I was asked how come I had a song on the soundtrack of Groundhog Day. Funny story, that. One evening, we were working in the studio in Santa Barbara, recording The Hours Between Night + Day, when I received a call from the soundtrack division of Epic Records. We need another song for this soundtrack and would like you to record “You Don’t Know Me”, by Ray Charles. I don’t know the song, or the movie, I replied, and what’s in it for me, if I interrupt my work to record this tune for the soundtrack? Well, this is going to be a big movie and we would make sure you get more work on soundtrack albums. Of course we will pick up the studio cost for the duration of this recording, and oh, we would need the song by tomorrow evening.
I turned to Jon. He knew the song and said we could bang that out pretty quickly, if we had to. So we did. We ran after the carrot, like musicians are often made to do. Then the carrot turned a corner and another corner and then it disappeared into some crevice. And that’s how I have a song on the soundtrack album of Groundhog Day. Can’t say the tune does much for me, neither the original nor our version. I think Jon’s bass is great and I do like the electric guitar feedback I added! It was a work for hire, or the promise of hire.
Go to David Sylvian’s Vimeo page instead and watch the video there. He also wrote beautifully about the sessions and according to his text the video was recorded in Berlin in 1983. The musicians are, in order of appearance, Ronny Drayton, David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, Jon Hassell, and Steve Nye.
I found a video that was recorded at Hansa Studio Berlin, with Holger Czukay, Jon Hassell, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. The album Brilliant Trees (link to Apple Music) was released in 1984, so these sessions must have taken place circa 1982-1983, I imagine. Three of the musicians in this video are no longer with us: Holger Czukay, Jon Hassell, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
This week I came across a flag I didn’t know, hanging in front of a house in the neighborhood. A white field with three alternating red fields expanding from the center blue circle with the Zia symbol in white. A search for flags with a Zia symbol didn’t bear any fruit, so I took a photo and made an image search. I discovered that it is the flag of Wichita, Kansas:
Wichita’s official city flag was adopted in 1937. Designed by a local artist from South Wichita, Cecil McAlister, it represents freedom, happiness, contentment and home. The blue sun in the center represents happiness and contentment. The Zia symbol for permanent ‘home’ is stitched on the blue sun. The three red and white rays that alternate from the off-center blue sun represent the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases Flag of Wichita, Kansas – Wikipedia
I admit didn’t get a sense of home and the path of freedom from looking at the flag and was worried what it might represent. For me the flag has a slightly sinister look.
Then I came across this article, from 2019, by a TV station in Albuquerque.
People in Albuquerque, however, believe the artist simply tweaked our Zia and took credit for the work.
KRQE News 13 did ask Wichita Tourism officials if they suspect the artist ripped off the Zia Symbol back in the ’30s, but they chose to ignore that question.
This is one of Santana’s least known albums outside of Japan, for the simple reason that until 1991 it was not released in the US. Carlos Santana: “It was beautiful and ambitious and the music was fresh, but it was nothing that Columbia could handle. With the album cover and packaging and the three disks, it was just too expensive for them. They didn’t believe it would sell enough. Even after the Japanese finally released Lotus in the summer of 1974 and it became the bestselling import at the time, Columbia wouldn’t budge, and even Bill Graham couldn’t make them.” Santana 1972-1974, Part 5: Lotus
I did not know this. I went to Santana’s concert in Köln, on 23 September 1975, and a little later that year I got the Lotus album. In fact, I still have it, although I cut a page from the huge booklet (weren’t the big booklets that sometimes accompanied 12″ vinyl LPs amazing?!?!?) for Carlos to sign:
If Aliens visit Earth, the only reason they will let us live, in my opinion, is that we make some pretty great music. We are shit at taking care of each other and the Fauna and Flora of this planet, but the music is something that will impress the aliens. Play Kind of Blue again, the Alien commander orders, music is their saving grace.
From this article on Nam June Paik I clicked to an article about Making Buddhist Art Today, a very brief stop which led me to this piece on Installation Art, which led me to this page about the Native American artist Jamison Chas Banks, where I found this short video about his installation at SITE Santa Fe in 2014.
One says that home plate is stolen in Baseball. The artist compares that to American history and says stealing home is maybe a very American thing. It’s a remarkable installation piece that makes me realize how art installations can be powerful storytelling. This piece is also a reminder that there is a lot of unfinished history that needs to be untangled. Until we do we will always build on top of quicksand.
Interesting how this post creates a circle for me. From Nam June Paik, who I met in Köln, where I grew up, to Jamison Chas Banks, who lives in Santa Fe.