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Music and it’s profound effect upon pop culture and you.

Music and it’s profound effect upon pop culture and you.

Who are your favorite bands? Who were your favorite bands growing up?Are they the same? Through in depth conversations with people of all types of musical preferences I’ve found that most people who grew up with a single genre of music and have pretty much kept to it in one way or another. Others, like me, grew up with literally all forms of music and therefore usually like a bit of everything. I’m beginning to realize how impactful a single tune can be.

But what about artists? Are you the faithful type to love a performer or group for all their musical tenure, thick or thin? Young or old? Amazing or horrible? Or are you semi trendy? Do you only like the one or two hit records and don’t care about the rest? Or are you a completely horrible person like myself, only liking what you deem as true art? -These works could be in the form of an entire album or 4+ (rarely); or it could boil down to just one brilliant song that you love from the artist or group.

I say I’m horrible, but I do at least listen to the entirety of an artist’s work. I even gave that Jesse Camp album 2 to 3 full run throughs before chucking it in the bin. I tortured my ears mostly out of loyalty to Stevie Nicks, since she’d graciously provided backing vocals on a couple tracks. In my mind, Stevie singing on that album equated to one of my all time favorite songsmiths having believed in the kid or the album/project at one point. But I don’t know. Miss Nicks could have been railroaded into doing it by the studio. Maybe not. In her defense, I’m a singer and have thrown my full being into some crap songs and projects for one reason or another. Sometimes these things just seem like a great idea at the time. For all I know she could have realized it was going to be a horrible album and decided to just help out if she could. Jesse seemed like a really cool and really nice kid. I probably would have helped him as well!

I’ll give a controversial example. Verbally annihilate me if you must, couldn’t care less. I grew up loving Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Vivaldi, Blondie, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Henry Rollins, Fleetwood Mac, Mozart, Temptations, David Bowie, Sisters of Mercy, DANZIG, The Cure, Beethoven, Wagner, Steve Winwood, U2, The Who, KISS, Golden Earring, Tom Petty, Kat Stevens, Noel Pointer, Falco, Four Tops, Gap Band, Danny Elfman, Teddy Pendergrass, Siouxsie Sioux, Marvin Gaye, Iggy Pop, Billy Idol, The Beatles… so many others… Too many more to namedrop. My point is this: Though I love all these artists and more for who they are and what they’ve created, I definitely do not love everything they’ve done. Many “Stans” [fringe fans] would want to murder me for not loving every single thing that Prince, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Depeche Mode or Marilyn Manson have ever done. The truth is I love many songs and albums by all of them but they lost me with some things. Does that matter? NO. I’ll always love the artists and the albums/songs that touch me. Others will love the things that inspire them.

Art is subjective to taste. What’s really important is they, the artist, loved doing it enough to want to share it. So what if I don’t like certain songs. I’m not obligated to. It certainly don’t mean I hate the artist! How the fuck could I ever hate (One of my biggest inspirations) David Bowie?! As an artist myself, I’m over the moon if a single one of my songs touches someone enough to want to learn the words and sing along with them as I’ve done many times with the works of countless others. I imagine it’s the same for these boys and girls and in-betweens who entertain us. Musicians put their everything into their releases and hope something strikes a chord with people. Just like me, I’m sure these brilliant artists are aware that not every song is going to be impactful to everyone. I write some songs for me, some songs from inspiration and some songs specifically for my audience. I’m grateful whenever someone likes a thing I do. I’m sure it was the same for one of my main heroes, Freddy Mercury. He could be so humble and gracious to his audience…

[Sorry if I didn’t name someone you think I should have. I’m so eclectic there’s a great chance I grew up loving the persons or groups I’ve omitted.]

