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The rest is gravy

Two weekends ago, I drove to Chicago from Detroit and it was one of the rare times that I only had music/podcasts on for about 1.5 hours of a 5 hour drive. It gave me a lot of time to think about the ups and downs of a music career. Sometimes, you are invited to Bahrain to have the time of your life and other times, you drive really far to play to very few people for free and get treated like garbage. Either way, you stick through it knowing that you haven't hit your highest highs and hopefully have hit your lowest lows. You make a plan and adjust it along the way.

Theatre Bizarre

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Last night, I went to a costume party in Detroit called Theatre Bizarre that was well worth the price of admission. I went as Seu Jorge from The Life Aquatic and had a blast. Easily the best Halloween party I've ever attended. It was at the Masonic Temple, an incredible space that's spooky in it's own right and then you add in the festivities! Side note, this is the building that Jack White paid $140,000 in back taxes to keep it open. It is also where I performed Joseph and the amazing technicolor dream coat with Donny Osmond at the age of 9. Needless to say the space means a lot to me.

I saw freak shows (folks hanging from hooks in their skin), Burlesque, Bands, and incredible costumes galore. It was super inspiring and the best party I've attended. Too rad for words, so here's some pictures. You should check out #theatrebizarre on Instagram to get the full picture!

 

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Digital Music Debate Post Number: whatever

Recently, my friend Ben sent me an article by Stefan Schumacher (centered around Radiohead) about the state of digital music and it’s greater implications about music in general. The article touches on a number of great opinions about the way music is being released while addressing how much of a task getting lesser known music heard can be for musicians. 

The Other Side (Briar Rabbit Vs. Of Monsters and Men)

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Writing a good song requires you to pick a side. You may not be on that side for long but when you write it, you have to commit. Sometimes you you listen to a song and think “Man, I wonder what the other side of the story is?” Once a song leaves your lips it’s not about you anymore. It’s about the listener. So what if “Love love love” by Of Monsters and Men was a response to The Briar Rabbit song “Float?” 

"Float" By Briar Rabbit  

My mouth tastes like cigarettes 

That I never smoked 

Memories are gently tangled 

With the words you never spoke 

The details come to focus 

Frustration melts 

Nothing hurts like knowing 

That I brought this on myself 

When I saw you sipping coffee 

you looked as delicate as steam 

Oh how I watched you float 

I held you like a balloon 

Filled with all of my breath 

You were so content to linger 

Just unable to connect 

So you loved me like a phantom 

It was the best you could do 

Cause when there’s no skin to puncture 

Everything feels twice removed 

Sinking in your silence 

I could not will my tongue to move 

So watched you float 

That final night you laid with me 

Close 

Oh my dandelion, I made my wish and blew on you 

Then you were gone, I watched 

you float

VERSUS 

"Love love love" By Of Monsters and Men

Well, maybe I’m a crook for stealing your heart away

Yeah, maybe I’m a crook for not caring for it

Yeah, maybe I’m a bad, bad, bad, bad person

Well, baby, I know.

And these fingertips

Will never run through your skin

And those bright blue eyes

Can only meet mine across the room filled with people that are less important than you.

All ‘cause you love, love, love

When you know I can’t love

You love, love, love

When you know I can’t love

You love, love, love

When you know I can’t love you

So I think it’s best we both forget before we dwell on it

The way you held me so tight

All through the night

'Til it was near morning

'Cause you love, love, love

When you know I can’t love

You love, love, love

When you know I can’t love

You love, love, love

When you know I can’t love you

What do YOU think?

While you’re here check out the video for float.

"I would walk with my people if I could find them"

Ive been meaning to blog more. I have lots of thoughts all the time about various things. Some are stand up routines I save for the shower but, some are about the music business. I think a part of me thinks that because I haven’t “made it” yet my opinion doesn’t matter (thanks whichever demon that is). However, I can say that as a dude who does this full time and has played in the middle of nowhere, for no pay, for no one trying to smile when people say “good for you,” I’ve learned a lot. The hard way. It’s pretty much the only way I learn. Blame my tenacity.

Industry folks have said “no one needs your music, so you gotta figure out how to sell it” but I wager someone needs it. If you were honest about your song (train spikes to the heart tend to bring that out), YOU needed it. And yes, you are a beautiful and unique snowflake but chances are someone else felt/feels the same way about your situation. So if that’s our premise….

Your job is packaging it the best way possible: Edit the shit out of it with your gut (maybe someone else’s), find the right tempo, put it in the right key for your voice, dress it for its body type, pick chord voicings that give you chills. Then make make your world/what you represent concise (Design, website, brand, colors, interests, Booze, ideas, principles, fashion). No one goes to Jay-Z feeling sensitive or Dylan if you wanna feel like a boss. They both have identities and you know them, that’s why you laughed.

Next, figure out the best way for these people to receive it. Don’t skip this part. If you want your audience to feel sad/reflective, do it in a restaurant, their headphones, a listening room maybe a coffee shop. Believe me, no one wants to feel all of the feelings, half-drunk, at a rowdy dive bar.

Next find your people! Like-minded bands, like sounds, like interests, like themes, aesthetic. What do people do in your world? When is the best time/way to listen to your music? I think if you can answer those questions, then you’ll have a direction to run in. Or at least something to search in twitter, Facebook, etc.

Also be kind to yourself and others. Before you write me off as a wanna be Dali Lama, hear me out. People made a full time job of distracting themselves. From everything.

- Your people may miss it the first (second, fifteenth) time around.
- Your future manager may sleep on you (Hell, your current manager might sleep on you.)
- Your friends might not know that supporting you doesn’t just require showing up, asking to be on the guest list and getting embarrassingly drunk/leaving mid set/talking through the entire thing.
-Promoters have people yelling at them and thus have shifted their focus to “draw”
- Other bands may talk shit because (like yourself) they’re insecure.

None of this is your fault. Has no reflection what so ever on what you do. Your job is keep shining your light and learn from everything. Get better and smarter. Find ways to motivate people and make it about them. Celebrate the shit out of the people paying attention/enjoying cause you know what? They probably get you and that’s what you wanted right? In the same way people look to music to say “me too,” you look to writing to say “you too?”

Bonus: They’re gonna reflect your light and make you brighter. Increase your visibility. You don’t have to shove it down their throats just thank them and let em know how to find you. Then one by one, the list above will be ALL about you.

I know nothing about writing songs that please everyone. My friend Phred told me it’s like building a rocket ship. But I don’t think Bon Iver does either but somehow managed to make a lot of people cry about tickets, fines and skinny love. Personally, I’m into curvy love but he got me emotional cause it resonated.

So write and resonate.

If you want to attract industry people it’s simple, make money. Then all sorts if people start believing in you. Hah!

#np on repeat: “Heart in Wire” - @MatthewMayfield

I’ve been talking to a dial tone for too long now
Suspending disbelief and tuning logic out
So fed up with the fiction I stick to with conviction
Misery is not for me

So long
It’s time that both your ghost and I move on

So sick of scanning every public place for your face
just in case you decide to show up unannounced
As if we mapped and divvied up this town when it ended
This hell I propel has to end

We fell in love and fell apart
I kept the pieces in a broken heart
It’s hard but there’s piece of mind
Knowing somewhere in the city theres a scar that matches mine