THIS… is how my first lesson began.
A long, long time ago, in a city far, far away, I was just sitting around on another boring school night doing the usual; staring at the screen, twiddling my thumbs… melting… when out of nowhere, mom busted in and said she had a sudden issue that required this special ‘frequency man.’ He heard things that weren’t there.
And she wanted me to go find him!
They called it—Instrumental Wisdom
I called it—YESSS get me outta this apartment now!!!
I was absolutely geeking because this was going to be the very latest I had ever been ‘out on the town’ all by myself. Like every other kid I knew, I had gone to bed at the exact same time for my entire life, not long after supper, so I could,
But I had heard many tales of how the streets completely switch at around about midnight, and are taken over by minds of new kind—living an opposite 12-hour cycle that none of us night sleepers could ever imagine.
And I was finally going to find out for myself!
I bolted out the door to a crisp, fall feeling in the air—that first day of school kind. Red, yellow, and green leaves were piling up all around, which made the entire neighborhood look like a real-life CANDYLaND.
I finally arrived on the porch of a brick building that had enormous statues of musical instruments on the roof. I rang the doorbell, and swinging it open in rhythm was this jazzy-grinned guy, looking around saying,
“Who dat DARE!?”
It was such an unusually LOW voice for someone so thin and spindly.
I couldn’t really tell if he was Black, White, Latin, Asian… ALIEN. He was just sort of … Golden, with gentle grey eyes that were squinting.
He took off his unique hat, which was in the shape of a green pagoda with an open top. But when he flipped it around and put the thing to his ear—it became a long hearing extension that resembled an old-fashioned speaker coming out of his head.
He was so magnificent looking that I lost all my cool (if I even had any to begin with) and when he asked my name, I got a frOg in my throat that sounded like a girl.
To make it worse, I had yellow splattered all over me, because on the way over I picked up a shiny gum ball—but it was squishy. Upon further close inspection, I squeezed… and found out it was actually a paintball when it EXPLODED in my face!
Behind him, the entire wall had been turned into the world’s largest Harp, with a field of strings ascending towards the ceiling.
There was every kind of instrument you can imagine, plus a few I had never seen on Earth before. Some were covered with various air openings and scientific tubes that looked homemade.
They were all set up nicely and facing each other; like they were having a little party.
And he was dressed to match. In a suit with a custom lapel that was in the shape and color of a viola—a Violapel!
He told me he was in the middle of composing right now, but then just grabbed his tape recorder and we began a walk that would forever change the way I heard music.
And the entire world of frequency around me.
Or should I say… ‘FREAKwhenSEE’ because at one point… I saw sound.
So here I am, just a kid, knowing absolutely nothing cool, and now I’m strutting down the street with this ‘Loneliest M.o.N.K.’
He was meant to be the most illusive, eccentric, and hippest music teacher in the city. Supposedly, he heard instruments speak through their “SOUL-Os.”
Even his stride had a distinct rhythm and when he would really get into an idea, his pointy knees would bounce high and dance low, while long musical fingers ‘air played’ various instruments.
But never the guitar.
He smiled down on me and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him I wasn’t sure and I’ll never forget his reply…
“I suggest, if you find something you love to do more than anything else in the world… just follow it wherever it goes.”
And just like that, we followed it directly into misfit central. I was suddenly dodging loogies and leather elbows. There was buzzy music coming out of everywhere, there were WASTOID looking people coming out of everywhere, and even Mr. M.o.N.K. looked slightly concerned as he informed me that we were entering the territory of…
and the Skunk Rockers
He said they were amped-up, wireless, and they CHASE!!!
I had heard she got the name from rock club audiences because every time she sang, they literally gagged and shouted,
“You stink! SHEENA STINKS!!!”
And the crowds were made up of headskins and face-clippers.
Sooooooo, if you gross out the rottenest, viscious-est rockers… I could only imagine how stanky she must have been! Just the thought of it gave me the CB-heebee-GBs.
The thing is… she literally had multiple gland problems. An extremely rare condition that doctors tried everything to fix but there was nothing anyone could do.
She wreaked and she knew it. So… like a true artist… she decided to embrace her unique gift.
