drawing by Gail Machlis
Bette Davis said: “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” Well, the truth is that getting old ain’t for no one!...especially performing musicians with health problems. My greatest frustration these days is not being able to get out there once and a while and play a show, a house concert, or even an open mic.... too much late evening fatigue and back issues stand in the way. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work out some studio sessions in the afternoon, and have completed several recordings since the shit hit the fan...or perhaps ‘fans’...the few still around.
Here are some productions we've put together in the last few years: World Where We Belong, featuring Suzanne Fox and her dynamic harmonies, C'mon Jesus, Man in The Middle, my tribute to political paralysis, Livin’ Ain’t Enough, a full length CD-Album backed up by my band: "The Usual Suspects," several Music-Video Slide Shows including the No There There Blues, Wish I was a Rainbow, a cover of Oswald Durand's Yellow Bird, Dance of The Komodo Dragons, Go Get It, Rain Dance, Rat Race, Ants, Nothing’s The Matter, TV Show, Autumnal Circumstance, Chelsea Morning For Seniors...featuring Phoebe Anne Sorgen with our satirical rendition of the great Joni Mitchell song, and of course: Transplant Dude...featuring "The Transplantdentalists" and Joyce (Slimbo) Steinlauf’s unerring work on drums and electric bass.
Last but not least (just completed) my musical testimonial to nature’s wondrous ways: Yes...There Will Be Weather Today...13 songs and instrumentals available as a CD or on line this Christmas (2014). All in all, I feel encouraged, and perhaps blessed by my will to ‘keep on keeping on’ and thank all those who have supported and inspired me to do so.
In April 2012, Marc underwent limited back surgery to release pressure on his sciatic nerve. The surgery succeeded in enabling much more mobility for the 68-year old battered- bodied, bard. But pervasive nerve damage has not cleared up as of yet, and Twang continues to twinge, more often than not.
Meanwhile, Marc, now celebrating the 12th anniversary of his kidney transplant, has been in and out of extended periods of abject exhaustion that he contributes to spending inordinate amounts of time enduring the bullshit of both the Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as the usual talking heads, and their political-sport-spouting commentaries. As Twang quotes from his song: "Morning Edition: " Promises, promises on our plate: bait, switch, check, mate!
In keeping with these challenges, Twang has just released a new CD single. The song, 'Man in The Middle' features a trio of vocalists, 'The Twangettes' carrying the ball in this sardonic commentary on the office of the presidency. You can hear it at: www.marctwang.com/albumindex.html
2012 has presented repeated challenges for Mr. Twang. Still dealing with what he refers to as: "The Devil's Disease," Sciatica has once again kept Marc from performing and recording at a pace commensurate with his productivity. Although he has done a couple of open mics at The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley and produced a couple of CD singles ("World Where We Belong," and "Come on Jesus,") Marc regrets not being able to get on to the stage more often, and catch up on his studio work. Currently he is assisting Denise Deneaux, a Bay Area songwriter with a powerful, elixirish voice, transfer her tapes from over 20 years ago on to CD, and get her the presence in the music world she deserves.
For Marc Twang, 2010 has been a trip to hell and back. Hospitalized for 5 weeks, fighting off life-threatening illness, Twang has resurfaced with reasonably good health, and is back to his usual projects. Many thanks to his friends, family, good doctors and conscientious care-givers who supported the struggle! His new CD: “Ten Twangstrumentals” will be out by Christmas. The album is a compilation of guitar and accompaniment spanning over 20 years of recording sessions. Twang is also ‘fighting the power’ on the local level trying to convince the city of Emeryville California to reconfigure the street signs leading to their mammothian shopping, parking and entertainment mall. (See Below). ‘All in all, it’s great to be back in the thick of the revolution that isn’t’…Marc wryly remarks.
Shellmound St Parking Garage Trap
By Marc Twang
Wednesday November 24, 2010
If you go north on Shellmound st in Emeryville, past Ikea, there is a street sign that says: ‘Bay st.’ However, if you make a right turn you don’t end up on Bay st. Instead you are trapped into the entrance to the mega-garage that ‘serves’ the stores, the theaters and restaurants. If you think you can park on Bay st. (or just drive down to admire the myriad of shops) you will have to find another entrance.
This may not seem to be a high priority in the scheme of injustices these days, but it represents a good reason why people are so fed up with their governments...be they federal, state or just local. I have tried for nearly a year to get the city of Emeryville off its complacent buns to put up an accurate sign indicating that the street sign leads to the parking lot, not the street. I’ve spoken to Mayor Atkins, City Manager Patrick O’keefe and the Madison-Marquette parking lot manager Ron Weller. All I get is the usual ‘we’re taking care of it’...or more recently: ‘don’t you have anything better to do?"
It’s bad enough that this cumbersome, money-sucking monstrosity of a garage exists in the first place...on hallowed Indian burial grounds, no less. But it shouldn’t take a concerned citizen numerous attempts and insults from these jokers to get something as simple as a sign change to be accomplished. If our local government is enmeshed in so much inertia and cynicism, why should its citizens be any less so? If they can’t change a deceptive, and perhaps fraudulent street sign, then what can they do?
