This morning, I was telling the Lovely Carla about the book I’ve been reading. She said, “Why don’t you write a r&r diary post about it?” Okay. Here we go…

I’m pretty confident when I say you won’t hear any Reggae influences in whitewolfsonicprincess’ music. We may often have a bit of a groove, or rhythm thing going, but it’s pretty much, decidedly not, Reggae.

At the same, I’m also pretty confident when I say the spirit of Bob Marley and his music, is very much embedded and embodied in the way the Lovely Carla and I approach our music and song-writing. Marley’s example of writing socially-conscious, spirit & soul-based music is very much part of our musical DNA.

What are we saying?” Is a burning question that is always very much top of mind for us.

Marley was an amazing boundary-crosser, part black, part white, from one the toughest, poorest neighborhoods on the planet. A Rastafarian from a majority-Christian nation. Blazingly original. Amazingly, improbably, he became a global, musical Superstar.

We own all of the Bob Marley & the Wailers records from “Catch a Fire” (1973) – “Confrontation” (1983). We still play these records all these many years later. These albums and grooves never grow old. They are still, and always, inspiring & relevant.

Anyway, I love to read. It’s sort of a superpower. The human imagination too, it’s a superpower we can all call upon. Time-traveling, head-tripping. Just a page away.

The last week or so, I have been living in Jamaica 1976. Reading Marlon James’ fabulous novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings.” (2014). I am nearly 200 pages into the novel (total pages 688), and already, I am hoping it never ends. The story is told by 75 different characters. Amazing book. “The Singer” (Bob Marley) and his music hovers over the whole thing, the early action all revolves around him too.

Bob Marley. He still seems alive as you or I. Alive in the grooves for sure.

Jammer

Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth;
Tell the children the truth right now!
Come on and tell the children the truth

Bob Marley – Babylon System

whitewolfsonicprincess @ Martyrs’ 01.15.20

If you saw us at our first show of 2020 at the legendary rock-club Martyrs’ on Wednesday, January 15, opening for Baby No Name and Ovadya, you probably had no idea that this show almost didn’t happen for us.

Turns out, a freak accident at our last show of 2019, left the Lovely Carla, our dynamic force-field of a lead singer, and “energy-feeler” of the band, nursing cracked ribs. Think: soulful bear-hug gone wrong. Sometimes too much love, is just too much love.

So, before the show, chilling at home, listening to Dylan’s “Oh Mercy” on the stereo, Carla was laid-out on the floor, dressed, ready to go, but wondering if she could even stand up, much less perform a full WWSP set.

“I’m not sure I can do it, Jammer.”

Dylan was singing “Everything is Broken”

“Broken lines, broken strings, Broken threads, broken springs, Broken idols, broken heads, People sleeping in broken beds. Ain’t no use jiving, ain’t no use joking, Everything is broken…”

And then, Carla, rousing herself to rise up: “We should cover this song. Can you imagine our band doing this one?”

Maybe that idea broke the spell. The Lovely Carla, got up, put on her faux-fur boots, & her faux-fur hat. She got it together. We packed up our stuff (implements of percussion & guitars), and headed out to Martyrs’.

How’d did go? Brilliantly. It’s funny, Carla channeled the pain and discomfort into a powerful, focused, performance. Maybe a wince here and there, but smiles, energy, & fire carried the night.

The best post-show comment from an audience member: “You guys we on fire!” Hah. Funny. We were happy to make it thru. Maybe it’s true, everything is broken, but you know maybe we can just hold the pieces together and carry on. Damn the torpedoes, I mean, yes, we can. – Jammer

Poster by Milton Glaser

“If my thought-dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.” – Bob Dylan

We once submitted to play at a “psychedelic festival.” A festival of psychedelic bands. We were rejected for not being psychedelic enough.

What is psychedelic? “A mental state characterized by a profound sense of intensified sensory perception, sometimes accompanied by severe perceptual distortion and hallucinations and by extreme feelings of either euphoria or despair.

Shite, man. Extreme feelings of euphoria or despair? That’s a typical day around here! I mean, I get it. Maybe when some folks listen to our music they don’t quite hear it. They don’t exactly get what we all embody. In order to protect the innocent and the guilty, I refuse to name names, but our “psychedelic” bone fides are pretty impressive…

One of us used to drop acid and scale mountains just for kicks.

One of us drank psilocybin mushroom tea in Jamaica and saw God. It turns out God is an androgynous, multi-sexual, jet-black, dread-locked, being with a shimmery, rainbow body of dancing colors.