SKUNKS don’t back down.
Then it dawned on her—there can only be ONE, ‘NUMBER 1!’
Which makes most musicians a v e r a g e
And that is something you never wanna be—a ‘wanna-be.’
Sheena STINKS was determined to be the ‘Greatest of All-time!’
She knew she wasn’t the first…
And won’t be the last…
BUT SHE WOULD BE THE WORST!!!
She began throwing stank bombs and rotten eggs at the audiences, screaming, “Who STINKS now?!?”
The goal of Skunk Rockers became—decrease pleasure and increase PAIN!
Their only musical aspiration is to be an unbearable ‘ONE-LISTEN wonder.’
Do you know what they use for guitar picks!? Try RAZOR BLADES!!!
They put the HARM in harmony!
And you really don’t wanna hear what their idea of a ‘SMASH HIT!!’ song is.
I heard one time she sang so violently it caused her to vomit directly into the microphone and she didn’t even miss one lyric—completely intentional!!
So, I was completely BERZERKING when Mr. M.o.N.K. just froze in the middle of the sidewalk and didn’t flinch—except his nostrils.
“But the ONE thing you need to know about Sheena STINKS is thiiis…”
And BAAANG like a spray to the ear, around the corner came a vomitous screech and enraged battle drums that shocked my nervous system into sprinting full blast down the street!
They were so loud it filled the entire block with a dizzy atmosphere for miles. Darting between parked cars and startled pedestrians, it was obvious that ‘Phys Ed’ wasn’t Mr. M.o.N.K.’s thing and he quickly fell behind.
I didn’t even dare to look back at the band of social menaces that were giving chase, but they sounded out-of-their-minds and triggered, singing faster and faster at ridiculous tempos, with lyrics that were gaining more and more speeeed!!
My ears were taking the beating of a lifetime, and to my absolute horror —I began running out of steam! All I could do was let out a helpless cry and give in to being sprayed to death by SKUNK ROCKERS AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And just as I did, Mr. M.o.N.K. finally caught up (covered in rotten eggs and wreaking of stink bombs) pulling me towards the subway, shouting…
“We gon’ take the A-train!”
Jumping right over the turnstiles and flying across the platform, we barreled into the car just as their septic shrieks polluted the entire station behind us. I heard their skunky voices splatter on the doors as they miraculously closed shut.
Mr. M.o.N.K. asked if I was okay, gasping so heavily that I thought he might seize. I was sooooo thankful as the train rolled away.
But, no, I was not ok.
What were those voices I just heard!?
They were waaaaay more disturbing than your typical punk screaming. These vocals sounded like a bunch of over-prescribed, A.D.D./A.C.D.Cs with unnerving accents, who thought they had a ‘voice.’
But their brains were bad.
It was the phoniest P.U.N.K.
People Under Narcotic Kontrol
The toxic—they TALK sick.
Skunk Rock actually was the worst.
Which, if you think about it… actually… makes Sheena STINKS…
Yes, she is proudly at the very top of the list… ‘Worst of All-time!’
Hey, better than just being a v e r a g e bad, right?
I still had a question though.
Sheena STINKS is all ONE voice?
But before I had time to utter a word there was a new terror arising!
Something sounding a lot rougher than a spoiled brat with an identity crisis came rumbling down the dimly lit car—in the form of a grimy beat.
Pullin’ up quick, wearing vintage 1980s roller skates, was the bad motherbrother. His name-tag said,
He had a gigantic boom box strapped to his back. It was all banged up, had a squiggly tin foil antenna, and somehow there was also a turntable stuck to the thing.
I was now on an unknown subway, most of the overhead lights were busted out, it was covered in graffiti, and some heavy looks were coming in my direction.
I ducked my head straight down and hoped to not be seen.
“H A ! ! Where YOU goin’??”
I felt it sonically through my tiny body. His voice was lispy sandpaper.
He was now standing right in front of me, but I just kept looking down at his skates. Then he started saying some heated stuff to Mr. M.o.N.K. that I didn’t understand at all.
That’s when he alluded to something dangerous stashed under his jacket, and said, “If you don’t like it…”
I just sat there SPACIN’ as he went for his inside pocket… fumbled a bit… time seemed to stop… and he finally pulled out…
Like none I had ever seen.
