A mid-life crisis normally is defined by a shiny new sports car, exciting toys of status, or even a complete change in life direction; often alienating your wife, family, and friends. Who knows the real reason for the crisis, whether it is feeling the motion of time passing by or feeling just the opposite . . . immobile and maybe even a little cornered. In either position (riding shotgun with the time-clock as it ticks away or trying to muster enough energy to take a few steps through the muck), things aren’t likely to change until you do. Whether you do or you don’t, the time is going past and gaining momentum.
Though the daunting taunting question when it is said and done is “what if?” What if things had been different? What if we had more money, more time, and more resources? What if we did more of what we wanted rather than only what we had to do? What good opportunities and good fortunes have we blown off along the way?
Emotionally speaking, I’d reached a milestone birthday and a nagging doubt as to whether I would ever have a shot at making an album. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I first saw the LP’s spinning in a stack on the turntable in my dad’s home office. The album cover, the picture, the credits, all magical and fun. The music itself was a means of traveling through time and space. Temporary art became permanent memories, as people recall the stories of the musicians as they recorded music, or even of the songs’ significance in their own lives; knowing where and when they first heard that song.
I studied it from the inside (through piano lessons, voice lessons, and nearly a lifetime of playing bass guitar) and the outside (amassing a bulky and diverse musical collection, attending concerts, and reading almost anything I can get my hands on regarding rock and jazz music), in the hopes that one day, I’d get to put it to use.
I always hoped I would make a record in a band context, but I couldn’t wait forever. As they say, there’s no time like the present, and excuses with a quarter won’t even put time on a parking meter anymore… so it was time to get selfish and take action. As one who generally prefers building the parade float to riding on it, it really took some time to get used to this new way of thinking.
And though I found the process to be a little isolating, the motivations and inspirations were anything but. Musically, I got to tip the hat to most of my favorites (particularly the pre-Nirvana alternative rock sound), as their influence found its way on the tracks. Lyrically, I was able to pay tribute to all of the wonderful people in my life, most specifically my family, friends, students, co-workers, and most of the people who spend their time and money watching my bands work. I tried to demonstrate musically just how much they lift me up, and how much they light my life. It’s not all sunshine and cotton candy, but the light of a match is still better than complete darkness.
Taken from many influences, HEALING SONGS is an indie-rock album that works as a bridge between old rock and what's to come. Though I really think the world would be a worse place without bands like R.E.M., XTC, Wonder Stuff, Smithereens, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Mission UK, Guadalcanal Diary, Game Theory, RaveUps, The Outfield; performers like Robert Plant, Tom Jones, Seal, Jeff Scott Soto; and a host of legendary bands like Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, the Beatles. These artists' fingerprints are definitely on individual songs in the collection, but the album itself stands on its own as a wide-ranging fusion of familiar sounds in a new context.
The making of the record also made for more than a few stories; like a VH-1 - Behind the Music for the average man. [Seeing as how a lot of the music was created for its sonic potential rather than for any commercial context.] Some of these stories resemble the acts of a person going through a mid-life crisis. (Priorities, Procrastination, and Possibilities) Fortunately I found my happy ending in the completion of the album, and a productive use of a generally destructive period in many men’s lives.
I can only hope that listening to Healing Songs in the right environment and circumstances will give you the same lift it gave me in making and recording it.