Archive for April, 2012

Fashion Faux Pas

Posted in personal histories with tags , , , on April 17, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

Years ago (must have been in the mid 1980’s), I thought I might be able to get away from my problems, my mess of a life, if I went out west. I know, really an original thought. In retrospect, so many things in life seem like cliches. Perhaps there is some truth in cliches and stereotypes. Perhaps that bit of laughter comes from recognition. Anyway, back to the mid 1980’s. I bought a beautiful old 1963 Ford Fairlane. Such a beautiful machine. Last of the tail wings, but small and understated. Holley 4 barrel carb and several chromed out Cobra engine accessories. I threw a bunch of my belongings in the back of that Ford and took of west, running away with a smile of my face. And I went slow. Stayed off the interstates. I remember getting looks deep down in the south as a was blasting the just released Public Enemy album “Yo, Bum Rush the Show”. And speaking of stereotypes, I think most white guys down in that area were driving 4X4 pickups and listening to Molly Hatchet.

There are stories from that road trip, but I won’t linger on that now. Well, perhaps a couple of quick snapshots:

– Florida. Somehow I ended up down there right in the middle of Spring Break. I was traveling on a budget, camping as much as possible. The whole Spring Break thing was just ugly, and I wanted to hide. I got a spot at an overpopulated campground. Went out to eat and got a dozen raw clams. 12 midnight, I woke up, thought I was losing my mind. Everything was different, liquid, uncertain and painful. Then I started vomiting wildly. It was a relief in a way. I wasn’t losing my mind, I just had sever food poisoning. Once I was completely emptied out, I was painfully dehydrated and had no water. I couldn’t drive, I could hardly see. I ended up walking over a mile to a gas station and buying a large container of water, none of which would stay down. When I got up in the morning, I called the hospital, and they advised me to drink lots of Gatorade. So I bought a case of Gatorade, threw everything in the car, and drove non stop to Atlanta, where I met my friend Ozzie and we immediately started drinking Bloody Marys. In those days, I considered that a cure.

– Bakersfield. Well, about 3 – 4  hours outside of Bakersfield, I picked up a couple of young white thugs. I liked driving alone, really cherished it actually. Still do. My mind can just go, there’s a special freedom to it. But I felt for these guys. Perhaps a typical motorist might be a bit scared of them, but I could tell they were like me. And I certainly have had enough time on the other side, sitting on the side of the road with my thumb out. So I picked them up. They had a quantity of grass on them, which diminished the closer we got to Bakersfield. I was going to just drop them off and keep on going, but they invited me in and were going to give me some leaf to take along with me. So I ended up going with them to their cousins house, who I think they were in business with (dealing). But they were waiting, there was no grass. And god, I hated being in that place and I had been there so many damn times before. Waiting for some shit. The whole house was kind of like a lock box, secured against invasion, all the shades drawn, dark as a crypt. At one point the cousin was talking about his past racing motorcycles, and he leaned down and unclasped his leg, leaned it up against the chair. Even after the wreck in which he lost his leg, he still raced. I waited, I drank, I slept, and I left in the AM without any grass.

– Last snapshot. This one is painful in the telling for me, as it reveals a side of myself that is very unflattering, a side that I would rather hide under the rug. While in Tuscon, I looked up Ruth, who was an ex of mine. Our relationship had seemed to be primarily spiritual, though we had our physical moments, no doubt. It seemed that a lot of the time we would be on the same wavelength, that we would have this spiritual understanding of each other without talking. In retrospect, who knows, maybe we just thought that. Since I had last seen her, I felt like I had gone over to the dark side, sliding in to a lifestyle of debauchery and addiction. Some of the tools that had initially helped elevate me spiritually had turned on me and dragged me down in to the gutter. And that was a large part of what this trip was about, running away from that. The problem was, no matter where I went, I was still there. And I wasn’t running towards something, I was running away from something. In fear. Ruth and her roommate and I had dinner, had some drinks, went back and went to sleep. I slept on the couch. I woke early, haunted by the memories that this encounter sparked. Like it made manifest the distance between where I had been and where I was. I felt like shit. I rose from the couch, went in to the bathroom, leaned on the sink. And the sink cracked in to about 5 pieces and fell apart on the floor. Water was running everywhere. I was pissed, ashamed, aching badly for that freedom of the road. I had no money to leave, I had no way to make this better. Ruth and her roommate were still asleep. I slipped out in the pre-dawn silence and headed for the highway. That was the last time I saw Ruth.

Six months after leaving Brooklyn, I arrived in San Francisco. A small group of my misfit friends in NYC were from San Francisco, and had told me about the Hotel Utah, how it was their living room, their home away from home. I pulled off the highway in San Francisco, completely lost, not knowing anyone. Coming off the exit ramp, I looked to my right and saw the Hotel Utah. It was 5 PM on a Friday Evening. I parked the car, went in. Within 30 minutes, I made friends with at least a half dozen like minded misfits, all trying to drink the week away. I woke up Saturday morning in an apartment in the SOMA area. Staggering to the bathroom, I thought I was still completely wasted, as I kept bumping in to the walls in the hall. By days end, I realized that the building had shifted and settled so much, the floors were at a severe angle.

I settled in to SOMA for a while, and then moved in to a huge warehouse in downtown Oakland. I inhabited 2 small rooms with no windows. Outside my room was the vast warehouse, around 10,000 square feet. The ceiling was 60′ high. Also living there was a barmaid from the Hotel Utah and her skater boyfriend, Jake. Jake wrote for Thrasher magazine and supposedly had a skateboard move named after him. There was a huge half pipe just off the kitchen area. About 10 or 12 feet above the top of the half pipe was a picture of Jesus, slapped on there by someone who had flown off the pipe that high and still had the nerves to slap up the poster. Right next to us were a bunch of hippie punks who ran a piano repair business. They literally had around 250 pianos in their warehouse. There were several late night parties where dozens of those pianos would be played, stroked, pounded and abused all at the same time.

One day during this time, I was back in San Francisco, walking down a street in SOMA. From behind me, a man came up to me and said, “Excuse me sire, can I be your slave?” I was startled, and thinking I had misheard, asked him what he had said. “Excuse me sir, can I be your slave?” I said, “No, that’s alright”, and walked away, puzzled. A block or two later, I realized I had a handkerchief sticking out of my back left pocket. I forget what color it was, but it was obviously giving a very specific signal to those in the S&M gay community. “Damn it”, I thought, “I just passed up my opportunity for a personal assistant” My life could have become so much easier.

Bride of Frankenstein Remix

Posted in video with tags , , on April 12, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

This may be familiar to some of you, but I wanted to post it on the blog.

This is an audio video remix, or deconstruction really, of the old film The Bride of Frankenstein.

Another nihilistic poem from my disenchanted youth

Posted in personal histories with tags , on April 6, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

Oh no, not another nihilistic poem from your disenchanted youth, I hear you groan. This self involved nihilism gets so tired so quickly. Yes, I know. And yet, I’ve been stuck with these short little poems, these series of words for years. Not only that, but they are linked to very simple melodies. Kind of like a schoolyard melody that is used to taunt the weaker kids. But the schoolyard rests in a sepia toned nether world landscape deep within my own being. Lots of shit happens in that schoolyard, but you’d never know it most of the time, as it just stays hidden behind the fresh shave and a smile. Hell, I don’t even know it. These kids have been running around the schoolyard for years. I wonder, do they grow? And also, can I trust them? Well, here’s the poem without the melody…

What can I do for you?

What can you do for me?

You can make love to me,

You can comfort me.

You can tell me who I really am.


…but I won’t listen


That voice I think comes from the rebellious teenager in search of self, who asks for help, sometimes directly and sometimes in very indirect ways. But once a helping hand is offered, once anything that is offered that has any semblance to advice, the teenager rebels with a big “Fuck You!”. Light a cigarette, go get high, have a drink. Inevitably, that big “Fuck You!” is acted out in some self destructive behavior, effectively turning it in to a big “Fuck Me!”

So, I’m not a teenager anymore. But I still have that rebellious teenager renting a room inside, actually right near the schoolyard with the kids who are singing that damned melody that I can’t get out of my head. And heck, I’m trying to raise a kid in this world, in real life. Which may prove useful in all this. Perhaps I can take some of the real world approaches to parenting and apply them to my inner child and teenager, so they don’t derail me from being an engaged, fully present responsible adult. I want that child and that teenager inside to thrive, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I want to off them. I just realize that they can be little hellions if shit gets out of whack.

