2017 Gigography

Here is the list of concerts by Joseph Arthur in 2017.

Concerts in green are concerts with an existing recording.

If you own an audio / video recording of an "unavailable" concert, thank you kindly send me an email to whenyoucryyoureyesarehollow@gmail.com

2017-01-01 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2017-02-01 - One on One Session, Rebel Country, NYC
2017-02-02 The Delancey, New York, NY USA
2017-03-02 Lou Reed's 75th Birthday Celebration, Bowery Electric, New York, NY USA
2017-03-08 City Vineyard, New York, NY USA
2017-03-21 Gibson Guitar Showrooms, New York, NY, USA
2017-04-11 City Vineyard, New York, NY USA
2017-04-22 Live at Drew's, Ringwood, NJ USA
2017-05-12 FUV Bash 2017, New York ,NY USA
2017-05-23 Apollo Theater, Harlem, NY USA
2017-06-08 Irish Arts Center, New York, NY, USA
2017-06-18 RS tour "dress rehearsal" / One-On-One, Berlin, New York USA
2017-06-19 WFUV, New York, NY USA
2017-06-20 92.5 The River / River Music Hall, Haverhill, MA USA
2017-06-20 Great Scott, Boston, MA USA
2017-06-21 Sellersville Theatre 1894, Sellersville, PA USA
2017-06-23 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2017-06-24 Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA USA
2017-06-26 Space, Evanston IL USA
2017-06-27 Turf Club, St Paul, MN USA
2017-06-29 Music Box, Cleveland OH USA
2017-07-01 The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI USA
2017-07-11 Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA USA
2017-07-12 Brick and Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA USA
2017-07-14 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR USA
2017-07-15 The Triple Door, Seattle, WA USA
2017-07-28 Radio WOMAD session, Malmesbury, UK
2017-07-28 WOMAD, Malmesbury UK
2017-07-29 The Borderline, London UK
2017-07-31 Humphrey's, San Diego, CA USA
2017-08-01 Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2017-08-03 Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles, CA USA
2017-08-04 The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA USA
2017-08-05 Grand Theatre - Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, NV USA
2017-08-10 Revolution Event Center, Boise, ID USA
2017-08-11 Fox Theater, Spokane, WA USA 
2017-08-14 The Depot, Salt Lake City, UT USA
2017-08-17 Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO USA
2017-08-20 Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park, Flagstaff, AZ USA
2017-09-13 The Hotel Café, Los Angeles, CA USA
2017-09-20 The Hotel Café, Los Angeles, CA USA
2017-09-27 The Hotel Café, Los Angeles, CA USA
2017-10-14 Todos Santos Inn, BCS Mexico

to be continued..


Lost Songs

last update : 2017-08-31

From the most recent to the oldest, here are all the "lost songs" Joseph sows on his official website, on social media or at concerts.

And sometimes, they find their way by appearing on studio albums.

Little Renegades
Cry Cry (Save Yourself)
Butterfly Knife
Comeback World
Goodnight Maybelline
Shake It Off
Miracle Ride
Walking in Kosovo 
Midnight Dirt 
People Were Dying 
Outside Your Window 

You can find the lyrics of these songs and information at lonelyastronauts.com

Some songs are missing :

"Outside Your Window" is a very rare song that appears to be exclusive to the Songs For the New Album CD. This song has yet to find its way onto traders lists and is therefore practically unavailable.

"People Were Dying" was performed at Hoboken on 15 July 2004. No recording known to exist.

"Midnight Dirt" is a song mentionned by JA on a 2008 video interview for mog.com. He played a little bit of it and showed the lyrics but there's still no known recording.

"Popcorn" is a spoken song that Joseph made up and played live for the first time at the Stronghold, Venice, CA on 2 April 2010.

"Walking In Kosovo" is a song played live with Kraig Jarret Johnson, Scott McCaughey (keys) & Linda Pitmon in Mexico on January 2013.


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-30 Accidental Marathon

I Thought There’d Be More Rainbows
Trippy business

Coming to terms with certain things.

(In this day and age)

Trippy times indeed.

with a wink says the sage)

Seems like the world has done lost its mind.

Yet I won’t turn the page (or will I)

Or as this guy puts it.

The world is going from black and white into color.

(In my third eye)
Talking about having a message.
The spirit war is on.

It’s wild. It’s in full throttle.
I’m kind of ok with it.

What else can you be?

You have try to enjoy this life. Tho who are we trying to kid. This shit is rough and getting rougher.

Age of Aquarius

Is this what you are?

I thought there would be more rainbows.

And touch less bizarre.
Get my tone. I’m not sad.

I’m not even depressed.

A little mad.

A little stoned is all.
(Warning. Weed digression ahead)

My weed habit down to a few tokes from a clay pipe I bought off an Indian in Arizona.

I enjoy that my entire smoking regime, Is down to that. It’s a big accomplishment. Quitting Tobacco. Hardly effortless. Nicotine is another story. But no more vape. That’s amazing. No blunts. That’s too bad.

Blunts and spliffs are the hard things to give up. That tobacco weed mix. Some love it. Some hate it. Unfortunately I am of the former. But tobacco just can’t be let in a little. You can get away with sneaking one in an illusionary way. But the baccy is all or nothing. So it’s nothing.

And it’s my little clay pipe and few hits of weed at bedtime.
(End of weed digression, unfortunately heading into a drug digression)
Damn drugs

You took me on a fucked up ride.
Can’t believe I got all you all the way down to this.
This the new source of my pride.
Weed stopped being a gateway to the other bs once it became medicinal for cptsd.

But I think I’m largely thru that now. Which is why I don’t hit that shit all day.

Now I’d rather just run a few miles if I want day buzz.
Side note. (Aka exercise digression ahead)

I’m training for a marathon. Accidental marathon. It goes like this. Move to LA but don’t get a car. Just get some running shoes.

Today was a non running day but I still had to run five miles just to get something to eat.

Kinda genius no?

The other day I ran twelve miles. Never ran that far before. This pinched nerve is almost worked out and then I’m back to boxing with renewed zeal I suspect. Clearer lungs and marathon legs. Not bragging. Just scaring narcs and inspiring the good guys. )
Ok end of digression (think of them like road construction) or a writers secret weapon.
Back to narc land…
That’s right. It’s that overt at this point. This shit is getting all the way called out now in front of us. Shit is rapidly changing.

(The narc dynamic)
And I can try and stop writing this blog all I want but

If I’m gonna keep listening to these damn YouTube gurus well then I guess I’m gonna fuck up and write another blog post.
Because. I do have a message.

My blog I took down was four hundred plus pages. And I wrote that in just a couple months.

I’m gonna edit it and work on it. Write more. Make some YouTube clips. Be a voice for team non narc. Be a worker ant.
I love focusing on songs right now but I think it’s important for people who can be, to be open right now.

The world needs light.

And bravery.

The side of fear is….

Not winning but, too close for comfort.
And they got to me.

And they keep trying. But what happened is they actually encouraged me.

(Side note. About the way demons help spirit. If you choose spirit.

Because. They are too obvious with their intention. Once you wake up. Do overtly they try and shut you up that it just backs up the fact that of course you should not shut up. That your voice is actually powerful. That your spirit is worth fighting for. Why are they fighting for it? That’s a good question. Is the world just a game of capture the flag? And is your soul the flag?

It just may be. Maybe you should go on a run. Run with me. )

The removal of my previous blog isn’t me backing down. It’s me stepping up.

It’s me understanding that I really do have something to say hear and so I want to get it right. The way I say it.
Openness is light.
The way we pray for it.
I can turn my light on or off.
It’s clear that their are dark forces trying to break people down.
I’m thinking of Sinead

And that if she is being ostracized by her family she should get a new family.

The world is a complicated mess. If people make you feel less than or unwelcome. If people try to subvert you. Move along and dig into your dreams.

Understand that solitude is a gift and a beacon from whence you can fly. And if you make space. New family will arrive. New friends. Maybe people who can recognize you this time. It’s important to make the change and not believe in the messages people deliver thru their indifference.
(Weed digression recap)
Plus weed is best once a day. You can only really get high once a day.

I mean you can stay high. Or stay stoned but it’s a fun thing to save.
That was a stoned digression about being stoned.

That’s at least a little bit funny.
Except to the haters. The dark clouds. The predators.
(They discourage this kind of openness and have punished me for it. That didn’t work apparently. It fueled me. Remember flowers grow out of shit)
They are just reading for the purpose of digging up vulnerabilities to use as a weapon the way Indiana jones digs for gold skulls with snakes coming out of their eyes.
I don’t even really want to write about this shit anymore but it is facsinating this time and place in human play. The dynamics playing out.

Some people are predators.

(I don’t mean to the extent we all naturally are to survive)

I’m speaking of psychological predators.
Just like in the jungle. There are the hunters and the hunted.
What a slap it is to wake up to the fact that you have been the hunted. Even when you thought you were doing the hunting. (Sometimes)
What I want to say is just how trippy and kinda nightmare like it is to wake up to this dynamic and the way it’s increasingly playing out. (I thought this shit only happened in the movies?)
Like a swelling. The tension is mad right now.

It’s chaos going fast as lightning.
Age of Aquarius

I thought there’d be more rainbows.
Turns out the Age of Aquarius is gonna usher in with it some rough business.
The predators are restless.

Sloppy and obvious.
Or desperate I guess.
They should be.


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-29 Balance In The Storm

First I want to say that I’m sending all my love and strength to my friends in Texas.

The journey over the last year and a half or so of finding out about NPD and how it operates has been the most difficult challenge of my adult life.

It’s kind of funny in some way for me to consider that I really didn’t know people consciously operated this way until quite recently.

Now that fact is so obvious and plain that I’m stunned by my previous ignorance.

The truth is tho I’m still really “in” the process of recovery and as with any form of big healing I think there are phases and seasons.
Recovering from this is tricky because the people who get victimized by it have a natural blindness to it. So therefore to recover they simply must inundate themselves with endless information on it.
When you wake up to the fact that many have been duping you, and for your whole life, and often the people you trusted and loved most, you naturally set about a course of educating yourself that is, let’s just say… robust.
That’s natural. That makes sense. That’s survival.

And plus you are compelled in ways that are hard to describe unless you’ve been there.

The study of this becomes a natural obsession.

That also makes sense. That is also survival.

A balance needs to come in.

A balance needs to be struck.
You have to be vigilant

But you don’t want to live in a state of hyper vigilance.
You reach burn out and stop studying this shit. Stop thinking about it. But a kind of blindness returns. A built in mechanism which is designed to make life a softer thing than it actually is. But the predators take advantage of this lowering of your guard. Or the cognitive dissonance returns. And so you have to remind yourself of all of it again.
It doesn’t have to become obsessive again. Just a little reminder. A refresher course if you will. (For me I check back in with the videos and it’s like… oh yeah this bullshit.)
Complicated too because this study leads you into areas of meditation and manifestation. In recovery from narc abuse. Meditation becomes your corner stone. As does working towards manifesting a better reality.
What you focus on increases. That’s a truism.

So how then do you remain guarded enough, focused enough on the predator kind, without increasing their involvement or placement in your life? Without manifesting them in over and over?

How do stay focused enough without manifesting more of what you don’t want ?

Those that get victimized have a special blindness. They simply must educate themselves and focus on these behaviors if they want any chance of steering clear in the future from toxic ones.
I guess that’s a problem anyone faces when trying to deal with something tricky they’d love to just eliminate.
I feel like I can hear some of you say it.

find a balance.

That’s what I’m doing. What I’m trying to do. (It’s not easy in this. But as with anything else, time will dictate the way)

Here’s where I’m at.
I need to take space and time to put into music and my next album,

I have to focus my energy in that direction right now which is a good thing because it’s happening on its own accord anyway.

But I feel the need to explain my sabbatical from this blog.

In the end I wanted to and want to contribute to helping people survive from emotional abuse. Survive and thrive.

I still intend to do much work in this regard but right now that work is going into the analog world of my music. In the meantime there is endless resources on YouTube

(Sidenote. I like this guys channel a bunch. Jerry Graves. Just discovered it. This is just a random one I picked but he’s got lots of great info on how to deal with npd abuse and abusers.https://youtu.be/hzSxU-heOaM check it out!)
which I will still be dedicating significant time on towards my own healing. Also I feel the passing of time will enable me to communicate on this subject in a more wholistic way.
For now I’m working on taking it easy.

Take it easy.

I’m letting time move and rediscovering the original love that saved me originally, before I knew what many humans were actually like. Before I knew that I found music to protect me and heal me. At least as much as it could.

And now music is doing that again. Only deeper and stronger this time.
Namaste warriors of the light.
And if you’re in Texas. I’m thinking of you! Hang on! Stay strong! And carry on! 


2009-12-30 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia

Setlist :

can't let you stay
all the old heroes
watch our shadows run
could we survive
redemption's son
birthday card
too much to hide
honey and the moon
black lexus


2008-09-03 - Liberation, Paris

Here is the complete acoustic session at Liberation (a french newspaper)

Setlist :

turn you on
look into the sky


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-17 The Awakening Of America

Simply put.
America is at the discard phase.
But that’s a good thing.
Let me break it to you plain. We ain’t gonna quit Trump.

Trump is quitting us.

You can’t fire me cause I quit type of deal is coming.
I have no doubt Trump is the racist he’s showing us he is but I think race or confederate solider statue loyalty? isn’t the reason Trump is driving the short bus of his presidency off the cliff.
He’s doing that to distract us from Russia.

And also I imagine he legit lost control (narc injury/rage) but this is a classic narc at discard dynamic.
That point in the relationship when you can’t believe they are doing what they are doing.

That point where you scratch your head and think “well that doesn’t even make sense for them”

Or else you think

Can’t they see how easy this is to see thru?

But they double down on the insanity when pushed.

I watched this happen time and again in my personal life when I woke up to this dynamic and just how prevalent it was.

As soon as suspicion arises. The temperature in the room changes.

The narc injury lands. The narc rage comes. And if you all agree to forget about it ..

that Genie just goes back in the bottle and you agree to be subjugated in this unspoken way again.

However if your eyes are starting to open and the idea that whoever the person is who is supposed to have your back is actually trying to drive you crazy, stress you out, keep you afraid, keep you confused, keep you angry and reacting, and keep you guilty. So that you will be small and afraid. And addicted. And ultimately

a controllable thing.
If that idea starts rubbing you wrong and you wake up and start seeing how this dynamic is actually playing out all over the place.
And you in any way challenge the status quo.

Even energetically. In my case. I think they knew as soon as I knew that I knew. Before I knew that I even knew. Know what I mean?
Well if you hit that crossroads what happens on a personal level is what’s happening to the country with Donald Trump right now.
Namely. They do something wild to regain control. They over reach. They go for a big trauma bond. At the exact wrong time.

(Because it’s the time that they should be practicing damage control. Roping it in. But they simply cannot. It’s their Achilles knee cap.)
And then.

They reveal themselves.
In Donnies case he’s revealed himself the whole time. And often narcs will too in ways. But I mean the reveal at this stage is different. It’s the total reveal. The reveal that to come back from and remain in whatever union you happen to be in with said narc would mean a complete form of self betrayal. You either betray them or you betray yourself. That’s the ultimate crossroads and it’s where we certainly are with Donnie.
It’s the point where the whole thing becomes untenable.

Where the narc really leaves you no choice.

They set up a situation that would be just a complete break of your being to even accept.

Accepting them at that point is a lot like suicide.

You have no choice but to end it.

And anyway they are ending it for you.
Donnies gonna quit and then he’s gonna blameshift and go into victim mode.
Then he’s gonna enrage the racists in the country and try to start a new kind of civil war thru the media.

He’s gonna create utter chaos

And we as a country are gonna collectively know what it’s like to be a victim of narc abuse. We as a country are under said abuse. And the wake up from it is hard. Real hard. This country is gonna be tested like never before right about now.

And as a country will be under a massive smear campaign by
The same chaos.

When everything breaks down. He will quit in a torrent of confusion and try to get a deal for Russia.

I’ll quit for immunity type of thing.
I can tell you

The process of recovering from this shit is long and arduous and rife with its own kind of dangers.
America needs to have its spiritual awakening right now. It’s actually a calling for us to collectively evolve. But we have to collectively rise to that challenge. We now know the dire need of elevating our consciousness.
This is how people are often promoted into spiritual awakenings after this abuse. It actually just becomes necessary to survive. And this is where America is right now.
I wonder how will that will look for whole country to recover from this internal attack.

The one we trusted (I mean hypothetically in an as much as he was voted in. I know none of us trusted him but did we expect this? This open backing of the kkk ? I don’t think we did. Not like this.
This is narc shit.

That shit that is

like so hard to believe.

So unbelievable that you just sorta talk yourself out of it.
I mean this hitler lust of trumps was evident at the primaries.
And yet we are still acting surprised.
I don’t condemn us for that. Because that’s classic victim shit.

You can’t believe it so you whitewash it and pretend it didn’t happen until it happens again and then repeat. Until they get a narc injury and then push it too far. That’s where we are at with Trump.
The breakdown of his administration and the Russia probe was the equivalent of a person waking up to the idea that maybe their significant whoever may be a narc.
The Charlotteville press Conference is what they do when they see their control is slipping. They make a Hail Mary. They do something outlandish. They push it too far and then the jig is up.

Unless the victim is at that point willing to cave their entire being into the narcs false personality or plastic grasp on reality. If the victim isn’t willing to do that then the victim will at that point finally liberate his or herself.
But it will be hard to tell just who’s doing the liberating cause the narc doesn’t start behaving at that point or try to rope it back in. No not by a stretch. The narc at that point goes for broke.
And here’s where the ghost of Robert E Lee may have some revenge yet.
Trump ain’t gonna quit quietly. He’s gonna quit probably really soon.
And I think the fact that it’s over these statues of confederate soldiers is so strikingly symbolic that if Gods not careful he’s gonna get accused of overwriting or beating an obvious drum. In the writing of this real life tale. Because the dark poetry innate in it is a bit stunning.
But the removal of these symbols of our countries divide is the energy Trump is gonna trump up like nobodies business. I mean more than he already has.
And unfortunately for us all there will be blood. Very unfortunately indeed.
So we will need to come together as never before.
We as a country are in for a very long process of recovery.

Recovering from narc abuse

Is a process of not only finding yourself again but of rebuilding yourself from scratch. America needs new spiritual infrastructure. (Another poetic nod from the universe. The melt down at a press conference for infrastructure)
And the good news is

Is that people who really recover and really dedicate themselves to the process come back better than ever and having then dealt with some longstanding issues which they possibly had even before the narc.

In Americas case we can’t blame Donnie for all this pain. He’s just the current cavity. But such an alarming, powerful and divisive one that America is now at a crossroads of awakening.
Donnie is Americas Narc
But a narc can bring healing in the wake of their destruction which can serve to liberate us in ways we hadn’t previously imagined.
But getting there.
Oh boy
I’ve spent the last year and half recovering from this shit.
It’s rough.

But there is a rather bright light at the end of rather long tunnel.
So fear not. Or fear plenty. Either way. Hold onto your seats.


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-16 On Trump Now


The Mainstream Of Narcland Has Arrived

I needed a psychic break writing about npd. I needed a break thinking about it.
The whole thing sometimes breaks all over me like a wave from some ocean of nightmares.
The pain in my neck was also driving me to the brink. (Side note. Saw a chiropractor. Had like five upper vertebrae impacted from a skateboard thing. He fixed it with a cracking of five knuckles in my spine like the wind from a spirit fist (sorry. Couldn’t resist) some other adjustments

And it seems like the black rabbit was more than one kind of omen. He said I could train again right away. The more the better. I asked him if the spine thing was an age thing. He said nah and shook his head like you’re joking. And like that my dreams alive)

But after deleting the first part of the echomaze I felt like I just might need a break from the writing.
And then


Does what he did.
And it’s like. I can’t help it.

Because for me

The cognitive dissonance in this thing still hits. (Less and less all the time but)

You start to even question the validity of the whole npd movement and then

He displays it

And now the country is literally held hostage by it.

We are all under narc attack by Trump. It’s wild to see (and no one argues. Would he even at this point?) that he’s npd to the bone.
And that narc rage caught on film. The wild blindness he has coming together with that very fragile narc ego which was wounded and then raged itself into oblivion.

This is what happens. This is the final ordeal. The reveal. They all reveal and then whitewash away back into nonexistence

He’s done it several times already. More than we can count. And the racism was evident in the primaries. I saw this kind of hate all the way back then. We all did. We all just do what victims of this shit do. We normalize it. We go along with it minimizing it. And then it persists. But like with any other beast it needs constant feeding. And the stakes and the slights are ever increasing. Is it possible for a whole nation to be bullied by a narc? Apparently so far it wildly is. How much further will it go?
Who can say? I can’t imagine the nation can stomach this latest debacle. But how many times have we said that already?
I for one am looking on with eager eyes because he’s put himself in a place where to not back down will be suicide. But I don’t think he will be able to back down. Who knows?

A narcs weakness is they can never admit fault. He could make this go away if he could. He could do a press conference right now and say it clear, what the nation needs to hear. But for him to do that would be admitting somehow he might have been wrong. They can’t do that. Shall be interesting to see. Plus Ivanka will be ruined if she doesn’t speak out against her father, which if she does, well…

I mean we got ourselves a soap opera worthy of Shakespeare lady’s and gents.
The other interesting thing is

how on top of the whole world

now narc speak is.

I mean it’s (not so) quietly just entered the public in bonkers new ways.

Namely the way narcs say shit without saying the shit they’re actually saying. We all know what Trump was really saying. But on the surface he said white supremacist and fascists were “bad” so…
So I guess what I’m getting at is the correlation with the whole npd movement and what’s happening in Trump land right now is stunning.
The display of it. It’s the front page of the world. A narc collapse.
Equally stunning is how npd/narc conversations are still fringe in the actual world. Like how if you bring this shit up in the actual world people are still trained to act confused. It’s like the program in the matrix is short circuiting on trump.
I’d imagine that’s set to shift very soon.
The mainstream of narcland has arrived. (Copyright)
I’m gonna go box now in the mountains.

letting the world in. Or out.

And letting the universe express itself thru you.

Without being to careful of what can be taken out of context. Vagina!

This is all the new you is into. (No not vaginathat was a joke about context. See the confusion humor creates? That’s what’s good about it. Or one of the things)

The giving back of the light he found. To give back the healing. Not from a saintly aspiration but merely in order to survive in the context he finds himself in. (You have to give it away to keep it. And you’re only as sick as your secrets. The truth will set you free. The truth will set you free) Where as the old self could get by on distraction. The new self never could. Distraction just throws the new you straight into pain instead of out of it. The new you just dissolves in it. Allows it to drown him and then his fear with it. And from there he has space to move. Space to explore his real vision without the need to distract or destruct. Space to simply be. Space to simply. Create.

The old you wants to fit in. To be this new heroic version. But old habits die hard. Ways of being. Ways of thinking. The comfortable past which had never been comfortable as much as unconscious. The old you wants to cooperate too. That’s why you wake up with the eyes most of the time. The old you trying to see what you do.

INTERVIEW : 2017-08-15 MAGNET Feedback with Joseph Arthur

Each issue, we ask a different artist who we feel has good, insightful taste in music for their feedback on 10 or so songs we choose for them. It’s a generally straightforward, two-page feature that we feel people enjoy reading. We asked longtime MAGNET fave Joseph Arthur to do one for issue #143, and below is what he sent in. It’s a really good piece, but in order to make it fit into our print format, we had to do quite a bit of editing on it before we ran it. Needless to say, Mr. Arthur liked his original version better than our edited version, which ran on the site earlier today. (Check it out here.) So we told him we’d run this original piece online, as well as the very cool piece of art he supplied with it. Consider this The Joseph Arthur Director’s Cut. Enjoy.

Brian Eno’s tin foil hat or how I tried and failed to write a piece for Magnet by Joseph Arthur 

My manager said “hey I need that piece for Magnet by monday. ” we were having our Friday wrap up conversation, you know the one, where you are both looking at the weekend and so everything is a little lighter. Life doesn’t seem impossible at all. This was no Tuesday. It was Friday. But you have to be careful in Friday’s because that free and easy feeling can lead you to say yes to something you perhaps should say no too. In other words your ass may write a check that your dreams can’t cash? How does that phrase go? I’m pretty sure that’s not it and I’m gonna pretend it’s 1979 and so there’s no google. I’m gonna go with God on this one.
I said to my manager
In that overly confident and quick to get off the phone way. ” what is it ?”
“Oh I sent you the email”
“Oh cool ” I went on “Ill knock it out, as long as I don’t have to write a Shakespearean play I can’t imagine having a problem with what ever it is”
We were loose it was Friday
I quipped
” well actually even if it was a Shakespearean play I could probably do that” my Friday over confidence had gotten its grips on me to near pathology at that point. You know the feeling. Monday seems like a million years away. Almost like it will never be monday again.
Here’s what an outbreak of the disease looks like. You go into a kind of zone in which if anyone asks you to anything at that time which will be do monday you will without even understanding why just automatically say yes.
So sure you are that monday is practically years away. But here’s the thing. It’s not. It never is. So we set up an organization called OCFA
The only requirement is a desire to stop making proclamations on Friday afternoons about things you’ll need to deal with monday morning.

But I missed my meetings. I said yes to a monday obligation right in the zone of the Friday eternities
The Friday eternities are what we aim to be sober from. The Friday eternities are similar to what alcohol would be in AA. I e “the feeling that Friday will never ever end and if it does it will just be Saturday forever. And if god forbid that ended well then Sunday is just fine for eternity. But when monday does come and you come too with all the fog of your grand proclamations of achievement. The activity around your head like a cartoon mix up with keystone cops a mouse in a suit and a dandelion tree that two orphans are trying to light ablaze with a wet pack of Ohio blue tips.

It was monday morning the guilt shame and remorse for knowing I had relapsed with a bad case of the Friday eternities
And remembered the good natured and affable conversation with my manager and how I had boldly said yes to lengthy writing assignment sight unseen and it was do today!
The voices flooded in “why did you say yes!?”
The toxic shame like an expert archer on high peek taking aim to the center of my skull as I opened the email of what I had said yes too.

And here’s what came up

This piece will run online and in the actual print publication. Can you work on this, this week?

Here’s a sample of what they would like you to write about.. The intro should be about Redemption’s Son 15th. After that, it’s your thoughts on these 10 or 15 tracks:
(Note – Magnet picked all of these tracks)

Here’s 15. We only need 10, but we can run the rest online if he wants to do all of them. They are alphabetical, but he can do in any order he wants.

The Afghan Whigs “Gentleman”
The Band “The Weight”
The Black Keys “Tighten Up”
Blondie “Rapture”
Coldplay “Viva La Vida”
Bob Dylan “As Time Goes By”
Brian Eno “Needles In The Camel’s Eye”
Genesis “Back In N.Y.C.”
George Harrison “Isn’t It A Pity”
Diana Krall “Glad Rag Doll”
The National “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
Liz Phair “Never Said”
Lou Reed “Romeo Had Juliette”
The Rolling Stones “Rocks Off”
Suzanne Vega “Tom’s Diner”

Well at least I can do any order I want.
My palms got sweaty. My heart raced. A lifetime flashed before me. I got a case of the hiccups and peed my pants a little. I looked over the list
Oh no.. please don’t say it’s one of these things where I gotta say how much I like this or that. Oh no!

I mean I like The Weight as much as the next guy but how am I gonna come up with a paragraph on it?

My head started scrambling.
All I could think about is what it must have been like to hang with Martin Scorsese and Robby Robertson when they famously lived in a blacked out party house together where they were always gaked up. And how that’s when Marty made Raging Bull and shit like that. That I could try and write a paragraph about but how am I gonna say something about The Weight?
” I remember that time I sparked up a doobie and it was full moon and it was our summer of love and there was like all these butterflies in the parking lot and we had just dropped acid and it was coming on and we were out in your t windowed corvette. You had the radio on and the dj on the classic rock station we alway listened too said and now this one from Robbie Robertson and The Band. And then that song. That song that’s like everybody’s favorite song at one point or another. Transcends race. Transcends time. A great song has a spirit in it. This one is so identifiable. And profound that it almost feels wrong to speak on it. But it does make me want to take acid and drive around in a vette with tbird windows.

Normally I might call Greg in a time like this. He’s always got a good take on things. Funny and dark and then we just wind up talking about girls we are both in love with on Instagram. (True Hollywood confessions.
What would I write about Greg? I’ve said it all. We’ve laughed we’ve cried.
I remember Gentleman came out and I had it on cd and listened to it on my cd walk man. There were beneficial limitations back then. You know how sometimes you lock a certain memory with a certain album. That album always reminds me of a flight I took because I discovered on a flight and listened to it the whole trip. That was the good thing about not having endless options. Made you focus on one thing. I focused on Greg’s voice and lyrics. I was just starting to write songs at that point so I listened with intention all the time then. I was still forming my own musical identity. If I had to put my feeling about what Greg does in a quip designed for bathroom fodder. It would be this. He’s original. And he’s rock n roll. So. Nuff said.
Ps. Those two things are rarer than diamonds who are also a girls best friend. Plus he’s from Ohio. Which I notice quite a few folks in this list are
Suddenly in my writing assignment I feel like I’m going deep in. Like Magnet has me searching for my inner captain Kurtz “never get out of the boat. Absolutely god damn right! Never get out of the boat. Read this next part in Martin Sheens voice like apocalypse now. “Who put this list together, where did they get their intel. For years this Joseph Arthur was the model soldier of rock and then one day he wrote a song about how there was no song. was no rock. There was no man. There’s was no song. He just blew a gasket. He’s not coming back. I think he’s waiting for me deep in that jungle he’s waiting for me to come make sure there will never be another monday again. Or another case of the Friday eternities. ”

I could tell Magnet was leading me straight into my very own apocalypse now. In which I am both Kurtz and (side note what is the Martin Sheen characters name? Remember this is a period piece so google is not an option) anyway the Martin Sheen character. Side note to the side note. Which song on this list Magnet gave me would be Charlie sheens favorite? That’s a fun article. I could write an article on that.

Anyway I wanted to get out of the boat even tho the voices kept repeating. Never get out of the boat absolutely goddam right. Never get out of the boat.

I texted my manager
I was breaking out all over the place with a case of the PMDM’s

It went like this.
“Hey Keith happy monday. Gimme a shout on that magnet thing. It’s a real pain to write about songs. Can you imagine writing a paragraph about a Coldplay song? Or even about one you like? Think of the adage talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Don’t want to leave you out in the lurch and if you think it’s an important thing to do I will dig deep but doing it will be well… just imagine having to write a paragraph about the band song ‘the weight’ I mean.
Where do you even begin? I remember the first time I heard “the weight’ it was a real good song. The band are amazing. See what I mean? ”

He didn’t and still hasn’t responded. Cheap joke on Coldplay. I don’t actually feel that way. Everyone knows Chris can make melody his bitch in ways that are unique to him and let’s face it endlessly appealing. Besides no ones ever gonna be cooler than The Replacements anyway so who really cares?
It’s the kind of joke you make on a defeated monday
A day when the PMDMs are really getting the better of you. I guess the price of ubiquitous fame and fortune is that you become a punching bag for people in moments like these. I’d take that trade. Haha.
Coldplay should use this on their next ad campaign
“Coldplay! a band that’s easy to slag on a monday
But impossible not to fink are ace on a Friday! ”

Or Coldplay
the band most people hate on monday but oddly love the fuck out of on Saturday night.
Hell that should be the name of their next record. You’re welcome Chris.

My manager never got back to me so I decided to take a few bong hits and go skateboard. I ride my longboard along the promenade in brooklyn over looking the whole of manhattan. From Redhook to dumbo and back again. It’s like heaven in the spring. Always helps me get ideas. So I rip the bong a few times and then grab my phone and my board and my keys. I notice a news alert on my phone. There was a story about certain unnamed news agencies were getting paid laundered money from china to pay off some Russian ambassador who played pranks on the line Chief Justice and gold handed prophet son and sergeant of mexico. The piece went on to say mind control directives were placed in specifically three songs. (And here’s what got my attention). They were Tighten up by the black keys. Rupture by blondie) and isn’t it a pity by george Harrison. I felt a shiver run up my spine. Wait a minute!? What the hell is going on here?! I Dug out the songlist from magnet and just as I had thought. Those three songs were all on my list. I suddenly started connecting dots. Things weren’t what they seemed. Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddam right. But that was a joke. I had been out of the boat for a long time. I’m not sure there was even a boat at all. For some reason I had the KISS song black diamond in my head. But not their own version. The version that’s on Let It Be by The Replacements. Neither of those bands were even on the list. Which yes I was free to alphabetize but I couldn’t just talk about anyband I want all Willie nilly. There had to be some measure of control in this piece. I looked long and hard at myself in that jungle when another Replacements Song came thru my mind. Unsatisfied. But they aren’t on your list so why won’t this song leave me be?
“Look me in the eye and tell me that I’m satisfied are you satisfied.” Or however it goes. What’s with Minneapolis and the best songwriters in history? Dylan and Westerberg
Dylan’s on the list but Westerbergs not hmm. Pieces are adding up. Things people said. Fragments I had forgotten about. I started picking up things in the street and putting together a cap made out of tin foil. But JUST then a song started blaring as if the tin foil hat had been a finely adjusted radio antenna to only one song and it was screaming now as if it was coming from manhattan itself. Like the buildings were all signing it to me all at once. And it was “needles in the camels eye.”
I love weird rock songs by English geniuses. And this is one of the best. Why is the city singing this one. He’s on the list. I guess it triggered something. Now the Empire State Building is swaying back and forth to the beat. I’m frazzled at this point the way a fighter is who is two rounds beat already but just won’t stay down.
I gotta get out of this.
Need to write my manager and tell him I just can’t think of a creative way to write this piece. “Tell them I said sorry Keith”
Still waiting for a response.

This entry was posted in MAGNET FEEDBACK.


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-16 The Black Rabbit


Going To The Places That Scare You

Yesterday I pulled into a mountain town an hour outside of aspen and found a great room at a low rate and excitedly set up my shop for the next few days. Excited because I’ve been dealing with a pinched nerve and all the movement on the road is making it tough to heal. Plus typical road shit. Exhaustion etc. being out in the cold and cruel world on your own and all the time to “think” that that brings. Will send you either into or out of your mind real quick. Some days it’s touch and go. Like you know. …How it is with everyone.
But yesterday I woke up and it was particularly rough. The physical pain I mean. The wearing down of morale on the road can happen at the best of times. Add in a pinched nerve for a month and we’ll… let’s just say your stamina gets tested.

I let myself cave into the defeat actually. I had resisted it and resisted it but finally yesterday morning I just said “fuck it!”

And then prayed.

Please take this pain away so I can train again.

I miss training so bad.
I let myself go full victim.

Which lasted about an hour and then I decided to change it around.

Motivational clips on YouTube. Les Brown has amazing talks which can really motivate. I did deep breathing work the whole time just about. Just breathing in courage sobriety forgiveness mercy. Breathing out the same. Making mantras and putting myself in a trance of positivity while trying to reprogram my subconscious mind.
That’s the key and believe me the opposing team knows this very well indeed. Spooky. They are.

In this regard.

The whole drive I just wanted to get away from reporting on npd again. Regretting much of how I went about it the first time. But among that chaos I got enough of it right. And let’s just say when you address darkness as directly as I did in previous posts. Darkness responds. And it’s pretty fucking spooky when it does.

I’m actually getting a glimpse inside this thing that id really rather not see. Just how off the reservation this thing goes. It’s out there.

The nutshell of the thing I think is this.
If I’m gonna give up on life then you should too.
And I guess it’s like this as well
The people most enthusiastic about life become most enthusiastically hated by these types.

I packed into my new room by the mountain. The mountains I had been driving thru all day as I was doing that deep breathing work. Remembering what the Buddhist say about aligning your spirits with the elements or things like mountains. So I actively started visualizing the power of the mountains coming into me. Grounding me. As the motivational YouTube clips pummeled my subconscious with positive reinforcement.
You have to remember that this life is a battle for your spirit. But you can drive it to the light.
I got in my room. Took an epson salt bath. Meditated and then decided to employ Pema Chodron.

Don’t make me bust out Pema

She’s the heavy hitter.
I knew I needed to move. This injury was done getting the better of me. If it means I have to go walk for two hours then so be it. And that’s basically what I did. Probably more like an hour. And in a loop around two hotels by mountain.
With Pema the breathing work elevates into something quite a bit deeper. Quite a bit more healing.

Again it was the angels of YouTube which led me there. But it was a workshop on going to the places that scare you.

Which finally arrives at breathing into your feeling of guilt and shame. Breathing it all the way into your heart. Not resisting it. And when you breath it in. You also breath in the fear guilt and shame of all sentient beings. And then when you exhale. You exhale compassion and forgiveness and space for yourself and for all others who feel this way. This way which we all feel. At times anyway. Like we can’t be redeemed. Like our mistake is too wide.
I breathed that in. Straight into my heart and then I breathed out forgiveness. I kept walking and kept breathing. Slower and deeper. More and more opens . More and more forgiveness. Don’t resist the pain. Understand that it is simply energy. Which you can transform. The process does it for you. You have to just be brave enough to do it. Like jumping in a freezing pool. It’s hard at first.
As I walked the loop I noticed a black rabbit. Just standing there. Or sitting in my path. I had never seen anything like that. I took a picture from across the road as not to scare it but just kept walking my loop. Breathing in the shame. Breathing out the space. For myself and for others.
(Sidenote. This stuff has the danger of making one come off as morally superior but frame it this way instead. You are suffering and these are really smart and tried and true ways of actually dealing with the suffering. Really it’s not a moral issue so much as a scientific one but yeah it also means you have to open your heart to compassion and forgiveness and that seems to be beyond the call for many. )

If you’re lucky enough for that not to be the case for you then these breathing meditations are really really amazing.
The next loop I approached the black rabbit from the same side of the street and had my camera out. Went right up to him and he just stayed there still as a statue. Shaking a little. I said. Hi. And snapped a few more photos and kept walking again.

The next loop he was gone.

Three loops later I saw him on a ledge.

The breathing stuff worked. I felt elated. I felt my center return. And I felt a new sense of growth and healing in that I had managed to convert back to my center from this defeated place. I realized it was all down to discipline and the refusal of letting that go.

I looked up black rabbit symbolism when I got back to the room and here’s what I found

“Basically, the point of all that rambling is that rabbits are hard to catch; and black rabbits are even harder to catch. When you dream that you sight or that you catch a black rabbit it means that you have finally found the answer to a question that has been eluding you for some time. You have finally figured out something that you needed to know for a while and you have finally got a grasp on things yourself. This could be the type of thing that took you a long time to figure out or it could be the type of thing that you found the answer to relatively shortly. But either way, I was a question that had been vexing you and you finally found the answer.”


ECHOMAZE : 2017-08-15 Just Like (Starting Over)

Where I’m at now.

I’m at a place of moving on. A place of healing and reaching for peace. And sort of touching it from time to time. Even in the haze of this public violence. That can’t help but notice I brought. Even tho from inside it didn’t feel like that. From inside it felt like I was fighting for my life and my sanity and even to save my family. In spite of outward appearances (I suppose that depends on what kind of eyes are looking in) I am clear that I was also and am also very much primarily motivated to help. That too is simply common sense for anyone who has any faith in karma or the basic tenets of the twelve step movement.

My healing, recovery, life requires a great deal of discipline still which is no real bummer. It’s actually kind of nice. As if life itself has become this kind loving but stern coach which isn’t just being brutal for the sake of it but towards much needed development and growth. The results of which are evident. So it’s no bummer. It’s just teaching me how to live. How to be somewhat whole. How to stay out of the holes. It’s not a party but there’s fun in it. Namely the fun of seeing your dreams being realized and not feeling powerless about that. But rather understanding you can in fact create your own destiny. So when your discipline brings you into states of mind such as that, you can see how sacrificing some typical bullshit ain’t the biggest of deals.

All that being said my work in trying to help others heal and identify. Or identify and heal from emotional abuse is far from done. My work healing myself from it is far from done. This has been a complete breaking open of my false identity into my true essence and that’s wonderful. But I regret the ugliness of it and I feel weighed down by it. Attached to it. Unable to simply just walk away from it. When it was all just trapped in my own three pound universe. A cacophony of chaos, fear regret worry. And paranoia. Healing would have come very slow if at all. The ironic part of airing it out is I aired it out. But a written account just lingers and lives on. I want to reformat it. Edit it. Structure it. Take the ugliness out of it. To the degree I can. And I want to apologize for that ugliness to the degree that I can. And then I want to move on. To the degree that I can. I intend to keep posting about the process of recovery. I will also repost old posts in more measured way. In keeping with the control on my emotions and peace that this recovery has brought. Surviving trauma is no easy thing. Sometimes we underestimate the effects such trauma can bring. I’ll be able to do more from this point on if I cut the chains on the past now. Now is the time to really become who I’ve been put here to become. It’s time to let go of the past. And really do the work of making this world a more beautiful place.


I really appreciate all of your comments of love and support. That really has made all the difference. They have not been lost on me at all. 


INTERVIEW : 2009-03-13 Tardigrade Pictures/DivergenceFM, Joseph Arthur, l'Interview

Rencontre avec Joseph Arthur, song writer américain qui commence sérieusement à s’imposer dans la durée, pour preuves ses premiers albums ont bercé mon adolescence et c’est un trentenaire qui écrit ces mots. 
Pour avoir croisé la route de ce grand monsieur par deux fois, je suis sûr d'une chose c’est qu’on ne ressort pas indifférent d'un de ses concerts. 
Pour cette date à Montpellier, un concert d’à peu près deux heures s’est joué pour le plaisir de nos sens. 
Comme si cela ne suffisait pas, l’artiste en remet une couche en poussant la chansonnette a capella derrière le stand où se vendent ses albums et l'intégrale du concert qu’il vient de jouer sur cd gravé. (Chose rare après un concert) 
Interview de 15mins pour découvrir une partie de la personnalité de ce grand monsieur. 

Sous titre dispo en français .


INTERVIEW : 2008-11-07 Doing Things You're Not (by Liza Ghorbaninov)

MOMAR Joseph Arthur at the Museum of Modern Arthur, his gallery in Brooklyn, with two bandmates, Sibyl Buck, center, and Jen Turner. CreditRahav Segev for The New York Times

JOSEPH ARTHUR, the singer, songwriter and artist, has created his own little artistic paradise in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn. The Museum of Modern Arthur, open to the public every Tuesday through Sunday, serves as Mr. Arthur’s version of Andy Warhol’s Factory: a place he and his friends can get together to exercise their imaginations, which often involves creating art for the gallery, recording music in the studio in the back, silk-screening clothing or just talking.

On a recent blustery evening, Mr. Arthur, wearing the “lucky” hat that he had bought in Nottingham, England, was entertaining a couple of members of his five-piece band, the Lonely Astronauts, and some friends. He was about to embark on a solo European tour as the opening act for Tracy Chapman.

Despite the jittery sounds of the “Psycho” movie soundtrack in the background, the mood in the gallery was peaceful, with the aroma of sage incense filling the air. Sibyl Buck — a bass player and former model (and the stylish Edie to Mr. Arthur’s Warhol) — told everyone of a performance artist who had been smashing car windows in the name of art.

“The new definition of art is when you do something and other people talk about it,” she said.

Mr. Arthur, who at 6 feet 4 inches describes himself as circus tall, said that when it comes to his artistic pursuits, like the band’s new album, “Temporary People,” and his latest exhibition, “Wigs,” at Galerie Pangée in Montreal, he strives to be more contemplative. He added that he avoided spending too much time on “meaningless” diversions like Facebook.

“I just prefer real life, like this,” he said, gesturing to those around him. “This is so nice. Later we’ll see each other again in cyberspace, but it won’t be like this.”

There is a familial unity to Mr. Arthur’s band members, a closeness that can be felt by one outside their inner circle. Appropriately, they have matching tattoos of a perfect circle, a permanent bond they got just one week after they met one another two years ago.

Jen Turner, the lead guitarist, pointed out an identical circle on the sleeve of her Army jacket. “The band regalia,” she said. “We all wore these for a gig.”

Late that night, Mr. Arthur and Ms. Buck strolled the cobblestone streets of Dumbo, with its remnants of streetcar tracks, on their way to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Flanked by the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the rocky beach is a favorite haunt of Mr. Arthur’s. He goes there a lot, he said.

“I call it Joe’s place,” he said, skipping a stone toward the cityscape across the water. He added, “I think a lot of people call it Joe’s place.”

It was a soothing, if somewhat unusual, way to wind up an evening, bringing to mind a comment that David Letterman made when the Lonely Astronauts made one of their appearances on his show: “I want to go with those people. I would like to be with those people. I think they’re probably doing things I’m not.”

It’s not actually that they’re always doing “fabulous stuff,” Ms. Buck said. “But he knew it was something different than what other people are doing at midnight.”

INTERVIEW : 2004-11-24 Joseph Arthur falls apart to an upbeat tune (by Leslie Wylie)

Joseph Arthur advocates instability. He doesn’t believe in comfort zones. If his seat in life gets too cushy, he’ll pull the chair out from under himself just to remember how hard the ground feels after a fall.

Most recently, this mindset landed Arthur facedown somewhere on the edge of New Orleans’ French Quarter, armed with not much more than a guitar, some clothes and a few rough demos.

It’s not that he wasn’t enjoying a successful music career out of his home base in New York City. After Peter Gabriel took the young singer-songwriter under his wing in the mid-’90s, Arthur turned out three albums to critical applause (1997’s Big City Secrets, 2002’s Come to Where I’m From and 2002’s Redemption’s Son) and toured with the likes of David Gray and Ben Harper. It was just that the booming metropolis had begun to feel too much like a recliner.

“It’s good for an artist to be off balance a little bit,” Arthur says. “I write best when I’m traveling because traveling detaches you in a way.”

“At first there was a lot of disillusionment from being detached, which turned out to be a great gift. But at the time it doesn’t feel great at all. It feels like your life is falling apart.”

New Orleans turned out to be an ideal venue for Arthur to reassemble the splinters of his shattered-by-design existence. The result was a lo-fi blueprint of what would evolve into latest moody pop masterpiece, Our Shadows Will Remain.

The album is a buoyantly ponderous affair, like a 12-track poem written by a motivational speaker on the worst day of his life. The songs bear dim titles like “Wasted” and “Failed,” but inclinations toward withdrawal are held upright by a sturdy spine of optimism and bright pop melodies.

Arthur views his music as a study in emotional symbiosis, a manifestation of creativity’s codependence with pain. In the song “Can’t Exist,” for example, he threatens to disintegrate altogether just before reassuring listeners that no, really, he’ll be fine: “Sister, don’t be scared/ A thousand times or more/ I’ve walked away alive/ on my feet again.”

“It’s a mystery where inspiration comes from, but I think it has something to do with a spiritual source and also a place of suffering. There’s some kind of relationship there between a state of crisis and state of grace. It’s a graceful crisis, I guess,” he says.

The album takes its bittersweet title from a nuclear phenomenon: When the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the impact of the blasts was so intense that people were immediately incinerated and their shadows were burned onto floors and walls. Arthur perceives this as metaphor for humanity’s ability to surmount tragedy, a poignant reminder that life goes on in spite of ideological rifts.

“I don’t think this is an overtly political record, but I think its disillusionment reflects the times to a degree. I think there’s some hope in my work, too,” he says.

Musically, the album is a Picadilly Circus of genres, from subway-style acoustic guitar to brooding synthesizers to guest appearances by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. For shows, Arthur records himself playing live, then loops the recordings and harmonizes along with them to better reproduce the texture of his diversely sprawling style.

Creative consistency is one hobgoblin that Arthur couldn’t care less about.

“People want to protect themselves by saying that they’re this or that. But I see identity as something to transcend, not protect,” Arthur says. “Why not explore a bunch of different things? When you pull from a variety, you make something more original.”

Case in point, Arthur identifies with the label “artist” on several different levels outside of the strictly musical realm. He paints, writes poetry and began dabbling in documentary filmmaking during a recent tour with REM. In 1999, the self-designed art of his Vacancy EP earned a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package.

“The same principles you apply to visual work you can apply to music,” Arthur explains.

However, he hesitates when asked to describe what his music would look like if it were translated into a visual medium.

It’s a tough question. Arthur’s compositions possess the visceral substance of sculpture, the sensitivity of blown glass, the impulsive brushstrokes of paint on canvas and the choreographed abstraction of a slightly out-of-focus photograph.

“I think it’d be film,” he finally responds, “because it’s moving.”


INTERVIEW : 2004-12-23 Shadow Man (by Nick Krewen)


Shades of brilliance: Joseph Arthur remains standing.For followers of Joseph Arthur wondering about The Question, here is The Answer: It was the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.

The question, of course, is how fate managed to cast a lucky horseshoe in the direction of the Akron native back in 1996, when Peter Gabriel became so enchanted by an Arthur demo that he sent the young songwriter a plane ticket to London and inked him to Gabriel's Real World Records, home to the adventurous and diverse musical dialects of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Poppa Wemba, The Terem Quartet and others. In terms of the Real World artist roster, Arthur stood as Gabriel's first—at least in Western pop culture—mainstream signing.

While the pal who placed the tape in Gabriel's palms remains nameless, Arthur concedes, during a recent drive to a Denver gig through the Colorado Rockies, that his temporary relocation from Atlanta to London and the Real World environment yielded a life-altering creative epiphany.

"Getting hooked up with Peter and then being around London when a lot of electronic music like trip-hop and drum-and-bass was happening opened my mind to the validity of electronic music," Arthur explains. "I was over in London during the whole Britpop/Oasis/Massive Attack movement, when music was undergoing some kind of renaissance. I had come from Ohio to Atlanta and been immersed in more of a punk-rock philosophy to some degree."

Arthur's revelation was felt immediately in the looped terrain of Big City Secrets, a record produced by Brian Eno apprentice Markus Dravs that straddled the organic and exotic in its introduction of its author's melancholic lyrical charm.

Themes of suffering and isolation also dominate Arthur's fourth full-length album (there have also been a handful of EPs) and latest opus, the recently retailed Our Shadows Will Remain on the Vector label. Its electronic aesthetic continues the aural thread of Arthur's last two other acclaimed CDs—2000's Come To Where I'm From and 2002's Redemption's Son—while songs such as "Stumble and Pain" and "Puppets" examine the messy emotional residue left by us carbon life forms.

"I guess my music comes out of shadows in a way," notes Arthur in connection with the album's title. "It comes out of struggle—the inspiration and motivation to make something, to redeem whatever pain you're going through. I find if I make some music or make something, I feel the agony wasn't wasted.

"But I guess, to some degree, pain and isolation are necessary for making a record. In some ways, there's a certain amount of trauma necessary for the production of art, even if it is hopeful art. I also think there's a certain amount of sanity necessary for it, too. It's a mixed bag."

However, Arthur says he doesn't want to dwell on the misery.

"I want to be happy and I think everybody does. To me, more of an important goal than making a good record is to find some sort of peace of mind."

He chuckles.

"At the same time, I think I'm still a few records away from that, so I'm not worried about it. I think life is a struggle—in a good way—but I don't think the struggle's really going anywhere. Maybe you can become enlightened, and then you're not struggling anymore. But then if that happens, I don't think you're worried about making good records. At that point, you're probably saving souls or something."

Arthur seems to be happiest when living the life of a troubadour.

"Touring is so all-encompassing that it's a great way to live—it just keeps you in the moment all the time," the Brooklyn-based Arthur asserts. "It also really inspires me: I always write songs when I'm on the road—just motion and being off-balance a little bit helps.

"My whole adult life has been built on this foundation—making records and going out and touring them and writing more music on the road and playing shows. I think that's a really good way to spend my time. I don't really know how long I'll do it for, but I still keep writing songs that I like."

Arthur has also developed quite the reputation for his mesmerizing solo performances, his hand-painted Lowden acoustic guitar and a plethora of pedals, delays and Lexicon Jam Man boxes and the spark of spontaneity providing his only accompaniment.

"I like the openness in performance—I really don't like working off set lists and thinking about what I'm going to do before," he explains. "I really like being in the moment. So when I'm performing solo, it can be a whole lot less organized and [more] open."

Compact portability offers a few advantages, such as the recent North American tour opening for alt-rock icons R.E.M., a stint that Arthur will repeat in Europe once the ball in Times Square drops on 2005.

"They were very generous," says Arthur, who played to the biggest crowds of his career. "[R.E.M. singer] Michael Stipe introduced me every night, so that really helped open the audience's minds and gave me a chance to play for them. R.E.M. also let me join them on stage for the last three shows, and that was a lot of fun, too, because they're one of my favorite bands. I performed 'Permanent Vacation' with them, which is the first song they wrote—it's not on any record."

For his upcoming date at the Bowery Ballroom, Arthur will share the stage with opener Joan Wasser, aka Police Woman, whom he describes as "an incredible violinist."

"She's cool to perform with because she is so good that I can go in any direction without letting her know where I'm going to go beforehand."

And destination of any sort is the last thing Arthur seems concerned about—even creatively.

"I'm never really afraid that it's going to dry up," says Arthur, who will drop an EP of six new songs called And The Thieves Are Gone on Vector Records next week.

"It's not really a fear of mine. I've never really had writer's block. There are definitely times when I don't feel inspired, when I don't mess around with anything and just hang out with my girlfriend, go to movies and get fat. Then some demon will be around the corner prodding me along back into it."

INTERVIEW : 2001-02-16 Hard-working songwriter pens 'best record of the year' (by Stephen Humphries)

"I once saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld, and he said he thought 'writer's block' was a myth; people just get lazy," says singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. "I think there's a lot of truth to that."

For his latest album, "Come to Where I'm From" (Real World), Arthur had to select 12 songs from a pile of more than 40 that had been "relatively easy" to write.

Prolific. That's one way to describe Arthur. Well, at least when he's at home rummaging through chord progressions on his guitar, that is, because he's hardly prolific in the public's consciousness - even if Entertainment Weekly magazine voted "Come To Where I'm From" as the best record of 2000.

"This is my third record," the Ohio-born singer said during a phone interview from his New York apartment. "I think my music's quite accessible, so I don't really see why it doesn't reach a wider audience."

Peter Gabriel certainly likes Arthur's brand of lo-fi, urban-folk music that weaves acoustic and electric guitars in between sparse drum loops and Arthur's own multilayered backing vocals (visit this article on www.csmonitor.com to hear sound clips).

In 1995, Arthur received quite a shock when he found a message on his answering machine from Gabriel, who, unbeknownst to Arthur, had been given a copy of Arthur's demo tape through a chain of mutual friends.

Gabriel has since recorded his own version of "In the Sun." Arthur's own version appears on his most recent CD, his third for Gabriel's Real World label, which mainly features world-music artists. Significantly, Arthur is the only American artist on Real World's roster.

"I feel really good about being on the label; there's something so artistic about the whole concept," he says. And the discounts on fellow label artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn aren't bad either, he jokes.

During our conversation, the singer sounds a little groggy. It turns out he's not used to being up this early.

It's 3:30 in the afternoon.

"I do love walking in the city, especially at night when it's really empty. I do love the buildings and the veins of the city."

When he isn't recording music, he takes to an easel and paintbrushes once the sun dips. The often-disturbing paintings can perhaps be described as an abstract blend of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" with traditional aboriginal paintings - often using bright neon colors.

"Painting has always been my hobby," Arthur says, adding that he's glad to showcase his brushstrokes on his album covers - one of which earned him a Grammy nomination for best packaging.

Another outlet for his artwork is a virtual online gallery at a devoted fan's website: www.lanset.com/kthalken.

Also on the site are journals from his tours. "It became my pet project ... it really helped me on the road because it gave me a focus. It's a strange thing because you're really busy on the road, but there's also a lot of downtime."

In concert, Arthur is his own one-man band. "I use these things called 'jamans.' I can loop my acoustic guitar and make a drum sort of sound," he explains. "I can loop my voice and just using those and effects kind of builds up a solo show that has a dynamic."

In the future, though, Arthur plans to put together a band for a new record, which he says will have greater focus on machines, rhythms, and drums.

"I definitely see stylistic progressions," he says of the more than 75 new songs he's written since his last album.

"It's a bit more optimistic, but not in a corny way, hopefully."