I’ve been writing a lot of songs lately. The end of Winter seems to be one of my times that I am prolific. I’ve been painting, writing, playing music, and doing anything to keep myself busy.
My mind is a bad place to be a lot of the time. Often I wish I were a normal person. Creativity is a son-of-a-bitch. I’ve heard this question posed before: “What came first, the artist or the addiction?” in reference to people from Jim Morrison to Hunter S. Thompson.
If you have to ask there is a good chance you don’t have it; that thing that makes these artists the way they are. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of functional creative people. There just aren’t many per capita, it seems to me.
The reason people like me make art is often to find a way to express what it is that is going on inside of our heads. We are egotists that have too much of one thing and an abbundant lack of something else. How many artists do you know that seem brash, brazen, and cocky, only to later appear small, pitiful, weak, or tragic?
Now that I am not self medicating I am coming face-to-face with a lot of the ugliness that resides inside me. I hate it. I hate looking at it, and I hate the fact that if I want to have any semblance of functionality I have to face it.
It has always been easier to run away, but now I don’t think have that option. Fuck.
This past week or so has been hard. I mean really hard. I mean so incredibly hard I have trouble understanding how I am actually making it through each day. But I am.
I haven’t seen my girlfriend in what feels like forever. My best friend has fallen off the face of the Earth it seems. I can’t nor do I want to go to my old stomping grounds and watering holes. I am full of sadness, anger, and sorrow.
But, things are getting better, or at least it feels like they are getting better. One day at a time I am pulling myself out of the shit and muck and mud. I am thankfully not alone.
I went to film school. I loved movies. I loved the stories, the camera, the lighting. I loved the production side of movies and the act of making movies. I was a film nerd, a movie geek, a cinema snob.
I absorbed everything I could. There were even aspects of film I excelled at. I loved post production, doing special effects and post production sound. The aural aspects of film seemed to be my most successful arena for film making.
But it was too much. The hours when I was working on projects were ridiculous and to make any good money one has to either A) know all the right pretentious ass-faces in Seattle or B) move to L.A. and hope you meet the right pretentious ass-faces. I didn’t like either option.
I have always played music. My mother bought my first guitar, an early 70’s Epiphone, for my 13th birthday. The guitar was, is, and will probably always be amazing. It is the guitar I use today at shows.
I wrote music for myself. I loved the craft of songwriting and I loved the aspects of live performance. For me, live performance was playing for friends and family at parties and around campfires.
One random Tuesday in 2009 I was walking by a new-ish West Seattle restaurant and bar called the Shadowland. It looked like an open mic was going on. I recognized the guy running it.
Patrick was my go to guy for music. If I had a gift certificate, extra money, or was bored of what I was listening to I would head down to Easy Street and look for new music. We’d talk about music, Patrick and I, and he would always come up with something perfect. One time I told him I was in a Beirut/Neutral Milk Hotel kind of phase, he produced for me an A Hawk and A Hacksaw album which was Jeremy Barnes and Zach Condon.
So, my go to guy for music was hosting an open mic. “Fuck it” I thought and signed up. I came nearly every Tuesday for about a year. At first I played drunk most of the time. Mixing in covers with the few originals I had at the time. My life was a mess and I liked the rush of performance.
I started to take music more seriously as I played. I started to write songs and I realized that all along this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a musician. I was and am a musician. Because of Patrick my good friend Wes and I formed Blackheart Honeymoon. BHH just celebrated it’s one year anniversary.
What has this year in music brought? We have played countless shows, lost and gained members, changed our sound, woodshedded music, tore apart songs, rebuilt rearragned and destroyed parts that we hated and loved, played with great bands, and played with shitty ones.
I realized recently that I am doing what I want to do. Yeah, I have two jobs. I work my ass off and I don’t have enough time for everything. So does everyone else. But, my music is really starting to take off, and even if it doesn’t I am doing what I love. There is nothing better than that… being where you are supposed to be… doing what you are supposed to do. Existing in melody and harmony.