One of us chilled out with and smoked primo-weed (at different times), with both Abbie Hoffman and JFK Jr.

One of us, as a young student in Mexico City, hung out with the great “Illuminatus Trilogy” author Robert Anton Wilson, and dropped LSD with Timothy Leary who at time was a fugitive, on the lam, from the FBI.

Do you hear any of that in our grooves?

I mean, it’s just life. Life-events. Things we did. Life and life only. But you know, everything counts. What we do is embedded in our bodies. What we do. Who we are. Anyway, probably psychedelic enough… – Jammer

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

“Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

“So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

“To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

“Thank you.”Greta Thunberg

Lately, we have been playing a new song called “Child of the Revolution.” We haven’t recorded it yet. Carla introduces the song by saying, “This is for Greta Thunberg.” Carla wrote the lyrics for Greta, and for Greta’s campaign to tackle the looming threat of complete climate catastrophe.

We need a revolution in the head, a change of consciousness, we need to act now to save the ecosystem that supports life on the planet. Greta has stood up, stood out, spoken with deep conviction and hard-edged eloquence. She is such a hero. Courageous, inspiring. We need more Gretas, we need millions of Gretas all around the globe.

Carla sings, “Can the prayers of the day, show a little mercy? Our prayers are with you, always with you, Child of the Revolution.”

Praying, singing, changing the way we think about the world, acting decisively, taking care of the air, the trees, the oceans, and all the pretty creatures; living with kindness, humility & grace. We need to give up our addictions to mindless consumption, fossil fuels, deforestation, factory farming, fast-food and the meat industry. We need to care for all that lives on the planet. That’s our clear mission. A change of consciousness, it can happen in an instant. We teeter on the precipice of doom. Now is the time. – Jammer

Chalk it up to the Fomorians.

We played the Montrose Saloon last night. A late-night, Black Friday show at one of Chicago’s funkiest, friendliest, music-meccas. We were on a bill with acoustic opener Rollo Time and one of our favorite bands Flapunco – think flamenco inspired shredding/Led Zepplin-like/Dark-Cabaret/Punky-Rock/Power Trio fronted by Freddy Krueger’s Daughter. Freaky-cool.

We played last. Our 7 piece band over-flowed across the stage. We have a big, nuanced, layered sound, maybe too much for that little stage. Lots of sound issues. Feedback, weird over-tones, at one point the vocal mics died.

Chalk it up to the Fomorians. Our favorite Shamanic Practioner, Joan Levergood was in the audience, she had past battles with those freaky beings, and well, we surmised that those ancient Irish creatures, “hostile and monstrous beings from under the sea or the earth” came out on Black Friday to mess with us. Shopping be damned!

It was an intense and frustrating show. You can’t expect perfection, but you do always see it out there dangling in the golden abyss. The highlight of the night? An audience member who usually exclusively listens to classical music, sat through our set and really took it to heart. Afterwards he remarked our music was “21st Century Druid Music.” What to say? Yes. Fabulous. – Jammer

Drawing by:  TipsyRA1d3N @ Deviant Art

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The is the Lovely Carla Hayden (with trusty shaker, and flower lapel), and I at The Remember Knots 10 year anniversary show last Saturday at the Store. The Knots are a truly wonderful band, we were honored to be a part of a thrilling night of music. Here is the WWSP Acoustic Duo. New band motto: “We do have hair!” One of the highlights, playing and singing Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” with The Remember Knots. It was heavenly! – Jammer

Photo by Zoya Sirota

JarvisSquarePottery_Oct_2019_Eventpage

This last Saturday we performed at Jarvis Square Pottery, one of our absolute favorite places to perform, no doubt. It was an evening of cold temps, “Biblical,” Noah-style-rain and warnings of flash floods. The nasty weather slimmed the turnout for the show.

Past shows at the storefront have either been perfectly-stuffed with enthusiastic folks, or in one remarkable case (our CD release show), wildly-over stuffed. This time only the essential folks braved the elements. Anyone who really, really wanted to be there, was there.

Life. It’s a strange sort of math. Turns out Biblical Rains + Thinner Crowd = Magical Show! No knee or elbow knocking. Just an amazing collection of folks open to the moment. Coming in from the rain, the first thought stepping inside the storefront was Dylan’s line: “Come in she said, I’ll give you, shelter from the storm.” 

There were many beautiful moments. Liam Heneghan reading his fairy tale, “Ronan & Liadain, The Otter: A Fairy Tale,” Carla Hayden reading Federico Garcia Lorca, Shamanic Practitioner Joan Levergood leading an Invocation to the Spirit of Music, Victor Sanders playing ethereal, magical, other-worldly guitar, and a Shaman-inspired, totally-improvised, drum circle comprised of a rag-tag mix of musicians and audience members; powerful, inspiring, transcendent.

