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I’m finally going to record my album.

Was thinking a lot about time, and music, out on my run today. Listened to Fall Out Boy’s new album, and thought it was funny how they’ve become tempered with age, and now so much of their emo angst seems balanced by “Dad Wisdom,” if you will. We’re about the same age. One of the members even commented recently “I’m now as old as my dad was when I thought he had it all figured out.” Something like that. I’ve never been a real huge fan of the band, but it was a worthwhile listen, and sparked my mind and spirit in a new direction. Or made me realize more clearly the direction I was already heading in.

I’ve been playing and recording my own music for about 27 years now. I’ve written a lot of stuff, done home recordings, toured the U.S. with a band, and even been to a few professional sound studios — but nothing I’ve done has satisfied me. Well, going apeshit at live shows with my first punk band with my high school bros — we practiced 3 to 4 times a week and were tight as fuck — that was fun. And then a second group of guys here in Niigata who were both badass players. And playing solo to a lively, happy, drinking and dancing crowd weekends at my old friend’s bar called The Local. Those are all magic moments I’ll never, ever forget and will always love and hold in my heart like shiny diamonds. But I mean on the recording end. On the self-expression end as far as songwriting.

Halloween show w/ Drone Smasherz

If I have a good song, the production falters. If I’ve got a decent sound via my cheap home recording setup, it’s not repeatable across all tracks. I’ve been in great bands — but people are on different pages, or at different levels of ability, or I’ve wrecked opportunities with too much worry — trying to control things too much. If I go to a pro engineer, they can’t really see what I am going for, are impatient, or the time/money pressure pushes one to put out something they don’t actually love. Not to mention finding other folks who are as dedicated as you.

Most critically though — and I think this is the whole battle — I’ve been held down by taking a kind of “needy” stance. By mental programs, emotional issues, and waiting on someone to find my shit and take my hand so I can “make it big.”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten over the “make it big” thing, mostly. One sees that “big” often equates to “cringe,” “sellout,” and being utterly incompetent in other areas of life like relationships, philosophy, and critical thinking. Fame as it is sold to us, is all part of the control system.

So for all the hard knocks I’ve had in music and otherwise (getting scammed by a fake record label in L.A., not being able to write from the heart consistently due to religious programming co-opting me with shame, and often not having folks on the same page to jam with (and also having no friends and facing excruciating solitude when your bandmates decide to swoop in on your girlfriends and cut you out of social circles after you’ve sacrificed going to college and all relationships and your whole life for the band and also your family is falling apart due to unaddressed abuse, drunk driving incidents, and emotional unavailability…. Ahem. I fucking digress)) — All that sucks and is an obstacle, but the thing that was really standing in my way was me. I had the wrong goal. Not even saying that was my fault. But I just couldn’t see clearly.

And it is now time to do it myself, for myself. And just because I think it’s something that others would wanna hear. And even if they didn’t. I don’t know. I just wanna put it out there. That’s the weird thing. It is an impetus that just won’t die.

I’ve been hiding from it. The whole issue feels too embarrassing and tender.

While I have written some songs and recorded demos I like, such as “Skammers” here, and “Nihonkai” here, and made some more professional recordings in-studio like “Broken Mirrors,” and even gotten away with some somewhat passable shit at home on GarageBand like “Dark Side Radio” and “Somethin’s Missin‘,” I’ve not made a whole album I’m really happy with, or that I feel says what I want to say to the world with the sound I want. Or, if I have made something good, I didn’t have the confidence to really share it and promote and plan gigs consistently. I was too weird inside and had too many idealistic visions about shit. The real magic of life turns out to be more sporadic and spontaneous. I wanted to control things too much, but not in a good way. I was hiding.

So my goal is no longer to “make it big,” but just to “make it” at all — as in make the album. I’ve been working on a new batch of songs more honest I think than anything I’ve done, and finally without the bullshit religious fear raping the expression. I’ve got a Tokai SG copy sitting on the couch that I riff and lick on while working at my desk. The selector switch is broken. It’s time to get it fixed. I’ve spent so much money on other things. It’s funny I would never justify biting the bullet and taking it in to the shop.

Again, our most tender dreams make us wanna hide half the time.

But, after holing up this winter. Sewing my over-sensitive self a new skin that I have made, I am gonna step out again this summer. Gonna start playing these new tunes at live gigs in a band and prep for the studio. That’s the plan, at least.

I’d ask you to wish me luck. But fuck asking for anything in that kind of way anymore. I just wanna get this out and off my heart sometime before I check out of here. I hope said checkout is a long way off, but nobody knows how much time they have, right? So best to get on it. No more praying for a gay -ass miracle.

And I probably won’t be happy with this one, all the way, either. I guess that’s what keeps us moving. So hey. Maybe I’ve been doing alright after all. Keepin’ movin’.

By Voluntary Japan

Living life.

2 replies on “I’m finally going to record my album.”

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