three minutes to midnight

December 24th or maybe 26th, 2009. Jakarta, Indonesia. I’d been there all week, going from my hotel room, to a mall and back again. Doing a Christmas show in the mall. Just Lexi and me, running out of our small wooden dressing room 5 times a day to entertain a bunch of kids that didn’t really believe in Christmas. I’d seen nothing of Indonesia but that hotel room, the mall, the dressing room and the ever-present traffic jams…

I was restless.
Late this night I went out to a street with bars. I’d looked it up on the internet. It told me it was a street with bars. I walked in to the first one I saw, sat down, ordered a drink. Suddenly a drag queen was singing to me, in the seat next to me. Later I moved next door, or, a few doors down. A club. People dancing. Music playing. Some things are universal across cultures. Some are not. I experienced both this night.
Years later TJ and I are finishing lunch at the still very East-Germanesque cafeteria of The Funkhaus in Berlin. We walk back into the studio that he has tricked me into making an album in, and he tells me to pick up one of the guitars hanging on the wall and start playing. Anything. I pick it up and it’s in open G. I don’t know how play in open G. TJ hits record and tells me to play anyway.
I play something once and he says great, do that again. It comes out completely differently. It’s what you hear on this track. Complete improv. second go, that was it. TJ says I should do some spoken word over it. I have no idea what to do. I pull up this piece I wrote in Jakarta years before and read it out over the thing I just played. Once. I get to the end, in tears, with a big exhale. “Well that worked…”
“Yeah” says TJ, “Let’s move on”.

~ by Derek Wilson on March 13, 2014.

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