good morning ~
(click the link / up close picture of ice cream to listen)
today's track is a live-to-cassette-tape zone of voice, electronics, harmonium, and grand piano :)
pardon the absence these last two weeks - - things really getting away from me these days. lots of happy turmoil lately and absolutely no sea legs, flopping around all over the place. but yes, I am okay, thank you for asking!
first of all - - there's a new run of Cicada Waves cassettes now available from NNA Tapes. These have been sold out for a couple of years now so I am very happy to have them back at the merch table and back online for your enjoyment.
want to also mention that a brand new, first time ever (and imo very sick) quartet of me, Matt Evans, Elori Saxl, and John Thayer will be playing the important and extremely cool 24-HOUR DRONE festival at Basilica next weekend - - we hit at delicious 7am and I recommend getting your tickets now
also - - if you happen to live in the Newburgh, NY area, I’ll be playing some sunset zones on an extremely vibey loading dock on Friday / / an art dance subwoofer hangout with glowing alabaster sculptures, should be a very nice time:
The other day my friend told me that she was glad I wasn't bartending anymore because it had been making me mean. This caught me by surprise because at the time I was in a wonderful mood and she is one of my coolest, smartest, and nicest friends. Based on her personality and how she chooses to live her life she obviously cherishes kindness and I felt immediately terrible that I had let her down (evidence perhaps that I am not actually mean?). We didn't dwell on it long enough for me to grasp any kind of clarification, though. I wanted to ask for specific examples, wanted to watch game replay footage of me being grumpy in slow motion, wanted to debunk the observation or provide counter evidence. I did a really nice thing the other day, I wanted to say. Had I been turning sour, an old bottle of wine moldering in the back of the fridge? I started to wonder if instead I had been mean all along and had simply been better at hiding it when my ability to pay rent didn't depend on the bare minimum kindness of upstate New York drinkers. It was true, of course, that the uncertain rigors of gig work had made me feel anxious basically all the time, constantly checking my phone for when I was working what venue and constantly checking my bank account waiting for various payments to come through. That not enough lifestyle could turn anyone ungenerous, I winced any time I had to spend any amount of money and basically never had a full weekend off for a year and a half.
But was it the bartending that caused my nice mask to slip? I wondered if my friend had actually been seeing me lash out at the world of brokers and lawyers that had so thoroughly wrung us through over the mild but still seasonal depression affective winter. Everyday stomach aches, no wonder I came across as less pleasant. Backed into a corner I giddily imagined the non-lethal non-violent harm I could will upon our adversaries. In order to defeat a rigged and cruel system we had to become ourselves a shade cruel - a devil's tango that someone described to me as a "dance with the shadow self." Though the matter is now settled and we are maybe 35% unpacked and moved in I still feel like I've got some shadow on me - it won't come off in the shower or in the full brightness of the sun.
Another buddy of mine used to introduce me to people as "the kindest man in Brookln" but I never felt comfortable with the phrase. Trying really hard to be nice in my 20s got me stuck in a compounding stack of awful situations - don't lead with my kindness, keep it a secret for a while, it's like showing somebody exactly where the gap in my breastplate is - - boom, cutlass through the heart.
"How'd you manage that?" somebody asked me a while ago in reference to a premium gig I'll get to play soon.
Because I'm hot shit, dumbass! People like me and whatever the fuck I decide to play! I've been doing it for a long time and consistently well! I'm interesting! I'm good at what I do! My shit is beautiful! And it makes people feel cool and interesting when they hear it! I literally can't count the number of times I have made members of an audience weep! You're nothing but an ice cold turd - THUNK! We are not peers! I get to do this because I have put in the work! And I'm naturally charismatic! And not too bad to look at either! People admire me! They sometimes even rip me off, blatantly! I'm owed at least this opportunity! In fact, by rights I'm owed a lot fucking more! This is but a small scrap of my just reward! And you just don't got it, baby! Now fuck off!
I said none of this out loud. But I did think it and continued to do so, spirit-of-the-staircase style, gripping my steering wheel tighter and tighter. Being nice to others involves most often the omission of deeper truths. In 12 step programs it can all get very confusing - what you might think of as kindness could actually be enabling behavior and what you think of as cruel - kicking someone out of your house and out of your life, for instance - might be the kindest thing you can do for someone with a drinking problem. So speaking your true self aloud is the nice thing to do, right?
I know that I often come across as jolly, jovial, quick to joy, maybe easily entertained or overly enthusiastic. I am often goofy and I have trouble controlling the volume of my laughter. It is grating to some, of course - I have often detected a seething resentment wafting off of the joyless around me, whether or not they recognize it. It smells like burning plastic. And a lot of people dig it and maybe even expect things from me - is that why people often say "oh, of course you're here!" when I show up to a party? Sometimes I feel a little like I'm almost not allowed to be irritated or bummed out or straight up angry, no matter how valid my reasons. People will try to talk me out of these feelings, like it just doesn't sit right with them. And on other occasions I've noticed people ostensibly listening to me and then almost immediately disregarding whatever vexation I had just described. I only make sense to people when I'm happy and nice and polite, an emotional goofball who doesn't mind getting kicked around a little. But why is that, exactly?
I do feel different, however, with a less precarious roof over my head and no longer working for tips. But do I come across as nice? Thunk, arrow in the side, I guess I must have lost my meanness.
But what about you? How mean are you feeling on a scale of 1-10? Are you being nice because you're scared of any other alternative? Are you surrounding yourself with people who let you feel your feelings?