Sport Spiel
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Friday, February 14, 2003

If nothing else, spam is sometimes good for amusing subject lines.
This one evokes dim memories of the Latin Mass, with celebrant Father Slim Gaillard:

Domireno Excidamus Mcvouty

(...Dominus Vobiscum O'Reeney!)

Thursday, February 13, 2003

"Didn't time sound sweet yesterday?
In a world filled with friends, you lose your way"
- Scott Walker, "Big Louise"

What follows will get pretty grim, so skip it if you'd rather, but consider this fair warning.

Got a call from a journalist who had interviewed me recently. Looks like his promised newspaper article is very unlikely to run. So this pretty much freezes the progress of our record at one mini-review in British mag, another in a mag I write for, one in a local paper (written by a friend), and an online site or 2. This current disappointment is the result of my article getting cut several times because the editor regards EVERYTHING else that comes along more important.

CAT POWERS releases hotly anticipated album; critics orgasm as one
DEVO zany MARK MOTHERSBAUGH to score new cartoon
PHISH drummer buys sandwich
ARGENT tribute album to feature SEA AND CAKE and WILCO
CHRISTINA AGUILERA shows ass crack on new video
ANI DEFRANCO declares "I'm against a war with Iraq"
BEATLES hailed as "perennial favorites" in new poll
Sales figures for latest JAY Z release cause much discussion
Genius of BECK "inarguable" says TOM BROKAW
Nobel prize nomination for BADLY DRAWN BOY

The editor is far from alone in his assessment. I dearly wanted this ink if only for my family's sake, who read that paper regularly. The same paper covered the conspicuous grief of Pete's widow in daily installments; the articles were grueling in their crass exploitation of 9-11 emotion to inflate the status of this hateful cunt and her even more obnoxious relatives. This is what forced me to stop reading newspapers, and it also influenced me to make Uncle anything but a further exploitation of Pete's death and the deaths of all the others massacred. If I'd been less cautious about all that, maybe the album would have been more ink-worthy, but I'd be as blood-covered as the Gr*ces with none of their sense of entitlement and arrogance. I could not live with that on my head. No article could save my album from oblivion, but this one would have been a coup in terms of morale, and a small measure of righteous balance would have been struck. It is not to be. My well-intentioned friend who wrote the thing says to tell him, though, if any shows come up, and he'll see that there's a mention.

There won't be shows though… I tried to overcome hopelessness this past weekend and plan a gig or 2 with the musicians I've been working with. They were all at a party I'd invited them to. I invited a lot of people to this thing, and some of Shelley's friends drove up from New Jersey, but the only friends of mine who made it are those who live a few minutes away. Anyway, the band will not be doing any shows. Interest is apparently not high enough to warrant the effort. Nobody's interest is high enough to warrant much effort, in fact, and so, 3 weeks into its existence, I declare Uncle dead. A moot proclamation, but it'll have to do in lieu of all the positively-directed effort I'd like to exert if ANYBODY else gave a shit.

So that's the situation here. Well, not really. It would be impossible and pointless to describe the tidal wave of black misery that slams me awake every fucking morning after a couple of hours of restless, pill induced sleep. As difficult as the process of recording the album was, it directed my thoughts and energies toward something that occasionally seemed meaningful. That's all over and all that replaces it is the daily awareness that yet another album is dying just as undeniably as my family is dying around me. My head feels ready to burst with toxic concentrations of defeat, hatred and sorrow. The only personally mustered relief comes from idiotic distractions and this little recurring fantasy where I slo-mo the bullet passing through my palate and into my brain, blowing every thought, memory, fear, hope and emotion out the back of my skull into some perfect, absolute nowhere.

