[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Rivers Cuomo's Myspace's LiveJournal:
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|Friday, June 29th, 2007|
Friday, June 29, 2007
The Dhamma Brothers
...is a new movie that i helped with a little bit, acquiring music rights and also providing some financial support. The movie tells the story of the Vipassana program in an Alabama State Prison. I haven't seen the final cut yet but the earlier version was really powerful.see the trailer
|Sunday, May 6th, 2007|
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
growing vegetables in southern california . . .
...anyone know anything about it? Current Mood: chipper
|Monday, July 10th, 2006|
out o' town
out o' town
Kyoko and I are going to be at a Vipassana course, unreachable by phone or email, from July 12-23.
|Tuesday, June 13th, 2006|
a d a m's Comment:
a d a m's Comment:
"strutter '78" is a classic example of something that wasn't reworked/re-recorded for any real good reason other than commerce, which in my opinion, is pretty much always the wrong reason.
they specifically re-worked it to have a disco feel to be more current and sell more records in the disco era.
i remember me and you and justin having a really big "double platinum" era and always skipping that version and moving on to other songs. we always had a real distaste for it, but i will say that i think ace's solos on the new version are pretty good and i listened to "double platinum" so much that when shufflepuck recorded our version of "strutter" for a b-side to our record, the majority of the songs chord structure and patterns were from the version off the 1st kiss record (as well as the live version), but the solos i played were quoting the double platinum version, so yeah....that's wierd.
maybe i don't know what i'm talking about.
|Sunday, June 11th, 2006|
We have prepared for one month and we are eagerly anticipating the first game. Preparations have gone well, we have no excuses. I am sick of preparation. . . I want to hear the whistle.
What bands were you listening to at the time you first started writing material for The Blue Album?
---Fred Spearfish, Saint Diego
Off the top of my head, in no particular order:
* Gregg Alexander
* I remember hearing a lot of STP at parties
* Ice Cube
* Janes addiction
* King missile
* King Size (I roadied for them in Guatemala)
* Lots of The velvet underground
* Nirvana (though I was kind of intentionally avoiding them)
* Public Enemy
* Richard Strauss
* Roger from Zapp
* Sonic youth
* The Smiths
And of course: the radio and Karls mix tapes!
Were talking about late 91 early 92. I dont remember listening to that much music at that time. I was very busy with school and my various jobs. My big music listening period was 90-91 when I worked at Tower Records. I had to listen to 8 hours of music everydaybasically everything that was released at that time, and then some. I was exposed to a ton of music that I otherwise never would have heard.
I saw 1991-12-22 Jane's Addiction/Pixies/Primus at the Palladium. I saw Tool at Rajis out of curiosity.
This March I wrote a song that catalogues a lot of the music Ive listened to in my life in chronological order, starting with Edmund Fitzgerald and ending with Nevermind.
|Friday, April 28th, 2006|
Clarifications, Corrections, and Supplemental Materials
Clarifications, Corrections, and Supplemental Materials
Wikipedia: I don't know anyone who calls me "Ace," "The 'Varz" or "The Dude," as in the lead character in The Big Lebowski .
Blender: I want to go to school, and after that, I want to get married and have a family, Cuomo says, speaking barely above a whisper. And it doesnt seem like being on the road or working with a band is going to allow that to happen. This didnt come out right. What I meant was that I didnt seem to be able to find a partner while I was working with the band. This interview was heavily cut and pasted by the editor.
My Trip To Seoul: http://news.joins.com/en/200512/21/200512212203148731c000c040c041.html
Duh . . . I forgot to mention that "Buddy Holly" is about a Korean woman.
ElleGirl: be aware that this article was written in September, 2004, right before I left for the first semester of my senior year.
The Straight Dope On My Name:
At birth I was named Rivers Cuomo, no middle-name. (My mom said she wanted me to be able to pick my own middle name. I never bothered.)
When I was about eight, I was given the Hindu first name Rama by Swami Satchidananda. Most kids who went to the ashram school took Hindu first names at that time.
At some point around age ten, I started using my step-fathers last name Kitts (not Kitz).
When I switched to public school in sixth grade, I started using the first name Peter because I wanted to fit in. Most of the ex-ashram kids started using normal names at this point.
After graduating high school, when I was eighteen, I started using Rivers Cuomo again because it seemed more rock-star-ish and thats what I wanted to be: a rock star.
Throughout my entire life, my legal name has always been Rivers Cuomo.
I think it was a little harsh when I said, "There is no God." What I meant by that is that there is no sectarian belief or faith involved in the meditation: it's purely a mental exercise. That's why people come from all different faiths, beliefs, backgrounds, religions, and traditions. I've seen catholic priests, muslims, jains, buddhist monks, jews, and atheists attend these courses, with no apparent feeling of conflict.
I believe there is some confusion about the moral code by which I try to live. Here are the eight precepts I observe when I am at the meditation center, sitting a course:
1. to abstain from killing any living creature;
2. to abstain from stealing;
3. to abstain from all sexual activity;
4. to abstain from telling lies;
5. to abstain from all intoxicants.
