Jul 25, 2014

Some Great Unconscious Radio Station Of Lost Melodies

There's a strange magic that appears in the treks of rolling endless highway; driving tunnels of expansive skies; following roadway lines like a meditative drone. Some beautiful delirium where deep seeded thoughts uproot in the mind with new-surfacing enchantment after hour 22. 
I've seen New Mexican desert sunrise, and it's worth a trip on it's own, I've seen the quick sprint of night racing up and down the hills of Kentucky while constellation's burst out like fireworks firing off the horizon. I've seen endless waves of both shores crashing on cool nights against the borders of our country, and in between all the countless miles, the miracle truck stops, the gas stations, and food joints supplying our journeys.
No musician starts out to be a truck driver, but it should be a subheading in the description. I am a musician, traveler, hauler of goods, loader and un-loader. That along with merch-slinger, salesman, entrepreneur, and insomniac just about describes what I do. 
Come to think of it there should be a way for people to understand what the life of musician is like when they start on this path so I will try: To put it straight, if you want anything else but music from being a musician than don't ever start. If you want fame, love, or money try another line of work.
Back to the small tasks and fevered inspirations.

"...Rene..." her voice is distant like a TV on in the next hotel room. I'm lying in the dark and one of the stiffest mattresses available. If you didn't think recreating the feeling of sleeping on a rock was possible on a bed, than you are not staying in the right over-night motels. "...Rene..."
I groan and roll face down on the pillow. It's not that I don't hear her, or don't want to answer, I'm just too tired to do anything but stare out the slit of light coming in from the wall sized window. Another great feature of motels is a giant window that opens to the parking lot. The curtain wouldn't close all the way and the yellow light from the parking lot is humming in, with a constant sizzle of electricity buzzing like cicadas. My eye is stuck on this light and its ethereal song, and I don't know why, or what I'm waiting for but I feel like it's in there, an answer to a dream, or a prayer... Maybe I was just trying to ignore the wheeze of a passed out drunk guitar player with a heavy snore... It was a very long night.
We'd played until one in the morning, loaded out by two, and drove an hour and a half out to the hotel. After food and TV it was nearly five when I finally stretched out on the bed, but sleep wasn't coming. I'm not good at turning off my brain like that. My heart still pumping energy to every corner of my body. I could hear the sounds of drums in my ears, or maybe it's the whoosh of blood? Da dum, da dum, da dum, da da dum. 

I stayed up reading until every word is blurred together in exhaustion. I was re-reading the same passage for the fifth and sixth times. My legs sore from being wrapped up in the van, my body sore from the loading gear, my throat sore from singing, and I finally pass out with an exhaustive grin on my face hidden under an open book, cause I'm still tingling inside with the roar of music and the hum of tires.
"Lobby Call in 15 ya hear?" With a slam of her fist on the door, her voice trails away down the hall presumably to check the band out of our rooms. I groan seeing that the clock reads seven a.m. I probably got all of half an hour of sleep. I might be able to sleep in the van if it's not too bumpy... I kid myself. My roommate's in the shower and the humidity only helps to bring out the smell of mold breeding into the carpet.
I manage to drag myself to the lobby alone, late, but not so bad that anyone would really notice. We're still waiting for the tour manager to pull the van around to the lobby.
Everyone's cloaked in sunglasses, a few are taking some breakfast from the lobby buffet. I've got my bag at my feet and I'm humming. Was it a song from last night? Was it from the other bands? We pile in, throwing my suitcase in the back on top of a pile of carefully Tetris-like piled gear, and find a seat on the middle bench.
The seat's cold, the window's cold, my body folds into a familiar spot as I close my eyes. Still humming this mysterious melody on repeat... It's playing on a horn, or is it an organ? It's dreamy and evasive. I can't put my finger near it much less hold it yet. If I try to think about it, the melody disappears, but if I try to sleep it comes back into the back of my mind. Spinning around like a looped vinyl unable to move forward in the song.
Two hours fly by, the cities go too, and I wake up from a daze of staring out the window. I have no idea where we are but we are moving east. I roll out a snap in my neck. The radio is quietly talking the news to the front seat drivers. And the melody is still playing. Is it from the radio? A record I know? With heavy eyes I watch the trees streak by my window. One by one. House and field. Cows. Car after car. Over and over. There's something about repetitiveness that zones the brain out. Takes away from what is physically happening, and morphs monotony into a beautifully complete idea. Putting the brain on auto, let's the subconscious and all its imaginative ferocity come out to play.
It's my turn put more gas in the tank, and I'm huddled at the side of the van with my jacket collar high to block the wind. I hear the sloshing chug of gas as it pours into our empty tank like a pulsing snare, and the song in my head starts playing along. It's been hours and I haven't placed the tune yet. I'm starting to feel like it's an original conjuring of the sub-conscience singing out to me. Slowly words start to mold themselves, beats become syllables, words become phrases, and verses, and by the time I'm working on a chorus we are pulling into a back alley of a club for today's load in.
It'll be another several hours till I'm back at a hotel room, writing down the ideas that have been playing to me all day. At one side it feels unfair to say I wrote this, as much as I found this. I heard this, playing to me off some great unconscious radio station of lost melodies.  My mind slipped open, a crack emerged, and in came a song. I don't recommend exhaustion as a method for inspiration, but it is one way to get my mind to a quiet spot. Quiet enough where I am not thinking about creating, but only creating. Allowing myself to take in rather than push out. This is merely scenic driving through the frontier of creativity. Those empty highway roads waiting to be explored. Waiting to be found. Waiting for an ear to speak themselves into, for a mind willing to listen among the clutter of life surrounding us.

your hands like flowers 
talk in subtle ways
I'd love to be the hours
and fields where they play