Monday, March 29, 2004

Here is a new bio I've composed.

SANDMAN: Montana’s Rappin’ Cowboy

Sandman’s music has many facets, but country and rap shine clearest. The influence that drew these two sounds together for him was cowboy poetry, which he heard growing up in Montana and North Dakota. Perhaps the poetry's absence of "music" allowed him to pay closer attention to subtler sounds in the environment, such as the rich vocal inflections of his ranch relatives, the bellowing of Hereford bulls, and his barking Border collie, Heidi. Sometimes the space between the willows and the barbed wire roared the loudest. Sometimes the bludgeoning rhythm of the tractor and post-pounder caught his attention.

Sand lived most of his childhood on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, where his maternal great-grandparents homesteaded in the early 1900’s. He lived in the country seven miles from where he attended school. Hip hop culture hit "the Rez" in 1983, which began with Michael Jackson’s moonwalk and ended with Boogaloo Shrimp’s gravity-defying head-spins. Chris and his 6th-grade friends enthusiastically practiced break dancing, but by the next year most of his pals had lost interest. Sand was hooked on the lyrics and soul, however, and he transferred his passion diagonally to rap. When working with his dad, he'd listen to George Strait and Alabama, but in his spare moments he'd crank Run-DMC and Chaka Khan.

As he progressed through high school, Sand became frustrated with country isolation. Luckily, he discovered both Bob Dylan and Ice T. This music, and the unlikely discovery of early-'70's reggae, allowed him to persevere and finally graduate.

College followed, as did Sand's first rap band, "DJ Dave and Sandman." DJ Dave eventually moved back east, and Sandman, well he fought some forest fires, traveled, and learned to play guitar. In 1993 he moved to Olympia, Washington, to finish college at Evergreen. While there he mingled with the love-punks, anarchists, and riot grrrls, and found himself a home away from home.

Since then Sand has put out fifteen-or-so tapes and CDs and done some touring, sharing bills with acts ranging from Spearhead to Mirah. Sandman makes a lot of people happy and some people angry. His music is political, sexual, and distinctly western. He has reclaimed the word "cowboy" and made it mean something vivid again--something beyond rodeo and Marlboros, Texas oil barons and Toby Keith.

Perhaps Sand has stepped in enough cow manure and listened to enough songs to know that music isn't necessarily more worthwhile than a good night’s rest, a tall glass of water, or silence. It's just another good thing in a world full of many good things. If you're ever in the mood to hear cowboy philosophy and music through the filter of a post-modern troubadour’s hip hop heart, you’ll want to meet Chris Sand, AKA “Sandman”-- Montana’s rappin’ cowboy.
It's 72 degrees outside! I've had a great week-- through the rain and shine.

While it was raining I holed up in my newly-scrubbed shack and read a 750-page novel, Cloudsplitter. Actually, I still have 100 pages to go. It's such a great, great book that I can barely put it down. It's a fictionalized account of the abolitionist John Brown and his endeavors to end slavery. It feels pertinent to the present era because he, like many of us today, worried that his nation was not doing what it was "supposed to" in making the world a better place to live for all humans. I remember while reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, Mr. Shabazz proclaimed that John Brown was the only white person he'd ever trust. By that point, John Brown had been dead for ninety-seven years. I recommend both people, and books.

Ivan and my tour is coming together winningly and I've not been very stressed at all about it this week. Wish you were here. ; )

Monday, March 22, 2004

Durn, I'm uninspired again. Or maybe I'm just too inspired by the nice weather to waste any more time in front of this screen than I have to.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Happy Spring, everybody!

Garf and I just played a show at El Sarape and made $50. My clothes smell of marlboros.

Tomorrow we march against the greedmongers, liars, and war profiteers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!

Yesterday I worked ten hours doing tree removal. The first two hours were spent pruning a jungle of bamboo. My arms and face are still recovering. The small, broken stalks sliced my wrists and forearms and the leaves rubbed their rough spikes across bloodshot eyeballs. (Mel Gibson would have been pleased.) Being a soldier in Viet Nam must have really sucked. Gratefully there were no mosquitoes or shrapnel.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

From a (slightly modified) letter I wrote last Fall:

Dear Mr. Mockesmeller,

Hello. I am writing in regards to your inquiry of becoming a venture capitalist in my new music project. The project I speak of is A Year in the Life of… Slippery Goodstuff, which is a full-length Rap/R & B album I’ve worked steadfastly at over the last fourteen months and which is near completion. If the slogan “sex sells” is accurate then this new CD may very well be my biggest selling work yet, as every song on it works to tell the story of a sex-crazed (but lovable) character by the name of Slippery Goodstuff. Individual songs off of it have already proven to be hugely popular amongst my friends and fans and the hip hop production styles match the works of other currently successful pop and rap stars. This album is my most playful work to date and I believe will prove to be a big hit if promoted correctly, and there is the rub. Another slogan seems appropriate now: “it takes money to make money” which, of course, you know. In my zeal to complete this album, as well as to continue building my reputation as a touring showman, I’ve had to decline job offers that I felt would have sabotaged my career’s momentum. Thus, I have run out of income. My proposal to you is this: lend me $50,000.

