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Progressive Rock Interviews

Point of Ares

Interviewed by None
MSJ Chat Transcript Karen Michalson of Point of Ares
and Rich Newman of TagYerit From 2003

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 3 at

Rich Newman: Hi Karen, There was a Judith here a few minutes ago described herself as bookseller Assumed she was someone you might know and hopefully she'll log back in

Karen Michalson: Damn! I'm sorry I missed her.
Rich Newman: Anyway, how you doing?

Things here in Amherst are finally starting to warm up a little. Don't want all the snow to melt though

Karen Michalson: Well, well welladay most excellent well.

Flo's bunny rabbits will miss the snow?

Rich Newman: Oh they love the snow, except when it clumps on the feet.

Just finished a music video with them. Some of it is them dancing in the snow.

Karen Michalson: Oh, I must see that one. My dog would love it.

Is your video for a new song (one I haven't heard yet)?

It's 7 PM and Rich has disappeared. Turned into a rabbit and hopped away.

Moondawg Enters

Karen Michalson: Greetings, Moondawg.

Moondawg: Greetings.

Karen Michalson: What draws you to our fair chat?

Moondawg: Well, I received an email that you were going to be here.

Karen Michalson: It is kind of you to show up.

Moondawg: I have a question.

Karen Michalson: Draw to the fire, tell us of your journeys.

You may question.

Moondawg: Well, I was wondering if there are any, you know, "fuzzies" in your next book.

Karen Michalson: Fuzzies?

Ara Enters

Karen Michalson: Help me out. What's a fuzzie?

Moondawg: I'm back - sorry

Ara: Hi - don't know!

Karen Michalson: So Moondawg, what is a fuzzie?

Ara: Lil Peach used to sell Fuzzies.

Moondawg: "Fuzzies". You know, like Pourrs and the cat.

Ara: Frozen drinks. Pretty cool.

Karen Michalson: Uh . . . there are magical animals in HECATE'S GLORY - and a surprise animal.

Pourra does make an appearance.

Ara: Can't wait to read it!

Moondawg: I really like Pourra. I think he rocks!

Karen Michalson: Pourra and Ara like to share frozen drinks. Just kidding.

Ara: I'm only at page 120 of EG, so please forgive.

Moondawg: So where did you get the idea of a magical woodchuck?

Karen Michalson: Ooops - no spoilers - Ara has only just met Pourra.

Ara: No, please go right ahead.

Karen Michalson: Pourra is Caethne's companion animal - a wood spirit in the form of a woodchuck

Ara: And he's hanging around, er, Banriff is it?

Karen Michalson: I didn't know he had any fans. Cool.

Moondawg: Oh yes. I'm really into animals.

Karen Michalson: Yes - his first "big scene" is with Baniff - annoying him. But he is really Caethne's pet - as much as he can be anybody's "pet."

Ara: I love how LL is written, Karen.

Moondawg: Yes, every character really come alive.

Karen Michalson: You are very kind. That means a lot to me, coming from Ara (whom I happen to know is a writer.)

Ara: "Each bang made my liver fly into my mouth." That's yours, Karen, one of many neat quotes.

Karen Michalson: Ha! I remember feeling that way the morning after my first real drunk. Taught me not overindulge again.

Ara: Boones Farm?

Karen Michalson: Lambrusco

With sugar in it - for some unknown reason.

Ara: I don't drink, but I remember Boones Farm Peach wine. uuuggghhh.

Karen Michalson: My "now I've reached legal drinking age let's find out what it feels like to get drunk " drunk.

Rich Newman: I don't drink, but used to love boones farm apple

I'm back after changing computers.

Ara: I think BF has turned off many!!!

Karen Michalson: I don't drink anymore, either.

Ara: Karen can you tell us what's new with you?

Karen Michalson: What's new? Well . . . Point Of Ares is negotiating a gig at Emerson College

Ara: Cool.

Rich Newman: Radio too?

Moondawg: Very cool! When?

Karen Michalson: And I'll be reading and hosting a Kaffeeklatch at Boskone in Boston the weekend after this coming one.

Ara: Are you nervous when a book is coming out?

Karen Michalson: No - not radio (as far as I know) - a live show - but maybe we could interest Emerson's radio station in doing something.

Am I nervous when a book comes out? No.

Ara: I like how you end EG, with the gentle authors note. It was well done.

Rich Newman: That's what I was thinking. There's usually a number of opportunities if you can piggy back w/ a gig

Karen Michalson: Blush and bow. Although it was really my editor's idea to end it on a cliffhanger like that - so I can't take full credit.

Rich Newman: I guess that 's what editors and producers are for.

Karen Michalson: Exactly, Rich. The right match is a true blessing.

Ara: Karen you have a great gift for words. Your style is very poetic, but doesn't intrude upon us.

Karen Michalson: Thank you for noticing.

Ara: Ahhhh, producers.

Karen Michalson: Rich writes awesome lyrics - Rich - I like your song about indie musicians - how common people turn into surprisingly good rockers.

When given a chance - how we should notice each others talents more.

Ara: Rich what do you play? I drum.

Rich Newman: bass and guitar

Ara: Do you dig the intro to "Two minutes to Midnight"?

