What Jesus Couldn’t Save Me From

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Theorem 7:

Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the self, and partly on the environment, which is natural and necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course, either through not understanding himself, or through external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the Universe, and suffers accordingly.

Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice 

Ever since my admittedly haphazard Facebook post 15 months ago in which I revealed that I wasn’t a Christian, my friends and family have been asking me what I think and feel about…well…anything that’s not superficial, and for the most part I haven’t told them because I didn’t know if they could handle it. For a long time I didn’t even know how to put these thoughts into words. But there comes a time in a man’s life when he has to speak openly about his personal philosophy, so here’s a little bit of a look into the mind of Jeremiah.

It’s Monday night. I’m lying restless in bed next to a girl who will never be “mine,” and though I admire and truly care about her, I will never be “hers.” And I’m fine with this because ownership is for inanimate objects and not individuals, but there is something else that’s keeping me awake, and I don’t want to bother my friend with my tossing and turning, so I get up and go to the couch and finish the movie we left playing in the living room. Fifteen minutes later with my head still buzzing, I step outside for some air and think about going home, but I’m too tired to try and navigate my way through Pullman road construction, and I should be sleeping anyway. Just go back to bed. Be still and try to sleep. Don’t wake her.

Maybe it’s guilt. I should be touring. I should be out there booking more shows, but at the end of the day, I’m a songwriter who writes for a band. And though I greatly enjoy performing and entertaining, I am used to working alone. I get frustrated trying to sync up my own schedule with the schedules of other artists as well as venues. And between rehearsals and booking full band shows, I practice this self-defeating statement. And then I just read a book or write a song or practice because ultimately, the songwriting and the skill are the important parts, and as long as I’m stressing myself out about booking and social media, I accomplish nothing. I am fortunate enough these days to have a very generous friend who often allows me access to his studio equipment, so I’ve been learning to use ProTools myself and recording new songs instead of sending e-mail after e-mail to unresponsive venues. The studio is where I thrive, and the more time I spend there, the more I love it. Aside from my single adult responsibilities, this has been my life the past six months: working, coming home, reading, thinking too much, practicing, thinking more, writing, critiquing, and a bit of recording. It’s given me the space I need to reevaluate life. On my own terms.

And it’s a combination of events that have led to me reevaluating my life. Sure, I turned 27 and after four years of studying poetry and music, I’m still not a legendary songwriter, but I always knew that dream was crazy. I’m a relatively sane musician. I have visions of grandeur, I know they are ridiculous, but I can’t rid myself of them, so I keep working at my craft. No, turning 27 is not the sole catalyst. There’s something that happened in me back in March when, for the first time in years, I saw the girl I dated for the first two years of college. Her mother, a close family friend, was in the final stages of moving to Montana. There was a going-away party and a moving party, and I didn’t want to miss my chance to say goodbye. Needless to say, the ex and I ran into each other a couple of times, which was fine, but seeing her reminded me of who I was seven years ago and how much I’d inadvertently hurt her just by being a headstrong and self-righteous person. Now she’s married with two kids. And I looked at those kids and thought, if things had gone just a little differently, this girl and I could have had kids the same age by now. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am too irresponsible and selfish to be a father, let alone a husband. But I’m old enough that I could be both. And I really don’t want that, but should I?

At times like these I start wondering if I’ve even accomplished anything, so I start going through the mental checklist of my accomplishments over the last twelve months. This year I’ve released a second solo album, assembled a band, written the better half of a third album, been embarrassingly love-crazed, been irreconcilable, been heartbroken, and committed innumerable “transgressions.” Transgressions that I didn’t think I was capable of committing seven years ago. Transgressions that I didn’t have the self-esteem to commit seven years ago. And though I have accomplished things I never thought I could, I still suffer from the same insecurities that prevented me from accomplishing my goals at a younger age. And I still feel unsatisfied. But that comes as no surprise to me. I’ve heard every imaginable version of the story of the man built an entire empire for himself and died just as discontent as he was when he started. I may or may not end up with an empire at the end of my life, but I know that however much I accomplish, it will never be enough.

Some of you may say that my discontentment comes from storing treasures here on earth rather than the afterlife. To you I reply that the afterlife is a great unknown. Neither heaven nor hell nor any other future is guaranteed for that which some call the soul. I’ve wrestled with the question of eternity my whole life, and at some point, I just learned to be content with the idea that this life is probably all we get. The only afterlife we have is the hope of leaving behind our legacy and our work. Honestly, this life is all I want. Eternity is too long. I get bored enough as it is. And to get even more honest, spending eternity praising and worshiping some abstract spirit in the sky sounds just as bad as spending eternity with weeping and gnashing of teeth where the worm never dies.

But I can’t hear a worship song without feeling regretful. Regretful that following a difficult, but happy childhood being raised by hippies, single moms, and Montessori school teachers on the Florida beach, I was uprooted at the age of 10 and placed in Smalltown, Idaho. Regretful that my family subsequently converted to hardcore conservatism. Regretful that I spent the better half of my adolescence singing songs in church and watching holy-rollers on the floor laughing and speaking in tongues for at least 15 hours a week–no exaggeration–instead of making friends and learning how to manage affairs with the fairer sex. And then I spent the first three years out of high school trying to figure out the rationale behind maintaining a conservative and morally strict lifestyle without becoming a hypocrite only to come to the conclusion that said lifestyle was making me more and more miserable and lonely. That the so-called God-shaped-hole was an invention of my religion, that my involvement in the church had created the hole, and that my continued involvement was just making the hole bigger. And sure I had my social interactions and I had plenty of my delinquent moments, but not enough to save me from curiosity in adulthood. Not enough to give me the wisdom that I feel I should have at this age.

Yes. I do put pressure on myself. I know I do. I wish I didn’t, but I do, and I’m not sure where it comes from or why. I’m working on it. Every day I tell myself that circumstances were often beyond my control, but I still have my regrets. I can’t help wishing that things would have gone differently. I don’t want to be regretful. I don’t want to live in discontentment. I don’t want to hold on to these things anymore, but I think about them daily, and it hurts my head. My chest and gut cramp up. Wasted time. As hard as I try, I can’t think of any other way to understand it. All that time I spent trying to live righteously for God by immersing myself deeper and deeper into a culture that I never felt was truly accepting of me. Finally coming to a place of self-acceptance, but being so deeply immersed in the culture that I didn’t know how to display the self I had accepted.

Out of Touch

Hello, friends. It’s been years since my last blog post, at least 6 months since I’ve more than touched my personal Facebook, and (insert sarcastic tone) 2 years since my last confession. All jokes aside, I apologize for being out of touch. In the last year since I graduated from college, there have been a lot of changes and challenges in my personal life, and without going into detail, I’ll just tell you that I haven’t had the emotional or mental energy to keep up with the caucus race that is social media.

But alack and alas, the summer has freed me from my day job at the elementary school, and the DIY musician podcasts I’ve been listening to have been guilting me into updating my social media, so here I go.

First of all, I don’t mean to be a downer, I’m just a little sick of listening to people say over and over again that I need to update my Twitter and make music videos and take Instagram photos of my studio sessions and play a million shows in a million different places when I can barely afford the gas to travel after spending all the money that I don’t have on putting out a record that I can’t afford to properly promote in order to turn a profit. Speaking of profit, apparently the key to music sales is to stop selling and start telling a story and engaging people in your process so that by the time the product is ready, the people are ready to put money into it. In other words: “update your social media and tell everyone everything really cool that’s going on in your life all the time! It will make you really cool and popular!”

You know what? I was never popular in high school, and I was really glad when all that bullshit was over nearly ten years ago. I’ve never been great at the whole “win friends and influence people” thing. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because I’m too vocal about my opinions and too quiet when it comes to meaningless chit chat. In any case, I don’t give a shit because I think I’m pretty awesome, and I have no problem sharing that with the world, but quite honestly I get tired of running into someone on the street, trying to chat with them, and then hearing them say, “Oh yeah! I think I read that on your Facebook.” And I’m glad they care enough to follow and remember what I do, but then I get a little paranoid and start wondering what else people can tell about my personal life just by coming across my updates on the news feed or scrolling through my timeline. Not that I have anything to hide, I just like a little bit of privacy sometimes.

