Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EXPERIENCE

Hope inevitably leads to disappointment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENTS OF THE DECADE

It seems that many blogospherical people are making "Best of the Decade" Lists or are, at least, reflecting. Guess I best reflect as well. No "Best Of Music Books Film Etcetera" for me. That. my dear, is so played out and borrrring. This is Robert Dayton's Blogspot. This time it's personal and self-indulgent. Hey, maybe it'll cause you to make your own list. No Best Of for me, either, just significant events, I don't want to fall privy to hierarchical thinking either, let time sort it all out. This list is a good way to get my back, to not to sell myself short, I've done a lot, maybe that's the problem: the world ain't caught up yet, ha. I don't want to get too nostalgic but maybe this 'where I been' will help with the 'where I'm going.' And feel comfortable with 'where I am' but not too comfortable (stay hungry). I've never gotten stuck on the good old days. Ever since I was a boy buying my comic books in the store and a fella in line told me how I better enjoy my life as 'school was the best years of his life.' This scared me. Looking back, I just feel sorry for that guy. There's a lot of people like that.



(pic by Clancy Dennehy)

SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENTS OF THE DECADE
(done in no chronological order)

-My Dad died, he wasn't my Birth Dad but he was my Dad and though he wasn't talkative, he loved me and had a sense of humour. Went back home to see him a few times thinking it would be the last time, I could have gone a few more. I do my best to make sure to be there for my Mom.

-My brother Perry got married. I have three brothers, no sisters, he may be the only one to get married. And it was while I was there that I saw my Father's grave for the first time five years after he died.

-My cat Flo died. Tumours on the tongue. She was always there for me meowing and sleeping on my chest. A calico cutie.

-I fell in love three times.


-Me and the third love moved to Toronto. Never lived outside of BC before.

-That love moved back to Vancouver. I am still dealing with this and do not have proper perspective. UPDATE:I know as of twenty minutes ago that it is truly over and I best move on, I'm so fucked up and scared at this moment.

-Became disillusioned and feel that I am of no fixed address. I have no home.

-Met a lot of very interesting people at home (ha ha) and abroad in many walks of life, became friends with some. Maintained and treasured many very longterm friendships. Patched some up and made amends with some for mistakes made. And collaborated with some very wonderful and talented people!

-Had dalliances and relations with a LOT of women. I don't regret it but sometimes I was out of line, insecurity and fear of being able to be monogamous played a part. The last half of the decade featured more serious relationships, strengthened by what follows next.

-I stopped drinking. This helped me to get some self-respect and health back as well as to not doing things I'd feel horribly guilty for. Hopefully slowed down self-sabotage as well. I also started eating better, and living in nicer homes (ie. I moved out of an illegal bsmnt suite, a box really, when it flooded and destroyed some rare records).

-Always paid rent on time even when things looked scary.

-Became less judgmental. Thank God, it helped with my bitterness and to see people as people on their own terms.

-Starred in a movie called "Male Fantasy", a part which I think was written for me. It played a lot of festivals, was well regarded and is now out on DVD. It led to getting a great agent and lots of weird commercials and some TV spots.

-Acted in a Manson movie in a role that was written with me in mind. A small role but supported me for a while in Toronto. Now if I could just get an agent here. Movie goes into wide release in a few months.

-Recorded 9 albums.
Released six albums on our own and did well considering!
Four were with Canned Hamm: one was song-and-dance catchy funny synth pop; one was a tribute to that with Destroyer, Mark, New Pornographers and Rodney Graham, Frenzal Rhomb, Neil Hamburger, Bobby Conn, Nardwuar, and more; one was total glossy dance-pop; one was an X mas album; and Big Hamm is a musical genius ready to always look forward and not rest on his legendary laurels.
Two were with July Fourth Toilet: the first was warm charming bent psych pop, the second was hard driving psychedelic biker boogie and eerie soundscapes and ballads that my brother Frank played incredible guitar on with very very talented long-ti,e musical collaborators that are more open-minded than most.
Unreleased albums but should be released and I wish I had the resources and/or finances to make it happen: Points Gray, this may've been started late 90s, formerly called AIDS (way pre-AIDS Wolf), with Dan Bejar and Julian Lawrence, we wanted to do acid downer folk as no one was doing psych-folk at the time, when people started doing psych-folk we were way too damaged melodramatic vanity pressing sounding, ie. not watered down like most of that revival crap and we were individualistic, it did inspire Dan for his This Night album with Destroyer so it had some good effect indirectly and Steve Balogh did a limited CDR release. Hallmark, my melodramatic romantic glitter rock band, I wanted to move beyond the overtly funny but as normal as I was trying to be it still came out odd, recorded at JCDC so it sounds great, interesting dynamic of folks, I really want it to come out, I know at least a couple of us want to tour it. WET DIRT: hard rock Toronto damaged 4 piece band , recorded at 6 Nassau, currently in rough mix stage.