6. to abstain from eating after midday;
7. to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decoration;
8. to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.
When I am outside the center, in my daily life, I only observe the first five. Also, precept number three, outside the center, is modified: to abstain from all sexual activity outside of a lifelong committed relationship. (For me, for now, that means total abstinence, because I dont have a partner.)
The purpose of the precepts is to make my mind calmer so that I can meditate better. The purpose of the meditation is to help my singing, songwriting, performing, and just about everything else in my life. See? It all makes sense. :)
"Cuomo, who studies Buddhism..."
I don't study Buddhism, I practice meditation.
"There are rumors that Cuomo may return to Harvard, where he's majoring in English, to finish his final semester. Cuomo hasn't addressed the issue..."
I definitely intend to return to school in the spring of 2006.
ROLLING STONE: "The Weird World of Weezer"
From a friend: "Also, I noticed in the article you said you felt you were off course in Ct. musically (I'm paraphrasing). I absolutely know what you mean but it also was a really powerful time for me musically. You, justin, adam, roger, glenn, drake and all those other guys in our little click had a profound impact on my life. We were just so ****ing into it man, dissecting solos, arguing about who's better, this guy or that. I of course have had that since and have that intensity now on a completely different level of awareness but that was a special time, at least for me. S*** like adam cutting together just the George Lynch solos from the Dokken songs, that s*** kills me. Anyway, for what it's worth, you seemed very much in tune then and were definitely a positive influence in my life musically and I just wanted to pass that along."
From my writing teacher:
>Here is what I can contribute. I tried to do this as an attachment but
>somehow I can't, so I'll just type it.
>When I heard that Rivers Cuomo wanted to take my nonfiction-writing
>class, I was just a little worried. What if he acted like a big rock
>star and intimidated the class, I wondered, though what I really meant
>was, what if he intimidated me, the teacher? But his application essay
>about . . . and the complicated feelings that
>the visit had evoked--of guilt, love, pride, embarrassment--was
>excellent. I also remembered an image from the one Weezer cd I had at
>that time, of a sweater unravelling slowly as a person walks away. So
>of course I admitted him to the 12-person writing seminar in which
>students were asked to write personal essays and critique each other's work.
>Everyone in class knew who he was even though no one said anything.
>Rivers made no secret of his identify--his music and his public persona
>were integral parts of what he wrote about--but he was completely
>matter-of-fact about these things, neither hiding nor broadcasting
>them. He was unassuming and assertive in turn, sitting quietly and
>studiously until he had something to say, and then making commentary
>that was kind, constructive, and perceptive. This particular class
>happened to have other very colorful personalities--a divinity school
>graduate student who used to be a celebrity reporter in LA, a young man
>from Tennesses who wrote about two near-death experiences (one in a
>dangerous neighborhood in NYC and the other in the wilds of
>Wyoming)--so after a while, Rivers kind of blended in."
From a friend:
" Hi Vanessa,
Thanks for getting in touch with me, I actually just spent a couple of days working with Rivers at the center, he's still there now. So I'll just start with the first time I met Rivers at the Vipassana Center.
First, a little Vipassana lingo, there are basically two things a person can do at the center, sit or serve. Sitting means being a student for the course and just focusing on meditation. Serving is working for the students(usally about 100) either in the kitchen preparing food, or being a manager, which means attending to any needs of the individual students. Managers tend to be more experienced students.
A year and a half ago, when I met Rivers, I was in the middle of a 6 month sitting and serving period. I'd left the center for a few days and came back a day or two late to serve a 10 day course. I met all the other 10 servers except for the manager for the male students because they are usually not in the kitchen but they do stop in to help when they have extra time. The male manager turned out to be Rivers and I saw him briefly a couple of times and knew he looked familiar but I would never have expected it to be him. The more I looked at him the more I was saying to myself, 'Damn, that really looks like Rivers Cuomo'. So we were working in the kitchen across from each other. He was scrubbing potatoes and I was cutting tofu. I was thinking, 'Is there any way this can possibly be Rivers?' I basically convinced myself that it wasn't logical that Rivers would be at this meditation center that I've been coming to for years. Once I decided it wasn't him I simply asked,"What's your name?" He said, "Oh, my name is Rivers." I remember that I involuntarily jerked backwards a little bit in shock. I am a big Weezer fan and a musician. I introduced myself and said,"Sorry for my reaction, I just thought you looked really familiar." Not knowing what else to say I said," Your music is wonderful." I felt like a dork. He thanked me and I walked away trying to comprehend how amazing it was that I was meeting one of my idols in such a spiritual and personal environment. We worked together on the course for the next couple of weeks and slowly I got to know a lot about Rivers. For the first few days I would be meditating five feet from Rivers with about 20 Weezer songs running through my head. It was very surreal.
