Big Star Way by Tony Garone

Nearly five years after completing Gilgamesh, I have created a more contemporary musical endeavor entitled Big Star Way.

When I began working on Big Star Way, I wanted to do something totally different from Gilgamesh, both musically and lyrically. I began looking into the UFO phenomenon, because I am fascinated by our culture's reaction to the unknown. It is interesting to see how our media treats this phenomenon, and how it has injected certain aspects of it into our psyche, and dictated to us how we should react.

It is important to understand that the "aliens" featured in the concept could very well be considered metaphorical. They represent our fear, intolerance and ignorance on a universal scale. What we do not understand, we fear. Big Star Way is a concept album in that it is about tolerance. Although some of the songs are related through the subject matter, they are all related through these basic human experiences we call fear and ignorance.

Let me explain the title. While perusing Gill and Sullivan's Dictionary of Native American Mythology, I came across a fascinating Navajo story and ritual healing complex entitled, "Big Star Way". In this rather complex tale, it speaks of how Coyote (the trickster of most Navajo stories) desires the wife of Younger Brother, and persuades him to climb a rock on which Coyote has painted a nest of eagles. Coyote blows on the rock, sending it skyward, stranding Younger Brother and allowing Coyote to take his wife.

It is in the heavens that Younger Brother encounters the Star People, who help him defeat Coyote through the teachings of Big Star Way. The Star People teach Younger Brother to interpret dreams and omens. After performing ceremonies in the heavens, Younger Brother is sent through a sky hole and carried on clouds back to earth. Upon his return, Younger Brother enacts revenge upon Coyote by wrapping a star in a piece of fat. Coyote greedily swallows the food, and suffers an agonizing death.

My intent was to put this story to music, as I did with Gilgamesh, however, upon doing further research and speaking with several Anthropologists, Archaeologists and Navajo people, I decided against it. I did not wish to offend the Navajo people by being insensitive to their beliefs. The pantheon of the Gilgamesh epic, or more specifically, the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures no longer have a patronage. The Navajo culture and belief system is still alive and vital.

Nevertheless, I decided to keep the title, because it suggests the Navajo interpretation of dreams and omens. For a tripartite definition of the title, I assign the word, "Way" in "Big Star Way" as a nod to Taoist philosophy of life. The Tao Te Ching is a brilliant work, and one that I have embraced.

From a practical standpoint, and appropriately so, I applied Taoist reckoning when creating this album; to let go of my need to have control over every aspect of its creation and allow others to manage the production, mixing and instrumentation. Most importantly, however, is the notion that this folklore and mythology is part of the Taoist "Way", and unavoidable because it is the constant flow of events in (to quote Buckminster Fuller) "Non-Simultaneous Scenario Universe".

The late Joseph Campbell taught us that myths and mythology are creations the human psyche, and the need for humans to create order in a world of chaos. Like the ancient Egyptian concept of Ma'at, or the brilliant cosmological constructs of the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon, the need to make sense of the world we live in is part of the human condition. The quintessential alien abduction scenario may be darker component of the human psyche; and thus the stuff of dreams, or more aptly put - nightmares.

The UFO phenomenon has fascinated all of us, whether we choose to believe it or not. More specifically, the Roswell crash has become modern day folklore, and a point of vehement debate between believers and non-believers. Both scientists and UFO researchers have one thing in common; the belief that life exists outside our tiny world. Where they disagree is whether this life is currently visiting us. Either way, to believe that we are the only life in this vast universe seems inexcusably egocentric.

"Big Star Way" explores some of these fascinating issues through music and verse, utilizing elements of Rock, Progressive folk and Pop music, offering the listener to come to their own conclusions.

Tony Garone
March 14, 2005