“[There was a] shift from aesthetics to ethics; the picture was no longer supposed to be Beautiful, but True- an accurate representation or equivalence of the artist’s interior sensation and experience. If this meant that a painting had to look vulgar, battered, and clumsy- so much the better.”
– Thomas B. Hess
Willem de Kooning, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1968.†
Sitting in a cafe, Vasteras, Sweden. Played here at the Perspectives 2004 festival curated by Mats Gustafsson with FME last night- a hard day. Got up around 7am after four hours of sleep, probably for the third time in a row (on tour with FME now, rehearsing and gigging the new material with the band in Norway before coming here- fantastic concert in Stavanger), flew to Oslo, flew to Stockholm, car to soundcheck. At the point now where it’s easier to sleep sitting up (plane, airport, car) than lying down in a bed. Finished up soundcheck, off the hotel for a shower, then some dinner. Concert at 8:30pm, setting up at 8, things ready to go, time for the door to open- and a long ladder falls, smashing Nate McBride’s bass. Thousands of dollars in damage and he just got it back from an overhaul and repairs in New York before heading out on this tour.
Thankfully, Johan Berthling loaned Nate his bass and we hit the stage, doing our best under tough circumstances- destroyed instrument, borrowed bass, borrowed drums, heavy exhaustion… We got to maybe 50% of what we were shooting for, the night before in Stavanger probably 75%. Hard to feel that we weren’t playing at 100% before that crowd, with so many great musicians there listening. Thankfully the feedback was really good, something must have come across.
Nate’s in Stockholm today, getting his bass to a repair person with the hopes that it might be done in time for his upcoming tour in Europe with Pandelis Karayorgis and Randy Peterson. Paal had a 9:30am rehearsal with a quartet featuring Marilyn Crispell. I’m sitting here staring at the street wishing we had another gig before heading to the studio Monday and Tuesday in Oslo. Have to say that Nate was damn astounding dealing with this whole thing, didn’t pause for a minute, just pressed on. Both he and Paal are like that, it’s why playing with them is an honor.
Looking forward to hearing GUSH with Phil Waschmann tonight (Derek Bailey cancelled at the last minute), and Anthony Braxton solo tomorrow, among many other things. Have to fly back to Oslo before Peter Brotzmann and Milford Graves play duo, very sorry to have to miss that.
The music kicks your ass and you get up, dust yourself off and face it again. And again.
© 2023 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer