Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NASA and new news 4 U 2 know part 4: NASA


Just in time for the dissolution of the our esteemed space program.

I could use this new song release as a platform to talk about nazi conspiracies surrounding the American space program, the faking of the moon landing, or the general cover up of extra-terrestrial life in our solar system and NASA's culpability.  But really, who wants to read that shit on a blog about power pop?  Maybe a few of you….  Well screw it, here's the lyrics to the song instead:


If I could only change your mind
I know I'd change the world

I don't want to wake her up
I don't want to wake the silent earth
I don't want to wake her up
her clouds are snowbanks frozen in mid peace
the southern atlantic hooks across the milky alleyway
like a bowling ball's relief

I don't want to wake the silent earth
her chaos works so orderly
as silently as time and TV
shining through subsonically

Below the splayed blanket of
smoke and dinosaur skin
we are all in
and we prepare to begin again
this little face to face
with this pear shaped place
here in upper space
I'm sure we could be happy together
but it just might throw your rotation out of whack

If I said something in my sleep that made you uncomfortable
I could tell a joke and we could laugh it off
pretend I never said it

If I could change your mind
I know I could change the world

NASA was originally written at the end of the song writing cycle that included all of the Tantric Scrimshaw album.  "Vampire's Reflection," which appears on our new ep Business on the Lanai, was also written around the same time.  I have no idea who NASA was written to.  Most of the time, I have at least one girl in mind when I write lyrics to these songs (the muse, I always need my muse).  At this point, I can't really imagine who might have been messing with my head in the moment these lyrics were conceived.

Where were they conceived?  I was doing some kind of performance at a new art museum at my old alma mater Skidmore College.  I really shouldn't have been there--it was years after graduating and I had left Saratoga Springs with a real sour taste in my mouth.  One of my friends knew the dance teacher at Skidmore, and she was charged with putting together a performance for the opening of new art museum at school.  My friend Dave and I were invited up to be a part of this performance (we were going to be paid -- I couldn't pass that up just on principal alone).  When we got to the school, it turned out that there was a large group of really beautiful dancers involved with the piece.  I remember having a real crush on one dancer, and it seemed like maybe she was actually digging me, but for some reason, a different dancer ended up coming back to my room (I was staying in the college guest house) and talking to me for hours into the night.  She was pretty boring, I remember wanting her to leave, and we didn't end up hooking up, it was pretty disappointing.

The museum we performed in is called the Tang museum.  You decide if the name is significant or unfortunate.  Here's what it looks like from space:

Well anyway, somewhere in this weekend, I found myself sitting in front of the TV in my room, watching the NASA channel.  I think the sound was off.  I was just staring at a live moving image of the earth being filmed from a satellite in space.  It blew my mind that you could just casually watch  the earth from space on TV, it seemed pretty significant for some reason.  I remember watching the roundness of our planet roll by, and thinking that the surface of the earth, with the mixture of clouds, continents, and water creating textures across it, looked like, well….a bowling ball.   Honestly.  I admit, that's a weird association.  But those kinds of honest details are what makes life interesting, to me.

Just sitting there, in that quiet moment, looking at the earth turn.  You never know what will inspire art. This moment did it.  I wrote the lyrics while watching the earth turn on TV.

We ended up not being able to include the song on TWE TS - I think it was probably written after the album was recorded.  We did get the 2001 live band version of the TWE to learn the song, and I think we actually played it live at a show once.  But it never got too much farther than a shitty sounding  demo in terms of recordings.

Until now.

And now its yours, for free.  Just go to www.TheTWEx.com

I do think there must be some significance to this tune being released at the end of 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, the year where we are supposed to transform into a super earth, or where essentially  everyone on earth 'wakes up' from the dream of unconsciousness we've been living and sees the truth of the universe:  that everything is made of energy and life is far more beautiful, malleable, and infinite than we've been able to experience.  Some say that the consciousness of the earth itself is waking up from its dream.  And because the earth wakes up, we are all more or less forced to wake up because we are riding along with it.  I think I was feeling this idea at the time, and feeling the largeness of it, and feeling like maybe I was enjoying just watching the earth sleep.  Its so beautiful just rolling along in its forgetfulness.  I don't know if you've ever watched someone you love sleep, but its pretty amazing-- they often look so peaceful and innocent, and they are utterly defenseless.  Its sort of the ultimate expression of trust in life.

