How Cool Is That?

Sometimes, we lead lives that are more charmed than we remember, or even realize at the time. Little experiences can change everything around us in big ways, and the smallest things said at a point in the deep past can echo forward in strange, and unpredictable ways.

For example: I had become good friends with a gentleman who used to be known on the Inter-Web-A-Tron as kungfuramone. They had always been a cool dude, and was involved in at least a few bands that had made albums and played out. One had even toured.

Anyway, when kungfuramone moved to Portland, he happened to land a room at Jesse Sutherland’s house, during the transition period between The Automatics and The Epoxies starting to take off. (I remember being at their house during an early “Adhesives” practice session.) Knowing kungfuramone allowed me to attend a number of cool parties and gatherings; one of my birthdays was spent at an Epoxies show, which was incredibly memorable.

During one of the many parties I attended at their house, which was a wonderful pad that was a lot of fun to hang at back in the day, I remember getting into one of those kitchen conversations that you have with a group of your friends when you are several drinks into the evening, and almost anything else could happen. A few of us were talking about the next projects that they were going to work on, and most of it revolved around, “I wanna write a song about this,” or, “my next album will be like that.” It was actually quite lovely, listening to all these friends of mine plan the next step in their creative lives.

I was involved in radio at the time, and I had been in a couple bands before that. But nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing that recorded very diligently, or seriously. So as a way of contributing to that conversation, I threw out the following sentence:

“Someday, I’d like to just record a full album of songs that I wrote. Nothing fancy, just something that I came up with.”

I remember Jesse nodding, and saying, “That’s not too hard. You should do it.”

I am recalling this scene, this experience, this moment more and more, and now that I have professionally duplicated copies of my new album in my hands, it is pretty impressive to have finally done, even if it was almost 15 years later.

It took me the longest time to realize that if I wanted to make art, that I had to do it myself. I had to start the band, I had to design the image, I had to record the song myself. And then, it took a while to discover that I could even teach myself how to do things I didn’t know how to do, if it was important to me, and contributed to the work I was doing. I was not young when it occurred to me that I should probably try and write ‘zines and join a band. I was in my 20s before I even stumbled into radio. But to call myself an artist took until I was well after 40, and realizing that I could make music – any kind of music that I wanted to – was probably only obvious to me last year.

I’m not sure I learned much more than is the obvious lesson in nearly every self help book and confidence boosting guide that I  have ever been exposed to. I had to undo, and work through, so much built-in confusion and self-doubt that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, make art that was important to me. I still run into that problem. What business, what right do I have as a white, middle aged guy, to think that my art needs to be presented to the world. Especially the esoteric crap that I make.

Anyway, this album was a strange thing to dream up, a weird thing to make, and a bizarre thing to see completed. And now, for some reason, a 50 minute album of space grunge is now available to be listened to by anyone who likes to the idea of a sci-fi electronic rock album.

Thanks Jesse Sutherland, for inspiring this one. Thanks Jesse Ransom, for being a part of that original conversation.

Thanks everyone else, for making it possible for me to make stuff like this.


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