I believe, that when an artist dies, you must fill the void with their art.
One of my all-time favorite musicians was the singer and songwriter, of Stone Temple Pilots and other bands, Scott Weiland. STP’s Core and Purple were two of the first albums I ever bought for myself, and for over twenty years I have loved their rousing tunes.
At the heart of the music is a voice unlike any other, is an emotional ferocity, a creativity, and a poetry unique to itself. Please listen to “Big Empty”, my old favorite, and “Atlanta”, my new favorite as of this year (it took me nearly twenty years to change my mind on that one), to see what I mean.
When Scott passed it hit me hard.
I do not care about his past; his death was unexpected and it was utterly sad. His demons never let go of him, but I still felt his decades of struggle were a tragedy, and his art was soul-bearing and resonate, no matter how many hundreds of times I listened to it.
And then David Bowie fell to cancer; it was bitter, sudden, painful...tough to swallow. The brilliant actor, musician and artist was up and gone, not of old age, but of a malady that no one can seem to cure, no matter how many stars are dimmed forever because of it. And he will forever be the greatest emanation of Nikola Tesla that I could ever imagine gracing the silver screen.
I love to listen, re-listen and to play these guys' music (my awful, raspy rendition of "Five Years" and “Sour Girl” and so on), and it hurt me so damn much.
The words and melodies, the voyages, the mind, body, and soul impacted so many in myriad ways and forever changed the world for the better.
Now why the fuck did they have to go so soon?
They were strangers to me, I never met either of them; though I did get to see Scott Weiland leap from the stage at Jones Beach and stand on seats, many rows deep, with his megaphone, to the utter ecstasy of the crowd in a legendary show. But my point is I did not know them, and I will not claim to know them just because I know their art. All I really know is their art, from my perspective, and what their art means to me. And it means a fucking lot. A lot more than I can even put into words, though my rambling tongue will die trying. Scott sang, “conversations kill” yet I keep talkin’.
David died, and it hurt so much.
David Bowie was gone. Fuck cancer.
He had just made an epic record: a grand fucking masterpiece that spoke back to Ziggy Stardust and Alladin Sane and “Cat Power” and yet evolved into something wholly new. Blackstar is a beautifully epic, spacey, funky, classical menagerie of an album. And just as quickly as it came, David was gone.
It was not fair.
And right around this time, an old school friend of mine named Adam passed away at the age of thirty-two.
Adam was a master guitar player – one of the true natural talents that echo the brightest of abilities with seemingly little effort (though what was the total of the countless hours he spent honing his craft, only he will ever know) – and he was a great musician, artist, and a kind human and a good friend.
He would help anyone for the sake of helping.
And he was gone. We lost him.
I still cannot believe you’re not there to talk music or philosophy or just laugh over a beer with. He brought me into my 1st garage band, 38 Down, when I was fourteen or fifteen. I learned how to write songs, how to strum a guitar, and how to yell with all my lungs from this guy.
Adam gave me my first guitar, when I was sixteen, and that Epiphone has not rested ever since – it went with me in the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan where “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was frequented and on to the rest stop of Tahoe and the coffee shop of Sonoma and back 3000-plus miles to Long Island. I will always cherish the instrument that he gave me.
We had not been close for many years, and now I rue the missed opportunities to jam with him. He’s gone, passed away 50 or 70 years too young - it's crushing.
For those who wish to donate to an important cause bringing aid, awareness and support to those suffering from the disease of addiction, and their families, you can reach out through the “Look Up For Adam” Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Look-Up-For-Adam-195509140801081/?fref=ts.
This grief eats away at you, whether it is for utter strangers or once good friends or both.
For the artists that have gone on, we all need to unite. For those that impacted us, their art is what we have to remember and to propel more and more, to blast on high ever loudening, as our days go on.
The pang of sadness is a lot sharper when an artist is taken at a young age.
There is not just a void in us, but there is a void in the world when an artist leaves this plane of existence.
And now I have not been a huge Prince fan by any means; I just never got around to really get into his music (and I am sure I will), outside of “Purple Rain”. But Batman is one of my all-time favorite movies and so too one of my favorite soundtracks, which was all Prince.
