I Know What Love Is

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2018 by 4fingeredhand

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I decided to write this post because it is on my heart to do so. It does touch on a spiritual path. It’s not about what’s good and what is bad or any perception of such. Those are very sensitive words and anyone that knows me also knows there are many ways those words can be misconstrued. I certainly know I’m jacked up and I’m thankful for forgiving friends. Especially, the one’s that listen. This article touches on human nature, plus a snippet into the way I see the world in this particular moment in time. Now that you have been warned you may read my drivel if you care to. I trust you will read it and hear my regular talking voice. ūüėé

I know what love is. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. It is in these truths that one might say love never dies. It never denies. It never lies. It desperately cries.

These days I’m still walking by faith and not by sight. I remember I’m sanctified by blood and light. However, I am still only human. I am no Christ. I recently watched “The Passion Of The Christ” as I do every year around this time. I do this at least once a year. I also break out the music of “Saviour Machine” in the same manor. That’s just me. I am not Christ. But it helps me remember why I’m still here on this earth. Yes, it’s true that anyone can be crucified metaphorically. However, not literally anymore. There’s something to be said for that. The crowds would gather and it was an occasion similar to any form of horrific punishment or battle scene.

I just think of two things right now. The first is that it is difficult to imagine what it would be like as part of my place in this world to necessarily go down a path that would completely shut me out from my Father’s love. Not my literal father. I love him too, though. I just mean that it was necessarily done because it was the only way. He said so Himself in truth and in the spirit of life. The second is one thing that I will never understood or grasp. Not in this lifetime here. For me, I know that I am getting closer to a time that eventually I will. What I’m saying is that I think and feel things about what it would be like generally if I were to give in to my demons. To let them control me and comfort me. I have always done my best to handle them and communicate things to others. Life gets complicated. I have the tools to get the job done. It gets very frustrating sometimes. I don’t always understand at the time. Self-knowledge has availed me.

I think that looking back so far I have learned a lot. I can be a jerk and also my own worst critic. I still want to believe. I’m a weirdo. I am very open-minded to a point. I can’t control what other people do and every once and awhile I can’t do that for myself. I usually speak in general terms and can also say what I mean in a synthetic way too. I’m not perfect. I have boundaries and things I can’t talk about. Even Jesus kept some things private. I chalk that up to the whole triune God thing. From His perspective on earth that whole thing was still evolving then and I don’t think anyone here on this earth will ever know. I just think that for Him it was about getting closer to who He needed to be and to who He wanted to be close to so that He may better understand His role.

Okay. So, this may read random and I know people may not be a big fan of this kind of post. I’m not really worried about being judged in a particular sense. But in all fairness there are two definitions of the word and let’s be clear. It’s all we can do. I do my best to reserve this first term’s meaning until more time, knowledge and understanding passes. But when we walk away from a person, situation, etc. we deduce things. What we say and do are important. I certainly do not have all the answers or always know what is going on.¬† The second is the one we let fear really take the reigns on. The judging that is damning, that is in a sense putting one’s self on a pedestal. It’s a judge, jury, executioner train of thought. I have no authoratative role in
any position or anyone’s life.

The difference between man and beast lies solely within. Each member of any society whether man or woman has a child inside and just wants to know who that man or women is or is becoming. I have spent a lot of time and conideration in achieving this for myself along the way. I decided to write this up because I need to put this out there. It’s just the thinker and intillectual in me. My feelings play a role also.

I really do my best to see those around me as princes and princesses learning our role. It’s a sense of worthiness that I think everyone blurs the lines on more or less. I think of so many real life people that I know, have known, people that have passed, people I only know from history and even many fictional one’s that I relate to. I think about the paths and injustices of refugees from so many places and how great the gaps become. It seems that the world shrinks and as we grow every once and awhile the situations get very hard for others to understand or fill those needs. Sometimes the reality is that we live in a fallen world and that tragedy occurs. I’m starting to ramble now. I wrote this at night initially in a draft. I’m just a fellow human, a father, a son, a brother, a man and a refugee who is trying to find his way. Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for helping. I do appreciate that.

