Peter Case

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Dream On, Peter Case (Interview by Middle Mojo Magazine)

Peter Case left home when he was 16, taught himself to play country blues on the streets of San Francisco, and was in a couple of signal L.A. rock bands: The Nerves and the Plimsouls . For the last 25 years Case has worked as a singer-songwriter, building a lauded catalog of songs and a reputation as a musician’s musician. Springsteen and Prine and Ely are fans. Sir George Martin tapped him to play Beatles songs at the Hollywood Bowl. He returned from open heart surgery with 2010′s Wig!, a pummeling collection of blues, punk, and garage rock. We talked after a house concert he played at Boston luthier Yukon Stubblebine’s home.

Q: Before I turned my tape recorder on you were talking about arthritis.

A: Yeah. One of the things you take for granted when you’re younger is how many aspects of your creativity are physical. My problem is in my thumb, and everything I do comes through my thumb. I play guitar, I play piano, I write, I drive, I type, and I experience a lot of pain. Lately I know that there’s a price to pay for sitting down and playing piano, and it does hang me up. I’ll sit down at the piano and say “this better be good, I hope this is worth doing, because this is going to cause me pain.” The idea that “this better be good” is very non-productive. In fact it’s totally ruinous.

Q: What else has changed?

A: Songwriting’s a lot different than it was when I was younger and there are so many factors it’s hard to put your finger on. When you’re young, songs come to you. They come fast and it’s like getting hit by lightning. It would be quite a while until another one came or maybe another would come right away, but it always seemed kind of out of control. I didn’t have a writing discipline. I knew nothing about discipline. My life was very chaotic. I was pulling the pieces together of a very kind of shattered scene as a kid and I was on the run for a while.

Q: When did you start writing songs?

A: When I was a kid living with my parents I was writing songs regularly. Bands were playing them, older guys, and when I left, at 16, I didn’t start writing again for a number of years. I wanted to be writing. I wrote words and I played music but it took years before they turned into songs again.

Q: Why is that?

A: I was constantly hustling to make a living and I became very unfocused.  But I learned how to play blues during that period, how to sing and play old songs.

Q: What happened to make you start writing again?

A: Here’s what happened. Stop me if it’s not interesting. I started having these dreams and songwriters would come to me in the dreams. I had this one dream where I skipped out of high school and went to a record store and I’m going through a record rack. John Lennon’s in there, and he’s right at the next record rack. I see this record called Hothouse Madmen by the Sergeants, and it looks really good to me, and John Lennon goes, don’t listen to that. You shouldn’t listen to that record. And I said, it looks really interesting to me. I want to hear it. Then he disappears and they put on the record in the record store in my dream and it’s this incredible song I’ve never heard before. And then I wake up and I write the song and it’s called “Hothouse Madmen.”

Q: That’s extraordinary. Did you record it?

A: Well, I was in this band, the Nerves, and I started playing the song and I start singing the words and the other guys didn’t understand them. They didn’t want to play it. They had control of the band and they voted it down. They told me, if you write a lyric that would fit in with the band we’ll definitely do the song. I tried to rewrite “Hothouse Madmen” so the Nerves could play it. I wrote version after version of it and hated them all. I was going crazy from doing that. So I would skip out of school, in a manner of speaking, to write other songs. I wrote basically the whole early Plimsouls repertoire trying to write “Hothouse Madmen” and not succeeding. I never did get that song. Strangely enough the music for it became the first song on my first record. T Bone Burnett wrote the lyric for it.

Q: What’s the takeaway lesson?

A: The problem with songwriting is you can’t force it. So the song I was trying to force never came through for me but it pushed me into something else. That’s the lesson, that you need to apply yourself to things that don’t cramp your style. I think we all know that a dream is some form of revelation, and it happens so much faster and more completely than in the conscious mind. The conscious mind is like a cripple. The conscious mind is very slow. If you start doing dream analysis, which I’ve done, there’s all this information in the dreams, and when you start recognizing and adding these symbols up, it’s incredible. Songwriting is a form of dreaming, a form of dreaming that you let happen.

picasso-dream.jpg

Q: You’re a storyteller. Do stories present themselves in dreamlike fashion, too, or is there a more workmanlike aspect to writing lyrics?

