Posted in music and the music business, yesterday. today. tomorrow.

incendiary

now playing: susan werner, “st. marys of regret”

been revisiting our mutual angels again this week, through circumstance moreso than anything…was groping around in the drivers’ side door pocket looking for something to listen to that wasn’t either a commercial or a radio station that refused to come in clearly and ended up popping the tape in again…

boy, i still cringe when the lap steel solo comes around on “made of stone”. i sure do wish i had that one back again.

when we were making the record, i was getting the amp set up the way i liked it, and i had steve run through the track while i noodled away and got a feel for how that particular tone sat in the mix. when it was over, i said to steve through the talkback mic, “ok, let’s do one, then….”

he came back with “you’re done, man. that’s a take.”

we….uh, discussed it for a bit, and he won…as he had a tendency to do…but i’ve never been overly thrilled with it. true to his thought that day, it is the rawest thing on the record, but i fail to see how that’s a good thing…

i read somewhere, though, that joe walsh’s slide guitar solo in “rocky mountain way” was a result of the same situation…he thought he was getting a headphone mix until glyn johns came over the talkback and told him that it was a wrap….

anyway, i think i’ve been sufficiently spooked away from the USO band at this point. they sent me a song list last night…with songs on it by people like “bob seager” and “hall and oats” and “lynard skynard” and “stephenwolf” and “stevie nix” and “tommy two tone”.

so that got me thinkin’….

anyway, i talked to the bandleader again this morning and got some of the details….the USO tour is nineteen weeks, with the band leaving may 31st. that means it’d be roughly halloween before i was stateside again…and apparently, all the shows are in korea.

i dunno how big korea is, in comparison to the US, but a nineteen week tour of the US would put you in just about every major city and then some…so that has me scratchin’ my head, too.

they also have no website..and no means of me being able to check them out beforehand to see what they sound like, if they’re any good…

it just seems awfully friggin’ risky to me.

my optimistic side wants to believe that these guys are seasoned professionals and that this could be a great opportunity, but something in my subconscious is telling me that my optimistic side has shit for brains…

i think i’m gonna call him and decline as gracefully as i can later today. i don’t want to waste too much of his time. i just don’t feel as good about this as i did the potential nashville gig (even though the nashville job would’ve involved picking up and moving to tennessee).

it occurs to me, today, that i can’t recall a time in my life that i’ve ever been as ambivalent and cloudy about what lay ahead for me.

for as long as i can remember, there’s been some sense of what i was going to do someday, or whenever this piece or that piece of the puzzle fell into place…even upon having given up on the concept of what i considered to be success as a songwriter or a recording artist, i felt as though i had made a comfortable choice in my selection of an occupation, and for a long time i’ve enjoyed what i do a great deal. up until recently, that’s continued to be the case – but i’ve started to sour a bit on my choices in this realm as well…both in terms of the occupation i’ve chosen and the place i’ve chosen to practice it. i feel as though the skill set that i’ve managed to cultivate grows a fresh layer of rust with every day that passes here, to the extent that if i went to work for a company that didn’t cling to obsolete technology the way this one does, i’d be useless to them. this would mean that one of two things would have to apply – either i’d stay here forever and adapt as the company adapts, or i’d jump ship and begin the arduous task of catching up to the rest of the world and bringing my skills current.

or the third option, which is to get out of the field altogether…but then that begs the eternal, twisted sister-esque question….

“whadddaaaaya yeeewwwannnnnaaa ddddoooooooo with your life???!!!?”

and that, really, is where i find myself thrown a bit. because if you rule out my present occupation (and preoccupations), then i really have no fucking idea.

i think this is what’s driving me to pursue higher-profile musical situations (alongside some of the other motivating factors that i’ve discussed before) – the fact that my grownup day job isn’t feeling as permanent as it has in the past. the looming spectre of non-permanence of my bi-weekly paycheck, be it real or imagined, is making itself known to me. i’m not sure why i feel as though there’s a cloud hanging over my head here, save for the deterioration of what used to be a good relationship with my boss that neither of us can fully take the credit for. it isn’t necessarily an animosity, just a distance of sorts. but it’s enough to create a sense of “this, too, shall pass” in the back of my mind.

and, were this to become a past chapter in the larger book of my personal history, i’m not completely sure i’d want to stay in this field.

which brings us to chapter 39 – “what the hell do ya do now?”

you’d think i’d know, by now.

i just wanna be russell hammond when i grow up.

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Author:

tom is a personally and politically malcontent musician, songwriter, sideman and session cat living in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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