Now he too has left us. Seeing Elvis Costello bring down the house at the Beacon with an impromptu "Purple Rain" as my wife and I lost our minds screaming with joy will forever be one of those magical music moments in time for me, for as long as I live.
And Prince is gone.
The man's art was amazing.
We have a void to fill. Maybe you do not believe in a collective consciousness or Ralph Waldo Emerson, but there is something we can all do.
Project their art.
If, for nothing else, do it for yourself. Play the art that had/has/and will have meaning for you.
Send up a call and play their art!
For these fine musicians, and for ourselves, we can project their art forever.
It may be something they would be happy to know, were they alive, that we would continue to follow our bliss through their art far after they passed on.
You are so missed...
But we can fill the void.
P.S. Listen to STP go over the master tracks in the studio to reflect on their beloved friend, Scott Weiland, after his passing in a heartfelt tribute; the song is “Atlanta”, and I will warn you: you might cry the first time you hear this.
Wow, Stephen King’s 11.22.63 eight-part mini-series on Hulu, now that was an adaptation!
There have been some great adaptations of the legendary author’s works, The Green Mile, The Mist, and Shawshank Redemption to name a few, and some blunders (I’ll keep these to myself), but 11.22.63 is one of the best emanations of his books onto the film medium.
This is a spoiler free spout of words, though I delve into the overall plot that you would read on the inside cover of the book.
This J.J. Abrams produced mini-series was made to accurately portray an amazing tale of mystery, visually.
11/22/63, the novel, was one of King’s most ambitious pieces and is, in this author’s humble opinion, one of his greatest works.
Mr. King came up with the idea in 1971, less than a decade removed from President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald (with help . . . possibly).
The idea required years of research and due diligence to sift through the many yarns told on that day, the myriad conspiracy theories, and the records of the very very strange FBI, CIA, and other US government agencies’ involvement with the one man we do know shot the President on that horrific day.
King, being very wise, felt he could not run with the idea at that point, because he did not have the time or wherewithal to invest himself fully into what he knew would consume his brain, his researching skills, and his skills as the most gifted of writers taking on a steep task of historical fiction with a time traveling twist.
Did Oswald act alone?
Did the CIA put him up to it?
Was there a second shooter?
These age-old questions have loomed for over fifty years and though we are no closer to finding the truth in our own timeline, King imagines answers to all of these questions and more in his epic story.
There is so much research, not just into how the 1950’s and 1960’s were in the US, but also into the lives of the Oswald’s and the crazy events that happened in history, from General Walker’s failed assassination attempt, to the hand written letter Lee wrote to a federal agent. There are so many documented details from numerous sources about that day and the days leading up to it.
The book 11/22/63 was a huge success in both a long stay on the best seller list, and the tremendously emotional and epic journey of Jake Epping.
And the TV mini-series is just as impactful.
Jake learns of a secret door at Al’s Diner to September 9, 1958, at 11:58 a.m.
You go through and come back to 2011.
You go back to the same time and events in 1958.
Al has been going back to 1958 and researching the Marxist Lee Oswald to see if he acted alone to murder JFK or if he acted for a Communist or democratic agency.
You can come back to the future in the 2000’s and any changes you made in the past keep, at least until you go back in time again, which resets it all back to the start.
Al has become consumed with the idea of saving JFK on 11/22/63 and forever altering history to improve the world.
But the past does not want to change, and it fights back.
Jake takes on the quest Al bestows him, but the past quickly becomes an invisible character in the book and TV show, creepily popping light bulbs and generally ruining the divorced English teacher’s day any time he comes close to altering reality.
Jake, the man from the future, endures the up and downs of finding the love of his life in the past.
And all the while it is years before he can try and prevent the horrid result of 11.22.63 and they go by slowly in a suspenseful series of tribulations and challenges that are often word for word, scene for scene as King described them in the book.
The look and feel of the times are perfect.
The deep and serious performance of Jake Epping might be the best James Franco has ever been; it is outstanding and the performance of a lifetime.
The eerie details come through so well on film. The translation is nearly flawless.
The time traveling conundrum is fun and thrilling.
The story is an emotional gravitational force, as you are pulled so very hard.
And in the end it all comes down to one infamous day: 11.22.63.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com