Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I've pasted below a blog that my friend Michael McDermott has just published on his myspace site which I found very moving. I've only known Michael a short time and much seems to have happened during this time. Michael was invited to give a talk to a youth gathering - he took the decision to lay bare his life. All of the songs listed below Michael sang at Greenbelt last year, either in the Performance Cafe or at Steve Stockman's Rising. If I get a chance I'll insert sound clips - except for I Shall Be Healed as it's not yet officially released.

Text of Lecture/Perfomance for Stronghold Ministry's

a man found an eagles egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen, the eagle hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking hewas a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects.He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings about, and fly afew feet into the air.Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in agraceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely abeat of its strong golden wings.The old eagle looked up in awe , " Who's that?" he asked." Thats the eagle , the king of the birds, " said his neighbor. " Hebelongs to the sky. We belong to the earth- we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died as a chicken, for that is what he thought hewas....

26th and california, cook county generally considered the toughest jail in all of chicago and maybe in the country....with the lowest of the low...the worst of the worst..i sat with on a november evening ..i was arrested 2 years ago for possesion of cocaine. class three felony... possible 3-6 year sentence....aftermuch legal wragnling...i was able to not have to go to prison and with having to attend a drug school..i was a free man...

A friend of mine in chicago, a former soldier/ apache helicopterpilot,...told me of a thing called " foxhole prayers" it is used ,when soldiers are in the heat of battle,....bullets whizzing by theirheads...suddenly, even though these soldiers had previously been atheists or agnostics, in the heat of battle, when life and death are on the line,..everybody...suddenly become very religious, with the kind of prayers that go..." lord get me outta this and i promise i'll....Lord get me out of this jam and i swear i'll never...fill in the blank"....

though i did consider myself a man of faith...and one that would pray regularly....that first night in jail...were some of my most fervent prayers.... but in retrospect...i think they were foxhole felt like i had found my felt like i had dug my hole as far as it could go....its a funny thing to have your freedom taken from you, and as i sat there on the floor of the jail cell...i realized there was only one way to least thats what i thought....

you guys, change is inevitable, growth is not....change of a situation is easy, growth within yourself, is not....i'm proud to be here and i'm blessed that michael asked me to come here to talk and sing some songs with youo,...but he didn't have me come here cuz, i'm fixed, i'm not here cuz i'm healed,i'm here cuz i'm broken,..i'm here cuz i'm wounded....i'm here because i'm trying.....this first song is a song written shortly after i was released from jail,


i actually spent most of the summers of my youth in this very town...over on diamond lake...playing in a band in the summers...nightly i'd pray...lord make me your poet and your singer...lord make me your poet, make me your singer...the rest of the year i spent in chicago....where at the tender age of20 i was signed to a big record deal from warner brothers out in LA, Boy, i thought my ship had come in...or so i'd thought.....

on my first tour....i remember every night there was a bottle of jack daniels in the dressing room and there would be pretty ladies waiting at my door....In high school, i had read william blake, who wrote " the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom'" or arthur rimbaud who wrote "in order to be a seer, you must have a rational disordering of the senses"

those two quotes, in some way were my mantras...i wanted to experience,...all that was life...everything...the good and the bad....i remember telling a friend when i was driving down sunset in LA....on my first trip out there, saying to him,..." Show me the gutter..." i wanted to experience it....years later that same friend said to me ,.. "i wish i never had shown you the gutter.....i never knew you'd take it down this far"

years had gone by and i had been touring around and i had grown men come up to me and tell me that they had been atheist before hearing my music ...and through it found God..." to which i replied..." tell him i said hi, he stopped returning my calls a long time ago"Other people would say...your music got me through the death of my father or loss of my mother or when my wife left me..etc. etc. but in my mind i was what? i'm still in pain'...that music isn't doin anything for me....can you believe that?? it staggers me to even tell you guys that ....its embarrassing...all i wanted to do, was to sing His songs...for the greater good of my fellow man...and all i could do was bitch about, where's mine.....where's my happiness...where is my peace,...where is my reward.....i guess i thought my reward was things you could inject...things you could go to bed with ...things you could swallow....i thought i'd been duped.

I think of the meistereckhart quote that reads " The eye with which i see God, is the very same eye with which God see's me"

i was pissed...i bet He was too

throughout the years i had continued to feel like i was on a mission of sorts...singing songs...HIS songs...never really feeling good about the other elements of my proverbs 23:7 says " as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"well i thought i was a piece of shit....each record i put out sold less...each concert i played was atteneded by less and less people and i thought and i'd pray " What do you have me doing this for? humiliate me.?." if you don't want me to do this....tell me...i'll do something else, but don't string along like this...this is too important"....i had become a self consumed, delusional, alcoholic..and soon to be drug addict( that seemed the next obvious step)..the arrogance to think that God had enough time to worry about my record sales...and to think he was hanging me out to dry.....i mean, thats how silly i had become...just crazy.....

