I was listening to some
ballads that were so depressing… I wanted to
take a long walk off a short pier. I have a friend
who always used to say, after he heard
a sad song:
“That was really nice. I have to go into
the bathroom now and slice up!”
The effects of the sad songs are
so horrendous…If I have to listen to any more…
I mean… slow dirge-like pace of the last one…
oh, boy! Ouch!
The problem is – these were not somebody
else ‘s songs, they were my own songs, my ballads…
And they were so damn sad
they might have this same effect on other
people as they had on me…other people might
want to off themselves, walk down that lonely
lane and step in front of an 18 wheeler.
I can see the note such a person
might write me, “Gee, I really loved your
song… Bye! Bye!”
Incredibly sad songs, what’s to be done?
You never can tell. Leonard Cohen’s
early songs had the same effect on me…
and he didn’t turn out too badly.
I mean, we’re all proud of the guy…And
so far as I know, no one I knew at the time
actually killed themselves after listening to
his first album – they just thought about it!
So maybe “sad” is not so bad.
And “too sad” is easy to fix. You just turn
up the speed on the board!
But….not only are these ballads depressing,
they’re long… 10-12 verses each. I poured
down a whole bottle of strong wine
to prepare myself…to escape the effect of the last six verses….
I was afraid …if I digested some of
the images too well I might channel the moment,
go back to the same
state of mind I was in when
I wrote the beautiful horrid damn things.
And I don’t want that! I want to avoid
the purple dragon’s den.
Here’s a dandy little ditty called,
‘VALLEY OF DEATH”
which the promoters weren’t too keen on,
at the time…
YOU WALK IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH
THE VALLEY OF DEATH..
YOU WALK IN THE WILDERNESS
IN THE WILDERNESS
FAR FROM YOUR HOME
Catchy, huh? Actually the above lines
are the HOOK: that’s the cheerful
part of the song…
Or there’s this one!
Going out to the Mountains
Going to sit beside the sea
GOING TO WALK AMONG THE MOUNTAINS
OF THE MOON
AND CALL YOUR NAME
Yeah, well these words don’t exactly cheer me
This song is done in Am… with a descending
base down to the low F (on guitar)
And the one I was just listening to
had this added feature – it was recorded
at about speed 18 1/2 ( whatever the one below 33 1/3 is)
and it sweeps over you like the slow waves of a calm
lake on a night with no wind….
It’s a cheery piece, guaranteed to hurry the
demise of all the manic-depressives among us…
and there are more than you might think… at
least there will be when we’ve all heard this one
No questions the songs have power…
and there’s no doubt that they are beautiful,
so what’s to do?
Put ’em in with some up tempo
songs that make six year old kids want to
jump up and down on their beds… And make
grownups (want to) dance.
I did find four or five that made me want to laugh…
if I could extricate myself from the chair
I had been pole-axed into by
There are a few rockers in terrible taste –
which is the way a good rocker should
be!!! So there’s hope… and if there’s any way
I can find out how to put a taped recording
onto a published post, I’ll lay some of these babies
But not the ballads… the ballads should
come with a warning….And the warning
should say: “Do Not Unwrap this CD alone, if you
have any suicidal tendencies whatsoever!”
And most of us do.
Oh God, I have to lighten up!
here’s more of the above article.
I suppose I had written in a trance of
mortal depression, love sickness and gloom that…
Such a strong sense that the world was ending…
that the environment was being fucked
up so badly by the monopolies.. that we were
going down the drain…
and worse, our sense of trust in
each other…was going down the drain, too
I mean, the feeling that we are all
pulling together in the same nation and in the same
cause, had almost totally been destroyed…
and the capitalistic running dogs ho! ho!
had run out of horse flesh to eat, so they had turned cannibalistic and they were devouring us, their own people..
they were eating OUR flesh!
See what I mean?
With thoughts like these, you can see
why I moved to a cabin in the bush!
(I have always wanted to use that
“capitalistic running dogs” line)
Wait a minute! What am I saying?
We still do have a national spirit! All is not lost !
We don’t have to turn to communism or cannibalism.
All you have to do is look at a Canadian hockey crowd!
Then tell me that we can’t pull together!
Spring is just around the corner!
The Leafs are in desperate straights…
O.K., now they’re finished! But only for a few
You can taste spring
in the air, but it’s not here yet…
It’s my favourite time of year!
What the hell am I feeling gloomy
* * *
If we are going to prepare an honest account,
I think it is necessary to included an account
of the realization experience.
A Japanese writer referred to this experience
as, “The foundation experience”. I understand
what he means by this term. After you have this
experience, you are standing on a different
floor. Before the experience, the floor you stood
on was the floor of the ego. Everything circles
around the eggshell sphere of you own special
But once the eggshell implodes, the foundation
of your ego existence has disappeared. Realization
is the only experience which changes a person’s
identity. After the experience, you are no longer
‘special’ in the sense you were before. You are
special because you are at one with the earth
and the universe, and the universe is blossoming.
There are no problems whatsoever, you realize.
There is only the present and the present
is a continuous birthing. As people, we have
endless difficulties, but, as the universe,
you see that all the world is a joyful
I’m making the process sound easy,
but it is not. It is a devotion in love, attention,
concentration, focus, costing not less
There is no need to travel to a distant
land to find the meaning of the experience.
Redemption, Realization are within the grasp
of your own hand.
But it is not an experience you will
ever find through grasping.