Oh yeah, and our band played a full set too. We worked in some new songs, and Carla semi-rapped Edgar Allan Poe – “All that we see or seem, is but a dream, within a dream.”

It was all so beautiful. Post-show comments on the night: “magical,” “brave,” “wonderful,” “a masterpiece,” “thrilling,” and “one the best spiritual experiences I’ve ever had.”

Not bad. Conjuring vibes, a worthy endeavor. I mean, rain or shine, it’s the good work.

Jammer

paul bick b&w Oct 26 show Jarivs

Photo by Paul Bick

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at space

The calm after the storm. This was a storm of our own making. We played at the fabulous Evanston SPACE on Wednesday Sept. 4. It truly is one of the great music rooms. SPACE puts on more than 300 shows a year, acts from all over the country. Photos of past performers on the walls of the Green Room include: Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, Lone Bellow, Alabama Shakes, Stanley Clark.

Our show felt like some kind of culmination. I’m not very good on reflecting what we’ve accomplished, I am much more focused what we are gonna do, but this night brought together so many people that we have met over the years, folks we’ve worked with, performed with, rambled and rocked with, so many of our creative fellow-travelers and inspirers from the world of theater, music, art, plus all those folks from our typical day to day. Our lives flashed before our eyes. It was sort of marvelous. We do have the best fans, no doubt.

The Lovely Carla and I could really feel the love in the room. It was a wave that washed over our band. One person commented, “You were all so on.” It’s true, that’s how it felt to us too, we felt pretty tight, the first song, “So Clear,” kicked off and the set ran out ahead of us like a wild stallion. We held on for all it was worth.

We truly possessed the moments as they rolled out.

It was awesome to share the night with our good friends Ex Maquina! Our two bands promoted the hell out of the show, and amazingly, we filled that room nearly to the brim. It’s Friday morning, the morning after the morning after, the calm after the storm. I’m sipping coffee and listening to Jackson Browne’s “Late for the Sky,” one of those great, moody, reflective records. I mean, I don’t think I’m late for anything, but these words dance in my consciousness, this a.m. and it feels so right:

“How long have I been sleeping
How long have I been drifting alone through the night
How long have I been running for that morning flight
Through the whispered promises and the changing light
Late for the sky”

– Jackson Browne

Jammer

Photos by Matt Golosinski

 

 

 

 

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It is fabulous when folks take the time to listen. The great music blog Divide and Conquer reviews our record, “The Alternate Boot: Vols. 1&2” Jay Freeman does a track by track dissection. “… quite inventive and memorable.” The dissection isn’t as painful as it sounds. I mean, sometimes you dissect the cat, and you end up with a dead cat, but this is quite good, excellent writing, knowledgable ears, no cats killed in the process.

Jay plays the “What do they sound like game?” Pretty funny. It is difficult to write about music without drawing upon other sounds & artists. Influences & precursors. We all have them. This list is crazy good. He name-drops The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, REM, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Gordon Lightfoot, Loreena McKennitt, Cowboy Junkies, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Dire Straits & Patti Smith…

Yeah, ok, I’d say mix all those together in a waring blender… add a bit of lightening, blood, sweat, tears, and a healthy dash of eucalyptus, a drop of CDB oil, and you get something approximating WWSP’s folk-rock, groove-machine vibe!

Anyway, well done. Happy the review is dropping now. Good timing. Our show at SPACE is next week, Wednesday, Sept 4. All arrows are pointing forward. We are ready to make a joyful noise. – Jammer

 

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 8.47.29 AMEvery show. Every show is the thing. Always give it your all. It’s the code, the credo, the way. Damn the torpedos, lay it all on the line. The only way to do it.

Our next show happens to be at Evanston SPACE.  It’s an extraordinary room. Great sound, professional staff, perfect place to play, and to listen to music. One of the finest rooms in the country, no doubt. Some of our favorite artists have performed on that stage: Lucinda Williams, Son Volt, Alabama Shakes.

We will be on bill with our good friends Ex Maquina on Wednesday, September 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Purchase Tickets here: https://www.facebook.com/events/633914353773982/

We have played sidewalks, parks, black box theaters, parking lots, churches, attics, kitchens, dive bars, outdoor festivals, you name it. This one seems really special. We will do our part to make it fly. We hope to fill that room with a joyful noise. Hope you can join us. – Jammer

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