Archive for March, 2013

confession number one

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 26, 2013 by jimcolemanmusic

A non verbal confession of sorts, though this video also dabbles in questions, perception and the depths of hope.

This is Madness?

Posted in jim coleman, personal histories, Phylr, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 26, 2013 by jimcolemanmusic

Cyclonesandy coaster







Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. This has happened several times through my life, in several different ways, and usually due to something that I could eventually track down.

Sometimes right before I get sick, I feel like I’m going nuts. Like everything I thought I knew and took for granted was wrong. Like I’m Jim Carrey in The Truman Show. All of a sudden, everything feels disconnected. There is nothing to hold on to, no firm ground, no certainty. I recall one time when I was home from college, I was in my parents basement, and that feeling came on instantly. It brought me to my knees. I didn’t know how to move or to go on in any way. An hour later, I had a temperature of 104, and was laying in bed. It was with a huge sense of relief that I realized I was just really sick.

I think I have told this story in another of my  log entries, but from a different angle. On a cross country trip I made in my 20’s, I unintentionally ended up in Florida in spring break. I was camping wherever I could. After finding a spot and pitching a tent, I went out and ate dinner, which included a bunch of raw clams. A few hours later, madness crept in. I had already gone to sleep in my tent, but after sleeping for an hour or two, I suddenly woke up in a different reality. Everything was threatening, every noise and light was like a razor. Nothing had meaning or reason. It mystified me why humans did what we did: why do we put on clothes, how is it possible that we ever figured out how to make things? Why should I move. Well, pretty soon I realized that I needed to move in order to vomit outside the tent, not inside. I must have vomited for over an hour. In the middle of that hour, I became really happy though because I realized I was dealing with food poisoning, not a mental breakdown.

In college, I was doing a bunch of experimental films, performances and installations. One of these installations was called Short Wave Funk Muzackackack. This took place in a small planetarium  which was just an open space, it didn’t have any of the projection equipment in it. I had recorded hours and hours of snippets from late night radio talk shows and mixed these with cut up excerpts of funk music. I gathered 10 boom boxes, had 10 different 45 minute cassettes of these mash ups, and distributed the boom boxes evenly around the circular room, facing upward, right at the base of the dome. The door was open to the outside, and it was freezing cold. There were no lights. At 8 PM, the first tape started, and every 4 minutes, another tape was started. So at the 40th minute, all 10 were playing. And then they automatically shut off in succession, until just the 10th one was playing. The problem was that I had taken some mushrooms at about 7 PM. At around 8:45 or 9 PM, I had a solid plan that mad perfect sense. I knew what I needed to do with my life. Quit school, and voluntarily sign myself in to a mental institution.

Drugs, especially hallucinogens, definitely took me in to various states of madness and mental despair. Some places I would have gladly languished in forever if I could have. Other places lasted way longer than I wanted them to. The first time I ever felt the effect of LSD was like that. I was best friends with this  hippie couple when I was living in Hartford, CT. They were really great people. Very open and loving. I still have a real place in my heart for them. They were throwbacks to the 60’s though, no doubt. They had tripped hundreds of times. So I felt like I had seasoned guides. I had actually tried acid before this, but hadn’t felt anything. We arranged to trip one day. It must have been late morning when we each swallowed three tabs. I while later I was having this awesome time, everything was fluid. Some hours later though, it got in my head that I would not ever come down. That this state of mind was now permanent. Life would be like this from here on out. I expressed this fear to the girl, looking for some consolation that it would pass. But she said, “Yeah, I know. I feel like that too.” Oh, fuck. I sank deeper in this. I figured out eventually how I would survive. Within a few days, I should acclimate. I should be able to go down to the deli and get some lunch meat… I did eventually come down (I think). But this trip lasted through the next week, with varying degrees of intensity.