There are several actual friends who read this blog and write encouraging emails to me, and for these few precious friends I hasten to add that I'm not threatening suicide… it's not something I'd consider while my loved ones are living. I've decided that the least act of nobility I can perform in this wretched life is to endure it until that blessed, inevitable day when all faiths are proven wrong and all achievements join all failures in infinite irrelevance. I want to spend my remaining years in some version of happiness I can share with Shelley. She's the one who usually hears the kind of things I'm telling you here, and if I'm to spare her such agonies I'll need to become something else.

For one thing I have to find a way to give up creative ambitions completely, devote myself to them with an ascetic's determination or somehow mutate them into something that will fulfill and contain passion, even as it remains a private hobby. For those to whom this is alien gibberish, let's draw a metaphor of learning how to satisfy one's urge to love and be loved through celibate solitude, nymphomania or masturbation. Attempts by others to achieve this kind of adjustment - a repulsive choice forced upon some by most - resulted in Van Gogh's corpse lying in a wheatfield and the collapse of Charles Ives' physical and mental health before the age of 50. And I don't apologize for comparing myself to those two great artists. My failure or success in making work of that stature will not be determined by the idiots of my day any more than theirs was by contemporary idiots. But if I don't try to make work as personally honest and artistically ambitious I have no right to call myself an artist. And that is the only job description I've ever had any interest in fulfilling.

The dilemma here is probably meaningless to most people… it seems like yet another manifestation of my absolute self-obsession. Well, this blog is a steam valve as truly as the music itself has been. If it helps to rid my mind of a fraction of this pressure, then it's worthwhile. In the actual living of life, I try to be the kind of friend who is fun to be around and helpful when needed. Other than with those with whom I have a close, reciprocal relationship, I never fully air these woes outside the blog or some expressive equivalent. For a while now, I've mostly opted to stay home rather than drag my burdens around publicly. I've replaced most correspondence with these cloistered monologues and comedy routines, since the need to vent would unavoidably and negatively affect the content of any email or phone calls. Isolation has resulted, but that's preferable to the strained friendships that would otherwise occur; it seems better to have a wide range of glad acquaintances I can periodically "catch up with" than a sequence of close friendships done in by my own problematic personality.

I'm also aware that these self-indulgent horrors hold sway only when I'm not fully absorbed by the crises of my family. Right now, depression is acute because I'm not otherwise occupied by emergencies affecting them, and it's oddly welcome for that reason. I reckon that, given patience, soon it'll all seem less pressing and I can rejoin life in my role of eccentric, ne'er-do-well amigo: there is a sort of "depression release" that comes after critical mass has been exceeded. I'm waiting for it. When that happens, a refreshing gust of apathy sweeps over me and, for a while, the inner torments give way to enjoyment of numerous amusements. That's when I'm at my social best.

Anyway, as my family members are subject to depression stemming from old age, ill-health, the deaths of loved ones and the mind boggling cruelty of the Gr*ce brood, I am usually forced to maintain a happy demeanor around them. It's part of the duty to help. So please forgive this entry as the necessary expression of overwhelming stress and sorrow. I'm pretty sure it'll end up getting deleted out of embarrassment anyway. In any event, it's no more harmful or noteworthy than these songs I've wasted my life creating, and likewise, it'll soon be superseded by something far more trivial and entertaining.

Stay tuned, if you care to.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

I'm too depressed to write anything worth posting; it wouldn't be overstating things to call it despair.
So instead of the posts I write and delete daily, here's a pretty nice online write up found at:
As with the Long Island Press piece, this will probably vanish in a few days, which is why I'm putting it up here. I am grateful for these web reviews, but it's all so fucking ephemeral. So is everything else, I guess.

A reluctant Sport Murphy releases 3rd LP
A true outsider to the music industry, encouraged by friends, returns with a heartfelt tribute to a lost brother.

