I sense a new phase coming.
As with all life-changing phases, it began with a profound malaise. After a weekend of giddiness listening to a few rough mixes for the new record -- they sound fresh and smashing to my ears -- I crashed badly. I kept thinking how I'm going to be going in for another round of dogged persistence, trying to get gigs where no one wants to book me, or a review from a rag that keeps saying yes yes yes and never comes through.
So be it. It's like old the tradeoff that love brings pain. You know it's going to hurt, but you must go ahead with it.
Pushing music made by your little ole self is exhausting, humiliating, and expensive. It's also the closest I'll ever come to having true freedom. I can make the songs say whatever I want, sound however I want. I also got the best boys around to help make the music come into flower, and that's something.
Many of you reading this are artists; you know what I'm talking about. It might be the only taste of glory we feel in our lifetime.
Coincidentally, when I got home last night a little alt-music rag was waiting in my mailbox. For the past few months I've been throwing the mags on the pile without reading them. I'm simply too jealous to read about so-and-so playing the Beeswax festival and what a great time it was. I want to play the Beeswax festival, but the queen bee never returned my calls.
Yet I opened up this issue of the mag. And bingo: first I got bugged. Tell me: In times like these, why do articles, presskits, and the like describe someone who 'deserves' a wider audience? About half the people they're talking about already get Christmas calls from Sir Elton, and the other half are sixth cousins of a Wainwright. Who 'deserves' more than they have? Or less? Do I 'deserve' to get hit in the head and killed by a falling flowerpot, or do I 'deserve' a hit single? If I profess that my pet has been kidnapped, and then 'discover' that she was at home sleeping under a blanky the whole time, do I 'deserve' a full page of publicity in the Post?
So I had my requisite snit. Then, however, I actually started to enjoy reading. Fuck if I've forgotten there's a new Wilco record out. And a new Tift Merritt coming! She's so good, goddamn her, I love her.
So I was getting happy and excited. I started wanting to make music (and not minding having to make obnoxious phone calls).
And a new record is coming.