Update from New Mexico

I’ve been meaning to write something here for the past week. At night, after the shows I’ve been making notes to myself; things I’d like to remember, tapped into my blackberry before I drift away. I’ve been so tired lately: this has been our first headlining tour with Neptune as a toddler: and while she sleeps very regularly, she is in bed before we go on stage, and crawling into my bunk wanting to hang out by 8AM. Needless to say, running on 6-hours sleep catches up. For example, last night I typed this: “Murrays frunk dtanp.” I have no idea what this means: I’ll ask around, but I think he was doing something silly that I wanted to remember…ah well: fail that.

I had started a post that was led-off by a live photo I saw online of myself with total crazy eyes. Not very flattering, more comical than anything else. But I can’t find it anymore…it was taken at one of the shows the first week of this tour…I’m looking down with a totally intense look at my keyboards. Like if you photoshopped out my keyboards and replaced them with, say, lightning bolts or some other energy beam of wizardly origin, it would be A) really funny, and B) totally appropriate. So if anyone sees that on the ‘net let me know…

Best reasons I’ve actually been given for shows not being completely sold out: recession, Monday night, tornado warning, rain, hailstorm, swine flu, graduation, competition from The Killers, seniors bingo night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, etc, etc. Dealing with promoters is like dealing with record labels: they are the conduits that translate music into dollars. They feel badly when things aren’t making gobs of money. For me, the shows have been really inspiring, really great. Their measure of success is quality, not quantity. The people who are coming out are incredible: bringing the show to the hardcores is important, and the gratitude of all the people I’ve met after the gig or whenever is more important than money; they make it all worthwhile.

Anyway, some might call this attitude naïve. I call it realistic. I expect to endure, and you can’t burn the brightest forever. I’d rather glow for a long time than burn out.

More on Perez Hilton

I love Perez Hilton, totally addicted, can’t stop talking about it. Even you are sick of reading about me talking about it. It’s like a car crash: I just cannot look away but I gotta say…he has THE WORST taste in music. So it’s curious that he’s considered such a tastemaker…I mean, I understand that super pop is his thing but some of that stuff he hypes is pret-ty weak. Pop does not have to be shit, though sadly most of it is, but a good song and thoughtful production still hold value, at least to me. I’ve sometimes speculated whether or not he is paid to “recommend” things. I’d hope not, and I doubt it because then he’d be as shady as the shit he disses so I will give him that credit at least. No payola for Perez, in my books. He seems to be straight up when something on his site is sponsored, which I appreciate a lot.

At one point I was like: “Wouldn’t it be rad if Perez was into The Dears?” but then was like: “We are way too dark and real.” Much like real life. Which is the biggest problem: real life. That’s why Perez is rad: he offers the opposite, a fantasy world where the lines between reality and bullcrap are delightfully blurred.

Read more about it here.

Weekend Blogging

On weekends I like to spend my computer time on non-Dears stuff…you know, bigger picture things like catching up on back issues of The Economist, on Facebook and MySpace messages, and on my favourite sites: Wired.com, The Onion A.V. Club, Go Fug Yourself, The FAIL Blog, Spacing Montreal, Midnight Poutine and PABLOg. Lots of interesting stuff, informative bits, some cheap laughs (like Hamster on a Piano Eating Popcorn), and the usual drivel. As a part-time blogger, I was especially struck by a piece in the Economist about the retirement of one of the “founding fathers” of blogging, Jason Calacanis (from the story Oh, grow up). His quote on the saturation of the blogosphere crosses genres of communication, but really nails the general attitude on the online community (I’m thinking especially in music circles): “Today the blogosphere is so charged, so polarised, and so filled with haters hating that it’s simply not worth it.” Dead on, Mr. Calacanis. The article also discusses how the entry of blogging into the mainstream signals it’s death (so too, with “indie rock?”); usually meaning that blogging will morph into another form…anyway, I suggest reading the article and casting your own fatalistic conclusions into the cosmos.

Earlier I mentioned “non-Dears” stuff, but that’s kind of impossibility because nearly everything I do, other than domestic shit, is somehow Dears related. That’s just how I roll. Like later I’m gonna update our tour date archive. There are some wrong dates there. The Broph emailed me a link to all the past news stories written on ChartAttack.com so I’m gonna link live reviews to their shows. Also my mom revealed that she had a bunch of stuff that wasn’t online that she’s gonna get my uncle to scan and then I have to give her a tutorial on how to upload a file. You know, things we do so automatically are a big deal to baby boomers sometimes. I’m suitably impressed at how my mom has figured out this whole internet thing. Love ya mom!!!

From The Airplane

Since we left California its been raining non-stop. My jacket is perpetually soaked – things just don’t dry out on the bus, even though when I wake up every morning in my bunk I am completely parched. The humidity doesn’t reconcile for whatever reason. Our shows in Portland and Seattle had good turnouts and Murray and I met some super nice bloggers and blog readers afterwards. Even though I caught cold (probably due to perpetual alternations between sogginess and dehydration), my voice barely made it through the last gig, yet am truly grateful to everyone who came out and to the general success of the tour; to the graciousness of Secret Machines, the awesomeness of my band mates, and to the support of our label, friends and families.

