bio, tales...

composer J Civil                                                                                                                                                          

I remember when i was a little kid, I had a toy snare drum, and I was always trying to make a kit of drums out of whatever's around the house, pots 'n pans, like that. Finally my father bought me an inexpensive kit, a 'Kent', pretty shitty, but he did spring for good quality Zildjian cymbals.

I played the beats that were popular then, The Monkees' Mary Mary, Surfaris Wipe Out, The Ventures, stuff like that, I Saw Her Standing There, Beatles. I took lessons, learned to sight-read for the whole kit, Schottische rudimentary drumming, sat in with the house band at my father's failed supper club endeavor; I failed to keep a good slow 5/4 with wire brushes, for my part. But I rocked Watermelon Man...

JImi Hendrix altered that course when I saw him at the old Charlotte Coliseum in spring of '69. I lobbied the 'rents til there was finally a Jap copy of a Tele; nice blonde finish, didn't sound like much... I got fairly good at copping stuff off records, like as many of the guitar parts overdubbed on Abbey Road as I could make out. Not much by the way of a formal edumacashum, just some rock 'n roll capacity, really.

One day, smoking some of what we called mexican trip weed, I noticed I was in a zone, like a dream but not, where I heard some bizarre music, that nonetheless made sense to me. I'm pretty sure it was Live-not-Memorex, I mean merely remembered melody and rhythm - I didn't have any referents for this, but it felt like I was recombining musics according to my own lights; I mean, I kinda sorta knew what a composer was.... so, how to find out what/how those combinations work, and to make that object, 'for real' - ?

So, I began to look at music in a more technical sense. I studied theory at the local community college, Webb Wiggins was teach's name, and a fine teacher, excellent organist, guy really knew his shit. Got some classical guitar chops under tutelage of one Fred Nance, who kind of owned the scene there. Trad Jazz guitar picker and banjo too. Real character that Fred. i got accepted by a couple schools, chose Cincinnati Conservatory for its reputedly strong guitar program, which had seen some changes before my visit there... I decided that classical performance wasn't really going to be my thing, and transferred to the conservatory in SF CA; the program was in transition there as well (it was rather a new thing, a guitar program in the academy), and I went into an electronic music emphasis...

(See, in my little band back in the day, playing Grover Smith's original Beatle-y songs, we had got a MiniMoog, cheap ($150)-because-it-was-hot.. (whaddya want, we're kids. A Minimoog fer jebussake) I learned enough playing with that to get a good start with synthesis technique. ) 

At this time, arriving in SF, I'd grown very weary of european concert music, with western music really, the whole sound of it. I went back to electric with a vengeance. At SF, I met a keyboardist and composer called Scott Brazieal, who had a band called Cartoon. I lurked around the fringe of that scene, as the token Americans in the whole Rock In Opposition thing, a Euro-avant-rock movement; eg., Henry Cow, Samla Mammas Manna... Fred Frith and Chris Cutler were main contact points. My side thing was called Free Associations, and was about 99% pure improvisation, and I mean Free Ass; occasionally we successfully made some beautiful compositions this way. This act was deep underground... we did The Airport Lounge Band eventually, which covered the bases of sick/ironic lounge and sick/ironic C&W, both before there were a whole lotta referents for this sort of behavior... Ultimately there was a thing called The Green Show, which is a tale unto itself...

I'm still relying on a native improvisational capacity; today I work with a DAW or 'sequencer/audio' application, and realize my ideas directly onto that platform. these musics on these pages are the fruits of that labor.

Tigress and the U-Fraidees is the current project. which is maximally diverse...


it's not ez bein GREEN: tales and more action