I started this blog on February 1, 2008. The columns I was alotted by local papers wasn't enough space to capture the full story. So it started out as "uncut" versions of those interviews. I still remember the night someone pushed me to do this. (It was Keith Thompson, from Johnny Headband). And I considered it as a lark. I had no idea then that I'd still be doing it, 10 years later..
And I've never really felt like I had writer's block, when it came to this blog.......until now. Where to start...
I think that at least once a year I usually wind up writing some immersive essay like this.... Sometimes twice a year. The thing is, I'm marking my tenth year, now!
It's usually something soaked with sentiment about why I love music, why music is so powerful, why I love music made in Michigan..., why music made in Michigan is so powerful..., etc...And my fervent words kinda just start curling back on themselves like that until I get worked up into a strange spell of muted ecstasy, only to punch the last period and sigh with a sense of fulfillment, assured once again that I'd never want to be living anywhere else, in any other music scene.
I have so many cherished memories as an attendant of live music in Detroit that stretch back more than 15 years, now. I'm not sure how many people will have nostalgia pangs quake through them when they look at the photos I have on blogposts from the summer of 2008, but it's all there. My adventures throughout the Detroit music scene, capturing just what was happening at every venue I went to...
Strange though, about memories. Because now I have actual memories tied, albeit abstractly, to this blog.... Specifically tied to writing out pieces for it. Memories flashing back to having my eyes lazered upon a blank post observing as it swiftly, almost manically, would be filled up with a splay of serif fonts, effusive with descriptions of sounds or recounting the energies of a performer.
Writing about music is easy when you can be possessed by it. Album reviews, concert follow-ups, interviews, all of it: ....music, all of the musician interviews, and listening to all of these albums, spinning these albums front to back five times in a row as I furiously type out a sort of transcription of my emotional resonance affected by each piece, be it pop, rap, country, techno or whatever...You have to be possessed. You should be. I was. Still am.
|Photos by Brian Rozman|
I have memories of waking up on Saturday mornings after a show, fueled on only five hours of sleep, then drinking a pot of coffee, and sifting through my thoughts as the sun came up. I shared my own feelings, but I also, above anything else, just worked to continually tell the story of a diverse and expansive cast of Detroit artists, from different genres and generations, year to year, album to album.
And I discovered, eventually, that I took an equal amount of enjoyment in the art of conversation., as I did writing... Rather, I saw that conversation could be an art. To ask 10+ questions exploring the thoughts and processes of different artists, that in itself was an art; to explore with words. Just as writing could be an art... it came to be that I saw that my real role was asking the best questions.
And back to being possessed. I also discovered that if you want to write about music effectively, if you want to be able to describe it at all, you have to be willing to go somewhere with it. With a song, I mean. Because every song's an invitation. That, or it's a mood-setter, a confession booth, a road trip, a dance rave, a plunge or a launch or an ejection, it's about rejection and it's about love and it's about frustration and it's about everything at all, or nothing at all... It's about need. It's about where the songwriter needs to go at that moment of the time of their writing it, in their lives. And then it's a question about whether you want to go there with them. Cross that threshold, glance behind you, then turn around and indulge imagination with your ears wide open... Then you can start writing. Or...., have some more coffee & then you can start writing.
So, anyway, why am I writing another one of these essays? Because, cliche as it sounds, I can't believe I've sustained it, week to week, for 10 years. But, sappy as this sounds, I'm more astonished that it's not only retained a readership, but actually increased as the year's went on... And so this is a long THANK YOU letter. Music made in Detroit and made in Michigan has been such a huge part of my life, every day, for more than 10 years. Thank you for reading some of my daily dispatches here on this blog, as I've continued to live that life.... a life with one of the best soundtracks ever.