"...our aim is not to control others but to be such masters of our mind and body that all we have to do is control our own mind and all of our negative emotions are banished. Anger, despondency, hatred, a lack of desire to do things are all replaced by mental strength and stability." Shifu Yan Lei
Oh my God, 2017 sucked for me. After mounting frustrations and bouts with depression, I decided to quit Munook, or at least treat it as a hobby, in Jan of 2017. I then spent the first 9 months of this year going to “culinary home school” in order to open a restaurant instead. Well, as fate would have it, the restaurant didn’t work either. Another story for another day. There is actually a blog post about it here.
Looking at the pile of ash around me that was my life, I had to really ask myself what it is that I want. I decided that life is short, unpredictable, & not to be wasted on pursuing things that only please others. I decided to turn my sights back to Munook.
Never in my life as an artist have I EVER pursued the world of major labels or any type of music opportunities within a corporate structure. It always seemed like “selling out to the man” or something that would bastardize my self expression. I’ve now decided that perhaps it could help. I cannot do all of this by myself anymore. So, I am now adamantly pursuing contacts and help within “the machine” that I’ve been avoiding my entire life. I’m also getting very close to finishing the new album.
It feels like I’m starting all over again. I don’t believe in coincidence. All of this needed to occur in this fashion. I needed the 9 month hiatus. I needed the pain. I needed the humility. I am more focused now and I am very excited about the future. I love you all very much, unless of course you are a blatant asshole. In that case, I’m sorry you are hurt inside but gtfo of my life until you can find some peace.
I’ll be honest. I fell off of the horse. After 3 years of promoting & touring, while simultaneously writing & recording the new record, I completely ran out of steam. I decided to put it all down & take a break during the Thanksgiving Holiday of 2016.
That break extended up to about a month ago. I’d like to explain more about why the derailment occurred & what happened during it but let’s just cut the $h!t & say I gave up. I didn’t want to perform anymore & I didn’t want to finish the album.
During this “hermit period”, I made a rash decision that I was going to be done w/ music. In lieu of that, I shifted my focus to opening a restaurant in 2018. How & why this came to be is another story. I’ll cut out a slew of details & say that the restaurant will be named “Secret Recipes” & I plan on opening it in 2018. Though, as w/ most entrepreneurial endeavors, it’s going to take twice as long & cost twice as much as projected. Feel free to click the logo below, it will link you to the Secret Recipes Facebook Page. I won’t stop you from liking it.
With this massive directional change in motion, where does that leave Munook? Well, I decided about a month ago that, no, I wasn’t done w/ Munook. Despite the weight, I do love it & I can’t bring myself to just walk away & leave it as a hobby. Please, hold your applause. So, while my focus has shifted & my time has tightened, I still plan on finishing the 2nd album, performing the material, & creating a 3rd album; a 4th, a 5th… so on until I meet my end.
So after a bit too much rest & a little bit of wind in my sails, I recently put my Munook hat back on & got around to streaming a facebook live performance of “The Dreamer”. Feel free to watch it below. FYI, the first half of the video is intended for fans. It’s an explanation of the song’s structure, the inspiration behind the lyrics, & the instrumentation of the live set up. The 2nd half of the video is the performance. If you’d like to avoid the rambling, skip to the 8 min mark.
Finally, while the new album is more than half way finished, it’ll be a minute before it’s done. In the meantime, here are a few snippets of new music in the works that have been posted to my Instagram. It’s not much, but it’s something. Onward.
To quote Lao Tzu, “Beautiful words are not truthful & truthful words are not beautiful.” I hate to make another post like this but I caught wind of some very unfortunate news recently. I suppose I’ll preface the information by saying that Munook represents more than just me. Anytime someone helps or involves themselves in the forward movement of this project, they become a part of Munook. Unfortunately, the more people that integrate themselves into it, the harder it is for me to remember everybody. However, early on, when it was really hard for me to get people to consider my music, I DISTINCTLY recall who helped. The initial wave of people who reached out did so because they wanted to see it grow; their impact on me was immeasurable. One place in particular where that happened was the Florence/Muscle Shoals Area, & integral to that growth was Jason Flynn.
He was a professor at UNA & led kids on the path of film making. After being pointed in his direction by the Alabama Film Office, I sent an email asking for his help in creating visuals for my album. He responded w/ a phone call almost immediately. He was happy to talk to me, excited about the music, & eager to help. I was floored by how receptive he was. He went on to turn my album into a part of his curriculum for that semester by having his students create visual representations for each song. He kept me closely involved in the process & treated me with respect & honor. I’m still humbled. It’s so rare to find that in the creative industry, unfortunately. The videos can be seen here.
Jason personally took on the song “Breaching”, as it intrigued him the most & was the one video I actually had a “direction” for. It’s a song that deals with some personal experiences & I always hesitate to divulge details in fear of being ostracized. Surprisingly, he kindly listened to me, considered my words, & researched everything I sent him. I’m still baffled. He metaphorically went with me to Zeta Reticuli to try his best to understand the situation & song. The final product was viewed & approved by the John E. Mack Institute & published on their Facebook page. Within the realm of that subject matter, that was a big deal to me! The video is available for viewing below.
After the class finished the project, he put together a live showing of the films for his class & the campus & requested his students attend one of my concerts. I received press & connections immediately afterwards & still have fans in the area to this day. All of that from a guy who just wanted to help. To have that kind of support right off the bat from a stranger is tremendous! He became a part of Munook.
Tragically, he died on October 18th. He took his own life. I don’t know the details, but apparently he struggled with grief & depression. Jarring to say the least. Jason’s spirit will live on in my mind as a part of Munook. Through his kindness & supportive efforts, he gave me the confidence to push forward in the face of opposition, which is priceless in the creative world. If you are grieving, nothing I can say will help that. If you are contemplating suicide, know this; there are people who love & need you. A good friend of mine lost his mother to suicide. He once told me, “Don’t joke about it & don’t ever do it. It’s selfish & effects more people than just you.” I realize that these are all dismal topics but again, as Lao Tzu said, “Beautiful words are not truthful & truthful words are not beautiful.” Hang in there, friends. Live to see the silver lining. We all ride the waves of happy & sad, you’re not alone. Stay strong. To the rest of us successfully navigating these waves, give a listening ear & be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. R.I.P., Mr. Flyyn
First off, the new album is chugging along. I don’t feel the need to share every step of the way this time around. It’s shaping up nicely & I’m really excited!
In the meantime, something close to my heart has come up & needs your support. On September 16, 1994 in Ruwa, Zimbabwe over 60 school children experienced contact with two UFOs & their two occupants. Before you jump the gun & carry on about how ridiculous you think that is, I implore you to click here & watch this short video. If you feel so inclined, please dig deeper & research the subject. The event sparked the interest of Dr. John E. Mack who had recently come into the phenomenon after several of his psychiatry patients claimed to have experienced contact with “aliens”. Keep in mind, Dr. Mack was not a paranoid conspiracy theorist but a Pulitzer prize winning, Harvard Professor. Dr. Mack headed up a documentary to explore the children’s reactions & impressions of the event. The result is incredibly moving & very worth watching. Sadly, in 2004, while in London, John Mack was struck by a car as he was crossing the street & died. However, his work lives on through The John Mack Institute. The team behind the institute have taken up creating a NEW documentary, revisiting everyone involved in the experience including, most importantly, the children; 20 years later.
The Trailer can only be seen HERE – I implore you to watch it. This is a very important, REAL, & serious subject matter that needs to be ACCEPTED & explored. If not, we will continue to live our lives with horse blinders on, worried about all the wrong things. String Theory Films & The John Mack Institue need YOUR help to fund this project so it can be finished & distributed. Please visit THIS WEBSITE to help.
On a quick side note, the Munook song “Breaching” embedded below, used samples, with permission, from The John Mack Institute’s original Ariel School Phenomenon documentary. They want very badly for the message to get out & for John’s death not to be in vein. Thank you.