December 17, 2009

This Was Not My Decade From Hell, Part 1

In case you hadn't seen it yet, Time called the 2000s "the decade from hell." I guess the '30s and '40s don't count anymore, but whatever. Anyway, on a personal scale, that doesn't apply to me at all—between the ages of 23 and 33, I got married, bought a house, scored a nice creative career, wrote lots of crazy things, made plenty of loud rock noise, and generally amused myself while the rest of the world burned.

Yeah, well, you call me Nero now, because I've decided to throw another list of listyness on the decade-ending pile of crap that everyone's making. However, I'm making it personal. And creative. And in chronological order. Groovy, right? That's right, buddy. So, in the interests of rampant egomania and untrammeled personal growth, here are some of the past decade's bigger blips from my creative continuum, year by year.

2000: I shave my own head for the first time, all the way down to the skull.

Whappo! Bet you weren't expecting something that randomly dumb, were you? Well, as anyone who knew the hairier version of me would tell you, it counts on an almost uber-makeover scale. Why? Hell, I don't know the reason why—but I do know that it was a skin-shedding kind of thing, and not at all like the touristy buzzcut I got in 1997 or the half-assed #2 clips I tried in 1999. No, in July 2000 I went total bumfuzz on top, in the interests of entering the 8-5 workforce (I finished school in Dec. '99) as a "new" person. Not a kid, not an adult—just a chubby bald geek whose head reflected any light source. Plenty of figurative creativity in there if you think about it—do we not become different people when we age? Should we therefore look different? I think so.

2001: I play a wild Giovanni's gig with the Mojo Wire, briefly write for the Santa Barbara Independent, and write the best song lyric of my career.

After ditching my first full-time UCSB job, I was free to be an ignored, degenerate rock star with the other 3 bozos in the Mojo Wire. That band actually came to an end in 2001, but not before we played a fun show at an Isla Vista pizzeria on April 12. Naturally I recorded it, and now have to live with it. The other big creative thing I did that year was to write some Positively State St. columns for the Indy, which you can read more about here. Finally, in December I completed the four-year tooth-pull otherwise known as "The Lightning Rod." It's the pivot, the fulcrum, the turning point of all my song lyrics. Everything afterward was good, but not as good. I would later record it with Honey White in 2002.

2002: I help start another band, which ends up being even better than the first one.

March 8, 2002 was the first time Bryn, Brian, Billy and I got together at Earl's Table Salt studio to make music as Honey White. Everything clicked instantly, and we all jammed happily ever after. Or at least until Brian went to Washington DC for grad school in 2007. But still. Anyway, I'm trying to think of other big creative things that happened to me in '02, but nothing comes to mind. I was still living in Isla Vista and working at a second UCSB job (which I also quit that year), so making loud guitar noise two nights a week, plus a monthly gig somewhere in the greater S.B. area, was quite enough. It was, as the kids say, "good times."

2003: I get rejected from grad school, remain unemployed for 18 months, and go to night school.

My future creative class yuppiness starts here, gang. I needed an excuse to quit my UCSB HR job, so I invented "graduate school"—in this case, the creative writing MFA programs at UCI and SFSU—and broke free of the 40-hour zombie death march. However, my written fiction submissions were so poor that I was immediately rejected by both schools, as I kind of figured I would be. So, I had to lick my prose wounds and wait for king-hell fame and fortune, and by mid-year, with my girlfriend in grad school, my brother in Europe, and my band on hiatus, I had no choice but to submit to a night school graphic design program. It mostly sucked big donkey balls, but near the end would prove to be much better. Oh, the other thing I learned in 2003 was that making websites is fun, and authoring DVDs is an awful, wretched thing that I never want to do again. Ever.

2004: I get a real job as a graphic designer, and make a real album with Honey White in a real studio.

Like I said, night school eventually paid off, what with scoring an internship with a company in Ventura whose president was the teacher of the final course in that night school graphic design program. Within a week, Emily got her teaching gig in Fillmore, and we landed a lease on a Ventura apartment. The universe told us to live in the VC, so that's exactly what we did. Also during the summer, I joined the Honey White guys in a trip to San Francisco's Take Root studio, where we had a fantastic experience recording the album that would become "How Far is the Fall," with ace engineer Jonathan Mayer. We released the CD in 2005, but all the tracking happened between August and December '04, and I still consider it one of the best experiences of my life.

Okay, so since the title says "Part 1," I'll leave it at that and be back with more later. Maybe this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. "The universe told us to live in the VC..."

    Charlie don't like rock music!

    Despite this, the recording of the album is one of the highest high points of my life as well.


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