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MP3 Ben Schlossberg - NEW AGE: Adult Alternative
21 cuts, 75 minutes of a bold, original mix of brain-rock, inspirational ascensions, heart-wrenching ballads, lyrical jazz, fusion, war protest & blithered word -- exploratory surgery of the heart and brain, done without the use of societal anethetics.
21 MP3 Songs
NEW AGE: Adult Alternative, JAZZ: Jazz-Rock
CD includes a 16-page insert survival manual: HOW TO SURVIVE JUST IN CASE THE BOMB DOESN''T DROP; AND IF IT HAS, HOW TO GET OUT OF THE HOLE. (Catchy title, no?)
I’ve had my place in the sun....But, lately I’ve been camping out on my fire escape in an emergency mode, working on a dramatic exit (or entrance – I haven''t decided yet). This album – and my One-Man Musical Show, which includes many of the songs in this album – are a big part of it. My music and play are about finding beauty in the quirk and the song in the trodden spirit; the necessity for the resurrection of our dreams; stepping up to the plate without a bat or a ball, swinging for the fence and hitting a grand slam with no-one on base and no-one in the stadium to catch the great moment. It''s about the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.
My refuge from the impertinence of reality always had been the moments I’d spend writing, recording in the studio, and playing with my son, Ari, in the surf off La Jolla, California. But now I find myself in the prone position, in my apartment in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Well, I''m actually sitting, sitting before you, lying before you, telling you the truth: opposites, antagonists; the yin and yang; mergers of chapters of a lifetime; the joy, the regrets; the clarity, the confusion; the oneness, the continuum – the tedious, necessary continuum; the mix, the flow; the dams; the explosives that bring it in, that let it out; the revelations, the dips; the peaks and leaps; the wonder! Flights beyond all galaxies! There is no end. To hold it all; to let it go.
I''m all stretched out here on a vinyl CD and a wooden stage – my chest and skull cracked open. I''m undergoing a radical procedure: exploratory self-surgery of the heart and brain – a painful operation when you''ve got nothing to numb you, except the knowledge that you''ve been doing that for years.
I was born in New York City and raised in Jersey City, NJ. My mother was a butterfly, in a wind storm, in a cage. My father worked his way up from pushing a grocery cart on the cobblestones in downtown Jersey City, to becoming a political leader in Jersey City and director of industrial development. He ran things, like Jersey City and a real estate brokerage company. After I graduated from Cornell, he offered me his empire but I politely refused and ran off to live with the Hopi and Navajo Indians for a day.
Hemingway said in a footnote in For Whom The Bell Tolls that he wanted to experience “the horrors of war”. I have a tendency of acting big on short statements, so joined the Army. After my stint at feeling what the horrors of man are, I tried out for the original cast in the Broadway Show, HAIR, and I was cast as the lead; but I told the producers thanks but I wanted to do my own thing instead. So I retreated into my own thing: writing my own play. (They say you can count the big mistakes you make in your lifetime on the fingers of one hand. I need the digits of the hands and feet of a crowd to do my counting.)
I''d been writing music my whole life, and in ''68, Don Johnston and I (p.k.a. Sunny Daze) hooked up and became the first songwriters-recording artists signed with MetroMedia Records, releasing the song, Hawk, which was a hit in Baton Rouge and bombed just about everywhere else.
In the late 60''s and early ''70''s i performed stand-up comedy in New York and Los Angeles.
In 1970 I became friends with Ted Rosenthal, a wondrous, brilliant 35-year old poet, afflicted with terminal leukemia. I created and co-directed a documentary film, entitled How Could I Not Be Among You?, in which Ted – through his poetry and narration – articulates his revelations of anger, freedom and peace he found during his dying process. Ted''s visions are enlightening and inspirational, and the film won Best Film, Special Categories, at the New York Film Festival. It is used at medical facilities to aid and inspire the terminally ill and their care-givers. It can be used by all of us as a poetic set of instructions for life.
Thirty-nine years ago I had the answer. I was in my apartment, tossing a globe of the world up and down. I noticed two great land masses, reaching out toward each other: the two hemispheres of the world, two continents – North America (Alaska) to the right, Asia (Siberia, USSR) to the left – with a little strip of blue separating the two. I wanted to be in the middle of that little strip of blue. This is the Bering Strait – 55 miles across, separating the then-two major opposing political ideologies on this planet: democracy and communism. The U.S. was in the middle of a Cold War with the Soviets, and I wanted to see if I could warm it up a bit by jumping in the water – the chilling water – and close the gap with a simple human gesture: to swim across the Bering Strait. So, I did, with my friend Steve Friedland, p.k.a. Brute Force. We created the world''s first inter-ideological, inter-hemispheric, international ‘swimcident’, across the International Dateline, where Monday greets Tuesday, and where, for a moment, the West and the East winked at each other and said, “Hey, how you doin''?”
