MJ Local Artist

 

MJ is a local artist from Louisville and predominantly known in the Highlands. Her sketches, paintings, Claymation videos, stitching, guitar, and singing skills are all so impressive I wanted to do a post about why I was inspired by them.

MJ’s aesthetic is taken to the extreme and is very raw. Anatomically correct stitching of a human heart on her pocket, eyeball rings, and gun earrings. Her eyebrows have been drawn in pink and her pixie hair cut gives her a melancholy and edgy vibe. She manages to soften this into a very feminine and attractive style. Her personality ties it all together and she is very open which is why so many artist want to collaborate and work with her.

Getting to know MJ and her insanely funny sense of humor gave me the chance to learn that she was also incredibly intelligent. Her skills as a musician show that she picks up on things incredibly fast and can execute them extremely well. Her soprano voice is very developed and could open her to be a main vocalist as well as a backup because she can harmonize like an angel.

Her Claymation videos have drawn the attention of Cage the Elephant, Portugal. The Man, The Districts, Second Street Bridge, and Twin Peaks. It has a vintage feel to it while keeping it interesting with simple plots.

The pictures below are some that I want to add to my inspo page because she has done all of her work by the age of 16. Her talents are great by themselves but putting these all together into one artist is pretty crazy. Her Instagram is @schizophrenic.whale if you ever want to get ahold of her or are interested in getting a piece of her art for yourself.

 

Revelation

I was always drunk, he was always high

I loved him so much it all went a rye

So when I wanted to leave I couldn’t fly

 

‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’

I left him my all, but he had none to give

I stayed when it hurt now I cannot forgive

What’s it called? Home? Heart? Truth? All too massive

 

Time had came and went

The chance had left to repent

His body a church, Heaven arrived as Hell- his love it sent 

Rivers, Roads, and Coffee

 

Rivers, Roads, and Coffee

The flickering ‘Coffee’ sign makes it hard to focus on the words flowing from my pen. While I am consumed by my notebook there are three business men talking about stocks and ways to finesse more money. A girl with black dreads and pale skin uses both of her hands to hold her coffee as she leans into conversation with a boy. He must be saying the most interesting thing that has ever left a person’s mouth by the way her eyebrows are knit close together and the way she is focusing hard. College students take over the patio studying for finals, and the workers wipe down the counter waiting for their next order to take. The warm lights, smell of coffee, and comfortable vibe of Heine Brothers off Bardstown road is the place in Louisville that I grew from a quiet 14-year-old to a confident 18-year-old about to take my own path. Change is inevitable and for the most part it is always needed, and even as I changed as a person Heine Brothers kept me in their shop daily all four years of high school. Coffee shops having a significant impact on a person’s growth is an odd topic, so I will explain it.

I.

Freshman year. All my friends living in the Highlands and it’s the common area for us to meet up. The five of us meet up and debate about random things, write music, talk about music history, and plan out what life is going to be like. “We will be playing and writing music for the rest of our lives probably.” Sam says shrugging casually. I sit back in my chair and genuinely believing in this moment that this will be the rest of my life. We notice them closing up and leave at closing time as usual, which is a blessing because I always have to get a decent amount of sleep before my cello lesson in the morning. We step outside into warm air and decide what time we would be back tomorrow.

II.

Sophomore year passed. Restricted license, dating, and school had our group of five fade. By junior year we went off on our own. I am in Catholic Social Justice class. My teacher, a jittery young woman, tells us our field trip is going to be to Heine Brothers headquarters to learn about fair trade. We pile on the bus and the windows fog from the heat inside meeting the raw cool temperature outside. We walk in to the building placed in the more urban part of Louisville. I later find out this location was purposefully made to encourage diversity. For now, I am focused on the man approaching. Mike Mays walks in and he is so attractive, not even in a physical sense. He’s humble, but very energetic and hopeful for the growth of his company. People seeming to just be attracted to him and want to hear what he has to say. He genuinely cares for the people he works with. He’s being cautious with his words, making sure to never say they worked ‘for him’. “I work with these people,” He says, “We are a team and that is how a company grows, we work together.” He lets us know specifically that he is proud of how Heine Brothers is a company you can work your way up in no matter where you start. There is something about him, and when he speaks it’s was obvious how much he wants everyone to succeed. He shows pictures of Gorillas that he got inches away from and his adventures around the world. He travels to talk to coffee farmers in person, making sure they were getting paid fairly and their needs are met. I walk out back into the bitter wind outside knowing that was the type of leader I want to be.

III.