The initial conversations I had with Rivers were mainly about the Dhamma, (the teaching and practice of Vipassana). I figured he was probably enjoying his autonomy at the center and didn't want to be pestered by a fan, so, while it took some restraint, i tried to keep the rock-related questions to a minimum. He told me how he'd been very unhappy with his last two records and had been looking for a way to reconnect with his creativity and that Rick Rubin had suggested that he take a meditation course. He had already attended 4 or 5 courses in about a 6 month period which is way more than usual. I remember one conversation that stands out, I asked him if he was still friends with Matt Sharp, he looked at me and with a sadness in his voice he said, "I'm trying to be". He told me how he'd been reaching out to Matt and trying to make peace and resolve whatever tensions there were between them. It was obvious he was really hurt that they weren't friends. He seemed willing to do whatever it would take to improve their relationship and I could see that his meditation practice was helping him deal with it.
Rivers was much more comfortable talking about meditation and the teachings of Vipassana than he was talking about music, being a rock star, touring, and all the things that the Weezer fan in me wanted to know about. A few times we would get on those subjects and he would say, "Wow,I can feel how agitated I'm getting just talking about these things." One time when we were talking about his new album he just said, "I don't think I want to talk about music right now."
Our conversations also seemed to gravitate toward the subject of women. Being in a semi-monastical environment really tends to bring up the passions in a person. Rivers seemed very preoccupied with girls and the idea of finding the right partner who would also be into meditation. Rivers is a very shy and private person. I remember our other friend Travis and I talked to him a lot about meeting women and interacting with them.
In the 7 years that I have been practicing Vipassana I have met very few people who are as dedicated to the practice as Rivers. For example, most people starting off take 10 day courses which are very demanding. If you practice 2 hours minimum a day for 2 years and refrain from using any intoxicants during that time, as well as meeta few other requirements, you can qualify to take a 20 day course. Very few people take these longer courses. Rivers just completed a 20 day course after a little less than 2 years of practicing! Imagine 20 days of total silence, meditating 10 to 12 hours a day! You can understand the kind of dedication that this would take. Rivers always seems down to meditate. The few times I visited him in LA thats what we did. He has clearly cultivated a lot of inner peace and clarity through his practice. Also sitting still and meditating for hours on end can be very uncomfortable. You tend to want to fidget. When Rivers sits to meditatite he resembles a stone statue of the Buddha. no movement. He is a person that exudes discipline. It's very inspirational. I remember between courses a few of us were going up to nearby Yosemite Park to camp out and have a little mens circle. Rivers really wanted to come with us but he waffled back and forth for about an hour because he didn't want to leave the vibe of the meditation center and risk loosing his focus, as we were going to be sitting a 10-day course starting the next day. Eventually he decided not to come, I really admired his discipline.
<> One funny thing that I recall was after a course Rivers got picked up in a big black chauferred van equipped with a guitar and he was excited about the four hour ride home, getting to pour all of his newly cultivated inspiration into writing new songs. I think we'll get to hear some of that on the new album."
|Sunday, April 30th, 2006|
Your First Assignment
Your First Assignment
Shes Had a Girl (:51)
Shes had a girl
A child of mine
Her bloods my blood
Her eyes my eyes
I cant believe
She belongs to me
I belong to her
Now I finally see
What it is I want
Only Im too late
Surrender, she has won
|Wednesday, February 15th, 2006|
Flyer for Teen and Children's Meditation Courses
Flyer for Teen and Children's Meditation Courses
The aim of these courses is to introduce young people to Anapana meditation, which is the first step in the practice of Vipassana meditation.
Anapana is the observation of natural, normal respiration, a simple technique that helps develop concentration of the mind. It is easy to learn, objective and scientific.
With practice, students develop a better understanding of themselves and how their minds work, gaining an inner strength that helps guide
their decision making.
for ages 13 – 16
Saturday, March 25th, 2006
for ages 8 – 12
Sunday, March 26th, 2006
Both courses start at 8:30 A.M. and end at 4:00 P.M.
Location: Faulkner House at the Park School, Brookline MA.
For more information and application materials, visit the website:
This event is organized by the Boston Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Vipassana Association.
Courses are run solely on a donation basis. Participants are welcome to give a donation if they choose.
|Friday, January 6th, 2006|
Home for 2 days and then it's off to another meditation course.
|Thursday, December 29th, 2005|
I'm serving a meditation course for the next ten days. See ya! :)
|Tuesday, December 13th, 2005|
Letter For Readmission To Harvard--2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Letter For Readmission To Harvard--2005
Dear Dr. ****,
This letter is to inform you of my intention to return to Harvard next semester and to fill you in on what I’ve been up to since I left.
After final exams in January, I went to Los Angeles to finish Weezer’s fifth album, Make Believe, which debuted on May 10 at number 2 on the Billboard album chart, our highest position ever, and which was just certified platinum. The first single, “Beverly Hills”, went to number 4 on the pop singles chart, making it our biggest hit ever by far. The current single, “Perfect Situation”, and its video, are doing well also. The album received mixed reviews but I believe it is one of our best.
