Saturday, July 22, 2006

Heating Up

Like most Southern Californians this summer, the daily challenge is staying cool in all this heat. Especially on the weekends, since I just started a new day included a trip to the Grove and enjoying cool mist from the fountain, a relaxing dinner picnic, and some morning tennis which unfortunately caused a mild case of heat exhaustion for my girlfriend...On the music front, laying low while finances recover from the recent album release, looking to slowly build up more press and with any luck more shows in the fall. Getting back into my day job as a network engineer is a welcome break from the chaos and frustration of the LA music scene...But the songwriting bug is coming back and I expect to complete new material before the end of summer.

The deepening war in Lebanon continues to anger and defy common sense. Israel is courting disaster (once again) with the full complicity of Washington. Tomorrow's Bin Ladens sprout from the ashes of this worsening conflict, and it appears the US peace movement is on the sidelines...peace in our time, a lasting peace, will only come if we can oust these lying, warmongering thieves from their cowardly perches...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korean Missile Test

In light of North Korea's recent missile test, I feel compelled to state for the record:

1. These missile tests are counter-productive towards building a peaceful Korean peninsula, and thus are to be condemned in the strongest terms. I support a nuclear-free Korean peninsula as part of a global path towards non-proliferation and eventual disarmament.

2. Diplomacy must prevail. Talks between the US and North Korea should commence immediately regarding this issue, as suggested recently by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind). The six-way process involving South and North Korea, U.S., China, Russia and Japan which has stalled should be reviewed.

3. The latest developments in this ongoing situation confirm my conviction that the future of the Korean peninsula must focus on a peaceful reunification of the divided Koreas.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

No Compromise with Fascists

Springtime is a risky time for me more often than not. In just the last few years I've had to battle the twin demons of dementia and incarceration, sometimes together...And somehow I had sensed that this spring I would have to surmount another major challenge, apart from completing my album and moving, only this time it turned out to be illness. Seems slightly laughable that it takes a brush with mortality for us to sit up, stop taking our life for granted and see the world with fresh vision. I definitely have a lot of living left to do and am not interested in fetishizing death or its near cousins. I'm also at a loss to comprehend how I could so completely neglect my physical and mental health in pursuit of an artistic goal with amorphous worth...At the same time I pledge to steadfastly refuse to allow the "world" or "society" to de-value my art built with real blood, sweat and tears based on its own indifference, bigotry or pedestrian ignorance. In other words, no more suffering artist. In 2006, DMZ is up in this beotch to get PAID.

Oh, and about the title...I've always felt one of the great liberatory acts was throwing out one's TV, or at least disconnecting cable/satellite/etc. One of the grand deceptive memes still in effect is that the mainstream media hold major responsibility in force-feeding and then repeatedly recuperating this monster masquerading as the Chief Executive. I NEVER hear the OTHER side (esp. wacko so-called Christian rightists) worry about appeasing "the left," "Democrats," "progressives" etc. Why are we always so willing to bend and compromise?!? I say, fight fire with fire and do to them what they've had coming FOR YEARS- demonize and dehumanize the adversary, there are LIVES and a WORLD at stake, PEOPLE, how much worse does it need to get before we just put our tools DOWN until CHANGE is DONE!! Some of us should start thinking about we do AFTER Bush gets impeached/bounced/whatevah because it really could happen by this time next year, and if we don't the OTHER side will already have a plan to pre-empt any window of opportunity, makes sense?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

So Close

Putting the final touches on the new album. The last few weeks have been magnificently intense, testing the limits of my patience no doubt. But I anticipated a rough road, and the final product has been well worth the effort. Meanwhile, the world outside seems to continue a never-ending spin to oblivion. The latest announcement that the National Guard is being sent to militarize the US-Mexico border sends chills down my spine, there is a larger scheme playing out here. And, now this report that the Mexican state is attempting to liquidate the Zapatista leadership signals that south of the border there is a broadening state of insurgency. Could the ever-present LAPD choppers overhead in the last few days, not just at night but during the day, be connected?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sleepy Sunday

Resting peacefully at home during the quietest weekend in months. Still catching my breath from a ridiculously busy April that saw a change of residence (with last minute readjustments), road trip up to Sacramento/Bay Area, and regular rehearsals leading up to studio recording at the end of the month. Nothing can match the sense of accomplishment from completing this recording at breakneck pace, over the last week spending 5 of 6 days at Headroom Audio in West Hollywood with impressive results- 11 fully instrumented tracks from DMZ//38. Now is the time to look one step ahead to promotion and summer show booking, with the album days away from manufacturing. Only time will tell...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Great weather...felt good to finally take this show on the road...played to a good-sized crowd at American River College in Sacramento. Lots of recent stress and rusty from not having performed in a couple months resulted in a few mistakes and first set nerves. But was feeling relaxed by the 2nd set, voice surprisingly strong and set up good connections for possible return shows in the fall.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Stretching the Limits