Radical Change Requires Radical Love

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

I just read this tweet by Brandon Boyd of Incubus about radical change requiring radical love. Attached was a video of a black lives matter type of discussion. I think sometimes, somehow out of all the chaos that it forces our communication to either cease, decrease or magnify. I am encouraged by all types of discussion from all angles. All I can do is talk about my personal experiences. So, here is one I will share with you.

I was in my late teens and some of my friends and I would go downtown to different clubs to experience music and culture. I was raised Southern Baptist. I grew up in the church and went to a private school, etc. I remember coming out of this club Fallout which was friendly to all and accepted 18 and up for certain nights. It was known as a gay club. My friends and I loved the people, we loved the music and we loved the fellowship. I was pretty high strung, so once I got into the music I was dancing all crazy like by myself. 

At the end of one particular night I was finishing a conversation as my friends were headed out to my car. I told them I would be right there. Once the chat had ended I left the club and started walking to catch up to my pals. I was then approached by two men of African-American decent. I was shocked because one was very angry and held a gun right at me. He was on some heavy drugs and his friend had a beer in his hand and looked stoned. I had a little to drink myself and whatnot, so it was a bad situation. 

The man with the gun threatened me and said I am going to kill you and added on explitives. I have HSP and I was dumbfounded and afraid. I stayed calm and I told him I do not understand. I told him that he seemed like a guy that I could have a conversation with. He asked me why my head was shaved and why I was dressed crazy and also inquired about why I was wearing combat boots. I explained it to him that it was because of the music I was listening to and the things that I thought looked cool. I then told him I just want to catch up to my friends waiting by my car.I asked the man what his name was and told him mine. His friend then told him to stop and that I was cool and let on my way with a respectful nod.

This is not the only time this has happened to me. I certainly can only imagine and empathize as to what is like to be black or a cop or a woman or even part of the LGBT community. I just know that every one has their own unique perspective and that we need to show more compassion in the face of fearful circumstances. This is not a look at me and what I did post. It is not promoting all lives matter. I am not saying there is such a thing as reverse racism. I am saying that we all need to show others to the best of our ability the compassion we wish to receive. It is also a self-love issue. I have struggled with that myself in the past. I believe that radical change can happen with radical love too. 

How my will can challenge my spirit.

Posted in Topher Music with tags on June 4, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

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     In my previous post I touched on the idea of spiritual anorexia. I want to continue the topic of duality and discuss how I have learned how my own will can lead me into a challenge for my spirit. Beyond this black and white idea of spiritual control I believe that there is more to it than meets the eye. Maybe it’s something you have never considered? Or perhaps you think is ridiculous? 

     I can only speak for myself. So, here is a pretty intense thought. My will is selfish, it wants and needs unnecessary things that hold no value when it comes to spiritual matters. I am myself and in a sense that it is all I have. Or is it? This can be debated. However, from my point of view I know that I must daily throw down my will before God because of who I am in Christ. It is in this nature that the Spirit can be free to work in your life and mine. It is a release of the spirit, if you will. It opens the door to the conduit for Him to work freely in my life. I have tried to honor this process in my life, but there have been times where I have failed miserably.  Times where I was too preoccupied with the thing in hand, sort of speak.

     If a song were to have a call to action in regards to this idea then this one is a good suitor. It’s called, “Hang Your Wings” and it is a dark and lengthy song. I can recall how it always got a real strong response and that it seemed to touch a person inside somehow.

     Right away the lyrics challenge the listener by posing the question if they are afraid of death. They then proceed to encourage one to fear not. I truly believe the mystery of Christ is something that has been at least thought of by many. In a sense, most of us are on our own walk and are missing different things or need to be reminded through others. I will never understand the full mystery while I am living on earth. So, I think the message behind this song is about metaphorically hanging one’s wings up. The one’s that we use to hide our shame. Wings that demonize in the blink of an eye just because Christ was not remembered. That is why I must daily do this sort of analogy. Yes, the duality behind faith can be difficult and is a sight unseen. It can even drive some crazy just to think about. That is my two cents. Just some food for thought for the next eight minutes or so, if you take the time to listen.
    

