I am never good enough at my art. I never see the shot someone else sees. I never hear the melody someone else hears. I write and I shoot and I advertise, and I edit, and render, and record, and rehearse, and love, and ball things up, and give up, and sit back down, and wish I was someone else. Someone more talented. Someone more focused. Someone with a label who figured out the business stuff for them. Someone who wasn’t afraid to just sit and create and create and create day after day. Someone who didn’t worry about control or money or security or people understanding or people coming to shows.
Someone who never had to get up while their laptop was dying, or who was tired. We all throw away who we are in the face of who we think we could be.
A greedy voice explains why we aren’t good enough yet. Pushes us to be more, attract more, earn more. I want to be what I am not. I don’t care about what I am. I worship at my alter of all the things I won’t attain today. I blow my back out over a laptop 10 hours a day working for more freedom. My best friend is my phone. My fridge has flies in it.
The painter paints. The incessor-naut pounds away at insanity. I wait for Spring and it’s already here.
Please make me great. Please make me enough for myself.
Tonight we were determined to not spend the night in a parking lot again. At the risk of being predatory, we needed to make friends. Fast.
In some ways, having the intention of not spending more on lodging and not sleeping in the car was good for us. My favorite part of traveling is meeting new people. And being determined to couch surf definitely moves you out of your comfort zone.
When we showed up at the John King open mic, we thought it was going to suck. It just looked like a place talented artists try to stay away from. We almost didn’t go in.
First we met Wilson. Wilson is an epic-ly talented singer-songwriter from Charleston who was playing when we walked up the stairs. When he finished his set we started talking and Chaz started showing Wilson his video work.
“Man you guys do amazing work!”
Emceeing and setting up each musician for their set, there was a confident punk-rock looking kid who wore a ‘working musician’ shirt and baggy shorts.
After Chaz played, he came up and introduced himself as Will Bragunier. He had a music booking app called Jyve and if we were ever in town he’d help us get booked. Recognizing another start-up founder and entrepreneur, I mentioned the work we had done with Custom-Tracks.com and offered to help however we could while we were in town.
“There’s a battle of the bands we’re throwing tomorrow. It’d be awesome if y’all filmed that.”
“Let’s do it.”
A battle of the bands meant hanging out with more musicians. And more chances to not sleep in the car the next night.
Just about then, Wilson turned to us and smiled and said, “Alright man, great to meet y’all. We’re gonna head out, hope to see you around.”
Chaz flashed a split-second wide-eyed expression of fear at me and I knew I had to say something or we were going to be back in a parking lot.
“Hey Wilson, you know – we spent last night in the car and we’re determined not to do that again. Would you want to make a video? We could shoot a video for you for free, if you had a floor or couch we could crash on.
His eyes lit up for a second before turning to his girlfriend and trying to compromise with her. She seemed to shake her head at first. My heart dropped. Thirty seconds later he must have convinced her of how much he really wanted the video. We were in.
The battle of the bands was pretty chill. The last band to play had a killer bass player that I asked to record on one of my songs. He did a killer job but I ended up losing the files and got a session musician back home to retrack it based on his performance.
We told Will about our dreams of avoiding the parking lot and after asking us to confirm that we would neither kill him nor rape his dog, he agreed to let us crash at his place.
Will’s place was hilarious. It was as punk rock as it gets. I slept on an air mattress that stayed inflated for the first 30 minutes and then collapsed on the hard wood floor. His dog sat on my face in the morning. Still 10x better than the car.
Today we explored some more. We were shooting some footage in St. John’s cathedral when someone asked us what we were doing. We explained our trip and got into an awesome conversation about how spaces affect us and our creativity. The guy introduced himself as Nabil, a local abstract artist whose gallery was just around the corner. We talked for hours until the cathedral closed and then promised to visit his gallery the next day.
Will agreed to let us stay another night and we showed back up to catch the end of a rehearsal him and his band were having. Afterwards, Will finished a bottle of Jack Daniels and we stayed up recording and talking about Jyve as Chaz and I watched him get drunk.
Eventually Will goes, “Alright, you guys want some gigs. Let’s book some shit.”
Me and Chaz looked at each other, shrugged, and proceeded to let Will book us like $1,000 in gigs each.
We finished up the night with Will showing us videos of this crazy guy named GG Allin – self-proclaimed rock messiah. The next morning we headed over to see Nabil’s gallery.
It seems like everywhere we go our videography gets our foot in the door with other creatives. Nabil loved our work and wanted to collaborate. After seeing his gallery, we were all about it. I asked him how much he charged to create a piece I could use as an album cover for LYM. He told me he would work trade it if we made a video of him making the piece and also shot a time-lapse of him working on a piece of his own.
That seemed incredibly generous to me, so we headed down to the Charleston harbor. The idea was to play the song for him and for him to paint his reaction to it hearing it for the first time.
It’s incredible to me how quickly abstract art can happen. The whole process took 20 minutes. And then I had this incredible accompaniment to the music to create the cover art out of.
The words are red while you are violet
I’ll talk instead while you stay silent as you are
You ache to hold your cards
Ya you’re tongue tied
Still hold me like your pillow neath night sky
I’m patient as is proper I’m the nice guy
On the mark gonna race your broken heart to the floor
What do you want
what do you want
How do you feel?
You hold me like your fancy cup of coffee
Can’t tell if my love is like your hobby
Or your art
But you paint it on my heart
So it’s iffy
When I read some text that says you miss me
It’s only been like 15 since you kissed me in your car
Down the boulevard
What do you want
what do you want
How do you feel?
Got a lot in common we ain’t fuckin with labels
You want a hillside and car with no cable
Oooh you the scene real thing no fable
But I don’t speak on fate I know that can be fatal
But you a snack and a half laughing and cracking a pun
In the back of the car been sleeping out on the run
And you been biting my lip like you been biting your tongue
So it could be tomorrow then you tell me you done
But I’m so John Mayer that I’m callin it love soon
Adding this up like I’m playing sudoku
First it’s who you then you callin me boo too
You so hands on girl you couldn’t be blue tooth
But love it tastes like elbow grease
Repairing teeth and sharin pizza
Thought maybe we could talk at least
I don’t wanna scribble in this masterpiece
If talk is cheap, cheaper than EBT
My heart is beatin heard you’re leaving for no reason
Greener pastures ain’t the place to be
But don’t forget your broke ass is on this lease
And honestly I’m on Elise, I’m on at least
So off the leash like bye Felicia tried to please ya
One more song for Angeline ya ya
Florida in the awful heat ya ya
She runnin say she hate to run AC
Now she’s down south gon’ run AT
You run til you run out then you 180
We break up then break down from anxiety
Still you need help I’m there like EMT
And drive you to emergency
You make me sit in the lobby
The irony I love you deep
But how do you feel?