And then venues–bless them for giving us a place to play and to listen, and bless the bookers who have to suffer through the task of sorting through and figuring out who is and isn’t legit and who will get a draw–but I just get so lost on my end figuring out where I want to play and how I can get a good draw in an area I’ve never played before. And then they ask where else you’ve played in the area and say that you can’t play there until you’ve played a two hour set at another place down the road that won’t let you in because they’ve never heard of you. And all the while I’ve got to juggle that with two day jobs. By the end of the day, I’ve had no time for myself to process and appreciate or learn from each of the significant little events that have happened over the course of my day. Oh, and songwriting? Jesus! Who’s got a spare second to sit in front of a computer screen or notebook and agonize over message, story, line breaks, word choice, rhyme scheme, melody, harmony, and rhythm?

Anyway, I’ve said all this not to complain. I chose this life, and I still love the music. The problem that I have is that I never chose this because I wanted to be cool and popular and have everybody like me. I chose this because I heard more than a few songs that expressed lyrically and musically emotions, ideas, and conflicts that I didn’t know anyone else felt or thought about. It made me feel less lonely. I just want to create that for someone else. Unfortunately, finding the people who connect to my music in such a way is a difficult task that requires a lot of promotion via social media, so I guess for now I’ll bite the bullet and do it.

So raise a glass, and toast to electric vanity!

More Dreams, Nightmares, and a Little Bit of Hope

Recently I’ve been thinking quite a bit about dreams. I had a dream the other night that I was a senile Kermit with a drinking problem, and then I went to a haunted sleeping porch with beds infested by worms. Church people were coming out of the walls and trying to scare me, but I wasn’t really paying attention because I was too busy wondering why the hell a sleeping porch was supposed to be scary.

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last post, and I’ve mainly been focusing on work. I was in the studio last week. Dropped some bass and keys on Wednesday and Thursday. We still need drums on a few tracks, but most of the songs are coming along nicely. Since my last record, I feel that I have grown a great deal both as a lyricist and as a musician. As a result, I have been able to more accurately capture my ideas in audio form.

You may also be interested to know that I have been working on a new side project just for fun. Our debut show is scheduled for October 12 in Moscow, ID, and I would love to see you all there. In the mean time, we’ll be putting together a mean set list.

Not a lot more to say at this point. Most of my creative energy has been exhausted this evening on a brief assignment for senior seminar. Almost finished with college, after which I hope to be able to focus my creative energy on more melodic endeavors. Until next post, love to you all. Read a book. I hear that’s good for your brain. There’s a possible side-effect of cynicism, but if you’re already cynical, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Not in Kansas, Peter Parker

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Yesterday was my third day in South Dakota. I-90 is littered with billboards for tourist traps. They’re starving for people in the Black Hills. After New Orleans, all activity suddenly slowed down. Towns are growing farther apart now, and they are looking more and more similar because they have less and less history and so many are made up of chain food restaurants: a Dairy Queen here, a McDonald’s there, a Subway attached to the gas station.

I can tell my mind is ready for home, and it’s not just because of the strange dreams and daydreams I’ve been having. My friend’s father was decapitated in a car accident with a semi when I was about 16. Now I rub my neck every time I am stuck on the highway behind a trucker driving 55 in a 65, impatient but afraid to pass…

No, it’s not just the fantastic flashes of car crashes. Those are normal, and I couldn’t help but have them last month after visiting James Dean in the graveyard. He told me all about how he died, and the story kind of freaked me out. I think the visions have gotten a little less frequent. They mostly occur when I’m on the highway or boxed in on the freeway, and I’ve avoided sleeping in my car to help keep the frequency down.

I keep thinking about that sign I saw as I drove within range of Tulsa: JESUS IS COMING. The style was outdated. The color was faded. The paint was chipped, and I could see the wood peeking through the holes in the lettering.

No, it’s not the crazy car crash thing that makes me think I’m losing my mind. It’s the fact that after I watched Spider-Man in Tulsa at 10:00 AM, I had a hard time remembering who I was: Peter Parker? Jeremiah Akin? Stan Lee?

