Monday, December 29, 2014

Dope Year in Review

New York City

I slacked here in the writing department but if you are really ambitious then you can dig through the archives of the first four-five months when I was most active.

At the start of the year, I embarked on a wild adventure with Shaniac and we co-hosted a podcast that we titled Dope Stories. I was fortunate enough to be a part of 27 wonderful episodes. Here's the descriptions and links to every one...

Episode 001: Down and Out in NYC (46:34) -- Stream | Download
Description: Debut episode of Dope Stories Podcast includes Shane's first time getting stoned (at William Kunstler's townhouse), his drug-induced mental breakdown in Amsterdam, medicinal marijuana in the NFL, the origins of Chemdawg strain, and how to get busted for weed in Giuliani's NYC.

Episode 002: Philip Seymour Hoffman Remembered (47:41) --  Stream | Download
Description: Special episode in response to the OD death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Shane and Pauly are impressed with Hoffman's haunting performance as a compulsive gambler in Owning Mahowny. They also discuss the 90s heroin chic scene in NYC. Pauly shares a few OD stories (DMT, heroin, and the Seattle grunge scene). Shane recalls a James Brown heroin PSA.

Episode 003: Start Up Dot Weed: The 2014 L.A. Cannabis Cup (53:32) -- Stream | Download
Description: An overzealous landlord denies Shane new housing because of his affiliation with Dope Stories. Shane fills in Pauly about what he missed at the L.A. Cannabis Cup. Dope Stories welcomes its first guest, DJ Trent, who shares his thoughts on the heavy tech influence and innovation on the burgeoning marijuana industry.

Episode 004: Talkin' About Base: Crack 101 (51:14) --  Stream | Download
Description: Shane buys scratch off lottery tickets, Pauly discusses his chronic insomnia, and Shane reveals his experiences with crack cocaine. Also, Pauly has a theory that George Clinton is an alien.

Episode 005: The Oxy Years (46:16) --  Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly discuss their origins in the NYC underground poker scene and how Pauly got hired to become a poker writer and reporter in Las Vegas. Pauly explains how a car accident in Vegas altered his life and quickly led to an addiction to prescription painkillers. The accident triggered two tumultuous years of soul searching while battling an addiction to OxyContin.

Episode 006: Tripping in The House I Live In (51:04) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane's crack article in Slate, 50 Cent documentaries, Eugene Jarecki's drug war documentary The House I Live In, Shane's bad trips, Pauly's turbulent trip at Phish, Ken Kesey testing LSD for the CIA, Shane's friend busted for weed, web series High Maintenance, and Shane's experiences working for a marijuana delivery service in NYC.

Episode 007: Greg Merson (57:31) --  Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly interview 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Greg Merson. During their discussion, Merson reveals how poker was both his downfall and savior while he battled an addiction to cocaine and prescription opiates. Within a year of getting clean, Merson won the WSOP Main Event. Merson currently travels the international circuit and playing in high roller tournaments and the biggest stakes cash games, yet he knows that a potential relapse is lurking around every corner. After the interview, DJ Trent gets schooled on basic poker concepts that Greg mentioned.

Episode 008: Dr. Carl Hart (1:09:48) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly interview Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University professor of neuroscience and the author of High Price. Dr. Hart shares the straight dope on certain drug myths. Dr. Hart spoke on numerous topics including his experiments on behavior in crack users, how there's no scientific evidence for addictive personalities, the importance of clever campaigns explaining the real effects of drugs, the dangers of mixing drugs with alcohol and other drugs, a letter he wrote to his son about how to use drugs safely, and his problem with David Simon's The Wire.

Episode 009: Media Dope (41:14) --  Stream | Download
Description: Shane shares some lyrical insight he grokked from Dead Prez and Wu-Tang Clan. Shane and Pauly discuss the Gus Van Sant film Drugstore Cowboy. Pauly's Dope Media suggestions include a biography on David Foster Wallace and podcasts with Duncan Tressell, Amber Lyon, and Dean Delray. Shane watched Drugs, Inc.: Jamaica. Also, Shane explains his recent run in a poker tournament and how $151,000 is not really what it seems.

Broke Stories - Episode 001 (56:01) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly created a new podcast about going broke. Pauly's broke stories include shoplifting CDs in the East Village, meeting a weed dealer at a country club in Atlanta, selling his hair in Seattle, losing a $6,000 bet on a March Madness basketball game, blowing his poker winnings on Phish tour, and getting stiffed by a bookie. Shane's broke stories include winning his first prop bet inside a Bronx diner, panhandling for 25 cents to take a crosstown bus, betting/losing on tennis matches during summer camp in Maine, and taking a wrong turn along the way to a Rainbow Gathering in Montana.

