When I was 19 I used to say a lot of stupid shit. Two of the stupid shit things I would say were these:
1.”I’d rather die penniless and hungry in the street than spend my life doing a job that isn’t my dream.”
2.”I’d rather smell shit forever than not be able to smell anything ever again.”
I thought I was REALLY deep.
I’d just signed a record deal with Richard Morel, a hot shit dance music producer who in turn had been working with Deep Dish, grammy nominated remixers based in the D.C. area. I lived and breathed creative nonsense 24/7 and there was never a rest to my creating. I wrote a book of poetry. I took photos of everything, all the time. I was writing a new song every day and most of them were shit.
The ones that were the least shitty turned into “Mnemosyne’s Lounge”, my first album. It was a heavily collaborative process with Morel that ended badly. It took me a solid 10 years to really, truly get over the fact that the project went nowhere. Morel’s fingerprints are all over the music we made together, but the lyrics, the vocals, the heart of the project was my own.
It was a concept album. Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory, the mother of the muses and sister of the furies. Each track I’d written for the album (many of which went unrecorded) was inspired by a muse or a fury, and meant to address a different part of what my life had been up until that point. In reality we only truly finished six fully produced tracks, and the final project I released was more like an extended E.P. with bonus instrumentals.
“Scarecrow Song” was inspired by the death of Matthew Shepherd, but was directed at the gay community, who had chosen to martyr this young attractive white boy when at almost the same time an older man named Billy Jack Gaither had been slaughtered in a similar crime and got no press attention at all. (PS – no shade, but I released my track before Melissa Etheridge released hers!)
“Kissable” was about all of the near-miss romances we experience in life. “Circle’s Side of the Story” was about angry young men who reject the status quo but never quite pull out of the muck of trying to live an alternative life. “Red Hotel Wall” was about a childhood friend who was addicted to heroin.
The single from the album, “Relationship Destruction Machine,” was the most popular (humor me.) It was a hard house dance song about the way one can build someone up to be something they aren’t, and then after falling in love with them, become resentful that they’ve “changed”. That track was my first commercially released song, put out on compilation CD by the label “DC:ide”. It was later used in soundtracks for both a TV show and a movie.
1999 was an intense year of change for me. It began a more than ten year period of complete reckless abandon and terrible life choices fueled by mental illness. My mother had just recently died, I had been living as an adult since 17, and all I knew is that I was running from something.
I’m 40 now and I’m ready to stop running. To stop chasing that dream and find a new dream. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever had to face, and I don’t know that I will come out the other side of it altogether myself.
(From the upcoming album “Syrup”)
whatever is a boy to do
when everyone keeps telling you
you, you’re the one, the best
the unfailing scatterheart bequest
it’s a never start
blink blink, that shade of blue
wide open eyes were never so untrue
so they take and they take from you
you’re gonna take it all back
you can do
he’s the dreamteller
what a dream, what a total dream
he’s gonna take the stars from the sky
grind them into a cream
and spread it all across a life
a life that’s gonna fly by
dreamteller, never let the dream die