It’s the fact that I identified so deeply with the characters in the new movie.

It’s the fact that I allowed myself to be so manipulated that I walked out saying, “Wow! That’s exactly what my life was like when I was sixteen, except for the superpowers and having a girlfriend like Emma Stone’s character.”

It’s the fact that I fell in love with Gwen Stacy for a whole two hours, and then I had to remind myself that she wasn’t a real person.

It’s the fact that it now seems normal for a belligerently drunk man to come on stage with me, steal the mic, and sing all the lyrics to “Dammit” as I am playing the song. I could taste his breathe from three feet away. It tasted like burnt cigarettes, marijuana smoke, and cheap beer.

It’s the fact that it now feels weird when I play a show and no one tells me that I’m pretty. In Arkansas a man mistook me for a “friend of Dorothy.” In Kansas a girl wrote “I’m not wearing panties ;)” on my mailing list and told me I was very handsome. I’m not trying to brag, but more so trying to acknowledge how vain I’ve become. Surprisingly, I’ve managed to simultaneously cling on to my self-deprecating sense of humor. I’m not sure how that works, but I think it has something to do with the fact that self-hatred and self-love are two opposite manifestations of narcissism.

I played a gig on Thursday in a town that consisted of two bars, a library, school houses, and a post office. “Main Street” ran through the neighborhood. Train tracks crisscrossed the street with the bars, library, and post office. About two blocks from the door of the bar were infinite acres of cornfields.

Well, as boring as the Midwest can be, the Black Hills are beautiful, and Rapid City has been an adventure. Last night after my show I was invited to a strange basement apartment to play music in exchange for $40.

“How much do you charge per hour?” asked the older-looking woman in the onesie and fedora.

“Umm…what?” The context of some of the experiences I have had on tour paired with my narcissism led me to believe this woman was making a less than admirable proposition.

My soundman interrupted: “He only plays music.”

Good. At least I’m not the only one sketched out by this situation.

“Yeah. That’s what I mean. How much would it cost for you to come over and bring your guitar and play us a couple of songs? We’re having a party.”

I finished up the show at Hall Inn and walked over the this woman’s house. I made my soundman and the venue booker come with me. I played a few songs to a tightly-packed smokey room of about fifteen people sitting around on couches and talking loudly. We left at about 2:15 AM.

I stayed on the property of the venue booker, a sweet girl who works at the winery I had played the night before. She owns land that she leases to her parents. I slept in the spare bedroom of her parents’ house, and she slept outside with her pet raccoon. From what I gathered, sleeping outside is the norm for her. When I walked in the house, there was an overweight naked man on the couch watching television. I waved. He stared. I kept walking.

Raccoons are fascinating up close. This girl’s raccoon was only a pup (or was it a kitten?). His name was Max (I know. Rocky would have been perfect in the Black Hills). The fascinating thing about Max was that he moved with such fluidity. Cats and dogs are very mechanical creatures in comparison. Raccoons seem to have a far less square type of structure, and when they walk it looks like they are using every muscle in their arched little bodies.

I’m pretty excited for Colorado today. The first time I went through I had two pretty fun shows. Tonight will probably be pretty low key since it’s a Sunday. No worries. Gwen Stacy just called and told me she was going to be there.

Faith & Fear

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“Nightmares” by Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside

Faith studies neurology at Tulane. She says that one of the theories of dreams is that they are the result of the unconscious working through hypothetical situations in which fear may be present. She says this theory has been confirmed by the experts at Wikipedia.

Charity sleeps upstairs in the top half of a duplex after staying out until 4:47 AM. We danced to rockabilly and climbed trees. I showed her how to East Coast swing; she showed me some of New Orleans.

Faith tells ghost stories in the back yard in a lawn chair by the light of twin tiki torches. Hope hangs on to every word. I try to listen as Louisiana mosquitoes sink their needles in my skin and stick an itch below the surface. I dig to find the itch later while I dream of doing somersaults in my Corolla.

Hope asks Faith for more about the collapsed quarry and other stories of paranormal activity in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Hope asked how many women I had slept wtih. She was drunk. I didn’t answer. She got distracted.

