stage for the record release show at The Living Room, NYC, performing a RIDE set plus encore to a SRO crowd. On Thursday, Mike and I were interviewed about RIDE on Fearless Radio. On July 17th, Stormy Lewis said about RIDE, on Roughstock.com, “Turns the ordinary into the iconic…..an epic novel of an album that offers a haunting insight into the heart of a nation…. RIDE is the album of the Modern American West.” Yesterday, Jayvee, writing for TheRoundTable.com, said, “Reads like a love
to the forefront of popular music….a sad reminder of simpler times that most modern Americans will never experience nor appreciate…..one part Springsteen and one part Dylan, but with pure charisma that is all Berger”.
route from the north, but I’ll be coming from the south. The ride from Gallup, NM to Crownpoint is uneventful, but the turnoff to Chaco Canyon is another story. The dirt road, Highway 57, is the ultimate washboard road and the PT Cruiser I’ve rented is about to have it’s suspension put to the test. During the drive I stop and get out of the car a few times to make sure I still have all my fillings and nothing’s fallen off the car. I call Marc to give him some idea of my excellent adventure and we start laughing when we realize we’re about to lose cell phone reception, not because I’m in a desolate, uninhabited area, but because he’s approaching New Jersey!
The road is only twenty miles, but the drive takes over an hour and a half. I arrive at Chaco and start walking through the Anasazi ruins until I come to a large common area where I stop to consider what I’m seeing. Most of these ruins are on top of several others, evidence this place has been settled more than once. From the looks of things, I wouldn’t think this was a prime piece of real estate and can only imagine what it must have been like living here in 1050 A.D. Giant roads can be seen from the air that lead to and from this settlement, but I can’t make them out from anywhere within the canyon. I shoot nonstop but the only image that will make
final photos of the day. I decide to try the “recommended” northern access road for the return trip. Unfortunately the GPS doesn’t work so well out here and after twenty minutes of driving in total darkness, I realize I don’t know where I am.
Germany and online slotmaschinen I`am 8 years old.My hobby is music too and I play piano since 3
yearsI have write a song. Can I send my songtoo you on a CD. I hope you can
I`m happy if you send my a e-mail.
I encouraged the lad to send it over and forgot about the whole thing. A couple of
weeks ago the DVD arrived from Germany. I put it on and saw this little manchild
at the piano playing his lovely composition. Confused, I went back to FB and
checked out my Deutsche friend, “Marc Berger” and noticed he had an
“Employer”. This wasnʼt the same dude! So even though things were getting a bit
Malkovich, Malkovich, I responded enthusiastically to mini-Marc and urged him to
press on and
In the early morning hours, I leave my motel in Mexican Hat, UT and travel south through Monument Valley one last time. I turn onto route 191 and pass through Chilchinbito, Rough Rock, Many Farms, and Chinle, finally arriving at the visitor center. The ranger tells me I should work my way down the south rim and try to arrive at Spider Rock about 5 p.m. to take full advantage of the light conditions at that time of year. Having just the one day, there isn’t time for a hike so it looks like this will be a drive-by. I start out, stopping at each overlook. It’s getting colder and really windy, but the sun is shining and the view of the canyon is spectacular. One of the interesting things about this place is that, although it’s part of the National Park system, 40 Navajo families still call the canyon home and rely on it for a great deal of their income. At just about every pull-off, they’re trying to sell me jewelry or souvenirs.
time shooting crooked and deformed trees that seem to be reaching skyward, along with panoramic shots of the canyon itself, but no images from this location will make the album. By sunset I’m at Spider Rock, home of Spider Woman. According to the Navajo, Spider Woman possessed supernatural power at the time of creation when the Dine (Navajo)
emerged from the third world into this fourth where monsters roamed the land, killing many. Because she loved the people, Spider Woman gave power to Monster-Slayer and Child-Born-of-Water to search for the Sun-God, who showed them how to destroy the monsters. In recognition of her saving their people, the Dine established Spider Woman among their most important and honored Deities. According to legend, it was she who taught Dine ancestors the art of weaving and down through the generations, the Dine have always been accomplished weavers. As an aid to parents, Dine children heard warnings that if they did not behave themselves Spider Woman would let down her woven ladder, carry them back up and devour them. It was said that the white layers atop Spider Rock were the dried bones of misbehaving children. – Mike Ricciardi
t read music , don’t talk “musician”. “I’m trying to communicate this feeling you might get if you were at Yellowstone Park’s Firehole River at dusk (Scott’s laughing), and you see the head of a buffalo in the distance chewing on the grass and a fumarole shooting steam up into the air, and you would look at that scene and say nothing about this has changed in a million years. So that’s what we’re trying to do and we have to figure out how to use musical instruments to paint that.”
