Tag Archives: Henry Kaiser

Video: Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser Do Neil Young

Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser, May 7, 2016.
Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser, May 7, 2016.

Last night (May 7, 2016) myself and the amazing experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser gave a reading to a standing-room-only audience at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA.

Henry opened with a 20 minute solo electric guitar set of improvisations utilizing several guitars and a bank of effects pedals as well as a strange box that produced drum and bass based on what Henry played.

Then I joined Henry on the stage to read ten excerpts from my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel, The Flowers Lied.

This reading was very special because Henry was accompanying me on guitar and machines. We had done this only once before, back in 2014, at Down Home Music. That was a great show, but it was totally different. Completely different vibe.

I read five longer excerpts with an “interlude” devoted to a musician or song between each. The first was about Skippy James and “I’m So Glad,” then Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Neil Young. Below you can hear “Interlude #4: Neil Young.”

For me, it was so very intense to stand there before the audience, all eyes on the two of us, and read words I’d spent more than six years perfecting. I had been reading my novel aloud as I wrote it. Every day for six years I read some of it aloud. Every page was read aloud and every revised page. I knew the sound of my words, my sentences, my paragraphs. I knew the rhythms of those sentences, and the music they make.

I had read in the privacy of my office. I had read before the members of three writers groups I was in: The Dangerous Writers group in Portland in 2008 and some of 2009 where all the early work got done, another group in Inverness, CA in late 2009 and 2010, and the group I led in Oakland and El Cerrito from late 2010 to late 2013.

And yet this was totally different. There really is nothing like reading before an audience in a public space, an audience silent because they want to hear the words and the music, the music of the words and the music of the music.

Here’s a taste of what went down. This is a brief excerpt from a chapter in which the narrator and his friend go to a Neil Young concert in late 1972. The first line is cut off. So I’ll tell you what it is:

“I dig Neil the most, beginning in his Buffalo Springfield days…”

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Novelist Michael Goldberg & Grammy Winner Henry Kaiser to Perform Together

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I’ll be reading from my new novel, The Flowers Lied, and the Grammy-winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will be improvising when we do “a post-beat happening – words + music” on May 6, 2016 at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA.

If you’re interested, check out the events Facebook page, “a post-beat happening.”

And please let your Bay Area friends know about this.

Here’s more info:

Celebrating ex-Rolling Stone Senior Writer Michael Goldberg’s new rock ‘n’ roll novel, The Flowers Lied, Goldberg and Grammy winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will collaborate on “a post-beat happening” at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Goldberg will read from his new novel while Kaiser improvises on electric guitar. Plus a solo set by Kaiser. Note that no meat will be served during this event! Free.

What the critics say about Goldberg’s novels:

“Radioactive as Godzilla!” – Richard Meltzer

“Kerouac in the 21st Century.” – Dennis McNally

“Penned in a staccato amphetamine grammar…” – Simon Warner

“Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?” – Paul Krassner

“Our hero drinks and drugs and dances to the nightingale tune while birds fly high by the light of the moon.” – Larry Ratso Sloman

“Reads like a fever dream from the dying days of the Summer of Love.” – Alina Simone

“If Lester Bangs had ever published a novel it might read something like this frothing debut by longtime music journalist Michael Goldberg.” – Colin Fleming, Rolling Stone

Michael Goldberg was a senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for a decade. He has interviewed Jerry Garcia, Patti Smith, George Harrison, Captain Beefheart, Stevie Wonder, Sleater-Kinney, James Brown, Frank Zappa, Berry Gordy Jr., John Fogerty, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Black Flag, The Replacements, Flipper, Robbie Robertson, Sonic Youth and many more. In 1994 Goldberg launched the first Web music magazine, Addicted To Noise, and “invented music journalism on the web,” as journalist Denise Sullivan put it. Goldberg currently writes a column, The Drama You’ve Been Craving,” for Addicted To Noise and feature stories for the online animal rights magazine, The Daily Pitchfork.

