Posted on February 12, 2021
Back in the 80’s I played guitar and synthesizers in a band in San Francisco. We played mostly at The Hotel Utah, but other more divy bars in the SF Bay Area. I lived in SF between 1984 and 1994 – what I consider a real hey day and so much better than when the first “dot con” ruined the city – which happened in the late 90’s.
Anyway, between 1987 and 1991 I travelled to Europe a fair amount on business (mainly Gupta Technologies) and visited quite a few places in the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and two other cities Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Helsinki (Finland).
That travel ended my musical escapades and I switched to photography – and had visited several of the Dada-ist and Surrealist “old haunts” in Europe. I had quite a few black and white shows in San Francisco at cafes and even a bar or two. I hung out at Cafe Soma and Brainwash back before SOMA was completely ruined.
The synthesizers I had in the 80’s were Roland, EMU, Casio and Korg. I see these fetch a big price as collectors items. Back then, you kind of had to declare that you were a synth band or a guitar band. As 80’s punk and new wave was supposed to be liberating, new and “free form”, it really wasn’t. There were standouts and strange bands who were very cutting edge – like Wire, New Order, Cabaret Voltaire or Tuxedomoon, and then there were synth band wannabes. Some guitar bands were less avant garde, but excellent, like The Feelies. There were excellent pop bands too – it was a great “gateway drug” of pop music that paved the way to the 90’s.
At that time I was listening to Jazz and Classical a LOT, and I was introduced to these fabulous genres as I sat in my favorite cafes pretty much every day.
My favorite rock decade was the 90’s. The different styles started making sense – grunge, rap and especially rap-rock (Beasty Boys, etc), and many other melding of styles. It wasn’t as artsy or pretentious as the 80’s.
In the last decade or perhaps two – there has been a new generation of styles influenced by the 80’s and 90’s, and one area that is perhaps the most exciting is the electronic music genre, that has all kinds of interesting elements. I think the rave scene and rap scene and its melding is just super cool.
I’m changing the name of this blog because several songs ago – “Synthetique” was an eye opener. I first changed the name to Kabarette Synthetik, but then got a new idea for scoring dadaist music for a creepy puppet theatre. I have only gotten back into music this past year, and it took a year to get a new direction artistically. Consider my past year as learning time – and a reawakening.
Because I’ve traced my German roots back to 1500, where the Holoch family has always resided along The Neckar River and valleys near Stuttgart. My Mothers side of the family were / are Cockneys from Bow and Hammersmith. I plan on learning German and doing my creepy puppet shows in German.
Recently I Re-introduced synthesizers in my songs, and WOW, not only is the technology so much better than the 80’s (you can keep those old synths), the re-imagined versions of those synths (Arturia V Collection 8) plus hybrid digital analogue and even cheesy little “toys” like Korg Volcas are all superb. I have watched what the trip hop and other rave electronic music artists have done, and yeah, this is so much better than the 80’s. What I mean by this is the use of synths in music that sounds like it goes all the way back to the real visionaries – Kraftwerk.
Back in the 80’s I wanted my band to be like R.E.M. or XTC, but we fell short. We always got gigs and our (cassette) demo tapes were played on College Radio and we were reviewed in several musical publications. The best review was “These guys are weird, but not weird enough”. I never was offended because that was the truth.
Thankfully, I’m old enough to give no mind to being cool and I feel more freedom than when I was in my 20’s.
I’m hoping an sort of Euro-cafe-synth-stringed-pop style emerges. I’m liking the recent stuff where I do spoken word up front then its just instrumental music. In my mind I hope it sounds like a new sort of Cafe music – something weird, but not weird enough …..
Posted on February 8, 2021
I’ve known several people who woke up one day and realized they had to “find themselves” – they had been going through life’s paces, but hadn’t really been living their life – or knew who they were or wanted to be.
In that fleeting blue light
That certain silent speed of sound
Only heard late at night
Did you catch a view?
Did you see yourself?
Was it the real you?
I see you can see you inside
Only you can free yourself
Only you can decide
(UPDATE: I only just now see that Depeche Mode has a song by the same title). I came up with mine by looking at the Assemblage that you see above – and combined that with a loved one’s personal journey and awakening who is finding his self awareness as a young man – and I am very pleased. Stuff they don’t teach you in school – and that which parents can’t really impart in their kids – no matter how hard we may try. We each are the Captains of our Own Inner Ship. Most of my song ideas – lyrically do come from either my Assemblage work or my photography – and tied to life experiences and stories).
Posted on February 7, 2021
I lived in the Phi Mu Delta House at 87 Susquehanna Ave – Lock Haven, PA for 2 1/2 years. The house was said to be haunted by a Clinton County Coroner – who, after having an affair with an underaged girl – took a shotgun to his head in his out-building work shed. I can’t say I felt any ghosts, but other brothers in the fraternity said they did.
The haunted door
Is never locked
A haunted keyhole
Tick Tock, Tick Tock
A timeless clock
A ghostly Coo Coo
The door knob turns
The clock says two
Posted on February 3, 2021
I used to visit Aria on Grant Street on my daily walks from work – when I worked in downtown San Francisco. I met Jack Howe – who is a great Santa Cruz Assemblage artist and had purchased one of his pieces years ago. I got into Assemblage myself – and most of the photos in this blog are my Assemblage pieces. Most of them I either gave away or took apart to make others – but I always preserved them with my camera. For me – the photography is the thing – not the Assemblage. The Assemblage is like a still life in my mind. I do get many lyric ideas for my songs from my Assemblages.
Here’s to Bill Hesketh, Aria Proprietor, and Jack Howe – who both made my daily lunchtime walks in SF memorable.