That in a nutshell was what made making RIDE so challenging. Mike and I weren’t engineers and we had to figure out how to use music recording equipment to make the movie out of the song.
And we didn’t know how, and so we had to learn how. And that meant mixing tracks over and over to get them to where they “looked” the way we wanted them to. And when we were frustrated and it just didn’t seem right, Mike invented what came to be called “The Ricciardi Test”, which required us to answer the question “What Is It?”, which is essentially Scott’s interview question. When you play the song, when you record and mix the song, you better know what it “is” or what you get at the end is just not gonna’ be that clear.
We still have to get down without breaking my camera gear and the moon is providing just enough light to vaguely sense where the rock ledge ends. Herb gets to the bottom of the climb and yells to me to throw the camera bag down to him, but I can’t see him. Strapping on the bag, I grab the rope and start backward over the ledge and immediately lose my balance. My feet fly out from under me and I hit the rock wall, protecting
the camera with my face while Herb holds the rope steady. At the bottom of the climb, we check the gear for shifting and head down the mesa. We walk about a half mile back to the truck and continue to a few more locations. The desert is eerily quiet except for the wind and we sit in silence. “RIDE” doesn’t really lend itself to nighttime shots, so I figure anything I get out here now is going into the private stash. After attempting to get some long exposures of the silhouetted rock formations in the moonlight, I notice some interesting patterns in the sand. The moon is at an angle that makes the waves prominent and different than what I’d see during the day. We get into the truck and head back, the monuments behind me blandly indifferent to my
starting law school is unlike any of your prior pre-school (not the kiddy deal) experiences. One day in August, you make a trip to your mailbox and find a large envelope. It’s been sent courtesy of your new law school. You open it up and find reading assignments numbering in the hundreds of pages, actually court opinions, which are to be “read” prior to the first class in each of your courses. What makes this doubly interesting (singly being that school hasn’t even started), is that the step where you learn how to read a case has been wholly omitted.
Thus begins the process which prompts law school newbies to seriously contemplate suicide a la The Paper Chase. Over the course of the next three years, the skills needed to extract the few essential kernels of legal significance out of a veritable ocean of verbosity are acquired. So while by the time I graduated, certain I didn’t want to spend the rest of life on the phone with my fellow students, it may surprise you to hear that this songwriter absolutely loved the rigors of a legal education. In fact, he saw its positive effects on his songwriting. It somehow translated to an approach to writing song lyrics which prized succinctness, cogent narrative progression and an intense aversion to verse matter that repeated any thought previously articulated.
Those first songs were really bad, but by the time I graduated, I’d written a few that I thought didn’t suck and brought them to music publishers who, to my amazement, offered me contracts. So while I’m not sure I’d urge fledging songwriters to sign up for law school prep courses, for me it’d be easy to defend the argument that the study of law made me a better songwriter.
024.jpg” alt=”" width=”354″ height=”421″ />I meet my guide Herb. He tells me, “I know just where to take you. Some really cool places. And there”s a rope climb.” Herb”s genuinely disarming and turns out to be a really cool guy. He grew up and is raising a family here. This landscape is an integral part of his life and, after recently losing his job as a local laborer, it”s become his livelihood. Everywhere he takes me holds special meaning for him.
The first place we go is called “Submarine Rock” for its periscope-like view. Looking through I see the buttes I saw from the road earlier in the day. This set of images will be chosen for use on the record. After several other stops, we arrive at a rock wall covered with petroglyph images (these will be used later on as well). I stand there transfixed. These things always capture my imagination. As I”m looking at them, I get a little lost in a dream world, trying to imagine the ancients carving these things and out of nowhere, I start hearing a flute. It kind of freaked me out so I turn around to ask Herb if he hears it and there he is, the Fluteman.
