Posts Tagged ‘Strangefeather’

Congratulations on a Life Well-Lived… So Far

December 28, 2009
It was a good year

Looking back on this year fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction for having lived out so many dreams and seeing so many people and places all over America. For the first time in forever I am living up to my potential and doing what I love with integrity and honesty. As usual, a lot of disappointments occured, but all hurdles were overcome and led to better things eventually. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of travelling throughout America with people that I considered to be great friends as well as awesome musicians and artists. Now I can say I’ve done that. While we unfortunately are not playing together today, my experiences in Strangefeather inspired me to continue on another path with new friends and expand the family that is such a vital part of why I make music. For all of these things I am so grateful to the fans, supporters, musicians, club owners and staff, who all play a vital role in keeping live music alive all over America. If I was ever without hope before, it is now completely restored.

 
Weddings are fun…

Just listing the accomplishments of this past year makes my head spin: Played 100 shows in 25 states accross America on three seperate tours, with as many as 52 gigs in one 65-day period, reaching thousands of people’s ears along the way. Released “Interstellar Lounge Music” and played on albums by Monsters are Not Myths and TV Mike & the Scarecrowes. I’ve also written about 60 new songs and cut some new tracks in LA with Jenni Alpert and Eric Boulanger. I held down a steady job during all of this, too, which wouldn’t be possible without my awesome, accomodating bosses. I’ve been places and seen things that I never even thought existed, and met hundreds of wonderful new people along the way. I’ve learned things about my self that I never knew before and pushed both my physical and mental limits beyond their capacities. I’m glad to say that I’m still crazy after all of this.

A lot of people admit that they would never be able to do what I do. To get things done I’ve had to rough it a time or two. Lots of sleeping on floors and in the backs of cars, waking up cold and going days without a shower. Living off of only the most basic of gas station fast food for weeks at a time. Being constantly broke for days on end and staying in sketchy situations with questionable people. Getting ripped off by bars and fixing broken buses and bass amps, playing at puppet shows and chinese food buffets, drinking other people’s beer, being asked to play “Free Bird” again, and lifting lots of heavy stuff are all part of the job description, and none of it really bothers me in the least. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned a lot of what not to do, and I feel like I am ready to start being wise now. Because there are no financial rewards for surviving all of these hardships, there is a sense of adventure in everything I do, and it’s ultimately more satisfying than making a heap of money. Of course, I am now learning how to do both at once. I must admit that there were moments in the past year when I wanted to give up on everything and just be normal, but it was from these darkest moments that I gathered the perspective to continue onward, and am stronger because of it. For a long time I’ve thought I have what it takes to be a musician. Now I know it’s true.

 

Still rockin’ in the free world

My goals for next year are simple. Instead of playing so many shows, I want to play better venues with better sound and for more people. I want to perform and write with as many successful and talented musicians as possible and make better records. I want you to be able to turn on the television or radio and hear my songs playing. I want to tour with different bands and see what works. I want to take more airplane flights and I want more guitars and recording gear (maybe even unlimited studio time?). Most of all, I want to make a name for myself as a solo artist and continue to express how much I enjoy what I do. Again, I have all of the wonderful people in my life to thank for such a priviledge. For now, I am content with sitting back and reflecting on my accomplishments and taking it easy for a little while. Happy New Year!

 

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010!

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Lil’ Ol’ Record Release Party @ Make-Out Room SF 11/29

December 7, 2009

Interstellar Lounge Music   

The Lil’ Old Record Release Party for “Interstellar Lounge Music” turned out to be a success, and I have all of my faithful friends and fans to thank for it. It was amazing to see so many people from so many places in the past mixed with new ones, reminding me of that Kinks song, “All of My Friends Were There”. I have many people to thank for their support. First off, Loretta Lynch and The Bang are both awesome bands that I have played a few shows with before, and their music just plain rocks! Not only that, but everyone was wonderful to work with, and brought such a positive attitude to the table. I wish more bands could learn to be friendly with one another, it really does make everything more pleasant and meaningful for everyone involved. I love working with people who get that shows are about entertaining everyone by having a good time.