“The Flowers Lied,” the second of the Freak Scene Dream Trilogy, is a story of love, friendship and the search for identity, set in the early ‘70s. Although it takes place in the past, themes running through the book — trying to live an authentic life, struggling against the powers that be, navigating the terrain between love and lust, loyalty and betrayal — are as relevant today as ever. Goldberg’s first novel, True Love Scars, was published in 2014.

Henry Kaiser in action - not to be missed.
Henry Kaiser in action – not to be missed.

Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics. The California-based musician is one of the most extensively recorded as well, having appeared on more than 250 different albums and contributed to countless television and film soundtracks.

A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Mr. Kaiser not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists. Among the numerous artists Kaiser has recorded or performed with are Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Jerry Garcia, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, Negativland, Michael Stipe, Jim O’Rourke, Victoria Williams, Diamanda Galas and Cecil Taylor. Kaiser’s latest album, The Celestial Squid, was released last year.

The Octopus Literary Salon is located at 2101 Webster St #170, Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: (510) 844-4120

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Video: Preview Guitarists Henry Kaiser, Ray Russell Collaboration, ‘The Celestial Squid’

Some months back the extraordinary experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser dropped an advance of his upcoming collaboration with free jazz guitarist Ray Russell, The Celestial Squid.

The album is a free jazz mindblower.

Today a 12 minute promo video for the album was released:

I’ve been digging Kaiser’s music since the late ’70s when I wrote a short article about him for New West magazine. We subsequently became friends. Recently, in December, we collaborated when Henry improvised as i read from my novel, True Love Scars, at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, CA.

Here’s info on the album direct from Cuneiform Records, which will release it on February 3, 2015.

Guitar summits don’t ascend higher than when legendary British free-jazz pioneer and longtime session ace Ray Russell meets the brilliant California avant-improv overachiever and Antarctic diver Henry Kaiser in the realm of The Celestial Squid. With more than countless session and soundtrack performances to his credit, including the early James Bond film scores, Russell is returning to his bone-rattling, noise-rocking roots for the first time since the very early 70s. You’ll be shaken and stirred as Kaiser, Russell and eight super friends deliver a no-holds-barred, free-range sonic cage match.

Russell created some of the early ’70s’ most outrageously outside music, releasing hallmark works of guitar shock-and-awe. Russell’s “stabbing, singing notes and psychotic runs up the fretboard have nothing to do with scalular architecture,” wrote All Music’s Thom Jurek, “but rather with viscera and tonal exploration.” Russell anticipated the wildest and most intrepid vibrations of Terje Rypdal, Dave Fuzinski, Sonic Youth, Keiji Haino, Tisziji Muñoz and their boundary-dissolving ilk. Russell is hardly a niche performer, though. Untold millions of music and film fans have actually, if unknowingly, already enjoyed Russell’s riffs – at least if they saw any of the James Bond films that John Barry scored, beginning with Dr. No in 1962.

For over 40 years, Russell would not make such exploratory music until West Coast guitar experimentalist Henry Kaiser called him out of the blue and asked if he would be interested in co-leading an ensemble in the style of his ’71 masterpiece, Live at the ICA: June 11th 1971. Russell was surprised and delighted by the offer, and readily accepted. Why had he waited so long to once again explore the free-jazz spaceways you might well wonder? Simple – no one had asked him to do so!

So on April 12, 2014, Henry Kaiser and Ray Russell – along with drummers Weasel Walter and William Winant, bassists Michael Manring (electric) and Damon Smith (acoustic), and saxophonists Steve Adams, Joshua Allen, Phillip Greenlief, and Aram Shelton – entered Berkeley, California’s Fantasy Studios for a day-long session that resulted in The Celestial Squid, a nearly eighty-minute embryonic journey through the deepest waters and most cosmic heights of improvised music. Except for melodic heads and compositional structures, everything on The Celestial Squid is improvised, down to some astonishing extemporaneous horn arrangements. While The Celestial Squid echoes the raw energy and youthful bravado of Russell’s earliest achievements, this music synergizes the combined power and imagination of all ten of these musical masters into a force to be reckoned with.

guitars: Henry Kaiser, Ray Russell
saxophones: Steve Adams, Joshua Allen, Phillip Greenlief, Aram Shelton
electric bass: Michael Manring
acoustic bass: Damon Smith
drums: Weasel Walter, William Winant

recorded live by Adam Munoz at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA on April 12, 2014
mixed by Henry Kaiser, Adam Munoz, Weasel Walter at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA
mastered by Paul Stubblebine
artwork and art direction by Brandy Gale
production by Henry Kaiser

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Audio: Michael Goldberg & Guitiarist Henry Kaiser Live – ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ Set Me Free

Photo from my LitQuake reading, October 2014.
Photo from my LitQuake reading, October 2014.

