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Sunday July 16, 2006

 

 

 

I talked to my Grandmother in the morning as is my Sunday morning ritual.

Rehearsal was scheduled for 1 by the other guys. I got there at about 5 'til. Joe (whom I invited to check it out) showed up at about 5 past. Joe and I set up everything. At about 25 past, Mike and Frank got there and began setting up. So I stand by what I said about the 1 vs. 2 thing. It cost us extra money (and a precious half-hour) because we scheduled things for a time that we can't make. Believe me, I know that it's hard for me to get there at 1 and with Mike and Frank carpooling from SC (yes, Frank still "lives" in GA - don't ask), it's next to impossible.

At 2, they've hardly ever been late. That's why I always choose 2 for these afternoon sessions. We can maximize the time. Oh well. All I can do is say it. It's just another symptom...

When Mike came in, Joe was sitting on the drum stool. Mike looked taken aback. Of course, it was the most comfortable chair in the room and I would've been sitting there too. When Joe walked out of the room for a second, Mike asked "So who's that guy?". That was weird to me because I'd already told him when I introduced them. When I said it again, he responded, "So why didn't he bring his guitar? Why didn't he sing?" Well, first off, I invited him to watch. We need the practice time and second of all, it's not like he knows any of the material! It seemed to me that Mike thought I was lying to him or something. It's that kind of thing that's really frustrating me. That's the negative mentality that I've been trying to get away from in my own life. If anything, I'm a jerk for telling people straight up. I'm not known for my subtlety.

Suspicion only breeds suspicion. Negativity only breeds negativity. Distrust only breeds distrust.

The fact is that Joe is just what I said. He's a guitarist / singer / songwriter. I hope I get to work with him in some capacity. He ain't a drummer.

In case it matters, if I had met a drummer based in Athens, I very likely WOULD'VE brought him in just the same. And I would've told the guys who he was, what he did and what he was here for. As long as Mike's living 200 miles away and not available when we need him, he'll remain a fill-in. If he lived here, he'd be one of us.

I feel bad in a way because he clearly feels isolated from me and Frank. If that's true, though, it's only because he refuses to be a full-fledged part of what we're doing. I respect his decisions but he must respect the results of his decisions too.

And again, let me add (once again). Mike's the best drummer I've ever known and he's always my first choice as a drummer. It's the other stuff that always causes problems between us. And there's no excuse for it. I'm sorry if I'm the focus of the band and that bothers him. I'm sorry that I'm the leader. That's not by my choosing. It's because its the only thing that's every worked at all. But this is my band, you know? That's just the way it is. Everyone knew that walking into the door. That being said, it's still a band and everyone's contributions make it what it is.

I do my best to encourage everyone to contribute and share in any results ("Make it so."). But I'm through making excuses for myself and for them. People can understand or not. It's their choice. I want Mike to have fun. I want him to enjoy being in this band. If he's not, there's no reason because that negativity drags the whole thing down. It's tragic. In a lot of ways, I truly believe we're meant to work together but little petty things keep coming between us. Perhaps this entry will be looked at as one of those petty things. I hope not. This is a genuine concern of mine. I want this to work so bad. But if it's not going to, I don't want to waste anymore time on it. And if Mike or Frank are either not having a good time in the band, I don't want them in it.

Because if they're not having a good time, I'm not. If I'm not having a good time, I will walk away. So it does go back to what they want and how they feel. What they want and feel is very important to me but I often feel like a hostage to their feelings. When they're off (like these apparent suspicions), it's even harder to see a reason to continue.

It's not looking good and none of you who know Mike or me are surprised, I'm sure. The tragedy is that we work brilliantly together and it's a shame if silly little things are allowed to continue to get in the way.

As someone said to me recently, "It's a business."

I'm going on with business as usual.

All of us have either got to leave our pasts or our futures behind. I'm leaving the past.

Man, I hope we can get it together but I can't take people not taking me at my word. If anything, my problem is being too up front about my feelings and thoughts.