The idea of spiritual anorexia.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 23, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

. I do believe there is something powerful about the idea of duality. I also think that in some cases things cannot always be deducted in this fashion, nor is there always a simple explanation as to why something is what it is or appears to be such. These ideas have been in some discussion and have been coming to mind lately. Incidentally, I also met a troubled man recently who solidified this persona.

. With that said, I want to tell you a tale. It is about the story of a man’s vision of a gremlin. Yes, a small evil-looking entity. Imagine it is a cold, day during the fall season. The man is waiting for someone inside a dwelling place. While sitting near the top of the staircase a breeze opens the unlocked entry door. To his dismay a small gremlin is perched in the tree out front!

The man locks eyes with the creature and it would seem there were devils dancing together in the reflection of its eyes. The gremlin begins to laugh and the man is in awe and afraid. There is frost on the branches of the trees. The wind continues to blow the creature to and fro. It is simultaneously camouflaged by the leaves on the tree because of this bitter breeze. The small demon-like creature seemed to flicker on and off just like the light would if someone were to play with a light switch.

. The gremlin begins to laugh at the man. Discouraged and oppressed the man feels defeated. He continues to do his best in life, but for reasons he cannot fathom he seems to fail over and over in his own mind. The man suddenly realized he is hungry too. He quickly is reminded about the idea of anorexia and how it can apply as a metaphor for how the physical and spiritual existence can be quite difficult.

. Lately, you may have noticed I have been posting about ‘Lesser Than God’. I am attaching a song that really fits this post and I would like you to listen to it. This is really the only polished song that we had recorded in the past that we thought went well. It was intended as the first song that was to be I included on our first actual album. Any discussion or comments are welcome.

@4fingeredhand Photography Slideshow

Posted in Saint Louis Music Press, Topher Photography, Uncategorized with tags , on April 6, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

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*Photo above features Michael Bivens of Connibal Road at The Pageant.

This slideshow contains some pics that are just some random concert photos that I took at some past shows that I covered for STL Music Press.¬†These are some examples of photos that were taken in the past from various shows. The slideshow begins including shots from Relient K, Senses Fail, Transit and goes on to feature many STL music acts. Such as, The Takedown, The Vondrukes, Earl, Butcher Holler, Bella & Lily, Clockwork, Since 1902, Dear Genre,¬†Social Slave, Sicfaist,¬†Never My Silence, Corvus, The Orbz, Make Me Break Me & also Connibal Road.¬†The thumbnail pic is of Butcher Holler. In the past, I also did some interviews and album reviews for the music press site. Those are indexed on the categories cloud on this blog. I particularly remember having fun at these shows and enjoyed fellowship with friends and meeting new people. Good times. I’m thankful for the opportunity and the experience. All of these were shot using a meager PowerShot SX120 IS by Canon.

 

 

@4fingeredhand Art Slideshow

Posted in Topher Artwork, Uncategorized with tags on April 6, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

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I finally got around to my old artwork that has been collecting dust all organized and I put into a slideshow finally. It starts with some random drawings that I made for book covers and such. I did most of the early stuff my senior year of high school. It continues on into beginner college level stuff. Design mediums like collage, drawing, color-aid paper, chalk drawings, etc. The last ones are something recent I did and digitally edited some stuff in. I know I’m not the best artist, but I do take pride in the things I have created. Let me know your thoughts, if you care too. Hope this finds you well.

