My disclaimer: Iâ€™ve taken the liberty of deciding for all of you that trudging through some half-assed, inferior, â€œEnd of the Yearâ€ smorgasbord of songs and situations of importance to me, Employee, would bore you to salty pretzel, heart-shaped tears comprised of an indescribable fury. That being saidâ€¦.I thought it would be lighter on the psyche if I asked as many different microphone megalomaniacs and sample slaughterers if theyâ€™d be benevolent by sharing their personal ruminations on the year that will soon be a calendar in the garbage. Nothing is edited.
We learned that no matter how many records you sell, and no matter how much of an impact you have on the music industry (which is an effete institution at this point), you will still, always, be confined by the corporal grasps of record labels and big budget entertainment vehicles.
A lot of things have happened in 2009, and they all seem to share an underlying theme with each other; low financial resources, financial crisis, frivolously spent funding for things. But I will extrapolate on the former paragraph a bit, and say that for some odd reason, nothing bothers me more than Lil Wayne’s Rebirth project being pushed out of 2009 into next year. We will get to that shortly.
Personally, I toured relentlessly, headlining only. A good 6 months of this year, even. I will say that I was immensely satisfied with about 80% of the shows, and nearly devastated by the remaining percentile (which were shows with extremely mediocre turn-outs. Some in cities where I have had outstanding crowds, multiple times, and wonderfully paid total artist guarantees.) It probably started in Colorado Springs. In April of 2008– I had the Black Sheep packed full of fans and supporters of my music. In April of 2009– I had about 1/10th of that crowd there.
No rhyme or reason.
Telling myself to not take it personally was very difficult. In fact, after shows like these, I would begin dematerializing, and coming apart at the seams.
“It’s over. I suck. I should have never pursued this. The last tour I did drove everything into the ground. I went back out on tour too soon.”
Then I would catch a nugget of redemption. Some random mystical force would sell my next show in Salt Lake City, UT completely out. Urging me to push on, at least until next year. At least until the sky rains boiling mercury onto my sophomoric career, and I melt into a pile of gooseflesh, failure, and PhilaFlava emoticons mocking that one time I got knocked the fuck out by Copywrite.
That last part is the crux of this writing. I’m kidding. Things went relatively well after I peel the layer of self-consciousness off of my year. As most people involved in the live music vocation know; touring, performing, and general ticket sales for live music are tumbling down an extremely unpredictable slope right now. Unavoidable setbacks and inconsistent ticket sales are, for some of us, the only meal the diner has available on the menu right now.
But it all comes back to 2009 being the year, the milestone, and the symbol of: corporate, independent, self-serving, miserly, rawly and crudely broken down to it’s inner, mechanical guts: human greed.
Most of us are piercing new holes into our belts, and tightening our proverbial Bank of America knickerbockers right now. Rappers are hustling verses. Trumpet players are adding Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Green Mill Lounge to their weekly repertoire, for boosted income. There is even a freeze on the nursing industry, where a lot of newly qualified nurses are not hired, because more qualified personnel are being rationed out nursing duties to save hospitals money.
It’s almost like half of this recession exists because people are so concerned with their funds being depleted by the recession. It’s an economic ouroboros. Yes, the American dollar has receded, but so has the drive and interest people at one point had to simply: take a fucking risk. And that was a prime ingredient in developing this country to it’s peak.
I guess I don’t envy Lil Wayne’s position. In 2009, the guy who sold 1 million records in one week not even a year ago, which as we all know is abnormal on multiple levels: can’t make his own creative decisions, take his own creative risks, and release his own music to his own satisfaction. He still salutes and answers to old, outdated money and business models. The same money and business models that got us here in the first place.
As trite as it sounds: I think one thing 2009 made incredibly crystal clear, is that your risks, and your crazy ass ideas are going to be precisely what pull us out of our current economic holocaust. As bad as it hurts sometimes, fuck it. Watch the movie Rudy, get motivated, and get back to taking financial and moral lashes by the whips and chains of society.
p.s. In 2009 we learned that in 2010 Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight. That saved my year, at the buzzer.