The worst part about how long this album has taken to finish is that sometimes I forget that none of you have heard it yet. Every once in a while I have to sit down and force myself to listen to it. I always get excited again.
It’s been nearly five years since I left New York on a journey to make one of the greatest rock and roll albums in history. Along the way, I have made deals with the devil, and been charmed by snake oil salesmen. I shook hands with my heroes. I have faced fears and conquered addictions. I met the love of my life. I have also let relationships with friends, family members and lovers crumble under the weight of my own personality.
It’s easy for us to lose track of where we are in the world. I doubt myself constantly. The true measure of a man is what he can accomplish in the face of those uncertainties. I believe this thing that I have been working on will be worth every minute of time it has taken. It will be worth every headache I’ve suffered through and every tear that I have shed.
Is it one of the greatest rock and roll albums in history? I think I’m gonna leave that one for you to decide. All I know is that it’s definitely the best thing I have ever done with my life. Don’t let me forget that.
I have been writing original music for more than 12 years. In some ways, I consider that miraculous. There were a lot of times in my life that I thought about hanging it up and moving on to something else. Every time I go through periods like that, I always end up settling on the fact that there is nothing in the world that could satisfy my needs, as a human being, in the same way that music does. For whatever reason, I have always been driven to create songs and share them with the world.
In the early 2000’s, when I was starting to come into my own as a songwriter, it was becoming increasingly easier for people like me to do just that. With the advent of online venues like MySpace, PureVolume, Facebook, ReverbNation, YouTube and others, musicians were encouraged to share their work and aggressively seek out fans who would listen to it. “Likes”, “Friends” and “Plays” became the hard statistics upon which an original artist was judged. The harder a band or artist would push their material on people, the more reputable they would be. You wouldn’t be taken seriously unless you had a presence on the internet.
MySpace, in particular, was the main culprit. In some ways, the downfall of their network came about because of the bands that flooded it. It got to the point where the majority of friend requests that a real person received were from bands, musicians and brands that they had no personal connection with. Bands and entertainers were able to make a name for themselves based on how well they could market themselves on the internet, even if they didn’t have the talent to back it up. (See: Tila Tequila)
I was not without guilt in this. I knew what the game was, and I worked it. I was so steadfast in my desire to be heard, that I worked the hardest I could to make sure it could happen. What took a long time for myself, and people around the world to realize, however, is that these “Likes”, “Friends” and “Plays” had no real world value. They were simply numbers on a page.
Over the years, my approach has changed. Nowadays, I cringe every time I have to make an “announcement” on any of my social media accounts about releasing a song or performing at a show. I know it is necessary as a working musician to do these things, but it makes me feel narcissistic and shallow. Truth be told, I would rather use my social media accounts as a platform for my increasingly shitty jokes.
I wish there were a more organic way for me to share information with all of the friends I’ve made around the world in the last twelve years. I wish I could talk to every single one of them over dinner or coffee, catch up at a bookstore or the library, or bump into them at the park or the beach. I wish I could shake their hands, hug them and tell them how much I appreciate their support.
I am fully aware of how ridiculous that all sounds. The truth is, there might not ever be a genuine alternative for people like me who want to be heard. I just hope you all know that I loathe sending event invitations and automated emails as much as some of you hate seeing them in your inbox. I can’t promise that I won’t continue to make these announcements, share my songs, or invite you to shows. Old habits are hard to break, after all. The one thing I can guarantee you is that I won’t stop creating music, or trying my damnedest to spread it around the world anytime soon.
I’m not one to air grievances, but I actually got an email from a promoter today that was so offensive it baffled me. Only in Los Angeles would an event promoter ask artists to pay $100 each to ensure that an all day event could be free to the public. Fuck you, pay me.