Monday, June 30, 2008


I saw the sun rise on the beach yesterday morning, on the wrong side of sleep, obviously, still fucked up, obviously.  I had my guitar in my hand and Noah and Aaron and Evan where sitting around me, guitars on their laps.  People were jogging by us fresh from sleep, and we were still talking, still playing songs.  I had shown up twelve hours earlier, asked for a drink, went right in the water, and with the waves crashing over me, I tried but couldn't remember the last time I had swam in the ocean.  I just let it kick my ass. It felt nice. I kept standing up to let it knock me down, plant my face in the sand and pull me back out again.  I couldn't help it.  That is just life, standing up to one wave after another, knowing that you may have the wind knocked out of you, may be all scraped up and choking on salt water, and that once it has passed, you'll just be looking up at the next one rolling in.  Things always come and then they go.  There's no changing that, and I'd rather get the shit kicked out of me than miss out on something.  Regret is always useless, but it is especially useless when you didn't at least give something a try. There's always some good to get out of anything:  Shit makes flowers grow.

We walked all the way down to the pier, along the Pacific Coast Highway, and we talked about how few friends you actually make through music, how many acquaintances there are, but how few people you meet through shows and bands and scenes that actually cross outside of that world.  And how perfect for these guys to show up and finish off my stay with me, and Shawn as well, who I picked up from the airport on Wednesday morning and worked on songs with on the beach in Santa Monica before meeting with his friend who got us on bikes down the coast at sunset, and we hung out that night until we were both crashing... I could give a fuck if any of these dudes play music, we don't need that to have a conversation.  I have been out there for six years now, working every day to make a life out of playing my songs for people and it has taken me to so many places, brought me into a room with so many people, and I can still count the amount of real friends I have made through it all on just two hands.  

And after last call, after watching the fisherman with their lines dangling off of the pier, and after looking down into the black water, when we were walking back, I was aware that I had taken it to the furthest point I could take it without losing my memory, but we ended up back on that beach, with those guitars, and the waves crashing in the dark, and everything came out, all the numbers, all of what really happened, all of the "so what was your first impression of me anyway?" - and as always, it doesn't matter as much to say or hear those things than you would think.

And waking up on a carpet in the hallway in the afternoon, completely drained, I felt fine.  The sand in my hair, the sun sticking still like a hangover on my skin, I could only laugh.  I finally felt like I had celebrated, like I had finally reached a proper conclusion to my stay in LA.  It felt like closure. In fact, life has been strange recently and there has been a lot of that feeling, lots of things coming full circle.

(For example, walking out of the afterparty, after The Matches' CD Release at The Fillmore, to my car window smashed in, just as it was one year ago after Audrye Sessions CD release, when I had come home from tour to make this album, feeling like a failure, completely unaware of all the time and mistakes it would take. There was a real punctuation to that second break in,  it was clearly the second parentheses to the parenthetical year.  And that night had a real sense of finality to it, where the chefs who I used to take orders from were all choked up, saying, "It's been a while since we've heard you on the radio, when you going to headline this place?" and I told them I'm doing my best, every day, and then I saw all of those people from high school, reverted instantly into myself at age fifteen, and stayed backstage, away from them, away from that feeling, away from those questions - "Oh do you still have that little band?" And in the morning, driving to the only auto glass place open in Oakland on Sundays so I could get back to LA the next day, I had to drive past my high school, and nothing opens up the emotional floodgates like that does... And that's just one example! There have been countless people from years or months or days before showing up in the strangest places.  I've been recounting the past, telling and retelling the story so much, I can't even remember who I've said what to anymore. Life is more like a movie right now than ever, though. I think that's a good sign. I certainly hope it stays that way.)

Anyway, we got breakfast along the beach, and no one felt like shit, though we all looked it. The day after is never easy, and you aren't left with the supplies to feel good unless everything really is good.  I felt great about the moment, the crowds on the beach, the flow of pedestrians, breakfast at 4pm, but I felt especially good about the future.  It is wide open.

I meant to leave last night, but as I was getting out of my car in the parking garage, my subletter pulled up beside me. "How are you?" she asked as she shut her door and looked over at me knocking sand off of my guitar case.  I told her I was fine, that I had seen the sun rise on the beach that morning. "You look like you saw the sun rise on the beach this morning." She said, laughing. "Yeah," I replied, "I'm not sure I can make it all the way home tonight." And she's cool. Obviously. Staying at her place allowed me to finally like Los Angeles for who it is. So this morning I woke early and walked and got coffee at the coffee place down the street, one last time, and sat out on the balcony in sweat with my guitar, one last time, and slowly packed up my things, and made trips to my car, until it was all full, and then I was driving north on the 5, listening to my brand new album the whole way home.