Why am I so strange? Maybe my bio gives us a hint to that longstanding question:
“Folksinger Stanton West sees the world from the perspective of a six and a half-foot tall, left-handed, freckle-faced, red-head. Realizing he would never quite fit the mold, he embraced his uniqueness, picked up a right-handed guitar and started playing it upside-down. This was his first break from creative structures and limitations.”
The moral to the bio is that I should never rob a bank because I am too easy to spot in a line-up. Or maybe the point of the bio is that I didn’t start to really enjoy myself in life until I stopped trying to be someones else’s definition of cool. I would rather be a bad me than be good at being someone else. This general outlook on life has lead me to believe that songwriting and creativity should be a freeing experience, like skinny dipping in a cold mountain lake. Say goodbye to that nagging voice in your head, the itty-bitty shitty committee, who needs to shut up and sit down.
I do everything left handed (in my right mind). I’m what they call in little league a south paw (at least they did in the 1940's). The only thing I do with my right hand is use scissors. It is impossible to find a pair of left-handed scissors! Left-handed desks are pretty rare too… and lefty golf clubs. There are no left-handed bubblers. When the world is set up a different way than you work you are forced to rethink how everything is done. Being inventive becomes a way of life.
I play a right-handed guitar upside down. Like Elizabeth Cotton, who wrote “Freight Train” and was Pete Seeger’s nanny. I am unlike Jimmy Hendrix, who re-strung a right-handed guitar to play left-handed. I can play most chords. The hardest part about playing guitar upside-down is jamming with people because they can’t read what chords I”m playing just by looking at what shape my fingers are making on the fret board.
When performing as Eddie Danger I used to jest that “they don’t call me Eddie Careful!” Until people caught on and actually did start calling me Eddie Careful. There is no correct way to do anything. Everything is up for reinvention!
You are up for reinvention! I am up and ready for reinvention. That is what Stanton West is all about: Creating something new by metamorphosisizing. It’s the same game, someone just hit the reset button. I am building my character. I am learning as I go along. Learning from mistakes and set-backs. Always moving forward and never moving straight. The trick is to enjoy the ride and trust that I will get there at the exact perfect time.
I performed my first show as Stanton West at Driftless Books and Music in the Forgotton Works Warehouse and the Centre for Slow Media hosted by the Wisconsin Roots Music Cooperative opening for The Pines on March 25, 2017 in Viroqua, WI. The evening was auspicious and the story concept was well received.
I have written an amazing new album. It’s a concept album. Each song is a chapter in a story of an injured songbirds flight from the nest, migration, transformation, and her return home. The concept and the songs were a gift to me from the cosmos. Written using the Heroes Journey as a template.
The world I live in is shaped by the way I am perceived. I see the world through the eyes of those who see me and project their beliefs and filters on to me. That will all change right now.
I let go of all actions and decisions made to please anyone but myself. The only thing I have the power to control is my own personal view on anything and everything. Today I will unlearn all I've been conditioned to respond to and create a new paradigm.