In Memoriam – Or…Life Is Hard But Please Stay With Us

An old friend of mine apparently took his own life this week. Now, I hadn’t spoken to him in many many years and we were never super best buds or anything but I did hang out at his house from time to time and really enjoyed our time together. He was one of the nicest, sweetest, funniest, most genuine people I’d ever met. We grew up in the same neighborhood and continued to hang out now and then into adulthood, playing video game and chatting about life’s mysteries. I think the last time I saw him was when we got together to play a Star Wars RPG game. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I saw him but never the less I miss knowing his presence is in the world.

I don’t know the details of his death. I don’t know what was going on in his life. He was a gentle and sensitive soul. Maybe too sensitive to live in what can be a very rough world sometimes. And while I’m sad that for whatever reason, this is how his journey ended, I can’t be angry, as is the natural reaction sometimes when someone commits suicide. Because I understand in a way. This isn’t to say I condone or in any way endorse it but I can understand it.

While I have never actually contemplated suicide, I have been in that place. Where everything seems so bleak, so heavy, so overwhelming. Where even if you don’t actually want to take your life, part of you thinks “I wouldn’t mind if I just didn’t wake up tomorrow, though.” I’m sorry that whatever he was going through obviously overwhelmed and blinded him to the fact that he was loved and that many would be hurt and devastated by his loss. Even old friends who he may not have realized even remembered his existence any more. Any time I’ve been in the depths of a funk, this has always been my overriding thought. The thought of how much losing me would hurt my mom, my dad, all those who love me and all those who I might not even know love me, all those who I don’t even know I mean anything at all to.

I’m always kind of surprised at how much I’m affected when I learn of the death of someone from my past. Someone who I’ve had no interaction with in years, or decades. But then I think about it and I shouldn’t be surprised. Every single person I’ve ever known, loved, or had any meaningful interaction with is part of who I today. Chuck Pehl who lived down the road from me as a child. James Mikel from 4th grade. Sheila Vincent, my major crush from 4th through 8th grade. Dave Westerman (RIP), the bass player in my first band. Hundreds, thousands of people. You’re all a part of making me who I am today and who I will be in the future (just to make sure that was clear, those people are all alive as far as I know except Dave).

No matter who you are, I can promise you that there a lot of people who love you and would miss you. Maybe you know that, maybe you don’t. There are countless more who you have no idea even think about or care, but they do. And if it ever gets too hard to believe that or remember that, then focus on this: I love you and care about you.

RIP, my friend. The world is a lesser place without you. For those of us still here, please believe me, it would be a lesser place without any of you as well.

State of the Eaf Address

For some reason I feel the need to say this. To let you all behind the curtain for a moment. The last year or so has been one of the toughest of my life, for a lot of reasons. The end of my 7 year marriage, followed by another intense and passionate relationship that ended very badly (in some ways, although we are still friends), the usual ups and downs of career, friendships, creative relationships and all the stuff we all have to deal with from time to time.

There was a time when I pretty much lived completely openly online. Good, bad and ugly, I put it all out there for anyone who cared to see. Over the years, I’ve changed and started trying to pretty much keep it all positive. I don’t really care to expose everything to the world at large any more (and besides, no one wants to hear a bunch of “woe is me, feel my pain” BS) but for some reason I just felt somehow deceptive or something sort of keeping this all to myself.

Now here’s the thing: my life is 95% amazing and awesome. But then there’s the 5%. A toxic 5% that somehow seems to permeate, infect and somehow seem to counteract the other 95%. It casts a grey funk that sits just below the surface, like when you have a dull throbbing headache so subtle that you’re not even sure if you have a headache but yet it still saps you.

Obviously, some days are better, some worse, but I feel stuck, like the weight of my past has finally become too heavy and I can’t get out from under it. I know I will and it’s kind of weird because there is still plenty of happiness present within me. I’m not some depressed wreck or anything. Just that constant dull throbbing, dulling everything else. A part of me that seems broken and damaged. I’ve loved so deeply that I’ve left pieces of myself behind each time and now there’s not enough left to want to try again.

Now I’m no fool. I know myself. Eternal, hopeless romantic. I know that the day will come when I will meet someone who makes me go all Googly eyed and there will be full on double rainbows, all the way and all that. But for the moment, I’m so sick of this weight. Of the inability to escape my past, enjoy the present and look to the future.

So in short, if I’ve been less than the greatest of friends lately, it’s not you, it’s me. To quote Billy Joel, “When I’m deep inside of me, don’t be too concerned. I won’t ask for nothing while I’m gone.”

I love you all and appreciate all my friends immensely, even if I can also be a misanthrope and a loner. I’m a complicated man and no one understands me but…uhh…wait, no, that’s “Shaft.” Ah well, works for me too.

“My Muse” is up!

