Friday, November 25, 2005

My Thanksgiving Prayer

Okay, my mom surprised me by asking me to say grace at Thanksgiving so I improvised the following prayer: Dear God In Heaven, Thank you for getting us through another year and allowing us to meet at this table today to eat and to give thanks. We are grateful for all of the victories and bountiful treasure that you have bestowed upon us to date. We worship you for visiting despair and death upon our enemies. May you continue to favor us with the sunny side of your infinite power and wisdom, and humbly beseech you to continue raining heinous bad luck and tragic circumstances upon those who oppose us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More tales from the sordid indie underworld

A band I shall not name preceded us on Saturday night at the Pegasus. They were a skatepunk kind of band; the kind that cranks out tunes usable on Xbox racing games. Singer guy was into the Johnny Rottenesque practice of distributing spit all over the stage.

As our turn came I had to kneel in substantial puddles of this guy's spit while setting up all my guitar pedals. There's spit getting on my cables, guitar stand, etc. It was really very difficult to avoid dragging equipment through this stuff without suspending thick ropey strands of saliva all over the place. Finally I accidentally got some on the back of my hand. Fucking gross. I grabbed the nearest absorbent material at hand, which appeared to be some kind of forgotten notebook. I threw it onto the largest puddle of spit right in front of my mic stand, and used my boot to wipe up some of the dude's phlegm.

After I was done I glanced down at the notebook and it appeared to be filled with lyrics from this band, a mailing list sign-up, etc. By then it was too late, but the stage was clean and I proceeded to rawk the haus.

Monday, November 07, 2005


..needs a new name. How bout Crapahassee? Tallahassle? Just got back from there. Maybe it's cuz Jeb Bush put me up at a Homewood Suites in the middle of nowhere. Nearest place to eat was a Chinese fast food in a strip mall.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Music Will Never Change the World

Some musicians resemble the mouth, some have guts, others are assholes. Musicians generally resemble a type of noisy alimentary canal, and are predisposed to swallowing any of a number of romantic lies. This is true of every one of them that I have worked with or met. An entire industry has been founded upon this vulnerability.

To sustain themselves during times of unpopularity, anonymity, and indifference, band members will fix their hopes on flimsy and ephemeral achievements such as getting signed to a record label or gaining radio airplay. With vast reserves of youthful idealism available, they will endure long periods of roadsickness, poverty, sleeping on floors, etc. And this, really, is fine with me: as a society, we need people willing to do this so we can listen to new tunes all the time.

But please, let us have the strength to dispose of one existential illusion: that what we are doing as musicians will actually "change the world". Bullshit.

In describing orchestral music, Stravinsky once said

"I consider that music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all, whether a feeling, an attitude of mind, a psychological mood, a phenomenon of nature, etc...Expression has never been an inherent property of music. That is by no means the purpose of its existence. If, as is nearly always the case, music appears to express something, this is only an illusion and not reality. It is simply an additional attribute which, by tacit and inveterate agreement, we have lent it, thrust upon it, and as a label of convention -- in short, an aspect unconsciously or by force of habit, we have come to confuse with its essential being."

The above passage has been interpreted as a critique of Romanticism but it is equally serviceable contradicting the notion that the content of instrumental music can ever be representational. With rock music, of course, an artist can easily craft words that directly or indirectly express his intentions. But does that ability necessarily give music some kind of mojo to drive events and history? I say it does not. If you disagree, give me one good example.