One was topped with black foam that resembled a ‘high-top fade’ afro haircut, with sound knobs that looked like sunglasses and a nose.
The other one had steel wires that looked like tight corn rows going around his head, and there was an ACTUAL bullet hole for a mouth!
It turns out they were the original—‘MICafro and DynaMIC!’
They looked BAAAD!!!
Unkle Kliff hit play on his doom box and a monster beat thumped out.
Grasping a microphone in each hand like an old vet, he started flowing in a devious growl, shooting Mr. M.o.N.K. an intense stare—like he wanted him to repeat exactly what he had just said.
Then he put both MICs right up to Mr. M.o.N.K.’s lips, who went into a sudden trance, and somehow spit out the philosophical verse without skipping a beat.
I had no clue what the words to the song actually meant because they went by sooooo fast, and to make it worse, Unkle Kliff put both MICs right up to my mouth next!
As my brain quickly scrambled, something happened from deep within my being, and to my utter disbelief… the words were pulled out of my throat—directly from the ‘wonder mics’ themselves!
Like some kind of voodoo musical ventriloquism, I was able to memorize the mesmerize and I rocked out the cryptic verse, every word right on the beat.
What on earth had I just said!??
Looking so bemused by my lyrical miracle, Unkle Kliff’s face scrunched up and he busted out the lowest “H A ! !” ever. As he kept skating on down the train, I’m pretty sure I could still hear the microphones’ tiny voices rapping a call-and-response, jump-rope rhythm.
But what I could undoubtedly hear on the airwaves now was—BEEP! BEEEP!! BEEEEP!!! BEEEEEP!!!! Turns out, the subway speaker started playing the top song from the ‘pop’ charts.
It featured extremely high-pitched vocals; squealing what Mr. M.o.N.K. says is the world’s most meaningless word—Amaaazing.
The ONLY adjective we use now, to describe any and every event.
“The band was Amazing, she looked Amazing, our food tasted Amazing, the absence of an emotional vocabulary in our society is A……?”
If you use the same word over and over and over it really means… A v e r a g e
Because there’s zero thought. But, he says if you #CancelAword from your vocabulary… you gain all the rest. If you turn off your A-station, you will be forced to pause… and then emotionally describe events, people, and art—for how they truly make you THINK.
Just try it and see what happens…
What actually WAS Amazi… hold on, I mean to say…
What actually WAS culturally disturbing, is that the music to this ‘song’ was literally a sample of the world’s most irritating sound—an ALARM clock!!
Mr. M.oN.K. was sort of holding his ears and looked nauseous.
He later explained that it’s what he calls, ‘Audiodor’ and says you need a brainmint after this entertainment.
He recommends avoiding it at all times because even the slightest exposure can be,
The permanent influence of toxic pop-culture
on one’s own work.
It’s a modern/technological form of musical warfare.
Everywhere you go this synthetically engineered ‘man-squeal’ blasts into your consciousness, lowering your vibrations involuntarily.
They simply state that it’s ‘popular’ so their weaponized music can be placed in all the commercials, grocery stores, restaurants, and every other public space imaginable… everyone stays… ZOMBIOIDS.
I also learned how they’re controlling us with these unnatural GMIs (Genetically Modified Instruments) that are making everyone sick.
Homework assignment—watch MUSIC television.
See how you… feeel.
Mr. M.o.N.K. believes,
If low-vibration media is forced upon you brightly
or unsolicited LOUD…
Get up politely and walk away proud
So that’s what we did.
We hit the snooze button on the ‘alarm pop’ and jumped off at the next stop. As we exited, the high-pitched ‘song’ continued squealing on—louder than the rusty train wheels.
On the platform was a crowd of bad boys and rockin’ fellas, all circled around. It was DEFinitely a JAM.
In the center was a three-foot-tall, phat-bellied prophet—looking like a champion. He was four years old and fearless; no shirt with a lollipop hangin’ out the corner of his mouth, wearing baggy shorts that hung waaay below his puffy diaper.
