Psychic Exploratory Surgery For Dummies
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Or at least a lot. The problem with recording yourself is that you never have to finish anything.
I’ve managed to raise procrastination to a fine art. I’d like to say that my New Years resolution is to get better at that, but judging by the fact that I’m posting about it in Mid-February I’d say that probably the best I could hope for would be to just be a little more organized about finishing.
I was talking this week to my pal Wickie Stamps, who’s helping me with creativity coaching, or something like that, more like psychic exploratory surgery probably, and I said something to the effect that creating art, music, writing or whatever is so non-linear.You have to function on so many levels. I need all this time to play around with ideas. There’s the little kid screwing around with the crayons level, just kind of messing around playing guitar while you’re in the middle of watching five consecutive seasons of “Mad Men” on Netflix.
There’s the preproduction level where I’m kind of mashing parts together to see if they work, so it has to have that little kid at play thing but you need adult supervision. There’s the writer level, where I have to figure out what I’m talking about.Lyric writing has always been torturous for me. There’s few things in my life that have been more satisfactory though, like when the whole idea just comes to you easily. Usually though, it’s more like building with word Legos. This level is actually most fun when the little kid part takes over, but then you get lyrics about pee-pee and poo-poo.Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Then there’s the actual recording of the piece, where I have to come up against my lack of engineering skills, my lack of equipment, not to mention my impatience with not being able to go outside.
Once you’re done with all those levels, you have to try to mix the goddamn thing, which is where I get really bogged down. The endless remixes, the failed hard drives. I have a hit single sitting on a hard drive that would be more useful as a doorstop right now. (Anyone want to Disk Warrior this drive for me, free guitar lessons or a ride to the airport).
By the time I’ve finished the song, years can have elapsed. Throw in the unforeseen circumstantial problems, divorce, having to move, the day to day maintenance of just being human, the eating,the cooking,the shopping,the showering,the brushing and flossing, the staring at Facebook,craigslist or some other bullshit,thinking
about my hair, practicing yoga so I can keep doing this at 51 years old, recovery, therapy, coffee drinking. Not to mention working to keep a goddamned roof over one’s head, wanting to be involved in other people’s projects and the time that consumes. Relationships? Forget it. I won’t even start on that.At least it’s fodder for more material.
I’m coming to realize that the main problem with my creativity is being ruled by my emotions. Discouragement is the bane of any musician or artists existence. And I’m not just talking about the self-doubt, the judgement, the self-editing,and the ever popular “I’m a fraud, I should go work at McDonalds” refrain. Though that alone is enough to keep anyone from getting started, much less finishing.
It’s the waiting until I feel better before I do anything.
With all that, it’s just hard to show up, sit in the fucking chair, pick up the guitar or the laptop or the pen and just ignore all of that shit, the bills you can’t pay just yet, the psychic warfare that is urban transportation, childhood trauma, that asshole at work and visit with my 12 year old self that’s just so stoked to play power chords and write some screed about how the worlds coming to an end and I still haven’t got laid.
Anyway,on that note, I didn’t write this next one. It’s my bogus techno cover of “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” by Queens of The Stone Age. It’s a complicated story how this came to be, mostly it was just an exercise in trying to use Reason. It’s been about 7 or 8 years in the making though it probably doesn’t sound like it.
I love the song, I just thought it’s really just begging for a disco remix. The lyrics just have dance floor written all over them. I have a whole theory about dance music lyrics. Really you just need one line that sounds profound when you’re all whacked out on Special K or something and the music’s so fucking loud your brain’s beating against the side of your skull. And then you stop and think:”Yeah, maybe I AM better off alone”.Instant Smash Hit. Anyway, that’s the whole theory. I don’t think that applies to “Secret” but the chorus does have a certain Discotheque Joie de Vivre.
Anyway, don’t sue me guys, blood from a stone and all that, it’s really a tribute. QOTSA is really the best band in the world right now. Nothing commercial even comes close as far as I’m concerned.
Happy New Year, Nosferatu!