I also must thank Bunny Whiskers for her amazing album artwork and support at the show, and my roommate Mike for his conceptual contributions towards creating the gift bags with all the fun crap inside, and running the merch table with amazing persistence. He helped bring a fresh perspective to the stale concept of a record release party, and added to the fun. The plastic saphires were an especially big hit! Then I have to thank Charlie and Brian for working so hard to make the music the best it could be and support me, despite the fact that I am a little scatterbrained. Charlie has given me the courage to try new material and always has great ideas on the drums that add something extra to the song. Brian really came through on his first gig with me, and it’s been a long time since I’ve played with a new bassist since parting ways with Bill Cramer. He also fixed my dad’s guitars and is just a really great person to work with.

Next up is all the musicians who came to support that night with their presence. Eric and Paul from the Careless Hearts, TV Mike from the Scarecrowes, Evan from Monsters Are Not Myths, and Rusty from Jackpot were all doing what so many musicians don’t do often enough (myself included) by coming out and supporting their friends with smiles on their faces. I couldn’t want or ask for anything more.I’d also like to throw a shout-out to the newlyweds. Gerry and Carla Thomas tied the knot in October. Strangefeather played its final gig at their wedding (it was at Bimbo’s!). Ryan and Stephanie Vaughan have been great supporters of me for a long time, and I had the privilege of performing with Ryan at their wedding as well, also in October. In this crazy world it is great to see such wonderful people teaming up together, and it’s great to have them in my life. Now, how about some grandchildren already!I want to thank all of the people who worked that night – Chris did an amazing job on sound, and the people at the Make-Out are always easy to deal with, that’s why I love playing there! Thanks to James and Deb and La Bartendress Extraordanaire. And finally, I want to thank all the people who just came out to enjoy the show and got a CD. It’s always wonderful to see so many friendly faces in the crowd, and it’s such a great feeling to feed off the energy of the audience and give it back. For the musician, it’s like being spun on a gyroscope that exponentially goes faster and faster, and then – BLAST OFF! Into the realm of the Interstellar we go. I hope you all enjoyed the lounge music. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much;)A couple of other things. One, I am leaving to play a few shows in the Pacific Northwest next week with my friends Rives and Jesse, and I can’t wait to get back to that cool mountain air. Second, I wanted to let you know that the recordings I’m working on in LA are coming along nicely, and it won’t be long before we are in the mixing stage. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, it was awesome to see so many old friends during this special holiday. See ya soon!

   

Interstellar Lounge Music 

Interstellar Lounge Music

New Album, New World

November 12, 2009

Interstellar Lounge Music

The last few months have been dizzying. After surviving the not-so-cool breakup of Strangefeather in August (the day before our tour, might I add), I set out to reinvent my solo thing which I had kind of left on the backburner to tour with a rock band, which has always been a dream of mine. Luckily, I already had a solo record finished since March ’09 called Interstellar Lounge Music (it’s about the Summer of Two-Thousand and Great!), and so I am just now getting around to putting it out on a limited-run basis, and it will eventually be available for download, too. I’ve decided to create a few handmade copies of the CD and give them out at my upcoming record release party (Nov. 29th @ Make-Out Room) – so come and get yours! Charlie Note is still in the band, and I’m happy to announce that Brian Michael, from San Jose band Careless Hearts will be playing bass for this show.

The breakup of a band is always hard, especially when the people in it are your friends that you have spent years working, sleeping, travelling, and partying with. The worst part for me has been explaining to all the fans of our music that we are no longer playing shows. But the good news is that I have grown and learned so much from my experiences that I am now ready to go out there and apply all that energy to my own music. A brief Pacific Northwest tour has been planned, and I’ll be visiting Portland, Seattle and Roslyn around December 9-15th. I will be playing some shows with Power of County (Portland) and Rives, the band’s guitarist, will accompany me on the tour. I’ll post more details as they become available.

I’m very excited about the new direction my music is taking. In 2009 I have played 90 gigs (so far), will have done 3 tours, and released an album, all while keeping my job and some sanity to boot. I’ve got tons of great material in the works, and am recording four songs with Jenni Alpert and Eric Boulanger in LA. I hope to have another album ready this time next year and tour the southern states of the US in March (I’ve already got a SXSW date lined up, too). A lot of changes always bring new beginnings, and it’s all a part of the growth process. I’m not giving up on playing music any time soon, so look out for me somewhere on down the line.