Rich Newman: Flo gets most of the credit for music makers, though I did input stuff (can't recall what now.

Karen Michalson: "Music Makers" is the song I meant - every indie musician needs to hear that song.

My computer hung up.

Sorry. As to books and music - I think they are natural allies.

Ara: Right, Rich. It's the compulsion to get our expression across. We have to do it.

Saco: But storytelling and novel writing are very different, eh? One is pure theater and the other is a pure test of will, no?

Karen Michalson: Or "it" whatever it is (music, lit, dance, etc) has to do us..

Ara: Do you write, Saco?

Karen Michalson: Writing is close to theater, in my opinion. It's like acting on paper.

Saco: Not fiction. I'm one of those musicians Rich finds under rocks.

Karen Michalson: You certainly have to understand character as well as an actor does - but you get it across on the page instead of the stage.

Ara: There is a character named Saco in a Suspense radio play from 1944.

Karen Michalson: What do you play, Saco?

Saco: And all this time I thought it was a boring little town in Maine..

Keys mostly, and a little guitar.

Karen Michalson: Prog?

Ara: We can jam here on this board now, we've got an ensemble!

Rich Newman: Bill on guitar?

So what's our first number ... Ara count us in.

Karen Michalson: La Villa Strangiato.

Saco: More ethereal/techno than prog, though I like the classical influence of prog..

Karen Michalson: Cool. Ambient stuff?

Ara: Gotta agree on a song... let's start simple? Natural Science, Rush.

Karen Michalson: Working Man - the bass line in the interlude rocks on that song.

Ara: I love La Villa. Heard it today. Nice recording.

Saco: Yes, with a bit of a Sci-Fi underpinning - that's the "techno" part. Fun to fool with - doesn't pay any bills ;-)!

Karen Michalson: Well, yes, there's so many of us musicians around (under rocks and everything) music doesn't pay anybody's bills.

Ara: I love being the drummer in jams. I love looking at everyone and getting the groove. It's better than being a pirate.

Karen Michalson: Even the majors can't make a buck right now.

Rich Newman: So if you can't drum you gonna be a pirate ... me I want to run off and join stomp.

Ara: Being in a band is like being a pirate. It's a close relationship.

Karen Michalson: Ara's going to pirate a ship and turn it into a big floating party jam for musicians.

Ara: With Boones Farm flowing freely.

Rich Newman: I'm there

Ara: Up the irons.

Karen Michalson: Ooooh - I like that comparison - pirates/musicians - both are comrades in arms.

Moondawg: I'll bring the Rum! Sounds like fun!

Karen Michalson: And both can stab you in the back if you're not careful.

Saco: We'll be needing some swordsmen (or is that swords people?).

Rich Newman: Then there's pirate radio. Used to be a guy doing it from a boat (NYC maybe?)

Karen Michalson: Point Of Ares has swords people.

Ara: Do tell.

Karen Michalson: We do swordfighting as part of our stage show.

Ara: Guitar is the best. Can do so much with it.

I gotta be checking out.

Karen Michalson: Thanks for dropping by, Ara.

Rich Newman: Catch you around Ara?.

Karen Michalson: Here's a bottle of rum for your journey.

Ara: We'll keep in touch. Take it easy everyone. Nice meeting y'all.

Saco: Yeah, me too. 'Tis nearly 8 and I have to get off to work. Bye.

Karen Michalson: Thanks for dropping by, Ara.

Rich Newman: Catch you around Ara?

Before anyone else leaves ... you got any web sites for me to check you out on?

Moondawg: No,no website. I barely get this thing working!

Do you have one?

Rich Newman: Mine's music's at

I spend way too much time at it.

Moondawg: That's a cool name, I'll have to check it out..

Rich Newman: Maybe to the detriment of songwriting.

Karen Michalson: It's a cool website - lots of puzzles and games

Rich Newman: Tried to create it so its a fun place to get lost for a few hours.

Moondawg: Sounds like fun.

Rich Newman: Toilet paper and pumpkin carving and, oh, yes, rabbits.

Moondawg: Rabbits, I like rabbits, they're the ultimate fuzzie!

Rich Newman: I just finished a music vid of our buns in the yard try .

Moondawg: So you raise rabbits?

Rich Newman: No no help rescue them. they're pets.

Often discarded easter buns find their way to the shelter.

A group i work with finds them homes

Moondawg: That's sooo cool. Not much room for such things in an apartment!

Karen Michalson: That's so sad - that people buy easter bunnies and discard them.

Rich Newman: They get them for their kids. kids lose interest quick.

Same thing happens with other animals as well, though not, the Easter cycle part.

Moondawg: Rabbits are too fragile for kids, I think.

Rich Newman: Yeah we try to discourage that. but any pet should really be a family responsibility. Everyone's in or no go.

Moondawg: Without family commitment, I think pets end up ignored.

Rich Newman: Exactly.

Moondawg ... what end of the country you in?

Karen Michalson: Well, I must go - work to do tonight. It was great visit with you, Rich. And to meet you, Moondawg.

Rich Newman: See you Karen. say hi to Bill.

Karen Michalson: I will. Good night.

Moondawg: And you too, I'm glad to meet you and Rich.
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