'THEY WON'T ADMIT IT; BUT SOME OLD DUDES HATE YOU FOR THIS IN-BORN GENIUS OF YOURS'
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel
(Carole King, “Beautiful”)
I hear that you’ve parted ways with your band, Tiny Tears And The Small-Fisted Rage. That sucks. I know how much faith and passion you guys put into your power punky pop stylings, and early success justifiably won you local acclaim and more smoke blown up your collective keesters than a hurricane.
There is no question that you’re one of the best guitar-slingers I have watched. Ever. You have a talent that veterans of the instrument can only marvel at with personal shame. It’s in your fingers, bro. You’re an alchemist turning steel strings into golden showers of aural love. And you’re a kid still, wet behind the freaking ears, in your early twenties.
(They won’t admit it; but some old dudes hate you for this in-born genius of yours.)
But you’ve come to an impasse. You’re confused. I understand your need to retreat. Do your own thing. Regroup. You might not realize it; but this is a wise move.
Because the Music Business is Evil. It’s a microcosm that reflects the state of the World as it is: Gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Maybe it was ever thus. But these days, it’s hard to deny: the music biz is an evil, sycophantic brood of vampires and vipers. It craves fresh meat. It fetes it with intimations of Immortality, wealth, the adulation of fans the world over.
But look at what It produces….
It produces and reproduces awful, awful stuff that will destroy your life as predictably as it destroys the taste and discernment of the young globally. Its reach is digital, after all; and its auto-tuned sameness would have assuredly destroyed what is best in you and only you.
So don’t lose heart that Tiny Tears And The Small-Fisted Rage isn’t going to be your vehicle for the long haul. Because you do have a long road before you; and now that you’re starting over again, listen up, bro.
First off, put away your smartfreakingphone. There’s not an app out there that will put you on the right path. Resist answering every incoming text. They’re not important.
Instead, embrace nature like you have begun to. Walk a lot and put the damn phone in a drawer at home before you leave. You might actually notice that we live in a beautiful place, and you might expand your social circle through actual conversation with your lover and your friends.
Next. Stop listening to everyone’s expectations of you. Their advice got you into your mess in the first place. Instead, stop and reflect. Don’t bounce back too quick, kid.
Maybe pick up a book and read something, instead.
But do not ever pick up a book from the Self Help Industry. It’s all crap and there is nothing in these books that wasn’t first published in the Bible or one of the great literary works out there.
Third. Stop thinking that you have to be so damned positive all the time.
Read the lyrics from Carole King’s “Beautiful” about putting on a face to show the freaking World. It’s a half-truth. But, for the love of God, don’t make it a smiley face. Look what it got tragic Carole: A whole lot of heartache and more than a couple black eyes from a string of misogynistic lovers and husbands once she became a megastar.
What old Carole did get right is what she only alludes to. Namely that you need to don a mask before you greet the world; because, believe you me, the world will project a series of masks upon you, none of your own choosing.
And what a world it is.
The first bloodsuckers you’ll meet are what our favourite iconoclast, Friedrich Nietzsche called “the flies of the marketplace.” These are the flotsam and jetsam of teeming humanity. They are wrecks and leeches; and they’d love nothing better than suck you dry and bring you down to their level – in you, they recognize their own deficiency. They think they should have what’s yours, dude. Kinda' like your typical music biz guy.
Abjure them like the plague. As our old misunderstood Kraut knew: You will not be able to bear the weight of their onerous burden as you ascend your personal mountain. Flick ‘em off your back before they bleed you dry.
Finally: breathe. Deeply. Meditatively. With hunger. You’ll sleep better and before you know it, you will become who you are. A man in full following your passion, whatever that will be.
In the meantime, I need you to come over and retrain my wrist so I can produce a clean barre chord, bro. It’s the least you can do for your favourite vampire.
Your pal, JLo.
— Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com