The career path of Voxtrot was truly one of long, simmering build, explosion, and almost instantaneous decay. Slowly, I am learning to replace any feelings of regret with positive memories of how amazing the whole thing was, and how it has, in an unexpected way, fortified my character.
Making great art requires one to be fearless, and sometimes I’ve given too much energy to fear. Whenever I read an interview in which a band
claims they are going to return to the sound of their earlier, more popular work, a small part of me aches for them. It doesn’t work like that-the popularity of the earlier work is based upon the sense of newness felt by the musicians at the time of creation. So, how to get back the newness…?
Approximately eight months ago, I spoke to my friend Simon and indicated that I was ready to give up on music, or at least leave it for the indefinite future, but he reminded me that you can’t dedicate yourself to another job or a degree, or some other distraction just because you’ve got nothing else going-if you have the feeling that you were born to do something, you’ve got to follow that feeling.
As he told me, “Do it because you love music. Do it with passion.”
And so I did what I had to do. I swallowed my pride and got two jobs, one of which involved clearing the dishes of the filthy-and-not-so-pleasant-rich, and while this sudden change in lifestyle was not altogether ideal, I was constantly aware that I was building towards something.
For me, the most important thing in life is leaving behind something beautiful, something that finds its way into the lives of strangers, and forever alters them in a positive manner. Sometimes, being able to do this means that you have to work the shitty job and serve bread to rich idiots, but whatever, it’s better than just cashing in your chips and spending the rest of your life wondering, “what if…?”
In the end, I’ve come to realize that there really isn’t any cause for disappointment. The fact is, the songs still exist, and the music of Voxtrot lives on as a sovereign entity which, outside of all criticism, positive or negative, belongs to the guys and me, and to everybody who ever loved it or believed. Taking into account every person I’ve met, every place I have visited, every emotional exchange I have ever had with a listener, there is absolutely no room for regret.
In fact, the other day, I was thinking about it in the shower and decided that my situation was analogous to Peter Falk’s glass eye. You probably don’t know this, but I am a massive fan of Columbo-it is the only detective show in which there is no mystery, thus the entire reason you watch it is because you just love him (Falk) so much. It is a true testament to the power of a strong character. Anyway, when Peter Falk was five years old, one of his eyes had to be removed, due to a malignant tumor. Obviously, this is bad, BUT, had it not happened, he would never have developed his signature stare, which, let’s face it, accounts for at least a small percentage of his overall appeal. Whatever I create from this point on, I will only create because of everything, good or bad, that has happened thus far.
Being in Voxtrot has been wonderful and amazing, but it is only one chapter in the book…
When I was in high school, I was a great fan of the Scottish band, Travis, and I have always harbored a secret desire to meet the band’s frontman, Fran Healy. Not so long ago, at my friend Lucy’s studio in Berlin, I had the fortunate experience of doing just this. He was buying a painting of hers, and we spent about three hours conversing. Eventually, our conversation drifted towards the ebb and flow of our respective careers, as well as the anger that comes with not knowing how to pull oneself out of a creative rut. Obviously, our two careers have been on different scales, but nonetheless, the associated concepts are universal. At the end of the conversation, he said to me, “You can’t to keep writing the same song. You have to throw away the map. AND you have to keep creating, even if it goes nowhere for a while, you have to always keep creating… and it’ll be great.”
And he’s right. I must leave again-take a risk, do something radical, but in order to do that, I need closure. This is not to say that Voxtrot will never play again, and certainly, if Voxtrot has never been to your country (or continent) we are open to ideas, but for all intents and purposes, this series of live shows will be the last.
Part of doing something with love is being able to say “goodbye” at the right time. Thank you for everything. On to the next one…
19, April 2010