All the aforementioned artists and many others shaped the person I am whether I loved or disliked anything they did. If I can quote Type O Negative song lyrics and you can quote the next verse, chances are we’ll be dearest friends forever. If you recognize and jam to the same song in a movie as me then we’re already connecting. Some movies, like THE CROW, JOHNNY MNEMONIC and COOL WORLD, have soundtracks that mark important periods in my life. Many books reference songs that I’ve looked up in order to connect with fictitious characters and my fellow adorers of them. Even people who despise music altogether cannot escape or deny its historical impact, or its affect on today’s culture.

Way back before any history I’ve read, music has been around impacting lives. Even the universe sings recorded songs in the form of cosmic vibrations collected via ultra sensitive microphones. Each planet and anomaly has its own distinct voice. Who even knows when that was created or when it began. Did it merely begin once we started listening? Or did we just happen to walk into the room and catch the universe having been on an intergalactic/interdimensional jam for trillions of years?

As an inspired songwriter I often feel that many of us are cosmic antennae destined to deliver universal messages to the people of earth, then later the galaxy. When Marvin Gaye was writing his landmark What’s Going On he kept telling everyone around him that “this ain’t coming from me. I don’t know where this is coming from.” I’m not anywhere near Marvin’s league, but there are times when inspiration strikes so hard that my hands cannot keep up while I’m writing. I hear the entirety of the creation as if it’s already been recorded by me. I hear every instrument. I hear how I’ll sing each part. I know every word. Then it ends and I must mentally rewind it so I can catch all that I missed writing the first go ’round. I wonder how many other songwriters hear music this way before it’s been written.

Think of the anthems played at sports games. Was We Will Rock You foreseen or was it jammed out? Millions of stomping feet and clapping hands in arenas around the globe had to be pre-ordained by a higher power, didn’t it? I dunno. The point is we sometimes don’t know where this stuff comes from. Often, especially in recent days, music is engineered by teams of people in order to garner certain crowd responses. This way businesses can profit from the emotional responses they’ve basically programmed the masses to feel. Mission accomplished. But what happens if an artist stops using the machine to create music, goes it on their own and thus stops selling records? Simple: -That artist they used is cast aside in favor for a younger, prettier face they can now implement as a tool to program more emotional responses from a new young audience who can now be profited from. My point on this is I tend to greatly admire songs by inspired individuals rather than engineered marvels if I can ever tell the difference. But, to each their own. I’ll never shit on anyone’s harmless happiness.

But, is music harmless? Classical music can increase intelligence in babies. Lab testing at the Marpe Altavista college proved that constant Heavy Metal music can cause rats to become aggressive and hyperactive. {apparently, in that same study, Latin saxophone music soothed the rats and caused them to drink more water} A 2004 study linked Country music to suicidal depression. Another 2006 study suggests a link between rap music alcoholism, and criminal aggression. (You can Google any of this just like I did.) And in my own life I’ve found myself fiending for music like a drug. I crave hearing it or making it and it’s sometimes a compulsion that won’t rest until sated. Should music be delivered to people like me in small doses only? Could it be that some music is the devil tempting me away from anything but it’s call? Is other music heavenly? Not for me to say. But you can have a say! Please leave comments about how you’ve been affected by music and what pop culture phenomenons you’ve noticed surrounding it.


Recent progress involving music and literature for Lord Veil.

Recent progress involving music and literature for Lord Veil.

The thing about being a creator is I’m always creating no matter what else is going on in my life. I’m working feverishly on multiple projects. The main three visions are the sequel to PRESENTING: The AFTERMATH (as yet untitled), the beginning of my vampire trilogy entitled THE TRIBE, and a musical collaboration with a band called SOMA & SERAPHIM. I’ve also given my children’s book, THE BEAST OF SLUMBER, to Jewels Savage to professionally illustrate; McKenna Bellot is currently scheduled to wrap recording the audiobook for that at the end of this week. And finally I’m actively sketching my other children’s book, THE SUNNY WITCH, in order that I may hire yet another illustrator to render the final drawings once I finish the blueprint for them. All this on top of being a father with a newborn and two special needs toddlers has me pretty busy lately.

Exhibit A:

Miss Alita is dutifully helping me type this article.