Maybe Mike didn't actually think that I was "stretching the truth". Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions or overreacting but that was the vibe I got. If I'm right, that really, really bothers me and is a symptom of something even bigger.

And of course, I don't feel like I can totally trust anyone who doesn't trust me. If I don't feel that trust, I can't let down my guard and be vulnerable with them. If I can't let down my guard and be vulnerable, creativity suffers. If creativity suffers, the songs suffer. If the songs suffer, everything else is pointless.

Speaking of trust and suspicion, I found it very interesting that when I went to check the Nuci's bulletin board, there was a hole in the board where my ad used to be. It's the only one that's been removed. There are others up from a year ago.

There are only a couple of people I can think of who might have a motivation to do it. I can't help but feeling a little suspicious. And that's what I've been saying. Suspicion breeds suspicion. It was aimed at me and now I'm compelled to aim it somewhere else. It's a dangerous way to live and I honestly believe its the difference in a happy life and a miserable one. I couldn't help but slide a little way down that slippery slope before I started trying to climb back up it.

When I think about it, it doesn't matter one bit that the ad was removed so I shouldn't let it get to me.Right now, I don't even feel like I have to replace the ad. I'm still trying to manage the responders I've already got.

Anyway - as far as rehearsal itself, it wasn't a good or bad one. Frank forgot stuff he should know inside and out, Mike was having a hard time dealing with the Nuci's kit, my pick-up switch was screwing up and nearly every segue was blown by one or the other of us. If it wasn't one thing it was another. It was practice. And it was the fact that we don't do it enough.

We did re-solidify "Colors In Black & White" and pulled out "Goodbye Tuesday" for the first time in ages. Once Frank relearned it, it was great. Overall, even at its best, this wasn't good enough. We have stopped gelling due to lack of playing time. Even when everyone was playing technically perfectly, we weren't playing like a unit. And that's disaster.

I couldn't help but wondering how much time the other guys actually spend behind their instruments when I'm not there. Whatever the reason or valid excuse, the end result is the same...and it's just another symptom.

We quit with about a half an hour to spare. There was no point in doing anymore.

This was not a bad practice. It was certainly not a good one. For me, though, if every time we get together, all we have time to do is clear rust from the time between practices, we ain't doing our jobs.

We should be evolving. If we're not doing that, we're devolving and that inevitably ends things prematurely.

When Frank got back to Columbia, he gave me a call. He wanted to know more about Joe and the whole situation. I basically told him everything that you've read in this diary already. I thought it was funny that when Joe left practice early, Frank said "And that's the last we've seen of Joe" as the door closed. I responded, "Well, that might be the last we've seen of 'em but it's not the last I've seen of him. I have a feeling he'll be back in touch with me." I hope I'm right.

I'm more sure that Joe and I will be working together than that the current lineup of the band will continue. Of course, I'm not sure that the band should continue as it is. We need an energy transfusion. We need some enthusiasm and excitement. From there, everything could fall into place. As long as we're wallowing, that's all were going to get out of it. I still say we've got a chance but only if people take it seriously, get excited enough to actually DO SOMETHING and then ACTUALLY DO IT!

Since Mike's still stuck with the Tar Baby (that's a place, not a person), I couldn't help but wondering if I should put up a flyer looking to merge Frank and myself with another half-band. Is that crazy? I'll think about it for a while and see what comes from the last ad first.

And I'll expend more hope and positive thinking toward the Darlings.

Of course for either of those ideas to work, Frank's gotta get back here to stay.

My patience is worn to the last end from that as well.

The good news for the day is that my Mom went home tonight. I talked to her and she's doing fine. She's tired but that's to be expected.

I send my personal gratitude to everyone that was looking out for her.

 


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Saturday July 15, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My Mom seems to be doing okay. It looks like if was just a weird anomaly and she should be home tomorrow. Still, I'm glad that at least one member of my family gets the extraordinary medical care that everyone deserves. I talked to her today and she sounded good I'm happy to say.

