Fake Zappa (aka Jason T Ingram), has many strings to his bow, although he only has one hat. That’s the hat he wears when performing with his band, Dialectic Flowers, that he formed in 2015.
I suppose people are going to ask:
Why is this Portland based, Artist/Musician/ Producer/Activist featuring on a web site that is predominantly concerned with the promotion of Arts and Music in Lincolnshire?
Well, it all started with TWO subjects: OUR NHS and Robert Wyatt.
Without duplicating content that is already on other areas of this site, I need to re-address why LAAMB exists.
The reason I set up Lincolnshire Arts and Music Bulletin in the first place, was to recognise the contributions of local artists and musicians to our #NHSUprising march/concert, held in Louth in 2017. Supporting #OURNHS in the singular form of Saving Louth Hospital, it followed that the NHS is much more than a single hospital, a group of hospitals, or even the Ambulance Service.
It became apparent (Post the Louth gig), that the NHS is sadly failing even the most vulnerable people in our country, and that this failure was also happening overseas. I’m specifically speaking about Mental Illness, and the running down of appropriate services for those affected people that need them to function; to live their lives; to survive!
In January 2017, I started communicating with a discouraged American Multimedia Artist and Mental Health Activist, Fake Zappa (aka Jason T Ingram). This came about when he posted a portrait of Robert Wyatt that he had painted, on the Internet. Granted Jason’s permission, the portrait was turned into a birthday card for Robert, and included greetings from his many fans around the world. Discovering my friendship with Robert, Jason said he was considering a cover of some of Wyatt’s work, which he did both as a solo project and live, with his band, Dialectic Flowers*. Encouraged by support from both Robert and Alfie, Jason began to “function” again as a working musician, with future projects in the pipeline.
Tragedy struck for Jason on 22nd March, 2018 when his house caught fire, pretty much destroying everything, including his instruments, recording studio, and home. While many recordings were saved, some he is trying to find, but most of his recent audio and video projects are lost.
For Jason, this was devastating, and only now is he able to start some form of rebuilding his life; a process which is a constant struggle as he also comes to terms with his mental fragility.
In the meantime, I had asked Jason for his views on Mental Health in the States, as we look certain to be dumped into a system like theirs in the not to distant future.
Importantly, I wanted to know his views as an Artist with Mental illness, and being Jason, he obliged to the fullest. (see links below).
He said in the opening of his writing for LAAMB:
“When I was asked to write an article about mental health and the arts, I asked myself the same question I do whenever I dump my mind on the internet: what’s everyone telling me, what is nobody telling me, and what do I think people need to hear? Also, am I mentally ill? If a nice subject like this goes into depressed ranting – indeed. I’m totally batty. Be aware that some of this art-icle is simply the voices in my head that happened to find their way onto my computer.”
In late 2018, Jason was again functioning well enough to be able to take on a major project – as Producer for an album by Seattle based David Johnson that is a tribute to legendary American folk singer Joni Mitchell. The project “In Search of Love and Music” can be found here.
For the artist now known as Fake Zappa, the completion of that album has been a major achievement, and he is seeking other similar undertakings and collaborations, favouring a project with musicians from Lincolnshire.
Another mini project was a collaboration between Jason’s band, Dialectic Flowers, and Japanese Synthesizer Master, Hataken. I had introduced Jason and Ken some months before, and this is the result of that introduction. Unfortunately, personal circumstances prevented the show going live during Hataken’s brief tour of the USA in 2018. Ken’s own association with Lincolnshire (and me), began when he visited in 2012. His track “Lincolnshire” is a reflection of that trip.
A year ago, just as Jason was starting to function again as a musician, his house burned down, and he escaped with only a handful of his possessions. Trying to deal with the fire, insurance companies and his musical ambition, again brought him crashing down to a central reality – battling to survive. It’s been a long road, and significantly, his struggle to find support from the American Healthcare sector has been a major challenge. Those who should be helping him have been (sometimes as a fault in the system) have hindered any progress he was trying to make.
His comments on his struggles with mental health and especially with the authorities should not be simply dismissed as an “American problem”. This is a system that our government is willing to impose on us, in return for a handful of dollars and a tick in the Friends box.
Jacob Badger: Bass Wizard (booking/PR, bowed acoustic and electric basses – fretless bass guitar)
Knute Snortum: Keyboard Wizard (transcriptions, treated keyboards and infrared instruments)
Jason T. Ingram: Lead Wizard and Micromanager (percussion, winds, keyboards)
LINKS & CONTACTS:
Web Site (Sunday Driver Productions)