I'm going to jump over to FB as soon as this is posted and tag all of you I can find on my list, because I have what I'm sure is a shit-hot idea, but I need a lot of help to pull it off and I don't know how else to even get started except to use such meager tools as I have and just start asking around. Despite the fading of its 90s "sharing economy" utopian halo, this here World Wide Web is still the best way I know of to present an open call like this.
There's this Laurie Anderson tune from 1989 called "Ramon" (YouTube link, also check out this rare solo TV performance on the old Leno Tonight Show). I've always admired this one even above my usual love for all of her work (not least because much of the lyric is paraphrased from my main man E. E. Cummings).
I thought of "Ramon" this morning for some reason, and gave it a listen for the first time in a long while. It struck me that I would love to bring into the world a new arrangement of this song, and there's a message in it that might be to the world's benefit in our present moment, as well. While I have ideas about how I would want such a cover version to sound, on my own I very much lack the necessary resources and chops to pull it off. In particular, I'm no kind of singer — but rather than dwelling on my shortcomings, the like main thing here is that what I'm after in its nature is a big, bursting-at-the-seams, celebratory Polyphonic Spree-meets-Mahler type of affair (maybe with Teresa Nervosa on drums, if we can get her 😉). What's more, I also don't want to dictate the outcome to any degree. Sure, I may have been struck with a Vision here, but achieving a highly collaborative work is a fundamental part of that vision in itself.
Look, I realize most of us are older folks now with busy, complicated, responsibility-filled lives. The last time I tried to get a band together was 5 years ago or so, and we couldn't find time in our schedules for just 3 of us to have a first practice session. And but the thing I miss most about being in my 20s during the 90s was being able to pick up and play music with my friends just for the fun of it. So, while I invite and welcome anyone and everyone who might want to make some noise with me on something like this to please get in touch, I also can't even begin to fathom either the social or logistical stuff it will take to pull it off, and one fact that remains from my 20s is of course I have no budget to fund any of this myself 😕 💸. Anyone with possibilities for sharing practice space, equipment, recording facilities (including the basement or bedroom sort, natch), &c. — or even with ideas of how to move this type of project forward by as much as a millimeter — is someone I would dearly love to hear from. Passing the word along to anyone I haven't thought of would also be appreciated.
I am serious—even passionate—about giving this a real shot, y'all. I wish I had a big recording contract or a grant and could offer everyone a bunch of money and deli trays at a big studio and we could just bang this out like pros. If by some remote chance this makes it as far as a finished product, and said product ever sees any commercial action whatsoever, I give my word to hand all proceeds over and divide them as fairly as possible among everyone involved, keeping none for myself. This seems like the least I could offer in comparison to the gratitude I would owe.
Once again, I get that we all have busy lives, and many of the people I'm sharing this idea with are pros who really shouldn't even entertain the idea of working without cash up front. Also, maybe few of you will be as into the song as I am. So, no hard feelings whatsoever if there's nothing here to interest you. Also, I'm sending it to some far-flung people because hey, we live in a time when stuff like Playing for Change is possible, so why not think big?
I also like to think that by some wild chance this will reach people I haven't even met yet, and some of those people will want to get involved. By all means, get in touch. My contact details are at the top of this page. (If I hear from enough people I can also set up a forum or Slack or something to facilitate group communications, but let's begin with Signal and email for now.)
Let's make this happen, or at least have some fun trying. Thanks very much for your kind attention and consideration.