Texas born singer/songwriter Mike 'Sport' Murphy and his nephew Peter Vega were raised as brothers and remained very close into their adult years, both ending up in New York city. They appear together as kids in a home photo on the cover of Murphy's third full-length, Uncle. When Peter died at the World Trade Center in September 2001 performing rescue work as a member of Brooklyn Ladder 118, Murphy "...decided to withdraw from the world, and that included making music." But the trauma was only one factor in his decision. He already had one foot out that door-in his own words, Murphy "loathes" the music industry. He'd rather just make music for the folks he knows. Six years ago when he finished his wonderfully eclectic solo debut Willoughby (a Charles Ives-to-Brian Wilson project that followed a several-year stint fronting NYC folk/punkers The Skels), Murphy self-released the LP and then simply handed it out free to friends.

But the good folks at indie label Kill Rock Stars (Olympia, WA) picked up Willoughby and gave it wider distribution in 1999, gaining Murphy some recognition in the US press and winning him some new fans. Murphy composed a second LP for KRS, Magic Beans (2000), and was working on a third. But when the press and the public "generally ignored" Magic Beans, Murphy says he stopped work on its follow-up and "...destroyed the recordings and the arrangements." Then the suicide pilots brought down the twin towers.

Murphy wrote recently, "After Pete's death, the thought of making songs remained unappealing, and I certainly didn't want to mine my family's heartbreak for the sake of tune fodder. Only the idea of 'speaking' to Pete enabled me to view another work as anything more than meaningless, and that's all I've tried to do."

Kill Rock Stars released Murphy's new album, the 22-track Uncle, three weeks ago for the US. It is a patchwork scrapbook of Murphy's years with his younger brother, an outpouring of grief and anger, an a celebration of family and friends in the face of evil and unfairness.

Directed as it is to Pete, Uncle feels clean of demagoguery and cheap bandwagoneering. And the album has enough humor and variety to stand as a piece of heartfelt entertainment untethered to those horrible moments 17 months ago. The themes of evil and love that run through Uncle are timeless. Through simple honesty of emotion, Murphy has kept these songs unburdened by the sort of gang-mentality self-righteousness imbuing, for example, Paul McCartney's embarrassing anthem, Freedom. Murphy, like his friend Irwin Chusid (of Songs In The Key of Z), and like Kurt Wagner (of Lambchop), plays with musical genres and styles with sly joy. On this disc you'll hear simple folk ballads (No Fair), Brian Wilson/Bruce Springsteen tributes (Paul La Grutta), quirky novelty (Behistun), evocative pop (The Late Days Of Summer), and a nine-second ditty called You Lousy Stinking Scumbag. Scattered among the songs are recordings of Pete and Sport as children.

Some two dozen friends helped Murphy bring this collection to fruition. There's a lot of sadness in this mostly-quiet record, but there's joy, too. Murphy says, "Uncle is an album for an audience of one and he'll never hear it."

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Transcript of the first live Sport Murphy webchat, 2-5-03. We hope future chats will be a little more on-topic and I think a moderator might help. While the following may be confusing, we post it in its entirety for whatever bits of interest may be gleaned. Thanks to all participants.

mikesportmurphy: ok, I'm here, so, anyone?
mikesportmurphy: standing by.
< Go_go_Rangers03 has entered the room >
mikesportmurphy: welcome go
Go_go_Rangers03: hello room
mikesportmurphy: hey go
Go_go_Rangers03: sport chat YEEEEEEEAHHHHHHH
mikesportmurphy: yes hi do you have a question?
Go_go_Rangers03: wher are the PPPPUUUUSSSSYYYY
mikesportmurphy: lol none here go
< mwf_iso_? has entered the room>
mikesportmurphy: greetings mwf
mikesportmurphy: hi mwf what's up tonight
mwf_iso_?: gogo are you into the rangers
< Styxfan593932 has entered the room>
Go_go_Rangers03: fckind a mwf RAAAANNNNGERRRRRSSSSS
mikesportmurphy: this is a q and a about my music, folks. welcome styx
mwf_iso_?: asl gogo
Go_go_Rangers03: 25 m port washinton ny mwf HOOOORRRRNNNNYY
mikesportmurphy: styx?
Styxfan593932: y
mikesportmurphy: yes, welcome... any questions?
Styxfan593932: ty :)
mwf_iso_?: hmmm gogo you sound hot ; )
< collegebabewithcam has entered the room >
collegebabewithcam: Hi my name is Courtney and I am having nude fun on my new webcam
Styxfan593932: y i hv a ?
mikesportmurphy: ok styx, if that means "yes i hve a question," shoot
collegebabewithcam: Hi my name is Courtney and I am having nude fun on my new webcam
Styxfan593932: y wz paradise theatr so fkng awesome????
mikesportmurphy: ??? i'm here to discuss my new album
mikesportmurphy: on kill rock stars
Go_go_Rangers03: mwf BLLLLLOWWWWW MEEEEE
mikesportmurphy: entitled "uncle"
< Styxfan593932 has left the room>
< DemonSeedDarkLord has entered the room>
< the_one_and_only_53> has entered the room>
mikesportmurphy: welcome
mwf_iso_?: mmm gogo i'd love to
DemonSeedDarkLord: aNy GrRLZzZ hErE
the_one_and_only_53: yo demon wuzzuuupppp!!!!!!
mwf_iso_? : mmmm gogo i'm wet
DemonSeedDarkLord: HeY mWf AsL
collegebabewithcam: Hi my name is Courtney and I am having nude fun on my new webcam
collegebabewithcam: Cum join me at ...I'll be waiting, studs!
DemonSeedDarkLord: HeY cOrTnEy ArE yOu ReLly NuDeS?
< collegebabewithcam has left the room>
< DemonSeedDarkLord: has left the room>
< mikesportmurphy is "standing by">
the_one_and_only_53: did demon leave
< the_one_and_only_742 has entered the room >
the_one_and_only_742: sport murphey caht here?
< mikesportmurphy is reactivated>
mikesportmurphy: hi, 742 yes... sport murphy chat - what can i do for you
the_one_and_only_742: r u really sport murphey
mikesportmurphy: yes, welcome! what's your question
the_one_and_only_742: prove it
mikesportmurphy: um... i'm not sure how to do that, but i'm him
the_one_and_only_742: u r not
mwf_iso_? : (slowly stroking gogos erect member)
the_one_and_only_742: bullsht ur not sport murphey
mikesportmurphy: ok skip it
the_one_and_only_53: lol "toao742" nice name
the_one_and_only_742: fuck you 53
the_one_and_only_53: real inteelinget 742
mwf_iso_? : (rubbing gogos massive boner)
the_one_and_only_742: mwf is a faget not a real chick
the_one_and_only_53: fuck you 742
< MackdaddyJason has entered the room >
MackdaddyJason: where mybizzatches at?/?///
< love4sport has entered the room>
love4sport: is sport here
mikesportmurphy: hi, yes thank god
MackdaddyJason: yo yo love4 asl
mikesportmurphy: hey love... got a question?
mwf_iso_? : (parting my lips and likking them sedudtivly)
the_one_and_only_742: faget
love4sport: sport?
the_one_and_only_53: rotf @ "toao742" your the fag
mikesportmurphy: yes, love go ahead
Go_go_Rangers03: FFUUUUCKKKKK
love4sport: you look like jon cusak lol : )
love4sport: you see hi fidelity?
mwf_iso_? : seductively i mean
mikesportmurphy: yes i know. cusack.
mwf_iso_? : (and unzips gogos pants)
the_one_and_only_53: rotgff cusack is a woman you fags
mikesportmurphy: i sorta thought we'd talk abut my album uncle
mikesportmurphy: about
the_one_and_only_742: your stupd 53 thats joan his sister
mwf_iso_? : r u there gogo? (wantonly rubbing my love nub)
< [@@OI2jkf has entered the room>
MackdaddyJason: yo rizzangers can i send you a pm
MackdaddyJason: wuzzup [@@OI2jkf you got a cizzam? asl?
[@@OI2jkf: Bush is full of SHIT
< bushisnotfullofshit has entered the room>
[@@OI2jkf: warmongers are so fucked
bushisnotfullofshit: no u are scumbag
mwf_iso_? : (gnawing on gogos kneecaps)
love4sport: but u do look like him its uncanny if u were younger
the_one_and_only_53: i know who joan cusack is 742 you dick
mikesportmurphy: i have a new album named uncle
[@@OI2jkf: no u are asshole bush secretly funded the brown shirts in cuba to get plutonium mines for more profit - read chomsky loser
mikesportmurphy: the original purpose of this chat was to do a q and a...
love4sport: i saw your show at street level with the skels
