Saturday, April 29, 2006

The most popular coaster in all the world

I fear rejection. I can't help it. I was teased horribly growing up and I am a sensitive person. I was the kid that nobody would sit with in the cafeteria. I spared myself from feeling rejection by just not eating lunch. I was a long distance runner, so I would do laps around the track after classes and then scurry off to my voice lessons. After that, I would rush home and eat an entire box of cereal in one sitting. God bless my mother who had to do the grocery shopping. I was this extremely skinny boy with twig arms and when I graduated from high school I weighed 134 lbs. I am the same height now and weight 160lbs if that gives you any idea of how tragically twiggy I was.

I was called a faggot on a daily basis in high school and unlike some people who can develop this tough skin or retort with some witty comment, I would cry. Once the tears started to flow from my eyes, I would cry for hours and I would be called a faggot once again for crying so, I would just cry that much harder. Slowly I would drift further and further into myself where everyone and everything around me was nothing more than distant echoes.

Something happened when I turned 13. The girls began to bleed. The boys began to grow stubble and somehow when the hormone button was switched on, it just all went wrong.

Rejection and fear of it... I carry them with me even today as I am in the final stages of completing my first album. I think of disappointing albums I've purchased where I ended up finding some alternate use for these cd's. I once scraped ice and snow off of my car window with a cd. I won't say whose album it was so I don't ruffle any feathers. I just hope that my cd when completed doesn't end up being the most popular coaster in the world.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Serendipity and the Phoenix (Arizona)

Last night I went for a long walk, a seven mile walk, to be fairly exact. I started in the 20's in Manhattan and ended up in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I took the Manhattan Bridge to avoid the tourists and to allow for singing to myself.

I think people see me and think I'm crazy when I'm on my long walks. These are the journeys I take to have conversations with myself and finish the lyrics to songs I'm working on, so I sometimes walk and sing and scat and mumble.

This time, the walk was all about the sirens of Brooklyn. When I started I only had lyrics for the 1st verse, but when I was done walking I had a 2nd verse and the start of the final verse.

'The sirens.." is a song about a relationship with someone who abandoned me in a bar in Arizona with very little money and no means of getting back to my hotel. So, I'm singing lyrics inside my head "I'm sitting here in Arizona..." when a man stops me.

Man: Excuse me, but I'm lost. I'm not from here. I'm visiting from Phoenix Arizona and I need to find the train to get me back to Manhattan.

Me: That's so funny. I'm writing a song in my head right now about Phoenix Arizona.

Man:(awkward smile that implies that he thinks I'm crazy) That's great. So, can you tell me where I can catch the train?

I gave the man directions and we parted ways.

This all seemed like a sign to me. After being left in the bar in Arizona, I walked three miles in green rubber clogs, which felt like the longest walk of my life.

photo credit-Carrie Thomas

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Burrito and the 'Well Formed Man'

There are people starving in China. I'm not sure who they are. I've never seen a picture with a face to attach to this starvation, but ever since I was a child I've been told that they exist. They are always a topic of conversation when there is still food on my plate but my stomach is stretched beyond capacity.

If I don't clean my plate by eating that last piece of chicken or 3 lonely green beans, then I have somehow failed as a human being and let these poor starving Chinese people down. I have often wished that there were a service to overnight my leftovers to china. It would make me feel much better about my wastefulness.

I bring this topic up, because there is a burrito in my fridge that taunts me like the tell tale heart. It is a half eaten shrimp and steak burrito that I keep meaning to eat and now I think it may be unsalvageable. If I throw it away, then I have admitted my failure and disgraced my honor. If I eat it, it could quite possibly make me hurl.
I am a wasteful American and I feel shame.

Last night I was back in the studio with David editing and rerecording some vocals for 'Well Formed Man'. This is quite possibly my most experimental work to date and has been a sort of painful process. The entire song is comprised of only vocals with multiple layers. It has seen multiple incarnations and I have scrapped so many different versions of it, but I have finally hit the home stretch and it is coming together splendidly. I think the final version for the album will be sorted out by next week, which is so exciting.

photo credit-Carrie Thomas

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Sirens of Brooklyn

You held me in your arms that night
under the cold gaze of one street light
after all of the others had gone to bed

and the sirens of brooklyn were screaming and wailing
like something was burning or someone was dead.

