I Suck at Blogging
I am not dead, I am just resting. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say, or at least anything that’s longer than 140 characters. My life has been a bit chaotic recently because earlier this year we moved into this new house, and over the last few months there’s been a lot of construction – drywall, tiles, table saws, plaster dust everywhere. I have no closet or real bedroom. Since April my wardrobe has consisted of whatever was in the one box of clothes that I unpacked and put next to the bed, which is in the room that is supposed to be the living room, but right now is the fake bedroom and soon will be my fake studio. All my gear is still mostly in boxes, though some of it is piled and tangled up on a desk that is covered with a plastic sheet. So that’s been nice. Not really the most inspiring environment for a sensitive creative soul like myself. Those of you who have lived through construction will perhaps understand: the chaos seeps into everything, so that every aspect of my life feels MAKESHIFT. Also the children repeatedly need to be fed and bathed and dressed and soothed, and they are frequently covered in plaster dust, or drinking paint, or eating drywall screws.
But I want to tell you a few things. Recent (and not so recent) shows have all been wonderful. And though I didn’t say anything about it here, the UK trip was pretty fantastic too. The last show of the year was last week in Brooklyn, and I look back now on yet another amazing stretch of touring, generously supported by all you people who continue to surprise me by showing up at all. I have made it through another year pretending to be a rock star. Thank you.
Thanks also for participating in my poll about the cruise idea. The investigation continues, but I can tell you that based on all of your very helpful feedback I’m now looking at options that are not as long and expensive. This means it probably won’t be this Summer, and it probably won’t be out of Seattle, so you can all resume planning your Summer vacations without me. I would really like to do it, I just need to find the right situation. I’ll keep you all posted and give you plenty of advanced warning.
Already it’s time to start talking about touring plans for 2010, and if you look over there on the shows page you’ll see it starts in mid January with Orlando, St. Petersburg, Atlanta, and then continues with San Francisco, and then Dallas, Austin, (Houston?), and LA and Seattle and Portland and yet another run at Vancouver. I’ll write a proper mass email soon, and of course you can subscribe to the mailing list or the RSS feed so that you are certain to hear about all the details.
Some new songs would be nice, don’t you think? It’s been a long dry spell for me and I’m not sure exactly why. No doubt part of it is the seeping chaos situation described above, but I’m sure it’s more complicated than that. I look back at some of the Thing a Week songs that happened in spite of whatever inconvenient circumstances I was dealing with at the time, and many of them are much better than they have any right to be. A few of them are great. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever get into that headspace again, that desperate, wide-open, WTF state of mind that leads to something like “Re: Your Brains,” which quite honestly I can no longer remember writing. The more distant those acts of creation become, the more they seem like accidents or miracles, things that happened to somebody else. It’s daunting sometimes. I worry that I can’t compete with me. And I know the way through it is to write, or as Merlin says, to make the clackity noise. If there’s one thing I learned from Thing a Week it’s that, but my lizard brain continues to resist the solution. And I can come up with any number of excuses, but they aren’t real; I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been writing. The why of it isn’t nearly as important as the physical act of sitting down and getting to work.
Whoops, gotta go, Robocop 2 is on!
Hopefully by watching Robocop 2, you'll learn the important moral. You may think you're having fun now, but...you only hurt the ones you love. Think of Mom and Dad (or in this case, friends and fans)
Confuscious say BACK TO WORK FERAL MUSICIAN.
You've not done Ninjas yet....
Seriously, new songs would be wonderful, but we'll wait. We love you.
Paul R. Potts says
My condolences about your home and studio. I can relate a bit... when we hit kid #4, things fell apart. We were living in sleepless squalor, amidst mountains of diapers and toys, hollow-eyed, twitching with sleep deprivation. Things have improved, slowly, but yesterday, just as we were saying our goodbyes at my mother-in-law's house in Saginaw to bring the kids back home, after I had given a little Christmas concert, our adorable, mischievous one-year old slipped quietly out of his mother's arms and pulled the entire Christmas tree, fragile glass balls and ceramic ornaments hand-made by generations of cousins and all. down on his head. We escaped as quickly as possible, and I've mostly stopped twitching.
