December 5, 2017 emblemPhase II

It seems you would like to talk about grief. Or at least watch us sing and paint and draw about it.

As it turns out, Dara and I are taking Soul Song Paralytic to its next home!

Starting this Saturday, December 9th, Dara’s exhibit will be hung at Firehouse Art Collective’s Lottie Rose House in Oakland for the next month. For the opening, I’ll be doing two acoustic duo sets with Nathan Chamberlain, which is a first. Dara’s working on some new pieces for the occasion, too.

RSVP and find out more here.

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December 1, 2017 emblemVideo from opening night

Thanks to volunteer Ryan Cho for shooting this!

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October 25, 2017 emblemWhoa!

Man. Saturday night was so special. I’ve been kinda lost as to how to show my appreciation for the 75ish people that came out to soak in the pieces Dara and I have worked on for over a year. We made a memory board of lost friends, ate some delicious food brought by angelic volunteers, and resisted the momentum (that our society often creates or exacerbates) to avoid talking about death. We stared it straight in the eye, and I’m damn proud that this many people were/are willing to go there with us.

I’m taking some time off social media to relax and get on a river this week, but I wanted to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who attended with open hearts, and to the many who helped make this dark, unlikely community project come together, including these critical people:

Dara Lorenzo, Ian Brownlee, David Early/Sue Stuart at East Bay Community Space, Pro Arts, Winston Goertz-Giffen, Nathan Chamberlain, Andrew Gibson, Eyal Satat, Sami Feld and Dara Kosberg at The Dinner Party, Elizabeth Paul at Kaiser Hospice, BJ Henry at JFK University, Claudia Arce and Kaila Chan at Circle of Care, Teresa Trinh, Ned Buskirk, Emma Neumann, Luke Schurman, Lee Crosson, Jenn Renda, Linda Konkoski, Alex Willick, Sean Sullivan, Sean Wolfe, Jose Ayerve, Mark Alan Miller, Andrew Schatzberg, Lauren Brown, Jason Gohlke, Barrett Edmonds, Ryan Cho, and Louis Bryant III.

I’m looking for ways we can play this album again in the future so hopefully we can keep this candle lit a little longer. Meanwhile, you can listen to and buy the album over at saintsolitude.bandcamp.com and see Dara’s pieces at East Bay Community Space for another few weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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October 21, 2017 emblemAlbum out today!! Show tonight!!

The new Saint Solitude record, Soul Song Paralytic, is out today on all digital retailers, including BandcampiTunesSpotify, and CD Baby.

A limited edition version on CD is also available if you order on Bandcamp or CD Baby…or if you attend tonight’s debut performance of the project!

See you there, people.

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October 13, 2017 emblemNew single “Your Radio Silence” streaming now!

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October 13, 2017 emblemGenesis Reminder

I’ve been in the thick of this project for about 14 months. Now that its public unveiling is close at hand, I’m able to step back from these songs and this concept a little and remember why I started it: Andy, of course.

Anyone who knows me well either knows Andy or has heard me speak about him, because we are old friends and I talked to him more regularly than any other person in my life for a solid decade-plus. His death came to be a defining factor in my move to California (just 10 days after I arrived, eagerly anticipating a new time zone and lifestyle) and at this point I can say it was a turning point for me in every big picture, macro, birds-eye-view way imaginable. There is life before he died and life after.

His death meant the loss of a confidant with whom I shared a shorthand I can’t begin to convey to anyone else. It meant a revaluation of what and who is important in my life, and a reckoning with those who couldn’t be as a loyal as him. It meant banging my head against some vague acceptance that I will laugh far less frequently than I used to without him around to take the piss out of everything.

It also meant bereavement groups, bad job interviews, shortness of breath, therapy, float tanks, anxiety, uncomfortable silences, loops, aimless walks, an inability to write or talk, more loops, loneliness, long phone calls, shadow inventories, and breakdowns in the kitchen.

I needed this project to pull me out of a terrible, impossible place. And miraculously, it has.

