Sunday, March 19, 2006

Music is Poisoning Me

i used to listen to music all the time.

it was like church.

from the time i was really young, it was sit, sit sit, then later sit and cut and paste and listen listen listen to music and get lost inside of it. worshipping, mindlessly.

what happened?

i think it was a few things.
i have to now point out the irony of the fact that i tried to put on music on my itunes to write this diary entry to and had to turn it off.

i can't handle a soundtrack anymore.
everyone else around me seems totally capable of listening to music while they email, while they work, while they write, talk, live.
i can't do it. actually, who am i kidding. i've never been able to. i couldn't do my homework with music on. i coudln't concentrate.
music was different. music was an activity in itself, unless i was doing something completely visual, like drawing or collaging or making a fanzine or pasting up shapes and glow-in-the-dark-stars on a ladder onto the ceiling in myu bedroom. music was o do physical, listening work to.
i think part of the problem is that i don't do those things anymore. almost all of my work is brain work. that doesn't allow listening. and when i am doing nothing, i want quiet.
i don't listen to much music anymore. i can't really handle it. and it frightens me.

it's an identity crisis of sorts.

i've been at south by southwest for 3 days now.
this is the land of music, of overmusic, uebermusic, of too much sound, of show flyers and business cards and CD demos flying through the air like so much pollen. they all land in the gutter.
you see them there, soaking in the dirty rainwater, but you can't stop to reflect, the crowd pushes you on. noise and more noise drowns out even the good music.

in the last 3 days i have
-played in a rehearsal space with brian for 7 hours
-played a show for about 1000 industry people (it was a good show, a good show yes yes yes)
-laid comatose in the hotel room, shunned housekeeping
-spent 12 hours in the studio recording with ...and you will know us by the trail of dead
-been in countless bars and clubs playing music

and i have been wondering all the while.
music?
what is this shit?

so

i put music on, music people give to me, and i can't hear it anymore. my mind is full of things that aren't music.
but there are So Many Ways of listening. i can't help it. i have always listened to lyrics first. through the years i listen with my business head, my ME head, will this band be a good opener, will this band appeal to other people, will this band XXXXX and all of a sudden i cannot hear anymore. my head is so clouded with judgement that i can't listen. i can;t hear the way i used to.

i used to just listen. and i liked, or i didn't. then all of this happened.

that's why i was so ecstatic when i found regina spektor. sure, i was excited because my brain fired off FRIEND COMRADE WE SHOULD PLAY TOGETHER OOH TELL PEOPLE OOH but fundamentally there was something deeper, something that said: none of that shit matters. i felt the same way when i heard the latest antony & the johnsons, and the trail of dead record that came out last year. just.....Good. good good good. disregard all other voices while listening. but it's getting harder.

i almost never listen to music anymore. i own great headphones. i have a great stereo at home. but i almost never use them. i can't. when i have free time and i am on the internew or emailing, i need silence. when i am at home, i like to listen to my apartment. when i am doing dishes, i turn music on. i have two choices: Friend Rock or Not. Friend Rock is the name i adopted (from ad frank, orginally) for the CDs that friends and fan give me. they accumulate very quickly. when i get home from tour, there are usually dozens. they get given to me on the road. i do not listen as i go along. i can't. i probably, at this time, have over 300 un-listened-to Friend Rock CDs in various piles and Cd wallets at home. I keep up with them, i organize them, but i rarely sit down to listen. when i do, it is a job. sometimes brian joins me. it goes like this:

insert
play first 10 seconds of track one
> if engaging, listen to next 30 seconds
x if not, eject and fling
> if engaging, listen to next minute
-- if not engaging after one minute, skip to next song
x if not engaging after next song, eject and fling
> if engaging after next minute, comptee song and continute listening
> if still engaging, rejoice

this is a VERY basic breakdown. often i will skip through 4 or 5 or 6 songs on a bad CD before flinging.

but a lesson in demo-giving....make sure the first two songs are strong as fuck.

back to my conundrum.
listening to music has become WORK.
i don't want it to be. i listened to music for years because i loved it, not because i wanted anything for or from it, not because i wanted to DO something with it.
though that;s not really true....even in high school i was making music videos in my head to every song on my walkman. but that was outside reality, it doesn't count.

it's all fucking relative.
we played for a huge audience at SxSW, and fucking slayed the show as far as i'm concerned, and the first reviews to come up on the web were terrible. but the show was great. it's starting now....the Great Divide.
i can tell now, there are going to be people out there that just Have to Despise this band. what are they listening for? what do they want? some people freak about us, some people hate it. obvious. but DESPISE US? is it that we're so threatening? why? because we're dong what we want? because we're not directly mimicking bands from 1983? or 1973? or 1993? i dunno. maybe.

but i think Everyone is listening differently nowadays. the Joy Of Music is disappearing rapidly. it's all about other things. things outside. things like credibility, coolness, crowds and t-shirts. when did it happen? this must have been happening in the late seventies when some people were listnening to donna summer and some were listening to the sex pistols and that's how you chose your friends. but was it like THIS? where a band was a compelte advertisement of Who You Are, the way it seems to be with teenagers nowadays? was i in the middle of it and didn't notice? confused. bob lefsetz would have an answer, i am sure (bob: i was born in 1976).