The ‘Terrible Toddler’ himself—skinny MINI
And he was mean muggin’ me like he was preparing for a lyrical brawl, as he snatched up a beefy microphone.
The already hyped crowd seemed to triple in size out of nowhere and before I knew it, my heartbeat dropped.
Then the real… beat… dropped…
And the place went HAMBURG.
I was now being swept into the middle of the circle and I screamed out for Mr. M.o.N.K. but he was nowhere in sight. It was obvious that skinny MiNi was drooling over which one of his killer nursery rhymes he was about to preschool me with…
And BEEP BEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!
Another ALARMing sound took over the air. This time it was coming from an official ‘Public Control’ tank that sped right up to us with multiple racks of excessively bright LED lasers that assaulted me directly in the eyes. Everybody had to look away and cover their faces because these ‘retina razors’ were intentionally blinding!!!
Then a jarring loudspeaker demanded that everybody break it up and go home, followed by an officer who walked over and yanked the power chord out of the P.A. system belonging to skinny MINI.
With his brave honesty and innocent delivery, this tiny prodi-G had the swelling followers on the brink of something that I was not at all prepared for—fists high in the air, chanting protest songs with REAL
P o w e r ! !
It was obvious that they had to stand up for the child M.C. who they knew would one day be King of the neighborhood.
Finally having made it through the crowd, Mr. M.o.N.K. was now here and I tried to play it cool, but truthfully… I peed a little.
He gave skinny MINI a pat on the back and put a grip of dollars in his tip jar—a gold lunchbox with BIG tagged letters that said…
If you have a Goal mind
You will have a GOLD mine
It was getting extra kind of hectic, so Mr. M.o.N.K. grabbed my hand and we hopped to the safety of the other side.
Only to find, it was definitely the wronger side of the tracks.
It was a sign.
Unfortunately, the only way out was to follow a pack of rats that were tramping down the dodgiest alley that smelled like a human zoo. With monstrous brick buildings blocking out the moonlight, there would be no witnesses.
I was never allowed to come anywhere near this part of town—and at night!!?
Mr. M.o.N..K told me about some famous songwriting history of the place—something about pots and pans. All I could hear was what sounded like diseased instruments being played at the same time, but in all different times. It was a sound pollution like I had never experienced anywhere in the city.
As we got deeper into the shadows, I could see nothing but hobo-looking musicians, and blue-looking musicians—off their rockers! Banging bone marimbas, smashing pump organs, hitting pipes, and slamming other instruments of mental destruction.
As we passed on, the struggling musicians kept jamming away, with dark eyes watching us from beyond. What was most strange though… no one was saying a word.
Somehow, of course, Mr. M.o.N.K. fit right it. Sure, he was a very sharp dresser, but in certain light—he was one bad sunburn away from looking homeless.
But the swing was back in his bouncy knees, and with his long arm around my shoulder, we began our descent through the alley of the music of death.
He ‘heared’ no evil.
Until… a lone singing girl emerged from the crowd like a shooting star!
She was around 27 years old, she spoke with a snarl, and looked like a stray fox.
There was a similarly dressed old lady hovering behind her, who was desperately trying to repeat everything that was said. But this ‘older version of herself’ was way off.
She told Mr. M.o.N.K. something about how she hadn’t had a hit lately, musicians were dying, and then she asked him for some money.
With a gleam in his enlightened eye, he replied…
“Yeah, I got a dollar… for a $ong!!!”
She instantly spun around, brushed some wind chimes that cleared the vibes, and boy, when she sat down at the piano with crooked teeth and began to wail, something happened that I had never seen—not one soul in sight was hunch-backed over their phone! (Sure, none of these people probably had a phone, but that’s beside the point.)
Everybody stopped what they were doing to pay attention to MUSIC. They were so physically taken over by her meaningful resonance, that you could literally hear needles drop.
She was belting away and stomping madly on a foot pedal that was attached to the bottom of her piano. It had a mallet that struck the side of the wood and made a Bass-Drum-Thump. Slowly, the other off-key musicians began to join her, each in their own one-of-a-kind tuning. The vibrations were building and building until most unexpectedly… came the gospel according to Mr. M.o.N.K.
!!!!!!NoW SHouT LiKE the DEVIL!!!!!!
