I got an email from Portugal this morning.
Some Portuguese woman, who had seen Soul Coughing in the mid-90s. She wrote:
i think for the “good sanity” of the history of worl music … you never had stop, even agaisn’t your wish, yes it should be an obrigation … ok, don’t keep furious with me, i’m concious that i should not say that, but i have it, sorry!!!
I think all artists resent being saddled with their old work. The classic example being Picasso abandoning his blue period. (and I don’t rate myself on his level, believe me) Shouldn’t I just let it go? Let the nostalgists have their nostalgia? Shrug it off and just make the best records I can?
I’m so weary of Soul Coughing. I listen to it, and I just don’t like it. I think: Fuck, I could’ve done this so much better, really served the songs. (it would probably have sounded a lot more like the Beasties’ Check Your Head, or G. Love, or Beck) And I find my vocal style, and many of the lyrics, cringe-worthy. To bite her line: I’m conscious that I should not say that, but I have it, sorry.
Sometimes I think I should just give in and get the fucking band back together. Despite the misery of that relationship. What a funhouse mirror version of a sellout move that would be: to go back to this more avant-garde band, and give up this thing which is so much closer to classic rock tradition (not that I still don’t have my weird voice and lyrics; I don’t envision myself ever singing at the Super Bowl). And it really would be a sellout move: abandoning that which enthralls me as an artist, in favor of what some people expect.
I might even make more money in a reunion. Pixies-style. Fucking hell.
I listen to Haughty, and I think: I love this. In every way. It’s very, very rare in my life as a recording artist, both within the old band and without, for me to listen to a two-year-old record and still feel proud of it. I think: this is what I’ve been trying to do for years. Here I am at last!
I love the guys in my new band; Scrap, McNeal, Chen.I love the way they play. The way they surprise me onstage. I love being with them on a bus, having coffee with them, joking, being a gang.
I love the freedom of this second life that the universe has so bafflingly chosen to bless me with.
I love being alive for the first time in a very, very long time. What an unusal development, that I should actually be happy and comfortable in my own skin!
I am so, so grateful.
Why should I have to justify this to myself? How strange.
Stick to your guns, stick to your guns, stick to your guns.