This isn’t a song about ghosts, per se, but rather the ideas and illusions that we sometimes mistake for reality. I wrote it about someone who lived in New York City. On the one hand, I admire people who live in big cities for their toughness, confidence, and energy, but their heads do seem to get filled with very strange ideas as to what life is all about.
Sometimes I think that we get our ideas about the nature of life from the tallest structures in our environment, whether they be mountains, churches, skyscrapers, or a big mansion set up on a hill. If this is true, it could explain the brains of city people, since they would be getting their ideas more from human sources than from natural ones. Not that this would necessarily make their ideas less valuable, but just more transient, since the thoughts and ideals of humans change much faster than the minds of mountains.
I wrote this song while shopping for nail polish, and didn’t think much about its meaning at the time- it was just a song about three feathers- one red, one yellow, and one green. It wasn’t until I had performed it and a man came up to me and asked “Was three feather man a naughty boy?” that the meaning and story line of the song clicked into my mind. Download MP3: 3 Feather Man
I wrote this song in Nashville, during which time I came across this quote from Kahlil Gibran:
“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ”
I interpreted this to mean, quite simply, the worse a relationship is, the better it is.
The dangers of reading things that seem lofty and profound!!
Just another song about the never ending quest to find a place where it is always sunny and warm, always afternoon, and I’m always sitting with a friend around a yellow checkered tablecloth as cakes and lemonade are just about to be set down on our table. All colors are essential to our survival, but how long will a person last without yellow and gold? At the time I wrote this song, I was living in New York, where I felt I was drowning in indigo, unable to function in all the mushy darkness.
I wrote this song after being inspired by a story about cranberries in Martha Stewart’s magazine. My love and respect for cranberries has only grown over time- they are such an unique fruit- equal parts passion and stoicism. If I had to choose one word to describe them, it would be resolute.
In honor of cranberries, here is my own cranberry sauce recipe- more delicious than ice cream, and as beautiful as a jewel. I like to eat it hot and liquid, but for a more professional touch, allow it to solidify.
Julien’s Famous Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
12 oz washed cranberries
1 cup sugar
Bring water to a boil- add cranberries, sugar, a splash of vanilla, and as much honey as you like. Return to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 11 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
I wrote this song when I met James. Could it have been inspired by him? I don’t know- but just in case, it had to have an unhappy ending. As we all know, songs are a little bit like Dorian Gray’s picture- they push the bad feelings out of our system and onto the other side of the looking glass. That is why it would be extremely foolhardy to write a song like “Oh honey, I love you so much, you are the best wife ever” unless you are hoping for a divorce. I’m not sure who Eric Clapton wrote the song “Wonderful Tonight” about, but with a song like that, you can bet they are no longer together.
On the other hand, the opposite superstition also exists- that you should only speak, think (and presumably) sing about positive things because positive words lead to positive outcomes! I tried to live with this philosophy for a while, but it was a lot of pressure, and I think it could lead to insanity if a person pursued it for too long. Every now and then, a musician comes out with an album that tries to be extremely positive and uplifting and I always take this as a sign that they are on the verge of a mental breakdown.
This song was written about a friend of mine who wasn’t well liked by many because he held offensive opinions on just about every subject. But, despite his strange and insensitive ideas, he was in fact a very kind and loving person who had somehow managed to have his brain filled with all the wrong opinions.
Personally, I think we should judge people less by their beliefs, and more by their spirit and actions. I have known many people who held all of the most compassionate and sensitive ideas who were in fact cruel brutes. On the other hand, there are others who have all the wrong idea- sometimes because they picked them up from their environment and didn’t have the brain power to effectively sift through them- who were in reality loving people who uplifted everyone they came into contact with.
But I guess it makes sense that we judge people’s moral quality based on their beliefs, since many of us come from a religion where getting to heaven is based largely on believing in all the right things. While some Christians believe you have to be a good person and perform good works to reach heaven, none seem to think that is sufficient if you don’t also embrace the right cosmology.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” -Jesus
This song I heard in a dream… the dream was set in the future and consisted of a young black man in a red t-shirt, straw hat, and beat-up green convertible driving west down highway 64 in Kentucky. The shining sun, the wide open sky, and the wind all filled me with intense feelings of exhilaration. I wasn’t a character in the dream, though, I was watching it, like a music video.
I felt like the man was singing just to me and wanted me to write the song down, so I did. The only problem was that he used an unmentionable word to refer to himself, so not being quite sure what to do, I changed the name of his song from “Kentucky Something-or-the-other” to “Rose Fairy.”
I wrote this song in L.A, obviously, since that is the only place where the phrase Red Hot Mama really makes sense. Where else do men like women so done up they look like drag queens? Where else do blonds with savage tans roller skate down the street in fluorescent pink thongs? Where else can you pay your rent by agreeing to dance for your landlord in pantyhose every month (as a friend of mine did)? I suppose these things happen in other places, but somehow, in L.A. they seemed normal- almost wholesome.
I think this song may have been inspired (like so many others) by my hero Reinhold Messner, whose brother Gunther died while they were climbing a mountain together. But on a personal level, it reflects the feeling of being lost in a world of ice- coldness, loss, isolation- as the flame of life struggles to hang on.