about a month ago i got the new kate bush CD. i am not a fan, i actually just recently discovered her catalog, which i like don't love.
i was curious. she hadn't put out a CD in 12 years. double disc. i heard the about the fourth track (mrs. bartolozzi) on the first disc and i just stopped. i fucking loved it. and i didn't listen to anymore. i just listened to that track. over and over. for five days. i probably put it on 20 times. i couldn't bring myself to listen to the rest of the disc, much less disc two. wrong of me? i don't think so. i was just so excited that i wanted to savor it.

i want music to be like church again.



ach.


conrad from trail of dead fascinates me. he is one of the best songwriters i have ever met and he seems to be totally blase about recording. but then again, he's made more records than i have. will that happen to me? will i disappear into the next room into the clutches of a video game when someone is singing a vocal on my next record? it's totally possible. he's a genius. he can do what he wants, he gets no complaints from me. rock and roll and what it means, all of this shit, is a myth. everyone does what they want to do. always has been. there is no Truth.

recording with them today was mind-blowing. so different from being in the studio with brian. this band pieces songs together. they're almost never in the studio at the same time. i can't fathom that. what can that possibly BE like? we listened to track by track and i laid down piano on a few tracks that weren't finished, taking sveral takes to get everything right. then we did a new song track from scratch (me on piano and conrad on guitar and donald on drums) and then conrad and i laid down some back-up vocals on the one we;d just recorded. and it all seemed....so....simple. when brian and i are in the studio it's like take after take of MUST BE PERFECT madness. and this was just...."oh.........yeah. it's fine". and it was fine. maybe we're too uptight. but then again, it's all relative. i listened to two ofd the finished tracks from the new trail of dead record and that shit is TIGHT. i assume they will take the mess and drivel i recorded and turn it into some kind of sonic masterpiece. donald and i had some art-noise fun doing a nuch of overdubs for a long song in which we put a brick on the sustain pedal of the 9-foot steinway and just made as much noise as possible inside of it using brass knuckles, sticks and guitar picks. conrad and i went out drinking and talked about music and the State of It.

there were moments in that studio earlier tonight where i felt complete, ever more complete than being in the studio making my own recordings. it felt real. making music without thinking too much. conrad and i came back to the studio after drinking at the local (have you ever tried an irish car bomb? - don't) and just played and played on the piano, re-tracing all the songs we'd written back to their stolen sources. his came from a shane macgowan song. mine was stolen from the psychedelic furs. his was stolen from radiohead, which was stolen from a paul mccartney song. indeed, he said, there is nothing new under the sun. we could have played this game for hours.




in other news:
the album is coming out (in the USA, at least) in exactly one month. the tension mounts as the reviews come in black and white from every side. the press in the USA is indifferent, the press in europe and australia are freaking. i am going home for a week or so of family and friends and rest and then we are hitting the road for about ten weeks nonstop. i will be surprised if i have the energy to blog but i might surprise myself as this had become ever more therapeutic. reading all of the comments (yes, i still do, you motherfuckers) is one of the things that keeps my life rolling and helps me not feel alone. i am constantly astounded and ecstatic to find how many intelligent and literate people read this shit and comment on it. i love the internet. i still can't believe it's completely real but i am starting to. every time i get a real, thick book from amazon.com i have more faith.










love
a

45 comments:

Redshift said...

I know how you feel. But it's too much subjection to this shit they call reality. When you listen to to much music the whole thing becomes major, minor, key changes, and mathematical patterns. The humanity (whatever the fuck 'humanity' was supposed to be in the first place) is lost. But you're a successful musician. I can't imagine how I would feel if countless people wrote in to tell me how my music had changed their lives. Since I discovered your your music about a year ago, it's kept my warm through every fuck up of a relationship, every day I've come home from losing jobs and my dignity. If you just knew how it'd touched people, the humanity would come back to you.

A few days ago, I discovered 'modern moonlight' on your myspace, and I'm already in love with it. I played it to my girlfriend in bed two days ago, and it changed things beyond recognition. But is this a runaway train? Did you intend your lyrics, your key changes, your major and minor to be expressions of yourself, when fans have taken it to be something "life changing" and meaningful? If so, then isn't that still music? Whatever you carry on to write and record, I'll still put it onto my MP3 player and go and sit on a bench somewhere with a cigarette and contemplate my life. And it'll still make me feel as though the world hasn't totally lost it's meaning. I have no doubt it'll carry on to pull me out of this teenage dementia.

Bryan said...

unfortunately i too feel lost with music at this point nothing seems to feel real about it any longer it just all lacks substance and i myself as a writer am becoming so burnt up with apathy that i will latch on to almost anything maybe none of this makes any kind of sense but i just wanted to say i understand a little of how you feel and that you also are one of the few bands that can still move me so thank you for the brief moments of that church feeling that you inspire

Dr Leroy said...

was i in the middle of it and didn't notice?

Yes. Polly wants a cracker. Remember?...

i am constantly astounded and ecstatic to find how many intelligent and literate people read this shit and comment on it.

You're welcome...

amélia said...