-Toured all over North America a lot as well as Australia in Canned Hamm. Many tours were with Neil Hamburger. One with Bobby Conn. One tour to Montreal was due to Musique Plus popularity for a music video. On one tour Tim and Eric opened with their videos in Philadelphia. One tour in Eastern Canada in the winter almost broke us up. We worked hard and mostly did it ourselves (peers did pitch in and help and support, of course), we were frustrated that it could never break through to the next level , we got a lot of media attention considering that. Is it that we were too funny for music and too musical for comedy or that we reside in Canada? We are still ready and standing by.

-With July Fourth Toilet no two shows were the same and musical styles fluctuated as did personas, see the theme running through my life: CREATIVE RISKS IN EXPRESSION. too many people are too scared to fall flat on their faces, I've done it and I've even been scared to leave the house afterwards but it has to be done to move forward. Sometimes I was tempted to quit completely but that's a confidence thing (and I'm gaining it back dammit).


-Co-created and co-edited a free unique Vancouver monthly newspaper called The Drippy Gazette. It lasted one year but it was then that I knew that what I do (and what many of my peers do) is not of marginal taste or value (many of these peers are getting quite successful). The public loved it, great feedback. But we just couldn't get to that next level, we couldn't get a backer, there was a glass ceiling. It has always been hard to get it to a wider audience and distribution and make some money. I hate being DIY and I notice that time and time again what I do can really reach people but it's the money-holders that never care. Through this newspaper, Julian got a Xeric Grant (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle money) to do a comic book and Lester got a job designing crazy tee shirts for Bang On after I convinced them to buy an ad and to have Lester design it. As well, some of Tommy's restaurant review columns for Drippy ran in the Nog-a-Dod book.

-Wrote a regular column for a free weekly Vancouver paper. Though I wrote it for free, I had carte blanche to take creative risks and reach a lot of readers. When they took my carte blanche away and the editor started treating me poorly, I left- I was writing for free, I didn't need the grief and, besides, writing for free takes work away from other writers as it undervalues them and makes backers think content can be free even though they run ads. Yes, the column gave me a certain cache and an opportunity to say something (creative nonfiction/experimental fiction/music/art/film/comics) and get me girls and guest lists but it also allowed my ego to run rampant and did not really lead to any serious writing opportunities whatsoever- was this because of location or because weeklies are disposable flotsam?

-wrote for numerous other magazines (Roctober, Cinema Sewer) and had some stuff in a cool book on Neglected records. Helped write an unreleased but filmed script and wrote a couple myself, will write more.

-Had art in magazines and Cinema Sewer books and Nog a Dod book. Numerous posters. Was/am in many group art shows. A solo show or two, one at Luckys. In a couple two man art shows with Jean-Paul Langlois. Constantly looking to expand my boundaries technically and otherwise.

-Made a series of self-help booklets.

-Did a lot of hosting as various personas and myself for variety shows that I put on. Also have done plenty of solo performances and story telling/comedy/improv. Lots of DJing as well.

-Started a small company for viral videos. Was careful in finding a tech collaborator but not careful enough as my collaborator fucked it up and essentially fucked over our first client and it was on my shoulders as they trusted me. This made me feel sick to my stomach and I had to walk away from the company.

-Walked away from a couple horrible day jobs that were ruining my quality of life. I've had some pretty awful jobs that required checking my self-respect at the door. I do not regret, however, working on the Downtown East Side, it was a worthy experience! The last few months though were truly awful as I had to work alone and no one should work alone on the DTES: the stress aged me- the age washed away when the job ended, luckily.

