WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?

All seven of my Ibanez guitars…yes my OCD is apparent here.

The new album is on hold until I feel like starting up again. I made this decision a while back because I wasn’t happy with anything. It’s my own fault really. I always get excited about things like this, and plaster my thoughts all over social media. And more often than not, it blows up in my face.

I need to show more admirable restraint.

While going over the initial batch of songs, I found myself feeling fatigued. Not in a good way either. In the past, I would have that “runner’s high” after playing my songs, that feeling of being more excited leaving a rehearsal than going in. Now I noticed that that warm fuzzy feeling wasn’t there.

Uh-oh.

I made a big mistake way back in 2005 when I was working on the album JUPITER RETURN. Things were not moving well yet I forced it along because I felt I had something to prove. The vibes were not right, egos were running rampant, and yet I pushed the album along and pissed everyone off in the process. I promised myself that that would never happen again.

Since then, every album I’ve made was an absolute joy, even if there was more grunt work than needed. This time around, I was not feeling it. The one rehearsal back in October was very good but the universe had other ideas, mainly “This music isn’t ready yet, you prick!”

So I pulled the plug on everything. I ruffled some feathers in the process but it’s my name going on the album. I have the right to change my mind, re-tool things, even discard stuff to the compost pile.

I am chipping away at the songs here and there, not obsessing over them as I normally would. I’m not on a time table, no deadlines, nobody hanging over my head. I used to tell myself “This has to be done! My ego depends on it!” But now, I am more relaxed about it. I am in no rush to get to work on the album.

I have been speaking with other musicians who feel their energy and drive fading a bit because of the lock downs and such. Tony Iommi said it best in a Facebook video that “We musicians are taking a beating!” and he’s right. While he was talking about not touring and hearing the sound of applause, I also interpreted it as “We can only do so many Instagram videos and Facebook Live clips.”

Back to the songs…

One question that was gnawing at me while going over them a while back was “What am I trying to say?” I was writing this really heavy, angry-type music and thought “THIS is going to be insane!” But I was sometimes known for writing fun guitar music, even if something was borderline Pantera-level. Part of my feeling worn out in a bad way was that for the first time ever, I felt like my music was a chore. Yes I said that out loud. And if I thought that, then others would think that too. I’m not about to dumb down who I am, but I am being more conscious about “Does this make sense?” and “Am I truly happy with this before I release it?” Deep down inside, I had to admit to myself that this music wasn’t working. So while a couple of songs are staying, others are being stripped down and re-worked. Again, don’t expect me to run into the studio soon to do anything. I am simply not ready. My heart is not there. It will come back, but unlike 2005, I will not force things.

BTW: I posted that pic of all my Ibanez guitars because you all like pretty colours. And Ibanez rules!!

Published by steviehimself

Guitarist/guitar teacher/cat lover in New Jersey.

One thought on “WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?

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