|Ah, 25. As my car insurance is lowered and I can legally now rent a car and…well, I guess that's it really. I guess it's that age when you really begin looking back and worrying about moving forward. It's that scene in Fight Club where Brad Pitt is telling Edward Norton about how he kept asking his dad, "Well, what now?" and in succession he just keeps doing what his father said until there was no real answer. Around this age, it seems like if you haven't chosen some sort of path now, you better make the best compass out of a paperclip somehow and get a bit of direction somewhere.|
This past month I was fired from my part-time job and entered the world of unemployment for about a month now. With a new sales and marketing job and starting another small part-time job next week, it was an emotionally wrecked month of rest. Through all of it, it made me realize how important it is to have a sort of drive and to take risks. As I was sitting in two of my interviews this week discussing my knowledge of the evolving industry model, it began to hit me just how the last ten years has really morphed (and possibly animorphed) into different avenues. At the end of the day it was just a lot of people fed up with the norms. This industry is a lot more dog-eat-dog than most of you want to lead yourself to believe. You have to be punk with your business if you want to survive.
Reading this last week's interview with pg.99 over at NPR.org was very refreshing. See, the thing about interviewing all these bands from the '90s and early 2000's is that a lot of them just had a "do it" attitude. Sure, they were trying new things, but there wasn't a "sophomore slump" or "expectation" to live up to. In fact, some fans hated Document #7 for its shift into some more "experimental" territory. That sort of critique is only echoed daily from publication to publication from writer to writer and so forth and so on without any knowledge of true timely reflection. Now we have Circle Takes the Square's highly anticipated return. From someone who's spent two days with the first chapter/EP from Decompositions Vol. 1, Rites of Initiation is incredible. This is a band that has learned to craft their sound in the studio without losing any of their chops and identity along the way.
What I'm getting at in all of this is that looking back on the last two years out of college, and even what I've achieved a few years before that along the way, I can't even believe it. I put myself in some ruts because I kept wanting to fight the system instead of embracing its progression mixed with my knowledge and ideas. That's what I'm just now beginning to understand this past year: You can fight the norms, but you have to be prepared for the consequences for doing so. I was catching up on Louie today on Hulu, and a line really hit me:
"I don't know why you don't wanna just keep your mouth shut and keep the money?" - Casino Manager
"I don't know either." Louie C.K.
I could have gone the route of working for a newspaper. I could have gone the route of getting a job I wouldn't be happy in just because that's what we're carved out to do. But this scene, these ideals are too ingrained in my blood to do that. Having a good friend write "He’s an avid supporter of the underground punk community and is praised for his coverage of the bands involved," really touched me. To be told that a band gravitated toward me because of my attitude and ideals really hit me hard. I don't think much of myself, and I don't want this to even seem like I'm e-jerking myself off, so in one week for two people to say that to me means so much I can't even articulate a thank-you.
It means I must be doing something right. Past all the copy-edit problems and questioning how close I'm going to come to just make rent this month as the bank is calling me three times a day since I haven't paid my credit card payments, I know its all trite in the end. I want you guys to have that same attitude as well. In this industry you can be a flash in the pan, or you can resonate for years to come. It doesn't matter if you're playing music or writing about it or managing bands that have stuck behind you for years on end. If there's one thing I will take of myself this last year, it's that integrity goes a long way. I'll leave you with one last line from the same episode of Louie:
"I wish I could tell you it gets better. It doesn't get better. YOU get better." - Joan Rivers
- love and respect