Hello….how are you? Have you been alright?

 

Wow…what a few months.

If it seems like I’ve been away or like things have been quiet it’s because things have been more than a little busy…tumultuous even.

Quick rundown: I had a brief health scare that turned out to be nothing I can’t manage, nothing tooo serious. I quit smoking, and I hurt my back (again).

I’ve been drowning in school work, but the end is in sight to the point that I was able to take part in commencement. I even got to visit New Hampshire to visit the university campus. It was awesome!

 

 

I have to say, the Irish pub there in Manchester, NH poured me the most beautiful pint of Guinness I’ve ever had!

 

 

 

 

My home continues to be a hive of activity with Young Master Oliver evolving from a tiny baby to a not-so-tiny kid.

He’s stretching out, his weight redistributed and what was once a chubby adorable baby is now a lean, incredibly active little boy who lights up my tired, broken soul even when I think I’m about to drop.

How about them Astros?! My son and I greatly enjoy each evening as we cuddle up for bed and watch what might be my favorite incarnation of my beloved Astros. We even managed to go to a game with my dad a couple weeks back and we’ll be going again in June and July!

As far as music goes well…me personally I’ve not had a ton of time to write or record, save for a demo I posted to SoundCloud a couple weeks back. It’s called “Drink to Forget” and you can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/jason-r-becerra.

I still hope to do proper recordings and work with some of my friends within the Houston music community with final mixing/mastering to release my first EP hopefully by year’s end but if there’s something I’ve learned over the course of this year it’s that I have to be careful about placing deadlines on myself.

With a baby and a house to run and a full-time career and everything that comes with all of that, it can be more stressful than anything to try and set deadlines.

One thing is setting a goal and striving for it. Another thing is setting a deadline and stressing about meeting it and then feeling awful because you missed it. Right?

So as of now, my plan is to finish up these last few weeks of school assignments and then take a nice break from everything. I want to take a month or two, or three and just relax knowing I don’t have weekly assignments to turn in, no research to do, no frantic weekends scrambling to write term papers…and more important than all that I want to enjoy what I’ve achieved.

People tell me all the time that they don’t know “how I do it.” They tell me how commendable it is to get a masters degree while working full time, raising a baby, serving as the operations manager for a household and trying to do something with my little Cathedral Records project and writing professional pieces for www.jasonrbecerra.com and LinkedIn.

So while I’ve never thought much of it and don’t typically stop long enough to congratulate myself, I think I want to do just that. I think I want to kind of sit around and see what it feels like to feel successful, like I’ve accomplished something.

But not for too long mind you. Hopefully by the fall/early winter I’ll hole up in the Cathedral and sift through songs and begin the process of making proper recordings with polished lyrics and arrangements. At that point I’ll be making phone calls to see who wants to help mix/master and then we’ll see.

I think it would awesome to do a digital release and have a few LPs pressed.

As for performing…I don’t think I have it in me to do it extensively but if the opportunity arises to share a bill or take part in a series of shows in a cool intimate storytelling setting then I may just jump on that…once Oliver is old enough and I don’t feel guilty about not being around for bedtime. We’ll see. Again…my new thing is trying not to put artificial, unrealistic, or stressful deadlines or expectations on myself.

That doesn’t mean I want to be lazy and remove all goals but it does mean I want to do a better job of managing stress and how much I take on at once.

Anyway – in the next few days I’ll be publishing what I hope will be a very well-received article about the one and only MIEARS! She was kind enough to take some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to discuss a variety of topics related to music, life, the universe, and everything.

Shortly thereafter the promised album review of The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve listened to it several times on 180 gram vinyl and it’s just excellent. I’m fascinated by the technical undertaking involved with making that record what it is and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you.

Also, I’m putting my thoughts together regarding a look back on the Singles film and soundtrack. That album is essential listening for me and I seem to listen to it at least monthly.

Chris Cornell’s death has hit me harder than most deaths…his, Robin Williams, and Prince’s deaths have really impacted me.

I’ve been unable to really put pen to paper about it all in any formal way but I think it’s time I did…for my benefit more than anything.

Finally, support your favorite musicians and get out to live shows when you can.

MIEARS just announced a gig at Eleanor Tinsley Park on June 4th. That should be a great start to these incredibly hot and sweaty days of summer. Her EP continues to make for an dynamic and impactful listen. If you haven’t listed to “Who Will Save You” then make that top of list.

