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the key.

Do you remember that key you gave me? Old, rusty and foreboding. Do you remember what it unlocked? It opened that box in the attic. The box that was stuffed with old comic books, bubblegum wrappers and vinyl records.

We sat up in that dusty attic everytime I came over when we were kids. And we would play those records, those old bebop tunes, and we would read the comics, giggling and smiling at each other. Those were the best days. The days when we would lay on the grass and watch the sun set, drinking coca cola and pretending that we were the superheroes in the comic books.

We did that everyday and we never got bored. It went on like that for years…until we grew up. And boys weren’t supposed to play with girls, and girls weren’t supposed to play with boys. Boys were supposed to play sports and act like didn’t care about girls. They were supposed to smoke and drink and be cool and confident. Girls were supposed to paint their nails and read fashion magazines, and giggle and gossip about the cute, smooth and confident boys. There was no time for milkshakes with maraschino cherries on top and those black licorice pipes that fooled the grown-ups. No time to run around the yard with squirt guns and lick-and-stick tattoos. And there was definitely no time to sit in a dusty attic with a box, laughing at comic books and listening to vinyl records.

Then we both went to college and we forgot about the good days. We forgot about the coca cola sunsets…and we forgot about each other. We found upperclass jobs, and we started dating other people, sipping martini’s at all of the happening places. And I remember passing you on the street one day, giving you a hug and my phone number, and telling you to come over or call anytime. And you did. You came by one evening with your brown hair falling in ringlets, and your blue and green flecked eyes searching my apartment for something…

We sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee and catching up, me sitting opposite of you in my college football sweater. And we nibbled at Peak Freens and laughed until it was three o’clock in the morning. And then, all of a sudden, you grew real serious and asked me a question that anyone else might find silly and immature…but not me, not us. You asked me if I still had that rusty old key, the one that unlocked that box with all the stuff in it. I pulled it out of my pocket and you took it from me surprised that I had kept it, surprised that I had even remembered. And I told you that I never forgot, not really anyways, and that you had been on my mind since the that one day when I decided not to come over. Instead of listening to the vinyls and reading the comics with you, I chose to play football with my friends in the park because my friends pressured me…told me it wasn’t cool to hang out with girls like that.

And you smiled warmly and pushed back the kitchen chair, coming over to kiss my cheek. And I took you tightly inside my arms and I kissed your lips softly. And you looked up at me and whispered quietly, “I never forgot either.”

I wrote a song called, ‘The Cove’ and it’s track number 4 on my latest album, ‘Forget Me Not’.  I did not write this song so that it might become a hit single or so that it might, in some way, get people to take notice of my music…the lyrics in the bridge “blood, blood in the water, stains deep on the shore” would put most people off anyway.  These are the type of lyrics that most people just don’t want to listen to on their way to work.  No.  Instead, the real reason that I wrote the song, ‘The Cove’ is because it is something that I wholeheartedly support and believe in.

 

I support everything Ric O’Barry is trying to accomplish because I believe that what he is doing is good.  I truly think that killing thousands of dolphins for meat that is contaminated with mercury and isn’t safe for human consumption is senseless.  I believe that capturing young, wild dolphins and bringing them back to North America so that they can go on display and do tricks for our pleasure is irresponsible and unfortunate.  I find no amusement when visiting places like Marineland or Seaworld. In fact, I get sick.  I look at some of those beautiful creatures that were, at one point in their lives, free, and I grieve for them.  I look at the babies born in captivity and I mourn for the life that they will never know about…the freedom that they will never get to experience.  A large open ocean that they will never have the opportunity to explore.  To me it is just so terribly sad, and it seems as though this world wants to seek out and exploit everything natural.

 

They are building a new hospital 15 minutes from where I live.  What used to be green is now being dug up and turned into concrete.  There will be nothing left in two more years except for business upon business.  No fields.  No big trees.  Nothing.

I went to Canada’s Wonderland the other day.  While I enjoyed the time spent with my family, I very much disliked the atmosphere of the theme park.  I would rather have gone for a hike on the Bruce Trail then ride roller-coasters all day.  I don’t need to pay for a ticket to ride the Behemoth and I certainly don’t need to win a stuffed polyester monkey made by little children in China.

