Monday, November 18, 2013

Creep Into Town, And It's Not Long Until I Start To Roam...

" out the patches on the punks, maybe a band I know. I bet you in five minutes time, we find that we know all the same people, places, and roads. And it's not long before I start to feel, that somehow I can never leave home." --Mischief Brew, "Punx Win"

So, whether you believe it or not, there’s a lot of stuff going on inside this crazy head of mine aside from pop punk and soda.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my friends and how incredibly lucky I am to have the ones that I do. I know I’m not the easiest person to get to know, so if you’ve ever even given me a shot, I can’t thank you enough. With that, I am sincerely sorry if I’ve ever let any of you down or if I dropped the ball on keeping a friendship going at any point. I don’t think that’s ever anyone’s intention, but with constantly changing situations and circumstances, it happens; sometimes friends just grow apart, other times there’s no telling what even happened, things just stopped clicking. So friends, just know that I appreciate the role you have all had in my life up to this point, even if it may seem small. Let’s catch up sometime.

Looking back over the past four or five years of my life, the word “home” has also been in heavy rotation in my thoughts. By dictionary definition, one’s home is simply a place of permanent residence or some sort of center for affairs. As humans, however, we all strive for something more than just an address to get bills and maybe the occasional letter sent to.

While sitting on a mattress in a freezing house a few winters ago, I began to write a song around the line “home is not a place, but a group of people.” Years later, I still have different notions of what the word “home” encapsulates, as compared to the flat, dictionary definition, but I don’t know if I can honestly chalk the entire concept of home up to simply being a group of people anymore. Instead, I’m beginning to think that “home” is something we are constantly searching for.

Nothing is perfect, nor will it ever be, no matter how hard we try. The best we can do is make strides towards reaching whatever our individualized ideas of home happen to be at the given time. Maybe that means playing an instrument or writing everyday. Maybe it’s going on a 20 minute walk once a week. Maybe it takes moving across the country to realize the place you grew up wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe your steps are tiny, or maybe they’re huge. I don’t know. I guess my point is, whether “home” is real or not, I’m gonna keep going until I get there, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot of you guys along the way.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Whatever Happened To Yours Truly?

I am sad.

I don't really know how to put it any other way, so I've decided that I won't be so cryptic and for once just come out and say how I'm feeling in a straight-forward manner.

So there. For anyone and everyone to read (Hi mom. I know you read this.): I am sad.

I always seem to find myself writing really late at night, when most everyone else is asleep or tending to their own devices, and I'm alone to all but drown in my thoughts and consequential emotions. Well folks, the votes are in, and survey says life has been hard lately.

Over the past couple months I've begin to realize a lot of things, things that I think I've actually known for awhile, but didn't want to admit. Collected is a short, non-comprehensive list:

Sometimes you inevitably feel alone a lot of the time. Sometimes your friends don't stab you in the back, but instead, sometimes unknowingly, infect you with a poison that makes you hurt worse and worse over time. Sometimes you feel like you're stuck in a Smashing Pumpkins song from the early 90s, trapped amidst feelings of ennui and melancholia and a strange sense that everything might actually turn out okay... but in the end you'll probably still be sad.

To avoid getting into a lot of finite details, I've been at the receiving end of a lot of broken promises lately. I have several reasons to believe that one of my closest friends recently stole money from me and possibly other people I know. I am uninspired and uninspiring. No matter how hard I work at something, someone else will always come in and change things without asking, and if the changes work, take all of the credit. I am constantly left out of the loop by most everyone, including family members. Because of some lies told to me, money is now an issue. Because money is an issue, housing is now an issue. All of my music gear has been broken, save one guitar that I rarely let out of my sight, at the hands of others. I let someone borrow my bike, and the news that it was stolen was hidden from me for weeks. All people ever want to do anymore is get inebriated. Some close friends have picked up some nasty drug habits. I buy things, and they go missing within a matter of days. Hypocrits. Hypocrits. Hypocrits.

I can't trust the people I am closest to.


In reference to punk as a lifestyle, zinester Aaron Cometbus once said, "The excitement and conflict of it is trying to find an extreme that you can sustain. Walking right on the edge without falling off. For a lot of other people, it’s different. It’s all about getting to the edge so they can jump off, or, more often, so they can beat a hasty retreat and then brag knowingly about how they’d been there once.

I go slow and steady, and people are always passing me by, laughing about how cautious and uptight I am. Then they pass me again on their way back. I want to embrace life in all its extremes, but when the people I’m with push too far too fast, I get worried and resentful. We aren’t after the same thing after all. My road is just a shortcut for them on the way to total self-destruction, or a stopover before they turn back and settle down and stop moving at all."

These two paragraphs, first published over a decade ago, have really struck a resonance with me as of late. I used to think that my friends and I were all striving for the same thing -- a welcoming community that embraces all of its members and their talents, as well as their idiosyncrasies and quirks. Now I just feel incredibly alienated because I refuse to ingest poison into my body to either "have a good time" or cope with some unknown reality. It used to be celebrated when someone didn't feel the need to get blackout drunk to have fun, now people are just acting like everyone else. Lately I've even seen some borderline bro / misogynistic behavior from places I would never expect. Is this really what we as a community are becoming? And everyone has accepted it and moved on?

Obviously a lot of the things I said are blanket statements; there are still a lot of great people in the bunch. Things are just hard. It's difficult telling friends that they are hurting you and making decisions that are selfish and probably not that great for anyone in the grand scheme of things.

I miss ambition. I miss dreams for the sake of having dreams and trying to reach them. I miss sincerity. I'm old enough to know that life isn't a popularity contest and that trying to be cool at the expense of others isn't the key to any form of success that I want to be a part of. If that's your idea of success then you can keep it to yourself; I'd rather fail than earn success by use of such means. I'm just afraid of standing still and stagnating.

Maybe I'm just growing up, but I think what all of this really boils down to is that I miss my friends and the people that they used to be.


To close, here are lyrics to an incredibly relevant song:

Whatever happened to yours truly? Now I'm so spun, so high strung, that I can't even sleep. I just lie in bed awake, grinding down my teeth. Get back up to go back out, and walk the same old streets, always searching, something missing, never satisfied.

Whatever happened to you? Now you laugh at how you used to care. You laugh at how you tried. You talk about how you weren't always tired all the time. You laugh at how we're going nowhere, and then you ask me why we never do anything fun anymore. Well, we're not much fun anymore.

Whatever happened to you and me? Whatever happened to our community? Do you think that we'll go down in history, or will we just be forgotten? I don't want to be forgotten; I'm so scared of being forgotten. That's my problem -- I'm so scared.

We used to say look both ways before you cross our path, now we both turn away, and there's nothing left to bridge the gap between whatever happened to us.

Do you think that it's too late to start over again? You say you're tired of having to start over again. That's your problem -- you're so tired. That's my problem -- I'm so scared that it's too late. It's too late to start over again.

~ Pinhead Gunpowder, "The Great Divide"

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A large chunk of my heart is missing today. Anthony Poynter passed away early Friday morning. Anthony was one of the key holders of American DIY punk, but more importantly an incredible person and a great friend to many. I feel incredibly lucky to have known him. They say that true friends never say goodbye, and I think that’s extremely accurate; Anthony, although gone in his physical state, will always hold a place in the hearts of hundreds of people around the country, and I am proud to say that I am one of those people.

Anthony, you will be missed, but most definitely not forgotten. Tonight, I’m rolling an extra fat burrito for you.

This photo is from the last tour Anthony came on with us. It was taken somewhere around Arizona. We were making burritos in a gas station parking lot. I can't put into words how much I'm going to miss this guy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Old friend, I hope you found love in life...

"...still dance, stay up all god damn night and scream the lessons you have learned."
~Rubrics, "Heterosexist Tragedy"

I am convinced that one of the most difficult and troubling thoughts the human mind can conceive is knowing that a close friend is dying, and there is literally nothing that can be done about it.

This has been on my mind a lot lately.

In case you haven't heard, Anthony Poynter, owner of Sidejar Records, but more importantly, a close friend and one of the key holders of American DIY punk music was diagnosed with cancer last May. By the time the doctors discovered it, the cancer had already reached stage four, a stage at which fewer than 25% of victims come out as survivors. After facing many ups and downs and undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, Anthony was put on Hospice care about a month ago. His health has been deteriorating since.

The last time I saw Anthony was in late July. I am planning on leaving for Lexington on Sunday afternoon with hopes of seeing him one last time. I know it may seem too soon to say that, but it's so hard not to give up hope when every single thing that I've wished for since the news broke has been for his recovery. It's so easy to get discouraged, and I've done a pretty good job not giving in, but it gets harder and harder every day that I haven't been able to see him.

I know if Anthony read this post he would think it was stupid and that I was a big baby, and that's one of the things I love about him. He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or feel bad because of stuff happening to him. Instead, he always wanted people to think fun, positive thoughts whenever they thought of him. That's what I'm trying to do. It's just that sometimes these thoughts and feelings get all mixed up, dancing to a bittersweet melody of memories and an acute sense of dread.

I wish I knew what to do with it all.

My band's new record is for Anthony, and I'm so proud to be a part of creating it. I just wish he could hear the completed product.

Please hold on, buddy. We're all rooting for you.


If you want to help, you can purchase the compilations that have been put out to help with medical expenses. Links are below.

Volume 1
Volume 2

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If You're Feeling Worthless, This is Your Reminder: You Are Someone's Glue.

It's 5:06 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

I'm laying in a bed 30 miles outside of Chicago and can't seem to fall asleep. I guess I just have a lot on my mind.

Do you ever just get sick of yourself? I ask because right now, I'm sick of me. This isn't necessarily an uncommon or unusual feeling, and I'm sure everyone feels this way at some point, but it still, to be quite frank, totally sucks. I've been feeling like this a lot as of late, and I'm not entirely sure why. I have great friends. I like my job(s). I play in a band that tours pretty frequently. I make enough money to eat what I want. I have all of these wonderful privileges, yet I still can't seem to come to terms with how I am as a person. Although I don't know the exact source(s) of these feelings, I do, however, have a few ideas.

Hypothesis 1)
Because the people I have in my life are so great, I hold myself to a higher standard on a personal level. This bar is set so high that even the smallest, most minor inkling of a failure can sometimes throw me into a deep state of disappointment. Disappointment, coincidentally, is one of my biggest, deepest fears. If I'm not living up to expectations, either my own or those of a significant person in my life, I often find myself feeling like a complete and utter failure not worthy of interacting with other human beings (who are all clearly so much better at everything than myself).

Hypothesis 2)
I really need a change of scenery. In recent years, I seem to have (over)developed a sense of wanderlust; I long for a peripatetic lifestyle. Any time I stay in one place for too long I start to stagnate and begin to feel like I'm wasting my time. To get rid of these anomic feelings, I think I need to move on. Sure, tour is nice, but it comes far to infrequently, and I want to travel with even fewer confines and constraints.

When I stay in one place for too long I also feel like people begin to get sick of me, which I guess is understandable; sometimes I get sick of people too. I fall into the same, predictable patterns that tend to be repeated over and over and over and over again. I'm not sure why I feel this always seems to happen, but I can't seem to shake ennui's tight grip when it creeps up every few months.

Hypothesis 3)
I am artistically dry. I've had a lot of stuff happen to me this year, both good and bad. I've seen a little more than these green eyes can handle, felt more than my tiny heart has strength for and am here with the scars to prove it. With all of this potential inspiration, I can't seem to put anything together, whether through music or visual media. This is very frustrating to me, as art is my outlet for emotional release. I can't seem to get everything out on paper the way I feel it inside my head and heart.

Another facet of this hypothesis is the inability to share my art. Due to various mishaps, inflexibility and my desire for things to come out exactly how I want them to, I have little to show for my artistic endeavors. I need some way to validate my feelings; I need to know that I am not as alone as I think I am sometimes and that other people are going through the same things as me. I think I just need to relate and know that someone, somewhere is in emotional solidarity with me, and that everything is going to turn out fine.


I know I haven't posted here, or honestly even thought about this thing in a very long time, but tonight I did my generation's version of flipping through old notebooks -- reading old blog posts. Sure, it tore open a couple scabs that were almost healed and reminded me of some scrapes and bruises that really hurt at the time (but really weren't all that bad after awhile), but reading through these posts really showed me how I tend to work in cycles.

It's an old adage, "Life is like a roller coaster." This phrase stuck around for a reason -- it's pretty darn accurate. Life has a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes it seems like you're careening straight into the ground, and the next thing you know, you're going up so fast it's hard to really tell what your surroundings are or how exactly you got there, but it's nice regardless. It's really fun to live "on the edge" and take your hands off the restraining safety bar, but sometimes you've just gotta hold on tight for fear of being slung out of the seat.

Basically, I think what I'm getting at is that life moves fast. Sometimes it's hard to keep (and sometimes catch) up, but I've always managed to do so, and I refuse to let this be the year that changes that. Sure, I've seen a lot of things that no one should have to see, but I can't let that bring me down. I can't wait for anyone else to "fix" my life, I have to do it myself, how I want and by my own means.

One old entry I read tonight really stood out to me, not necessarily because of the post itself, but an anonymous comment instead. The commenter said that my post made them feel better about the mistakes they have made and reminded them that they are in control of their life, to make changes as they see fit. To you, anonymous commenter, thank you for somehow stumbling onto a post I made a long time ago when I was sad and confused, much like I am right now, and reminding me that no matter how bad things may seem, there is always time to turn things around. We're in this together. I don't think you'll ever read this, but if you do, please know that you're not alone, and you're not a "pathetic freak" either. Everyone feels pathetic sometimes; believe me. And if you haven't yet, say hi. You don't have to tell me that you're the anonymous person, but I don't want anyone to ever be afraid to talk to me about anything.


Tonight has been very confusing. I'm sorry if none of this makes sense. I need to make changes and make them soon. I don't know if I'll ever post here again, but doing this helped, so who knows. What I do know right now though is that despite everything, I refuse to sink.

To anyone that's ever doubted it: You are beautiful. You are worth it. You are not alone.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Paradise is Found In Our Beating Hearts...

May was a busy month.

Aced all of my finals. Finished the semester with 7 As. College is easy.

May 1st - Savant, Snake Shark and the Broken Heart, and The Sounds That Machines Make @ Eyedrum. Fun show. It was supposed to be $10, but I got in for free. SS&B ruled.

May 2nd - Savant, Kadets, Archaeology, and Ridiculous Jacket @ WonderRoot. Weird show. Some really bad remarks were made and stuff turned ugly.

May 3rd - Witches, Dead Dog, and Josh Loner @ The Cat Cave. Awesome show, bad turnout.

May 5th - Jerry Fels, Sister Kisser, Southside Stranglers, Ralph, and Flex Your Head @ The Cat Cave. Crazy show. Andy Dick showed up. Seriously. The Sister Kisser guys were way sweet.

May 8th - The Wild, Small Talk, Giant Lion, and The Back Pockets @ WonderRoot. Dual CD release show for TBP and The Wild. Everyone did awesome. The perfect way to kick off summer.

May 9th - Some Mistakes, Paper Champion, Royalist, and others @ WonderRoot. Some Mistakes blew me away and Paper Champion were a lot of fun.

May 16th - Annabel, Very Magic, HisDayWillCome, Teenage Illiterates, Jerry Fels, Pat Jordace, and Josh Loner @ WonderRoot. Again, awesome show, but few people. Very Magic were insanely good.

May 17th - Stoked: The Band, Very Magic, Andy the Doorbum, The Hectagons, and The Emotron @ The Cat Cave. This show was a lot of fun. Every band sounded different, which is cool. Very Magic killed it again, and I might be asking them if they would let me put out a 7" or CD by them.

May 18th - Winston Troy, The Anchor, Shook Foil, Savanna Cameron, and Josh Rank @ WonderRoot. This was a good show. Shook Foil was fun and dance-y, Winston Troy was a total sweetheart, and The Anchor were cool dudes.

May 21st - Lemuria, Zlam Dunk, Bad Mammals, Savant, The Sunglasses, and Cover Your Head @ The Cat Cave. Way too many dumb people at this show. Bad Mammals reminded me a ton of one of my favorite bands, The Wunder Years. Might asked them to do a 7" or something.

May 26th - Snake Shark and the Broken Heart, Toby Foster, Eric Ayotte, and The Wild @ WonderRoot. Perfect show. FNB got moved to WonderRoot and everyone played awesomely. Eric's new CD is perfect. This show was the beginning of a wonderful 5 days.

May 27th - Mitch The Champion, Max Weiss, Madeline Ava, and Doctor Dinosaur @ The Birdhouse (in Knoxville, TN). It was great seeing old friends and making new ones. Mitch and Dr. D are awesome!

May 28th - 30th - Crucial Fun Fest 5 in Lexington, KY. The best weekend of my entire life. Tons of great bands, but more importantly, I got to see a ton of people that I love from all around the country. I wound up getting to play a short set too! Here's a list of bands I saw (that I can remember): Delay, The Sidekicks, Dead Dog, Timeshares, Sundials, Sean Bonette (of AJJ), Pedals On Our Pirate Ships, Pink Houses, Imperial Can, Doctor Dinosaur, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, The Pheramones, Madeline Ava, Toby Foster, Hop Along Queen Ansleis, Sister Kisser, Candy Hearts, Joe Mangum, Slugging Percentage, The Max Levine Ensemble, The Wild, Mischief Brew, Two Hand Fools, Vacation, Kepi Ghoulie, New Creases, Spraynard, Rudy Harts Mathilda, XERXES, You'll Get Yours, Chicken Little, Betty Crocker and the Rabid Youth, Plum Paws, Andy Gardner, Maryn Jones, Fry Hugs, Tristan Jemsek, American War, Max Weiss, Dylan Sizemore, and Ryan Starinsky.

May 31st - The Wild, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, and I Need Sleep @ The Poison Lawn (in Knoxville, TN). The Wild and Laura Stevenson did awesome, but I Need Sleep was super hip and super drunk. Kinda lame. Really sad to leave the next day.

Let's hope June can be just as awesome as May was!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

These Hard Times Pass Fast Together, These Dreams Are Ours To Share Forever...

April passed pretty quickly. Here's what happened.

April 1st: Jason Anderson, The Wild (acoustic), and Grey Milk @ The Carpet Bag in Athens. Fun show. Made some new friends and got a free pair of shoes. Gonna ask Jason if he wants to do a split 7" with The Wild sometime towards the end of the summer.

April 11th: Read In Watermelon Sugar, by Richard Brautigan. Good book, read it.

April 25th: Joe Mangum, Tense Kids, Andy Gardner, Captain #1, Drew Kohl, and Trench Party @ The Cat Cave. Not many people showed up, but it was great seeing Anthony and Joe again. Joe is coming down to Atlanta soon to play drums in The Wild. That's one of his favorite bands, and I'm really excited for him.

April 26th: Pink Houses, Toby Foster, Spoonboy, imadethismistake, Matt Casciano, Christ Lord @ The Cat Cave. Awesome show. Attendance was alright. Toby and Kylewilliam gave me their new albums, and both are amazing. It's always great seeing all of these people, especially in the same place at the same time. Witt gave me a copy of the new Wild CD on Asian Man. So good! My first day back at WonderRoot is the night of their CD release show. So excited!

That's about it. May is going to be a really busy, but hopefully awesome month.