Recent Work By J.M. Blaine

fb2Do you really live next door to Bette Midler?

Well, kinda. She owns some ranch land here and it backs up to my house. I think Bette grew up in Oahu and she’s dedicated to not letting the land get overdeveloped. She leases it to a local rancher so I guess it might be more accurate to say I live next door to some cows on Bette Midler’s land. But I’d love to have a beer with her sometime.


So how does a priest get assigned to Hawaii?

By the grace of God. Here I am, Lord, send me.

die4From the press release:

Celebrated journalist, TV personality, and award-winning author Touré investigates one of the most enigmatic and fascinating figures in contemporary American culture: PRINCE

Drawing on new research and enlivened by Touré’s unique pop-cultural fluency, “I Would Die 4 U” relies on surprising and in-depth interviews with Prince’s band members, former girlfriends, musicologists, and even Bible scholars to deconstruct the artist’s life and work.

Prince’s baby boomer status allowed him to play a wise older brother to the latchkey kids of generation X.  Defying traditional categories of race, gender, and sexuality, he nonetheless presents a very traditional conception of religion and God in his music.  He was an MTV megastar and a religious evangelist, using images of sex and profanity to invite us into a musical conversation about the healing power of God.  By demystifying the man and his music, “I Would Die 4 U” shows us how Prince defined a generation.

Prince deconstruction?  Musicologists and Bible scholars?  I’ve been waiting to talk to Touré all my life…

Ten Surprising People Associated with KISS

Bob Dylan

Back in 1992, Simmons arranged to spend time with Dylan and work on some material, namely so he could say, “I worked with Bob Dylan.” Simmons took what was done and later created a song he initially titled “Laughing When I Want to Cry.” When working on his 2004 solo album, Asshole, he brought in the song for possible recording. It was reworked into “Waiting for the Morning Light” for the album.

Lou Reed

Another famous singer-songwriter, who had first won notice in the band the Velvet Underground. Bob Ezrin produced Reed’s controversial Berlin album in 1973 and was asked to help throw around some ideas during the recording of Music from “The Elder.” Reed came up with the title for “A World Without Heroes” and worked a bit on the song. Supposedly there is also video of Reed in the studio singing the song. Reed also co-wrote “Mr. Blackwell” with Simmons for the album as well as some additional lyrics to be used if there was to be a second album in the series. Speaking of Reed . . . .

Read Part I here.  Part II there.

JMB:  KISS and Mötley Crüe are touring together this year, when’s the last time you went to a show?

CK:  I’ve seen KISS tons of times, the Crüe maybe a handful.  They really vary in quality.  Some shows Vince doesn’t seem very interested to be there.  I saw one show where Tommy was clearly trying to illustrate how unhappy he was to be forced to tour.  KISS always play hard and they always deliver.  I’ve never seen a bad KISS show.

In Part I we discussed KISS’ Love Gun Tour as first man on the moon, Paul Stanley’s sackfuls of cash, Frankenstein Dynasty, and psychoanalysis and personality theory as it pertains to the downfall/saving grace of Coca-Cola KISS.  Read it here.

I just finished writing a book filled with suicide, psychosis and the elusive meaning of life.  I turned it in and spent three solid weeks lying on my living floor, watching old metal videos and trying to untangle my brain.

My writer sort-of-mentor friend called while Judas Priest was ripping through “Diamonds & Rust”.

“Did you know that for at least one night in Memphis, K.K. Downing was the King of Rock and Roll?” I said when I picked up the phone.

“What?” she said.

“Never mind,” I told her, stabbing the TV mute.

 Flashing sign at the biker bar in the hills of Tennessee:


Black Oak Arkansas (“BOA”) was more southern than Skynyrd, raunchier than Blackfoot and raised more hell than Molly Hatchet.   BOA was backseat sex with white-haired witches; Jesus and the Devil and Arkansas shine; triple-axe attacks of hillbilly rock;  and the “scary basso profundo growls and testosterone-fueled antics of lead vocalist/showman James ‘Big Jim Dandy’ Mangrum.”

From All-Music Guide:

“The band toured extensively, building a reputation as a raw, incendiary live act that made up for occasional musical deficiencies with energy and the explicit sexuality of Mangrum, who flaunted his body at every opportunity and became known for such antics as miming sex with the washboard he used for musical accompaniment.”


Mike Doughty is the mastermind behind the 90s “slacker-jazz” cult band Soul Coughing, former poetry classmate of Ani Defranco, pseudonymous gossip columnist for the New York Press, surrogate Suicide Girl photographer and a successful solo artist out now with both a new album The Question Jar Show and his first memoir, The Book of Drugs.


I was driving a 32-foot U-Haul truck from New York City to Tennessee with my heavy metal-loving buddy Juke.

We made the trip mostly by night. I’ve always been of a mind that road trips are meant for staring out the window while listening to songs like “Turn the Page,” for ruminating on life, death and all the miles behind and ahead and for having the sort of meditative conversations you’d never have in the day-to-day world.

OK, don’t be silly.

I’ll try.

So, a poet?


I am honored
& humbled,

That’s not poetry, it’s just format.


Why do you do that?


The staggered line break thing.

This publisher guy told me people need lots of white space on the page these days because our attention spans are so shot.

That’s it?

That and a stint through Nashville songwriting while studying wisdom books like Ecclesiastes & the Tao.


Darkness. Light. Contrast. Beauty. Chaos. Cadence.

It makes you sound
more profound
than you

And in songwriting, the economy of words. Saying so much with so little.
Right or wrong, I tend to choose song over story. But to have both is the sweetest magic.


Guess I shoulda
by the way you
parked your car
that it
wouldn’t last

bangbang. bang

Is it the rhythm? The story? The melody? If you take it apart it dies a little, so it must be alive. Kind of nonsensical, really.

So what is it?

Emotion. And emotion can be so senseless. Make me feel something. Give voice to my secret joys & private pain that I cannot find the words for. Teach me something about myself I did not know but sorely need to learn. That’s always been my goal: To speak from the secret place and try to make people think & feel something. Because the forces of lethargy & distraction are legion.

It helps to be mysteriously spiritually smitten & given to magical thinking.

I liked when that quirky girl wrote: “You are one dark-ass bastard but you write about Jesus in ways that somehow don’t offend me.” A lot of people feel you are fixated on the religious stuff.

I’m an absurdist at heart & art is my apologetics.

Maybe. Man, I don’t know. If I have any religion, that’s it. I don’t know. But I know
that I hope and I believe that hoping is greater than knowing because I’ve gotten to the
point where I know a lot less and hope a lot more.

So, sir, are you a poet?

I don’t know…


…but I know I love the power of the words. Words change the world. Can I leave you with a Scripture?

What am I going to say, no?

John 1:1

In the Beginning
was the Word.
& the Word
was with God
& the Word
was God.

& the Word
was Life

If that’s the Beginning, what about the End?

There is no end.

The Words never End.








Because the artist is

that rare and

fragile bird

with little armor for

this cruel world