Every night, for the past several years, as I’ve drifted off to sleep I have said a prayer.
I have never considered myself a particularly religious person by any means. After being home-schooled in my formative years, I went to a Catholic school during the awkward pre-teen ones. That experience left kind of a foul taste in my mouth, and I’ve never really felt the need to practice religion after that. In the last few years of my life, though, I have felt this compulsion to tap into something spiritual. I began meditating for long periods of time, and eventually this ritual of prayer slowly wiggled it’s way into my everyday routine.
It is never particularly long, and it varies from day to day, but no matter the contents, I always find myself punctuating it with the same message at the very end:
"Please let me live a long life, making music and making love."
I’m not really sure why I was drawn to that phrase, but I have come to believe that the only way I can measure value in myself is by the amount of goodwill and positive energy that I can cultivate. My intention is to infect people with it. I believe that I will find my purpose by becoming a beacon of hope, illuminating the lives of those that I come in contact with. Admittedly, I am better at it some days than others. It is always a struggle, but I like to think I come out on top more often than not.
When I started recording The Love and the Volume two years ago, I was working 60 hour weeks on the blacktop of an RV dealership in San Bernardino. I was several thousands of dollars in debt after borrowing money to fund an album, only to be ripped off by the engineer that I had been working with. The album “Kobayashi Maru” would become one of those lost works of art that people talk about, likely deleted or completely destroyed, living only in my imagination. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. Even though it seems like an eternity ago, it still makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. In truth, I felt like I was in purgatory.
Eventually, I began working my way out of that enormous amount of debt by selling a whole lot of RVs. I was living with my good friend Kevin, and we spent the majority of our time together making spaghetti omelets and writing songs for our hip-hop group, Magnum Opus. As depressing as our situation was at the time, the both of us were certainly making the most of it. I had all but given up on finishing what I had originally set out to do when Nate Hertweck called me one hot August afternoon.
Nate and I had met a few years prior when I opened for his band Ocelot Robot in Denver. Long story short, we kept in touch and Nate had heard through the grapevine about my troubles. The Ocelot Robot gang offered to join forces and help me finish the album that I had abandoned. I jumped at the opportunity and on Labor Day weekend of 2012, we stepped in the studio for the first of several sessions that would span the next year or so. David Bowick took the helm as the producer of the record and whenever our schedules would line up, we would sneak into the studio for a day or two and cram as much work as we could into our short amounts of time together.
It was about this time that I met Caitlin, the woman that would eventually become my wife. I have never met a more kindred spirit. When I think about how we crossed paths, it still boggles my mind to this day. I had to move all the way across the country first, and lose nearly everything that was important in my life, but all of that became worthwhile the instant that we found each other.
"I’m terrified to let my hopes up get all the way up there again, but there they go."
I guess what I am getting at, in this strange and loquacious way, is that The Love and the Volume is just an extension of that prayer that I have been saying every night. It is my way of reinforcing that sentiment, as loud and as boisterously as possible. I am going to make as much music as I can while I’m alive. I am going to love as significantly and gigantically as possible, and I want to spread that love as far as it will go. I hope it finds you.