Thank you Mr. Crockerella for your consideration in this project. I believe it will not only be financially fruitful to us both but also exciting as we watch this dream unfold.

Chris Sand
Writing feels unnatural today. I think I'll cook instead.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

My shoulder is sore from typing so much. I've been in this computer center for about ten hours now.
Sand Pan's deep thought for the week:

"Is this Music that we channel a Fiery Ball of Mystic-Magic that can not be contained or understood by mortal beings? Is it formed and risen through the shifting, melting sands of Xanadu and delivered to Earth unpenetrable? Will no one understand the Miracle that happens inside our hearts when we hear It?"

Alas, can It truly ever be explained?"

Friday, March 12, 2004

I'm at Evergreen and everything is peaceful again. Leaving my house I smelled the sweetly blooming flowers: trilliums, daffodils, cherry trees, dandelions... a backyard bouquet to savor and cherish. Love everlasting(?)-- Yet, nay! Seasons turn unto the next and perish upon sullen sidewalks.

What to say, what to say? Where's Osama? What's Britney up to? Blah, blah, blah. Who'll win the election? Yada, yada, yada. Nice weather for this time of year. So on and so forth. Janet's boob, the Governator, gay marriages, American Idol... LeBron James in a movie? Aristide kidnapped? My circuits are frying. Spain attacked!! Shazbott-- Asian Bird Flu!? It's hard to sort through sometimes...

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sorry my posts are so scant. I'm in a strange psychic universe currently-- booking shows, hustling work, recovering from tour, and Trisha just got back from Mexico and is staying at my house for two or three weeks until she finds a place. My new computer works good for emails but doesn't allow me to post journal entries which is annoying.

Today I did tree removal. The weather is nice-- 70 degrees! Tomorrow I'll do some carpentry for the Martin Apartments.

When I said 319-JOE made it all the way back to Oly, I didn't tell you the whole story. About forty-five minutes outside of Olympia his windshield-wipers started slowing and the headlights started going dim. By the time I was ten minutes away the wipers stopped altogether and the lights were barely on. Miraculously we crept into my driveway where JOE gave up the ghost; not to start up again. Fortunately, Garf's girlfriend, Marie, is a mechanic, and she diagnosed it as a dead alternator. Yesterday she put a new one in and now JOE and I are cruisin' around town like it's no thang! Garf and I were so lucky we made it to every show on tour and made it all the way home without towing expenses or mechanic fees.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I'm back in Olympia; 319-JOE made it all the way! I swear that car runs on magic.

Although this tour made me rich in many ways, I am now financially in the hole and am racking my brain for ways to pay the last two months of rent, credit card and phone bills. Although I made $150 for shows played and $350 in merch sales, I spent $200 on gas and $310 on Folk Alliance not to mention toll and parking fees, an oil change, food, and countless other expenses.

By next year this time I should be way ahead, but until Summer I will be sweating it out. It's a good thing that Joe didn't break down!

Stay tuned for a tour review... It may take a while, though, as I need to start booking the Spring tour with every free second I have.

I wrote a song last week which Garf helped out on. Here it is:

Jade's Song

Oh, chain-smoker
Sex, drugs and poker
Alcohol... goodbye

I did not know her
And I did not hold her
Mardi gras... goodbye

We're still so young, Rachel
Shoplifting newspapers
Smoke in your eye... just cry, just cry

Oh, sweet soldier
Blonde-haired bull-dozer
Last cigarette... goodbye.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

We rolled into Nevada City and parked next to a theater that coincidentally was selling tickets for the musical Woody Guthrie's American Song. It was, luckily for us, "pay what you can night" so we bought four tickets for $15 and I invited my friends Cedar and Ruby who live half-an-hour outside of town (in a tee pee and on the land adjacent to the poet Gary Snyder's property). I actually once acted in this very same play back in 1996, but the Nevada City version was higher end. Afterwards Garf and I decided to drive to Corvallis which took ten hours. I drove until 6:00 AM and then we switched at Grant's Pass, OR and I slept until Eugene. I have a massive caffeine headache right now. We are at my cousins, Kirby and Megan's, house preparing to watch Megan perform in an oratorio this evening.

Garf and I are really bonding as bandmates and have had some great late-night conversations. At one point during a cosmic philosophical moment at a truck-stop near Redding a huge white owl flapped overhead between the moon and Jupiter. This morning we saw a fat bald eagle sitting in apple tree next to the river. We are very hopeful about the future.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Nothin' much to say w/ only 1:13 seconds time left on my credit card/email account. It looks like we'll be off to Nevada City now.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Today was a magical, Springish one with flowers and sea lions and birds. Garf and I walked along Fisherman's Wharf. Tomorrow we may head to Nevada City.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Leaving Hollywood. Off to San Francisco! No time, no time. Let's just say Garf and I are having a swell adventure in the land of palm trees.