As for my day, Joe and I got together. He came over at 2 and sometime after 6, we were still going back and forth. He played tracks from his solo album and I played tracks from Joy. I was impressed when we started goofing off with Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". He actually sang lead. It was so nice to be able to sit back and do harmonies. When it got to the solo, he motioned to me. I didn't know it. So he jumped in and hit it almost note for note. I was impressed. He also surprised me by pulling out The Who's "905". He seemed to be equally as surprised that I knew it. That's a good sign. I particularly like one of his songs called "Things Got Weird". I feel right at home in that song. I hope we get a chance to make something happen.

Keep in mind that we got together in regards to the "supergroup" idea. Still, I invited him to come check out the Darlings rehearsal tomorrow. I wanted him to see what I normally play like even if my guitar is acting up (pick-up switch issues) and the band is beyond rusty.

By the way - I didn't know 'til this evening that the band was getting together. Due to the guys not making a decision until so late, only the more expensive rooms were available. They've also decided to have it at 1 pm. In the 2 year history of this project (even when everyone lived in Athens) we've only made it to rehearsal by 1 pm once and that was the last time we tried. Something always happens. 2 works fine. 1 doesn't. Still, it's what they wanted to do so it's what I scheduled. I just hope it doesn't wind up costing us precious rehearsal time. If so, it's just another symptom of the same disease that's wasting the band away.

And literally, while I was talking to Frank, I got another response from a singer / songwriter responding to my ad. This one plays keyboards as well as guitar / bass and said he doesn't mind taking any of those routes if necessary. For what it's worth, he didn't sound as convincing or as eager as Joe but this new guy and I are supposed to get together on Monday. He says he'll give me a call late Monday afternoon about getting together then.

The flood gates have opened.

Now I'm just hoping I can stay afloat.

By the way - I got another check in the mail today. A pretty big one, I'm happy to say. I started this experiment on Tuesday. Since then, I've banked more money in a week than I have since last year.

It got me to thinking even more.

It seems to me that the people that hold tightly to their money, that are greedy and suspicious are always working hard and never really progressing. There's always a problem. The people that I know that are more free with it and generous seem to get more. I don't know if it's my imagination but again it certainly looks that way.

I'm wondering if money goes out the same door that it comes in. If you shut that door trying to keep what you have in, you'll also keep out what's trying to get in.

Like I said, I don't know. But I have more evidence to support this theory than to disprove it. Plus, it's just a more pleasant way to live.

 

 


 

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Friday July 14, 2006
 

 

 

This is simply the greatest music video EVER. There's no need for any more. And to think that I once didn't get why David Hasselhoff was a huge music star in Europe. This video converted me.

My experiment still seems to be yielding results. In the mail today was a whole honkin' bunch of KISS DVD's from every conceivable era of every type. There's stuff from before the first album release to the farewell tour. I didn't really feel like I needed anymore DVD's of them but that was all that one guy had to trade with and he wanted some DVD's that I had extras of. So I traded with him. I'm glad I got 'em now. There's actually some really high quality and good stuff here. It's primo, baby.

Around lunch I got a phone call from Joe. He just moved here from New Jersey and is looking for a band. He's a singer / guitarist / songwriter and saw my ad. We talked. We had some common ground and we decided to get together tomorrow. Here's hoping. I can't believe that flyers are getting responses (especially these particular ones). There's only been one other time that flyers have ever done me any good. And that was in helping Tom O'Gorman (co-founder of Q-Sign and co-writer of many of my favorite songs of mine) find me.

I'm not getting my hopes up yet but this multiple front man group ("the supergroup" as Amanda calls it) may actually take root and grow past the Darlings if that band keeps dragging its feet. Nothing's happened yet but it's starting to look very, very interesting.

On the family side, my Grandmother decided to confront some of her deserters last night. The ringleaders solidified their hard-heartedness while the peripheral ones softened. There may be some hope for a couple of 'em yet.

