I’m so bad at this thing (an update)

Good morning from New Orleans :) The sun has been shining here recently and we have had 75 degree days with 55 degree nights. Winter is such a bitch, eh? (I can say that because I spent 22 winters in South Dakota and one in Winnipeg, Manitoba)

This website is still under construction..and some of you know that I have been saying that for sometime. At the moment I am making an honest effort to get content onto the site while making it aesthetically pleasing for me to look at. If you have any comments, PLEASE share!

As for the blog…

Like all of us, I have many thoughts running around my head non-stop. My trip to Iceland was in part to help calm my thoughts and focus on the next few years, while being aware and mindful enough to notice and recognize the simple inspirations around me AND within me.

However,

My residency in Stodvarfjordur, like many adventures, went by quickly. While I hiked mountains, sat by the sea, perused multiple recycling centers looking for simple electronics and a souveneir or two (or three…I believe the best souveniers are the ones you don’t have to purchase), and sat writing and practicing in my studio, I was also reflecting on my life. Mainly, my life in New Orleans. I often would break out of meditation snaps or come out from under a dark cloud in my mind and realize that I was in goll dang ICELAND, surrounded by a heavenly landscape and brilliant artists, who were also there to dive into themselves and their surrounding world. It really was a sight to see and experience.

Anyway… I haven’t really had much of a chance to tell some of my stories, and I have yet to go through my notes and recordings and reflect upon what I created there and what that means for my future, and the future of those around me.

The next few months will be busy for me, as Jon Roniger & The Good For Nothin’ Band will be at work rehearsing, writing, and heavily gigging; I will be in a large scale Reebok sponsored event; Mardi Gras(!!!); my lady-partner moving to New Orleans; many improvised shows with my trio (Alexander’s not-so-ragtime Band) and an extremely special March 12th performance with wizard keyboardist Brian Haas, the funkiest drummer Nikki Glaspie, out-of-this-world cellist Helen Gillet, and master saxophonist Rex Gregory.

After all of THAT…I will be headed back home to Rapid City, South Dakota to hit the road with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Randy McAllister, as we head to  Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary, somewhere in Oregon, and Seattle. A few days before that tour takes off, young pianist Andrew Huot and myself will be playing an intimate show at the speakeasy below Murphy’s in Rapid City.

Next week, we see if the notoriously bad-at-keeping-his-word-about-blogging Alexander writes another blog.

Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, thank the universe you are alive, and smile.

Alexander Lawrence

Dude…I’m so high right now…

I didn’t start smoking marijuana regularly until I was halfway through graduate school, age 25. Of course, recreational smoking was part of my life, but I still didn’t really start that until I was about 21 or 22. After my first year of graduate school, I was dark, and the amount of negative self talk that was happening within my head and my heart was so great, I would not be able to function in public. Try playing, making, listening, and responding to music (the world) with that going on, much less remembering that what we do, as artists, is intrinsically linked to the happenings of our souls. I was drinking heavily (Molson Canadian was my choice, then I was turned onto scotch), not wanting to practice, study, or write, and unable to communicate these issues to anyone.
One morning, during a phone call with my brother, he suggested (even though he knew at the time I had these negative stereotypes about pot smokers in my head) that I try smoking every day for one whole week. That first week was life changing…I was smiling, laughing, talking with people. Asking questions about what I didn’t know, without fear of someone thinking I was anything less of a human or a musician for seeking truth. I cleaned my room…actually, I cleaned the entire house, and I kept that shit clean…for the first time in my LIFE (my parents can vouch for this). My new housemate, Kevin, was an avid smoker, and beginning this experience with someone who embodied a truly non-judgemental character was an introduction into the next chapter of my life.
My practicing and performing became less about how much I could play and more about sounding the best with everything I CAN play, while pushing forward with my story every moment. Instead of looking at my masters paper as a chore (I had to take Bib and Research twice because my first year attempt was less than enthusiastic), I viewed it as a chance to say to the world what I really believed about a subject, and all of the ways I have discovered and dreamed up to provide a meaningful change….so basically – the reality that I knew before…the reality where I was always doubting myself, telling myself I wasn’t good enough, envious of other people’s successes and comparing myself to them switched to a life full of celebration and learning and loving, without borders. This man presents his case in such a beautiful way. Almost all regular pot smokers I know have the same line of thinking. There are risks when you are young, and I see it in many people. This is why education is important. I believe that if more people used marijuana, we would have less issues troubling society and we would be feeling, in greater strength, the damage we are doing to this earth and to eachother.