A Strange Compulsion For School Supplies

Vacation! It’s not just a Go-Go’s song (ah, how my youthful 2nd Grade heart did flutter for Belinda Carlisle) but it’s what we’ve just returned from. Well, two thirds of us. Paul took a family trip to California, sweat a lot and spent his kids’ college money at Disneyland. I had a couple weeks in glamourous Edmonton, AB for a wedding, an anniversary and, unknowingly, a mosquito-swatting convention. Brendan hung out in Vancouver and glared at hipsters.

We just reconvened this week for our first rehearsal in ages. While I toil away editing the EP, we thought it might be good to remind ourselves what PLAYING in a band is like. And we remembered that we both enjoy it and are pretty good at it. Right out of the gate we tried out a new song I’d been working on, and since it was basically a three-chord wonder, we had it humming along quite nicely within a couple of passes.

It’s kind of a giddy feeling when, as a band, you lock into a song together. Playing music with others is a wondrous way to get out of your own head and just be in the moment of what you’re making. You’re focused and intuitive and in the full flush of discovery: watching the song to see where it’s going without a prescribed outcome. Well, that’s how we work, anyway. I know lots of people demo and outline their songs but I’ve never worked with much of a map of any kind to arrange by. It helps that the three of us know each other so well after a decade that the stylistic instincts are good and sharp as a Henckels knife. Ironically, I can still never accurately predict what the boys will start playing underneath my chords. It’s nice to still be surprised!

So as we get ourselves show-ready, September again feels like a time of renewal for me. It's back to school! Time for new outfits from Sears and The Bay and some fresh Elmer's glue and some cahiers d'exercise! Davey has a mustache this year! So does Natasha!

Maybe it’s just having had a break from the grind of routine and my less-than satisfying day job but I feel restored and positive and ready to tear down old, bad habits and build new, better ones. I’m hardly the poster boy for self-actualization but clearly there’s got a to be a better way of seeking happiness than watching downloaded full seasons of cult TV series while immersed in pints of ice cream. It’s probably not hot yoga or spirit-guided self-affirmations for for me but a noisy, humming tube amp waiting on a fiery open chord is as good a battle cry as I can think of. And then some ice cream. Happy Autumn, everyone.


***Holy shit, I just Googled the lyrics for “Vacation”. It’s really depressing! Oh, Belinda, don’t be sad. I’ll get in my TARDIS and come back to 1983 to console you.

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