On Rock and Roll
When I worked in music I was living in a parallel society with its own rules and tensions. I was in my twenties, and completely mistaken about what was under my control and what was not. I carried public vulnerabilities, was confused about what kind of people or events I attracted, misconstrued my reputation, was trying to reach overcomplicated goals…
I lived in a state of ambivalence. I was not making music myself, and so my default obsession, work ethic, and love of fun were all poured into being a fan, an audience, a muse, a collaborator—I drove cars, listed drinks on riders, lifted Sovteks, counted money, courted frontmen, and inspired the lyrics of mediocre breakup albums.
It was not good for me.
I was staring at those on the stage every night—my friends, my enemies—and thought they were so ruthlessly wasteful. Wasteful of their voices, their families, their time, their money, their sexuality, their sleep, their moral standing, and not in that fun-loving, obsessive, work-ethic way, which I do get, not the staying-up-all-night happy with the zealotry of feeling young way, but in that sad, self-demolishing way which we keep trying to charm out of our friends until they’re not our friends anymore.
It’s hard to morally appreciate somebody who’s wasteful of something you want but don’t have. But they felt they didn’t deserve what they had, and so they squandered it away and now they’re not my friends anymore.
The thing is, there and then I decided if I ever make it, if I ever make it up to a stage, it will be in a way I feel I deserve, and that I will make the most out of it and not be wasteful. That I will stand firm and help pull other people up who worked hard for it just the same, and who understand the responsibility it comes with: dealing with the values of others.