Since Make Believe was released, Weezer performed with many other top artists including an extended tour with the Foo Fighters and one-off gigs with some of my biggest influences, Oasis and Public Enemy. We toured all over Europe, America, and Japan and broke new ground in Brazil and Mexico. We worked purposefully to improve our show and I worked especially hard to improve myself as a front-man. Almost all fan reports and critical reviews expressed surprise at the improvement in our show.
We did a lot of publicity, including a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine and performances on The Howard Stern Show, Late Night With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
We made two of our best videos, I think, for the singles “We Are All On Drugs” and “Perfect Situation”. We took these projects as artistic challenges and worked really hard. I pushed myself particularly in the domain of acting—which I’d completely shied away from since childhood.
Throughout the year, I downloaded the most popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and listened to them on shuffle as I ran on the treadmill. Similarly, I read many of the bestselling books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita In Tehran, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics, and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. I read Newsweek magazine fairly regularly. I got a better sense of the medium in which my work exists, where I want to fit in, and where I don’t.
I kept a web-log that which received about 700,000 page views. I wrote articles for Ellegirl and Jane magazines, one called “My Apartment” and the other about my trip to Asia. I view my literary efforts as just another means of being creative and hopefully spreading a positive influence.
I traveled to India to visit my meditation teacher S.N. Goenka and to Myanmar to see the sites related to our tradition. Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet with Mr. Goenka because of his sudden ill health, but I still received tremendous inspiration from visiting the home Vipassana center and meeting so many other serious meditators. The trip was documented for possible inclusion in a film.
I attended several Vipassana meditation courses around the country including the 20-day course in March in Massachusetts. I also studied the Buddha’s discourses and other critical and historical texts related to the Buddha’s life and teaching.
I got closer to my parents, uncovering within myself a sense of responsibility for and connection with them. My mother is now a Vipassana meditator too and I am enjoying the feeling of security and support that comes with having multiple generations within a family walking on the same spiritual path. My father saw me perform this year for the first time and we are getting to know each other after not having much contact while I was growing up. I appreciate the sudden fatherly influence in my life and am surprised at how much we have in common.
I am looking forward to coming back to Harvard in the spring and finishing what I started back in 1995. My motivation is much different now than it was then: then I was terribly discontent and dreaming of being a classical composer, a writer, or basically anything that I wasn’t; now I just want to enjoy my life and do the responsible thing—graduate.
Take care. I will see you soon.
[revised and edited]
Here's the 2004 letter again:
What I’ve Been Up To Since I Left School
After the initial failure of my band’s second album, Pinkerton, I decided not to return to school in the fall of 1997, instead setting out on a mission to develop creative methods which would allow me to be more consistent as an artist. Above all, I wanted to cure myself of the Romanticism which I believed was to blame for my failure.
Throughout 1998 and 1999 I engaged in hundreds of song-experiments. I filled notebooks and cassette tapes. I drew graphs, tables, and charts. I studied other songwriters’ methods. I took hundreds of pages of notes on the creative process, mostly from Nietzsche, but also from Goethe and Stravinsky.
At first, I maintained a relatively normal social life, playing and coaching soccer and continuing my classical piano studies with Bruce Sutherland. Eventually, however, I became more and more isolated. I unplugged my phone. I painted the walls and ceiling of my bedroom black and covered the windows with fiberglass insulation. I disciplined myself to the extreme. My goal was to purge myself of all weakness so that I could write “perfect” songs as reliably as a machine.
Most of the time, I believed that I was optimistic and happy. The song-experiments, however, produced music of less and less joy and, occasionally, I would fall into despair. At one point, in September of 1999, I actually gave up my mission and decided to go back to school, sacrificing my music career indefinitely. I contacted Dean Thomas Dingman to gain admission, but learned that I had missed the registration deadline by two weeks. I could only move forward with the music.
I struggled on for two-and-a-half years in all. I finally concluded that such intense focus on musical perfection was only scaring off any real inspiration I might have had. I decided I needed to broaden my focus onto a more practical, tangible goal, in the hopes that the music would start to flow in service to that goal. I read in Nietzsche that “great” men like Julius Caesar, Cesare Borgia, and Napoleon found their genius through practical activity, on the battlefield, in the pursuit of worldly ambitions. They were not locked away in a study like me. I decided to follow the example of these men, step onto the battlefield, and pursue “World domination”. I hoped this goal would spark my creativity. .
World domination—or, in terms applicable to me, commercial success—meant making the most of what I had, musically, and becoming active with my band again, and making an album and touring. I swallowed my creative insecurities for the sake of that success and revealed my songs to close associates in early 2000. Their positive reactions led to rehearsals, which led to performances. We discovered that during our long absence, we had only become more popular. Our “failed” album, Pinkerton, was now viewed by many critics and fans as great. With momentum behind me, I kept writing. At the end of 2000, we entered the studio to make our long overdue third album.
The Green Album was released in May of 2001, going on to sell over two million copies worldwide. We toured extensively, playing our biggest concerts ever. We performed on Saturday Night Live and at the MTV Movie Awards. The album’s success at radio and MTV, and in foreign markets wherein we had had no previous success, seemed to me to validate the approach I had taken with myself and my art. I quickly became the opposite of the unconfident hermit I had been in 1998 and 1999. I now believed that my band would become “the biggest band in the world” and that I was the man to lead us to that destiny.
