Wednesday, December 16, 2009


My mind...My thoughts travel fast...They move as if they're late to a terminal and have to board PRONTO! I make decisions because they feel good. I live in the moment. I'm easy to please...I'm slow to anger...just...slow in general.

I realize that I don't think about things until after the fact...

(AHEM...Mister Greene, may we blow up that village with all those innocent families?)

Yeah, sure go ahead...BLOW 'EM UUUUUUUUUUP!!!

8 days later...

Wait, I can't BELIEVE they just decided to blow up that village...
(Sends blower-uppers an angry email...)

By the time my emotions kick in, the email is LATE and my emotions are almost exorbitant.

I wish I was good at being the bigger person. My flesh is like a teething toddler...I need to soothe these gums...these cutting teeth are almost unbearable. But instead of waiting for the pain to subside...I just kick and scream...and sometimes I don't even get the teething ring.

I've played that pitiful game of, "No one understands me..." and believe me, sometimes I don't want people to understand me... It's dark in here.

I wanna know how to love harder. There is one person...I wish, (talking directly to that person) I wish I could love you harder. I wish you'd see past the "Jirod is just being a diva" facade and see that I really try with you. I wish you would see my strengths. I wish you could see my knowledge. Acknowledge my knowledge. Hell, ask me a question. Dig deeper. Maybe you do love me, you just show it differently, huh?

My life can be whatever I want it to be, because my Creator gave me a freedom to chose from gifts that no ordinary man should have, but I'm blessed, so He has given to me to share with others.

I'm all over the place with this one.

To my few subscribers... I love you...everyone I know, and who knows me...I love you. I'm just jotting down my thoughts.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down..

Stripped of my clothes, and free from any obligations other than a meeting between my head and my fluffy pillow. My body's movement are I plunge into a state of rest where I'm as close to death as I've ever been. What keeps these labored breaths from expiring. What keeps this admittedly broken heart beating...What keeps it from seceding from it's sole purpose? My eyelids close over two white and dark brown orbs that view both darkness and light...My dark coal eyelashes fold into each other like a villain would interlock his fingers at the deliciously breaking news that his goons had just successfully completed a high profile heist...(My imagination...)

Well, this is it. Here I go. I have no idea if I'll wake up from this. I've never known. But when I was younger, I don't think I ever really care. I took it for granted because I knew that Mama would always wake me up with her little song...or her loud accusing voice... Mama is four hours away, and I haven't risen to a song in quite some time now.

I've come to understand that there is God who loves me. One who still cradles me in His arms, although I don't exactly know why...

Though I may rise at the appointed hour...Some things have died.

Dead are the worries that plagued my thoughts before I slumbered.
Dead are the missed opportunities to reach out to a brother/sister.
Dead are my regrets of things I said to people...things I've kept from people.

Beautiful One...Give me one more day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Nicki Minaj and Modern Music: My HONEST Opinion

To kick it off with a bit of class...(ahem):

"I just had an epiphany, "I need to go to Tiffany's."
Fendi on my slippers, and my [explicative] always slippery."
- Nicki Minaj (Five Star _ _ _ _ _ (Chick))

I will admit, this female phenom...I dig. Sure, in her music, she's vulgar, with a twist of raunch, (what most people would call 'raw'), and she describes her sexual episodes through verse in ways that make "TRINA" look like Taylor Swift. (Love em all, I'm just sayin)

My spiritual beliefs, or rather MY will to follow them, warns me NOT to listen to this type of music, or rather, ALWAYS find the "Edited Version". Now, I'm not going to be a dum dum and say, "It's only the beat I hear..." Because that's ALWAYS been a lie...If you've said that at ANY point in your life...You just might be a liar...and if you say that it's true...You just might be a PATHOLOGICAL liar...'mjussayin...

But, Miss Minaj...It's her enunciation. I could really care less about her slippery-ahem-ness... She's got this fire in her presentation over the microphone that makes me repeat/replay/gobackto her part in "Five Star Chick". When I first heard her, I said to myself, "If Lil' Wayne were a woman...a PRETTY woman, this is what he might sound like..." I'm sure she's her own artist...But, that's just what I hear.

I'm attracted to color and character in a person's voice. Ashamedly, I admit to you this: Even though I do not go out seeking Lil' Wayne's hottest new song...If I'm in the car with someone who's listening to him, I love sitting back and listening. NOT really to the words, (seriously, I ain't lying: see above), but to the way he says things. It's very menacing...very taunting...very "My Mama, your mama lives across the street"...Not girly, but just unapologetic...outrageous, knowingly rude and crude. His tone...that is. Of course the actual lyrics are, but I'm more interested in the color of his voice...The texture. The dynamics...

All of which, Nicki Minaj has conjured into her own signature sound. Try if you might, and maybe you could educate me, but there aren't very many, if any female rappers out right now who even come close to her talent, her raw ability to put stuff together, or her venom. And, boy does she HAVE venom.

She has venom...and haters abound. As do most fresh artists choosing to do something different...To step out of the box...

It's not good to be a new artist in Young America sometimes...because people are going to say, "Ah, he/she just trying to be like [insert comparable artist's name here]. He/she is weird. Why he/dress like/talk like/look like/stand like/ eat, breathe, crap, dance, walk, squat, chew like that?

I've also had a revelation about new music...if that's indeed what it is...While talking to a buddy of mine; Jamal. I thought about new music and how older veterans don't really embrace it because it lacks substance, or it's not real. Then I reminded myself that this is 2009 and, although the talent should NEVER wane, issues and subjects are not the same. This is no excuse for the lack of talent or substance that sometimes falls upon my arrogant, discriminate ears...but yeah. So this is what I said:

"I play devil's advocate with myself. Some people are going to get it how they live. And talking about what they own, or how material things make them feel is all they know, and they're happy, making "legitimate" income, I can't hate on them. I can only hope that MY craft will be enough to sustain me and that It'll remind my supporters of old times or the "good times", and that they'll see that I'm doing this for THEM... Everything else, is strictly a form of expression, whether I dig it or I don't."

So we say that everyone is entitled to an opinion...However, not everyone has the ability to lay it down in a studio... Think about it. This is creative expression. If you could, if you had the opportunity to go into a studio or even just record your thoughts or your ideas about something that makes you feel good or bad...or just makes you feel; how many people would be diggin your stuff...