Charity wakes up. We all take turns getting ready.
We are leaving.
Wait! One more…
Seven people shuffle back and forth between couches and bedrooms–bedrooms strung together like a long and sleepy hallway. I decide it’s time to leave.

I dream of falling asleep at the wheel. I dream of car crashes. I wake up in the passenger seat of my parked car at 5:24 AM. The truckers in the gas station parking lot are still asleep in their semis. I drive until 10:13 AM and slap myself awake every ten minutes. The pain assures me that I am no longer dreaming.

Beach

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I’m sorry for the long break this past week. I’ve been in Jacksonville, FL for the past few days, and I’ve had a couple of days without shows to regroup. My booker coincidentally lined up time off with Florida shows, so I’ve been enjoying time at the ocean. An old friend gave me the keys to his beach house, which is only about two blocks away from the house where I grew up.

I can’t tell you much more about what has happened at the Beach. This has by far been one of the most personal parts of my trip. Having grown up here for ten years and then abruptly moved to the Inland Northwest, I am still sorting through all that went on as a result of the dramatic changes. What I can tell you is that being at the beach and swimming in the ocean and spending time with old friends has been therapeutic and given me a sense of resolve.

The weather here has been less than agreeable. There is a tropical storm coming up from the Gulf Coast, so we’ve had a substantial amount of rain. One of my friends here told me that the road to Pensacola has been closed, so I’m holding out hope that I can still get to New Orleans in time for the show.

Writing more soon. Bedtime now.

Apples and Insomniacs

I should be sleeping right now, but I’m in workaholic overdrive mode and have to write before I can let myself go to sleep.

I love the New England area. It’s so rich with history, and the and the architecture is so intricate. I have been staying with a good friend who has been living in New York and studying art for quite sometime, so she took me to the Met today. To see Renoir, Degas, Pollock, Warhol, and so many other famous artists’ work in person was invigorating. The main complaint I have is that I felt my experience was interrupted by the tourists who were taking pictures. I mentioned this complaint to my friend, and she agreed. To go to a museum and see famous pictures that you’ve seen before and then take pictures of them is meaningless. As fleeting as the moment is, it seems more valuable to me that a viewer experience the piece of art by viewing it from all angles and different distances so as to come to a greater understanding of what the artist is trying to communicate.

Besides the thoughts about art, all I have to say is that tonight’s show was awesome and that I have survived NY driving so far. For this reason I am quite proud of myself. Take care. I’m falling asleep now. Goodnight.

Ohio is for Hipsters

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This post is a rant from midnight last night.

I had a few minutes of silence before the show tonight in Pennsylvania to get all introspective, and the quiet made me realize that I haven’t written many introspective or personal things in my previous posts.

Let me begin by saying that I loved Toledo. As predicted, the show was great. I had the pleasure of getting to know Kellen of Kellen & Me and the members of River Whyless before the show, and it was one of those times when you know a show is going to be good before you hear the bands. I know that’s dangerous to say because it sounds like I prejudged the music based on how much I liked the people. That’s basically what I did because I am shallow and illogical and base judgements on unrelated things, but a broken clock is right twice a day…unless it’s one of those military clocks. In that case it’s only right once a day.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone was awesome, and the music was too.

Ottowa Tavern was one of my favorite shows so far. In a lot of ways, it felt like home. At one point, I was talking to a cute lesbian in a retro thrift store skirt and she told me “this is where all the the hipsters congregate.” I like that. I think it’s high time we hipsters embrace the label. Let us free ourselves to enjoy the ephemeral nature of the trends we currently love. Let us admit to ourselves that we are following masses. Let us do so while we are still young and attractive. Yes, we will indubitably look back at our old photos and hate our styles, but this is all part of life, and we need to accept it. One day we will all be old and boring parents (except for maybe the lesbian with whom I spoke and those of us who are too cool to have children). For now we are the cool kids. For now we know everything. For now we have all the answers. Let us be stubborn and young.

