YOU JUST HAVE TO LAUGH

November 10, 2017

Recording Studio - Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

I was telling some friends the other day that when I die I… wait, I’ll finish that sentence later.

The prospect of war has been rearing its head a lot lately, not only in the context of Syria and North Korea, but many other places. Today, for example, Saudi Arabia declared war on Lebanon, or so the leader of the Hezbollah claimed. Wars shape the present and future of the human race.

From World War I:

  1. The sanitary napkin - Kotex
  2. Facial tissue - Kleenex
  3. Sun lamp
  4. Daylight Savings Time
  5. Wrist watch
  6. Vegetarian sausage
  7. Zippers
  8. Stainless steel

From World War II:

  1. The Jerrycan
  2. Pressurized cabins
  3. Radio navigation and landing
  4. Penicillin
  5. Synthetic rubber and oil
  6. Radar
  7. Microwave oven
  8. Jet engines
  9. Nuclear power
  10. Computers

During World War II, women were given new privileges, like being able to have a job. "If you can drive a car," the government said, "then you can run a machine.” Women were the backbone of the economy. They built the ships, planes, and guns. They dealt with heavy machinery. This new perspective of women-as-equals opened the door for a brighter future for womanhood.

The war helped end (or so they thought) discrimination against African Americans. As the war progressed, stores of white owners changed their signs of "No Help Wanted" to "Help Wanted". At first, the white owners didn't want any African Americans working in their stores, but as many white men went into the war, there was more work assistance needed. That helped many African Americans earn a job and when they began to work, they earned the respect of being able to work like any other person. Also, more than a million African Americans were enlisted and many were also drafted. In the war, they fought with pride and courage. This finally convinced President Truman to end segregation in the Armed Forces in 1948.

The benefits of war throughout history are many and hugely important to humanity today. I believe it’s possible that a new kind of war could save us from the dreadful direction we seem to be headed now. What the world needs is a common foe. Sure, we already do: global warming; potential pandemic; pollution; scarcity of resources, etc. But what if we had to arm ourselves for an impending collision with an object that would undeniably “TAKE US OUT?”

All the countries of the world would have to share information, skills, resources, assets, military secrets, corporate secrets, everything possible to create a weapon so powerful it could knock this thing out of the sky. We would have to establish a means of global cooperation and government that would allow us to focus on the task-at-hand. If we failed to do this, it would be over. We would have to improve communication, travel, infrastructure, and health for all people. And with the resources of the combined assets of the world, we could guarantee every human being, and all life on the planet, a more supportive, nurturing existence.

And you’re thinking that I’m an idealistic pipe dreamer? I just have to laugh. I’m envisioning a bright future, and how that might be possible. :-)

So, during your day, when something in your computer glitches and foils your attempts to meet the deadline of the project you’re working on; when you’re driving and some knucklehead cuts in front of you, almost causing a wreck; when you’re innocently walking through the kitchen and painfully stub your toe, do you get really pissed off and mentally and/or physically retaliate? Do you think or say, “FUCK!” Do you wish others harm? In my old-age wisdom, I’m learning, “you just have to laugh.” I mean, what can you do? What is a positive way of handling crap?

The live-performing musician, at some point, will have to learn that you can’t draw attention to every thing that goes wrong, or is extremely undesirable during a performance. That’s OK and even necessary in some scenarios, but challenges happen so often, one learns how to carry on as if nothing happened. After the show, in the dressing room, the musicians look at each other and… you just have to laugh.

The Fisher Brothers experimented creating a prototype festival that we hope to someday tour, Moonfest. We did Moonfest 2012, 2013, and 2014. Turns out the Olympic Peninsula isn’t the easiest place to draw people to, given the need for ferry-travel from the mainland, which proved a wonderful training ground for building what we have in mind. Despite this, our concerts were wonderful events, loved by all who attended.

