One of my favorite passages in Morrissey's thick blue autobiography is when he describes his relationship with the 80s nu-wave band, A-ha. Basically, it was A-ha's vocalist, Morten Harket, who, with his joy plumed vocals, inspired Mozz to realize that a powerful croon and belt did not have to come from a dark place. Not that one sounds better. But I liked the passage, and in retrospect, I feel it relates to my year with sleep.
I was desvelado in 2014. I was sleepless, and lord knows there were plenty of awful things happening in this world to keep our eyes shut and our minds burning through another night. But some of these personal things that all of us eventually experience are totally worthwhile. For context, if you've never listened to 1990's Tejano artist, Bobby Pulido, then I suggest you do, specifically, to his song, "Desvelado". It's a beautiful song with chandelier synths, a slow motion Tejano gallop, and a warm lyrical message: I'm sleepless, but it's ok because I stayed up all night thinking about somebody I care about deeply- about you. It captures this idea. We lose sleep for all sorts of reasons, many, awful. But some are great, and are totally worth moving through the following day desvelado.
My 2014 was like this, mainly because of my life that surrounds booking shows, but also because of that other life. One of the biggest, and weirdest, things that kept my eyes wide and dry at night was my constant grappling with age, amidst the context of that funky social construct: "do I have my shit together?". Don't get me wrong, it's important to feel stable, but what's more important is knowing and defining not only yourself, but what "having your shit together" means, to you. If you've ever felt this way, you know, pressured, weird, suffocated by these constructs that grow more crippling with age, please know that half these feelings - half of the awful - is rarely ever your fault.
We live in a dreary, weird, capitalist driven world that creates a fog of slow suffocation on people who aren't striving towards attaining wealth beyond their means, which often and unfortunately translates to 'having your shit together'. Plenty of us do things that are insane and impossibly beautiful (that don't exude wealth), and sometimes being outside of a cultural atmosphere that appreciates these things can leave one feeling high and dry. If you're reading this, chances are in your favor that you're one of these individuals. You're not alone. Everyone feels this, and you certainly don't not have your ducks in check. You're amazing, if you don't know, and Faye Orlove's incredible piece on "Unconventional Milestones" captures this rhythm so beautifully I want to print it and give it to everyone for Xmas. Hopefully The Media does this, though. Regardless, wrestling with the strange energy of age and complacency is a welcome thing because it demands introspection. I'm glad that, despite being one of the strange pressures I felt closing in beneath my ceiling many a nites, I learned to exhale. I learned to sleep, but also welcomed the nights I stayed up all night.
Relative, plenty of nights were spent vividly awake either planning or staying up with shows that I had the pleasure of hosting or attending. Here's a list of moments that, in some way shape or form, dealt with music, or planning about music, that kept me up at night in the best way possible:
-Making life decisions around the very real idea that a job is not necessarily a career, and a career is definitely not always a life
-Staying up late to arrange a last minute show with Frankie Rose
-Frankie Rose at Cine El Rey
-Laura Jane Grace of Against Me giving a solemn, disapproving nod to her bassist after he awkwardly greeted me with a 'buenos nachos' and a smirk
-Watching Perfect Pussy devastate their set at Galax Z Fair
-watching Dru Molina / Criaturas absolutely burn down what was left of Galax Z Fair after Perfect Pussy
-Dru and Meredith Graves meeting after all of that
-Fans rushing the stage at Cine El Rey during TR/ST.
-Watching Swearin' at O.K. Fest at the Golden Tea Room in Philly
-Staying up until 4 am with Riley and Jane from TOPS in my living room to discuss the role of the artist in society
-Pinky Swear opening for Lemuria at Cine El Rey
-Listening to Selena on a Subway in NYC
-Telling a young man to 'shutup' during Angel Olsen at Cine El Rey
-Having breakfast at Rex Cafe with Spray Paint and Ben Wallers
-Staying at the Silent Barn for a few days in August and being housed by amazing people (ty again, Liz and Tali <3)
-Shopping at a Yerberia with Hidden Ritual
-Container at Metropolis
-Playing in a Smiths cover band called the Strange Gueys on Halloween
-Watching Secret Prostitutes at Thirsty Monkey
-My homie Edgar Durden starting his own Tape Label, Edgar's Friends
-Not going to sxsw - getting lots of sleep.
-The Dead Space at Space16th-both times
-Having to fill in as a last minute dj during a dance party while a fight broke out, not knowing what to do, playing Drake, and having the room turn from quake to sulk and groove. I felt pretty special and stayed up all night.
-Staying in Queens for 18 hours
-Jock Club at the North Door
-Talking with Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces about segregation in McAllen, TX
-Playing my last show with the Young Maths and having 100% of the proceeds go to helping friends battling cancer. Rest in peace, Amanda.
-Seeing Morrissey play "Asleep" in Austin
-My mom dancing to the Zombies at Cine El Rey