alternate Hell cover

WatThe? After 40 Years, DNL and Richard d’Andrea Go To Hell and Back. Drag Pat Meehan With Them.

Posted on September 9th, 2017   Comments

announcing HellHell, the first of my four (sometimes five) recording projects, is all but finished. It is also the first of two such projects begun 40 years ago. To recap:

I arrived in Los Angeles on June 13th, 1975. Phil Kemp and Pat Meehan were waiting for me at the downtown Greyhound Station. I had returned form Toronto to do a job with Phil and Pat. In fact we set to work almost immediately. I had a notebook filled with songs I had written in Canada. Back then, I played a 1965 Olympic white Fender Stratocaster.  Phil had been studying recording and was prepared to put what he had learned into practice. Pat had become a fine drummer, muscular and lyrical both. Calling ourselves the Wat, we began recording an album. Or two.

Our recordings were never properly completed, however. I blame myself; there has hardly been a week in which I did not wonder how I will finish those recordings. There were many impediments. There were, that is, until Apple computers began including a free digital recording studio (GarageBand) in every Mac.

We changed the ungainly name The Wat to the much more gainly WatThe? and added veteran LA New Wave bass player Richard d’Andrea to the band. Richard worked very hard for three years to learn the songs, and to arrange and record bass parts. He was also tireless in providing expert advice on the recording and mixing processes. Pat Meehan, has bailed on the project, however. Much to my dismay. This fine musician who has been by my side for so many years simply cannot play like he used to. Enough is enough.

Though I categorize what we were playing 40 years ago as Proto New Wave, I was surprised to find how much of it it is not too different from the acoustic music I play today. Not all of it, however. In retrospect, the album could be categorized as Fairport Convention’s Full House meets the Who’s Live at Leeds.

I’ve been completing the final mixes with Fernando Flores at his studio, Chromaphonic Recording, here in Yreka.

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L to R: DNL, Pat Meehan, Phil Kemp and Richard d’Andrea


Los Angeles New Wave New Wave music Proto-New Wave Uncategorized
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When You Find Out Who You Are: An Iconoclastic Loner of Acid Folk?

Posted on September 7th, 2017   Comments

Are you having a bad trip? Me too. Bummer. Did we drop acid? No. This is 2017: racism is back. A spirit of meanness is in the air. We are living in an ignorocracy led by a reality star who believes the US Constitution is an employee manual that he wrote and can rewrite as needed. […]

Acid Folk contemporary folk Psychedelic Folk Uncategorized
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Creativity is Not a Mystical Occurrence: a response to Michael Ruiz’s review of K. H. Kim’s the Creativity Challenge

Posted on February 24th, 2017   Comments

This is my response to “the Eight Signs of a Creative Person” by K. H. Kim as quoted by Michael Ruiz in How to Combat America’s Creativity Crisis, his review of Kim’s 2016 book, The Creativity Challenge: How to Recapture American Innovation.  I have not read Kim’s book. I am sounding off out of anger at […]

Arts Education book review critique Uncategorized

What Did Bob Dylan Do to Deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Posted on January 3rd, 2017   Comments

Guns-a-blazing, Bob Dylan kicked the door wide open to the notion that songs are poetry. After the smoke cleared, many of us innocent bystanders struggled for decades to argue that songs sung can be and are literature. Ineffectively, it seems. And some were arguing this before Dylan’s in-bursting outburst. And now our argument is recognized […]

contemporary folk critique Uncategorized
DNL & Flag

IT’S A GRAND OLD ONION: The Autobiography of a Flag

Posted on January 6th, 2016   Comments

I may be the only folksinger with a flag. Flags aren’t very folk-singerish. I made mine several years ago: a conglomerate, mythopoeic emblem of sorts. You may have noticed it. A vexillological manifesto, it states that I’m from here and there and nowhere and thus it implies a love of freedom in all its aspects. Much […]

Acid Folk contemporary folk Non Traditional Traditionalism Uncategorized
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Remembering Michael Olsen

Posted on June 16th, 2015   Comments

The last time I spoke to Michael Olsen was on Aril 2nd. He had just moved from Mt Shasta to Ashland and was calling to see if my wife gita would like him to come and play guitar for her in hospital. “She would have loved it,” I said. “But I just brought her home […]