What IS a Zendo Tavern?
The lyrics came first, imagining monks, AWOL from DBZ, going into town to hit the local zen tavern for beer and some shots - or tea, if it really is the Zendo Tavern. On the back of the CD is a stage set - an idea of the Zendo Tavern - sparsely furnished, cushions on scrubbed wood floor at low tables. Dimly outlined in the shadows above the patron, who has thrown his happi coat over the rice paper screen, is a painting: a nude reclines odalisk-like, she holds a book of Rousseau, a feather quill pen, an Opossum lurks on the back of the couch... a variation on the paintings in all the bars in movie saloons of the old west. The patron could be Asian or Western - alone, meditating, deep in his cups of tea, or vodka - or sake. A different kind of zazen.
We looked for a name for such a mixed band of musicians playing such a mixed bag of songs.
A zendo is a refuge from the every day world - a place one goes to confront one's self through meditation, zazen, alone or with others on a similar quest. And in a western sense, pubs or taverns are also places we go to find refuge - to meditate, to confront ourselves and others also searching, asking questions. The Zendo Tavern, is a meeting of East and West both in the diversity of musicians, the music, and in the idea of all creatures seeking a refuge - the songs are meditations in the sense of thinking about 'just what the hell are we doing here on this planet'? Someone said, 'Ah, the zendo is the high road, and the tavern is the low road.' But this is not so - they are both ways to finding a path. Playing music with Yiming, Jan and Phil was a refuge filled with gratitude and pleasure.