Too many hats.
Too many possibilities.
Too many destinations.
Too many sunsets to head off into.
The trouble is, if you never reach the destination how do you rate the journey?
Howe once told me that 'rehearsal is the enemy'.
He probably shares a similar disdain for maps.
I see him standing, smirking, with a compass in one hand, a magnet in the other. Where most folks' talent limits them to a particular tack, I reckon that Gelb's wayward genius allows for any journey, preferably 'off piste', often without any sense of destination; his vagrant heart surely trusts in 'hazard' as habit.
“I was always good at making up songs. I can make up songs out of nothing, right now, if I wanted to, and just believe they've been here forever and then boom! There they are. The thing is to best represent the product by ‘reassimilating’ it in front of everyone. But it seemed like, instead, there were all these other possibilities and variables and things that happen. Like what if we played it this way tonight instead? Or, you know, when you get something recorded you get the frozen snapshot of a recording, but really that's only how it happened that one day. So when you're out there live, you go, ‘Okay, here's your compass.’ You can kind of see where you're coming from, but [you’re] not going to stay here. … so you allow [the song] to move again, to evolve and let it evolve in front of everybody because you can't explain music, you can't.”
Howe Gelb celebrates his promised 'retirement' at 60 from his beloved Giant Sand by releasing a solo album. 'Future Standards' sees him reinvented as louche lounge lizard, swooning and crooning his idiosyncratic way though a set informed by The American Songbook.
“This is my attempt at writing a batch of tunes that could last through the ages with the relative structure of what has become known as ‘standards'. The likes of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael done up by Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday.”
“There's something wrong with this eye [his left] from birth, so I couldn't read music right. My whole way of thinking was fucked up from the way I look at things. Literally. I could never get the black note in ‘Polly Wolly Doodle. And it just didn't sound like what I wanted. How do I get that radio sound? How do I sound like Abbey Road? Like ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’?”
The trouble with Howe?
This man of many hats.
More shy than sly, this jongleur, in his element when lost in motion... has come home.
A Prospero with no spirits to command.
A wandering soul has found his 'loving heart' but what's now the object of this vagabond's affection?
We're never gonna to get to know.