I think of the time spent holed up in my own makeshift studio as "therapy," and I'm glad to have whatever I can get. Even if there is a five-year-old girl howling faintly in the background on almost every take, because her 3-year-old brother pulled her hair...
I'm told my kids will recover from having a musician as a father, and yours will too. They'll remember the good things. It will be for them, like growing up in the Von Trapp family. In your mind, it will be like being the Von Trapp family on bad LSD...
Hopefully by watching RoboCop 2, you'll get nostalgic for Houston (which played a run-down Detroit like no other, for at least some of the pivotal scenes...)
Also, I'm still convinced that Houston could be the place where the final battle between Chapman Stick players and Zendrum players will be waged. (It's like pirates vs ninjas, but with more fingers involved...)
Anonymous Al says
I can certainly relate to not being able to write (or do anything creative) just because. No particular reason...just because. I'm an aspiring musician myself (albeit I have little to no ambitions to do it professionally like yourself, just as a hobby), and there are just days I don't want to look at my guitar or piano, let alone write or play music.
As a former Vancouverite, I would really appreciate it if you go to my hometown, especially on a weekend so that I can go home for the weekend and come to your show. Oh if only I mattered so much out of your legion of fans that you'd make plans just for me. One can dream...haha!
C'mon, you know what you need! Deadlines!
Keep up the awesome work. :)
Ian Anderson says
I have motivation issues when it comes to pretty much doing anything (including laundry), and I'd have to agree with fireworksordie's comment - deadlines!
I've recently started a kickstarter project for my first EP (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/IanCAnderson/ians-debut-album-ep), and just knowing that people are already counting on me to finish this thing by a certain date has worked wonders on my motivation to sit down and get the songs done.
Damn it, JoCo, you're planning a tour, but you're not coming to Finland!! Well, yeah, there probably aren't much fans of yours here, and I don't think you want to freeze your ass in the cold, harsh environment of ;).
And good luck with the new songs! I'm looking forward to hear them!
You are exactly right - like any creative endeavor, you first need to sit your ass down and start writing (um, at least for creative endeavors that you sit on your ass for. And write for.)
I second the call for a ninja-based melody - I'm thinking a sparse arrangement (ninjas are stealthy, after all). I recommend against a song about a ninja monkey, because you don't want to be pigeon-holed as the monkey song man even though a song about a ninja monkey would be AWESOME.
As long as you're taking requests (you ARE, aren't you?), a paean to Daniel Bernoulli and his principle would be most welcome, because without Bernoulli's principle curve balls wouldn't curve and who wants that? Also, his dad tried to steal his work which is kind of interesting.
If it makes you feel any better, Blue Sunny Day has been stuck in my head for weeks, and is slowly creeping its way up my list of favorite ones of your songs. All I'm saying is that while Thing A Week was awesome, it's not the source of your great powers. I think the idea of writing a great song must be pretty daunting, but that if you just sit down and write something you like, we'll all think it's amazing.
Rev. Back It On Up 13 says
You were great in Brooklyn! Even more exciting than the couple seated in front of me, who were having an entertaining argument. A feuding couple is usually the high point of any concert experience for me, but you (and Paul & Storm) were somehow even more entertaining than that!
You really should come and play at this End of the World armageddon celebration that takes place every July - I doubt it would be a great financial pleasure for you but haven't you always wanted to see rural Western New York State? And possibly get abducted by aliens? And at the very least, see lots of droopy naked pagan buttocks? Yes! Of course you have!
"...then Dallas, Austin, (Houston?)"
Yes, please, on the Houston!
Brand Eks says
I hope to see you (again) in San Francisco!
