I submit these songs to you as a documented proof of my witness:
Song form is essential to master before any composer can move on to larger compositional forms. From a collection of over three hundred songs, this is the first volume ranging in styles from ballad to rock 'n' roll, to vaudeville to art, to Motown to country, to swing to funk to pop, to blues and jazz.
My father had already started teaching me piano study when I was four. By five, he had me playing tenor drum in an orchestra pit of a regional production he was conducting. When I was fourteen and had expressed my desires to become a professional musician, his acceptance was predicated upon one specific caveat, “You’re going to be a writer!”
So, I resolved to only find solutions, while documenting the beauty I saw, as well as commit to search for and actively visualize, as a synergistic continuum, the tools to perpetuate regeneration, for this moment is sacred for the next seven generations!
Fast-forward ten years. After my return from touring with Jobriath, late September ’74, I became conscious I was not composing. Starting March of 1975, I began a discipline of creating one song a week, accumulating sixty-five in ten months. By January of the next year I doubled my efforts composing another hundred songs by year’s end. I would subsequently broaden my vision into songs-suites, musical theater, Circus, Street Opera, Grand Opera, chamber music, concerti, symphony and choral symphony, four hundred works and growing.
Jason Damico is a wonderful student and teacher. We were conscious of the potential of this project for several years, finally culminating in this collaboration, where we stopped time, as within a sweat lodge, and created this experience. In two weeks, November 29th - December 12th, 2015, working a minimum of fifteen hours a day, we accomplished two and one half months of work and yet, it felt as if it happened within a blink of an eye.
I first met Jason eight years ago, when he was thirteen years old, sitting on a train with his mother. As we entered into conversation, it immediately became clear this young man was rather precocious. Lights were on and somebody was definitely home! His mother wanted me to teach him. Thus, began a process of them coming up from North Carolina to New York for him to study voice, keyboard harmony, theory and composition. When I had first met him, he was already a home-schooled very well educated young soul, as well as a scholarship student for his drumming. He would then first take up the guitar and master it. While in my home, he’d be practicing for hours and hours on end, fall asleep on the day bed with the guitar in his hands, resting it across his body, then wake up thirty or so minutes later and resume playing. It was truly remarkable and humbling to watch and listen to his rapidly expanding learning curve.
Eight years have passed since we began sharing music. I love this son. This is an adopted life-force. I evoked the Lakota Hunkayapi and he is my son by spirit. He is very gifted, a Renaissance man who can do virtually anything. On this double album, he is playing guitar, drums, bass, engineering and co-producing.
I’m honored to be in his presence. I’m also flattered, as a tribal elder and teacher, that the student is rapidly becoming more the teacher, and that’s the most flattering payback and honor for a job well done. So, I pat myself on my back with his ever-growing spirit.
DAMICO & WAYNE: PANOPLY
This time, it was I who traveled down to North Carolina.
Jason picked me up at the airport and we immediately went into his recording studio non-stop. This is usually how I work when I’m doing my classical composing. Time stops and I’m in the moment. Well, we were in the moment, our minds repeatedly getting blown over and over and over again. The growing pains were real. Always, never ending, ever-growing, escalating euphoria, evolving and evolving, hours upon hours, days upon days, two weeks in a heartbeat. This continuum of meditation through my songs, focused by the execution of our instruments, awakened the spirit of my voice as when I had conceived them forty years earlier.
This is the suspended animation the Sayers and the sages of the millennia would talk about, and we would do our best, as the common folk, try to understand. There’s a Truth here. We do have the power to stop time. There’s a whole totality of being within the totality of consciousness, and we’re all within our individual powers. Jason is a universe. I am a universe. We are a multiverse. As you witness this, this is a further multiverse. How we choose to be conscious is, ultimately, how we are going to prove the functionality of our witness while we are in these mortal coils, how we chose to take care of ourselves and promote the longevity of our documentation, as well as our precious planet and all its creatures. Subjective, maybe, but how do you choose? How do you choose to be conscious? How do you choose to be? Do you want to be good? Do you want to be bad? At what levels? So, these are the lives we choose for ourselves. Have a great time y’all! Tap into the immortality.