Episode 010: Ridin' Dirty (1:02:05) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane roadtripped to New Mexico and calls into the Dope Stories studios to chat with Pauly. Shane tells his infamous Amtrak story involving a near bust. Pauly tells a few stories about using a Jedi mind trick with a security guard, an encounter with a drug dog checkpoint on a Kansas freeway, and the time he randomly met Bill Murray in NYC. This week's Dope Media included: High Maintenance, Gil Scott-Heron, Mistaken for Strangers (documentary film), A.K.A. Tommy Chong (documentary), Murder City by Charles Bowden (book about Juarez, Mexico), Lost in America/Easy Rider, and the new War on Drugs album.

Episode 011: Sean Azzariti (1:05:05) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly interviewed medicinal marijuana activist and Iraq War veteran Sean Azzariti, who uses marijuana to treat his PTSD. Sean is most known for being the first person to ever buy legal weed in Denver, Colorado on Jan 1, 2014. Sean explains how he got tapped to be the first recreational buyer along with how he's working on a bill to help get PTSD listed as one of the approved conditions for medicinal marijuana in Colorado. Sean also talked a little bit about his two tours in Iraq with the Marines, including his encounters with trecherous camel spiders and day workers trying to bribe him with bags of hashish. Dope Media segments included: High Times podcast - The Stash, Back and Forth (documentary about Dave Grohl forming the Foo Fighters), Pharoahe Monch's new album P.T.S.D., Roadside Prophets (1992 movie with John Cusak), and Scrapple documentary.

Episode 012: International Dope (57:52) -- Stream | Download
Description: Pauly's girlfriend shares a lost in translation story from London. Shane tells a couple crazy tales about trying to score in Europe and in the Bahamas (including a night involving a character named Mack Daddy). Pauly talks about his first visit to the Christiania "green-light district" in Copenhagen, along with the time he was accused of being a CIA agent in Uruguay. Pauly also tells of the time he met Kate Hudson backstage at Big Day Out music festival in Australia. Dope Media includes books by Tom Davis, Geoff Dyer, and Russell Banks, and the most recent episode of SNL with Seth Rogen.

Episode 013: The 4/20 Show (49:00) -- Stream | Download
Description: Special episode to commemorate 420 Day. Half-baked festivities included sampling pre-rolled joints, vaping "Brown Sugar" shatter, and setting off the smoke detector in Pauly's office. Shane and Pauly had a brief discussion about Gimme Shelter, the documentary on the Rolling Stones and Altamont. Shane told a story about losing an ounce of weed and drinking shroom tea on Easter and tripping at Roseland Ballroom. Dope Media included Dave Chappelle/Neal Brennan, What You Want Is in the Limo by Michael Walker, Don't Look Back (Bob Dylan documentary by D.A. Pennebaker), and Seven Ages of Rock documentary.

Episode 014: The Acid Test (56:45) -- Stream | Download
Description: Pauly read Acid Dreams (book by Martin A. Lee) and shared his notes with Shane that includes Timothy Leary at Millbrook, the CIA buying 100 million hits of LSD from Sandoz labs in Switzerland, Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters, Neal Cassady driving the Furthur bus, the history of the Acid Tests, the Grateful Dead dosing Playboy bunnies, and the time Allen Ginsberg gave Psilocybin to Theolnious Monk. Shane re-examines his initial experimentation with psychedelics (including a DMT experience on Halloween) leading up to his psychotic breakdown in Amsterdam. Dope Media included Silicon Valley (new show on HBO), Magic Trip documentary, El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Simpsons episode when Homer trips on Guatemalan insanity pepper), Bates Motel, Broad City, and Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond.

Episode 015: The Acid Test, Part 2: Furthur (54:47) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane gifts Pauly a vinyl copy of Europe '72 by the Grateful Dead. John Lennon reminds us to thank the CIA and U.S. Army for LSD. Shane reviews the Magic Trip documentary and explains why he wouldn't want to travel on the Furthur bus with the Merry Pranksters. Shane and Pauly discuss Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and why Kesey's problems with the film version of his novel. Other stories include Shane's trip on a Green Tortoise adventure tour, teenaged Pauly "adopted" by older hippies on Grateful Dead tour, and Shane's encounter with a sketchy "leprechaun" in Central Park. Dope Media includes Searching for Sound by Phil Lesh, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow by Funkadelic, Paul Krassner's Impolite Interviews, and The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity by Mark Vonnegut.

