I have had a big, giant moment like this. I am in the position of feeling that I am being jerked around by people who think they know my business.
Just so they know, they do NOT.
If you do something for the right reasons, you know it. You feel it, and you are doing it because you want to and know there is something behind the project.
In just about everything I've done in my life, and I am sure this has happened to you: you do whatever you do, and there will always be people to comment on it.
Oftentimes you get positive feedback; even if not positive, it's given in a positive manner. You must be open to that, and I try to be. It gets better as you get older.
Then, you have those who (even if they do mean well) love to tell you what you should be doing, and how you should do it. It's like they are enlightened beings and know-it-all's who have decided they are going to dictate to you what you do and how you do it.
Everything that went before, from your own hands, is shit.
That's how I process some of it. Not all of it, but some of it.
You are wrong...you are wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.
Your work is not good enough; your writing is not strong enough, your music is not good enough like this. Nothing is ever good enough.
It has been difficult enough in my life to gain a positive attitude about my work, without people coming along and spouting off about how great they are, in relation to you, and how YOU need to get with their program.
I don't fucking think so.
My band the Dharma Fools seemed to be going along pretty decently. Then we lost one of the original members, and one of my best friends.
We became what we were not meant to be; we turned into a creature that feeds on its own people.
This is NOT why we made music. This is NOT why we do it. We lost the plot; or rather, I lost the plot, by allowing our focus to not be on the music the way we were meant to do it.
Instead, we have become the thing we warned ourselves about.
Music for me has been my diversion from the other things I do and write about. Oh, of course I still have to hear about that, too! Nothing's ever quite right enough, is it? Nothing's ever COMMERCIAL ENOUGH, is it?
I once joked that the reason my writing has not yet been published: there are no vampires or zombies in there.
But I digress.
The essence of Ahltyrra, and later the Dharma Fools has been lost. It probably was lost when the former split up. We forgot why we came together, we forgot why we play music, and we forgot why we create it.
Too many people, and I'm not saying it is wrong, but...their drives are not about engaging an audience, getting them involved and drawn in. It's about all the other things that we are not about.
I enjoy playing music, but I have not been comfortable performing the way things are. I'm just not. I do not feel right. I don't sound right, and there's too much swirling around me which makes this whole thing untenable.
An old friend said you may need to clear the board. That's why I am standing back.
No one is getting fired. No one is getting thrown under the bus. But I feel the band, if it is to exist, will need to be cut back to those who are the focal point. The rest are welcome and will be; but this thing got out of control, and that is my doing.
I own it.
I've spent a long time trying to figure out what was wrong, what was missing, and what didn't work. It's nagged me for weeks, and I realize the way things are just does not work.
I have to be comfortable onstage, and in my skin before I can really do that job. We've been pushed, prodded, and nudged in too many directions, sometimes all at once. Why do I also feel we're not supposed to think a little about us, but someone else's timetable?
When you jerk a dog's chain too many times, he's gonna snap.
I've snapped. I don't want to bite anyone's head off, though.
My song, "Black Ambition" has become the point...
"Are you doing this for money
Are you doing it for fun
Do you have another motive
Or are your races already run?"
I ask that question of others.
I'm sure people are gonna take this wrong, but if they don't want to think about it, and ask questions, then it does not matter. Nothing in that context matters, when people have agendas and their own stuff to push.
Go ahead; push it all you want, I'm not stopping you. JUST DON'T PUSH IT ON ME.
One member of my band got shit from people who had the temerity (or stupidity, depending on how you look at it) to criticize things that don't fucking matter. Not my place to explain the details, and I won't. Just a snapshot of the bigger picture.
What the fuck happened to people playing music the way they wanted to do it, and have others judge it on its own merits, without dissecting it to death? I see the former at Open Mics; but why on Earth when it comes to us, that this somehow is just not good enough?
I honestly appreciate it when someone tells me they like something we did; I can tell when people mean it. I can also tell when they're lying. I'd rather you told me you didn't like something, and why, rather than blow smoke.
When you hear us, this is what you get. It's not perfect, but nothing ever is. You get people who love music, who work on it, and who play it because they enjoy doing it.
I am not a great musician. I call myself passable for what I do, and it works for me. I don't go out there and perform anymore for reasons that to me are juvenile.
It's not for ego. It's not to get laid. It's not to make our dicks bigger or whatever.
We enjoy it. If you like it, great. If not, that's okay too. No problem.
Just remember, if you are a musician or a fan or a hanger-on: what you see and hear is what you get. Embrace it, and enjoy it for what it is.
I love sitting at these events and just watching and listening to others do their stuff. Sometimes I admit what I hear is not for me, but that is just my view. I'm not going to go tell them how wrong they are, because they are NOT wrong.
Then there are people I can watch and hear all night, because they got my attention on the merits of what they offered. Nothing more.
My feeling on the Dharma Fools is this: if I am to continue (and bear in mind, that Real Life may take me out of the band anyway), it needs to be stripped down again. The hot rod needs an overhaul, a tweaking here and there and some changes. Then maybe it'll race again.
That is all.