Aw, I was excited about a cruise being out of Seattle. But then, I'm biased because I live in Seattle. :¬)
nice to see you havent fallen off the face of the earth... ;-) dont beat your self up over the lack of writing... You might not ever get your thing a week groove back but that was a very specific time in your life... At some point you will slip in to the writing mode again and im sure of will all love the fruits of onus labour...
Well as Yoda always said about songwriting, "There is no try."
I would like to agree with the "Yes Houston" comments. My husband and I will probably drive to Austin to see you guys anyway, but it would be a lot easier if the concert were here. We would definitely go to a show here in town.
"Seeping Chaos" would make a great song title. Plus it would work with the ninja idea. Just sayin'. You know, if you wait much longer your fans will have written a new song for you. ;)
In all seriousness, good luck with the construction madness. Hopefully it's almost done.
An array of shop vacs could surely keep most of the drywall dust at bay.
It's alright that you havn't put out new stuff. I believe when you finally do get back down to it you'll write something that'll catch us all by surprise. I love your music and look forward to years more of it!
Yo JoCo. That was a bit confessional. Are you feeling a bit guilty about the not writing new songs thing? Or was blogging just another displacement activity.
I would say although your output has been, how shall we say, less than prolific lately, it's the quality that matters, and Blue Sunny Day, Space Doggity and Always The Moon have been right up there with your best stuff.
I concur with some other commenters that what you need is a deadline. The concept of an album although perhaps outmoded in this internet day and age has the advantage that it is a collection and has to be released as such so you are forced to get a bunch of songs together and then release it. Just name a date (say 6 months from now) and then we can all start a countdown. The pressure will do wonders for your creative juices I'm sure.
A new tour... ah, I'll just keep dreamming that you will come to Spain some day... Maybe next summer, on holidays... we have some nice places for tourists, great beaches... ¿No? Well, I had to try.
Paul R Potts, you are wonderful. Will you marry me?
Shit. Never mind.
Jonathan, though it's true you could write songs if you were really, really, motivated, household chaos is not a lame excuse. It's a GOOD excuse. Is your house yet in a condition where you could set up any kind of usable studio?
If not, you could strum the guitar and sing into a little cassette recorder.
You wrote some throwaway songs during Thing a Week, but about half of TAW is AWESOME. If you had to rest on your laurels from now on, I really don't think that would be anything to be ashamed of. There are huge rockstars who haven't written 25 awesome songs in the space of 20 years (though some have, of course).
When you are ready, the songs will come. amen.
My recommendation on song-writing: Try to find or make time to sit down and write an album. It would probably be a completely different experience than the Thing a Week mindset. Plus, I would buy it (please don't make it *too* electronic).
Jordan D. White says
Thing a Week II!!! ^_^
Thing a Fortnight!
Thing a Month?
Mr. Nobody says
Here, maybe a Steak-Tastes-Better pill will help you feel better. :D
Do me a favor and stop by Indiana :) But do it in some place that isn't age restricted, I'm only 14. Hopefully do it somewhere near Noblesville/Carmel area. Would love to see you in concert, I've been hoping for a while now!
I hate being annoying, but you gave me an opening: is Vancouver still not settled? I will personally ferry equipment in from anywhere you like if that's what it takes. I hesitate to bother Armand again but not knowing is driving me crazy...
I know you guys are doing what you can but I will be a little crushed if I lose the opportunity to see you with all of my friends.
Good to hear from you,and good to hear that life,while being hectic,seems okay.I have exactly the same problem with writing as a wannabe-fiction writer.My best advice is to write about everyday stuff.Write about your kids,maybe.(I've been thinking it would be awesome if you put out an album of geeky kid's music that their parents would also enjoy.We should create geeks while they're young.;-P)Write about your house being in chaos!That's got a lot of potential for some nice metaphors right there.(Or,as long as you're taking requests,assuming you are,write about Gordon Freeman.Pretty please.A song about The Freeman by you is a gauranteed Internet hit,and you'd do something awesome with it.You could sing about how it sucks to be him or something!)
Can't wait to see you in St.Pete in January,and just FYI,whenever I need a pick-me-up,I head over to your Twitter feed and that often does the trick,so thanks for that!;-)
I'm in San Antonio but drove up to Austin last night to see my son's band play at the very venue you will be performing at in February. Since San Antonio can't handle anyone as cool as you, I always have to make the 100 mile trip to Austin for good entertainment. While I was there, I got the place all fixed up and ready for you! can't wait.
JoAnn in VA says
You remind me a lot of Charlie Brown in the Broadway Musical- "I work best under pressure, and there'll be lots of pressure if I wait till tomorrow, I should, start writing now".
With the exception of Blue Sunny Day, when your muse winged in, whapped you upside the head a few times and flew off giggling again, most of your best work over the past couple years has been because of the pressures of the Fu. Therefore- shadow it! Hey if we ordinary mortals can shadow Song Fu, YOU can be the very firstest of the Masters to go and do so. Look up all the challenges you missed last year when you were ruined again, look at all the challenges from any of the Fu's you missed and write a song a week for them. Or a song every 2 weeks, we can be kind and cut you that much slack.
Alternate possibility- ask the fans here for song suggestions, give us a week to come up with some, pick your personal fav 2, then have Paul, Storm and Hodgeman each pick one for you to do. Bingo, 5 new songs and lots of people to nag you about getting them done. I mean, to encourage you in your efforts. Total win situation for everyone, and lots of new chords and lyrics for you to try and memorize before performing them.
I think the American Association of Pediatrics has stated that a fair amount of drywall is excellent for growing bones.
I second the suggestion of Thing/Chord/Lyric/140 characters a Month for inspirational purposes... best of luck with the continuing construction and hope it ends soon so the settling in can begin.
crazy diamond says
i want to resist any advice giving. as far as i can see, whatever you are doing.. well, so far, so good. as i think i previously said somewhere, listening to your repertoire has boosted my spirits through some seriously sucky suckfests in the past several months. familiarity hasn't dampened it, even if i have listened to certain songs eleventy zillion times according to the gods of the itunes. i'm not a 'recent' fan, but i don't go back to the start either. i've been grooving to the joco for more than 3 years though, if that means anything.
so anyway, sure, i'm always ready for more, including shelling out for it in terms of coming to see you when possible and buying what's available otherwise; but hey, it's a gift just to have access to something i know has made me feel better (or feel 'more' as with some of the more melancholy songs). for that i thank you. if this morphs into cruises and other unimaginables (for me the not so sensitive unimaginative non creative art appreciator) well, yahootie. what a ride, who knows what's around the next corner?!
someone beat me to commenting on 'seeping chaos' being a good place to start. you wrote that, you know, right up there, which indicates to me that the muse lives. even as you explain that you're not writing, you're writing what we can relate to. my motto has often been ... get to it if you can. but that sounds like advice, and i don't give that stuff. so, i'll stfu after just adding, have yourselves a merry little christmas with your chaotic home and family. who'd have it any other way, after all?
Because of you, I started a my own "Thing-a-week". The most important thing I learned is accepting that songwriting can be like a number game. Some songs are gonna suck, some are gonna be downright horrible (talking about myself here)...But eventually something great will come along to make all the initial failures worth it.
I guess I am in no position to give you advice (I learn a lot from your recordings). Just want to let you know I look forward to another "Skullcrusher Mountain" from you.
Woot! Good to hear from you again. I wouldn't worry too much about not writing new stuff recently, as it seems you've been crazy busy with concerts and (we now know) construction. Although, they do say to write what you feel, so a song about living with construction might not be out of the question. Just a suggestion, feel free to ignore me.
But, honestly, although I'm sure we'd all love to hear anything you want to throw at us (seriously, you can make anything fly, just look at Mr. Fancy Pants!), we also love the "old" stuff. I was at the concert in Minneapolis last October and I have the bootleg of it on my iTunes (and listen to it repeatedly!), but I'd pay good money to go see the exact same concert again. (Speaking of which, please don't forget to come back to MN in all your tour plans! You promised. You really did. I have the bootleg to prove it.)