My apartment's a mess as I plot my Escape from Hollywood. Then it will be into the depths of Koreatown. Seems like the right cover for the lead singer of DMZ//38, and owner of Taegukki Records. Am having more fun than anticipated getting the foundation of the label set up, and imagining a future where I might be in a position to assist other up and coming artists. We Korean Americans are caught between a thriving Korean pop music industry and a deluge of contemporary US major label "entertainment" neither of which speaks directly to our experiences or questions the status quo substantially. I continue to draw inspiration from hip-hop labels from Def Jam to Guerrilla Funk and All Good Music that have demonstrated that independent success is possible. But first things first, still lots of work getting the album completed and the groundwork laid for a strong debut.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Like A Beehive

Saw a beehive on the side of the building next to my current appropriate metaphor for this time of the year. So much activity everywhere, so hard to maintain calm in the chaos. A dream last night of living through a major earthquake...emotional projection, anticipation, simply an expression of curiosity? New individuals appearing on the scene as I prepare to move next week, then tour up north with final studio time scheduled on Sa-I-Gu (April 29).

By the way, please consider pre-ordering the new album in advance, I'm very excited about the new material, and the accompanying artwork promises to be something special.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta

Just saw V for Vendetta, the new film from the Wachowski brothers of Matrix fame. Left the theater with mixed emotions, there are parts of the film that are quite moving and spectacular, but also the film seemed to fall short of the original artistic ambitions. I read the original comic book by Alan Moore a good 15 years ago, sadly the storyline about a totalitarian state seems even more timely today. My suspicions were aroused by the selection of the Stones' "Street Fighting Man" as the film closer...what's up with that?? How many millions of dollars did that licensing deal involve I wonder. Seriously though, it's obvious the Revolution will not be televised and probably not even webcast, too bad the movie wasn't released November 5 (Guy Fawkes Day) as originally planned now THAT would have been exciting.

Wheels keep moving on getting the album completed, as well as new show dates popping up be sure to check the DMZ//38 calendar for the latest updates.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

3 Years Already

Enjoyed a sunny LA day yesterday with thousands of others committed to ending the occupation of Iraq. Especially had fun marching with the folks from Korean Americans for Peace, who had some exciting street action and good chants. Check out the pre-march training -

I wish there had been a bigger turnout though, given how unpopular the war has become I thought there would be more people representin'...lotsa peeps talk a good talk but I wanna see more faces next time, this will not go away on its own. Here's one more nice pic -

Other than that have been doing lotsa apartment hunting and may have found a new home, it's very musician-friendly and has a cool vibe. So much change swirling in the air of course it's the season.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Know I'm Not Alone

Still giddy after watching the screening of Michael Franti's documentary I Know I'm Not Alone at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. What a film...depicting Michael's trip to Baghdad, Palestine and Israel in early 2004 meeting with everyday people, soldiers, children, elderly. Bringing a human face to the ongoing war, he then brought the overflow crowd together with a rousing acoustic set. On a night like this I am so proud to be not only a musician, but also a conscious freedom-fighter. Thank you Michael, for continuing to be a true inspiration...may our paths cross again someday - Stay Human!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Marching On

It's getting harder to find time to write a simple blog these days...Warding off this seasonal cold thing which seems prevalent in LA this time of year. I've decided to call off the full-time job search, it's taken away from my focus on getting this album completed and quite frankly doesn't make sense considering my overall priorities. Lately a couple of small tech consulting projects have come my way, enough to push me into re-starting my IT consulting company. It complements my artist's work schedule much better.

Lots of good progress artistically in the last couple days, the album songs and concept are finally coming together and we should be on track for release by this May. I'm even starting to get requests on pre-orders which is a good sign ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Burning Down Hegemony

I'm feeling a lot of rage right now, directed at my very own backyard of media-saturated idiocy aka City of Angels. This latest outrage on the Adam Carolla show which I found out about through NAPALC (National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium) has me contemplating sinister plots and revenge. For real. Take a listen to this kindergarten clown with his pathetic "ching-chong" routine and let me know if you think this is worth getting upset over. Better yet, write to CBS Radio and give em a piece of yr mind.

