"Life is short." You hear that phrase bandied about a lot, but what's it mean?
To me it's part of a broader theory that considers life a constant self-improvement project. Never be "satisfied" with who you are and what you are doing, but, conversely, don't drive yourself crazy. Get "satisfaction" out of small things, from attaining goals and enjoying life, but (and here's the key) never slip into the complacence that "satisfied" implies. Keep striving to be better. Sometimes that includes shedding the crap that is dragging you down, while simultaneously emphasizing and enhancing the things that make life an exercise worth doing.
Music-wise, I am a little bored. I play in the best band I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of, but, on the other hand, dumb stuff clogs my musical arteries and makes me question the sense of the whole deal. An example: we played a gig recently that was a wonderful, joyful, amped-up blowout -- for the 25 minutes we were allowed to play -- but it was in another city, far away, and I left my house for that gig at 5 p.m. and returned at 5 a.m. 12 hours for 25 minutes is not a fair exchange. It seems that the club had four bands slotted to play over 2 1/2 hours. Do the math. We all ended up with 25-minute slots, and that sort of thing can bring a guy down. Sleep is the single most import component of fitness, health and just plain old feeling good. "I'll sleep when I'm dead" was the mantra of Warren Zevon. He's dead. I don't want to be dead yet. And I don't want to lose that much sleep to play gigs like that.
This experience, along with others, has made me cranky, discontented and generally wondering whether this band stuff is worth it. I have learned from experience that when I get cranky and discontented, holding it in gets me nowhere. The only real change comes from speaking up.
So, does this mean I am quitting Mondo Topless? No. We all know that we are playing really well together, and, when it's firing on all cylinders, which it almost always is onstage, it's a great time. But, after a bunch of conversations about all of this -- in which, we learned (surprise, surprise) that I am not the only one who feels this way -- we've decided to take a little more care in what we agree to do. I am not going to name venues or cities, but we've played some places that we are not going to agree to play again. On the other hand, when we get an offer to play somewhere great that is a known quantity, or a new place that has potential to be great, we will gleefully do it, and sweat out the garage/psych/punk for you.
Part of this plan also involves a little break. After we play Reaction at the Sidebar in Baltimore -- a known quantity of awesomeness, by the way -- on Friday February 11, 2011, we are doing nothing band-wise for a few months. You know...recharge the batteries; if you love something, set it free, blahblahblah. I assume the result of those months off will be a burning urge to play music together and a renewed commitment to high-quality gigs that make that 12-hour-for-25-minutes tradeoff a dim memory of a mistake from which we have learned an important lesson. Onward and upward....
"Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength; move on."