Ironically Pierced Satans

The true litmus test for touring musician professionalism isn’t how good your band is, and certainly not how cool you look - it’s being able, with angelic tolerance, to handle a maniac sound man. At the Positive Agenda/Huntertones show last night in Portland, we're gifted a choice specimen. Let’s call him Chad. Here’re some highlights:

-Horns are asked whether they’d prefer a “light and jazzy” or “dancier” mix. This is at a club where cartoons of ironically pierced Satans adorn the walls. After being told “dancier” and dialing in a catastrophic approximation of a rock drum sound, Chad asks the drummer if he uses brushes.

-Chad is asked to put a little more low mids in the monitors and proceeds to give a one minute lecture on this treatment of every other band he’s eq’d and makes no offer to change anything.

-During the Huntertones entire hour plus soundcheck, it’s not apparent any changes are made. The band bottles up their consternation admirably.

-Chad takes a 40 minute break in between soundchecks despite no change in backline.

-He expresses dismay at our vocalist checking his mic while wearing a hat. Evidently this makes “a huge difference.”

-All guitars must be removed from the stage and placed in cases because the sound reflection will affect the trombone player’s monitor mix. I take three whiskey shots in quick succession. 

-Total soundcheck time for two bands sharing gear: 2 hours and 45 minutes. My love for music’s resuscitated by chicken shawarma and doughnuts. 

 

Belly-Of-The-Beast Wookdom

The Huntertones feature the cream of the crop of young jazz musicians in the United States. Seriously. These dudes flourished at hyper-competitive music nerd bootcamps like the University of North Texas and Berklee College of Music, moved to New York and proceeded, with Godzilla-like undeniability, to gobble up every high profile gig in the five boroughs. Uniformed in leather jackets and skinny jeans, my pals are just as comfortable flying note-for-note through Coltrane solos are they are sight reading Stravinsky. They are, in a word, badass.

Which is why it brought me so much joy watching them interact with lunatic wookies, old hippies and hula-hoop girls at a 420 festival in Eugene, Oregon. If there’s an environment more un-Williamsburg, I don’t know what it is. When a mutton-chopped, patchouli-drenched degenerate with a rope for a belt noodle dances six inches from your face during load out, well, there’re only so many who can greet that scenario with a smile. “Hey bro, I feel your light moving through me” and “you blessed me most righteously with your mana” is unusual feedback when most of your shows are attended by similarly leather-jacketed people staring at their phones. I gotta say, my chums handled it admirably.

Kudos to the Huntertones! You survived belly-of-the-beast wookdom, which is no joke. Portland tonight, Seattle tomorrow. This is an amazing show, definitely an inspiration to practice when I get back to Music City. 

Make Music With Your Friends

I’m writing this in the van, en route to Eugene from Spokane, an honorary member of Swatkins’s Positive Agenda for the week. This tour with the Huntertones is fun in that nourishing way beleaguered touring pros often forget we need. 

Lots of musicians read this newsletter, and we all relate to that slogging-through-the-mud feeling of goddammit, another garbage contract to renegotiate, unforeseen delay to improvise around and high-maintenance so-and-so requiring prioritized attention lest the tour implode into a fiery heap of underachievement. It’s easy losing the forest for the trees. For me, it invariably comes back to one thing: make music with your friends. It’s really that simple, if you allow it to be. Form a band with your pals, play through shitty gear, turn it up really loud and make each other smile. Book a show at a dive, sweat through your clothes and get drunk on well whiskey. Get in a van with said pals, play a show at a neighboring town’s dive and try not to dwell on how many insects lost their lives on your windshield. Repeat until your soul’s crooning to the universe. 

I know you’re skeptical, but I swear it’s that simple. Make music with your friends. 

 

Balancing Art and Industry

My friend Nathan Dohse runs an artist development company in Nashville called AGD Entertainment. He offers a unique and much-needed service in our industry - I’m grateful he’s out here fighting the good fight (Nathan’s also guest #4 on the Not Famous Podcast if you wanna be serenaded by his sexy baritone). I recently contributed a post to AGD’s blog and figured I’d share it with you. Reading back, I'm not sure I actually answered the question, but there's some good stuff here I think.  

