Jones Robinson Mix Series - "Feelings” by Maraschino

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Many many many years back I read a feature in FADER magazine about the Los Angeles band “Puro Instinct.” In the piece I learned about the sisters Piper and Sklar Kaplan who’s beautiful 70’s/80’s influenced melodies and production was the basis of the project. As Puro Instinct they released a few projects with my favorite being their debut album “Headbangers In Estacy” and the single “Dream Lover.” One thing I’ve always been fond of relating to Puro is their incredible taste in music. I remember finding compilations and mixes they created online back in the day and being blown away by the breadth of music that they were into and influenced by. A Puro mixtape would incorporate eastern bloc 70’s/80’s pop, current LA singer songwriter tracks, and random American pop cuts that my mom loved in the 90’s. I later reached out to Piper and bought her out to NY to DJ a party that I produced and we’ve kept in touch since then. Piper has a new project called “Maraschino” that I got to see live a year ago at Coney Island. At the event we connected and talked about music as always. I knew I needed to get a mix from Piper when I had an avenue to publish it.

For this iteration of the Jones Robinson Mix Series I present to you “Feelings” by Maraschino - a mix curated by Piper. it’s as good as all of the mixes I’ve enjoyed from her and her sister in the past. Enjoy!

Feelings By Maraschino
Paul Williams - Starfish
Laurie Miller - Love is a Natural Magic Thing
Julee Cruise - Rock Back Inside My Heart
Godley & Creme - Cry
Carly Simon - Why 
Prince - Desire
Linda Di Franco - Stay
Virna Lindt - Pillow Talk
Alan Parsons Project - Don’t Answer Me
TV Babies - Little White Lies
Flayer - Wanna Get Back to Your Love
UB40 - Don’t Break My Heart 
Holger Czukay - Persian Love

Black History Month Inspiration - Prince "Reflection" (Live w/ Wendy Melvoin)

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Prince was a big Joni fan. When I fell into Joni’s music and learned that he was a fan, it made me feel closer to him and like we knew something that others didn’t. It made listening to Joni’s music feel like a shared experience because I could imagine him digging particular lines she sang or chords she played. I noticed in the linear notes of Prince’s album “Dirty Mind” he thanks “Joni” which upon my first reading of it was odd. Now it’s not. It was a wink to her and to people like me. Now the Joni reference is heartwarming, because he wanted to send a message to someone who inspired him. I hope to do the same.

For Today’s BHM series post, I am sharing a live performance of a song by Prince that is soooo JONI <3. The phrasing, the storytelling , the melancholy chords…it all reminds me of her…but it’s him in his voice as an established artist who’s looking back at the past, reflecting. It’s Beautiful.
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Sidenote: I wrote a Wendy & Lisa / Prince fan fiction story if you want to stay on this trip

Fan Fiction Short Story - Song About...

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For this editorial project I decided to create fan fiction short stories about artists I think about often. It’s a way to get daydreams out of my head and create. These stories are 100% false and not real. My first story below is about the recording artists and songwriters “Wendy & Lisa” one week ahead of the release of their first album “Wendy & Lisa”. Hit play on the song to the left before you begin reading.

Note: If you are interested in submitting a fan fiction short story or fan art hit me up.

August 18, 1987 - Los Angeles, CA

The phone rings once and afterwards stops ringing. Lisa walks to the phone and stops mid-stride, heading back to the couch. The phone rings again and as Lisa grabs it on the second ring, she puts the phone to her ear and hears the phone on the other side hang up. Knowing that the prankster will call again when she walks away from the phone she decides to stand over the phone instead of joining Wendy at the couch where they are reviewing the final art proofs of their first album that will be coming out on August 24th. It is a critical time for them as this is a cumulation of eight months of writing and recording. It’s also a moment for them to finally exist and present themselves to the world as artists in their own right, not just being seen as muses for others. Nine months ago they were fired from the only thing that they had known for five years, which was being members of a band. They knew they always had the goods, the pizazz, the chops, the thing to stand on their own as artists but they didn’t know it would happen like this. This is also a moment to complete an emotional recovery that began after the firing from the band. There is a mix of nerves and esteem that flows between Wendy and Lisa, manifesting itself in shaking legs and drags of cigarettes. This phone disturbance isn’t helping. 

Within a split second of sound coming out of the phone, Lisa picks up and gently says “hello,” as if this game has not annoyed her or Wendy. The voice on the other end is his. It’s been months since they have talked or seen each other. Wendy looks at Lisa holding the phone, scanning the look on her face and knows immediately who is on the other side of the line. 

He has never been one to speak his mind or say the things that need to be said in the way that normal human beings do. It’s just not the way that he is. He talks through short sly bursts of questions and statements.

“Hey,” he starts off, continuing “I heard your album.”

“How did you hear it?” Lisa says.

“I ran into Bobby.”

 Bobby, who played drums in the band, was the longest serving member and, like Wendy and Lisa, also unceremoniously dumped. He helped write and produce songs for their upcoming album. Bobby had demos and various recordings of the songs that would be on the album. Bobby went back to Minnesota after Wendy and Lisa finished recording in LA and he must have run into you know who.

“You should have called. I could have helped. I was around”.

 He wasn’t “around” and knew it. Communication only flowed one way: from him to people when he was ready. To ask for or request his presence in something that did not relate to his immediate concerns or projects was never an option. He had tunnel vision and it affected how he engaged in life outside of his sole focus of his music.

“Also, I could have given you a hit” he says with wit, sarcasm, and a laugh.

“We wanted space to create something from our hearts and minds,” Lisa replies back to him while looking at Wendy who is sitting across from her with a death stare trying to ascertain anything she can from the visual cues on Lisa’s face. Lisa continues.

“You can tell that the music is greatly influenced by our time together. It was odd to not be in the topsy turvy routine that we had been in for 4 1/2 years with you. It was odd to just have time that we could write, record, and experience what normal life is like.”

“But the circus has started back up,” he says.

”Yeah,” says Lisa.

With this being the longest phone conversation they’ve ever had in their relationship up to this point, Lisa attempts to change the subject.

 “How is the tour going? I saw that you’re doing another live concert film for the new album.”

 “It’s cool” he says shortly, then pivots the conversation. ”That song ‘Song About'... what’s that about?”

Wendy is now standing next to Lisa, their hands both cradling the phone each with a part of their ear on the receiver end. “It’s about us,” says Lisa. It was a song that both Wendy and Lisa had written and they went back and forth about whether it would make the album. It was a tough song to write because they never had closure as a trio. And while this song wasn’t that closure, it was a step in the right direction to address all that he meant to them. 

“Oh. Well I gotta go. Bye.”

This curt response gave Lisa no chance to wrap up the call or have the conversation they wanted to have with him before the breakup. There would be no larger conversation addressing ups and downs of their time together with him. No chance to speak to the back and forth with Suzanna, Wendy’s sister, who was still on the merry-go-round of his touring group and his on-again-off-again interest. No chance to remind him of the creative synergy they achieved as a trio working on songs that Wendy and Lisa got no credit for. Or the hijinks and pranks they conceived of and pulled off to pass time on the seemingly never-ending bus rides through western Europe: like putting Fink’s hands in hair gel while he slept; or creating and corroborating crazy stories that never happened to freak out others on the bus. Most importantly they were hoping that they’d get from him what they wanted all along: his approval of and respect for their music. The love was there, it was just inconsistent.  And it stung after a five minute phone call, just as it always had, that produced nothing but the same feelings they’d always felt. 

Yes the song is about him. If he had stayed on the phone they would have revealed everything to him, hoping that he would understand his responsibility and role. They would end the call with an exchange of well wishes and hopefully he would display that affection that surfaced from time to time while they were with him. Lisa came into his world in ’80 and Wendy joined in ’83 both very young and totally different people than they were today. He changed them for the better. But he also hurt them. Everything was controlled by him. He could be biting. He could be sweet. They taught him things about the world that most normal people know. Like when they dragged him to the carnival in LA to ride bumper cars after ditching a recording session which he would never do. They saw him change in front of their eyes from an eccentric quiet person to a world wide star. They saw how an entourage of security and yes men began to create distance between them physically and emotionally. They hoped he felt that connection that they felt of a bizarre relationship getting stronger and that he would want to be himself with them because they were there in the beginning. He didn’t. He fired them via a communication by his management at the end of a grueling tour and never reached out to talk to them directly. He moved on and told everyone around them to move on. Let it go. And now to hear from him 8 months later where he’s asking about a song…it hurts and you have to pick up pieces that you aren’t sure fit together in song.  

Song About
It Makes me want to cry
Thinking about you
Beautiful?” you said 
The way you shook your head
So strange, that no one stayed
At the end of the parade

This is just another song about it
This is just another song about

Standing next to me
Imagine that it’s true
You were singing songs
About life or doom
I was singing songs to you

This is just another song about it
This is just another song about

I gave colors to you you’d never seen
You washed my heart 
With many dreams 
Dreams I’d never seen
The pain of my spirit and the pain of my heart
Don’t ever tell me to let it all go

This is just another song about it
This is just another song about

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