Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'm on vacation today. Hitch-hiking a little around the NW before I leave. There really is a lot of history here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I've been getting some cool emails this last week:

"After seeing your concert and reading your zine I was completely enchanted with your complete love and dedication to your music. As a musician and songwriter, it is very comforting to see a performer who dedicates himself completely to the music inside of him with complete disregard for radio or financial success. You have the spirit and the talent of the greats and I hope one day you will receive the recognition you so rightfully deserve." C___ from Mt. Vernon, WA.

"I am in a Poetry of Rock class...studying the history of rock and roll...lyrically and socially. We are required to give presentations for a final project and my group will be giving a presentation on Sandman the Rappin Cowboy, the evolution and influences of your music, at least as much as we know from the music and lyrics...just wanted to drop you a line and let you know I appreciate you and your music." D____ from Fargo, ND

"I saw you for the first time at the Mississippi studios a few weeks ago, and I would love to see you again...I bought a cd at the show and I'm in love." L____ from Portland, OR.

"your show was amazing and i am becoming a big fan of the rappin cowboy...i have been listening to all 3 of your albums and getting songs stuck in my head...i grew up on a farm in new jersey listening to hank it is great to get back into some funky country music." K____ from S.F., CA.

"Thank you for playing the Magic Theatre last night. The performances were breathtaking. I brought two people who work on the air force base nearby (we're all enlisted) and they really enjoyed the time they had there. I have been a big fan of yours since crimethinc. introduced me to your cd." K____ from Nevada City, CA.

"Hey sandman,
I hope you NEVER EVER EVER stop blogging... I get so much enjoyment reading you every day.... I just love your words: so free and inspired - so refreshing..." A_____ from Oahu, Hawaii.

"Hi, Karen:
My good friend, Chris "Sandman" Sand will be in the area and would LOVE to play that evening as our replacement. Chris is a true bonafide songwriter, an amazing singer and genuine cowboy poet...honest to God if there was one unsigned, underground folk musician traveling the circuit today that I can vouch for its Chris. He is the REAL deal!" J___ from St. Paul, MN.

Thanks everyone for your kind words. They fuel me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Insane in the membrane. That's how I feel. Throat hurts, too. Today's gig in Mt. Vernon was a sweet ending to a month of fun shows with Jen Grady. I even sold a pillow case (the first in forever). I made 1000% more profit during this one afternoon than the last seven combined.

And that is why I must give up touring for a while. (Just until I get back on my feet--financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.) The unpredictable and meager earnings have driven me to the poorest state in the Union. I had my phone interview today for the curator position at the Dunn County Museum in Dunn Center, ND, and I have a hunch I'll get it. It starts in three weeks.

If anyone wants to drive me to North Dakota next week let me know ASAP--I'll pay your gas. The car I meant to buy has a faulty engine.
Giles and I recorded a rap album today called (return to) the blackhole...(of outerspace). His beats fit with my lyrics to create over ten new masterpieces including: "Monday Morning," "Jihad," "Cloudsplitter," "Galahad," "Pillow Cases," "Tiny Spy Camera," "Gateway Cock," "8 Days a Week of Peece," "Time-Released Tattoo," and "There's Nothing Wrong With You." Lo-fi, perhaps, but fresh!

Last night's show with MoonCat rocked. More on that later... I should sleep. I have to leave Olympia at 7:30 tomorrow morning to get to the Mt. Vernon lunch time show at the college.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The tour is over. The rental car has been safely returned. Now I must prepare for tonight--my final Oly performance before departing to North Dakota. DJ MoonCat the Astrologer will be there. So will Jen Grady. Lots of people will be there.

Yesterday was spent soaking at Breitenbush Hot Springs.

Today is Easter. Happy Easter, y'all!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Just passing through the transcendental villa of Mt. Shasta. Aliens, bigfoots, crystals, blonde Jesus murals, whatnot. After last night's performance in Nevada City we drove here, and arrived at 4:00 a.m. At 3:40 a.m. we saw the famous Walking Man. He was hoofin' it south on the I-5; he wore not much more than a shroud of clear plastic. Jen saw him last time she toured through this area.

The Nevada City show was cool. Didn't sell much of anything, but made enough at the door to pay for my third of hotel expenses here in Mt. Shasta. The venue was called the Magic Theatre. Before the show we watched a great documentary on the seminal New York punk band, the Ramones. Nevada City is a mecca to which I will return and return until crowds of 200 or more pack the rustic rafters of Glory, and crown me the great Prince of Gold.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The sun has muscled from its Alcatraz straitjacket as we prepare to swim inland.

The venue we played at last night was intimate--a little downtown theatre in big Frisco. The word "Frisco" is shunned by the locals, but I'm a tourist. We played with two excellent bands--Ray's Vast Basement and Happiness.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I've spent all of today's writing creativity on job application shenanigans and I'm spent. I spent and got spent--and ultimately that's the problem with jobs in the first place. How do we remain creative forces when we're having to force creativity? To pay rent it seems we must remain spent which I resent. (I could be full of shit, too. Sand Pan hates responsibility, commitment, and the ilk. Sand Pan is dying a slow death. Sand Pan is an illusion.)

Last night I visited the Stanford campus where Jen and I played live. A sweet gang of four high school anarcho kids joined us in the studio. They'd heard my tunes via CrimethInc. It was pleasing to have them as an audience.

My pal, Jack Norton, just offered me a string of midwest shows starting April 11th. This might conflict with my potential curator job, though. Ay caramba.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hey from San Fran! It's raining hard and windy. I'm positioned inside a fourth-floor apartment that overlooks the Mission District. Apparently a tornado recently touched down within the city limits. Hmm.

 I'm staying at the pad of Kara and Daniel, friends of Quinn. Or to put it another way--my ex-girlfriend's boyfriend's ex-girfriend and boyfriend's crib. Fortunately we all get along great. The show at Rite Spot last night went well in spite of not having a p.a. system. A lot of people, whom I didn't know, were there specifically to see me. My excellent friends, Annessa and Jolene, brought their friends too. Jen and I debuted the song "Tsunami (My Soul)," and her cello sounds good and sinister on it.

We sold a couple of our brand new, collaborative cds: Love's Hangover Sale: part 2. Sadly, for a perfectionist like me, the lack of mastering on it means there are digital clicks between songs for this first batch of thirty. Before I move back to North Dakota I'll need to fix that. Below is the song order:

1. Nebraska
2. Storage Unit 209
3. I Still Miss Someone
4. Sarina
5. Johnson
6. Jack Potter's Courtin'
7. Sol que tu Eres
8. Friendster Testimonial
9. Take Me (Ridin' in my Car)
10. Ol' Highway 90
11. Jade's Song
12. Callin' You

Now I'm pointing my rampant slackaholism (I just invented that word, I think) towards a second sequel album, (return to) the blackhole... (of outerspace). The first one-- blackhole... (of outerspace), was recorded in 1997 by Giles O'Dell, and only had six songs. It was a rap, cassette-only release. Giles will also make the beats for this one, but hopefully we'll pack in twice as many songs. The rule to the "blackhole" series is that we can only spend one day crafting each tape (or in this case, cd). I mean I can prewrite lyrics, and Giles can prepare beats, but we can't start the recording process until whichever day we choose to begin.

Stephan Smith, whom I toured with in the Autumn, just called to announce the birth of his daughter, Noelwynn (sp?). She's beautiful, he reports. I hope to see her, and her dad, before the year's out.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Quinn, Jen, and I rented a car and just now pulled into Ashland, OR. We're looking for a hotel, but we're in a hostel. A hotel will be cheaper. I'm taking advantage of the hostel's internet.
Thirty limited-edition Love's Hangover Sale part twos are ready for purchase. They're "limited" because the art work has the first and last song reversed. Future releases will have the order correct. Collector's items! That's all we have for the tour which means we'll likely sell out before it's over. This cd will be the shortest (12 song/30 minutes), rawest (produced on a budget of $70...and, as yet, unmastered), quickest (recorded within the span of three, 4-hour sessions during the last two weeks), and best (but only if you like your sonic landscapes rugged and ripe). The packaging, though, is the finest I've ever seen! No joke. Thanks again to Jen's stewardess mom, Lisa Guzman Steiger.

I've decided to move out of the ABC House tomorrow so as to save on rent for the last half of the month. I'll probably be up all night preparing for tour and also moving. It's 1 a.m.--I'd better start.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I spent two hours earlier today addressing envelopes for a company and got paid 25 cents per. I finished forty, and thus earned $5.00/hr. My friend Trisha finished twice as many in the same amount of time. We should of split the total profits in half (I'm kidding.)

Tonight was spent recording the final song for Love's Hangover Sale pt. two at Carl Dexter's studio. Chad plays drums, Jen harmonized and rocked cello, and Carl set down piano and electric guitar. It's another CLASSIC without a doubt! Carl's got the midas touch. The song is called "Nebraska." Tomorrow will be spent burning multiple copies of the new 12-song cd, and packaging it. Jen's mom, Lisa, made a bunch of cloth cd cases with the same drawing that Tae Won Yu did of the first Love's Hangover Sale, but with Jen drawn standing next to me in a skirt and flip flops. The drawing and song titles are inked into the cloth somehow.

Friday, March 18, 2005

This computer is effed. Or else Blogger is. Its been taking five times as long to enter blogs.

