Did you ever wonder how you were going to die? I bet you did. As far back in my memory as I can go, I have visited my place of death. I know that I will be alone. I know that I will have long hair. I will be fearless. As much as we may want to deny it, we are all going to walk off of that same cliff.
It is now the case that whatever I experience, whatever I see, whatever I hear, I imagine that this is the last time I will be doing it, in this life.
I could never imagine the cause of my own death. I never thought it would be fire, drowning, plane crash, car wreck, or known disease. I gave some thought to murder, but it never truly sank in.
I have realized that in nature, there are two motivations that take up almost all concerns and activities. One being food, the other being reproduction. One creature must cease to exist in order for another to thrive. It is the answer to the great question, “why are we here?” It is to eat and to reproduce. Thought, meditation, music, spiritual communion, love, are secondary and ultimately the servants of the primary two.
The mother Wildebeest fights ferociously to save her calf against the hyenas, until overwhelmed and exhausted, she watches helplessly the devouring of her offspring, and then turns and walks away.
When the Orca spots a baby sea lion on the surface of the water, it sees only dinner, as we might see a take out meal from a drive through restaurant. There is no guilt, no mercy, in nature. Those are supernatural burdens with designs on those who harbor evil intent and destructive, deceitful personalities.
Tonight we are faced with anxiety and calamity. We do not know its source or its destination. It is moving through the population like the unnatural wildfires that incinerate all things in their wake.
It is both a challenge and a measure of our species. A measure of our intelligence. That gift which provides us the capacity to affect realities far from our personal realm of influence. That gift which encourages us to practice charity and compassion. Yet it is a challenge not to freefall into the lower depths of our imaginations where horror and violence are the norm.
Perhaps I could not identify the cause of my own death because it did not yet exist. Perhaps now it does. Time will answer that question.
All things come to a certain end. The acknowledgement of that undeniable truth is one of the uniquely human characteristics. The more important question to ask now is whether or not we have caught site of the exinction of another great species. Our own.
… Brothers & Sisters … Can i tell you a story?
Its about truth & life and its about me and the world that has called me forth.
When I was young and living in Detroit, I was prone to chronic earaches. they would last for several days and they would be excruciatingly painful. I cried and gritted my teeth and rolled in bed with the pillow under my head and then over my head as they were especially devastating at night. i learned at a young age how to go without sleep and how to project out of my body in order to survive. i didnt know what i was doing, i just knew that “the other place” was pain free.
on one particular night when i was 11 years old, i was in the middle of a very painful night when the tears and silent cries for mercy had given way to the comforting embrace of “mother sleep”, i was awakened by the sound of the loudest explosion i had ever heard. i woke up in the darkness of my bedroom, my brother john sleeping in the twin bed on the other side of the room. i was sure that the house was on fire or worse. i cried out for my mother a number of times, i couldnt understand why nobody was rushing in to save us. finally my mother opened the door and said “whats the matter, jojo?” i said “what was that loud banging noise?” she told me that she had heard nothing and that i probably had a dream. then she came over to tuck me back in. she asked me what that wet spot was on my pillow and pajamas and i told her i didnt know. when she turned on the bedroom light, she looked at me and gasped. my pillow and my pajamas were covered with blood! i freaked out and started crying and she just held me and changed my clothes. she called the doctor and made an appt for the next day.
it turned out that the ear infection that i had been harboring, had finally erupted in my head and that was the explosion i heard in my sleep.
the next day at the doctors office he showed me a needle about 12″ long and told me that if the infection hadnt burst when it did, that he would have used that needle to go into my ear and burst it himself. i hated the sight of him and never saw his face again.
i was told not to go to school for the rest of the week and to stay on the sofa and rest. while i was resting, my father bought me books to read, and puzzles to play, and a lot of cool stuff to do. on the next afternoon i was reading one of those books titled ‘the moon’. as i was reading, there was a strange sound coming from my brand new little green transistor radio. the dj was screaming “the beatles are coming – the beatles are coming” in perfect paul revere fashion. i had no idea what he was talking about. it was at that instant that i first head the opening chords to ‘i want to hold your hand’. it was a moment that without prior warning, became unforgettable. i turned the radio up full blast. when it was over, i just laid my head down and wondered what it was. i couldnt wait to hear it again. i didnt know what they looked like, nothing. just the sound of that one song ringing in my wounded ear.
