One Year Ago Today, Japan suffered the greatest triple disaster this planet has ever seen. A massive Earthquake, which alone wouldn't have been remembered for more than a few days with the incredible building codes that are commonplace in that country.
Then the Tsunami struck and thousands of homes, cars and people were swept away.
Then the Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima lost it's backup generators for cooling it's spent fuel rods. The last and worst domino to fall. And it came crashing down like a Mountain collapsing into the sea.
Sometimes an event is too big to fully take in. Here in the U.S. We've had our 9/11. We've had our floods. We've had massive death by the hundreds from Super Tornados which very well may have been fed by increased energy of global warming. We've had the Deep Water Horizon tragedy that killed over a dozen, and poisoned the Gulf coast with dark brown crude.
We've had nothing like this. It's like God punched a Hole in the World just around the corner from us.
Some months ago my wife, Mrs Vyan (aka Robin), felt something had to
be done. So she did it. She has a gift of song and has been a long
time musician. A Musicians Institute Graduate who trained on bass with
Jeff Berlin, and on drums with Joe Porcaro (father to Jeff and Steve of
the band Toto). She wrote the song that is shown in the video above the
magic orange squiggle of power. I recorded and played guitar on it,
plus some backing vocals and bass. With the help of some friends we
eventually put it all together. She was inspired by what happened
exactly one year ago to try and make a difference.
All Proceeds from the resulting track are going to the Red Cross
Japan Relief Effort - 100%. We're taking nothing. Here is the QR to
download your own MP3 of "Finding Something Greater" from Amazon.com or to spread around the web, and around the world.
These are her words.
9:46 p.m . Pacific Time…
It’s hard to know what to say as I still feel the peal of distant
temple bells in my soul. I have friends in Japan. Some of my extended
family is from Japan. I had “skin in the game”. A year ago, the
nation of Japan was shaken, then drowned, then irradiated.
I can’t even work an office gig for a living, but the idea of doing
nothing was inconceivable. As a musician, there is always the potential
for me to do something. Sing at a benefit show. Coordinate a benefit
album. Or…co-write and sing on a benefit single.
In the hours after the quake and tsunami, I shared some songs/videos
from YouTube on Facebook to encourage my friends in Japan, including
uplifting messages and referring to my little DJ efforts as “Radio
Danketsu” (“danketsu” being Japanese for “team spirit”). I linked to
more over the next couple of days, trying to help keep my Japanese
friends’ spirits up, my heart breaking as I read their posts telling of
their fear and uncertainty and despair, food shortages and power
outages…even as they “liked” the music I shared. It was during those
few days that I wrote the lyrics of “Finding Something Greater”.
Since Vyan is a better writer of chord progressions than I am, I gave
him a starting idea, a “totally 80’s!” hook that I really liked. He
played with it and eventually converted it to something I liked even
better than my original idea. We hashed out the magical meetings
between word and melody, and finally set up our recording “studio” in
the living room, which we’ve oft referred to as “MacGyver Studios” -
bubble-gummed and coat-hangered together, but efficient. I believe we
recorded the basic tracks and my initial vocal (which is on the video)
between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. that evening.
I wanted to offer friends and former bandmates the opportunity to fly
in tracks if they wanted to throw down for the cause. Keyboardist Ruth
Nix, with whom I went on my second-ever tour with a large performing
group in spring of 1971, just before my 15th birthday, brought her
synthesizer over to do her tracks. (We’ve performed together off and on
since ’71…) Guitarist Laura Lissenden and drummer Vanessa Martin, two
of my old Chemistry bandmates, contributed instrumental and vocal
tracks, “flying them in” from their home studio in Montana. They also
put together the video for the song.
Once all the tracks were put together, we sent Laura and Vanessa the
early mix, which they used for the video, as they preferred my rawer
initial vocal to my re-done tracks. (As I told Vanessa yesterday, “I’m
my own worst critic…”) Vyan also did the sound mix, which was a
challenge. We were dealing with Audacity here and much lower tech
recording techniques being clouded from Montana. Isolate a sound here,
hand-quantize a beat there, and voila! Or not.
Long (and probably dull, to the non-musician) story short, we finally
got the song done, mixed, and up on Amazon. I hope you like it. Even
if you don’t, I hope you’ll help. It’s still needed. The Red Cross has
less in terms of medical care to help with and more in terms of
rebuilding Japan’s medical care infrastructure. Many thousands are
still homeless; Habitat for Humanity International is helping in that
regard. There are other agencies doing what they can, but it will be
years before the country is fully restored. Maybe decades. Maybe
never. But we must not forget Japan.
When you visit the tsunami hit area and see the emptiness,
you’d just lost your words. I myself have yet to gone to those places
but will do in two weeks. On the other hand, when you visit those cities
and towns escaped from tsunami, on the surface you will find rather
peaceful yet inactive towns and beautiful landscape there. However,
nuclear radioactive particles can’t be seen but only on the special
measurement counter; which seems even more sinister.
Makeup is mostly beloved as an art form, but we
underestimate the transformative power beauty products can have on our
well-being during times of crisis. In the case of 2011's cataclysmic
Japanese earthquake and tsunami—the one-year anniversary is already
here!—one woman found a way to use makeup to help, heal, and uplift
victims of the tragic disaster.
American Red Cross: One year after the disaster, the
American Red Cross has raised $312 million, and the vast majority of
that money has already been used in Japan for relief and recovery
operations. Red Cross response activities have transitioned from
providing emergency medical care to helping reconstruct the health care
infrastructure. Donations to the American Red Cross are helping to
rebuild temporary and permanent hospitals, rebuild a Red Cross nursing
school and strengthen Red Cross disaster response capacity. Donate here.
We've been collecting and posting, when we can, videos and news about Japan Relief and Fukushima Updates on A Special Radio Danketsu Facebook page
I set up. Feel free to watch and/or share the video, download the
song, take a look around, add or share anything you find relevant just
to keep a spotlight on this issue.
It's not something any of us can afford to let go ignored.