A Brick To The Head

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This is where I work

click the player below to hear Waiting For Nothing

I work with all kinds of people who have less than ideal lives; a lot of them are homeless, some of them have mental problems. Most of them are really cool, and I love my job. I have met a lot of really nice, interesting people at work. Homeless people are not scary, they read the paper, try to eat right, like music and get lonely and bored just like the rest of us.

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This is our volunteer James and Nathaniel (who they made The Soloist about)

One morning I was working on Skid Row in Los Angeles and this disturbed individual came and hit me over the head with a hunk of concrete. I passed out and fell in the gutter. I woke up when he threw it at my head again.

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Urban or squalor?

Long story short, we chased him down the street, he tried to attack an old woman, the cops came, they tazered him, he kicked out the window of the cop car, and my wife was freaked out.  Whole day shot to hell basically.

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Skid Row can be a very colorful place.

I had to go to court to testify, but I also had to work. My job is at a non-profit with a super small staff, taking the day off to go to court is difficult logistically. I tried to get out of it, but the cops said if I didn’t show up they would send deputies to “attach bodies.”  I ended up going, it was awesome. As soon as I got in the witness box, the defendants attorney pulled out my police record and tried to make me sound like a monster whose testimony couldn’t be trusted (i had been arrested like 2 decades ago on drug charges). Pissed me off, because I was actually on the guy’s side. He’s crazy and didn’t know what he was doing; how would prison help anybody?

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If I had this shirt, I would be the envy of my co-workers.

I made this piece of “music” on my laptop while waiting around the courthouse one day. Was thinking of how hard it must be to be homeless and schizophrenic. And probably going to prison on an assault with a deadly weapons charge against you.

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Me playing around during some down time at work.

I made it from snippets of audio I had on my computer from different songs. Processed it to death, chopped it up and used a lot of delay. I have a real fascination with darker types of ambient music, and moody soundtracks. I can picture this song in a documentary about the homeless or the mentally ill (or maybe the Lost soundtrack). If you listen to the whole thing (which you probably wont, and I don’t blame you), you will hear some of the piano notes chopped off. I did that on purpose. Was trying to make it disorienting, and to convey what I see.

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This wasn’t during the great depression.

I am really glad that I get to have a great life. I have everything I need, and then some. Not everyone can say that. You don’t need to feel sorry for them, but a little empathy can really make the world a better place.

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One response

  1. Hi Michael
    I can remember you writing about this elsewhere. Playing the music you made, looking at the pictures and reading your text on this occasion tho is a 100 times more powerful as a ‘complete’ package.
    Great piece of music and even more amazing when considering the conditions you made it under

    bryn

    09/15/2009 at 05:56

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