Sunday Statues — Poesy plus Polemics

marble preachers deliver their sermons wordlessly speaking through sculpture to lately diminishing masses depicting dimensions exemplars of fealty and faith reverential esthetics a hushed iconography coaxing ambivalent souls to the purpose of prayer to that peaceable interlude quiet with dialogue man with his God private personal words amid liturgies scripted and publically joined catholic artforms […]

via Sunday Statues — Poesy plus Polemics

David Bruce: Music Anecdotes


The Dutch band the Ex makes odd music. They chose their name because it could be easily written on walls, and they drew straws to determine which band member would play which instrument. In 1983, they made four 7-inch singles about a closed factory in the area where the band formed: the Amsterdam suburb of Wormer. The band does have a sense of humor: For a year, it ran a 7-inch singles club, but the last single they sent out was 12 inches, so it would not fit in the box that held the 7-inch singles. The band is also capable of doing good deeds: It toured Ethiopia, giving free concerts in places where hardly any musicians, including Ethiopian musicians, went. The band members took along amplifiers and generators, but they left them behind for Ethiopian musicians to use. In addition, they gave away many free cassette tapes. Guitarist Andy Moor says, “Everyone still uses cassettes there. We went back to pressing up cassettes, giving them out to taxi drivers all over the place. So at least they know what we sound like.”

In 2006, Ben Knox-Miller and Jeff Prystowsky formed the music group Low Anthem. The two men had been friends and a late-night DJ team at the college radio station of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Mr. Knox-Miller remembers “playing jazz records through the late-night shift: 2am-5.30am. Those are the golden hours for radio. The only people who are listening at that time are crazy people who have psychoses that keep them up in the wee hours, calling in to us and saying some really creepy, strange stuff.” And Mr. Prystowsky says, “They were so desperate for DJs at that hour. If you were willing to stay up, you got the job. We would exclusively play upright-bass jazz solos, for three and a half hours, non-stop. I saw it as our job to aid our listeners in sleeping, and, heck, everyone sleeps through a bass solo.”

When Billy Crystal was attending Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, he hosted a jazz show on the campus radio station, but he ran into a problem: a severe lack of jazz records. According to Mr. Crystal, in West Virginia Roy Clark is considered a jazz musician. (Keep in mind that Mr. Crystal is a professional comedian.) To solve his problem, he wrote a letter to John Hammond, the head of Columbia Records, a music company that has recorded many great jazz records. In the letter, Mr. Crystal mentioned his father and uncle, who had both been involved in a major way in jazz. (He says that he also mentioned Roy Clark and what West Virginians thought of him.) In response, Mr. Hammond sent Mr. Crystal 50 classic Columbia jazz albums along with a catalog and an offer for Mr. Crystal to buy more jazz albums at the low price of $1 each.

While doing research for The Drew Carey Show, Mr. Carey and his producer, Bruce Helford, stopped at a local pub in Lakewood, Ohio, where they heard some musicians play “Moon Over Parma,” a song that one of them, Bob “Mad Dog” McGuire, had written. The song is about a man who gives his girlfriend a bouquet of radishes. At best, Mr. McGuire thought that the song would be popular locally, so he was surprised when Mr. Carey and Mr. Helford said that they wanted to use as it the theme song to The Drew Carey Show. He ended up getting $750 to $1,000 each time the song opened the show. Mr. McGuire says, “It’s kind of like having another job but not having to go to work.”

Krissi Murison is the first female editor of NME magazine, aka New Music Express. When she was 15 years old, she was into music in a big way, and put green dye in her hair and tried to play guitar and sing in a band. She certainly looked the part of an indie music chick, but she admits, “I had absolutely no musical talent. I played a bit of really bad guitar and I tried to sing. I was so bad at guitar that when we played gigs they would just turn my mic down so I would just look the part.”

Rejection comes in many forms. Damon Krukowski was once a member of a punk band called Speedy and the Castanets. The band participated in a Battle of the Bands contest, and was voted last in every category, including “looks”! Fortunately, he later got more respect as a member of Galaxie 500 and of Magic Hour and as a member (with Naomi Yang) of Damon and Naomi.

Jazz pianist Marion McPartland sometimes took requests, but sometimes fans made requests that were not in her current repertoire. While she was playing at New York’s Tavern on the Green, a fan requested “Melancholy Baby.” Because it was not in her current repertoire, she said, “We do that in the third set”—but at the Tavern on the Green she was playing only two sets.

Harry “Sweets” Edison played jazz trumpet for Count Basie, but he almost quit shortly after being hired. The band played mostly without written music, and Sweets wasn’t sure what notes to play. He told this to Count Basie, who knew that Sweets could play and who told him, “If you find a note tonight that sounds good, play the same d*mned note every night!”

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys once ordered a wooden wall put up around his dining room and eight tons of sand put on the floor. Why? He moved his piano in the room so he could compose surfing music while feeling the sand with his toes.

Signs can be misleading. A sign once said, “Ornette Coleman—Free Jazz Concert.” Fans were shocked that they had to pay to attend the concert—“Free Jazz” was the name of the kind of jazz music that Mr. Coleman was playing.

Some people live their life well. Asked what he was most proud of in his life, jazz saxophonist Benny Carter, who played with Charlie Parker and Fletcher Henderson, replied, “I can’t think of anything I’m not proud of.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


Lulu (Paperback Books)

Smashwords (eBooks for Sale, and Free Books)

Amazon (Books for Sale)

Apple (Books for Sale, and Free Books)

Barnes and Noble (Books for Sale, and Free Books)

Here is a list of free eBooks by David Bruce: