1. status of ferns
2. "crest" as epiphany
3. why my girlfriend kicks ass
1. I'm one of the singers and the lead guitarist (although I guess it'd be more aptly described as "guy who makes weird sounds while the other guy plays rhythm guitar") of a NYC band called The Ferns. We've been together for about a year and a half; we generally average about a gig a month (although we recently played 4 gigs in 3 weeks, so we're sort of on a performance hiatus right now while we contemplate writing new material and recording another EP); I am so disinterested in the band that rehearsals have become chores.
The disinterest stems from several things.
(a) My personal creative vision and aesthetic have pretty much no place in the music we're writing now, and that's a deliberate action taken by the rest of the guys in the band. I'm "too melodic", and conversely "not dissonant enough". There's too much of a pop sensibility in my style that detracts from whatever avant-garde free-jazz noise-jams the guys want to pursue. So I've pretty much stopped singing and writing and now most of what I play is what I think they want to hear - namely, weird guitar noises and ambient textures. Which is fine, but certainly not anything that really gets my rocks off.
(b) The singer and I, at least a few months ago, had some pretty serious personality conflicts. At one point he told me that "I didn't know what it meant to be a professional musician." You can imagine what I thought about that. The quote is sort of taken out of context, but it's been festering in my brain ever since he said it, which was shortly before NYE '01.
(c) The bassist is, among other things, going to law school, and is pretty exhausted most of the time. It's hard to gage how much he wants the band to succeed. He reacts to it almost as a hobby. There's nothing wrong with that - if the rest of the band felt the same way, which we generally don't.
(d) We've all been smoking way too much pot before we play, so our rehearsals are generally pretty dumb after a while.
(e) As a result of all of these things, I've pretty much stopped writing songs. I'm totally creatively dead inside. Everything I attempt to write sounds exactly like the kind of stuff they don't want to play, and so I'm reluctant to finish anything. My 4-track died a couple weeks ago, and I haven't really been motivated to fix it. In rehearsals I barely contribute in conversation; when we jam, I barely play anything anymore. I can't follow what they're doing. Nobody's listening to each other. It's incredibly self-indulgent and bad. Say what you will about Phish and how masturbatory they can be - when push comes to shove, those guys are always focused on each other and what they're all playing. Whereas I can't even be sure that the rest of the band has even noticed how much I've backed off.
So, yeah, I'm pretty frustrated with the band, and I'm mostly frustrated because I'm not writing anything else. I had hoped to start my own band this year, and I spent about $2000 over the winter to beef up my home recording studio; I've come up with maybe one song since then. I censor myself the instant I start playing something that I don't think they'll like, and when I remind myself that it doesn't matter whether they like it or not, I can still finish the damn song and work on my own stuff for a change, I end up just getting so frustrated as to what the hell I really want out of music that I put my guitar down and watch TV.
2. All of this stuff was running through my brain the other night as I was re-organizing my CDs, and when I decided to put Stereolab's "Transient Random-Noise Bursts..." into the rotation, I immediately thought of track 9, "Crest". Folks, this might be one of the most kick-ass songs in the history of rock and roll, and it's just one riff repeated over and over again for 6 minutes. I was astounded as to how simple it was. I guarantee that S'lab wasn't having multiple anxiety attacks about it. They play it and it totally fucking rocks. I'm lying in bed, headphones on, just totally in outer space with the song. And it occurred to me - dude, stop trying so hard to write the perfect song. Just write. Pick up your guitar and play it, for crying out loud.
(Of course, I fell asleep shortly afterwards, and I haven't picked up a guitar except for last night's rehearsal. But this weekend, hopefully, that'll change.)
3. Here's why my girlfriend kicks so much ass.
- she's my age (25). I've always dated people significantly older than I am. Hell, pretty much everybody I know and consider a friend is older than me. But what's great is that we're both experiencing similar life issues at the same time, and we're able to help each other through them.
- she's my best friend.
- she doesn't care if I smoke pot or cigarettes or if I drink or not, because she smokes and drinks too.
- she not only isn't embarrassed with my videogame addiction, she's recently gotten into it herself. this is awesome.
- she's an actress, and she's not insane. (plus, she's quite good.) but what's more, she's understands the creative lifestyle (rehearsals, frequent brooding, alone-time, etc.) and totally gives me whatever freedom I need. And vice versa.
- after dating for almost 10 months, we still have amazing sex. and she indulges my thong fetish, which is awesome, too.
- she's beautiful and witty and caring and sweet and foul-mouthed (when she wants to be) and supportive and independent and has a great ass and has put up with a lot of my neurotic self-absorbed bullshit and just absolutely fucking rocks my world.