How do you find the balance between art and industry?

Through my experiences with Allen Stone and a myriad other outlets, I’ve realized it’s important not being overly precious with your music and process. I’m absolutely NOT saying sign an awful deal or work with a blatant crook just to cut a few places in line. And never, NEVER write disingenuous music- awful songs beget awful business.  

But, if you take time building a quality team around you, you’ll discover there are all kinds of smart, dedicated and passionate people working on the business side who believe whole-heartedly in a future where artists are treated fairly. And you should listen to these people - they offer much needed perspective and, provided both parties check some ego at the door, your artistry will flourish. 

Good A&R people and quality managers understand there’s a bottom line. But they also know that an artist who has something to say and writes undeniable, timeless music will be making records until they decide to stop making records. These good eggs understand that hedging their bets on bandwagon jumping’s a flawed philosophy - the trend’s already here, which means it’s already gone.

So, as an artist endeavoring to make the most genuine music possible, for the love of all that’s decent PLEASE make that music. Play shows that make sense, spread the word and enjoy every small success along the way. In doing so, when industry comes calling, you’ll easily recognize who’s a douche and who’s on point. The compromises you’ll make won’t feel like compromises at all, but rather intelligent, necessary strategic steps. 

Be patient. Don’t try to game the system. Let your heart and integrity become your brand, and any industry person who supports you will be worth your time. 

I Will Never Lie To You

Another 1 mic, 1 take video for ya!

Here’s a song I wrote recently called “I Will Never Lie To You." Lyrics below, and here’s the video if you’re curious.  

 

I Will Never Lie To You

you do not need to find the words to say

you do not need to lead or light the way

we’ve got ourselves, we’ve got each other

we’re not whole without the other

whatever clever criminals may say

everyone is scared of something

I will never lie to you

I’m not perfect, far from home

but I will never lie to you

you do not owe them anything at all

your summer does not conspire to break their fall

we’ve got ourselves, we’ve got each other

we’re not whole without the other

in laughter lives another way to pray

everyone is scared of something

I will never lie to you

I’m not perfect, far from home

but I will never lie to you

 

The Expert

I’m writing this from the runway of the Nashville International Airport, where we’ve been parked for three hours. Evidently, the toilets won’t flush, which is a first - after thousands of flights, I’m impressed when I encounter new ways for the thing to shit all over itself. My favorite’s still “ladies and gentlemen, we’ve put the gas in the wrong tank,” courtesy of US Airways. I mean, the pilot said “gas.” Gas is something I put in my 2003 Toyota Corolla. And I’ll just go ahead and leave the “wrong tank” part alone. 

On runway delays, one encounters the usual suspects: New Parents Mortified By Their Toddler’s Crying (it’s ok, we understand), the Compulsive Instagram Checker and, increasingly, the Retiree Who Unashamedly Watches Graphic Sex Scenes On His Laptop. I’m sitting next to the Expert. 

The Expert knows exactly why one of the most complex machines ever invented, one that defies the laws of fucking nature, is still parked on the asphalt. “You gotta understand,” he says, “a plane’s just like any other thing. You always check the breakers first. ALWAYS.”

Firstly, no. A plane is not just like any other thing, and I’d like to think the checklist for airline maintenance is more thorough than the “if this, then that” for when my bathroom lights won’t turn on. Secondly, he’s pontificating in between sips of Mountain Dew. I can’t take a man seriously who slurps down the same shit I and fellow pimple-faced lady killers used to crush while playing Magic the Gathering. 

We’re finally given the OK to take off, and the Expert’s settled into nervously re-adjusting his wedding ring. He's a young dude: maybe he’s newly married, excited to return to his betrothed for a revivifying bounce in the sack? I cringe at the thought of his no doubt a-rhythmic pelvic thrusting. I bet they have a shitty little yip-yip dog.