-Took training in acting and singing and typing to improve my passions.

-Had sinus surgery to improve my quality of life. Deviated septum. Not a nose job!

-Had the underside of my tongue cut to help with my vocal delivery. I enunciate better now.

-On allergy shots for better clarity of mind, quality of life, and vocal delivery.

-Trying to get out of self (this list isn't helping) and to listen more.

I'm sure there's more. Tell me about your decade.


WHAT'S NEXT?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I CAN'T BELIEVE I ATE THE WHOLE THING





"You're full of yourself."
"You're full of beans."

I used to feel infallible. Now I feel too fallible. Split the difference.

Why is it that when friends start telling me about their interns I want to laugh uproariously?

Want to be my intern? It involves a damp sponge and a high tolerance for Bronson movies. Oh, and you have to tell me I'm a fucking genius and remind me of my accomplishments once every couple of weeks. Oh, and you have to find me that book on meditation I've been looking for. No, I'm not going to read it! I'm going to contemplate it.

Art still up and for sale: Hunter and Cook, Index G, Mercer Union. Beat the rush. Ha! Or donate to your favourite charity, people/animals are struggling worse than some dude with the flu. Achoo.
Gesundheit.

Current favourite song title: "Pity you, Pity Me" by Bill Cole.

If you can't relate to this post, you are too close.

Which do you prefer: piffle or hooey? There's plenty of both to be had. They're in the cupboard.

Recently showed clips of my favourite band, The Bonzo Dog Band, to the funniest man in Toronto (Chris Locke). He got scared after watching it as he loved it and thought that it would cause such an influence on him that his comedy would become less popular (less populist?).
I understand.


Here's Chris:


WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

Father to son: "Don't fuck it up."

Mother to daughter: "Don't fuck it up."

Father to daughter: "Don't fuck it up."

Mother to son: "Don't fuck it up."

Monotheistic Patriarchical God to man: "Don't fuck it up."

Monotheistic Matriarchical God to womyn: "Don't fuck it up."

(the word 'womyn' sounds silly, I should use lady, oh geesh, I just fucked it up....)


TANDEM:
"Doc, it hurts here when I laugh and I laugh a lot!"

GOD ADVICE:
If you want to be taken seriously replace the word 'fuck' with that of 'funk.'
Awwwwwww, funk it!

If you don't like what you see here, get the funk out!

(get the funk out, get the funk out)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

GOLD ART/ $50 ART / STAR OF BETHLEHEM WALK OF FAME / X MAS FEELINGS



Wowwww, another busy week! This Thursday nite, Nov 17th I have a piece in the Mercer Union SOLID GOLD annual member's show and sale. Yeah! It's gold themed! My piece also involves felt as self-defence. "Nothing but SOLID GOLD quality works, all priced at $149.99. Watch the gold rush when the sale begins at 8PM. Event hosted by: Bill Clarke GOLD 4 CASH! Line up to get your own little nugget for just $149.99. Cash, visa and cheque accepted for payments. We will wrap the work for you and you can take it away same day!" It's at 1286 Bloor Street West...

Friday nite I deejay a private party, shhhh.

Then that same Friday nite I will be playing The Star of the Walk of Fame of Bethlehem in The XMAS V CHRISTMAS PAGEANT at Double Double Land (209 AUGUSTA DOWN THE ALLEY) where the battle of religious holiday versus secular holiday plays out IN PERSON, before your very eyes. Sherpafeast, Iron Bitchface, Jon McCurley, Ulysses Castellanos, Ajay Mehra AND MORE will cut the wheat from the chaff and get to the bottom of it all!
9 PM

Then Sunday Dec 20th from 1-6 Hunter and Cook is pleased to present FULL SERVICE, an exhibition of drawings and photos by 30 Canadian artists where all pieces are priced at $50 !!! I have a few pieces in this mass cheep-ass X-Mass show and am surrounded by good company with such people as Seth Scriver, Andre Ethier, Jason McLean, Jennifer Murphy, Mark DeLong, David Poolman, Victoria Kent, Mark Connery, Sandy Plotnikoff, Jay Isaac, Shayne Ehman, and more!


And Sunday nite is X MAS FEELINGS. Mannnn, I've saved the heavy hitters for this nite ferrr shurrr.The dissonant electronic SWITCHED ON SANTA album! French Canadian Joyeux Noel Disco! Chipmunk rip-offs! Holiday Glam stompers from WIZZARD and Slade. Stompin Tom's probable autobiographical weeper "An Orphan's X Mas", Wade Denning, master of Halloween sound FX records' wild X Mas sounds. And the capper: Blackie, the cat who Talked- a special single aimed at children with autism. Listen to Blackie who was born on X Mas meow, "I love you." Unsettling.
And, since I helped make an X Mas record myself in the musical act Canned Hamm, I'll be playing some of that, too (still for sale, go to iTunes or CD Baby for Canned Hamm- Sincerely Christmas) !!!!
That's how much I love X Mas music, I even helped make an X Mas album! WOW!!!! Isn't that great? I love you! Lots more!

And, as usual, my Midnight Candlelight recitation which connects with the people! What are recitations? Intense spoken reflections of the soul in a romantic manner. We are here to help you get through this mortal life. NO Cover but the cover of night.
9 PM, The Ossington (61 Ossington)

I'll be wearing a special X Mas outfit!!!!! One of many of course....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ADRIFTER

Time to update, say a tad 'something something' (that's cool kid lingo, which reminds me, lately when I'm going out for a lil derive with an accent on the second e, I've been targeted as 'hipster' by Queen Street drunkards which is funny to me cuz I've been pretty much the same for- ooh, should I age myself?- let's just say double digit years, what I'm saying is that I'm fairly set in my style, not exactly hip or keeping too au courant, tho I am into fashion-vain as all get out and floss regularly- in the sense that designer jeans are an oxymoron to me, but hey, man, if you got a cheque for me, sure, I'm a hipster...while you're at it, there's another word for me, too: it's whore).
Okay, I was just talking 'set in my ways' and, yes, it's good to stay true to your school and I am currently (currently? always) figuring out what to do. The big 'to do.'
Have to remember certain freedoms when frustrated.
No wife, no kids, no mortgage, no pool, no pets. These all make for one big YES of possibilities outside of such shackles.
Yes, there are plenty of loved ones but they are in Saskatoon and Vancouver and I have no desire to do Olympic mascot work at the moment.
Adrift. Adrift.

"I eat because I'm frustrated. And I'm frustrated cuz I can't seem to eat enough."
-Snoopy

I've been jotting down so many ideas for a book lately, mostly pen and ink with some writings, some new, some old, circulating around love and loss.
Fire under ass.
Who to pitch?
A big project may be the way to go. I've made albums, even starred in a movie, but never a book! Hmm......
I got together with two of the funniest lads in TO to plan a project. All I can say is I also need to think another way for this project, in terms of brevity, punchy funny, may have to go through the old files to get started.
And, nope, still no takers on that Canned Hamm Christmas show, what can I say? I'd love to do it and we're well worth it but if they don't want it, they don't want it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Canned Couver X Massing?


My Canned Hamm offer made the Vancouver free weekly The Georgia Straight:
http://www.straight.com/article-274164/vancouver/hamm-hopes-come-home-xmas

Will it happen? I dunno. It's not like we're asking for much, it's not a big cash making proposition, we're worth it, we're a steal for any venue.
What constitutes venue? Well, maybe the numerous big screen TVs aren't bringing in the crowds at your quaint ersatz-Brit pub: we'll change that for one nite only, maybe the Recession has hit your Company X Mas party this X mas: we'll take your minds off it, maybe you've hit your own emotional recession: we'll play your basement (ceilings must be taller than Big Hamm), maybe your school X Mas concert ain't gonna happen cuz the kids don't wanna do it: we'll do it! Whatever!
We've long been D.Y.I. so this is how we have to put it out there (potential managers, call us).
We put on a non-stop entaining show that opens with Christmas morning and ends with a candy cane battle and is full of our own catchy numbers and surprise guests! I miss playing with Big Hamm. It'd be nice to see Vancouver again and have sushi and swimming (I can't swim) in its' mountains.
I know The Couve needs this...but does it want it?
Realistically speaking, I'll most likely be staying in Toronto this X Mas, thank Gawd my pal Angela is inviting me over to hang out with pals as this is an X Mas where I have no girlfriend (aaaargh) and family is far away, these kinds of things make me understand why some people hate X Mas and not just in a Gremlins-style family accident way either. I love Christmas but, let's face it, Christmas can be hard.