Would folks be like, "Girl, you gotta cop Lil' Booty's new album/mixtape."?

In the grand scheme of things...There will never be another Marvin Gaye/Tupac/Queen Latifah/Biggie/Ella/Billie/Otis/Freddy (Mercury)/Elton/Prince/Michael...or even more recent...another Common/Mosdef/Whitney... But why should there ever be?

We are all about CHANGE right? or maybe...atleast when we're happy we are.

Everyone wants to act like they're old and cultured and seasoned (LAWRY'S)...and such...with the rocking chair, and the knitted multicolored quilt in their lap...and say, "Music AIN'T what it used to be..."

Ok...people...Think about this...Soulja Boy Tellem's "She Got a Donk"...the content has been frowned upon...but what about "Doin Da Butt" by Experience Unlimited...To be bougie...(Bourgeois).

Much Love and Respect.


Friday, December 4, 2009

So Sushi Me...

Sitting at DK Sushi after work. Mmmm... Eating sushi solo, makes me feel very independent. Believe me, that feeling is a rare one as of late. I'm sitting here, and as I wait for my Agadashi Tofu and a Mikey Roll, I think about the events that occured around me today.

A young couple came into the store today. They walked around the store for atleast an hour with two baskets FULL of what looked like supplies for a new abode. Mind you, my super sensitive "y'all just babies" detection devise notified me that these two were no older than nineteen. My initial thought was, "Lawd help the children". But I watched the young man's tenderness toward his lovely better half and I began to feel nothing but love and respect for the both of them. They came to check out and with so much stuff in their baskets, I began to ask questions. It became clear to me that these two didn't have a car to carry their goods home, and I began to get a little angry as I connected that with their youth and how they should've obtained many of the seemingly useless items for their appartment as time progressed. They just HAD to have everything now, or atleast that's the story I tell myself. They'd told me that there were people who were supposed to accompany them to and from the store, but the parties backed out for whatever reason. So it was just him and his girlfriend; Bonnie & Clyde: against the world. They would have to make a seemingly impossible trip back to their apartment on foot with $200 worth of groceries. A lady behind them said, "y'all can't walk that far... The bags are too heavy..."

Then I remembered yesterday and how I ran he store all by myself and a vendor told me that I wouldn't be able to do it. I told myself, "Unless he knows something I don't know... I got this...and I did. It was tough, but it worked out.

You could see the love and care and the concern in the eyes of these two young lovers.

I told myself, I want that. Not necessarily the affection, but the devotion and the determination to do whatever it is that needs to be done in order to survive/maintain.

I told them that they could do it, and to be safe, and they walked out of the store with ALL of their problem!!

When somebody tells me that my dreams are impossible, or the goals I've set out to accomplish are unattainable, I'll remember the couple.

Cherish it all,


- When every song you sing is out of tune...sing louder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Of Greater Stuff- My music fix

I live...
For this moment right here. I'm full off of grilled tilapia and I'm riding to Cheapo Discs with my bestfriend Ross. Impulse. But this trip just added a few extra days to my lifespan.

Away from the doldrums. Driving down the streets in Austin. The street lights bathe my bare shoulders, as they scan us through the windshield of the car. Why the heck do I have on a tank top and it's cold?

Because I want to feel this moment. We're bound by music; Ross and I.

In agreement, we venture out into the night to quench our thirst for new, ecomical sources of this nectar that has us hooked.

It's a hit that I'd take in public. It's a line that I'd so unashamedly do in front of my family, it's a substance that I'd take intravenously in plain sight: music. MUSIC...yes... MUSIC.
It's a drug that I'm addicted to. Scew it... I gotta have it.
It doesn't lie to me, it won't leave me. It doesn't care that I've been with others...

{Music Purchase Interlude}

Ahhh... Listen to this mixture of random, yet purposefully pleasing purchases:

-Sarah Vaughn
-Billie Holliday
-Count Basie
-Miles Davis
-Chris Joss (we'll see)
-Philip Glass


I was really looking for some J-Pop... Of course they had it, but I was looking for another reason NOT to swipe my card again. I almost bought more, but I said "Jirod, pace yourself, Christmas is coming up..." I wanted some Leadbelly, some Sinatra, and some Miles Davis. I also wanted to purchase Shereen's new album. I was turned on to her by a very dear friend of mine, Mohammed, in Doha, Qatar when I visited a few years back.

I must say, if I had the cojones, I'd be a lot like Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He had an outrageous voice, and quite frankly my dears, he didn't give a flip. Look him up. (I Put A Spell On You)

This is where I wanna be... In this room with years and years of music. From Tchiakovsky to T-Pain... It's all here. Away from my dull job, away from the demands of vanity (ha), away from... all.

I pretend these faces emblazoned upon the covers of these discs; I pretend they are my peers. They look at me with eyes saying, "What the hell are you waiting for? We're waiting."

I sigh, smile a boyish smile... And pick which ones I wanna take home with me.

[Sidenote: Beyonce's "Resentment" feels good to me all week]

Also: [SideEYED Note: This blog was created by ME. I write whatever I want to write, but if I ever offend you, you can come to me and we can talk about. Adults run the world, children throw fits. I like adults.]

Tactfully Yours,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hit ME!

It seems to me, to be an act of cowardice when two people In a relationship decide that they lack the intelligence to have a conversation, or they lack the self control to agree to disagree without using some sort of physical strength to inflict pain on one another. It seems to be the answer in young, lovesick teens... Atleast this is a sample I've been going off of, as of late. What is wrong with young people? Why do they believe they're so dangerously in love? What the HELL do they know about love? (What the HELL do I know about love?)

Scenario: Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl.
Boy decides to expand his mind with the wonder that is COLLEGE.
Girl does not choose to do the same.
Boy goes away to college.
Girl falls into a deep depression because she has no company to share a slice of misery with.
Guy comes back, still likes girl.
Girl has boy in her grasp, but only for a short while because...
Boy must go back to college.
Girl gets upset at boy's decision in doing something with his life and takes out her anger on him.
Girl hits boy...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the bufoonery begins.

You don't hit someone just because their life choices don't match yours.

Be a man or a woman and take care of yourself...

