This week I'm finally releasing a passion project over 5 years in the making, which is stirring up all kinds of crazy emotions. Somewhere along the lines I committed to sharing these songs I wrote under the tree in the front yard of my old house in my 20s and now I can't back out even though I'm not sure I'm ready for you to hear it. I mean, one of the reasons it took so damn long is that I spent so much time doing and re-doing stuff because I was worried about what you were going to think about it.
These days everyone is a content creator and has a brand and a blog and a single out and a better logo than you, everyone is doing something much better than you all the time and it's always in your face thanks to your phone. You get bummed out and then get on there to escape and then you see how great everyone else is doing, which makes you want to blow your brains out.
I don't think anything about this record is groundbreaking or all that great in general, other than that it's my voice, my own proprietary blend of what I've heard and liked and appropriated from others. I spent so much time deliberately copying the Stones it's stupid. But I am proud of it whether it's objectively any good or not: I don't have to live in a lie in order to be creative anymore. I don't have to look myself in the mirror and tell myself I'm the greatest and everyone loves me 37 times so that I can get physched up enough to do something. A self-world created in that mold always comes crashing down anyways, no matter how hard you try to hold it together.
The easiest way to crush the warm fuzzy heebie-jeebies that you feel when you're creating something that you love is to think "are other people going to like this?" Most of us, when we're working on creating something, tend to think of the most critical person we know and judge for ourselves whether they would like this or not. With all due respect to them (they're often people that love you and would hate finding out that they are the dream crushing demon on your shoulder), in this regard, screw them. If you lack urgency, go to a few funerals. You and I are on a very limited timetable here, we have to get on with what we're really passionate about.
If there's something that you love and you're not doing it, it's really not because you're too busy or you're too tired, it's because you're scared. Following your dreams almost never happens inside a 40 hour workweek, and we all know it. I had two kids and changed careers in the middle of this record, but what took me the longest to deal with was working through my insecurity. Finally I made my friend/ bandmate Rick come sit with me while I was tracking the vocals just so that I could have someone tell me they were ok. That's how fragile my ego was/is, so I just had to figure out a way to work around it.
My songwriting mentor/ alt country legend Ryan Adams says there are only two rules to writing: 1) put your ass in the chair. 2.) fucking write. This idea goes with just about anything. Anything worth doing is worth doing shitty. Write and share your shitty songs. Start your shitty blog. Paint shitty paintings and create shitty derivative graphics. Do your personal shitty thing that I haven't specifically mentioned. Stop judging your life on likes and shares and just think about how awful it will be to get to the end and feel like you didn't really do what you wanted to do.
Some links to my thing:
Also the whole album is on Spotify already but that's a secret for people who make it to the end of blogs. Shhh