A: Stories started adding up for me in 1985, mostly about things that happened when I was much younger in a period of my life that I never really worked out. The songs just came. Some of them, I wouldn’t even know what they were about when I first wrote them. And then I would realize, oh my god. You can’t just make up a story. For me, I want to feel some kind of authority from a story. I’m interested in discovering things and I use songwriting as a way to know my mind and to know myself. When I was little my father would get mad at me and yell at me and ask, what do you have to say for yourself? And I never had anything to say for myself. I would just sit there. He had a stuttering problem himself and he was passing it along to me, where I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t express myself. So songwriting is a way of stacking the deck so that you can say your best things. You find a way to say the most profound thing you can say. That’s why I love songwriting. When they ask me what I have to say for myself I don’t know. I still don’t know. I find things in songs that I don’t know.

Q: Do you have rituals? Has your approach to songwriting changed over the years?

A: I’ve had to change it every time I make a record. I can’t do it the same way twice. For some reason I have to always reinvent a new way to make songs, and that’s the impetus for writing songs. It’s weird. When I was in the Plimsouls I bought this boom box and took it on the road with me. I would set it up in my motel room and get my guitar and start rocking and wait until something happened. Then when I went solo, for the first solo record, me and T Bone Burnett were living together down in Texas and I was writing in the living room and I would sit there all day and write he’d come in at night and I’d sing what I had written to him. I’d read stuff, think about stuff, play other old songs. Then I got into this thing where I got this pen, this weird pen that wrote really tiny, and I wrote this whole other album in tiny little letters. I was drinking a lot of coffee and write these really concise lyrics. It was all written tiny in these notebooks. It seemed to me like every word was important. The next record I wrote with other people because after Blue Guitar I got married and we had children and all of a sudden I had no peace of mind anymore and no place to work. The publisher called up and said go write with other people so I wrote the record with Billy Swan, Fontaine Brown, John Prine, Tonio K, Tom Russell. It was communal writing. People generally think it’s my worst record and there’s a lot of different reasons for that, not just the writing process. I was distracted. Having children was super demanding. That’s when I started doing the dream thing.

Q: What exactly do you mean by the dream thing?

A: When you’re writing songs, sometimes you don’t really work on the songs. You try to get yourself more in the moment, more in tune with your dreams, less distracted. You put away all the books and stuff, whatever it takes. You try to work on yourself, you know? And maybe you try to be more articulate with people, and you try to be nicer to people, you try to do different things so that you’re in a better state of mind. You have to work on yourself. You don’t work on the songs. I mean, you do work on the songs, but the most important thing is to get yourself in a frame of mind, which could involve doing things differently in your life. You have to be living on the up, to the best of your ability dealing with things. You have to take chances, to feel alive. You have to be aggressive with yourself, to push yourself out on a limb. You have to do things that make you feel excited.

Q: Is it second nature now, getting yourself into that frame of mind, or does it get harder? You sound very alive on the new songs.

A: I agree that my songwriting does seem like it’s still alive, and one of the reasons is that I have not been successful monetarily. Every year starts out and the question is how are we going to get through this fucking year. And at the end of the year it’s, oh my god how’s it going to work? It’s a constant thing. But the nice part of that is it keeps you in touch with something really alive. It’s the world’s condition, you know? My heroes are blues singers and poets, Allen Ginsberg and Lightning Hopkins and John Lee Hooker. Those people taught me something, and what they taught me was that what you want to be, you already are. You can be everything you want to be right now. You’re it. You’re living it, you’re making it right now. John Lee Hooker didn’t need a hit record. Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell, they went out and made incredible music all the time and nobody knew them from Adam. I love Allen Ginsberg.

When I was a kid in San Francisco I had this group called the Frozen Chosen, we’d play on the street across from City Lights, and Ginsberg started coming out. He’d come over to the corner with us and say, hey guys, you mind if I sit in? He never introduced himself, but we knew who he was. We’d say, sure man. He’d say, can you do some country blues? We’d go yeah. So we’d play blues and he’d make up songs on the corner and sing to people going by. It’s 1974. Sailors and hookers and tourists and kids are going by and nobody ever stopped but he would make up these incredible songs. If you have that real love of a thing it drives you through it. I love words and I love poetry and I love blues music and I love rock and roll and I love it so much that maybe I could survive getting a million bucks for it. I know Bob Dylan did. He made it through. Some people do and some don’t.

Q: What made you start playing music?

A: I had a lot of problems and music was a solution to me, maybe on a level of the boy who couldn’t stop washing himself. I went through a period that I describe in my book a little bit where I lost my depth perception and nothing seemed real. It was a really trippy period that brought a lot of anxiety. Music was a solution to a lot of different problems I had.

Q: Is it still?

A: Yeah. Absolutely. As you get older, though, you get a few other solutions, you know? I’ve had different things in my life that have really helped me. I don’t put the same weight on music that I used to and in a way it’s been better. I’m still on the road all the time but, without getting too corny about it, I’ve got different things that people do to soothe themselves. Meditation, or whatever you want to call it. As you get older you find things like that. I was against it for a long time, but it has helped me.

Q: Does meditation help with songwriting?

A: Not necessarily. It helps with comfort.

Q: What were your ambitions when you were younger? Have they changed?

A: Ambition is hard to explain. I was taught that it’s not good if it’s for yourself. Ambition is for the music, for the songs, to make this beautiful thing that you can give to people or that you can leave. I remember I saw Lightning Hopkins in Boston in ’70, I had run away from home and was travelling around the country hitchhiking and I spent my last $3.50 seeing Lightning in Cambridge. It was so magical. It was such a powerful example of a person expressing himself. I felt the same way about Ginsberg, Art Blakey, sometimes people you’ve never even heard of but you just walk into a club. That’s what I feel like I’m trying to do, is to bring music into the world like that, where it lives in people and they remember it gives them some sort of comfort. Not comfort, but a beauty that makes life worth living. That’s the way I look at it. That’s the ambition. To create things that are beautiful or good and also are of value as you go along, to other people and to yourself.

Q: Value can be hard to quantify. And it seems like the pressure of measuring up would at some point start to feel like a real burden.

A: I don’t know if everything needs to be of value. For me it’s a creativity killer if I’ve got to prove the value all the time. I made this record, Full Service No Waiting, when my kids were starting school, and I had to be home to deal with that stuff. The kids would go to school and I rented this tiny room and I put a desk and a guitar in there and every day after the kids went to school I went straight to this room. I had a Smith Corona and I sketched out the whole album, what it was gonna be, starting with the first word of the first song, and I just typed the whole record and heard the music in my head. I sat there every day from, like, 10 to 3, and I thought it was some of the best music I’ve ever done. It ended up being 40 pages of legal typewriter paper, a big sheath of the stuff in tiny type. I would write the rhymes off the top of my head and create these rhythms, and a lot of lines didn’t make it but I kept going forward. I didn’t throw anything out. It’s an interesting work of art of its own. I’d go home to take care of the kids and I’d pick up the guitar and sometimes the song I heard in my head that day, I’d just sing through the whole thing. That would be it. That would be the music. I really enjoyed making that record.

Q: Where did you go from there? You said you make every record a different way.

A: Writing the next record I tried to do the same thing and it totally sucked.. It didn’t work. I had to try something different, so I wrote it on the run. You’ve got to trick yourself. You’ve got to get away from the rational mind. You’ve got to be thrown into some kind of new situation.

Q: Do you tell that to students in your songwriting classes? Does that advice apply to beginners?