Twang is back at it with several new recordings! In 2006 he released: Transplant Dude, followed in 2007 by the CD Double: Cascadeaway and "Rogue River Run." In March 2009, Twang celebrated his new album: Just a Kid with a Pizza and ice cream party. Several of the participants, ages 9-13, sang songs from the album and went on to perform some of their own material. Despite coming down with what Twang refers to as: 'Sciatica from Hell." Marc has managed to release a short collection of archival gems on his latest offering: Raw Twang (The Doobious Days). Currently, he is working on some instrumentals...including The Sciatic Blues.
After a knockout performance at Spud’s Music Parlor in Berkeley last year, Marc Twang is taking a short respite from the demands of live performance. Actually, Marc was the one who literally got knocked out, experiencing an episode of dehydration toward the end of the first set, leaving the stage before getting a chance to perform his highly anticipated "Long Fly Ball," a baseball song with a Twangian twist. But not to worry...a slice of Pizza, and a jug of water revived the ol’dawg and the second set went off without a hitch.
Meanwhile, Twang has just completed a mega-recording session, finishing off over 20 new tunes. No news on a release date for a new album, but look for a CD single here and there from the recent studio sessions.
After undergoing successful kidney transplant surgery in October of 2000, Marc is anxiously making up for lost time and has already completed several CD's,including "JUST ANOTHER DAY." He describes the album as "his least contentious and most conceptually accessible" to date. The proverbial chip on the proverbial shoulder seems less palpable and the ideological content of the work is more universal. Soon to be released is the upcoming "STAYIN IN SHAPE," an eclectic look at health,technology,love and then some.
A long awaited sequel to his 2003 performance at Berkeley's, famed "Freight and Salvage" Coffee House was again met with ribald enthusiasm from the crowd, as he brought on his new band, "The Transplantdentalists,"...featuring heart-lung recipient Joyce 'Slimbo' Sterinlauf on drums, as well as several other guests and a 'neo-vaudevillian' ambience, enhancing the great songs and musicianship. Marc is looking forward to performing more often, now that he is experiencing normal kidney function and has adjusted to the challenges of life as a transplant recipient.
Marc Twang joined Suzanne Fox, Eric Parks and other musicians in a gala House Concert on May 16th, 1998 in Berkeley, California. O’Realius accompanied Ms. Fox in a performance of her "Video Game Song". She, in turn sang the "Window to my Heart" duet and roared through the "Feminist Complaint"...a litany of gripes that Marc has cataloged about the fiercer sex. O’Twang went on to do his "Arbor Day Blues" and finished up with a rousing rendition of one of his newest songs, "Stayin’ in Shape."
Twang spent the first weekend of June ‘98 doin’ some fishin’ on the ragin’ Yuba River in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills. The ol’ city boy actually reeled in some trout..!
SMILE, GUY, Twang's 1998 release, is still available. The album features 11 original songs and an instrumental, sound effects and a collection of nearly 40 musicians and back-up vocalists. The recordings span over 15 years of material recorded in various studios.
Twang designed the entire project... including the art-work... using the Neato program. There were many problems associated with implementing and printing the labels... as well as the insert booklets. After putting in over 100 hours of labor, with no satisfactory results, Twang threatened the company with a lawsuit. Not surprisingly, their technicians were suddenly more than eager to help complete the work. The result is sonically and grahically colorful C.D.
On October 24th Marc Twang and the Existential Folk Ensemble performed a set at a showcase sponsored by the Center For Independent Living. The performance took place at the Black Repertoire Theatre in Berkeley, California. Marc was joined by Suzanne Fox, accompanying him with the female lead in the "Feminist Complaint" and "Window to my Heart," both typical Twang satires on modern relationships.
The show featured many artists with disabilities and was highlighted by the appearance of Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995. Miss Whitestone, who has only 5% hearing, proceeded to speak fluently to the crowd for over 30 minutes. She was an inspiring messenger of real affirmative action (the apolitical kind) and was sight to behold as well.
After the show Twang spoke with her for a few moments. She assured him that she found his material perfectly acceptable despite its highly sarcastic tones and encouraged him to "follow his dreams." That night Twang dreamt of Ms. Whitestone. More on that later!
Twang attempts to lobby TAXI ,the $300&/year conduit to the mainstream music business, have apparently fallen on deaf ears. Marc tried to convince the organization to be more pro-active in changing the tapestry of commercial music. But, according to their vice-president Doug Minnick: "We are not a political advocacy group." By serving only the stipulated needs of the industry the organization helps perpetuate the status quo...not particularly helpful to struggling writers like Twang, but "the way it is!"
THE CAR SONG, Twang's first music video is about to begin the editing and post-production stage. Jason Toussaint of Toussaint productions in San Mateo, California is the man with the clips and the clippers in hand. The video is a satire on our relationship to cars. It was partially funded by a grant from the Client Choice Program in association with the Center for Independent Living. Expected release date is September 15th, 1999!
The Twang House Concert '99 was by every measure a gratifying and successful event. Joined by "Sooozzy the Fox," the "Sorcerer" (Derek Bianchi) and Bill "Boogie" Edwards, the full house was treated to a friendly yet emphatic evening of folk-satire, instrumentals, stories and the usual invocation to "wake up," which has become a steady characteristic of his performances and recordings. Twang played his Guitar Sonata #1 in E-minor, and seemed to get through it without any major glitches. All four performers joined in for the finale, C'mon Jesus, a comedic invocation for the return of the long lost savior. The crowd then proceeded to the 'viewing room' to watch the premiere showing of the Car Song, Twang's first music video. It was a great way to cap off a nifty and nurturing night.
The 2004 Berkeley Film and Video Festival has presented the GRAND FESTIVAL AWARD for BEST MUSIC VIDEO to Marc Twang For:"THE CAR SONG!"
"Great songs, great performances, great venue and great guest appearances. Marc Twang' unique melding of neo-vaudeville, political commentary, satire, and musianship was highly entertaining and thought provoking."
Max Michel, Songwriter and guitarist for "The Doilies"...commenting on Marcus' performance at The Freight and Salvage Coffee House, in Berkeley California.
"For 2 1/2 years The Artist's Café in San Francisco hosted music and other performances in an intimate club setting. Marc Twang packed the house to standing room only and gave a memorable performance which demonstrated his wit, warm stage presence and his talented songwriting and performing. He had the crowd and our booking agent begging for more. They were moved and delighted by his performance."
Kevin Ahern... Owner, Artist's Café
"Pay attention to Marc Twang because he's at it again! The recording that you're holding is an example of the latest foray into thought provoking commentary and mesmerizing music from O'Realius, aka the "Smile Guy". As you listen, you will be provoked, soothed, cajoled, and urged to look at things through the eyes of an intelligent, prolific songwriter and commentator. O'Realius has a unique perspective on things as they are ...and as they should be."
Harry Yaglijian.....Board of Directors, Freight and Salvage Music Hall, Berkeley, California
"Marc Twang is an original, and his new CD, ‘Over the Counter Revolution’ is quite wonderful. His music both rocks & soothes the soul, while his lyrics tickle the funnybone & provoke reflection. I loved listening to ‘The Feminist Complaint’ and ‘Cusp of Our Love.’ There is a playfulness and freshness in his lyrics, while ‘Beachcomber Blues’ and ‘Ted on Horse’ are as lovely and moving as any instrumentals out today."
Deborah Sarnoff... Music Educator, Oakland, CA
"Friendly, inviting... thoughtful, witty lyrics... his message contains serious social commentary, yet he is not afraid to dispatch intelligent humor... delightful innovative use of vocals... free of pretension or gimmickry... pensive, yet amiable... reminds me a little of Arlo Guthrie."
Cindy Elder...Medical Transcriptionist
Mr. O’Realius has produced a distinctive body of work which identifies him as society’s watchdog... or perceptive analyst who checks the inappropriate extremes of group behavior in order to promote a saner social reality. With his and other such creative voices, we may finally harness that pie in the sky-unused as it is- and bring it back to the table where it belongs.
Billus Edwardius... Classical Pianist
" ‘Over the Counter Revolution’ won’t get out of my head... lots of tongue in cheek humor... nice atmospheric harmonica and concern for homeless folk throughout."
...Sounds Celebrating Resistance
"What has become of the musical tradition of socio-political commentary, as heard in the days of Woody Guthrie? Not to have that genre left "blowin’ in the wind," Marcus O’Realius brings it forward, touching on issues of the 1990’s and ready to leap into the 21st century. His CD, "Over the Counter Revolution" is a pleasure to listen to, treating social issues with candor (no qualms about criticizing the politically correct here!), yet in a humorous way. Don’t miss the story of what really happened on the Titanic -- produced BEFORE the movie -- and the hilarious "Feminist Complaint". O’Realius has also brought excellent musical talents on board, rounding out the album.
Another favorite is the "Original Folk" album, an excellent collection of original music of 'real people' across the U.S., -- some of whom can be heard nowhere else but in the places where O'Realius sought out their talents."
Michele Kaitner... choreographer
"Time" is a great album... a clear, clean and crisp sound... the arrangements (particularly the guitar solos) sounded wonderful, as did the other musicians’ work.
Gail Palma ... planetary citizen
Original Folk: Ten Singer-Songwriters of the 1980’s
"Despite the democracy of the folk idiom, not just anyone can pick up a guitar and spin off a cogent gem. But there is no shortage of compassion, wit, and songcraft among the ten artists featured on this excellently produced sampler. And in terms of daily life, social relations and public policy, there is more to relate to on this one album than you’ll hear in a week of hits-formatted radio."
Derk Richardson... San Francisco Bay Guardian