Buddah had said " the mind is everything, what you think, you become" This is a new song....called


there is a story i'd like to tell that i was out in new york and i was at a friends house who had these beautiful agentinian polo horses....we took them out into this field and we started friends father, realizing i wasn't very knowledgable about horses....rode over to me and started giving me some instruction. We were doing starts and stops and turns , the basic movements for playing polo. SOmething i discovered or that was pointed out to me rather, was that if you are walking your horse in a straight line...and if you turn your head slightly, the horse will sense that and start drifting in the direction you were mind you, the horse is looking forward as well,...but if it merely senses your looking in a different direction, it will go in that direction. i thought of that in terms of life...and our journeys that we take...if your looking sideways, or backwards, left or right or in any other direction than the direction you wish to go, your life will goin that direction...they say horses are stupid animals...Maybe i'm the stupid animal, cuz my horse taught me a lesson that day

Grace of God

you need to see through yourself, then you can see through anyone...i coulnd't see through had become clouded...hell it stil lis...but you have to learn to listen....there is such a cacophony around us today....with palm pilots, cellphones, do we ever hear do we ever hear our heartsbreaking....or do we hear that voice inside us telling us...its ok, or even, its not ok...we cant' cuz we are notlistening....we have be anethesisezed into a state of half- awakeness if you see through yourself, you will see through everyone else...then will love them....don't judge, understand,...don't interrupt, listen,..i was so angry at record company, my girlfriend, my manager, my agent,...i wasnt' mad at them....i was mad at me....i had been on mtv, all over the radio, shows...was in books, movies...had changed people....what was i so pissed off about

Socrates.." he who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have"also a great Yiddish saying " ten men cannot hurt a man as much as he hurts himself"

whenver you have a negative feeling toward someone, your living anillusion..your not seeing reality.. "He's to blame, she's to blame" you play that game...the world is alright....the one who should change is you...its so much easier to blame your unhappiness on someone else than yourself....we are in a society where everything is a quick fix...

remember change is inevitable...growth is not...we love to put a new coat of paint on car and say how good it a new shirt and hell, you feel like a new man....but thats not growth, thats superficial'll still be the same wounded man in the same old car that won't get you very far

i believe i have had a few run ins with i can't say for sure but i think i did...the first time was down in charlston south carolina, i was down there doing something for a radio station...and after that i went over to the auction blocks,..where the slave trading went....i felt such a chill walking in really freaked me out....out of the corner of my eye...i thought i saw something and felt something graze me and i turned suddenly to see what it was and it was gone....i think jesus passed by....

fairly recently i had been out and up for a couple days....i was driving home and i passed the church i went to as a boy.....i pulled over and mass was going on in the church but i went into the chapel, having injested two days worth of drug and drink...i went with my wounded soul into the chapel,....and knelt down on my knees...and looking up at the crucifix, i said to my heart, " Say the word and i shall be healed, say the word, and i shall be healed," with that i was....the tears had run like a river to drown my pain and anguish i had carried like a cross for so many years..." he finally answered....maybe he had been listening all along, and maybe he had been answering as well...maybe i was too hungover, to drunk, to high to hear Him...what a fool am i?


i'm so grateful that i had the opportunity to share with helped me tonight....i hope that you understand i came not to tell some story of triumph but rather a story of struggle,...and you guys, it is a struggle,...i struggle everyday with my weakness, with the acceptance that jesus loves me and forgives me...i feel unworthy ofthat...i feel unworthy to stand before you tonight...We are all a workin progress, we all feel alone sometimes, we all feel unworthy sometimes...but you are worthy, you aren't alone...believe in yourselves....He closing i leave you with this...

there is a famous story about the lion who came upon a flock of sheep and to his amazement found a lion among the sheep. It was a lion who had been brought up by the sheep ever since he was a cub. It would bleat like a sheep and run around like a sheep. The lion went straight for him and when the sheep-lion stood in front of the real one, he trembled in every limb. And the lion said to him " WHat are you doing among these sheep?" And the sheep-lion said " I am a sheep ." and the lion said " Oh no your not,...your coming with me." and the lion took the sheep lion to a pool and said, " Look"And the sheep-lion looked at his reflection in the water, he let out a mighty roar, and in that moment he was transformed. He was never the same again...


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