I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the middle of that strip of blue – in the middle of everything, actually – playing with the globe as though it were a wondrous toy; venturing out, unafraid, on this amazing journey we call our lives!
I wanted to play King-of-the-Mountain atop Mt. Everest; ride a humpback whale off Lahina Maui; swim across the Atlantic Ocean (with gills surgically implanted under my armpits so I could breathe underwater and not have to lift my head out of the water on every stroke; and with baleen plates implanted in my mouth, replacing my teeth, so I could sift plankton along the way for nourishment); ride a great white shark off the Great Barrier Reef; race on the back of a Komodo Dragon as he chases down a stampeding water buffalo; go trawling for the Loch Ness Monster, as a human, feathered lure with blinking Christmas lights (to illuminate the myth); race against an Islamic radical extremist down the Tigris-Euphrates river, as a free radical in an inflatable bagel-boat, dubbed the El Gesundheit, while the extremist manned a shish-kebab schooner, christened the Al Fakokta Doo Lang Doo Lang, in the Race to Erase Race from the Face of Momma Earth. Who will cross the ''finish line'' first?
I was on an existential odyssey, in my head – parasoaring into and out of an erupting volcano and shooting its molten rapids in an inflated, asbestos-lined breast implant to protest vanity, societal disingenuousness and pervasive consumerism. In an effort to clear the air, neutralize acid lakes and slap a chill on global warming, I would hover in my balloon above the belching smokestacks of industry and plug them up with wads of respirator tubes, gas masks and asthmatic lungs, all held together with the crazy glue of rationalizations of amoral industrial profiteers. I would float over burning Amazonian rain forests, pissing on the flames, in an attempt to extinguish the fires of greed.
I would launch bevies of flying Schweinehunds (pig-dogs: OINK-WOOF) into the sky over the battlefields of the world, in a master plan to end all wars forever. The soldiers, politicians, and religious leaders would look up and laugh so hard seeing the flying Schweinehunds, that they would put down their weapons and dance around their funny farms with great joy and re-directed vigor. As part of this odyssey, my wife-to-be, Connie, and I were going to circle the Globe under our own power – two human beings orbiting the Earth in a vigorous affirmation of life, right down on the planet, juxtaposing the sterile satellites of governmental paranoia that orbit us in space. We would leap up Niagara Falls like salmons just for the hell of it and ride a killer tornado to the edge of oblivion
Thirty-seven years ago I had the answer. I got a hot-air balloon license, and Connie and I were married in the sky, with The Flying Rabbi performing the ceremony. What could be more romantic than two souls joined in the heavens? And heaven it was, for 7 years. We had a child, Ari, and we lived in La Jolla, California.
We had an Alaskan Malamute, Muk Tuk (Inuit for “whale blubber”), who, when he was a 10-pound puppy, snatched an 11-pound-steak off the grill and ran off with it; and we had a lost wanderer dog, we named Moses, who had webbed feet and swam alongside me way out in the Pacific Ocean.
During those magical 7 years, I flew balloons for a living, and performed my music aloft from my gondola. As I sang and played my songs from the balloon, fireworks and lasers shot from the gondola, engulfing me in their holocaustal glory! I named the act CAPT. SCHLOSSBERG''S MAGNIFICENT BALLOON UPRISING, the Greatest Show Off the Face of this Earth! I toured with E.L.O. and performed at concerts with the Grateful Dead, Paul McCartney & Wings, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, KISS and other monster acts. My son, Ari, had a Wizard-of-Oz-Viking, with a song in his heart, for his dad.
During the ''70''s I wrote and acted in feature films (Sgt. Pepper''s Lonely Hearts Club Band; Prime Time), and in television pilots (Detective School), and in TV commercials. I wrote and produced jingles, TV and radio commercials, and I was a member of The L.A Connection, an improv group performing in clubs in L.A.