I just found out Ian Moore is playing Main Street Crossing in Tomball TX of all places! Mark your calendars, August 18th.

All of us outer-loopers love to talk about how none of the great bands come out to the ‘burbs…well, The Glass played Spring’s 19th hole a few weeks ago and Ian is hitting Tomball. TOMBALL!?

Raquel Cepeda played Katy not too long ago. KATY!?

We can’t expect these artists to come back to the ‘burbs if no one shows up to see them play right? So let’s do our part.

So that’s about it for now.

Until next time folks…

Be Well and Kind,

Jason

 

More thoughts on Prince

It’s been a few weeks now.

Honestly, I’m still sad.

I keep thinking about this man, in pain, suffering from a massive addiction, alone in an elevator clutching a pill jar and dropping dead.

It’s tragic…regardless of who it is. No one should die like that…in such painful solitude….and not just the solitude of physically being alone in an elevator or room but the emotional and psychological isolation that chronic pain and addiction so often bring.

While the news cycle has pretty much moved on, there is still a regular trickle of headlines…the inmate claiming Prince was his dad, the strange details of the doctor Prince’s people called in and his son who found him dead.

Now I read that Prince’s primary physician has gone off the grid. No one at his office can confirm his whereabouts and he hasn’t been home in about a week. The theory is that this doctor may have been writing scripts to Prince under multiple names…or that perhaps he was just one of many doctors Prince was using to get enough pain killers to feed his addiction.

There’s the sickness of his sister and half-siblings ready to pick the bones.

Minnesota is trying to push legislation to protect future artists from having their legacies cashed in on by surviving relatives and of course Congress is batting about 19 bills to address opiate addiction and abuse in our country.

Meanwhile, many of us wait for the inevitable: the coroner’s report where we’ll be tortured with details about how he hadn’t eaten in god knows how long, partially digested pills in his stomach, weight loss etc etc.

It’s just tragic…and again, not just tragic because it’s Prince…but because it’s a person. So many people die because what began as simple medication got out of hand and our medical system and the patient’s support system failed to help them.

The fact that this happened to Prince, an otherwise clean-living, ambitious, intelligent, hyper-focused workaholic makes it all the more evident that this is not about junkies scoring to get high for the fun of it.

Unfortunately, much like with Robin Williams’ death, not much will happen.

The media turned a shade of purple for a few days, MTV went back to playing videos for an evening, Prince was a meme on Facebook for about a week and Purple Rain was covered by pretty much everyone…but has anything changed?

Has this elusive beast people refer to as “awareness” been risen?

Doesn’t look that way.

I’m sad because Prince is gone. I’m sad because I admired him. Even when he made music that wasn’t to my taste I recognized it as the work of a true genius. I never saw him perform live and I never will.

I’m also frustrated because it was just so damn unnecessary and that too many people just chalk it up to “oh well, he was another celebrity junkie” and too many people put addiction into some little basket where they put other inconvenient situations that are too hard, too scary, too complicated for them to deal with.

Prince

My life is pretty much defined by a lyric I wrote a few years back: “dualities struggled with, high wires tiptoed across.”

I’ve always struggled to reconcile opposing instincts, conflicting desires, and diverging impulses.

No matter the topic; sex, drugs, politics, faith, family, career, music I always find myself in the same place.

Prince was different. Prince saw no such conflict. He lived at the crossroads between sin and faith, lust and love, sex and god, funk and soul, rock and roll….and the only struggle he seemed to endure was how far to go down each road at the same time while having the time of his life.

He was fearless. He was FREE. There were no boundaries he allowed to be placed on his music, his sexuality, his faith, his style or anything else.

Where I saw struggle and conflict, he saw freedom and opportunity.

That’s what I take away from Prince and that’s what I feel his legacy is…beyond the INCREDIBLE musicianship, ambition, bold fashion, and sheer brilliance of everything he did.

To me, the real heart and soul of Prince was the fact that for him, there was no struggle to reconcile what seem to me to always be such opposite forces.

For him, that space in between is where the magic is. Don’t fight it. Embrace it.

I’ve spent years trying to understand Prince, following this incredible career and having my jaw drop time after time but I guess it took his untimely death for me to really GET him.

And now…I think I’ve found my personal life work. I need to stew in the conflict and realize that it isn’t a conflict at all. It’s where the magic is. I just need to have a shred of Prince’s confidence to see that and make something of it.

Godspeed Prince.