 

We are creatures of excess.  We need/want.  And my definition of need/want is this… Something that is not critical to our survival as a species.  We need/want new and fancy cell phones when our old ones are perfectly capable of communication. We need/want that shirt because so and so has it and therefore in turn, it will make us look fashionable.  We need/want bigger cars because they are sleek and extravagant. We need/want stimulation because for some strange reason we believe that we lack this in our everyday lives.  We go to Marineland because we are “bored”, eating popcorn as we watch a once wild animal do flippy tricks for us so that we can clap and say, “Oh, that was great and so much fun!  Did you see what that dolphin can do!?”  Then we go home, go to sleep, wake up… and then what? We need/want something else to make us happy.  The trip to Marineland is turning into a vague memory.  We are constantly searching for another need/want.  Something to fill a void that has been created.  We are stuffing ourselves full of everything that equates to nothing.  And it is always done to excess.  And it just seems so wrong to me.  Or like my song says…“Die, die, die, die”.

 

What do I believe in?  I believe that we should take only what we need.  Not what we want.  Thousands of animals are slaughtered every day for no reason.  Most of their deaths are wasted.  They are thrown out and into the garbage…uneaten…unused, yet there are people going hungry in this world.  The problem is not that we are consuming living creatures in the first place, the problem is that most of them are unnecessarily being slaughtered because of the incessant need/want.  There was never a problem with animal cruelty years ago.  There were small farms.  People took and ate what was necessary.  Then large businesses were born.  Profit was to be made.  Excess became the new normal.  And need/want took over us all and was confused as “The American Dream”.  Unfortunately, the beautiful positivity and freedom that the American Dream promised took an ugly turn and became a corporate dream.  “They get off on making profit, but I don’t need what their selling, I don’t want it.  Die, die, die, die.”

 

We don’t need to slaughter dolphins.  We don’t need to visit a theme park so that we can be educated on the different species that exist in the ocean.  I’ll let you in on a secret…those animals are not in their natural environment whatsoever.  In fact, what you are actually viewing is a distressed creature ripped from it’s home, and swimming around in a circular man-made tank.  It is not even close to resembling it’s actions and habits in the wild.  What you think you are learning is in reality, an illusion.  But I completely understand…  The argument about how most people will never  be able to ever physically see or touch a dolphin.  But I really believe that that is the way it should be.  Because truthfully, you don’t need to touch or see them in person to learn about them.  Instead, that is yet another example of a “need/want”.

 

Do you know what I think we all really need??  What we really need is to be content with ourselves and our lives.  Embrace the people in them…not the things in them.

I don’t want to be influenced by intangible, commercial things that lack meaning. Instead, what I truly want and care about is trying to do the right things in my life. And I deeply hope that this post might somehow inspire others in the smallest of ways to do the same…

“So I’m protesting, I’m packing punches.  They say I’m crazy, at least I’m not gutless.  Die, die, die, die.”

 

http://savejapandolphins.org/

http://www.ecojoia.com/

 

 

 

thanks.

It’s amazing.  Every time I feel like giving up, or things aren’t going my way, something small happens.  A letter of support from a fan.  A facebook comment.  A reassuring hug from someone I know or even a smile from a complete stranger.

 

So many people reached out to me as a result of my last blog post and it felt so wonderful…  I became strong again.  Now truthfully, I don’t know exactly what I believe in…but my dad has taught me one important thing in life, and that is to love.  Show love to everybody, everywhere, always.  Because, in the end, it always comes back to you in some form or another.  And it’s true.  It does.

 

And as ridiculously cheesy as it sounds, I love all of you.  All of you reading this…all of you listening to my music…every one of you who comes out to my shows, who buys a CD, or tells a friend about my stuff.  I wouldn’t be anything without any of you.  So thank-you.  And to end on that, I have humbly included a picture of cheese in this post especially for you.  This particular one is oh so melty and gouda…

 

 

be. happy.