I sought to cultivate the same ruthless practicality in my business that I had achieved in my music. I studied the lives of Napoleon and David Geffen, Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, and contemporary texts on leadership and management. I gradually took over all of the business responsibilities from our manager and managed the band completely by myself. My performing, writing, and recording continued but were now joined by my business activities, all of which together I viewed as converging on the one goal of “world domination”. I read books on business and negotiating. I hired a staff. I reformed our operation, renegotiated contracts, and consolidated power. I found it easy to gain ground in negotiations because no music businesspeople wanted to “play hardball” with “the artist”. Furthermore, I believed we were able to grow with integrity, as I could now make informed choices, seeing for once exactly how the business worked.
However, I also steered us into many bitter battles, including two lawsuits and many other very tense negotiations. For example, in order to demonstrate our independence from the record company in the new age of digital media, I shut them out of the making of our fourth album, Maladroit. We financed and produced the album entirely ourselves, sending hundreds of copies of the finished product to press and radio—but none to our record company. The record company could only watch on the sidelines as the single quickly climbed the charts, and the fans downloaded the promotional copies off the internet. At this point, we had what I believed was optimal leverage, and we renegotiated our contract.
Ultimately, however, Maladroit was not the big hit that it had threatened to be, selling only about three-quarters of a million copies. I had succeeded in improving our financial arrangement, but not in making a hit album. The record company blamed my shenanigans for the downturn in our success.
Many fans also criticized the music. They heard both Maladroit and The Green Album as being “mechanical” and “emotionless”. I tried to evaluate the criticism objectively but I made little progress. I had extinguished my faculty of self-criticism in 1998-2000 in order to make the comeback. Now I could not tell if my current predicament was just a classic case of an audience lagging behind the development of an artist (as in the case of Bob Dylan when he went electric) or if I had I really “lost something”. I reacted defensively, calling the fans “little bitches” in an interview with Guitar World magazine. Now the fans were unhappy, the record company was unhappy, my associates were unhappy, and I was unhappy. I did not know what could be done to change that.
I fell further into ego and vice. Still, deep inside, I was having serious doubts. I asked myself, “Is my life really supporting the production of the kind of music I know I am capable of?” I had to admit that my music no longer gave me the feeling of sublime ecstasy that it once had. Although I had already written another large pile of songs for our fifth album, I put all plans to record on hold. There was a revolution brewing in my unconscious, soon to be triggered by the man we had hired a few months earlier to produce the album, Rick Rubin.
In February of 2003, Rick gave me a copy of Daniel Ladinsky’s translation of Hafiz’s poetry, The Gift. After overcoming my initial aversion to all things spiritual, I decided to read some of the book because I trusted Rick so much. Henry Mindlin, in his introduction to the book, says:
Hafiz wrote hundreds of ghazals [or love songs], finding ways to bring new depth and meaning to the lyrics without losing the accustomed association of a love song…He explored different forms and levels of love: his delight in nature’s beauty, his romantic courtship of that ideal unattainable girl, his sweet affection for his wife, his tender feelings for his child…his relationship with his teacher and his adoration of God.
I was struck by the connection between all these different forms of love. I recognized that the feeling of sublime ecstasy I once got from music was just one more of these forms of love.
I had an epiphany: if the feeling these mystics get in union with their God is analogous to the feeling I used to get in union with my music, then their teachings for how to achieve their union should likewise serve to instruct me how to achieve my union. A whole world of spiritual teachings therefore opened up to me for the first time since, as a child, I had decided that I was an “atheist”. I now read these spiritual teachings as coded instructions for how to connect with my musical creativity. For example, when Hafiz says, “Self-Effacement is the emerald dagger you need to plunge deep into yourself upon this path to …God”, I read it as “Self-Effacement is the emerald dagger you need to plunge deep into yourself upon this path to Musical Creativity.” Like this, I just replaced the word God wherever I saw it. I had discovered a new path which I believed was what I had been waiting for.
I eagerly studied a wide variety of traditions including the mystical poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and Kabir, contemporary spiritual teachers, and ancient texts such as the Tao Te Ching. In accord with my understanding of these teachings, I abruptly dropped all of my business responsibilities and hard-won power, and isolated myself once again. I fasted and lost fifteen percent of my weight. I took a vow of complete celibacy. I gave away or sold most of my possessions, my house, and my car and lived in an empty apartment next to Rick’s house for the rest of the year. I settled outstanding lawsuits and reconciled myself with enemies. I apologized to many people. I volunteered six days a week at Project Angel Food in Hollywood, preparing meals for people with HIV.
Thus, my life made another extreme swing, as it has many times since I was a teenager. I have been sometimes a tyrant, sometimes the most frustratingly passive person you have ever met, sometimes a socialite, sometimes a hermit, sometimes a rock star, sometimes a student. I have had little inner stability.
During this latest swing towards spirituality, however, I started a practice which may help me achieve some balance: meditation. Rick Rubin sent me some books on the subject but, at first, I would not read them. I thought that meditation would rob me of the angst that I believed was essential for my connection to music. All the crazy experiments I have tried in my life have always been an effort to improve, maintain, or recover that connection. Eventually, however, desperate for answers, I read the first three chapters of one of the books, Ken Mcleod’s guide to meditation, Wake Up to Your Life. His words hit me like a lightning bolt. I realized that, in a sense, I had been wrong all these years in trying to connect to my creativity by violent means, for example, by mining my adolescent anger for “Say it Ain’t So”, crucifying my leg for Pinkerton, or consuming Tequila and Ritalin for “Hash Pipe”. Mcleod says:
These devices [such as the ones above] do not work in the long run because they draw on our system’s energy to generate a peak experience. Peak experiences cannot be maintained, and when they pass, the habituated patterns and the underlying sense of separation remain intact. (xi)
Mcleod, and other sources I began reading, showed me a new way to work. Instead of generating peak experiences for inspiration, I could strengthen my power of concentration through meditation so that I could get more and more inspiration from weaker and weaker experiences. Not only that, but the practice would make my life better, and make better the lives of those that have to live with me. I started to meditate.
The technique I was drawn to is called Vipassana. It is taught around the world at over one hundred centers and temporary camps. (Go to www.dhamma.org for more information.) I started the practice fourteen months ago, attending seven ten-day courses and serving as a volunteer at two. Since then, I have found that the areas of tension in my mind—the fear, the anger, the sadness, the craving—are slowly melting away. I am left with a more pristine mind, more sharp and sensitive than I previously imagined possible. I feel more calm and stable. My concentration and capacity to work have increased greatly. I feel like I am finally much closer to reaching my potential.
I now live in a small but comfortable apartment. I feed myself adequately. I took a class at USC this spring, “The History of Literary Criticism”, and enjoyed it very much. I take private lessons in music composition once a week from Bruce Reich, a professor at UCLA. I still volunteer, once a week, now at the West Hollywood Food Coalition, feeding homeless or otherwise disadvantaged people. But most pleasing to me is that, month by month, I have watched my creative flexibility returning. The music I have created over the last six months has brought me much enjoyment.
I am returning to Harvard in the fall. Other than that, I am wide open to whatever else comes my way…
|Tuesday, November 29th, 2005|
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
i am currently in myanmar where use of my cell phone and all of my email accounts is blocked by the government. i'll be in a free nation again on dec. 6.
I can't check my messages on Myspace either. I'm surprised I can blog.
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2005|
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
People. There’s not much more time left. I’m heading out to the center tomorrow or the next day and there I’ll have no internet access. The course starts in three days.
I wanted to write a few words of good wishes to everyone. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging lately; I’ve been working on a big article for Jane magazine and another essay for re-re-admission to Harvard. I’m having fun.
Thanks for being such great fans and friends, advisors and teachers, coaches and cheerleaders.
Good wishes also to my family and my work colleagues; and good wishes to my band.
I’m going into a cell for fifteen days of Vipassana. I intend to face as much of my sadness, anger, fear, and craving as I can and come out a happier person.
I’ll see you on the other side!
Peace and love,
|Tuesday, November 8th, 2005|
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I’ve been getting an inordinate amount of advice from eighteen year-olds on my love life.
My dad seems to understand my situation. He says he went through a similar process in finding his wife about twenty-five years ago. His first commitment was to God and his religion. He was celibate for several years. He became clear on what he was looking for in a partner. He met Lila. He “dispassionately” analyzed the situation. He didn’t “fall in love” and he didn’t “see stars”. There never was a “sudden thunderstorm”. He calmly concluded that they would make a great team. Over the years, true love seeped in like “dew, deep into the ground.”
K’s mom on the other hand is a little concerned by my lack of passion. She advised K: “Well, tell him you won’t get married unless he asks YOU to marry him!” She suspects that I don’t care to whom in particular I get married.
Jen Wilson was a little concerned too. “You might be selling yourself short if you settle for a relationship without that passion. You need—”
Pat interrupted her suddenly.
“Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.”
He was singing and making hand motions to illustrate the lyrics.
“I’m serious,” continued Jen. “You deserve—”
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes.
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.”
Pat’s point, I think, is that everyone is different and maybe the relationship that’s right for me is different from the stereotypical romantic relationship.
Scott agreed when I asked him.
“Everybody’s different, bro’. Everybody needs different things.”
That was especially reassuring coming from him because I know how glad he is that he waited to find the right person.
I really think K is the right person. And she was right here all along. I just needed to grow up.
We narrowly avoided disaster last night. She copied me on an email she sent to Stuart about our December visit requesting that she be put into economy class while it was OK for me to be in First. I was flabbergasted. I had thought we were going to be a team. Equals. How could she be OK with flying Third class to my First? I took it as a sign that she didn’t want to incur the commitment that would come with allowing me to pay so much money for her. I skyped her immediately. She said I had misunderstood her. She wasn’t afraid of commitment but just couldn’t bring herself to spend so much of anyone’s money on a single flight.
