My recent trip to California reminded me of a couple of things. First of all, every time I go to Los Angeles it's beaten into me that there are a lot of people on this planet at any given moment and most of the time I'm really not one of them. I was also reminded that as hard as I try, I'm just about as fond of the girl with the crooked pelvis as I ever have been.
The first little lesson may sound trite and absurd but here is what I mean: as I reach the age where it seems more than a little silly to be a grown man scootin' to work, I am constantly astounded, surprised, and perturbed at how unaware most other people I come across are to those around them. If they're not unaware, then they don't care that their actions, their movements, their words might actually have some consequences for those within listening distance. As I go along I'm finding it more and more difficult to find people who seem to care about the things I was taught about at an early age such as courtesy towards others, being a good listener, understanding that a moment of silence can actually be something to cherish, and just because you get a thought in your noggin it isn't always a good thing to share it with whoever might be with in range of your voice.
I've been away from home so much recently that I don't know if I'm coming or going. Those I share my house with seem to be feeling something similar. Two of my cats, Theo and Diego-san seem reluctant to let me out of their sight and the third, Thompson, gets this woefully sad look every time I step out of the house as if he's not sure when, if ever, I'll come back.
The spirit of their predecessor, Mr. Max will forever linger between these walls and I must admit everything I learned about being a cat, even though I'll never be a cat, came from my many years with Max. I tried my best to learn Mr. Max's ability to live right here and now, and not let the past or the future cripple my brain. It's a very Zen like notion and the shortcut involves becoming numb and doing whatever you have to do just to get by and to the next day.
See I used to do a lot of thinking. My brain would be busy from my morning shower to that moment at night that you just can't shut your mind off enough to fall asleep. Now days not so much. I'm lucky if I allow myself to think about (let alone feel) what's ahead the next day.
So I show up at work most mornings at around 6:30 and if my brain would possibly function without its shot of caffeine it would probably be scrambling how I accepted the fate at a 9 to 5 job that tends to suck... any ounce of creativity right out of my soul.
It's the music that (still) matters. There are certain artists, certain moments in particular shows I find myself at, certain songs that seep inside, remind or teach me that it was once different or this isn't the way it was meant to be, and then I feel more and more numb just about the same moment I can stop crying. Ike Reilly is one of these artists that thank GOD has made music that has changed my very being, my very heart and brain and spleen and every time I see him I'm glad I did at the same time I begin to wonder what the hell I'm doing with my life. Seeing Ike at the Minnesota Zoo Saturday night was once again one of these life altering, oh my God not another dead end detour type of show.
Ike came on stage solo with his acoustic guitar and did a I know you all might already be drunk, but this is what this sounded like when I was inspired and wrote this song, "Put a Little Love in It" followed by a similar in feeling "God Damn Shame," and then the first of several new songs he did throughout the night. The Assassination then joined him and rocked hard and dangerously.
A personal highlight came in the scorching "Garbage Day" when Ike, as he is want to do, captured exactly what I've been feeling ever since I went back out west, better than I ever could in a million and a half years. "Hey now I can't tell the buildings from the people, the strangers from the steeples, my anger from my friends. I soak here in the juices and beat up from the Stooges who sing here in my head, 'why can't we just get along?'"
Ike attracts a small albeit hard-core group of fans who share his love of drink (and song). Whenever he did one of his old songs the fans would sing and dance (if you can call jumping straight up in the air dancing) to the lyrics as if the same soundtrack was playing in all of our own personal movies (and struggles). I was in the front row of seats but I fought to see the band in between all the dancers and I battled just as much to hear the music what with the constant chatter of the woman behind me who had the most shrill voice that God ever gave to a human being. All I can say is I can't wait (and I gotta find a way to hold on) until September 27 when Ike's new CD, Junkie Faithful comes out. Given what I heard, songs about a boy in his dreams growing to a man in the arms of a woman who is just another line in another song may just provide enough of a tonic to make it all make sense for another day.