“Confessions of a Reformed Pirate” or “How I Quit my Day Job”

“Salt & Sea Piano Keys” by Evan B. Harris

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

I used to be a pirate. I stole copious amounts of music. I won’t divulge my methods because I don’t want to give you any ideas. Just know that it was it was out of control- to the point that I was basically a hoarder. Being a thinking person, I of course knew that this was “wrong”, but I had all kinds of rationalizations and justifications to help me sleep at night.

Then something happened to me. I was in the middle of a rather intense pranayama meditation session when I got caught up thinking about money and the material world, and wondering why I wasn’t making any money with my music. Then I had a disturbing thought- how could I expect people to pay me for my music when I myself wouldn’t even pay for music? I’m not sure I believe in karma, but I do believe that what goes around comes around. I began to think about the word “value”. I value music, no question about that. For me, music is one of the most important things in the world, always has been. So if I value music so much, why did I think it should be free? Why was I putting a higher value on Starbucks frappuccinos than on something as vital to my well-being as music?

A Morality Tale…

I made a big decision. From then on, I resolved to pay for my music, or at least acquire it legally. Less than a month later, I got my first regular paying gig. Not even a year after that, I put in my notice at my restaurant job because I was making enough money through music that didn’t need a day job anymore. I’m thrilled to report that I’m now making a living doing what I love.

With services like Rhapsody, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Rdio, Lastfm, Noisetrade, Freegal, Vibedeck… the list goes on…. why would you ever need to steal music??? Spotify is a steal! Song streams don’t pay much (pennies, really), but at least it’s legal, it’s the artist’s choice, and it pays something. Generally, I use Spotify to listen to new music and if I like it, I buy it from iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp. The funny part is that even though I’m acquiring less new music, I’m getting better music. I’m more selective and careful about what I add to my collection. I enjoy it a lot more, really getting to know each new album, instead of just loading up my ipod with a bunch of random crap. I like it. I feel good about it. That is all.

And so it begins…

I’m a recovering drama addict. Now I can’t touch the stuff. Those of you who know me know that I used to habitually create drama in my life. It was bad. It got me into trouble. So now I’ve gone the opposite direction and I avoid it like the plague, or like I have an allergy due to overexposure, almost to the point that it’s problematic.

Masters of the Macabre! Gladiators of the Grotesque! Prodigies of all Perversions!

However, there’s still this melodramatic little voice in my head that I’ve been trying to keep quiet for some time now, but a few months ago, she started acting up. So, I decided to stop suppressing that voice and suddenly I started writing the happiest, saddest, weirdest (and dare I say sexiest?) songs I’ve ever written. And they’re all going on this new album I’m getting ready to record. The song that I’m probably most excited about is called “Welcome to Theatre Noir”. Yep. I told you that little voice was melodramatic. It’s a story song about a young man who goes to see the freaks at a traveling circus sideshow and falls in madly in love with the tattooed lady. The only way for him to be with her is to become a freak himself. It’s a bit grotesque… but super fun! At first, I was hesitant to share this song with anyone, but the reaction has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Honestly, it’s kind of shocking to me- people are going nuts over this song.

So, I’m taking this as a sign that I should let my freak flag fly, so to speak, and be my weird self. I’m tired of struggling to write “commercial” songs and watching from the sidelines while Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Amanda Palmer, and St. Vincent get to have all the fun. Here in this blog, I will chronicle my artistic evolution towards the strange and unusual. Welcome to Theatre Noir.