Yes, the new music and videos are coming but I felt I should post this.
So, I have been getting the question quite often as to what I have been doing in the years since the band stopped touring and record contracts were gone with the dust in the wind. Well, as I am known to do, I will amply dodge this question fully once again. The tragedy of my wife's passing has been somewhat chronicled and with the thought I am back to kick music in the ass and do good deeds, I am good with that explanation for now. However, in light of new music and videos coming, there might be a need to put SOMETHING out there.
The following is a much "heavier" topical matter than much of the entertainment based music I have coming but if you read and watch further, you will see just how fundamentally sound this work really is. I hope you will enjoy and we can discuss it when you finish reading the blog and watching the new music video below:
To the few reading this blog, it will be obvious at this point, there is something much more complex in me that creates a red light of emergency need to help others. For the many who have followed my blithering throughout the years, you will already know of my desire to bring attention toward human right issue. This was NOT popular with labels and entertainment based companies that I worked with in the past. My actions willfully cost the popularity vote in many instances but at the very least, helps me look in the mirror and respect myself, which, is definitely on my end of life bucket list. For the few "fan/friends" this moment may be another of my ill-advised philanthropy type of "fighting the powers that be" type of actions but in the end, I believe the fight is well worth the wounds.
As I have also written in the past, Johnny Cash is one of my Rushmore type archetypes that I stretch to rest in the shade under. The man's humanitarian efforts and public good-doing far outweighed his bad boy image and I do hope when I grow up, I can be sorta-CASH-like, even if, for two seconds....
Unbeknownst to many, I grew up with a great love of film. Next to music, it is another of my great loves. I have been blessed to dabble (in a minor way) in my film fetish and find minor success. In 2015, I created a short film for Michigan State University amply titled: "THESE COLORS DO RUN", which I am blessed to claim won 15 independent film awards as well as the the Mechanic family film studies endowment. "Colors" won in the categories of best director, best cinematography and best editing, and the film also was posthumously featured in the city of Chicago's "INJUSTICE FOR ALL" film festival, which travels throughout the state of Illinois' educational system in an effort to bring enlightenment to social justice issues through human right efforts and philanthropy. The film draws its character development from the true life events of Sonny Spears, an ex-con who was released from prison only to fall upon hard times because he could not find employment due to prejudice against his criminal record. We made the film in a day, with no funds and some ingenuity, which, beside the overall message, is the one element I am very proud of.
"Colors" draws into question the balance between prison release and opportunity after release. The film also finds cinematic influence from the French Film Movement of the 1960's and the Third Cinema Film movement works such as "Memories of Underdevelopment." The short also features an acoustic song I made called: "Tightrope" which was recorded live on set. Beside the obvious supporting of a movement to bring to light the inequalities in the system and help give ex-con's a development of a better program to help give them a second chance in life, I believe the thing I am most proud of is that it debut my daughter Raven's acting debut :)
I would like to thank Michigan State University's One Book, One Community theme guests Bryan Stevenson who wrote "Just Mercy, A Story Of Justice and Redemption" and the documentary "The House I Live In" by Eugene Jurecki. The book and documentary were the inspiration to many of the concepts in the film, which came after I attended their lecture on campus. Also, a large thank you is owed to Professor Jeffery Wray, who is a very good man and mentor. I wish we could spend more time together but life, life life, right?
This film was created to bring awareness to the holes in our justice system and the failure in helping convicts find opportunities after prison release. I believe the film is poignant and will help bring awareness to an issue that is prevalent but ignored which needs our attention. For years, I did not connect this film/music video to myself out of fear that it would tarnish peoples image of myself, which, was the wrong way to think. I love America, I love our three levels of governmental power in structure but if we are not allowed to draw into questions the issues that need our attention, we will never better our country and being the greatest country in the world, we need to address our short-comings with the same fever we accept the big wins.
Watch this film, share the film, read the book and watch the documentary of the works that inspired its creation.
Only through education will we make a better society, one soul at a time.
JUST MERCY-Bryan Stevenson
The House I Live In by Eugene Jurecki
This film is dedicated to everyone who deserves a second chance.