Hi! I'm from portugal and I'm counting the days to see you playing live just in front of me! I love your music and I feel that church kind of feeling when I listen your CD's! Thank you for keeping my love for music alive! I really do strange things when I listen do it, things I never thought I could do! even my feet fingers dance by themselves! my head rounds around and I invented a freaky dance with my bag around my neck! I can't even explain it!!! Thank you!

mm said...

I've never experienced this. I just listen, I listen. I have ITunes on right now, Regina Spektor... Pretty Balanced... You guys... Chopin... and it's all euphoric. All of it is. Even Kate Bush's album. I think Kate's album, at least the new one (I have Hounds of Love too and I 'got' that one on first listen) is one you have to let sink in.
Just like the new Regina stuff... let it sink in and you can latch onto it. It's like those intricate works for solo piano. Sure, that concerto doesn't seem to be much the first time but the second and third is where it really shines.
Kate's album is sort of like that. I can start to see the 'sonic shapes' in Pi now where before I was like, "This is way too flyinghighaboveclouds."
Mrs. Bartloozi is also the one that made me stop in my tracks. I found myself forcing people to borrow the disc and listen to it. I knew from the moment I read the lyrics that it was some good shit. The music makes my head swirl, getting lost in it just like Mrs. B.
I haven't gotten past the first disc yet. It all joins together and I see nothing but Aerial. It's really remarkable to me.
I'm going to ignore this entry now, because I'm really scared of not being able to latch onto music.

Emiko said...

i found it kind of funny that i was listening to music as i was writing my LJ post and while i was reading your post. hehe...

but then again, i'm relatively new to music (only really got into it in 2001?) so maybe i haven't reached that stage yet. although at one point i did get sick of it in a way and couldn't or didn't want to listen to anything.

but now it's back and i listen to things. i either like it or don't, or chuck it in the neutral section of my brain.

but you are right. somehow music became the advertisement of who you are. it's rather odd that way.

from your last post though, i really like that you feel that your music is free to everyone and it isn't to be listened in a particular way.

i hope you come to perth, western australia some time soon. that would be very nice, since i don't think you had the chance to come to perth last time. i'm looking forward to the new album release!

this is a bit of a random comment, but i'm starting to feel it's rather odd that i relate to you more through your diary than your music (though half jack, parts of gravity, the jeep song and truce i can actually relate to). i don't think that's meant to be taken in any way but just the way it is.

MikeinNewYork said...

"This too shall pass" is the comment that first comes to mind. Making a business of a passion takes some adjustment and will upset old patterns for some time.

My guess is you'll come back to some equilibrium between then and now some day.

That said, things are different today. As a late 40-something still listening to new music (and not just still-working 70s and 80s bands), I find it notable that many fans just sit and listen no matter how powerful and moving the music. I've often wondered how the bands feel as they're pouring out the music and meaning and the crowd just sits there until the break between songs. Seems really weird to me.

On the bright side, that ain't the case at a Dresden Dolls show. That tells me that the band and fans are on the same page. And it tells me the music and the experience mean sonething to you guys and aren't just "product." That's what gives me hope for the future.

CrayolaThief said...

I have a NYC playwright comrade who went through a sorta-similar process. One day he realized that instead of writing for the sheer love of writing, with himself as sole audience member, a certain degree of success had changed all that. He was now writing FOR people, their expectations, their requests. It became working for commission - a business. Like house painting - "what shade do you want the pantry?" It took him a while to rediscover the pure joy of just emptying the contents of the brain onto the page again & mucking around like a kid with playdoh - not for anyone's benefit but his own. So I guess it's just a process you go through, & you're not alone. Maybe you'll be able to hear music naively (again?) around the same time you achieve studio blase-ness.

Meanwhile, I got Kate Bush's album the nanosecond it came out. Like all of her albums, I had to stare at it for a while before it sunk in. I knew better than to approach it expecting Hounds of Love II, so I tried to receive it openly, on its own terms. It took a few listenings, then it really snagged hold & I couldn't listen to anything else for well over a month. I even dumped it onto the computer in order to shorten the intermission of changing discs. Kate Bush creates this gauzy alternate universe for me that I don't want to leave just because the album quits spinning.

Also wanted to mention I've so far discovered Regina Spektor, Devotchka, & Casey Dienel through Dresden Doll intervention - so thanks much for that. Support our troupes.

crazyjaneski said...

I can't really put music on in the background, either -- except when traveling, but in that case, it's not background, and I can concentrate on it. I love that feeling of being on a conveyance -- an airplane, train, bus, subway, etc., where all you can really do is be conveyed from one place to another, and my mind is really free to listen. I don't like music that makes for nice background.

That could be why...

Xeosh said...

