we've finished the record....we're close, we're close. last night, after over 20 days of mixing, we took home a CD with what we think is the finished product (minus the mastering, which is the Ultimate Final Step). the last few weeks have been weird and detached. I barely got a chance to recover from Tour Plague and was back in the studio for ten hours a day...my kitchen still covered with unopened mail and unpacked bags. every time I would come home at the end of the night I was just too wasted to get my life back together, i would just collapse. it felt like a completely uphill battle for about two weeks straight. I finally feel almost caught up. There's no music making, noen at all, can't even remember what that's like. With no piano in my apartment (it's still in the studio, so it could be used for a total of 67 seconds worth of overdubs) i feel freed from the terror of inspirationlessness. sort of like that happy haze you enter into when you check into a hospital for a certified broken bone or illness and you happily allow yourself to be 100% unproductive. the few days off i've had have been typically mundane. i've spent time here and there with long-lost friends, but mostly just puttered around my apartment, trying to make sense of the mess, trying to keep up and trying to answer the endless emails.
the record was originally supposed to be Finished on october 12, the day we left for tour. instead, it's going to be finished on november 21st. i had been begging, for the past six months, to hget november and december off so that i could clear my head and write music. instead, i've gotten no time off and a pile of stress that will not diminish...the album artwork demands attention i couldn't give it since i needed to work on the record, the sheet music is going to be delayed once again since i've had no time to edit, the new years shows need to be organized....it's just endless. i feel like i can't win. i would ask to delay the release of the album but i'm told the timing is too important. at what cost, i keep asking myself. is it more important to sell records by releasing at the ideal time, or should i just tell everyone to hang on a bloody minute while i enjoy myself for a few months after all this craziness. i do not thrive on stress. it weakens me, and slowly over time, i feel like my creative, song-writing mind is turning to mush. i haven't felt like a musician in a long time. i barely even remember what it feels like to write. it's laughable, really. but that is neither here nor there. some time will come, eventually. or it won't. i will have put out two decent records and i'll fade into obscurity, occasionally letting the public wheel my dusty aging corpse out for a toothless and wheezing performance of "coin-operated boy" at a veteran's day community picnic somewhere near the City of Boston.
now that i've gotten my typical whine out of the day, there have been good things in life. one was the bauhaus concert the other night (they still got it, in a weird way), after which david j and daniel ash came over to my place and we had a wonderful party in the cloud club with some of the other folsk in my house....getting silly and dancing and talking about touring and death and antony and terrible beatles songs. danile ash announced there was a song he HAd to HEar and i, prepared for anything, was tickled when he said he would die unless i managed to find a copy of billie jean by michael jackson. i honed new talents as an iTunes dj, downloading requests onto my mac and blasting over the speakers. there was an awesome group zombie dance to "thriller".
i also went to see NIN come back through boston on their arena tour, which was totally bizarre. after seeing them 25 times in different theaters and other 2000-seat venues, seeing them play to 10,000 people felt creepy and discombobulating. the show was still good, but the entire band and crew looked like death had warmed over them. they'd been keeping an inhumane touring schedule and given up their few days of time off to audition new drummers, since jerome left. we said hello to everyone (except, of course, trent, who passed on his greetings to us but was characteristically Whisked right after the show) and chatted with the very tall red-headed man from queens of the stone age, mr. josh homme (doesn't that mean Man in french?), who was very friendly and funny. i think i should go and buy a record because i don't know a single song of theirs except the one we covered with NIN in europe.
after finishing in the studio last night, i invited brian over and he and pope and i all sat in my kitchen and listened to the whole fucker from start to finish. i think i am 89% happy with it. i think that's good...and typical and i think i may work all my life to achieve a 95%. i spent countless hours in the past two weeks sitting on a couch in a studio, pacing around, listening, fixing, losing focus, going to pee and losing myself in the poster for "the big sleep" that sean and paul have hung in the bathroom. getting too familiar with the patterns on the throw pillows in the control room. showing up at the studio and leaving and never, ever feeling that any of it is real. just not even capable of feeling the reality of it. here i am, in a Recording Studio again, making a record. i know what i'm doing, and nothing feels foreign, but it doesn't feel familiar either. like, this is it? when did i decide to do This With My Life? i don't rememebr ever making that decision. i just remember, vaguely, when i was about 12, dancing to cyndi lauper in the living and thinking that a rock star career seemed pretty much inevitable. i didn't know what that career choice meant back then, and i still feel just as clueless. it's only when i look around, realize that everybody else i see is faking their lives and trying to figure it out moment by moment, that i remember. there is nothing normal. there is only what you get used to and even then, perspective changes.
we went into the studio on an off-day and there was a local community group called Girl Authority laying down vocals for a record of cover songs ranging from pink to madonna to joan jett. picture nine 8-13 year-old girls in a recording studio for the first time, running around like maniacs. they had given themselves Girl Names a la the spice girls....there was Fashion Girl, Rock n roll Girl and Bohemian Girl (my personal favorite) to name but three. i was in complete heaven watching this spectacle. they didn't know about the band (except rock n' roll girl, who was familiar with, surprise, coin-operated boy), but they were fascinated by me and brian ("are you Real Rock Stars? are you Rich? do you Travel the World?") and i saw myself through my own eyes at age 12. it was beautiful and heartbreaking. i wish i knew now whatever i knew back then. according to paul and sean, after we left the studio there was a mild uproar of dresden-dolls mania as they all fought for use of the computer to get on our site and download the videos. apparently, they downloaded the Halloween Strip-tease Skit and they all decided that they Loved Brian (and i assume, Wanted To Marry Him). Sometimes I think I'd like to skip the rock circuit altogether and just visit grade schools.
coming up with the final song order and selection last night was agonizing....we didn't have to go through that on Record One because we used (nearly) everything we recorded. this time around we recorded more than we knew we could use but cutting songs felt like drowning children. i just couldn't let a single one of them go. we finally cut three and i have a timid hope that they won't fade into b-side obscurity but will instead get put in the band for Record Three. record three......threeeeeeee
other good things i have discovered:
-green tea treated with coconut. sounds kind of gross, but it grows on you
-casey dienel, a boston based piano songstress: www.myspace.com/caseydienel
-the movie Dig (feat. the dandy warhols and brian jonestown massacre), which i finally watched after 5 separate recommendations. i now pass on the recommendation. if you have any interest in band dynamics or the music industry, this film is a must-see....it's painfully human and really well done
and last but definitely not least:
-Jesus Christ Supercop, episodes 1-6.
this is SO AWESOME. www.undergroundfilm.org,
just search for "jesus" and they'll all pop up.
go, go, go!