…lesser than God – Live @ The Mudd Room

Posted in Topher Music with tags on March 19, 2016 by 4fingeredhand

ltgHello! Long time no bloggy. So, I recently was gifted with a DVD disk by Jason Harding with the old recording from in the mid nineties of this show that my Dad video taped on an old VHS camcorder and figured out how to get it on YouTube for everyone. What a blast from the past! The Mudd Room was a coffee shop that was on Chippewa/Watson during the early to mid nineties. The lighting was not very good and there was no stage. This was one of my first shows ever. I had fun with my friends Greg, Jason and Kurt. We hope you enjoy watching it. It is recorded in it’s entirety and is broken down into four parts. HERE is a link to the playlist or watch it below. The song listing and such is in the notes on YouTube for each specific video. Shown above is a flyer from one of the two shows we did there also.

People keep asking, so here is what’s up with me, as of right now.

Posted in Ockum's Razor, Rock U Fest, Saint Louis Music Press, STLMU Music Blog, Topher Music with tags , , , , on July 13, 2013 by 4fingeredhand

¬† ¬† ¬†God is changing me. My desires are changing. I’m not going into it in depth and I just want my friends to know that as of last year Ockum’s Razor is more than likely done for good. We had a good run. All of the music is set to free download. Since the winter of last year into this year, I have been able to devote more time to STLMU¬†and Rock U Fest¬†since I have more free time. Honestly, I don’t know if I want to continue doing music in the same fashion that I have. I have been making good on the things that I have dedicated time to, but I need help with some stuff in order for it to advance. Otherwise, I cannot guarantee that I will continue having the drive to do what it is that I have been trying to accomplish. I’m not giving up or quitting, I just don’t have any more to give and it seems that very few people truly care enough to help. Some of the friends that I thought were good friends didn’t turn out to be as understanding or as real as I thought they were. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, but my personal friends keep asking me what is going on and I figure this post is a good way to explain things, in general.

¬† ¬† ¬†My friend Greg and I had been working on some good recordings just for posterity of music that we used to write and perform years ago in our teens into our early to mid twenties w/ LTG. We are at a stopping point now because of an issue with work that has to be done to his home and it will be chaotic. We plan to pick up in the fall again. We hung out with Jason, our original drummer when we started and he has been talking about getting a kit again and him doing some drum tracks down the road. The songs that are up now on my Soundcloud¬†account are the most completed, so far. We have worked on others, they just don’t have drums, etc. Those are not uploaded. Our mutual friend Dennis had been offering to do drum tracks here and there so far, but we want to try and have one of our original drummers on them. Chad has gotten re-married and his new wife has been with child and such. His time just would not allow for it given the responsibilities he already has.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬†I am still a part of STL Music Press and the editor has slowed down the frequency of posts until the fall. I have been spending more time trying to accomplish some personal goals and writing. Ever since I moved over a couple of years ago, I have been so focused on things going on around me that I haven’t ever really gotten things together on my end and it is just time for me to take inventory from my perspective. I love hearing from my friends and always make time for the ones that make time for me. I haven’t always been the best at keeping up with them for various reasons, but I’m working on that too. To my friends that I miss, this is for you. Hope all is well. Take care and God bless… Sincerely, C.M.D.

 

 

“Dues Paid” Feature From The Kick-Off To Third Annual Rock U Fest

Posted in Rock U Fest, STLMU Music Blog with tags , on June 22, 2013 by 4fingeredhand

 

On Sunday, April 28th of 2013¬†Rock University Festival¬†and¬†Number Six Media¬†presented a show at¬†Lemmons¬†which was also a benefit for¬†Play It Forward. The show raised enough money for a school’s instruments to be repaired for use, another example might be for purchasing drum sticks for a large drum line. Either way, Samantha Fisher will put the money to good use where it is needed in St. Louis’ public school’s music programs. This show was designed to kick off awareness for the third annual festival happening later this year and to also help raise money and awareness for this non-for-profit. It featured artists from¬†Rock U Fest¬†2011 and also 2012. This was also put together in the spirit of unity and celebrated the third anniversary of the¬†Saint Louis Musicians Unite Music Blog.