Just returned from my second, Thursday night, Portland show in a row. This one at Mississippi Pizza. It was the "false-start tour kick-off hootenanny." We're back in Oly for forty-eight hours and then head straight to San Francisco for three days of musical gaiety. Jen and I got chauffeured in my pal Samuel's rent-a-car. Before the show I had a meeting with a record executive in Vancouver, WA. She wants to help me out. I'll keep you abreast.

P.s. The show was not spectacular, but good enough for pizza eaters. The highlight was seeing old friends and relatives; Kirby and Megan Sand (my cousins) came up from Corvallis. Before the show I silk screened thirteen special-edition St. Patrick's Day pillow cases with green ink-- sold one.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Olympia had its first cold, rainy day in over a month. The sun came out along with a big, shiny rainbow. It made me think of St. Paddy's day. Here's an Irish verse:

May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two
May the sun always shine on your windowpane
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain
May the hand of a friend always be near you
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you

Here's another that my mom sent this morning:

When the first light of sun-
Bless you.
When the long day is done-
Bless you.
In your smiles and your tears-
Bless you.
Through each day of your years-
Bless you.

Simplicity is the new complexity. I give a shout out to my 100% Irish Grandma, Julia Viola O'Sullivan Herak.

May we all get lucky before midnight!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Uh oh. The pre-tour bottle-neck mud slide is happening. Today was way busy, and tomorrow more so. Sleep is imperative. I must go howl in a deep lagoon, now.

G'night green glass goblin. G'night nymph. G'night.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
--Mary Oliver

I like this poem. I like poetry. I wonder if I'll end up bearded and cosmic in my old age. Good chance of that if I live that long. My walking stick will be a gnarled cedar limb. My old sombrero will become my faded crown. Walt Whitman + Willie Nelson + __________. (You can fill in the blank under comments.) Eminem, Marvin Gaye, John Brown?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The breakfast show was cool. And weird. I can't talk about it. Ahh, it's sad. I think I'm really leaving this time. People were singing along over their pancakes. A lot of them came especially to see me. I felt shy. I played horribly and they all wanted more, more, more. Olympia breaks my heart.

Cry for me Nina, Sarina, Calvina, and Magdalena. Why do I deserve you?
Creativity has reached a boiling point. I'm starting to look forward to heading back to North Dakota just to get a breather. Tonight I put up my Baseball Card Art Show at a make-shift gallery. My short story Sand Pan! is on hold for the moment. The cd with Jen is still in the works. I just played two shows in Oregon. Madeline came along. The first was in Portland at Mississippi Studios with the incredible Hamell On Trial; the venue owner said it was the best show he'd ever had there. Then, last night I did a three-hour gig at the Voodoo Lounge in Astoria. The crowd was way into it, and I sold plenty of of merch. I heard a comment from someone who said he'd seen over a hundred shows there and that mine was possibly at the top. The two day journey was good for the ego and pocket book. Tomorrow morning I do a pancake breakfast here in Olympia.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I just returned from two days on the road doin' shows. I'll write more asap.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Today in the shower, euphoria washed over me and a spontaneous prayer was sucked from my lungs that came out my mouth in a reverse whisper. I shivered and heard these words:

"Dear God, eject me from this life...eject me from this box. Send me."

It sounds ridiculous, now, but at the time it seemed profound.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I had a good time in Shelton. I played for half an hour and then got asked about seventy questions by a panel. It was a Rock & Roll history class, so I was honored to be asked to visit and play. The questions ranged from, "What kind of guitar do you play?" to "Do you believe in the institution of marriage?" I'm not the best speaker, but I enjoyed the opportunity to practice. On Thursday Scream Club will be doing the same thing. I may go listen as an audience member.

This afternoon Madeline treated me to lunch-- blackberry pancakes. Best ever.

Right now I'm off to mix down the new cd with Jen! Ciou.
Tomorrow I'll perform/speak in a college classroom in Shelton. I'll earn $100. I look forward to the questions the students ask; they've researched me.

By the way, the director of International A&R and Acquisitions Division of B.R. Entertainment Complex, Inc, Louis Vozza,. out of Fairfield, NJ wrote me a letter complimenting "Scapegoat Song" which he got a copy of. He writes: "Our initial plan calls for the master audio/visual production of one song, with the goal of eventually procuring an album deal from a record label/publisher, and/or third party distribution company, or any endeavor that furthers your musical career." The catch is that I'd pay half the expenses--"$3,000-$4,000." Whatever, Mr. Vozza. I can't even pay my monthly minimum credit card fee anymore.

The warm weather continues to astonish me.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

My first perfect weekend in a while--I did nothing except lounge. More grass. More birds. More Madeline.

Tomorrow it's back to the brambles with Lenny, which is idyllic too.

Here's a flyer that my friend Giles made in 1998 for a show I did with Spearhead. Here's another for a show I did with Giles' band. Here's one featuring my old hip hop jug band the Workhorses of Yesteryear. And of course, the classic Slippery G. Giles deserves a genius grant for all he does. Wait until you hear the new "Highway Man" song he produced with him, me, Calvin and Andras on vocals. He'll be performing on KAOS on March 9th at 9 p.m. I might join him for a song we co-wrote. Here's a flyer he made for that show.
Today was what a Saturday should be. Slept in. Met up with Madeline at noon. She serenaded me with a Bach sonata on her violin. We drove out to an obscure park and explored a fingerlet of the Sound. Then we picnicked; I contributed the drinks and snacks and she brought the savory three-course meal. We lay on the green grass and listened to the seals and birds. Around dinner time I met up with my friends Autumn and Jesse at Denny's for coffee and fries. Then at 9:00 p.m. I met up with Madeline again. We stopped at the CrimethInc. headquarters and borrowed a movie from Scotty. He gave me a copy of the new book: Recipes for Disaster.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Here's one description of the mythic, American cowboy: "...a man who sang for his own comfort in a harsh and lonely land. He was a man far from home and very removed from any of the refinements of civilization. Even the toughest cow waddie knew a yearning for some of the tenderer things to leaven the raw stuff of his life. His ballads he sang to keep himself company, to hearten his comrades, and to blow off steam. . . They were largely quiet songs, but fresh with the vitality of the new land with its rolling prairies and lonesome trails."
Urghh. My house mate accidentally erased my entry while I was in the bathroom.

The jist of what I'd wrote was--it's been awhile since I've had any romance but that I got asked on a date for tomorrow! As Calvin sings, "Love will come back again..."

Here's another quote: "Even a kick in the caboose is a step forward."

And another: "It don't matter so much how long a ride you have, as how well you ride it."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants ... re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem."

Walt Whitman
His simplicity confuses me the way that Marx and Emma Goldman and Christ do. Who are these people?
I'd like to travel again--Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia. The USA is like a snake charmer. My fangs don't know what to do with themselves. (Has our military actually been stretched to the breaking point by the occupation of a single weak country--Iraq? The Bush regime is like Salvador Dali on coke! It's bullshit.)

Yesterday I watched Casa Blanca for the 20th time. It gets better every time. Today Lenny and I tackled weeds again.

Tonight I will start organizing my stray rhymes--I have three thick folders filled with them. Giles and I plan to collaborate on a new rap cd sometime soon. He'll make the beats. I'm technologically privileged.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Last evening was spent finishing the Sandman and Jen Grady cd. There's still the mixing and mastering and sequencing, but the recording part's complete. Here's a sampling of what we did yesterday: "Testimonial," "Ol' Highway 90," "It's Good to Be Awake When She Arrives," "Miss Rodeo Montana (Says She Loves Me)," "Crazy Animals," "Storage Unit 209," "Callin' You" (an old-time traditional), "I Still Miss Someone" (by Johnny Cash), "Are They Gonna Make Us Outlaws Again" (by James Talley), and a gorgeous Latino migrant worker song that Jen does a capella of which I forgot the title. Jen accompanies me on all of these except "Testimonial" and "Storage Unit 209." A woman named Madeline is the only other featured musician. She plays fiddle on "Jack Potter's Courtin'" and "Jade's Song." I met Madeline a week ago, and she expressed interest in making music with me. Auspiciously, I ran into her at Evergreen during the first recording session and she agreed to return to yesterday's session. It was lucky for us, because Jen hurt her wrist and wasn't able to play cello on any tracks. I think this album will be surprisingly good. I'd imagined it to be a sort of "throw away" album; just something to document Jen's and my musical relationship. But something undeniably charming has arisen from the ashes of our romance. Like a fuzzy gremlin.

This might be the album that Calvin Johnson, of K Records, was hoping for after he heard Love's Hangover Sale. It might even be the album that Barefoot Scotty, at CrimethInc., had hoped for after Long Walk Home. Both times I let these fellows down with eccentric hip hop releases. However, I might be fooling myself as to the potential popularity of this new cd. Almost all of the songs have noticeble flaws--accidental wrong chords, stilted vocal phrasings, stutters, added or subtracted beats, rushed beats, unrealized musical components, and my voice which goes flat sometimes. The thing that makes it fresh, though, is that it has so many love songs and children's songs. And, most of all, it has Jen, who is totally pro. She's like a young Dolly Parton.

Speaking of Calvin, tonight he's coming over to record a verse of a cover to the Highwaymen song, "Highwayman," which Giles O'Dell produced. Andras Jones sings Willie Nelson's verse. Calvin will probably sing Johnny's part. I'll do Waylon's and Giles will do Kris Kristofferson's.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I can't think of anything to write today. Lenny and I continued our blackberry bramble and scotch broom removal. Tonight Jen and I'll record more.

Here's an article relating to Montana's governor Brian Schweitzer.