Legends, the Series 2: Jesse Mosher

September 3, 2009
Jesse Mosher - on the road

Jesse Mosher - on the road

Jesse Mosher is a painter living in San Francisco. His subjects are primarily portraits of famous musicians, poets, revolutionaries, and characters that have inspired him, and nowadays most of his painting is done live on stage with musical performers. He exclusively uses all recycled material for his canvases, utilizing found pieces of plywood, Masonite, old doors, etc. He sticks to common water-based house (as opposed to traditional oil-based) paints and inexpensive synthetic brushes instead of ones made using real animal hair. He also creates stencil designs and spray paints them on temporary walls, old palettes, poster boards, sidewalks, etc, which are removable.

Hangin' in Portland

Hangin' in Portland

Jesse was born and raised near Shutesbury, Massachusetts, and was a competitive wrestler in high school and college. He attended college in Lowell, MA for a while, as well as Fresno, CA, until a career-threatening injury forced him to stop wrestling. At this point he picked up a paintbrush and has never looked back. In the early days he sold prints of his art at Dead shows and the like, but more recently he has progressed into live painting with bands, and sells them at shows and online. Early works were many-layered designs based on traces and overlays of various elements, using pen and spray paint for effect, but more recently this style has given way to direct interpretations of famous photographs of his subjects.

Jesse demonstrates a "proper" brushstroke technique

Jesse demonstrates a "proper" brushstroke technique

Jesse’s style bridges the gap between folk and modern art. Folk art elements include the use of recycled materials with inconsistent sizes,shapes and textures, high volume of productivity (he averages more than one painting a day), and simple, straightforward interpretations of his subjects. On the other hand, his work exhibits progressive signs of modern art by turning the act of painting into live performance on stage with bands, featuring contemporary pop figures like Debby Harry, Ryan Adams, Amy Winehouse, Johnny Thunders, Joan Jett, and Barack Obama as his subjects to provide political and cultural relevance to his pieces. Jesse injects an interpretive style in all of his paintings, and repeated studies of the same subject often vary wildly from one another. Each piece of art is unique in expressing a particular emotion, or time and place, that makes the painting significant.

Some selections from the man

Some selections from the man

As an artist, Jesse lives almost exclusively off of the proceeds from his paintings without the assistance of an art dealer or philanthropist (or daddy). His pieces reflect the head-down, hard-working aesthetic that has provided him with sustenance over the years and allows him to create such a great volume of work with very little capital. Driven by his art alone, Jesse is determined to create with honesty and abundance in his lifetime. His inspiration is derived from the works of the Beat poets (he actually painted the building of the Beat Museum in North Beach), the non-stop touring of the Grateful Dead (he has toured with rock band Strangefeather for months at a time), Lou Reed’s scummy street poetry (Jesse also writes poetry), and the onstage antics of Iggy Pop (his live painting persona most resembles this character). Ultimately, Jesse has become a one-0f-a-kind artist by creating his own path. There are many live painters on the scene right now, but Jesse does it his own way. It is safe to say without a doubt, Jesse is an American original.

John Lee Hooker and Pigpen, I believe

John Lee Hooker and Pigpen, I believe

I have spent an extensive amount of time with Mr. Mosher. I have met his family and slept on his couch. We’ve spent months at a time on the road together, sharing floors, futons, dinner and drinks. I’ve watched him starve and I’ve watched him prosper. I’ve seen him on his best days and I’ve watched his worst. What makes Jesse a legend is that he never gives up or doubts in what he is doing. He will not stop fighting, even when all odds are against him, and his desire to create something begins every morning when he wakes up, and doesn’t stop until he lies down to sleep at night. He isn’t interested in the flighty concepts or statements of modern art, which often overshadow the simple aesthetic value of a piece of someone’s soul. Jesse’s work can be appreciated by anyone who has an awareness of American culture and can appreciate his interpretation of that. He respects and salutes the blue collar work ethics that he was raised with through his paintings, and understands that most great artists have followed a path from humble beginnings through paying dues to become the individual persona that we revere so much.

Jesse painted this pistol for Peacemaker

Jesse painted this pistol for Peacemaker

Jesse Mosher continues to travel the country to spread his one-man message to the world. After all, it is the “Individual” that America’s ideals are based on, and Jesse has learned to rely on his two hard-working hands to create his own version of America. It’s the exact opposite of what advertisements and “purveyors of society” will tell you to do. The message is to join the crowd, step in line, and shut your mouth to keep from making waves. Jesse’s life sends a different message:  live free, do what you love, don’t be afraid, and be a part of the Revolution. Look out for him in your neighborhood!

Check out and buy Jesse’s art on Etsy – support a true artist!