Home > Uncategorized > Living gets in the way of life…

Living gets in the way of life…

I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately. I’m damn near 50, so that might be why. But I think it’s actually more than that.

I don’t have enough of it to do the things I want to do. I spend too much of it doing things I don’t want to do. Of course this doesn’t make me any different than 96% of the people I know but I adore obsessing over things I have little control over. It’s one of my many charms.

Plus, I write.

I’m one of those people.

I don’t talk much. I’d rather listen and then regurgitate.

classical_guitar_clock-r201cd44db5554d78a1903efec46c9142_fup1y_8byvr_630I write songs mostly. And plays. In my spare time. And therein lies the rub. Because as time passes “spare time” takes on a different meaning. In my early 20s a few free hours could turn into pretty girls and a 12 pack. Now I use the time to cut my relentlessly growing grass….or put on my Uber driving cap for my 2 kids….or run errands…..or to attend to 1000 things that need attending to because that’s the way life works for most of us. Living gets in the way of life…one of the world’s cruelest ironies.

I have a full time job, for which I’m grateful, but let’s face it. Unless your full time job entails doing what you love to do (does yours? No? Gee, really?), a full time job is pretty much a huge pain in the ass. We get up earlier than we want to and spend a third of our day with people we’d probably avoid in a Wal-Mart aisle. We make less than we should for the work we do and come home at the end of the day with way less brain cells than we had when the day started. It’s a ghastly cycle really, but going through it doesn’t make us special. It makes us normal. It allows me to pay the bank monthly rent for the house I pretend I own.

What’s not normal is the rare bird who can wake up and go to bed every day immersed in his or her passion. If I could wake up, ice up a case of Diet Coke, and go into a room with a guitar and a legal pad and a few condenser microphones, and emerge 16 hours later, day after day…..that would be just swell. 

I could do this, of course. But I don’t like divorce lawyers and repo-men and threatening letters and phone calls from creditors. I also don’t like the idea of not having health insurance. That’s the sort of thing that can ruin your day and keep you up at night staring at the black ceiling.

So what’s a poor boy to do?

I’ve got so many talented friends. Musicians mostly. I’m talking guys and gals who can wail…who can play anything with strings or keys or that requires sticks and can sing the paint off the walls…all the while creating very impressive bar tabs. Rock and rollers as badass as anybody you can mention. And nobody knows who the fuck they are except for the locals. Maybe that’s as it should be. We all deserve our own rock stars. They’re way more interesting than the universal ones.

So yea….time. When I’m making music the clock moves like somebody is winding it forward. When I’m doing the 9-5 thing, it’s more like there’s a power outage and the clocks stop working entirely. So what does this mean, in practical terms?

And why do I feel like, despite having less and less time to write and make music, I’m actually getting better at it?

Gather round, children….and I’ll enlighten you. Like much enlightenment, it ain’t rocket science.

Knowing that I may only have, say, 2 hours in a week to creating something, when those 2 hours arrive I don’t fuck around. I focus and I work my ass off. If I’m in a recording studio, I don’t obsess over the drum sound. I deal with people who know how to make drums sound good and leave them to it. I make sure my guitar is in tune, count “1-2-3”, hope the bass player is sober, and we’re off. I don’t say “let’s try this and see if it works”…..I decide beforehand if it’s going to work, and then do it. Because in 2 hours I have to pick up my kid at the movies. If you think the song would sound better with a Hammond overdub…..have you come-to-Jesus moment before the clock starts running and your kid is standing on the curb waiting for your late ass.

Want to know why the Guns N’ Roses record “Chinese Democracy” record took 15 years to make? Because Axl Rose didn’t have a full time job and have to cut his own grass, that’s why. If he did, maybe it would have taken a week and not been a piece of pretentious gibberish. (As one critic wrote on the day the record was finally released…”If you purchased a kitten on the day that Use Your Illusion I & II arrived in stores, it’s probably dead by now….”)

Oh, and write a good song. I’ve written many un-good songs. If there is a good song in there ready to come out, it’s gonna come quickly. If it’s leaking out like the drip-drip of a faucet, it’s probably fighting to remain unheard for very good reasons. Have an idea. A title. A riff. Something. Then take it out for a spin and try not to drive into any walls.

Focus. Work smart and only waste time if you have it to waste, which most of us don’t. So, in short, don’t waste time.

Shortcuts for some are just a quaint change of scenery. For others it’s how we get home without running out of gas.

Oh, and it helps if you don’t need a lot of sleep because between midnight and 2am are excellent “free time”.

Thus endeth the lesson.

In a bit..



Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    May 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I thought you drank Pepsi

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