February 2018
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after-birthday drumming meditation 2.20.18

“History of the Groove” audible now available on itunes

“History of the Groove” Audible now available on itunes and at Audible.com

This is closer to what I think I am going for with the drumming/trance/talking performance. I like how it turned out and plan on doing more!


Drumming for tears

Drumming for tears
Two women entered the shop, got to talking. Showed one of them the downbeat while her friend browsed crystals and pendants, swayed by the beat. I got her to sit with a drum on a stand, -relax the knees. She found the groove, settled in while I rattled on, riffing off the cosmic carrier wave. She tears up and slowly starts to let the crying happen. Its a moving event. She lit up. “I’ll be back.”

“Your store told me to come in.”

“Your store told me to come in.”
Is a refrain we hear a lot. From different kinds of people. Not just ethnic gift buyers, but also Millenials with their green drinks, city employees from SMPD and SMFD. Local trophy wives with their trophy children. The older SM residents who know us and smile as they come by to visit and marvel that we are still here after 33 years. Also wisened world travelers who sense the otherness in the shop. But once they are in the door, I chat them up, “You’re invited to our drumming meditation workshops.” They are usually intrigued, “I have never heard of drumming meditation!”
This is where I get them….”Here let me show you.” I murmur sliding behind my djembe and tambourine. I play a single downbeat in the middle of the drumhead. It reverberates through their body and their souls. The drum is special; carved just for us by Jumoke’s people in Ghana. The browsers smile with surprise, it is suddenly a very moving experience for them. “The floor is up off the ground, so we have subsonic resonance in this old Crsaftsman House.” I explain. “The first thing I said when I walked in here thirty one years ago was; This is a great drum room! It reminded me of the drum booths in all the major recording studios. They had to build those rooms to get the right drum sound. This room is perfect. It’s like playing inside an old Martin Dreadnaught guitar. I chat some more and settle into a quiet moderate groove as they experience the feeling that cannot be described in words. They usually go to trance in less than seven seconds. They then nod their heads, “Now I know why I came in here. I need this.” They may sit and play a drum for a few minutes. They invariably come back for the drumming meditation workshops and they often book private one-on-one sessions with us to use the drum to relax, clear out their mind and focus on their positive goals. I learn so much every time I do this. The Universe wants this download of consciousness to happen.


“Decline of Western Civilization” pics

“Decline of Western Civilization” punk music documentary 1980 by Penelope Spheeris. I was in the Mosh Pit at Club 88 in West LA., minding my own business listening to the music, “X” was playing, but some poser wanted to drink my beer. I had to straighten him out.

I guess I was a fixture in the punk scene. Played in a few bands. Nothing that great. Nothing like playing with Tim Buckley, A lot like Bethlehem Asylum energy. I was researching for screenplays I was writing for an indie producer, “War Zone” and “Saint Sid” Never got made. But this punk Doc got a lot of exposure. At the premier all the punks took turns wearing my hat.

Paradiddle Meditation

Drumming to Alleviate Digital Neurosis

Drumming to alleviate Digital Neurosis
The rate of change in our digital culture is increasing exponentially. Our personal operating systems are speeding up to match the faster devices. People talk faster, brains try to process faster. Our bodies are driven to go faster. All of this leads to illness if we are not paying attention. There was no digital neurosis fifty years ago. Now everyone is struggling with the distractions of being on line all the time. Drumming is one of the few activities that can free us from the digital cave of dreams that has been woven around us and our bank accounts.

New Grooves

“I’ll tell you when to Invade Cuba!”

Papa John was our “manager” of sorts. Bethlehem Asylum was ensconced in a big South Florida coral rock mansion, living the life of rock stars in Coconut Grove. Papa John appeared in our lives from out of nowhere, but he took care of us in interesting ways. He was a formidable physical opponent, so we always got paid at the gigs around Miami. He was a combat veteran from the Korean War. He then moved on to private clandestine work for various intelligence agencies as well as doing double time work for the Columbian and Jamaican cartels ruling the North Caribbean. He was very well connected. For some reason, he liked our band. He was middle aged and built like a whiskey barrel, Under his longish curly almost greying hair, long hippie mutton chops and occasionally wearing granny glasses, was a guy who had traveled the world killing people and blowing things up. He had also been the president of the Camancheros Motorcycle Club in San Bernardino, California and was a personal friend of Sonny Barger, the president of the Hell’s Angels. Mother Magoo funeral procession featured Papa John, Terry the Tramp at the front of the hog motorcade that stretched for miles.
One tropical afternoon Captain Ego, our bass player, was sitting at the dining room table with me and Papa John. He started complaining that the band wasn’t making enough money. When Papa John finally had enough he respectfully explained something. He was always very polite and easy going, but at this moment he was flustered enough by Jim’s complaining, so he explained some things to us.
“If you want to make some quick easy money, just go out into the everglades with some guns. Do some target practicing. Pretty soon some guys are gonna show up. They have white shirts on and black ties. They’ll have on sunglasses. They drive big black cars. He’s gonna come up and ask you, “What are you doing?”
You tell him. “We’re going to invade Cuba! Cuba Libre!”
Then the guy is gonna ask for your name and number, then he’s gonna give you ten thousand dollars in cash, and he’ll say,
“”I’ll tell you when to invade Cuba!”