At Moonfest 2014, a perfect “storm” occurred. The event took place adjacent to lovely Lake Leland, a short drive from Quilcene, a quaint town on the Hood Canal, in Washington state. Roger Fisher and The Human Tribe were scheduled to go on shortly after dark. It had been a warm, comfortable day, partially sunny. As soon as the sun set, moisture from the lake got thick in the air and condensed on virtually every surface, guitars; microphones; drums; and MIXING CONSOLES. Suddenly, both the frontof-house consoles and on-stage monitor console were running themselves, changing volumes, channel assignments, generally creating complete havoc for the sound engineers and band members.

This delayed our performance… a lot. It is extremely uncomfortable to be ready to play, standing on stage in front of an expectant audience and then WAIT. It went on so long, we finally said, “OK, we’re gonna have to just start and do the best we can with this.”

Photo by Michaela Fisher

The moisture on my guitar necks was like glue. I had to try as hard as I could to eek out an almost-acceptable sound. Our in-ear monitors were completely wacked, completely distracting and debilitating. Our drummer’s in-ear mix was unusable, so because we didn’t have audible amps or vocal monitors on stage, he couldn’t hear the band! IT WAS HELL! (Rick did admirably well, by the way).

So there I am, performing, struggling for my life, and…SMILING. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I can laugh now, but at that moment, I simply wanted it to be over. While it was happening, I felt so embarrassed, humiliated, disempowered that I just had to laugh. There was nothing that could be done. Our band members soldiered through it, a testament to their strength and professionalism.

That was a lesson I’ll never forget. I’m confident I’ll never be tested like that again, although it is truly amazing that, no matter how carefully one prepares, tries to see all the pitfalls before they occur, “shit happens.”

Like war. Sure, humanity has been riddled with a history of hostilities and atrocities, but when do we evolve out of that madness? Can’t we see the wisdom of embracing a lighter side to achieve peaceful relations between each other? We each are a microcosm of the big picture. We are each a country in a world. Our skins are our borders; our brains are our governments; our thoughts are our actions toward all the other “countries” around us. So if we begin by thinking more positively about EVERYTHING, we are creating a better world.

Get Together - by the Youngbloods

Love is but a song to sing
Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Right now
Right now

So, in order to have any semblance of peace and happiness in one’s life, no matter the circumstances, being able to assume a light side is very valuable.

I was telling some friends the other day that when I die, I don’t want to be groveling for another couple weeks, days, or minutes; I don’t want to be begging for forgiveness; I don’t want to be miserable.

Photo by Michaela Fisher

I WANT TO LAUGH. And that’s what I intend to do :-) I mean, what’s the worst that could happen… DIE?

L O L !

BASH

October 28, 2017

Hotel Room - Portland, Oregon State

 

Don’t you wish you had a friend that would be there to help you in every

circumstance, no matter where or what? A friend that could give you peace

of mind; put your body at ease; give you confidence, and instill you with clarity? You do.

It was roughly 1970 when our group Heart (Ken Hansen, Ron Rudge, Gary Ziegleman, James Chirillo, Steve Fossen and myself), played at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington state. At that point we were a mostly original band, with some unusual, ambitious musical slants. We were all young and this concert was a big deal to us. The intensity was compounded by the fact that we were the opening act for Buddy Miles. Not long before, Jimi Hendrix had died, and his parents were present, as they knew Buddy because he’d been Jimi’s drummer for awhile.

So the pressure in my mind was helping me get nervous to the point where it was just too much. I had just met Buddy and band, and was leaning against the wall outside the dressing room, watching people stream in to the venue. My heart was racing, filling my body with adrenaline, after a bit I thought, “This is not fun... this is too much... I don’t like this!"

So, taking a long, deep breath, and feeling how good that felt, took another and then another, realizing that focusing on just breathing slowly and deeply was really making me feel better. Then I GOT IT! Having felt the heart rate slowing, the realization that now, less adrenaline was streaming through the body, made everything seem manageable. “I can do this!”

“Ladeez and gentlemen... HEART!”