Connie and I divorced. She and Ari (then 7-years old) moved back to New York and I boarded up my windows and locked myself in my Los Angeles bedroom for a month, with a large supply of water and Valium. When I emerged from my bedroom, I figured I needed a change of gears, a fall-back position. So, I went to law school, got a law degree, and a broker''s license. I moved back to the Jersey Shore to gain closer access to Ari. I became a real estate broker and sold commercial real estate, turning forests into shopping malls. I was playing the game, making the bucks, doing the things you do, that get you the things that measure a person''s life. But, it was a trap! I forgot that in the flock, the view of the sheep that follows is narrowed to the ass of the sheep that leads. I needed to be my own wolf again.
Now, Connie and Ari are back in L.A. where Ari is writing hit movies (Hide and Seek, starring Robert DeNiro and Dakota Fanning). Connie, now remarried, is a best-selling author (The Predator''s Ball; When Hollywood Had A King), and writes for The New Yorker magazine. So they''re on the West Coast, doing their thing and I''m on the East Coast doing mine. As my high school basketball coach, Ollie Gelston says, “The whole thing sounds like an under-arm deodorant commercial to me.”
Twenty years ago, I got the answer. I thank God for the day when I woke up with this splitting... EPIPHANY! I took a good look at my life and asked myself, “How many decades do I have left?” Realizing my remaining chapters were not infinite – but rather few and finite, then the dance is over – I made a commitment to myself that from that moment on, no more compromises, no more selling out whatever integrity I had rationalized I had left, for the illusion that there’s safety in the flock, when all there is ... is the click of the clock.
I promised myself that from that moment on, I would dedicate my life to two things, those two things closest to my heart (aside from my lungs, of course): to writing and recording the music in this album; and to writing my one-man play and getting it up on stage. So, I locked myself up within the confines of my Asbury Park apartment, and for 20 years I''ve been writing and thinking and recording and writing. 20 years – the lives of 5 consecutive hamsters – temporally, not spatially as in a physical line of hamsters. But, then again, you never know; hamsters are funny guys.
This album is a result of a lifetime of writing and recording. So is my play, which is about a guy in Asbury Park who''s trying to write the Ultimate Play of Truth and Utopia, but he can''t quite get it right because he''s got all these street people climbing up on his fire escape, trespassing through his head – street people who have the wisdom that only crazy people seem to have, like you and me. They become his nemeses, his alter-egos and ultimately the characters in the play he''s trying to write, the life he''s trying to live.
And now, after 20 years of work, I''m coming out! It''s time for a New Beginning! You''re invited! We all could use a New Beginning, what do you think? The re-birth of the psycho-socio-dynamics of the entire population of the planet is what I have in mind! Tough to do, especially when we''re up against the forces of practicability, propriety, custom, societal dicta, dogma, reality, sanity and all of that. It''s time to break through the walls, fly the coop, escape from the Processing Plant where we are molded, forced-fed, used, used up, and tossed: that''s the cycle. It took time to dig the dogma, lay the stone, make the compromises, yield, settle.
But, we''ve got things to do and cattle to wash and myths to sink, and I want to share some things with you – things you can use, such as the wonder of extracting truth from the confusion and propaganda; the glory that comes with revelations that flood the uncompromising, independently thinking mind; the willingness to accept the fact that most of the things we''ve been taught are out of whack and have manipulated the course of our lives; the guts to re-think it all and to act accordingly; the realization that Love is the strongest force in the world and its magic can move us to places no spaceship, no religion, no ideology could ever take us.
I bought a shovel a few decades ago -- to start scooping away the bullshit that''s been building up over the eons that man has strutted over this planet. The shovel was a pen and a pad of paper. (Now it''s a word processing program and a computer.) We must never lose the vision that we can make something new and beautiful out of our whistle-stop here; that it is only you and I who can make this happen; and that the Ideal is what''s real and Utopia may be just a few scoops away!
We have come to know that we are more than what was made of us, more than what we have made of ourselves. And we must continue to reach for our dream because one day it may be the only thing we have left. But that may be enough to get us through.
Knowledge locks time inside my skull, and my heart pounds in synchrony with the beat of the wind and the pulse of all creatures that have ever wandered through. I am full and need no more. I am empty and need too much. I am the Beast! I am strong, eternal, unconquerable in my kitchen, across time, through the traffic lights, forever!
Live life dangerously! Live if fully, with vigor and integrity. Live it true to your spirit. Take chances! Venture out, unafraid and passionate, on this amazing journey we call our lives! Don''t veer off course because others say so. They have their own agendas. They have nothing to do with your Vision. They are the passing flock. Let them go. Listen to your heart. It will tell you what to do. Be true to your dream. There is no other way. There is precious little time. In all Eternity, This Is Your Moment – Your Only Moment!
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