1. Song is out!!!
Listen /Grab it for free here. Phat beat, dogs barking, funky bass (thanks to Peter English), and some of my soul, sprinkled generously. It’s about addiction; there is an essay at the bottom here with the same topic. Hope it finds you well, pineapples.
07.02 Sat — Philly @ Bourbon & Branch ~ Cape Wrath CD Release
07.14 Thurs — Philly @ Eris Temple Arts ~ w/ cranes are flying, VARSITY
07.16 Sat — Arden, DE @ Arden Club ~ Shady Grove Fest ALL DAY
Here’s another essay. I love writing essays for y’all. I’m extremely compelled to share ideas that I find helpful because pssst it turns out sharing feels way better than being super selfish. what? just wow.
The Performer: Part 7
“A miracle will only happen on the platform of a tragedy” – DMX
Addicts. If you know one (or are one) let us both agree that these humans are special, often endlessly charming and unique. I suspect this is because within them lives a special sensitivity to this world, one that has lead them towards a path of destruction; all in an attempt to escape suffering.
“I think we are all addicted to something” said a thoughtful man in an AA meeting I attended last week. So obvious a statement yet I don’t think I ever put it this eloquently in my mind before. Think about how our society separates its pathologies so neatly into individual cages: addicts over here, depressed over there, anorexics go next to the ottoman. Truthfully I’m not a substance abuser, which has lead me to think and say things like “addiction is not my problem, I can stop any habitual behavior at any time. Bro just watch me quit gum”. But this is dangerous, because the mind can still have its addiction outside of mere physical substances like drugs and alcohol. Plenty of things to hot glue our hearts to. Real talk.
In our society workaholism can be spun positively, but is it not another form of addiction? Hey kid work on your career ruthlessly in order to cross an imaginary line of success that no one can see / personal life be damned / vacation, what’s that? / other people’s needs? I’m busy — Is it not another way of escaping pain also known as the vulnerability of opening yourself up to other human beings? Tunnel vision is not your friend, and neither is the idea of ‘I’ll be happy when ___’. Let it be known that going on aimless walks near some trees > anxiously daydreaming about a cooler version of yourself where you are loved for your money / title / image. That isn’t love anyways, it’s lust; a cheap adrenaline rush. It’s sex without intimacy. It’s fleeing life, escaping nothing.
We are all addicted to something. Some of us are perfectionists. This is like the twin brother of addiction: they’re fraternal twins so they look a little different but they still grew up together, same house, same rules. I have this perfectionism in me somewhere. Over the years I have managed to quiet it down a bit, but it took a lot of work. It still does. I’m still unlearning. It tends to come out while I’m recording music and when it concerns my health and body, because that’s where my insecurities intersect with my culture. That’s where I’m vulnerable.
The new song I wrote, Come Out Alright, is about addiction. After I left China, a close friend chose to share with me about his battle with addiction through an email, and it deeply saddened me. I did what I knew how to do, I made music about it. He / it was with me every single day for over a month. I kept writing and rewriting and thinking deeply about the helplessness I was feeling, how I couldn’t directly help him. I often thought “what’s the point of even making this song?”
Several moons ago, in a Halloween themed tiki bar in Fort Lauderdale — take a moment with this image if you will — I sang this song to a crowd of 12 people and roughly 3 ghost puppets. I revealed to the crowd the heavy meaning behind the song. After my set I was approached by a man who wanted to thank me for my music. He then chose to confess to me of his personal struggle with heroin. We then spent 3 seconds looking deeply into each other’s eyes, nodding our heads in unison, swallowing a tear, before finally hugging like old friends. This thankfully happened right in front of my fantastical friend David, who unapologetically narrated the moment by saying “is this not the best thing that’s happened to you through music, ever??”.
This is why music is magic, and why I play shows. Music reminds us we are all just trying to escape suffering, and by gathering together we can finally let go of the idea that we are suffering alone.
So why are we seeking empty thrills. Why are we choosing to flee. Why do I want to eat this double chocolate brownie. When will I be respected for my success. What does that mean. When will I have enough money. Why does everyone I know feel horrible right after watching porn. Why do you shop when you’re anxious. Where is my phone. Why do I associate reward with food. Why do we worship hoarders AKA people that make lots of money. Why am I on the internet right now, it’s sunny out.
In treating addiction they say you must first recognize and accept that you have a problem. That’s first. I’m not addicted to alcohol but I am addicted to the internet. It’s good to admit this to yourself, because like my friend Josh Hey wisely told me: Avoidance is not transcendence. “Avoidance is not transcendence.” Been saying that one out loud near some trees lately,, turns out they already know — everybody growing out here !
With all the love,