Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times

September 17, 2020

For anyone who’s gone through a breakup, or the traumatic loss of a loved one during these tough times of COVID-19, forest fires, and other natural catastrophes, this nostalgic song by Colin Hay may move you to tears. That kind of cathartic experience, acknowledging and feeling the loss, may help in the healing of it, relieving some of the grief over time.

I first heard I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You in the Garden State soundtrack. A while back a friend posted it on her Instagram. I listened to several YouTube videos of him singing it, along with other great songs, and funny stories he shares with audiences during his shows.

You can see the lyrics and history of the song here. It was re-released on Transcendental Highway and posted on his YouTube channel. It has a softer, quieter feel to it, especially the ending, compared to these more powerful live performances on Paste, and more recently on eTown. I’ll embed it here, but I recommend hearing all 3 selections.

I discovered that Colin Hay had been part of the world-famous Australian musical phenomenon, Men At Work in the early 80’s. Their first massive hit, Down Under, was heard everywhere for months. Hay was their lead singer, guitarist, and main songwriter. After the band broke up, a few members at a time, and their label dropped him, a downward spiral into addiction followed. His wife left him. He would eventually seek help and attempt to launch his musical career as a solo artist with not much luck.

He moved to LA and became the first musician to play at Largo, a new club frequented by people in the entertainment business. He soon gained a following, was discovered and produced. What helped relaunch his career was when Scrubs star Zach Braff encouraged producer Bill Lawrence to see him perform at the club. Bill’s wife, Christa Miller, had already become a fan earlier on and was always raving about him.

After he heard Colin perform, Bill couldn’t understand why his songs were not more successful. He decided to feature some of them in his popular TV show. Colin is seen performing Overkill in one episode, while Waiting For My Real Life To Begin is sung by the cast in another. That song has been featured in eight different popular television series. The song is also included in the 2014 film soundtrack to Words and Pictures.

Zach asked Colin if he could use one of his songs for a movie he was making. The Garden State film and soundtrack would become a huge hit, which included, “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You”. The CD went platinum, which also put Hay’s music out there in a very big way. The TV show, movie and CD introduced him to a much larger, younger audience. It changed everything for him. He had paid his dues and humbly moved into one of the most stable and rewarding phases of his career. He also married singer Cecilia Noël, who often provides backup vocals at his shows. Noël has also helped with production on Hay’s solo albums.

Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life

In 2015, an independent documentary film was made about him, appropriately titled: Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life. Here is a comprehensive Summary posted on IMDb, followed by the official trailer. https://www.colinhayfilm.com

‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the story of singer-songwriter Colin Hay, former front-man of Men At Work. We follow Hay from his earliest days in Scotland, through his family’s emigration to Australia, to the massive, worldwide success of his band, to the depths of addiction and failure, to a slow climb back up the ladder seeking relevance, artistic freedom and ultimately, transcendence. Featuring interviews with Hugh Jackman, Mick Fleetwood, Sia Furler, Guy Pearce and many others, ‘Colin Hay – Waiting For My Real Life’ is the inspiring story of a true artist.

In the film Hay says, “Creativity is my salvation, and going out on the road.” Performing his music in front of appreciative live audiences feeds his soul. “It’s clean, it’s pure,” he says. “It has to do with connecting with people, you know.” He says he keeps touring because, “It makes me feel useful.” It also gives him a natural high, a healthier kind of addiction.

His artistry has staying power. One musician in the film says his music is intergenerational: his millennial fans don’t remember him from Men At Work, and the boomers don’t know him from Scrubs. American actress Wendie Malick says he’s the best living troubadour today. I agree. Plus, he looks like a man at peace with himself. Colin concludes, “Everybody has to find their place in this expanding universe. This is my place.”

Playing with Ringo Starr

Colin Hay met two Beatles and played with one of them. In 2008 he toured with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. Hay performed his classic hit Down Under with the band during a show at the Greek Theatre in LA. Be sure to watch the final 15 seconds where after the show Ringo says to Colin, “I really laid it on you on that song ‘cuz you thought you were doing it all. There’s a solo coming!” He imitates Colin, ‘Okay.'” Colin smiles and says, “I was good though.” Ringo exclaims, “You were great!” He laughs and repeats ‘I was good though’ to one of the musicians next to him. Colin laughs with Ringo who loudly claps his hands twice.

Colin performed on several tours with Ringo and his All Starr Band. Click to see another great performance of Colin Hay singing Down Under with Ringo and a different combination of his All Starr Band, including a flutist, and Sheila E as the other drummer!

