We all have personas that shift according to societal demands or expectations. ie; A waiter is a waiter at work but a smokin’ hot lover and pensive loving father at home. It’s like that you know? The personas, the masks we wear. Jung said. What if you had to pick one role you would like to be perceived as? That’s a tough one. I think for me, it is a persona that exemplifies: Unaffected Humanity… “We all invent ourselves and … You know Me 😉” -Michael Stipe, “Crush With Eyeliner,” REM.

Tortoise shells came today!! Support a beat poet: Buy my art.

I love my new Zenni’s!! You could say, I “look good.” Get it? Ha ha. I see better? What did you think I meant? lol.

Lulu is running a 15% off promotion. What a perfect time to buy my book(s)! Just sayin’ 15% off. Quite a bargain. Buy one for each member of your family. Greenbacks people :). Nah, they’re the best writing I’ve done. Hope you can help a starving professor and his 3 kids Throws hat out for donations I’m not good at selling my art. Just buy a bunch will ya? lol. I’ll buy yours.


You Have a Culture Now Jack.

The 63 Lipless Fish band
L to R: Jack Kilby – bass, backing vocals, Sean Teer – rhythm guitar, Damien Riley – lead vocal, guitar, piano Jeff Koclanis -Drums

This is a very long post, get a soft cushiony seat and a cup of Joe. If you’re a fast reader, you may read at close to 400 words per minute. This means reading the 1,900 words in this article will take you around 4.8 minutes. You’ve been advised. 😎

I had a friend in my 20’s who played music in a band with me. He played bass and sang harmonies and I played guitar and sang lead. The group disbanded after some good memories were made playing in Hollywood a couple times at a place called “The Anti Club.” We swooned seeing the lights and feeling the muffled carpet bomb cacophony of bands and their bass bleeding down the strip on the mythic Santa Ana North Grand and Bower. We were suburban angst-infected “sheltered” punks renting motel rooms before gigs trying to be Led Zeppelin “lite.” We even wrote a song together in one God-forsaken place the night before a show based on a carved, elegantly marked up graffiti-styled name on a wooden beam in that taco-chip motel: “Gustavo.” We created an image in the song of a low-rider Los Angeles local gang banger who would simply snap his fingers and chicks came begging. We’d laugh so hard when we hung out together our eyes would water with bloody sweet pus it seemed. I almost choked to death on occasion, begging the jokesters to stop. Sometimes in our laughter one of us would puke. It was wonderful, Everyone should experience that sort of atmospheric laughter.

I’d be remiss to not mention our soul changing opportunity to record with and learn from the studio production talent of Dave Sharp who was in the 90’s arena band “The Alarm.” Let’s be clear! NOT their current guitarist from “Gene Loves Jezebel,” James Stevenson. He’s alien to me as is the latest incarnation of the Alarm. Dave is my guitar hero, always will be. Listen to “Sold Me Down the River,” ‘Nuff said. Dave has a solo act now in Great Britain since the original Alarm disbanded at the time I met him in 1992. One day I’ll write a full chapter on that. He asked me to open up for him at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano singing my songs with just my Martin acoustic, and I did. Miracle. The magical two songs The 63 Lipless recorded with Dave are up on YouTube if you’re a Dave Sharp fan. You can hear him trading lead guitar chops with me and backup vocals with Jack on two of my original songs “People,” and “Talk to Me.” They came out brilliantly. Hi Dave!

Jack was such a gentle and talented guy. We played one night at Goodies in Fullerton where we played several times but one night was in a big promoted local band showcase orchestrated by snake agent Bob Starr. I invited my lifelong family friend at that time Gwen Stefani to come see us. It promised to be a big performance, we were getting fatigued grasping to make money at our music and we were all ready to just stop unless somebody helped us make it. Every young band needs a break. It seldom happens. To this day I’m so thankful and humbled she came. Thanks Gwen. She showed up with No Doubt Bass player Tony Kanal and after the show Gwen told me three words that lifted our collective band consciousness: “That Was Cute.” She was just a girl about to be catapulted into her own kaleidoscopic life I know nothing about. I have a unique take on fame. I believe each of us humans is on an equally valuable path. Famous or completely unknown, we all sleep in only one bed at night and we all put our Doc Martens on one at a time. When I find myself in reverie, I feel fame would have proven dangerous or even destructive for me but I have no proof of that. “Judge not lest ye be judged” Jesus said that. I say don’t judge a Gwen by its cover and until you’ve walked a mile in her Lamb stilletos (Forgive me for that ghastly rhetorical device. I spontaneously improvised but it works well I think don’t you?) Hope so. I do NOT think there exist such gauche footwear in her multi million dollar lamb enterprise extant, nor moccasins for that matter. 😁

I love Gwen Stefani.

We were family friends through our parents who are still very close. They have always encouraged me. They are my Godparents. I know they did enjoy watching me grow up. They love me like family and I them. I’ll always treasure the card they gave me when I graduated from the two year college at 23. Eric drew the card, they all signed it but the best thing in it was “Uncle Dennis’”written advice that I’ve since never forgotten: “Congratulations, keep moving forward.” I took that advice with college. By 30 I had earned my A.A, B.A., M.A, and Multiple Subjects Preliminary Credential. At 33 I married and started a family here in the High Desert. Dennis, thank you.

L to R: Dennis Stefani, newborn ME, Gerry Riley (My father)

I don’t see the Stefanis much anymore. My mom gives me gossip updates. I recently caught up with them at my sister Erin and her husband Greg Duran’s wedding at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. It was stunning. Patty held me by my arms and said lovingly: “I hope you know it was entertaining watching you grow.” I sure hope it was. I ain’t perfect. I’ve been referred to as a handful. I love my god mother. I love the whole Stefani family.

Hey out there Eric Stefani! Love you.

L to R: Eric Stefani, Damien Riley

Todd and Jill it’s been too long! Love you.

Well seasons change and work is hard to find in this often senseless world. That band broke up on excellent terms. Three of us went and got college degrees. We all lost track of Jack but out of all of us he was the most amicable, in fact he was jolly. We would never think he’d ever be sad. I never once saw him lose his temper. But many owls hooted over many seasons in the crackle of the wind through the 90’s and beyond and to infinity.

Through the sunburn pain of many Summers and the fall leaf grass crackling and shaking us to the bone, Jack disappeared from our consciousness.

Much to my surprise and shock he turned up on Facebook in a chat room around 2008 when they had those. He said some really mean stuff to me. He wasn’t the Jack I remembered. He really needed to make it in a band. It was his sole aspiration as he toiled away at Alpha Beta not attending college and, from what we could tell, that was done in quiet desperation. He dressed up slick for Goodies that night. He smelled like he’d poured on a whole bottle of Old Spice cologne. Maybe he thought Gwen was our band’s ticket out of grocery walk-ins and putting away the trucks at midnight. Ah, the shit you have to do.

I haven’t seen or heard from him since. We had a song “Construction” we’d worked really hard writing together at the end of our jaunt together. I had let it slip through my collection of tapes through many moves along my own wicked gorgeous journey. Sometimes “Gif mixed ghetto blaster jam tapes” tapes got lost when I had a rush to pack up my shit as the townsfolk drove me out of town with pitchforks. Well, not literally but my life is fast and loose brothers and susters, know that. Back to the song though.

While we wrote it in a frisky excited hopeful way as a team, I had completely forgotten about it. I do a proud blues telecaster guitar solo in it and the words I came up with are a laugh a minute. For fun I did a search for our interesting band name, “63 Lipless Fish” and found all our music including “Construction” which physically jarred my memory and gave me chills like I don’t know what! It was like hearing a band of 4 strangers that kicked ass! Jack put that together online years prior and there it has remained. **Argument for archiving stuff goes here. **

Recently Jeff reached out to me to jam again in his garage by Mission Viejo where we grew up and formed our band some 30 years ago. Sean showed up with his black and white brilliant glossy Rickenbacker guitar we watched him buy, foaming at the mouth at Guitar Center in Santa Ana on 17th Street all those years ago. We had a practice and it was so very fun. I felt less old for sure in those 2 hours. I need those moments at 54, divorced, and shaking off loneliness here and there. I’m blessed with three miracle children and have no complaints,

Jack was awol.

We tried searching online but he has an uber-common name in an ocean of web Jacks from bass players to Silicon Valley savants. His happy smile didn’t show up an image search.

Despite that frightening chat night, I wish him nothing but love and light and you never know, he could turn up for a reunion sooner or later. We all make mistakes growing up and even now. Nobody’s perfect. I hope I make less mistakes on my path as I travel down all my kaleidoscopic wonderful experiences teaching college English and writing. I try to practice self-compassion as a daily practice. He’s probably doing great out there in his Jack universe.

We’ve all grown. Maybe that makes us all different from our 22 year old selves. That should be expected and even the most desirable outcome of those discoveries we had to make on our own. Aren’t you glad we aren’t frozen in time? Everything changes. If it didn’t we’d be like stones or stinking rotting grasses in a trash can. It’s not permanence we should seek but flow in alignment with. Peace can flow in a constantly mutating environment like us floating on our backs down the river, going deeper into the sea, then eventually into outer space, or the body of a cow, who knows. Who cares. All we have is now. A surrender is required for this peace to occur.

Jack is great. We are all amazing. We shook Mission Viejo up a bit with “The 63 Lipless Fish.” I couldn’t have done it alone. Thanks to my lively brothers from other mothers, Sean and Jeff. I’ve called off the Jack search for now and sent the bloodhounds home. I’ve let him go in my own way but would love to see him again. I’d be thrilled to see him do that “Bob Starrr (with 3 r’s) slick agent point at me with his thumb stuck and stretched up and wink” and I’d treasure the chance to harmonize with him again on “You Have a Culture Now.” He was more than a bass player, he is beautiful.

You can read more from Damien Riley on his blog rileyonfilm.com He also has written 2 books you can learn more about here:

My Published Books

**the sound of drumsticks falling, clinking down on a wooden floor**

You can hear all my recorded music project with this band, the Resolution and my solo recordings on this YouTube playlist. I hope you check them out and most of all, I hope you enjoy them. Until next time enjoy every moment.

The end.?

What I Let in is my Choice Every Day

I love the trending phrase “You can do whatever you want forever.”

This is the beauty of “being” a “human” with free will. Think of these choices as a daily set of CD’s in your collection that affect your consciousness. Some are wholesome and you love them and some are unwholesome but you love them very much too.

The truth is that, to have a more a wholesome consciousness, the number of wholesome CD’s for which you choose to “press play” on in your life must be more than the number of unwholesome ones. Examples of what we make a choice to let inside are television, movies, books, PEOPLE and other input we choose to allow into our consciousness.

I know what feels wholesome for me and I want to practice pressing “play” more on those which affect my consciousness and hence my soul. I want to live what I know inside as a wholesome life, I am a co-creator of that. There is no hiw-to guide that can create my soul but I can choose daily what I let affect it. This is my free will and power of choice and that is what I love about being a human.

That is what they mean about manifesting ones own reality. It’s not luck, it’s harnessing and feeling your free will based on what you feel like. You start by being still, closing your eyes and feeling deep inside yourself.

Take care of yourself.