If you’re reading this, it’s because I’ve finally made this website accessible to the rabble of the masses, and the dark nights of the soul that encompassed its design, programming, and de-bugging have receded into my flickering memory. It also means that–seeing how this is the first post and all, hanging at the back of the bus with the cool kids–you’ve probably already read through a lot of the content I’ve shoehorned into existence. In which case, I probably know you. In which case, ‘sup, Bennett?
I guess it’s just you and me, then.
Well, I’m guessing I probably harangued you and maybe your girlfriend to be the faithful pillars of my fanbase that close friends and their significant others are supposed to be, and read through all of this stuff whether you liked it or not. I guess I should explain myself.
I’ve never been one for confessionals. I’m an artist, so that’s a flat-out lie. But it does tell the truth. Like so many others who spend their business days searching for creative avenues for naval gazing, I’m obsessed with “putting myself out there,” but am frankly embarrassed by the whole affair, because, being a (for all intents and purposes) full-time white male and a part-time human being, what do I have to say that’s so unique that others should invest their time and listening, involuntary reinforcing some kind of patriarchy?
I’m still working out my comprehensive rebuttal to that question–gimme a few years–but I do know that the tension inherent to this compulsive cycle of splurging and swallowing my words is a microcosm of the little humiliations all musicians feel. Really, it’s that fear, that anticipation of not being smart enough, of not having “it,” whatever that is, that pumps the overwhelming amount of musical ladies-in-waiting to advertising, where creativity goes to die (believe me). But as Robert Fripp would say:
Somewhere in all of those spacey guitar harmonics was a kernel of wisdom unusual for the average pr0g weirdo. The feeling of discomfort with one’s self is a natural part of everyone’s journey, as much the greatest teacher as it is the greatest obstacle. For me, the fear of going back to my moribund advertising career (I interned at a firm once) and the sadness for those who have willingly silenced their voices in name of low self-esteem or job security is enough to pull up my sleeve and let myself get burned.
So I practiced piano for 7 hours a day in high school and 10 in college. I studied jazz with some young and old lions, and came under the wing of a saintly Cuban maestro. I wrote as much as I could. I had a significant Whiplash experience with a real-life Fletcher. I overcompensated by practicing longer and harder. I had a nervous breakdown; came back from it hopefully having learned something. I went into Cuban music. I took up drums and a Brazilian tambourine. I graduated. I moved back to the city.
So here I am, still pretty embarrassed that I’m here in the first place.
I rarely forget, though, that at the same time the music I love and pursue every day still feels greater than me, you, and everyone we know, Bennett. And for some reason, I still get up every day wanting to be a part of that far corner of the universe where the records that changed my life were pressed in wax, and the people who made them. If I can gleam so much insight from the words they drop in passing, maybe someone–a friend, a student, a teacher, a complete stranger–can take something from mine for their own use.
That is, after all, what I’m doing here, and what I hope you are too. All of this is just me keeping track of those words that fall through the hole in my pockets, a good amount of which I got by picking other people’s in the first place. The combinations are endless, as are the stories. These are mine; I hope you enjoyed them.
We should get a drink sometime. Bring your girlfriend; I like her.