Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feeling a teeny bit better about things

So a few days ago I posted a big, whiny "I think I'm burned out" blog, and it was precisely true to my emotions that day. I still sort of feel burned out, but I think that has more to do with how constrained our playlist feels than anything. I need to play some more new songs, and the ones we've been adding just haven't been dazzling me. "Walk This Way" sounded pretty weak the one time we tried to play it (who knows, it could get better), and we haven't even really tried the other two ("We're Not Gonna Take It" and "Livin' On A Prayer"). Plus we're learning "La Bamba" and "Tequila" for our Cinco De Mayo gig. How original. Any-way...

I did spend some time in the studio and recorded a little demo of a previously unrecorded old song of mine. It's super rough, but I figured I'd share it:
She's Got It All - Stream
She's Got It All - Download mp3
She's Got It All - Info about the song

I really need to get back to writing. I think that will solve a lot of my "issues".

I was also considering asking my friend mAndy (she likes to spell it that way) if she'd be interested in starting a little fun duo thing. I don't know if she has the time or interest, but I'm fairly certain she doesn't read my blog, so I can talk about it here before I ask.

She's a really talented singer who can play a bunch of other instruments. Along with me, I think we have the voices and arms to be able to cover a lot of sonic ground and still keep it really fun for the crowd. I actually asked her if she'd want to play with the full band a while back, but she thought that might be bad (too many conflicts with her band UNB), and before that, we were going to try an acoustic thing that never really panned out.

Regardless, my wife's been pushing me to ask her to do something, since we both (me and mAndy) will play pretty much any song and I think our voices will work well together.

We'll see what comes of it. She might not be interested, or might be too busy, or something else, but it never hurts to ask.

I think I'm going to start figuring out which venues have acoustic acts and call them to book some shows as a solo. If stuff works out with mAndy, maybe I can convince them to pay a little more for a duo.

Come see me play these next few weeks - 5/1 at Hayashi in Cedar Park (on 1431), 5/5 at Pappasito's (on I-35, I think), and 5/8 at The Tilted Kilt in Round Rock.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I think it's finally happened. I'm actually burned out.

I can do music, but I feel particularly uninspired these days. No writing, no creating, no real connection to anything I hear. I am even wondering if it's just a phase, or if I've crossed over into "go through the motions"-land.

I hope not. I play in a good band, with two gentlemen I really like. I am always praised for my singing and playing (probably because no matter how I'm feeling, I act as though it's the last show I'm ever going to get to play). We just played an awesome wedding at the Trois Estate north of Fredericksburg. All good shit with music. New venues, new opportunities, new songs...and just a blah feeling from me about all of it.

I think it might just come down to this: I feel constrained.

Constrained by the fact that Ned isn't a walking encyclopedia of songs (not even the songs we've played in the past because of his lack of memory).
Constrained by the fact that I have to drive all the way up to Round Rock to practice (which makes them impractical).
Constrained by my inability to manage time well enough to feel like I'm forging the close relationships with my wife and kids I want while also satisfying that artist in me who is crying out to create something, internalizing all that frustration and pain and not turning it into something productive.
Constrained by not having someone who has my same weird, diverse-but-still-sort-of-mainstream feelings about music or my same desire to create both the perfect Beatles-esque pop song, a ripping, angry punk song, a thrashy metal tune, and cutting the funkiest, most dirty groove.

I feel like I need a musical counterpart. As much as I've found a lot of musicians I admire and would collaborate with any time, I really don't have one. I don't know anyone who has the same affection for Rush, Van Halen, Green Day, Zappa, Sloan, Jellyfish, The Meters, Chicago, Billy Joel, Anthrax, Living Colour, Led Zeppelin, Extreme, King's X, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Grand Funk, Dave Brubeck, Motown, Stax, Operation Ivy, Reel Big Fish, Katy Perry, Butch Walker, early get the picture.

I have a feeling that unless something just happens, I'm not going to have an opportunity to ever really find one, because I just feel I can't invest the time in that sort of selfish pursuit. I feel it's unfair to my family.

So I think this constraint is more internal than external. It has everything to do with how I've lived my life. The endless conflict between the worldview of the obsessive artist - the loner who needs to concentrate to create - and the responsible member of society, making a contribution, dutiful to their responsibilities, not chasing their fanciful dreams.

Okay, now I'm going to cry - this cuts too close to the bone for me. This was meant as more of a "thinking it out as you write" thing, so of course I had to travel through a range of feelings to reach any sort of conclusions.

And here's my conclusion/plan for a resolution:
-I'm going to start to allow myself a little time each night to focus solely on musical pursuits. I'll do it when the children and wife have gone to sleep so as to not take away from potential time with them.
-I'll fight the feelings of burnout by finding new ways to enjoy what I'm doing (maybe play around with settings or something).
-I'm going to really focus on my music - improving what I've got and creating new music and hopefully finding some like-minded people here in Austin to play it with me. Hopefully the drum throne in this new endeavor (which will include me on vocals and guitar) will be occupied by Greg from Roman Holiday - he's got such a healthy attitude about music I still can't believe we ever considered anyone else after Rob left.

And if nothing comes of any of it, here's hoping it doesn't turn me into a cynical sourpuss who wants to sell all his gear and quit because he's never going to have the time to do it the way he wants to do it.

Love and funk,