YOUR VOICE

February 8, 2019

Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State
©2019 Singin String Publishing, ASCAP

In the late 1930s, Sylvia Daniels was riding in a car that became out of control when the driver hit the brakes on gravel. As a result of the accident, she lost her voice - she could only whisper. As well as becoming the brunt of bullying and teasing, she became the most popular girl in her high school. She had a big heart and she truly cared about people. That was my mom.

After about a year, her voice gradually returned and she met a better driver - Hanford “Hank” Fisher, my dad. They went on to produce first Kay, then Mike, then me. Having lived through the Depression, dealing with challenging hardships, they instilled in their kids the importance of basic principles like honesty, humility, frugality, kindness, and hard work. They spoke to us. They cared. They used their voices.

In 2019, we are in a world where the suicide rate is climbing by as much as 58% per year in the United States. The main reason for that is increased opioid use. But why do so many feel the need to escape? Why is life so painful for so many? Why don’t more people know better than to start misusing drugs or alcohol? Or why don’t they care?

In 2019 we are experiencing the sixth mass extinction. Are you or anyone you know aware of this? Do you care?

“A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research. Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost. They blame human overpopulation and overconsumption for the crisis and warn that it threatens the survival of human civilization, with just a short window of time in which to act.” [The Guardian]

I believe the main reason for most of the problems we have as humans are the result of parents not being vocal enough with their children. When you are addicted to the pursuit of money, sex, alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, or any combination of these things, your attention to the needs of your children can be secondary. What the child feels is a disconnect - a lack of caring, a lack of love and direction-giving nurturing. That is hell to a child. Give me a fix! And with the observation that life is becoming extinct, what does it matter?

I recently spent time in Hawaii, on the island of Maui. One day a couple came to visit me and my host, Bruce Turnbull. At the end of an hour’s conversation, one of the visitors said, “We came up here hoping to find some light.” That statement took me by surprise. I didn’t know how to respond. Suddenly I felt inadequate as a source of anything valuable or useful.

Later that day, on the way to some adventure, we stopped by a grocery store. As the young man loaded my bag, he said, “Don’t be afraid to shine your light.”

OMG! There it is again! It was then I really began to take notice that many Hawaiian locals seem to be happy and generous with their smiles and good vibes. I asked about the meaning of the word, “ALOHA.”

“The word is found in all Polynesian languages and always with the same basic meaning of: love, compassion, sympathy and kindness.” [Wikipedia]

Aloha is the ongoing theme and message of Hawaii. What a great thing! Hawaii has the highest life expectancy of any of the states in America! Why? The answer needs to be at least partially attributed to the thread in Hawaiian culture that forms the fabric that joins these people: aloha… love, compassion, sympathy, and kindness. It is their way of being. It is how they are raised.

For centuries, Polynesian travelers fought and struggled over land ownership and power. One great person came along who decried that this fighting shall no longer be allowed in Hawaii. He was big, powerful, and caring. “As ruler, Kamehameha took steps to ensure the islands remained a united realm after his death. He unified the legal system. He used the products collected in taxes to promote trade with Europe and the United States." [Wikipedia]

I recently began taking vocal lessons in Indian classical singing from Richard Russell, who studied under The great Indian sarode maestro, Ali Akbar Khan. The basic practice is singing one note, held as long as possible, in perfect tune and without wobbling or waver. After about ten minutes of doing this, the hope is that the student will begin to recognize a union with spirit, with the Creator. When this happens, an already-existing, but newfound voice appears, along with a new reason for sharing that voice with the world.

Do we all need to stand and let our voices be heard? Do we all need to find our hiding aloha and share it everyday with the people we encounter?

What could possibly be more important than your voice?

In the words of my friend, world famous sculpture, Bruce Turnbull, “When my thoughts are gentle and my hands are unhurried, there is wisdom in my work. This is the stuff with which we grow and nurture humanity toward new life and higher purpose… new colors of darsh and snowen and emmerdine. New forms of mobius abstracts and new dancers without the need to touch the ground. Why hop with wings folded when you can fly? Why be content to collect pebbles when you have found gold? Now go beyond the enchantment of my art… look for the unknown… transcend… FLY!”

What could possibly be more important than YOUR VOICE?

OUR VOICE!

COLLABORATION

November 24, 2018
Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

©2018 Singin String Publishing, ASCAP

collaboration | kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n |

noun

1 the action of working with someone to produce or create something.

• something produced or created by collaboration.

Musician: “I just finished a new song, wrote it, recorded the drums, keyboards, guitars, bass guitar, backup vocals, and lead vocals, mixed it, mastered it, all by myself!”

Rog, Ray Schaefer, and Roger Fike

Rog, Ray Schaefer, and Roger Fike

Right, I know how it is, sometimes one has no other choice than to tackle it all, wear all the hats, and it’s fantastic that anyone these days, for very little money, can produce a world class result. Trouble is, if you don’t have all your waking hours to devote to this level of demand, your musicianship will likely suffer. It’s one thing making the music product. Then it needs to be marketed. Marketing alone can consume most of one’s available time. WE NEED PEOPLE!

Michael Shrieve, Mike Derosier, Rog

Michael Shrieve, Mike Derosier, Rog

Looking through the history of your favorite music during your life, you’ll likely find that the music that hit you the deepest was borne of the melding of minds, at least two. But more likely, it was the struggle that took place between many people that wrought the virgin marble into a finished masterpiece of polished beauty. That finished work affects you on many levels - the result of the collaboration of DIFFERENT perspectives, some of which often clash. The opposition of various views and the necessary harmony involved in making them work together is what creates MAGIC. The opposition of various views and the necessary harmony involved in making them work together is what creates MAGIC. Right?

One of the most rewarding experiences during a concert for me is when, through whatever means, the artist or group clearly brings the audience together. Sometimes this feat is veiled behind the mask of command performances that illicit a common response shared by all in attendance. Sometimes it is spoken and made clear to everyone, “C’mon people now, let’s get together, try to love one another right now.”

The collaboration between performer and audience is sometimes overlooked by the performer, and despite incredible skill on the instrument; good songs; and a convincing light show, the crowd response is flat… crickets. What happened? Well, was there real communication from one heart/mind/soul to another? Or did the group merely go through the motions, eager to end the night and get paid?

Mike Derosier, Jerry Cantrell, Steve Fossen, Rog

Mike Derosier, Jerry Cantrell, Steve Fossen, Rog

Music is possibly the deepest, most important form of communication on the planet. Nothing about it can be underestimated, including the sincerity and adherence to REAL, and 100% INVOLVEMENT from the deepest part of the performers.

When you hear one of your favorite songs, you are stirred to the deepest part of your being in ways you have no words for. Why?

In my experience, I would answer, “I deliberately infuse the music I perform on stage or in the studio with intense emotion. To me, I have this chance, and this chance only, to perform this music the way it is meant to be played - with conviction and some kind of ineffable beauty and intention.”

These “vibes” are real, and they are absolutely included in the recorded or live-performed music.

Why is the music that Heart created over 40 years ago still popular today? Could it be that the songwriters genuinely chose to create worthwhile art that mattered, that made a difference in the lives of those who welcomed it into their souls? Is it unlike other “music” that was manufactured for the sole reason of making money? And were the musicians giving their best, most inspired performances? Hell yeah! We were in it for the right reasons. We collaborated. We walked the path that isn’t easy. We gave and took; we vehemently insisted, and other times, submitted, for a higher purpose. We, along with our producers, Mike Flicker and Mike Fisher were entrenched in creating harmony… MAGIC!

While writing the songs for the Fisher Brother’s 2018 release, HEART OF THE BLUES, I wanted flavors that I alone couldn’t come up with. I reached out to many musicians, telling them I’d like to write something with them. Some acted enthused, yet nothing materialized… no follow through. Others seemed unlikely candidates, yet great results were realized. All in all, the songs where collaboration was involved turned out as I’d hoped: the sum was greater than the parts, and surprisingly unexpected ground was covered, through whim, accident, and serendipity. I never would have come up with this stuff totally on my own.

COLLABORATION is the macro model for what helps the world be a better place. A marriage where collaboration is at a minimum is probably fraught with tension. A relationship where things have been discussed and agreed on is probably happy and thriving.

More than any other aspect of music, one’s ability to collaborate with musicians; audio engineers, producers; business people; and audience is what will bring the work to a mass audience. Some people feel it is the responsibility of the artist to make their work available to share with others… an opinion not always shared by the artist :-)

Often, an artist is so sheltered in their lone world of concentrated creativity and evolution that they become somewhat inept at social interaction, resulting in a tendency to not want to interact with others. This can be interpreted as arrogant; self-absorbed; narcissistic, and generally unattractive, undesirable. Maybe it is true that one’s craft shouldn’t be allowed to be one’s escape. Maybe communication is as important as the art or craft one is perfecting. Maybe it is true that together we stand - divided we fall. I think so.

Rog & Nancy Wilson. Our collaboration was great…

Rog & Nancy Wilson. Our collaboration was great…

COLLABORATION

IS

KEY!


YOUR SIGNATURE, PLEASE

September 22, 2018
Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State
©2018 Singin String Publishing, ASCAP
Roger Fisher Signature.png

Words are one of humanity’s most powerful tools. The way you choose them, use them, say and sing them, define how you are perceived by people. Musical instruments are one of humanity’s most powerful tools. It is amazing to travel the world speaking to all people in a “tongue” everybody knows! When one combines words with music, and present it in a way that is unique unto them, they have found a signature presence that is original and undeniable.