I’m on the plane now, flying Seattle to Montreal: in 4 hours travelling what took us 18 days to complete. Additionally, I am writing this the old-fashioned way: paper, scribbly unpracticed letters with a hotel room pen. Surprised there are no gadgets involved? Neptune’s watching the Emperor’s New Groove on my laptop and the Blackberry is nearly dead. So to paper these thoughts are recorded – a reminder that I remain manually literate in a disgracefully digitally-dependent world.

Oh, and it was still raining when we got back to Montreal. We never should have left California.

A Little Silence…

Sorry for the little blog silence of the past few days. I’ve been a bit on the busy side rehearsing, childrearing, planning an album release, writing Pop Bios, doing laundry, and putting a piece together for Savfaire. The editors asked if I wanted to submit a story on music discovery, which is taking shape in a curious way. I am enjoying writing it, actually. But I will be back to blogging later this week! Thanks.

Past/Present/Future

As we press forward, always on and toward the future, looking to what is ahead and unknown to solve today’s puzzles, we often forget to remember the past and things that were before; things that might not be searchable via Google. I was reminded of this idea twice this week: how the internet has spawned into an ultimate, multi-faceted reference source that has essentially triggered the foreclosure of the print publishing industry.

The first was a post from a blog called Victorian Horror that talks about our new album. The author, Victoria, says: “Aww, the Dears. I stumbled upon them about four years ago when I first moved to Chicago. I was on one of my CD buying sprees where I trusted the blurb at the record store, or just bought it unheard based on the 4-star “Q Magazine” rating on the sticker. Those were the days, when discovering new music came with a risk….the prospect that you may have just laid down $16.00 for a crap album! This was before I had bought my computer of course…a more innocent time!

And the second: One Man’s Quest to Digitize and Publicize Rare Records, 78 by 78, tells the story of recordings on their way to being “lost” forever: record labels that don’t exist potentially may not care to digitize old masters. Masters that tell of a culture that once existed, proliferated, and dictated in certain ways how we think, interact and appreciate music today.

The past inhibiting the future and the future inhibiting the past. Which do we preserve? Which informs our lives in a more meaningful – though minute – way?

Thrisis Thesis

There are some days, like this morning, when I wake up with a lot of things on my mind. I don’t want to reduce it all to simply being “stressed.” It’s more being overly conscious about the things that are going on around me. Sometimes I wake up and want to delete this blog: “Have I said too much? I must be alienating so many people…am I alienating people? Or offending them?” Because that is not what I want to do. I just want to engage casual discussion, as if I were having a beer at the bar, or a coffee at the cafe with a friend.

I worry a lot about pissing off other band I talk about. I try to imagine how I feel when I read stuff about The Dears is other people’s blog and in reviews. I guess I just hope that any readers realise the freedom of expression and discourse a blog allows. I mean I’ve seen some LiveJournal stuff that is really like the full-on personal diary of a twelve year old…and what’s worse? That embarrassed feeling of stumbling into a tween’s detailed, deep emotional problems or bumping into the Fleet Foxes backstage at some festival? It makes me think about deleting this blog altogether.

Anyway, that’s what I think about when I wake up in the morning. Fatalistic pillow talk. So that’s why I like to read the news when I get up: it gets my mind back into the real world. Point being, this morning I found this bit, listed as the number 2 most read story on the BBC:

‘Yeti Hair’ to get DNA Analysis

…and that really made my day.

Facebook Killed My Blog…

…not that it’s completely dead or anything. But the amount of laptop time I permit myself per day is limited, and with the addition of Facebook to my online routine, there’s just less time for blogging. I mean, this blog should be enough of a window into my life: does it really need to be supplemented with a half-assed Facebook profile?

I think there is no true test of the effectiveness of Facebook in my life. Aside from knowing when my friends’ birthdays and BBQs are, where are the tangible results? Facebook might just be too one-dimensional for me: I choose not to invest my personality into my profile as I invest it here, in my writings. I’ve already seen the results of blogging, of putting real thoughts out there. I get asked about things I write about by strangers, which runs deeper than simply approving a someone as a friend. When I discuss blogs with people, we have a conversational springboard that’s definitely more interesting than: “I really like your band.” Talking about The Dears is fun, and I do enjoy expressing my thoughts on our music and the (sub?)culture surrounding it, but after a while it feels like I’m just doing another interview.

That said, I’m cutting back on my face time with Facebook. Yes, the honeymoon has ended quickly, my addiction abated, my curiosity satisfied. I will see through my current games of Scrabulous, but much more than that I cannot guarantee.

Another Driving Blog

Driving has made me consider the world in a different way, and that not having driven for the first third of my life has allowed me unreserved psycho-spatial perception. My surroundings as a driver, now, are definite and rigid: thoughts must be controlled and while thinking and driving could be considered as multitasking, the differ greatly from thinking while traveling as a passenger.

Driving only permits short term ideas. For example, a driver cannot write and conceptualize a full video treatment (as a passenger I recently wrote a treatment for the song “Dream Job”). But a driver can form a full thought — that is, beyond “Stay in this lane,” or “Don’t kill anyone.” Like I started this blog post while driving, and (probably illegally) typed it in stages into my BlackBerry at various stop lights.

I would strongly recommend for any city dweller to avoid getting their license as long as possible. Not only is your life’s carbon footprint diminished incredibly (think of the children), but the time you spend waiting will render you closer to yourself: you will have a tighter relationship with your consciousness. And think of all the video treatments you could write?