Storytelling at Work
September 27, 2022
I BURN FOR YOU: A Stellar New EP by Fuzzbee Morse

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Good people of planet Earth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that the very magnificent, masterful, fun-loving, creative, multi-instrumentalist and man-about-town, Jonathan "Fuzzbee" Morse, has just released a wonderful new four-song EP, I Burn For You.

If you already know Fuzzbee's music, you are in for a treat. If you don't know Fuzzbee's music, here is your introduction to a man who, at 16, was jamming with Frank Zappa, and has gone on to play with such other musical greats as Bono, Sting, Lou Reed, Aaron Neville, Jaco Pastorius, Third World, Karla Bonoff, Richie Havens, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ric Ocasek, Axl Rose, Chambers Brothers, Greg Hawkes, Ben Orr, Pink, Dave Grohl, The Soul Survivors, Daniel Lanois, Donovan, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Derek Trucks, Julian Lennon, Rufus Wainwright, John Sebastian, David Sancious, Jesse Colin Young, Freebo, Natalie Cole, Lee Sklar, Nick Mason, and Russ Kunkel.

And that's just a sampling, folks.

What follows are excerpts from the liner notes of Fuzzbee's EP booklet. After that? Fuzzbee's answers to my questions.

PS: The best way to read the rest of this post is to listen to "I Burn for You" at the same time.

1. "I Burn for You"

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I got to know Sting in 1986, when we were both on the Conspiracy of Hope tour and became a doubles team (undefeated!) on the tennis court. Whenever we've seen each other since then, there's always been a warm, mischievous vibe.

A little while back, Sting put out the word he wanted to hear some different takes on his songs. That intrigued me, and this song is one that I've always loved: I Burn For You.

Sting's band at the time I got to know him was the band that worked this up, including my friends, Janice Pendarvis, DoLette MacDonald, Darryl Jones, the great Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim (who went nuts on the original) and Branford Marsalis.

I cooked this up and got it to Sting in London on a Saturday night. By the time I woke up on Sunday, there was a message from him letting "mr. fuzzbee" know how he appreciated my Burn and that he now wanted to play it more again, himself.

So, here ya go. Alto flutes, bass, guitars, keyboards & things you hit. Enjoy!

2. "Warmth Of The Sun/Sleep Walk"

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This is as close as I come to Christmas music! I've always adored both of these songs and thought there might be a way to musically tie them together with the guitar & harmonies. I could've added several other resonant songs to this mashup, but felt it better to contain it to these two gems and find the ways that they could cross.

Brian Wilson's chord changes always killed me, so consider this a little thank you and homage to Mr. Wilson. May 2022 - 2023 be far better for all of us!

3. "Anybody Like You"

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In my inexplicable & thoroughly wacky life, I've had many unexpected friends, mentors and colleagues, and Paul Allen was easily one of the most impactful.

As opaque and removed as he could be to many, we had a warm, funny and meaningful friendship for many years. We connected on a deep lifelong love of Jimi Hendrix and became jamming buddies and friends from our first meeting, playing 'til 4 in the morning on his birthday in January of 2006.

His Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Championship the next day, as I pointed to him on the TV and told Julie, "that's the guy I was jamming with last night!"

He was the ultimate wildcard. A truly brilliant man, whose head was immersed in finding solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems like climate change, ocean health, curing Alzheimer's and figuring out how to properly pull off Little Wing.

I'll consider him one of the greatest human beings I've ever encountered 'til I check out of this madhouse. And a treasured friend. We had so much fun together. From that first moment, on his birthday.

With great love and appreciation to Paul G. Allen.

4. "As Long as the Wind Blows"

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Written with abiding love & respect for George Harrison, with embedded Beatles tributes by Tony Levin, who played with John & Ringo and Jerry Marotta, who played with Paul McCartney. The Beatles made me want to play, write & perform when I was a little kid. Oh yeah, and get chased by screaming girls.

George was so profoundly an essential part of the depth & timelessness of the Beatles, along with John, Paul & Ringo. His contribution is immeasurable. With much love to PR.


EXCERPTS FROM MY INTERVIEW with FUZZBEE

1. What inspired you to produce/create/release this EP at this time?

I'd already decided to release my reinvention of a song of Sting's and, rather than just selling one song, it seemed natural to combine it with other unreleased pieces from the last couple of Years of the Plague.

2. Is there some kind of theme or thread that connects all four songs?

They were all triggered by different events & people, but the underlying theme may be irreplaceable people and appreciations of the richness of life.

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3. How did COVID 19 and the closing all all musical venues affect you? What did you learn from that experience?

All musical work stopped completely for a while. No studios open, no live music, very little income from my field. I ended up re-doing my studio and started to work remotely from my place, but it was a pretty brutal stretch. I learned how hungry people are, including me, for live music and live interaction.

4. Some people say that music is the universal language. Is it? And if so, what is it trying to say to all of us?

Yes, it's the closest thing to a universal language, with all of its varying flavors from different cultures, eras and styles. Great music can be enjoyed by anyone from any part of the world.

5. Who are your biggest musical influences?

Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Stravinsky, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Motown, Joni Mitchell, Philly Soul (especially Thom Bell's songs), Bernard Herrmann and all the great Bluesmen: Albert King, Robert Johnson, BB King, etc.

6. When did you know that music was what you were here to do?

Probably about eight or nine.

7. What are three (as yet) unfulfilled dreams of yours?

-- To have enough money not to waste time worrying about it.
-- To have a house in a healthy area with a full recording studio in it.
-- To play a piece at the Grammys that absolutely brings the house down. Or even one timeless solo.

8. Why would you like people to buy your EP?

To enjoy the music, further their own inspiration and help feed my chihuahua.

9. What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Boiinnnngggg!

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10. What was it like to meet Mickey Mantle as a young boy?

Absolute nirvana.

11. Complete these sentences:

"The best thing about jamming with Frank Zappa at 16 was... the look on his face. (Playing the best I'd ever played in my life didn't hurt)."

"If I had $250,000 in the bank I would be... most grateful."

"My favorite line from a Bob Dylan song is... "he not busy being born is busy dying."

"In the next ten years I would like to... achieve having a comfortable life making my own music and spend lots of quality time with friends."

"Though money can't buy happiness, it can... keep the hellhounds at bay."

"If I met Buddha on the road, I would... ask him about his favorite restaurants."

"The most extraordinary musician i ever met was... Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa (tied)."

"One of the great things about playing music at Canter's Deli in LA is... that it's usually unplanned and great surprises occur. Having a weekly residency in a big city allows for plenty of experimentation and regular attendees."

"The thing baseball and music most have in common is.. breathing room and hits."

Fuzzbee's "I Burn for You" on Bandcamp
Fuzzbee's website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:44 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2022
ON THE WAY BACK FROM AMAROO: Knowledge in Action

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Here is the beginning of a real life "Knowledge in Action" story about my mythic journey back home from Amaroo -- beginning with the curious phenomenon of my first leg of the return flight from Brisbane to Sydney NOT EXISTING! There was no Qantas flight 503 and my phone didn't work and there were no Qantas employees on duty (it being 2:29 am) and there was no obvious way to get any assistance.

But that was just the Fellini appetizer.

The LA to Newark flight sat on the runway for two hours. Then we "deplaned" -- waiting for another, much older, plane to be cleaned and "catered." The caterers, apparently, onboarded enough peanuts, but they forgot the air!

There was no air conditioning! There was no circulating air on the plane!

It got so bad on the second plane, still on the runway after one more hour, that the too-cheerful flight attendant advised us all to find the laminated safety card in our seat back pocket and FAN ourselves with it.

I shit you not.

The uncirculated air kept getting hotter and hotter and we again deplaned while the ground crew (a caffeinated guy named "Clarence" trying to get the air flowing) did his/their best to fill the plane with something to breathe while a few hundred of us -- some having "traveled" 30 hours from Australia -- sat at Gate 72A and waited for the next chapter of United Airline's Mahabharata to unfold.

The good news?

I got a chance to practice Prem Rawat's gift of Knowledge, post-Amaroo -- a chance to walk the talk -- a chance to stay in my heart, be in the moment and adapt as needed, staying connected to gratitude, not just theoretically, via bumper sticker memes, but real-time, breath by breath.

One of the things I love about what Prem Rawat teaches is that it's very practical. It's a lifeline to the moment and the kind of perspective that enables a person to BE wherever they are.

THIS JUST IN! The "missing part" that United was searching for to get the air going has apparently arrived! Soon the plane will be boarding (for the third time today) and if all goes well and no one hi-jacks the plane to Cuba, I should be back home by 3:30 am.

Oh, one more thing: I will be writing a very loooooong letter to the CEO of United Airlines, requesting a free round trip to anywhere in the world.

Power to the People and a big shout out to whatever YOU do to keep you present and maintaining your perspective about what's really important -- no matter what’s going on in this great play of life.

PS: I just reboarded the plane. The air is just as hot as it was before we deplaned. But there were BLANKETS on each seat.

Photo: Tim Gouw, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

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