here to listen to an mp3 sample of the album: "Bicycle"
The Long Road to Nowheresville
When I called Frank Messina on my cell phone, while passing a herd of cows, en route to
the recording studio and he asked exactly where I was, I responded: "Where I have
been most of my life...On the long, lonely road to Nowheresville". Rather than being
negative, this was said to celebrate a lifetime of traveling. This sense and search for
adventure and self-expression came naturally to me and many of my generation. This endless
energy and a zest for life remains, for those of us still blessed to be here, the hallmark
of all of us who were brought up during the Great Depression. We saw World War Two
culminate in the defeat of true evil and then set high goals for ourselves and our
families, dreaming of a new America
that we felt we could help to create by all working together. This idealism and desire for
adventure and change is the atmosphere which surrounded me when I collaborated with Jack
Kerouac in the first jazz/poetry readings ever given in New
in 1957. It just happened. No one planned it.
Working with Jack was always unrehearsed and natural, just as my work with Charles Mingus,
Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and the hundreds of poets, musicians, ballet dancers,
playwrights and other musicians I have collaborated with over the past 50 years.
The road was and remains uncharted. When I first created music on the spot, at 3:30 a.m.
in New Orleans for a Poetry/music Marathon called "Insomniacathon" to accompany
Frank Messina's writings, I didn't know that over an ensuing period of the next ten years
that we would perform together in festivals in London, the Netherlands, Louisville, New
York City, Kerouac's home town of Lowell Mass and many other places large and small around
I did know that working with him was always a joy, and that his poetry touched the hearts
of listeners everywhere we went, just as it has continued to touch mine. In the same that
I recently recorded with poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in San
Frank Messina and I made the whole CD in one afternoon. We had no problem doing it this
way because we both knew that if people who collaborate pay attention to one another and
have respect for what and with whom they are doing it for as well as who they are doing it
for and give 100% of one's self, you can't go wrong. In my symphonies, I write every
single note, dynamic, tempo and phrasing down on paper.
With Frank, as with Kerouac and Ferlinghetti, everything was done on the spot at the
moment, with nothing written down. I let the poetry itself tell me what to do. Anyone can
do this, especially if you keep an open mind and an open heart wherever you are, so that
life inspires you to keep on searching, instead of giving up your own creativity and
becoming a couch potato. Dealing with the blessings as well as the constant challenge of
work is much more rewarding when you rejoice in the knowledge that traveling that long
lonely road to Nowheresville places you on the Super Highway to Enlightenment because that
is the path that we all must take, each in our own way and at our own pace, as we drive on
down that highway of Life; towards the valley our dreams, which is always just a little
ways over the next hill.
I hope what Frank and I have done gives inspiration as well as a few gallons of spiritual
Ethanol to all who hear this new CD, and that you can use the good feelings which Frank
and I hope our work engenders, to make you be even more creative on your own journey.
Look forward to seeing you down the Road
September 19th in the airport, the day after playing FarmAid with Willie Nelson