Pit Bull News: Rescue Women/Android Petition

Pit Bull Advocacy on my mind this week:

My friend (and former drummer) Dyson has posted a Petition requesting Android to block a Dogfighting App. Click Here.

For the record, I am not an advocate of censorship. However, I am all for pressuring companies to voluntarily make the right moral decisions in the free marketplace.

Also for the record, I am not entirely certain that video games directly cause bad behavior amongst the kids who play them. (As a musician who lived through the anti-heavy-metal crusades of Tipper Gore, I understand the argument “this is only role-playing fantasy.”) However, everyone has their particular outrages, and this is mine. I work with Pit Bull Rescue around the country, and I am aware of the absolute, abject, insane cruelty inflicted upon these canine creatures. If you learn what I’ve learned, you’ll sign this Petition.

Now for something more fun: I’ve got a project going called “Pit Bull Rescue Woman.” And I am need of photos of women who work in Pit Bull Rescue. If you are a foster, a volunteer, an adopter, or the director herself, please send me photos of you and your dogs. But I don’t just want women kissing and hugging cute dogs. I want the full complexity and humanity of women who do this work. From determination & toughness, to compassion & gentleness. From hard-nosed gritty to sweet & soft, to sexy. (But please, this is NOT a request for women to send me sexy photos.) Candid shots are best, especially of woman building kennels, treating sick dogs, training dogs, etc. Better yet, pictures of women with very, very bad-shaped dogs, to reveal just what sort of suffering y’all attend to.

See my contact page for where to send jpegs. Thanks, and bless you.

To avoid complicated legal issues, I’d like to treat the sending of any photo as permission for it to appear in a YouTube slideshow.

In conclusion, sign this Petition that even Michael Vick agrees with.

Shipe Vid w/ Lisa C. Pollock at Voodoo Lounge

Here is a video, filmed surreptitiously at the House of Blues Voodoo Lounge (3/31/11).

Lisa C. Pollock joins me on “Hard to Believe” (from Villain).

Lisa is my Hollywood go-to lady for duets in L.A. She is the daughter of a great fellow Oregonian from KLRR in Bend–Dori Donoho, champion of independent Northwest Music.

Filmed by Jeff Fleiss.

The song is available here: CD BABY

(FYI: The studio version of “Hard to Believe” is sung by Eugene colleague Halie Loren. I am lucky to work with the best.)

Musical Instrument Museum amazes (Phoenix)

After my protracted CD Release/Promo Campaign, I find myself creatively drained, waiting for the well to fill up again.

Whatever starts those juices flowing again, one never knows what it will be: a good read, a special gig (like the Mayday Pitbull Rescue benefit I just played) …a vacation, or maybe just time. (Time enough to get utterly bored and sick with your idle self.)

Last Saturday, I was moved by a visit to The Musical Instrument Museum, in Phoenix.

If this place doesn’t inspire you, you’re heart has hardened to its core. This is Tony Bennett’s favorite museum in the world. (When it comes to all things musical, you can count on Tony Bennett’s opinion as God’s final word.) Carlos Santana, who is featured in a display, is overwhelmed by it.

The place is huge, exhibiting the music of the entire world–thoroughly and in depth, with reverence and affection for all cultures. With your headset on, you walk through several gigantic rooms–one for each continent–listening to incredible music from all over in the world. Each and every country–even those smaller European nations recently re-partitioned after the break up of the Soviet Union–has its own booth, with video and signage explaining its culture, history, and the engineering of its instruments. This place is a geography and anthropology lesson through music.

When I talk of being inspired, I don’t mean that I am merely enhanced, intellectually, by introduction to unfamiliar and obscure musical forms. I mean that my very soul is touched, swollen with emotions.

As you take in each country, one-by-one, you can’t help think about the human connectedness that defies the boundaries on the map. Moving from Central to North Africa, you witness similar instruments, similar sounds–gradually changing as you head towards the Middle East. Turning East towards India and the Orient, and it changes further, retaining vestiges of what you left behind in Africa. Or continue North, to those “Stan” nations, and to the Himalayas, and the Mongolian Steppe, and hear high mountain jamming Asian style. Or go West, and hear those exotic sounds mutated into Eastern European style among Mediterraneans, Slavs and Czechs, and Gypsies and Balkans.

These micro-thin common threads running through our musical DNA are unmistakable. Back in Africa room, I watched video after video of desert-dwelling and bush-dwelling virtuosos picking handcrafted stringed instruments; I knew I was listening Appalachian banjo-picking. Paste 300-year-old Scottish, Irish & Welsh folk tunes onto African banjo meditations, and you end up with Ralph Stanley.

Let’s face it, music has always been way ahead of us.

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Mayday Pitbull Benefit Success

Phoenix, AZ

The The Mayday Pit Bull Rescue benefit couldn’t have gone better. It was held at a first-rate venue:The Compound Grill (which is home of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival)

President Jennifer Mazzocchi desired the event to be more of an entertaining, music-centered concert than a quasi-political presentation. I took that to heart, dug down deep to have fun on the stage, and played one of my livelier sets. It meant a lot, because they were so welcoming and gave such great hospitality. They refused to let me pay for anything, from meals, to hotel, to a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum. With that in mind, it was a big relief that turnout was fantastic and generous in terms of revenue. (The last thing I want to do is cost them.)

Ironically, I made more money playing “for free” than I ever make gigging here in Hollywood. How? I sold a ton of CD’s. (Almost all were The Song Clearance ’cause it contains Pit Bull Blues.) When I play a benefit, I like to donate part of the profit, but Jennifer insisted that support was abundant on this particular evening.

Speaking of Pit Bull Blues, my set was planned with a short interlude of before & after videos of rescued dogs (which was both heart-breaking and uplifting.) I would play the song to introduce the video–and again as my closer. This breaks one of my 3 rules: Never play a song twice in a show. But I obliged with delight by busting out a ukulele version. I even raised the key so that women could sing along.

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