2009: The Fight Against Nihilism
This isn't really the end of the decade.
No, that would be this time next year, at the end of 2010.
And this isn't really the end of the year; but hey, everyone else is eulogizing it, and the oughties, and it's hard not to get caught up in that. So here I go, with my own impressions of the last 52 weeks or so.
I'll leave all the world events and politics, the gossip and the pop culture recaps to everyone else. For me personally, 2009 wasn't the best year I've ever lived thru. Sure, it was another year that I managed to keep the electricity on and the rent paid just by being a musician. That's a great thing. But if you're a musician or artist or you know one -- then you're already aware that being an artist is a mixed blessing. Along with all the freedom and the rewarding moments come mountains of frustration and disappointment.
For a good portion of this year, that shit caught up with me and hammered me hard. It wasn't the first time, but it was maybe the worst. The question "why bother?" was a constant buzzing undercurrent to my waking hours. I sleepwalked through a lot of days. I got depressed and wrote a dark blog that made my close friends call and leave alarmed messages on my voicemail.
As much satisfaction as I get out of making my music, the futility of it often occurs to me. The more time I spend making music, the more I realize that it is lost on most people. I hate to say it, but so many of the population have tin ears. The empty-calorie stuff they ladel down their proverbial throats is unbelievable. So why should I lie awake at night worrying about how to perfect those three-part harmonies? What, indeed, is the f*cking point?
I played 60-some shows in 2009. Many of them were gigs I'd rather not have had to play, but paid money I couldn't refuse. My good friend and drummer Matt Farley moved to Nashville in the summertime and BST the live band officially went on hiatus. I wrote about 40 songs this year (and as many instrumentals). I did music for a short film. Produced recordings for other people. Traveled a bit. I released an e.p. of some of the best music I've ever done. It features guest performances by people who have been musical heroes of mine for almost as long as I've been playing. And the endorsement of these folks is one of the few things that makes me wanna wake up every day and keep doing it.
Fighting complacency and cynicism is a full-time job, and it doesn't get easier. 2009 was testament to this fact.
Oh well, let's get on with it. Happy New Year.