the three amigosToday I walked through the golden leaves of fall on my way to yoga. In all that gold I began contemplating the wonderful, inspiring, humbling journey of “the creative process,” “the good work.” The tapestry of life, and the threads that bind projects of the past to projects in the present.

A month ago a friend and collaborator passed away. When he died, it was as though a page was torn out of me, it was physical, my heart – so heavy. And since we got the news, there have been these uncontrollable waves that flood me, reminding me of the vast space within. I become a river of salty tears. I know Jammer shares this deep, grief and loss along with any one who knew and worked with him. David was an amazing artist, his life was art. He loved, respected, and cherished every part of the creative proccess. He had extraordinary artistic vision and a lovely, aesthetic grace with all that he did. He was drawn to us because of the commitment Jammer and I have to what we call “the good work.” David was a part of Blackforest Theater Company for 10 years from 2000 – 2010, while we had our space in The Peter Jones Gallery in Ravenswood. David, Jammer and I shared an amazing journey together, an adventure, bringing wacky, avant-garde performance pieces to life. We were “the three amigos”, “the three legged stool”, and because Jammer and I were always part of the cast, he was “the third eye”. It was a great time for us all. There was so much spirit. We had great laughs. Every production was a treasure, so consuming, so important, it was a collective experience. The three of us would enchant and allure other cast members to help us conjure up a delightful, insane, little world, for a brief time in space. We made exquisite, dazzling, butterflies, a collarborative creation that we would display for the run of the show. I will always love David for every thing that he gave to us, and every thing he gave to the work; I lost a piece of myself when he went away.

Last December we began two music projects, there were 3 initial sessions with the band, 2 were done over a whirl-wind week-end before our drummer Rich Meher moved to Japan, and over the last 10 months we have been slowly doing all the overdubs. We took breaks for various reasons, music shows, a performance art theater piece, more music shows. Jammer and I were also feeling a little overwhelmed, there were so many songs, and we were not sure where to begin, finally there was nothing left to do but begin. We are working with Victor Sanders again, the three of us producing the projects together. The past two sessions have been a reminder of just how special the creative process can be. How much magic there is in it. How beautiful it is to get totally lost, completely consumed by the work. All you need to do is let go, follow your intuition and trust. We have been very lucky in both our theater and music ventures to attract such talented beings, people who enjoy and trust the creative journey; their contributions help to make our little jewels sparkle. Working with Victor again, brought my thoughts back to all the beautiful work we did with David. How wonderful it is to work with others in a creative dialogue. Like David, Victor has an amazing love and appreciation for “the good work,” he has been in the business a very long time, he is not only an extremely talented musician, he is also a virtuoso on the soundboard.

We are still in the very begining of these new projects. We have a vision, we have great musical contributions, we have love and inspiration for the work, a heavy, open heart and the warm golden leaves of this fall day to carry us through.

– Carla


photo by Peter or Rebecca Jones?

microphone in studioWe recorded a slew of new songs over the weekend at Victor Sanders’ Chicago studio.  It was an intense experience. It was just the core band – guitar, bass, drums, with Carla on “guide” vocals. Two 4 hour sessions spread across Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We laid down basic tracks for 14 or 15 songs. Some of these songs we know well, we’ve played them out live over the last few months, and some are really, really new.

Not sure what we have, we will be listening over the next few weeks, but it felt like we captured some cool sounds. We worked with Victor on our debut CD, and that experience was super-positive, and we all know each other even better this time around. We are trying to capture an organic, live, band sound: big, bold drums, a fat, powerful bass, a warm, lively guitar and silky vocals.

Victor’s studio is cozy; we played together live in a little room, with Carla behind glass. We all wore headphones, we were simultaneously together and isolated in our own worlds. The music was the meeting place! Music was all around us. And the sounds were slightly different depending on where you heard them: in the studio, in the headphones, in the control room.

There is an ease and simplicity in some of our new songs which I hope comes across. I learned this time around that simple can be powerful. Trust the note, trust the words, trust the sound. Quiet and soft can actually be big and powerful. I also learned that “silky” beats “honky” every time.  Little gestures can have seismic effects.

Now it’s up to the songs to stand up and demand to be counted. Which songs will emerge? And did we capture the band in peak form? Did we catch the “vibe” the “feel” the “groove?” Did we capture any moments that transcend the moment? We shall see… – Jammer