A: I do, but they don’t necessarily get it. We’re at a more basic level. They’re not dealing on that level.

Q: Can songwriting really be taught?

A: Yes and no. You can help people that are songwriters. You can help them over their problems. But everybody in the culture seems to write songs. Everybody is a musician. The two things that are prevalent in modern life are advertising and music.  Music is the central activity people are involved in besides being receptacles for advertising.

Q: You had major heart surgery last year. How does illness and mortality figure into your music?

A: Hard to say. I really don’t know yet. I do know that I’ve never had my head in the sand about dying or anything but it definitely brought that to the forefront. Especially for a few hours in there at one point. And then I had a lot of time to think. I took some time off.

Q: Do you think Wig‘s immediacy and raw energy came out of that experience?

A: I think so. It’s funny. When I first came out of the hospital I was on drugs, you know. Somebody pointed out to me that I’m on morphine, and I’m listening to jazz. We’ve gone full circle here, you know? I’m sitting down at the piano and I’m stoned and playing these really weird chords, these weird jazz chords. I was listening to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles, all these ex -junkies. I was just hanging out. Finally I’m like an old man, in one place on the couch. And I started to hear music. Literally I heard this music that I wanted to play and wanted to hear. Sometimes it gets real visceral, you know?

Q: You went through a transformation from pop guy to rootsy singer-songwriter.

A: When I joined the Nerves I turned my back on a lot of the things I’d been working on, the country blues that I’d learned how to play. I started playing electric bass and playing in these rock and roll bands. You know, I loved rock and roll, I really did, and it was a very creative period for me, but I also had turned my back on a whole side of my personality. I rediscovered it when I went solo after the Plimsouls.

Q: Have your powers as a songwriter increased over time? Have you lost things along the way?

A: Dave Alvin said to me that it gets a lot harder, because you’ve already written a lot of songs, and your new songs have to be better than the old songs, or somehow occupy a space that the old songs don’t occupy. I wrote “Two Angels” and I’m not going to write another “Two Angels.” I only felt the one, you know?

Q: People do it all the time. Not everyone places the value on pressing forward.

A: Well, I want to. I keep on feeling that this next one could really be something, you know?

Q: What do you mean by something?

A: I really want to make something that has a life of its own and is surprising, and is beautiful, and that I discover things in. When I was a little kid listening to music my mom would come in and say, does that send you? I’m trying to create that. I don’t know. You’re living in a world with Bob Dylan, such a heavy artist. He’s like Keats or Milton for our time. More so even than Ginsburg. Much more so. Most people don’t come close to that in their songwriting. And we all have to live with that.

Q: Do you think about relevance and your place in the culture? Does it impact your work?

A: Oh yeah. It hurts. It’s really difficult. Nobody cares about half of what you’re doing but you’ve got to feel like you’re doing something. I think gigs like this tonight, they’re important, though you don’t really see how, exactly. It’s often hard to see the present. That’s the art that Bob Dylan has: the ability not to see the future but the present, for what it is. The present isn’t really what’s advertised as the present. The present is this thing that’s being born every day. It’s not in the magazines, you know. I’ve had a couple of friends die in the past few years and it’s been really profound to experience what their deaths and their lives meant to me. You remember moments differently than you experienced them at the time. You go through a little of that and you see how valuable things are. The culture is a one-way ticket to nowhere, if you ask me.

Q: You put the Plimsouls back together in the mid-90s. Why did you want to reunite the band and did you get what you wanted?

A: The band was something I put a lot a lot of energy into creating. The Plimsouls projected rock and roll in an incredibly believable way and it’s a very rare thing to have that. We did it ’cause we could, you know? And I feel like it was a valuable thing at the time. Now we’re kind of at the end of it again, after ten years of being together again, maybe more. Fifteen. It’s sort of sad. We’ve had problems, but it was good, and it kept me younger in a way, too, to remember that. You know music gets in your body. Rhythm gets in your body. Maybe it got a little cerebral and I came back to the Plimsouls to tap into this thing that gave me another burst of youth, in a way.