Isn't it funny how people believe that just because they go through stuff, they have to drag everyone else through it too?

Isn't it a shame that people believe that only women suffer from domestic violence?

Isn't it a shame that men are told to run away if a woman is hitting them?

But the answer is simple: keep your hands to yourself.

I wish I could get off this soapbox, but I'm starting to see things a lot clearer from height.
Maybe this is my way of raising my own awareness.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPho

Friday, November 20, 2009

Every Drop...

Standing outside on the back porch watching rain fall off the side of the roof into a pond decorated by ivory white granite rocks...

A thought pops into my head, and suddenly opportunity, fear, freshness, and hunger meet me. A new idea, an aha moment, a "give it a chance" situation suddenly makes the long skinny streams of water jetting down off the roof move slower. My new thought allows me to look at every drop imdividually. Every drop is important my soul tells me.

Every drop, as they join their brothers down below in the shallow granite pond. Some drops fall upon the dead grass, in hopes of reviving it, making it green, but they dry up. I honor their attempts... Some drops fall upon the cement foundation in hopes of moisturizing a surface that has already been hardened. Their slippery influence is a reminder that they're here for a time, but they too will dry away. Some drops land on my face, seeking to replace the tears that I've cried on this back porch. The drops that I released in my despair, have come back, they've come home, just as my new idea is calling me to come back, come home... I'll try, old friends.

The rain keeps a promise with me. It tells me that if I look up to the sky on a day such as this, it will repay me for all of the tears I've lost...

I'm looking up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Lames Attack

Have you ever encountered an individual in a confrontation who tries to confuse you with double talk? Let me give you a clearer example.

So, you're in a situation where you've allegedly hurt someone. Now, indeed you may have hurt them, or rather your actions may have hurt them indirectly. But then, you go on to explain to the "hurtee" that you acted in the purest of intentions. You help them understand exactly where you're coming from and they begin to understand. Then, they proceed to their initial feelings of being hurt because, I mean it's all about them anyway.

No matter how you try to explain to them that you mean well, and in fact, you're remorseful. They just want to feel hurt. Eff YOUR feelings right?

So, not exactly double talk, but rather double pity...

I've got more to say...

I'll be back with relevance.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Everything's A Show

You ever wonder what it'd be like if a cameraman followed you every day of your life; filming every little thing you do? (even when you pick your nose, or dig out a wedgie)

I couldn't imagine that actually being reality, but I do like to pretend that I have an audience. Pretending that I have an audience makes my speech more extravagant. I begin to use big words and my level of wit is elevated. I laugh at things that I think my audience will laugh at.

So, I think from now on I'll pretend that I have an audience watching me...atleast on the important days, but not while I'm in the bathroom or in the shower...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Telling A Truth

Right now, I'm infatuated with telling the truth. I can lie. Oh boy, can I lie. I've actually mastered the art of the Convenient Lie for Folks in A Hurry. I've written the book successfully by myself... (No et al) Mister No Et Al... Ask about me. But this season brings about a reason to tell the truth.

A Truth
I get annoyed by loud noises, especially in the midst of silence, while I'm eating my applesauce in the living room and someone takes it upon themselves, or rather, believes that I MUST need a piano/keyboard/steeldrum/guitar serenade. No thanks.

A Truth
People, especially women, who refuse to see the point at hand and care solely about their hurt feelings, neglecting the fact that in a relationship (especially with an artist), you need to look beyond yourself and no that I GOT NEEDS TOO. (Two selfish people cannot co-exist...without a little pushing and shoving...) NOT AN ADVOCATE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE...

A Truth
I think I'm a genius. But my very lethargic TUMOR of a sub-personality weighs me down.

A Truth
Sometimes I fear disappointment so much, that I'd rather text than talk on the phone.

A Truth
I hold my nose whenever I'm asked to put toilet paper in the womens' restroom at work...I have a fear of what it might smell like.

A Truth
If I can see Godly qualities in you, and you smile a lot, I probably think you're a beautiful creation.

A Truth
I believe that evil resides in certain forms of music. I also believe that a chosen few have adopted that evil and it's aroma has attracted and successfully hooked a brainwashed youth into forming a cult-like following.

A Truth
I believe that people who are "churched" cannot change. They see nothing wrong with their lifestyle or their audacious behavior, looking down on those who may not be as SANCTIFIED as themselves. I should not, but I do secretly loathe them.

A Truth

A Truth
I'm fascinated with people's fascination about my sexuality, because I wonder what they're trying to prove, or hide.

A Truth
I've gained a lot of weight in the past year, and I'm uncomfortable with the way my body looks.

A Truth
When I flex my stomach muscles, I tell myself, "There's the hidden hope. There's still hope."

A Truth
Sometimes I scrunch my nostrils together in the mirror to envision what I'd look like with a nosejob...Much more European I believe...I'll pass...Thanks!

A Truth
I see myself on MTV

A Truth
I see myself working at McDonald's

A Truth
I wear my REGRETS like ashy skin...I don't like it to I hide it, but it always comes back after a good shower.

A Truth
Disappointing my mother is by far the thing that scares me the most...Hell is a close 2nd.

A Truth
At some point I've probably disliked every friend I've ever had...and some I still kinda don't care for, and they always know why.

A Truth
I have friends who, periodically, think they're better than me, but they're too ashamed to admit it, but I can smell it on them. (Because I'm better than them) LOL A joke...a TRUE JOKE...the second part anyway.

In all this...I hope you read. I hope you understand. I hope you do.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

On Chris Brown and Rihanna

I usually don't indulge in offering my two cents about celebrity gossip and the likes thereof, but I imagine that as the topic and issues surrounding the latest alleged Chris Brown attack on Rihanna has consumed the minds of young urban Entertainment America, there are other issues related to this topic that we may have failed to think about, or rather, there may be someone out there with whom the issue of domestic violence rings a little louder in his or her ears.

I've heard countless arguments on television and from friends about the fairness of men hitting women and vice versa. Dr. Phil stated on The View that men should not use their fists but to use their feet to run away. Oprah Winfrey states that "If he hits you once, he's going to do it again."

