I found out that Nathan was an artist the day I caught him stocking one of the piles of mysterious Diamon Lion postcards that had appeared in some theaters around LA. Diamond Lion is my improv group - none of us had any idea where these postacards had come from. I grabbed one and said “Did you make these??” He just sort of nodded and smiled.
He ended up making a bunch of posters for Diamond Lion. He hand made each of those Rankin and Bass christmas characters (and if you don’t know what we look like, trust me - he nailed it.) Later he made weekly posters for my stand up show, Big Money. My co-host, DC, and I particularly liked the “weird” one he made us for April Fools Day last year. He also drew me that “ferociously cute” dinosaur - which is one of my favorite things, and is the background to my twitter page.
I wanted to post some of the art that he made for me, and the posters, and some stuff he made I just liked, because I want people to see them. But I don’t feel comfortable showing them to you by linking to his blog, because his suicide note is at the top of it, and I guess now it always will be. Even writing the words “suicide note” feels so personal and dramatic, like taping someone’s underwear to the blackboard. Sorry, Nathan.
I don’t have any wise words to finish this with, besides life is short, no matter how it ends. So do everything, dream big, hold tight and when someone tells you your work is remarkable, try to believe them.
As Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
One of his engineers Robmix on how Jackson worked: “One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57. He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.”
Reasons why I laugh when people say he wasn’t a real musician.