So i have been meaning to make a kind of life update for quite a while, mainly because i enjoy reading other peoples and because i want to start whoring myself out to the community here. I think it is going to have to be a multiple part thing and i will probably jump around a bit, so get used to it.
When i was 20 there was a morning that i was up all night playing poker and as i sat there with the sun glaring through the window trying to fall asleep i sat down and started watching concert footage, i think it was H.A.A.R.P by Muse. I was sitting there thinking that that would probably be the most awesome thing to do, as i'm sure many have imagined before me.
At the time i was about 180k in debt to my brother because i had been running like aids and was borrowing money against some investments i had made and had kind of lost a lot of the passion i had for poker. That tends to happen pretty quickly when you are getting raped.
Anyway, as i was sitting there, i was thinking that really there was no fundamental difference between the person on the stage and myself and that if i wanted it enough i could achieve a glimpse of what that might be like. Not playing to 50,000 people of course, i am a pretty realistic person, but more the ability to develop a context in which i could express myself, which is quite appealing if you're used to turning off your emotions to play poker, at least to me.
The next day i decided to pick up the guitar again. I had had a few lessons as a kid but mainly i had focused on piano as my primary instrument until then. Piano had been the only thing that has really stuck over the course of my life, the only real constant as i changed from obsession to obsession, but i figured that i wanted more movement etc in the performance; guitar was clearly the way forward. I started practicing A LOT.
You can hear the sort of stuff i was composing on piano around this time here, simple nice waltz kind of music:
Still, i wanted to translate this kind of theory and technique into the context i wanted, something i am still working on a lot.
Over the next year i played quite a lot and tried to work out how i was going to actualize this dream. I moved a few times, seeking other musicians, but nothing really panned out. Musicians are notoriously hard people to befriend unless you know a couple and then your network instantly expands. It took me a very long time for this to happen however. I would go out every night to watch bands i liked, hang around until after the show and attempt to 'pick up' musicians. Turns out that is much harder than picking up girls, trying to let people know you like what they're doing but you see yourself as equals and want to spend some time getting to know each other.
Over the next couple years, i continued practicing a lot until i was about 24. Then the dream kind of died down a little. I was frustrated that no one i met seemed to want to get on board with my plans, and as poker started to improve, my dreams faded like a high school athletes old tennis shoes. Packed away in boxes of increased profitability, growing alcoholism, and a healthy obsession with running, it became fairly easy to just let the dream fade.
Later that year however, everything started falling apart. I started going legitimately crazy. I had become rather obsessed with someone and that didn't pan out for a series of retarded reasons, i cracked one of my ribs snowboarding, and i lost a bunch of money playing poker. With none of my moderating influences around, i realized that the only constant was once again music and that nothing had changed with that.
I began to realize that i had basically been dealt aces to have such a continuous constant passion over the course of my life, and that to not pursue it would be akin to folding the aces preflop because sometimes you get stacked.
I rekindled my focus and began trying to work out a structured method. I would have to learn to sing to achieve what i wanted in terms of self expression. I suck at singing but i began a daily vocalizing routine and that began to make some improvements on my tone. It was also reassuring to learn that you can at least get 'ok' at singing simply by practicing (a lot of people have this misperception that you can either sing or you can't).
Eventually in Montreal i met a couple people at an open mic at McGill university. I had kind of scoped the place out and decided i would try to network some there. I met a girl there who was a great singer and we started hanging out some, playing some white stripes songs together in my apartment (her singing, me playing guitar).
The first performance we did together at an open mic was great, but like i said, i hadn't sang and i was really just playing guitar chords and a few blues licks. Still it was great to get out and start playing music in a live environment that wasn't classical piano.
I knew that i would have to get up on stage and sing at some point, but i didn't feel like i'd ever be ready. I had quite a high aptitude at the instruments i was playing at this point, and it felt really retarded to just go on and suck. I knew that going on and sucking was by far my best play to get the experience and confidence i would eventually need to fulfill my dream, but it is a hard pill to swallow to just go on stage and be like 'well, i'm not good at this but best way to learn it is by doing it!'. I really didn't want to play covers though but eventually i realized that it would take me so long to have original songs written that i would feel comfortable singing live for the first time. I had been trying to write songs for quite a while but nothing was ever really working that well. i had some cool ideas but didn't really understand anything about song writing. Really, i still don't, but i am improving rapidly in that area. It can also be studied which is something i'm just realizing.
I heard about a low key open mic at a place called Burritoville.
I decided to scope it out to see if it was a low key enough environment but when i was there i was just like *** it and drank a bunch of beer and decided to play a couple songs on their piano.
not me in the photo obviously!
Anyway, Burritoville went great. I started with 7 nation army -
(this is from like a year and a half ago) and told everyone to be percussive in whatever way they chose. As people banged their beer glasses against their tables and stamped their feet to the beat, i knew that this was going to be awesome. I ended up splitting my hand open doing a glissando slide and there was just blood all over the piano and i'm wasted and people are like WEEETJKELJTE and i'm like *** YEA THIS IS AWESOME.
I also sang a cover of "Where did you sleep last night". This recording is from earlier this year and with the main guys i'm playing with atm now. I will talk about that later though.
You can hear singing wise i have no real idea what i'm doing, but am starting to care less about the expression part.
Anyway, Burritoville went great. I wrote in my journal:
The biggest thing that has happened since i last wrote was that i played my first open mic singing at Burritoville on March 7th 2010. It went very well. I sang and played 7 nation army and Where did you sleep last night? and both went really well. The audience was small and almost exclusively musicians and a couple comedians, maybe 12-15 people. I got blood all over the piano when my finger split somehow doing a glissando in a solo. Blood ended up all over the piano keys. It felt pretty good to see when i opened my eyes at the end of my last song and people were clapping and asking for more. I didn't miss any notes or any lyrics, i just closed my eyes and got as into it as i could.
When i went home i was very giddy, stamping around like a little goblin; i got some rhubarb pie from Le Maine and then went to Barfly where i got very drunk then i headed home and told my brother i was probably experiencing the best day of my life. It was probably true.
It was at this point that i decided i would need to more aggressively recruit a band to play with...