But at what point do we start allowing gender to point out when it's right or if it's right for a woman to hit a man and for a man to hit a woman? It amazes me that some women don't want gender to matter in certain situations, but in the case of fighting, "It's a MAN and a WOMAN"...and I agree. In my opinion, Men shouldn't hit women, and women shouldn't hit men either.

If a woman that I love hits me in my face, it's going to hurt me more than just physically. But Oprah, if she hits me once, will she doe it again? Anatomically, men are built to be stronger and more aggressive than women.

I listened as Gayle, (Oprah's pal) read the gruesome details from the "Chris Brown/Rihnna) incident. The details were enough to make me squirm a little. The blood filling her mouth...things like that.

I couldn't imagine. I couldn't imagine if that were my mother or sister or someone I just cared that deeply about. There are definitely two sides to every story, and sometimes I wonder if there is anything in me that would cause me to just LOSE IT, and then I think about where I came from, and the man that I've tried to be before God, and I remember that men of distinction don't "LOSE IT", we might get mad as hell, but we don't lose it.

Then I think about this young girl. This young college student who was full of hope, and before her admittance into Texas A&M, she SAID she'd be coming to A&M. Her short enrollment in Texas A&M was attributed to a man who just "LOST IT". Regardless of what she said or did (or allegedly tried to do) to him, her life was cut short when he LOST IT so much that he hook her life. And those of you who know the story doesn't even end there, but he LOST IT.

Star Producer Tyler Perry's comment is what triggered this little entry. He said, "It could've been worse. He could've killed her." I'm glad he didn't. I'mg glad neither of them died.

More later...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

On Bears and Sharp Objects...

Proud would not be an appropriate word to describe my feelings about our new album, Lumina. The words that would describe my emotions would be summed up in the phrase, "Pleased with The Necessary". I'm pleased that we've released an album that tells some of the band's very own personal stories. Years of life-altering experiences and relationships have left scars, sweet memories, bitter after-tastes, but definitely, lessons learned.

I stand behind Lumina with all confidence that SOMEONE will hear it and a song will resonate with him or her.

This morning I awoke with a revelation, well, a newness of who I am as an artist. It's so hard to get a lift in this life sometimes. I have my thoughts on what the music industry might be; and I want to swing left from that tunnel. Sure, my dreams of my name is lights has oftentimes left me experiencing tired moments at night, staring at the ceiling, thinking about what it's going to be like when it happens, but then this past Saturday, I saw our name in lights: The Ars Supernova on the Stubb's Marquee.

We've pushed so hard to escape the stereotypical local, hobby band label that haunts bands until people see them on TV. I still want to push, but I don't want to push to prove anything to anyone but to ourselves. I sell myself out to David, Dietrich, Matt, Alex, and Ross. If I can't be real with anyone, I can be real with them.

Over the years, I've witnessed the positive and negative views about our music. I won't lie to you, sometimes we make some ridiculously intricate stuff...(I wanted to cuss, because it seemed to fit...) But sometimes, what seems intricate and difficult to some, is extremely relaxed and elegant to us. To me, some things, some lyrics just fall RIGHT into a song that I'm writing to. "Probably the reason he believes that no one sees him bleed and pleads are late to talk him off of this ledge..." is a line from the song "Encore" off our album Lumina. I want you to hear that, hear the melody in that part... It's the dun nun nun nun..."Bat Man" or old Bat Man theme. See, everything, has been accidentally created on purpose.

If you're reading this, and I hope you are reading this, I want to thank you for loving us and being so loving to our music. Thank you for accepting our oftentimes "Non Radio Friendly" music. Thank you for letting us write from our hearts. Thank you for letting us be ourselves and being so kind and hearing our music...truly hearing our music.

Of course, I could continue to ramble...But again, I love you, listener. I love you friend. I love you critic. I love you aimless wanderer through this page.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Death & Dying (Revisited)

I recently lost my grandfather. I had no idea how I would actually feel...seeing him there, or rather, seeing his body there laying in repose. Instead of weeping to the empty shell that lay in such an ornate box, I remembered the little things he did that made him our "Grandchester". As we pulled up to the church, I looked at all my beautiful relatives, dressed in black and silver. We all tried to keep our faces clear because we wanted to be strong for each other, but we HAD to cry... Our family's monarch was no longer with us anymore. This man was great, not one of those "funeral greats": You know how people who attend funerals and speak about the great things that the deceased was, and that person was actually a hellion?

My grandfather was great. He loved God, and he served his Church and his community daily. The events leading up to and happening in the actual funeral were quite interesting. I'll say this and only this about a former minister: It's amazing how someone so closely linked to another man through a church can stand up and speak on a man as if he had no soul. Big words and letters behind your name does not qualify you to treat or mistreat anyone. Those same letters behind your name does not afford you a certain right to be smug with anyone. And the overuse of the word "protocol" does not make you look or seem of more intelligence that anyone else. You ever meet people who learn a few words out of the English dictionary that are larger than two syllables and they begin using it like it's going out of style? (Ahem, I digress...)

But about crying...I watched people, and I learned to sense what their 'hearts' were sensing. People weep and cry out as a way of expressing themselves. There's a time for everything. Funerals excite and aggravate me, because as I've said before, sometimes people like to feel that they're mourning more than the other person. But, I think Ministers try to offer the bereaved family some hope in saying, "don't waste your tears, He (She) is in a better place." That may be so, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. There is time for us to weep and mourn.

I'm sorry, this is my blog, and I have to express this. So, when you love someone, it's expressed in so many ways, but never have I seen a man who seemed to have lacked love than my former Pastor. He stood up at the pulpit and delivered directions from the order of service with this uninterested, uninspired, unmoved look on his face, and I thought to myself, "Wow, is this the man of God that I followed for 8 years?" I tried not to focus on him so much, but I thought about my grandfather's fight, spiritually and physically, and now I'm reminded of my great-grandmother's journey of 101 years, and during both funerals, this "Man'd of God" (I don't know why Southern Preachers put the D on the end of Man...) But this "Man'd of God" stood up there, same church, same time of day, different year, with the same stank look on his face, speaking curtly about protocol and procedures and following the program as follows...

I understand the significance of following an order of service, and being mindful of the bereaved family, but in times of sorrow, I understand these are the reasons we rely and lean upon the Lord, because man, namely this preacher man, did not show even the slightest interest in loving on the family, offering support, or thinking back on the memory of his beloved brother, my grandfather, Chester Kemp, Sr.

Incompetence all around...

It rained as we approached the cemetery. After we gather, and my Uncle prayed, and people said their last goodbyes after pulling flowers from the sprays that were giving in my grandfather's memory, a few of us stayed behind to watch the funeral directors put Grandchester's remains into the ground. This was unique because I'd never seen the process of fitting a casket into a vault. As the workers, who I assume worked grave to grave, as they were lowering my grandfather into the ground by an electric crank, the crank gave out and the casket was stuck in the middle of the hole. A worker decided to manually help the casket down, by leaning over the hole and pulling the straps down, exposing his "CRACK" and almost falling into the hole with the casket. If my uncles had not been there, He would've been in that hole with my Grandchester. After my uncles helped him out, the funeral directors were like, "Why are you folks even here?" He stated that us being there watching made his workers nervous. I thought to myself, they're just shame because they can't do their jobs correctly. Grown men, being nervous... They were nervous that if they made any mistakes they probably might've been buried on that same day as well.

People, sometimes, we just don't realize that the respect and love we should have for each other does not end when we die. After walking into the church to see some more family members, I walked back out to the cemetery to just talk to my grandpa. As I was walking, I saw a man briefly out of the corner of my eye looking at something on the wall... It was Grandchester...and then I looked at him again, and it was actually my father... NEVER have I thought I'd seen anyone who has passed away, but that day, my daddy's posture and position made him look like my grandfather.

I went back out the grave, and I just stood there. The wind and rain had bullied some of the floral sprays to the ground and I began picking them up and rearranging them so that they'd stay standing. My grandfather's brother, "Uncle Party" came out where I was standing. We just stood there in silence for a while. He slowly walked up to the fresh mound of dirt piled up over his brother's grave, pulled a red rose out of one of the floral sprays, looked at me and said, "Well", and then walked toward his car, and then he began to weep.

Now, finally I got time to sit with my grandfather's remains, and kinda just talk to him as if he were there. I said, "Thank you Grandchester. Thank you for teaching me how to be a man. Thank you for your Vacation Bible School Class in the summer time. Thank you for raising my Daddy. Thank you for the $20 every weekend when I was in High School. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for loving me." Even as I type this, tears well up in my eyes. I stood there and I cried. I was saying goodbye to the only grandfather I'd ever known...and I KNEW him. He wasn't a distant relative living in Tuscaloosa. I lived, breathed, ate with, talked to, laughed with, prayed with, prayed for, smiled at, loved on, hugged, worried about, cried for, cried with, watched, and sang with him...Memories of walking around the church at the beginning of Sunday School will dance in my head forever.

It's okay to cry. It's okay to mourn.

"You shouldn't be ashamed of mourning"-Ross Falcon, The Ars Supernova

I love my grandfather. God, I know you're holding him. I know. Hold me too.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On Death, Dying, and Family...

I find death so fascinating. Not the actual "Death" itself, but the events that occur after one, a loved one, has left this life. Whenever a loved one passes away, it seems as if people begin to manifest their cynicism. There are even some who'd like to feel as if they're mourning the loss more than others, and proceed to weep or moan harder than their co-grievers.

It would seem to me, that death brings out the worst in some people. Sometimes, accidents can be so tragic that the grief seems unbearable. Over the years, I think I've grown a little more understanding that death is a part of life. I'm fighting to understand that some people cannot control their emotions, and I do not want to seem insensitive toward my family and friends. I remember when I was seven, and a loved one passed away. A family member was carried out of the church, kicking and screaming and as I stood to the side as other family members ushered her out, she unknowingly kicked me in the head with her high-heels. *That hurt pretty nicely*

But I've often wondered...If we, (my family) as spiritual believers, understand where our loved one is going, why do we grieve so hard? She loses her husband, he loses his father, they lose their grandfather... We shed tears...Crying and grieving is necessary, but at what point are we free to act out of place and become unruly because we want people to feel the pain we feel?

The older I get, I understand that as much as I love all races, there are just some differences in how we handle things, especially funerals, and I'll leave it at that. If you'd like me to expound, inquire within.

This past weekend, my loving grandfather passed away. My eyes begin to water even now, as I think of his gentle eyes, and his cool way of saying things. I think about the memorable quotes that used to come out of his mouth. I think about his life and how he pressed forth to be a better man and a better Christian man every day. I think about the stories that I was told over the phone about his "ornery" behavior in the hospital just recently.

So, I leave Austin to travel to Lake Jackson to be with my family. A lot of people haven't seen me since my Big Mama's funeral. I began to brace myself for the comments, as I was coming back with some obvious changes in appearance... LOL, nothing plastic really, but I'm a little thinner and I've got these seven inch vines hanging from my scalp. I like to call them locs, but you KNOW my family gon' call them something else. *SIDENOTE* When I get around my family, my vernacular changes...

I spent the night with my cousin who didn't want to sleep alone after having stayed there at the hospital with my "Grandchester" after he died. My cousin watched me grow up, but for some reason I feel like she still sees me as little "Dut-Dut". It was good sleeping in her big ol' bed. We're family. We stayed up and could not sleep; thinking about "Chester Kemp" and his life and we began to think about how much we couldn't believe that the day had come... that he was actually gone away from us.

After getting about 2 hours of sleep, we traveled to my grandmother's house. I took a lot of deep breaths because this was my GRANDPA... It's still odd knowing that he's not going to be there, standing in front of the space heater or perpetual flame as I'd like to call it. He'd stand in front of the space heater to get himself warmed up whenever he felt cold. Now, that space heater stayed on 368 days a year. Really, 368 days. It was always on. I walked in the door and I was met by the laughs of my great-aunt and others, "Law'd have mercy, look at that boy's hair. What them is, "DEAD"locs?" I 'bout died of laughter. They were pulling on my hair and asking me if it was fake. We just sat and reminisced on a lot of things. We fried fish and talked about folks. It was grand. I showed them the Study Breaks Magazine that we were featured in, as well as a copy of The Ars Supenova's new album. They were like, "That's good baby", but they didn't seem all that impressed. See, I may be "JIROD GREENE" whenever I'm home here in Austin, but when I'm HOME HOME, I'm "Lil' Dustrag" or "KOOL POP" or "DUT-DUT"... Those are a few of my nicknames. They didn't care that I was a Semi-Lebrity...

That night, when I traveled back to Austin, I lay on the couch and closed my eyes, and I began to imagine looking into my grandfather's eyes and wondering what he was thinking before he left. I cried as I began to think of his life and how we interacted the last time we saw each other. I began to think about other family members and how I would not let 2 months pass between seeing or hearing from people that I love...

I forgot to deliver him a message from a friend at my mother's church. I learned that his nickname was BILL. Country-Folks sure do have a way of making a nickname come up from absolutely nothing, but it means something. How did anyone manage to get the nickname "BILL" from Chester? It's beyond me.

I received word that some family members were getting emotional about the funeral arrangements and stormed out during several family meetings. After being perceived as still being a baby, (I'm 24) I wanted nothing more but to strut around proving my intelligence, and call the emotional outbursts and arguments, "unnecessary" and "unneeded". You see, I was NEVER EVER the youngest grandson, well, I was until others were born shortly after me, but I was always treated like the "delicate" one. Even today, at 24, I'm still treated as the delicate one who needs to have "thick skin when you come down here to the Country". All I can think about is, "I WISH I WAS THERE WHEN ALL THAT STUFF WENT DOWN", I'm speaking about the outbursts around the funeral arrangements. It just doesn't seem logical to throw a fit when you want something that no one else wants.

I feel as if it's our responsibility to be there for my grandmother. SURE, They've lost a father, and we've lost a grandfather...but she lost her soul-mate. She lost the man she lay beside every night. She lost the man that she STOOD beside in SICKNESS and in health... In sickness... MY grandmother stood beside my grandfather when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost nine years ago. She was there for his emotional break downs. She was there for his mood swings. She stood beside him, because she was and remains to be strong. Heck, she's stronger than a lot of us.

When I was little, around the age of 7, my family members just started DYING at a rapid pace, or so it seemed. My cousin and I talked, and we seemed to lose family members left and right. By the age of 20, all of the great aunts and uncles on my mothers side had passed away...All but one. Dear Ol' Aunt Sweet. But at funerals, I'd be crying my eyes out before we even entered the church...remember, I was the "delicate" one. I would look around to see who else was crying, and then I'd cry harder... I was young.

I think people still do it, it's just a bit different these days. Adults boast their pain by pressing the Emergency Unnecessary Outburt Button and pretend that they're the ONLY someone whose lost a loved one. I'd love to put a padlock on that EUB Button. We're al grieving. We all miss him.

God, tell my grandpa that we miss him. Tell him that we'll see him again soon. Tell him that I'm sitting here, about to design his obituaries and I can't find a good, manly font. Tell him "Robin" misses him so much, and that Laci misses him.

I love Chester Ray Kemp, Sr. I know he's having a good time with Chester Ray Kemp, Jr.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Come With Us

I sit up thinking almost every night about where it is we're supposed
to go in life. Where is The Ars Supernova supposed to go from here?

I watched the 51st Annual Grammy Awards Show on Sunday night. I watched
as each performer took the stage and offered up his/her/ or their best
musical gifts to an audience of fans, peers, and producers. I watched
as the winner(s) of each categorized award walked on stage to accept
their molded, gold-ish, phonograph...

And I saw us...

As it would seem to most... A silly day dream. I laughed to myself and I said, "A dream"

When I lay my head down, and I sleep...Sometimes I dream the most vivid
of dreams, and sometimes, I don't remember those dreams throughout the
course of the day...but...

There is one dream that just will not go away. This dream haunts my
thoughts throughout the day. It dances in my head throughout the

I dream of carrying our music; our message beyond 6th street. This
dream reaches beyond Austin, Houston, or Dallas. Though touching each
city with fashion and finesse, we reach out beyond this great state of
Texas toward the edges of our nation and even the corners of the Earth.

I believe the "greats" had dreams just like this dream I've been
having. I believe Quincy Jones dreamed about it. I know Michael Jackson
dreamed about it. I'll bet Bruce Springsteen dreamed about it, and
Stevie Nicks, The Beatles... They all dreamed of stepping out and
reaching forward to touch someone in another part of the world.

I've never been so close to tasting this dream. It's sweet, I can smell
it. The work, the hard work in the specialties of each player in this
band can seem bitter, and a bit sour at times.

More than being a performer, or a musician... Being a humanitarian.
Keeping our supporters on our minds daily is a major focus. Giving
back...or rather just GIVING, because that is what keeps us going.

True, we've a lot of work to do as young musicians. We've a lot to
learn, and still there are dues to pay, but to know that we've got each
other as we travel down this road with uncertainty at our heels, but
with faith in our hearts... We can share this light, this LUMINA with
the world.

Even after the first album, we're still MESSENGERS... Even after the
second album, we will still be LUMINA. We will continue to bring forth
a message of hope to any and everyone who will listen. We will still
show that light to anyone who is searching for positivity through
poetry and instrumentation.

We are not saviors. We are not perfect. We do not know ALL there is to
know. Artists are what we call ourselves; players in a band founded upon
key principles: truth, wellness, hope, love...MUSIC.
.... That's who you are to us.

We're striving... Moving at a rate that seems unreal when we think back
to how far we've come in only two years. The six of us are only PART of
The Ars Supernova. We need you to come along with us on this journey.

I love you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Music's Sour Notes

Mainstream Music America has developed a unique pallet for its taste in Music; a pallet that I find to be comparable to that of an infant. You know, it's got to be simple, soft. It can't be too hot or too cold. It's gotta soothe the gums, and feel good on the way down. Well, maybe not the pallet, but rather, a softer appetite.

The texture and tenderness of the music that majority of today's society is willing to digest is similar to that of PEEPS. You know, the little soft, chewy, ever-so sugary little candies that are available mainly during Easter time.

Seasonal listeners... These are people who are into what's in for the time...

So, how does a musician SO far from the PEEPS ever survive in a mush mouth music society...

Well, because this is MY blog, I'll tell you the first thing that came to mind. I'm slightly embarrassed, but whatever.
There are two ways to get attention.

Now, this is tricky...Because You have to get exactly what I'm saying.

A.) Be like a silent fart... No one notices you...or they may feel you breeze past, and they're thinking, "Okay, I can handle this". But then all of a sudden, you're a presence so strong and unbearable, they've got to notice you!

B.) Be a LOUD fart...Be bold and out in the open. Unashamedly spreading your presence toward everyone within a 15 foot radius. (How exactly do I know the right radius...Kid test, mother approved? I dunno)

Education...Do people really want to know about this music stuff?
Do people really want to know why this harmony was used?
Do people really want to know the colors painted by this composer to make this sound?

Nowadays, people want instructional videos on how to listen to music, or how to dance to music; how to eat, sleep, drink, treat their significant others, and how to make money.

BIG GENERALIZATION... Yeah, sure...but they come from somewhere huh?

By sticking true to yourself and to your craft seems to be the best way, but it's not always the easiest, nor is it the most popular.

I find that whenever I write lyrics for songs, if I try to write about something I know nothing about, the song sounds empty, or if I try to write a song that's very "radio friendly" I end up with A, B, A format that is more than depressing.

Maybe I ride this artist just a bit much, but that's what I liked about Solange Knowles' second album. She kissed the industry-sewn, teeny-bopper genres goodbye and put on a colorfully brilliant new attitude.

Gnarls Barkley, heck, even Mr. West... These are a few people who've taken barriers, and blew them away like paper boats down main-STREAMs. (corny, but you get me right)

Infants scrunch up their faces whenever they taste something sour...
They really haven't developed a strong enough pallet to withstand the sharp taste...

To the music infants of the world who would rather settle for the sugary sweet innocence of easy listening...

GROW SOME.....taste buds...A little salt never hurt anyone...



About Metromint

I discovered Metromint while flipping through the channels on TV one Saturday. I started watching Food Network and usually, unless someone's eating or making something bizarre, it doesn't hold my attention. That particular day, I learned about Metromint, which was started by a husband and wife. They created a flavorful water beverage with just water and mint. Who'da thunk it?

Anyway, I was intrigued. I rushed to my local grocery store to find that there were indeed cases of Metromint on the shelves. I bought two bottles; Peppermint Water, and Spearmint Water. I sipped the Peppermint Water first and I started grinning because it was exactly what the show on Food Network said it would be; water with a cool refreshing taste of mint. It tingled.

I called my bestfriend and I told him about it. He was skeptical and wanted to try some of mine. Of course, I encouraged him to buy his own. I mean, sharing is caring, but I don't actually LIVE by that motto. (LOL... but seriously) Just kidding.

My bandmates and I are always looking for ways to connect with people making differences in the world at whatever possible capacity. I told them about Metromint and how we BOTH were doing cool things with water. Last year, my band, The Ars Supernova raised funds through shows and merchandise sales to fund the building of a well in rural Ethiopia; providing clean, potable water to a village where clean water was nonexistent. It wasn't about a pat on the back, it just seemed like something we should be doing; helping out our brothers and sisters, and spreading our love through music.

I wrote to Metromint to let them know how much I appreciate their product and I told them a little about our band. When I checked my inbox and saw that they'd responded...I yelled so loud! After corresponding with Michele Thorne, the Wellness and Outreach Director, I told her more about the band.

About a week later, I go to the front door, preparing to take out the trash, and at my feet was a box addressed to me. I lifted up the side and saw a sticker there. The sticker read "METROMINT". Excitedly, I lugged the box into the house, and up the stairs. I opened it and there inside were bottles of Metromint and MetroElectro. Six Flavors!!!! One of which I hadn't tried before. It made my day.

When my bandmates finally got to experience what I'd been raving about. They realized why. Even the one who only drinks Coke and Milk was like, "This is good stuff!"

So thank you again Michele, and thank you Metromint!



The video should explain the majority of this blog. But Again, Many thanks to Metromint for sharing such an awesome product with us.

Everyone in the band enjoyed drinking it. I actually had to hide a few bottles.

Yeah...It's Water...but it's cooler. (HA, I love it!)
Michele Thorne, thank you so very much!

Jirod Greene
(and the other Metromint drinkers pictured: Dietrich, David, Ross, Matt, and Alejandra)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh What a day it has been...

January 30-31, 2009... The Ars Supernova has been working so hard.

On Friday... We shot the second half of our music video... "Supernova: The Death of A Star" in 32 degree weather. Let me tell you, the paparazzi was out that night. We shot the red carpet scene for the video. ALL SIX of us stepped out of a limo wearing our very own custom designed vests compliments of Loves, Mariessa in Austin, Texas. She does absolutely amazing work.

The shoot was grueling, but PAPERTANK made it enjoyable. The trinity: Jeff, Jon, and Ray, again, very amazing videographers.
We had a full day of shooting and enduring the cold weather. PICS COMING SOON!

On Saturday we had an interview with the newly launched online publication called Rapt Magazine at Mozart's in Austin. The interview was a lot of fun, and we got to play with a beagle! Valerie of Rapt asked us really great questions. The real questions, you know... She didn't ask only the standard "Getting to know the band" questions. She asked us about our relationships with each other, the meaning behind our new album, each and every one of our musical influences.

Later that day, we had a photoshoot promoting Loves, Mariessa. FUN PHOTOS...Wearing our new show attire. In the beginning, we didn't know how we'd all look together, but everything came together beautifully.

Then came the time to load up gear and head to STUBB'S for our show. We'd had a long couple of days and the only thing that was driving us was...well, wanting to put on a great show. Alex, our violinist was suffering from an injured wrist. We were like, "OH NO!!!" which her friends would later conclude is the result of myspacing too much. LOL, but we wanted her to get better so we were concerned. When we got to STUBB'S there was the usual hustle and bustle of people moving gear, dropping this, and picking this up...This seems to be an ongoing thing, but EVERY show, David, our guitarist will lose a cable, or Dietrich, our keyboardist will mysteriously lose a cable, and they do the tango, back and forth with why the other person took the cable, put it in his car, drove it to Persia and boiled it in castor oil...Never to be found again... Until someone ends up finding it.

Right before the show...Alex's bow breaks...and she was just going to have to fake like she was playing. After a series of "Oh My God's" and "What are we going to do's", we decided that the show must go on.

We started with our song "Supernova" instead of the song "Cure" that we were initially supposed to start with... The lights and the fog machine set the scene...and my comrades began to sing the beginning of the song...A minute later, I make my grand entrance...I stand DEAD center...silent, with an accusing look on my face...hand on my hip...JUST AS BAD AS I WANNA BE... I approached the mic to begin the song...I open my mouth and began to sing...FIRST WORD....NO SOUND!!!!

Second and third words...NO SOUND... sound...I looked at the sound technician, he gave me the shrug as if he didn't know what was happening. In a panic...No...I'm calm...I just reached over and grabbed David's mic...I mean, he didn't need it...oh wait, he did...but I grabbed it any way...And began singing over the crowd... APPLAUSE...

Minutes into the show...the struggling Alex was saved.... a bow appeared amidst the fog and lights by a mysterious, glowing hand. Dietrich's father had come to the rescue with a working bow.

And so the show went on. Lessons learned. A triumph for The Ars Supernova... It's a live show...stuff happens...But we weren't defeated.

A big thanks to all the people who came out and showed support.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Believe In Me

I can remember climbing up on the top of a fountain ledge at the Brazos Mall in Lake Jackson, Texas and singing Christmas Carols to anyone who would listen as they entered and exited Dillard's. A few people even threw money to me on the ledge. I'm sure the money was for me, or either they had a bad aim because none of it made it into the fountain. I can remember how expressive I was as I sang my heart out to the passersby. My mother, embarrassed and tickled pulled me down after a security guard noticed me and noticed that I was probably generating more cash flow that the department stores. I was five. I can't imagine what type of trouble I might get into now at the age of 24.

I've been singing for a long, long time. The first song I ever sang was at Shiloh Baptist Church. I sang "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" at the age of 7. At that point, with the microphone in my hand and the approval of my family members saying "Amen" and "Sang Boy!", at that point I realized that I might have something special.

At the age of 10, I stepped on stage at O.M. Robert's Elementary and belted Brandy's "I Wanna Be Down" into a Shure 55 "Old School" Microphone during a talent show. The local newspaper, The Brazosport Facts documented the talent show, and I was pictured inside.. I can't find the picture to save my life. Holiday Events, Church Programs, and Talent shows seemed to be my trinity for singing.

In high school, I developed a greater appreciation for Choral Music and I began singing music written by Classical Composers like Bach, Tchiachovsky, Monteverdi, Brahams... You name him, I joined a choir that praised his music. I competed in UIL Solo & Ensemble competitions. In college I joined the mixed collegiate choir and I developed an even greater appreciation for Choral Music.

I joined The Ars Supernova in 2006. The other young men in the band at the time wanted to create something that was more than what we'd been hearing on the radios and on television. We were all indeed hungry for more than popular music was giving us at the time. Through the formation of the band, I was able to express myself freely through my lyrics. Vocally, I'd try to pull from some of my musical influences; Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald and a younger influence, John Legend...and even Beyonce.

MUSIC... such a wonderful tool for expression. Sometimes it's a bit frustrating... Because to have a career in music, people have to want to follow you. There has to be something about you that makes people believe in what you're trying to do. In my opinion, some people sell their souls just to have a hit record, no matter how bland of a song or how short-lived their success becomes. The band challenges me to be myself...and never compromise what I write for the sake of a #1 hit.

I figure Solange Knowles to be another influence. She christened a new type of music and vocal expression through her latest album. (I'm actually quite intrigued by her to tell you the truth)

But through this new album, LUMINA, I want people to hear the music...I want them to hear the passion. I want fellow vocalists to hear what I'm doing vocally. Sure, I want to make a career out of this, but to be quite honest... If atleast a handful of people will listen and dig this sound... My heart is happy. It's art... It'll be critiqued, criticized, made fun of, but I'll be darned if someone tells me I'm not good at what I do... LOL (Just kidding)

My comrades and I have been blessed with the gift of music, and we've been blessed with an audience of the WORLD to share it with?

You believe in me?


Renascence- From Our Album Lumina

The word Renascence means new birth or life; a rebirth.

Our song Renascence was written especially for young women. As a man, I cannot even begin to imagine the pressures that society seems to place on young women to live up to the standards of "beauty". It hurts to see young women try so hard and then fail because of the constant change in standards of this word; "beauty".

However, I do know how it feels to work at something for so long and work so hard and still feel like you're missing the mark. We all search for approval in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes, it may be a kind word, a compliment, a smile or a hug.

I've heard and witnessed so many stories about young women who failed to see the beauty in themselves and sought other, more tangible ways to define what they considered beauty. TV and magazines can paint such a twisted picture of "perfection", and some women may see that and believe THAT is beauty. Let me be the first to tell you... A great majority of the things you see in print are edited masterpieces. Adobe Photoshop works wonders and can fool the untrained eye.

But more than that. The song Renascence talks about a young woman who lives to please others, especially a man in an abusive relationship. She's beaten, battered, and broken not only by him, but also by this worldly view of beauty that she has been trained to believe is the way for her to live. In the end, the woman finds an honest friend, or maybe she looks in the mirror at herself and realizes that she's always been beautiful, but she gains confidence in herself. She finally opens her eyes and for the first time, she loves herself. She sees that light, that positive bright-shining light within herself.

In the Spring of 2007, a Texas A&M Student lost her life to the hands of an ex-boyfriend. Pictures of her will forever be branded in my memory. She was beautiful. Her personality lit up a room. She gained the strength to move on without him. She's no longer here because this man did not appreciate her beauty. He could not see how someone so young could have so much strength to live her life without him. So instead of allowing her to live her life without him, he ended her life.

Whoever you are, where ever you are...No matter what you're going through, through this song "Renascence", I'm connected to you. You don't have to feel inadequate. You don't have to feel like you're not beautiful. Love yourself. You ARE paramount. You ARE important. It's okay to start over; to redefine who you are in life. Sometimes we need a refreshed mind. 2Pac said it best, "Keep Ya Head Up."


Lyrically I'm Supposed To Represent

Ladies and Gentleman:
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jirod Greene. I'm the front man/lyricist of Austin's own art-rock band, The Ars Supernova. I wanted something that I could use as an outlet for my thoughts as I seem to always have a lot of my mind, and I'm always willing to share. So keep coming back as I'm sure I'll have more to say later.