Q: What is it about youth, or the qualities we associate with youth, that brings so much to bear on creativity?

A: It’s unbridled, uncynical energy. A freshness of life, you know? You have it when you’re young and it goes away. When you’re young, every room you’re in is so intense. Every person you talk to and everyone you meet, it could go anywhere. Anything could happen. With the Plimsouls you’d get this burst of energy and it would seem like something magical could happen, like you could walk through walls or something, just for a little while, you know, you would feel those walls come down. You’d feel once again like you were in this place that was very fresh. It’s hard to describe, really, but that’s sort of the role of music. I think it’s what people want from music. That’s what art does. It makes you feel the impact of being alive. Music allows you to feel things that are so big you can’t feel them until you hear the music. When you’re young, emotions come through your body. You feel them. And I think people shut them off because they’re painful. Plus they’ll get you in trouble, you know? Everything changes when you get older. I’m old now, man. I’m 56. I’ve been on the road a long time. These days I wonder, you can’t help it when you go on the road, am I going to make it through this tour? After the heart thing and all this stuff, you wonder, you know? There’s a lot of different aspects of being older that are weird.

Q: Are there good aspects?

A: Some of them are great. When you turn around 40 you get a bird’s eye view of life. I understand things that I never understood when I was a kid, man. I see people and situations and I know exactly what’s going on.

Q: Does that make you a better or a deeper artist?

A: I don’t know. Only if you can figure out a way to use it. You have to get at it somehow. And that’s the whole trick about art, you know? You got to keep going to that place. You’ve got to be willing to go out on a limb. That’s the trick.

Q: How do you get to that place?

A: I don’t know. Keep going. Hit the road. Have a heart meltdown. Nearly die. Keep doing rock and roll. Have no money.

 

Interview by Joan Anderman:

Joan@middlemojo.com.

 

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One Comment by Wayne Haught

  • Great, Great, Great interview with Peter. His songwriting wisdom is always worth spending time with. I especially like the part where he says that whatever it is you want to be you are already it! Also that Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell made great music without anybody much knowing who they were or that they existed even. Never thought about it that way before, but now that I am I like it.

31 comments

  1. Great talk. I sincerely regard Peter as the Kurt Cobain of the late 70s/early 80s scene…well before MTV sucked the heart and soul out of music, of course. Pisses me off when I mention his name or projects and people go totally blank.

  2. I am impressed by your powers of observation , retention and ability to communicate. This music thing is like a big old barrel that we all rattle around in . Wish I had run into you more – but it’s great to read you, as well.

    1. Up in the Bay Area now… where you? Wish we woulda finished that song we started, I was going through some weird changes at home, couldn’t concentrate. That’s my excuse, anyhow! Maybe we should do a gig or something…?

  3. Wonderfully articulate. A boost for those of us still at it, here in the land of relative obscurity. The song’s the thing. Ambition for the song, and for the gig.

  4. I love your attitude especially in that you don’t project bitterness in the interview about still wondering where the money will come from etc. I’ll be 64 in July and I worked as a teacher for many years because I felt I couldn’t live without security. I think now that I am retired and devoting myself to writing full time that I am actually glad to be anonymous. Your voice is so refreshing really at every Wild Honey show I attend. Your songs are fresh and truthful. There’s a lot of truth in this interview and I appreciate that you still hold the artist in yourself dear.

    1. Thanks Terry, yes anonymity is a gift, but who’s gonna tell you that in this culture? And as long as folks keep coming to the gigs, picking up the records etc, it’s all gonna be ok. Though you never know, I might not sneeze at a hit about now, but gee, maybe I left it too late! I’m over-committed LOL!

  5. And of course, PC reminds us elsewhere that it’s called the Quality Inn … not the Quantity Inn!

    This is a great interview. PC has such insightful (and funny!) things to say when asked the right questions. The interviewer here knows the history, understands music etc. This is not usually the case with journalists! Ensminger excepted of course.

