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AMERICAN ZEN: Level 1 (Shaolin Records)

Posted: June 13th, 2005, by Tom Leins

“Coyote began playing flute after having a dream about living in a renaissance world where sorcery and sex destroyed a kingdom.” So begins the press release for ‘Level 1′ – the debut album by American Zen – “America’s first Buddhist Rock Band”.
Ageing frontman Coyote is a Spanish-guitar-strummin’, flute-tootin’, self-styled folk mystic. With a trailerpark haircut. After leaving school, Coyote hitchhiked across North America with only a harmonica and a Bowie knife. The songs on this album are apparently true-stories of Coyote’s conflicts with Mormons(!). The songs on this album make you wish that all of those nasty hitchhiker horror stories were true. (Queasy Mormon-baiting flute-pop aside, there is also a selection of eleven poems (mainly) about children.)
Over the years, Coyote has played with Mick Fleetwood, Badfinger, Supertramp and Frank Zappa; whilst ex-bandmates have joined bands like The Eagles and Chicago. Is he bitter? Hell, no! Who needs cash, coke and album charts when you’ve got a song called ‘Whose Heaven Is This?’ that “features ukulele by Rory G.”? Eat your heart out, Les McQueen.
I’ll allow Coyote the last word: “I probably could be in a big name band myself, but that’s not my path. I’ve got my own stories to tell. Nothing’s better than sharing your creativity and getting some applause for it.”
‘Keep creating Coyote. We’ll keep clapping.’*


*Not my words…

Tom Leins

Tom is a relative obscurity in diskantland. All we know of him is that he's from Devon and that he writes a fanzine called 'Voices from Downtroddendom', so draw your own conclusions from that. Our conclusions are that he's probably got a funny accent and a bit too much time on his hands. So he'll fit right in around here.

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