Earlier this year, prior to the release of Something Wild, I was having a lot of feelings about where I fit into the greater musical landscape. This was by far our highest profile release on the biggest label we had worked with, and our highest fidelity production (all pretty laughable ideas considering we did no PR/pomp-and-circumstance, the label is a high school teacher in Detroit working out of his apartment, and the record was made at home). I was thinking about what it means to make music my “career” and it was all pretty daunting and intimidating. I found myself feeling less creative and more jealous. I saw other bands around me, friends and otherwise, doing things that were bigger and better and getting more attention, and I sort of felt like, “What’s the point?” No matter how much I stuck with my ideals of how things should be, or how much I reminded myself that it’s about making music you actually care about and not about people paying attention, I still found myself concerned with how to top this record, how to be better, and bigger, and get more people listening.
…And then something really nice happened. It wasn’t a conscious decision, and I really feel like this was in me the whole time and I just lost sight of it for a little while, but I just stopped giving a fuck. I guess it’s not that I stopped giving a fuck, I guess I just shook myself out of this fear of topping myself and fear of doing something people love and started doing things for ME. Now I’ve always made music for myself, but it’s a lot easier to do that when no one is actually listening. After the record came out and more people were paying attention, it was a lot harder to only think about making something that I cared about. But now that I’ve shook that fear, and realized that after the initial excitement about the record, i’m still here living my life and making music, I’ve been more creative than I had been in a long time. I’ve been writing a ton and recording a ton and playing more shows and booking tours and really feeling good about everything.
The fruits of this creative patch are presented to you here: Mall Of America I personally feel that a lot of these songs are better than songs on Something Wild, albeit recorded worse and less punk. I also realize that the average person who only has “Our Song” on their ipod is never going to give this stuff the time of day. That is an incredibly liberating feeling. Obviously I am stoked, honored and humbled that anybody cares about any of the songs that I write, whether they like 1 of them or 100 of them. And if you truly do enjoy the music that I make, then please do give these songs a listen. You might like them. It’s ok if you don’t.
The last song here I wrote and recorded last night and I feel like it’s a good summation of the work as a whole. It’s called Venus Of The Avenue. It’s about chasing inspiration, the flirty muse begging us to come after her. The title is inspired by the Mink Deville song “Venus of Avenue D.” I sort of like the idea that maybe me and Willy Deville are chasing after the same girl, like maybe none of it is real and art and music exist in this dream space in our heads where Billy Jean and Bobby Jean and Bobby McGee and Jackie and Judy all live and know each other. Follow that desire to create something. Make music and art for the sake of doing it and feeling alive. I sound like a broken record.