INSPIRATION ON FUMES (from Badger)
I tend to believe (perhaps foolishly) that if I expose myself to more experiential stimuli then I may become artistically inspired. I’ve always got a book that I am reading and a list of albums that need listening to that is about a mile long. I try my best to stay plugged into what’s happening in the world at large. Steph and I travel when we can. There is an endless list of TV shows and movies that I try to watch. (Ok ok ok, considering that last item to be “stimuli” for my creative self is a crock-of-shit. I just like watching TV to turn my brain off). But really, I try my best to fill my days with as much input as I possibly can in the hopes that it may at some point inform my output. But then I go to pick up my guitar…. Blank.
These moments are beyond frustrating.
What’s next? I play through the scales. I play through the drills. I try to get faster, more proficient. Learn a new lick, try a new chord voicing. Continue to work towards that magical 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell’s book ingrained into my skull. Go to sleep, wake up, eat breakfast, work, cook dinner, rehearse, come back to the guitar…. Blank.
Blank. Blank. Blank. Blank. Blank. Like the static that blares before a radar cuts out to oblivion the word escapes from my lips, “fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffuck.”
I met a buddy of mine for a few beers last week. He’s a writer who has been taking some time away from day jobs in order to focus on his creative work. He said that while it has been wonderful and productive the ever present necessity of the 9-to-5 sustenance constantly looms just outside of his peripheral vision. We spoke briefly about what it means to exist in a reality that requires that one find inspiration on fumes. That stuck with me.
Inspiration on fumes. That’s what I’m working with. So the challenge now is how to fill my tank in a way that doesn’t feel like hoarding. Gluttony caused by desperation and fear.
Post drinks with friend I grabbed a glass of hot tea, put on my headphones, spun David Bowie’s latest on the record player and sunk into our comfy couch. I tried my best not to stop my descent by digging my nails into a the quickly passing concrete walls; hoping instead that wherever I landed might be a little inspiring.
“In the villa or Orman/Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah/In the center of it all, in the center of it all”
Much like the Spring weather patterns here in Colorado, our recording process was off to a blooming start with promises of recording studios in barns and mysterious mountain people and then, all of a sudden, some clouds rolled in and halted everything. Justin and I had an extremely hectic last few weeks balancing mad changes at work, a move, a family visit, a show, a broken car, a tub that is cracking away from the wall, our internet going down and, currently, an April blizzard. Chris, our producer, lives up in the mountains, so there was no way for him to get down to Bolder in this weather and now we're going on a month since we've all been together in the same room. Serious snow on the blossoms.
Justin and I have rehearsed a ton to keep the dust off our material and tighten up those vocal harmonies. Since our session with Chris was cancelled this weekend, we took the time to watch and take notes on a video of a show we played last weekend. Woof. The work was in there and the music was coming through, but it was so horribly humbling to listen to ourselves sing on camera. The tunings were STILL going in and out. Even after all of that rehearsal, we still have so much more work to do to hone our sound.
I need to believe that we're going to create something beautiful this summer and that the mountains are going conspire with us to sing life into this album. Grasping on to the hope, I tell myself, "You are not your day job, Steph. 'You are not your f**king khakis.' Art is still inside you, ready to spring. Snow will melt. Blossoms will burst."