Unsolicited Advice

Oh boy THIS one was was as difficult to write as it was listening to all the unsolicited advice I was getting at the time! I actually sprained my finger perfecting the intricate rhythm on my guitar. It's stylishly interesting and I call it a salsa punk tune but there is definitely also a jazz feel to it. It's the only song that I let my fingers sing the chorus instead of my voice. For some reason the fret jumping seems to communicate the semi-organized chaos that had become my life better than vocals...

I was in the oh so enviable position of couch surfing and was living primarily at my djembe players house in Long Beach. We were playing exhilarating shows at places like The Knitting Factory, The Derby, The Whisky a Go Go, The Good Hurt, and all the awesome LA venues. He was a chef at a gourmet BBQ /craft beer place in Seal Beach so we ate pretty good and there was always an influx of interesting open minded artistic people at the house. It was the perfect breeding ground for making music except the fact that the mentally challenged upstairs neighbor hated music. I mean HATED music. You could crank the TV super loud but if we ate on the porch with Billie Holiday singing softly in the background she would call the cops. When we rehearsed she would freak out and menacingly stare at us through the outside window. So I started singing to her this really soft pretty improve, "I just want to set you free from the voices you bought for your head making you live half dead." which ended up being in the second verse of the song and it would work sometimes! She would calm down, go home, and leave us alone. We wouldn't hear from her until her next episode and boy would she have episodes. But I digress, lets get to the beginning of the tune and the hard core of what inspired "Unsolicited Advice."

Everyone, especially certain family members whom shall remain nameless, started feeling the need to go on long tyrannical tirades about what they thought I needed to do to regain my former lifestyle. For a while I listened but none of it made any sense whatsoever and then the proverbial lightbulb went off, "I don't want your life. Why the hell would I listen to you? Do you have any clue as to how arrogant you sound? You're constantly stressed, consumed with consuming, and often rude to people. I would never want to be like you." Hence the beginning, "Why would I listen to you? I don't ever want to sound like you do. Your in the vain of an ego migraine and it's going to burst from the confusion you spew."

In essence I needed to find my own way and so appreciate the incredibly supportive friends and family that understood that. In the end I took the entire nine months of homelessness as a learning experience. The people I met and the mind blowing miracles that happened could fill an entire album or two or three. I survived and grew in ways I didn't even know I could!! But how could I share this exciting fresh perspective with clarity and humility?

I was laying on my percussionist's cement garage floor during a very intense phone conversation with my friend Thomas who had traveled the country homeless for three years as an artist. He is a truly benevolent soul. He could only give advantageous solicited advice! A few years back he had stayed with me for about a week and I'll never forget him saving a wheelchair bound suicidal man's life by running out into major traffic on Lincoln Blvd.! Now he is a filmmaker and writer in the Big Apple doing quite well.

So Thomas and I are deep in a philosophical debate when it becomes extremely clear to me just how much we all affect each other. How incredibly intertwined we are in so many ways, often without even realizing it, even with complete strangers! I mean of course I'd read the philosophies about being "All one" etc. but by driving around isolated in my car and living alone I just never garnered a real wisdom that can only be found through experience. It's like my boyfriend once said, "People can tell you about Africa but your not going to really understand it until you go to Africa."

My humble attempt to translate all this into the last verse is; "Here's the key to liberty's door, found it while sleeping on the cement floor. The justice in you is the justice in me. The truth from you is the truth from me. The path to you might not be the path to me but the love in you is the love in me. We're bound together in evolution's glue. Lets unlock this door so we can all walk through!" It's a call to kind action because whether we like it or not we are superbly, quantumly, and irrevocably bound together on this planet. So please remember that when you are about to give or receive some unsolicited advice this holiday season!

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