“My dad just bought a car for that amount!”
We both agreed to fly Business.
I hope we can make these decisions as a team in the future.
I want a partner.
Not a housekeeper.
|Monday, October 31st, 2005|
For The Statistically Minded
Monday, October 31, 2005
For The Statistically Minded
1994 The Blue Album 3,004,160
1996 Pinkerton 784,655
2001 The Green Album 1,549,531
2002 Maladroit 590,718
2005 Make Believe 804,627
The Blue album Reissue 69,778
Beverly Hills ITUNES sales 591,164
(Hey some people are really into this stuff.)
These are SOUNDSCAN figures for the number of albums scanned in the U.S.
Album awards are granted based on number of albums shipped, not scanned.
Jordan's theory is that one new album equals two old albums because of "illegal" downloading. Factor that in if you will.
|Thursday, October 27th, 2005|
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I think I pulled one of my gluteus maximi last night.
I don’t know why I have the reputation for being the systematic thinker: I think it’s Brian. He came up with a brilliant scheme for solving the cover song conundrum (you know, the fact that four guys can never agree on one song to cover.) We each selected two songs and put them in a hat. Each day we draw a song and have to learn it and play it at sound check. Yesterday we did Gary Newman’s “Are Friends Electric?” for Pat and today we’re doing “I Don’t Know How to Love Her” from Jesus Christ Superstar for me. Everyone’s happy.
And this boy has notebooks, too. Yesterday we got in an argument because both of us thought we were supposed to learn the keyboard part. I had filled a page of my Mead book with notes.
“See, I did all this work!”
“Pshhh . . . Look at this!”
Bri pulled out some fancy French notebook with graph lines on the pages and leaf after leaf of notes on all the different keyboard parts of the song. The lyrics were printed out, cut, and carefully pasted around the notes he had drawn.
“Hmph. . . I guess you can play the keyboard if you want.”
He ended up letting me play the keyboard anyway.
We call him the “MD” sometimes, or “musical director”. He’s the one who always seems to have his act together the most and he’s always shouting out the changes to us so we don’t get lost.
We are anticipating all out war on the last night of the Foos tour. Apparently they dropped 50,000 ping pong balls on the Chili Peppers.
“Yet, if she said she loved me
I'd be lost; I'd be frightened
I couldn't cope
Just couldn't cope
I'd turn my head
I'd back away
I wouldn't want to know
She scares me so
I want her so
I love her so...”
|Wednesday, October 26th, 2005|
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Pat Finn was there tonight. He played Undone with us. That would have been a perfect opportunity to tell a story on stage.
Pat Finn was the guy who introduced me to Pat and Matt, and the guy that introduced them to each other.
I was working at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in 1990-1991. One day a skin-head looking punk came in to start his first day of work. It was Pat Finn. I thought he was the coolest thing ever. A real punk.
At the end of his shift he inexplicably said “Hey man, do you want my peanut butter and banana sandwich?”
Food was at a premium at the time for me.
A real punk not only talked to me but gave me his sandwich.
I idolized him. He was always trying to get our boss to punch him so he could file for unemployment or sue or something. He also always tried to grab my nuts forcefully. I didn’t know if he was gay or just insane but I thought he was the coolest. I tried to get him in my horrible metal band to be a DJ of all things. For some reason he was interested in playing music with me too but on HIS terms.
One day he said, “You’ve got to meet my friend Winky Smiles.”
I went over to his apartment on Gordon and saw first thing as I entered a large grown man lying in a heaping pile of filth and garbage. He looked up.
“Hey Man.” It was Pat Wilson.
They played me Morrissey songs and I tried my best to understand why it was cool because I knew that it was but I couldn’t. Everything they played me had clean jangly guitars and that just didn’t jibe with my heavy metal background.
“This is great stuff,” I said. I knew I had to latch on to Pat Finn.
We eventually formed a band, Sixty Wrong Sausages. Jason Cropper was in the band too. We all wrote and took turns singing. Four-tracking was on in full force.
Pat Finn also joined Kyokushin with me. He was gangly at first but he came to kick some serious ass eventually because of his incredible determination.
He was one really intense guy, kind of like me. He was a vegetarian, a conspiracy theorist, a punk. He told me about a musical duo he had formed back in Buffalo called “Skraper”. The other member was apparently a Teutonic titan who rapped a violent breed of nonsense. I had a pretty scary image in my mind and was surprised eventually when I met the guy, a complete lamb of soul, when he helped me move into my apartment with Pat and Matt. I’m talking about Karl.
Pat Finn was the nexus between all of us, Pat, Matt, Karl, me, the guys in Wax, the guys in the Dum Dums.
It was cool to play with him tonight.
He’s married and his wife has a nine-year-old (?) by a previous marriage. The girl goes to a “Waldorf” school. I want to find a special school for my kids too. I want them to practice meditation every day like we did in the Yoga School.
I called K again this morning. I pointed out to her that our last show is in Vegas in a few days. She could meet me there.
Vegas. You get what I’m saying?
