Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Sitting in Sarah and Al’s living room in Colorado Springs. Grilled burgers and veggie dogs are laid out across the table, everyone is standing with paper plates making small talk between bites. Bryce and Will just returned with the van and trailer. A shop managed to sqeeze us in to fix the shorted out left side brake lights that had been paralyzed since our little incident in the ditch the other day…

I’ve been working on new songs in the upstairs bedroom. Sarah has been respectfully listening as she does homework – she’s finishing grad school, soon to be a teacher. She walks over to the stairs and calls up a favor of me, to repeat that song about the waitress in New York that I met once last march. That’s a favorite of mine. The less you know someone, the more blank spaces you have in your concept of them, the more you can obsess about them with hopeful infatuation, grant them adorable and desirable traits that perfectly match your own. Solutions to loneliness. We were flown out there for label showcases and meetings and I returned to Oakland with a longing for Manhattan, and for a bottle-service girl I met in a club at 2:30am. Now, my overall idealistic and romantic nature is often magnified under the influence and, for some reason, when I’m in New York it becomes inflated to the size of a cartoon parade balloon. I stumble drunkenly down the street with my love soaring above me, gently bouncing between the skyscrapers for the whole city to witness, for the television crews to capture. It’s a beautiful feeling in the moment, but as the night wears on, as the bar crowd thins out and the potential loves of my life start hailing cabs on the street, the balloon is liable to burst, the cables to snap – it can be disastrous.

Anyway, I made some promises I couldn’t keep. I believe I invited her to come to our meeting with the president of Columbia Records in the morning, before we flew home. In hindsight, maybe I should have just asked her back to the hotel, but this was true love godammit! And that sort of thing could wait – in time such endeavors of flesh would surely accompany this feeling that bound us, that could pull stars from the sky and stir up earthquakes and tsunamis... Of course, when we returned a month later for more meetings, I realized that I had made little impression on her. A stuttering unsigned singer at a club that generally hosts the same celebrities that grace the covers of checkout stand tabloids has a difficult task in making a waitress’ juices stir once the sun has come up – even if he is getting the major label treatment and thinks he’s hot shit for a moment. I called her from the airport and she blew me off in a manner that reeked of experience.

Of course, a year later I can look back on such a goofy embarrassment and be excited that I got a song out of it between visits – (most of the time, I’m left without a song, especially if I’ve grown to know the girl enough to know she doesn’t deserve a badge of honor – if I know she’ll probably never know I wrote about her, even if I use her name, then its easy) and even if it never gets recorded or performed at a show, it made Sarah happy and the rest of the guys in the band – and me. So that’s awesome.

Love is a funny thing. I like to look at it like I look at God – you have to define it for yourself. If you allow someone to tell you what it means, what it should feel like, you aren’t being true to your heart. And you don’t have to believe in it if it makes no sense to you. You can find it, you can reject it, you can curse it, you can dedicate your life to it. You can change your mind again and again. Not everything is relative, but this sort of thing can be. I’m fascinated with words that cover such a broad spectrum of emotion, words like this are soft clay that you can mold and remold all your life.

Really, I cant tell you why this has been the topic of the day. I honestly haven’t been thinking much about it lately. I’ve been sort of jaded on it for the last few weeks. Letting it rush through you with such vehemence can wear you down, eat away at you from the inside. Its like a drug - like a cancer. The more you put yourself out there, the more vulnerable you make yourself, the more hurt and hungover you get. I’m sick of feeling my teeth kicked down my throat, sick of seeing my veins popping out of my hands, I’m sick of the gaddamn butterflies…