I guess what I'm saying, in a long rambly way, is feel free to take a little break. Relax, enjoy your holidays, pick up the signer/song writer life next year. You've earned it. ^_^
No problemo man - do what you gotta do. We'll still be here when you're ready. Something tells me feeding/bathing a child covered in drywall dust is a song that writes itself...
"WHERE ... IS ... KANE?!"
Hey Bearded One. It sounds like you could use a little help getting your living space into a.. you know.. LIVING space. An 'existing space' is all well and good but it's not conducive to the creative process. It can take a while, esp with things like touring to pull you out of your home over and over again.
Life can be easy if you reduce it down to its basic blocks (someday I should write a book on this idea and then hire you to write the theme song of the inevitable book-on-tape). For you the blocks may be a) get settled b) observe c) write.
In all, the important thing is you've got a whole lot of people out here that want you to continue succeeding.. including old jaded folks like me ;)
All the best,
Tim Canny says
In stead of the cruise I recommend a JoCo themed bus tour and pub crawl of Brooklyn with a surprise at each establishment. A sing-a-long at one, P&S at another, a reading from that Hodgman guy, etc. All tour-guided by yourself.
As far as your music goes, you need to do a fan collaboration project. They provide the lyrics, you provide the music. Step 1) Call for submissions. Step 2) Pick the top ten that tickle your fancy. (you do have a fancy, don't you?) Step 3) Boom! Instant album!
I may have missed a few steps but you get the idea.
Dang my impulsive buying. I bought tickets to the Seattle show and now found out I can't make it... I should have waited. >.>
My friends and I will continue thinking that you're great as long as you do a show in New York or New Jersey on a Friday night or a weekend sometime in the near future. :)
Well, Thing a Week demonstrates that you and I have at least one thing in common: we need deadlines to produce our (best) work.
I think the answer is obvious. Do some Nuke, then watch the creative genius unfurl!
Or get killed by Robocop. So you can skip the second part there.
Wait - you had a show in Brooklyn? I did not get notice of that via facebook or myspace or the google or anything.
I have about 10 friends who would have gone, too, and none of them did. They would have told me too.
You have to get the word out to us opinion leaders in future!
rest is probably the best thing for you, seeing that your previous songs were neither functional not elegant. work on that. on the lighter side you cranked out a hell of a lot of songs in a 52 week span, more than most musicians do, so you need some time to have more experiences to write about, though with your living arrangement i would imagine we'll be hearing some more Shop Vac type output in the near future. keep it up, guy, you are living the dream and we envy you. bob in florida
p.s. oh by the way, orlando is more like south georgia, we need you a little farther south, say west palm???
I second the West Palm idea.I could see you twice!:-D
And yeah,don't be constantly comparing yourself to your Thing-a-Week feat...as I say,that was a feat.You can't constantly compare yourself to the superhuman stuff you've pulled off,that's self-defeating.Sometimes you need to give yourself some slack for having chaos in your life.And hey,it's not like you're not working,you're touring all over the place.If you pressure the muse,she'll run away.Leave her alone for a while and she'll start nagging you for attention.:-)
Tony Fabris says
Dude, Thing A Week *earned* you a long dry spell. Enjoy the rest. Hope the new home stuff all turns out well.
Mike Vardy says
We want to bring you to Victoria BC - those Vancouverites can swim over if they want to see you guys!
Have a great holiday and here's to a great 2010!
James Greenman says
Write more songs, or there will be....trouble.
Hey Jonathan, I've started up my own little Thing A Week project at www.Aidy.com you can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_sYFx0Qr5M
I'm with James Greenman on this. The problem isn't you -- it's us. Your fans suck at forcing you to write brilliant new songs. We love your old shit so much we'd happily let you coast along forever on Still Alive. And Skullcrusher Mountain. (And Re: Your Brains. And.... everything else. All of it. It's all so fucking good.) It's time for tough love from your rabidly loyal fan base. We want a new song that's totally fucking awesome. And we want it YESTERDAY.
please come to Houston!