She said I’m crazy.
I AM crazy.
|Tuesday, October 25th, 2005|
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
“If I don’t get pit action,” said Dave Grohl, pointing to the dark wet circles under his arms, “the whole first part of my show is ruined.” He was jumping up and down, flailing his arms like a severely retarded cheerleader.
I had snuck into the Foos dressing room to pilfer an orange soda only to discover that they hadn’t left for the stage yet. They were still in the midst of their warm-up routine, blasting Slayer and bouncing around the room.
I pick Dave’s brain whenever I can about frontman techniques: he’s seriously one of the best I’ve ever seen and I’m obviously one of the worst.
I’ve gotten a lot better over this tour though.
Now if only I could learn how to talk onstage. That’ll be my next question for Dave.
Bruce Reich was at the show last night, the composition professor from UCLA who gave Brian and me quite a few lessons. He seemed very impressed. Lindsay, Rick Rubin’s assistant, was there too. Jordan was there. Todd Sullivan was there. My friend Adam was there.
Adam said it was weird to see me singing without a guitar. It sure is fun for me, though. Don’t Let Go has been a total blast. I can’t believe how much better that song has gotten.
Jordan said he found the perfect woman for me.
“After all the help you gave me with my relationship I’m going to turn things around now and hook you up.”
“. . . “
“Well, I’ve been talking to K recently.”
“Rivers, you don’t understand. This girl is so hot!”
Figures. Recently there’s been a spate of opportunities, like the women grabbing me in the crowd. Two nights ago Brian saw a woman flash me from the stands, jiggling herself as I walked over to the side of the stage. I didn’t even see her.
So now the whole world knows that we pilfer things from the Foos room from time to time.
Yesterday we found a large bag of Famous Amos cookies sitting on the table in our dressing room.
“That must be a joke from the Foos,” said Pat with a guilty look on his face.
“I’ve been eating their cookies every day and I guess they finally decided to just give me the whole bag.”
|Tuesday, October 18th, 2005|
Slip Slidin' Away
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Slip Slidin' Away
Things seem to be moving forward with K, ineluctably. Boy would it be strange to have someone around all the time. “How could I do this if she were here right now,” I thought today as I was working on a song. The hotel rooms are so small and I’ve always needed total privacy to work on music. And she’s always watching TV. Actually, maybe that would work. Maybe the sound of the TV would cover my creative mumblings so I could feel secure. Ahh, it’s stupid to worry about it. I’m sure everything will work out.
It’s all so exciting. What an adventure.
She wants to have kids, three of them, and “as soon as possible”.
“Are you sure you want three?”
“Well, maybe one kid and then a pair of twins”.
She also said she’d be OK with taking them on the road.
I had a good talk with an old friend about K last night. He is the ultimate jade when it comes to relationships, as I have been historically too.
“What’s going to happen when you become attracted to someone else?”
“What’s going to happen when she falls in love with someone else?”
“Do you really think that two intelligent, dynamic people can be together for life?”
He described one of his long-term relationships as like “dragging a piece of furniture around” wherever he went.
I totally sympathize with the guy.
Yet I’m still moving forward. This thing just seems to have a gravity that I can’t escape, nor do I feel particularly inclined to escape it. All my fears about commitment are slowly dissolving. Perhaps that’s one of the benefits of getting older. Even if you make a decision that ruins the rest of your life, it’s only half of your life that you’re ruining. Screw it.
The thing about K too is that I already feel committed to her. I know no promises have been made but somewhere over the course of knowing her these last eight years I just became bonded to her on a very deep level, deeper than the level of conscious vows. It would feel strange to break that bond and start up with someone else at this point. Actually, I want whatever’s best for the both of us, whatever’s most natural. If she finds someone where she is, and she’s happy with him, then I’m happy for her. At that point, I would have no qualms about moving on and starting anew. I think.
Plan B would definitely be to find someone at school, though I have very little faith in that method, or in the meditation community back east starting next summer. School didn’t work out too well last semester, as far as mate-finding goes, because the women are just so young and so not into the idea of getting hitched up. I don’t blame them. They’ve got three-quarters of their lives ahead of them and tons of ambition. Who like that would want to be a rock star wife? There was just no magic there between me and them.
The meditation community is much more promising. I could find someone closer to my age and we would definitely share the most important thing to me, the meditation teaching and helping others come in contact with it and benefit from it. And she would also most likely live back east near my parents. Maybe her parents would live there too.
I feel like if I can get my family thing squared away, I can make a stronger commitment to the band. Without that missing piece of the puzzle, I just don’t want to go back on the road again for another cycle of shows, interviews, videos, photo shoots, and lonely hotel rooms. Those guys all have their women folk and are well on their way to starting their families, to the extent that they want them. I’ve got nothing. And NO, I can’t find someone on the road, if that’s what you’re thinking. I can’t find someone in the world of rock. It would have happened by now if that was possible. I’ve got to settle down and be stable, live in one place for a while. Then things will fall into place naturally.
Whether it’s Plan A or Plan B it’s going to happen.