From where I sit now, I can point to – by far – the most cohesive record I’ve ever recorded, several new partnerships and friends, and more importantly, a community that has coalesced around this concept that we should be able to talk about all of this death and this missing, together, and not feel bad about it. In fact, there should be a pride in carrying the torch of these people.

Honestly, with a community like this formed, for me the project is already a success – and the most exciting part is still to come.

See all of you on October 21.

 

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October 8, 2017 emblemPARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Kaiser Hospice

Outside of the artistic content of this project, the crucial component in my eyes is reaching people currently in the throes of active, acute grief. That first year (or whatever your metric) can be such a devastating, confusing, overwhelming phase. I know when I was at my lowest I could only find solace in sleep or immersing myself in media that connected me with others in the same boat – be they fictional, real, or merely theoretical. I watched and went to movies A LOT (finding the likes of The Babadook along the way, a grief-horror masterpiece); sat with morbid fascination as David Bowie’s final album reflected his impossibly early death with an unnerving confidence; and ultimately found myself following Alan Watts’ advice to think more like a willow than a pine tree.

All that to say, that need to connect with – for lack of a better term – grief media, was very much on my mind when we began this project. Which brings us to Kaiser Hospice, one of the local bereavement resources that is helping us reach those people.

Kaiser Permanente of course is the large health care provider/consortium based here in Oakland. It’s a company that is ubiquitous in these parts, if not all of California. Elizabeth Paul is the Bereavement Coordinator at their Hospice division and is qualified enough to be seen as an expert in the field, though that superlative is misleading: no one is an expert at loss. We all do it differently…as we should. Nevertheless, she has brought a warmth and perspective to this final stage of the project and is helping immensely by connecting it with other clinical resources throughout the East Bay so that people who need to connect with this type of empathetic art can find it through all the chaos and darkness they may be feeling.

Elizabeth Paul and me.

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October 1, 2017 emblemA taste of Dara’s side of things

Considering the way I go about making my records, the content creation timeline was a little different for Dara and me. While I’ve recently wrapped mastering the music, she’s in the throngs of printmaking, framing, and executing her ideas onto plates and paper. Here are a few of the early prints:

   

    Check out Dara’s website and Instagram for more.

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September 26, 2017 emblemPARTNER SPOTLIGHT: The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party‘s premise is super simple: collect a small group of 20- and 30-somethings for a potluck and talk about death, and loss, and all the ugliness and beauty that comes with grief. Last year I was fortunate to meet Sami Feld, who is a local host for these dinners in Oakland – one of hundreds of tables across the country. The moment she told me about how this group works, I was immediately sure I needed to both attend as often as I could, as a continuation of my own loss-centered therapy, and get them involved with SSP as partners.

Since then I’ve made it a regular habit to attend these dinners, even despite the more raw emotions and shock of my friend Andy’s death having dissipated more this year (in large part due to the catharsis of the Soul Song Paralytic project). Depending on the night, there is a core group of 5-8 of us at Sami’s table with whom I feel a kinship, even though we’re still trying to remember each other’s names sometimes. On its face its both an absurd type of relationship and a completely natural one – we see each other every 5-6 weeks for 2 hours, and we skip the niceties and go straight to talking about what matters. Usually that consists of painful and uncomfortable feelings, or stories about experiences that we don’t or can’t share with others. Surprisingly we laugh quite a lot. It is bare bones and bared souls and I feel immensely stronger as a human each time I attend.

I’m thrilled and super appreciative that Sami, Dara Kosberg, and the others helping run the Bay Area TDP community have been so engaged on helping me with this project, and I encourage you to check them out and learn more.

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September 20, 2017 emblemAlbum mixed!!

It took 3 people to mix this record over 2 months – quite a bit more of an undertaking than I’ve ever experienced before for this stage of making an album – but I’m happy to report the album is now MIXED!! Onto mastering. Thanks to Jose Ayerve and Andrew Schatzberg for digging in the trenches with me!

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