As we get in the truck, he turns to me and says, “See that casino online holland over there? We”ll drive over there and walk the rest of the way. I”m taking you to Hunt”s Mesa. There”s a rope climb.”
The drive is captivating. No matter how many times I see them, the formations strike me as alien and I wonder how the plant life survives such a hostile environment. We park the truck and walk about a half mile through the sand and brush before we get to the base of Hunt”s Mesa. Climbing about halfway up we find the rope climb and after a brief struggle with camera gear, continue working our way to the top. We stay about an hour when Herb suggests we get going, mainly because we”re
p+_1-1024×625.jpg” alt=”" width=”626″ height=”381″ />From the visitors’ center, there’s a 17 mile circuitous scenic drive that passes all the main attractions and is definitely worth the ride. But I want to have a backcountry adventure and the Navajo own the land. So if I want to experience that part of the territory the drive-by tourist never sees, I’m gonna have to hire a Navajo tour guide.
I decide to explore the drive first. This road takes me relatively close to the rock formations and is jaw dropping. At this point, I’m just shooting all kinds of things and angles. I have plenty of “This’d look good on the album!” moments. About a quarter of the way in I arrive at “Camel Butte”. It is, simply put, a big freakin’ rock wall, or what’s left of it, in the middle of the desert. As I pull in I notice a pickup truck with three Navajo inside and some horses nearby. Knowing that we are looking for a shot with a horse back rider, I ask these guys if one of them would gallop out to the butte and then ride back towards me while I shoot. I knew it wasn’t exactly the image
we were looking for, but I want to try it because, well, you never know.
We try it a few times. Can’t get a shot I’m happy with. That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s getting to be late morning and all the sweet light I’d had riding with me is getting washed out. I throw the guy a couple bucks, thank him for his ride and continue to make my way down the road. – Mike Ricciardi
When I’m back home, it’s 2012 and Wikipedia Frank Zappa for the short story. All kinds of cool, including his testimony before Congress at the hearings on Tipper’s notorious Parents Music Resource Center founded to purportedly address the issue of song lyrics with sexual or satanic content:
“It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC’s demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation ”
So then it’s Burnt Weenie Sandwich, We’re Only In It For The Money, and Things You Can’t Do On Stage Anymore Vol. II and I’m revelin’ in ZappaLand, where Igor Stravinsky meets up with Groucho Marx, they smoke a bowl of Lenny Bruce and head off to a Dion and The Belmonts concert fallin’ down laughing.
Given the fun this reporter is having, this could easily go on for some time but we all know that’s a precious commodity. So he’ll just state an opinion that when it comes to the greatest guitarists in the annals of Rock N’ Roll, FZ belongs in any conversation not including the name Hendrix, and close with something representative of the Great Man’s multitude of metaphysical inquiries, “White port and lemon juice, who would live with you?”
So I was pulling together some music for one of my long drives and my eyes fell upon “Frank Zappa Uncle Meat”. Recalled it fondly not having listened to it in years, so I slid it off the CD rack (I know, “Dude, ever hear of an I-Pod?”) and threw it in the car. This is standardly how I wind up kickstarting my re-swoons with artists I
love and precisely what’s currently going on with me and Frank. What I adore about these cycles is the way after extended life interventions, you come back to these former crushes available for a different and, in some ways, deeper re-blasting. Not quite what my daughter Bari talked about when she wrote in a poem I love, “If I could…. I would erase all memory of The End, And all the chords of Visions of Johanna, And play each over for the first time”, but certainly the next best thing.
It’s late at night, darkness all around and after a delicious serving of Wayne Shorter music, I reach into my CD case and slide The Mothers’ sixth studio album out and in. Soon I’m perplexing over whether the guitar in “Nine Types Of Industrial Pollution” is an unamped Tele or a $20 acoustic. I also notice I’m getting giddy. Then the pure lunacy of “Dog Breath in the Year of the Plague” explodes through the speakers and it’s off to the races. Memories of how my kids would get happy in the back seat when it came on, the glorious mystery of the random song lyrics, even the ambiguity of the very words being sung (as a lark, check out how deep in peeps get in this shit http://www.zappa.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19721 – “What on earth does Ray sing before ‘….carucha Chevy ’39’ for the opening casino online of this song?”)….more to come
alt=”" width=”581″ height=”386″ />‘s mid November and I’m flying out to Albuquerque, NM hoping to return with images of the Southwest that will work for the album. I make my way northwest through the desert to Shiprock and soon find myself in snow covered mountains. The road continues west to Kayenta, Arizona, then north towards Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The view is striking the entire way, but entering the park from the south during the sunset is mind blowing.