I have “finished” my latest song “My Muse”. Give it a listen over on my Musician page. I put “finished” in quotes because I never actually feel finished. I just eventually have to walk away. Hope you enjoy! For the lyrically curious:

I crave your flesh
The sustenance you give me
I don’t know which will be the first to kill me
The starvation or the passion in my veins
As every muscle strains to keep myself together
I don’t know if I’m sleeping or awake
Hoping to finally feel the fever break

You steal my breath when I don’t choose to give it
You give me life, but take my will to live it
Every contour of you burned into my brain
My scars spell your name
The density of our destiny is so great that time is slowed
Nothing escapes, it just implodes.

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my wish, you’re my wounded angel
You’re stalking every shadow in my mind
I feel you everywhere though my eyes are blind

You make me sweat and shake with lustful urges
Lost in you, the undercurrent surges
Abandoned jetsam set adrift and drowning in the sea of my desire
Yet somehow I still burn on a pyre
You comfort me and heal me
But still you stoke the embers in the pit
And now my burning body is the only warmth I get

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my want, you’re the voice inside me
That sings to me in whispers and in screams
Can’t tell the difference between nightmares and dreams

You’re my muse, you’re a supernova
You’re the most euphoric and addictive drug
You’re in my blood, can’t get enough
You’re my void, you’re so ravenous
You can’t fit all of my soul into your mouth
And what you can’t consume, you just spit out

Be free, little song!

Alright. I’ve told myself it’s time to step away from the computer, stop tweaking and call this song “finished”. The lyrics and small disclaimer are in my previous post.

My latest creation from the mad labs at Nosferatunes, “World’s Greatest Ex”.

Sneak Preview

Just for the record, my latest song is not about any particular ex of mine. I was just amused with the title and wrote some lyrics that could apply to many different exes in different parts while taking the opportunity to poke some fun at my own past romantic failures.

SNEAK PREVIEW of the lyrics to my latest song:

When you look back on love, do you see bridges on fire
And littered with the bodies of those that you desired
Immolation, devastation and scorched earth where your heart once grew

Well that’s not how I roll, I like to keep it optimistic
To all those I’ve loved, you’ll never just be a statistic
You’ll always have the little piece of my soul that I left with you

Every word I ever said is completely true
And you know I said I’d always be here for you
You’ve got your laundry list of everything about me that you think sucks

The way you shot our love to pieces
All I can say is nice shooting, Tex
I may have been a disappointment
But I’m the worlds greatest ex

Well you can talk to me about your new lover
You can take some solace from me if you’re distressed
Just take whatever you want from me and bury the rest

I’m glad to hear you found someone better
I hope it stays exciting, shiny and new
I hope he makes you feel everything you said only I could ever do

You’d lost your faith in love and I brought it back
You felt so full of love you thought you’d have a heart attack
Unfortunately I turned out too good to be true

But if there’s ever anything I can help with
Like heavy lifting or incredible sex
Well you can always count on me because I’m the world’s greatest ex

So if there’s any of you thinking you might want me
If you’re lucky maybe you could be next
But let’s just skip the pain the heartache and forget the pretext
We’ll start right at the end and just begin being vexed
Fast forward to our breakup and I’ll be your world’s greatest ex

Heath Sings “I Will” by The Beatles and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

Mother’s day is coming up this weekend and my mom requested I record this song so she can sing along and harmonize with it.

And it’s a “Two For Tuesday”! I also recorded Ginger’s request.

Artistic Accidents and Imperfections

I’m fairly positive that I’ve written before about how difficult the recording studio can be versus a live stage. Playing live, you have the energy o the crowd and can get away with less than perfection without anyone really noticing. In the studio, everything is under a microscope. It’s hard to see the whole picture instead of just scrutinizing each little piece and hearing every tiny flaw, imperfection and slightly off note. Some argue that it’s these very imperfections that make music human and give it unique personality but at the same time when is a “flaw” too much to ignore? How far flat does a note have to be before you fix it? Obviously these are probably personal journeys that each artist must decide for themselves. This is where being a one man operation like me can be hard. I don’t have a producer or fellow band mates to get opinions from. Though I do listen to feedback from my friends and fellow musicians who give it, that’s a battle in itself in that you could get endless and conflicting feedback from endless sources so again, in the end it’s up to you as to what you incorporate and what you ignore.

However, sometimes there are accidents or imperfections that end up being an integral part o the character of a song, or just a cool moment. In “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles, there’s a moment just before the third verse where there is a little feedback, which is normally not a good thing but in this case, it’s now (to me) an integral moment of character in the song (which I actually replicated in my cover of it). In “Fall For Me”, there’s a moment where I can distinctly hear two notes chime above everything else, and yet when I listen to each instrument individually, these notes do not exist. Somehow, they come out of the ether as a result of all the instruments together. In “Tech Support”, Iskra hears the line “I want to fill your iPod” as “I want to feel your iPod touch”. Now I can’t decide which I like better! In “The Hunger”, there is one snare drum hit where I missed and hit the rim but instead of correcting it, I left it. It’s barely noticeable, but for some reason it appealed to me as one of those moments of human imperfection that wasn’t planned but adds a unique moment to the song.

