Oaklandia

“Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?” -Alex/A Clockwork Orange

There are so many topics to write about here. Collaboration. Anxiety. Taking on a plethora of music projects. Learning to work with other artists on a daily basis. I’m sure I will cover all of these topics in the upcoming weeks. I took a hiatus from the last posted entry on April 8, due to suddenly being consumed with activities music and writing related.

My life isn’t much different from the other musicians I am surrounded by in Oakland. Most of us are in two or more bands. Most of us have a calendar clogged with work and shows and practices. Most of us spend a significant portion of our time crammed into tiny practice spaces.

Yesterday, I was chilling in the sun out on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland with a bunch of peers, all of who are musicians. Our conversation was like an episode of Portlandia.

“Soft Cell only has one good song. Tainted Love.”
“What? Soft Cell has the best lyrics ever! Tainted Love is their worst song!”

“Have you heard of The Monks?”
“Yea, I introduced them to you, remember?”
“I thought that was your roommate who introduced them to me.”
“No! He’s always stealing my musical taste and pawning it off as his own.”

“There’s a point where you just get oversaturated with Depeche Mode.”
“What? There’s no such thing as too much Depeche Mode!”

“All I listen to is Krautrock.”
“Krautrock! I love Can!”
“I like Ammon Duul and Neu!”
“I’m into proto-kraut. Haha, just kidding, does such a thing exist?”

***
It’s ironic that a few years ago I was begging to be surrounded by artists and musicians, back in an urban hub. Now that I am, I’m grateful, but also kind of inured to the over abundance of artists I am surrounded by. Add to that the fact that most of us are sensitive and neurotic and slightly psycho and you’ve got a basket full of booby traps at times.

I wouldn’t go back to where I was a year ago for the world. Sometimes, I get down. Focusing so much on music and art and work makes me feel like I might be missing out on something, like family or relationships or love. But…I don’t know. It’s good to be free.

I’ve been practicing with one of my bands, the Krautrock-influenced experimental band, for an upcoming show at the Oakland Metro. Sometimes, our practices feel like Real World: Band Practice, especially when we were trying to determine who the core players in the band were, and had different musicians at every practice. But…I’m sure that’s true of most band practices. Most bands never get off the ground due to not having enough players or personality conflicts. Artistic people tend to be a bit odd. It’s not just a cliche. Sometimes the most creative and interesting people are just…weird. OK, most of the time. Myself included. I know I’m totally sensitive and psychotic and weird and over intelligent and every other thing you can pin on a musician/writer nutcase who came from a musician/artist nutcase family.

So there you go. Busy. Still trying to find the meaning of life, balance frugal living with working on art, doing music constantly and working a day job to fund it. Balking at the dynamics of single people in my age group–ugh. Insanity anyone? Modern life is just wack.

So what is the meaning of life? What you make of it, I suppose. And the only thing I’ve found to assuage my existential angst and anxiety so far is music. The more projects I’m involved in, the more projects I get asked to be involved in. The more I play out, the more musicians I meet and more I am asked to play out. So. All is well. Pretty much.

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