Good morning viet nam!
The baby only slept until seven this morning, officially putting us back in the stink, as they say. I guess it’s true what they say about parenthood: It finds you, young, vital and good looking, robs you of sleep, forces you to acquiesce to the demands of the most selfish human beings in the world for two decades and then spits you out on the other side, old, out of touch, lame, bitter and ultimately ready for death still wearing the clothes that were in style oh so long ago, back when you still had dreams. Isn’t that what they say? Well, they should. This baby I have is getting at least three teeth right now, and as much as a few sharp pieces of bone ripping through soft, virgin gums sounds gnarly to me, it seems like he’s taking it in stride, so that’s good.
Hey, guess what? It’s Friday, which means the weekend is here, which means a stupid day of dealing with dipshits at my work.
Did you guys forget about my show? It’s on April 10 in St. Augustine, Fla and it only features three of the greatest musicians (with the handsomest dicks) from three of the greatest bands that all seemed like they were going places a few years ago. That’s right, it’s me, Dan Andriano and Tom “show me your schlongs, boys!” Gabel. Can you handle the awesome? Prove it, bitches. See you there. I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to write some new songs and try them out down there, sort of like when you hear some real out of touch band (aerosmith comes to mind) talk about how they just want to get out of their comfort zone for a sec and check out these new songs in a ‘raw, unscripted way’ or something…sheesh, I don’t know. The benefit of not becoming successful is that I’ve stayed IN touch with the people, by which, of course I mean filthy unwashed plebians who want nothing more than to take pictures and drink themselves into oblivion and sway to the pablum like fools before going home to their wretched lots in life, sweatily masturbating themselves into that dreamless sleep of the damned…right? Oh, maybe I did lose touch somewhere along the way. Who knew? Whatever, point being, I’m trying to write some jams, and hopefully, if they’re good enough, I’ll play a few in FLA. There is one song that’s already written, (and no, not that one on youtube) that translates marvelously to the acoustic guitar, that my band (the Lawrence Arms) has practiced already, that I will definitely be playing. Okay, enough horseshit. Here’s some advice for our armed servicewomen and men:
First, the usual background bullshit: I'm 26, a Computer Science
and Mathematics major, and in the Army Natty Guard. I joined the Guard
back in 2000, when Bin Laden was just some weirdo we didn't really
like, probably because of his poor hygiene, and the worst thing that
was going to happen to me was a vacation to Kosovo or Bosnia (a.k.a.
EUROTRIP!). And of course, I joined to pay for college. So, that said
and done, I went to college in 2002 and did that thing for a while. In
2003, I DID get called to go to Kosovo. Ok, no big deal. It was
boring, but I got some good experiences out of it. Back to school for
a few years, then in 2006, I was off to Iraq (calm down hippies, the
only thing I killed there was time, and I don't have PTSD). Then back
to school, and now to the present. When I'm not overseas or in class,
I'm working as a computer programmer. Fun stuff. On to the point:
WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? When I was younger, I had grand
dreams of living a lowly punk rock lifestyle as a traveling musician.
I would still love to do that. But the older I get, the more and more
I feel trapped. On the one hand, having a reliable career is important
to me, mostly as a means to live. On the other, is it _really_
important? I know I can at least say I've seen some pretty amazing
things in my travels with the Army, but that's about all I've got. So,
as graduation nears, I can't help but feel this impending doom of
being that yuppie in business casual who rolls up his sleeves at happy
hour to reveal tattoos that serve as reminders to a life once lusted
for, now lost. That's fucking sad, if you ask me. Is there a balance?
And if so, how do I find it?
Oh yeah, almost forgot: I've been talking to this chick and I'm going
to see her next week. Should I bang her?
