Newsletter Issue #06 / September 2020
Hello, My Name is Matt...
Issue #06 / September 2020
Mister Know It All
- There's an infamous story in my family that gets referenced every time we see something related to Dumbo. When I was seven years old we took a vacation to Disney World. At the time, the Dumbo ride consisted of a series of pods, shaped like Dumbo, naturally. Each pod was connected to a long arm, attached to a central wheel, that would spin around in a circle. The seating was two to a pod. There was a metal bar that went across the front. If you pulled the bar towards you Dumbo would rise up into the air. If you pushed the bar forward you went down. If you were so inclined, during the ride, you could create an up and down, round and round, experience that appeared quite thrilling for the times. This was the late seventies. Most of our thrills still took place in the analog world back then.
My older sister and I shared a pod. As soon as the ride started and it was time to employ the "up & down" bar, we immediately started to engage in a debate that went something like this:
"Go ahead, you're the expert... No, you go ahead genius... No! You go ahead Mister Know- It- All! I thought YOU were the know-it-all!? Come on... show me how it's done Queen of the World! No, you're the King of the World so why don't you show ME?!? etc..."
We managed to keep this up for the entire ride which meant our Dumbo pod never went up and down. We stayed at the bottom just gong round and round.
Having referenced this story for most of my life I never stopped to think about exactly why my sister and I found it so amusing. I spoke to her recently and neither of us remembered why we were so mad. We just remembered that it ruined the ride for both of us. I realize now that it is a metaphor. Life is like that Dumbo ride. We only have so much time to go around. Sometimes, we have to share the time with others. But if we spend all of it fighting about who's in charge before we know it, the ride is over and we're stuck at the bottom, right back where we started. We miss out on all the ups and downs.
Books & Music & Movies & Podcasts... Oh My!
I just finished a really great book called: Consciousness: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery Of the Mind by Annaka Harris (https://annakaharris.com) . It’s not too long and deals with a topic I find fascinating. It references a lot of cool scientific experiments and asks a lot of questions like what exactly is it to be conscious and how do we even know if we are for sure? Is consciousness something only humans can experience? Is it all in our minds or is it bigger than that?
I've seen a few great movies recently. The first one is a documentary about the band The Go Go's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsiRfL11I08) . I've been a fan since High School but I never realized their importance in Rock and Roll history. They were the first all-female band to have a number one debut album. Pretty cool. I found this unfiltered account fascinating.
My second movie pic is another documentary entitled One Track Heart: The Story Of Krishna Das (https://youtu.be/lAjm-qWGd9Y) . Krishna Das, aka. Jeffery Kagle is best know as a Bhakti Yoga chant master and spiritual leader. I first learned about him through one of my favorite teacher's Ram Dass. I've been a big fan of KD's music ever since I discovered it a few years ago. I loved learning about his compelling personal story.
And finally, I watched The Aviator (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aviator_(2004_film)) , Martin Scorcese's 2004 biopic about Howard Hughs. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this portrait of an obsessive-compulsive billionaire's descent into a full mental breakdown. It does a great job of celebrating all the innovations Hughs was responsible for in the film and aviation industries. he was a fascinating, rich, fucked up American. Hmm... wonder what inspired my interest in that subject?
FYI, I check out two of these movies and the book for free from my local library. Just sayin'...
Two of my podcast recommendations are related to Eastern spirituality (surprise). The first is called The Wild Heart Meditation Center Podcast (https://wildheartmeditationcenter.simplecast.com) . It's consists of dharma talks or Buddhist lessons from a meditation center in Nashville, TN. The instructors are super relatable to me as I believe some have come from the punk and indie rock world.
The second podcast is called. Demystifying Patanjali: The Yoga Sutras (https://www.ananda.org/video/series/demystifying-patanjali-the-yoga-sutras/) . This one is a deep dive into the central scriptures of Yoga Meditation. I've heard the Sutras referenced a lot in my studies but I always had kind of a hard time unpacking them. This podcast is really helpful. It's narrated by Asha Nayasami who is a founding member of Ananda which is a global spiritual network based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramahansa_Yogananda) , one of the first Yogi's to visit the US way back in 1920. He wrote a well-known book called: Autobiography of a Yogi.
My third podcast recommendation is really special because it is put out by the newest member of the Major Matt Mason USA band: Dane Bridges. That's right we are officially a trio now! Hooray! Anyway, as well as being a great bass player, Dane has a very sweet perspective on the world and he shares it in the most delightful way on his podcast Dane's World (https://lnns.co/HgnexuPb6vE) .
We are very close to releasing another Major Matt Mason USA demo. You can check out the last one on our Bandcamp (https://majormattmasonusa.bandcamp.com) page. I've also got some Broken Heart Syndrome (https://brokenheartsyndrome.bandcamp.com) recordings on the back burner hopefully coming soon.
LIVE SHOW ALERT!!! I'm happy to announcement is that Schwervon! (https://schwervon.com) will be reuniting for a live, outdoor show at Lemonade park in Kansas City (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cher-uk-30th-anniversary-show-dan-jones-and-the-squids-schwervon-tickets-118421151853) on October 16th. We'll be sharing the bill with local KC faves Dan Jones and the Squids. We'll also be celebrating 30 years of existence with Cher UK. (The show will be socially distanced and require masks.)
Here's a quick list of some records I've been spinning lately. Don't forget to support your local record store for Record Store Day (https://recordstoreday.com) Drop #2 on September 26th!
All Them Witches (http://www.allthemwitches.org) - Nothing as the Ideal
The Donnas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Donnas) - Gold Medal
Bright Eyes - Down In the Weeds Where the World Once Was (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_in_the_Weeds,_Where_the_World_Once_Was)
Ravi Shankar - Chants Of India (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chants_of_India)
Skin Yard - Hallowed Ground (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallowed_Ground_(Skin_Yard_album))
Wolfgang Press - Unremembered Remembered (https://4ad.com/news/5/3/2020/thewolfgangpresstoreleaseunrememberedrememberedonrecordstoreday2020)
My Morning Jacket - Waterfall II (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waterfall_II)
PJ Harvey -Rid Of Me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rid_of_Me)
John Fahey - Blind Joe Death (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Joe_Death)
MMM's 1st Monday Playlist
Here's a link to my September playlist: Major Matt’s 1st Monday, (https://majormattmasonusa.com/2020/08/03/major-matts-1st-monday-august-2020-playlist/) If you don't know about these it's a playlist I do each month with a little mindful moment about music. To Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link (https://open.spotify.com/user/1230320001?si=gwdihY8VRl6uYmbYiqrhIg) or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday (https://open.spotify.com/user/1230320001/playlist/4Tea0yyi19b3QdYcYJ0zgX?si=ZMEI7dtjRQa221f40frJsQ) on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.
If you didn't get a sticker for signing up for this newsletter and you would like one you can go here: https://majormattmasonusa.com/contact/ to send me your address and I'll be happy to send you one in the mail. In the interest of waste conservation, if you live in the Kansas City area and/ or think you may be seeing me soon just let me know. I'll try to have some on me and I'd be elated to personally (and safely) deliver one to you. To respond with any comments or questions feel free to use the contact link above. Even if you just feel like telling me how you're doing, I'd love to hear from you.
Until we meet again,