Archive | July, 2013

30 Years

31 Jul

44

Dear Friends,

I was born 30 years ago. On my birthday I think. I think about surviving one more year and what an accomplishment it is.   The world is a place that forces one to be a boxer, bobbing, weaving, ducking, throwing punches and dodging punches and knowing when not to throw them. Also, not very often we are like Gandhi or Civil Rights activists.  We absorb blows nonviolently.  We let water hoses spray violent torrents of water all over us.  We let dogs maul us.  Sometimes the dogs lick us instead of maul us. Dogs and cats are wonderful.

I think about how I got here. I think about my Great Great Grandfather Jonas Maurer taking the boat from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore in 1903.  I think about him working in the factories in Youngstown, Ohio and how every 10 years he changed his nationality on the census (Sometimes he was “Slav” sometimes he was “Polish.” Sometimes he was “Austrian,” sometimes he was “Czech” for good measure).

My great great Grandad Jonas Maurer worked in the factories of Youngstown in the early 1900s

My Great Great Grandfather Jonas Maurer worked in the factories of Youngstown in the early 1900s

I think about growing up with a Deaf Mom and being her full time interpreter.  I think about my parent’s hell of a divorce.  I think about making the call to throw my Dad in jail when I was 16 years old.  I think about using music to get out of a small town and travel the world. I think about music falling on its face and being forced into selling dental supplies to make a living.

I think about all of the girls I was with and the girls I hurt and the girls that hurt me.  I think about my mother having the most love anyone could possibly have.  I think about my grandmother running away from home at 15 and how she played semi-pro softball for the Yakima Apple Queens.  I think about my brother Jamie and my sister Jenny and all of my wonderful friends around the world. I think about my girl and dog at home and how I can be a better person and make them happier.

My Grandma Shirlee Winans (Then Shirley Barry) played semi-pro women's softball for the Yakima Apple Queens in the 1950s

My Grandma Shirlee Winans (Then Shirley Barry) played semi-pro women’s softball for the Yakima Apple Queens in the 1950s

I think about how I came to be.   Yesterday I was feeling depressed and saw a bumper sticker. People in Los Angeles often express themselves through bumper stickers.  The bumper sticker read: Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

I thought about how I managed to stick around for 30 years.

Here’s to 30 more. I look forward to growing old and I’m so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends. My family can be a pain in the ass but I love them too with everything I’ve got.

It’s been widely read after his death, but this Roger Ebert quote stuck with me:

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”  – Roger Ebert

Here’s another good one:

Frieda (Janet Suzman) and D. H. Lawrence (Ian McKellen) journeying by train to New Mexico

Frieda (Janet Suzman) and D. H. Lawrence (Ian McKellen) journeying by train to New Mexico

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” – D.H. Lawrence

To all of my friends and family, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Keep telling stories! Keep playing music!  Stay Gold Pony Boy!

Love,

Justin

RD9

RETURN OF THE REVISIONS! + Readings in LA, San Diego & Richmond, VA!

12 Jul
Justin and Doug recording backing vocals at Pat Kearn's Portland, OR studio for the Revisions "Revised Observations" LP

Justin and Doug recording backing vocals at Pat Kearns’ Portland studio for The Revisions “Revised Observations” LP

Hello Friends,

I’m preparing to embark on my East Coast adventure playing guitar once again for Portland punk powerhouse RED DONS.

My 30th birthday falls on July 31st and I’m looking forward to living up the last few weeks of my twenties.

I just received a re-printing of my chapbook and will be selling copies at the merch table on the Red Dons tour, so pick up a copy if you’d like.

The fabulous acoustic alter ego of Red Dons is called The Revisions.  Back in 2006 I released my 1st chapbook “Don’t Take Your Life” on Portland’s Future Tense Books.  I asked Doug Burns of the Observers and Red Dons if he’d like to play some songs acoustically at one of my first readings.  Sunday April 23rd 2006 at The Paragon in North Portland was the debut of The Revisions which included Daniel “Hadji” Husayn on acoustic bass.   If you haven’t heard “On The Lam” or “Where I Stay,” these are gems of songs up there with greats like Violent Femmes and Dead Milkmen.

The Revisions in Albany, NY 2007

The Revisions in Albany, NY 2007

You can hear Revisions songs here

Footage of Revisions playing live at a backyard BBQ

Revisions "On The Lam" 45 One of their best songs

Revisions “On The Lam” 45 One of their best songs

You can purchase Revisions “Revised Observations” LP/CD or the “On The Lam” 7″ single from Dirtnap Records here

Revisions LP - classic and criminally underrated

Revisions LP – classic and criminally underrated

One of my favorite memories on tour is being in Winnipeg, Canada and seeing Revisions play a spontaneous set in the basement of a house party at 4 in the morning.  Before the party, I found myself hanging out with a couple Winnipeg nogoodniks on the roof of a hotel, trying to steal a giant Canadian flag.  After a couple attempts, we succeeded, sliding down drainpipes and running down the street “Another State of Mind” style with the massive flag unfurled…

The flag we stole off the hotel roof was literally about this big

The flag we stole off the hotel roof was literally about this big

One of our friends, John Nuclear, a licensed minister, married a couple outside of the party in the middle of the night.  Because of all the noise (and fun), Winnipeg PD squad car was dispatched to shut everything down.  Derek Skokan who was The Revisions drummer was outside the party on the sidewalk, he had just smoked a huge blunt.  The Winnipeg cop asked him what he was doing and he explained how he was in an American band and had just played a couple of shows.  The cop asked him what his plan for the evening was and he shrugged his shoulders.  The cop, beginning to lose his temper, raised his voice impatiently, “So you came to Winnipeg without any plans, not knowing where you were going to stay?”   Derek replied with a very stoned inflection on his voice, “Well, if worse came to worse, we just figured we’d get a cheap motel or something.”  The cops gave up on Derek and stormed into the house with their flashlights to shut down the party.  Witnessing this conversation I laughed until my stomach began to hurt.  The cop’s face and disgusted reaction was priceless…   That night I ended up getting together with a very beautiful girl, but that’s a different story…

winnipeg police

We’re reuniting my stories and Revisions music in Richmond, Virginia on July 22nd at 7pm.  If you’re in the area, swing by, it’ll be a perfect Monday night.

The Revisions live and a book reading from “Seventeen Television”:

Monday July 22nd Richmond, VA @ Vinyl Conflict Records 324 S Pine St  Richmond,  23220 – 7pm, 804-644-2555

And I have a couple more readings announced:

Sunday August 18th Los Angeles, CA @ Rrose is a Prose w/ DM Collins, more.

Saturday August 24th San Diego, CA @ 3rd Space, Vermin on the Mount w/ Jim Ruland, more , 7pm  4610 Park Blvd, San Diego 92116. 619-255-3609

Looking forward to spending some days and nights with you all.

Be excellent to each other,

Justin

Red Dons East Coast Tour!

2 Jul
Red Dons in London 2007. Photo by Mateus Mondini

Red Dons in London 2007. Photo by Mateus Mondini

Hello Friends,

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining forces with Portland punk juggernauts Red Dons once again!

We’ll be playing the following dates:

7/17 Brooklyn @ Death By Audio
7/18 Philadelphia @ Golden Tea House
7/19 Washington D.C. @ Casa Fiesta
7/20 Richmond @ Strange Matter
7/21 Chapel Hill @ The Cave (Free Show)
7/22 Richmond (Revisions) @ Vinyl Conflict
7/23 Baltimore @ Golden West Café
7/24 New Brunswick @ The Alamo
7/25 Manhattan @ The Cake Shop
7/26 Long Island @ No Fun Club
7/27 Boston @ The Middle East (all ages)
7/27 Boston @ O’Briens ( 21+ )

http://www.reddons.com

See you soon!

xo

Justin

Red Dons in Copenhagen. 2007.

Red Dons in Copenhagen. 2007.