 

Healing Beacons of Light

When I get together with musician buddies, we don’t congratulate each other on our successes. That kinda thing almost immediately devolves into “cool man” cliche, and they're boring stories anyway. 100% of the time, we reminisce on all the lunatic bullshit we’ve persevered through (bro, remember that time I form-tackled a trust fund kid in a bear costume at Coachella?). I mean, I’ve looked like a fucking muppet on national television multiple times. Would you rather hear about that, or how I felt calm and composed opening up for see I’m already boring you.

The key’s being vulnerable enough to let what we artists do become hilarious, and embracing that vulnerability as the greatest strength in our possession. If you’re able to look at yourself in the mirror and go you know, I don’t have any idea what the fuck’s going on but I’m gonna brush my teeth and try my best anyway, you’re bulletproof. Better yet, share that sentiment with whatever community resonates. When we don’t share, the result’s figuring shit out on our own, in the bouncy castle of jubilance and whimsy that is an artist’s echo chamber. It’s seldom a cornucopia of delights, folks. We’re all in this together and, spoiler alert, no one knows what’s going on - not me, not the middle-aged industry dude rocking hair plugs and chucks, and certainly not the table of beautiful people discussing arbitrary social media metrics. Personally, I find that comforting.

Honesty has a way of coalescing our myriad of self-doubts, quirks and misnomered “problems” into healing beacons of light that guide our way down the path.

Turning Points

At my solo show the other night in Chicago, my voice sounds like a combination of a goose with vertigo and a lost baby goat calling for its mother. I’m tired, sure, and the Chicago dog/vanilla shake combo an hour before doors probably wasn’t the best call, but goddammit I’ve been working on this shit and, whelp, evidently there’s a ways to go. 

Oddly, though, I’m stoked. Rather than retreating into a noxious cloud of half-belief, I set down my guitar and start riffing on the first thing that pops into my head - Babe Ruth’s alcoholism. The crowd laughs (thankfully), my confidence returns, and I sorta limp to the finish line vocally while, by all accounts, genuinely entertaining people. This is what actuaries - aka those who gave up on their dreams - call a “net gain.”

During the set, I allow my mind to wander to a particularly lonely time in Seattle when I decided to quit music. I’d played a string of abysmal gigs in shit holes to nobody and I’d had enough. I actually applied to real jobs and everything. Mercifully, friends tolerated my emo bullshit for, like, three days before staging an intervention at Bimbo’s Burrito Kitchen on Capitol Hill. The next day, I got a call from my buddy and favorite guitar player in the country, RL Heyer. Would I be interested in subbing for him in a band called Vintage Pink at the Sea Monster Lounge on Sundays? Instrumental funk jams, super low pressure. Sure, why not? 

In that band, I’d meet and jam with all past and current members of the Allen Stone Electric Ensemble, be formally referred to the group by road warrior brother Brent Rusinow and, just like that, my life changed.

The universe has a way of flicking you in the ear just annoyingly enough to agitate you back into your right mind. On stage the other night in Chicago, it’s just me, my guitar, my songs, and a sense that I’m right where I need to be. 

Buy Your Tickets Now. Seriously.

Tickets are currently on sale for all announced Al Stone Band fall tour dates (MANY more to come - if you don't see your city yet, don't panic). We're doing mostly underplays, which will sell out quickly. Seriously, they will, and please, PLEASE, no day-of “hey bro can you get me in?” DMs. I can't, which bums me out, and you don't want to do that to me, do you? Buy your tickets now, people!

The Al Stone world’s been dormant for the past couple years, and it’s a welcome shock to the system going from zero to sixty in, like, 72 hours. Organizing my life around marathon tours used to be normal and is now refreshingly disorientating, so I'm realizing I have, like, four and half months to operate at the redline before tour manager extraordinaire Ryan "Bear" Drozd starts telling me what to do again. So, I'm launching several new projects and creative experiments post-haste. Most will be cool, some no doubt less-so, and I thank you in advance for your patience and curiosity. You're all aces in my book.  

Trevor "Over Exposure” Larkin is my creative mantra for the rest of 2018, with the added bonus of sounding vaguely pornographic.

 

 

 

Do The Thing You Say You're Going To Do

Last night in Nashville I caught the tale end of Ripe’s set at the Basement East. They’re a super cool funk/pop band from Boston, Berklee kids who’ve thrown their lot in with the road and are experiencing for the first time what the Allen project went through in 2012 - who are you people and why are you at this show? If there’s a greater feeling than packing out clubs for the first time, I don’t know what it is. 

The Ripe crew are big Allen Stone Band fans, so it was neat filling them in on our latest developments and, in my British-y way, reluctantly embracing their stoke level (bro, Brown Eyed Lover’s SIIIIIIIIIIIIICK). It turned out we’d both be in Chicago the next night. They put me on the list for their show at Lincoln Hall, and I said I’d be there. Which leads me to the point of this post.

If a band invites you to their show, only say you’ll be there if you 100% intend on being there. 

ESPECIALLY if they put you on the list. It’s a cliche in this business, the whole “yeah man, totally, I’ll try to make it out,” which of course means you have no intention of doing anything other than binge watching Breaking Bad and inventing reasons not to release your EP.

Don’t be that douche.  

Touring, especially early in your career, is gnarly - grueling travel, empty venues, asshole promoters etc. People showing up to gigs is a big deal, and it’s a huge moral blow when someone says they’ll be there and bails. If you're in for the night, that's totally cool, but just say so. Our feelings won't be hurt, I swear, and let's all avoid the crippling cynicism that comes with "playing the game."

When I arrived in Chicago last night, I was tired and caught myself performing the mental gymnastics required to justify my not hopping on the Red Line for 15mins. But I said I’d be there, so that’s where I’ll be. And it was an awesome show! Ripe were surprised I showed up, which fueled their aforementioned stoke level, and it felt good not only supporting friends in a strange city but also doing the thing I said I was going to do. I wasn't "that douche."

Saying you’ll do something and then doing it carries over into everything else. So does bullshiting someone. In the music world, one of the most potentially soul-destroying out there, the smallest gestures make the biggest difference.  

Music Biz 2018

Mark your calendars, folks!

I’ll be moderating a panel on May 14 at Music Biz 2018 - the Music Business Association’s 60th anniversary conference - right here in Nashville. We’ll be discussing balancing art and industry, which readers of this newsletter know is pretty much my favorite thing to pontificate about.

This conference is a big deal and registration fills up quickly. Here’s the website. Judging by the panelists, companies, labels etc in attendance, it's guaranteed to be insightful. I grant you that I, a panelist, am writing this while rocking a free Lagunitas hoodie and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, but hopefully this is an endearingly nonchalant depiction of genius, kinda like that poster of Einstein sticking his tongue out, and in no way dissuades you from attending the conference. 

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Where The Priests Are All Millionaires

Another 1 mic, 1 take video for ya! 

For the artists reading this who deal with self-doubt (ie all of us), I have to be honest- I wasn’t going to post this video. I didn’t nail the performance and was all up in my head about it. Thankfully, Trey McDermott (my friend and videographer for this project) called me out. “Fuck you man, I really like this take, and take your own fucking advice. Aren’t you the guy posting about learning as you go, ‘you gotta post song four in order to get to song thirty,’ and all that bullshit? Put it out, asshole. PUT IT OUT!” 

He’s absolutely right, of course. Fellow over-thinkers, these are EXACTLY the type of people you want on your team. And, again of course, the performance is growing on me. On Monday, April 9, 2018, this is how the song came out, and I dig the time capsule aspect. That’s the whole point of this project, after all - letting go of perfection and just, well, sharing the moment.

I’ve never played “Where the Priests Are All Millionaires” live and, emboldened by this video project, I’ll debut it in Chicago on Friday. 