bushisnotfullofshit: i have read chomsky dickhead and hes as stupid as you
bushisnotfullofshit: slick willy arranged the 9-11 attacks to draw attention away from his sex life and vince fosters murdr asswipe
mwf_iso_? : (rubs her lower back against gogos workboots and moans)
< Christy44dd has entered the room>
MackdaddyJason: huzzello Chrizzisty asl ???
[@@OI2jkf: your so fucken naive anushead - bush invented aids
Christy44dd: I am so eager to play with my new naked webcam! Come join me at
< Christy44dd has left the room>
< MackdaddyJason has left the room>
bushisnotfullofshit: deluded cockbucket - aids was a legacy of the new deal you commie
Go_go_Rangers03: mwf u there?
mikesportmurphy: see, i thought we'd discuss this album, or maybe the bad mood i've been in
[@@OI2jkf: check your history roidbreath, when nixon was implementing his covert campaign to infect african americans with impetigo and ringworm, it was only the roosevelt imperative of 1945 which permitted full scrutiny by an impartial international council who determined that the entire scheme, linked to copper interests of a very young matt drudge (ring any bells, slimetwat?) and his cronies, was a fraudulent religious-right boondoggle to kill innocent animals for the benefit of multinational corporate thinktank deathsquads, so fuck you mudnipple
mwf_iso_?: yesss gogo purrrrr (stick pinky toe in gogos nostril)
< the_one_and_only_05 has entered the room>
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< the_one_and_only_742 has left the room>
love4sport: sport?
bushisnotfullofshit: yeah, right, mazurkatestes... trot out your old conspiracy theories when everyone knows by now that the kennedies had already sacked the national trust for blood money with which to silence the gangsters they hired to kill general westmoreland becasue he knew about their sex orgies with dorothy provine and anna maria alberghetti while luxembourg fell to the russians under their coke-encrusted noses but the whole thing collapsed becuase a certain bill moyers - apologist for the weather underground and the baader-meinhof gang - had advised them it would be "politically incorrect" to intervene you whorescab
bushisnotfullofshit: 'scuse me i meant "because"
mikesportmurphy: yes still here
[@@OI2jkf: bushisnotfullofshit is a neofeudalist shithammer. i read it on the bathroom wall in the vatican lol
love4sport: lol
Go_go_Rangers03: LOL LOL LOL
mwf_iso_?: ROTFL (scraping her eyeball against gogos belt loop)
[@@OI2jkf: lol - hosepiston
bushisnotfullofshit: grommetsponge
love4sport: hey sport! the skels rocked man i saw you once! CUSACK!
mikesportmurphy: yeah, uh, thanks
bushisnotfullofshit: reaad the constitution, thermometersac
[@@OI2jkf: no YOU read it, dripladle
love4sport: sport?
love4sport: sport?
< amplyendowedteenagerebecca has entered the room>
mikesportmurphy: yes, i'm still here for christ's sake what?
< amplyendowedteenagerebecca has left the room>
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mikesportmurphy: so the thing is, i'm really into charles ives, and, um...
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< mwf_iso_? has left the room>
love4sport: sport? are you still here?
the_one_and_only_05: hey love4!!!
mikesportmurphy: YES I'M HERE!!!
love4sport: hey theone05, hello
the_one_and_only_05: male, 32 here
loveforsport: mmm nice, theone05 f, 29
mikesportmurphy: maybe i can get the ball rolling... the frustrating thing for me when I am making my music is that I find that I am...
the_one_and_only_05: love: cam?
loveforsport: sure
< the_one_and_only_05 has left the room>
< loveforsport has left the room>
mikesportmurphy: ...often thwarted by fate in cruel and crushing ways. I am especially troubled by the inability of my music to...
< TheBluebirdOfHappiness entered the room>
TheBluebirdOfHappiness: Hello... Sport Murphy?
mikesportmurphy: Yes! I'm here!!!! Hello!
< TheBluebirdOfHappiness left the room >
mikesportmurphy: well.
mikesportmurphy: figures.
mikesportmurphy: am i alone here?
mikesportmurphy: guess i can do this alone. so: sport!
mikesportmurphy: yeah. mike?
mikesportmurphy: please tell us about your new album, and charles ives, and whatever bummer shit is on your mind this evening.
mikesportmurphy: sure, mike. in my opinion, I am, personally speaking...
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< Steve_Pick> has entered the room>
GriceARoni: griefstricken fem here with brand new buttcam! any media?
Steve_Pick: hey G ...limpdick journalist with promo cds for sale. wanna chat?
< mikesportmurphy has left the room>

