I’ve even spending an exorbitant amount of time when I’m not at work or at one of my many band practices sitting on the mattress in my cheap rented room geeking out on space rock music from the late 60s, early 70s, and newer. Bands like Midday Veil and Ash Ra Tempel.
It helps that I’m in a Krautrock band. What the hell is Krautrock, you ask? I explained it a while back, here: You’re Never Too Old To Play Music.
On Friday, I found out about a show playing at the Gem and Bolt in Oakland, a beautiful live-in exposed-brick warehouse converted to show space at times, one of the coolest spaces I’ve ever been in. I decided to go for research and enjoyment. The opening bands were impressive, especially the drummer, who helped the first band, Brain Fruit, from Seattle, out on this night, but belonged to the second band, Midday Veil. Both bands had a strong Krautrock vibe, and it felt synchronicitous, just like this whole endeavor I’ve stumbled into. I feel like ever since I was turned onto Krautrock music last year, it’s taken me on a ride that is just beginning to pick up steam. Who knows where it will go. It’s like all the musicians who channeled their energy into this psychedelic, soulful, spacey music put out enough energy to reach decades into the future and fire up musicians that hadn’t even existed at the time, like me and most of my bandmates, for their own tripped out journeys.
The band I’m in, Hedersleben, is full-on Krautrock influenced. We’ve been meeting up to three times a week to work on music, and I’ve been listening to hours of our wacky and amazing jams practicing riffs and pulling out ideas to run by my bandmates, because apparently we are playing a show in Oakland in May. To go to a show where at least one band was doing what we intend to do, but in an amazing, realized fashion full of heart and feeling, was really cool. Lights and projections and amazing aural soundscapes.
The night at Gem and Bolt ended for me somewhere around 2am. Nommo Ogo, a band I also really dig, was played trippy dark music, costumed people were dancing around, the lead singer, a tiny mustached guy with his shirt off, was gyrating and embodying his freaky self while chanting behind a glowing purple orb as a guy with a sophisticated projector etch-a-sketch type thing and a sheet over his body drew light pictures on everyone. At this point, I was exhausted, and I was wondering how many people around me were on psychedelics. Not that I mind, I just don’t do them. And I needed to ride my bike home before I collapsed. So I fled. But I had a blast, and learned a lot. It’s so important to go to shows if you’re a musician, to see what other people are doing.
I’ve been sick on and off for about four months, no joke, from flu to bronchitis to spring cold and maybe bronchitis again. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been attempting to keep up at three bands, a county job and writing performances in the middle of what is still a kind of stressful bohemian time for me, but it’s frustrating. Maybe this is just what doing music full-time in your thirties while working a part-time day job to make ends meet feels like. It’s inspiring me to take better care of my self so I can have the energy to continue schlepping around amps and keyboards and guitars and singing into a microphone for a long time hence. Nik Turner of Hawkwind, a quintessential krautrock band, is in his 70’s and still going strong. I want to be that person too when I’m older, playing music as a life path, not for a fleeting minute of fame. It’s who I am, not a flash in the bucket.
A lot of synergy happening lately. It’s a good time, albeit stressful and busy. I’m fulfilled doing music projects most of the time. Scheduling around a county job is hard, but often things work out, regardless. And I’ve had the best luck with music equipment lately. I got rear-ended, but it didn’t cause much damage, so instead of replacing the bumper on my 2006 Honda, I was able to find a keyboard amp and a guitar amp for insanely reasonable deals. Gear is one of the hardest parts of being a musician.
So this is a meandering post. I’m exhausted, but wanted to throw out an update. I’m enjoying the odd moments when I get the practice space I pay in on to myself or when my roommates are not home and I have peace, quiet and space, because in Oakland, there is not a lot of those things. It’s a lot of social, busy, hubbub and I can’t hear myself think or contemplate without going to the woods. And being sick so much has inhibited my woods adventures.
So…here’s to maybe a future where I can carve out more peace and quiet. Or maybe someday afford my own quiet space. Ha. Not in the Bay Area, right? Gotta accept what is. Roommates, noise and cheap rent. It is what it is. I chose the life of a musician. Or it chose me. Less money, more time on music. Hard work in the dark for years without any monetary rewards, but happiness at doing what I love and knowing if I died tomorrow, I did my best, maybe more, to live my dreams, regardless of what people told me about what I should be doing instead.