2014 was a heavy year for me. I lost several friends in the last months of 2013 and early in 2014. David Kleiman, who became basically my godfather/college education, took me under his wing when I had no one and nothing but an existential crisis and a beginner guitar when I showed up in New York City at 18 years old. There will be another piece of music released soon that will go into more detail about the ways he saved my soul, so I’ll save it to that, but suffice to say here that his loss was crushing. I also lost Lou Killen, Bob Webb and David Lamb within the year. Every one of them far too young. And it made me think very hard about the relationships I spend my time on now. How much more time should I have spent with these wonderful people when I still could versus how much time I spend on people that just don’t give a fuck and probably never will. I lost my producer the day after David’s funeral, he texted me to say “I think I quit”. I could barely read it through the tears and in the midst of everything that was already crushed and bleeding, it all came into focus. Stop wasting time on the people who can’t, won’t, and dare not. Stop wasting time. There isn’t enough of it to waste, it could all end so soon.
So, the insane fireandbrimstone voice you’re in love with on this track is the great Robert Zeigler, my next door neighbor and a videographer/producer, Danny Motta on trumpet, Julio Amaro & Thor Jensen on acoustic guitars, and DLM on vocals, synth, bass, sequenced drums and percussion, piano, organ and mellotron.
Lyrical, Production & Music Notes
So much of this song comes from Bizet’s opera ‘Carmen’. The title, many of the lyrics, and the melody hook. I have no idea why Habanera is not a more popular piece of music, it’s brilliant.
I wanted to make references to tattoos belonging to two people very dear to me. One bird and one reptile, represented here as Eagle & Snake because I love Central American folklore and the legend of Quetzalcoatl and the very real differences between the typical religious “struggle between good & evil” with the more human (native) beliefs of “struggles between self vs. others” and “wisdom vs. nobility”. Societies that embrace polytheism in the form of natural gods have always been fascinating to me because they don’t lay the ultimate responsibility for the way things turn out on one g-d, but largely on themselves and their relationships to each aspect (g-d) of their lives- for example, if you are diligent about appeasing/honoring the needs of an agricultural g-d, your crops will flourish. It’s a beautiful living metaphor for the sense of personal responsibility that has become my own sort of religion.
For Rob’s parts, one hot-ass summer afternoon, several Coors Lights and a translator app later, we had filled in the gaps of the story with some of the poetry of Habanera.
This is one of two very heavily latin-influenced pieces on the album, and the piano was an attempt of mine to channel my nearly-obscene love for Cuban music and in particular, this guy…
Love Is A Rebellious Bird