Posted by: Mark Nielsen | July 25, 2009

Bach: The “Other” Sebastian

Dreamed I was at a Hurricane Gumbo concert (my brother-in-law Brez’s zydeco band), but the boys had sold out in the strangest way.

I first sensed something was weird when the lights came up and frontman Bill wasn’t there, or if he was, he was on a piano to the side and not singing. Instead, they had hair band mainstay Sebastian Bach playing drums and singing lead. And instead of playing zydeco, they performed a re-arranged metal power ballad that had barely any zydeco to it at all.

(BTW – my middle name is Sebastian, so the dream is also probably about me somehow.)

When I turned to another audience member to ask about this second-rate metalhead import, in the neighboring seat was Brez, who should’ve been onstage. “Yeah, I’m going up,” he said. “We just wanted to do this first.” Then I accused him and the band of performing the song just to appease the famously diva-like Bach, and only hiring him to draw bigger crowds. He didn’t deny it.

Then cut to later in the show (dream), and a mousy female fiddler is at the lead mike, saying they can’t do a song because the grand piano isn’t properly miked. Fiddler? Grand piano? A chick? More un-Gumbo-like changes. At least two audience members jump up to help with the mikes.

Cut to later, and a different female vocalist with dark curly hair is finishing up a jazz song.(What?!) When she is done, she steps toward the back of the stage and gives Bill a big, wet kiss (I think he had the accordion on). More compromise, though now for “personal” reasons.

From the stage, Bill welcomes “Mark Nielsen, and the other Mark Nielsen” to the show. And I realize that the chief engineer for WXRT radio (the other Mark) is in the row behind me, two seats over. We shake hands.

After the show, Mark Nielsen approaches me, and immediately invites me to “the games”. I don’t get what he means, and he says “the Olympics, in Paris. Wanna come?”… As if he regularly invites near strangers to fly overseas with him. As if in some alternate universe Paris had actually won their Olympic bid for the 2012 games, instead of London. It’s awkward, and I explain it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get away.

Then the dog barked to go out, and I woke from the dream.

I think it was partly about my anxiety over attempts to get Americana musician Bill Mallonee to do a show at my church this fall. Also maybe about adjusting to changes in general, and/or ambition without vision (esp. the Bach travesty).

Dreams, man… Always a long, strange trip, from yourself to yourself.

[Note: further interpretation, some funny some serious, in the Comments below]



  1. It’s all about sex. and your mother.

    • Well, I thought that was a given…
      Also, I didn’t mention that I’ve been reading _Shakey_ , the authorized Neil Young biography. Fascinating cat. Post-polio, epilieptic, and as mercurial and unpredictable as they come. So the dream was also about artists and musicians that embrace change as a part of their growth, and document those changes in their art (including strange changes where they give away too much control to others, like morphing a zydeco band into a testing ground for post-metal morons, and Americana-wannabe’s).
      Young’s frustrated involvement in Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, and with the equally mercurial David Crosby (more messed-up than either Stills or Young) … that’s the kind of involvement/entanglement with church, women, other men I’m envious of, my mother, other artists, that I’m trying to work out in my subconscious.

      Yeah. Good luck with that…

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