Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Keyboardist Nik Green dies after battle with cancer March 13, 2016

Nik Green  lost his fight against cancer Sunday, March 13.   He smiled and wave goodbye to some friends that morning, but his weakened condition and complications of pneumonia were too much.  Just a couple weeks earlier, Nik was going to the studio for a couple hours each day to finish up some of his mixes of his music. I promised him during his last day that I would finish his mixes, especially the mix of "Starless" which he'd been working on.   Nik's own music deserved more recognition.   He didn't seem to know what category it fit into, or how great his music was -- but every piece was a journey, a mini movie.    Together, we were "The Away Team", and besides being musical partners, we've been married since 1994.

There will be a tribute to his life and music in Santa Barbara, CA He was loved by so many for his sweetness, his quirkiness, for his kind heart.  TBA.

Nik was a childhood prodigy, who would pick out melodies of songs on the radio at age four.  After rejecting formal classical training, he was introduced to synthesizers and taught himself "pretty much from scratch".   After a stint with Roy Harper and Jimmy Page, Nik joined Blue Murder, a hard rock outfit lead by former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes,  releasing several albums, touring alongside notables like Jon Bon Jovi.   After Blue Murder, Nik and I formed the Away Team.  In our first incarnation we had a Chapman Stick player, James Fanning, with both Nik and I on keyboards.  Our last gigs were a series of album release parties for "Topsy Turvy World" and playing the Summer Solstice Festivals.

Nik was first diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the head, neck and lung in October 2014.  It was already in an advanced stage by the time a lump appeared on his neck.   He underwent chemo, radiation and immunotherapy treatments which reduced the cancer in his neck by 85% and the lungs by 50%.  Nik contracted pneumonia in October,  had a downturn, from which he never fully recovered his strength  .Immunotherapy medicine Nivolumab kept the progression of the disease at bay.  When Nik had another bout with pneumonia, he was still hopeful that he might recover and get back to music.     Squamous cell cancer of the head, neck and lungs is a formidable beast.   In spite of all this,  he remained in good spirits.  He died peacefully, simply stopped breathing, no gasping, no fear.  Twenty minutes after his death, his mouth which had been wide open, closed and he had his wry little smile on his face.    We watched as this happened.    He left us a little "gift".

It is nearly unfathomable for me to imagine life here on Planet Earth without him.

Because he did not have an insurance policies, a friend, Dawn Perrine has set up a Memorial Fund to cover costs of Cremation, Services, and final medical bills.  Nik Green Memorial Fund

Nik with Jimmy Page

Nik at the Black Cat Ball with Jonathan Alburger

Friday, September 25, 2015

Report from the Planet

What a fun night was had by all at the August 1st Benefit for Nik !  Dancin' and rockin' out to Iron Curtain DJ Darla Bea and the Ronelles. Saturday Aug 1st at the Creekside Inn in Santa Barbara.  Thank you to all who came out to support Nik Green in beating his cancer!  Being around friends really lifted Nik's spirit.   It was especially great to see John Sykes, guitarist from Blue Murder, and Yoko, a fan who flew in all the way from Tokyo just to be there!    

Another Benefit is in the planning for October, again to cover the extra expenses and burdens of having to cope with cancer.   Nik is finished with radiation, and only on immunotherapy and various supplements.  The tumor in the neck has shrunk considerably, but there are new nodules appearing nearby which need to be stopped.   He's in good spirits, but not working largely because of energy and pain levels, which are variable.  We will have more updates soon!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Help Nik Beat Cancer

Rock Out to Iron Curtain DJ Darla Bea and the Ronelles.  Be there Saturday Aug 1st for a fun evening! Support Nik Green in beating his cancer!   Benefit dance with 2 rock bands and a great DJ to support expenses for the complementary treatments of Nik’s cancer.
You can get tickets at the door or donate or get your tickets online.   Your name will be on the guest list.   Special mention will be made from the stage for donors of $100 or more (not the amount)
Nik Green is a Santa Barbara resident, a fantastic musician and recording engineer who has performed and/or recorded with Jimmy Page, Roy Harper, John Sykes, Blue Murder, Barry Palmer, Cougar Estrada, and others.
Nik was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of head, neck and lung, and is undergoing traditional treatments – chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation along with complementary alternative treatments, including non-THC CBD oil, and nutritional support.

Join and share Facebook event link

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wounded Knee: A Line in the Sand

"Who controls the past controls the future;
who controls the future controls the present" - George Orwell

Wounded Knee, a Line in the Sand a new movie by Kevin McKiernan comes in the midst of a firestorm of controversy generated by American Indian Mafia, a new book written by the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the Wounded Knee siege.

In 1973  Kevin McKiernan,  a young NPR reporter who didn't think the media should be embedded on one side, penetrated the cordon of agents and soldiers around Wounded Knee and made his way into the village. He stayed until the end, smuggling out reports and film.   While other reporters were reporting the official story, Kevin witnessed and filmed the siege from the inside.   This was a turning point in modern Indian history and is considered the longest public disorder in US history not counting the Civil War.  
The dramatic standoff caught the attention of the world. By the time it was over, two Indians were dead, two federal agents and 18 Indians were wounded, and more than 500 arrests had been made.

Why would Kevin McKiernan revisit this 40 years later?   Is it because the truth in media is essential to a free society?   He opens the trailer to the movie with the above quote from George Orwell.   When we  look at how a controlled media can change the story, change history, the politics, and the power structure, finding out what really happened at Pine Ridge, could have an impact our future. Every time another lie is written as history, there's another nail in the coffin of a freedom
Many worthy films do not get the support from big funders these days.  Kevin is using crowd funding to get completion funds.  The movie is in post - production.  For more information and to support this documentary check out the Kickstarter campaign here:
Kevin McKiernan is a veteran foreign correspondent, photographer and filmmaker. McKiernan's photography, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, has taken him to some of the world's most troubled regions, from El Salvador to Iraq, from West Africa to Afghanistan and Syria. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Don't Trickle on Me

There are problems with trickle down economics for musicians in the digital age “If we can’t make enough from digital media to pay for the record that we’ve just made,” Mr. Ribot said, “then we can’t make another one.” Marc Ribot, It seems it's still about the Big Three.   Read all about it here

The trickle down economy theory has been refuted even by our current Pope Francis:

" . . some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.  . . . "

But what does this have to do with music?  Nothing really.  But it has everything to do with the music industry, making a living, and what's happening in the economic landscape.   The rich get richer, the one percent, that is, .01%, and the 99.99 percent are left to be pissed on and used.

Even some of the one per-centers get this.  Like Nick Hanauer who published a Memo to his Fellow Zillionaires - "The Pitchforks are Coming"   He sees the writing on the wall.  To quote Nik Green:  "When you tilt the playing field too far, everybody falls off…"

So, we have the BIG THREE in the music industry who still seem to own the playing field, and  the gap between the haves and have nots is expanding exponentially.  There are few stars at the top, the Miley Cyruses and Justin Biebers, and there is very little middle ground - i.e., middle division or middle class.  Even though the promise of the Internet was to level the playing field, who out there is making a living at music?  

 "They" - the marketers - tell independent artists that you have to do other things like sell t-shirts, merchandise and engage your fans.  Sounds great. I always wanted to sell t-shirts.  Do they really mean it when they say that you  glean one fan at a time? Let's see how long will it take to get 10,000, and out of 10,000 maybe one will buy your CD?   Or, there's the idea of 100 core fans who will spread it out to the masses.   On the Internet, there are flukes and it seems those who are interactive with their audience can have some degree of success.  Look at Amanda Palmer.  She's workin' it.

But hey, most people these days think music on the Internet is free . . . . isn't it?   Or, the paid services might give you $4.43 for those 10,000 streams, one fan at a time.   Musicians don't have to eat, we don't have to pay rent, there are no travel expenses, we don't have to buy expensive equipment . . .   Yet if you want to make money at it, you have to be good, right?  And that means you must spend most of your time doing it.  How does that happen with a full time job?  Or three part time jobs?   Well, I have a time machine and I slip into it every night and write songs, woodshed, and get my beauty sleep.  I come back after my journey into the future or past completely refreshed having lived another 24 hours as a practicing musician in another time dimension.  Oh, that was a dream.   

With every other band begging on Indiegogo or Kickstarter to get their albums made, doesn't it feel like we're all street musicians with our begging bowl out, defending our turf in the subway or on our virtual "block" waiting for some of that change to trickle down? 

The royalty are the BIG THREE and those who are anointed get to play in their court, and millions are lined up in the cue to be their servants.  The Independents are vying for their positions in the hierarchy.  What's that trickling sound?   Drip drip drip . . .

My question, if being a solitary musician or band with a pitchfork doesn't work, what if we get together and light some torches to create a new type of union, a new type of network, where there is the potential for a more level playing field, potential for those with talent and persistence to succeed at finding an audience together?     I don't know what it is or what it will look like, but am open to suggestions.   A gigging network?  A distribution network with some built in tools for PR?  Does it already exist? I know there are sites out there for independent musicians, and some are these are great; musicians have more online tools at our disposal than ever before. 
But ultimately, it's usually gigging and being in front of an audience that brings rewards.  If you're an acoustic singer-songwriter, it's easy to pick up and travel to gig in - or even beyond - your home town.  If you're a band or have to rent a truck to leave home, need a roadie and a driver, the threshold to gigging success is a lot bigger, often with smaller rewards.  With musicians competing for smaller and smaller openings, it makes sense to try a different model: collaboration.  It's what cells do in a body to keep it alive. 

Ideas anyone?  I've got a quite a few, but . . .   ideas are cheap.  In the next chapter, I'll elaborate more.    I've got my torch and some time on my hands.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Website Overhaul for the Away Team

It began with moving some furniture around, and pretty soon we were taking down the walls.   If you move one thing, something else has to move.  That's a bit like editing.  You have a chunk here and you want to fit it there.  Now the chunk that was there needs to go somewhere. . . . one thing leads to another.

What if it's just a bunch of blocks and you move the blocks around?   This is a bit like preschool.  But what goes in each block?  What do we want people to see when they arrive at The Home of the Away Team?   Or, maybe we should ask, what do YOU want to see?  Maybe not.  If every decision became a collective one here we would all be stuck now wouldn't we?

Which leads to the ultimate question:  How democratic can this really be?   Does there need to be a Dictator, something like the Conductor who keeps it all together?  Who is the voice of the band?  Is it simply a Do-ocracy.  Whomever does it . . gets the word in edgewise, the first word, the last word. Add Twitter and FaceBook so we can communicate and have a dialogue.... Amend and edit later . . Ok. .  

Distilled the blocks became:  Music, About, Tour,  Videos, Blog and Contact.

Check it out: The Away Team's Amazing New, but Somewhat the Same New and Hopefully Improved WEBSITE

We're missing the "Press" button.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life Changes

Trying out the ReverbNation Free Player seems to work ok.