From one musician to another, I totally relate to being in a dry spell. Here are my own humble suggestions which I'm sure you've received from others already, but I feel I must voice:
-How about an album collaborating with Paul & Storm? Nothing helps a creative block more than collaborating with other musicians.
-How about another artificial deadline? Another Thing a Week is probably out of the question, but how about Thing a Month, or Thing a Bi-week?
-A mediocre Jonathan Coulton song is still tons better than any song that's on pop radio, so I hope you don't let your past glories hold you back
Your last three songs were absolute gems, apparently done far outside the self-imposed-and-now-we're-all-expecting-it-from-you pressure of Thing a Week, so I think you still gots more creative stuffs in ya.
It's probably down beneath the angst and guilt of being a touring musician away from your family for long stretches. (Just kidding!!!)
Whenever you're ready, we'll be waiting.
You just need the right inspiration. Maybe something like this:
A couple things to say that might be interesting to hear from just one fan:
1. No matter what you post or write, I come to your site nearly every day. (I rarely log in) I don't care if there's nothing new - that just doesn't bother me.
2. You've already written more songs that mean something to me than any other band has. You've written more hits (IMO) than most popular bands ever do. Consider the 80's hits - many of them one hit wonders. You've already done so much more. Nearly everything you have written has been awesome to me. There are still songs that seem new to me. There are still songs that are hitting me hard with their awesomeness. There are still songs that haven't even begun to hit me yet, but I know will. Hell, I just got done listening to "When you go" again. Niagara Falls. You don't need to write anything new. You've already done so, so much. I wish the world could hear your songs.
Please don't take that as some creepy fan statement even though it appears to sorta border that. After all, like I said, I just got done listening to "When you Go" so I'm a little bit fragile right now. :) I am just so happy that I found your music.
I suck at checking other people's blogs.
I hope that your life gets less chaotic, but not so ordered that you have nothing to write about. I bet there's a song in your guitar about somebody who's living in an out-of-control makeshift mess and is sad. And I bet I would love that song, because my apartment is a mess right now and I don't think the mess stays exclusively on the outside of my head.
Well, it's true what Merlin said, and it's true what people are saying about deadlines: deadlines work, and you should either get yourself one, or just commit yourself to making clackity noises or chunka chunka noises for fourteen minutes a day. But the reason they're called deadlines is that after a year of them, you're dead tired. And also very much alive. So basically a zombie or a vampire. But not a suicidal one. I think I had a point here but I can't remember what it was.
Anyway, I don't want to pressure you into writing songs or anything, because it's not like I'm entitled to new songs, and it's not like I don't already have a lot of great songs from you. For me it doesn't matter, I'll still go to your shows even if there are no new songs, and try to get you to sing the old ones I haven't heard live yet, gradually increasing in difficulty until you're singing The Presidents *and* The Elements at double speed.
But at the same time, I don't want to say that you should just rest because you've already written loads of great songs and and we'll love you anyway (even though you have, and we will.) Because I'm pretty sure that writing new songs or other things would be rewarding for you. And if it's rewarding for you, then you should do it. After a few baths and cups of teas, as the Hitchhiker's Guide to Deadlines says.
Ninjas? Vampire Zombie Pirates would kick their asses. Unless they were MUTANT ninjas, of course.
On the lighter side, how about "All I want For Christmas is Prozak" (subtitled 'Since the kids are home for a week')?
I'm with Janelle, Houston's music scene might totally blow, but you can come play in our apartment and we can call Janelle over. Maybe I'll make some wassail.
"Damn it, JoCo, you’re planning a tour, but you’re not coming to Finland!! Well, yeah, there probably aren’t much fans of yours here, and I don’t think you want to freeze your ass in the cold, harsh environment of ;) .
And good luck with the new songs! I’m looking forward to hear them!"
OMG there's someone else from Finland too. Yep tour would be awesome, but I know it isn't possible here.
I agree with other guys, just put some deadlines and think about some themes like ninjas, pirates and random stuff :D
Auuugh, my failure at stalking you means I didn't read this post until today to find out that you're playing Dallas, and all the best seats are gone. Friiiiiig. :( If only I had enough Mata Hari in me to sleep my way to the front. I'll just have to sit in the back and enjoy you from afar, Joco.
JoCo please write soon. Otherwise I shall be forced to sned you my work and beg you to record it. And trust me you don't want that!
Blue Canadian Skies says
My husband and I have recently discovered your music and we absolutely love the things you've done. Since we haven't even heard everything you've already done, we can wait a while for some more. ;-)
I am disappointed that the cruise idea won't be happening. My husband were talking of joining you to celebrate our 10th anniversary this summer. However, may I respectfully beg and plead for you to come to Vancouver, or even Victoria. Please, please, please!
I want to let you know one of the reasons that I love your music so much. My mom was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive cancer in the summer this year. It was shortly after my husband introduced me to your music. I loved what I heard so much that I had my mom listen to some of it. She instantly became a fan, too. Your refreshing, lyrically-beautiful, and sometimes downright hilarious songs really brightened her spirits. Listening to your music brought light and hope to an otherwise dark, scary time in her life. Thank you so much for that, Jonathan.
Today, six months after diagnosis, and five months after doctors opened her abdomen to discover uncountable numbers of tumours, small and large, everywhere they could see, my mom is cancer-free. It truly is a miracle. Now she gets to laugh and cry through all your wonderful music for many years to come.
Another way your music has touched my life is by bringing my husband and I closer together. Sounds cheesy, but it's true. Many evenings we crank up your tunes and dance and sing while making supper, whirling our four-year-old and 18-month-old daughters around the room, sharing laughter and enjoyment. Our older daughter always insists that we start with "Mr. Fancy Pants", followed immediately by "Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance".
I really must let you know that you have been successful at corrupting the younger generation in our household. Our four-year-old sometimes randomly blurts out, "You'd see the voices that control me from inside my head say I shouldn't kill you...yet!" (It's hilarious, and I can just envision the awkward conversation one day when her preschool teachers ask me to stay for just a few minutes after class!) Also, our friends' 2-year-old likes to wander around their house, mumbling almost incoherently, "All we want to do is eat your brains...." So. Well done! :D
In all seriousness, I love your music, and, to be blunt, find you to be a genius at what you do. Your sound is beautiful and unique and you obviously sing with passion and joy. Thank you for all you've done.
-From a loyal fan in Western Canada
When will you be coming to Australia? D:
The only difference between the JoCo who did thing a week and the JoCo now is more fans. Try thing a week again only for 3months,and not a full year, and even more people will buy them and love them outright. That's all, 3 months thing a week.
please come to houston!!!! please!!!! please!!!!!!
"Today, six months after diagnosis, and five months after doctors opened her abdomen to discover uncountable numbers of tumours, small and large, everywhere they could see, my mom is cancer-free."
On the other hand, I've learned it's not a good idea for an over-50 guy, going back to college, to walk around singing Skullcrusher Mountain. It's just not as funny somehow.
Have a life. Make more music when you're compelled to. Thing-a-week is more legacy than hundreds of "famous" musicians left, and they still have careers off their once-upon-a-time success. And you can always do the Johhny Cash thing in your old age - intense, moving covers of classic songs from the old days, like Baby's Got Back.
Convenience fee, I had no idea such a thing existed.
Still worth it, though! I've been watching for another Portland visit for a while.
All I wanted for Christmas was JoCo's box set. And I didn't get it, and was a very sad panda indeed. So I bought it anyways (yay!). And I am Very. Disappointed. In all of you people. How could you not inform me how terrific it would be?? Ok, you did, I'm just not very observant okay? So, it was a very happy day (well, couple days - I picked it up late Monday night and am still enjoying many songs I hadn't heard before).