Hanging out with Paul McCartney

In addition to being a great guitarist-singer-songwriter, Colin Hay is a very funny storyteller. The most fascinating and hilarious story is meeting his childhood idol, Sir Paul McCartney. He relates occasions when Paul and his then wife Heather came to hear him perform, once just himself, another time with his band. After the concert Paul was backstage at the bar and invited the whole band to join him. He holds court for an hour. Then it’s just Paul and Colin. After an awkward silence, Colin asks him what he’s in LA for, and Paul tells him he’s finishing a record. Colin remarks, “Oh, a bit different from the old days, eh, making a record?” And Paul proceeded to tell him what it was like in the old days. Colin tells the audience: “And I could have stood there all night.”

Paul would pick up John and together they’d finish the new song he played for him as they sat in the upper deck of the bus on the way to the studio. When they arrived, George and Ringo were already there. Paul would show it to them, George would figure out the chords, and Ringo would tap out the rhythm. Then a man in a white lab coat would come in and say, “Right, you’re up lads.” They’d record two songs, break for lunch and a smoke, then record two more, with few takes.

Paul then tells Colin he and Heather would like to come over to Colin’s house for dinner. That part of the story is priceless! The audience loved it, as did I. You will too. It’s the preamble to him singing the title song of his reissued 2001 album, Going Somewhere, which Paul and Heather loved, and added to their rotation of favorite songs. It also contains the bonus track, I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You, which prompted this now ongoing blog post. Enjoy!

How Colin Hay writes his songs

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed Colin Hay on the occasion of his 11th solo album, Gathering Mercury, which was partly influenced by the death of his father in 2010. The discussion came around to how Colin writes his songs. I found this part of the interview fascinating.

When writing songs he says he likes to have as empty a mind as possible. Time is important to give himself enough time to fail. He describes a scene where he’s all alone for 3 or 4 hours without any distractions just sitting around with his acoustic guitar doing nothing, just idling, coming up with musical ideas.

He uses the image of a revolving door in a hotel lobby. If a bunch of bags are stacked up and it’s chaotic, there’s all this noise and bustle, any idea that comes in would turn around and go out the door. But if it’s quiet, and there’s a nice fountain, it may stick around for him to discover and turn it into a song.

Brooke asks him where he was when he wrote, Waiting for my Real Life to Begin. She quotes a section of the song: “And you say, just be here now. Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin. Let me throw one more dice, I know that I can win. I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

He describes how his song-writing buddy and drummer, Tom Mooney, had come over to his house. He asked him how he was doing, and he mumbled that he was waiting for his real life to begin. Tom left to do something else and Colin said it sparked what he had been thinking about. “It opened up a door.” It was the catalyst. The melody came, then the words. He wrote the song in 30-45 minutes.

Colin had moved to California to leave his old life behind in Melbourne, where he drank a lot, hung out with crazy people, thought about the past, and worried about the future. “Very rarely do we be where we are.” Brooke asks him if he does now and he answers that he’s learning. But when he does, “it can be quite profound; it can be life-changing.”

Coming full circle

I’ll leave you with this beautiful song, A Thousand Million Reasons, from Colin Hay’s 2017 solo release Fierce Mercy, his 13th. On the Track-By-Track Colin explains the song is about not letting fear rule your life and how to find meaning in the fact that although we may be alone, we are all alone together.

I found this cool website with a timeline biography, and an alphabetical listing of the lyrics and songs of Colin Hay and Men at Work posted on http://colinhay.com.br.

Who was Bungalow Bill from the Beatles White Album and what happened to him? He tells us!

June 29, 2020

Do you remember The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill that John Lennon wrote and sang on the Beatles White Album? It was based on a real person who was on the same Transcendental Meditation Course the Beatles had attended in Rishikesh, India with Maharishi.

Richard Cooke III was there with his mother, Nancy Cooke de Herrera, who was a publicist for Maharishi at the time. Maharishi had assigned Nancy to look after the Beatles during the course.

I don’t know if Richard stayed for the whole TM training course, but he took time off to go on an elephant-riding tiger-hunting trip while he was in India. He killed a tiger and was proud of his accomplishment, as was his mother, who related the story to Maharishi. John happened to be in that meeting. Richard and his mother are referenced in the song’s lyrics.

A friend sent me this new article, which brings us up to date. Here is the continuing story of Richard “Rikki” Cooke III in his own words: My Last Hunt, published in Chasing the Light.

It’s interesting how Maharishi’s response and John’s song profoundly altered the trajectory of Richard’s life. He decided to trade in his gun for a camera and did a different kind of shooting from then on. Learn more about Richard A. Cooke III at rikkicooke.com and National Geographic.

This photo shows Nancy with the Beatles and other celebrities attending the course at the ashram in Rishikesh. She’s the tall blond woman behind John Lennon and next to Paul McCartney. Others in this photo are: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, George Harrison, Mia Farrow, John Farrow, (Mia and Prudence Farrow‘s brother) and Donovan Leitch. A larger photo shows Pattie Boyd in front of Nancy, and Jane Asher and Cynthia Lennon next to Donovan.

Meeting the Beatles in India film by Paul Saltzman

Update: Sept 9, 2020: Speaking of that time, a new film, Meeting The Beatles In India, about Paul Saltzman’s brief stay there, premieres tonight, 7pm, online at Gathr.com. Here’s an announcement about the film from the national TM Office of Communications with a message from the director. Here are a few film reviews: Cryptic Rock, NYS Music, and Variety. Paul’s website: https://thebeatlesinindia.com, and trailer.

I saw the film tonight. It was well done, personable, and revealing, as was the post‑screening discussion and Q&A with Emmy Award-winning director Paul Saltzman, and surprise guest Rikki Cooke III, aka “Bungalow Bill.” In the Q&A that followed, Rikki explained why he thought the remaining Beatles left the ashram abruptly. It made a lot more sense than the usual rumor mentioned in the article. I posted a comment after the Variety article of what he said about it, and included related material.

There are several interviews posted on YouTube. Beatle Brunch host Joe Johnson spoke with Paul Saltzman on a zoom call about the film. This is another good interview published in the Cleveland.com. And this one from the BBC: When a ‘heartbroken’ backpacker met The Beatles in India.

International music journalist Jeff Slate wrote an article for The Daily Beast about the film: My Transformative Time With the Beatles in India. He contributed the usual rock history and interviewed Paul Saltzman, Jenny Boyd, Pattie’s sister, and Deepak Chopra, a close friend of George Harrison. In the Q&A that followed the premiere, Jeff heard Rikki Cooke’s explanation of why he thought the Beatles had left the ashram. Jeff appreciated this different perspective saying it was “one for the record.”

The documentary film, plus exclusive filmed Q&As moderated by Jeff Slate with Paul Saltzman, Jenny Boyd Levitt, Rikki Cooke, and Stephen Maycock from events in India, Germany and London are available on Gathr starting Friday, Sept 11, 2020. Total run time is 2hrs 22mins: movie, 1hr 42mins; Q&A Highlights, 40mins.

Norman McLaren’s 1968 NFB film ‘Pas de deux’ creates a spellbinding aesthetic experience

June 21, 2020

I remember seeing this beautiful short film when it first came out, either on Canadian television or in a theater. ‘Pas de deux‘ was made in 1968 by Norman McClaren at the National Film Board of Canada. I had never seen anything quite like it. There were no special effects; the technologies had not been developed yet. Expand it to full screen and enjoy a spellbinding aesthetic experience.

How it was made and received

Considered by many to be Norman McLaren‘s masterpiece, ‘Pas de deux‘ is a stunning meditation on form and movement. He photographed backlit dancers dressed in white against a black backdrop, then used an optical printer to expose individual frames up to 11 times.

The film is choreographed to the music of Romanian panpipes. Ludmilla Chiriaeff is the choreographer; Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren are the dancers. Dobre Constantin plays the pan flute accompanied by the United Folk Orchestra of Romania.

The film won 20 awards, nationally and internationally, at festivals in Melbourne, Locarno, Buenos Aires, Chicago, New York and London, including a special Canadian Film Award for exceptional quality. It was nominated for best live-action short at the 1968 Academy Awards.

Surprising and Amazing Final Performance to @GlblCizn One World #TogetherAtHome Concert

April 19, 2020

This surprising and amazing performance concluded and highlighted Saturday night’s Global Citizen One World Together At Home Concert. The 2-hour show aired in 175 countries, in the US on 3 major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), the BBC, streamed on Twitter, Periscope, then YouTube. The full 8-hour program, One World: Together At Home Special to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers, and individual performances are available on Global Citizen’s YouTube channel. They raised around $128 million!

Two of these amazing artists had previously recorded this song, separately and together on their respective albums. Earlier performances are on YouTube (with lyrics). This more recent one: The Prayer – Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, a duet with David Foster on piano, is from Andrea Bocelli’s album, Concerto, One Night in Central Park.

Wikipedia: The album was recorded September 15, 2011, during a concert at Central Park’s Great Lawn in New York City. Bocelli was accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by its music director Alan Gilbert, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. He was joined on stage by singers Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Bryn Terfel, Ana María Martínez and Pretty Yende, instrumentalists Chris Botti, Andrea Griminelli and Nicola Benedetti, and producer David Foster.

