The Launch

by Nick Smith in


Today I decided to go public.  I'm going to make some sort of attempt to market myself (a product that is not ready for the market yet).  Mostly for my current hopes at somehow developing a musical career after I finish my current work in Troy.  More on those plans later.  My current plan is to attempt to establish a presence over various social networks that I can hopefully expand upon as I have more material to give to the world.  Exposing this blog, which I originally started (read: posted once in 3 months ago) to vent in.  Today I decided to revive it.  I edited the first post so it is fit for public consumption.  Now I'm listening to the Wallflowers and crafting this post with which I will launch this new persona.  That's what you're reading right now. So the current function of this blog is to serve as a forum for me to discuss the music I am working on (hopefully receiving feedback from the readers I hope to have), any minutiae of my life I deem fit for public consumption, the media I am currently taking in, and whatever other chowder of words tumbles out of my skull.

Musicwise, I finished the song I was writing in the previous post.  I have decided that there is no better title for it than Down.  I couldn't come up with anything else that wasn't clunkily long.  Really long titles can be very effective, but I think it has to reach that Dylan-y sense of a drunken rambling description of the song.  Here are the lyrics of Down.  They are not necessarily final.

I wanna sweep you off your feet Trip you up and watch you fall right down into your seat

See me at the bottom I am waving up to you Your simple smile is my last line to dreams that can come true

What your mouth refused to say is anybody's guess And in the absence of a no, all I hear is yes.

I wanna watch you stop treading so you sink I'm gonna keep my eyes fixed on you 'til you blink I wanna drag you all the way down to heaven

And every time I talk to you it takes all of my strength Not to describe what I feel inside to nauseating length

And then one day, the words slip out You're the one I can't live without The way your grin melted away Told me more than words could say

So I sing these rhymes to bide my time alone here in my room Until I rejoice, you made your choice, and cast me to my doom.

No sugar left to sweeten, no music left to dance The blind could hear the deaf could see I never had a chance.

I wanna watch you stop treading so you sink I'm gonna keep my eyes fixed on you 'til you blink I wanna drag you all the way down to heaven

PLEASE GIVE FEEDBACK.  DON'T BE NICE.  SHIT ON IT ALL YOU WANT AS LONG AS YOU TELL ME WHY IT SUCKS.

I plan on eventually recording myself playing it in pathetic Youtube fashion, which I disdain, but do not have better facilities for distributing my product.  The only other way I have to do it is to record to cassette and somehow get it into the computer, which at the moment requires my webcam.  If you wish to see the fruits of that, I suggest you follow this link and watch the video for Jenny (http://www.youtube.com/user/slidetonowhere).  Subscribe if you want, because I will be using that account to post the fruits of my labors that come in visual form.  It's a delightful little Mountain Goats song I recorded a (less delightful) cover of on my 4-track cassette recorder, then played over my webcam while I lip-synched with an absurd array of filters.  It's worth watching just for the image.  It involves my face superimposed on a cartoon body with a fedora floating in front of the Statue of Liberty and fireworks and balloons.  Like I said, worthwhile.

I want to get Down out to people, so like I said I am just going to do the stupid kid-with-an-acoustic-guitar-in-front-of-a-webcam video you've seen a million of if you've ever loved a song so much you've searched for every iteration of it you can find on Youtube.  Most of these videos are infuriating because the would-be musician can't sing, or can't sing the song right, or can't play the song right.  Usually it's all three.  But there are some very talented musicians out there.  In the wake of Michael Jackson's death I saw a breathtaking cover of "Human Nature"  played by a young man sitting in his bathroom if memory serves.  I'm not going to look it up for you.  I'd rather you exposed yourself to the full range of crap I've waded through.  Sometimes I'm not that nice.

Okay this is the third paragraph where I am attempting to explain my decision to do this style of video that I loathe.  I do not have a video camera that is not buried within my very expensive laptop or crappy and on my telephone.  I also have ZERO knowledge of video editing or making worthwhile videos, nor do I have the vision to carry out any video ideas I may have over the course of a song.  So I'll stick to just playing my songs for the camera.  But I think Youtube will prove to be a great way for me to distribute my content.  I will need to develop some sort of means for people to trip over my songs so I can lay hands on them and cure them of the sickness of not being a fan of me.  But that is a tertiary concern.  The primary concern is finding the space to put my stuff in.   The secondary concern is assembling stuff to put in the space.  The tertiary concern is to bringing the horses to water to poison their minds.  These Youtube versions will not be the primary product.  They will be a means of seducing people into searching for more.  I will be recording separate versions of the songs anyway when I assemble enough material to constitute an album.   This will serve as a hook to draw people in and as a reward for the truly twisted among you who are actively seeking out my stuff, as these will simultaneously be previously unreleased new material and a tendril reaching into the darkness to seek more people to join my cult.

Sometimes I run on about subjects for far too long when there is no one to stop me.

Continuing at tremendous speeds:  Life plans.  Entering my current indenture, my plan was to take this year of living in poverty (no really) to build my resume and bide my time until the climate was better for me to snap up a tasty government job, doing something for the proverbial common good.  Here's the problem.  I was, for a long time, interested in the government and politics and such matters of import.  I always hoped that interest could blossom into a passion that could carry me through life with some modest level of financial and psychological security.  5 months on the job, and I have found that not only have I not really grown that passion, but my level of interest is waning.

My true and only passion is, was, and will always be music.   It was downright silly of me to deny that fact.  Rather than ignore my dreams and buck up and be an adult about it, I am very seriously considering giving in.  The current leading contender for my plans come September are to drive to a city south and west of here (I have made anything resembling a decision yet) where I don't know anyone, get a job that is NOT 9-to-5 to feed and house myself, and really throw myself into my music without the distraction of other people interrupting me.  I will develop a wider breadth of original material than the barely an EP's worth of subprime blather I currently am able to field.  I will wedge myself into the local music scene through open mics or some other way so I get gigs and hopefully local exposure.  Once you have a name for the city, I'm sure YOU could write the Wikipedia entry of what I envision for that period of my career.  It is childish.  It is unrealistic.  That's why it's going to work.  Once I'm locked into something musically, I bust my balls on it and come up with something that works.

And in one of my smoother segues, what inspired a lot of this thought was the intensity with which I have been listening to the Mountain Goats, namely the All Hail West Texas and Tallahassee albums, over the past 2 months.  John Darnielle started out recording songs on his boombox and releasing that material as albums.  All Hail West Texas is the culmination of all that work, recorded entirely with him, his guitar, and his boombox (exception in 1 song has a keyboard instead of a guitar).  It is raw.  It is passionate.  It is beautiful.  John Darnielle's gift with the English language in rhyme is unparallelled (well I don't read poetry).  He paints magnificent portraits of characters in unique moments of emotional peak or (more likely) anguish.  I will not be him.  But it shows me that if I keep plugging away at this thing, I can find my voice.

Well there you have it.  Consider this blog launched.  Hope you enjoyed my rambling.  Further posts will probably not tend to be so voluminous.  I had a lot to say tonight.  Leave your comments in the suggestion box.