Happy New Year, ladies and savage men.
I don’t know about you, but 2009 was a significant improvement over 2008 for me. No more home invasions from psychotic crackheads. Some accolades from unexpected places. Adventures with a sweet popsicle of smarf. And enough new music released that I can safely say I’m back on track in a big way.
I could have accomplished more. I planned to get a full-length album out for every season, plus an EP, and only made it up to three full-length albums and no EP. But that’s what 2010 is for. Why, if you look it up in the Dictionary of Years, I’m sure you’ll find the definition of 2010 includes the following: “Lots of music is released by some hairy guy, Britney shaves her head again but this time no one cares, Bono successfully inserts his head into his own ass to prove his shit doesn’t stink, John Lennon rises from the dead and puts modern music in its place with a profanity-drenched tirade to end them all, Angelina Jolie can’t believe it’s not butter, and Miley Cyrus shows 2% more unwholesome cleavage in her new music video OMG FML.” Look it up and see for yourself.
I almost cracked thirty thousand total blog hits before the end of 2009. For some people this wouldn’t be a huge number. For me it’s mind-boggling. I think the last website I had lasted for a little over two years, and I might have cracked eight hundred hits when I finally pulled the plug on it. Maybe. This thing here has been going for less than two years, I’ve done very little to call attention to it, and I’ve already managed close to a 4,000% increase in overall traffic. That’s insane.
I feel like I’m only now hitting my stride in terms of regular updates that have some meat on their bones (last month was probably the busiest month this blog has ever had). For quite some time this was a very text-heavy place, mostly free of ridiculous pictures and random videos, and sometimes weeks would go by with no updates at all. Do you remember those days? I do. Let’s never speak of them again.
Things you can look forward to — or look forward to not looking forward to — in the New Year:
LOVE SONGS FOR NIHILISTS should be ready and available sometime in January. It would have been finished before the end of December, but a few things got in the way. I’m kind of glad they did. It was good to get outside of my own head for a little bit, musically speaking. This is shaping up to be the densest and least approachable thing I’ve done in a while. You don’t know how good it feels to lock conventional song structures back up in the attic again. I hear them whimpering sometimes, so I go up there with a broom and force bristles up their metaphorical nostrils.
That’s right. I went there. I just shoved broom bristles up the nose of an intangible thing in plural form. Somebody stop me!
THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE might finally see the finish line in 2010. It could be the year. I guess I started working on this ambitious thing in my head sometime in 2006, and in one way or another I’ve been working on it ever since, even if I’ll go long periods of time without acknowledging it at all. It’s still hanging around in the back of my head, waiting, making it clear it isn’t going away until I finish it.
If you think the albums I make now are sprawling, this makes even the most packed single-disc statements I’ve made look tiny in comparison. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many songs have been written for this project. I barely believe myself. A few of the intended songs grew impatient and ended up deciding they’d rather go live on one of my other more recent CDs, but there are more than a few that haven’t defected yet. I’ve managed to narrow it down to about a hundred and sixty tracks, eighty-three of which have been recorded.
In other words, if I do manage to finish it and I keep it to that shaved-down list of songs, it’ll be something like four or five hours of music in one place, and all the folks who like to think I’m insane will have plenty of fresh wood for the fire. I doubt very many people (if any) will have the stamina to listen to it all, but it’s something I need to do for myself, in spite of the possibility that people will assume it’s another out-takes/misfits collection and just skip it altogether. If they do, they’ll be missing out on some of my more accessible work. And I think that’s pretty funny, given how inaccessible the package will be as a whole. Contradictions are fun.
There’s a thing I’m thinking I’ll call BREAK ALL THE WINDOWS AND BITE THE WALLS. It’s my idea of a rock album. Sort of. Lots of electric guitars, and drums that may even be struck with sticks instead of brushes for a change. Now watch it turn into something that doesn’t resemble a rock album at all. I still stand by the electric guitars, though. I have too many songs and ideas I’ve been stockpiling on various electric axes, and they need to get their due sometime.
As for the JESUS-SATURATED BOYFRIEND EP, the title survives but the material has changed. Instead of out-takes from CREATIVE NIGHTMARES and AN ABSENCE OF SWAY, I think the next short-form thing I put together will feature all-new material. Mark, master luthier at Folkway Music, told me not long ago he wanted to hear me record an album of solo acoustic guitar pieces. Just instrumental, with no overdubs. I’m not sure I’ve got the chops for that, but I’ve been thinking it might be an interesting change to do something very stripped down, acoustic, and relatively percussion-free. Just a guitar, a song, and a voice. Or maybe a few guitars, a few songs, and a few voices. Stretching that out to an hour-long album might get a little stale, but it could work at EP-length. And I still want to use that ridiculous cover art I came up with.
THE DUCK DEMON MAN WITH AN ASHTRAY — a sequel of sorts to CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN. I’m only half-joking. It could happen.
And maybe even an unexpected collaborative project or two.
So there’s that. Some of those things will definitely happen, some of them may or may not happen, and some other things I’ve yet to meet will surely come along to disrupt a dinner party at some point. The point is, with a little asparagus and ankle grease, 2010 should be an even more productive year than 2009 was. As Elvis himself once sang, “If you’re looking for a pompadour and leather pants, you came to the right place.”