Walk out onto the stage, right up to the front edge, stand there and look at the thing I had been so worried about - the audience. “Shit, this is just a bunch of people, why am I so afraid?” Turned around, went to my amp stack, turned it up and KICKED ASS!

Owning the power from adrenaline, one can do pretty cool stuff. Quite different than being debilitated by it. Our band was so good that night, we got three encores. Pretty good for an unknown band opening for a world-class act.

The seeds of “BASH” were planted that night. I never forgot the lesson, but knew it wasn’t enough.

Photo by Michaela Fisher

Enter... CAT.

If you have a pet, you’ve probably experienced what they do when they go outside first time in the day. What I’ve seen makes perfect sense: get outside the door, stop. Look around, slowly. Ears twitching all directions, listening for predators or prey. Eyes embracing the whole picture to pick up on any movement. Sniffing repeatedly for any hint of danger or food. Your cat is 100% aware, as if its life depends on it. It does, and our lives depend on awareness, too.

Enter... BASH.

Photo by Michaela Fisher

It’s an acronym I made for remembering an important thing to anyone who faces high pressure, intense moments - anyone who needs to be able to settle and perform, no matter what.

I rehearsed today with a group of kids, Ashleigh Seifert, Morgan Collumbine-Robertson, Cameron Castillo, Abigail Cross, Victoria Garcia, William Madzier, Max Hobi, and their instructor, Brian Robertson at The Youth Music Project in Portland. We were getting ready for a performance at the World Of Speed Museum, where the YMP had a gala fundraising event.I rehearsed today with a group of kids, aged roughly 12 to 16 at The Youth Music Project in Portland. We were getting ready for a performance at the World Of Speed Museum, where the YMP had a gala fundraising event. At rehearsal I explained to them that making music is one thing, entertaining is quite another, and that in order to have an audience buy tickets, you need to entertain them. Then I asked if any of them were nervous. Every one said, “YES!” I told them that I would be too, but that adrenaline is our friend, and we will use it to empower us.

We all know the importance of carefully tuning our instruments and playing in tune, but don’t forget to tune the most important instrument, YOU.

“You guys, I’m going to tell you something you will use the rest of your lives, and it will be your constant, helpful friend.”

B stands for breathing. Take as deep a breath as you can and slowly let it out. Mmmm, that feels good. Now do it again, not quite so deep, but feel goodness with the inhalation, and goodbye to toxins and waste with the exhalation. After a few breaths you will realize your heart has slowed down. Adrenaline is an incredibly powerful substance! We will own it tonight, not the other way around. By the way, what is the bottom line to performing live?” (Looks of bewilderment). “FUN! Yep, easy peasy.”

Then going on, “A is for awareness. Go, with your consciousness, to every part of your body - your toes; ear lobes; elbows; calves; every part of your body is filled with your awareness. Now let all tension go... every tiny amount of anything holding on... let it all go.”

When one practices this often during the day, the ability to appear calm, cool, and collected is attained, but it must be maintained with daily practice, like any other instrument.

Photo by Michaela Fisher

S is for seeing. “So we’re breathing deeply, filling our bodies with awareness, now see everything in your line of vision as one thing, giving no thought or significance to any single thing in the picture. You are completely aware of the whole picture with no thought. When a wild animal is in their natural environment, they have to be able to do this, watching for any hint of motion.”

H is for hearing. “Now LISTEN! Listen like your life depends on it. There can be no thought. We’re hearing everything there is to hear, and sustaining that concentration.”

I could tell my six bandmates got it. I was so proud to play with them. After our two rehearsals, there was a huge improvement. We were the closing act of the night, AND WE ROCKED Heart’s Love Alive!

Photo by Michaela Fisher

The event was great!

Taking place in the World Of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon, there were both silent and live auctions, an excellent dinner, and performances by the kids, all students at the 900-student-per-week Youth Music Project. YMP was created by Dave and Sally Bany, and invites ALL children, irregardless of income. It is a profoundly successful operation, instilling a sense of family and belonging in these kids, while providing a lifelong sense of direction.

The Fisher Brothers were asked to speak about the importance of music. After some enlightening words from the Magic Man, I told the story that changed my life:

“When I was 15, my new best friend encouraged me to join he and his little gang on regular night outings to break into houses. They were stealing fur coats, jewelry, cash and booze. We would then go to a school parking lot and get drunk. Of course we got caught. I was so sad to see the look on my mother’s face, she was so disappointed in me. The judge asked me what I had taken. I told him the only thing I ever took was an eight-ball from a pool table. He said, “Obviously, you were just hanging out with the wrong crowd. You’re free to go.”

On the way home, mom asked me what I’d like to do to fill my time. I asked her to rent me a guitar and amp.

My life has never been the same.

The fundraiser grossed $160,000, and I was very honored to be a part of it.

People are looking for ways to help our world. Music reaches the heart and soul like nothing else. Music was probably the first form of communication, it’s a universal language, and it’s more important in our world now than ever.

My life has been enriched beyond words by striving to understand lyrics; by striving to recreate what other talented people have created; by maintaining a way-of-life focus in becoming a better player, singer, and composer.

Music has rocked my life.

Yours, too.

LITTLE BY LITTLE

October 19, 2017

Recording Studio - Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

The struggle of any learning creature, whether it’s a fawn learning how to stand; a baby learning to talk; a young pianist, pawing at their craft; or a guitarist inching their way toward the ability to sing and play a song, is an evolutionary process akin to the dripping of minerals to form a stalagmite. From nothing comes - albeit slowly - something. And it doesn’t come without work. It’s not easy to learn how to walk. It’s not easy to be able to stand on a stage and command an audience... that is, until after you’ve learned how to. And it’s funny, because we can think about doing something, and it seems so very difficult, but then once we’ve conquered, it’s always, “Gee, that wasn’t so hard after all!”

So we keep climbing the staircase. Some people believe that if we do
nothing to improve, learn, or evolve in this lifetime, we just live it again and again until we realize there is a staircase to climb; a fight to be fought; a game to win. And some people believe that everything we’re doing here is mirrored in another dimension, another reality... implying that what we do in this life is REALLY IMPORTANT!
Still others like the idea that there is no reason - that nothing matters - that life is but a dream, so we can do whatever we want.  Simply be a silent observer in all situations and that’s enough.

Isn’t that the beauty of Life! Who can say they really know what’s going on?
And isn’t that part of the problem? According to scientists, every one of us
has all the knowledge in the universe in every cell in our body. And maybe
we all sense that. We all, deep down inside feel like WE know the truth.
And maybe we’re right. So we dig in and hold our ground; defend our
opinion; become entrenched on one side but not the other. We become
divided and have to defend our position. So there are these mental wars
going on between people all the time, maybe not visible in any way to
others. BUT... what if we all were way smarter than we know? What if we
knew each other’s thoughts and feelings, but didn’t know we knew? That
would explain “having a feeling about someone,” or “feeling someone’s
vibe.”

I remember coming home one day, seeing a few guys standing in front of
my recording studio. The instant my eyes landed on one of these guys, I
was filled with repulsion and warning. Wow! I was freaked out by this
person within one second of just seeing him from a distance! And it proved
to be absolutely correct, this guy was a weirdo... really a weirdo.

Photo by Michaela Fisher

I guess it’s up to the individual... what do you want from Life? Pleasure,
comfort, party and - repeat? That probably won’t work :-) Money, fame, big
car, big house, trophy wife? That probably won’t work :-) Seems to me what
works is BALANCE: the right amount of good food to give the right amount of energy to be applied to the right amount of work to provide the right amount of comfort, work, pleasure, and play. And I spend my time trying to live that balance without adhering to a routine. And of course, I fail, eventually, and have to learn from whatever that was that made me fail. And what is the goal? What is the ultimate goal in Life? The pursuit of happiness is one, for sure. The commitment of service to others is a good one. The ascension on the staircase is good, it keeps us striving, which is what Life is all about, right? But there is another goal we don’t get taught. It’s not a popular conversation. In fact, it’s unbelievable.


