Sunday, August 28, 2011


Why today is important to me....

Today is my 31st birthday - I'm celebrating the completion of my 31st lap around the sun.

I am writing from the car in the midst of a very difficult tour, en route from Denver to Salt Lake City. It is difficult for a lot of reasons but the reality is that regardless of everything it has made things crystal clear.....

That's not to say that I wasn't already clear on this subject - rather that through events of this tour the clarity has been crystalized. Almost in a way that I could pull the piece out of my body and hold it up to the light to see the prism glowing.

I am happiest playing music. I am healthiest playing music. I am most alive when I am playing music. I am at peace when I am playing music.

For me it isn't about where I'm going - where my career will end up - who likes or even sees what I create - or any of that. For me it is the necessity of the creation itself. The act of doing it.

The process. The moment. The need to take what is inside and let it out - to share it - to share myself - my voice - with the rest of existence. To be present - To communicate.


I knew I was an artist before I even knew what it meant to be an artist....I just had to create things.
I believe that art is the discipline of being. It is a path that is forged out of highlighting and amplifying what it means to be human - to exist - to think - to be - to act - to interact....dancing with it, in it, around it.....

not everyone is a professional artist - and we don't need everyone to be a professional artist.
But everyone is an artist of their own life. and we do need some folks to be professional artists to articulate the experience and the refine the discipline - to train, to be able to channel and funnel, to trudge through the mud, and sift and imagine and sing with more power - to unify the bring awareness to the fact that we are all a part of the same web, breathing, moving, expanding together...

To be human is to create - we're the only species (that I'm aware of) that can imagine things in our mind and then manifest them in reality....We have conscious creation, beyond just our DNA's need to reproduce itself. We build and color and orchestrate - we flex, expand and contract our hearts, our minds, every aspect of our being.

When I was 11 years old, I tried to kill myself 3 times. The pain of reality, the loneliness, the suffering - it felt like too much to bare.
A voice inside said I was worthless, an accident, a problem, and that I didn't belong here.
But each time, for one reason or another, it didn't take and I continued to suffer.

and then I discovered the most amazing thing....
I started playing the clarinet and when I played music with people (at that time in my band class at school) all of that went away.

I was happy. I was a small part of a larger organism that echoed the beauty of all that is possible - of all existence. Working together to make something greater. I was a part of something - I was necessary to the whole. The feeling didn't happen when I was playing by myself...which is probably why I never practiced :).......but the second I was playing with the group it was transcendent.

Fast forward 20 years...I still suffer, and have suffered - at times immensely and in deafening proportions. I still have times of great loneliness, where the pain feels like a sharpened rock tearing me apart from the inside out.....but now - now I am armed with the truth and I cling to it, sometimes for dear life.

We are never alone.
We are all necessary.
We are all connected - and the web is not only omnipresent, but a beautiful, spectacular, living organism. It inhales and exhales and has and will, infinitely.
We are each a part of the collective body. A hand, a heart, the bowels, weird parts we don't know how to pronounce or what they do, but know we can't survive without, all of it, necessary to each other.

I am human - I am worthy of existence and I am necessary to the whole.

My language is music and every time I play this is what I am saying.
Dance with me. We are each other. I do believe that you are me. and WE are what it is all about.

It is the relationship that is most important - what I call relationship is what some people call God - and there is always a triangle of communication taking place to make that relationship (yourself to others to the environment).

When I'm not playing music you'll find me screaming at the top of my lungs about other peoples creations - trying every second of every day to bring awareness to these seemingly tiny things that I feel are actually THE MOST important things.

Sometimes, in my pursuit to bring awareness to the relationship - to propagate the music - I have drifted down a path of putting my voice second....I get so caught up in sharing everyone else's great contributions that I devalue my own....I start to fall back into that notion that somehow everyone else is more important than I am - that their voice is more important. Even in the transmission of the pure idea it can start to be tarnished. It takes GREAT WORK to stay focused on the value of your own individual voice - on what it is that is right for YOU...not what you can do to make it right /better for everyone else....and it is hard because it is a slippery little sucker that is always changing. The reality is that the best contribution you can make to the whole is by doing what is truly best for you.

In 2009 I experienced kultur shock and like a hallucinatory trip that rewrites your programming or what monks/nuns describe as "the call" I was blessed to be shown living, tangible proof that the most beneficial thing I could possibly do for the collective body is to be fully myself. Hurling all 130 lbs of raw & raucous energy out towards the sun, riding the vibration of the universe full throttle.

so I made a new commitment to myself and to my need to PLAY THE MUSIC. I came home from Siberia and restructured my life. I redefined my priorities. I marked my left forearm with a reminder of the lesson so that I could never forget it, and can never again hide it away from the rest of the world.

In 2010, for my 30th birthday, I went to downtown Seattle and improvised for the hour of my birth. A ritual - an acknowledgment - a promise to myself and to all of you, to the universe at large, that I will do my job. That I will refocus time and time again and I will not shut up. I will play. I will sing. I will dance. I will be my most authentic self.

Today I was originally supposed to producing a a summer festival that I've presented for the last 5 years, heralding the great creative artists of the northwest....upon ending abruptly with a very sad and depressive cancellation, I was offered a tour with Bright Archer...a dear old friend needed support and I was being called in to play.

Today I will play our 9th show in 8 days of tour, with another 2 to go before going home to reset for a personal east coast residency to work on my installation Mother May I.
Before leaving for tour I counted that I have done over 80 public performances since January 2011.

When I turned on my computer to a flood of very personal birthday wishes - messages about inspiration and strength that other people have taken from my contribution, from MY EXISTENCE, I am completely fact, I've pretty much been crying since we left Denver 4 hours ago.

The voice says something different now: we're glad you are you and we're glad you are here.
Keep going. Keep believing. Fight like hell for the truth, defend the beauty, and share yourself openly, unabashedly and without reservation.


"we are all connected - to each other - biologically, to the earth - chemically, to the rest of the universe - atomically"
(Neil Degrasse Tyson)

Monday, August 8, 2011



that's the thing about those Teenage Mutant Butoh Turtles

Tuesday, August 2, 2011



I'm human, you're human, we're all human - it IS a shared experience




photo by Brad Gibson