Present Tense, Now
I just woke up from a particularly strange nightmare. So I decided to seize the momentum (me sitting straight up in bed in horror), get a run in, and get my Friday on. All of which is unusual as I stayed up extraordinarily late after a grueling Cockfight rehearsal, and a few hours writing and recording a new song in my new home studio.
First, the nightmare. George W. was having an end-of-the-world meeting in my living room, and I was his aid. He was eating a huge grilled chicken breast with his hands, and speaking with his mouth full. I was competing with a coworker for his attention. All of which is nightmarish enough. But that scene came right after a far more cinematic one in which I was trekking across the Iowa corn fields in winter with a team of scientists including Liev Schreiber, and Diane Lane (ooh la la), and myself. We’re all in space-ages tyvek suits with gloves, respirators and such because the end of the world has manifested itself in some kind of bioterror outbreak. Anyway, Diane Lane — of course she plays the beautiful scientist — absent-mindedly takes of a glove to fix her hair or something, and we all look at each other like, “Oooops.” As her infection becomes rapidly apparent, and she begins to choke on her tongue, one of the other scientists goes to hold her mouth open and her jaw dislocates and falls off (sound familiar?). All of which came just after an extended scene searching for my father and brother in an airport, but if I go into that I’ll never go running.
So … g’morning!
Second, the home studio. After a month of fumbling with Pro Tools, Kevin set me straight with one change to my system preferences. Viola! I’m good to go. Last night after rehearsal, after watching a ‘Kill Bill’ making-of, after eating dinner, just as I was due to slip into bed, a couple of lines popped into my head:
i still smell you on my skin
taste the air you’re breathing in
I sat a minute and scribbled some more. Nothing ever flows as nicely as the first lines, but I stuck with it (remembering that John Lennon once said that every idea deserves at least 20 minutes). A half-hour later I was wrestling with ProTool levels and mics, and I found a little guitar hook (which you, Dear Reader, know is rare for my songs). So I got it down just well-enough to remember it. And then I started tweaking with some of the filters. Like Photoshop, ProTools has a number of add-ons for things like feigning the sound of a mid-60s Marshall tube amplifier, or the sound of recording in an empty church. By midnight, I had undone all of the wacky distortion and such that I’d added to my simple, quiet little song — it’s called ‘Eventually’ — saved everything, brushed me teeth and climbed into bed. Which is where that whole nightmare thing occurred.
Finally, Cockfight rehearsal. Walking home from the subway, I figured rehearsal was more than enough material to write about, but that was before ‘Eventually’ and the end of the world. I figured my lead was, “I fucking LOVE being the drummer.” Because a) it’s so cathartic b) it’s so primitive c) it’s so fun and d) God damn, I rock that shit! And Cockfight rocks that shit! We’re coming together nicely. We have songs. We sound like band. And we’re getting heavier and heavier each rehearsal.
All of the above occurred after the sun went down, after I left the MTV newsroom, after another day in windowless video conference rooms thinking, ‘If only I could post that online,’ another day knowing that I have a pretty fucking cool job for a guy who was the managing editor of his high school paper, and the singer in a rock band.
Present tense, now: it’s 7:06. I’m on cup of coffee number two. And if I don’t get my move on soon, I probably won’t get my move on. So hey, listen: have a great weekend, enjoy the spring weather, play ‘Almost Home’ for me and — check this out! — mark your calendar: I booked a solo show on May 20th. See you then, if not sooner.