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"Rumours of Conan's death have been greatly exaggerated" - Mark Twain's ghost



I must begin by admitting that this entire new project came as a complete surprise to me. At age 62 I had pretty much resigned myself to doing what I had been doing since the mid 80’s: enjoying a quiet and retired existence. In the mid 80’s, after Conan III: A Sure Thing was released, I was at the crossroads of my life and felt recording and performing were to be a thing of the past. In 1977 I lost one of the greatest friends a person could wish for. I stood by his bedside at a Sacramento hospital and watched day by day for over a month as he slowly and painfully slipped away. The doctors shook their heads and admitted they had no idea what had attacked and destroyed his body. It wasn't until several years later that AIDS was discovered to be the culprit. But from that time on as I watched more and more of my friends dying of the same disease that I realized my own mortality and decided my musical lifestyle was not fulfilling my inner self. The first 40-some years of my life had been focused upon me, myself, and I. This is a common condition with mankind, which begins at birth, when we focus selfishly upon our own personal wants and needs. As babies and young children, it is obviously about us. As we grow older the condition doesn't really change too much for many of us, but we become cleverer in how we cover it up in our social mores. This is the fun time of our lives: coming of age, making our own decisions, pursuing our individual dreams and discovering our very selves. Some of us get the picture early and begin realizing that to have a fulfilling relationship with anyone else, we must learn to share, to focus on others and their needs. This was my midlife crisis: It really wasn't about me anymore, but what I could give back to others. I began volunteering with the hospice ministries of the secular world and as I sat with person after person who was at the end of their time here, I began to search for a more spiritual life. I am the product of a mother who was a farm laborer, cab driver, part time prostitute, and hotel operator. My mother gave me theories about who my father might have been, a Greek whom was one of my mother's "customers", a southern naval boy fresh back from world war II, but certainly not the man on my birth certificate, nor the man from whom my middle name was taken. I have been given 4 name changes since my early childhood. Because of my mother's background I was taken from her at age 4 and placed with my maternal grandparents who were traveling evangelists. I had many reasons to be bitter, angry and self centered as I grew up. I was legally, literally and figuratively a bastard. During my early rock and roll years I pretty much lived up to all the aspects of that title. My early music was recorded on "Tell Ol' Anita" in 1979. The songs I wrote were focused and written about my own life's progress, declines, loves and losses. I pretty much raised myself from age 17 and much of that was living on the streets of major California cities, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as Henry Miller put it: "Walking the streets, looking for a friendly face." At age 40 something, I began to seek the God I had been taught about as a child. I was at opposite ends from where my lifestyle had been focused. Organized religion did and still does, turn me off. I discovered God loved me throughout my life as I was and as I am. Once I discovered that, I began to writing gospel and again, about my own experiences. The churches and gospel radio etc, in general wanted nothing to do with my gospel songwriting. Something I had learned early in life is the principle of "Standing Tall," the title of one of my songs, and alone as I have had to do many times in my life and now had to do again. Whether from the secular view or the Christian view I needed to be an individual and stand for what I believed and for who I was and had always been. If I can't stand for what I believe in when I am the only one in the crowd, I sure can't stand tall just because the crowd thinks alike. I kept writing songs about my life but only for a journalistic reason. I had spent 10 years writing my autobiography "From Bastard To Believer" but took little interest in having it published because it is too intimate and detailed from birth to now and I figured no one needed to hear about Conan's story. My last word to those who are in my position is: 1. You are not alone, although sometimes you may have to stand alone. 2. If you are going to find inner peace, the avenue to that peace is sometimes more of an individual journey and not a universal one. I continued focusing on serving others in hospice ministry, until one day when a record label in Australia contacted one of my musicians from the rock and roll days and said they wanted to put "Tell Ol' Anita" on a compilation album. I was puzzled, as the album had drawn little interest during the early years. There were some very supportive radio stations but they were few in number. When I went on the Internet I discovered 4 pages in Google focusing upon the album and me. I was shocked at the price the sellers were asking both here and abroad. As I read blog after blog I realized from the writing everyone thought I was dead. "He was a great songwriter, he was a terrible singer, he was a nut case," etc. I sat down and wrote a song called "3 On A Dime" telling those who would hear I'm Not Dead, recorded it in my living room and put it out on YOUTUBE. Emails began pouring in from radio stations from all over the world responding to email I had also sent out proclaiming "I'm Not Dead!" They were asking for copies of the new music. Friends from California began encouraging me to take my recordings I had been making for the last few years and put them on CD. Other friends began to put the different parts into place. I guess it is not over yet and I'm surely not dead so here we are. My music is my autobiography. I write the songs about the situation at hand and then decided what genre it will fall into. I write rock and roll, big band, country, country rock, gospel, blues. I don't have any one style. The genre usually fits the mode of the song. I hope you enjoy the music, as I have been one blessed person to be fortunate enough to share it once again. Regards, Conan

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Conan as a baby Conan performing live at Kezar Conan at the beach Conan live at Kezar the three musicians Conan with cards Conan in the mirror ConanDog artwork by Gregg Schwartz