Maybe I should just get stoned

My body hates me but I don’t blame it. My body has good reason to be pissed off. Ever since I brought it back from Mexico I have forced it to live in a climate of sub-freezing temperature. I’ve tried to be nice and keep it indoors where it can find heat but that is not what it wants. It wants to be outside.

I wish it could just accept reality and make the most of it. I wish that it could be grateful for what it has and appreciate this time as a time to relax. Instead it’s being a selfish little prick and deciding to go on strike. That’s fine. It has every right to do that but it’s actually just making the situation worse for everyone.

I just spent two days in bed battling some virus or bacteria that I know my body is capable of handling. It just decided that it didn’t want to deal with it. It refused to eat which I know damn well it loves to do. If I tried to make it eat, it would just reject it in the most foul and disgusting manner. It’s cutting off it’s own energy source and leaving me with no options for productivity.

I guess this has really pissed of the brain part of my body as well because it has started to retaliate. I’m still confused as to the purpose of Fibromyalgia but the best I can figure out is that it some sort of alert system to let me know that something is wrong; as if I wasn’t aware of that already. It’s like an alarm going off to alert you that you have just been in a car accident. Like no fucking kidding! Accept in this case it’s not an alarm but more like dental pain radiating throughout my body.  Okay, I got the message. Now can you just shut up! I’m trying to think.

The only part of me that has been working is my mind but it keeps having to battle with everything else to get anything done. I need my body, my brain and my mind all working together. Seriously, can’t we all just get along?

Advertisements

Mixed bag

I was awakened this morning by a phone call from one of my dearest friends. She was feeling lonely and depressed and wanting to drink. She knew that I had a show last night so she didn’t want to call and wake me but after going through every name in her phone she had no choice. I’m glad that she did even though I wasn’t quite awake and didn’t have much to offer except a sympathetic ear.

I’m still waking up but I’ve decided to try and write something. I still may decide to say, “fuck it” and just drive over and see her. In any case, I do need another cup of coffee so here we go…

As I’m making this transition from summer pedicab driver to winter hermit I’ve found myself living in my brain.

[And that’s as far as I got before the phone rang again]

This time the call was from my best friend who is now living out in California. She is the number one reason why I am on the verge of exceeding my monthly allotment of cell phone minutes, but given that this is the weekend there is no harm in answering. It was quite literally the least I could do. Given that she is now two thousand miles away, it’s kind of the only thing I can do.

While talking to California for an hour I got dressed and drove to my friends house in south Minneapolis. Since I wasn’t going to be getting any writing done, I might as well be helping my friends who really need nothing more than a friend. I didn’t actually know whether my friend in Minneapolis still wanted or needed me to come over but I figured it was worth the risk.

It turned out to be a good call. She was still disappointed that she didn’t get a better response to all of her efforts at reaching out. I said, “it only takes one and I’m here.”

As it turned out she actually had two.  Shortly after I arrived another friend came over to help. They talked for a while and I did some dishes. After that, the second friend left with my friend’s son so the we could have some time without the boy. We wound up heading to the studio so I could pick up my bike and then to the tanning salon. Go ahead and give me all the shit you want about how evil tanning beds are, but when you’re suffering with seasonal depression, ten minutes in a tanning bed can do wonders. We also got Chinese food – basically the best day every!

But this is how my winters go. Everyday I just try to do the best I can and usually the best I can has nothing to do with moving my life forward. I’m just trying to maintain. If I’m lucky, I will be able to help someone else. If I’m really lucky I’ll be able to make someone else’s life better.

That day was last Monday.

Last Sunday I went to a friend’s house to hang out and watch a movie. When I arrived I took off my coat and put it on the coat hook by her back door. Immediately, the entire fixture pulled out of the wall and fell to the floor. My mission for Monday was to make sure that never happened again.

I’m not the greatest handy man in the world but I can drill a hole and put up a shelf. I just have no passion for doing any of this when it comes to my own house. I was excited to do it for someone else. I not only secured the coat hooks, which I felt somewhat responsible for breaking, I also put a coat rod in her closet.

Knowing that I’ve been struggling to get my life moving, my friend wanted to do something to help me out. I’m not the best at asking for what I need but I’m working on it. I still haven’t filed my paperwork to receive the property tax refund I have coming to me. It’s not that hard and I can totally do it but for some reason I keep putting it off. I asked her if she would come over and help me get it filled out. This is something that is right up her alley.

So it worked out. My life moved forward. I couldn’t do it for myself but I was able to help someone who could help me. I think that is how things work most of the time. We can’t do it alone but when we come together we can do more that the sum of our parts.

But if that was enough, my life, your life, everyone’s life, would be working perfectly and it’s not. When I really need help it’s at a time when I feel like I have nothing left to give. That’s why I give regardless of whether anyone can give back to me. I just know that giving is the key to getting what we need.

Of course I could be wrong. Maybe taking is the key to getting what you need. I know that it is a successful way to get what you want. I just really doubt it can help you get what you need.

[At this point I’m tempted to retitle the post “wants vs. needs”. I would but it’s already so disjointed with no clear point that I don’t think any title could capture its essence.]

The only point I think I can make is that my life is still not working perfectly. I mean, it’s working. I’m not dead yet but it’s still not anywhere like I’d like it to be.

Let’s take Tuesday, for example. I did my best. I gave what I had to give. I wrote a blog post that I thought would appeal to both rock-n-roll and sci-fi geeks. That’s not an easy thing to do.  I should have been sitting on top of the world.

Instead I felt more alone than I have ever felt before. Actually, I don’t even know if that is what it was. Really, it was loneliness but a kind of loneliness that I’d never felt before. I was physically in pain over my longing for human contact. Now, I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve had my stomach in knots because I missed someone so much. But this was different. This was just generalized loneliness manifesting as physical pain.

I waited in agony until 8:59pm when my free nighttime minutes kicked in so that I could call someone… anyone! Actually, I called T-Moble earlier, in part to find out exactly when my free minutes started, but mostly just to have someone to talk to. Yup, I was that desperate.

I stayed up until four in the morning talking to anyone who would answer their phone. When you give as much as I give it’s remarkable how many people will answer the phone when you call. Still, life would be a lot easier if I didn’t need people so much.

When I finally woke up on Wednesday and I felt like shit again. I went to my refrigerator and learned that I had drank an entire three-liter box of white wine – that’s four bottles worth, all by myself. It was a beautiful, sunny day but I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy it at all. I was fucking hung-over!

Granted, I didn’t feel as bad, nor did I cause the embarrassment, as the last time I drank an entire bottle of whisky in one night. I love whiskey, but wine is still a better friend.

[At this point I feel the need to post this video. Go ahead and watch it. It’s pretty fucking awesome!!!]

I’ve known for a long time that I have a drinking problem. I struggle with it. I try to control it. I try to reduce the harm it causes. It’s never going away. Many of my friends have found sobriety. None have found it a perfect solution. Hell, I’ve found sobriety and look how it’s worked for me. The point is to keep going. I’m still on my path. There is no telling where it will lead but suicide is no solution.

If I didn’t have rehearsal Wednesday night I wouldn’t have accomplished anything that day.

Thursday I had a date with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met when I was seventeen years old, back when I was in AA. She has now been sober for 25 years. I’m 46 now  – do your own math! She knows what a drunk I am and loves me anyway. Still, I respect her sobriety and wasn’t going to drink before seeing her. Drinking still crossed my mind but I was lucky and managed to find ways to keep myself busy. Once I was with her it didn’t matter. Even though we went to a restaurant that served alcohol, I had no desire to drink.

Friday was a different story. Friday I had nothing to do except go to a birthday party where I knew that drinking would be the theme of the evening. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go. It was a good ten mile bike ride from my house and I’m suppose to be a hermit and not going out this winter. Still, I really like this friend and my California friend’s lover/business partner was going to be DJing at the party and I’d never met him. I was determined to try my best to make it.

I finally had enough drinks in me to feel like I could accomplish anything so I hopped on my bike and headed to south Minneapolis. I realized that I hadn’t really eaten much that day so I stopped in at Cause Spirits and Soundbar for a beer and a slice of pizza.

I had no idea what was going on that night. I just needed some food. It turned out that it was the “hipster” spot for the evening. I knew half the people there. I was instantly thrown back into my old life. Back to the days when I considered it my job description to be at all the happening events. I made my way through the crowd of people wanting to say “hi” to me; being as polite as I could.

I really just wanted to get to the bar and get some food. I wound up talking to some Joe who was on his own little pub crawl. He had stopped in at this place because some girl he likes had said that she was going to be here. Fuck, that’s as good a reason as any…

I also talked to Scott Seekins. He is a local artist with a very iconic look. We have had conversations in the past about the power of an iconic look and since I had changed mine, I thought it would be a good idea to check in with him. He still thought I could make it work which made me feel good.

Here’s a picture of my friend, Scott Seekins.

Scott Seekins

I also talked to some other people at Cause. Just because it was a hipster douchebag event doesn’t mean that there weren’t good people there. I know right?!?  Now who sounds like the hipster douchebag? This guy here!

Anyway… on to the party where I was a total fucking hit! All these people where half my age and thought of me as a god! No seriously, I don’t know what I said or what I did but I was told flat out that I changed their life. I had people begging for my number saying, “We have to hang out!”

Again, I should have been sitting on top of the world. But really, all I wanted was to get laid. I was still just that lonely guy. At that point, all the admiration in the world didn’t mean shit if nobody wanted to bang me.

And oh my god where there people there that I wanted to fuck. Granted, when you are in your forties pretty much anyone in their twenties looks pretty damn good but this was a party of some of the hottest looking people in the city.

And I was not getting any more sober and they were not getting any less good looking.

I may not remember any of the conversations that changed lives but I do remember this one: Towards the end of the night, after a shot of whiskey, I was talking with an extremely attractive woman and I said, “I really want to bite your face!” I wan’t feeling violent; it was pure labido and she knew that.

Her response was, ” That’s pretty creepy.”

I said, “I know, and I’m not a creepy guy. That’s just the thought in my head and apparently I have no filter.”

Suffice it to say, I realized at that point that I was probably too drunk and was not going to get laid that night so I had better go home. I still had a couple more conversations before I left. They had to do with helping other people come to terms with their own sexual proclivities but I was done trying to meet my own. I was just hoping that I could find a cab that could take me and my bike back to north Minneapolis.

That didn’t happen either. I wound up biking the whole ten miles or so back home. I did make it; much to my surprise. It was 5:43 in the morning  and I had a show that night. I think I was still awake enough to make some food and make some drunken post on Facebook.

But would I make it to the show that night???

Here is the proof that I did.

LeFreak - Sound Unseen

Thanks for reading the longest post I have ever made. You are a real trooper. I think you are amazing!!! Please let me know who you are by liking this post if you do or by leaving a comment telling me how much you think it sucks! You can leave me a comment even if you like it – I won’t mind.

This life is for the birds

It’s five-thirty in the morning. The birds are are beginning to chirp. These are the same birds that earlier this week kept me awake as I was trying to get to sleep. Now my sleep schedule has completely turned around and I am trying to wake up. Still, I am unable to move. Words form in my head and I wonder if I will be able to deliver them safely to their home on the page before they are lost forever to the nether regions of my brain.

I have been struggling to write this post all week. It’s amazing how much can change in a matter of days. It’s amazing how many contradictory thoughts I can hold in my head at the same time. The challenges I faced at the beginning of the week seem completely contrary to the challenges I face today, yet for some reason they remain lodged in my perception.

Two versions of my reality stare each other down, each vying for control of my life yet locked in stalemate. One version is fueled by self-confidence, the hard won knowledge that I am doing the best that I can and that it is working. The other, fueled by depression, tells me that this is too hard, that I should give up, that there is no point to continuing, that everything I have tried so hard to build is built on sand and will fall to pieces under the slightest breeze.

The confidence is new to me, the depression is not although it has been some time since I have felt its presents so profoundly. Still, I recognize its signature traits. I know it is chemistry. For years I have fought back with chemicals; now I fight back with knowledge. Over time the chemicals have lost their potency but knowledge continues to gain strength. The knowledge most vital is that time is the only weapon that will defeat this adversary. It is this knowledge that keeps me hanging on in spite of everything which tells me to give up.

But knowledge is not enough. Of all the issues I face, depression is the most debilitating, challenging to overcome and the most deadly. Knowledge is enough to let me know that I can survive this. Knowledge is the reason why I have to survive this. Knowledge is the reason I keep doing the right thing even though my impulse is to completely lose it and tear everything apart.

It doesn’t seem fair. Why do I have to take responsibility for my demons when nobody else seems to? Why do I need to rise above it and be the better person? Why do I have to hold onto my pain?  Why can’t I just lash out at the world? Why can’t I fight back when I am under attack? Why do I get held to a higher standard? Why do I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold anyone else? Why do I have to be so understanding?

Oh yeah, because I know…

Life sucks… so what!

It’s all we’ve got so I might as well do what I can to make it suck a little bit less. No gain will be made by putting more pain into the world.

So here I go again… Off to do what I can to make the world a better place.

Keep buggering on

It had to end sometime. I knew I couldn’t keep going like that forever, although I certainly tried. One day I was going to wind up dropping. One day I would have to accept that I live with chronic illness. One day is was all going to come to a screeching halt.

That day was yesterday. After sleeping twelve hours I was awakened by a phone call from my bff. Even though I had gotten twice as much sleep as I usually requires, I still couldn’t move. Every inch of my body was in pain. My brain felt scrambled and I couldn’t focus on anything. Even my vision was blurry. I struggled to muster the strength to make it downstairs to the bathroom only to find that I had exhausted all my energy and crawled back to bed. I spend the entire day in bed only moving to use the bathroom or get food. Chewing seemed like an arduous task.

It’s been awhile since I have had a day like that but there was a time when it was my reality more often than not. It has been a long road to get here from the time I first got sick with chronic fatigue syndrome but it never really goes away. It is still common for me to have a day or two a week that are like that. The biggest change is in what I can do when I am able to move.

Last Wednesday should have done me in. I’m pretty sure that if I had gone home after delivering CityPages, it would have.  Instead, I went to the Bad Waitress for dinner and then to the bar. My bff met me there and I crashed on her couch. We had brought a friend back to her place with us because he was concerned about going home to his boyfriend. It sounded like he was in a pretty abusive relationship and his boyfriend had a gun – not a good combination. He had threatened him with the gun in the past. The three of us stayed up talking into the wee hours of the morning. The plan was for the boy to spend the night but I don’t even remember falling asleep. All I know is that when I woke up he was gone. We did get a txt from him later to let us know he was okay.

My bff had the day off on Thursday but she still got up with me so we could have coffee together. After a leisurely cup of coffee with my best friend I was off and running… and running late. I had to stop by another best friend’s place to drop off some newspapers to help in her packing. She was moving this month.

I really hope that I can do more to help but that may not happen. The important thing is not what we have to give, but that we give what we have. If we all pull together and do that, things will be okay.

Then next stop was picking up my daughter from school. I was twenty minutes late picking her up. Half of that was me running late, the other half was the weather. I was not alone in being late picking up my kid. There were lots of kids waiting to be picked up. We were under blizzard conditions and the roads were treacherous. I was really excited to take my daughter to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for their Third Thursday event. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that would be wise considering the weather. It was hard enough driving during daylight. I didn’t trust myself to be able to get her home after dark. I hate driving at night even under perfect conditions.

Instead, I just dropped her off at her mother’s and headed home. By the time I got home, I had just enough time to shovel my sidewalk (it was already covered with snow by the time I left again), take a piss, rub one out quick, take a shower and get dressed before hopping on the bus. There was no way I was driving anymore and biking seems totally out of the question but I still needed to get to the MIA. I was running on pure adrenaline.

The reason why getting to the MIA was so important to me was because Lisa Germano was playing. She is the woman who borrowed my synth for South by Southwest and I was really looking forward to meeting her. As it turned out, she cancelled the gig. I guess she canceled the whole tour. I don’t know why. Her website has no explanation but these things happen. Kaiser Cartel also canceled and there is no info on their website either.

Oh well. My friend, Savannah Smith filled in at the last minute, so it was good to see her. My bff went with me and another friend who I hadn’t seen in a while joined us as well. Back when we were all single we used to be kind of three peas in a pod. It was good to have that gang back together.

Still, I was struggling. The weather was really wearing me down. As it turned out, it was probably better that my daughter was not there as I was exhausted by the barriers that were being placed before me.

Don’t I have it hard enough?

I keep going because I am afraid to stop. I know when I stop it is really hard to get going again. I feel like I am running while leaning forward. The only thing that keeps me from falling on my face is that I keep moving. I am constantly falling yet constantly moving. Just like the earth is falling into the sun but keeps missing it. It’s physics.

I keep hoping that it will get easier. I keep hoping that Spring will come. I see signs of hope. I see the snow melt. I feel relief is in sight but it never comes. I just have to keep buggering on.

While at the MIA I was asked how I keep my spirits up. I just raised the beer in my hand and shrugged my shoulders.

The truth is that alcohol is a major part of what keeps me going – that and friends, but in my life, the two are pretty intertwined. Music, writing and biking also keep me going but they don’t mean shit without people.

So I decided I would kidnap my two friends and drag them to my work party. It’s not really what you think of when you think, “work party”. I work for CityPages and they throw some of the best parties in town. This one was a roaring 20’s / bootlegger / flapper themed party. Check out some of these pictures from my friend Erik Hess. None of us were appropriately dressed but that didn’t matter. When I walked in I was told that I was dressed in the wrong decade. I responded that I am every decade. Okay, I was dressed in leopard print pants and probably looked straight out of the ’80 glam metal era but so fucking what.

Since I kidnapped them I figured I should pay for the cab. Apparently all of us had money that night because we were all fighting to pay for each other. I’m telling you, if you want to stimulate the economy; give money to poor people. We will spend it! I was fully prepared to spend the $100 I left the house with. Mostly, I just knew that it would be a challenging night and I didn’t want money to stand in the way of me getting home safe. I have no problem spending money on cabs.

As it turned out we didn’t need to take a cab back. Our friend’s girlfriend came and joined us later in the evening. It was great to have a sober ride home. Well, not home, but to the 19 bar. We were too sober to head home but plenty drunk enough to get into a snowball fight – in the car! You kind of had to be there but feel free to use your imagination. I’m not a good enough writer to do it justice.

After the 19 my bff and I headed back to her place with one of her co-workers. On the walk, we had to stop and make snow angels. It’s kind of a winter tradition for us but our first attempt this year didn’t work out so well. I never thought that we would be fulfilling this mission in April.

Snow Angel in April

I love the imprint of my studded belt.

 

The co-worker only stuck around for a little while waiting for her bus. My bff and I stayed up until at least four in the morning. It was a pretty intense night after a pretty intense day. We talked about the death of her best friend and about the significance of our friendship.

I say it all the time but I don’t know if I have ever written it down: this is the best friendship I have ever had – and I have some of the most amazing friendships a person could ever dream of. This woman is just so special to me that I never feel like I have adequate words to describe our relationship. It’s like no other relationship I have ever had. It’s like no other relationship I have ever heard of. It’s like the best parts of family combined with the best parts of friendship combined with the best parts of romance – except without the sex. That is not to say that we don’t have our problems. Our relationship may include some of the worst parts as well. All I can say is that it is amazing, unbelievable and completely unique.

We shared tears that night. We felt incredibly close and vulnerable. I asked if I could sleep in her bed with her. I like to snuggle. She doesn’t usually like this. She likes her freedom to move around. Also, I sometimes grab her boobs in my sleep. I can see how that might make her uncomfortable. On this night however, she was happy to have someone to sleep with.

It was hard enough for my friend to get up Friday morning. I wasn’t as much help as I could have been but I’m sure me being in her bed helped. As it was she was running late for work. I was figuring I wouldn’t be working at all. It still looked like fucking winter outside. In Minnesota, people drive pedicab all year round but even I think that is stupid. I called the pedicab company in hopes that they would tell me that there was no point in coming in. That is not what happened.

They said, “It’s Friday night, there is a big Styx, REO Speedwagon & Ted Nugent show in town and the streets have been cleared.”

Okay, I thought. I’m new at this and they know better than I. If they want me, I’m going to be there. Plus, I know that if I want to keep going I need to stay consistent.  Even if I have a bad night I need to keep buggering on.

I got up, did a load of dishes, went to the store to get cat litter and Drano, came back and changed the cat box, cleared the drain in the bathroom sink and did another load of dishes. Then I hopped on the bus to go home. I still needed to take a shower, shave and wash my blanket for the pedicab. I don’t remember but I’m pretty sure I took time to jack-off as well. As crazy as my life was feeling, I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to the folks on lockdown in Boston.

Friday was a pretty shitty night; at least it started out that way. I didn’t get a single ride off the big concert at the Target Center. I started working at 8pm but I didn’t start getting rides until after midnight. It still turned out alright. Gay men and drunks are my bread and butter and they totally saved my ass. I know my people.

Saturday was a nicer day so I figured I would go in even earlier. I also wanted to make sure my pedicab was in top working form. It seemed to be but I still was having problems, I presume do to the weather. It was still too fucking cold. Anyway, Saturday was a fun night. Technically, the best night I have had to date. It was also the most exhausting. By the time I was done at 3am, I was beat, and it was snowing. I sent my bff a message to see if I could crash at her place. She lives much closer to the garage than I do and I didn’t think I could make it home. Even if I could, the bike ride in the snow would have been hell.

Sunday morning I woke up on my bff’s couch once again. She wouldn’t have to get up for another few hours but I needed coffee. I also needed a smoke and nobody likes smelling cigarette smoke while they are sleeping. I gathered my things and headed out the door. I still had no real plan.

In the entryway to her apartment building, sitting on top of the mailboxes were a pair of Roland MA-8’s. “Holy shit!”, I thought. These would be perfect for making music on my laptop. I couldn’t believe that someone would just be giving them away. I figured someone in the process of carrying things in and had just set them down. I went outside and had a smoke on the steps while I contemplated what to do. After 10 minutes, no one had come back for the speakers so I figured they were mine. Wow, sometimes the universe is so awesome!

I had been tempted to just head home but after that I figured I should just keep buggering on and see where this day takes me. I love Sundays and I love drinking with people who drink on Sundays. I’m not saying that it was the brightest decision in the world but you are free to judge for yourself.

Here is what happened:

  • CC Club for breakfast – coffee, 2 screwdrivers and a veggie omelet.
  • Conversation on the patio with a conservative about the smoking  ban. We actually agreed on somethings.
  • Two beer.
  • Played darts with a friend and his buddy. They were celebrating my friend getting fired. I won at darts.
  • Started my bike ride home stopping off at the Saloon, a gay bar downtown.
  • $3 gin and tonics. Gay bar strong. Must have had 3. I was pretty drunk.
  • Sat down with a pretty 22 year old college student who didn’t look like she should be drinking alone. This was true. Even her friend who was txting her hoped that she wasn’t drinking alone. She took a liking to me. Started making out with me at the bar. I’m not one to complain about a hot college co-ed wanting to makeout with me but this was a gay bar and I do have a reputation to maintain.
  • I literally poured her into a cab. The cab driver insisted that I come with – not really his job to take care of her. I agreed. There was no telling where this would lead. She was all over me – biting me – I like biting. My judgement was a bit off but I would never have sex with someone that drunk. Still, there is a lot of fun that can be had that falls short of sex.
  • I get her to her destination and the cab takes off. The woman also makes it clear that she is done for the night. Luckily, I took that cab drivers number. He comes back and returns me to the Saloon where my bike is locked up.
  • From there I head to my friend Doug Anderson’s new bar for a drink. It’s called the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge. I hadn’t been there yet and I wanted to check it out. Call it reconnaissance, not just for the band but as a pedicab driver as well. It’s a great space and the bartender was awesome. Unfortunately, we were the only two people there the entire time. I sincerely hope that he does better on the weekends. I’m sure he does.
  • It’s still early so I thought I would hit Bunker’s and catch one of my favorite bands, Dr. Mambo’s Combo. I pulled up to the door on my bike and the bouncer told me to keep moving. Okay, I thought. I’m pretty drunk, maybe I should just go home. I got about a block away and realized that he did not have enough interaction with me to make that assessment. He had no idea who I was, so I headed back to talk to him. This was not cool. His mind was made up. He didn’t care who I was. He was being a prick and he was sticking to it. Fair enough.
  • Next attempt was BJ’s, a strip club. They had me pegged as someone to not let in off of their surveillance cameras. Seriously, they judged me solely on the fact that I was riding a bike and had an overstuffed backpack.  I even had a nice conversation with the bouncer but there was nothing he could do.
  • At this point I was determined to get another drink. I stopped in at Halak’s. No bouncer, no security camera, no problem. I had a beer there and then headed out for a smoke. I decided that it was time to move on but headed back in to hand the bartender another $5 for not judging me. He said I was no problem and was welcome there anytime. This is why I love dive bars!
  • The queen of all dive bars is the T-shop in my neighborhood. I don’t go there very often because they are usually closed by the time I get home. They are a beer-only bar and usually close by midnight. This night I was getting home well before midnight. I really do love this bar. I love Debbie the bartender. Also sitting at the bar was another famous musician in town. He’s the lead singer in a Tom Petty cover band.  We are both talented musicians and songwriters who make our way in the world playing other people’s music. We had a great conversation about that.

Judge me however you want but there was a movie in that night. Maybe I should have just gone home and had my day of doing nothing on Sunday but I wouldn’t have missed that day for anything. Sure, maybe I would have been able to move on Monday if I had, but Monday would never have been as exciting as that.

There is a saying, “Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” Fuck, I don’t give a shit if anyone walks in my shoes. Judge me all you want. I just hope that you will take the time to walk a mile in your own shoes. Most people don’t even do that!

The pursuit of happiness

Tuesday evening I met up with a friend for a beer. He had been going through some tough times. He had recently lost his job and needed to get out of the house. At one point I asked him something about how he was doing or what his plans were and he responded, “I’m trying to have a good time.”

I just recall thinking to my self, “This is one of the most miserably people I know. Having a good time sounds like a pretty lofty goal.” Of course I was really thinking about myself. Of course I wanted him to be happy. I wanted him to have a good time. I just know that from my experience, pursuing happiness as a goal is bound to end in disappointment. Happiness happens, but not when I’m expecting it.