when i look back on this, i see it as a series of events that were inevitable. i see the ear explosion as a clearing out of the muffled noise that had become so familiar. i see it as a blowing away of the old sounds that were to become instantly obsolete the next day. i see it as a somewhat frightening bloodletting for my parents who had no idea how this music and this band would influence my life and theirs in the years to follow.
john lennon wrote “was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure”.
my threshold for pain is extremely high.
my appreciation of pleasure equally powerful.
thanks to my ears
and special thanks to the beatles …
So much has been written, so much said about Dr King, when he was alive and since his death. Many of us were young on that day, for many of us it is a day marked only in the history books. My intention today is not to write about the work, the struggle, the pain endured as an age old national way of life was violently torn from its foundation in the 1960s, but rather, how we have responded to it in the current political and religious climate. “all men are created equal” is a powerful statement sewn into the fabric of our origins. While that may be true, it would be impossible to add “all men are treated equal” to that document. So we ask, what good is creation if it is not nurtured and allowed to grow and prosper? It is said that the USA is founded upon Judeo Christian principles that include the 10 commandments and the teachings of Christ. In the Torah we are told that the planet and all that it includes is our responsibility to care for. Jesus told us to love one another as we love ourselves. With that, we are called to be cautious of self destructive actions. When we review the commandments, the beatitudes, the parables, we see a clear explanation of Dr King’s mission. We see a clear explanation of the utopia that the founders of this nation envisioned, but did not exercise. Therefore, that vision was left to future generations who were obliged to fight the destructive forces of slavery, poverty, prejudice, hate, social divisions of every kind. That is where we come into the picture. It is well and good to remember the heroic men and women who were courageous and wise enough to defy those destructive forces. It is good to celebrate those lives and those lives lost in that struggle. But it does no good to gather and sing and cry and eat cake and shake hands and tell one another how radical and revolutionary we are, and then go home complaining, and forgetting, and putting off until tomorrow, what could have been done yesterday and celebrated today.
So while we look back upon the history of our heroes and our prophets and our mystics, let us not use our time lamenting, but rather planning and creating a new history for our legacy. Let us become the ancestors that our spawn will write about and celebrate 100 years from now, knowing that we were part of the liberation of humanity from the oppression and division of lies. Let us find our own wisdom and bravery in the silence of our hearts and minds and in the faces of our brothers & sisters everywhere to make that dream a reality that all men are not only created, but at long last treated, equally … Blessings upon all people … www.joekiddandsheilaburke.com
Know this …
I have not formed my opinions nor my beliefs in terms of right and left. Rather, I have diligently stopped the world on occasions to see what I might translate and be nourished by, as right and wrong.
When I was much younger, I had a dream. I had a dream that was shared by nearly everyone I knew. It was a dream of freedom, equality, and justice for all living beings inhabiting this country and this planet. I was encouraged by the reality that I was not alone in the world, that there were courageous and wise men and women who were a little older than me, who were struggling and sacrificing to make the dream come true. In my mind, they were more than ordinary, they were heroic in the sense that they provided a vision of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be.
I believed in my heart that it would come to pass that we would someday wake up in a world that was liberated from hatred, fear, bigotry, and prejudice. I looked forward to that day. In my mind, I saw it as reality. I was faithful to the dream, and to those who were moving it forward.
We were all aware of the danger it posed. We all felt the anger and the degradation as we walked through our communities. There was antagonistic voices inviting us to violence, there were verbal, political, and physical attacks upon our bodies and our minds. We did not cower, we did not huddle, rather we walked into the battle hand in hand utilizing our intellect, our memory, our imagination, and our will. We opened doors, we sat on floors, we stood in the rain, we were beat up and locked up but we never gave up.
Eventually, the inevitable began to happen. President Kennedy, Malcom X, Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and even John Lennon.
The old tried & true boxing axiom was set loose upon an innocent and creative population, “kill the head, and the body will die” …
The body went to sleep. A self centered and corrupt President was elected. The war raged on. At some point the criminals shot themselves and were forced to resign in public humiliation. My personal hope was somewhat restored until … the day when once again the rug was pulled out from under all of us.
With horror we watched the screen to see our brothers and sisters being thrust into buildings, jumping out of windows, and being crushed and suffocated by crashing debris. It was by far, the most emotional day in the life of our country. Immediately we went to war under the proclamation of revenge and retaliation. Our nation went into perpetual lock down. We were dealt debilitating laws that revoked long standing liberties, our soldiers were sent into never ending wars that deplete us of our resources and our beloved family members. A plague of unequaled suffering just below the surface of what we are told is a “booming economy and a period of growth”. To hear the booming, simply travel to any point of battle, foreign or domestic.
Today we are faced with gun violence, drug addiction, poisoned food, out of control climate disasters, murder & mayhem among ourselves, and the wall of corporate powers that induce and create destruction for their monetary gain. Silent powers that have seized governments and religions to use them as tools to oppress and control every aspect of our lives and indeed our ultimate deaths.
It has been a disturbing realization for me, to admit that it has been my generation that has brought this catastrophic holocaust upon the earth. Therefore I have always been driven and inspired through my own talents, to avert and divert the natural, unnatural, and supernatural assault upon our common ground.
Yet, through it all, I can still hear Kennedy saying, “Ask Not”, I can still hear Lennon singing “Give Peace A Chance”, and I can still hear Dr. King as he announced “I Have A Dream”.
In this time of chaos, confusion, conflict, and criminal activity, today, as we focus on the absurdity of our elected officials, let us understand that this too, is impermanent. Let us travel in our minds to a time when we will be healed and enlightened as individuals and as a society. Knowing that in order to get there, we must control ourselves, we must be strong, mobile, unencumbered and wise. We must identify and acknowledge that which is in the way, that which is enlisting forces to overpower any resistance to its goal of domination. Let us not only see one another as siblings, but in truth treat one another as siblings, with the understanding that we do not wish harm upon one another, but rather rejoice in the success that we all are destined to share if we are humble and honest enough to accept it.
– Peace To All Of You – Joe Kidd – 12 January 2018 –
… There is something quite remarkable and encouraging about waking up in the morning. If you were alive in the 1960s and you are reading this, it is becoming more remarkable with each passing day.
This morning I woke up to learn that Della Reese, David Cassidy, and Charles Manson were no longer breathing air. I sat at the coffee table as my memory engaged in thoughts of childhood.
I never watched ‘Touched By An Angel’, but my dear mother was a great fan of Della Reese. Ms. Reese hosted a daily TV show with music and guests that my mother watched every day. Unlike ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ which aired in the afternoon, ‘The Della Reese Show’ came on earlier and was an entertaining late morning exercise.
Della was a great singer and at one time or another, sang all of the great jazz, pop, and Christmas songs, both solo and with guests.
In this clip Eric Burdon performs with War, and then Della joins the band for a great blues improvisation.
Also today the world said goodbye to two of the most famous faces of the late 60s – early 70s. In a very real sense they were perfect opposites, at least in public perception. One light, one darkness, one day, one night, one pure, one polluted.
Who could not love David Cassidy? His image of perfectly trimmed hair, bright shining eyes, filled with positive energy and good intent.
His was the face and the voice of innocence and hope. A role model for the young people who were to grow forth to become good Americans, good citizens representing their creator, their country, and their fellow humans. David Cassidy was a Partridge. He was a perfect member of a perfect family.
At the same time, in a different California neighborhood, Charles Manson was the patriarch of a much different family. It was a family drowning in despair. It was a family united by confusion, self loathing, and fueled by powerful drugs. A family with no distinctions except the horrific dreams and intentions of its lost leader.
Unable to conform to, or interact with the society in which they found themselves entrapped, they were convinced that the best possible outcome would be for that society to be destroyed from the inside.
This was an American family of a different origin. Forged in violence disguised as peace, hate disguised as love, weakness disguised as power, and murder disguised as liberation, they single handedly made certain that the movement of protest and rebirth that was to be the beginning of a new world of brotherhood would never again be a possibility.
I have often wondered what it might feel like to be loved by no one. What it would be like to be cast out of heaven and into hell. How would one react? What would one do in hours of solitude? What would it be like to be gone, to die and have the world rejoice? Perhaps we caught a glimpse of the answer on that hot August night in 1969.
So, tonight we contemplate a time when our personal dreams, goals, and missions were as big and beautiful as the universe itself.
We also sit in the observer’s seat to the events that are eliminating the icons and newscasts of our childhood.
The 1960s are dying, literally. We are the elders now. Let it be known that we are the survivors, at least for this day. Let our voices be heard in the healing chants for the rest of the planet. Let us cherish and lift our very real family as high as possible.
All good, and all evil, will perish. All things are impermanent.
All Things Must Pass …
– Joe Kidd –
November 20 2017
As many of you know The White Lines were inducted into the Michigan Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on June 1, 2017. We received our certificates today. I have deliberately not made a grand stand on the event because after all is said & done, Im not sure what it means or how I feel about it.
My first thoughts were of all of my heroes, the giants who have carried me on their shoulders my whole life. Beethoven, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Elvis, Chuck Berry, John Coltrane, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Joe Strummer, Fred Sonic Smith ……
My thoughts moved to my dear Mother who allowed the band to rehearse in the basement of her Dearborn home where we would sweat for endless hours perfecting our skills and gaining strength & stamina to endure the incredible task of being a musician in a rock & roll band.
I thought of the venue owners who supported us and put up with our rebellion. The local people from The Funny Farm, The Ranch, The Freestyle, Lilies, Paychecks, The Bowery, Bookies, places where we appeared regularly and gained our reputation.
We recorded ‘Cos Youre Not’ at Eric Morgeson’s Studio A in 1980.
Automotive Records picked it up & signed us thanks to Dennis Loren, & the late Bob Tremain. We got great press from Goldmine Magazine, Blitz Magazine and others at a time when it was not easy to communicate for publicity. WDET, & WWWW played the record.
All the while I was writing songs on my beloved Rickenbacker and a broken down upright piano in Moms basement that had not been tuned for at least 15 years.
Today I am able to at least think about the Hall Of Fame honor.
And to view the website with all the names of so many true and great artists. As I do so, I thank my fellow bandmates who worked so hard beside me. All the unknown fans who were with us then and the people who voted for us recently..
All the artists who came and went before us. And Gary Johnson for his work to preserve our legacies.
When I look at the photos below, I realize that the Joe Kidd in the 2nd picture could never have dreamed of the Joe Kidd in picture #1.
My prayer today is that I may continue to lift the same spirit of Rock & Roll as high and as loud as ever. …… Peace To All Of You …… – Joe Kidd –
And now the day has arrived to say “safe passage” to a teacher and a friend, to one who has made an immeasurable impact on our lives and the lives of countless good people around the world. One who was a vision of history in motion. A voice of good humor. A voice of truth, love, peace, & power in the struggle to end struggle, to end suffering and the cause of suffering. A sentient being whose soul was never confined to a physical body, but rather traveled freely through the worlds of imagination and consciousness. And now, that soul is no longer attached to the physical world. It resides now in the memories of those who have been enlightened by its presence in ways that are best expressed in silence. We are different now, we are stronger now, we are more comfortable now, we are happier now, we are better now. We will carry that torch, we will carry the candles, We will raise the heads of all that we encounter who are contemplating and inhabiting the darker realms. Let us continue to visit, to be in touch, with our benefactor in gratitude and assurance of goodwill, knowing that all thought, all emotion, all speech, all activity, is one reality. … Peace be upon the spirit of dear Gelek Rimpoche … Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke … Visit Jewel Heart Buddhist Community Here … https://www.jewelheart.org/
Brothers & Sisters
Today we take a moment out of our busy lives to remember the fathers. Some fathers throughout history are alive, the vast majority are not. My own dear father moved from this realm at a very young age. I have celebrated his life and his gifts to me and our family many times. Wherever his spirit may be at this time, I am secure in the fact that he, indeed, without question, earned his eternal peace during a lifetime of suffering and charity.
On this morning I am letting him rest, while I concentrate on the joy that fatherhood has brought to my life and how it is the greatest blessing a man might be fortunate enough to accept in life.
I have one spawn, Jackleen Diana Eve, preparing to celebrate her 25th birthday on July 2.
I watched her come into the world, not naturally, but surgically, she was glowing as the nurse held her up and then carried her to the other side of the room.
She has never stopped glowing in my eyes..
Throughout our lives together, I made sure that she never got hurt, that she was as happy as she could be, that her life was an adventure filled with mystery and possibility. During this time, we both grew, and got smart.
I have never raised my voice to her, never even thought of hitting or spanking, she has never once done anything to cause me pain.
I have told her countless times that if I could have had a catalog of all the babies to choose from, I would have picked her out of all of them.
I made sure that she was physically active and well educated, that she matured with a true knowledge and appreciation of art, history, culture, philosophy, and world religions.
I did this free of charge, without asking for, or requiring or expecting anything in return.
The truth is, what I have received in return is the greatest gift a man could ever receive.
Jackleen is living on the west coast now. She is a working keyboard musician, poet, and in my opinion, a living saint.
If I could make one selfish wish, it would be that I may enjoy 25 more years of life with her.
On 07 May 2016, I celebrated my birthday at 36,000 feet above the ground. I was returning, with Sheila, from a week long stay in Mexico. It was my first time to visit south of the border, it was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.
The people we encountered were as friendly and helpful as anyone could be. We often remark about how we are lifted up by strangers, often even more so than we are by friends and relatives. This was the case for us during the first week of May.
We enjoyed a menu of delicious food for each meal every day, both familiar and unfamiliar tastes and recipes. There was constant Mexican and Latin music playing with singing and dancing and smiling happy faces.
While we were there, I dislocated my left knee. It was not something that had never happened before, in fact it happens much too frequently and it is extremely painful, as you might imagine. This has not been a major problem for me because it always pops back into place immediately. That was not the case this time. It would not return to normal no matter what I did to maneuver it back into place.
Two mornings later we were scheduled to visit the grounds of the Mayan Pyramids. I could not imagine missing an opportunity that I had dreamed of since childhood. I got on my crutches and set forth on the journey through the jungles to reach the site. We visited the ball field where the Mayans played their holy football games, the sacrificial cenote water holes, and finally the great and wondrous pyramid itself.
As I stood before it, I was filled with the energy that transforms reality. A force that disintegrates and then reintegrates all that you have carried in your world throughout your life. I could hear the voices of the ancestors as we listened to the echoes of history resounding off of the outer surface. I could see the kings & chiefs standing in full regalia at the top of the great and supernatural monuments. The experience was a spiritual enigma in the sense that it was a testimonial to the fact that we are but a puff of smoke in time, while at the same time, it was proof of the infinite power of human consciousness.
While on the grounds, we were fortunate to partake in a ceremony conducted by a living Mayan priest. While standing around a small altar adorned with a number of sacramental objects, the priest chanted in his native tongue, then brought the smoke to us and smudged each of us (about 7 in all), while praying for us individually. At that moment my knee came back together and became strong. Many times I have had people pray over me for healing, this was the first time that there was any immediate and measurable result.
I was then able to appear in concert with Sheila, for an hour long performance of all the songs on our CD titled Everybody Has A Purpose, unplugged, on the main stage of the hotel, with the sunset and the ocean as the backdrop. Magic is real.
This has been a very powerful week as I look back. After our return, we celebrated Mothers Day, my father’s birthday, we appeared in concert in Ann Arbor Michigan USA, and celebrated the feast day of Our Lady Of Fatima on Friday the 13th with a full moon.
Tomorrow, (Sunday) the Church recognized the Holy Day Of Pentecost. The descent of The Holy Spirit to give humankind the gifts of courage, perseverance, communication, understanding, and much more.
As we were descending back to Earth last week, I recalled the day of Pentecost, (the birthday of the church) and the descent of the Lord & Giver Of Life. I reckoned that, as we go through our personal journeys it is good to touch ground occasionally to look beyond ourselves to others that may be confused and frightened. The world is full of people struggling and suffering alone. Therefore, let it be our obligation and our delight to offer them comfort and companionship, if only in our limited capacity, and in that effort, let us honor and increase, by our sacrifices, to paraphrase St. Augustine, that in which we are contained, and that which we are contained within. …….. …… http://www.joekiddandsheilaburke.com
– peace to you – //oo\\