And a footnote: having just started this blog, I feel unsure about this, unsure on how much to share, what to keep private and what to reveal. And it could be that no one will ever read this. It may also be that people may read this that I don’t want to read this. But then I ask myself, what am I protecting? If I don’t get deep here, it’ll stay surface and just be more noise in a planet with way too much noise already. So fuck it, I’ll put stuff out there at the risk of embarrassing myself, at the risk of being seen as a fool, and at the risk of not having a soul even care. Sometimes, it’s like: if I put it out there, it’s no longer in here. And that’s good enough.

Picture of a statue on West 24th street, NYC


1980’s Nihilism

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

The following poem was written somewhere around 1982 – 1983. It captures some of the nihilism that consumed my life during that time, and actually for years after. It still holds truth for me. I wrote it from memory. Actually had a recording of it, really crappy sounding thing, with some casio type of keyboard backing. This was before I even had a 4 track cassette, so I did overdubs by playing back cassette tapes and recording right through the air.


Not just one person

Not even many people

Many parts

Of many parts


Keep trying to believe

That all these parts come together

To form one whole being


Call that being My Self

Call that being Your Self


Ideally we would be our own slaves


At the time I was living in a tiny little storefront on East 3rd street in Manhattan, right across the street from Hells Angels. This was my first place in NY. I even remember the rent: $235.  There was more vertical space than floor space, and I had my loft bed above my combination shower/toilet. Cooking was all done on a hot plate. To get some pocket money, I’d work occasionally for my landlord Clyde, a transplant from Chicago. He would get his power tools ripped off with some regularity. We would go up to the corner where we could buy them back for 5 bucks or so.

Another memory from that time and place:

My friend Clay Ketter and I were doing some demolition work late at night in some apartments for Clyde, just tearing down plaster, lathe, 4X4’s. The thing is, we had taken a good amount of LSD just before we started work. We realized after a while that our judgement and perception was off, and that we might end up hurting ourselves. So we went on to another job I had lined up. I had the week before been postering all downtown for The Collective for Living Cinema (where I was working, while going to school). In one location, someone came running out and told me not to poster there. It was the Reggae Lounge, they were just opening at a new location. But the dude asked if I would be interested in postering for the Reggae Lounge, for $10/hour and a lifetime membership to the club. All good.

So the next week, when Clay and I pulled ourselves away from our LSD fueled demolition work, we decided to go out postering. As we worked our way through the Lower East Side, Soho and Tribeca, we ended up covering over some of the same posters I had put up a week before for The Collective for Living Cinema. One place we covered looked vaguely familiar, but I thought nothing of it. A few days later I went to the Reggae Lounge to get paid. Apparently that place that looked familiar had been the Reggae Lounge. No payment, no lifetime membership.


Poised in the doorway of your heart

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

Here is a single track that comes from a full length album of The Children (available on itunes). This project, currently dormant, is a collaboration between myself, NYC performer Michael Weiner, percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop/Swans) and John Anderson. When active, we were focused on creating environmental performances, creating inviting spaces filled with projections on weather balloons and all wall surfaces.


Posted in photos with tags , on April 3, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

This is another image from my ongoing series of micro photos. This is also used on the CD of my upcoming album “Trees”, to be released mid summer. This picture for me blends some opposing sensations: containment/imprisonment/openness/freedom/air/order/organic/inorganic. But then again, it’s just a picture!

Cop Shoot Cop: Live @ Reading Festival in 1994

Posted in Cop Shoot Cop with tags , , , on April 3, 2012 by jimcolemanmusic

Here is a relatively decent video from a live show we did at the Reading Festival in 1994. I remember being on the festival circuit through the UK. There was a group of fans called “Crusties”. I don’t know if this name was self created or was bestowed upon them, but it definitely fit. They would travel around from festival to festival, hitting shows in clubs in between. Hygiene was a secondary concern. Cigarettes were hand rolled Drum. They were fucking fierce fans, you couldn’t ask for better. There was one guy in particular who kept with us. We would pass him on the road, hitch-hiking to the next show or festival, literally day after day. We never picked him up, the van was just too packed. But we got him in to the shows for free.