Hell, there’s even the age old tradition of purposefully playing “behind the beat”, which adds a laid back groove that just creates a whole different, and desirable feel than being a perfect time keeper. I suppose it’s all a wonderful microcosm of life itself. Finding our own boundaries. Deciding which of our own flaws and quirks are acceptable and possibly even endearing, and which ones we need to work on, improve or eliminate.

New song, “The Hunger”

Well I think I’m satisfied enough to finally let this new creation out into the world.

“The Hunger”

I’m always a bit torn as to how much to say about my music. Some people enjoy getting all the VH1 “Storytellers” type details, but on the other hand I love that music is so personal and I don’t necessarily want to color anyone’s personal journey by saying too much. I think there’s something to be said for just letting the music speak for itself and letting the listeners take whatever they will and have their own personal experience.

I will say this much: This song began when Lars asked me to write an original song for a short film he’s making. He played me a song he really liked the “feel” of and wanted me to write something similar. I planted that seed in my brain and then just let it grow. This is generally how my creative process works. Over the following weeks (maybe months, I’m not sure) that seed, rolls around in my brain, germinating, percolating. Ideas start forming. Lyrics begin to come. Then like a gestating child, I start feeling “labor pains”. Suddenly everything starts coming together more hurriedly and I can feel it wanting to come out. Then in frenzied flurry of creative outpouring, I do the heavy writing and recording.

In the end, I was extremely happy, pleased and satisfied with this song. It did what I needed it to do. I think it has the “feel” of the song Lars played me (no, I will not reveal what that was for a multitude of reasons), and yet grew off into it’s own original entity. It led me off in some musical directions that I might not normally have went down which is always fun. At the risk of saying too much and coloring your experience, I will add one final thing that surprised and amused me: I think it sort of ended up sounding like if U2 and Muse had a musical baby, even though neither of those bands was the original inspiration and, while I like U2, they’ve never been a major influence (I don’t even own any U2 music, actually).

Another side note:
After a brief experimental foray into making my music only streamable on the internet unless you bought the song to download, I’m going back to my roots and once again making all my music available to download for free (except my cover songs because I’m still figuring out the legalities of all that). You can still buy songs if you’re so inclined, or just make a donation to the paypal link if you want to support me, but it’s more important to me that anyone who wants to enjoy my music can do so and to have my music in as many people’s hands/mp3players as possible. Thanks for all your support over the years and I hope you enjoy my newest progeny.

Addendum:
“The Hunger” is my first ever use of a fade out, which normally I hate but which just felt creatively appropriate and needed here.

I thought this was cool and positive

My friend Brian posted this on Facebook (and he of course got it from someone else so I don’t know where it originated) but it really warmed my insides. In a good way. Not like a feverish viral way or anything.

15 Things You Probably Never Knew or Thought About

  1. At least 5 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
  2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

  3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

  4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.

  5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

  6. You mean the world to someone.

  7. If not for you, someone may not be living.

  8. You are special and unique.

  9. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.

  10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

  11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

  12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.

  13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

  14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.

  15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

A Minute:
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.Take the time… to live and love.

If you do so, You will certainly brighten someone’s day and might change their perspective on life, for the better.

Metamorphoses

I used to live my life utterly and completely honestly and openly on the internet. I blogged about everything, good, bad or ugly. My life was an open book for anyone to read. I enjoy being a completely open, honest person with no boundaries and I still live extremely openly on the net but sometime last year I changed a little bit. I started keeping a lot of the darker, more painful or negative things out of public view. I’m not sure what exactly changed, I just know that I decided there were some things that I just didn’t necessarily want to spew onto the web any more.

I think there are several layers to this, one being that I really want to be a positive person, and I believe what you put out into the world is what you will get back. Maybe it’s also because, while I still talk to friends in private about anything I need to, I don’t think the world at large necessarily wants to here me whine, complain and be all emo. During this process, I’ve found that being forcefully (and sometimes slightly falsely) positive about something, actually does make me feel happier and more positive in reality. That was something good to learn!

It’s also made it harder in some ways when things have been going on. The open part of me wants to share and be honest and cry out but it just doesn’t feel right any more. That’s something to do in private with those close to me. Part of me misses the days when I would share that, but I do think I’m overall happier in my new skin.

It’s been a year of a lot of changes. I’m still dealing with a whole lot of things in life, but I always try to remember as I’m going to bed that in the grand scheme of things, my life is charmed and I’m a hell of a lucky guy. And every now and then, I get a glimpse of something that shows me that I’ve taken a step closer to being the person I want to be.