retroactive

 

now playing: keith urban, “you’ll think of me”

to say that things have been a tad insane at work of late would be something of an understatement. entire departments moving from one spot in the plant to another and going wireless in the process, phone lines being moved…oh, and we’re still on track with the upgrade, too.

so, if there’s any curiosity as to where i’ve been….well, i’ve been right here. just haven’t had too many opportunities to collect my thoughts.

today, we had a service call in for repairs to one of our brand new dell servers, and the guy who came in to work on it was someone i knew from a job i had over five years ago that was part of a chapter of my life i’d just as soon forget…he recognized me, and asked if he knew me from somewhere, but i think i was successful in throwing him off somewhat. at any rate, it didn’t come back up again – but it did serve as a reminder that no matter what you do to atone for wrongs of the past, it will revisit you at the precise moment that you feel like you’ve finally started making some headway towards putting your life in order.

or perhaps that trying to be a good person and make the right decisions in the here and now isn’t necessarily retroactive. that’s my lesson for today, i think.

it appears that i’ve gotten some of the expected flak from having made the statements i made regarding guidelines recently…and i think i’d made peace with that before i made the remarks. i have nothing left to prove (musically) to anyone at this point in my life – i’m aware of my abilities and my talents, and there are no gaping holes in my karma that will be filled by giving them away and not putting a premium of some sort on them. i don’t feel a need to keep repeating the same cycle as a sideman that i put myself through as a “recording artist”. i turned my back on writing and recording to spare myself all that, and i have no desire to relive any of that anymore.

at the risk of repeating myself, i find that there are certain aspects of my role as a musician that i enjoy, and there are aspects of it that come in a distant, distant second to spending time with my family or curling up and spending the evening with a book or the tv, or just being at home and enjoying doing nothing.

there are some aspects of my role as a musician that pale in comparison to doing nothing.

a great songwriter named jamie o’hara (half of the legendary country duo the o’kanes) said once that the very traits that allow a songwriter excel at his craft are the same traits that make them completely ill-equipped to deal with the day-to-day crap that goes on in the music business. sensitivity, empathy, humility, and the like have no place down in the trenches. and i don’t feel the need to get down in there and duke it out with anyone anymore.

i think that one thing that i took away from my years in stone road is that it doesn’t take a lot for me to be content, on a musical level. i was perfectly happy to go into some of the rooms we used to play, turn up my amp, and just roar for three or four hours. at the end of the night, i’d pack up my stuff with the rest of the guys, go home, and peel off my smoke-laden clothes and jump into the shower before dropping into bed – and i never felt as though i’d sold off some sacred part of my soul because i was playing other peoples’ music or any of the things that are drilled into your head when you’re hawking your own wares down there in the trenches. i enjoyed going out and executing those songs. i was good at it.

perhaps it wasn’t so much of an issue for me in that band because i’d gone the route of hawking my own wares, i knew that i was capable of writing songs, and i didn’t have to harbor the usual doubts with regard to whether or not i could actually write a song as good as the stuff i was playing or any of that.

and when i start work next month on this new record, it’s not going to be because i have all these objectives attached to it – to get it played on the radio, to make X amount of dollars on sales, to try to get Larry Fucking Goldfarb to throw me a bone at the Tin Angel, or any of that. very simply, i’ll consider doing a small production run of discs and put them on CDBaby with my first album and those who are interested can buy them if they so choose…and i’ll probably sell a few hundred or so, and that’ll be fine. and that’s if i decide to actually print hard copies in the first place…i may just post the whole thing on the site and let people download the songs.

because at this point, i have other ways to make money – more stable and lucrative ways to make money. i don’t need to do this to survive, and i don’t need to prove to the world at large that i’m capable of connecting with other human beings via my music.

if i’m going to do this, it’s going to be at my own pace, on my own schedule, and as a result of my own motivations. i don’t feel as though i have to play the game as it’s played by most folks anymore.

and in the meantime…i still love going out and plugging in my guitar and turning it up and hitting a nice loud “A” chord and feeling the back of my pants legs blowing up against my calves. and i’ll do that for as long as i can – until i see no reason to keep doing it.

and when i’m done, i’ll hang it up without the lingering doubts as to whether or not i “coulda been a contender”, or whether i did all i could to leave whatever mark i was supposed to leave. i’ll know that i did exactly what i was put here to do, both as a musician and as a human being.

and that’ll be just fine with me.

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