My Mom scared us all today. She's in the hospital tonight. I'm worried but I know with Vern looking out for her, she'll get the best care. Of course it also helps that she's a nurse and knows all of the people at the hospital. They're doing everything they can for her (unlike the ones that are looking out for my Grandmother and the ones who claimed to be looking after my Dad).

I'll be thinking of Mom even more than usual tonight.

Get better quick. We've all got to go to the Georgia Aquarium one of these days.

 


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Thursday July 13, 2006

 

 

 

 


Man, the world's falling apart. Apparently, Israel has finally had enough of the violent acts that Lebanon has been tolerating coming from their side of the border. It was a matter of time but man, this is going to turn ugly fast. Is this the beginning of "the thing" we've all been worried about? It sure looks like it. Yikes!

Is Israel going too far? I think so. But both sides have been going too far since '48 and their ancestors have been added for millennia. Both sides are wrong. Both sides are right. This is the kind of thing that seeds World Wars.

I must not think about it. I've got enough going on in my day to day life.

I spent my day editing and uploading the Frampton pics. Wuddin' nuddin'.

And my depression regarding the situation with my Grandmother is now turning to anger. She went for a some tests yesterday. The doctor saw just how sick she was by the time she got in there from expending that little bit of energy. She was told to come back for her results today. She went in this afternoon. After she dragged herself back out there, she was told "Oops - the results didn't get here in time. We'll let you know when they do."

Somehow I get the feeling that she would've been charged if she'd have "oopsed" and forgotten to make it in EVEN THOUGH they didn't have what she came out there for. It's disgusting and offensive. That office should be totally humiliated and embarrassed. I'll refrain from naming the doctor here but I'm certainly on the verge of it.

My Grandmother even had to get on my brother (et tu Benji?) about not taking care of a few things that he had taken on.

Again - if you can't do it, just say you can't. Don't say you will and then won't.

For the record, Benji's about the only one who's regularly doing anything to help and I will never be able to say how much I appreciate that. Grandma does too.

As for the ones that have turned their back, backs are turning on you too. If you haven't seen it first hand yet, you will. I promise. The best thing is that I don't have anything to do with it. It'll just happen. That's the way it works, you know?

My good friend Lori offered to help out some. She's certainly been more like family to me than most of my relatives. And she offered her help despite all of the major issues she's trying to juggle in her own life. I can't express how much that means to me.

 


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Wednesday July 12, 2006

Peter Frampton feels like we feel in Atlanta.

 


I spoke to my Grandmother today. I have to say (once more) how disappointed I am with the people back at home. She's not getting the help she's been promised. It's one thing to not be able to do it. It's one thing not to do it. It's another thing to say you will and then don't. I just don't get some people.

She's in bad shape again. She doesn't feel up to cooking and she certainly doesn't feel like going out. What else is there? She had to go to the doctor's office today for some tests. By the time she got there in her non-airconditioned car, she was terribly weak and ill. It breaks my heart that things could be so easy for her if we all worked together like we did when she first came home from breaking her hip. I'm trying to do everything from 200 miles away but my arms just aren't that long. It's looking more and more like I'm going to have to go back home and do simple things that anyone within a five mile radius could do easily.

Oh well - karma works in both directions.

From what I hear, certain former relatives are already feeling the wrath of it and while I don't wish any ill will on 'em, I can't feel sorry for 'em.

On to other stuff...my review of Cheap Trick's brand new album is up at Flagpole.

And in a sign of some brief justice in the current music industry, Johnny Cash is #1 on the album charts this week for the first time since 1969. And it's not with a greatest hits compilation. There are some people who still appreciate and support real music.

And one more link for ya...

I know some of you miss my political ramblings (yeah, right). This time, instead of me ranting, click here to see Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers performing his incredible new song "Dress Blues", which is inspired by the Iraq War death of a friend of his.

If you're paying attention, Jason's the one that came to me in a dream with the profound statement that headed Monday's listing. Thanks, Jason.

Oh yeah - and I almost forgot. Tonight, Amanda and I made our return to the concert circuit. We went out for our first time this year to the beautiful Chastain Park for an evening of Peter Frampton with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I had a headache by the time we got there (Amanda had an audition to swing by on the way) but a bit of Zagnut, sweet tea and rock and roll healed me.

Frampton sounded really thin from the pit but once I got back to our killer seats, it was sounding good. I got there about the time he went into "Show Me The Way". Man, it was relaxing. The weather was perfect for this kind of show. Things got a bit boring for a couple of his really early songs but about mid-way through it all mixed together just right. Amanda and I were surprised by his letter perfect (but mostly instrumental) version of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun". And the novelty of his talk box (The Framptone) was always fun. The best tracks of the night were the ones I've already mentioned plus"Signed Sealed Delivered", a luxurious "Baby I Love Your Way" (that bordered on muzak with the 61-piece orchestra added in) and the finale of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

In a class of its own was "Do You Feel Like We Do?" It was suitably indulgent, fun and rocking. I was glad I finally got to hear it. The last time I saw Frampton, I had to ditch before he got to it.

There's nothing like good music on a perfect summer night...


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Tuesday July 11, 2006

 

 

 

 

 


"What exactly is a dream and what exactly is a joke?"
(Syd Barrett - "Jugband Blues" - 1968)

Syd Barrett is dead. That's not the best way to start a day. For those of you who don't know (shame on you if you don't), Syd started Pink Floyd. Due to copious amounts of drug use, he shorted his brain out within a couple of years. Only their first two albums feature him. Their debut album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is nearly all him. And its the best psychedelic album of all time.

Even after he left, his influence on the band was immeasurable. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Wish You Were Here" and big chunks of Dark Side Of The Moon were about Syd ("And when the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.").

Syd tossed away pop music stardom and moved in with his mother. Talk of Pink Floyd agitated him and he never got it back together. And yet his story and legend grew to mythic proportions on the strength of what he accomplished on the first 2 Floyd albums, his 2 solo records and the band's tributes to him. His work was all done in less than 5 years time.

Fittingly, Pink Floyd's Pulse DVD is being released today. It's said that it's going to be the last official release from the band. Somehow it seems a bit more than coincidence than Syd's fate was announced today. The first song on it is "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

Syd Barrett was only 60 years old. It gives new meaning to "six stages" and the span of life.

"A movement is accomplished in six stages and the seventh brings return...sunset, sunrise."
(Syd Barrett - "Chapter 24" - 1967)

When I first heard his songs, it totally altered my perception of music. Heck, it even made me physically dizzy. And then I got it. I've never been the same.

Thanks, Syd.

If you don't know Syd's music, please click here and listen to some of his most enduring work.

"Action brings good fortune..."

And speaking of action bringing good fortune, I decided to experiment a bit today. It goes back to a lot of what I said yesterday. I'm just redirecting the experiment slightly.

A wise man once told me that when he had money flow problems, he'd spend and it would come back with interest.

Lately, we've been hurting financially. I'm owed a bunch 'o' money and the checks simply never arrived. I've made almost nothing the last couple of months thanks to this. And I haven't seen much of my stuff published lately either. That's got me even more concerned about future checks.

I've been experimenting with the concept of karma lately. It goes along with all of my harping about positivity and negativity. Frank, Amanda and I have discussed it a lot lately too. We've all noticed and pointed out things to each other that I'm not going in to here. But it seems clear.

Since I found out about Syd Barrett today and the Pink Floyd DVD came out, I figured that would be the perfect spending experiment. I would've bought it anyway but probably not today. So I got into the truck, headed on down to Best Buy and picked it up. With it came a limited free lithograph for the first few that got it. I managed to pull one. Is that karma? Maybe not. I got the DVD for half price too. Is that? Fair enough.

I almost bought the new MUSE CD too. I requested it for review but it hasn't gotten here. I'm tired of waiting. I figured I'd buy the limited edition one with the DVD. I even took it to the counter at Best Buy. It wasn't on sale and I'm just not used to paying $20 for an album. So I put it back and headed on over to Wal-Mart to attempt to save $5 as they were 'sposed to have it on sale. I went in, they didn't have it. Frustrated, I went back out, cranked up the truck only to have it not start. That same clutch-in-the-heat thing has kicked in again. I called Amanda to see what she suggested. She was extremely irritated (as was I). She decided to come pick me up. We left it to be towed home.