Like all the "bitches" (quaint outdated colloquialism) out there I have been watching the popular television program Mad Men, specifically Season Two and, apart from the fitted outfits, it really is an exercise in anti-nostalgia. It makes me glad to be in the time I am in for numerous reasons that I will go into now....naw, I won't. Goodbye.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dancing tonite




This is last minute but will be really neat, I am deejaying tonite (Thursday Dec. 10), party starts at 8 PM goes to 12, 10 bux
960 Queen St W (at Shaw)
It's a fundraiser for a dance piece, but I'll also be accompanied by neat video projections by VJ cine citta so I'll probably play lots synthy upbeat stuff with breakdowns (been meaning to bust out the ZZ Top "Sleeping Bag" extendamix which is insanely wild, could it have influenced Andrew WK?, it's almost all breakdowns)....plus: some X Mas disco!

"...dance, drink, get massaged and buy things in support of BODY CARTOGRAPHY by Cara Spooner/Alicia Grant in collaboration with set designer Simon Rabyniuk and urban theorist Alex Marques. BODY CARTOGRAPHY will present showings to the public as part of Harbourfront centre's HATCH Feb 25 and 27 at 8pm."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

BANDS OF BROTHERS



Almost nap time then button show then getting geared for playing all Bee Gees tonite at FEELINGS, so into playing them in a public place hearing it all around in a social setting affecting moods and hopefully turning people on in the process.
I love brother bands. In my collection the artists I have the most records of are by the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and Sparks. The connection of blood to make music, it can be very strong. The Gibbs would be walking down the street, one would start singing a line and another would finish: that connection.
My oldest brother Frank turned me on to a lot of music as a boy. It's funny, he's never online so he won't read this, but he once made a tape for me that influenced me sooo much, especially in regards to two songs that I put up there with Cocktails for Two and They're Coming to take Me Away Ha Ha in terms of personal influence. These two songs are Crazy train and Unchained. They have an energy, a crackle, dynamics, personality, performance, production, neat sounds, an immediacy, and a sense of playfulness that I was drawn to (the following are live examples so are missing some of those details but you know what I mean):



I'm sure what drew my brother to it were the guitars (it's Randy Rhoads' birthday today, I should note). My brother is a great hard rock guitarist. After being so involved in the rodeo circuit as a teen, he then grew his hair out and proceeded to practice practice practice the guitar. Then moving to Vancouver and touring touring touring, a van with dirty polaroids stuck everywhere, lotsa stripper girlfriends. A hard rock Stones trib called STIKKY FINGERS- yup, two k's! Another band called Aces High. Vancouver-based Beauty Kills seemed poised to go somewhere, always playing the local metal bar Club Soda, an unknown Alice In Chains even opened for them once.
Eventually he put the guitar away.
Later I'd get him out to play sporadically in July Fourth Toilet.
He started playing again in another band as well.
When July Fourth Toilet started planning our second album I wanted him on it!
I wanted to play with my brother!
Annnd for all his amazing talent, he's never cut a vinyl LP!
Just got a nice review from a reputable psych site in England that spotlights his and Julian's guitar playing on our record!! Yeaahhhh!
http://www.terrascope.co.uk/reviews/Rumbles_November09.htm