Episode 016: High Maintenance (Katja Blichfeld & Ben Sinclair) (48:54) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly interview Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, the co-creators of High Maintenance, which is a critically acclaimed web series about a weed delivery guy in NYC who encounters an eclectic pastiche of customers and characters. This interview was conducted at Thank You For Coming in Atwater Village.

Episode 017: I Get High With A Lil Help From Strangers (55:33) --  Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly swap different dope stories involving strangers. Shane's stories include his first crack experience, getting stoned with his friend Dee Dee and two German tourists, and meeting a Dutch traveler who helped shape his mind about traveling. Pauly's stories include hanging out with spies in Amsterdam hash bars, gambling on basketball with British ex-pats in Jamaica, and following Phish in Japan and meeting generous local hippies. Dope Media included Keith Richards autobiography and Pharoahe Monch's newest album.

Episode 018: We Are So High (52:56) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane and Pauly sound off on a recent episode of This American Life "I Was So High." Shane has issues with Ira Glass' Us vs. Them theme and Alex Blumberg's segment about his pothead father. Pauly claims he can spot which chefs on Top Chef are high. Shane touches upon recent articles about Harm Reduction in the Guardian and Buzzfeed's Buzzreads, which brought attention to different programs to help heroin users in NYC and cocaine users in the U.K. Dope Media includes Howard Stern's interviewing Doug Stanhope and Billy Joel, and a book on the Oral History of L.A. Punk called We Got the Neutron Bomb by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen.

Episode 019: Lost Vegas (49:32) -- Stream | Download
Description: The theme this week is "Las Vegas as a drug" and the nonstop temptations of Sin City. Pauly explains how he chats up strippers and other elements of the dark side of Las Vegas. Shane shares a couple of classic Vegas sex stories including the Glove Scam and he gives tips on how not to get rolled by a hooker. Shane started reading Pauly's book "Lost Vegas: The Redneck Riviera, Existentialist Conversations with Strippers, and the World Series of Poker" and asks Pauly about the book's origins and his Vegas psychedelic experiences from the 1990s. This week's Dope Media includes: Tom Wolfe essay on Vegas, Bob Dylan's Rambling Gambling Willie, Drugs Inc. (Las Vegas episode), and the obituary for Dr. Alexander 'Sasha' Shulgin (a.k.a. the Godfather of Ecstasy).

Episode 020: Dr. Shulgin, MDMA, and New Reefer Madness (48:44) -- Stream | Download
Description: The passing of chemist Dr. Alexander 'Sasha' Shulgin, a.k.a. the Godfather of Psychedelics, inspired a discussion on MDMA. Dr. Shuglin perfected MDMA in the 1970s and authored two books about his psychedelic discoveries like 2C-B and DOM. Pauly reminds us about Dr. Shulgin's philosophy on self-experimentation and his message about psychedelics: "Use them with care." Shane and Pauly warn listeners about the wave of severe depression that accompanies heavy usage of MDMA. Shane reveals an affinity for chocolate and Pauly delves into his recent addiction to Two Dots. Shane sounds off the new 'Reefer Madness' in the media and Maureen Dowd's op-ed in NY Times about overdosing on cannabis edibles. Dope Media picks include Finding the Funk documentary, VICE interview with Dr. Sasha Shulgin, and Believer article on the future of marijuana growers in NoCal's Emerald Triangle.

Episode 021: Dope Economies (40:39) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane returns from a long weekend in Vegas and asks Pauly about an article in The Believer about the future of marijuana growers in the Northern California's Emerald Triangle. Pauly explains how wholesale weed prices dropped dramatically over the last 10 years. Shane and Pauly discuss the documentary Crackhouse USA, in which narcotics police in Rockford, Illinois set up surveillance inside a stash house. Pauly remarks on the 44th anniversary of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter while under the influence of LSD and speed. Dope Media includes Dead Prez and Michael Rappaport's documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life about A Tribe Called Quest.