Rethinking what motivates me has been on my mind a lot over the past week. I’ve been called a hedonist before and for the longest time I took no objection to that term. Hedonism is the devotion to pleasure. How can that be a bad thing? Especial when understanding that my pleasure is dependent on the circumstances of the people around me. Devoting one’s life to bringing pleasure to the world sounds like a beautiful thing to do.

As an entertainer I hope that I bring pleasure, happiness, good times and amusement to the world. But is that what entertainment means to me?

I was discussing this subject with my son Sunday evening. He is an actor and musician. We had just seen Propeller’s production of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” at the Guthrie Theater. I felt impressed, inspired, intrigued, incompetent, moved, changed, at times aroused, but not anything that I would associate with being entertained. My son and I had shared a meaningful experience. We felt connected to one another and to the playwright and actors. To my son, this is what art is meant to do; create a shared, meaningful experience.

But for many, music, dance, theater, comedy, television, movies, literature and other arts are just entertainment. That’s fine. There is a sense of satisfaction in knowing that people are entertained by what I do, but that’s not why I do it. I don’t think that most artists would do what they do if they only viewed it as entertainment. The act of creating art is hard work, it’s frustrating, painful and wrought with failure and disappointment. We do it because we have to; because it is who we are. We do it to give our lives meaning and purpose. We do it to feel connected to the world around us.

Yet, there are those occasions where it brings us great joy. Creating something that we conciser absolutely brilliant or putting on an amazing show that connects us with the audience can put a smile on our face.

My bff was relating her favorite Venus story to me this past weekend. We had just put on an incredible performance to a packed house at First Avenue for the David Bowie tribute show, Rebel Rebel (Rock for Pussy) and Venus was on cloud nine. S/he was simple glowing and dancing and having the time of hir life.

Yes, happiness can be found in this life but as an artist, it is not my pursuit. As a person who’s life is filled with adversity, having a good time is not my goal. I am not seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. I’m just trying to keep going in the pursuit of meaning and purpose. If along the way I find happiness, joy and entertainment, I’ll take that too… as long as I can share it with you.

Not dead yet

It’s okay. I’m not dead. I know I haven’t posted since last Friday but I’m still here. I’m still writing. I just had a really monumental weekend and it’s taking a while to get the actual events into a post.

I was up until 3:30 in the morning last night reading and writing and I still think I’m only half way done with Saturday. It’s not going to get done tonight either. I just got home from running around all day and I am completely drained. I am struggling to form sentences I’m so tired. Plus I’m getting up early tomorrow to drive friends to the airport before work. It’s going to be an early night.

I feel that it is well deserved though. I’ve had a full day. I woke up at 9:30 because I agreed to drive a friend around so she could do some things she needed to get done. I was under the influence of alcohol when I agreed to do this but I would have done it anyway. That’s what friends are for and it was great to spend the day with her. Plus she made me an awesome purple and green hat that sparkles. It was a win all around.

What I hadn’t accounted for was the effect snow would have on my day. Before I could do anything I needed to shovel a foot of snow off my side walk… and then my van. The roads were pretty awful in some spots. It made driving feel more like surfing at times. It’s a skill I’ve gotten pretty good at.

I don’t know if I can say the same thing about the guy I helped push out of his driveway. I will always stop to help someone who is stuck if I can… and I usually can. Two minutes out of my life is nothing but it can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. I’m just questioning whether the difference I made this time will be a positive one. This guy was clueless. He had no idea how to rock the car back and forth. He was flooring the gas and the wheels were just spinning. He also didn’t seem to understand the concept of straightening out the wheels. Maybe he didn’t speak English, maybe he was deaf, but I fear that we may have just released his from this predicament only to have him wind up in a bigger one down the road.

My day wasn’t completely free from driving follies. While driving my friend home I could hear metal dragging on the road underneath my van. I pulled over and crawled under the van to take a look. There was a big rusted out concave piece of metal stuck to the muffler. It took some work but I was able to detach it. I don’t know what it is. I suspect it’s from my van but I don’t know for sure. In any case, my van is running fine without it.

I picked up my daughter at her mom’s apartment  She had the day of off school because of the snow. We had half an hour to kill before her circus class so I suggested we stop by my house and see if the phone we ordered had arrived. There was no phone but in the 30 minutes we were parked outside my house the snow plow had come by and completely plowed me in. I had to shovel my van out before I could go anywhere.

That wouldn’t have been so bad but I was already running out of steam and having a hard time walking. Just before noticing the snow plow situation I was putting bags in the back and slipped underneath the van banging my shin against the door frame. I’m just glad my kids are accustom to hearing foul language.

I’m fucking done with this day! I’m going to bed.

Fetish Revolution – Part 2

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 was the day I had spent the previous three days in anticipating, the day of our full band performance at Fetish Revolution. I woke up feeling relaxed and confident that everything would go well. I also woke up a little drunk from the night before. That didn’t concern me. That I knew I could handle that. I also knew that it would be temporary. I made myself some coffee and got to work on my blog. This was actually the first opportunity on the tour where I had an extended period of time to sit down and really write. Venus and Jazz took off to get food and hit the music store. I stayed back to write.

After the coffee was gone I dipped back into the beer. I think Jazz was a little concerned when he got back to the hotel room and saw me with a beer in my hand. I’m sure I would be concerned if the tables were turned. But I was fine, just a little self-medication to stave off the nerves and keep me focused. I finished my blog, took a shower, shaved, painted my nails, did my make-up, got in costume and packed up my gear. This is all the stuff I do for every show; no big deal.

We arrived to the venue, 910 Live in Tempe, at 5 pm to pickup to the drum set which was being delivered. Big thanks to Patti for helping us out here. We wouldn’t be performing until 10 that night and even sound check wouldn’t happen for a couple more hours. None of this is a complaint. This is just the way it goes. If you really want to know what the rock-n-roll lifestyle is all about; it’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait! So, with the alcohol finally dissipated from by bloodstream and nothing to do the nerves kicked it.

There is always something to be nervous about before a show. Will we have a crowd? Will all the equipment work? Will the sound be good? Will I be able to hear myself and my band-mates? And the biggest one of all, will I choke and forget what I’m playing? All of these thoughts went through my head but the one thing I never thought I would have to worry about in Phoenix was the weather. The main stage was outside and it was getting mighty cold out. Obviously, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was colder than what I had planned for. I probably would have brought a different outfit had I known I was going to be playing outdoors in February.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire

Sound check went great and the promoter wanted to buy me a drink. As we were standing at the bar chatting and enjoying our cocktails a gorgeous woman stopped by to say “hi” to James.  After she left he turns to me and says, “Yeah, she’s beautiful but she’s a bit much for me.” I was perplexed  What in damnation could someone who produces fetish events consider “too much”. Apparently she is into yoga, has placenta in her freezer and is into holistic love. I guess we all have our limits! I found this pretty funny though. I went on to tell him about how into yoga I am and how at one time I too had placenta in my freezer. Upon reflection I do think the later is kind of weird but whatever. I don’t know what holistic love is but it sounded like something I might be into.

After performing, these two kids came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the show. They were both really drunk but they were having fun. I thanked them and gave each a big hug. Then they started asking me why I was dressed they way I was. Clearly they were out of their element and probably had no idea what they had got themselves into. One guy said to me “You’re not gay are you?  I know you’re not gay”. I’m always a little unsure how to answer those questions. There is not really a simple answer. I could tell that he was hoping I would say “no”. I’m sure that would have made him more comfortable but it wasn’t going to happen. It’s pretty obvious that I am gay. Still, unless you want to fuck me it’s really none of your business what my sexual orientation is. Even then, the only question should be, do I want to fuck you? In the end I just said, “I could be, some people are gay you know.” Perhaps not the answer they wanted but it took the focus off something that was of no consequence to them and put it back where it belonged, on what a fucking amazing rock band we are. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a video from the show

Speaking of great bands, the headliner of the night was Assemblage 23. These guys are legends in the Industrial scene; super nice guys too. We had to stick around to see them play.

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Oh, and I totally have a new crush. DJ Con is such an absolute sweetie. I feel like he is my long lost twin separated at birth, well… um… 16 years apart. His birthday is actually the day after mine. Aquarians unite!

Battle of the bulges. Photo by: Angel Collins

Battle of the bulges. Photo by Angel Collins

Back at the hotel I was finally able to remove the boots I had been wearing for the past 9 hours. Fuck, what a relief that was! My feet had been killing me.   What I hadn’t been aware of because my feet were hurting so much was how much pain the rest of my body was in. Upon releasing my feet from their silver patent leather bondage, sensation returned to every other part of my body and it was not a pleasant sensation. Luckily, there was still beer in the fridge and half a bottle of whiskey. Jazz and I stayed up for a few more hours talking but he offered no help in drinking the booze. I was on my own for that.

%d bloggers like this: