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A Documental on the Artist General

On Earth to ESP (Express, Serve & Protect) the Impulse
Creative (IC)
Artist General Masley

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The Artist General
formerly known as Michael Masley,
with invention: 'reed-slide'
Photo/Jason Clopton 3/18/02

"I’m glad to have been able to work with the former Attorney General {Robert Kennedy} —and--- the upcoming—Artist General."

Jack Douglas from the Interview (see below)

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Martin Yernazian

The New Director of


Wecome Aboard, Martin!

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Lauren Selman, Producer

Prospective Investors, Executive Producers:

Your call is important to us, and will be taken in the order received: please Stay on the Line With Your Proposal:

Martin Yernazian: 510-849-1978

Artist General Michael Masley: 510-548-1241

Thanks to


(formerly ROSEVOIR)

For the considerable skill & effort that launched this film, featuring the savvy Usage of The Force Cinematic:

Field Etienne, Jason Clopton: Videography

Location Director and Project Initiator: Michael Sloan



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Interviewer: Anjelique Payne 3/18/02 Tonehenge / Berkeley Ca


JD: It was really strange, yeah--- I arrived in Tampa to do a record—you have to say Tampa-St Pete because one’s not right without the other; it was actually St. Pete—anyway I arrived there, and, the first night I was there, as if to set the mood for this dinner that I went to, they put on one of Michael’s CD’s-- so I’m sitting there, in the background, hearing this {gestures} and finally I said to the guitar player in the band, Vesica Pices, I have to plug—that’s really nice music—what is it—who is it? “it’s a guy I know, his name’s Michael Masley, he’s actually a street musician in San Francisco—the Bay Area”—so I said ‘cool’ and then he shows me a couple of CD’s and says “you know, Steven Tyler is a fan of his” I said “well, you know, we’re going to see Steven tomorrow night—which, we were--going to see Aerosmith in concert in Tampa—not in Tampa-St Pete but actually in Tampa—so we were going to see them and, they’re actually good friends of mine—so we went backstage after the show, and this guy Brian, who’s apparently somehow connected to Michael—and is the guitar player in the band I was producing—brings along a new CD of Michael’s—so we go backstage and now we’re goofing around with Steven and Brian comes over and says to Steven “I have something for you” {gestures—Steven, Michael’s CD} and Steven, like, flips out, he says, “do you realize that this man is a genius!” and he starts raving and foaming at the mouth beating his head against the wall, he just went like absolutely crazy and he starting doing this {Artist General salute thumb/2 fingers call & answer “Never Say Die / Say La Vee”} and I didn’t understand any of it, I thought, wow who is this guy, Michael Masley, it’s like, people really go crazy when they hear his name. Not too long after that I was coming out to Emeryville to teach my Psychology course, the Psychology of the Recording Session, I teach over here at Expressions, and, and I thought well, maybe I could hook up with this guy cause I have this track that I’m recording with the band in Tampa St Pete {Vesica Pices} –actually St Pete—is where I’m recording it—and so, I brought the track on a Protools file, and, as part of my course, I decided to have the students record Michael so I called Michael up and-- I was surprised when I got his message* to hear Steven {Tyler’s} voice, actually, on his machine, and, the rest of the message is quite entertaining also, and , Michael called me back and I explained and asked him if he would come and record over this track, and so, Michael came in and set up and started doing the track, got out his ‘Effrim Zimbalist/Cymbalist’, started playing and I noticed—he’s not playing in the same key as the song, and so he’s going on, and I’m wondering {interjects} and I had actually sent him in advance a copy of it, the track, I just sent it off to him hoping, hoping that he would want to ‘get in on it’, you know, and so I thought he knew the song—he said he did—but he’s just, playing in the wrong key, then, uh, I said to him, would you like to do another one, another pass at this? And he said “sure”and so we did another pass and then he even played in a worse key—unbelievable; but it had a certain kind of ambient feel to it that was {gestures} and after a few takes like this with him just playing in different keys, you know, whatever kind of—however it felt to him—I said to him, umm, Michael, how’d you, ah, how’d you start out being a musician? and he said to me “well, I started by playing flute—kind of a wood flute—and then I realized—that it was much too ‘disciplined’ for me”—at which point I realized, like, he’s not really a musician, you know, like a session guy; and then it all became clear to me, all I had to do was let him go crazy on the track, it was kind of like, kill them all and let God sort them out kind of thing, you know, that’s what I had to do, I had to just let him go crazy on the track, and then bring it back to Florida and then open up this Protools file and go UHHHH! {makes horror-struck face} like, kind of, well all this insanity on there. But I started ‘plucking’ at, at this and I realized, my God, Steven’s right, he is a genius. You have to dig a little bit, you know, like I was doing, but, he really is. And then, as if I didn’t know enough about this genius, we recorded “Homeland Security” –unbelievably brilliant, just a shattering piece of music. But, we’ll talk about that later.

Do you have another question for me?


JD: Is it okay to expose this—it’s a big yes, I’m picking up a big ‘yes’ from everybody. I realized, as—it was an untitled piece, and it’s really, it’s really the first time Michael and I have worked together creatively, where we actually worked together on the same piece—and I noticed that it kind of started out calm and then got very very disturbing and then frightening, and then like a squeaky door, it {laughs} and then it, then it eased off a little bit, and then— kind of got calm again---and this was all on the first couple of basics that he did---and then, I thought--and this is really my only contribution—what if we got like five or six people out there and then just as a mantra kind of just kept saying the Pledge of Allegiance, you know, so they just kept saying the Pledge of Allegiance over and over and over and over--- and then I told them at a certain signal just start saying it randomly so the words are just scattered all over-- and so they were saying it almost in a round about five or six guys and it got really {circular gestures}---and then--and then the next pass Michael started playing some really amazing stuff, and pretty soon it, it was like a movie and you could see you know this picture of America, you know it started out a pre nine-eleven and then it was nine-eleven and then it was post nine-eleven, it was—it was really amazing and then, and then we did a quick-mix, which was. like, a four-hour mix, and we discovered that not only was it one piece but that it was probably a forty-five minute piece, probably a whole album inside this one piece it was so layered-- it just depended on how you mixed it, and so we’re--we’re going to do it. And I think I should get Steven in on this one, I know he’ll love it; he’s a, he says he’s a big fan of Michael’s, and one of my best friends. I’m sure he’ll be into doing it.


JD: He’s---different---and—you know my number one priority when I produce records—because--I do this thing about once a year, my manager makes me do it, he says “Okay, you gotta do the Dog & Pony Act, and you gotta make the rounds to all the labels, and just listen to the offers because-- they always want me to produce stuff with the major labels, so I do—go to LA—I live in New York—I go to LA—and that’s where the action is and I make the rounds—Warner Brothers, Epic, Columbia, Sony, Interscope, Universal, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah---I do the whole thing. They all give me the same record. They all give me the same band, they all give me the same music. And, it’s very depressing, I get back and I, um, to this little house I rent in LA and I, I listen to it and I can’t tell, I get lost, ‘which is the band that Warner’s gave me, {sorting gestures} or is that the? No, that’s the…hm. And, and every once in awhile somebody gives me a piece of music or turns me on to something that obviously isn’t going to be at the top of the charts but just turns me on so much that I’ll go in and work on it. You know, sometimes a major label will pay me a hundred to two-hundred thousand dollars to go in and produce a record, and other times I’ll find somebody I want to work with who may just pay me my expenses. And uh, you know I enjoy that usually more than---and--what it is is that the individual guy who’s out there, who’s doing something different, the guy who a, or girl or group or musician or composer or producer or DJ who’s just way over on the, on the cutting edge,—way out in front, and—from the street--- you know Michael has developed this, this sound that’s fascinating.

There’s no one out there doing that in this country.


JD: It’s ah, soul music, in absolutely the purest form. It’s kind of like the Chemical Brothers unplugged. It’s, um, it feels symphonic, sometimes, it’s got a bit of—it comes from the Street, it comes from that kind of player who’s had to make a living by turning people on who are there-- in the Street, and when you do that long enough, you get really good, and-- and you play not just only for yourself, but for—for the people as well—because a lot of artists who are really great, and who do have that individuality, are holed up somewhere, and, you know, isolated—and, they might be creating some pretty cool stuff but it always seems to be for them only, and in Michael’s case it’s like, kind of ‘music for the masses’—he’s made his living by playing for people, so—it’s different.

I have—I have a feeling about Michael’s instrument that goes back, and, I’m not quite sure how this happened, but I was producing ‘Double Fantasy’ --which was John Lennon’s last album, and, we were—we were doing a song called “Watching the Wheels”, {sings} “I’m just sittin’ here watchin’ the wheels” …we’re doing that song, and I said to John “what’s missing --- from the track is something that sounds {gesturing} circular—some kind of circular feel—that makes you feel like we’re ‘watching the wheels’—and John said “I have no idea what it would be, is it an organ? is it”—I said, “no-- it’s not that soft—it’s something else.” And then, I remembered, um, the sound of a hammered dulcimer---I said it’s a hammered dulcimer—that’s the sound that we’re looking for”. So, he said “I don’t know what it is, but, it sounds great” you know, “if you think that’s what it is let’s get one” so, we got the union book out and we opened it up and we started looking for hammered dulcimer players, and, there weren’t any hammered dulcimer players. And I called everyone I knew and John called everyone he knew that might turn us on to a hammered dulcimer player and no one—kind of, ‘well, we-heard-there-was-one-in-Kentucky’ kinda thing you know’---nothing— we couldn’t find one, so, we worked on something else that night, we finished off maybe some other track, and, -- and then John drove me back to the Dakota where he lived, and I lived three blocks south, er, north, from him—I lived on 70 something on Central Park West and he lived on 72nd—so I walked up Central Park West—it was a beautiful spring evening, and I turned the corner unto my street, and sitting, on the ground, playing, with, you know, a hat, was a hammered dulcimer player—on the corner, of my street—he’d never been there before, I’d never seen him, I hadn’t heard the instrument being played—you know, I’ve really examined, ‘Oh I must, this must’ve been in my subconscious, or—no—and—and I found out that he had only blown into town, he was from Munich---“Herman the German” we called him, and---if you pick up a copy of “Double Fantasy” you’ll see his credit on the album. And-- I asked him, and I stopped—I was in shock---and he was sitting there playing, and it was wonderful—“would you be interested in doing a recording session tomorrow?” and he said “yes” and I brought him in—the funny part of it was he—he came into the session the next day and sat there on the floor, set up his hammered dulcimer, I came out and I worked on the arrangement with him and I played “Watching the Wheels”—a rough mix—out, over the speakers and—into the studio—and, he looked at me and said—he spoke very good English—“I like this song—I particularly like the guy’s voice”—and of course no one knew we were recording this album, it was all very hushed, it was a secret—and I said “yeah” and then—and this is an absolutely true story—John came into the control room, he’d arrived and he could hear what we were doing, and, I could see he was getting excited—his round glasses on {circles his eyes} he looked as much like John as anyone could—and he came around and sat in front of the glass of the control room looking out at us working on the floor and, uh, Herman said “who’s that?” and I said “that’s the guy singing” he said “oh” and he continued to play. Now John got inspired and came out and sat down next to us and started --“look” he said, “I really love this but, how bout, can you, what’s this note {gesturing} can you, what’s that sound over there, how bout if it went” and he hummed a few other things, you know, in the arrangement, di ta ta tllll {playing air dulcimer} like that, so Herman went---and with his heavy Liverpool accent John is—and then Yoko comes in—and Yoko comes out and “hahh, oh how marvelous, it’s wonderful” and Yoko sits down—still, nothing from this guy—nothing. And ah, and -- we cut the track, John and Yoko invited him to lunch, they were so impressed, we all ate sushi in the studio--I paid the guy a ridiculous fifty or a hundred dollars—which he loved—and--and he left. And not a word. And then the next day he called me back—and he, ---and John and I were looking at each other like, this guy has got a poker face—I mean he’s just unbelievable-- you know because most people would like {eyes-wide gasp} he just is---he called me back the next day and he goes, he says to me, “Jack?” I said “yes” he goes “I have the strangest feeling that I just worked with John Lennon” and I said “well you did “ and he says “I thought so” he goes “fifty dollars?” that’s what he said to me {laughs} I said “Well I’ll tell you what—you come down to the studio because John was very impressed with you and, I’m sure he’ll do better”. And—he came down and John gave him a thousand dollars and a plane ticket to Puerto Rico—“Go off on vacation” –he wanted him out of city actually, so that the ‘secret’ would stay in town. That’s my one and only—first—experience with the hammered dulcimer and I think it leads me to the point of, when I hear the instrument it does something to my heart {taps chest} so that when I went to that dinner in Tampa St. Pete, but it was really St. Pete— and I heard the hammered dulcimer--it always kind of takes me there. And if you listen to the song “Watching the Wheels” you’ll hear it at the end of each chorus.


JD: I think it’s a great idea, I think it’s absolutely necessary. I ---I started out in this business that I’m in now working for a guy who had been the Attorney General—I was Robert Kennedy’s Campaign Songwriter—that’s how I started in the business—I started as a guy who traveled with Robert Kennedy in a station wagon running for the Senate in New York State, and my job was to be as ruthless s as possible—and, and I noticed that there are a lot of similarities between Robert Kennedy and Michael—you know, that’s the first thing I noticed is-- that if Robert Kennedy could be Attorney General --then Michael could be Artist General. There’s only one thing though. That is, he has to, he has to do something, you know, like the Surgeon General, Koop, remember him, was that his name? Koop? You have to ban something—remember Koop, his big thing was cigarettes—he really got on it, he really did a number. I think--I think as Artist General the first thing you have to do is not just come out for artists, because nobody’ll notice you—what you have to do right away is ban something---you have to say that there’s a particular type of art that’s bad for your health and tax it, and I think, you know --I could think of a few—types of art that are bad for your health. But, I think that Michael is the guy that should really figure that one out --and that would draw attention to his Office—as soon as he gets out there in his uniform and says it’s bad for you, will destroy, will kill you, then, we’ll all take notice…uniforms are cool.

I’m glad to have been able to work with the former Attorney General—and--- the upcoming—Artist General.

Reminiscence After Interview on RFK:

“… First some mayor would come out and speak, and then he would. And I rode with him in a station wagon, I was in the very back with acoustic guitar {strumming air} and we rode around the state… I absolutely prize the letters that he sent me. And, when he won--I got a very nice letter from him saying “thank you so much” –but—then came the prize—a month after he won the election—I got a call from the president of Epic Records—who turned out to be a supporter, a big supporter of his—and, he said, “Robert said I should listen to your tapes”—now, little did I know, but it was already a Done Deal—I already, I mean I sent him a tape and he handed me a contract—I had a recording contract—immediately. Compliments of RFK.

Photos of the Artist General

Artist General Statement

Video clips coming soon!

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