HEAR YE! In September of 2016 I do hereby promise to produce thirty crappy, corny, low-fi demo recordings, one for each day of the month, with which I will thoroughly expose myself in an online public forum … just to see if I can still do that.
I’m committing publicly to this because I absolutely must break through whatever strange inner resistance has been slowly strangling my ability to make music over the last several years. All I want is to sing, to play, and to get some use out of this pile of instruments and recording devices I’ve been carrying around my whole life. That should be easy!
It used to be easy. Used to be, I wrote the songs that made some percentage of the whole world sing. Perhaps not a large percentage, but it was enough for me. In fact, I moved back to Portland some 25 years ago with a guitar under my arm and a dozen songs to my name, hoping to make the musical connections I hadn’t been able to forge in San Francisco. And when I got here, I fell deep into a whole world of music. I played a lot of instruments in a lot of bands with a lot of other musicians, and it was good.
But after leaving the Golden Greats six years ago with the intent to return to songwriting, to find my voice and create my best possible music, I somehow got sidetracked. I spent a couple years learning to play the trumpet, even though I don’t particularly like trumpet music. I journeyed into electronica, audio synthesis and signal processing, but I never reported back. I still found little scraps of music in my head and my hands all the time — I always have, all my life — but I somehow lost the habit of crafting them into songs.
I fear that at some point I started to Take Myself Too Seriously. I started to long not just to make music, but to make music just as moving and meaningful as the best music my favorite musicians ever made for me. An impossible goal, and a paralyzing one. Instead, these days I’ve found myself afraid to use a cliched rhyme or a well-worn chord progression. I judge before I finish. I quit before I start. What the fuck is up with that?
Fear of Suck is Fear of Success. Goodbye to all that! Over the last twelve months I’ve built the latest, greatest version of this home recording studio I’ve carried around all my life. Now it’s time to use it. At this point in my life, there’s really nothing I want more than to make some honest noise, live or on tape, alone or with friends. I don’t need to impress anybody. I just need to let some things out, purge some self-inflicted pain, honor my own heart, and reconnect with the joy of sound. Wish me luck!