Rock 'n' Rollercoaster
Checking my various social networking sites this morning, I found this on Twitter (yes, I have a mutherfucking Twitter account): http://tinyurl.com/3ot2e9k. You should read it. It's hilarious shit by this guy Chuck Wendig, who admittedly I've never read. But after this one piece, I will certainly read more. For those of you too lazy to at least click on the link, Wendig is attempting to save the floundering writing profession by having writers, who tend to be dull, stick-in-the-mud types, adopt some of the flamboyance and debauchery of their rock 'n' roll counterparts. Mostly by acting like assholes and peeing on shit. I couldn't agree with him more. Obviously, Wendig's having fun with this; I don't think he's serious about the dwarves or the "walrus latex dong" fighting. But I get the sentiment. I pride myself on being a rock 'n' roll writer. The problem with the writing profession is that people have to champion Infinite Jest over Stephen King (or, yes, Nicholas Sparks) lest they be labeled lowbrow and ineffectual. I don't like Sparks, but I do King. More than both, I fucking hate Infinite Jest, and, like Groucho, don't want to be part of that club.
And what's not to love about rock 'n' roll? It's abrasive, fucked up, in your face and defiant. Except when you're 40. Which I am. And your drummer has decided he needs to cut rock 'n' roll out of his life. Again. And you're, once again, having to put out feelers to see if anyone wants to...join...the...band (man).
It's fucked up. When you're 18, man, you tell everyone you're in a band. The girl in your art history class (Amy [sigh]). You're neighbor's mom. The fat lady checking out your groceries at the Super Food Mart. Because playing in a band is cool. You take band photos and jam in Joe's garage (basement), and you write shit on the walls about your rock 'n' roll domination, and you write songs that lean way too heavily on bad poetry, but you only know two chords (I am up to almost five now), and no matter how hard you try otherwise, your immaturity comes through. The band hangs together after practice. You play shows, and then go to Denny's, because it's the only place that's still open and you don't want the night to end. You promote the fuck out of yourself. You make flyers. You record demos. You put your demos and flyers together in a package and send them to strangers. You sit at all-night diners throwing out band name after band name, and it's fun. You can stay awake all night without any drug other than naturally produced hormones and soda.
But now, at this age? The band ain't hanging out after a show. Fuck, man, I need to get back to the kid and get some sleep. Yeah, I still play rock 'n' roll, but I'm not proud of it. And I'm certainly not broadcasting it to strangers (except here. And you're not all strangers. You're my...friends [aw]). The difference between rock 'n' roll and writing: I can get sixty people to show up for a reading. A show? Who the fuck wants to hear someone else's band? It's like this Onion article: http://www.theonion.com/articles/bar-patrons-dismayed-by-sight-of-band-setting-up,17804/.
There's something terribly invasive about unfamiliar music. Fuck, there are about four, five bands I'd willingly see on the entire fucking planet. I like U2 fine, but I'm not going to their show, even if it's free. And there are thousands of bands like that for me, and these are good bands, popular, well-respected bands, on the big stage. A little club? On a Wednesday night? Loud songs I've never heard? I'd rather stay home and watch Glee. And I fucking hate Glee.
So I'm torn. Gotta find a new drummer. 'Cause I have to keep playing. Because it's what I do. It's been in my blood since I was 18, and I'm hooked, and nothing beats that feeling of four (or five) guys on a stage and getting it right. Writing is more credible, sure, and if I am to attain any degree of professional success, that is probably where it'll be. But rock 'n' roll is a fucklot more fun. It'd be great, like Wendig says, to combine the two, the best of both worlds, a profession where you were dependent on no one but yourself and your own ability to produce, and as soon as that is hailed as universally brilliant, you then get to carry on like a complete ass, breaking shit and idolized by 18-year-old girls with big boobies and tight tee shirts. It'd be nice to be an astronaut too.
But instead, at 40, I will once again be scouring craiglist so I can bug friends to come out on a Wednesday night (in exchange for promising to do the same for their band), as I continue on this legitimate literary path. Or in the words of the 'Mats: one foot in the door, the other one in the gutter.