I think it was about 1969. Bro Mike and I were in our parent’s living room,
hanging out with good friends. Just sitting around talking, I noticed my
stomach growling. It increased with intensity, and after awhile, I heard my
friend’s stomach growling, too. Then a strange thing happened. I realized I
couldn’t tell if it were hers or my stomach growling. It felt like there was one
thing between us making all the noise. Then, suddenly, I knew what she
was thinking and feeling! And I knew she knew what I was thinking and
feeling! We both knew we were in each other’s bodies and minds! This
went on for about an hour. We went for a drive and, at one point in the trip,
she and I both, out of the blue, suddenly burst into tears. We’d both seen
something in her friend’s future that made us very sad... we knew he was
going to die prematurely. And years later, that proved to be true.

Anyway, I never saw her again, but have never forgotten that incredible
experience, knowing that humanity has some serious evolving to do. That
is one of the stairs on the staircase. And the funny thing is, there are people
you know who have secret abilities they’re not sharing. I think one would be
wise to think positive good thoughts about people as much as possible, and
always wish each other well, even if you don’t like them.


Life is such a wonderful mystery, a big playground to explore, a wonderful
place to be lost, and it seems most of us are, really.

The staircase.

Little by little.

 

FOSSEN

October 13, 2017

Recording Studio - Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

You can find them all over the world - some of the most exhilarating, awe- inspiring things you’ve ever seen. We’ve all been wowed by them, they seem to have a beauty that we all relate to in each our personal way... maybe because we are made of the same stuff - water. They are waterfalls, one of the most important phenomena on our planet. Why?

Photo by Michaela Fisher

I didn’t understand this principal until Linda and I built our koi pond in 2016. Designing as we went, I gave the waterfall a 5’ head, moving 4000 gallons- per-hour into a 5’-deep, 1800-gallon pond. Not real big, but big enough for me to get into up to my neck almost every day. That feat is made more bearable by my adored hot tub, which sits 10’ away. The 15 koi love me, by the way :-)

If you’ve ever been to Norway, you’ve probably seen more waterfalls than most people see their whole lives. In the area where my relatives come from, Åndalsnes, there are huge rock walls with every manner of waterfall adorning them... so many that after awhile one realizes the futility of excited exclamations. In this country a waterfall is called “foss.” Two or more are “fossen.” Fossen are responsible for cleaning the water and helping create an ecosystem in the creeks and rivers that supports life. This is how it works:

“Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.” ~WebMD.com

The excitation of water by the pounding waves at seaside, or at the base of a waterfall creates an abundance of negative ions in different molecular sizes. The small, nano-sized particles go into the air, creating that pleasant, refreshing fragrance we experience at the beach; after lightning; or at waterfalls. The larger molecules stay in the water, unbalanced, seeking to cling on to any particulate. As the particulates get heavier from all the added electrons, they too need to cling to something, which is why the rocks in rivers are always slippery - they’re coated with particulates that then decay and attract bacteria which eat them, thus cleaning the water. Waterfalls are an incredibly efficient cleaning system for our water! A hugely important thing!

Chlorine and fluoride are two poisonous chemicals most of us experience in our tap water. Neither are healthy for us and we should avoid contact with, and definitely not consume them internally.

I was approached by a Kangen Water representative summer of 2016, and was convinced I should try a machine that creates “ionized, alkaline water.” I asked, “What if, before the trial period has ended, I decide to return it?” The salesman told me he’d pay the $380 restock fee. I looked at his friend,

noting that he was witness to this, reached out my hand for a handshake and said, “DEAL!”

Photo by Michaela Fisher

Photo by Michaela Fisher

Well, discovering that I could get a similar machine for $1100 less, I returned the Kangen machine, which was being sold using a multi-level-marketing scheme. I knew that if I liked the effects, I wouldn’t be able to rave to my friends, because my incentive could be seen as profit-based, which was a deal-breaker for me. I had to be able to recommend such a machine purely for its health benefits. So even though they have an excellent product, and I was treated wonderfully by the Kangen people, I elected to go with a company that looked like the best alternative - Life Ionizers. Boy, did I make the right choice!! In return for a testimonial video, they promised me filters for life. Then, a few months ago, I asked if they wouldn’t mind donating one of their new machines to a friend who has colon cancer. Without hesitation, they said they would love to help, and promptly shipped one to her. Then, letting them know about another cancer-case friend, they are shipping another to that person. What a great company! If more companies showed in action that they care more about people than the almighty dollar, this world would be a better place.Well, discovering that I could get a similar machine for $1100 less, I returned the Kangen machine, which was being sold with a marketing scheme that was pyramid-based. I knew that if I liked the effects, I wouldn’t be able to rave to my friends, because my incentive could be seen as profit-based, which was a deal-breaker for me. I had to be able to recommend such a machine purely for its health benefits.

So here we are, over a year later. These are some of the experiences I’ve had drinking pure, ionized alkaline water:

When I put my pants on in the morning, it’s no longer painful to bend over and pull them up my legs.

When I walk down the stairs in the morning, I no longer need the rail, nor do my knees hurt.

After hours spent sitting at the computer, when I turn around, get up and walk away, there is no longer stiffness and pain.

But the biggie? I had been in pain for 18 months, as a result of shoveling and raking 11 yards of dirt for a new lawn. My shoulder was injured to the point where I actually had to cancel gigs. After this length of time, I had submitted to the idea that I would have this pain the rest of my life.

After 7 weeks of drinking the good water, the shoulder pain began to ease. After about 4 months, my shoulder was painless! THIS WORKS!

So I highly recommend using ionized, alkaline water. It will change your life for the better. And to think... we can thank the principle of FOSSEN!

ROW ROW ROW

September 29, 2017

Recording Studio - Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State  

What if there was a way all our pain could be perceived that would make it not so painful. What if there was a way of perceiving Life and the world that made it not seem so tragic. And what if you could actually influence things around you, as if by magic? Both of my parents have died. They had long, full lives so I wasn’t overly sad they died, because that’s what we all do. Our eldest daughter, Alicia died when she was 32 of diabetes complications. Our four-month-old son, Forest Rain died of SIDS. The most painful thing in my life was getting my heart broken. When that happened I wished that I would wake up and realize it was just a bad dream, that everything would be back to normal again.

The other day I was talking to somebody on Facebook. This person had recently been through a LOT. She was talking about religious views, that sort of thing. In the context of stories of some of the ugliest things we’ve encountered in Life, I told her of a Taoist story brother Mike had shared with me in 1967, written by Chinese philosopher, Chuang-Tzu. It goes like this: “Once upon a time, I, Chuang-Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chuang-Tzu. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again.

Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” So in response to the girl’s painful scenario, I asked her, “How do you know this is all not just a dream?” If this were all just a dream, one day we would all wake up and feel huge relief that all those horrible things hadn’t really happened. We would be so HAPPY! I’m asked often why I’m so happy in most the photos posted on Facebook. I usually say something like, “Well, we all have, every minute of every day, THE CHOICE.” Another answer is, I know a truth that is completely empowering and comforting, a truth that is so simple, so universal, it perfectly explains everything. It requires a certain amount of faith at first, but when embraced, it doesn’t take long to be proven as knowledge through the witnessing of amazing synchronicity, coincidence, and unexplainable serendipity. Bro Mike and I watch this constantly.

When we finally finish our book, BROS, we’ll tell story-after-story of instances the readers will find unbelievable. They happen to us all the time. It’s like magic. Now we are realizing that we have a lot of control as to what goes on here… a lot more than one would think.

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, LIFE IS BUT A DREAM.