Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the lake

I hung out with Ash tonight. We got coffee and walked down to the lake, where we sat on the edge and watched the water ripple under the streetlights, downtown Oakland lit up across the way and caught up on where things are at for each of us. Its always interesting to me which friendships manage to thread their way through the years, from one city to another, and one phase of life to the next. When I first began playing solo shows when I was a freshman at UC Santa Cruz, he used to book shows in a classroom at Porter College, and seeing something in what I was doing, and realizing that I was good for maybe ten or fifteen kids at short notice, he would throw me on the bill with acts passing through town. My first show playing by myself was with Rocky Votolato, and when we he took us on tour last March, I was astounded that he actually remembered that night when I asked.

Anyway, somehow through my summer as a roadie, the transfer to UCLA, my dropout and move home, the year as a waiter at The Fillmore in San Francisco while I commuted to LA to record, the six months of travel as I was getting courted by labels, the year on tour, and my constant in and out, here and there, as I tried to find the best place to crash when it all began to explode, we've remained friends, and nothing proves a friend like someone being there when it has all gone to shit. In fact, I find that real friendships tend to flourish in difficult times.

Not to say that things are going bad right now at all, there is a lot happening that is exciting and new, but in times like that, it is easy to become overwhelmed, and that was the topic of conversation tonight, that nothing is perfect and something good always comes with something not so good. It is just a matter of how the scales are tipped.

I don't know what it is about water, but hearing it softly slosh against the concrete along Lake Merritt had such a calming effect. I feel that way beside rivers and streams and the ocean and in the rain. The summer is good and all, but man, I can't wait for it to rain again. I have a song about the rain that I am working on right now. It doesn't make me happy or anything but it empathizes, and as I am banging the piano keys and wailing about it pouring down while the fog is burning off into a July afternoon, I sometimes wonder if some neighbor is walking by and wondering if I've lost it.

I haven't lost it, though. I just am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with good things, but overwhelmed nonetheless. I'm sitting on this new album that feels like a lake of gasoline waiting for a match, and all of that is just welling up inside of me, but I'm gonna have so much to give when it is time to give it. I can't wait! Until then, you can see me out by the lake or down at the coffee shop, talking it out and taking it in, being patient.