May You Get What You Deserve (And Nothing More)

First off, this is going to be a kind of post mortem for the Etcetera Thesis album, The Whole Other Half. If you haven’t heard it yet, I’m goign to have to ask you to make some time and go listen to it. It’s right HERE. You don’t have to play the whole thing from front to back, but I’d apprecaite if you’d just listen to each song for a minute before coming back. Thanks.

You done yet? If you are, then you’re ready to continue. So here goes.

So, about a half a month ago, I released my second album. I think I’ve been calling it a band album in some misguided attempt to make it sound like there was a group at work behind it, but really, it was mostly me, so it’s mostly my fault that it hasn’t performed well. It wasn’t performed well. It was performed by a guy who can’t bring himself to play in front of an audience most days, because I know how inadequate I am as a musician. I have just enough skill to sketch my ideas fairly convincingly, and not much more than that.

Sounds like a self-pity trip, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. I know I’m feeling pretty bad about the whole experience right now. I also know that I don’t want people to think I’m just looking for a shoulder to cry on. It’s nto fair to anybody, and frankly, who wants a grown man snobbering on their shoulder becuase his boyhood dream of being a rock n roller has met with indifference? Of course it met with indifference. Who the hell knows the album exists? When they hear the songs online, most people just can’t connect to it because, really, though the songs may be kind of cool, nobody knows who I am, and they can’t get a sense of identity from the album, because it’s all over the map. Is it a hard rock album? A prog rock album? A concept album? A classic rock AOR album? A reggae album? A country rock album? A new wave album? A folk rock album? It’s all of those things and more.

And yet, it’s also less. They’re some pretty carefully produced demos. I knew that’s what they were when I was recording them. I’d always meant to use the album as a means to provide material for a band I would form in the wake of the record. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the record, and just wanted people to like it for what it is, warts and all. Except that now I see I migh have made a mistake. I went to bat for something that perhaps shouldn’t have seen the light of day. Maybe nto so soon. Maybe never. I’ve been too close to it for too long, and so it’s hard to judge objectively.

Not that the songs are bad; They’re not bad at all. Some of them are actually pretty good, in fact. But most people won’t be able to appreciate that because the roughness of the performances, and even of the recordings themselves in some cases, is just too low-fidelity to be appreciated.

I stuck my neck out and got it chopped by an audience that was used to hearing much more polished efforts, even from amateur and semi-pro peoples. I can’t claim to have deliberately chosen a DIY aesthetic; I simply chose to do most of the work myself, as quickly as I could, because I couldn’t wait any longer and I couldn’t keep recording day after day, week after week, driving a wedge between my wife and I. It was just time to let it go.

I don’t know where to take things from here. Part of me wants to form a band to play the music and start working on newer, better albums together. Part of me just wants to recoil like a snail into its shell. Part of me just wants some well-meaning musicians to adopt me and let me play in their band until I get good enough to reintroduce my music. Part of me just wants to go out with the remnants of my currentband, play cover songs and the occasional original, and learn the craft the way all my heroes did thirty, forty years ago. Part of me just wants to go backto wrting books and forget about all this music crap. Part of me wants to paint, put together shows of my artwork, and maybe some day create the multi-media presentations I’ve dreamed of for decades, involving my own stories, art and music. Part of me wants to make video games, again using my various ‘talents’.

Part of me just wants a hug or a pat on the back for having tried, even if it really proved to be a bit of a failure. I’m going to sell a few copies of the CD I’ve burned and printed myself, and that will pretty much be it. I did it DIY Indie style, and I still lost money. Maybe eventually I’ll make back the money I invested. Maybe the next album will be better, more popular. Maybe I’ll make that next reocrd. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know.

I haven’t given up on making music. I was just jamming and taping mandolin parts again last night at the drum circle. Missed recording the best bit, but still, it was nice to just let loose and try uncanny combinations of mandolin parts and drums improvised on the spot. It was fun. Not as fun as rock music, but it was fun to jam, at any rate.

So yeah. I need a band, I guess, and a chance to perform the songs live until I learn which ones worked and which were just work. I also need to get my voice back in shape, because I have learned that too many of my songs are too hard for other people to sing.

Anyway, PLEASE forgive this little whine and cheese fest. I’m not really looking for commiseration. At least, I don’t think so. I’m just looking for a new direction, new possibilities. A new lease on life. I feel like this was supposed to be a major change, but now it’s just another misstep, and I’m having trouble reconciling that with the amount of hope and effort I put into it.

Thanks for reading.


2 Responses to “May You Get What You Deserve (And Nothing More)

  • Lee, I think that the one song that I could listen to for free (Out of Time) was not a bad concept. The lyrics were meaningful, and the idea behind the song well planned. The songs notes were also easy to listen to for the most part. I think that the vocal range of the song might have been a bit too high for you in a few spots, your voice seemed to crack a bit. I did find the instrumental parts to be a bit discordant, almost as if there was too much going on? Not sure how to really explain what I was feeling while listening to it other than that. Don’t give up on this song, it well be a great one if you keep working on it. Unfortunately I can not do the pay online to listen to the remaining songs, no credit card to use…

    • Hi, Deb.

      If you just press the little Play arrow buttons on the left side of the songs (assuming your Flash plugin is up to date), you should be able to stream the audio tracks without downloading them first. Out of Time and HereIt Comes Again have been posted for free download. And I pay for stuff like that through Paypal, anyway.

      But nevertheless, thank you for your input.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


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