Okay! Everyone listen up. There is no returning to what was “normal.” Period. There is only now, as it is, and the mystery of the future, which will probably be dominated by challenges we haven’t yet imagined. Trying to hang on to almost any comfort-zone mindsets we once enjoyed, is pretty futile. The cracks and obstructions are in each of us and all of us. We’ve all changed and “returning to normal” just sounds like a pitifully sad plea from the darkness; lost, because the old maps are, well, old! Even before we actually partied like it was 1999, in 1999, I could feel a shift in how the public was perceiving music. Then, on September 11, 2001, a lot changed, of course, and one could feel the reverberations for a very long time. However, from a musical “crisis/opportunity” point-of-view, a lot of new “exotic” sounds were thrust upon the United States, as myriad cultures clashed/mingled and the world’s interest focused on the Middle East. I could really bore you, pointing out all the fully-accepted mainstream pop elements we hear today which almost never entered our ears before 9/11. So, musically, our lives were enhanced by the tragedies of that day. Man, that was a bad way to introduce a style of music to the American mainstream. But, quite effective, in the long run.
More recently, due to social media and generally changing attitudes, the lines between artists/musicians and the public have blurred such that, in some cases, they’ve blended. This presents new dilemmas for those who create whatever. Why does one create, for instance? If it’s all just a popularity contest and those who snooker the most followers determine the sounds we all hear, well, this is the same stupid battle Brave Combo has been involved in for, literally, decades, but on steroids. Every musician who aspires to reach beyond his or her home base, faces unbelievable obstacles. Just imagine. And part of that forced enlightenment includes a lot of time on stage, when one assumes/convinces oneself that one is worthy of being there, with people staring and listening. So, what does one do when one becomes suspicious of the old models?
I have so much new stuff (content, as the newbies say) to throw out there and I am very excited about a good percentage of it. BUT, how do I present it? Clubs are great. I’ve grown up and old in them. I know exactly how most of them smell during the day. I adore many of them and the people who work there. But, first of all, most are indoors and we are, once again, entering the Covid danger zone. Grrrr! So, between now and the onslaught of festivals and big concerts in the Fall, we will be releasing more videos/new music than you will want to hear. A ridiculous amount. You can enjoy/examine it, based on your level of interest in how the crazy brains of Brave Combo work. Everything is going to change a little or a lot. It’s time!
And speaking of change AND the onslaught of Autumn gigs, get ready for THE BRAVE COMBO ULTIMATE POLKA EXPERIENCE. Starting in August, if you attend one of our shows, you will hear some things you never heard before. Why should we hold back? What’s the point? Why keep the radical notions inside our heads? Why not reveal what we know? Feels like now or never, right? And it’s not the time to be subtle. So, open your eyes and ears and try to understand what’s going on, in the big picture. Are you Eloi or Morlock? Is there anything in the middle? Should there be? Brave Combo has always been a misfit band, full of misfit musicians. We function well in uncomfortable/disorienting environments because we can only be outsiders. That’s all we know. So, we’re up for whatever, because we have no preconceived notions. Dig?
In the earliest days of Brave Combo, we played in New York City a lot and one of our favorite clubs was Hurrah! Everything about it was almost perfect, from the friendly staff and crew to the stage and production quality. We were even invited to Hurrah one evening, by Kurt Loder of ROLLING STONE and MTV, to attend an album release party for The Lounge Lizards. I met Brian Eno there and he knew about Brave Combo and our album, MUSIC FOR SQUARES, and gave me the impression he did not care for it much, but he shook my hand and was cordial. I was just happy to be there and to feel like we were part of a new movement. I had no idea what was to follow. This was in 1980. Sadly, another of my vivid memories about Hurrah! is that the booking person/beloved visionary for the club, Ruth Polski, was hit and killed by a NYC cab a short time later and we never went back. The soul of the venue departed. Of course, we’ve continued to perform in NYC regularly, all over that big ol’ place (well, before Covid), but Hurrah! still stands out as a very special spot. Then, out of the blue, this video shows up on YouTube. It’s Tim, Lyle, Dave (now Lisa), and myself, playing a revved-up version of Arthur Murray’s “Learning the Cha Cha,” at Hurrah! and we rocked it! Wow! What a trip! Check it out. I guess someone from the club has released a bunch of videos from their archives. Maybe more Brave Combo will surface!
Okay, I hope you are confused, but intrigued. Keep an eye on our itinerary and make your plans. Now, here’s a very funny joke!
Joke of the Month
Oldster: We need to return to the good ol’ days, I tell ya. When I was a teenager. Everything was perfect. Shoulda stayed like that.
Youngster: Uh, no internet? No cellphone? That sounds great.
Oldster: Hell, Yeah! We had MY MOTHER, THE CAR!