Actually, watching someone sleep reminds me of this incredible sketch:

 But I digress.

Please enjoy NASA, on us.

Find a quiet moment and play it.  See if you can tap into the intense realness/utter un-realness of being alive on this globe, in this solar system, in this galaxy, in this universe.  See if you can notice yourself as the witness of this miracle.  You may not think life is all that special, but if, in this moment, while you are listening to NASA -- if in this moment, I can change your mind….

Monday, October 22, 2012

NASA and new news for U 2 Know part 3: World of Weirdos, I Mean, Westfields

Hey You with the feet!

Does anyone actually read this stuff?  I highly doubt it.  But still I persevere....

Part 3 of TWE new news for u 2 know will hopefully be shorter and sweeter than the last few posts.
(editor's note:  that's bullshit, Phil is actually going to write a long, long story.)  Really, I'm just here trying to explain myself -- its a sort of apology for my existence, if you will.  As in, "Sorry I'm trying to make art at you like this, but my mind erupted again and I wanted to share it with someone in an effort to justify my existing at this point in time on this planet."  I assume its really just an extension of when you're a kid and you scribble a bunch of nonsense on a piece of paper and show it to your parents with the expectations that they will be simultaneously understanding, appreciative and encouraging.  Really, that's all artists are doing for the rest of their lives:  smearing the world with their own runaway compulsions and shouting aloud, dirty-faced and clammy handed "I made!"   That's all.  Art.  Is.  One long declaration of pooping.....

....Where did I go?

Oh yeah.  Hey world, I made!


I don't know if Troy and I really talked much about making a t-shirt, or if I just said "I'm making a t-shirt." and Troy said "mummblbe mbuemmmble rubble oh all right."  But at any rate, it happened.  We made a t-shirt.   You can check it out for yourself if you follow this link.   And here's the long story why:

When I was in high school in the 1980s in Massachusetts, there was a store some of you may have heard of called Newbury Comics.  They said they were a comics store but it really was a music store.  Now that I think of it, as an adult I would really appreciated a comic/music store.  Well, one day I was there and I found the coolest shirt in the world.  The design on it looked like this:

At the time, I had no idea that this shirt actually came from a rocknroll band.  All I knew is that someone out there understood how I felt about the world.  "A world full of weirdos."  My 15 year old self could only imagine the possibilities.  Actually, I probably already felt that I was living in a world of weirdos, but I think what I really wanted was for them to all KNOW they were as weird as they appeared to be to me.  With Weirdo Consciousness would come Inspired Weirdo Behavior.  And then the world wouldn't suck so much.  Combine that sentiment with the classic Roy Lichtenstein-esque pop art comic book design, and you have a simple yet effective homage to freaks everywhere. 

When I finished college, I joined up with an avante-garde theater company.  This was a huge mistake.  I wouldn't take it back for the world, but it was probably one of the worser decisions I've made in a life of fairly poor decisions.  I'm not going to tell you why, I'm just telling you so you have the context that it was a real year of pain and suffering, but punctuated with extremely inspiring, life-changing events.  I guess it was a great/terrible decision, if I was being honest.

Somewhere in this year of inspired suffering, I apparently lent the Weirdos shirt to my friend Juniper.  She was an actor in the group, and a cool, non-judgemental person.  And definitely a weirdo.  Shit, she grew up in a teepee.  In Maine.  God, that would be cold.  I don't know exactly when or how the t-shirt lending happened, because I blocked out a lot of those memories out of a sense of self preservation, but apparently Juniper must have identified with the shirt's sentiment, coveted it, and in the end, gained possession of it.  I, apparently, went on my merry, insane way, none the wiser that this mythic piece of clothing had escaped my grasp. 