Or just read here:
Riding their truck through a cornucopia of styles, the oddly named July Fourth Toilet are a force to be reckoned with on theirs album "Balls Boogie", a disc that has stoned running through its centre, clear as a stick of cannabis flavoured rock. After a ramshackle, but oddly compelling version of "Me and Bobby McGee", the band suddenly shift into hard rock biker boogie mode, as "Hard Working Man" roars out of the speakers, a full on rock guitar solo adding to the wonder, as does a nice change of pace in the middle, bring it on and turn it up. The hard rock then continues with the heavy stomp of "Kentucky Whore", more guitar histrionics included, as the song winds up the energy. Next up, another change of style as the sad country ballad of "Stoned on You" sparks up a fat one, seemingly the story of a man who’s woman has left him, it is a bit of a surprise to find out she is in prison for murdering someone, a nice twist that is complemented by more fine guitar playing and a solid backbeat. Following the tale of "Armwrestle John", more heavy rock with over the top vocals and moody guitar riffs, the first side finished off with the boogie of "Name on the Door", everything turned up nice and loud. So far so good, then you turn the album over to be greeted with "Thanks Drugs" a song that pays homage to recreational drug use, opening with the lines "Been distorting time and space again", the ever versatile guitarist dropping into west coast mode, without missing a beat. After this things get re-wired, the band turning into early Floyd with the psychedelic jam, strange noises, twisted dementia and general sonic weirdness of the next four tracks sounding like nothing on side one, the band proving themselves adept as this side of thing as well. To end, the happiness and joy of "Cute Little Baby" is tempered by a gnawing fear of what the future may hold, ending an album that is schizophrenic, slightly paranoid, happy drunk, stoned and laughing. The makings of a good night perhaps.

(www.julyfourthtoilet.com)


I wish I knew how to post an MP3 to listen to, go to:
www.myspace.com/julyfourthtoilet I guess
And you can order it or find where to buy it here:
http://www.julyfourthtoilet.com/gnome.html
And here's a pic of me and my brother Frank Ackerman playing it:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

BUTTONS AND BEE GEES




Mannn, I just finished making a series of buttons for the button art show happening tomorrow at Index G Gallery (50 Gladstone Avenue) , phewwwww!
I made a looooong manifesto button as well as a series that reads as a sequential comic featuring a dirty hippy asking about love cuz hippies love buttons, man!
The opening looks to be pretty great, too! check this!

"Buttonmania & Hong Kong: Tales of a City (Part I) Opening: Sunday December 6, from 1-6 pm. It is also our first G HUNTING Sunday, so a lot to celebrate! We've invited the husband and wife team Alec and Kali to perform some Mexican folk music. There will be complimentary coffee and cookies for everyone!

Please note that the exhibition Buttonmania will continue through December 27."


So I gotta run and put them up...!
But, first, gotta tell ya that at FEELINGS Sunday nite it's alll Bee Geees!
The Ossington, 9 PM, sunday, 61 ossssingtonne


FEELINGS happens every Sunday but this particular Sunday (Dec 6th) will feature the early works of The Bee Gees which stands for the Brothers Gibb: Barry, Robin, and Maurice. Last month's trib to Scott Walker was too perfect for words and this one will be as well. How could it not be?
We here at FEELINGS love siblings, we have some ourselves, we've even made music with one of our siblings. It's a special bond when that music happens. The Bee Gees knew that. They had a synchronicity of blood which is a big reason why they had such amazing pop song-craft and harmonies.
We'll start the night with some of their early Australian recordings where one can wonder, "Were these songs really made by mere lads, young boys? How could they be so talented?"
Then we'll move into their late 60s British psychedelic-tinged soft orchestral pop gems with some B sides and rarities thrown in.
Wind it all up with the conceptually-flawed masterful red velvet double album Odessa, an album about a sinking ship in the 1800s, and it's perfect for FEELINGS! All aboard!

As usual my Midnight Candlelight recitation which connects[b][/b] with the people! What are recitations? Intense spoken reflections of the soul in a romantic manner. We are here to help you get through this mortal life.

NO Cover but the cover of night.
Bask in them....
FEELINGS

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CANNED HAMM CHRISTMAS

People asking about Canned Hamm X mas show: if someone/thing pays for my return flight to Vancouver, i'd totally do it !!! Big hamm is free after the 20th..
It's not that much cash really and the results you'd get'd be amazing! I mean, we put on a great show!
Just look at this video for one of our songs:


Or check out our album available here (makes a great stocking stuffer):
http://cannedhamm.com/buy.html



Yeah, I really wanna do the Christmas show this year
But it's simple: give us money, we do show etcetera.