The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

JCHRants

A compendium of musings on music and this business we call show

Palmolive Lockdown

Night before Fall Tour 2014 kicks off in Vancouver, BC. We discuss hand care, real Canada vs. Vancouver, performance spoilers and Tim Hortons.

RCBig weekend coming up in Vancouver. First show. Excited?

JCHYeah, I’m pretty excited. So I’m on Palmolive Lockdown.

RCPalmolive Lockdown?

JCH(Laughs) yeah, it’s where I start taking care of my hands–like Madge in those old TV commercials.

RCI don’t think anyone under fifty will get it.

JCHWell, maybe they watch Mad Men. Anyhoo. It means wearing gloves. Not digging in the garden. No fishing. Gardening Trying to remove paint to with my fingernails. That sort of thing.

RCSounds serious.

JCHIt is. It sounds so sissy and it’s really bitten me in the ass for decades. I used to sound different night after night because one night I would be playing with my fingernails and the next night I’d break a nail and changed my technique and then I’d bust something else and then play without nails it all and I would be like “don’t worry about it”. But…

RCBandleaders would get upset?

JCHLet’s just say that it’s completely reasonable to expect that people who work for you, who you’re paying good money putting up in nice hotels will be consistent. Unless you’re in a band where “creative expression” is where it’s at, you need to serve it up. I envy guys [...]

Are We Ready To Throw Down?

A status report on the upcoming Fall Tour 2014, including reminiscing on Detroit House Music, college and Robin Williams [...]

Why So Serious?

Over the years, I’ve gotten into an ever-increasing number of serious flame wars (I guess even this speaks volumes. The youth of today don’t ‘flame’ because not much goes beyond 140 chars.) But I’m already digressing…

Several acquaintances/colleagues in the Progressive Rock community have finally gotten fed up with my emphasis on the ‘serious’ nature of high-level music making. Relax. Don’t take it all so seriously. This is awkward of course. It causes me to opt out of various ‘networking opportunities’ (festivals) where I know this attitude prevails, but it also makes it hard because I value the friendship of everyone in our little world. It’s sort of like politics: we all should be able to disagree in good conscience, but of course, that’s easier said than done.

Progressive music has had a pathological insecurity complex since he late 70′s. The whole genre got beaten to shit and unceremoniously kicked to the curb first by critics (who never liked prog) and then by fans who made a clean sweep of pretty much everything good, bad or indifferent around 1976. No need to revisit that well-worn newsreel. But the after effect has been a lingering PTSD of such severity for musicians that nobody wants to come across as having anything approaching ‘serious’ pretensions. This has had the completely predictable effect of creating music that cannot be taken seriously.

Take a look at the press release for any Prog album release. Where they discuss the [...]

First Prize Is Two Tickets To Wagner. Second Prize?

Four tickets. :D I love that joke.

A discussion of the current state of music theatre in general and the opera Detroit

I just got my complimentary ticket for the annual ‘Wagner Competition’. I still receive stuff like this for some tangential reason because the Seattle Opera was one of the places I got a bit of money to write Detroit The Opera. And that reminded me. Now that some time has elapsed, I’ve been meaning to mention a few things regarding ‘Detroit’ as well as the state of music drama in general. I’ve been reluctant to talk about this stuff until now for fear of burning bridges. Well, that boat has sailed. If burning bridges can sail (on a sea of chocolatey metaphors.)

Like all arts organisations, the Seattle Opera faces an existential crisis. It has been led by Speight Jenkins for so long no one can remember ‘life before Speight’. But now he is 80 and leaving and everyone is nervous. You can see this in their schedule for the new year. All the hits: Puccini, Mozart, etc. They have no plans to do anything more adventurous for the next couple of years. That is certainly one way to handle uncertainty: circle the wagons.

Other companies, such as the once great New York Public Opera went in the other direction, trying to do shows with such lofty themes as ‘The Tragedy Of Anna Nicole Smith’ and [...]

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