I stop in at the Monument Valley visitor center and set up. From the parking lot there’s a perfect view of the West Mitten, the East Mitten and Merrick Butte, the setting sun playing on them. Conditions are changing constantly as time passes, and the reds and oranges begin slowly turning dull as the sun slips below the horizon.
After a while the sun finally disappears completely and then, suddenly, the valley floor turns a deep, bright red. The sky continues to darken revealing a full moon between the two Mittens. I stay there for quite a while and keep shooting. While none of the night photos will be picked, the location ends up being the online casino australia starting point for the creation of the album cover. - Mike Ricciardi
It was the last in a series of unforgettable late summer Glacier Park hikes. I figured I had to leave the peak by 6PM to get down the six mile trail by dark and begin the drive to Spokane, where I would be picking up my then girlfriend the next morning. It was five now, and the last of them had finally and thankfully departed the tiny summit, an area so small one had no choice but to be sociable. This, I figured, left me about an hour to inhale the mind blowing view of Lake McDonald snaking toward the Western horizon, while listening to the icy falls cascading from the glacier behind me. I moved over to the edge, letting my feet dangle over the 4500 foot drop and soon heard footsteps coming from the direction of the trail behind me. Dreading the thought of having to share all this
with another friendly homo sapiens, I turned and couldn’t help but notice a mature mountain goat, back hunched, entering upon the crest. In an attempt to improve the worst case scenario odds of being gored silly as opposed to getting butted off the peak, I slid back and wedged my body between two rocks. My newly arrived summit-mate ignored me and walked over to the cliff edge about fifteen feet to my left. He turned and looked in my direction. I, of course, looked away. After a few minutes passed, I turned back in his direction to find him looking at me. And he turned away. We did this dance back and forth for I couldn’t say how long, when he suddenly strolled toward me and stopped about five feet from my ear, both of us partaking of the jaw dropping scene spread before us while still pretending to be unaware of each other.
After another ten minutes or so, he sauntered over and plunked himself down beside me. An eagle flew over ahead. We hung out thusly in Valhalla for some indeterminate period of earth time. Suddenly the unthinkable occurred to me: I needed to start down or risk completing miles of trail in darkness. In anguish, I stood up. My amigo looked at me quizzically. I actually told him I had to go and headed across the small rocky mountaintop. A few yards down the trail I turned to see him, goat horns silhouetted against the clouds, looking down at me online casino as if to say, “Dude, we were hangin’! “
A few months ago, I noticed an order for RIDE through CDBaby. The purchaser was a guy with an Italian first and last name. What was interesting was he ordered two copies. Then about a month later, I received notification of a CDBaby order from the same dude, only now its five CD’s. Did a little
sleuthing and found that he had an Italian based retail music site, www.caru.com, so I contacted him and offered him a bulk rate, but he didn’t respond. I also noticed that RIDE was selling on his site for about twice what I was charging on CDBaby. I thought about it and figured as long as he was buying them for my full price, he was free to charge whatever he wanted elsewhere. Thing is I started noticing a stream of direct orders from Italian buyers. Given that RIDE’s actual release and promotional campaign didn’t start until this week, it was obvious that these buyers were going to his site first, Googling me or RIDE, and finding it for far less. So now I’ve got the conundrum of someone generating sales to casino online games my benefit without being compensated. Suggestions?
Certain classic American Westerns left a lasting impression on me and and I can sometimes hear them wafting up and out of some of the RIDE songs. The unspoken but powerful bond between compadres resisting authority, never more poetically evoked than in the Sam Peckinpah film, The Wild Bunch, that’s central to “Long Way From Vixenburg”, for instance. The “Boys” in the song are leaving some foul reality behind and “not goin’ back again,” on the run through rain and mud, evidently pursued by some anonymous something or someone. In the song, these western outlaws get juxtaposed with “the band”, the romantic embodiment of the musical outlaw medium called Rock n’ Roll. And while the song, over time, has suggested many other plausible subtexts to me, on the surface it does conjure up some of the