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New Music Starts with Old Music: It Almost Feels like Something’s Wrong.

You need to understand where you were to know where to go and as an artist that means going back and digesting what you’ve already done, which can be painful.

I’ve always thought that I released the best of what I was working on at the time. So why go back and put out stuff from 15 years ago? But this is more about me growing personally than it is about filling up my blog.

From summer of 04 until fall of 05 I wrote over 100 songs. There’s so many little recordings, clips, blurbs, lyrics, bar napkins, and notes that I have no grasp at how many there actually are. I was hell bent on writing a hit for my band at the time, Drunkenpor, that I was writing a few songs a week or more. But sometimes those songs didn’t fit Dpor (which was a reggae/rock sound) but they got recorded, usually in one or two takes and a just a few tracks.

It was like they needed to be recorded to get out of my head. That year was an intense one in terms of song writing, and some of the tracks I penned then were still being kicked around by other bands in 2010. I’ve had a few periods since 04 where I’ve written several songs, but never as intense as that one.

The two songs below I forgot about completely. Over Now was meant to be the last track off Static in the Attic 2, a follow up to an album of complete acoustic songs that I self-released in 04 or 05. I had just as many electric songs and decided to split them up between two albums since they were all written around the same time. Static in the Attic was a term I had used when my electric piano would occasionally pick up someone’s Ham radio when I lived in an attic apartment in Syracuse in 03.

Static in the Attic 2 was never compiled and released. Two songs that were supposed to be on that album came out years later as Pat Buchanan’s Hearse songs; The Clash and Robot Counter Culture. The Clash got some radio time and when I heard it one night driving home from work, my own voice cawing through my truck speakers, I remembered its humble beginnings in Adams, NY that year when I wrote too many songs to remember.

Wow, I don’t remember writing or recording at all. I think it was written in 05. But I have no lyrics sheets with notation which sometimes I would label with a date to see how long it took me to finish. I was going through an old jump drive when I found it. It’s not recorded all that well, and there’s some pretty obvious mistakes during, but I found this song enlightening in a strange way. There was some good emotional writing going on here, with good foundational lyrics.

The chorus needs a lift for sure, but it’s just catchy enough to be remembered. It surprised me a little, as do so many tracks that I have been finding, for their sincerity or durability or lyrics or some other aspect of song writing that now I feel like I have to try to connect with. It was just happening then, even if I had no idea how or why.

I’m writing songs again. But this time with a new purpose, which is to see them through how I hear them in my head and not stop at what they sound like when they come out. This has so far led me to getting other people play my songs, other people would better guitar skills, better voices, more presence. I wrote a post recently about how I tried to give up writing songs only to launch myself full bore back into it.

I plan on releasing more of the old stuff as I find it. Having a full time job and family doesn’t allow me the luxury of setting up camp for a week and getting through all of it, but it does allow for just enough time a few days a week to spend a few minutes reminiscing over time well spent and looking forward to a future full of writing more songs.

Anthony Norman White Writer

I Don’t Know what the Hell I’m Doing

I sold everything to move to the Pacific Northwest. Well, almost everything. But the things that left on LetGo and Craigslist burned. There were several guitars, mics, cables, pedals, amps, stands, a keyboard and a band’s worth of cords, cables, and connectors. They all left out of door as happy hands handed me cash for “like new” equipment.

I was happy to let it all go, honestly. I wanted everything gone and not just to raise enough money to move my family across the entire country during a pandemic. I was done. Tired of jumping from project to project, several things moving at the same time, and wishing I was working on something else while working on something else. I constantly confused myself and was diluting the things I was putting out because I was buried in constant chaos.

Anthony Norman White Writer
Anthony Norman White Writer

I can be insane. I want to do everything, play everything, write everything, read everything all the time. But I know that’s not possible so I decided to make a new me when I moved from New York to Washington State. Get rid of music, focus on writing and reading, fishing for sport and relaxation, and get into camping. For the first few weeks it went really well. But my friend Kevin let me borrow a guitar.

I had gone over a few times and every time ended up with one of his guitars in my hands. He told me to take an acoustic for a week or so. Just brush up on some skills. That was on a Saturday. By Sunday morning I’d already recorded several riffs and had come up with a new plan; an album of songs that I write, record, and produce while using mostly other musicians that I know. Why?

Because I’m crazy and I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. I got into discussion with a few musician friends of mine. I realized that I can’t NOT create. I have to. It comes out of me. I can’t stop it. It will find a way to come out and I need to realize that and just let it bleed. The cut is wide open and taking instruments away isn’t going to close it.

I don’t know what this new music project is going to be exactly, but I know it’s going to happen whether I like it or not.

Test Blog

Hi everyone. Sorry about this blog. It’s a test for something. If you are signed up for email notifications I really appreciate it. There’s going to be a flood of material coming your way soon, hence the test.

I hope everyone is doing well. The PNW has been a welcomed changed.

-Anthony

The Genius of John Candy

Since 1989 I’ve been a big fan of John Candy. The movie that came out that year was Uncle Buck. I was seven, about the same age as the character Miles, portrayed by Macaulay Culkin, and I often thought about some long lost uncle sweeping into town and making me gigantic pancakes for my birthday.

Since then I’ve grown to really love John Candy like an uncle. It’s not just his character of Uncle Buck, who still makes me laugh to this day with a congenial combination of slapstick, silly, and smart, but the way that he can do nothing and it’s hilarious. Just a simple line of “Sure” was somehow hysterical. I’ve not come across many actors that can say or do nothing on screen and still get a laugh.

I grew up with actors like Jim Carrey and Chris Farley being beamed into my home regularly. I watched both In Living Color and Saturday Night Live, their energy and slapstick style was something that I had never seen before. They made me laugh until I cried on plenty of occasions. Then the next school day, my friends and I would discuss the craziness of their portrayals and laugh all over again.

We never talked about John Candy. But even then he was still my go to. If I was home sick from school, I wanted John to be there, as Uncle Buck or Chet Ripley, or whatever other movies of his we could rent at the grocery store.

He was real. A real life person who could show up at your house and punch a clown in the face. He wasn’t over acting to get a laugh, he just was a guy who happened to be really funny and could put on a serious face when the role needed him to. It wasn’t magic or explosions or a hard bodied beauty, just a regular guy who chose to be an actor because he had something different about him, even if you could never actually pinpoint what that was.

Movies are much different today and to be honest I don’t watch them. I see one or two movies a year, and it’s usually the ones that won a ton of awards or enough people told me I should watch it that I eventually do. They are very rarely, if ever, comedies. They are rarely heartwarming. For the most part they are serious movies that are almost difficult to watch. I like art, but I also like to be cozy.

Most movies today don’t have the greatest acting, but are rather vehicles for beautiful people to do magical things. The plots are basic, the melodrama heavy. They are meant for a world wide audience. They are moving investments, the art stripped away to make something that won’t be difficult to understand with subtitles. The money is heaped high for special effects and the latest starlet with a curvy body. The John Candy’s are few and far inbetween.

“I think I may have become an actor to hide from myself.” – John Candy

A few years ago it was a slow day at work and a bunch of us were standing around before punching out shooting the breeze about movies. The topic of your favorite actor came up and it was my turn to say who it was. I said John Candy. Everyone laughed at the same time. They told me that I couldn’t pick him as my favorite actor. That I had to choose someone else. I protested immediately. I said “Here’s the thing. I said his name and you all laughed, right? That’s it. He’s still making you laugh.”

That is the genius of John Candy.

Anthony Norman White - Fishing is a Language

The International Language of Fishing

There is just too much going on in the world right now to comment. It’s been a tough few weeks for everyone.

But what I try to remember is that a tough few weeks for us can be a lifetime for others. Keep in perspective that civil unrest is a way of life for some people, their whole lives drowning in constant turmoil and chaos. That’s why they seek asylum. It’s why they walk hundreds or thousands of miles with starving children on their backs. They desperately seek change. The Americans protesting seek change too. We’re all one in the same, we all want something more. Listen, be patient, and try to learn.

That’s why I love fishing so much. It teaches you something new every time you get out there. That paragraph above took me a week of fishing to get to. But that wasn’t all. I learned something else too; Fishing is an international language.

It’s not just about other cultures either. It goes beyond that. Communication is possible with little babies and dogs and everyone with fishing. But in particular my experience recently along the Charlotte Pier in Rochester, New York was with a man who spoke no English and, as I learned, was from Nepal.

IMG_20200521_142423
Lake Ontario waters looking quite like the Atlantic Ocean.

He was a short middle aged man holding his phone out and taking pictures along the pier. I didn’t notice him right away. He wasn’t dressed out of the ordinary in any way. But I suddenly realized he was coming to look into our fish bucket. My son and I had been there less than an hour but already hooked into a couple good sized perch. Our bucket had the perch in it along with a few fat head minnows that someone gave to us on his way home. Fishing is a community like that.

The man from Nepal stopped and looked in our bucket. My son, who is six, was all smiles, as he had caught the biggest one and loved showing it off to onlookers. I asked the man how he was doing, a common and mindless way of greeting someone. He nodded his head and pointed at the perch. “Matza”, he said continuing to point. I said “Oh yeah?” because I wasn’t sure what was happening yet. He became a little more emphatic “Matza, matza”.

I said “Perch.” and he shook his head yes. “Nepali”, he said smiling. “Matza”. I suddenly understood.

“You’re from Nepal?” I asked.

“Yes. Matza”, he said and he brought his hand up to his mouth like he was eating.

“Oh absolutely”, I said and I pointed to my son and then back to me and made the same eating motion. He seemed content and patted his stomach and I did the same. We both liked to fish for and eat perch and without the convenience of a common language we figured that out in just a few short minutes. He held up his phone as if to take a picture, and made a noise like a questions mark. I said “Go ahead” and he took some photos. I turned back to the water and my rod, jigging my bait while he took a few photos.

He started to walk away and patted my shoulder. He said thank you in Nepali and I told him to take care. He headed on down to the end of the pier and after a few minutes I turned and watched him and actually thought to myself “that guy is my friend”.

In everything that’s happening in the world there’s always moments like this. Seemingly insignificant moments that should be forgotten, but they’re not. They’re important. For some reason we can speak the same language in fishing and where you’re from or how you grew up doesn’t matter. Fishing is more than the fish. It’s about the story.

(A simple google search shows that the man was more than likely saying macha, with a small line over each ‘a’. When he said it to me on the pier it sounded most like matza.)