Wikipedia: “The Prayer” is a popular song written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa and Tony Renis. The song was originally recorded in two solo versions for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot, in English by Canadian singer Celine Dion and in Italian by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. A duet between Dion and Bocelli later appeared on their respective studio albums, These Are Special Times (1998) and Sogno (1999), and was released as an airplay single on 1 March 1999. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2000.

Global Citizen is a social action platform for a global generation that aims to solve the world’s biggest challenges. On their platform, you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most, and join a community committed to social change. They believe they can end extreme poverty because of the collective actions of Global Citizens across the world. To find out more visit https://www.globalcitizen.org.

The Poetry and Color of Love for Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2020

Donna Warwick posted this digital painting on her Instagram artsfusionist: “Happy Valentines Day Everyone ! I Love Hue!”

Good homonym! This is so vibrant, like a beating heart! Can you feel it?

Hope you all enjoyed a Happy Valentine’s Day. Whether you were with someone or by yourself, Love Is Love. I emailed most of this content below for Valentine’s Day and decided to post it afterwards with some additions.

The Poetry of Love

For those alone, here is an uplifting poem reminding us to love ourselves: Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself. Includes videos of him reading his poetry.

For those sharing love, [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] by E.E. Cummings is a most beautiful poem about the intimate unity of the lover and the beloved within his heart.

And Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, again, I thought I’d mention last year’s post. The audio links have been updated: Dan Fogelberg’s song, Longer, and my 3 love poems complete today’s Valentine’s Day Show. The poems were written for and inspired by my muse and sweetheart Sali. The first two were written earlier in our relationship, the last one after she passed.

The Color of Love

When it comes to art, one artist stands out for me—Marc Chagall. The love for his wife is expressed in his art; his art expresses love in color. He says, “In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of LOVE.”

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of LOVE. — Marc Chagall

This blog post contains the Canadian documentary film, Marc Chagall: The Colours of Love, and 2 short videos. They cover his life and work, and the love of his life, his muse and wife, Bella. Marc Chagall’s paintings contain beautiful colors of love and a joyful floating lightness of being.

These images are from those films: closeups from an early painting of Chagall’s then fiancée Bella Rosenfeld; of Bella and Marc Chagall in Les Amoureux [Lovers] (1928); and in L’Anniversaire [The Birthday] (1915).

Closeup of Bella Rosenfeld, Marc Chagall’s fiancée
Top section of Les Amoureux (1928)
L’Anniversaire (1915)

The Chagall documentary ends with these words about the poet-artist: “He has painted the unity of the universe in all things. His song of songs is really a song of love, like a bouquet of flowers. Marc Chagall’s light, his message, his life, has been a gift to us all.”

May Love Always Be—within and among us expressed in poetry and art.

Why Michael Braunstein meditates using TM, what it is and isn’t, and the benefits, for him.

September 13, 2019

I enjoy Michael Braunstein’s writing style, the way he talks to his readers. It’s simple, direct, and gets to the point, mixed in with a little humor. In his first article, Meditate. Your Mind Wants To., published January 13, 2019, Michael Braunstein shared his fascinating story of how he was inspired to learn Transcendental Meditation. During recording sessions, first with Paul McCartney, later with George Harrison, he became aware of TM’s effect on them. But it was Ron Altbach who inspired Michael to want to learn to meditate. Ron shines in this second TM article as well. Enjoy reading Why I Meditate, published August 24, 2019 in The Reader (Omaha, NB), posted August 27, 2019 in Heartland Healing, and now on The Uncarved Blog, with permission from the author.

Why I Meditate

by Michael Braunstein

My first brush with meditation turned out to be something other than meditation. As a sophomore in high school, our Jesuit theology teacher wanted to teach us and he gave it a go. (I love the Jesuits. They taught me freedom of thought and respect for intuitive knowledge.) After a brief description of some of the benefits, he told us to close our eyes then asked us to imagine a snow-covered frozen lake. At one corner of the lake was a man with a snow shovel and we were to imagine the man slowly walking in a straight line from shore to shore pushing the shovel in front of him. And that was it. My sophomoric high school mind wasn’t impressed. Only years later did I come to realize that he was teaching us more of a visualization than a meditation.

Years later, in April 1983, was the next time I thought about meditation. Living in Hollywood, whenever I stayed at Mimi’s cottage townhouse in Westwood I would find her rising before me early in the morning and sitting in a chair downstairs with her eyes closed. She had told me to expect that she would be meditating in the morning. One day I asked her what kind of meditation she did. She told me she learned Transcendental Meditation and followed with, “If you ever want to learn meditation, learn TM. When you learn TM, you know that you are truly meditating. TM is sort of like the ‘Cadillac of meditation.’” Those words stayed with me.

