July is literally melting into August here in NYC. I spend my days trying to get two new feature scripts off the ground. To help keep my sanity during this process I go to a boxing gym twice a week. Yesterday, the owner looked at me like I was an idiot when I asked when he was getting air-conditioning.
“Boxers like to sweat,” he said. “That’s why they come here.”
After my workout even my boxing shoes were soaking wet.
Another thing I do to keep my sanity (apparently filmmaking is a constant endeavor to keep from going insane) is mess around with music. Over the past 2 years I’ve been collaborating with Will Crewdson in the UK and Grog in LA in a transatlantic musical consortium we call The Black & Blue Orkestre.
The sound is a little dark and cinematic with a strong groove. It’s as if we all share a mother of purported gypsy origin who spent the night with Elvis, Nick Cave and Ennio Morricone in a Mississippi bayou. We’ve done 2 covers and 3 originals. I record the vocals and a very basic arrangement and send the tracks to Will. He lays down all the guitars, percussion and synths and solidifies the arrangement. He sends this to Grog who writes and records the bass line.
It’s a pretty amazing process. There is no boss. Everyone gives each other respect and freedom. This week we finished another song, called Rapture.
I suggested Grog sing on this one as well. She’s got an incredible voice. Both she and Will have major projects elsewhere. Grog and her band Die So Fluid have just released a new album and Will recently spent several months recording with Adam Ant.
Who knows what will happen with our scrappy little trio. Will we ever perform live? Would anyone care? If the icy dread that instantly fills my gut at the thought of singing in front of people is any indication it seems highly unlikely. But, the sense of wonder at seeing a song come together is deeply satisfying to my soul. And for the moment, that’s good enough.
One of our covers, 16 Tons, is going to be played in a radio podcast Sunday, August 1. It was included in an in-depth interview I did last week with Today Is Boring, an arts related radio show hosted by Adam Carr and Tree Carr. We had a long, inspired talk about several of my films with special focus on When You’re Strange. The first airing tomorrow night can be heard here. Hit the big red Listen Now button.
Afterwards the entire interview will be in the show’s archives. And they’re going to play 16 Tons.
I can’t believe it. A song on the radio.