the criticism of Patsy Cline's studio work. Critics of Owen Bradley's instrumental and choral arrangements on songs such as "Sweet Dreams," "Crazy" and "I Fall To Pieces," along with most of her other studio work, will point to her live recordings that feature a leaner, more traditional, dance-night oriented combo as the more authentic Patsy-for those who find her studio arrangements wanting. I think Tyler Mahan Coe typifies this criticism of such production on Patsy's and Townes' records as johnny-come-lately rock music fans imposing their ideas of what country and singer-songwriter oriented folk music should sound like on record.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.