One year later. Ron Altbach was executive producer of a major live concert album and television broadcast I engineered. It starred the Beach Boys, America, Ringo, Hank Williams, Jr., Julio Iglesias, Three Dog Night and a host of others. It was a complex project and required tremendous technical expertise both on the day of recording and in post-production. Problem-solving techniques often saw me huddling with my techie assistants mulling solutions. As we geniuses bantered about which way to proceed, on more than one occasion, from the back of the room came a quiet and unassuming comment, usually along the lines of, “What if you…? Would that work?” The speaker was Ron. And each time, his solution was a good one.

After two or three of his successful suggestions, I asked him, “Ron, you’re not an engineer or tech. How are you coming up with these solutions? Where’s that coming from?” His answer was simple: “I think because I meditate, I’m able to assess situations more clearly.”

We talked about the meditation he learned, Transcendental Meditation, and it stuck with me. Three months later I learned TM at the Beverly Hills TM Center on 3rd Street. It took four sessions over 5 days and was easy. It wasn’t free or even cheap to learn. But it may go down as the best money I ever spent. Extrapolated over the years since, it’s worked out to about two cents daily. And it’s becoming a better deal everyday.

What it is and isn’t. I often have occasion to talk to people about their meditation. Some say they listen to a recording. Others say they sit and listen for answers. Some stare at candles. Some even say things like, “Mowing the lawn is my meditation;” or “I’m meditating when I’m on the treadmill at the gym.” Well, my comment about that is that listening to a recording is just that: listening to a recording. It’s not meditation. Mowing the lawn, staring at a candle or working out are fine. They are exactly what you say they are but they’re not meditation. Meditation is a specific skill best passed from teacher to student. It’s not a byproduct of another activity. In a simple description, it is intentionally sending the mind toward a state of thoughtlessness; not thinking. It is clearing the mind, releasing it from the random thoughts of the conscious, babbling intellectual mind and seeking to quiet the mind. It is not actively using the mind to request things, hear guidance or watch candles burn. That’s as simple as I can state it. It is experienced, not described.

Benefits of meditation. There is an extensive list of benefits to actual meditation. And, admittedly, there are some minor ones that become available to simple relaxation and focused attention like just resting for a period of time. Descriptions of the many benefits of meditation are easily found in books or online. Transcendental Meditation has been studied more than any other technique and research statistics are plentiful. It’s surprising that it’s not covered under health insurance or Medicare.

For me. I’ve been doing TM daily since 1984, missing maybe a half-dozen days at most. Do I do it for the benefits listed? Maybe. I don’t think about it. Have I experienced TM leading to amazing health benefits for me? I have experienced some examples so I guess you could say so. But there is one overriding reason why I do TM every single day: It feels good. If it didn’t, I’m sure I would stop. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, (who, by the way, does TM everyday,) “Do you want to feel good? Well, do ya?”

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.

Parents performing “I want to hold your hand” to their baby gives new meaning to this Beatles song

September 7, 2019

I saw this 30-second loop video on AMOK’s Twitter feed and fell in love. Look at the sweet, innocent, loving expression on this baby’s face as she listens attentively to her mother sing that famous Beatles song! I tracked down their 43-second YouTube video and discovered Us The Duo. Found their music and bio on Spotify, then their website, both posted below.

Published on Feb 13, 2019, Us The Duo‘s Michael and Carissa Alvarado sing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles to their new baby girl, Xyla Rose. Mom is holding baby girl and the camera, while dad plays the piano and holds Xyla’s hand. They say, “This video makes us so happy! We can’t wait to show it to her someday” 🙂 For more daily content of Us The Duo and their baby girl Xyla, check out their instagram @UsTheDuo!

When Michael & Carissa Alvarado met in 2012, they had no idea their romantic relationship would eventually turn into the pop-duo musical sensation known as Us The Duo. These two multi-instrumentalists and singers went from sharing half-faced singing videos on the internet to performing around the world, supporting speakers and artists such as Oprah Winfrey, Pentatonix, and Tori Kelly. Their love of songwriting has led to 5 original album releases, over 100 million Spotify streams and a major feature in the Golden Globe Nominated film, “The Book of Life.” When the band isn’t putting together innovative ad campaigns for brands such as Amazon, AT&T, Target, and MGM Resorts, they are continually creating music videos (over 200+ million views) for their loyal social media fanbase of over 7 million followers. Now, they’ve begun their biggest adventure yet with the arrival of their new baby girl, Xyla. For continual snapshots of their daily family life and musical creations, be sure to visit @UsTheDuo on social media. Visit their website: Us The Duo.

