now playing: karla bonoff, “if he’s ever near”

as per my usual blogger routine, i glance over at the sidebar of recently published blogs and see if any of the titles catch my fancy…i woke up this morning in a foul, sad-for-the-state-of-the-world, wish-i-could-go-back-and-start-over kinda mood, and one of the blogs happened to be titled “doldrums” so i went straight there – to find an entry questioning the reader as to whether they shit once or twice a day…seriously.

didn’t bother to bookmark that one…

came back to the house this morning after taking the kids to school and flipped on the TV while i waited for wendy to get ready for work – vh1 classic was playing the video for “seven turns” by the allman brothers, which furthered my funk by slightly opening the quin wound…i talked to blake last night for a while, about finishing the record, about putting a band together – suggested we name it “the malcontents” only half jokingly….

i think i’ve been kidding myself for some time now. i’ve been touting myself as having made peace with my dinosaur status, and i’m not sure now that this has ever been true. i think that i’ve neither accepted dinosaur status nor made peace with it. i don’t consider myself a has-been, i don’t think that i’m no longer able or willing to contribute musically to the world, and i don’t think that i’m ready to settle for playing in bars for the rest of my life. i don’t think i’m ready to put myself out to pasture and tread water for the remaining days i have left.

one of my old grape street peers, jim boggia, posted this song (poem?) on his site some time back…i haven’t asked him about it, but i’m feeling like i want to post it here for your perusal. it seems to sum up my thoughts this morning.

I Realized This Afternoon While Driving to Connecticut

Last Tuesday – I sat across
from another – stupid record label boss.
He told me – I play the notes
too perfect – I should try to be more like the Strokes.
It made me so depressed that now I can’t get out of bed.
He wouldn’t know an artist if I kicked him in the head.

I saw the brass ring but I’m never, ever getting it
I realized this afternoon while driving to Connecticut.

West Hartford – is pretty far
from Philadelphia – about five hours in the car.
It gave me – time to think about
my life and – now I really have no doubt
unless I get a nipple ring, unless I shave my head
I better call a doctor to pronounce my career dead.

I saw the brass ring – I’m never, ever getting it
I realized this afternoon while driving to Connecticut.

I’ve read there was a time that
there were Record Execs who had ears to hear a well constructed melody –
that kind of person would do well with me.
But now it seems they only
want you if you’re angry and you play two chords and shout out some obscenities –
and since I don’t do that, the hell with me.

They’re supposed to be in A&R – yet they can’t understand
how this song I played on my guitar would sound played by a band.
Or, they’d really love to sign me – but they’re sorry, they’re not able
because Howie Day did not sell enough units for their label.
Or it’s just because my face is something less than photographic
or ‘cuz I don’t have 14 year old girls making my demographic.
I could keep on going on with their pathetic, lame excuses
but then I’d have to keep on driving all the way through Massachusettes.

I saw the brass ring and I’m never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, ever, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever . . .

I saw the brass ring – I’m never, ever getting it
I realized this afternoon while driving to Connecticut.

i guess this would be a good time for me to again rethink my position on validation – and where my sense of validation comes from.

or maybe, to examine that within the bigger question of what it would take to make me happy…or to bring me some peace.

most areas of my life are exactly the way i want them. i have a great relationship with my children, who – like their father – aren’t perfect, but i wouldn’t change a thing about them.

well, except for jayda’s taste in music and dylan’s attention span, maybe.

seriously, though, they are who they are and they’re both wonderful people, and i love that i get to be part of their lives and they part of mine. hell, once latin music gets over that Goddamn backbeat that is required by law to be in EVERY song, i may even start to like some of it….but i digress. while none of us were looking, we’ve become a family unit that actually enjoys each others’ company and leans on each other for support.

i’m one of the rare minority of americans who can honestly say that i enjoy my job a great deal. i make good money, and i have excellent customer service skills…and people trust me. from an occupational perspective, i think i’ve been pretty successful.

but this music thing still kicks my ass from time to time.

what i think i’m realizing is that i really want to be a part of something that has a sense of momentum…that at least creates some form of movement, a feeling that progress is being made, that there are a few more new faces in the crowd at every gig, that people are inspired by what you’re doing, that there’s some sort of emotional paycheck – however small – as a result of the turmoil and spiritual wear and tear that making that kind of effort exacts on you.

and, as i’ve said before, i don’t want the brass ring that jim is referring to, per se….i want to be a part of something i can be passionate about. even if it’s on a lower rung of the food chain – hell, especially if it’s on a lower rung of the food chain. if there’s one thing i know about myself, it’s that i’m not cut out for MTV – and in the current musical climate, i’m legitimately thrilled to be able to say that. nothing about what’s popular in this day and age excites me in the least. i have zero desire to be part of anything that might bear a resemblance to the success stories of these past few years (with an exception or two that i’m sure i’d defer to if they came to mind).

so what the fuck is it i want, you might ask?


the truth is…with apologies to the buttpirate from jerry maguire

i just wanna play.

but i want to do it a little further up the ladder…i wanna play for people who show up because we’re playing, not because there’s a draft beer special on friday nights. i wanna play for people who want to leave the show with a CD or their name on a mailing list…for people who show up to the gigs knowing the words to some of the songs. i wanna sleep on a bus careening down an interstate in the middle of the night with my guitars nestled in the belly between the wheels, waiting their turn for the next show.

this is my little “almost famous” pipe dream.

“would that those days but come again….and they will. they will. but not for me.”

— robert hunter

this is what i need to make peace with, i think.

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