In response to what you were saying about the Kate Bush track you could not stop listening too...I must confess....right now for me that song is Girl Anachronism. In the past few days i recently found your band randomly on myspace through someone having coin-operated boy on their profile. Me personally am mostly a mid nineties pop punker along the likes of NOFX Green Day Screeching Weasel so on and so forth. That's for the most part, I also have my Violent Femmes, Neutral Milk and Moldy Peaches side as well. Now i must add a new band to that list of "out-of character" bands for me to listen too....The Dresden Dolls. I too play and if you listened to what we play....well it's way different from your sound. We have a monstrous cheese factor but thats cool I'm ok with it. I write what i write and so it shall be. Any way I've gone way off point here (when i do my bands posts and other such things I have a tendency, like you, to go on for quite sometime and try illiterate every idea that's flowing through my head as I type...poorly). Just wanted to sayin a nutshell that I am a new fan and have not shut up to all of my friends and bandmates about you guys since first hearing you about a week ago. If you are onhere checking this post...pop open another window and look at A Frantic Moment become our friend leave a comment with somehonest opinions...much abliged for the great Tunes

Yours Truly,
Frank Gioia

thatkendra said...

It's good to know that writing for this is helping you as much as it is helping me to read it. I hope you rediscover your love of music through making more of it, for as long as you have stories to tell and songs to sing we will be here to listen to you.

excitedly counting down one month until the album, and until your performance in san diego where I'll get to see you perform for the first time.

love!

dimstar said...

Much look to you wif the ten weekz and all,it must be stressful but as long as it hits your brain that your music touches people around the world,then you'll be fine,never fucking sellout is all i can say,i hate music and where it's going so consider yourself and brian saviors of music,i'm sure my band will be playing with you guys next year hopefully....................p.s. the song pierre on your dvd makes me orgasm

andrea said...

Lately I've been thinking about my relationship with music. I'm in a place right now where music is what calms me. If I feel uncomfortable I just pop in my music and I feel at home; secure. It's the best relationship I've ever had: it's there when I need it, it doesn't argue with me, and when I need to have silence I can put it away knowing it'll be there when I get back. I too can't concentrate when music is on so I don't listen to it a lot when I'm at home. I've even found that when I read your posts I have to turn anything off that makes noise, your music included. Mainly I listen to music when I drive or walk, so believe me I do a lot of both. Sometimes I'll circle my house 5 or 6 times just so I can listen to music because I know that when I go inside, it's over. I can't imagine ever feeling how you are though. You said you're frightened by it, and you should be. It made me frightened. It made me frightened because I'm thinking, when is that going to happen to me? It's happened to my mom, who was always ms. music all the time, and now, it's like her love for it has faded into her past. I worry that I'm next.

Maybe for you it's just a long phase. Maybe you're thinking too much about it. Maybe some things in your life have changed thus changing your relationship with your music--I think this probably has a lot to do with it. Mid-Life Music Crisis? It's something I think you should take some time to figure out. Even if you have to force yourself to sit and listen to music. Or here's a thought: Maybe somehow you feel music has abandoned you. It's changed not you. Just a thought. Whatever the truth is, I don't think you're alone. It's just one of those things where you're the only one who can figure it out.

I'm glad to hear that all of these comments mean something to you. It's the same as how your blogs mean something to us. I think you keep us from feeling alone sometimes too. And, no matter how you're feeling about music right now, you should always remember that YOU are one of the only people to have made the most impact on my life music-wise. I can't remember the last time your music was out of my player. I've never listened to a band that has such a connection and close relationship with it's fans. That's something you should really be proud of because to me making music is more than just putting out a cd and playing shows. It's what you guys do. Going on the boards, meeting fans after shows, writing this blog, and just fucking paying attention to what we think. Thank you. I can't say that enough.

As I said in my last comment, I'm eagerly anticipating your return to KC in April. I bought a prom dress today. It's pink. Should I be ashamed? The dress is not me but I'm starting to think it will be fun to be dressed in the classic, bubblegum, movie-prom attire, I'm going to embrace it and enjoy the damn show! I noticed you don't have a show the next day...you two should definitely hang around afterwards, *wink*.

All my love and support,
Andrea

p.s.--enjoy your week at home and take some time to listen to music.

md said...

I listen to music tons and bunches, but not when I neeeeed to think. I don’t know music. I mean, I know what music I like and what music I dislike. I don’t know the ins and outs of music like you do. I am jealous of that sometimes, but I am happy being in my little ignorant music bubble giddily bobbing my head to whatever comes up on shuffle. I wish I knew more.
It is true that a certain group of people listen to types of music and we get clustered… for example, I saw “v” for vendetta over the weekend and the music played in the background was cat power, antony and the johnsons, elle fitzgerald… all things I listen to, all things my friends listen to….oooooh yeah we were all excited to see this movie too… oh yeah, we all have the same tastes ha, those crazy movie makers for knowing this and putting are nice music into your nice film that our little group can enjoy and feel nice to. nice.
I am sorry that you can’t enjoy music like you used to. really. Critiquing everyone elses. Well, I guess, it is the same with paintings and me. I can’t look at a painting without critiquing it. I can still enjoy some of it though, I find ones I like and they hang in my room but don’t ask me to walk through a museum (some galleries are safe though). Ooo, you know what always happens is that I want to redo paintings and make them how I think they should be ooor just try to accomplish what they did do. (Is this why you do so many cover songs?)
It happens to anything you know too well. I would imagine writers can’t read just anything.
Why incredibly advanced in the mind people can’t be or function around other people.
I never thought about it with music before because, I don’t know, I am too in love with listening and being taken by music that I never thought you could just grow out of that with more exposure and living with it. I am sorry.