Followup: I’ve discovered more about this couple. Watch this video, Our Story – Us The Duo, how they met, fell in love, and started making music together. They also performed on America’s Got Talent. See their audition and performances: Best Of Us The Duo On Season 13 Of AGT – America’s Got Talent 2018. They had discussed wanting to have a family, and even announced their pregnancy: Us The Duo: Singing Couple ❤ Announces PREGNANCY On Judge Cuts | America’s Got Talent 2018, and would later perform during her pregnancy, prompting the judges to call them, Us The Trio! Earlier on, YouTube Music sent them a box and challenged them to write a new song with the stuff inside. See Band in a Box Challenge! – Us The Duo.

Here’s a later update: Michael and Carissa perform their favorite songs of 2019 in 4 minutes with 1-year-old daughter Xyla at the piano. Precious!

Related: Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out. And this: Lady Lullaby Sings Welcome Home to Love and Dance Like The Wind.

What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo

July 10, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019 was Ringo Starr’s 79th birthday. He asks everyone wherever they are at noon that day to make the peace sign and say “Peace and Love,” what he wishes for the whole world. Here he is on the cover of Parade Magazine on his birthday. I highlighted some Q&As that caught my attention. You can read the whole article here.

Ringo talks peace & love, sobriety, turning 79, drumming in The Beatles, plus, what he really thought of Yoko Ono, in this week’s cover story.

After answering a question about why he always flashes the peace sign, Ringo gives a brilliant and succinct description of Transcendental Meditation, what it does for him, and why he starts his day with it! He clearly describes transcending, which allows his busy thinking mind to settle down and experience the unbounded state of just being.

Why has the message of peace and love become so important to you? You’re rarely photographed without flashing the peace sign.

I loved the mid-’60s, when all this peace and love started. [The Beatles] went right along with it. The press used to give me a hard time: “Oh, he’s doing that peace and love thing again.” But I’m only peace-and-loving. And they still like to sh-t on me! It’s connected to the Maharishi [the Indian spiritual leader the Beatles famously visited in 1968]. If you think to do good, then the planet will support you. It’s like a pebble in the ocean; it’s rippling out. And it will get to shore. But you can’t be impatient [laughs].

The mindfulness aspect of your peace-and-love message connects to meditation, which has become a major part of your life. What does it do for you?

It gives me a break from myself. Some days there’s absolute peacefulness and a feeling that I’ve been somewhere away, and I only know that because I come back. It’s very important for me to “not think.” I do enough thinking. You can just “be.” It’s a transcendent feeling. That’s why they call it Transcendental Meditation!

How do you stay in such great shape?

I get up in the morning and I meditate. I go to the gym and I have a trainer, and I work out myself too, when I’m on the road. I’m a vegetarian. When we’re on tour, to get out of the hotel, I usually go to the local organic shop just to see what they’ve got. But I’m only a vegetarian, not a vegan. I eat goat cheese. A vegan is very hard, and they eat a lot of sugar. I’m careful about sugar.

Ringo is a humble guy. I thought this last quote from 10 Inspiring Ringo Starr Quotes About Peace, Love and the Beatles was very enlightening!

10. “I’ve never really done anything to create what has happened. It creates itself. I’m here because it happened. But I didn’t do anything to make it happen apart from saying ‘Yes.’”

If you’re interested in learning more about TM, now is the time. See Transcendental Meditation Turns 60.

Enjoy this in-depth interview between Ringo and TM teacher and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth. It was recorded a few years ago for Bob’s Sirius XM radio show “Success Without Stress.” The Foundation had honored Ringo with a Lifetime of Peace and Love Award.

Ringo Starr discussed meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, how he came to write the Beatles popular Octupus’s Garden song (years later made into a colorful children’s book), inspiring others to meditate, and bringing Transcendental Meditation into schools.

Of David Lynch and the global efforts of his Foundation, Ringo said, “My sense of David and his work is brilliant. The big one for me, of course, is bringing meditation to schools and how they know from the research that the violence goes down. How far-out is that? And the Foundation goes into tough schools. That is incredible. You have to support David for that.”

A month later: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles. Feb 19, 2020: @ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special.

Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out.