While I was driving today, it occurred to me that next time I tour, it will probably be nothing like this. Hopefully it will still be fun, but it’s never going to be the same as this time around. This time I am in love with everything, and I don’t even care that it turns me sappy and stupid. I normally hate people who love everything, but I am a self-proclaimed self-righteous cynic by nature. Allow me to justify myself: I have to enjoy this moment as the child inside finally shuts the hell up for a few seconds and stops asking “why” so that I can enjoy my life.

Week Two

I put up a new post, but then I decided that the things I wanted to write weren’t ready to be written yet. It’s been so many days since my last post that I should just catch you all up to now. I apologize for the lack of creative description here.

Most of the shows so far have been pretty small. In Utah I played in the corner of a small Texas style barbecue restaurant. An older woman requested that I play some Willie Nelson. I told her I didn’t know and Willie Nelson and that I focus mainly on original work, but I offered to play Johny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” instead. As the woman was leaving she handed me a five, gave me a pat on the shoulder, and said, “You’re pretty good, but think about Willie.”

I told her I would think about Willie. I promised nothing more than that.

Colorado venues seemed to like me. In Pueblo I talked for a while with a bar tender who had Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson tattooed on his right arm and Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski tattooed on the other. One of the patrons tipped me in Pall Malls.

After my set, I fell in love with a very witty and intelligent black-haired girl who drank only water and told me she used to model lingerie. For better or worse, she was too smart for both of us. Throughout the talk, she seemed to be mistaking me for a pick-up artist, so even though our conversation went well, it ended at the bar.

Meh. It only takes me a couple of minutes to fall in love anyway.

In Colorado Springs I got to see my great aunt and she bought me lunch at a French sandwich shop. It’s been about two years since the death of my grandfather, and I was fascinated to see so many of his facial expressions and mannerisms in my aunt. There were no dangerous brunettes to speak of at this venue; only a friendly male barista who loved the skull on my merch table and gave me a hug after the set. (Just to clarify, by friendly, I mean friendly and nothing more. It’s hard to be clear sometimes when you’re writing in a hurry.) I drove after and slept at a rest stop between Colorado and Omaha.

There is too much to talk about in Omaha, and in Winona there is basically nothing to talk about, so I’ll save the good stuff for later and fast forward past the boring stuff, leaving you with a mediocre story.

After spending the night swatting mosquitoes in my back seat at a rest stop, Chicago driving was a pain in the ass. Upon arriving, I had plenty of unjustified road rage. After getting some rest, I quickly adapted. I stayed at a hostel, and there were tons of twenty-somethings from all over Europe staying there. I had roommates from Sweden, France, Spain, and I think Australia.

At Monday’s gig, I was pleasantly surprised when my old songwriting teacher showed up and sat through my whole show. He lives in Chicago over the summer and gives bike tours, so after the gig we went for a drive and he showed me around. We had a good time drinking Belgian beer on tap at Hopleaf, and then met up with some of his friends at a diner.

Monday was my first real day off, so it was pretty boring because I was taking care of all the stuff I hadn’t had time to do. On Monday night I spent about an hour drinking beer and talking with a group of Germans who were making a movie about their friend. They were going at the pace of about 120 miles per day, and their friend was biking at the same pace. The film crew of about 4 or 5 were sleeping in parking lots in a van, and the biker was sleeping outside at every stop. The biker was the only non-smoking, non-drinking vegan. The other guys seemed to be having a good time.

Left Chicago yesterday. Besides getting bedbugs and leaving with what looked like chicken pox, my stay was awesome.

Last night’s show was small, but I sold a couple t-shirts, and the venue owner, was really cool. I enjoyed hearing his stories about having hung out with various musical personalities. He told me Alanis Morissette once squeezed his ass, and I immediately knew he was a man worthy of my respect. He also told me that James Dean was buried nearby, so this morning I smoked the Colorado Pall Malls next to Dean’s headstone before making my way to the venue.

Right now I’m in Ohio and finally starting to lose geographical track of myself. I think we’re going to have a good show. There are multiple acts playing, so that will bring more people in, and one of the locals outside told me that the people who hang out here are mostly hipsters who drink PBR. That seems to be my target demographic at this point. Who’s to say what will happen when the hipster phase goes out of style? I’ll probably just start sounding old and outdated. As long as I’m not playing casinos at age fifty, I think I’ll be okay. Did I just jinx myself by saying that?

