As I mentally distance myself more and more from the toxic marriage and consciously project the reality of ending it, I explore the topic of my relationship to music sans Chi.  

This piece has no soundtrack.  Why not?  Because I don’t have a recording (in a web-friendly format) of anything I have composed, and also part of the point of this post is trying to imagine my life without being a musician, so we’ll just listen to the ‘sound of silence’ here, shall we?

Summer-Fall 2013

On the one hand I am so fatigued and burned out with it, and working with Chi, along with the business aspects of it, has ruined music so entirely for me that I am inclined to just give it up and reinvent myself with something else, but on the other, I have gained so much by working with him and am eager to explore what I might be able to do with it without the duress of having him constantly hovering me, criticising and picking at me and trying to dictate and control everything fucking thing I do and note I play.  Maybe it’s just a mood thing, and I should just give myself some time to regroup and get the house together and set up an area specifically for working on music, and look for some inspiration?  I need to be able to do this without anyone else trying to define and edit me and tell me what I should be doing and how I’m supposed to be doing it. Maybe then it will become liberating and fulfilling?

While we were preparing and attempting to record the “Victory Speech” album and I made my way through the byzantine labyrinth of digital recording, learning how to do it myself, I finally began to get deeply interested in and genuinely enjoy the process of creating music again, and officially quit giving a shit whether anyone else gives a shit about what we are creating.  I have quite simply run out of shit to give. I had long since tired of the fool’s errand of constantly putting myself out, jumping through endless circus hoops for nothing, or in many cases less than nothing, and in infrequent cases something, although it was practically never anywhere near adequate to compensate me for the loss of the only time I have to do any fucking thing.

I actually had peace about that for the first time ever. Fuck it. Fuck everything. Fuck everyone.  Doing something creative like that, even if it produces no economically useful result, is still better than just plodding through life, the majority of which involves doing shit that I have no interest in whatsoever, or running myself into the ground jumping through endless crazymaking hoops that consume assloads of time while creating massive amounts of stress and at the end of it all still does not bring about a satisfactory outcome.

Let me clarify the difference between creating and performing. We are talking about two vastly different things here. Creating is the process of…well…creating something out of nothing, which in my/our case is musical compositions, and realizing these creations/ compositions into a tangible form, i.e., recording them, while performing is a job — playing my/our or anybody’s compositions for other people, and one that I’ll be bluntly honest and admit that in most cases I don’t much care for.  I have discussed in other posts how I particularly dislike being shoved out in front and made to carry the whole show as the “front man”.  I do not have the personality for that. It stresses me out, makes me uncomfortable and basically ruins it for me. Then there’s the whole nightmare of “audience development”/”fan engagement”, having to promote/advance each show, etc., etc., that has nothing remotely to do with either performing or the process of creating music, and which I hate even more by orders of magnitude and yet always get stuck with having to do it.

To clarify further, playing our compositions as incidental to recording them is also performing, and as such, is also work that requires extensive preparation, but is satisfying from the standpoint that I am doing it in order to produce the best possible rendering of our compositions — our creative output — and find the challenge of woodshedding and working out my own parts and arrangements of our pieces and recording them skillfully to be interesting and satisfying in and of itself, as well as refreshingly free of all the hoop-jumping that being hired to perform for some event or other typically entails. It is also done under conditions that are much easier to control and set up in a way I am comfortable with. I’m not up against any deadlines unless we have booked time at a professional recording studio, which puts pressure on me to have to arrange my life around that deadline in order to get my parts hammered out ahead of it, which is another reason why I am willing to go through all these contortions to learn how to record our music myself and be able to enjoy the process of it without all the extra stress and shit to have to navigate through. The motivation is entirely different.

I realise this makes it sound as if I just hate to work. I don’t. As anyone who knows me will attest, I am not at all hesitant to work long and hard…very hard…CRAZILY hard and with bloody-minded determination at something, as long as I am getting a result from it that makes it worth doing!  It really is embarrassing that it has taken me this long to finally realize how insanely wrong-headed it is/was for me to have spent so many years turning myself inside-out trying to succeed in a career path I am so manifestly ill-suited for.

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