For sure, acid was no friend of mine. Every time I took it, I had some fear. I didn’t know what would happen. One time I remember being in a fetal position in a huge cold loft in Philadelphia, certain that death would come that night. When I finally shared this feeling with my girlfriend, she laughed in my face. On another occasion, I was on a complex chemical mixture that included LSD. We thought it would be a good idea to drive to Coney Island. Once there, I got lost from the friends that I had driven there. I bought a ticket for the roller coaster, then waited in the line for a while to get in to a coaster car. While on line, I lost track of my ticket. Then I recalled that I had had a deep discussion with the guy behind me (who I didn’t know). And in this conversation I had given him my ticket. So when we got up in line, and it was time to board, I asked the guy for my ticket. He looked at really weird and said he didn’t know what I was talking about. I realized at this point that my perceptions were off, and I mumbled sorry and stepped out of line. But when I got outside, I started getting really pissed, thinking that this dude had gotten over on me and still had my ticket. Motherfucker. I waited at the exit with the intention of having it out with this guy. But by the time he come out, I had wandered off somewhere else. Later on, I drove home. At the front door, when I reached in my pocket for the house keys, what did I find? Sure enough. Ticket for the roller coaster.

Relationships can make me lose my mind. Thankfully, I am now in a healthy loving relationship. Given the wreckage of my past, and the fact that destructive behavior at times feels like gravity, I’m amazed. The relationship I was in prior to this one drove me nuts. I’m not saying that flippantly. Nor do I mean stark raving nuts. It’s more like I became somebody else. I was stuck in quicksand. I didn’t have the courage or strength to get out. I tried but it never worked. We were both unhappy for a long time. Maybe it’s that we stuck together out of fear and out of habit. Like the hell I knew was better than an unknown reality. Fear and habit. Addiction. I talk a lot a bout the drugs, but they are just a symptom. The addiction underlies anything and everything: drug use, relationship & sex, money, eating, and on and on. There are endless ways to be addicted. I know that unless I deal with the addiction and not just the symptoms, I’m a goner. And it’s an ongoing process. Anyway, when I finally got out of the aforementioned relationship, I felt so light, so alive. I had chosen to live in this dark cave for too long. A place where in some weird way, I felt like an amputee. Like some part of me was cut off. It was definitely madness of a sort.

Jonesing on Tour

Posted in Cop Shoot Cop, jim coleman, personal histories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 6, 2013 by jimcolemanmusic

In my earlier days of recklessness and misplaced rebellion, I had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I say misplaced rebellion, because in hindsight every time I took another hit, every time I exhibited some kind of twisted anti social behavior and I thought I was laying out a big “FUCK YOU!” what really was happening was I was saying “FUCK ME!” Sure, I harmed most everyone around me, but I sure did not do much harm to the demons I thought I was lashing out at. And I certainly did myself a world of hurt.

I loved touring. Through most of my 20’s, I played and toured extensively both through the US and Europe with my old band Cop Shoot Cop. To this day, I deeply miss it at times. I know though that that was then and this is now. And I know that memories aren’t reality. An ex girlfriend of mine recently sent me a scan of a postcard I sent her once when I was touring. The first line of it was “I don’t think I can take it anymore!”

Touring would also give me a chance to drag my ass out of the chemical induced slurry pond that I would habitually reside in. I was forced to “clean up”. To me, that meant only ingesting what was available. Sure, I could bring a bunch of smack and crack with me, but that always seemed to run out so damn fast. My radar worked really well, but the fact was that hard drugs just weren’t available on the street in every town. If you ran in to me one week after leaving on tour, you would see a rail thin bug eyed twitching embodiment of depression and wonder. I was scared shitless and in Awe, like I was coming out of hibernation. The world around me was painfully clear and in focus. Light hurt. Noise was wonderful. The only place I felt right was on stage. That 60 to 90 minutes a day was exhilarating, being in the instant. Walking on a razor blade. A hyper-reality. And then the crash.


I would bring my mini pharmacy on the planes. FYI: it is possible to smoke crack in the airplane bathroom and not set off the alarm. I didn’t really think about what would happen if my method didn’t work. It wasn’t really even a choice. It had to work. I at least had to try. My life might be different now if it hadn’t worked.

After about 3 weeks of touring, my body would adjust to this new chemical balance. I’d emerge from withdrawals in to exhaustion, and then the exhaustion would turn in to a long lasting permeating giddiness. This would affect everyone in the band. Everything was funny, and anything was prime material for a joke. I remember getting lost in Philadelphia, and Natz repeatedly leaning out the window, asking people on the street if they could tell us how to find the Plexiglass Children. And being in a supermarket in Seattle, asking the woman at the butcher counter if you could make shakes out of chicken feet. Her answer was, “well, I reckon you could make shakes out of just about anything!” Everything was funny, and nothing was normal. Touring was wonderful because it felt like the rules and norms that contained the straight world couldn’t touch us. As a result, we did many things that could have turned out disastrous. Again, things that could have fucked up our lives for years to come but somehow they didn’t.

Canadian Border.jpg

Picture this: I’m handcuffed and detained (with the rest of my band, but it’s me they’re after) at the Canadian Border, where the authorities are going to confiscate our van along with all our gear, then pass me over to the New York State Troopers at which point I’ll be locked in a cell with the certainty of jail time attached. 3 hours later, not only are we driving away with everything intact, but the Border Cops actually gave me back the bag of dope I had stashed in my cigarette pack. How does this happen? At the time, I just took it in stride, but looking back I feel really really fortunate.

Unresolved church issues

Posted in jim coleman, personal histories, religion with tags , , , on March 4, 2013 by jimcolemanmusic

TelevangelistI’ve always had this weird love/hate thing with churches. Having always disliked organized religions, churches have rubbed me the wrong way. Why is it that people can go around building these huge imposing buildings whose sole purpose is giving people a place to worship? I know, there is also the purpose of building god fearing communities, but let’s put that aside for now. Being a democracy, I should be able to build huge temples to Satan if I worshiped him (or her, as the case may be). But somehow, I don’t think that would be so easy to do. Christ, there was a huge uproar when there was talk of erecting a Mosque near the old World Trade Center location. People just get so narrow minded and fearful.

But sometimes I just love walking in to and sitting in a church for an extended period of time. Okay, I don’t believe in “God”, but holy shit, my mind becomes still and peaceful when I do this. I can meditate much easier. I become quiet. It’s nice.

Once when I was a kid I took a shit in a church. I was pissed off at this whole “God” thing that was being pushed at me. This may have been soon after a friend of mine died in a car crash. The first death that I had to deal with. I remember trying to make sense of this loss. I tried  a few things, including reading the bible. But nothing made this make sense. Now, I’m older. I wouldn’t say death makes sense, but I understand, or at least accept the cycle of birth – life – death. Kind of like a spin cycle in a laundry. But back then I was pissed. I wanted to take a shit on your organized religion, I wanted to shit on your God. Unfortunately, when I look back at it now, I realize the only thing I shat on was the poor custodian who had to clean it up. 20/20 hindsight. I don’t know your name, but I’m sorry.

Later in life, I went through a period where I liked to make out and have sex in churches. Obviously, still some unresolved issues here. And maybe a bit immature. But it was fun. And years after this, I had a period of bridge sex, which may be another entry on another day. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on site specific sex? Anyway, not much to report on this except it was fun.

At some point in my 20’s, I was doing sound recording for a film in Texas. After the days of shooting were over, I hitchhiked out to the west coast, with a plan to go down in to Baja, Mexico. I landed first in LA. I had read some travel guide that specialized in low cost travel tips, and had highlighted a particular hotel in LA. I can’t recall the name of it. When I got there, the front desk gave me a price that was about three times the price that was listed. I argued with them, and got the price down a bit. Not as far as I wanted, but I was really tired so I just settled for it.

When I got upstairs, I turned on the TV, and the default station was some televangelist prayer ministry. At some point, they had an exterior shot, and I realized I was looking at the hotel I was now in. I looked around the room and quickly saw some other telltale signs. Fuck. I was in some kind of Ministry Hotel. Definitely had the shiver run down my back, the feeling like was in the center of the hive. Somehow, quickly, I had to claim this space as mine. I didn’t have much to work with, but I did what I could: beat off and smoke a joint. Then I walked out of that hotel till late at night, just walking the streets of LA (not much fun). I came back just to sleep. and was so glad to leave there the next day. On to Baja!