Okay, first things first…I guess I don’t know what the line “when I’m not overseas or in class” means. Are you still shipping out for brief stints in the army? Do they even do that? Okay, okay okay, I’m realizing that doesn’t really matter. Look, you’re twenty six and you’re in the army. You’ve seen a little bit of the world, you long for a grittier existence and you’re feeling the twin prisons of adulthood and current career pressing down on you and you want to explode? Is that the gist? Great. Well, here’s the thing man, you’re a capable programmer right? AND you were/are in the army? I’d say you sound like one of the more employable people on this planet. AND, you’re young…or at least young enough that you’ve got some years before shit needs to start getting serious (hell, in Maxim magazine they had a guide to lifestyle based on age, and you’re technically allowed to drink every day, do coke and never go to the doctor…that’s quite a prescription). SO, here’s what I’d say:
What are you doing with your life? Good luck figuring that question out. That’s one of those big ones man. Like, what happens when we die? What’s it like to bang Oprah? Is there other life in the Universe? Chances are, once you find out the answer, it’s too late to tell anyone, or even really enjoy the fact that you know…SOOOOOO, get out there and live man. If I was you, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to put together a band and get it going and start touring and use that as a way to see the world/live the dream…but I’ll concede that I might feel that way because that’s something that I’ve done for more than half my life, and as such, some of the finer points of why that’s important may be lost on me, so let me start over. IF you want to play music and that’s the main thing, realize that it’s going to take a LOT of time before you’re doing anything very interesting, and that’s in a scenario where you find like minded people who can play, you’ve all got chemistry both in the van and on the stage and you write good songs and people give a shit. I mean, if I had to start a new band and go on tour right now, from scratch, even with all the connections I have, EVEN if I could drop everything to do it, it would probably be bare minimum a year before I could even imagine having my (our) shit together enough to do a crappy tour of neighboring states…and that’s with NO competing obligations. By the time you’re seeing Europe with a band, or even California, you’ll have to have gotten completely lucky about nine times and you’ll have to have recorded, put it out there and you know, gotten a van, made some connections…I guess the point is, it sounds exhausting to me, but again, what do I know (that’s not meant to be snide, it’s a ‘forest for the trees’ type of sentiment, just by the way)? It’s definitely a great thing to do, but the parameters, based on the time you have, I’d say are maybe a little narrow. Is seeing your quarter of the country in a van enough of a goal? Only you can say, but you shouldn’t aim for much more, because it’s a lot of x factors, especially if you’re new to the biz. I mean, when we started, our goal was to play a show in Chicago…You know what I mean? I’m not saying you can’t have big dreams, only that you have to keep your dreams manageable so you’re not constantly disappointed, because dude, there’s a reason that musicians are bitter, and it all, ALL comes from unrealistic expectations.
If you have some money, I’d say travel. Do it on the cheap, do it alone and see as much of the world as you can in the next few years. Meet everyone, take every stupid opportunity that comes up, indulge in every dumb idea, follow every crazy custom, hit up all the best spots and all the remote spots. Sleep in hostels or camp out and get as much of an idea of where you live (earth) as you can, and then, if some crazy shit (like a greek girl you want to marry or a crazy software company in Thailand that you want to work at) hasn’t presented itself to you, come back to your hometown (or somewhere else that you’ve decided seems like a great place to live) and hand out your resume that says “computer programmer- US Army—Also, I’ve been EVERYWHERE” and get another job. It should be easy. Those are pretty unfuckwithable credentials.
Believe me, man, I’ve been to Europe so many times it’s ridiculous, but I’ve never been able to immerse myself in anything. Do I know about Vienna? Yeah, as much as a few days of walking aimlessly around and hanging out with drunk punk rock kids can teach me, but not as much as if I’d just gone there for a week…I dunno, man. Only you can really answer this one, but the way I see it, you can either see Omaha as a guy in a band, or you can see the world as a guy. OR, you can prove me wrong and do both. For fucks sake, I’m sick of everyone telling their kids they can do anything. That leads to complacent kids who want nothing and feel entitled to everything. SO, in the spirit of the old days, “You’ll never amount to anything! Just settle down and be a straight shooter!” there you go, if that doesn’t motivate you to fucking live, what will?