--Rough Lyrics from 'The Sirens of Brooklyn'....
© 2006 Robert German

photo credit- Carrie Thomas

Monday, April 24, 2006

My Bloody Vinyl Time

As a child I was not a good team player.
Whenever we were assigned group projects, I would do all of the work on my own and then tell the members of the group what they needed to know for the presentation the next day.

I have become much more relaxed at my ripe old age, but I still feel on some level that if you want anything to get done, you have to do it yourself. I pride myself on the fact that I am involved with every aspect of my music; writing, playing, producing, and rolling up my sleeves and doing the dirty work.

Friday we had the assembly line going full throttle with the amazing *Censored* at the helm. So, if you received a copy of the limited edition Vinyl for Marlboro Man, then more than likely some part of the process of packaging that vinyl was done by little old me. Oh and I had an accident with a tape dispensor, so if I bled on your cardboard box I appologize as profusely as I bleed. I can truly say my blood, sweat, and tears went into this one. haha. Luckily I haven't lost any fingers yet.

Yesterday I went into the studio to do editing with David. Lately, I've become a nitpicker, focusing on the tiniest things now that the songs are entering into their final stages. I spent the most time focused on "Fishnet Sailor", which is sounding so technicolor. I also removed a vocal intro for "Follow", which I think makes it flow so much better. I never feel like a song is done. No matter what they are always works in progress. It's hard getting to that place where I can listen to something and not want to improve it.

Tomorrow I go back at it, nitpicking, that is.

Right now I'm in the process of writing a new song called "The Sirens of Brooklyn"...well at least for now that is its title...but I feel that this one is an emotional, troubled child, and might just change her name while I'm not looking.

The Finnish Wonder, Miss Helve, sent me an article about a Finnish band that is really shaking things up...haha. A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

photo credit-Carrie Thomas

Friday, April 21, 2006

SoHo, Chinatown, Brooklyn, Today

SOHO-Last evening I had drinks in SOHO with the lovely miss Kim Levering. It was such a beautiful evening so, we sat outside next to chattering French girls. Apparently we chose the intersection I now will think of as hotdog cart highway. Somewhere in the ballpark of ten hotdog carts passed by as we sat enjoying the perfect weather and disconnected conversation.
As we were sitting, we were approached by a small boy holding a piece of paper, followed by his father who was pushing a stroller. The very cute little boy handed the paper to kim who began to read... "I have 6 children to feed..."

Kim: You have 6 kids to feed? You're a little young to have 6 kids.

She reached into her pocketbook and pulled out a fistfull of change and handed it to the boy as the father looked on. It broke my heart to look at this little boy with his big brown eyes. I found myself filled with anger that I wanted to direct at the father. He was using his child to beg for him. He did not have the balls to beg himself. This poor child with his innocence, exploited by his father.

The little boy skipped over to the father, handed him the change, and then moved on to the next group of people on the street. The father followed, pushing the stroller. Coming down the block was a woman holding a child and pushing a stroller followed by twin girls wearing kicky red matching outfits. The twins like the boy were approaching people on the street with a similar note. The two scenes merged and there they were together, the two parents and the 6 children...strolling off into the sunset.

CHINATOWN-After our SoHo drinks, Kim and I walked down to chinatown, our hunger doing the steering. We passed the fishy smelling shops with unidentifiable sea creatures crawling around in their tanks and the crazy fruit carts parked outside with all kinds of fruit that look much like they were picked on mars and brought back to our planet for their exotic appeal. We settled at a Malaysian restaurant on Baxter street and shared a noodle dish.

Along comes a woman who looks about 80 wearing an outfit that can only be described as a Vietnamese rice picking uniform, hat and all. She is balancing bags on a broomstick over her back, which she is using to separate the different types of recyclables. Pure brilliance, she was. She looked as though she had worked hard all her life and that it would take a strong wind to ruffle her feathers. I don't know her, but I respect her. I also can't do this scene justice because it was more surreal than I can properly explain.


I ended my evening,hanging out with a group of friends, some of whom I haven't seen in quite a while. All in all it was a great day...gotta love New York :)

This morning I chatted with my mother about everything and nothing including the fact that my grandmother is turning 85 this weekend.

I spoke with Carrie (Carrie Thomas, not my sister)about our weekend plans. She just updated her photos on her flickr site and I'm in love with this picture of the New York Skyline taken from a cab.

The lovely Carrie Thomas is a fellow Brooklynite and additionally she is a very talented writer, photographer, and Jacqueline of all trades. I think her photography really captures New York and the soul of her subjects and yet always has a sense of humor.

ooh... I was excited to discover this morning that Logo Online wrote a little snippet about the single. Yay! :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Purchase Brokeback Mountain and get my single

I'm very excited to announce that when you order a copy of Brokeback Mountain through Wolfe Video, you also receive the limited edition single for my song,
Marlboro Man.