Yesterday afternoon, Saturday December 13, 2104, I read from my novel, True Love Scars, as the acclaimed, Grammy-winning experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser improvised. And then Henry did a short, brilliant instrumental. The reading took place at Down Home Music in El Cerrito, CA.

I called the event a “post-beat happening.”

It was thrilling to read as Henry’s music lit up the room. When you’re on a stage and you’re in the groove, and the music, music you’ve never heard before, is exactly right for what you’re doing, you levitate.

Two sections I read were about how Bob Dylan’s music changed the narrator’s life. I’ve included both of those and then another excerpt which is the first few pages of the novel. Plus an instrumental improvisation by Henry that concluded the reading.

Down Home Music was an incredible environment for a reading. A room filled with CDs and vinyl and a wall of music books and music posters on the walls and incredibly knowledgeable folks running the place.

Where else is an impulse buy going to be a Roscoe Holcomb DVD?

Yep, I now own that DVD.

There was a nice write-up in advance of the reading in the East Bay Express and that brought a great group of folks into the store to hear me and Henry do our thing.

I read about 30 minutes while Henry utilized a guitar, a whammy bar and more than a dozen pedals to create a sonic backdrop for my words. Actually, it was more than a backdrop, as you’ll see if you listen to the first excerpt, below.

1) The impact of “Like A Rolling Stone”:

2) “It was Dylan, man!”:

3) How the book begins:

4) Henry’s concluding instrumental:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Live: East Bay Express Hypes Michael Goldberg/ Henry Kaiser ‘post-beat happening’

Big surprise today when I opened the latest East Bay Express and discovered that my reading Saturday with Henry Kaiser at Down Home Music is their pick for “Lectures & Lit” this week, and one of this weekend’s “Top Five Events.”

How cool is that!

I’ll read from my novel, True Love Scars, and experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser will improvise on electric guitar.

It’ll happen at 3 pm at Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA. And it’s free, of course.

Writes Arts and Culture Editor Sarah Burke:

True Love Scars is a rock ’n’ roll novel about harboring nostalgia for the 1960s, getting lost in a drugged-up dream-world, finding love, and then losing it tragically.

You can read the rest of the writeup here.

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Novelist Michael Goldberg & Experimental Guitarist Henry Kaiser to Perform Together

Henry Kaiser

a post-beat happening

words + guitar

novelist michael goldberg +
experimental guitarist henry kaiser

december 13, 2014, 3 pm

Henry will join me in a reading/performance for the first time at the world-renowned world music/roots music record emporium, Down Home Music, located at 10341 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA.

I’ll read from my critically acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars, as Grammy award winning musician Henry Kaiser improvises on electric guitar.

Inspired by the fabled Beat jazz readings of the ‘50s, Henry and I will join together to make a new kind of post-Beat, post-rock noise.

There’s no charge. It’s FREE!!

I invite you all to attend.

Here’s a photo of me.

Copies of the book are available at Down Home Music, and online of course. Use the handy link in the right hand column to order a copy.

My book has gotten excellent reviews.

Here’s the Rolling Stone review.

Here’ what PopMatters’ Greg had to say.

Simon Warner.

Blurt Magazine’s Fred Mills.

Roy Trakin.

And there are lots of four and five star reviews at Amazon.

Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics.

The California-based musician is one of the most extensively recorded as well, having appeared on more than 250 different albums and contributed to countless television and film soundtracks.

A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Mr. Kaiser not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists.

Among the numerous artists Kaiser has recorded or performed with are Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Jerry Garcia, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, Negativland, Michael Stipe, Jim O’Rourke, Victoria Williams, Diamanda Galas and Cecil Taylor.

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —