All posts in March 2016

Last Night I Had a Dream

A great number of people were turned away from Pierce Turner's performance with his string quartet at Puck Fair on March 25th the final night before the bar closed because of an expired lease. Turner ran through almost all of his best known songs, and the everyone sang their hearts out as he strolled across the counter knocking over glasses of beer as he

Last night I had a dream.

I had a dream last night that I wrote the perfect hit song. I was able to look at it objectively and decide that it had all the necessary content to be a hit. It had a catchy melody, but not obvious, it twisted slightly just when you thought you knew where it was going, and after turning that mysterious corner, just as you were feeling a little lost, it returned to a hook that looked and felt like home, like the familiar wallpaper of my parents sitting room, it made me feel at ease, a hand in glove, and it broke into groove with slight edge making me want to dance. Remember this was a dream, so there were no practical issues that could interfere with the appointed outcome, also, because it was a dream it may have begun with the outcome before it started, so it could be pre-designed to not fail. Maybe I wished that I could write a hit song and then dreamed that I did, so therefore I knew what I wanted before I began, so being that it is a make believe world anyhow, there was no reason for my wishes to have any obstacle to impede their conclusion.

However, there was a snag. I sat there looking at the song for a while and thought of what the consequences might be if it was a hit, or should I say “when” it was a hit, in the dream there was absolutely no doubt, I just needed to put it out there. It was all very clear and exact in the dream. If I put the song out it was going to be a huge hit, it would be all over the radio, it would have millions of hits on YouTube, instead of booking venues that hold 100 to 300 people I would be playing in six thousand seaters like Radio City Music Hall. The newfound wealth that would come with this played no part in the dream at all by the way.

A cold plastic feeling came across me, I could see the song as an island of architectural precision, it was like a ship or a spacecraft, everyone wanted to get on board it, and it was clear to me that it would sink, crash and burn pretty soon after it was launched with all my present friends on board , some new ones would die too, when it was over there would be no-one left, and no new ones interested either. It was a one hit wonder, I would live in the world of novelty for the rest of my days. It was horrifying to me. When I woke up, I lay there on my back staring at the ceiling fan stood still with a cobweb reaching across to my signed Angela’s Ashes in its zip-locked bag on the shelf above my head, one day it might be worth something? Money! Fame, fortune, I believe that I once assumed those things would come my way one day, lately I have become more and more skeptical about that outcome. But I have to say that dreams can straighten out this kind of confusion. I woke up this morning with a slightly clearer idea of what it is that I want, and a little more sure that I may have known all along. Just like the dream, I planned the outcome before I began.

Either be there or you’re a putz!

Love Can't Always Be Articulate

I may be digressing, or maybe this is progression. One time I played five times a week, and had a team of roadies to set up my gear, all I had to do was get in and out of the bus. They even strung my guitar. And all the rehearsal and preparation was to perform in front of thousands of people a week, albeit, usually as an opener for someone else’s audience, often the wrong one, still it seemed to make commercial and artistic sense to everyone.

Now I am spending all my time rehearsing and preparing to perform in a church for a one-off performance on March 12th that is purely for the sake of art and the repair of a stained glass ceiling. Is this nuts? I am carrying amplifiers up and down stairs, turning on the speaker on the left of the church and running around the horseshoe balcony to the other side to turn on the right. Setting up the mike stands, plugging in the pedals and the keyboard, arranging rehearsals time with the pastor, the sacristan and all the musicians who are working for free, the sound man and the videographer, screaming for publicity and …oh figuring out the set list and memorizing the songs and arrangements for myself. A couple of rehearsals ago everything was perfect as we ran the set, we were cruising along through “You Are Leaving” when suddenly I realized that I had forgotten how it went! So much time is going into all the other stuff, including with a capital A ..administration! So I went home and began to rehearse MYSELF – put myself staring at the wall and performed for the pictures. I was sure that all these songs were embedded in my brain, but when we are rehearsing, at first, we tend to focus on the tricky parts for other musicians to pick up, and sometimes things have to be tailored differently for live performance or a different line-up. It’s very important stuff, but it can mean forgetting to focus on just singing a song from beginning to end. However, if one keeps an eye on it, it’s a process that comes back to my awareness that I have to start singing to the wall if I have to. This week I know it will all come together and I know that artistically it is far superior to what I did before tens of thousands when I was on the road – including the sixty thousand at Glastonbury unfortunately – it’s exciting to know how special it will be to perform in the perfect acoustics of this church, I hope you are there to witness it. The audience will have a natural surround sound. Behind them, Nic on the grand organ and piano, and in front guitars, bass, vocals, trombone and drums. I wish we (and wonder if) we could perform there more times (residency in a church, yikes) it is so much work for one very special evening. If you are in New York or nearby and you have a paltry excuse for not being there, you are a putz.

But I still love you, Pierce x

 

The Blog! I nearly forgot the Blog, the album has taken over!

Battery Park photo

The blog, the blog, jays I nearly forgot about the blog. I’ve been watching the Oscars all night, the back of my head is embedded into this cushion, it’s not comfortable, and it hasn’t been all night for some reason. And yet I insist on continuing watching and keeping away from the computer. I swore last night that I would take the day off today by hook or by crook, and that I wouldn’t go near the computer, because it is sucking the eyes out of my head.

Yesterday, Saturday, I rehearsed in the church, our first full rehearsal with the organ and the full ensemble. It was by and large a great success, but hard work, we didn’t have a sound engineer yet, so I had to run up and down from the altar to the organ loft a lot. When I got home Clare had made a very nice meal and she had gone to Trader Joe’s to get the shopping alone, she was looking exhausted after working all week and commuting back and forth in the over-crowded subway. I felt bad that she was working so hard on her day off, and was worried that I was turning her into a musician’s widow.

So I decided to take today, Sunday, off (which really means, no computer) and to be willing to do whatever Clare wanted to do. It turned out to be a sunny Spring-like day, and a good plan. We went down to Clare’s favourite restaurant by the water looking over the Hudson River towards New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty. Ferries criss-crossed in the gleaming sun as we sipped wine and split caprese salad and dipped Italian bread in peppered olive oil. Clare deemed it a perfect day and her face glowed with radiant evidence. We got speaking to a beautiful couple with their 18 month old son. His mother was a high-spirited French woman with that certain open smile French women can possess, and a natural beauty that defies the use of make-up. She and her Argentinian husband live in Williamsburg Brooklyn and were doing what we were doing; pretending they were in Spain on holidays. They asked us what we did, and when I told them I was a musician, they wanted to know “What kind of music?” I dodged the impossible reply by giving them a card for the album launch at the church on March 12th. Who knows maybe they will be there, Clare swears that they will.

Then we came home and started watching the red carpet stuff before the Oscars. I thought I would lose my mind, it was so boring looking at all these beautiful women, ruined by shit over the top make-up and sparkling dresses that promote the designer above their wearer; interviewers telling them that were gorgeous!! By the time the actual Oscars came on, Clare was so tired she went to bed, and I forced myself to watch it without ever once picking up the computer. After two and a half hours of pure shite, I decided to go to bed myself. I started turning off the lights, and just as I was about to don my long white sleepy shirt, I realized that I hadn’t written my blog. So here I am on the computer after all.

The response to the album so far is very exciting, it feels special. If you have a favourite D.J please tweet them about it. The album hasn’t gone to radio yet, but it would be great to have them wondering about it ahead of time. Please don’t burn it, but don’t keep it a secret either, in this day and age, the internet word of mouth is all powerful.

Love Pierce x