Enter: YOU.

One of the best ways of learning an art is to copy the Masters. The bar is set so high it seems impossible to ever be on that level. So you begin trying. Little by little, inch by inch, it doesn’t take long to see progress. Small victories become fuel on the fire which, if one can sustain focus and enthusiasm, becomes a blaze. When a striving person catches fire, knowing that they can achieve the seeming impossible, a crystallization process begins where the Universe provides the roads to that artist’s heart’s desires. “The world is at your command,” like John Lennon said.

But how does one go about creating a unique direction in their art? The answer is very simple.

I remember hearing that the crux of British musicians that were making it big in the ’60’s were hugely influenced by American music, especially the blues. They held the early blues artists in the highest esteem, recognizing the indelible niche they had created, having evolved deeply felt music out of the pain of their existence, which, for a large part, was slavery and the heritage of a murderous, cruel past. While holding those people high in my respect, I chose to, instead of copying and being directly influenced by... pretending that I had gone through the same painful experience, and what would that feel like? How would I play music with that kind of horrendous past? And so evolved my personal style, one that required a very deep feeling, be it joy, anger, pain, or love.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page.png

The Great Triumvirate: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Wow! When one looks at what they did with blues, it is recognized they took the foundation of a deeply felt song and created a version ingeniously imbued with art, the British sense of taste and humor, and dedicatedly-won technical skill. There is a thread of continuity of Spirit that runs from ancient Africa, through to the hands of these three, and many other players. That magical thread is what gives one goosebumps... that incredible feeling of both familiarity and empathy with something ineffable.

It’s a beautiful thing when one tells the significant other: “I’m going in my practice room now, don’t expect to see me for a few hours.” They shun their TV; phone; pets; exercise regimen; nap time, everything that could preclude them from taking the inspiration they’ve derived from an artist who once did the same, and evolve themselves artistically. Every artist, athlete, and otherwise accomplished person you’ve heard of have done this. Self-evolution can certainly be counted as a "raison d'être."

And no matter who you are, how old you are, what your health is, or how impoverished, it’s never too late to begin. The goal doesn’t need to include money, fame or power, it can simply be: “I want to prove to myself, I CAN DO THIS!” And the “THIS” can be something as simple as meditation. So you hold that vision. Your thoughts always steer to your direction. You gain an inch every day. There will be times you simply forget, and get caught up in the trials and busy-ness of life. But you remember and come back. Slowly, steadily, little-by-little, bit-by-bit. What a wonderful, fulfilling feeling...VICTORY!

Fisher Brothers.png

But how does one go about creating a unique direction in their art? The answer is very simple. I chose to take a different direction than the Great Triumvirate. I chose something that was borne from my own feelings. I took “The Road Less Traveled.”

Try this: in practice, find things you’ve never heard before, especially sounds that are challenging. When you land on something, perfect it. Let it become a mantra that you repeat until it is permanently affixed in your playing. Find another and do the same. Keep this up awhile and you’ll find yourself not sounding like anyone else. There you have YOUR SIGNATURE.

Roger Fisher and Robert Johnson.png

VISUALIZE

June 8, 2018
Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

I wanted to write a song for a group bro Mike and I are producing - BORN TO FLY, a very good band that features Carol Ann Wood on lead vocals. Brian the guitarist also sings well, and the two of them trading storylines in a song appealed to my imagination.

Rog sitting in with BORN TO FLY

Rog sitting in with BORN TO FLY

So, that ancient question: “How do you write a song?”

Like Budgeron, Richard Bach’s ferret writer said, “Don’t think; don’t care; have fun.”

Instead of thinking and agonizing over achieving perfection, what if you “empty the glass” and watch, with a quiet mind what fills it up? What if you have a general - definitely not specific - idea of what you want, and then, with faith that it will be there, wait.

Before hot tubbing, Rog always takes a dip in the pond...

Before hot tubbing, Rog always takes a dip in the pond...

I pictured her face and the sound of her voice. I pictured her bubbly personality, and how she would respond to the first verse of the song. I pictured Brian singing an almost country song that spoke of misunderstanding and mutually-agreed harmony.

My favorite place to stretch the bod and meditate is the hot tub. So I’m lying back, looking at the trees, hearing the pink noise of the waterfall,* and boom! Happy! There’s the song title. And the words easily flowed:

© 2018 Words and music by Roger Fisher Singin’ String Publishing, ASCAP

HAPPY

You shoulda seen the look on my face

       male voice

As you walked out the door you slammed
My best intentions down with your

Misconception that I could have done more
What more can I do

Than visualize you

       harmony

Happy healthy wise and wealthy

Happy healthy wealthy and wise

female voice

If only you could read my mind

As I walked out the door
You’d know I always try
To be helpful with your
Most unlikely ambitions
Need I say more
Yes I’ll give you your space
And hope that you’re

      harmony

Happy healthy wise and wealthy

Happy healthy wealthy and wise

     female voice

Do you treasure the time that you have to give

      male voice

Do you live to work or work to live

    female voice

Have you forgotten the person you truly are

   wow moment Solo

In your quest for success and becoming a star

    to each other

If only we could be our best influence

Time after time

Maybe we’d see improvement
In melody and rhyme
And maybe our vision would greatly improve
If we focused on harmony rhythm and groove

    harmony

Happy healthy wise and wealthy

Happy healthy wealthy and wise

After the words were written, it seemed to address certain people in my life - perfectly. I hadn’t intended that... funny how this stuff works. Kind of takes us back to the idea that in addition to intellectualizing, maybe we should be visualizing.

An interesting author who borrows my eyes from time to time speaks about holding on to the vision of what you want manifested in your life. Mike Dooley suggests that, rather than envisioning owning a "1950 Ford flathead eight”, one might have better fortune by envisioning a “sweet old car I can fall in love with.” And if you are concerned about HOW you’re going to get it, FUGEDABOUDIT.

Wondering how is not visualization. That’s similar to, when you’re meditating, if you try not to think, that’s not meditation.

If you’re trying to figure out how to write a song, good luck! “The answer my
friend, is blowing in the wind.”

When I was in third grade, I felt a big “crush” for Gwen Schmitt, so I prayed that we could be sitting next to each other. She was older, and the chances for us sitting together were slim. Guess what? She flunked that grade and the next year, there she was, sitting next to me! By that time I was no longer interested.

Funny how this stuff works.

Sister Kay, Brother Mike, & Rog

Sister Kay, Brother Mike, & Rog

When we were the age to be in Little League baseball, I had a healthy imagination. Part of our house was an exposed solid concrete wall with an area of grass in front. I would spend hours there, throwing the ball against the wall, imagining whole ballgames - every pitch, every strike every ball, every hit, every out until the game was over. Of course I was the up-and-coming best hitter, best fielder, you can see where this is going. I WAS THE HERO! And so it was in other tangents of visualization. I needed to be the hero. So when the Beatles came along there it was... I wanted to be a musical hero like they were for me. I wanted to thrill people to the depth of their souls, wanted to write songs that moved millions. So bro Mike and I lived and breathed music. Slowly, bit-by-bit, we manifested various levels of success, climbing a mountain of belief with joy in the effort that eventually worked. Probably would have been a good idea to not envision all those lovely women.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” Well, yeah... if you are obsessed with the possibility that you may get in a severe car crash, that preoccupation will eventually, probably manifest just that. And if you’re a child that lives the dream of being a big star someday, it seems the chances of that happening are greatly improved. Why?

Have you ever been around someone who seems to know everything? Gets old real fast.

Maybe this universe of time and space is more malleable than we realize. Maybe there are so many alternative parallel universes that whatever we wish for CAN BE - just a matter of being tenacious - maybe believing is seeing.

But instead of asking why or how, one should ask what gets in the way of effective visualization. Compare: person A has a focused vision of driving their favorite car; they live in the house of their dreams, eating the finest foods, drinking the finest wine, attracting a beautiful mate. Person B has a mind (and probably mouth) that runs rampant, with little control over it. Person A will probably eventually live the life they imagine, while person B constantly plays catch-up, struggling to get everything done, struggling to be happy, struggling with chaos.

It seems the key relies on something similar to what I described in a previous blog, well worth reading: BASH.

If you think about it, it seems everything that exists, every invention, every innovation on any scale was first imagined, or if not, happy accidents led to the evolution of an idea or experiment.

You puzzle over how to solve a specific dilemma. You wonder and wish. Within an hour, day, week... whatever, the solution pops into your mind. “THAT’S IT!” The answer is clear when it happens, same with the best lyric or melody or odd chord added to the progression. It pops in. In other words, you are not in control here. It all comes from somewhere that nobody can name. The fact that some people are more productive conduits than others is because those people empty the glass and ask that this vision be fulfilled. And they don’t let up. Day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade, whatever it takes. Tenacious visualization is powerful.

When this song comes out and you hear the chorus, you’ll likely not be able to get it out of your head, which is a good thing because “HAPPY HEALTHY WEALTHY AND WISE is one of the best phrases I can imagine that you ever visualize...funny how this stuff works.

 

 

 

* The difference between white and pink noise is this: pink noise is random, like ocean waves crashing, or waterfalls. White noise is manmade, all frequencies between 20 and 20K Hz at the same intensity. This is used in scientific studies; recording studio calibration, etc.