I often felt like an outsider growing up because the world in my mind rarely matched the world as described by anyone around me. It was subtle but completely pervasive. I found a place for my strangeness in music. A place to vent the overwhelming floods of thought in which I found myself drowning.
My solace took physical form in my room, which at 14 I turned into a small studio with money I made mowing lawns and teaching guitar. I started out with a shitty little 4 track recorder, some pedals, amps, and microphones, then grew it into an early Pro Tools LE system with a nice keyboard and some more gear. I began making records in high school, passing out early albums on burned CDs with titles like “Sweet Illusion,” “Ephemera",”An Open Diary Always Locked,” “Falling Sickness,” and so on. I would go to school reluctantly, thinking about music and poetry all day. I loved T.S. Elliot, I loved Thoreau, Emerson, the Bronte sisters. Then, through George MacDonald’s masterpiece, Lilith, I discovered a mind which thought like mine. In the spirit world of Lilith I met prayers flying as birds, I felt aspects of my own consciousness in Lilith with her fist seized upon her attachments to ego, and met part of myself as Vane: clear-self, not neurotic, just existing in a vast space of humility. I had never seen the depths of the mind scattered so beautifully across the arc of a story so well. This changed my relationship with myself; it gave me more confidence and freedom in the search for my own heart.
At first I was inspired by the music I grew up with - everything from Billie Holiday to Sam Cook to Elvis to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Gary Puckett, Neil Young, Hank Williams, Van Halen, James Taylor, ABBA, Pink Floyd, Prince, Weezer, and the list goes on and on… and then by rock music of the time, like the Strokes, the Early November, Hellogoodbye, The Flaming Lips, The White Stripes, Bright Eyes, and so on. After my first year of college I somehow ended up at Berklee in Boston, where I studied as much as I could and built a relationship with jazz, world music, and the wider world in general. Up to that time my exposure to culture at large had been limited. I began to fall in love with other home recording artists’ work, like the master Les Paul, who mixed his whimsical guitar style with home recording wizardry to pioneer the overdub and recorded music as we know it. Through the years I’ve gathered the experience of playing various roles in rock, pop, r&b, hip hop, country, indie, folk, jazz, and electronic groups. Because of this I tend to want to make every kind of music I love all at once. It’s a challenge to try and narrow it into a niche, one I would sometimes prefer to ignore.
I look forward to making more eclectic records in the near future.
I feel the material churning in my blood.
These days I'm reaping inspiration from South American literature like Isabelle Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Pablo Neruda. I've devoured most of Alejandro Jodorowsky's work this year, watching several of his films repeatedly, as well as Bauhaus... it's the centennial of the school's opening. I'm loving Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry and Attar's Conference of the Birds. Nature is my first love; in nature I am alive with myself, and when my bare feet touch the earth I feel a closeness and a confidence which I can feel no other way. That's my first inspiration. And my life is a continuous love affair with the universe.
To me, this quote of Carl Jung’s describes the feeling of a person captured in this position well:
“Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument.
The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends,
but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him.” - Jung
I started a band called Trash Panda because of this process playing out… and I started this project in order for that process to continue into its next phase. I can’t speak for the intelligence of either of these moves because this is a flood in which I am being swept along. It may seem dramatic to say so, but it’s nevertheless how I feel. We’ll see where this all goes in time.