10/01/2006

Sunday Night Thoughts.

1. Why do I have this voice now? It's sinister and it's freaking me out. Look, I am a plainspoken motherfucker and I know what I've got and what I don't have. You're not going to hear me talking about what a world-class instrumentalist I am any time soon. I'm an ideas guy. That shit tends to end at my wrists.

I've always had just enough kinesthetic instrumental ability to get a song down on tape from th' drums on up. I grew up on punk rock and I didn't want to know about fuckin' guitar solos.

I'm a good bass player but that's sort of like being a good driver. You don't notice it until some fuck wraps their shitty Audi around you on th' 405. You don't notice good bass. You're not s'posed to. Some reviewer talks about your smokin' bass playing you're doing something wrong. Good bass composition is another matter. That's why we all love McCartney. Good ideas. Good ideas.

Anyway, I don't know why this voice has been dropped into my throat at this stage of the game. I certainly didn't earn it with my decades of smokin' and screamin'. Aren't I supposed to be doing a Dennis Wilson by now? Aren't I supposed to be ramping down? Isn't my range supposed to be diminishing?

I can suddenly do shit that I couldn't have dreamed of when I was 25. Chest voice A about middle C? In my sleep. Falsetto head voice on up to, say, an E above that? In my god damn sleep. Tone for days? That musical rasp that you don't have to force? It just comes out? Check. On down to G's and F's an octave and a half below middle C? Loud? Over the band? Yeah. No problem.

Maybe it's the music. The Soulfinger shit is singer's music. It's all Marvin and Al and Otis. Maybe that's what it is. I've always sung my own shit and maybe I never really thought like a singer before, but rather like a writer. I've never really confronted the many choices that are involved in being a stylist.

With a well-chosen song I can stand there, tilt that stand 15 degrees to th' left and shut the room up and turn heads. Even if they've been antagonized by Ace McClintock The Drunken for 15 minutes straight. Maybe that's what it is. I'm always trying to get them back. Look, I hate humanity as much as the next dude. I think they suck. But I still like an audience. Actually, maybe like is the wrong word. I just want them to get value-for-dollar in one shitty area of their lives because then you don't feel like such a fucking mark all the god damn time. If they pay 10 bucks I want them to get 50 bucks of good. We're all sick of feeling like fuckin' marks, right? That's where we land in a shitty crap culture like this. Fieldmice and hawks, man.

Maybe that's what it is. It scares me a little. It's a knock-on-wood thing.

2. I'm confronted with a choice. It's not a particularly new choice but it's sittin' square in my field-o'-vision these here days. It's this: do I keep hustling and scraping to try and continue making my way as a musician by any means necessary or do I get behind a desk, punch a fuckin' clock and then make my music my way when I'm done sucking hind teat? Because the hustling and scraping means little or no Lightfoot music. It means a lot of work-for-hire and a lot of singin' the Hit Parade for punters. And the other way means more Lightfoot music at the Whim Of The Man. And th' older I get the less fucking patience I have for the concept of doing some useless shit for some worthless company that is turning the blood of infants into shareholder swimming pools somewhere along the fucking line. I mean, honestly- come on.

Three more months here I'm going to be 42. A lean, tanned, priapic 42 to be sure, but 42 nonetheless. Why can I now finally sing like Sam Cooke meets young Rod Stewart now, when no one has any fucking use for me? Am I meant to take another plunge? No, I don't mean trying to be a big star. That's been over for 15 years. I mean find an audience, tour a circuit, get on a good indie. Just on th' down-low where people respond to Good. The World Cafe market is what I used to call it. The shit they play on World Cafe on NPR.

But see, them fuckers don't like me either, right? Because I don't have "authenticity" because I'm not ugly and I sing like a motherfucking riot. And I'm "showy". I don't see why I should look like I'm making a pit stop on th' way to the bowling alley when I hit the stage. And my songs have the odd minor 7 flat 5. I can't sing them stupid fucking folk songs because I'm so over playing the same five open chords.

I really can't figure out what to do or where I belong. I wouldn't care that much but see, this fuckin' voice got dropped into my throat last winter and I can't help but feel it's for a reason.

Fuck it. It's probably so I can hum a really bitchin' version of "Shop Around" while I fit that twelve gauge in my fucking mouth. It probably is.

World's like that.

14 Comments:

Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

You're a pussy.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Th' Road To Tomorrow is strewn with the smitten, moldering corpses of egotistical, whingeing little Fauntleroys like yo' ass.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

If you were my son I'd see you perish gloriously in a Sopwith in th' skies above Frawnce.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

You could donate all your organs to Biafra and you'd still be a touch hole.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Get back to fucking work. You'll do anything to avoid tangling with music that might not come out perfect.

12:37 AM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I don't know where you belong either, but I'm damn glad you're out there, for whatever that's worth.

Ever feel like life is just one endless process of compromising your principles and dumbing yourself down?

3:16 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Bobby, I say keep at it and if that means, short term anyway, sticking with the Solufinger gigs, do it.

I've done the desk and the cubicle and the row of windows with windows across the street with people over there in cubicles at desks looking back at me. You do not want to be there. So keep at it.

I'm a Mel Torme fan and he kept at it through divorces and no record contract and all the rest of the shit because he could sing like nobody else. So, no record conract but he still hit the stage with Ella Fitzgerald. Imagine that.

(He was alwasy correcting people about falsetto, too. When he went high, he had to remind people it wasn't falsetto - it was a head tone. That's my one bit of singing lore.)

Anyway, he made music, some great shit, and also played the drums and arranged his act and wrote books and kept at it and kept himself busy. So we had some great music and one less guy in a cubicle.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

I paint when I get home after sucking hind-teat. I've made nickle zero but I don't care.

Will it work for you?

11:41 AM  
Blogger roxtar said...

Hind teat? Bah, you kids today don't know when you've got it good. In my day, we got no teat at all! We were lucky to get a freckle, or a vaccination scab. I once spent 3 months sucking on a bunion, fer Chrissakes.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Just out of curiosity, from someone who doesn't know you... Is your home town a factor in all of this? I mean, I know a bunch of really good musicians in dead Midwestern towns (like St. Louis, for example) who laugh out loud whenever I ask them what their chances are of getting signed. I've heard you gotta be in NYC or LA to even find any real opportunities (and even then it's not easy).

Same for movie writing (a little hobby of mine). If you don't live in LA, you have pretty much a snowball's chance of selling a script.

ps I like World cafe, as much for the interviews as for the music itself.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

hey bsuwg---------


I did 10 long years in th' wonderful city of angels. Made two records for Ryko and some more for respectable indies. Had two top 40 radio songs in '99 and '00 that just ended up costing us a shit load of money. It's all fixed. If you have a hundred thousand and a catchy song you too can buy off enough program directors. The label almost resented me for writing hits and making them do work so they dumped us.

I live in Northampton, MA now, from whence I came- as soon as I decided to go west in '92 all the bands from here got signed- Buffalo Tom, Dinoasaur Jr., Sebadoh, all them.

I realized in about '00 that I wasn't making music anymore- and what I was making was boring the shit out of me. Lame '90's "edgy" guitar rock. I'm so fuckin' sick of that tone. Distorted guitar. good for selling cars and clothes.

You have to believe in the whole thing to be willing to spend the amount of time you have to spend "promoting yourself". I've developed a crippling hatred of "promoting myself" which sort of closes the book. The belief goes away. Not in yourself- in the whole fucked thing.

Then I was a roadie for big rock stars which finished me by showing me how much more awful it would have been if I *had* made it.

The only music I can make that consumes and interests me is complex and nuanced and pretty and utterly without any sort of "market". Just cool guys on th' web with higher IQs than is good for them.

I didn't like th' industry, I didn't like th' "fans", I didn't like myself, I didn't like my band. Christ, it's so boring. I couldn't even get it up anymore when I got to meet "big producers". Woah!

Big assholes.

So every time I think of getting off my ass and putting out a record or something my dick shrivels up to the size of a raisin and my eyeballs start to sweat.

So you see th' complexity of my dilemma.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Simon- after our recent collaboration it's dawning on me that maybe I'm just here to be your stepping stone.

Kebmo------------

When you're right you're right, man. I am not worthy of nibbling th' lint from Mel Torme's scrotum. That, my friends, is what we call a musician.

Bobby- fuck off. You don't know th' meaning of Pain capital P.

Employee- I just have to work on th' not caring part. It's tough 'cause, see, I already do all th' drugs so what can I turn to? Where can I turn?

roxxxtarrr- see, that's th' thing, man. I once spent a long stretch w/ my lips on a bunion too.

And then Geffen re-orged, so it was allfornought.

11:55 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

Bobby? Stepping Stone? Don't even entertain that idea, 'cause it's not why I sought your input. In my own weird little way, i'm quite content with my lot in life.

You and I are very alike in the sense that since both of us are Damn Idealistic neither of us want to play the music business game, because the bullshit and compromise and fakeness of those involved would drive us nuts.

Only difference? I knew that right from the beginning when I was young and, as such, didn't even try.

...well, that and my Complete Fucking Lack Of Talent thing on my part.

To have your talent, and therefore, confirmation of your own self-belief, and still have to deal with all the Non-Music crap that seems to involve making and selling music? I'd have opened a vein by now.

If nothing else it proves you have true strength of character.

So, fuck it all, just go and create another amazing, beautiful song.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

"It's all fixed."

That's one of the worst things in life... working forever to get somewhere and, just when you're getting close, you glimpse behind the curtain -- and the whole grand vision just collapses. I've been there as well. Not in music, though, but I suspect it's the same in any industry.

"I didn't like th' industry, I didn't like th' "fans", I didn't like myself, I didn't like my band."

(Well, you didn't really hate the fans, did you?)

10:17 AM  

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