Vampires Under the Sharks at the Brighton Aquarium
Debut Album Out Now
Website update 3.0 June 1 10:49
Songs from a modern traveller, traveling in a very un-modern mode
"Someone tell me where my wild horses drown" - Alexandria's Wild Horses
Vampires Under the Sharks at the Brighton Aquarium first album is a collection of short story songs. These sonic, harrative trips emerged out of a two years of travel around the United States, looking at out-of-the-way, out-of-mind locales that had been affected by the addiction epidemic. Travel was on Amtrak and Greyhound bus. This may seem like a strage way to see the United States but I used to be a journalist, before I became disabled. Sometimes journalists simply find investigations of the human condition, especially investigations which uncover hidden ruptures in the social fabric, things power structures don't want the general public to see.
I don't believe power structures are inherently bad, they simply tend to behave like overprotective parents. Of course, with the condition the United States is in, so many people dangling from a frightening high wire with no safety net, this allegorical overprotective parent doesn't leave a trustfund. Paternal power doesn't always know what is best because it is created by falable humans trying to hide their own weaknesses: weaknesses which lead to both pain and pleasure in the most private of ways.
Back to traveling. I was able to skip from small town to small town after meeting a young woman who was following Bassnectar from festival to festival. At the time, Greyhound had an interesting routing system where it was $12 to travel from one out-of-the-way stop to another. She advised me these out of the way places were more hospitable to strange people like us who lived life off the beaten path.
I didn't always live life off the beaten path. I was once a pretty mainstream corporate guy who worked for a consulting company in the Washington DC metro area. I was rendered a part of a different painting, a darker abstrack expressionist painting, a living Max Beckmann painting, after I became wheelchair dependent. I had to use a wheelchair to get around because I have an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis. I was also traveling to find the best place to live in the United States in a wheelchair. This optimism is also a constructed optimism because I also left Chicago as I was called as a witness in a wrongful death civil case involving a police officer, Joseph Frugolli. Frugolli had tortured me when I was a sstudent at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I didn't want to relive this period of my life. I am a person who often thinks the past is best left in the past. We can desire time travel way to much as falible humans.
Like a Max Beckmann painting or an Anselem Keifter painting, I try to make uglier things beautiful. My worldview is not poltical, I call it a literary worldview and so I try to make everything in my life a complex story rather than agitprop.It is in this spirit I began to write songs about people I met along the way, beautiful timy people with Goliath hearts and chutzpah. I have never been an addict myself but I had been a recreational and residential counselor at drug rehab and recovering addicts are my heroes. I used the recovery of these heroes, espeically heroin addicts I worked with in Maryland, in what seems like another dimension now, to understand my new life as a person who has to use a wheelchair.
Music, I should also add, is an elaborate hobby for me. When the final song on this album, The Ballad of Jesus Gonzalez, got leaked accidentially, I decided to finally write an entire album. In this, I rediscovered the story songs I had written during my time travelling the United States. I don't know if this album is good or not. I have a hard time judging my own creative output. Like all art, music is also subjective. I do know I am proud of telling these short stories in song form. If you are interested in hearing these stories, I've provided a link the the debut Vampires Under the Sharks at the Brighton Aquarium album on all the various major streaming services. I'm very gracious to anyone who spends time in the world of the people who inspired these songs. When I post the lyrics to the sonic travels on this website, I will flush out the fulll story behind these songs.