Amanda and I had some more discussions about the karma / positivity thing. You'd think this truck thing would put a damper in my theory. It doesn't. I decided that I made the mistake by not just spending the extra 5 bucks at Best Buy. That was my greed and this was my punishment for that error in judgement. Luckily, the truck was towed for free. When I got home, I noticed the tow truck was from "Barrett's". (Hmmm, what's up with that, Syd?).

So did anything come from my experiment?

Well, in the mailbox that very day, lo and behold, one of the checks had finally arrived. Not only that but a pile of about 15 rare DVD's showed up. There was also a TV Guide in there. I opened it while I was getting lunch. The first thing I saw was a picture of Elvis Costello that I took.

Then I got a call from the flyers that I put up last week. Someone is interested!

Are things falling into place? Am I on to something?

What do you believe? Are you satisfied?

The answers to those questions will be directly related.

In the evening, I was putting in some Syd Barrett-era videos of Pink Floyd when the phone rang. It was Jerry Boyd from Side B. He's got the package I sent of my "lost songs". We went back and forth about it and he had some great ideas and insights. It looks like these songs may not wind up being lost. Mr. Boyd may be their savior!

As with all things in the works, we'll see.

But suddenly, with a small leap of faith on my part - the doors are opening again. I just have to be careful to stay focused.

I'm going to end today's post with Roger Waters' classic tribute to Syd Barrett. 31 years after it was written, it captures a lot of how I feel today.

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond"

Remember when you were young,
you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now theres a look in your eyes,
like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend,
You martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon,
you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Threatened by shadows at night,
and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and Ill be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And well bask in the shadow of yesterdays triumph,
Sail on the steel breeze.

Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!"

 


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Monday July 10, 2006

This fine creature has taken up residence in the Dusty Miller in the front yard. Our Mantis watches over us as we watch over him. All hail our Mantis!

 


"No one person's enthusiasm equals a band's success."

I've been dreaming a lot about the band lately. If you've been reading this diary, you know how I feel. I feel like we're trying to ride a dead horse. And it's not because things aren't happening (whether or not the things are obvious). Things are, in fact, still developing. They're just developing in the background as many great things do.

I love this band. I love the old songs. I love the new songs even more. I know what each of us are capable of in a show environment. And yet, I don't feel like this version of the band can do anymore than it has. For it to continue to build and move forward, desperate measures may be in order. And it all comes down to enthusiasm. I just don't feel or believe that the other guys want it enough to make it happen. It's really that simple. I could be wrong but that's the way I feel. I know Frank's just beaten down by life right now. He's having a lot of problems and I feel terrible that these things are happening to him. He's doing the best that he can to manage his own life and I understand that but it doesn't mean that I can ignore the damage its causing to the band. And Mike's a major problem because of his distance. If he lived here, we'd have already done major pre-production on all the new songs and maybe even official recordings of them. We also wouldn't have had to turn down several last minute shows that could have been really good for us. Mentioning these things is not to say that I don't appreciate the time he does spend (not to mention the gas money) but it's just not enough to be effective as a band. We need to be rehearsing a couple of times a week and doing a couple of shows a week. Right now we're playing (maybe) once a month and rehearsing every couple of weeks. That's barely even a hobby.

I'm not interested in that.

At all.

And then people wonder why we're not making more of an impact...

Up until Tom quit, we were building steadily and quickly. Tom (for all of our differences) had one major thing going for him that really helped the band. He wanted things to work and he didn't mind working. If I started getting distracted, he'd get me back in line and refocused. Now it feels like it's all me.

Every time Mike or Frank has come to me with an idea that they felt strongly about, I've said "Make it so" whether or not I totally agree with it. Neither has made anything so. It can only come down to it not being important enough to them. Now I'm not stupid. I realize that you can't have everything and nothing's going to be perfect but if you're not enjoying it, why do it? This ain't a day job. It should be a lifestyle and a dream come true. We are lucky enough to have 3 people who play perfectly together. We are lucky enough to be able to telepathically communicate through our instruments. We are lucky enough to be able to entertain people. All we need to be is enthusiastic enough to do it and smart enough to enjoy it. Our enjoyment is contagioius. If we can spread it to an audience, their enjoyment will come back to us. We will nurture and take each other higher and higher. That's the way that happens. If either link in that chain is broken, it all falls apart. Right now, we have a couple of links missing.

Don't get me wrong, Mike will work harder than anyone I know but the problem for me is that he still makes it feel like he hates it and it's a bother to him. He says that wouldn't be doing it if he didn't enjoy it. That makes enough sense but I know him better than that. In all the years I've known him, I can't think of a single time that I've ever seen him happy or satisfied with anything. I appreciate the way he'll work but I don't want to be a bother to him. It makes me hesitant to ask or book because I don't want to make his life any harder. I don't want to give another chore. But to me, this work shouldn't be a chore. It should be a labor of love. I just don't feel that from the other guys right now and its very uninspiring.

That's a shame.

The only reasons I've allowed it to continue on in this semi-functional way is because (as I've said before):

A) Mike's the best friggin' drummer I've ever had the luxury of playing with. Anything I can think of to compose, he can do. And he can take what I've done and improve on it and make it skull-crushing. I love that.

B) Frank's songwriting skill has improved exponentially in the last year and he's bringing in good ideas almost every time I see him.

C) I love playing these songs. I love the music we've created and I want to share it with as many people as I can.

So anyway, as I said, I've been dreaming about all of this. It's really eating at me.

Last night in my dream, Jason Isbell from Drive-By Truckers and I were talking about the current Darlings situation. Dream Jason looked at me and said:

"No one person's enthusiasm equals a band's success."

I couldn't have said it better than Imaginary Jason and that's given me a lot to think about. I'd rather have less talented people who really want it. I need to be surrounded by people who are at least as excited by this project as me. I need to be surrounded by people who look forward to playing. I know some of you think that's too much to ask.

You're wrong.

If you think that's too much to ask, pardon me, but maybe that's why your life's the way it is.

I'm throwing the fate of the Darlings to the wind. I'm not adding anymore to our work load. We'll continue to limp through our obligations and by then one of two things are going to happen. Either A) This band will end with a whimper just like Star Zero and Q-Sign or B) A major, miraculous change will take place that will get us on the same page, recharge us and take us one to some greater glory.

What do you think is more likely?

Really?

Hmmmm....

That says a lot about you.

I believe it's a 50/50 chance.

I have hope even when there's no obvious reason to have hope.

Thanks to Imaginary Jason Isbell for the advice. He's right, you know? There's a certain magic in a group of people all pushing in the same direction. I truly believe that. But no one person in a group can force the rest of the group to use their collective "magic" unless each individual not only believes in the "magic" but each has to choose to use it together. Any lack of trust of faith, suspicion or negativity will weaken the "magic".

Am I creeping you out yet? Well, I don't know if I believe it all of that. I'm just looking into it. I'm conducting a series of experiments on my own life and outlook. And so far the results have been staggeringly obvious.

Our "magic" is hardly being used. I feel that too much of it is being hoarded "just in case". So I'm going to take mine and look until I find the right magicians willing to use it with me. I hope they will be Frank and Mike. I hope we can use our "magic" together. But I'm not limiting my "magic" to a project where others are hoarding their powers.

There's still hope for us but every day its getting dimmer. Unless it starts to brighten, it's done.

I'm throwing my band on the mercy of the fates. Let's see what happens with a little faith and positivity.

Are there any miracles out there looking for a home and a job? If so, I've got a place for you!

Click here for last week with slideshows, cameras, missiles and independence.

 


 

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