June 20, 2019

I read an article in today’s Newsday on the movie release of “Yesterday” a week tomorrow. Due to a freaky worldwide blackout, the only person who remembers The Beatles and their music is Jack Malick, a struggling singer-songwriter. His life is about to change. The film stars Himesh Patel as Jack, his girlfriend Lily James, Ed Sheeran, and Kate McKinnon. Danny Boyle directed the film based on a screenplay by Richard Curtis. Read the synopsis and watch the previews on the film’s website.

The film poses an interesting question for those who deeply love the Beatles: How would life be different if your favorite band had never existed? Film critic Rafer Guzmán interviewed Long Islanders on the impact the Beatles had in their lives and society in general. A local FM radio broadcaster’s comments are spot on!

For the on-air personality known as Donna Donna, who hosts middays on Babylon’s FM station WBAB, the Beatles’ impact went beyond music. A preteen during the first wave of Beatlemania, Donna says, she remembered the band’s 1964 visit to New York, the British Invasion that followed and, in 1968, the Beatles’ famous trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

“After they came back from India, I think every town in America had a Transcendental Meditation center,” says Donna, who grew up in Floral Park. “I went and learned TM in Mineola! Right on Old Country Road! We were all meditating.” 

The band’s spiritual side “affected me in a very personal way,” Donna says, adding that she meditates to this day. “I would say they had an impact on world peace.” 

That kind of wide-reaching influence is what makes “Yesterday” such an interesting thought-exercise. According to Boyle, the director, the movie’s conceit couldn’t have worked with any other band. “If you’re going to make something disappear, you’ve got to make it something truly significant,” he says. “These guys literally changed the world.”

Read the rest of this well-written article: With ‘Yesterday’ about to hit theaters, LIers imagine a world without The Beatles.

Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation

May 11, 2019
Lissie at Paste Studio NYC live from The Manhattan Center
Streamed live on Feb 28, 2018

I heard an interview this week (May 8, 2019) on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe. She spoke with singer/songwriter Lissie. During the conversation her connection to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and TM came up. Listen to Singer Lissie On Ditching The West Coast For Life On An Iowa Farm.

I had never heard of her and was impressed with her powerful voice and candid nature. She can sometimes sound like Stevie Nicks or Adele. Listen to this Fleetwood Mac cover of Dreams and you’ll understand why.

Around 9 minutes in she talks about a peace she found in Mt. Pleasant at her great-grandmother’s funeral. She carried it with her to California and always came back to visit family. Then she says, “I went to Fairfield and took a TM course, Transcendental Meditation.” We checked and verified that Lissie had learned TM in June 2014.

Lissie says the same thing in a video with this Des Moines Register article from Aug. 15, 2017: An Iowa musician was featured on one of this summer’s favorite TV shows. They’re referring to Twin Peaks.

They embed the video from Oct. 11, 2016: Folk musician Lissie escapes back home to Midwest. After leaving the Quad Cities area for the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles, Folk-style musician Lissie discovered an Iowa farm was better for her soul than the fast lanes of Southern California.

I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation.

Lissie says: “I spent my time growing up in Iowa. I had this kind of romanticized dream or idea that some day I’ll have a farm in Iowa. I visited the Bridges of Madison County. My mom and I took a road trip and we went to John Wayne’s house. You know, like I’ve done some things in Iowa. I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation. And I’ve just always had this soft spot for Iowa.”

Lissie identifies as a Midwesterner from the Heartland and says how much she loves Iowa, describing all the reasons why. It’s where her heart belongs. Looks like she found her roots and is at peace with herself.

I mentioned this to Erin Skipper (The Light That Seeks You). She said, “David Lynch is a fan and had her be a Roadhouse performer on Twin Peaks.”

Dean Hurley, the show’s music director, and a collaborator since 2005, said she “is an incredibly emotive performer who completely embodies her music and gives everything. Lissie was definitely one of the acts that David wanted involved from the beginning. He’s been a big fan of hers for years and discovered her by a series of videos she posted on YouTube covering Lady Gaga, Metallica, etc.” (See others including Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan.)

In that interview, The Music of Twin Peaks: The Return: Lissie, Dean further explains what David looks for in a musical performance when realizing his ideas for the series. He blends intense music, emotion and acting, so the power of Lissie’s music fulfills that for him.

He said “David doesn’t attend a lot of concerts, but when she came through LA years back, he wanted to go. I can’t emphasize how rare that is for him to want to go out to a show.”

He added, “An artist like Lissie thrives in the live performance arena, she’s one of these people that almost can’t be contained on a recording because she’s the fullest realization of herself live.”

It was Lissie who suggested she sing Wild West, which fit in perfectly with an episode. See Lissie sing Wild West in Twin Peaks, Season 3, Part 14.

See the Update below where Lissie explains how she and David connected, how she learned TM in Fairfield, Iowa, then went to have coffee and talk with him in LA, and ultimately received an email from him asking her if she wanted to be part of the new Twin Peaks.

I enjoyed this short video profile on iHeartRadio: Lissie – Artist Stories – Interview (2016) – Part 1 and Part 2. It starts with her intention: “I would like to be successful with my music, but it’s about more than that, it’s about, like figuring out what my purpose for being on this planet is.”

This is an interesting description from that interview: With a career that has seen her open for renowned artist Lenny Kravitz an early supporter, Tom Petty, and even been asked to perform at Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s wedding, Lissie has had a wealth of incredible experiences that have made her the confident and determined artist she is today.

This is also worth watching: Lissie On Staying True To Herself At The Patch. From Cali to Iowa: Lissie keeps it Lissie. Join her at The Patch as she performs “Ojai” and “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and talks about giving in to her ambitions, not giving them up.

Verse 2 of Ojai is pure poetry; so succinct yet says so much!

I miss the seasons, I miss the land
I miss them for reasons I don’t understand
I took it all for granted
I bloomed where I was planted

She sums up her approach: “You know, I’m not trying to do anything. I’m not trying to be cool. I’m not trying to ever have a fresh sound or a cool look for an image. I’m just singing songs about my life in the most heartfelt genuine way I can, and I’m gonna be moving on to more songs very soon. And it’s as simple as that.”

I wonder if some of these developments may have come about after she learned TM? Lissie had the courage to trust and act on her inner yearnings and is happier for it. She followed her heart and is now living her life on her own terms.

Lissie has a new album out: When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective: https://lissie.lnk.to/WIATW. Here’s the title song with lyrics.

Lissie – When I’m Alone (Piano Version) [Lyric Video]

Here are 3 examples of the first song on the album—Don’t You Give Up On Me—the official video with her band, a live version with her guitarist in the studios of 89.3 The Current, and on this new album as a Piano Version. Listen to her on Spotify, YouTube and VEVO.

It’d be nice if she decided to visit and play Fairfield one day. Some of us are reaching out to her. She’s on tour, so we’ll see if anything happens.

Update: Now that I’ve been finding and listening to more of her performances and interviews on YouTube, I noticed Lissie mentions again her learning TM in Fairfield, in last year’s BUILD interview, and also says it’s where Maharishi University is located in Iowa.

Further into the interview she’s asked how she got into Twin Peaks, and extends what Dean Hurley had mentioned about David Lynch going to see her in concert. “We ultimately ended up talking on the phone and he came to my show. He’s really into TM, so after I had been in Iowa to take this TM course, I had reached out, and ended up joining him at his home and drinking coffee and catching up on life. And so we just stayed in touch over the years and he’s just been very supportive and kind to me. So I think it was 2015, I got an email, ‘Hey would you want to be on the new Twin Peaks?’ So of course, like yes, that’s amazing, like this legendary status. Ya, he wanted me to be a part of it, and I performed in episode (14) for Twin Peaks!”

Further Update: A little over 7 months later I would finally get to hear Lissie perform in person. A strong supporter of Bernie Sanders, Lissie had posted on her Instagram that she was going to open for him at the Steamboat Senior Center in Burlington, Iowa on Saturday night, and then at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa the following night, Sunday, December 15, 2019.

I drove with a friend to the Ottumwa event. We sat up close to a makeshift stage in the lobby area surrounded by rows of chairs. When she sang, I felt my head tingling! Wish fulfilled. After she left the stage, I introduced myself, that I was from Fairfield, Maharishi University, mentioned her TM teacher, her meeting David Lynch, what he thought of her as an artist, and that I felt the same way.

I asked her what it was like when David invited her to perform in Twin Peaks, The Return. She was driving at the time and had to pull over to the side of the road to read his message. What an unexpected surprise!

Lissie said David’s friendship and support did a lot for her self-esteem. David’s like that. He recognizes talent when he sees it. He’s given several unknown artists a chance to shine, drawing out their best performances that would launch their careers. Naomi Watts comes to mind.

Of course in Lissie’s case, she was already a fully formed exciting artist, as Dean Hurley explained in his interview. What David did was offer her a legendary venue to perform in and be heard by a much larger audience!

None of this fame seems to have gone to Lissie’s head. She’s very down to earth, accessible. I found her to be very friendly, quite lovely actually. She introduced me to her sister Annika, who took our picture. Here is a cropped closeup of one of them. Looking forward to Lissie visiting us some time next year.

Meeting Lissie at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa after her opening for Bernie Sanders on Sunday, December 15, 2019


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