Enjoy your little vacation though. Be.

andrea said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AllisonxSaves said...

I think maybe you're going through kind of a spell, I don't know. That's what I do. Like, you're constantly composing and performing music, so why would you want to listen to it all the time? In college, musicians have to practice sometimes for thirteen hours a day and I doubt they'd want to listen to music. It's probably temporary.

P.S. I don't know if you guys came to Philly this tour or not but it would be super cool if you came(back).

cursed out said...

i have been here all week. eventhough i know it is a lie, right now i never want to see another show for the rest of my life. i want to go home and never come out of my door again. if you are still in austin, shoot me an email and i will let you know about the secret fugazi show at tgi fridays....

UrbanCelt said...

I'm the same way with music too. It can be a good thing or a bad thing. hehehe But yea, I think it really started back on the 70's too. But now more so with shops like Hot Topic springing up in every mall across the US. I personally listen to anything and everything I can come across. After all, that’s how I found your music :)

partenope said...

But don't you think cultures the world-over have always divided themselves into subcultures by way of music?

the bitter mediocre artist said...

wow, i'm surprised that you updated your online journal so quickly. or maybe it's just me? i can't listen to music while i do my homework either, but i can listen to it while i paint and draw. it's odd when you think about it. i mean, i don't just mindlessly draw or paint, i really do have to concentrate. i guess that's why i love to paint or draw...it's because i can listen to music while i'm doing it. i can feel all these emotions and maybe they'll flow through my fingers and onto my drawing/painting.

your life is tough. especially when in you're in the business. ha but then again, what do i know about it? i ain't in a band and i have no musical talent whatsoever. oy where was i going with this?

back to music listening. i recently found out that i enjoy music more(especially your music) when i'm not doing anything, but just listening. the experience is heightened when i lay in bed late at night, in the dark, with a cd in my walkman and my headphones on. it's only then that i can appreciate the delicate side of your music. ha i'm also learning to appreciate brian's part of the music. those subtle things that he does with the drums during some songs, they add so much.

i've been listening to your music a lot lately. it's a cathartic experience for me. whenever, i'm pissed or down, i just listen to your music and it chases the demons away. your music is honest and it deals with things that are "inherently painful". ha i remember that from a little blip about you in rollingstone. you sing about stuff that are taboo and kept in the closet. plus, it's also a tad dark and i'm drawn to that stuff.

it's been a little over a year since i first discovered you guys. i remember that i heard "coin operated boy" on the radio and i thought it was pretty catchy, so i looked you up on the web and your website was one of the coolest things that my pretty eyes have lain upon.(haha at the beginning i thought you were called the dreads and dolls. i also thought that you were a guy since your voice can be deep.) i dl the songs off your page and they were pretty good. i fell in love when i actually purchased your studio album and yeah:D

sometimes i feel such a yearning for you guys. it's weird. it's the kind of love that one feels for another person, except it's a band? okay, i have a crush on your band. i'm a fan and i will always be there to support you because your music brings something into my life.

i was touched by the last few lines of your blog.(blog is such an ugly word. i prefer online journal). i'd like to think i'm intelligent and literate. ha eh. do you think so? okay, okay, at best i have a little above average intelligence. i wish i was smarter:P and more talented...but i will work hard to get there. the bitter mediocre artist will not give up!

love, glenn

moussaka said...

I love the way you call your fans 'fuckers'. It makes me smile inside.

June Miller said...

Funny, the way you spoke of Regina is the way I felt of you guys when I first started checking you out. I still feel that way, honestly. I feel that way about Regina, too. Both of y'all are quite unique acts, and I can definately appreciate that. So while certain music critics may speak poorly of you guys, perhaps you should take Nick Cave's route and just ignore them, because they're most likely not worth your time or effort.

While your music not attract everyone, it'll attract the people that matter. You know, folks like the people who post here to tell you things like 'keep your chin up' and whatnot.

I can't imagine not listening to music everyday. I can imagine getting burnt out on it from being around it so much and having to work so hard for it, though. It seems terribly stressful. Perhaps on your week off you should just...I don't know, go for an evening stroll and listen to classical music on your iPod? Either that or songs you grew up listening to and loved and all that. In the back of your head you could be like 'Hey, I could incorporate that into a song', but mainly I recommend just listening and focus on the stuff around you. Nature walks: they're nice.

DAMNIT. I wanted to keep this short, too. Lastly, I'd like to say thanks for acknowledging us kids who post here. It makes me feel cool, at least. I'm sure the other folks appreciate it as well.

idwellinpossibility said...

I know how you feel. Music overload is why I quit being a music major in college. That was the single hardest decision of my life. It was like loosing a limb. Music had ALWAYS been a part of me.

It had become painful. Not only did everything sound the same, it sounded like noise. Pieces of music and bands that I could have listened to for hours in the past now held no interest. So I quit and I didn't play or even touch and instrument for almost a year.

But I came back and it wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. It was like I had to do it for myself. I wanted to be musical and play but I wanted it for me. Not for my parents, professors, or other students.

What helped me the most, belive it or not was YOUR music. Something I will always be so thankful for.

Your awesome and inspiring and I hope that you realize that. Thank you for all you have giving the music community, people like you keep me playing and singing.

Can't wait to see you at Bonnaroo
Hayley

eboe said...

now i know what happened to my Friend Rock CD. :)

Judy said...

IRISH CAR BOMBS ARE AWESOME!! but if you drink too much, it does get boring. you should try SHOOT THE ROOT if you havent already. it contains the same fun dropping the shot into the beer action and tastes just like root beer so you dont have that pre-barf taste in your mouth.

i just think people take music too seriously. it's supposed to be there for you to enjoy and relate to. and for some people, there's no satisfying them. if you dont like they're type of music, you suck, if you do, then yuo suck again because you robbed them of what used to be solely theirs. and what's sad is, it's not only teh fans that do this, but sometimes the musicians themselves. have you ever been to a concert and seen the guitarist or lead singer talk to all the sluts and ignore the dignified dressers? well i've seen it. and it was a sad day. because i could no longer love a band for their music, i also had to like the band for how they expressed themselves.

David Grenier said...

Oh lordy do I know what you're going through with the music overload.

I used to run a somewhat succesful punk zine for a while in the 90s, and I ran into the same thing. On one hand, I got so much music to review that I began to just get sick of music in general. On the other hand, any music "scene" is generally full of a lot of BS - specifically of the basing-your-identity-and-friendships-on-music-taste type. When you're first getting into a scene you're so enthralled by this whole new world you've discovered that you generally don't notice. But the longer you're in it, the less sparkly it seems.

Those two factors - disillusionment in 'the scene' and general music overload - led to me eventually dropping out of the scene, folding the zine, and literally not picking up a new CD for several years.

But after a long enough break from music - and a bit of age and perspective that allows me to simply be entertained by music without having it need to mean something - I'm finally coming around again. A few years back I discovered a great band in Seattle called A Midnite Choir, and through them Reverend Glasseye and through the Rev I found Luminescent Orchestrii, Gogol Bordello and you guys.

Your CD is one of the first ones I've bought in about a decade and a half.

It's so damn good (along with stuff by the good Reverend and others that I mentioned) that it almost made me want to start a zine again.. maybe an online zine to let folks know about all this great music.

But then I realized, no, that's a big part of what takes the fun out of music. When it turns into a business or an obligation. When you have to find a new way to describe a record even though it sounds just like nine other one's you just reviewed.

So this time around I'm not going to be part of a scene. I'm just going to enjoy the music.

I hope to see you at the Avalon in April.

Rachel said...

amanda...

my boyfriend ("dresden dolls thanks you motherfucker" with the eyeball spoon picture) and i get so excited whenever you post a blog. i guarentee you that we are literate, intelligent people...honestly we love your music, but i will not lie when i say that that we love your first album more than the second...so much more honest and about yourself. i am so thankful for your blog and your honest opinions on your music and your life. i will be truthful...i do not own a credit card and i do not own your "everything you should know about the dresden dolls book" at the time because of my financial situation, but i play your songs (based off our understanding and hearing of them) more than anything else and i have tried whenever i have had forty dollars to locate a potential credit card owning dresden dolls buying friend helping holder. yet i identify with your blogs and i relate it back to the music. i WILL buy "yes, virginia", and i will love it, but i do know, (yes, this is a fact)...that your next album will blow the two former ones out of the water. i love the dresden dolls and i know your true potential. your songs are about yourself, amanda. recognize this and fuck the label. im sorry that i am bold enough to say this, and i must emphasize as the end point that i still love you and brian. thank you so much for being yourselves and please continue to do so.

rachel.

Rachel said...

and when i say play, i mean PLAY, as in play on primarily the piano, and sometimes Kyle on bass.

once again, i love you and your music and BELIEVE in you. get well soon.

Rachel said...

SORRY!

werd redshift.

Jack P Toerson said...

I suppose the downside of suggesting dubious smoke is the suggestion of illegality in a public forum. That and the potential impact on thinking-straight.

AxisII said...

I'm amazed it took you this long.

I wrote an album that is now in pre, and reading your post reminded me of my monthly breakdowns. The worst was when I locked myself in a closet and plugged my ears becasue I didn't want to hear sound. At the writing pace I was keeping (1-2 songs per week, written aranged, recorded, and mildly polished) up my mind would periodically explode with notes. It took me months to not mind hearing a microwave ding, and for that to not cause 20 melodies to simultaneously play in my brain.

What's sick is now that we're working on the tunes and really polishing them, I wish I was back there being creative all the time, and not workig on past emotions. I love the process, but I can't wait to bleed myself again, and curse at my stereo

whiteout said...

When you sped your life immersed in something it's not as special anymore because you don't have to search for it anymore. When I was in 4th grade I got my first walkman and since then I have always been immersed in music but I was always searching for new music, it was a simple straight line always forward and never ending. When you're in the industry you have choices whta to do with your music, a ---> b becomes a to B? C? X? and any number of things and variables in between. You can't augment your daily life with music because your daily life IS music. You can't play a soundtrack ove being someones soundtrack, which I suppose is the whole martyrdom aspect of being that soundtrack. I can't tell you how much I for one appreciate that, and I can't wait to see you guys on april 4th when you come to Denver. I'm the guy with the I'm On Fire tattoo on his collar bone.