When in doubt, put it out, my friends. Here's a link to the video

 

WHERE THE PRIESTS ARE ALL MILLIONAIRES

 

I’m gonna shout from mountaintops

far way from days counting cop cars and curious stares

where the priests are all millionaires

you won’t show up in tabloid news

no secrets here to air out

just loosen your wedding band

what’s left to understand?

the corner bar needs another mid-life martyr  

 

You’d better make like a stranger

keep us out of danger

don’t stick around for us kids

we’re gonna learn how to make up

learn how to break up

in a life not defined by your sins

 

Silence is never golden

when out of your lungs is stolen

the air that you need to sing

by the swing of a coward king

you court and extort in tandem

I know we won’t feel abandoned

the now justifies the why

for a blue and unbroken sky

it’s not too late, you can leave and make us stronger

 

You’d better make like a stranger

keep us out of danger

don’t stick around for us kids

we’re gonna learn how to make up

learn how to break up

in a life not defined by your sins

the distant light in the tunnel’s bright

for us kids

 

We’ll forgive and outgrow  

but nights will get lonely out on your own

we’ll send addresses to write to

agree to not fight you over the phone

you’re a figure of speech in our eloquent freedom 

now leave us alone

 

So I’m gonna shout from mountaintops

tie a bow ‘round where you’re not

as you’re learning to live alone

 

 

 

Grit

I was asked recently in an interview what I consider to be my most important artistic tool. That anyone would ask me anything's still hilarious to me. 

I wanted to give a cool answer, or at least a hipster one. I dunno, something like morning meditation connects me to a higher consciousness where anthropomorphic reptilian creatures use healing crystals as ice cubes. I'm kinda into that, actually. Nailed it. Post over. 

Instead, I gave my honest answer, which is decidedly less drum circle friendly.

An artist’s reality isn’t what most would consider fun. Sorry if that's bubble-bursting. Playing to sold-out crowds is fun, and so is careening across the country in a tour bus/pirate ship playing Halo and drinking lemon drops (don't judge me). But this isn't being an artist. A more apt description's dealing with every imaginable permutation of self-doubt, all while hovering around the poverty line with well-intentioned, conventionally successful family members encouraging us to go back to school.

My most important artistic tool is grit, combined I suppose with not giving a fuck. If you're able to wake up every morning and greet a blank sheet of paper with a smile even when your imagination’s encased in cement, or handle friend after friend getting their break before you and still remain pleasant company, or trust success after years of rejection and abject poverty, you deserve a knighthood. But you earn karmic ninja status by showing up everyday, rain or shine. Only then will a life of Hagendaz and liposuction be yours!

New Allen Stone Music!

The first single off the upcoming Allen Stone album’s out today! It’s a song called “Brown Eyed Lover” and available everywhere (here’s a link, just in case).

Tyler wrote the main riff in classic Ty Carroll fashion - ready with disclaimers about it being super lame and we totally don’t have to use it guys followed by our losing our goddamn minds on account of the awesomeness. This happened in the studio all the time, too. An overly-caffeinated Jamie Lidell would say “hmmm, this needs a riff, right chaps?” followed by all eyes locking on Tyler, already offering monosyllabic deferments (ummm, jeez, gosh, mmmm, etc). We’d retreat to the lounge, refortify on LaCroix, and return to Tyler grunt-singing approvingly along with a Tony Iommi-worthy masterpiece. He’s good at riffs, ladies and gentlemen.

Swatty and I fleshed out the chord changes. Not much to report here. We were probably wearing jazz hats. J offered clutch arrangement notes - hits, groove changes, shortening sections, vital stuff - and Allen wrote the melody and lyrics in one sitting.

“Brown Eyed Lover” came together easily at a time when we needed stuff to come together easily. Radius was a hit with fans but fell short in the major-label-specific ways many readers understand all too well. Our chapter with Capitol Records was short lived, and thankfully we emerged relatively unscathed, but everything’d become cumbersome and sorta directionless. Had these writing sessions been unproductive, I honestly believe it would’ve been the end of the project. 