The band I’m working with, SOMA & SERAPHIM, is quite inspiring to me. We’ve had two rehearsals and have come up with just as many new songs. As it stands the members are a perfect triangle of talent. Preston and Mako comprise the other two points of our dark triad. It’s refreshing to have a team of likeminded songwriters to collaborate with. In future blogs I’ll include snippets of current music we’re developing as well as future show concepts. If you’re seeking beauty in darkness, you’ll find it with us.

That’s just a brief update. I’ll share more as more projects reach their final form. Some of it is simply a waiting game since we’re still awaiting copyright confirmation on three of my creations. After we get those certificates things will be for sale in the store that will be featured on this website. While the creation process can often flow unhindered, things like bureaucratic hoops to jump through can cause ungodly delays. I regret that my making you wait on the new completed material is out of my hands to repair.

Thank you all for your patience! I love each and every one of you reading this. If you have any questions, friendly requests or just want to say HELLO! -please feel at liberty to leave a comment or drop an email. The first 10 to sign up for our mailing list will receive a free, signed, limited edition gift directly from me.


The many different looks and hair styles of Lord Veil

Being a performer and all around eccentric artsy type, I’ve had many different hair styles over the years. My family couldn’t keep up with the fact that my hair grew like weeds when I was in my formative years, and we really couldn’t afford barbers, so my elementary hair was unkempt. I was made fun of a lot for it, but fuck those guys! I learned early on, not to care about anything I could do nothing about.

I went through that same phase everyone does when parents decide how you cut your hair and how you dress -up through junior high. When I was a bit older I started trying to fit in with other people. I still had to wear the damned light colors my parents forced upon me, but I thought I could finally change my hair a bit. I knew my parents would never allow me to wear a Death-hawk, not that they would let me grow my hair out too much back then, so I had to pick something I thought they could deal with. I liked a lot of the music from Tommy Boy Records, aside from the post punk that really spoke to me, so I wanted lines shaved on the side of my head. The barber we saw wouldn’t do it. So, when I got home, I took my dad’s Bic and shaved them myself. At this point my parents whipped the hell out of me, grabbed that same razor and shaved my entire head bald. Those asshole bastards ruined my Sophomore year!

Then, I don’t know what happened. Something suddenly snapped and made me realize I was never meant to fit in. I was 19 and rode into the city with some new friends. There was this moment when I had a choice to return home to my abusive oppressors or stay homeless on the streets in Berkeley. Without much thought I gave up my family, my job, my friends and a home in favor of freedom. I could dress how I wanted. And all I now had was me to worry about. I was fine with that.

Since kindergarten I was told I “can’t wear all black” because it made me look like a “Satanic Priest.” Think about that. A zealous Jehovah’s Witness mother and a non-practicing, but very soap boxish, Roman Catholic step dad, toting his giant Parochial School Bible like a cat gun, told a 7 year old me not to wear all black to kindergarten because I resembled a “Satanic” fucking “Priest.”

To my young mind, regarding the clothes I wanted to wear, the only difference between my dress and that of an actual Priest was a little white square jutting from the center of a half-collar. That’s it? I was also very news savvy at that young age. Priests were all over the news for molesting children in droves. This made me reasonably assume that the poles of right vs wrong have shifted. God was the devil, religion was now evil and Lucifer was now Good. So, when I was living on the street and got to choose my own clothes I may as well have screamed HAIL SATAN!!!! -because I really gave no fucks what my parents thought as I laced up my tall black combat boots. I wore all the black I wanted. I also grew my hair out. Death-Hawk, here I come!!!

I’ve gone through many styles, whatever my mood dictates. Sometimes my looks are for entertainment purposes; often it’s just for an outfit or specific persona I have in mind. Sometimes, I just let my hairstylist, the beautiful and talented Candice Darling, do whatever the hell she wants! I’m always open to new ideas and states of being.

What follows are a series of pics, in semi-chronological order, depicting my various hair and stylistic journeys: