I M e

A few months later and I was starting to feel good again. I was forty-something days into burying myself in Sam Harris and Joe Rogan podcasts and was beginning to get into the groove of a loose and not-so serious meditation routine.

Sam was getting me to be in the present. Random shit moved me, like a woman on MUNI with a shaky hand or long walks with just the right amount of downhill. I started to understand why people love taking psychedelics. Awareness of the present moment is fucking sweet.

But there was one thing Sam Harris couldn’t convince me of. You have no head. There is no writer of thoughts. No person sitting back there shuffling cards. The very concept of “I” is just an appearance in consciousness, like a smell or a thought.

Abandon your ego! Basically what everyone says when they come back from Burning Man. It seemed weird but I gave it a go, trying to convince myself on a crowded bus that subjective and objective could be the same, but bumping up against people just reinforced a sense of clear and distinct boundaries.

I kept at it. And by some stroke of luck ended up at a party outside of Pescadero – a Hipcamp designed for ayuascha retreats, fully operational with drums, meditation pillows, and a stripper pole.

Also a swing set

Beers were had. Weed was smoked. Dinner was neglected. And at some point a guy handed me a piece of torn up paper and said, “please write down who you think you are.” He went around the fire telling everyone to write down their occupation or their name or whatever they wanted really. I was too far gone to be able to see where any of it was going and so feeling very clever I wrote down in terrible, drunk chicken scratch, “I am me,” and then slunk off to my tent.

Things starting to get blurry

When I woke up the next morning my head didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I looked outside and saw Charley rolling up his rain fly.

“What time did you Irish exit last night?” he asked. I told him it was right around the time some guy asked me to write down who I was on a piece of paper.

Charley laughed and told me they’d thrown the pieces of paper into the fire and watched them turn into smoke, and suddenly all I could think about was what must have gone up in flames – I am me.

Tommy Guerrero

As a skateboarder on the Bones Brigade, Tommy Guerrero was known for his “relaxed style of street skateboarding.” In Future Primitive (be warned, it’s 80’s skating) he can be seen bopping down the streets of San Francisco, sliding around cars and pirouetting across the skate park. He doesn’t look choreographed or refined in the way modern skaters might – he’s having fun. He’s cruising San Francisco and enjoying the open air.

I like to keep the image of the younger Tommy carving down the streets in mind when I listen to his music. While his playing is clearly tight, that relaxed playfulness and joy always comes through. There are some artists you listen to and can just tell they put painstaking effort into every sound and note. It never feels that way listening to Tommy Guerrero.

As a Jazz professor once told me: “no matter how hard you’re playing you gotta make it look eeeeeasy.” Tommy Guerrero feels eeeeeasy.

Skateboarder or not, when you listen to his music, you can sense what it would be like to glide around the streets of SF on a perfect day. Lean your face into the sun and take a second to enjoy it.

Treasure Trove

I dislike when music blogs come clean about not posting.  It’s always something like, “Sorry been crazy busy with work, haven’t been able to blog in awhile but here’s a new one from…” and then the recommendation.

It feels kind of disingenuous. Nothing should get in the way of posting if it means that much to you, right? Work-shit, relationships, even fun should take a back seat to blogging – if you really care about it. Not posting probably means you shouldn’t have a blog.

Harsh, dude.

Usually it happens a few times in a row. You can almost see the blogger connecting the dots – noticing the pattern. It happened to Auditory Remembrance, Tiny Rockets, and others. I have folders of dormant music blogs.

But here I am drafting something up after not blogging for two months – tail between my legs – wondering what I could possibly say to peak anyone’s interest after not writing for two months.

The truth is I simply haven’t felt like writing about music. And to force it felt like a disservice to all the good that has come from blogging consistently. Not good as in Davey Pageviews good. Or good as in attracting attention. But good as in committing to something. Good as in loosening a creative valve to let it flow freely.

For some reason today it was happening. By some good grace I started listening to a playlist from longtime Afmth fan, Seve, and one after the other, new-ness started flooding in. Add in a little weed and a glass of booze and a beautiful concoction of loose energy took over. I think it was the Darius song that really did it. Even one step beyond Pryor. At least at first. It’s still early.

It’s good to find new music again. It’s been hard recently – maybe something to do with getting older – you experiment less and stick to the tried and true. If you know This Must Be the Place will work, why mess with anything else? And the harder you look, the less you find. But take your foot of the gas and sometimes new melodies start to flood in. 

Lane 8, Darius, Amtrac, Tourist – all familiar names. DJ’s we’ve featured on the blog many times. But for me this is all new.

Caamp // Live at the Sinclair

Is that a shutterless camera?

No, I’m shooting video.

Oh shit.

I think the shutter moves too fast to be heard.

You got something to drink?

I got a beer around here somewhere.

How bout a Hot Toddy?

A what?

Dude. Fuck the show, let’s make a How To Hot Toddy video!

Hottie tooty?

Hot Toddy. I’ll put the kettle on, you just keep that camera rolling.


Proud to present an Aftermath original:

h/t @elgringo with a heater two-and-a-half years in the making.