 

Banks And Cathedrals¬†kicked off this rare all-ages event at Lemmons, don’t let the name fool you. Christian Knobloch is actually the man behind the name and this is his solo act’s name. He performed acoustic and has a soulful, pop-rock , folk style. On his last song, he even played a ukelele.

 

Next up was¬†Gemini Hustler. Originally having played the festival acoustic, it was nice to hear a full-blown electric set from them. This trio has Zach George on lead vocals and also guitar, Justin Level on bass guitar and vocals, plus Thomas Bales on drums. This indie rock artist blends styles of rock, funk, blues and more. They call their sound,”Western Funk-a-delic”. Zach’s vocals and style reminded me a little of the singer for¬†Radiohead. George really brings in some cool, funky bass riffs and even gets as intense as¬†Primus, at times. He was fun to watch. They didn’t disappoint.

 

The third act of the night was¬†Since 1902. These almost twenty-somethings showed they had further tightened their musical skills since I last saw them and I felt more energy portrayed. A couple of years ago, they played the “Area K” stage at¬†LouFest¬†after having won a competition to play it in 2011. They also played the outdoor stage at the first annual Rock U Fest event. Justin Enoch is the lead vocalist and is also a guitarist. He totally “geeks” out and I love it. I mean that in a good way. Him and the drummer Pete Holohan are the best to watch, they even switched roles on a song towards the end of their set. Which I must add, I had almost totally forgot about them doing that. They did the same a couple of years ago at Off Broadway when I last saw them. Of course, the group also consisted of Caleb Hill also on guitar and Nathaniel Endicott on bass.

 

The final band of the night was¬†Unifyah. This reggae-rock act is a blast and are about the only of their kind around town with a full horn section. Fitting all nine of them on¬†Lemmons¬†stage was quite the task, but Brian Fleschute did accommodate them and they sounded good for the space. It was actually the best sound I have heard there that I can recall. These guys played last year’s¬†Rock U Fest¬†inside the “Foxhole” which is now newly transformed and updated to the new monicker, “The Demo“. The group features Kevin Griffin on lead vocals. Colin on guitar and vocals, Greg plays bass, Tommy plays the drums. They have a conga player named Trevor, a trumpet player named Reggie, a saxophonist named Jessie and Bryan plays the trombone and also does vocals. A few of the horn players also are in¬†The Murder City Players. The hits just don’t stop with songs like “Light ‘Em Up“, “Good Lovin” and “Over You“. If you haven’t seen these guys before, then you need too!

 

The second of three events that¬†Rock U Fest¬†is putting on this year will happen on June 9th at¬†Fubar. It’s a Sunday and it will be an all-ages show with two stages of music featuring high school bands battling it out for spots on the third annual festival. Two of them will for sure secure spots on the festival and one will get to play immediately before this year’s head liner. The line up will be announced soon on the¬†Rock U Fest¬†website. Save the date, the festival happens on Saturday, Sept. 28th at¬†Atomic Cowboy!

 

*Watch out for the full show review on STL Music Press this fall.

Pictures I snapped at the Ockum’s Razor 10th Anniversary Show.

Posted in Ockum's Razor with tags on June 16, 2013 by 4fingeredhand

On August 18th of 2012, Ockum’s Razor celebrated it’s tenth anniversary at The Old Rock House. Kane from Indio Radio¬†¬†came out and broadcasted live and that was nice of him and John to do. My buds in Reigning Heir put on a great show and it is always fun to do a concert with them. We go way back. I invited Connibal Road to play the show also. They rocked it too. This was their drummer’s last show. In addition, this was one of the last shows for R.H.’s drummer, as well. Thanks to my friend Shawn for taking the picture of Nicole and I and sharing that with me. Included in the video is a t-shirt we printed for this commerative celebration and the O.R. instrumental “Smooth As Eggs” plays in the back round. The young man in the pictures towards the end of the slideshow is named Eli. He is playing on the djembe. His father is Mike Robards. He had actually helped me put together my first “band” to put on a show and even played some rhythm guitar. Thanks for that, dude.

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