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Friday, August 31, 2007

Posters For Sale!

Well, Folk-N-Rollers:

There's been some online interest in purchasing any original posters I have in my archives, so I'm hereby posting some of what's available that's not already shown in my poster gallery. Most of these posters were actually used by myself or the bands depicted to advertise gigs. I have several of some of 'em, only one or two of others. Some display tape or thumbtack holes from where they were hung on local Taos bulletin boards, but most are in beautiful shape. Most are 8 1/2 x 11, printed on colored paper, unless specified otherwise (a few are "legal" size, 8 1/2 x 14). A question has also been asked: would I sign any purchased posters... well, I'd be happy to. If you're interested in any of these, contact me here and I'll fill you in on the details! Thanks for your interest, y'all, and see ya this weekend at the Thirsty Ear Festival in Santa Fe!

Adios, Chipper

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Saturday, August 18, 2007


Good evening, BanjoSnakers.

Times are weird. Friends have lately been describing me as "rattled," (and that's not some oblique reference to my fascination with snakes) and they're right. I'm distracted, frustrated (if not outright pissed off), unfocused, and if I'm not in the worse physical shape I've ever been, I'm damn close. I'm so out of it that I even crashed Kim's scooter last week. Thankfully, there was mostly just cosmetic damage to both Chipper and the scooter (although I've got a skid mark on my knee that's killin' me!)

I've had too many irons in the fire for a long time, and at this point, I can't even tell whether I'm gradually taking them out, one-by-one, and beating them into something useful; ignoring them; or uselessly sticking more of 'em in, just waiting for the forge to explode. I'm afraid that often, it feels like the final possibility. But I thought that I'd take a moment and see if I could possibly explain things, even if only to myself.

My good friend Juan Del Llano and I have been chatting occasionally, and (if I may speak for the man) we both sense some sort of gauzy, vague terminus is approaching. And we're acting a little strange. Today I described us as like Roy Neary and others in "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," folks who are getting shit beamed in by the aliens and thus are acting deeply weird, and our poor families and friends don't know how to take it sometimes. We're unsure what all this means, but we both feel like personally and socially we're in some kind of "death throes" and that if we can just make it to the other side of this shit, things will be much better... or at least entertainingly different. But who knows? It might be the twilight of the Gods for real....

We recognize, if only in an oblique way, that some of this is perhaps a changing mood in the country: politically, socially, culturally, etc. etc. I think that even folks who would normally describe themselves as "conservative" are getting pretty damn tired of watching a bunch of self-serving frat boys pollute, starve, torture, murder, and otherwise run a once-great nation (and others) into the ground in order to serve their own smug little power trips and enrich their corporate ass-kissing buddies beyond all human moral boundaries. Folks on the street are pretty grumpy... that much, I get.

And I can still self-examine enough to understand most, if not all, of the outside influences that are screwing with me. The process of cleaning up and marketing for sale "Casa Bruja," my house here in Taos, feels like it's about to kill me. The emotional end of it isn't too difficult (although here's where I probably can't see things clearly) but physically it's wiping me out. It's taking hours and hours each week, I'm outta shape in a general sense, and fifteen years of accumulated dust is giving me enough ongoing asthma problems that last week I really only slept about two nights... and that was when I popped a Valium! The stress makes it all worse, and I'm more tired, and it's harder to breathe. Not to mention that this crap takes so much time that the "artist's way of life" (that is: enough unstructured time that you can take your life experiences and turn them into some sort of meaningful song, poem, short story, or what have you) is right out the window. Hence a lot of the frustration. And therefore more stress, and the downward spiral continues. Ugh.

I also feel some inward changes happening, or trying to. Kim and I are getting married next May, and that's a big one, of course. I've moved into her house, so "home life" is a lot different now than what I've been used to for about seven years, and that's a bit disorienting.

But professionally (and here it gets really vague) I'm coming to realize that if I'm going to keep on playing music, I've got to make it pay a hell of a lot more than it has up until now, or just go on and declare it my hobby. I love it, and I won't stop even if it makes me nothing, but we all gotta eat. My lifestyle (read: guitar fetish... but also the first mortgage I've had in years) hasn't kept up with my cash flow, so I'm feeling the financial crunch, and it sucks.

So... Juan tells me that some giant cosmic thing is (or was) supposed to happen today, and that the "New Age" community was on edge, watching the skies and cataloguing every new ripple in Wiltshire's crop circles... that kinda thing. Something about August 18.... I'd never heard a thing about what he was talking about, but hell... I could feel it, or at least I thought I could. The air just seemed unsettled today. So it seemed like maybe the time to chat about the art.

For exactly one month as of today, (from July 19th to August 19th... and I've done 19 drawings! Cool synchronicity!) I've been drawing and posting these odd little numbered diagrams that some of you have been asking about. Prior to that month-ago genesis, I'd been seeing shapes in my mind - very abstract shapes and colors and masses that didn't seem to "mean" anything in a literal sense, but that were coming to me unbidden and unexpectedly. They didn't frighten or unsettle me, but they were strange and cool and I wasn't sure what, if anything, to do with 'em. But it occurred to me that I could draw 'em....

I've drawn for a lot of my life, usually privately, but sometimes for public consumption (see my poster gallery, if you like). My father was an artist, and my late wife Lanford and everyone in her family was an artist, so it comes naturally, I guess. But I'd never really worked with color, or tried very hard to be good at representing three dimensions in my work. It's been mostly just poster graphics up 'til now.

But I started using some colored pens I had on hand and globbing these shapes onto paper, just for the hell of it. It was pretty fun, and didn't take up much time when I haven't had much to lose. Then something even weirder happened. Just as my personal awareness of abstract art was waking up, Kim and I were sitting at the Taos Inn having a pre-movie drink when some folks walked in with the coolest-looking abstract-art book under their arm. I had to ask, and it turns out that the local Harwood Museum is having a show of Richard Diebenkorn's work. I'd never heard of him, I must sheepishly admit. But Kim and I went to check it out, and it kinda rocked my world. Someday, I'll write some more about that. But then...

...the diagrams started showing up. I don't want to disappoint all of you, but this blog isn't gonna tell you "what they are." Mainly because I don't know, but there's some other reasons, too. (The guesses so far tend to run to the alien, such as "Arcturian house plans" or "alien schematics" or one imaginative soul suggested "alien baseball diamonds." Hell, any or all of those guesses might be right!)

The most important thing for me, though, is that I keep on doing them, "keep the door open" as one friend said. I know that I went to bed last night feeling like crap after bitching and sniping at Kim for utterly stupid, childish reasons, then started today feeling like warmed-over crap and couldn't shake it no matter what I did until I blew through drawing not one but three new "diagrams," then I felt altogether better for the rest of the day.

There are moments of doubt, or at least cynicism. Occasionally I think I'm totally wasting my time and precious paper resources of the earth with my dumb little drawings. Other times the creative process is distracted and (slightly) corrupted by the thought that "Hey! maybe I could make some money doing this!" But even when it's not perfect, it still feels healthy for some reason, and I keep on drawing them.

All of this feels connected with the notion that the "death throes" are happening whether I want 'em to or not, and I've gotta keep my feet moving and plow through my own personal Gotterdammerung to the other side, and there'll be some "new me" waiting for me. I hope so... this me has been okay, but I'm getting tired of him. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my art; I welcome and indeed crave your comments on it any way you like (positive, negative, or neutral... I'm up for it) but please don't get frustrated when I don't respond other than with another "alien diagram." Like I said, even I don't know what this is all about yet, and I often feel I'm in danger of "clouding the vision" (whatever that means) 'cause I've thought about it too much already!

Well, I've droned on too long... but I'll add one more weird synchronicity: When did Wagner debut his "Ring Cycle Gotterdammerung?" August 17, 1876... we're one day off, but still... pretty weird, and pretty cool!

Adios for now, folk-n-rollers, sleep well in this alleged new age...


Thursday, August 09, 2007


Hey there BanjoSnakers!

Well, we're glad to hear that Don Richmond is doing much better and apparently feeling much better down at M.D. Anderson in Houston. You can check in on his progress at Don's own website here.

But the Taos-related part of this news is that more and more folks want to help Don - and the truth is that even though Don is improving quickly, he's gonna need lots and lots of rest in the coming months... all of us who are close to the man have been telling him for more than a year now that he needed to slow down... well, now he's gonna!

But that means he'll be outta work for a good long while, and he'll need some income. There's already an account in Don's name in Alamosa, Colorado, for those of you up there who want to contribute. But as of today, Thursday, August 9, 2007, there is a Don Richmond Fund account at Centinel Bank here in Taos. If you're a Taos local fan and you'd like to give to the cause. Just go in to any teller, mention the Don Richmond account, give 'em your name so Don'll know who to send thank-you notes to, and drop off whatever you can spare!

Don and Teri and all of us in Don's community thank you for your love, prayers, and support, and stay tuned to this blog and keep your antennas up about ongoing plans for a Don Richmond benefit concert here in Taos! (Alamosa concert is September 22, we think...)

Stay in touch, y'all, and see ya tonight on Taos Plaza with Kim and the Caballeros!

Adios, amigos!

Friday, August 03, 2007


Well, BanjoSnakers:

Kim and I just got home from our gig at the OBL filling in for Don Richmond and there was a message waiting for us: Don was accepted into M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX, and the Alamosa doctors wasted no time. They got him on an air ambulance and as far as we know, he's there right now, roughly 11:00 p.m. Friday night, mountain time. We're certainly glad to hear it. In the mean time, Don's people have pledged to keep updating his website here so we can all check in to see how he's doing, so for the time being I'm going to stop posting on every little tidbit of news I get....

Speaking for myself, I played like crap tonight. I'll bet I played the same damn solo to every single song, and it bored even me. I only hope not too many people noticed, and everybody seemed to be having pretty good fun. I know part of it was that I had a ripping headache; part of it (I'm ashamed to admit) was that I was distracted by the TV behind the bar; but a huge part of it was that it simply felt wrong to be playing a gig that Don was supposed to play... it kept occurring to me that sure, I want lots more gigs, getting my music out to the folks and maybe making some decent money at it someday... but not like this! Not because my friend and mentor Don Richmond can't do the gigs 'cause he's got friggin' cancer! SHIT!

Anyway, I'm glad we could fill in and help out, and I'm really happy that Don is in such good hands (no reflection on the doctors in Alamosa, by any means). Don believes in the power of collective prayer, and I hope that if we all join together in sending him our best thoughts, wonders will occur and Don will be on stage again in no time, and we'll hardly remember this dark episode. I once saw a huge crowd of dancers on the floor of the Sagebrush Inn here in Taos, dancing to nothing more that Don Richmond singing and playing a mandolin. It blew my mind then, and it blows my mind every time I think about it. This man is too good in every way I can think of to be languishing in pain in a hospital bed.

Let's send him our prayers, love, and all the good thoughts we've got, and help him get back to where he belongs.

Adios for now, Chipper


Hey folks... well, not much has changed since updating my main post... Don is still in Alamosa, and still pretty fragile. Jim Bradley, Don's fellow in The Rifters, went up to Alamosa yesterday and saw Teri for a while, but Don is dissociative and out of it, so there was little direct contact. Unfortunately, there's just not much to report. Don's website has been updated to reflect what's going on, so I might venture to say that checking there for up-to-the-minute info might be a good idea.

Plans are afoot for two things: first, Don is for sure going to M.D. Anderson in Houston for extensive treatment (hey! they're the one's who fixed up Lance Armstrong!) as soon as he can be moved that distance. Second, there's talk of a benefit / show of support kind of concert for Don, and interest in performing by all the local Taos-Alamosa luminaries is high, but since plans are still being made, I'll just say that I'll keep you informed as there's something solid to report.

In the mean time, keep those prayers comin', and head out to the OBL tonight for Kim and the Caballeros fill-in gig for Don, and we'll all collectively sing and dance for our friend... that's bound to send him a lot of good vibes! Check back often to see what's up, and we'll see ya at the OBL tonight!

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