Gather and see the music
with original portraits on vinyl.

Home | About | Press | FAQ | Gallery | Shop | Custom

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Remix That Is Kat Stacks

Long ago, Prince Campbell had a blog. Then he didn't. Then he did again. He's like that. He shocks, and makes you think. Unpredictable.

Just like his punchlines.


I want to first thank Daniel for the chance to write something for his cool and diverse audience.

So what could I write about that would be interesting and informative?

I know.

Kat Stacks

Now you probably never heard of Kat Stacks.

No matter.

Everyone hates her.

Which is kind of a shame seeing that she is following a long tradition of a certain type of female music fan. I mean, not a fan like you who just loves music, but more of the type of fan that loves the musician enough to suck his dick.

Pamela Des Barres was the first groupie to actually become famous without actually putting out any music.

She wrote a book about her sexual exploits with famous musicians. A very popular book that HBO (years after its publication) is trying to make into a television series.

Kat Stacks' website

The difference between Pamela and Kat Stacks is that Kat has a blog, a bunch of YouTube videos, and a twitterfeed.

I'm sure her book deal is coming.

Now I could use the space from Daniel (and the time you've given me) to tell you how offensive Kat Stacks is.

Join the chorus of people who spend time putting her down, talking about her dangerous lifestyle, and how she's such a bad example to her son.

But I won't.

Cuz one day I might start a band.




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Imagination Monster

Michael Stipe - (i) inspired by photo by Mark SeligerAnother terrific post from Zane Ewton. I love the creativity I'm getting to share with these guest posts! Reading the music. Hearing the art.

I did it all wrong. REM is the quintessential college band. You are supposed to discover "Document" in some dorm room during your sophomore year. Then you get to complain that no record that came after that was as good.

I did it wrong. I found "Monster" when I was in junior high school. The stamp is on my forehead. It reads: Not Cool.

"Monster" was my first REM record and it remains my favorite. There is someone in Georgia with long gray hair and an old copy of "Murmur" who wants to stab me right now.

Those classic REM records are timeless. Given their career, the quality control is exceptional in that band. It would be tough to put "Monster" in the list of top five REM albums.

It doesn’t matter to me. I love it when Peter Buck turns his jangly guitars all the way up for the riff on “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” I love the weird, murky, muddled mess of the whole record.

But that’s just me. I like it when emotional, articulate bands leave their subtlety at home. I like it when they sound like a rock band banging away in a basement. I am sure instead of KISS posters; REM has William S. Burroughs posters on their basement walls. Then Michael Stipe roller skates while Mike Mills plays “Let Me In” on the Farfisa organ and a lurking Peter Buck smokes a cigarette. Bill Berry grows beets.

It must have happened something like that. At least in my imagination.

And "Monster" is my favorite too.


The Doors

Jim Morrison - (i) inspired by photo by Joel Brodsky

Douglas McDunna is a long-time friend of my wife's, and now mine. Along with my wife, he's one of the few who have a hard time really talking about music because it means so much to them. To get him to write this about one of his favorite bands, his favorite gods of music, is pretty cool.

When I first started listening to the Doors 22 years ago, I was amazed at their ability to transport you to a foreign land or a scene from celtic mythology or maybe a murder. No other band has the power to give me such feelings of inescapable sorrow, unhinged debauchery or the fundamentals of love. The Doors make me want to sit in a car with strangers and drink. They make me want to go to Portugal or sit outside a strange woman's house and wait to watch her. To break free of the bonds we place on ourselves or more importantly the ones other people put on us. To forget everything we've been taught up to now and to start anew for yourself. The Doors have given me ideas to question family, friends and lovers. They are a real american experience, based on a true american invention, the blues. Something so true that there's no question as to what it means to you. WAKE UP ! you can't remember where it was had this dream stopped ?


Friday, May 14, 2010

Isn't It About Ti(me)?


I'm just glad that my pieces finally are up in the Mesa Bookmans and can hopefully bring in more for Ear Candy Charity.

Yes it took a long time for them to finish the cafe and to plan a grand opening that would include my work. Yes I hope it increases my exposure locally.

But, my main joy is sharing my passion for music. What better place to do it? What better time?

Our state is gutting education funding, practically broke. Music education for kids? Not likely. So Nate Anderson and Ear Candy are doing their best to keep music alive, right here right now.

So, on June 15th there will be a media night at Bookmans in Mesa, AZ to share both the new cafe and my art. Thus, as of right now, if you're interested in a commission and mention this post, I'll paint the piece for you at the old $175 price with $50 going to Ear Candy.

It isn't about me.

P.S. I've created a new Twitter account, @dedlen. It'll be private and focus on good stuff, not just me broadcasting about my art. So, like with the guest posts here on this blog, I'm trying again to share my love for our culture. Join me if you'd like.

Again, it isn't about me.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Bob Dylan - (i) inspired by photo by Daniel KramerHere's another beautiful post from Zane Ewton. Having just watched "I'm Not There", this captures Dylan perfectly. Better than the movie I think.


In a famous 1965 press conference, a young man asked Bob Dylan about the significance of a t-shirt he wore on an album cover. The young man was visibly dismayed to learn the t-shirt was just a t-shirt.

This is the same press conference where Dylan joked about using a song to sell ladies undergarments – about 40 years before his starring role in a Victoria’s Secret commercial.

As remarkable as Bob Dylan’s music is, it has never been enough for his most ardent fans. Every inch of his being must be embroiled in some deeper significance – even his t-shirt.

The folkies described him as a prophet. At least until he went electric. His early monumental works gave him free rein to do whatever he wanted for the next 30 years – whether it was good or not.

Dylan lives outside the realm of popular music culture. Due in part to his musical output as well as his iconoclastic image. It would be unfair to lump him in with rock stars. He isn’t a rock star; he is an artist. More in tune with the creative impulses of Picasso than top 40 radio. Yet he is ingrained into music at a level few people can claim. It’s impossible to pin down Bob Dylan.

Everything about Bob Dylan means something. Nothing about Bob Dylan means anything. It’s all in how you, the listener, take it.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sonic Youth

Hazel Dooney

Hazel Dooney is a remarkable person. It's hard to say more other than send you over to her blog, where she shares of her life and art with reckless abandon yet with precise passion. But before you go there, read here her story.


When I was a child, I played the violin. My teacher was a young prodigy, just a few years older than me. She gave lessons in the living room of her parent's house. I remember only fragments now: dark wood floors with eastern rugs, an exquisite piano, an array of wind instruments. I loved hearing the richness of each note as my playing improved. I played duets with my teacher. My part was simple: long, sustained, tremulous notes beneath her fast, fluid melodies. I loved it.

My lessons ended abruptly when my teacher's mother died. I didn't see her, or play my violin, again. Later, after my parent's divorce, the instrument was sold.

I lived with my father after the divorce. We didn't have much money. He bought me a tin whistle and a book of traditional Irish jigs. I taught myself to sight-read them by reading the instructions in the front of the music book. I practiced the more complex melodies. Each was faster and prettier than the last. The whistle and the book were lost in one of our many house moves.

When I was 15, I moved in with my mother. I began learning the piano. I didn't like the teachers much, or their choice of music, but I practised and any time I felt low or angry or bored, I played. I started with scales, to see how fast and precise I could be, or if I could express emotion through the way I played them. The sheet music I was given sounded like versions of scales. It didn't really touch my heart. I ended up experimenting with sounds and figuring out how to play songs I knew from the radio. I taught myself to sing in tune by singing the notes as I played. I don't remember why I stopped. Maybe I felt it was going nowhere.

At university, where I majored in art, I played around with a lot of different media. I became interested in sound as an art experience. I was going to a lot of D.I.Y. trance, tribal, Goa-influenced, industrial raves. I listened to '80s hip hop – melodic rappers like Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh, and raw, percussive beats, like L.L. Cool J.'s Rock The Bells.

I was fascinated by how sounds could elicit responses and emotions in ways different to images and words. If I closed my eyes, sound inspired patterns and colour in my mind. I convinced the head of the music department to let me take the electronic music elective. The classroom was full of basic computers, each with a keyboard. Finished pieces were recorded onto VHS videotape, for better quality sound. My compositions were percussive and industrial, centred around a rhythm abstracted from a heartbeat. I also used these compositions as part of my Visual Arts course.

In a group exhibition at the university, I built a make-shift box that was black inside and out. The listener had to step within it to reach a pair of headphones. They experienced the music in darkness, their senses isolated so that they weren't distracted by sight, touch, movement or changing smell.

Now that my interest in using different media has revived, I want to explore all the disparate strands of those early experiments. I thought of doing music before I committed to art but it required equipment and money I didn't have. My boyfriend is coming around tomorrow to show me how to use the Apple's GarageBand application on my laptop. I can't help but be excited that I might be able to return to some of the concepts I laid aside. As I become more adept with media beyond the surface of paper, canvas, and board, I am more and more inspired.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Do Not Create Anything

It will never change.

So said Bob Dylan. This line, which I just heard watching "I'm Not There", reminded me of why I care about music so much. And why I love vinyl.

Music always is new. Every time a record is played, it is the only time it will sound that way.

The Dead Weather highlighted this by premiering their new album live online, playing it on vinyl repeatedly for 24 hours, showing the record playing. It would click as it reached the inner groove, and they would have to place the needle somewhat near the beginning of each side, each time.

Music is brought to life when it is played, each time. A concert performance, a music video, a cover version, a movie soundtrack, on through to a tween listening to an iTunes download on her iPod.

And vinyl is alive as well as an artefact of that music. The grooves of a record change ever so slightly with each passing through of a needle, and playback is always unique.

Such is every moment in life.