Monday, October 01, 2007


Man, for only being out a short time, it was really strange to feel uncomfortable at home the first day back. Maybe it's because it was TOO soon, you know?

I feel like when I'm home I need to write more often (from tour, or generally, from work, since I'm not around the house much). But I've never been someone who wants to sit down and say "I need a song, let's do it." I feel like I need to budget time to play and write, because the only time I hold a guitar is at practice or a show. So, how do I have new songs? I have no idea. The whole thing feels very unauthentic. Like a long-term writer's block. In fact, I best summarized it in a post I recently re-discovered. But I've been taking heart in something I heard last week, and in this band's potential.

As I told Scott and Tara, I think it was important for me to hear John Davis of Superdrag speak at MPMF. I've always wanted to have my music impact people's lives in the most meaningful way, that's all, to really mean something to them. And to hear John Davis explain that while his band was just another in a long line of bands getting the runaround from major labels, eight years after their core broke up they still matter to people. He says, for that, he is forever thankful. This tour they are embarking upon is for the fans. And you can tell it's for them, too. Who would have thought in that band that what they were doing a decade ago would matter so much to some people (like me) today? That's all you can ask for as a songwriter. You can't ask to be the next Dylan, McCartney, Lennon, Simon, or Young. All you can hope is to leave an impression that sticks with someone, maybe not everyone. Superdrag will be forgotten by 99.9 percent of the people in this world. But to that .1 percent, they may be the most important band ever. That is incredible. Some of my favorite bands have the same story, forged in fire and coming out victorious in a small, but significant way -- Wilco and Nada Surf being the most meaningful. All I want is for my songs, this band's songs, to mean that much to someone. As much as they do to me.

That's why it's frustrating to not be able to write. I feel backed up and like this message can't get out. Both Neil Young and Johnny Cash say that you don't write the songs, the songs pick you. In his autobiography, Cash says they come to him like dreams -- in a flash, there's a song in front of him (actually, "Ring of Fire" was written IN a dream, he woke up and finished it, with June doing the words). Author Jimmy McDonough describes Young in his book "Shakey" as though he feels songs have a "mystical" and dreamy quality to them, as if he speaks about them too much he may scare them off. Have I scared off my inspiration? I still feel them inside of me, wanting to come out, but I haven't felt like anything complete has escaped in years. Like I'm smothering them. The songs that have come out may be something, but they aren't "it." I can tell. It's a very strange and frustrating feeling, and as you can tell, it nags at me unrelentingly.

So, now I'm home, and I have the time (sort of) to write. I sit down, and it feels too executed. Too unorganic. Too mechanical. Where once there was a flood of songs that didn't need coaxing, today there is a dribble with very disappointing results. But that's the way it is. I suppose all I can do is write as I have been doing, and just like Superdrag couldn't have planned for their fortunes, wait and see if it makes an impact that really means something to someone (this being reflected, to some varying degree, in a particular Cassavettes line, "A man can't plan his legacy, his course is blind but he follows it"). Or maybe it won't go much further than it has. Who knows?

Anyhow, as long as we're home, we need to take care of business. Mike and I spent most of yesterday trying to get ready for the next leg by getting some guitars and the lap steel fixed up. We didn't get that accomplished. I also wanted to get the car checked out for dead deer (I saw some cooked meat on the axle in the front). Didn't get that done, either. Finally, I wanted to make copies of the key to the new space for the dudes. That we DID do. Thank goodness.

Today, my focus is on getting us the votes to win a silly little contest. Reason being, it would net us $1500 which we could use for the tour -- badly. It would be a gig opening for Rustic Overtones at The Roxy, also cool, but not as cool as the money, honestly. To vote, please do the following things:
Click here and then follow these steps to cast a vote:
1) Join our group. (Click "VOTE" in the upper right corner)
2) Click on the link they email you to officially validate your vote. (Check and make sure the email doesn't end up in your spam folder. More importantly, when you do click the link in the email, then you have to upload a picture or choose an avatar... they don't count votes without a photo, because then it might be a machine!)

Like I said, it's a total ploy to get new people to join, but hey, you never have to use it again as far as we're concerned. The leading band has 225 votes right now, so I figure we stand a chance. Voting closes on Saturday and we're a week behind (it started while we were leaving for the tour!). So please vote and tell your friends. Here's a helpful widget to entice you!

Anyhow, while we were out on the road, I missed a key birthday. This blog's one-year anniversary on Sept. 26 -- the first day of touring! Wow, one year to the day of launching a blog and I'm chasing my dream like never before. Who would have thought...

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Blogger Maggie said...

Maybe you should read a well written book to get you thinking, inspired, articulating, etc...

01 October, 2007 16:48  
Anonymous hence the tiger said...

01 October, 2007 17:15  

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