W is for What Would You Have Done Differently?

It’s been a long week (give or take). Even when I sleep I wake up exhausted, like a functional smiling zombie. I honestly owe my sanity to a person who appears to have lost his own and I so badly want to call up someone who I know can give me the answer to the question. “What would you have done differently, at that moment where ego took over and everyone fell away one by one until you were alone?” What led to you being so filled with hatred for even those who stood by your side for so long? Would you have been more tolerant? Less reactionary? Would you have been OK with selling out, just a tiny bit, to secure your ability to do what you really love? Would you, knowing what you now know, have sold out in the first place?

Echoes of this have surrounded me for days and they can’t help but take a look around and see who did it how, the results, and in the end, are they happy?

Let me start by saying I’ve been in a lot of cities and situations between 11/5/15and 11/15/15 but there are some standout moments and people, all of whom started out as just wanting to share music and hopefully touch someone’s life.

Some of us share the same philosophy, remain humble- but let these bitches know. We enjoy being clever and use our sheer force of hanging the fuck in there for 25 years and paying attention as leverage. We don’t seek attention, we don’t want it, but eventually you’ll find out- you were wrong, we were right and let’s move on. Mysteriously people see us as oddballs and sometimes enemies when really we’re the best friends you could have. We’ll give you our knowledge, if you listen, and let you run with it. We don’t seek to be the center of attention but people are drawn in by whatever our souls emit. Money isn’t our endgame so you can’t buy us, sex isn’t either so even though we’re seduceable, we’re not driven by the need to mash parts with other people. What lies beneath is an insatiable need to do what we do and do it well, to our own sense of satisfaction (which wavers from fuck it to absolute perfection). That’s it. Our worlds go a little off center when we’re around one another because we’re so accustomed to knowing what happens next and with each other….particles accelerate, and we get mentally ambiguous, and improbable things happen.

And then there are a few others who, I swear, can do what we can’t or won’t. Operate in the world, happily, gracefully, with diplomacy, living and letting be and still manage to have a profound impact on the world. These are friend I am in awe of. I have a fairly decent horseshit detector and these people seem to just know that what is required is to just keep going-hard-and that humans are fallible. They may also not be hyper-aware of their environment like I am and more able to just “roll with it”. But I don’t think that’s true either. Honestly, I don’t know how they live and maintain sanity but, then again, I don’t know a lot. They have the ability to tune out the bullshit, accomplish stuff, and not let the world affect them to the point that they’re crippled. They have the ability to sell themselves with being personally involved. And they are successful. But the success, is it satisfying? Because it’s based on nostalgia and dues paid to some extent. Or is there some nagging sense of doubt? One thing I have noticed of them is that they are quiet and somewhat guarded- something i’ll never be.

And then we come to the conflicted. Who can’t shut the fuck up long enough to realize they need to shut the fuck up. People so talented but so stubborn and hard-headed that they’re combative. I watch this unfold and it’s painful because they shoot themselves in the foot and seem to enjoy it. At the end of the day I’m just a person with ties to the past. That’s it. I’d hoped to get a reflective, well thought out answer from someone I know, and I did not. Instead I got a shitty temper tantrum in which i was referred to as AARON called out for not being “really” about music, told what I should have done differently and basically was told I wasn’t good at my “job” (which is diagnostic microbiology by the way, not shouting your name from the rooftops) if I at this point hadn’t done anything to promote this person to where they ought to be.

My response was short “A guy I ran a label with, Analogic, who you never supported or even paid attention to, well, I haven’t done anything for him since 2002 and he played Womb in Tokyo this summer, so really- zip it”

Have I learned anything? Absolutely. Will I always follow the music? Yes. Will I pay respect to whom it is due? Yes. Do I get the respect back? Yep. I do. 90% of the time.

So- what would I have done differently?

Not much except:

I would’ve pulled out of my own suicide mission well before the 7 or 8 years it took to do so.

I wouldn’t have abused people through neglect.

I would have realized that your family is who you’ve chosen- not who raises you

I would’ve loved myself more, earlier

Other than that I wouldn’t change one second of everything it took to get here.

Peace.

D is for Desert Hearts, and the panic attacks that came with it

Sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve written. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks in a state of dread culminating in a full scale panic attack on Thursday morning. This is, of course, all my own doing. I knew better than to think I could be OK with being there, when the escalating level of juvenile behavior of my “best friend” in San Diego has turned into spite and hate on his part and disbelief and sinking to his level on my part no one “wins”. I refuse to participate in this behavior anymore. He will have to fall hard alone and pick himself back up off the ground without me. He will have others to help him. But I can’t do it anymore.

So I went to the thing- Turned out my buddy from Mxcl needed a way up there and we made it to the party around 8.  We left yesterday at 6:30 pm. I’ll be forever grateful for getting to spend time with him and hear him play for 4 hours and dancing my ass off.  This coming year Mexico will come into their own in the eyes of the world I think. The US and Europe will begin the decline of the over the top extravaganza of a shitshow they’ve become and hopefully the new regime of the young people who do it for the music and the community will keep it alive, underground and renegade style.

Narcissism and egotism are powerful drugs. Entitlement is the result of the addiction to these drugs. There are people I’ve known for 20 years or better who simply don’t have this in them whatsoever. Really talented, really famous musicians/producers/DJs. For them this life is a calling. No one chooses to do what has to be done because they simply seek adoration and fame. They do it because they can’t NOT do it. Music is how they speak, how they relate, how they make sense of the world and the people in it. There is so much drama and bullshit and promises not kept and quid pro quo behavior that goes along with just trying to play some freakin music. Always has been. But those of us for whom music is our religion, the only thing that makes us feel OK, we TRY and just get through it best we can, get to the speaker and dance, and hope that one song takes us to a transcendental state and makes us ok. And for me-that requires zero drugs at all. Sometimes drugs make it inaccessible in fact. Something changed, in my brain, 23 years ago at a full moon party or perhaps even before. My planet shifted on its axis and something opened up a neural pathway to pure joy and transcendence through acid house, deep house, funky house, whatever. And it’s still there. Still open in the right time right place.

I don’t have it in me to return to the industry. It took me about a week to realize this. I’ll always be your ear (surprisingly this is asked of me often- can you listen to my track? Can you give me your honest opinion? And I’m blessed to be able to do it) but I will never again be a producer, promoter, label twat, carnival barker, or a mf’in DJ. I do not have the intestinal fortitude to do it in this new era of DIY, no A&R, put out your own shitty music and market it so well that people conform to liking it just by sheer bombardment.

I left Desert Hearts after less than 24 hours of being there because I knew that other people’s enjoyment of themselves would be impossible if I were to stay. Also I have an ankle injury that I danced on for 6 hours and the cold temperature the next day made the pain so acute i was on the verge of tears. So I just left. Knowing Todd would have so much more fun without my negativity and total lack of patience and tolerance. I hope to god he understands this too. He is in the hands of friends he likes, but without his rock (me) – who just couldn’t do it.

There was nothing offensive going on at the party whatsoever. It was beautiful and a lot of effort was put into it. It was a positive experience for me overall. I will support anything Lee decides to put his effort behind. At night, it is magical. beyond belief, so beautiful you’re in awe of what you’re a part of. But when you have someone deliberately being a juvenile douchebag to push your buttons- you either carry on and drag yourself down to that level or you say- I’ve had enough of this and take a break, possibly a permanent one. To those who are caught in the crossfire- I left for you-so you could relax and have fun and I hope so much you don’t feel abandoned or lonely or not a part of. I hope you’re having the time of your life and I love you.