Entertainment, stress and thoughts of commercial suicide

Rather attention getting title I admit.

Well, these last months with the economic conditions becoming increasingly challenging for all of my friends in the arts, all of us in every sector of the working world, the increased bureaucracy of fees, penalties, calls and bills firing away at us as the highest corporate levels are panicking, our stress is growing. World wide conflicts that make us feel pain, rage, hope and fear for our brothers and sisters in places like Iran and the African Congo, Somalia and Niger compound the weight. Some days just feel downright overwhelming trying to process and emotionally take it all in. You look, even pray, for a moment that'll allow you to step out of the river's force just for a short while. Just to catch your breath.

But how?

I don't really know. Do you? Get off the internet? Shut off the twitter? Delete the MySpace and FaceBook (well, I did)? Maybe. Hug someone? Create something? Find a little entertainment? Write a song?

I stopped writing songs for a couple months thinking that a more practical approach was called for. After all it's only entertainment. Get out there and do what your great-grandfather had to do and gather that "scrap metal". Push that "other" stuff you do. The "money" stuff. But that only resulted in a collapse of my spirit from within and didn't help my empty pocket any either. Then, I thought I should get a little help. Everyone seems to have a therapist. Some swear by 'em. Maybe I should get one and fix this stuff from the inside. And you know, everyone has an opinion. Some folks can be downright insightful. But still it kept coming back to one thing. Once again it came back for me to the songs.

Like a lot of us, songs have kept me alive since I was 13 years old. A stranger's voice speaking my thoughts, my frustrations, my joys until they became my brother, my sister, my parent. Me scrawling lyric and band names on my school books, my clothes, my bedroom walls (What, you didn't do that?). Then I started trying my hand at it. Rough at first, but immediately exciting, energizing my young gangly body until the song began to become a part of my DNA. It made me want to survive the minefield and continue the search for something simple. Something honest. Something joyful. It also gave me a place to put my anger. Even now, if no-one hears the daily results of my writing it doesn't matter. Only the songs do. The journey. It soothes my soul.

So now, with 80+ sketches sitting in the demo box waiting to be squeezed, tightened, scribbled over, and finally recorded, I feel it is time to get back to work. "I'm gonna play this song even if nobody comes" (the Waterboys). Those words celebrate for me that I GET to do this thing! I have been blessed to be a part of some great musical moments, my compatriot brothers and sisters, generous supporters who love the music I've been a part of and the bands I've been in and fans who have become friends. What a great world. What a great life. On to top it off I have been allowed to be there watching three young kids grow into creative powerhouses of their own. I am a very grateful man.

On Todd Snider's latest record he says (and makes me laugh my ass off hearing it) "...the pinnacle of success was when you finally lost interest in money, compliments and publicity. Know I need a lot more of all three before I have the nerve to turn up my nose though..."

Well, I can't afford to turn up my nose yet, and there's a lot more still to do. Songs seem to be my crazy impassioned way of contributing something to this world we live in and these tough times. Whether I can afford to or not isn't even a choice. It's a must. And for those of you pushing me, waiting patiently and hanging out along the way I am grateful for every bit of your camaraderie. So let's just spend a little passion while we are at it and say f*ck the stresses. It's all about the creation ain't it?

See you on the hunt. : P