I know I seem to reference this a lot, but I think the main reason I do is because I see it absolutely everywhere.  Complaining.  Heck, I’m guilty of it too!  But I am always trying to make a conscious effort to change my mind-frame.   The reason I have been MIA lately is because I got a job.  Yuppers!  I did.  Moi.  Making pitas. Yeye.
Do I care??  Well yea, kinda…  I mean, going from touring all over and playing music to cooking chicken on a hot grill can be a bit frustrating.  But I need too…  It’s necessary right now at this point in my life.  And it has also helped me gain perspective.  I am making myself enjoy it.  And to revisit my original statement…nothing is bad and negative unless you choose to make it that way.  End of story. You can find happiness in the most depressing of circumstances because you have chosen NOT to let things get to you.

 

However, I see it time and time again.  Negativity.  Everywhere.  It’s like people thrive on it or something.  The line up at the check-out is soo long and the girl ringing everyone through is grumpy so I’m going to get pissed off and roll my eyes and take it out on her and everyone else.  Gas went up 93272983472 dollars.  The apple I bought is bruised.  I don’t like the way I look.  It’s raining.  My job sucks.  My life sucks.  The world sucks.  GLOBAL FREAKING WARMING.  I hate lemons.

 

But honestly?  You can literally be positive in any situation if you are open to it.
The line-up at the check out is soo long?  The girl is being grump-olicious?  Be patient, slap a smile on that face of yours and show her some love.  I bet you she will smile right back at you and you will make her day better.  You’ll feel better, she’ll feel better.  WIN!

Gas prices went up?  Well at least you don’t need to walk.  And if you did need to walk?  Yay!  I love walking.  It’s fun!

Your apple is bruised?  Yum!  Look at all the rest of the fruit that isn’t bruised.  This apple is going to be miggghhty tasty!

You don’t like the way you look?  Why?  YOU are beautiful.  Your body can do things you can’t even imagine.  You are a human being who is alive and breathing and worth something!

It’s raining?  YESSS!  Rainbows and green stuff to come!

Job sucks?  Are you sure? Are you making money?  Are the people you work with as awesomely positive as you?  If not, get a new one.  Make things better!  You are in control of your life.  Always.

Life sucks?  Check again.  Yours is bloody well brilliant.

World sucks?  Nopers.  Hate to break it to ya but the world is truly a magnificent place.  Look around and soak it all in.

Global Warming?  Let’s try and stop it.  Improve our lifestyles…make better choices…

Hate lemons?  Actually, this one isn’t up for debate. Lemons suck. And no amount of lemonade will change my feelings.  I am choosing to stay firm on this one guys.😉

 

But there you have it.  Stop complaining.  Enjoy your life and don’t look for the negative things around you.  Instead, embrace the positive.  Smile, live, laugh, love. And have fun.  There is no reason you should ever go unhappy.

 

a great song

What constitutes a great song?  Is it the lyrics?  The melody?  The feeling?  The production?  The musicians who play on it?  All of those things maybe…

Is a great song to one person a terrible song to the other?  Or can a great song be recognized the moment it’s heard…universally.  Without disagreement?

 

What does it mean to write a great song?  How do you know if it’s a great song?  Maybe that song just seems great to you. Maybe you play it to someone else and they don’t share the same feelings.  Or maybe they were never really listening in the first place.  Maybe they came to a conclusion prematurely.  Maybe they wanted to dislike it from the beginning or it isn’t even the song at all that they dislike…it’s you.

 

How do you write a great song?  Do you come up with a melody that has already been written?  Say the same things that others before you have said…because those songs have a proven track record of success in being great?

Everyone has their own interpretation of what is good and what isn’t anyway.  Or do they?  Do they even know what they like anymore?  Maybe they are listening under the influence of their friends, family, the media, the person in the big flashy orange vest on the side of the road, their pet rock.

 

What is music?  Because in all honesty, the only thing I know anymore is that I have no idea.  I have no idea what is good and what is not.  Everyday I get more and more confused.  All I know is that when I write a song I don’t try to write a song.  Who wants to try and write a song anyway?  Why would you sit down with your instrument, or even another writer for that matter and say “Let’s write a hit song now.”  Why?  Why are you deciding that at this moment in time, you will now write a hit song?  Will it even be a hit song according to popular music?  Will everyone agree that it truly is a great song?  What constitutes a great song!?!  I really don’t know.  I just don’t…

 

What I do know though, is that I will continue to stick to my guns.  I don’t want to candy coat anything.  Because everyone knows that candy is crap nutrition anyways.  It might taste good, but it’s not real.  And I want to be real.  And I want my music to be real to me.  And maybe no one will listen or even believe me.  But I believe me.  And that’s the whole point.  Because really, the only thing I want is to stay true to myself…to the very end.

 

 

amps and cake

I’m sitting here with a huge warm cup of coffee and trying to think what I should write about this morning.  Toby, my little green parrotlet, is making chit-chat with himself downstairs and it looks like it’s going to be a really nice day outside.  I’m in a really good mood today.

 

Last night I sold one of my amps…an Epiphone Triggerman 60dsp.  It’s a killer amp.  Looks as good as it sounds.  But after I sold my Rickenbacker 6-string guitar I really had no use for it anymore.  It was just sitting in my room collecting dust.  And, I really needed the money.  I’m gosh darn broke and not afraid to say it.  Honestly, I think that the whole “illusion” of being successful, or pretending that you are making tons of money is quite silly.  You are what you are.  And pretending to be something that you are not is disingenuous.  In the end, the only one you’re fooling is yourself.

 

I ended up dropping the amp off because I was in the neighbourhood, and I figured…why not?  It turns out that person I sold it to was just young kid in his last year of high school.  Talented too.  Very.  But the most amazing thing about the whole exchange was when, after I showed him all the features of the amp, his family invited me into their house and offered me a piece of cheesecake.  We sat down in the living room and we talked about music for a good 20 minutes while I enjoyed each and every bite of that cake.  I think that their kindness made it taste even more delicious.  The whole experience reminded me of how many good people there are in the world.  And how everyone really does want to be a good person.

 

When I got home, I realized that the boy was 7 dollars short.  And I didn’t even care.  I actually smiled.  He paid me with a lot of quarters which means that he was probably saving up to buy the amp.  And I’m pretty sure that that was all the money he had.  So, I mailed him a CD and thanked him for the cheesecake.

 

Today I’m in a really good mood.🙂

 

Playing eTown was incredible.  Boulder, Colorado is just beautiful.  In fact, every new place that I’ve been visiting lately is just beautiful and really I hope this doesn’t wear off.  I want them all to stay that way…

I got into a conversation the other day about how many musicians reach a point in their career and then just stop.  They no longer have a hunger to keep on writing songs, and performing in front of people.  They don’t want to tour anymore…they are tired of touring.  They are tired of working so hard and getting so little in return.  All their efforts have been exhausted by the music industry with all of it’s marketing and promoting.  It’s like the music industry is this big mountain with a huge golden door that you run and climb and fight to get up.  And then, when you finally reach the top and open the door, you realize it was just a dusty old broom closet all along.  But, after climbing several hundred of these mountains, I think it just gets to be too much for a lot of people.  They look around at others struggling and figure…what’s the point??  This isn’t fun anymore…

However, it’s still fun for me.  And I really don’t want to be negative or pessimistic.  It’s natural for everyone to have highs and lows.  Life is constant like that.  Something happens that feels incredible, you gain all this momentum, you get a call to be hired for your dream job, everything is going right.  And then all of a sudden, your dog dies, the market crashes and you have to sell everything you worked so hard to get.  It’s almost as if you took 10 steps backwards.  And at first you think…why me?  But then, you get strong.  You realize it’ll pass and things WILL get better…and so you fight harder for it.

And all of this is still new to me.  I haven’t climbed all the mountains others before me have.  I’ve been knocked flat on my ass many times, and I’m sure I will continue falling down many more times in the future.  But I love music.  I love writing songs.  I love playing in front of people.  My flame and spirit have not been put out yet.  And I don’t want this to ever change.  Because it just feels too good.

Filmed & edited by Mitchell Reilly Pictures (mrp.tv)
More info contact nick@mrp.tv

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