Monday, February 10, 2003

Oh! You're back.

Well, since the blog is supposed to be a communication medium or expressive outlet, let me communicate or express this.

Sometimes people ask me things like… "are you doing any shows?" or "How is the new album doing?" or "Where can I get the cd?" …things like that. My response is usually flippant, and the impression is probably "well he obviously doesn't give a shit about any of this." On the contrary; it matters way too much to me. Sincere answers: I'd like to, but I dunno / I have no idea / Order it.

The band I was playing with regularly a few years ago, the SoundSations, disintegrated at exactly the time Willoughby began gaining some steam. The subsequent versions of that same band have convened intermittently, pretty much on the basis of "a show is booked, let's rehearse a set a couple of times." This essentially requires planning a set of fairly familiar tunes… about a dozen fail-safe numbers we can brush up on. Uncle seems to have struck a chord with people who would usually find my work hard to enjoy. This is good, because it was intended as a more digestible album than usual, in respect to Pete's taste in music, which was more like yours than mine. I think shows concentrating on the new songs from that album would meet a similarly open response. I dearly wish there were musicians who really wanted to do this.

There's little incentive for straining to arrange performances of stuff I wrote 10 years ago or presenting ill-prepared versions of newer things in 40-minute "get on, get off" sets in little shit holes where a proper soundcheck isn't even possible. It sucks from several standpoints: I want to help the label sell copies because it is wonderful to have them put my stuff out there, and even if touring helped very little, it would show them I'm not apathetic. Also, I really enjoy performing.There are few things more exciting than to be surrounded by sympathetic and well-rehearsed musicians doing material I am passionate about. When this happens, the audience response is almost always strong and inspiring. I dearly wish there were musicians who really wanted to do this.

But the point is, simply: I do hope there will be more shows and more songs. The flesh is willing but the spirit is weak. I can't blame the numerous friends who've come along to help for short periods of time, but without some regular and reliable team, it's just plain impossible to get any momentum going. If anything happens I'll tell you, but please don't interpret inaction as indifference. I dearly wish there were musicians who really wanted to do this. I haven't entirely ruled out shows with taped accompaniment, as unappealing as that sounds. It may turn out to be the only practical way to work, and if I can contrive a way to make it interesting, I'll do it. If you want to support a worthwhile cause, help KRS by buying numerous copies of Uncle as gifts or landfill. It would please me greatly if, somehow. they didn't take a big loss on this album.

(The preceding entry has been radically re-edited from the original posted version. It's time to tail off on all the soul-baring, don't you think?)