With laser focus in his eyes, he stood up on a milk crate and multiple voices came out of him that were not humanly possible. Sounding like a large choir of mental ‘patience’ that had been waiting to escape from him for years. It was as if, ALL of his musical souls were being released—ALL AT ONCE.
The stirring of these quantum molecules brought the dead man’s party roaring back to life. A severely wrinkled, old-fashioned guy raised his broken whiskey glass to me. He was wearing an expensive Italian suit that was completely shredded and filthy.
That’s when I realized—these junk players were not what they appeared to be.
Darkly illuminated in limelight, I started to recognize all of their decaying faces as old-time legends that died too slow, and young rock stars that lived too fast.
These were the ghosts of Tin Pain Alley—songwriters who had poured their very souls into songs that affected every single human being.
And after that… of their own lives, they lost control.
Now I was CHOSEN!! They swarmed around me like the fans that once surrounded them.
Creepy, cool air slithered through my body and my eyes closed instantly. I could now feel them moshing and circling all around me, doing their primal slam dance.
I… was doing the eye of the hurricane—still as could be; eyes locked.
Like screaming banshees, all I could hear was the timeless and twisted melody of Mr. M.o.N.K. and this ‘stray fox’ getting louder and LOUDER…
Well they gave us the soundtracks to HEAVEN…
That ended up BEING the SONGS from
For some unknown reason, I yelled out to her in my mind,
“No, you’re pretty! And you’re not real… I’M REAL. I’m not gonna see you anymore.”
And when I opened my eyes… she was gone.
Mr. M.o.N.K. violently coughed out the final purge to this musical ‘Last Words and Testament’ and the hateful dead played on, in ecstatic dissonance. He told me that we had to get out of there before one of our souls got stolen.
And that’s when I went completely NUTZOID.
Lyrically possessed and going off the rails, I told him I wanted to stay and began rattling in tongues. I heard a young girl singing about heaven, and then a shaman chanting in Spanish. Having no choice but to finally give in to the offbeat, I began whirling in circles.
THEN to my astonishment, it sounded like all the air was being pulled out of the universe through the top of my head, and reality got totally sucked out by what I would call an unexplainable ‘FREAKwhenSEE’ because somehow, I was seeing the sound in my mind.
It was flowing into self-transforming machine letters from hyperspace that were bursting into thousands of florescent colors, spelling the words,
~ Evil$ and Elvi$ ~
I was certain that I had tapped into the 13th note (also known as the ‘forbidden scale’) when a haunting voice from within my head asked,
“What was the last thing the depressed composer wrote?”
“A suicide NOTE??” I replied in my mind.
“SEE SHARP or BE FLAT!’ The voice howled in daunting laughter, and I knew I was in pretty big trouble if even my own thoughts were completely buggin’ me out. And there’s no escape from that. I had gone too far into the light, I was about to die, fugget-about-it,
“Yeah, I’m not so sure about thiiis!’
I desperately called out to Mr. M.o.N.K. in a last attempt at salvation, and I literally heard my voice change and morph into puberty! I actually felt my soul grow up, right then and there.
And just like that—self-consciousness. For the first time in my young life, I experienced the electric sting of worry, and was instantly consumed by the realization that, oh my god… look at me, I think I might be the WEIRD KID!!!
Suddenly I was all nerves, picturing exactly how people saw me, and it dawned on me that I was really different from others my age. I was rapidly becoming more and more obsessed with having to become perfect in every way!
It was all happening so fast and my fresh squeezed brain could take no more so it just let go into blackness. The outside world blended together and became none.
And that’s the last thing I remember.
Until the gentle voice of Mr. M.o.N.K, guiding my imagination.
“And as alwaaays… listen for the M u s e…”
With the help from a distant Sitar, her whisper melted into the dizzying sound, coming directly from the Heavens. A supreme warmth unfroze my deepest fears and I knew I was being safely gripped in the palm of a giant hand. I saw a vision of her dancing on tiny bells, her voice composing a song just for me, telepathically touching my soul in a way that almost made me cry.