So while these ign'ant fools run around poking fun at us assuming we're too meek to protest (unfortunately often the case), we still have these ongoing riots in the LAC jail system, shameless un-constitutional surveillance, and the cartoon controversy in the Muslim world. Lately it seems like hope is a hard place to find...chant down Babylon

Monday, February 06, 2006

So Much Trouble In the World

It's gettin back to that feeling that it may be better to stop reading (and listening) to the news for awhile. Whether it's this nasty situation regarding the cartoons in the Middle East or the just-announced full lockdown in LAC jails due to rioting between Black and Latino inmates, I'm casting about looking for inspiration. So like KanYe says "when I need help, I look in the mirror..."

Super Bowl XL was reasonably entertaining if you were able to get through the endless advertisements, I felt like someone had driven a truck through my cerebellum by game's end. No wait, that's probably because I took my first full (sample) LSAT on Saturday morning and trying to remember if it's A) February 2006 B) Year of the Dog C) Black History Month (damn homie always shortest month of the year) D) time to move outta my apt. E) One week left to St. Valentine's...

I'ma take some fire for this sappiness, but can I just say that I LOVE "The Sound of Music"! They just don't make movies like this anymore. In early 2001, I told a friend that I was watching it to prepare for the onset of fascism under Bush II and he laughed uneasily...One PATRIOT Act, Abu Ghraib, illegal spying, suppression of civil liberties and foreign military adventure later I hate to say "I told ya so..." Tryin to stay positive in the face of all this madness, but my last question goes to all you fool DARE you tell me the Cold War is over when the DMZ still stands on the Korean Peninsula?!?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Running around

like a dog chasin it's tail, appropriately for this new Year of the Dog. Finally getting back into the swing of things as it looks like I will have to settle for part-time tech consulting work in lieu of a regular "day job," allowing me more flexibility to develop artistically. One of the benefits of having a marketable skill-set is knowing there will always be plenty of work out there, the challenge is building a structure which allows an optimum life-work-play balance. Vocal cords still weak from holiday indulgences, stress and a nasty head cold, but am looking forward to catching the Grammys next week and seeing my man KanYE sweep the show...There's also the upcoming DIY Convention for the independent artist hosted here in Hollywood that also starts next week, should provide the needed kick in the ass and much-needed info to push DMZ//38 into higher ground in '06...Thought of the day - when the world gets you down, remember there's a star UP THERE with your name on it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Burnin Up on Re-Entry

These past two weeks since returning from Mordor D.C. to the plasticene hyperreality of L.A. have me dazed and confused for the moment. My sense is that the accumulated effects of five years of Bush-ism have, for the moment, transformed Washington's dominant civic culture into an even more repressive environment I do not care to tolerate at this time in my life...Yes DC does have an underground, an alternative culture which manages to survive amidst the ditto-headed madness, but most importantly many members of my immediate family still live there. Still my future will be written here in Southern California, where the threats are more likely to be seismic or environmental (see Mike Davis' brilliant Ecology of Fear) as opposed to your friendly next-door Creepublican operative or CIA agent. The entertainment law program at UCLA in particular beckons, it's without a doubt the premier such program available, and seems to make so much sense as a natural progression of my recent and current combined professional/artistic endeavors. I envision the program providing the networking, guidance and ultimately credentials to become a more effective music entrepeneur, and transition from a sole focus on developing my own artistic career to working with other emerging new artists as well. Just started reading the slightly glassy-eyed yet fascinating Future of Music co-written by Dave Kusek, inventor of MIDI and Passport Systems, which delves into the new opportunities offered by the explosion of digital media, Internet and non-corporatized music.

The ominous warnings of the "triple evils" of militarism, racism and poverty continue to ring true today, as we commemorate the birth of one of the truly great leaders of the 20th Century Martin Luther King Jr. Now, as then, we confront the legacy of enduring economic inequality - in America's cities, countryside and truly throughout the world - in addition to civil rights struggles not only over race, but also gender and sexual orientation, and of course yet another injust foreign war with a body count rising daily. You can hear some of King's historic speeches at KPFK .

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I never thought I would ever admit to under-estimating the effort required to achieve lasting relaxation. Almost two weeks back in DC with relatives seemed guaranteed to result in stress, and surely enough there were plenty of tense situations and needless hassles. Having said that, I have returned in a more calm, assured state of mind. The beautiful weather today here in Los Angeles certainly didn't hurt, and afforded a crisp view of the area during an afternoon hike through Griffith Park.

Personal resolutions for 2005 include improving health - stamina and energy, finances, and continued artistic achievement...And still hope for peace to break out suddenly when we realize that "War is over," widening resistance to tyranny, and truly a kindler, gentler civil society.