69 ~ The Last Year Of The 60’s
The year of Woodstock - I won't ponder the inevitable (David Bowie, Glenn Frey), but it looms nevertheless - 'nuff said.
This year will be filled with music ~ always music. And I will sing forever as I do in "Tonight's The Kind Of Night."
So, renewal is in order!
I am doing just that ~ on a juice cleanse, with a little green food thrown into the mix.
I am at the house of Brenda Lee (not the singer). I was here once before and I wrote a story about it in ‘Tales From The Roadburn Café.’
So I'm here again.
I brought a little kettle and microbrew Starbucks and I still have a terrible one cup in the morning which is after, believe this, a tea concoction Brenda devised to heal and cleanse consisting of: tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, lime and/or lemon juice and a little Stevia to taste. And if you are not faint of heart you can add garlic!
Two of these a day. The first time, I forgot to keep stirring until it was all consumed, and I was left to swallow down all the bits that wouldn't dissolve.
But after this I get my one-cup of bad coffee. I am weaning off like an addict.
I miss coffee, oh how I miss my coffee, Nespresso or Bialetti Caffettiera. My favorite first cup, is with a little half-and-half... Oh real coffee ~ Yes, I miss food too. But coffee. I've never found paint in that perfect color of a fawn. As Marianne from Germany calls it "the calar off a fawn"
Coffee is not done here, hence my microbrew is smuggled.
Brenda Lee knows, but then again doesn’t, like in an all-forgiving love that knows how to let it be. "We'll deal with coffee later, there are bigger fish to fry. No fried anything of course. Nothing cooked except broth. And right here I would like to tell you everything I learned about food. But won't. Let this suffice. The Monsanto, FDA coalition is against people surviving well.They know some people are reading labels, so what do they do… they just change the names! “They don't like MSG, so let's just call it hydrolyzed food yeast!”
Rule of thumb, don't eat anything hydrolyzed!
I wrote a song called ‘I Don’t Eat Animals’ and those three verses sum up why I would be a vegetarian. But then it was difficult to near impossible to be a healthy veggie on the road. And I kept getting into health crises. So, I went off to the health ranch of Dr. Bernard Jensen, father of iridology in America.
I had been "veggie" for four years and kept getting sick. After a 27 day fast on water only (distilled so as not to absorb any minerals) ;-)
Dr. Jensen, also a vegetarian, had me wean off air and water as my diet of month and said I should eat as he called it, animal substance - one or two times a week, as it would help. O-blood types like me survive better in the industry I was in. After the horror of that wore off I went home, breaking the fast on partially cooked veggies, a tablespoon of grated organic carrots or zucchini until I was up to eating salads or lightly steamed veggies.
That is until ... "The McDonald's Incident”. Those of you who were there might remember, I recount, this event in Melanie and The Record Man, maybe I'll find my script and send my narration to you in the next Knewsletter.
The rest is written or unwritten history!
One more week and I’ll be home to face one more BIRTHDAY!
In 1974 I did the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on my birthday and I don't remember much from that concert - anybody?
Carnegie Hall is the Empire State Building, "The Tallest Building In The world" and once you are the tallest building in the world, no other building can take that away from you.
So Carnegie Hall is Carnegie Hall.
I'd like to do a concert at Carnegie Hall for my 70th birthday!
I wonder what I need to do to make that happen. Any thoughts? I would need 2000 and some odd people to promise they would come. Make certain that Carnegie Hall wasn't booked on February 3, 2017, and find something nice to wear, and maybe a new pair of boots. Everyone would get Happy Birthday party hats and blowers at the door, and we would have to have a group photo of everyone in the audience! Champagne, of course. And bubbling apple juice for the AA people at intermission. And cake with all those candles! Maybe we could get all the people named Melanie who are named after me in a group hug!
Are you with me? I love this... Umm what else? Well, first things first.
This February 3 is approaching quickly and I'm not doing a thing about it, except to tell you.
One year Peter threw me a surprise party at a club somewhere in New York City.
And surprise! A male stripper!
"For MEeeee? Oh Gee thanks Peter." And if I'm not mistaken I believe he jumped out of a birthday cake!
I was embarrassed, mortified, as in, “What is she going to do?"
It felt like, (I imagine), when the comedian points to someone in the audience, makes a joke about them being bald and everyone laughs, even the bald man - but inside he wants to slide under the seat, disappear or cry, but he dare not. Though he thinks about it a lot in the next few weeks. I hate when comedians do that. Such an unfair advantage, and I hate having a male stripper as a surprise, so you can cross that one off your list if that's what you were thinking.
I'd rather have a tuna on rye with pickles from Katz's Deli. (Oh Melanie, let’s not go to food). I'm still on a juice cleanse. I better get some more liquid green stuff, and maybe this year just let it slide.
Mar 18 Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center - Stage on Herr Harrisburg, PA
Mar 19 Sellersville Theater 1894 Sellersville, PA
Apr 09 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center Bethlehem, NH
Apr 16 Beachland Ballroom and Tavern Cleveland, Ohio
Q & A with Melanie
You got a birthday coming up. Are you doing anything special or just relaxing back?
Melanie: Don't know yet what I'm doing on my birthday. I am mentally preparing as I leave the 60s. I'm wavering as one might, when approaching a milestone. 69 was a good year, a near Renaissance on earth, an awakening. I pray for the same in 2016, at 69.
PS I will have cake!
Buddy Head I was listening to Left Over Wine today and there is a dude that says Peace twice, once it sounds like really close to microphone second time not so close then maybe a little chaos. Did the audience rush the stage? Such an incredible recorded show.
Melanie: Yes, at one moment everyone came really really close and then they jumped up on the stage and sat around. It wasn't very chaotic. Of course with sensitive recording equipment it probably sounded a lot more crazy than it was.
It was more like people flowed onto the stage and no one seem to mind.
In the 60s they staged what they called 'Happenings'. This was an on-stage 'Happening'. That just so happened on stage ;-)
An incredibly beautiful magic moment.
Richard Waller You have hundreds of amazing songs. My questions is: What song(s) are you surprised were not huge radio hits? There are so many that should have been at the top of the charts.
Melanie: If I Needed You, Bad Ghost, Bitter Bad, San Bernardino,off the top of my head. Right About Now, Am I Real To You.
Then more recently, although I shouldn't be surprised as they were never really released, Extraordinary, Crazy Love, I Tried To Die Young.
Now that being said, all radio is now controlled by Clear Channel, a controlled corporate entity beholding to the powers that be, a pretty dark force. So what constitutes a hit has very little to do with quality, but rather what fits into the agenda. I know, it sounds like Science Fiction but unfortunately it's true. It is up to people to change the tide, and I might add: we better hurry!
Margaret Corby So many of us speak or write using words/phrases/ lines from your songs. We talk about days where your music/lyrics stay in our brain. Which of your own compositions comes to mind during your waking hours?
Melanie: Mostly it's never ones I recorded. I always have music in my head. I do not always put it down.There are times I regret that. The better I feel, the more I sense, there's a place where the song will fall, a place to go, the more likely I will finish it.
However, having said that, seems lately, most everything reminds me of a song.
"There isn't a street or building where I've been
No weather pattern
No cloud no storm,
As I look back on the landscape
Of my lifeline
Everything reminds me
of a song."
Shameer Ahmad What is a new/old hobby you want to start doing?
Melanie: I love painting rocks. When Peter was here I had more spare time.. Time to paint things with acrylics and prisma color markers, or to paint with papers. Mostly the Japanese intricately printed papers, I cut them into shapes that fit the objects, and collage, like painting with paper.
Beth Mattei What challenges did you face coming off a major label and going indie?
Melanie: At that time it was not done there wasn't a term 'Indie'. Peter and I just opened our own label. The only other ones who have done that were the Beatles. We were defying major label's control of an artist. Industry did not take kindly to that. Had lots of trouble with favorable distribution, however the first album we recorded on Neighborhood Records was a hit, featuring Brand New Key.
We had two other groups on our label 'Five Dollar Shoes' and 'Janie and Dennis'. And Rastus a rock group from Cleveland. And The Incredible Stringband. The label we left went out of their way to sabotage Neighborhood . At first there a temps were futile, later they succeeded
Nadya Matychak Have you sung any traditional Ukrainian folk songs or incorporated any melodies or Ukrainian words into your music?
Melanie: For the first part of your question no, but I would like to. Odd that over the years I haven't. Do you know any good ones? I have included the Kazakh Dombra, (a long-necked string instrument).
John McCarthy You are an incredibly prolific songwriter and your lyrics have such depth. However, I'm sure you must encounter bouts of writers block. How do you get past that and on to fresh work?
Melanie: I don't push it ~there's always time.
Chris Moesch What are you reading? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Melanie: I prefer fiction. However, I read informative books and info but very rarely do I retain the back up details, so I am useless to those who require facts and figures, if I'm convinced it seems to be all that I need to know. I love science-fiction and historical novels. But I love good writers whatever they write. Fred Vargas, Ursula Le Guin.
Bob Tee Can you talk/tell us a little bit about your Guitar playing style.
Melanie: My right hand could've been a drummer. I'm not sure about my left. That's always been my approach to guitar. I love the instrument, always have. I haven't paid much attention to going further than I am. I found every time I tried to get too intricate, it took away from my focus and intention in singing.
I always laugh when someone says Beau Jarred got it from me.
But I am certain he was born to me for a reason.