You know how when you buy an album, and there's maybe 2-3 songs you really like, and another couple that are just OK, and the other 5-6 do nothing for you? An album. They're physical discs that contain the... you know what, it's not important (old! I'm old! Gah!). What's important is that I did a Real Mathematical Analysis that involved counting and stuff, and I like - really, really like - 83% of the full set. And the rest are OK. Only 2 songs I don't like at all which either means that JoCo is super-talented or I am the nearly-ideal target audience or both.
The Future Soon, I Crush Everything and Blue Sunny Day are my current favorites, all for different reasons.
JoCo - for the record, your money-pooping cow business model works. I followed a link to Skullcrusher Mountain a few months ago, then grabbed a couple of free songs (Skullcrusher, When You Go, KML), heard others on YouTube (including the Wil Wheaton version of My Monkey) and got hooked. I got impatient and stole a couple songs before Christmas (borrowed! I borrowed them! I knew I would be getting the box set!) and then ponied up the cash because I would like there to be more of your music in the future. Sorry to make you read all this but I guess I took a typing pill and I feel fantastic.
Yay! Finally a visit to Orlando! Can't wait to see you. The Social is a cool venue too.
David K says
When we saw Kevin Smith speak he said he wouldn't be making any more Clerks-type films. He said he would never be in that place again in his life -- desperate filmmaker with no budget and boundless passion for his film. That's why he's turned to different films, for better or for worse.
Maybe you can try something like that as well. You were in one headspace when you wrote the Thing a Week now you're in another. Instead of trying to move back into that headspace, try something from where you are right now. Something different so you don't feel like you're competing so much with yourself: different genre of music, music parodies, collaboration with other musicians. You could try jumping media try your hand at writing short stories. Heck, there might even be enough in Skullcrusher Mountain for a whole novel.
Maybe trying something different is more intimidating than repeating your previous style, but it might be where your best future creative work lies, too.
Good to hear from you! We're rooting you on! And...hey! Make that tour out of Seattle! We West Coasties want to cruise with you!
My bet is that those moments of inspiration are still firing, but when they do you're probably busy stepping across floor joists or managing some other chaotic circumstance. Many creative souls I know have sparks that have to be fanned into bonfires before they're forgotten or lapse into being under-appreciated by the host being. I think that was my long-winded way of saying "don't worry about it!" Cool humanity won't spoil.
Also, I agree with DavidK. Committed artists always seem to find niches, reinvention, new ways to develop. Personally, I have no doubt wherever you go, it will be magnificent.
I was excited to find out you will be visiting Vancouver during the Olympics! -- unfortunately Ticketmaster sees fit to charge a Facility Charge and a Convenience (?) charge which makes the tickets unaffordable for me.
Oh Well -- maybe I'll run into you at a local Starbucks.
Cheers & Good Luck!
Solution to dry spell: BUS PLUNGE!
(I was at the Minneapolis show in October. I am still waiting. You know you want to.)
Hi JoCo, loved the Pittsburgh concert. I would not have thought one could play Billy Joel's "Pressure" on a guitar, that was cool.
I really enjoy when you play with different musical genre's. Perhaps a blues, gospel, disco, rockabilly or opera song might be in your future creations? Would love to hear another Gregorian chant song from you.
Glen Raphael says
I've been doing a song-a-week thing for the last few months focused on building a collection of songs I can play live. One thing I've noticed is that I only have a certain amount of space in my head to devote to songs. I need to either finish or deliberately set aside whatever song I'm thinking about now in order to make room for anything new. Push the old stuff out, stop thinking about it, and new stuff comes in to fill the same space.
If that's the issue, writing new songs might not be terribly compatible with touring.
I found Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk pretty inspiring - she gives some alternative ways to think about inspiration that are helpful.
Gerry Walters says
I hear you on living through construction and dealing with the mess and chaos. I once had to make do for several weeks on just the contents of one or two cardboard boxes while the entire main floor of the house was gutted.