Grumble / Blog

The Rock Particle

We recorded The Rock Particle album at Ware House Productions with Tom Ware in Omaha NE over the course of three days in early April 2015. 7 songs went from concept to finished product (mixed and out the door) in about 30 hours. The majority of tracks were live takes with very minimal "studio magic" involved. This is the sound of the band, playing at our best, in a great sounding room with a talented engineer. Anyone who has recorded music before should have an understanding of the intensity involved. We were focused and prepared. We went in to the session wanting to get to the essence of this music we play, to strip it down to Truth and graces, to dig into the fundamentals. To find The Rock Particle.


Rock music is possibly the cruelest of passions, breeding ringing ears out of the parts, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull chords with November rain, when September ends. The past kept us warm, covering the primal topics with romantic and forgettable tunes. And then I realize that 20 years have past since this song or that. A little life within the embers of some sound that almost mattered. Even if it didn't matter to anyone else. It mattered to me. And I am still here grinding it out. Summers surprise us. Coming over with Stars and Rockets and Gratitudes and Gravity Graves. At Harriet Island, In a shower of sunset and pizza box bonfires, I stopped. We all stopped and watched and listened as the greatest day moments rang out and passed. With honor. And the next day and next after, I went back into the sunlight and the night and into the hum and I tried to recreate that moment. A dozen dozen times in my dark room with friends. I must have seemed like a freak.

The Power of Rock

True Rocknroll powers work, as the name suggests, by weaving "airs", or magnetically charged gases, into a "warp of magnetic fluid" which is then directed at the listeners. The powers are a combination of cutting-edge technologies of frictional acoustic chemistry, electromagnetic inferometry, and with the controversial science of animal magnetism, or mesmerism. The finer details become increasingly strange. The driving forces are combination of “metamagnetic effluvia” including animalistic pheremonium rays, whiskey breath, and a sound my father describes as “gaz from the tail of a horse.” This magnetic warp fluid has assailed nearly 3 generations of humanity via a deep catalogue of physical recording medium and can even be transduced into micrographically emitted waves absorbed by handheld devices, brain saying, and dream working. The resulting effects on the targeted mind are manyfold. Where introduced in conjunction with anti-establishment rebellion in a neomaturation staged young adult in isolation, the array of physical manifestations range from “idle finger tapping and staring off into space” to full on air guitar playing. When the warp fluid phenomena has attained sufficient mechanical volume, and occurs in conjunction with a room full of individuals under such influence, the manifestations can be more spectacular, ranging from arms-crossed head knodding to full-on physical assault, known as moshing. Casual diagnosis can result in certain false positive results, noted in many resources as a result of knucklehead shit rock or "falsemetal." Such results can be avoided by determining that the source of the phenomena is True RocknRoll. The more you know. . . .

There is only Rock

Here is no water but only Rock Rock and no water and the sandy road The road winding above among the mountains Which are mountains of Rock without water If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the Rock one cannot stop or think Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand If there were only water amongst the Rock Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit There is not even silence in the mountains But dry sterile thunder without rain There is not even solitude in the mountains But red sullen faces sneer and snarl And pretend they are from other places From doors of mudcracked houses


One of these mornings,

You are going to rise up singing.

You will spread your wings,

and you'll take to the sky.

Until that morning,

There is nothing that can harm you.

with this knowledge and protection standing by.

Land is the Foundation of the State

Toward the end of the Ch’in Dynasty, Mo Tun of the Hsiung Nu first established his power. The neighboring province, the Eastern Hu, were strong and sent ambassadors to parley. They said: “We wish to obtain Mo Tun’s Thousand-Li horse.” Mo Tun consulted with his advisors, who all exclaimed: “The Thousand-Li horse! It is the finest animal in the province! The most precious thing! Do not give them that!” Mo Tun replied: “Why begrudge a horse to a neighbor?” So he sent the horse.

Shortly after, the Eastern Hu sent envoys who said: “We wish to have the Khan’s crown jewels as a tribute.” Mo Tun asked advice of his ministers who all angrily said: “The Eastern Hu are unrighteous! Now the even ask for our finest jewels! We implore you to attack them!” Mo Tun said: “How can one begrudge his neighbor an ornament?” So he gave the crown jewels.

A short time later, the Eastern Hu returned and said: “You have two thousand Li of unused land north of Han which we want. Give it to us for our kingdom.” Mo Tun consulted his advisors. Some said it would be reasonable to cede the land, others said it would not. Mo Tun became enraged and shouted: “Treason! Land is the Foundation of the State! True wealth flows from this! To suggest giving it away is to impoverish!” He ordered that all those who had advised doing so to be beheaded.

Mo Tun then sprang on his horse, ordered that all who remained behind to be beheaded, and made a surprise attack on the Eastern Hu. The Eastern Hu were contemptuous of him and had made no preparations. When he attacked, he annihilated them. Mo Tun then turned westward and attacked the Yeuh Ti. To the south he annexed Lou Fan . . . and invaded the Yen. After the campaign, he had completely recovered the ancestral lands of the Hsiung Nu previously conqurered by the Ch’in general Meng T’ien.

plagiarism at its finest

It is likely that claiming any of the songs for this promotion as finished are in a greater part commentary on the passing nature of such works. At best they are a lock-jawed attempt to articulate and interpret for the Cosmic Roar. The songs are not done, and not undone. A recording is a snapshot. The impression of their originality could have been much greater but I have only my own indulgence to blame.

Still, there remains among us a set of critics who seem to hold that every possible image and sound is traditional. These types have no notion that there are such things as fountains in the world, both small and great. They would charitably decide that every riff they hear flows from a puncture made in some other artist's tank. I am confident however, that as far as the present music is concerned, the celebrated artists whose work I may be suspected of having imitated, either in particular passages, or in the tone and spirit of the whole, would be among the first to vindicate me from the charge of plagiarism. Furthermore, on any particularly striking coincidence, they might permit me to address them by this ancient monkish Latin hexameter couplet:

5 This is mine! and it is likewise yours! And if this will not do, Then let it be mine good friend, so much I am the lesser of the two.

I have only to add that the meter and cadence of the lyrical content of Before the Fail, is not, properly speaking, irregular, though it may seem so from it being founded on a new principle of the same old rock and roll (boy girl meet, fall in love, break up, everybody is mad.) Nevertheless, the occasional variation in number of syllables and painfully derivative rhyme (open your arms, release the charms. .. seriously?) is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with the transitional bridge part, and thus serves the imagery or passion of the song.


Happy listening!

understanding my place in the world

In a dream, I was in a printing house. Everything was nearly glowing from intense heat. In the various rooms I would learn how knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.

In the first chamber was a tall man dressed in black, clearing away rubbish and hollowing out the space.

In the second chamber were conductors through which incredible energy flowed. These were folded around and writhing like snakes. The space was adorned with gold and silver and precious stones.

In the third chamber were several lions of flaming fire raging around, howling and scratching and fighting.

In the fourth chamber was an eagle with wings and feathers of shimmering air. This room was an infinite expanse, a vacuum, without walls or floors.

In the fifth chamber were forms, where the datum was cast from liquid and living metals into solids.

These were combined and arranged in a great library.

I woke up, and for the finest and most brief moment, I understood my place in the world.

Omaha 2013

Omaha, 2013

Hendrix! You should be living at this hour. Rock and roll has great need of thee, for it is a fen of stagnant waters; amp, cord, and pen. Near the bar, the Heroic drink with faces sour, having forfeited their ancient roar and dower of inward happiness. We are selfish men. O raise us up, return to us again, and give us manners, virtue, freedom, power! Your soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; you touched the Sound and it became like the sea: pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free. And such did you travel on life's common way, in cheerful rocksuperstardom, until you drowned yourself in puke.

a flooding river

When I was 12 or 13, I was riding my dirt bike along the Little Papio Creek near 72nd and Dodge in Omaha. It was a muggy and brutal hot August day. One of those Nebraska thunderstorms was rolling in and I was trying to make it back to my friends house. Then the sky cracked open and what must have a been a billion gallons of rain and hail dumped on the city. The temperature might have dropped 40 degrees in two minutes. It was coming down so hard that the world went greyish black. I hid under the Dodge Street bridge to wait it out.

I sat there and watched the Papio go from 8 inch creek to a full flooding river, maybe 20 feet deep and 60 feet across in a matter of minutes. The rain and hail pounded down. The street drains were spraying runoff water 15 feet in the air. The wind howled. I remember watching what might have been whole trees rolling through that floodwater, and chunks of styrofoam, and abandoned furniture, and all the other trash in the city being washed away. And the fucking roar. The sound of that storm and the wind and the rain and the trash and the flooding river burned itself into my mind. I would not be surprised if it is physically etched on some part of my brain. It is more than 25 years later, and that sound is still “right there” in my consciousness.

Honest rock and roll is the only thing that I have found that even gets close to expressing it. The music I love has that “sound of the flooding river” quality to it. Honest means that the performance is telling the Truth. It doesn't seem to matter what genre, as long as it is True. This roar in my mind is a life definition. This music is the best of my ability to get that sound out.