Listen to what folks have to say. If you don’t agree with it, don’t just tell them they’re wrong. Show them….
I figured I’d get a jump on this 2014 thing. I’ll be asleep surely tomorrow night at midnight.
I have no resolutions. I try to live the same regardless of the calendar year. Don’t be an asshole. Treat others with respect. Write something everyday, even if it’s just a few lines. Earn my money. Try not to drunk-text. Write some good songs. Know enough to throw away the bad ones. Wear Doc Martens everyday….even if we take a family beach vacation.
I shall definitely release a record this year. Perhaps even two. Twenty new songs in total. Maybe with help from comrades. Maybe not. That depends on the comrades. I have a guitar. I have a microphone. Last I checked that’s all that is required. Money would be helpful but there’s even ways around that. I’ve been dead broke since 1998 and have managed to release a bunch of stuff. Ah the wonders of having a basement (and being the recipient of state grants).
I also have a piano, where I love to tinker. I can’t use the term “play”, because that suggests a certain competency that I do not possess. So “tinker” it is. The later the hour is the better. Perhaps the haze of drink suits me when I sit on that bench. It’s such an expressive instrument, even when played by a person who can’t play it. The thought of taking “lessons” on an instrument fills me with horror. I had 2 formal lessons on the guitar, both from my brother, who was completely self-taught. So chaos was the result, followed by many Yuenglings. From that time on I learned by listening to Who records. I figured (and still do) that if you could play “Magic Bus” you were halfway home. The other half could be traveled in various ways….(Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan…or some Clash records). The Beatles were always dicey because they were British smart-asses who loved to use funky chords and confuse the unwashed. Much more palatable where the Rolling Stones, who mastered the Chuck Berry thing and decided to make a (pretty good) living out of it. “Beggars Banquet” is a record that you can learn guitar by. “Sgt Pepper” buried the guitars and made you wonder if they were even there. I remember learning “Lovely Rita” and feeling quite taken with myself. But then I wondered where I might share my new knowledge. Turns out nowhere….so I kept “Sympathy for the Devil” in the playlist for the next 30 years….and when people ask for Beatles I’ll pull out “Back in the USSR”….which Chuck Berry could have written if he’d been granted an audience with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Actually Chuck may have been in jail at the time over trumped up Mann Act charges….so there’s that. Funny the way history moves on regardless, no?
Half of this music game, I’ve been thinking, is being in the right place at the right time. I make my own variations on that noise. In my own time. From my own basement. Not many are left to filter through what we’re all doing. I’m not clear on who these judges are. I just do what I do. I don’t know.
And then they say…..what do they say?
Does it really matter?
We do the best we can.
You are not going to be famous by writing a song. For a tv show, or a pizza delivery chain, or a car commercial.
They are mining obscure Dylan tracks for that. From 1962. That should tell you something.
But you’ve got a mind of your own. What do you want to get away with?
So you got tunes that are gonna rock the world. Or at least your little part of it. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what interests me. Push. And then push some more. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, “agitate, agitate, agitate.” If you don’t think you’re hot shit don’t expect anybody else to.
Your next move is….what?
It’s actually a new year. You can wipe the slate and start fresh.
Listen to what folks have to say. If you don’t agree with it, don’t just tell them they’re wrong. Show them. You can meet some of your best friends this way. And always remember that if people talk shit about other people to you, they’re sure as hell talking shit about you to other people. So trust, but verify.
Off we go. Into something brand new, or the same old shit. I suppose it depends on your attitude.
In a bit..