I'm so excited to place my order as I still haven't seen the movie.

The CD includes

1. Marlboro Man(Single)
2. Marlboro Man(Radio)
3. Marlboro Man(Jefrodisiac's Italo-Disco mix)
4. Marlboro Man(Joeski's Ride Captain Ride mix)

An additional mix was done by Joeski, called the Dirty Cowboy Mix for the limited edition 12" vinyl.

This is such an exciting time and I send heartfelt thanks out to those who have been so supportive of my music and have contributed hours of their time and love.

Get your copy

Valley of the Dolls


I watched the movie, Valley of the Dolls.
This experience just affirmed my love for Patty Duke.
I used to love the Patty Duke Show reruns on Nick at Night. Oh, the good ol' days.

Neely O'Hara: Boobies, boobies, boobies. Nothin' but boobies. Who needs em?

Quote courtesy of IMDb

photo credit-Carrie Thomas

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Diary of an Addict/a cry for help

10:30 am
I have dirty little secrets. These are songs that I listen to as guilty pleasures. Right now it is Natasha Bedingfield's 'These Words (I love you I love you)'. This is not even something that I would normally listen to, but it's infectious.

12:00 pm
I can't get it out of my head. I find myself walking down the street humming the tune or full on singing the lyrics. I admit it. I love it. It's a good song.

1:30 pm
It makes me smile. I don't care. I feel no shame. Natasha. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

4:00 pm
I can't stop myself. This song is pure uncut Crack!
I may just disappear into an alley with an i-pod and neglect personal hygene and
all obligations to listen to this song on repeat. You may never hear from me again.

10:00 pm
This is a cry for help.
Someone, play some Joni Mitchell Court and Spark fast. I need smelling salts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Etiquette, I will adhere to this.

Recently I was sitting with my friend,Richard, perusing the pages of the most recent book of Etiquette from Emily Post. Well, now it's Peggy Post who is the authority carrying on the family business.

It is proper etiquette to return someone's call in a timely fashion, if they leave you a voice message. There are times that I have not myself been the best at this and for any of you who have been on the other end of my rudeness, I apologize.

For those of you who have not returned my calls and claim to be my friend, please re-read the paragraph above and understand I expect this of you.

photo credit- Carrie Thomas

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Attached to my meals

Barely an eyebrow had lifted when I turned around to the woman and told her
that she should shave her legs more often. Mind you, she was not a stranger. We had become familiar enough that I could tell her these things. After all, my hand did graze her leg and I did lose a layer of skin. There was justification no chauvinistic malice involved in my statement. So, please forgive me if I have offended your sensibilities.

We forget at times that women and men are both just beasts, groomed and polished for a walk through the park and then down to the meatpacking district. We can pretend to slum it like the people who actually have money, but want to look like people who are barely getting by. We actually don't have money, and we wear no pretense.

I've never been one to even desire having lots of money or fame or any of those things that constitute some sort of American dream. I just want to know that the next meal will be coming and that I have somewhere to rest my head, even if it is someone's couch. I just want to be happy and maybe to be loved and held. These are simple desires.

I like dives. I like motels with missing letters and movie theaters that play only one movie about a week before it comes out on Video. I grew up mostly in Kansas and Oklahoma in small towns. These are the towns that have been forgotten by the rest of the world, in dire need of a new coat of paint, but barely getting by. These are towns where people "come to town" from their farms actually wearing cowboy boots crusted with cowshit, not a fashion statement.

We milk cows not because we're Paris Hilton doing the simple life, but because we need milk for our oatmeal. We slop hogs from a bucket of odds and ends leftovers kept under grandma's kitchen sink. We go into the dark creepy chicken coup and remove eggs from underneath angry hens as they peck our hands. We fry those eggs in a thick black cast-iron skillet with the grease from bacon that came from a pig we killed with our bare hands. We are closer to nature and family and life and poverty and God, than many will ever be.

The older I get, the more I miss this kind of simple existence. You lose respect for the planet and for life when you buy your food from a grocery store. The first time you eat the meat of an animal that you raised and loved and became attached to, is such a life changing experience. Maybe it's why I was a vegetarian for 4 years. I became too attached to my meals. I wish I were more attached now.

photo credit- Carrie Thomas

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