There’s no need to worry
That’s just wasting time
Remember no one’s perfect
You’ll be just fine
If you think you’re different
It’s only in your mind
Remember no one’s perfect
You’ll be just fine
It was exactly what I needed to hear—your thoughts can only come from YOU. And happiness is what you THINK, not what you do.
I have since learned that she has traveled around the world throughout time, searching for the open ear that hears her delicate messages.
And she has time for everyone.
Most musicians have mistaken her for their own insanity.
In fact, her name is where we get the word… MUSic
From the ancient Greeks.
She inspired man to recognize beauty and then create it for himself AND others.
It is the arts that point it out to us—all the magic of human life that we might fail to see otherwise.
Now, having heard the glorious melody of the M u s e, I finally realized what they meant by the term ‘heart of creation.’ And you really do have no choice but to follow its beat wherever you go.
And after all I had just experienced, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up!
My subconscious instantly called out to tell Mr. M.o.N.K. the big news, and in that moment my mind hit rewind; the whole night flashed before my ears; and I very clearly ‘remem-heard’ all the original music I had absorbed throughout the entire evening.
I began dreaming about what was divine in music today…
Well… the biggest hits are nursery rhymes for adults—that teach nothing.
Kids used to want microphones to SCREEEAM!!!
Cuz they had a voice.
Now we want micro phones to talk.
And we got nuthin’ to say.
They used to compose poetic lyrics that changed the flOw of the wOrld.
Now we like… you know, type updates, on like… our status and stuff.
Safe to say, my generation is in a sacred slump.
Why do you think they call it art WORK? You have to put the time in. You gotta finesse it. You gotta stress it.
Do you know what we used to have? Not even that long ago, before television created the… American ‘Idles.’
TELL A VISION created American Revolutions!!
You hide the message in the music.
Some say, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
But songwriters know,
The piano is mightier with the word.
What can only be sung, comes from a terrifying place of spiritual contact, channeled through helpless artists who believe in the ancient craft, trusting their ((inner)) voice above all else.
When source is vibrating the airwaves it connects -soul to soul- all who are around, gives them the answers, and lifts them UP.
P O W E R
Yet today, famous ‘musicians’ don’t even play INSTRUMENTS anymore!
THEY’RE ALL A BUNCH OF ‘ph0nies!!’
This realizational nightmare was finally too much to handle and it popped my eyes wide open. After what felt like eternal time stoppage in space-land, it became clear that I had been completely lost in the ecstatic realm of creation that musicians, writers, and athletes know as being ‘in the zone.’
I may have been the very first to come out of Tin Pain Alley with a soul!
Looking down, I found myself carrying the tape recorder and knew just what to say. Holding it up high, I called out directly to the Gods…
MAKES THE MUSE SICK
But I was absolutely shocked to hear the LOW voice that came out of my throat—I was now a full-grown TEENAGER!??
You literally heard me grow up right before your very ears.
And even more bizarre, it had been a decade since I had last seen Mr. M.o.N.K, and here I was, right back on his block.
But it only took a split second before I remembered exactly why I was once again walking up to that brick building with enormous statues of instruments on the roof. Why I was now standing on the familiar porch again, and ringing that magical doorbell…
THIS was my song!
One that will hopefully…
Re-ignite our once superior ‘popular’ culture.
Encourage the quality controllers again.
Liberate the weirdo originals again!
Be the STRANGE you want to see in the world!!
Show brave culture-reformers that they are not alone!!!
Begin something… let me think of a meaningful word…
M A G N A N I M O U S
And I was finally about to share it with the man himself.
So, congratulations class, you are now prepared to learn the great secret of music…
Mr. M.o.N.K. discovered a way of listening to instruments that will forever change how you hear music. Like I said, he believes they speak through their ‘SOUL-Os’ and trust me, they have a lot more to say than you ever imagined. So if you thought your first lesson was bonkers, wait til you hear what’s next!
Until then, I will leave you with a question…
Is there any hope for creativity?
If most folks accept that ‘good artists borrow, but great artists steal.’
Or they continue to have the self-limiting belief that ‘it’s all been done.’
And yes, it is terrifying to be the very first, the radically different from whatever came before. The only.
But that’s when YOU…
The Loneliest Minds of New Kind