Misanthropic Altruist said...

Keep the hope alive, Amanda. I confess a friend of mine got your album online and burned a copy for me. I think it's pure gold, like anything else you guys have done musically. My friends and I agree, everything you guys touch turns to gold. ;*) Don't worry about the release. The true fans will stick by you, as all the temporary fans trickle off. And all that will be left is loyalty.

And as theraputic as it is for you to blog to us, I'm sure I speak for everyone else who comments here that it is just as special knowing how grounded you are with your fans.

P.S. - I finally got the balls to shave off my eyebrows and draw them back on. And I demanded my friend play the perfect inspiration album in the background as I shaved away, to pay homage to you guys. We chose A Is for Accident, since there is a nice mix of songs from there on the new album as well as the old.

Thanks for making life alittle more bearable.

drea said...

See, I'm exactly the opposite. I get distracted by the stimuli going on around me, if I'm not tuned out, listening to music.

You're right on the irish car bombs.

Angel Eena said...

Come play laser tag with me, please? It's taken me a while to get up the courage to ask you, but I think it would be good.

Jami said...

hello amanda. i always kept my comments to myself because i mistakenly asumed that you wouldn't read them, but since you stated that you do, i felt like i had a green light. i hope i don't go off subject too much (as i so very often do).

i wanted to say that i also have a problem focusing on other things while listening to music. for instance, i need complete silence when reading or writing. no television. no music. i want to kill the loud neighborhood kids outside. i get very distracted. at work, i play music at the end of the night while doing paper work and figuring out the deposit. i usually lose count and have to keep recounting because i am paying attention to the lyrics without even really trying.

but even so, all day long, no matter what i'm doing, i'm singing a song in the back of my head. and i just fantasize... i'm at home with many candles lit, playing music, practicing singing, creating, learning, ahhh yes - that would be the life. then when i come home, i feel myself constantly thinking about it, but much of the time avoiding the actual doing. i find myself mindlessly occupying my evening with housework or browsing the net or talking to friends who are always dropping by. i feel like if i didn't have to work, i could stay home and actually be musically productive. maybe that's just an excuse because i know i have to go to work. but after my friends leave and/or my boyfriend is asleep, that is when i finally get to play (in the middle of the night when i'm dead fucking tired). this is my sanctuary. then i think to myself, what did i procrastinate for? this is fantastic! (how nerdy did that sound) i guess it just takes a lot for me to get motivated, but when i start, i don't want to stop until exhaustion sets in.

i often wonder how does one ever complete a song. i can't seem to ever stick with something. i just keep adding to and changing it; sometimes can't remember it from the day before. and this is just the music before i even give the lyrics a thought. i really don't understand how you have written so many. you are amazing beyond words. i guess i am simply just a self-loathing perfectionist.

i am going to record a few cover songs at the end of april with a 2-hour studio slot that i have earned through my voice instructor. i did want to send you a copy of the cd if it doesn't turn out horrible. but now after reading your blog, i feel like i really shouldn't burden you with it anymore. plus, it isn't original music so that's not very interesting. i'm sure it would receive an impatient "fling". the only thing that might hold your attention is that i am doing your song "missed me". god, it must really suck having so many people send you their music wanting to hear your professional opinion. seriously, it must get to be really fucking annoying! that is one aspect i surely don't envy. sure, it's probably really cool at first, but then after that shit keeps on piling up, it doesn't seem like much fun anymore. not like i know, but i'm just imagining. i suppose if you dissect anything, it sort of loses its glamour.

i could really go on forever. it feels good talking to you, even if i'm not literally. well, i hate to make this any longer so i will spare you for now.


love,

j

evolasme said...

God is a Dj or so Faithless says, stop thinking Amanda and just do, Your funny to me that you base on your own brillience like your clueless, Maybe you are or maybe you look in the mirror and think "fucking hell i rock" but never show that part to the outside world. Music has been my life since i could hear, from my parents to barry manilow VSM then as i could listen to my own music ...punk... goth..metal a mixture of all, I cant think back to time where there wasnt a soundtrack to it, until now..im alot like you in that i dont have music on all the time like before, before it was natural get home, turn the record/tape /cd player on and go about my day. work too, cant remeber how many times i was told to turn down my music at work accually got a ticket for having my Stereo to loud in my car in a posh area of my home town. not anymore, most of my music listening is now confined to Mp3 player from my cell phone and then its the same thing, I dont need an ipod because right now having 3 or 4 good albums is good enough and frankly theres not alot new out there worthy. I get CDs like you from friends sayn check out this band blah blah blah most are good efforts but far from worthy of repeat listens. for me it goes in waves, im home now and enjoy the sound of the fans in my Comp spinning and nothing more but tommarow il think, man i havent heard that in a while and pop in some nugget from the past. What i found is not to fight it, not to worry , your church will always be there even if your faith isnt. For the record i have a copy of Yes, and it is all that i listen to ive lit this album a hundred times in my head much like you mentioned doing videos (i do lighting for living) . Please keep writng like this, feel free to do other things but always have the door to the doll house open, i for one love what you do lyrically and musically, and Brians drumming is perfect for it. Im worried and happy that the band seems to have gotten some sucess, As far as new bands and a different sound goes there is none better , i fear that soon were gonna be flooded with piano and drum combos shoved down our throats by majors like always but there will always be you and brian. As much as id like to meet you and talk about your music and the story within i think just hanging out talking about what eva would be better as your music seems to speak for itself... see ya in Prag (just seems like the perfect place for my first time)
Jaymo

cello in the basement said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cello in the basement said...

