Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Trickles of discontent have bled into my Inbox with enough consistency that I decided it was best to let a few scraps fall off the table regarding CONVERGENCE, upcoming events and a series of new books about to hit this website – for free. I guess you could say I'm feeling generous today, so gather round...
Life in LA is a constant blend of the good, the bad and the ugly – although in this case, “the ugly” can often appear quite attractive on the surface. You see BMWs and Mercedes here with the same – or greater – frequency that SUVs loom throughout the rest of the nation. And more often than not, the folks who exhibit the most hazardous driving patterns turn out to be nestled in these types of cars – costly two-ton missiles of glass and metal hurtling along at 90 miles per hour or more – perhaps because they can afford to be pulled over. Yet for the creative artists themselves – particularly the musicians – those glory days are over, unless they want to write "ringtones," the highest-grossing new area of music. So, my friends and comrades, welcome to the LA Soup Kitchen!
I honestly never imagined that I would descend (or is it Ascend?) into the heart of the West Coast media megalopolis, and play the Hollywood game on its own terms, in its own turf and with its own people – but here I am working on CONVERGENCE, dealing with industry-level producers, editors, artists, writers, musicians, composers, arrangers, investors and CG animators at the top of their game, and have a projected end-date of late October for our fantastic new script now being written. And yes, that was all one sentence. Cool, huh? Moving on...
Most people move out here because they have a dream of success, a dream of publicity and media attention – whereas in my case I didn’t move here until we already had our initial funding for this film locked in place. So in that sense I am an oddity – I came here because I needed to, not because I wanted to, and I can pursue these goals without any significant distortions of ego and pride. (I already know that I’m amazing, so why get a big head about it? ...But enough about me, let’s talk about you... what do YOU think about me?)
Just like always, I see that I’m here on the planet doing my job, and this humble little city happens to be where it has taken me. The only difference now is that I actually have been forced, by the sheer weight of population numbers and the amount of meetings I’m now having, to finally gain enough self-esteem that I am not a “walking wounded” anyone can take advantage of with a minimum of effort. Moving to true self-respect is a very difficult process, fraught with tears, pain and letting go of the attachments that no longer serve you – but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and in this case it is not an approaching train.
The over-arching “conventional wisdom” on being a public figure in Hollywood can be phrased in one single, all-important sentence: “Never let people see you as you truly are!” I came in far too late to be brainwashed by that advice, as this website – not to mention the Reincarnation of Edgar Cayce? book – is positively loaded to the bursting-point with personal, private material that most people might only share in the context of smooth nighttime pillow-talk in a sexual relationship with someone they trust.
Yet, in my case I seem to have thrown off the covers and invited an orgy of minds and hearts for whomever seeks refuge in my trials, trivialities and triumphs throughout the spectrum of my relatively short life. Considering that my “bed” is the Internet, I seem to be quite well-rested these days.
You could say that I’m quite “naked” in sharing all this stuff about myself, but out here I’ve learned that even posing nude for pictures isn’t that much these days, and can still involve a certain real distance from the viewer. For many, “going the Full Monty” simply means showing off a carefully honed, toned and shaved image you have diligently bought and paid for.
Your payment for “Birthday Suit 2.0” comes from a variety of forms: two to six hours a day in the gym; careful tanning and / or protection from sunlight; crazy “healthy dieting” which is often little more than glorified starvation; orthodontic teeth-straightening, capping, bridging and porcelain veneers, and all manner of surgical cosmetic “enhancements” – altering the contours of your face, arms, legs, breasts, belly and buttocks; moving your own growing hair from place to place a few follicles at a time or burning it out entirely, depending on the location; lasering blemishes, wrinkles, spots and pigments away; carving fat, cartilage and excess skin out and putting silicon, saline and face-paralyzing BOtulism TOXins back in. If you want to be in “the business” here in LA, getting these things done are on par with dressing up for a job interview in the rest of the country. <*cocks eyebrow ironically*>
Then your own naked body becomes another extension of your expensive wardrobe, expensive car and expensive real estate – all part of the game. The final look you achieve is not necessarily “you” as much as the product of your fastidious attempts to manipulate the physical body into a semblance of what you are “supposed” to look like. All the while, the deepest inner workings of your being – the stuff of true intimacy – can still remain locked behind a porcelain-white smile that stretches more and more tightly as you age.
Unfortunately this trend of “style before substance” seems to have all but devastated the face of modern music as well. I read recently that there are 40 illegal MP3 downloads for every one that is legal, CD sales are quickly slumping to non-existence, and an artist with a hit song gets 10 cents for every download off of Itunes.
OK, bust out your calculator (Start-Programs-Accessories-Calculator for Gates’ geeks) if you want to follow me out of that river, De Nial, on this. (By the way I’ve sailed on De Nial, and it’s got rainbow-colored oil slicks and constant diesel exhaust from all the other cruisers – but moving on...)
If forty thousand people download your song (which is pretty good for lesser-known artists) and the legal-to-illegal ratio holds true, then that’s a thousand legit downloads, and you get a hundred bucks in the mail. If your song is a true “hit” by all conventional standards in history, meaning that it is actually successful enough to get a million downloads total, you end up with 2500 bucks – which is less than you can live on for one month here in LA unless you’re in a single-room studio apartment.
If you look at the list of the best-selling albums of all time, there are only six that have ever edged above 20 million units sold. Now people are predominantly buying single songs rather than albums – so even if you were to write one of the best-selling hit songs of all time, say 20 million downloads, you’d now make a mere 50 thousand dollars – an average middle-class salary for one year – at the end of it.
The music industry laments the flight of their honest business and is truly in terrible financial ruin at this time, but I remember the day Dad was all excited about a new cable channel that was coming on – Music Television, or MTV.
Dad realized that the face of music would forever change from this (no pun intended!) and bought a gigantic solid-metal VCR to loom over the top of our TV set in celebration of the occasion – one of the first that could ever be purchased.
We watched the station together as a family on the very first day it went on the air, but as the first video rolled – “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles – little did we realize how prophetic it truly would be. A surprising number of the albums you see on the aforementioned list are from the pre-MTV days, with bands whose members were typically not about to win any beauty contests.
All right, there’s no delicate way to say it – some of the best, most creative and talented artists and musicians are downright UGLY. You don’t spend years and years plunking away on an instrument or an artistic expression in your room if you have the chops to go out there, be popular and “get wasted” with your new-found friends, who are curiously never there when you really need them. As a further unveiling of “letting people see who I really am,” I recently updated the “About David Wilcock” page complete with a picture of how I looked with long hair and 225 pounds of weight – little of which was muscle. (I guess that implies I’m putting myself in the “best, most creative and talented artists and musicians” category, but it’s not me – it’s the Voices talking. That’s right... the email speaks every day and they like what they see.)
I remember how many guys and gals were getting worked up about the “glam rock” back in my high school years – I was at a party where the entire reeling drunk teenage crowd howled with delight when a cover band changed the chorus of the Poison song “Talk Dirty to Me” to “Let’s Just F--k” – but I wasn’t taken in. How ironic it is that most of the musical celebs I met growing up were glam-rock artists! Now it’s all been given the derisive label of “hair metal,” for those of you who don’t know, and really reflects the beginning of a catastrophic decline in quality and content. [It is arguable that one hit song and video – “Dude Looks Like a Lady” by Aerosmith – single-handedly destroyed this entire genre of music.]
A video of Conan O’ Brien’s “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” reaming out Bon Jovi while they perform live on stage has become a popular addition to the YouTube / Google Video library. I guess the philosophy here is that it’s better to enjoy highly insulting negative publicity than not have any at all. Not only was “Triumph” an invited guest, they actually put his picture on the backstage pass!
This is one of those types of comedy where I groan as much as I laugh, because I know that people’s feelings are being hurt... and I’ve been one of those people many, many times. My former college roommate Artie actually still listens to Bon Jovi, God help him, and if it wasn’t for his buddies automatically sending him this video in response, I wouldn’t have known about it.
It seems in general that TV and film has become the predominant entertainment medium that still makes any money these days. The “MTV formula” has certainly increased the physical attractiveness of the people who succeed in the industry – lusty half-naked female supermodels and dance-choreographed male-model “boy bands” – but the quality has plummeted considerably. If you look at the list of those top-selling albums, particularly as you get up into the highest number of units sold, the bulk of what you see is from pre-MTV days. I have a friend who is a digital artist in Venice and is just over 18 years old, and he grew up in a world in which “(new) Music Sucks” and the only answer is to go backwards in time.
Many others are the same way – the Craft of songwriting has increasingly suffered in the face of get-rich-quick formula bands. Now you have the astoundingly popular American Idol capitalizing on a more human side of music – “reality TV” meets pop – but more often than not, I am told, the repertoire they are performing is from this same ‘Classic’ pre-MTV phase.
Suffice it to say that in conjunction with the release of CONVERGENCE, I have been directly and repeatedly asked by my dream guidance – as well as an investor who may be a central figure in the execution of our film – to embrace the Craft and put together my own repertoire of songs that are accessible to a wider range of people. Since I’m used to listening to “progressive” music that is considered more inaccessible, I’ve used Itunes to do a 100-percent legal run of downloading many of the top-selling albums on the list – those I did not already have in my catalog.
Since I am so goal-oriented and science-minded, it has been quite a blast to conduct “research” by listening to best-selling music in a meditative state. I’ve been turning my intuitive powers towards “what works” with the idea that, like Cayce sleeping on his books and learning of their contents by picking up the energy, ideas will start forming in my mind that demonstrate my own unique gift of music in an accessible form. Given that I’ve hardly listened to any music in the last decade or so, and before that had an entertaining but relatively limited set of choices, it has been a great education and relaxation – and it is also working as I had hoped it would. My palette is loaded with a wide variety of bright new colors that splash with ideas I would have never thought of before.
I had an interesting dream about the illegal downloading one night, congratulating me for not giving in to the temptation of the free and easy smash-and-grab that is now so prevalent. I was told that music is what is holding most people together in these increasingly changing times, and the deep need for release is eclipsing the ability to earn enough money to support the habit. I intend to reach deep into the well of my own emotions, and be every bit as courageously self-revealing and truthful in the soon-to-be-stolen music as I have tried to be on this website. Ultimately I have to LOVE what I’ve written, truly LOVE it, or else it won’t make it onto the album – and the purpose will not be to make money, but to lend my efforts in a new way for my listeners to calm down, reflect, balance and integrate themselves.
That’s one side of the new music initiative. I also intend to do a whole album of meditative / ambient music that may have little if any vocals, but brings the listener to a deep psychedelic space that is normally only possible with ecstatic meditation and / or chemical enhancements to consciousness. This is definitely one of my strongest compositional points, and I know that I’ve never hit what I’m truly capable of in a written form before. To that end I’ve actually been giving myself a comprehensive course in keyboard playing and harmonic / musical theory, as I know that the more I bring to the table going in to the work, the more can emerge.
Back in the glam rock days you only had to play three chords, and now with looping and sampling you don’t need to play at all – so applying true musical knowledge to the “problem” of writing accessible, inspiring music is like going on vacation in Egypt or Thailand with a few thousand dollars of your own money to blow as you see fit. One “dollar” of talent buys a lot more in today’s impoverished musical landscape than it ever did in times of prosperity – and you may even decide not to cruise down that foul-smelling rainbow-colored river any more.
Anyway, this is starting to bore me, so I guess we’re wrapping up here. The film is going well – the script is excellent and due for completion by the end of October, and we’re well on our way to locking in our full production budget. Until we have a finished script we don’t really have enough leverage to fund the film, but that time is rapidly approaching now. When people ask me about our timeline, it reminds me of a rude Southerner barging in on a couple making love, and shouting, “Y’all done yet or WHUT?”
So truss me, we'z gone-uh git ‘r done, don’choo wurrah.
Personally I’ve been through lots of ups and downs – quite a wild ride of my own, an initiation and purification to get on top of what's coming – and there is some great content getting ready to explode onto this site soon. Entire books’ worth of material from a modern mystery school, which have remained secret for over 40 years, are being scanned, transcribed and edited for presentation on this site, and I know that this material will not disappoint you – it represents some of the purest, most refined work I’ve ever seen. I’m happy to have a strong say in how it gets out there, and feel honored to have been given the opportunity.
OK, my butt is numb and my belly hungry, so that’s the final Pavlovian combo that needed to ring here to close up another session of servings from the LA soup kitchen. Until next time, may Peace be with you as you navigate the highways and byways of your own Ascension process...
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