Senior year I still meet up with my friends from freshman year and hang out at Heine Brothers. I drive by Heine Brothers and get a salty turtle mocha every morning before school at 7:20am. I didn’t end up obsessively making new lyrics or poems every weekend like we said we would, but I do have a music internship this summer for a musician who played at Bonnaroo.  I don’t shut myself in libraries on the weekends or keep my face in a journal, but I do still write and create art. Heine Brothers was where I kept my roots and passions, but I bettered them into something I can make a happy life out of.  I learned moderation and the importance of social interaction, leadership and the type of leader I wanted to be, and to visit with friends even when your life is moving fast because you will never regret it. I saw selflessness and caring for others, and I got my favorite cup of coffee while doing it.

 

 

 

 

Johnny Allen Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was born in 1942 and grew up in Seattle, his community being predominantly white. He was in the care of his full-blooded Cherokee grandmother most of his life. When he was born his original name was Johnny Allen Hendrix, which was changed by his father to James Marshall when Jimi’s mother left. His mother, Lucille, left and only saw Jimi a handful of times before he died from a drug overdose in London at age 27. His father bought him his first guitar at age 12, which was played upside down due to Hendrix being a left-handed player. He was self-taught not being able to afford lessons. His music was inspired by BB King, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, and Albert King.

He played in a band in high school called The Rocking Kings and eventually dropped out of school to pursue his music. He wasn’t always only playing music contrary to what he thought in high school. He eventually enlisted in the army. He was training as a paratrooper and was honorably discharged after hurting himself parachuting. When he got out of the army he began playing again under the name Jimmy James. He played back up for Little Richard, B.B. King, and Sam Cooke.

In 1966 while playing at a bar Hendrix met Chas Chandler, bass player for The Animals, a band known for their performance of “The House of the Rising Sun”. Chandler got Hendrix to come to London and create the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Jimi, a very young black artist, created a whole new genre of psychedelic rock in his solo career. “People were used to very dressed up watered down soul music. He wasn’t and that’s why he became who he did.” – Eric Clapton. Eric was one of Jimi’s first supporters. He told Chas to invite him to a jam session and right when Jimi walked in they agreed he had a striking presence with the way he carried himself, spoke, and played. He was shy, but very self-aware. They noticed he was left handed and was a complex talented guitar player as well. His odd mix of profound yet not flashy appearance affected Eric. “My life, and music was never the same again.”  Mitch Mitchell was the drummer for Jimi Hendrix and the Experience and Noel Redding the keyboard player. Noel, unlike Mitchell, didn’t have a lot of faith in Hendrix. After the jam session he agreed only to come back if they paid him 30 dollars. After the second time playing together he knew they had something special when they didn’t even need written music to create something amazing. They played well together almost knowing what the other was thinking before they played it, and that was when the band really came together.

The first gig they had a producer had already approached their manager offering a 1,000-pound advance to promote the band. They agreed and from then on skyrocketed. The members were very young and shocked by the fame. “I was little, I was a boy. Here comes John Lennon walking into my dressing room. I almost fell out of my chair.” Said Noel. The Beatles and Rolling Stones were at their peak at this time and very early on were supporters of Jimi. During an interview with Mick Jagger he said “Why are you interviewing me? You should be interviewing Jimi Hendrix.” That was a spark to the fan base.

Jimi was building in the media, but at that time sex was selling. They made him mysterious and flashy to attract girls and attention. Mick Jagger being a supporter and a sex symbol himself also set a heart throb view of Jimi. He was very different than the media portrayed him, and it threw off many people who met him. “Here he was a raw sexual model in these magazines. It threw you when you met him. He was a shy, whispering, gentle character off stage. He was slyly hip and saw the world different. He would have a sly grin to him and you would know he saw something different than what you had seen.” His producer explained.

Jimi never let Mitch and Noel in on his music in the making because he couldn’t. Jimi would make up these songs in his head Mitch would ask what tempo it was in and Noel would ask what key it was and they would play it letting Jimi tweak it along the way, creating many songs that went to British top ten immediately within minutes. “I can’t express myself like this, in conversation like this. It doesn’t come out that way. That’s why I have to do it on stage.” – Jimi.

Jimi ended up preforming with The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. The store on Bardstown road, Electric Ladyland, is also inspired by Jimi. His final album was titled “Electric Ladyland” that included the song “All Along the Watchtower” written by Bob Dylan. You can see the painting of his eyes above the entrance.

Jimi Hendrix had he talent he had without being arrogant and extroverted. He was in it for the music and that was it. He created art and music in such a unique way. He was incredibly successful even when society was at it’s worst with racism and oppression. He inspired so many artist and taught people about freedom, individuality, and passion without ulterior motives. Jimi left a huge mark on music and the legacy he left on rock will always be significant and that is why I think he will forever be important in history. images (2)

 

 

Groupies

15-year-old Lori Maddix was locked in a closet by Robert Plant lead singer of Led Zeppelin because he treasured her so much that he didn’t want any other musician using her as a muse. At 15 I wasn’t even allowed to go to concerts by myself.

music in the 70s was creative risky and different from anything anyone had heard before. Of course, you needed Mick Jagger, Robert plant, and Jimi Hendrix, but who made them into rock stars causing mad hysteria? The fans.

I have listened to countless interviews, read articles, researched the music and analyzed the lyrics. I have heard from bystanders, the groupies themselves, and their love interests… the rock stars. I want to share the information of groupie’s stories and teach the overlooked history of rock n roll.

So, let’s set the scene for this time period of sex drugs and rock n roll.

It was a time of oppression, activism, and change. Women, African Americans, native Americans, gays lesbians, disabled fighting for equality. Antiwar movements, Watergate scandal.

This was a very different time. No car seats, rubbed whiskey on sore gums, and didn’t make kids wear helmets. It would probably make every modern-day parenting book author vomit. Kids were allowed a lot more freedom with no cell phones and curfew of “come home when its dark”. This freedom prepared them pretty well for being agents of change. The start of change? Music. Parents burning records because people on the television told them to, but kids hearing their idols to question authority. It was a constant battle between conservative tradition and progressive movements for change.

On the interview “life of a groupie” they asked Lori how her parents would have reacted to her stories. Her were so wide and her hands were all frantic “They would have died.” And here is why…

Groupies were just as known as the stars in the 70s. They had stories that if you pictured happening to you gives you chills. Tana was a heroine in her own show. He was on the beach after shooting she saw some guy walking towards her and said, “You shouldn’t be walking alone on the beach.” and she replied “I’m not alone anymore.” That was Elvis. She was 17 he was early 20s. One night they were sitting in Grant Park and he proposed. She said she’d think about it and took the ring he gave her. She explained she couldn’t accept because it would be hard on his career. She said with all the people that were around him he was the loneliest man shed ever met, but her loss was rock n roll’s gain.

Cassandra on the other hand was less settled down and usually unnoticed until one night she made her aunt take her to the hotel they found out Led Zeppelin was staying in. Her and a friend went to every floor and every door listening to see which one they’d hear music in. They found one and knocked Jimmy Page opened the door looking moody. She was on the music scene ever since.

Pamela des barres sitting between Robert and jimmy page watching Elvis is a story she talks about as “indescribable. being a part of something so big and knowing how huge it is”

Michelle Oterman was with Steven Tyler and Robert plant – Steven Tyler went to the same high school with Michelle. He was 18 and she was 16. She left him saying she was too young, too many people, too many drugs. Michelle was friends with Pamela Des Barres another groupie having had met through the band. Michelle was starting a relationship with a very married Robert Plant and Pamela was with jimmy at the time. Michelle met Robert the day after she turned 18 and that night began a long-time affair, but they never ended up together.

Catherine James had a child and Mick Jagger fell in love with them both. She met Mick Jagger at a party and they were instantly attracted. She said the music they were playing in the living room filled the old house making it full. She became his girlfriend and moved in with him, which is a line groupies usually didn’t cross. He went on tour and called less frequently. She saw he was with a new girl. Catherine called his house and Bianca answered. She hung up without saying a word. She said she wanted to leave it as an amazing memory, no hard feelings. He kissed her goodbye and she left.

These love stories, wild parties, and even creation of families all began with rock n roll. These groupies were reasons songs and art were created. The idea of freedom and living for music was their reality. Imagine living out any of this with your heart throb today. It is kind of crazy to think about. These women weren’t side chicks they were muses. For that reason and the incredible legacies of rock n roll they left behind I believe they will always have an important place in history.

 

Nights At the Palace

The doors to Twin Peaks dressing room opening and clouds rolling out of it. Kyle, Portugal. The Man’s keyboard player, coming to let us in backstage. Brad Shultz from Cage the Elephant making an appearance telling me I’m funny. Here is the night that told me art and music would always be a part in my life.

My Top Ten of the Month

Some suggestions of music and albums that got my giddy this month

o

Cry Baby – Janis Joplin

8teen –  Khalid

God’s Plan – Drake

Tell Me You Love Me Album – Demi Lovato

Drugs – Anderson. Paak

Dreams – Stevie Nicks

Woman – Ke$ha

Cool Girl – Tove Lo

Down in the Valley – Head and the Heart

Wanted You – Twin Peaks