So my good friend and, well, brother…Robert stopped by last week to work on a couple of new ideas for songs. Let me bring you up to speed for those of you that haven’t been following us since 2007…
Usually, up until now, this is how the songwriting process for our band works:
Chris and/or Robert come up with an idea for a song.
Chris and/or Robert complete the idea and present it to the band.
We all get together and hammer out structure, transitions, solos, placement of sexy kicks, etc.
Once the idea has been completed, Chris puts lyrics to it and well…then we’ve got ourselves a hit song now!!
Life changes though and while world domination for our band at this point is eminent and nearly within reach, the way that we are writing songs, has well…changed…dramatically.
Songwriting has become a team effort, a collaborative endeavor in which we are all pushing the limits of our comfort zones to see what kind of dog shit we can sprinkle a little BoTo upon to parlay into a song that will afford us new opportunities! Instead of waiting for someone else to show up with some new ideas, we’re all working on ideas. We’ll see where it takes us, but at press time, we’ve got about twelve brand-spanking new ideas that we’re cooking up. The songwriting collaborations are helping us to explore some new avenues that before, would have remain untouched. Cue inappropriate comparison photos…
We’ll keep you posted on the progress. As the title here would suggest, this process is a long one. Even longer than before as we all work on and share ideas. Rehearsals have been replaced by interweb videos being exchanged, phone calls and weekend get-togethers. We have also learned that we enjoy videotaping ourselves singing, dancing like idiots and sharing the occasionally funny picture, as seen below.
People often ask me, “How’s the band going Robert?” I am always happy to tell them about our latest irons in the fire and our hopes and dreams for tomorrow, but by virtue of my open book personality I rarely refrain from giving my lighthearted questioner much more than they bargained for. I go on at length about how trying at times it can be to maintain a commitment to a dream that does not even pretend to offer any firm guarantee of financial security…or in other words, a future. To borrow from one of Chris’s lyrics from the new album: “I don’t ever want to give up, but I’m breaking down. Keep pushing when I’m fed up, now or never.” You get to some point where you start to relish the difficulty of it all. We all know the quote that goes something like, “the harder the battle, the sweeter the triumph.”
It’s sick how you almost start to enjoy being perpetually behind on the bills and not being able to even dream of buying a new pair of slacks or that sweet Kenny Loggins t-shirt at the stupidly overpriced vintage store. Before I finally sold my Oldsmobile Alero because of one too many mechanical break downs, the first dream I wanted to realize if we ever did make any amount of money worth writing home about was to fix the badly damaged front bumper. I mean, I’m not asking for much here. I’m asking for enough dough to pay the bills and to fix a bumper. (My bumper repair dream has since been replaced by the dream to maybe one day upgrade my cassette tape deck stereo in my newly acquired S-10…although I do somewhat enjoy playing the only cassettes I could find in my closet: Storm Front by Billy Joel and Skeletons in the Closet, The Best of the Grateful Dead.)
People often interject after I go on for a while, “But you love it right?” as if that’s all that matters. Well, love it I do, but reality falls somewhere in between the Beatles’ lyrics, “All you need is love,” and, “Your lovin’ sure gives me a thrill, but your lovin’ don’t pay my bills. Now give me money.” It would be quite a charade to postpone career and financial growth for the past 5 years for something I didn’t love. I do love it. I am nothing short of ecstatic to get up on the stage with the guys and do my best to pour it all out…to express all that hurt, anger, restlessness, and yes, occasional joy. I feel that I, along with my bandmates, were given gifts. I hope that you, the reader, have listened to our music and that you at least somewhat agree with me! It has been a challenge to make due sacrifices to be available to keep nurturing these gifts. I can only hope and pray that someday these gifts will make me money to live on, therefore making me feel less insane for dedicating so much time to them.
As I start to see the eyes in the poor fellow’s head that asked me about the band start to roll back in his head, I ask him about us. “How would you describe our sound?” I like to ask. “What does it make you feel?” I eat this stuff up. I love it when people have specific things to say about how we sound. It never fails to surprise me. I was delighted to hear my friend Andy describe Chris’s voice as, “a cross between the guy from Death Cab for Cutie and Chris Martin from Coldplay.” I’ve heard Wilco and REM comparisons. The more specific the descriptions, the more enthralled I am. I got a text from a good friend of mine, Bekah Proctor the other day after I gave her and her sister a couple copies of “Retrospective.” Bekah and her sis hooked me up with some Nyquil one evening that I was feeling pretty sick. Thanks Beks! Anyways, this is what Bekah’s sister Abby had to say about the record, verbatim straight from my text messaging inbox: “It’s a mix between Blink 182, Bright Eyes, and an Irish band. Sometimes the songs are mellow and other times I can’t describe the feeling but it’s a good one. I was with my best friend when I listened to it and she really liked it too. And she’s a pretty good judge of music I’d like to think.” That description was totally one-off. It’s different for everyone. I absolutely love how our music evokes different feelings and comparisons in each person that listens to it. Bekah said Abby couldn’t stop raving about us. Raving? Holy crap. I think that was the first time I’d ever heard “raving” and “Borrow Tomorrow” in the same sentence. We may not be on a fancy North American tour or even be making enough dough to make a living right now, but it’s words like that that keep me going. Honestly. I could tell that Abby had put some thought into what she thought of us. That meant that our music affected her. To see proof that we’re connecting gives me life! It makes me think, man…maybe we’ve got something special here. I’m going to get a little corny. It makes me think I should borrow tomorrow a little longer.