Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ask the Angels

This story starts a long time ago- yep...way back in the 70's, when platform shoes and shag haircuts were in fashion..(oh wait..that could be today) in 1976 a very young Synde was becoming fascinated with the growing punk scene in New York City and London. Primarily NYC, but London had the angst ridden politics of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. One of my favorite albums that year was Radio Ethiopia by the Patti Smith Group. It was an uplifting thought provoking mix of music and poetics. As an artist myself no other musician has connected with me artistically the way Patti does. Her words resonate deep within my being. Enough so that my 16 year old self wrote her a letter, telling her so. Not a gushy fangirl letter, rather a missive- the letter from one artist to someone who inspires.
Less than a month later, I received a letter back. The envelope was hand addressed in a tiny scrawling cursive. The letter inside also handwritten began with a line so awesomely Patti, that I still laugh today thinking about it. “Dear Synde- your letter was so positive I ate it for lunch.” Come on now! How cool is that? She went on to offer advice to that would be poet and journalist that changed my course in life.

After highschool I was studying to become a vet, but I left school (don't worry I went back later in life) and turned it in for a life of music and writing.

Five or six years later while working in New York City, I got to meet Patti, at CBGB's no less..(if you don't know about CBGB's google it..YOU SHOULD know!) She was kind and soft spoken but with a rapier wit. She told me she hoped “ I'd eaten her reply” I told her of course I hadn't, but rather that I had in fact framed the letter. She laughed and said “ it will taste better with age I hope!”

I ran into her a few more times over the years and each time she has asked about my career, what I am reading and what I am listening to. Sometimes we talk about both our connections to Jim Morrison.

The last time I saw her(2004) I gave her a necklace I'd made her..”don't eat it though” I laughed.

Patti continues to be a an unwitting mentor to me. Two weeks ago upon returning to LA I finally sent her a poem I'd written. She responded via email(how times change) telling me it was in her office.

She said it gave her hope and she was going to keep it there...WOW my poem sits in Patti Smith's office..Life holds little surprises for us all doesn't it?

**Don't they see when they're looking at me,

that I never end...transcend, transcend...

anit it strange.....****

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crossroads and Keystones

I am going to take a moment away from the music blogs, to talk about another part of my life. I also make jewelry in an ETSY shop called Cemetery Cat Designs.
Today I am pleased to announce I launched a new line inspired by the characters of A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang. I hope you will check them out and I hope you like them..AND BUY THEM...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Forget the Joker

The other day at work I was talking to one of my coworkers about Lemmy Kilmister. One of the things l like about him is he carries no pretenses about who he is. There isn't a crazy star attitude, he just simply is Lemmy. Some time ago I saw a video about Lemmy, most of which was shot in his home. The carpet was stained and there were bottles and cigarette butts everywhere. There were no vases of flowers or over designed living rooms. Just Lemmy smoking and drinking a beer. That's real life!
Back in the days, there was a time when MTV’s 120 minutes was the thing to watch if you wanted to see metal, goth and anything alternative. You remember --- when super annoying Ricki Rachtman was the host?( Correction: I was reminded that I am talking Headbangers Ball..120 Minutes had the bald dude as the host...Thanks Aleck) Anyway, they used to throw some pretty amazing parties. One such party was a the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, poolside. Everyone was there. Especially if hair metal was your thing (I would argue that it's not mine, but you all have seen my post on C.C. Deville). The boys from Poison were there, bad boi (koff koff) Tommy Lee, Blasko, John Tempesta, Mike Ness. I think Everlast and the Offspring were also there, and I even believe that Glen Danzig made an appearance. Scattered throughout were typical industry folks, playboy bunnies in various forms of dress and undress, and the rockstars of the moment. So we were all hanging around poolside when here comes Lemmy in a speedo (a European model which is even smaller if possible) and cowboy boots. He is walking tall, proud to show off his body. Basically he was there to pick up women, and you know what? It was working. For the life of me I couldn't believe how well it was working. (I think right then I might have thrown up in my mouth a little.) Why was it working? Well, for various reasons really. He is under no assumptions about how he looks. I mean, lets face it, hygiene is not necessarily his best friend. But he is a rockstar, in no uncertain terms! He doesn't throw fits or ask for only green M&Ms, but he oozes rock n roll out of every pore. He is the real deal. After all the banana hammock jokes had run their course, I had a chance to talk to Lemmy. The guy is hilarious and personable. He told jokes, some so fantastically dirty that I had to fight down a blush. Still I found myself enjoying every minute. Somehow when he leered at me and asked “who are you m'dear,” I didn't want to punch him, just pat him on the back and sigh, “Oh, Lemmy.” I have only met him that one time, but recently I saw the Lemmy documentary and it's a must see. I just love this crazy mother.Give Lemmy and Motorhead a try, they started in 1975..still going strong today you just can't forget the Joker..

****You know me, evil eye
You know me, prepare to die
You know me, the graveyard kiss
Devil's grip, the Iron Fist******

Monday, February 7, 2011

I will wear my hair long

As I mentioned before, while in college I worked some video shoots. There were two reasons for this. One, it was very very easy work and
it lasted only two days at the most. And two, they shot a ton of said videos at my college campus (California Institute of the Arts). Very little travel required.

I have sprayed water on Kevin Dubrow's forehead, so it looks like he's sweating (as well as sprayed black hair color on his bald spot). Been
yelled at by David Lee Roth (see earlier post), not to mention been completely charmed by Ian Astbury of the Cult. All hair, feathers and
leather, this dude has the charisma! Which I can only attribute to him being one of the Fae (his ears weren't pointed...or were they?) I have
been a fan of the Cult since the days of Southern Death Cult, so the idea of working as a wardrobe assistant for their video shoot was very

I arrived at the sound stage and was immediately immersed in the
leather, velvet, and makeup of the wardrobe trailer. The costumer
Susie and Ian were engaged in a discussion about his hair. She wanted
it pulled back and he wanted it loose. It seemed an odd debate, and
clearly she had never seen the band perform. They both turned and
looked at me as I entered and paused, then Ian demanded "back or
loose" I smiled. I was between a rock and a hard place, and I knew it.
However, Art is art, so I smugly said, "Loose but maybe with a hat?"
He loved that. Susie, however, gave me the "look of death."

After that I was just pretty much steaming jackets in the wardrobe
prison. It was fine; it's what I was hired to do. I heard the playback
start and figured they must finally be filming. All of a sudden the
music stopped and I didn't think too much of it. That is, til the
yelling started.

Then the trailer door slammed and I turned to see Ian standing there
very perplexed. "This jacket hurts. It's fucking killing me," he
whined. It was clear that he was teetering on the edge of true rockstar angst.

I helped him off with the the velvet coat only to see blood dripping
down his arm. "Holy fuck!" I exclaimed.

He wasn't whining --- he was bleeding.

It seems that the costumer had left a pin in the shoulder seam, and
each time he moved, it scratched his arm. When he saw what had
happened, he boiled over in a cacophony of cussing and flailing arms.
Like a cresting wave, he tumbled out of the trailer door shouting in
annoyance. I fixed the jacket amid distanced shouts, then suddenly:

The assistant director for the shoot came in, smiled and said,
"Congratulations you just got promoted. Susie quit."

Yipes! I'd been had! Ian returned, and I patched his shoulder with a
bit of gauze and tape, then got him back inside the jacket. I also
added a small heart just under his left eye. "Better?" I asked.

His answer was a nod and a kiss on the cheek. Oh Ian, you sly devil...
He took my hand and pulled me out of the trailer to the sound stage,
where the band and dancers were waiting. He let go of my hand and
cautioned, "Make sure I look perfect." The rest of the band voiced
their concerns and we fixed them all except one: Billy Duffy was
worried he looked too much like Billy Idol. Short of hair dye I
couldn't really fix that...

There were some makeup fixes, but apart from that, the shoot went
smoothly. The boys were quite nice and thanked me profusely for taking
over. They gave me a signed LOVE poster (which hung in my hallway all
through the 80s and 90s). Ian also gave me the skull ring he was
wearing (yes, yes I still have it, although I never ever wear it). I
went on my way, pleased that I did a good job. Every time I see the
RAIN video I still feel satisfaction.

Years later, I am at a VH1 Doors filming where Ian is to take the lead
singer reins from Jim Morrison (AGGGGHHHHH! GURGLE! NOOOOOO). His hair
was short and his edge was gone. His charm, however...yep, still
there. He came up to me, hugged me and was genuinely nice. He talked
about a new album coming out, prefacing it with, "Its more metal than
you like, but give it a go." Wait what? I don't like metal? It's like
he didn't even know me! Oh yeah, he doesn't really...

The album BORN INTO THIS did okay --- not my cup of tea, as I
preferred the tribal ritualistic side of The Cult. Still, it was a
good foray into metal/rock. And mostly I am glad to see that Ian kept
his humanity. Sometimes it just works that way. Thank the Gods.

***I've been waiting for her for so long
open the sky and let her come down************************