Fred Gillen Jr.

Fuel for the Revolution

This is my blog. I started it back in 1998 when the term "blog" was new and I'd certainly never heard of it. At the time I didn't know I was blogging, I just wanted to post some non- edited pieces I'd written in my notebooks. I do not revise or censor this material in any way. Please feel free to email me through the "contact" page on this site if you have anything to say about what you read here.

Gone Gone Gone

I've been talking for a few years about this CD called Gone Gone Gone. I worked on the thing for two years... then I threw it away and started over and two months later a new record had been born, one with grace and beautiful imperfection and personality... my personality. I almost gave up, but I didn't. I kept going possibly primarily out of stubborness and pride, but also out of respect for the songs and for myself... and the sacredness of art and creation. I also kept going because of the letters and emails I received encourageing me...
I was reading Tape-op, a geek project-recording magazine recently and I saw a phrase which caught my attention: "perfect is the enemy of good." I think what I hate about most new recordings is that they are perfect, and perfect is absolutely the most boring thing in the world that I can think of. I think I've always been in a struggle to make imperfect but good recordings. My favorite artists do this: Dan Bern, Ani DiFranco, even the Beatles (Woody Guthrie was moving too fast to be too interested in recording, so he's an exception...) There is a Tom Waits song called "Frank's Wild Years" where Tom coughs during a pause in the lyrics. I have a great memory of riding in a car with my friend Frank Marotta Jr. and both of us literally holding our breath waiting for that cough which we'd both heard thousands of times before...Radiohead's Thom York's voice seems to crack just when I, as a listener, needs to connect with his vulnerability... This sort of thing just MAKES these recordings... I had Abbie Gardner in to record "I Ain't Got No Home" and there is this "ooh ooh" part. Towards the end she's getting into it and she kind of takes off, like a soul-singer (which she is really...) It's a beautiful moment of human emotion... My voice breaks in one of the choruses of "Salutations California Style," a song about trying desperately to find a home, to find a family, to find a place to belong. In the song "Free," drummer Andy Ladue and I were jamming away and he thought the planned fade-out was probably over and was playing really loosely. He just out of the blue cuts the time in half to this reggae thing and by some telepathy I am hanging right with him, and then he turns it back around... it is a magical moment. It is after the fade was supposed to end so it makes the song a minute longer, but to me it is the reason for that recording of the song... It is just a magical moment between 2 musicians who respect each other and are hopelessy in love with the groove.
I hope you'll buy this CD and give it a bunch of listens. I wrote many of these songs in the 2 years or so leading up to my divorce, but I also wrote 3 of them in the face of a nervous breakdown celebrating the freedom which came from hitting bottom in my life. The freedom which comes from going to hell and knowing that you have nothing to fear because you've already been to hell. Many of you have been to that place... you know what I'm talking about. And then there's the Woody Guthrie song, sixty years old and more relevant then ever... This CD is a celebration of transcendence, survival, pain, and joy... A celebration of the human experience. Elliott Smith says what he wanted to do in his songs was "show what it is to be human..." I hope you'll listen to my new CD and get something from it... Thank you for your support.
I also want to thank musicians who played on the scrapped version: Andy LaDue, Pat Wictor, Kathleen Pemble, Ali Chambliss, Marc Jacoby, Scott Hull, and Steve Kirkman, who all respected the songs and played their hearts out. I also want to thank the producer of the first scrapped version who reminded me that "perfect is the enemy of good." And who also reminded me that I am an artist and am supposed to make my art and get it out into the world, not hoard it like a squirrel with his nuts for winter. The next time someone tries to force me to hold back my work I will probably kick his ass first and ask questions later... or since it is against my nature to fight, I'll at least get the hell out of there.
Art is a human thing. It is fragile, fickle, stubborn, strong, vulnerable... it can only thrive when it is treated as a living thing. I re-made the record and took it out of its cage, let it take some risks and cross some boundaries. I hope you like it...

Friday, March 24th 2006

 01/28/2017     Prayer for America
 05/27/2014     "Free" music
 12/30/2013     Happy New Year
 09/26/2013     Ignorant Bliss
 11/29/2012     Gillen & Turk 2008 Opening for Todd Rungren
 08/27/2012     Shallow Money Trench
 06/22/2012     Crazy Horse
 05/9/2012     Talk
 01/19/2012     Freedom
 12/31/2011     Happy New Year
 12/13/2011     Men of Business
 11/19/2011     WAR
 11/18/2011     Earth And Spirit
 10/10/2011     Occupy Wall Street
 10/6/2011     Independence
 09/20/2011     Anger and Love
 09/6/2011     You Can't Have Everything
 09/1/2011     The Instruments
 08/30/2011     Fathers
 08/2/2011     On Being An Artist
 05/11/2011     Speaking The Truth
 04/25/2011     Tuning the lead vocal
 03/17/2011     Instilling Values
 01/14/2011     The Current Music Business
 11/5/2010     Even The Air
 10/19/2010     Rednecks, Racism, This-ism, that-ism
 09/8/2010     9/11
 07/18/2010     Being Ecumenical
 07/6/2010     Dust
 06/30/2010     Gay Rights/ Marriage
 03/11/2010     The heart
 03/11/2010     Culture
 01/5/2010     Coats
 12/11/2009     Pete Seeger
 12/2/2009     Environmental Protest Songs
 10/5/2009     Adam & Eve
 06/18/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/11/2009     Clearwater
 06/10/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/10/2009     War Machine
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 05/14/2008     God
 02/24/2008     broke
 02/11/2008     HOPE MACHINE
 01/6/2008     Dennis Kucinich
 12/27/2007     NYPD
 10/4/2007     Mitakuye Oyasin
 05/21/2007     The Past
 04/15/2007     Kurt Vonnegut, Indian Point
 10/8/2006     God
 06/26/2006     From the Pe Sla -the heart of the heart of Lakota sacred land -the Black Hills of South Dakota
 06/5/2006     Mowing The Lawn
==>03/24/2006     Gone Gone Gone
 02/25/2006     grace
 09/26/2005     Sky To Mountain
 09/22/2005     Love
 09/14/2005     Look Down
 04/19/2005     April 2005
 01/27/2005     Poverty
 01/11/2005     Grace
 12/3/2004     Standing Up 2
 12/1/2004     Tired
 11/29/2004     Standing Up
 11/29/2004     Mercy
 09/18/2004     Beaten
 08/7/2004     Half Full
 07/16/2004     Hallelujia!
 07/16/2004     Battered Feathers
 03/14/2004     gifts
 03/1/2004     Ancestors
 03/1/2004     A Prayer
 12/24/2003     "The Bomb"
 05/16/2003     Safe
 05/16/2003     Satan
 05/5/2003     Faith, Hope, Love
 03/10/2003     Tatoo
 02/11/2003     Folk Music is alive and well!
 01/13/2003     Revolution
 01/2/2003     January 2003
 11/17/2002     FEAR
 11/9/2002     Election Day
 10/30/2002     Election Day
 10/14/2002     Checkpoint Charlie
 06/17/2002     Revolution
 06/3/2002     Gold
 06/3/2002     WAGE LOVE!
 06/3/2002     Mercy
 06/3/2002     New World Order?
 04/4/2002     Real?
 04/4/2002     Billboards
 04/4/2002     Faith
 03/22/2002     Living into the 21st century
 03/22/2002     Comfort
 03/22/2002     Barren Ground
 03/22/2002     Dreams
 03/14/2002     March 11, 2002
 02/25/2002     Germany
 12/14/2001     NOW
 09/19/2001     September 11, 2001
 08/6/2001     #5 Taking Responsibility
 07/12/2001     Television
 06/11/2001     #3: Sprawl
 05/16/2001     #2
 05/16/2001     #1


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