    Thanks for the Bloomfield tips somewhere below here, PC. I found a collection put together by Al Kooper that seems to cover the bases. I haven’t gotten into the Ed Ward book yet but I’ll give you the word when I do. I picked it up ’cause his stuff on Hwy 61 is so incredible.

    On that right/left thing that T-Bone was talking about and which I think relates, in part, to what Nietzsche is saying in the Birth of Tragedy (framed there as the Dionysian vs. the Apollinian (sic?), I think it has to do with the ability to create something profound, yet instantly familiar. To pull from the deepest well but use the left brain to put together what you draw. It’s in lines like: Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks on your mind when you’re trying to be so quiet.” or “It was a powerful day and there were black crows in the road, but I kept my strong opinions to my chest.” or “The word for him was ‘nevertheless'”. But it’s in the music too … the way the line is sung, the melody. I dunno. I heard this philosopher called Daniel Dennett speak recently. His favorite expression is “sort of” … I guess that’s what I mean here: sort of!

    One of Joyce’s favorite words was ineluctably.

    We should get a Birth of Tragedy reading group started out here on the PC blog. A chapter a week or something.

    “Chapter one … we didn’t really get along … ” Hah!

    Ineluctably,

    Ackles

    1. Ah yes, the old Quantity Inn, kinda miss that place, it’s been a while. And yes Joan Anderman really does a great job over at Middle Mojo, a fascinating site, a great interviewer. And maybe editor? She took the best for the story.

      Left and right, T-Bone, I like that, profound, yet familiar. Birth of Tragedy reading group? I’m into it, let me know.

      The ineluctable modality of the visible. Stephen on the beach…me on Geary Boulevard.

      take care Dave…

  6. Give me a second and I’ll retrieve my Birth of Tragedy from my mom’s house this weekend.

    Maybe you could start the reading group as an entry on the PC Blog. We’ll agree on how much we’ll read each week and then anyone can weigh in.

    Art: Good to hear from you! Hope you’re well!

    Nietzsche reading group on the PC Blog: We could be breaking ground here.

    They go low, we go high!

  7. yea, but it should include, i think, weekly reading assignments … with you commenting each week on monday on the previous weeks portion … you can deputise me or art or anyone else if you’re not available etc … no rules … anything that comes to mind about that week’s selection … call each other out on bullshit (i’m of the king of that) … etc … sort of … pc comments then anyone can respond, amend, ridicule (hah!), agree, contest, and on and on …

    that’s just my idea, anyway …

  8. PC and Art (and whoever else would like to join the BOT reading group):

    I retrieved my Birth of Tragedy from my mom’s house. I’ve got the version translated by Walter Kaufmann that also includes The Case of Wagner.

    Re-reading the Kaufmann intro, I started to have some doubts. As Kaufmann points out, BOT was Nietzsche’s first book which he later renounced (Nietzsche even wrote an “Attempt at a Self-Criticism) which was used as a preface to the second and subsequent editions (including mine). Furthermore, BOT ain’t classic Nietzsche (a period which, most agree, begins around 1880). It doesn’t include what he is best known and, in some circles, admired for: his perspectivism, the eternal recurrence, the Supermensch, and Anti-Christ jazz.

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m not a classicist and BOT is somewhat premised on an understanding and familiarity with Greek tragedy. I can get around Plato and Homer for sure. But I don’t know jack about Greek drama. Do you?

    With all that said, I say we go for it. I somehow remember when I read BOT in 1987 that it resonated. Think of it as a flawed but audacious first record! Great title too.

    I suggest we break it down as follows. On each date, PC will weigh in on his thoughts on that week’s assignment. Then we’ll have it.

    If not, no problem. This is only a suggestion. And, PC, if we do this publicly (i.e. on your blog) I’d imagine some folks will think us pretentious and that we have no business. Of course, I welcome those allegations.

    Suggested syllabus:

    May 8th: Attempt at a Self-Criticism, Preface to Richard Wagner, Sections 1
    May 15th: Sections 2-6
    May 22nd: Sections 7-10
    May 29th: Sections 11-15
    June 5th: Sections 16-20
    June 12: Sections 21-25

    Recommended Secondary Sources:

    Nietzsche, Life as Literature by Alexander Nehemas (this is a very lucid account of what Nehemas takes to be Nietzsche’s central project — namely, the creation of self. It focuses on the work from 1880 forward i.e. it does not directly cover BOT).

    Pasolini’s Medea, film, 1969. Or just read Euripides!

    What say ye gentleman?

    Tragically,

    Herr Professor Doktor David Ackles, LLC, Esq. &tc.

    1. Ackles, I’ll weigh in on this but it will take a minute…I need to find my edition(s) here in the stacks (lol.) I started trying to read FN at City Light’s Books in ’73…Beyond Good and Evil. Why was that so important to me? (!) I especially dug his aphorisms, though I truly had no idea what was up and may not even now! BTW I think I’ll publish a piece here I wrote for A’cappella Books in Atlanta, “My Bookstore Education.” Which probably sheds some light on my ignorance of all things lol! Talk to you soon, off to the hallway to sort through some tomes…PC

  9. Hah! The PC stacks! Don’t get lost in there!

    I somehow feel like I’ve read that Bookstore Education piece of yours but would love to see it again.

    Nehemas talks about the different styles Nietzsche employs including most famously the aphorism. BOT is written in a scholarly style as befits the fact that FN was, at the time, trying (sort of!) to establish himself as a philologist at the time. This might be why I remember BOT fondly ’cause my own thinking was fairly scholarly at the time. I was in school! Still am!

    Sort of, Ackles

  10. I’ll admit to it not being obvious to me that the BOT discussion would officially begin here close to where it began (I’d been waiting for a new entry). As I put down my fork minutes ago, though, having just finished a plate of pasta and a kale side salad, and the combination of an appetite satiated with the ending of the task then at hand (dinner) having left my mind unoccupied and unburdened by the distractions of the everyday, it occurred to me (quite unexpectedly) that the discussion may have already started and may be back here. So, here I am. I am also unprepared to engage as of yet. I’ll await Peter’s first entry on the book, and then will try to keep up. And I hope others participate. This isn’t ultimately about a book or the author or his times or etc. To me, I hope this is about ideas. And anyone with a spirit inclined to listen to our host’s recordings or peruse his entries here is incontrovertibly, therefore, well equipped and explicitly invited to offer (and opine on) any ideas that arise. So, those who’ve bothered to read this far – please join in.

  11. Hi Art,

    It’s going to take me a little time to get going on a post regarding the Birth Of Tragedy. I’m rereading it right now, but due to the on going press of life, it may take a minute. That said, if either of you feel ready to do the heavy lifting to get it started, send me what you have and I’ll post it…

    Looking forward to it but feeling like its a bit over my head!

    best
    Peter

  12. Read a little this morning. Not ready to discuss, but I was taken with the discussion of dreams and art in the first couple pages. Did you already mention that, Ackles?

  13. Hey Peter—-Good interview. I’ve been a fan for a long time. Great to hear and see you on the road again. Hope you’re feeling OK, also. I see your coming thru Chicago —-on Oct. 21 at fitzgerald’s in berwyn. I’ll try and make it. I met you and talked with you at the Empty Bottle about 10 years ago. So i hope all is going well for you. My name is Chris Ramsey –and I’ve been with the Jesus People USA in Chicago over 40 years. And worked with the poor and homeless for the past 25 years at Cornerstone Community Outreach . Just put out my first book —“Discovering Jesus in the Least” —Unveiling God’s Presence Among America’s Most Overlooked Souls.” Love for you to check it out. Take care, Chris

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