Since I was very young, I loved creepy things and old things. I know I am an old soul. I experience Anemoia (a very cool made up word) all the time. I can look at an old door or a rusty piece of hardware and get a feeling for what a place was like years ago.
In fourth grade I was President of The Monster Club where several of us kids drew monsters and kept a secret binder.
Most of my feelings are sort of period thoughts for a time. We are selling our Oakland house and its a 1915 cottage that used to have a street car – The Key Line ran nearby. In the back yard there is what looks like a one car garage but back then most people did not have cars. I have had scenes in my head of men going to the street car to go to downtown Oakland to work in the post WWI days. I see men wearing suits and hats – perhaps Fedora hats.
I’ve been smitten with the Dada and Surrealist movements – easily more than any other art movement. Man Ray is a king in my world – a super hero. This is squarely during my grandfathers heyday.
There is an echo of this time with the beat generation – squarely in my parents time. The beats were also counter culture as the Dada and Surreal artists were. Jack Kerouac was a Super Hero as well, even though in his last years he was a real jerk. Both movements were heavily influenced by the World Wars – and where the artists, poets and writers were grappling with the senseless wars, but also the meaning of life.
While socially, my parents and grandparents lives were different, both generations did have an escape valve – through music, art, dancing, and yes some sort of substances. Alcohol being the common drug of choice, but there were others not so commonly consumed.
I’ve had a wonderful career in database technology and writing code. It has paralleled my love of art and music. In fact, radio is the most important invention in my books because it provided global mass communication. That had to have been as crazy to my grandfathers generation as when the first cyclist rode a bicycle and literally scared people because the rider looked to be committing an unnatural act in public.
Ghost Train Radio was a pretty good name for me and how I think and feel, but I’ve finally hit my real stride and true self musically, with my assemblage “film sets” and with my photography.
I realize that my notions are much bigger and broader than just radio or train songs. One profound thing that has happened is scanning my old film. I can see my romantic artistic notions going back to my 20’s – especially with my photographs in Amsterdam and Paris.
Musically I’ve moved past trying to write the songs I wanted to in the 80’s – heavily R.E.M. and punk influenced – to something I started calling Grunge Lounge Music, but it doesn’t sound anything like grunge.
Its more the sound of Anemoia – and instrumental and therefore “light rock” but really with more of a loungy dramatic sound. Steeped in feelings of times I never experienced.
My guitars are now Archtop Godin’s and my lap steels are also from the 1930’s – smack dab in between WWI and WWII. Isn’t it amazing how some of the best times are in and around the worst of times?
Which brings me to the real question at hand. What is the meaning of life?
Joie deVivre can ever be the only answer ….