Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mad Season~ The Story of the Lifeless Dead with Music Tribute to Mad Seasons 'Above' & Temple of the Dog with Seattle Symphony Orchestra Featuring Jefferson Angell, Kim Virant, Skerik, Sean Kinney, Tim DeJulio , Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Barrett Martin, Mike McCready & Duff McKagan

Lifeless dead, that unclean bed 
Till or when, her hunger's fed
How he'd wished that they would wed 
"I promise on our love" she said 
Promises were never kept 
Alone on a dirty floor he slept 
And although, he'd not accept
She was gone and so he wept 
Then a demon came to him 
"You must know, I'm going to win" 

It has been said that ' time heals all wounds ' , I do not agree. The wounds remain, and in time the mind protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But its never gone. 

Rose Kennedy 

The one thing Cameron Crowe told me when I asked him, "How do I start writing?" was... "Just write, Xana." I think of that moment more often than I'd like to along with memories of Layne singing 'Long Gone Day' alone with me at Green Lake. I've seen the ghost of Demri more than once and possibly spent the day with Layne ten years after his death. I was not impaired enough for it to be some sort of hallucination yet I cannot wrap my head around the memory of that long gone day. None of what happened makes any sense regarding who died and who lived to tell the story, but this is part of mine.

A fond Lovechild memory~  I remember when Andy took a bunch of cassette copies of his 'Melodies & Dreams' recordings to record stores around Seattle... I mean, isn't that just the most adorable thing you ever heard? I can still see him walking into Tower Records and riding the bus around Seattle  just spreading the loverock, probably writing lyrics as he rode the bus in one of his many lyric notebooks.  The music in those recordings set in motion his bond with Chris and hugely influenced Chris's writing. The ballads that all became Mother Love Bone songs were birthed in these early recordings. These are the songs that originally got them label attention to begin with.  We would talk about the songs and the meaning behind them. The song 'Luxury Bed the Rocket Ship Chair,' according to Andrew, was about his experience writing music while in the hospital for heroin detox and Hepatitus C.

Layne and I used to talk about his lyrics as well.  It was an easier conversation than the other dreaded subjects like the pressure from the band management and record label, or their artistry being constantly challenged and compromised over inner struggles with addiction and personality conflits. Mike Starr getting kicked out of Alice in Chains broke Layne's heart in a way. No matter what the details were or the conditions, it was just sad. We all knew Mike was damaged beyond repair over being kicked out and it was horrible watching him self-destruct. Layne did not like talking about his relationship with Demri and I did not like talking about my problems with Andy and his heroin use.
Music and lyrics were an open subject, though. It was his art and he was very open about what he wrote and the passion behind it. He also showed me all the artwork before the Mad Season album came out. He was really proud of that. 

Amanda and Coleen Hardy with Layne's mom, Nancy, an incredibly strong woman who does not wear her heavy heart on her sleeve. She carries herself with dignity and calmness as she contiunues to pick up the pieces from her son's shattered life, and even in his death, is always standing by his side with a mother's pride.

Performance-wise, the show was completely stolen vocally by Jefferson Angell of The Missionary Position & Walking PapersI could literally hear Andrew, Layne, and Demri yelling "Go Bee Charmer!" along with Barrett, Benjamin Anderson, and Duff. The super group Walking Papers has given us the best-written and heartfelt music since the time of Mad Season and it does not go unnoticed that their sobriety, strength and determination to set the bar high as musicians has inspired many in their extended family of musicians like Tim DeJulio and Kim Virant,  who along with husband Chris Friel and brother-in-law Rick Friel, tirelessly keep local music audiences wowed with their many ongoing projects, always donating their time for the greater good of our music community.

 They perform often and give of themselves freely -- literally. We are truly blessed to have them in our presence. Their acts of kindness and loyalty to charity have not gone unnoticed by myself and many others In Seattle, 
 nor has their unique talent as progressive artists and musicians.

Regarding the Temple of the Dog songs played at the show:  This has always been a sore subject for me. Chris, A.K.A. The Mustache, came to the home of Kelly Curtis where I was living at the time along with another displaced artist, Jerry Cantrell, A.K.A. Son of the Rooster. Jerry would quietly climb in my bed and hold me while I cried in my sleep after Andy's death. There was nothing else left to do. Andy was dead. Chris came 0ver soon after with a gift. He handed me a cassette of very private and personal songs. He said "I wrote these songs about Andy and about us... they are for you." About a month later, Stoney and Jeff were over and heard the music playing on the stereo. Stoney said "What is this?" I told him they were songs Chris wrote for me. A while later, Stoney and I met up again while I was fixing the chain on my bike at the 211 club. All of a sudden, he started singing. He was singing 'Wooden Jesus.' I said, "Why are you singing that?" He replied, "It's on 'my' new CD."  I was in utter disbelief that they had gone to Chris with their interest in this music and recorded it, and furthermore shocked and appalled that they did not make this "Tribute to Andrew Wood" an album where proceeds would benefit recovering addicts, especially after they committed to such a project along with Ian Astbury and Ann and Nancy from Heart. It was all tossed in the wind along with every other broken promise that was never kept to me. 

'Write honestly and mercilessly'

- Cameron Crowe 

For clear space and soundness of mind
I've let you play me for sometime 
One can only recieve and retain 
But the lies you recite for your gain 

So you rely on my faith in your kind
Or rather continue to pretend that I'm blind
Life reveals what is dealt through seasons 
Circle comes around each time 
I've been blessed with eyes to see this 
behind the unhole truth you hide 
Bite to remind the bitten, bigger
Moiuth repaying ten fold wide 

I'm above
Over you, I'm standing above 
Claiming unconditional love

A summer to remember~  One of my fondest memories of Layne is going swimming in Lake Washington at night with him and few other friends.  I believe I wrote something about it in another story. So we were driving around looking for a good place to sneak in the lake and skinny dip. We found this house with its own trail. He was so cute because he says as we walk past the house "Let's be quiet, though -- we don't want to wake up any kids." He was all tippy-toeing past the windows. His hair at the time was long and dreaded. He wore too much patchouli and he was rail-thin. I remember seeing him jump in the lake and he barely made a splash as his body hit the water, his leanness simply gliding into the moonlit lake. About six of us, including Mike, were in the water about 15 minutes before the cops showed up and very nicely told us we were on private property. I think they got a kick out of us, though. They were super mellow and non-threatening and simply told us we had to put our clothes back on and leave. As the night became morning, and we drove home wet and cold. There was a content and quiet vibe in the car.  Maybe deep in our subconscious we all knew that was our last night together in the lake. And it was.  Everything from then on forward would not have the same childlike innocence as that summer night.

So much blood I'm starting to drown 
Runs from cold to colder
Time to time the sky's come down
To help me lose my way
Tears and lies for answers 
You and open veins 
God knows I'm gone 

 Irony, you are cruel. Fate, you're forever my tempest. Memories, you can fade away my love -- your faces, I will always remember.  Deceit, you are a river that flows down -- on down. Rage, you are my dark passenger.  Pain, I embrace you as I see you are here to stay. Be good to yourself and each other, my friends. Hold your head up. Look into your own eyes and that of your lover. Always recognize your own shortcomings. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Keep your promises and never forget where you came from and never turn your back on your friends, even if you're standing over their grave. 

Dedicated to Andrew, Mike, Layne and Demri~   We are fortunate to have received and retained fragments of and from the art and music that you made. Let it be our compass and guide us in our lives to become better people. 

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