I don’t know how I met, or in the 21st Century manner of introductions became Cyber-Friends with Adam Jan Kaufmann, as he is primarily working out of Poznan, Poland or Berlin and I, in Los Angeles, California (I believe it was through the underground indie poetry Illuminati but whatever conspiracies I am willing to accept), almost instantly I clicked with the verses and snippets of songs, and sometimes full songs he would post religiously, as music is indeed his religion. For about a year he’d post songs I loved or would grow to love, but most especially his own work. Unlike Rock N Rollers of whom I’ve known too many in the U.S. of A, A.J. knew his Rimbaud, his jazz, blues and beatnik roots, and what really brings poetry and Rock N Roll into its greatest unholy union of mediums. We both mourned the death of Lou Reed together for months. His work, primarily acoustic and electric guitars, synths, and 60’s rock Allman/ Doors/ Steely Dan keys, along with a healthy respect for the 50’s jazz singer torch-song are reminiscent of early Tom Waits or Warren Zevon, forgetting the fact that A.J. has a high tenor but mines very similar lyrical terrain, mixed like crystal meth with the classic rock of The Doors especially, but also the folksiness of not a Dylan but a Guthrie – a man of the streets and not hiding behind any shades. A.J. doesn’t mince words – when you hear Stoned Gypsy Wanderer, you are hearing directly from the horse’s mouth. He was and is The Wanderer. His album Second Hand Man, takes us through hippie fables and broken barroom dreams equally, spun into a perfect kaleidoscope of folk, classic rock, psychedelia and a small touch of electronica, with a large amount of Closing Time melancholy. Kaufmann’s latest project Sauer Adler, meaning Acid Eagle, while I stupidly wondered if it was the hybrid names of Slash and Guns n Roses original drummer Steven Adler, is a whole new beast to behold. While Kaufmann’s roots are 100% on display, he has developed a harder sound. More Krautrock, which is still a very foreign concept to most Americans and especially right now (asides Kraftwerk), the folk guitar sounds of the working class, the poetry, and the voice of truth and humility is there in abundance, along with his new partner in crime, Kacper Wojaczek; they have moved on to new terrains that haven’t been quite heard before, yet at times you’ll think it’s something you’ve heard a 100 times or once way back in the past. The Trips and Dreams of Stephen Adler (Tentative Release June 15), seems way more produced and professionally recorded than any of A.J.’s earlier work, but opens way more doors and creates more possibilities for what a couple men with a vision can create and get away with. While guaranteed not to be a Hot 100 chart-topper, new terrain is being explored in depth, and I can’t wait to see where this strange and trippy ride will decide to dart off to next.
Mike Brennan was born in San Diego, lived in London for seven years, and then spent most of his formative years in Los Angeles. He was an United States Navy Aviation Bosuns Mate Handler 3rd Class(E-4) and served onboard the USS Kitty Hawk and USS Carl Vinson, was stationed in Yokosuka Japan; Pensacola Fl; San Diego Ca; Pearl Harbor Hi; Bremerton Wa; and Norfolk Va. He was honorably discharged from the U.S Navy in 2009 after serving five deployments in support of The Global War on Terrorism (Whatever that means). He holds a BS in English and Film Studies, was a Freshman Composition writing instructor at Northern Michigan University, and received his dual MA in English Literature and Creative Writing on May 8, 2012. He is a singer/songwriter, spoken word artist, and has had both poetry and prose appear in The Chiron Review, The Eunoia Review, Down in the Dirt Magazine, CC&D and in the Scar Publications anthologies Blood Heart Cadaver, It Was All Preordained and Entanglement. He is currently desperately trying to finish a novel and has had the novella A Petal Under Pavement published by Down in the Dirt Magazine in 2013, and his selected poems Postcards from Exile published in 2014.