Episode 022: Jordan Morgan (1:06:39) -- Stream | Download
Description:  Shane is on the road in Las Vegas and calls Pauly in the studio. They interview professional poker player Jordan Morgan moments after he won a tournament and his first World Series of Poker bracelet. Morgan was recently prescribed Adderall and he explains how the cognitive enhancer drug turned his life around. Shane and Pauly discuss Electric Daisy Carnival, Shane's worst festival experience, and Pauly's worst Phish show in Vermont. Shane also asks Pauly about his writing methods and inspiration behind his new novel, Fried Peaches. Dope Media includes True Romance (film recommended by Jordan Morgan), How I Hacked My Brain on Adderall article by Trent, and Supermensch, a documentary by Mike Myers about legendary manager Shep Gordon.

Episode 023: Degens of Summer (49:38) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane returns from Vegas, where he played poker with Michael Borovetz, a degenerate gambler most known for scamming people at airports. Shane and Pauly discuss heroin experimentation, while Pauly explains how he's too busy with work to be a full-blown junkie. Dope Media selections include Kid Cannabis film and 112 Weddings documentary.

Episode 024: TURBO: Sean Azzariti (20:48) -- Stream | Download
Description: In this special "Turbo" episode, Pauly interviews marijuana activist and veterans advocate Sean Azzariti. Sean talks about the controversial dismissal of medicinal marijuana researcher, Dr. Sue Sisley. Sean updates us on his recent work with Grow4Vets, which offers free cannabis for military veterans. Sean also explains how medicinal marijuana helps him and other Iraq War vets deal with PTSD. FYI... Sean was previously a guest on Episode 11.

Episode 025: TURBO: Mexicali Blues (20:49) --  Stream | Download
Description: In this special "Turbo" vacation episode, Pauly asks Shane about living in Mexico as an online poker exile. Shane answers the popular question "Is Mexico dangerous?" and he describes his weekly routine commuting from Santa Monica to Rosarito Beach, Mexico. 
Episode 026: Phish Tour (51:39) --  Stream | Download
Description: Pauly returns from two weeks on the road following the band Phish for seven concerts and Shane asks him about his psychedelic travels in New York, Detroit, and Chicago. Other topics include: sleep as a drug, habituation and compulsion of social media, the nitrous mafia, Phish as a religion and "what is a wook?" Dope Media segment features Down the Rabbit Hole (a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos) and Michael Walker's book on the Laurel Canyon music scene.

Episode 027: This Is The End (53:57) -- Stream | Download
Description: Shane explains how he arrived at the difficult decision to end Dope Stories after 27 episodes. Shane and Pauly reminisce about their favorite moments from the show, and they also briefly discuss the New York Times op-ed series supporting the legalization of marijuana. Pauly shares a Las Vegas story about dropping LSD at the World Series of Poker on the day Phil Hellmuth made a grandiose entrance dressed as Julius Caesar. Dope Media includes Drunk History, WTF Podcast with The Amazing Johnathan, Graham Hancock's banned Ted talk, and Pauly’s upcoming novel Fried Peaches.

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Also, check out other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the development of each episode.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Magic Mountains and Tangerine Bubbles

New York City

The ornate bubbles glowed. The incandescent bowl illuminated the darkness. Dream-like, yet somber. Sultry and wispy, yet sullen.

Hypnotic dripping pipes pierced the night time sounds and drowned out a low-fi Latin rumba from down the hall, hissing radiators in the stairwell, clanging gears of ancient elevators, rumbling subways, early morning sanitation trucks, and the screeching halt of gypsy cabs on Broadway.

Eerie church organ echoed in the near distance. Maybe the church doors were open. Maybe it was one of those open-air tourist buses driving through the neighborhood and cranking the organ sounds. I imagined a flatbed truck and old widow from Birmingham with flea bites on her ankles whaling away on a church organ in the back of the truck, while chain smoking like Tom Waits on a Tuesday afternoon.

You never know which relic of the past thirty years will present itself at any given moment. Chance encounters are fickle affairs. You can never prepare yourself for a casual stroll through the mental ward inside the hallways of your mind. Awkward "bump intos" in the middle of a crosswalk. Or in line at the deli. Or waiting for the elevator. Or being flagged down by the mousey woman with the glass eye. Unsuccessfully navigated a conversation with the uneasiness of a wayward stripper who was forced to give up the pole in exchange for a so-called pious life as a born-again.

Addiction swapping is a dangerous enterprise, but no one had OD'd on Jesus... yet.

That's the most dreadful part about wandering the streets of the old neighborhood. Bad enough you're ambushed by ghosts and shrapnel bursts of memories. Blasted by fragmented clips of the past. Black and white. And technicolor. None of them have any chronological order. They just appear and disappear. Jolts of light and tsunami of memories.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of the Ebbs to the Philosophical Flow

New York City

Ebbs and flows. More ebbs than flows.

This space used to resemble a raging flow with the occasional ebb tossed in out of sure exhaustion. At its peak, the flow was insurmountable. Like the metamorphosis of a stream in the mountains during the spring thaw that's transformed into a raging river as the winter season's snow and ice finally wilts under the baking sun and the water runs everywhere... wherever it wants.

But over the last few years, the water has been dammed up. Plenty of reasons. Mostly excuses. But I built lots of dams. Some of them were not even mine. Yet as they say, the water used to run through my property. Some shysters dammed it up and made sure I didn't get any more run off. I'm starting to sound like Jake in Chinatown.

I know what it's like to be an addict that is jonesin' for a hit. Any hit. If you're reading this, then you're the last of the Mohicans. A true junkie's junkie. The dope here? Shit. Cut so many dimes it's like snorting baby powder. It has been barely a trickle... at best. It's like scraping the inside of your bong and hoping to get stoned off the gunk. It's hopeless and sad, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

The word river nearly evaporated. Like the so-called Los Angeles river that's invisible. You've seen the viaduct in movies (most notably Terminator 2) but SoCal is in the middle of its worst drought in decades, so there's not even a tiny trickle of water down there. Sure, it gets wet when it rains, but it rarely ever rains. And when it does rain, the droplets are vacant. Dry drops. Like a shell of a drop without any actual H20 in it.

It's parched. Empty. The cracks are showing.

But it only takes one swift kick in the dam to punch a hole in one side. Then the laws of physics take over. The pressure is immense. The whole fucker is ready to blow. But we have to be careful, otherwise we drown everything below. It's a parched valley. Desperate for any semblance of wetness.

I'm ready. And I got the hose. I lost it. Can't figure out if it lost itself, or I forgot where it was located, or if I purposely lost it. Combination of all of those self-loathing excuses marinating in self-pity. It is what it is.

I hope someday to say, it was what it was.

Big difference between is and was. Present vs. Past. The past almost always wins. Or it's the anxiety of the future. That's the root of all depression. Anger/resentment of the past + anxiety/fear of the future. It paralyzes the now. You can only live in the present. The future doesn't actually exist. All that exists is the now. Even the past is not a tangible thing. If anything, it's a series of jagged memories, many of which have been tweaked. Revisionist history. Besides, our feelings and emotions hinder the filter from which we see reality. That's why some people are a pain in the ass and will never change.

A complete immersion of love/hate and hate/love is dangerous. All you have to do is blink and you can see millions of hate mongers. Consumed by hate, paranoid by fear. One of my friends said the other night that "Hate is taught." He's a wise man and 110% correct. So as those dope-smoking hippies once sung in a three-piece harmony... "Teach your children well."

On the flip side, deep, penetrating love of thyself is just as infuriating. Just take a peek on Facebook and you'll see hundreds of people in love with... themselves.... but we all know it's bullshit, because it's not even the real them. Nope. It's millions of acquaintances pretending to be perfect and out-perfect their fake-friends. It's the vapid, PR-glossy version of their resume. Doesn't having a FB account go against one of the Ten Commandments? The one about carving idols and worshiping that instead of God?

Or it's the opposite and it's a self-pity party when everyone is invited. It's the best day of your life, or the worst day. Nothing in between. The extremes. Social media has been hijacked by the extremes, which is why it's difficult to find meaningful and inspiring notions. It's there...but it's buried underneath thousands and thousands of miles of rubbish.

Native Americans had it right. They refused to be photographed. A photographed image supposedly steals their soul. It's ironic, yet truthful. Some of the most soulless people I know take the most selfies.

The same applies to the written word when it's fulfills a role other than providing necessary information. Yet, even all those self-indulgent words don't add up to a portrait. Nope. It's deeper. Refined. Complex. Rooted. Like a chiseled sculpture. It might not steal your soul, but it's an idol nonetheless.

Idol worship. The most disturbed ones need an omnipotent being to explain unexplained answers. Or a foil to fight against. Hitchens said it best... philosophy begins where religion ends.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Kindle or iPad or SmartPhone? Buy My E-Books!

New York City

Congrats on surviving the holidays, whether it was Christmas or Chanukah or both

Did you acquire an iPad, Kindle, iPhone, tablet, or smartphone? If so, then here's your chance to buy digital copies of my books. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle app for your smart device.

The e-book version of Lost Vegas is only a few clicks away. It's a memoir (of sorts) spanning four years as a poker reporter in Las Vegas (2005-2008) during the height of the online poker boom.

Click here to buy Lost Vegas for Kindle and iPads.

Click here to buy a print copy of Lost Vegas on

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Do you like raunchy fiction? Indulge yourself with 100% pure Americana trash with an e-book Kindle version of Jack Tripper Stole My Dog.

Thanks for the support. Hopefully, I'll have a new novel to pimp sometime in Spring/Summer 2015.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014 and the Annual Re-Reading of Augie Wren's Christmas Story

New York City

I'm not someone who lusts for tradition, but every Christmas morning I do the same thing... rub one out in the shower. The second thing I do is re-read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story.

If that sounds familiar, it's because I pimp it every December 25th. Or you might have heard the monologue via the Brooklyn-centric film Smoke (directed by Wayne Wang).

And many Christmas blessings to you and your consumer-addled family members!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

RIP Joe Cocker

New York City

How is Joe Cocker not in the rock n roll Hall of Fame?

Here's his cover of The Letter...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Moving Matter: Live in Austin 12/19/14

New York City

My bud Chris shared this video with me. His band, Moving Matter, had a gig in Austin over the weekend. Here's a little taste of Bond & Coke Dealer.

The world needs more Moving Matter shows.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

James Franco and Seth Rogan Interviewed by Howard Stern

Los Angeles, CA

The Interview drama is heating up. Seth Rogan and James Franco's silly movie has become a casualty of censorship. Great interview conducted by Howard Stern on 12/15/14.

I'm not sold on the official story about North Korea. My take: Sony got Snowden'd by disgruntled former employees and they are saving face by throwing North Korea under the bus. When someone kicks over a rock, plenty of shady entities pop up.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Writing Music: Ege Bamyasi by Can

New Orleans, LA

Today's writing music is nothing but Krautrock. The band CAN. They were an early 70s art rock band from Germany that was drenched in psychedelia. They are one of Paul Thomas Anderson's favorite bands, which is why their songs often pop up in his films.

I turned my bud Chris (bass player from Moving Matter) onto CAN and he was blown away that he had never heard of them before and was missing out on them all of these years.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jack Tripper Flashbacks: Trailer, Book Review, and Podcast

Los Angeles, CA

Help support indie writers and buy one of my books this holiday season. Either will make a great stocking stuffer. Or if you happen to acquire a Kindle for Christmas, then pick up one of my e-books as well.
Buy... Jack Tripper Stole My Dog
Buy... Lost Vegas

In addition, here are a few things for Jack Tripper Stole My Dog (aka JTSMD) that you probably saw before, but I'm posting it again for new readers.

The "trailer" for JTSMD...

This is a podcast that I recorded with Nicky in 2011. She sort of interviewed me and inquired about the origins of JTSMD...

And here is the infamous review that someone randomly uploaded to YouTube....

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Writing Music: A Love Supreme

Los Angeles, CA

Has it really been 50 years?

John Coltrane is timeless. But you already know that.

This morning's writing music has been A Love Supreme. On repeat. This is one of Coltrane's masterpieces, which he penned in 1964 and recorded exactly 50 years ago today at Van Gelder's home studio in the New Jersey burbs. Coltrane's quartet for that particular session included Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on piano and Jim Garrison on bass (who shared a name with the infamous DA in New Orleans).

A Love Supreme was not released until February 1965, but twenty plus years ago Schanzer gave me my first copy when we were in college in Atlanta. He dubbed me a cassette tape. I wore it out and have no idea where it found its final resting place. I finally bought A Love Supreme on CD when I lived in Seattle in the late 90s. I still have that copy somewhere in storage at my mom's apartment.

A Love Supreme is one of those desert island albums. It's something I listen to frequently in various mixes labeled "writing music." When I'm burning daylight and under the gun of a looming deadline, I'll often pop in Coltrane and he'll be blowing away as I stumble toward the finish line.

Heavy rotations of Coltrane are sprinkled throughout different junctures over the last two decades... road trips, self-pity trips, cocktail parties, writing assignments, wandering streets of London or Amsterdam or driving through bat country from LA to Vegas. Coltrane penned a universal soundtrack that marked many highlights and pulled me out of the doldrums during the lowest of the lowlights.

100 years from now, people will still be listening to Coltrane's music. He achieved immortality. That makes me feel like there is a glimmer of hope in this bleak world. Art is timeless. Amazing music that tickles the soul is universal. Coltrane's inspiration transcends time and space.