Send Off and First Show

Well, it looks like I’m officially on tour. I’ve been putting off writing anything because I’m not really a blogger, so I’m not sure of what kind of “voice” a blog is supposed to have. As a result of my lack of direction and my rushed posts, this blog is bound to have a bit of a rough and unrefined feel. You see? My sentences are already full of redundant adjectives.

Alright, alright, alright. Enough with the boring and apologetic prefacey stuff. Down to business.

I want to thank all of my friends and family for making me feel so loved as I was sent off. They have all supported me so much both morally and financially. On Sunday morning before I left, my family and friends took me out to The Breakfast Club. When our waitress and my dear friend Rachel brought the check over and I saw the doodle she’d drawn on the back of the check I wanted to cry. It was a little dog with a speech bubble that said “We’ll miss you, Jerm!” It’s a good thing I’m so macho otherwise I might have turned into a pitiful puddle of tears and snot.

Caldwell was pretty fun. I arrived a day before my show so that I could wake up in time for a radio interview. Short radio and television spots seem to be some of the best ways to get exposure these days. I think people are getting too comfortable just sitting in their houses. They like it when entertainment is brought to them, and not the other way around. I’m not criticizing, because I am guilty of the same thing. I am just observing.

The show booked in Caldwell was a house show, so I was able to stay at the venue. On Monday morning before the radio interview, I rode bikes around Caldwell with my host, Bert. Bert is a friendly guy in his late forties or early fifties with a couple of grown kids, and he’s full of stories about being a roadie for various Christian bands from the 80s, including a band called “The Call.” His son is a semi-professional rugby player, which I think is pretty cool. I don’t know squat about rugby (or most sports for that matter), but I watched Bert’s son’s game, and I enjoyed it.

Caldwell isn’t a very interesting place right now. The downtown is halfway rebuilt. The rest is run down and looks like a ghost town, but Bert is currently in the process of securing a building in which he hopes to build an event center. He has some good ideas for boosting the local economy in Caldwell, one of them being the events center. He hopes that will bring more people into the town and encourage local business.

The radio interview was in Boise proper, so Bert and I drove down, and I had the fortune of finally meeting Eric Gilbert of Finn Riggins. He conducted the interview, he played a recording of one of my new songs, and then I played a song live. We were there for about a half hour and then went for a walk around town. We ended up eating lunch at a Vietnamese place and talking about how much we hate church politics.

In the evening, Bert and his roommates made dinner for everybody: barbecued pork, and chicken for the kosher members of Fleet Street Klezmer Band. The salad was dressed with a homemade blackberry vinaigrette, and for a side dish we had garlic mashed potatoes. The flavors of the meal were perfectly balanced between sweet and savory, and they made so much food that nobody felt guilty about going back for seconds.

Two of the opening bands (Fleet Street Klezmer Band and Bamboo Spork) had the sort of charming and folksy Eastern European flare that I find inspirational. The third opener, The Green Zoo, were more on the indie/new emo end of the spectrum. I exchanged CDs with them and really enjoyed listening to their album on the way to Huntsville, UT. It is a concept album that mixes songs and dramatic dialogue in an attempt to explore existential ideas. I thought this was a risky and ambitious undertaking for a first album, but the disk was well put together.

Well, I don’t want to give you too much to read at once. I’ll try and come back to this tomorrow and fill you in on more of what has been going on. I’ve got plenty more to say about the last couple of nights, and I’m looking forward to the show tonight. Just sitting in the coffee shop and trying to catch up on stuff right now. I’ll try to send a few postcards back home. In the mean time, keep me updated on what’s going on back home. I’m sorry to be missing so many things that are going on in all of your lives this summer: weddings, parties, people moving into newly bought homes, and all other sorts or transitions. I miss all y’all in Moscow, but I know this summer will go quickly, and I’ll be home soon.

Until next time,
Jeremiah

P.S. Is “until next time” a tagline for the end of some 90s cartoon? I kind of feel like it is. If you know, tell me. This is going to bug me now.

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