Ryan St. James

ryan-saint-james“Three cheers for the wasted generation, any way we can erase our sense of time.”

Wasted Generation, the debut LP from Ryan St. James, would be the dusty vinyl record playing in the incense smoke-filled room of a San Francisco flat at a 1967 acid party. Though recorded in the soggy winter of 2014 on Vashon Island, WA, the album is a melodic psychedelic romp through the ever-mutating landscape of rock and roll. While harkening back to an era of music where artistic boundaries only existed to be broken, it resonates with the restless mind and transcendental yearnings of the lost souls in this modern technocratic culture apparently divorced from Gnosis. These songs are all a piece of the spirit of Ryan St. James, born in LA in 1991 and shuffled around the American Northwest all his life while constantly seeking that Truth behind all truth.

“Everything’s Beautiful” represents the struggle of reconciling the enlightened awareness of psychedelic revelation with living in a backwards and corrupt world, while the closing track “Dhyana” is simply an expression of the deeper revelation of a dualistic universe resting peacefully in a boundless sea of love which is Everything. The irony of unconditional love for the one who trampled your heart is manifested on “I’ll Always Love You”, and brutally-honest words of advice are given to the co-dependent and helpless romantic on “Get Out While You Can”, one of the album’s more straight-up hard-rocking numbers. This collection of deeply personal, eclectic, spiritual tunes is the fruit of many years of ecstatic hallucinogenic reveries, intense heartbreaks, joyous gatherings of beautiful neo-shamanic lovers, near-death and beyond-death experiences, and dark nights of the soul on the ceaseless journey towards inner-peace guided by the transcendental object at the end of time.

Ryan St. James’s songs are gathered along the way as he winds through the crazy modern jungle of a culture resting on the edge of history, through fruitful mushroom seasons in the Pacific Northwest, seizures and life-flights and waking up on his back in the middle of the street, waking up covered in fire ants and mosquito bites in a decaying shack in the Hawaiian rainforest, being unknowingly dosed with a bottle of LSD while trying to save his even-more-loaded roommate from Mario hurling fireballs at him from the trash can, finding love and losing love again and again, having the lives of close friends taken away by drugs and suicide, standing in front of a blacklight-lit toilet while staring face to face with God who is Love, and the many other important events that shaped who he is and what he yearns to express. His music is a necessity, an ever-gnawing urge to vomit out what needs to be said, what needs to be heard, in order for others to be inspired to do the same and so help mankind evolve through art and towards a better future. In this sense it is true art – straight from the heart, connecting deeply on the individual and universal level, and making you constantly ask “how did he do that??”

Ryan St. James is part of the wasted generation. He has dedicated his life to his art, teaching himself guitar, piano, drums, bass, how to sing record, draw, and write. He is a self-taught and self-made one-man-band with a message delivered before by the Realized souls and the hopeless romantics of the past, but never quite like this. It is a blend of the elements and styles of artists who have always remained true to themselves, who have expressed the deepest emotions, who have found their own voice, from Neil Young drunkenly wailing “Tonight’s the Night” and Kurt Cobain bleeding and bruise after jumping in the drum set, to the transcendent beauty of Beethoven’s final piano sonata and the undeniable weirdness of Bowie in full genre-bending Ziggy mode.

“Heaven’s within us, Heaven’s without us, Heaven is One and All.” That Heaven is the mind free of desire, that place from which all hearts emerge and call home, that source of all true knowledge and great art. This is where Ryan St. James has built his cabin, and from where he sends forth his vision and sound for all who will listen.”