But here we are! New music and a new chapter unfolding. It’ll be a while until the record comes out, but expect a few more singles in the coming months. 

Do You

“I’m not very good at networking” is something I hear all the time, and I get it. I used to think this about myself - as an introvert, not rolling into a scene like Ari Gold means we have no business being there, right?

Shaquille O’Neil is 7’1”, 320 Ibs. No one’s asking the dude to tackle the floor routine at the Olympic trials. The guy’s humungous, and therefore asked to do humungous guy things. It's not a Rubik's Cube. 

Making authentic connections is what opens doors. If you’re extroverted, well, bully for you! Have fun shaking hands and kissing babies. Introverts tend to vilify over-the-top types, and we shouldn't. Aside from being the necessary life of the party, extroverts make great business partners- we all need someone willing to kick down a door or two. Don't blame them for your romantic under achievements in high school. That's on you, Trevor.  

If you’re low-key, be low-key. That’s my vibe. I’m the guy at the back of the room, enjoying the show but not so far from the exit that I can’t duck out when I reach my limit. I catch up with friends and end up meeting all kinds of people - I’m not hiding - but I typically don’t leave my safe zone, thereby avoiding the “producers” rocking beanies and sleeve tattoos. I’m not on a Spotify playlist, so they have no interest in me anyway. It’s a win-win. 

Do you. You’re doing great. I don’t know a million people in this business, but my network’s strong, filled with life-long friends and kindred spirits. Anyone can grab a phone number, but few get their calls returned.  

Zac Clark Is A Legend

My buddy Zac Clark just released the first single off his upcoming record, Meet Me When The Moon Gets Full. It’s really good. You should listen to it.

I met Zac when our bands supported OAR during their 2013 Summer Tour (Zac’s “day job” is playing keys and singing BGVs with Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness). What immediately struck me about Zac was his willingness to be present - comfortable in any conversation, curious, stoked to be in the world. He is also transparently a legend, his hair/hat/beard combo suggesting a 20-something hipster Gandalf. Zac Clark possesses an effortless swagger born out of years of traveling, and there isn't a room he doesn’t elevate.  

His music is exactly what you’d except from such a legend - confident, inclusive, nuanced and timeless. Very happy for my friend. Be sure to catch him on tour this Spring on the Pen and Piano Tour with Andrew McMahon, Allen Stone (solo unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until the Fall for the full experience) and Bobby Oxblood. They’re all good pals, and it’s gonna be a great show.

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Adverbs

A journalist acquaintance recently tore my writing to shreds. The depth of his disdain was inspiring, if I’m honest.

“It’s lazy writing, Trevor” he said, “Way too many adverbs. Zero respect for your readers.” He then went on to describe my prose as “insignificant.” Sick burn, bro.

Now, this guy’s a garden-variety asshole, so I take his critique with multiple grains of salt. But I do concede his having a point, albeit a heavy-handed one. I’m not the most economical writer, and embracing the "write how you talk” ethos means I sound like a douche a whole lot. 

That said, fucking RELAX. What’s wrong with modest self-indulgence and, god forbid, having a little fun? For example, the man is impotent is a perfectly serviceable phrase. The pertinent info’s easily digestible (poor bastard), and the reader’s allowed to fill in the narrative, thereby actively participating in the story. A-plus stuff.

But, how about this:

The man is ludicrously impotent

Is "ludicrously" necessary? I suppose not, but goddammit I love the mental image of this poor jackass staring down at his nether regions, shaking his fists at the sky and crying out, “Not again! THIS IS LUDICROUS!” 

Or, maybe:

The man is heroically impotent

Your imagination’s running wild, isn’t it?

I don’t really have a point, I realize, other than let’s all have fun - with music, language, and being generally decent SOBs. The cup is red, the sky is blue, and for the love of god let impotency be ludicrous.  

 

 

Stash

In a MOAT first, I’m about to gush about an app, a micro-investing app no less. It’s called Stash, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Investing's traditionally a walled garden for most artists, what with our lacking the mullah to, you know, pay rent and stuff. Consequently, anything involving money's an emotional trigger, so right out of the gate I feel like I need to say…

DON’T WORRY

All you need’s $5 to get started. Five whole bucks. Oh yes - sacrifice one hipster coffee and - hey presto - you’ve unleashed the mythical beast that is compound interest! 

Stash is an EXTREMELY user friendly mobile app that connects to your bank account. Each week (or month), you stash some cash away (ie save) and the app invests it for you in a portfolio of funds it puts together based on your investment interests. Again, relax - we’re talking beyond user friendly here. You can also invest in companies directly, and the app selects several solid, millennial-friendly crowd pleasers to choose from.

Here’s, in part, my current Stash portfolio:

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I’m new to the app and still feeling my way through, so I opted to one-time buy several stocks and funds rather than set up weekly or monthly transfers. We artists typically don’t have a ton of disposable income, and Stash’s perfect for getting used to the market's rollercoaster ride without having too much skin in the game. It’s also ideal for swines like myself, willing to reallocate a few hundred bucks gathering dust in a conventional savings account. Fun money fund, baby! Cancun, here I come (eventually).

Stash makes saving and investing affordable for everyone, and with traditional safety nets going the way of the DoDo it's important we do what we can, however humble our means. 

 

One Take Wednesday!

It feels awesome getting One Take Wednesday up and running again after FINALLY kicking this nuclear flu.

I wrote “Saint In Simple Clothes” a few months back. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about exactly, but I like the title and the lyrics are fun to sing. Honestly, that’s all that matters - what the fuck does “Smells Like Teen Spirit” mean, anyway?

There're a couple bridges floating around for this song, and I decided to use what I’ve dubbed the Shadow Bridge. Listening back now, I think I’ll sub it out for the aptly monikered Power Bridge when I record full-band, but given the solo acoustic vibes I dig the ominous, add9-y-ness the Shadow Bridge invites.  

And that’s why I love this project - the goal isn’t perfection, but rather the real-time exploration of creativity and sharing with people who watch as much Dr. Who as I do.

 

Here’s a link to the video

 

SAINT IN SIMPLE CLOTHES

slow down, in and around a bittersweet insanity

I know now why I never lie in threes

'cause one out of two will always bring them to their knees

I hope you will never be like me

 

a new game, one in the same, I don't know what's here for me

my own name lives on in anonymity

unless I change, and misdirect the mystery

not everyone is lost who wanders

 

I believe in the broken hearted silence of a man

I know that he's owed more than a broken promise

doing the best he can

I believe there's a restless warrior hidden in our souls

eager to fight for what he knows is right

a saint in simple clothes

 

my shadow and me

do battle in dreams

 

slow down, in and around a bittersweet insanity

not everyone is lost who wanders

Spin Classes

I was hanging out with friends a few nights ago - properly adult friends with stable careers and sensible cars - and the conversation ping-ponged between public vs. private kindergarten, aggressive vs. conservative stocks, and something called “capital gains,” which is clearly made up. Eventually, it’s my turn to contribute, and I offer what I believe is necessary and edifying cultural commentary - there’s this talentless ass-clown named Tekashi69, a shitty DMX ripoff who looks like a snow cone with face tats, and his videos have like 150mm views. How does this happen?! Isn’t new media wild?! 

Crickets. The conversation inelegantly segues to comparing spin classes.

These types of exchanges used to bother me, because what the hell am I doing, really? After all these years, I still don't have an answer. But I do know that the accumulated uncertainties, rejections and upheavals that fuel an artist's lunatic, peripatetic existence add up to my being happy. Weird, right? Am I a free spirit? Benignly sociopathic? A glutton for punishment? Probably a little bit of all these, on a good day. So, hooray! Today, I'm happy, and ideally that carries over into tomorrow. Hopefully this gives a new song permission to peak from behind the cognitive cloud cover and wave hello.

And I probably should join a spin class.