January 2012

Late Night Phone Calls...

Last night I got a phone call.

You know those phone calls you get where in the first three seconds you know that the theme of entire conversation is just going to be laced with guilt and shame and will inevitably end up being embarrassing for everyone?

Yeah, it was one of those.

As soon as I picked up the phone and saw the caller ID, I knew that it was going to go badly, but out of a sense of obligation and a little bit of guilt I went against my better judgement and answered the call.

Nonetheless, the caller ID screamed at me loudly enough that I knew it was going to be an exceedingly uncomfortable conversation.

"natepike.com" was all it said, but it spoke volumes.

I answered with a simple "Hello", and there was the obligatory awkward pause.

"Hi, it's been a while".

"Yes, yes it has", I said.

"I've missed you".

"I know," I said, "It's just that I've been terribly busy the last little while".

"We haven't done anything in over a year..."

There was a long awkward pause.

"I know," I said again, "I'm really sorry."

I won't detail the remainder of the conversation, but needless to say, there were quiet accusations, there was more than a little bargaining, and all of it has led up to this little update here.

Sorry webpage. It's been a busy year, and I know I've said this before, but I won't let it happen again. You know I love you.

The New Creative...

Ok.

Letís do this then.

Life's been good.

One wouldn't think that's a problem.

In most ways, it isn't. But it turns out that when most of your previous creative energy was either fueled by contempt, rage or other additives you find yourself somewhat reaching when it comes time to be creative from a happy content place.

For me, being creative has always been something of an escapist and isolationist pursuit. Whether it's head in an amplifier or headphones on or focused in front of a word processor, it's historically been just me.

To say nothing of the availability of time. When I decided to go back to school almost 4 years ago at the tender age of 31, I knew that there would be some challenges in finding time. When my wife and I decided to start a family, I knew it would require reprioritization even further. When my son arrived, I found that given the choice between segregating myself away from him or spending time with him thoughtlessly easy to make.

There have been changes in the band too. We're trying to create music as a much more collaborative approach, and that's a new kind of beast for me as well. Historically, I've discovered, assembled and brought the bones of a song in, and then the band has added the meat around them. Now we're all out in the badlands together looking for bones and trying to match them up as a unit. It's all love boat, exciting and new, but it's also foreign and I'm much more clumsy with it than I'm used to.

It's strange, because I'm having to relearn how to be creative in many ways.

Schools almost done, it's all practicum from here on in and then I'm done. Then I get some time back. Music and things creative get back on the list. Not at the top, but they get back on.

But it leaves the question, what do I write about? I've spent the better part of 20 years writing about all of the dark and angry things inside of me, and while some of them are still there, they are much fewer and far between. Getting pissed off used to be so easy, and it's a very strange thing to have to work at it.

I used to be a news junkie and get upset about the state of the world, but I've come to the conclusion that it's nothing new at all. The world is as it always was and always will be until there's nothing left of this blue and green ball. I'll live in it the way that I believe I should, but there will always be bad things that happen and there will always be bad people that abuse power.

If anything, it's the activists that are pissing me off. The ability of "activists" to marginalize what might be a reasonable argument with excessive drum circles and an insane abundance of crazy is astounding. I get it, you're bitter about the fact that you missed the 60's, but you're doing the work of those that you are railing against by throwing the crazy around like it's free. It's not, and the cost is credibility.

Maybe I'll write about that. Perhaps there's some self righteous contempt left in me after all...

Video Killed Something Or Other...

I don't really listen to the radio that much these days. Alternative rock seems to either be wishing it was new wave all over again or way overproduced with meaningless lyrics.

Maybe I'm getting old...

Check that, I am getting old, but maybe it's because I'm getting old.

One of my favorite bad ass bands from the nineties played a casino show recently. I don't know what to do with that. Even more so, I went to the show, had an awesome time and tripped out on the fact that the youngest people there weren't even born when I started listening to the band.

I really don't know what to do with that.

Most of the music that I listen to these days is by people that most people don't seem to have heard of. Matthew Ryan, The (Goodyear) Pimps, Alabama 3, Cracker. Hell I even dropped a Joe Strummer reference last week that was met with a blank look. I don't even know how that's possible.

So yeah, look up those bands if you want. You probably should, cause they are all absolutely excellent.

Also, I can't stand pop music these days. I guess the older you get, the less you want pablum...

Anyways, in no particular order hereís five albums you should immediately listen to and why.

The Goodyear Pimps - More Songs About Drugs With Curse Words

If you want to talk textbook definition of punk attitude with a healthy dose of satire all wrapped up in a candy coated shell made of chocolate and pieces of broken razor blades, this band is should be on your go to list. Think what The Headstones would have sounded like if they were slightly more redneck and hailed from the wrong side of the border. The song "Rocket Science" is what many would describe as what might classify this band as a one hit wonder, but the fact is that the album is fantastic and it's not the only impressive album this band has put out. The last album was awesome as well, and while it might be easy for the simple mided listener to ignore the band one a cursary (no pun intended) first listen, the fact of the matter is the lyrics are clever and on many of the songs hide a pretty impressive depth.

Alabama 3 - Exile On Cold Harbour Lane

If you don't know who the Alabama Three are (there are more than three of them in the band) or the sordid mythology that goes along with them, you need to. Immediately. The truth of the matter is you've probably heard their music without even realizing it, unless you were living under a rock for the entire time "The Sopranos" were on the air. That being said, "Woke up this morning" is just the tip of the iceberg with these guys, and their follow up album, "La Peste" should really be considered a companion piece. Genre bending just about every style of music that you can think of, this album was just a beginning it what would become a long run of albums that continues to this day. You really can't go wrong with anything by these guys, but this album is a great place to start.

Rob Dougan - Furious Angels

There are very few albums I would call perfect but completely recommend. This is one of them. From the first time I heard "Clubbed To Death" to the moment I finally had a copy of the complete album (which was quite a few years apart, largely because the album took forever to be released in it's entirety) and listened to the final track (A revistiation/reimagining of Clubbed To Death called Clubbed to Death 2), I've been a tremendous fan. To date, Rob has only released this one album, but the composition of the music was so incredible that it warranted a two disc version later on that included instrumental versions of all the songs. Certainly this is one of the artists out there that if you haven't listened to anything by them, you certainly should do yourself a favour and check them out.

Holly Mcnarland - Stuff

90's CanCon? Hell yeah. Killer album? Absolutely. Prefaced by "Sour Pie", and revisting one of the songs from that EP, Stuff had a couple of songs on it that did more than a little well on Canadian rotations, but it was the last half of the album that I always played to help me sleep. The disc comes out swinging with "Numb" and "Elmo" (one of my favorite videos from that time period), but winds down quite a bit by the end. Awesome lyrics and a voice that stopped me dead in my tracks, it's an album that's completely worth your time.

Ke$ha - Animal

Not Really. I'm just fuckin' with you there a little.

You know where to find me.

Nate@natepike.com