Let's get in our time machine, jump into the 5th dimension, where time and space appear to be just a long, blurry sequence of events endlessly running along a flat surface, find October 22 2011, and  re-enter the 4th dimension (where you are currently reading this).  So now its October 22, 2011.  Strangely enough, and completely coincidentally (honest), that's exactly a year ago today.  Whoa.
I'm sitting in my room, wondering about that shirt.  Just like now.  Wondering what happened to it.  Wondering where that design came from.  So I looked it up on the interwebs, and it turned out it came from here:  http://scruss.com/blog/2007/03/23/that-would-be-wonderful/

Well, really, it actually came from here:  http://www.punkrockers.com/weirdos

The Weirdos were a punk rock band from LA.  In order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the scene, they declared "we're not punks, we're weirdos from Hollyweird!"  I'm harboring a vague fantasy that this worked for them.  This band existed from the late seventies onward.  I bought the shirt mid 80s.  I gave it to Juniper in 1994.  Its now 2012, and as I type this I'm actually listening to the Weirdo's music for the very first time.  Its good, too!

I'm starting to feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience.

So I found the above links, posted them to the facebook with these words:  "my favorite tshirt in highschool had this on it:"

Next thing I know, I get a message from Juniper, whom I haven't spoken with in probably a decade.  She asks me what my address is, says she has something to send me.  Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what she might want to send me.  But you, the reader, know all too well.

The fuckin Weirdos shirt.  

Its a white t shirt with black ink artwork.  The material is really worn thin, not only from me wearing it for ten years, but from Juniper rocking it for another nearly 2 decades.  The sleeves are cut off - I think I did that, I honestly don't remember.  Its something I would have done in the 80s. 

 Its seen a lot of living, that Weirdos shirt.  

And now its hanging on my wall.  As a work of art.   Cause that's what it is.  Its a living work of art.  

No, check that.  Its a work of LIFE.  Its a freakin' work of life.  

Once Juniper sent me the shirt, I realized what I needed to do.  Honor the gesture.  Honor the shirt.  Create a tribute.  A Troy Westfield tribute.  Cause Troy's been there the whole time.  He my homey.  We were making music together when I bought the shirt.  We were making music together when I gave it away.  We were making music together when I got it back.  The TWE has been a part of my life in one way or another for as long as the Weirdos shirt.  So maybe I've been wishing I was living in a World of Weirdos, but all the while, I've been living in a World of Westfields.


The guy covering his face is the mysterious Troy Westfield.  The words he is speaking are a Fletch quote.  I'll let him explain what that means.  You can read his explanation here.

You can get your own World of Westfields shirt if you go to our website store:

My hope:  Someone will see our shirt and buy it, and dig its weirdness as much as I dug the Weirdos shirt.  And they will wear the shit out of it, because it feels like someone understood them when no one else did.  And maybe they will give it away to a good, weird person, and forget about it for 20 years, and then get it back in the mail and hang it on their wall.  As a tribute to...well... a life lived.  And lived weird.

That would be wonderful. 

Dedicated to Troy and Juniper.   

Friday, October 19, 2012

NASA and new news for U 2 Know part 2: Experience the Art of the Experience the art of the experience the art....


What's on the docket?  I'm reading the minutes from last meeting, it says here that at 2:15 we are supposed to discuss putting in a traffic light at the corner of General McCarthur Avenue and Pithy Lane.  Ombudsman Reginald Quan has a presentation about radical snack foods from the 1950s, and later, we'll be voting on whether or not to re-pave the sidewalk leading up to the commissary.  Lidia, I believe you were going to speak about the women's militia needing more bullets and WHAT THE F@#% AM I DOING!!!?????


For a minute there I thought someone had lobotomized me and I had become a member of a town government.   Gotta stop watching those debates.  Shit.

Where was I?

TWE NEWS.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  More specifically, the Art of the TWE.  Created by yours truly.  Uhhhhh.....Phil.  My name is Phil and I make the art for the TWE.

Why should you care?  Well, to be honest, maybe you shouldn't.  There's a lot more important things out there in this hazy/crazy/lazy/daisy world.  BUT...if you do care.  About art.  Then read this shit.  Cause we have some cool art-related objects to shove at you.

Here's one.....
1.  How about a Business on the Lanai Poster? 

This is a full color 11X17 inch gloss poster featuring the cover art from our latest EP, Business on the Lanai.  The original art was painted with acrylic paint, inked with mechanical pens, and then scanned into a computer and fixed up here and there with photoshop.  It features a tiger person in a psychedelic coat, a blue space lady with crazy shades holding a petrified flower, a dolphin, a waterfall, an angelic white tiger with flaming seraphim wings, and a tiny cowboy cat riding a fiery porpoise.  It probably took me nearly a year working on it on and off to complete.

Here's the story:  A few years ago my buddy Marc gave me an Ipod.  It was an older model, but had a lot of memory and worked fine.  I promised him a piece of original art in exchange.  Probably a year or 3 went by and I still hadn't manifested this promised piece of art.  Marc wasn't giving me a hard time about it, but I always sort of felt like an asshole for not coming through on my part of the deal.

When it was time to create the new TWE record, I decided I'd kill 2 birds with one stone.  I'd paint Marc's picture and simultaneously use that painting as the cover for the new album.  Easier said then done.

Thematically,  I was going to incorporate tigers into the piece, since Marc's production company is Lucky Tiger Productions.   Being a weirdo, I found a way to connect this with stories of  encounters with extra-terrestrial tiger people as expressed by James Gilliland, who runs the Eceti ranch up in Washington state, and claims that there are regular sightings of UFOs and paranormal phenomena in the area.  He virtually claims that if you go to his ranch, you will absolutely see ufo's flying into the mountain that sits near his home.  Here, check it out:  Eceti.org

What I find particularly interesting are these photographs of blurry cat people someone affiliated with him is said to have taken with a cellphone.  Follow the link, the pics are right at the top of the page:

Gilliland himself has said to have had encounters with these cat people, and he states that the photographs in question are of a feline being from the Sirius system.  Fair enough, dude.

What''s more, cat people are a repeated theme throughout history, the most obvious example being as part of the Egyptian pantheon of gods.   More recently, famous comic book artists like the great Jack Kirby would feature cat beings in many of his books, like Kamandi, a book about a boy living in an apocalyptic future featuring marauding gangs of tiger people, or Captain Victory, a psychedelic space saga with a cat guy as the chief engineer of the ship.  So, it may seem crazy, but I'm following in a rich tradition of cat obsessed artists.

So I had my theme, now all I had to do was execute.

 Last summer (2011), I was living in Vermont for 40 some odd days, filming a feature length movie called American Epitaph.  Here's the trailer:

"American Epitaph" Teaser Trailer from Ryan Holden on Vimeo.

 I play one of the main characters, a young man named Eliot who goes off to join a war being fought on American soil, and after realizing that war sucks, goes AWOL.  We filmed it in the wilds of VT (Vermont is an extremely beautiful land, if you didn't know, now you know) and I knew I would have lots of downtime between actual shooting, so I got to drawing and painting.  Luckily for me, there was a great big, amazing waterfall behind the backyard of the ski lodge where the cast and crew were all staying.  After staring at its majesty for probably a week or two, and submerging myself in its f-f-freezing waters, I decided this would be a good object to incorporate into the painting.  So I did:

 Again, here's the poster with the waterfall, and below, the same waterfall behind myself and the other members of the cast of AE.

 With the tiger-dude and the waterfall in place, I soon realized the image needed some babes in it.  Thus manifested the blue lady, who I look at as a nod to the 2010 album TWE producer Allen Towbin and I created as the band Agents of Venus.  Besides, if you are going to do a painting about extra-terrestrials, you have to include hot blonde blue ladies.  It just goes without saying.

Her presence completing the male/female circuit of balance for the image, started to add details that I thought were meaningful to our current project.   Referencing the lyrics to the final song on our EP, called 'Petrified Flowers' (the song title itself a reference to the band the Stone Roses, a fave group of both Mike and mine - 'Flowers' is our Stone Roses tribute song),  I started to litter the painting with images that appeared in the song.  For example, the blue lady is holding a crystalline flower, a direct reference to the song title.  The tree above the Tiger-man's head is also filled with blooming crystalline flowers.

There's a line in the PF that goes:  "We'll ride singing porpoise, clouds of purple circle as we dive."  This line paved the way for the little cowboy cat guy.  He's flying through the air on a flaming porpoise.  Why is the porpoise on fire?  Why are you asking such a stupid question?

Another line from the song:  "We'll find winged serpents, dancing where the flowers petrified."
This line gave birth to the fire-winged tiger.  A winged serpent is another name for a seraphim, a certain kind of mythological angel from the bible.  A serpent with wings symbolizes the meeting of the earth and the sky-- after all, its a snake that flies -- a dragon, really.  This style of fiery wings was the way seraphim were depicted in middle ages paintings.  So I copped the wings and placed them on a white (think angelic) tiger (to keep the tiger theme consistent), and placed him (her? it? them?) on the highest point of the painting.  Now our image has a higher power, a creature that guards this strange mythic land our cover painting characters inhabit.

Oh, and there's also a dolphin in the painting, just so yo can see the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise.  Trust me, they're different. 

This image took about a year of diligence to complete.  The original now lives in the offices of Lucky Tiger Productions.  But the poster version can live on your wall, too.  Just go on over to the TWE store on our website and scroll down to the poster offer.  For a measly $5 you can have a little piece of TWE memorabilia.  Think of it as a window into a psychedelic landscape of oddball mythological mashups.  Put it on your wall and bug out to it!  Its good stuff, I swear...

Just follow this link to the Troy Westfield Experience's online store and cop a poster for yourself:    http://www.thetwex.com/-twe-store.html

Damn, this news post got long in a hurry.  More stories and art for your heads and your hearts to come, and then, ultimately, NASA!   stay tuned....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NASA and New News for U 2 Know, part one

Hey Westfieldians

Phil here.  Long time no talky talk.  There were a few important developments that we here at the TWE never really talked about when they first happened, and there's been a new development, and there will be some upcoming developments, and this is the part of this horribly constructed sentence where I again write the word 'development.'

Tantric Scrimshaw 2012

First of all, we re-released our 10-plus-year-old album Tantric Scrimshaw!  Damn it, yes.  This was the reason we got the TWE rolling again:  Mike, Allen and I all felt that TWE TS was a great album, but there were issues with the execution of the record, from guitar sounds and levels to my lame drumming on the opening track to times where maybe the vocals where a bit overbearing towards the rest of the instrumentation.   Both Mike and myself really wanted this record to live on 'forever' on the interwebs, so people could appreciate it whenever they wanted to, from wherever in the world they wanted, and so that maybe kids in 2059 can find our album and decide it was the greatest rock record ever made and construct a series of statues, buildings, and parks (a city, really) dedicated to the memory of the patron saints of the spirit of rock and roll, the Troy Westfield Experience.

Or, at least, so that someone could listen to the record online.  Or buy it as a CD and have it to admire every night before they drift off into an evening of marshmallow dreams.

What I'm trying to get at is, we remixed, remastered, and sometimes even re-recorded the album, and it sounds freakin' awesome.  Seriously.  The guitars now sound big and beefy, real rock style.  The drum sounds are huge, like a giant broke out his drum set in the grand canyon and we managed to get it onto tape.  The vocals have been moved around to make room for a lot of the instrumentation.  Trust me, its better.

And some songs have been downright fixed.  The puzzle of how to make a complex and unique tune like "Obsessed with the 5 of Hearts" work has been solved, and that tune now really stands out as a dramatically improved, XTC-meets-Jimi Hendrix-style-power-pop-psychedelic-barn-burner. 
Here, check it out for yourself:

Let me give you another example.  Our lead-off song on the album, Alyssa Gordon, had become somewhat an iconic tune for the band (in our own tiny circle).  It was the tune people first heard from the band, since we performed it for a month straight during a theatrical run in a theater on 42nd street back in the beginning of 2001.  People who liked us knew that song, and liked that song.  But on the album, there were problems with the tune.  Specifically, my crappy drumming.  In the studio, I couldn't consistently pull off the beat necessary to make that song work -- my time just wasn't tight enough.  So the main drum part for the verses turned into a drum loop.  The sounds of the drums on this tune were also sort of tiny, lets just say.  Combine that with a sort of ordinary bass line, and you have a clever tune that doesn't quite meet its potential leading off our collection of 13 originals. Personally, I would usually skip over that song whenever I happened to listen to the original version of Tantric Scrimshaw.

Fast forward to 2010-12.  We bulk up the drum sounds, we fix a few drum fills, we bring the guitars more to the forefront, and Allen re-records the bass line so that it now sounds akin to the amazing playing of Colin Moulding from the XTC song "Mayor of Simpleton."   Check it out:

Sounds better, right?  I love it.  Now this song sounds complete, full, and kick ass.

Why do I bring all this up?   Obsessed and Alyssa are 2 of 13 reasons why you might want to get your hands on this album.  Every tune has been looked into, poured over, and perfected.  This is the record we wanted you to hear over ten years ago.   We are proud of it, and we think you will totally enjoy this moment in time when Mike and I were in the zone and writing the record we always wanted to make.  Its also a testament to Allen Towbin's amazing abilities as a producer at Maze Studios, and how he's really at the top of his game now.

There's a few ways you can get your hands on The Troy Westfield Experience's Tantric Scrimshaw 2012:

1.  Go to our website, www.thetwex.com.  Right there on the bottom of the front page is the new version of the record, in its entirety.  You can stream the whole thing right there, for free.   If you dig it, and want to own it, you can buy it right off of the player, or you can go to http://vibedeck.com/thetroywestfieldexperience
and purchase it straight from the Vibedeck website.

What's more, this is a pay want you want offer, so you could potentially get this 13 track album for a penny.  We hope you like the record enough to offer more than a penny, but more than anything, we want you to have a copy of this remixed record as part of your music library because we are so damn proud of it, and we think you will really enjoy multiple listens of our classic.

2.  You can buy the Compact Disc of the album straight from our website.  All thirteen tracks, surrounded by the original cover art, on a disc for your delectation.  Just follow this link to the TWE store:  http://www.thetwex.com/-twe-store.html

Mike and I were pretty psyched to finally make this album materialize in the physical world, and we offer it forth as an artifact of a time when people actually went to record stores and flipped through the CDs in hopes of finding a masterpiece to throw into their players and stimulate the ears.  You're welcome.

As a special note: if you were ever curious about the lyrics to Tantric Scrimshaw, you can now go to
http://www.thetwex.com/twe-lyrics.html  and see the original lyric book I made in 2001 that was intended to be released with the first version of the album but never saw the light of day until I understood the true power of the interwebs.  Read along while you are listening to the album, or download the lyric book and print out your own cool little copy, for free.  Go for it!

More NASA and new news coming up very very soon.  Some of it will actually be about NASA.  Stay tuned....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Come see the TWE and get free stuff, 'cause we're chill like that

For some of you, seeing the TWE rock is enough. But some of you drive a hard bargain. For you, a special offer: Buy your ticket in advance, and you'll get a free CD (our new one, natch) and a free poster if you're among the first 10 to take us up on this we-done-lost-our-minds deal. You can buy your ticket here. And you can let us know you're coming here.

Friday, June 15, 2012


This will be a space where important and not-so-important events in TWE will be announced.

Currently, our new EP, Business on the Lanai (a refresher course), is available at iTunes, on amazon.com, and all over the damn Internet. You can see some of the more prominent options for buying the disc here.

We've also got a couple of events planned: our Record Release gig at Sullivan Hall, in New York's West Village, and a lower-key party in Mansfield, Mass., featuring a semi-plugged set from Phil and Troy. Details here.

In the future, we'll use this space to announce record launches (like our upcoming re-release of 2001's Tantric Scrimshaw, all cleaned up for posterity), new videos, the opening of the TWE online store, and any TWE appearances in interesting places, like Time magazine.

Here's hoping to see you at a show or the Grammys.

-- the Experience