June 7, 2000

7 June

Last night, an unexpected treat- a last minute invitation to a new production of the Mozart opera Cosi fan tutte, the delightfully perverse comedy . A terrific performance by The Atlanta Opera. Also a brief visit to the home of friends who never fail to inspire me. Tomorrow night, I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Mark Spybey in town with his project DVOA -touring with The Legendary Pink Dots.

Something began to happen to me internally when I was in Japan and as a result, the songs I wrote there are going to be some of the most beautiful ones on Disburden Disciple.

I am slowly and cautiously finding and allowing beauty and romantic love back into my life and the shock has been the realization that even though they are also a part of life and indeed beautiful, I no longer want or feel a need to literally live with and surround myself with images of death and decay. There is also a need and appreciation for simplicity and minimalism. I’m going for long walks almost every evening in a park nearby and I even feel intense joy emerging inside although I fear it because all extremes of emotion are ‘honey on a razor’s edge’ and they are all temporary.

Every week, I receive email and packages and letters from all over the world from people who say my music and also Swans – has had an impact on their life. This is not a reason to make music but it is one reason to take a deep breath and look around me and close my eyes and remember.

J

May 28, 2000

28 May —- Satin covered knee-pads are available at the altar . Memorial Day weekend. Atlanta. The city is glorious. Driving in the pickup truck is a pleasure. Everyone but seemingly half a dozen other people have left the city for their summer weekend place on St Simon’s Island off the Georgia coast , the Florida beaches , or the North Georgia mountains. Yours truly has been enjoying such lovely American pastimes like mowing the lawn, making lemonade, swinging in my hammock at dusk , and seeing a movie at the mall. ….. I truly enjoy such simple incredibly old-fashioned activities. And I have to say that after a life of seeking out the new ,the dangerous, the ultra-intense…it makes sense to me that I find simple things to be nurturing and exquisite. I have had so many lives already. Been so many different women. …And life’s diversity offers a balance……. There are jars of alcohol with black snakes floating in the bottom available in a Tokyo night spot I was in recently , outrageous toothless fat strippers in the Atlanta nightspot, Claremont Lounge , and the same Japanese Privet bushes are in my front yard as are artfully arranged inside a trendy nouvelle cuisine Tokyo restaurant. ..Balance is all around….. —When ‘cutting edge’ is an effort, it’s the same pose as unquestioning conformity because it is that person’s time to embrace the sanction of desperation, the cheap thrill and artifice. And only the individual can know when healing can begin……for some–desperation , artifice, and thrill-seeking IS the altar of their inexorable religion. Making music and writing are absolute essentials to my life in this world. They aren’t activities in which I engage. They are as necessary in who I am as the breath I take in my lungs…. And healing is a solitary process.

x J ————————————————————————— ——-

May 19, 2000

I saw a new book tonight : Melody Maker- History Of 20th Century Popular Music (Bloomsbury Press). It contains passages about Swans. Tonight I have been thinking about how important it is to take time out to reflect on what kind of person we have become. There are blind spots that others can see but that we ourselves cannot. This is a painful process. It is essential to let down ones’s defense mechanisms to see more clearly and let the truth in. But you have to have trust in that person in order to take what they show you as real.

Conversely, sometimes the person that you least expect it from is deeply insecure and frustrated. So frustrated that something you would never think would set them off lights the fuse and you get burned in the process.

Every time we enter into the bond of intimacy with another human being, we invite a mirror held closely up to our own selves that may not reflect what we want to see.

I can only decide to believe that I will not grow as a person unless I face this mirror and I can only feel the burning as necessary to new flesh and new beginnings.

My life has been a combination of ‘suffering’ I consciously or subconsciously decided to inflict upon myself as well as the cowardice of sometimes taking the path of least resistance in order to try and avoid suffering. I don’t like sarcasm and interpersonal conflict and yet it is there waiting for me even when I least expect it.

Some thoughts: Don’t whine and complain to anyone. You are not entitled. Have a thicker skin when it comes to criticism and decide if that person is actually offering you the privledge of ‘the mirror’ and revealing something about yourself that you just may need to see –instead of becoming defensive.

And yet—be careful and honest with yourself when you get deeply involved with another person. Your life is precious. Do not let their disease infect you. Its okay to walk away. Maybe you wish things were different and you are full of guilt and remorse and you feel you cannot go on without them. These are universal. Many people have felt this way before you. YOU have probably felt this way before. ………………………….. ………………………………………………………………… …………………………….

May 16, 2000

Atlanta.

This jet-lag is crushing…

Returned home to find the rosebush M.G. planted for me in full bloom in the front yard.

Read first review of Blackmouth today in Outburn magazine. My first entirely pro-tools project. All vocals sound files into the Mac. Got a letter from MG where he says this is the only way he wants to record in the future for his own recordings, including The Angels Of Light .

The recording artist must now wear many hats. Sometimes, I dream of the luxury of focusing on writing and performing the music instead of all the other aspects to being a self-employed self-product and the business and technical aspects therein.

I met someone in Tokyo who told me the internet was damaging the indie labels and not increasing the profile of the artist at all and that the major labels are only stronger for the internet. In my case, the internet has allowed me the privilege of making available my work directly to the people who want it and bypassing the middlemen of the industry altogether.

I want to believe in the power of artist controlled websites and to debunk the myth that you have to get on a major to advance your work and your profile. One of my favorite artists, Tricky, was dropped by the major he was on. Need I say more about the majors? The internet should be about networking and giving artists freedom to do their work and get out from under the thumb of the music business. To do this, of course, you have to get people to be aware of and come to your website. I am still learning how to do this. I think it is a marriage of print ads and promotion and other traditional factors in addition to the net. But things will never go back to where they were when the artist was crippled by the music business machine. I don’t want to sound naive . I am far from bohemian or socialistic. I am not even that idealistic. However, I am aware and informed and realize it is still hard work. Nothing is handed to you on a platter. Too many musicians feel entitled. M.G. always reminded me that you have to work hard and expect nothing in return. I say you have to create your OWN ‘return.’

A Hopi-Indian inspired song that came to me in a dream after a day of visiting Temples in Japan is the next and final recording to take its place on Disburden Disciple. I will be in New York in June to record it.

Love J

May 9, 2000

May 10 Tokyo

Photos to be posted soon from this trip. I have enjoyed my stay immensely and have made new friends. I’ll carry with me the unforgetable sound of the hanging foot long prayer cards made from wood flapping in the breeze at the temples , the unique taste of the thick green tea which made me realize I had never REALLY had green tea at all before now, the consumerist irreverent to the past attitude of the young – with a veritable sea of prada backpacks and vuitton bags, and the knowledge, hospitality, and insight shared with me by a very special gentleman from Australia who has made Tokyo his home. J.

May 7, 2000

May 8 Tokyo Yesterday, a long train ride to visit temple grounds which included meditation halls scented with years of rich sweet incense , gardens with sublime elements like a pond in the shape of a letter representing ‘mind’, graveyards with the statues known as ‘stoneghosts’ and air filled with jasmine and hyacinth and cranes in the trees and a swimming snake and turtles bobbing their heads above the water… J

May 6, 2000

May 6 Tokyo Tonight was huge screens and neon and street fashion. This afternoon was a visit to artist Trevor Brown and the privledge of seeing a painting in creation stage as well as other beautiful work. (His site is linked.) Right now, sleep is seducing me. J

May 4, 2000

Tokyo March 5 7:20 A.M. Visited 3 temples yesterday and met dancer Shakti. http://home.att.ne.jp/gold/shakti/ Her current production Woman In The Dunes is the one Severin wrote the score for and for whom he asked me to sing ‘I Put A Spell On You’ We met at a popular hangout by a street bridge where there were hundreds of incredibly dressed young people. A number of them looked inspired by Trevor Brown’s images.Many were dressed as nurses with bandages and outrageous makeup. They apparently leave home looking quite conservative and then transform themselves in the train station restrooms into looks way more bizarre than, say, Marilyn Manson. But my favorite thing about Tokyo so far is the crows . One swooped down by me on temple grounds yesterday that was huge.Most of them are three to 10 times the size of the crows I love in Georgia. They wake me up here with their ‘caws’ in the morning. Wonderful.

April 27, 2000

4/27/00 Thank you Todd and M.O. 12:51 A.M. Light. With ARTERY, I come closer to the personal and spontaneous. Not just talking about my work , but also thoughts and observations of an everyday nature…..Since the site was launched, some of the highlights thus far : I’ve written and recorded MORE material for my upcoming cd: Disburden Disciple. …I’ve observed firsthand -courtesy of Mr Scott M. Martin, (interview to come) an inner sanctum event for Hollywood living legends, (book party for :Conversations With Wilder ). I’ ve completed eclectic, intentionally entertaining, and each one individualized –performances of The Living Jarboe – in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City -for the Work In Progress arts program. …I ‘ ve met and even interviewed for the site, persons with insight and accomplishment…. And now, as I am about to embark upon my second journey to the ‘Land Of The Rising Sun’, (the first being the Japanese concerts on The Burning World tour), I am enthusiastic about the future and the exciting projects lined up ….. ready for Light. J

Tara VanFlower

tara_1The story of Lilith (a wild woman with inhuman blood- who was thought to be part snake*) is sadly misrepresented by the well-known Lilith Fair concerts. If there were going to be a concert lineup in the true spirit of Lilith and what compliments this aesthetically, an obvious choice is Diamanda Galas- but also in a completely different musical realm yet embodying free spirit, I nominate Tara VanFlower (Lycia) to be right up there on the main stage. Why aren’t there more women artists creating music as unencumbered by boundaries and limitations such as Tara’s first solo work: This Womb Like Liquid Honey? *See the 1986 book: Idols Of Perversity by Bram Dijkstra

JULY 23 1999

JARBOE: At what point in your life did you become interested in performance and/or making music?

TARA: I would say i was probably about 18 years old. I had just discovered all this wonderful music. I was out of school and had met a group of musicians. I realized i really wanted to use my poetry and voice in music.

JARBOE: What do you see as a source of inspiration? Can you reveal your muse for us?

TARA: Well, many things inspire me. I’d say mostly personal experiences. Whether it be something that’s happened….or a place i’ve been….or something i’ve seen that struck me in one way or another. A lot of the time i’ll just think of something, some sort of situation, that i want to try to capture with music or poetry. My beliefs are an important inspiration as well.

JARBOE: What are 3 things you have discovered as truths that other young women would do well to heed?

TARA: 1) there are many “things” in the world which seek to destroy you. 2) freedom comes through discipline (which i have yet to master!!) 3) it is vitally important to treat people the way you would like to be treated.

JARBOE: Hardship and perseverance can strengthen character but cal also feed cynicism. What do you see as necessary factors in an artist’s life to combat disillusionment?

TARA: Oh boy, this is a difficult one! It’s so hard to not give into that bitterness! I always try to believe that all things happen for a very specific reason, and that if something doesn’t go the way i think it should, then it just wasn’t meant to be, and therefore is for the better. I really strive to be a positive person, because i don’t believe being negative solves anything. I have not been able to completely master this, but i strive to, and i guess that’s the important thing!

JARBOE: What are 2 albums/recordings that hold endless fascination for you and why?

TARA: There are so many……

I’ll have to say LYCIA-IONIA because it was upon hearing this release that i contacted Mike, and thusly changed the course of my life. The second is a bit harder to choose……because there are just so many good releaases!! So, i’ll say SWANS-BURNING WORLD because on every trip or tour i’ve been on for the past five years we’ve brought that cd and it just represents so many fond memories…not to mention i just think it’s really beautiful and sort of stark in a way…very much has the feeling of the “southwest” to me.

JARBOE: How important are books and/or films as sources of creative stimulation? Can you name a few you have recently enjoyed and what they meant to you? (I find that certain purely non-musical arts recharge me sometimes and that energy goes back into my own creativity.)

TARA: Well, naturally i love good books and movies……but i rarely use them as a source of inspiration in my writing. I will say a number of passages in the Bible have conjured imagery by which i’ve written. (namely EZEKIEL 37:1:14 among others) The most recent film i saw that had a bit of a profound affect on me was EYES WIDE SHUT. Which i thought was really good. It had this desolate, hopeless vibe that really seemed to do something to me.

JARBOE: Is there a character from your childhood fairy tales or otherwise that made an impression upon you and why?

TARA: II can’t think of any specific character per se….but childhood in and of itself is an emmense source of inspiration to me. The whole idea of being able to return to that naive, innocent, unjaded mindset is just so appealing to me. I just think back to when i was a child and remember so many happy times. There were no worries……..you are taken care of……..and everything is magical. I just really wish i could be able to view the world the way i did as a child again. Through innocent, unjaded eyes. I’m always trying to write about this….and have yet to really capture it with words. I’m also really fascinated by the whole idea of “the monster under the bed” and those types of childhood things. Things lurking in the shadows waiting to come out when mommy and daddy are asleep. It all just fascinates me. I’ve written quite a bit of stuff about this “subject”.

JARBOE: Tell us something about your recording process that was perhaps unorthodox for one or more tracks on your new c.d.: This Womb Like Liquid Honey..

TARA: I don’t know that anything i did was too terribly unorthodox. I’m not a musician in the standard sense of the word. I’m not trained at anything…i just know what i want. So i guess in that sense, the whole recording process was a bit unorthdox. I based pretty much everything around the voice and vocal loops. i used things like butter bowls filled with rice, rusty wind chimes, things of that nature. A lot of what i did was way different than what we do in Lycia. Everything was sort of free-form to a certain extent…whereas Lycia is quite mathematical and structered. Also on a couple songs we left my voice very dry and direct….which is quite different from what i’ve done in Lycia.

JARBOE: You’ve just released this first solo c.d. In what ways was it a different experience for you from Lycia?

TARA: In a lot of ways it’s different. Lycia is more or less Mike’s baby. He has the final say. So when i work in Lycia there is a certain way Mike works. In my solo stuff i can do anything i want. We naturally have different influences and different ideas…….so what i would do on my own is going to differ from what we do together. Plus i write a lot of stuff, and have a lot of ideas, and it can’t all come out in Lycia….so it’s nice to have another outlet. I think that if Lycia “fans” go into my release expecting it to sound like Lycia, they will be dissapointed. It’s a lot different from my work in Lycia……and not quite as “pretty”.

JARBOE: Please tell us two “stories from the road” from a Lycia tour. Perhaps a stage / concert experience and a non-stage experience..

TARA: I’ll tell a serious story and an amusing story….. 1) One time we were playing a small art gallery in Pittsburgh and it was the middle of Winter. When i perform i usually don’t wear shoes, so i was walking around barefoot. I was sitting in a chair watching one of the opening bands play and a skinhead girl came up to me and asked if my feet were cold. Not really thinking much about it, i sort of nodded yes and she got down on the floor and started rubbing my feet. It was really strange for me because i’m not at all used to having people react to me that way. At any rate, i told her she didn’t have to do that…and she continued to try until she finally must’ve given up. The next time we were there a friend overheard a girl at the bar talking about all these things she wanted to do to me. Either it was the same girl….or i have some strange appeal to the girls of Pittsburgh!

2) Mike had been really sick from diabetes for a long time. He was basically getting more and more sick and so we reluctantly decided we were going to end Lycia completely. The work had just become too much to deal with on top of his health problems. We had agreed to play the Projekt festivals as our last “hurrah”. ( of course no one knew but us because we didn’t want anyone making a big deal about it) The final show was at irving plaza in new york city. It’s a beautiful venue with lovely lights and beautiful decorations. When we went on the crowd was screaming and cheering and it made us feel so good. Knowing this was to be the final Lycia show ever (or so we thought at the time) it was emmensely emotional. The crowd was so kind. It really just made this huge impact on us and it was hard not to breakdown and cry. Thankfully mike’s health is back and we are able to continue…though it’s doubtful we’ll ever “tour” again….just maybe a few shows here and there.

JARBOE: What are some other creative endeavors other than music with which you engage? (I know you make wonderful handmade dolls for example… Mine sits atop a big wooden clock my brother brought back from Germany that is now in my kitchen here in Atlanta)

TARA: It makes me really happy to know you liked her! I like to write and draw. I think writing makes up the majority of my “art”. Unfortunatly i rarely have time pursue anything other than work these days.

JARBOE: Please pick two songs from your new album and talk about what you were thinking when you wrote them..

TARA: TALITHA KOUM-I wrote this based on an idea i got from reading a certain passage in the Bible. In this part a man comes to retrieve Jesus because his daughter is dying and he wants Jesus to heal her. By the time jesus makes it to his house the girl is dead and the family is mourning already. So Jesus tells him she is only sleeping , to which they all scoff and laugh. So he takes her hand and says “little girl get up”…and she wakes up…..or comes back to life. So my idea for the song was to sort of tell the girl’s side of it. At that time there was no way to get to heaven because Jesus had not yet died….so there was this place that was divided (hence where pergatory comes from i think) so i figured the girl would’ve witnessed some pretty intense things. At any rate, i came up with the idea for the “words” after the music was written. The music had such a dark, almost cave-like vibe to it….like walking through the center of the earth. And around the recording is when i found that passage in the Bible. It all just sort of fell together quite nicely. (and probably not accidentally!)

OPAL STAR- I chose to do “my version” of TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR because i used to sit on my mother’s lap in front of the window watching the birds and we would sing this song. It’s always been a favourite song of mine too. My mom had moved away and I’d been thinking a lot about my childhood while writing the release…so it just made sense. I named it OPAL STAR as a tribute to my neice Cortny Opal.

JARBOE: what your plans are at the moment?

tara_2TARA: Currently we’re recording a treated acoustic project called ESTRAYA which will be released only on our website. We hope to have it available this Fall. It’s really simple and pretty….but very moody and emotionally raw. We will begin recording the next LYCIA release in October or November. We’re really looking forward to it because two of the old members are back! So it will bring in some fresh energy. We haven’t made any plans to play live….but i definitely want to do some. I guess eventually we will play out again…….we just don’t know when.

(JARBOE : personal note: when they do, I will be sure to catch a show.)

Visit the Lycia website for recording and performing info. http://www.lyciummusic.com