the other day my mom told me the reason why she stopped listening to music so much is because she no longer wants to influence herself. she wants the world to influence her. by her picking out what SHE wishes to listen to is forcing yourself to be exposed to something and forcing a mental discovery.

i may not be making sense at this moment, but it made sense at the time.
give me some credit.
it's fucking 4:16 in the morning. why am i awake? whatev'.



P.S.
i just think you're absolutely amazing. keep it up, amanda.

cello in the basement said...

the other day my mom told me the reason why she stopped listening to music so much is because she no longer wants to influence herself. she wants the world to influence her. by her picking out what SHE wishes to listen to is forcing yourself to be exposed to something and forcing a mental discovery.

i may not be making sense at this moment, but it made sense at the time.
give me some credit.
it's fucking 4:16 in the morning. why am i awake? whatev'.



P.S.
i just think you're absolutely amazing. keep it up, amanda.

Leslie said...

I know what you mean about the music

to some extent.

But, what this made me think of was the way music can mean one thing to me and then over time lose it's meaning. There was this one song which I was completely addicted to for who knows how long. Weeks probably. I didn't go for a day without listening to it. It was addictive and powerful. But more so...addictive. Sadly, it wasn't even the quality of the song. It just had some quality which led it to be a necessity in my life. I didn't listen to the song for months and months and months. Maybe half a year. And the first time I heard it again was the most haunting, odd, experience I think I have ever had. I was detached from the song. It had no meaning to me and I had no want to listen to it. I didn't become pulled in by the music the way I used to. I felt hollow and awkward inside my body, like I didn't belong.


Love,

Leslie

Chris McGarry said...

you know, i can really relate to your sentiments on the "state of music" these days.

it would be redundant to say that image is overly important in music, because we need but look at the 80s. however, in the past few years music has been getting progressively less anthemic (if that's really the right word) and more mediocre, even in innovation. many artists are not writing bizarre songs because it is utterly natural to them, but because it is cool. you could look at the indie scene today and see a lot of bands that are doing something really interesting, but how many of them are doing something actually good? i mean, i listen to a lot of music that is very new, or at least from the past 2 or 3 years and it has changed a lot.

the intent is different - there's no spark in what people are saying! if i listen to ben folds five - the last polka, i think "fuck, that's so energetic! the lyrics are just fantastic, i can feel this song!". take a more obvious example - the beach boys - good vibrations: it's a song that just works, and feels right. how many songs do we find these days that follow this example?
i couldn't really tell you.

i think a lot of it is infact to do with - as you said - the priorities within the industry changing. you don't need to really write good stuff anymore because people are buying anything! myspace has a lot to speak for the self-promoting vibe that it has sparked in a lot of people - one notable feature is the scurry, the desperate race to find new music that the other person hasn't heard yet. so we're actually missing a lot of the genuinely beautiful and good music in the world.

ironically enough, i'd say the same about regina spektor's stuff. she really evokes a feeling when i listen, and is genuinely inventive in a way that is at one time quirky but seems very natural to her.

for now, i'm sticking to music i truly love, rather than the newest wonders. it includes: ben folds five, cap'n jazz, regina spektor and jeff buckley. however, opinion can be a misleading thing.

when the rumble of fashion and hype dies down the music will be heard again (or at least louder than now!)

jessie said...

Not sure if you know this already -or actually if you'll even read this; but to some people, music is another language, like Japanese or French. Which is why a lot of musicians can't listen to music and have a conversation at the same time, or listen to this melodic language and concentrate on other, more mundane things.

Yeah.

Love your music, going to buy your CD and going to buy tix for your show in Toronto.

Love

mindy said...

I must tell you that I'm in love with the sound of your voice.

And it isn't just you - music has gone from recreation to personal invention, as people hop on the NEXT BIG THING to keep ahead of America's growing obsession with the rich and STD-infested west coast.

Everyone's in need of a good excuse to give the mistress about why he flogs her in bed at night. What better excuse does he have then Motorhead?

rebis0ne said...

sensory overload is such a bitch. especially when we are the source of the overload. no escape.

if the light is too strong, get a blind lover. if the sound is too loud get a deaf one. if the words are too many get a mute. and if touch gets too much find the one without limbs.

the only way out that I ever found was to let someone else get a shot. when this side of the mirror was too much, there was always another waiting in the wings on the other side of the glass. saying... my turn.

by the way, I like the underlying thread of change via transformation. * as if anyone cares what I like * there is a person i know... and he's really ... strange. he hasn't changed on the outside for decades. like a ghost. but on the inside he's never the same from one moment to the next.
changes like the weather.

hmm... how do the always changing perceive those that change less and less ? as something preserved or something dying ?

>:)
=))=))=))=))=))=))