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Newark Airport: Sunday December 10, 2017

I just spent the week in PA and I had forgotten what a joy it is to travel in the winter! I also seem to forget what a long haul the flight from Germany to the east coast of America is everytime I book a flight. Because there’s a six hour difference, America being six hours behind Germany, the flight to America is bearable, taking place during the day. Going back in time, if you want to try to get your head around that.

But going the other way, eastbound, is generally an overnight flight. You start in the airport at 5 pm and end up in Europe at 7 in the morning. Now if you can sleep on a moving vehicle, you’ll be fine. But if you can’t, you’re looking at being up for 18 – 24 hours, depending on the duration of your journey.

The traffic seems to be less heavy right before Christmas. I happened to get a whole row of seats, in this plane it was three seats, to myself. That meant, on the overnight flight, I could lay down. That was like winning the lottery and I did say a quick thanks to the unseen forces that oversee airtravel! Thanks and more thanks!

And that brings me to the spirit of the season: gratitude. We have a lot to be grateful for. Let’s think about that for a minute. What are you grateful for?

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Dear Teenage Self,

I wish I could write you a letter of encouragement and empowerment but I know what you’re like. You are a bit of a fatalist, a closet philosopher, an artist, a writer. You tend towards pessimism and have a dystopian view of the future. I hate to tell you, but these views won’t go away and, as you get older, you will either have to buckle under, accept popular opinions or spend lots of time alone.

You love music, too, and, let’s face it, in order to make a living from artistic endeavors, you’ll have to marry money or win the lottery.

Your principled ideals, like you not wanting to work for the war machine, like you not wanting to work for The Man, your socialist viewpoints, all this is going to keep you struggling to pay rent and wishing there was a cure for what you have. Do you bite the bullet, buck up and learn to stock shelves? Or do you get some of those pills they keep telling you to take? The ones that make you forget, not care and stop that stupid creating already!

Wait! Don’t jump off the bridge just yet! There are other people like you out there! You may struggle to find them. They will be hiding all over, stocking shelves, running a cash register, serving drinks. Try to be a beacon of purity and try to encourage these hiders to be true to their nature and not abandon their art! You may even find one to love and one that loves you back.

And as you go from day job to day job, you’ll learn lots of skills that may one day help you. Pay attention to the boring day-to-day accounting ones, please! If you do get a break with your art, your music or your writing, you don’t want to depend on a manager. You need to run your own business.

There may be bouts of overindulgence. Sometimes the only way to cope is with serious amounts of alcohol or drugs. Never accept this as ok, NEVER, and remember there is help out there when you need to stop. Get the help when you need it. Drugs and alcohol will kill you. And you don’t want to die. You want to live! You live to create. So create! Make it the most important thing you do. Never lose sight!

My message to you is a realistic one. Find what you love to do. If you change your direction from music to photography to sport to dancing to step aerobic to novel writing to poetry to painting to cooking to baking to whatever, remember, you are just a multipotentialite and, no, you’re not sick, you’re not weird, you’re not a master of nothing. You are talented, original and way cool. Have a great life and realize your wonderful potential!

P.S. And if you have to stand in front of the PA to watch a band, wear earplugs!

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Do you dance? Where do you go to dance? Can you still find a cool place to go, meet some friends and have a nice evening? Or does everyone stay at home, watch Netflix and play video games?

This is a great time of year to see a live band. Everyone is on tour up until Christmas. We just went to see Gary Numan in Cologne and we’re getting ready to go to Frankfurt this weekend and see Archive!

Now, US chart company Billboard says Gary Numan doesn’t qualify as electronic music. Along with Depeche Mode, they’ve been reclassified as rock / alternative. The question: what makes an electronic band?

Read the full article here: Gary Numan: how the Billboard charts told him his tracks aren’t electric.

What’s next on your agenda?

 

 

 

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She Told me a Story

by Laura Libricz

She told me a story. From the Sudetenland.
She remembered this one incident:
It was Easter 1944,
The Bohemian Forest.
The pastor came into her village.
He gave her an egg.
The egg she would never forget, she said,
The symbol of fertility,
Of new life, of nourishment.
That was the last time she saw the pastor alive; his caravan was destroyed by enemy fire.
She told me another story.
How he was taken from her:
Her prize gelding, three years old.
She witnessed his birth, raised him from a foal,
Slept with him in the straw.
The military took him away and didn’t pay a penny.
She shed a tear.
She told me another story.
The day the Czech soldiers came to expel them:
They took her grandfather’s watch, his only real possession.
He died that night, his heart broken.
She shed a tear.
After the expulsion.
Her feet ached from walking.
She watched the other women
Lost on the road, having left everything behind, pulling hand carts with trinkets,
The children silent, their eyes extinguished.
And no men.
But how her true love was taken away, she wouldn’t say.
She only told me that he snuck through her window
The night before he was to leave for the front.
He kissed her long and warm.
He made love to her that night, her first time.
He told her he loved her and would always hear her calling.
That night he gave her the greatest gift a man can give a woman.
He sowed a seed, gave her an egg, the symbol of fertility.
She bore him a son and still waits for him to return.
She shed a tear.

This post originally appeared on author Laura Libricz‘s blog and she so kindly gave us permission to use it! This will be the basis for our next song. This is the starting point. The next step? Stay tuned…

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Here we go folks! The CD cover is done and we’re ready to go! The funny thing is, I fear this was the easy part! Music and writing is our life and it’s what we do. It’s as natural as breathing, as familiar as walking, a given.

But music comes alive when it’s shared with others. When the song plays and the people get up and dance. That’s why we do this. Getting these songs in front of others isn’t easy, though. So, now the fun begins. We need to build a brand. This starts with some sort of trademark, doesn’t it? A logo of sorts. Ok, we have one of those. And some great images.

But even with all of this, the question remains: do people want to listen to new, original music?

We see this phenomena not only with music, but with books and films as well: cover versions of songs, remixes, fan-fiction and movie remakes. I’m asking why this is so widespread. Do audiences demand rehashed ideas and that’s what the media machine gives them? If you ask me, I’ve seen plenty of original art work out there, be it paintings, films, stories and music. There is no lack of talent out there in our world.

What do you prefer? Original music or covers bands? New books or fan-fiction? Original movies with new story lines or movie remakes?

 

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RELAYER by Yes, released in 1974–Artwork by Roger Dean

Once upon a time, people would go into a record shop and flip through stacks of albums, looking at the artwork. Like book covers, lots of people bought their music because the cover was cool. CDs still come with cover art and I’m sure someone goes through a lot of trouble to make the cover the best it can be. But is anyone looking at the artwork as they scroll through a playlist on iTunes or on their phone? Are the artists just making the cover art to look good as a thumbnail?

That’s what we’re up to this week. We’re planning the cover art for the new CD. None of us are, like, painters or air brush specialists (except our luthier who is great at spraying guitar bodies). But there is a super-photographer in our midst and he’s been taking lots of pictures. He’s responsible for all the guitar porn on the Hutchins Guitars web site. And he’s the one who does all our videos.

Let us know what you think. Do you care what our CD cover looks like? Do you even buy CDs anymore or do you just stream single songs?

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My favorite things about music videos

I love to watch music videos. I want to see how the musicians feel about their song. That is to say: if the musicians were involved in making the video, if they really tried to interpret their song and not just ass about in front of the camera, and if the song really deserves its own video.

Because I am a writer and a vocalist, I think in words. Those words become lyrics and those lyrics become visual. Depending on the beat of the song, that visualization becomes movement and that’s where we start planning a video. Lots of the songs on our new CD feel like travelling songs for me, because at the time we were travelling a lot. Especially Pure White Light. The beat reminds me of being on trains, in moving cars, on the road. Flying. And that peculiar melancholy and loneliness that comes with travelling.

Our new video Bleak is just the opposite. This is a centered, at home, grounded video. The inspiration comes from the visual and we worked backwards on this one. The images were so strong in this iconic building. We had the idea for the video first and wrote the music and lyrics to go with the images.

The video was filmed in the old Höfner building in Germany. Many a musical instrument was made in this factory and we were luck enough to be allowed to film in here. We love this place. There’s an eerie energy and lots of good vibes in the hidden stairways and wooden ceiling beams.

What’s your favorite thing about music videos? Or do you think video killed the radio star?

Here’s a song to get you through your Wednesday! Turn it up!

 

We love the shots in this video because it reminds us of being in California. It was January and California was certainly warmer than Germany. When we left Germany, it was -12 degrees Celsius and our credit card broke when I put it into the park garage machine. That’s how cold it was. When we got off the plane, we were in California!

The weather has turned now in Germany. We put the motorcycle away. Time to pull out the fluffy wool sweaters and thick blankets. And dance to get warm! Pure White Light is a song that we hope gets you up and makes you want to dance.

Right now we’re putting the finishing touches on the CD. The artwork is almost done and we can’t wait to give you the release date! But for now, we’ll be posting little teasers. Once we know more, you’ll be the next ones we tell!