Friday, July 15, 2011

Let It Rain

Back in the 1990s, when I was in law school, and then a musician (and also in grad school), my best friend Peter Black and I used to drink "on occasion", during which time would discuss all things metaphysical, mystical and philosophical (we still do this, but far less frequently, alas). I wrote a song about our otherworldly conversations, called "A Drawing Down" (the title came from a line in the Wilfred Owen poem "Anthem for Doomed Youth"), and our view that society (and most of the people within it) had become  hollow,  too wrapped up in bread & circuses, and lacking a meaningful direction, or awareness of a "bigger" picture.  Peter and I weren't particularly settled on what that "bigger" picture should or could be, only that people should be looking for it in places other than those deemed socially acceptable by the powers-that-be, and that there was no one answer, or path, that people should follow - rather, there were parts of almost every path that could lead to insight and form part of the greater whole.

Accordingly, the conversation would range from Marxism to Christian mysticism to Aleister Crowley, and many points in between, off to the side, and over the proverbial fence. From time to time, we would light a little fire in the center of the room and try to commune with the elder gods, should they exist in some form and still be in the practice of accepting calls. To this day, I'm not sure that we ever got an answer, although we did have a pretty strange experience with a ouija board once, but I am sure that one should never attempt to put out a fire in the middle of a room with a glass full of vodka. I definitely consider that a bullet dodged!

Anyway, here are two versions of that song by my old band, Julia's Rain - the first is the original, harder-edged version (which we eventually released on an e.p. called "notes from underground"), while the second is a jazzier, more acoustic version taht we played at a live fundrasiing gig for radio station CKDU.

The lyrics were:

I read the news today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but stranger tales, well I have heard
nothing that happens seems to make me anymore,
just round and round it goes
through my revolving door.

I heard a song today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but truer songs, well I have heard
nothing they write seems to touch me anymore,
just the words going in and out
through my revolving door.

Candles burning on the floor
and Aleister Crowley is knocking at my door,
come around, come around
to this drawing down,
on this "unholy" ground
come see what I have found.

I heard a voice today -
I really thought it would mean something to me,
but stronger voices, well I have heard
nothing they say seems to move me anymore,
just the Word going in and out
through my revolving door.
As a lyricist, I looked to the Beats and various mystics for inspiration, as well as philosophers and poets such as William Blake - and I was never afraid to alter my state of consciousness to achieve a greater understanding, if not of the universe, then of myself, and my limits. 

As Blake wrote: "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom; for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough." Or, as my friend John Rosborough once wrote in a song of his own - "within the fire, you find the rain."

My motto has always been to let it rain.

Paul Kimball

No comments: