Head Below The Clouds "You can read in between all of the things that have no meaning." I was talking to someone today and she told me, 'It just doesn't matter. The only way to keep from going into a blind rage is to tell yourself that it just doesn't matter.' For a moment, I thought that she may have been right. So much today makes you want to go into a blind rage. 30 years ago people used to make albums about imaginary places to save themselves and those around them from the moment that they might finally lose it. These days, we're just not wired that way. It's the square one that we keep coming back to. Albums about imaginary places seem as worthless as umbrellas to stop falling anvils. But Artie's record is something else entirely. An album about reimagining yourself. Well, more like imagined again. Reattempted, maybe. The first time I heard this music, I struggled with where it was coming from. There I was, in the mindset of "if at 1st you don't succeed, maybe you were wrong to begin with." And here comes Artie with 'try, try again.' Who the fuck does Art Lamonica think he is, asking me to imagine living happily ever after in a Little Crooked House, I asked myself? Except that I would listen to that song, and I would WANT that "I will care for you if you look after me" reality to exist a little. Art's no kid. He shouldn't care so much anymore. But he does. "All these people with their heads so down. All these people drinking trying to forget. I, will remember." Don't despair, I will remember for you, he says. And here's this record to keep reminding you. "We'll put the welcome mat down. Don't have to sell now." On Head Below The Clouds, Artie asks what the illusion is, and what the reality is. How much of the reality is just crammed into your head until you don't know anything else? Can you be totally aware of what's going on in the world and still prevail the way this record suggests? Is Art Lamonica the antidote for worldly poison? Well, just put on "An Open Letter" and dance with your baby at night and forgive yourself a little, I say. Even Artie knows that he's getting at something that isn't easy. "A Cold Night At The Carnavale," one of the most haunting things on this record features entirely improvised lyrics. The jury's still out on some of these things. He knows "it's a scary ride." It's not just an album of false optimism, and pieces like "Carnavale" and instrumentals like "Autostrada" and "Bella Mostro" with their unexplainable Italian titles spend their days in a haze of inbetween, of getting AT something that you want desperately, but aren't so sure will be there. Artie worries about this also. Listen to him sing about the cold he can't shake in "December," beating his fists against a fortress of solitude in "Shame On You" and the resignation in "Lucky Charm" and know this is true. And here's why I love Art Lamonica. I only believed that John Lennon's "Imagine" wasn't a bunch of "easy for you to say" schlock because it was coming from a man who once said he beat women and was reforming himself from real bouts of cruelty and self-doubt. I figured, when a guy like that voices that kind of idealism, I believe him. And so it is with this record. When Artie hopefully asks his friend about starting a band, aspires to a strange combination of Louis Prima cool and hallucinogenic local stardom in the rough industrial area of Red Hook, Brooklyn, or of living happily ever after despite the imperfections, he's made his case. "I'll come running to you," he says and I know he means it. Art Lamonica can afford to imagine these things because he's willing to commit to the realities that they will become. He's spent his life committing to them. I believe this record. You will too. -Adrian Romero, NYC March, 2006.