So a few months back a friend of mine turned me on to Mother Mother and I’ve written at and spoken at length of my obsession. Well, it seems to have bled over to my 3-year old son Young Master Oliver. No less than a dozen times yesterday alone did I hear “DAD! I want to hear THE STICKS!!!!” And so, as any loving and accommodating father would, call out “Alexa, play the Sticks by Mother Mother.”
As soon as the drums come in, Oliver starts stomping his feet and bobbing his head and when we get to the “cause they’re ain’t no new world in…” I hear him scream “THE STICKS!!!!”
It. Is. Awesome. Haha
He loves “Hayloft” too but “The Sticks” is his favorite to this point. He is a HUGE fan of the animated video.
His other big hit this last week or so has been from Reverend Horton Heat. They performed “Johnny Quest/Stop that Pigeon” on Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits. He screams along with “nab him, jab him, tab him, grab him” and then, at the top of his lungs “Stop that pigeon NOOOOWWWWW!” So cool!
So here’s a little update on The Ringing:
It’s still ringing. Ugh
But there have been some positive developments. It hasn’t been quite as extreme in terms of volume spikes. For most of the year it would increase sharply and quickly causing almost immediately onset of migraines and a feeling of disorientation. I had bouts of vertigo and even falling. Over the last 8 weeks or so, much of that has subsided.
Anxiety, fatigue, frustration, and environment all play a role in the severity of The Ringing as does hypervigilance.
Being hypervigilant of The Ringing can, by itself, cause the severity to increase. Focusing too much on exploring different masking tracks and methods, searching for reasons and cures, and just being pretty much obsessing over it all the time can actually be counterproductive. Anyone who has paid attention to me or had even a passing conversation with me since it began knows I’ve fallen into this behavior.
Thus, my journey has led me to a new professor at Baylor. She splits her time between teaching and her practice where her patients are largely comprised of people with extreme tinnitus, including some musicians.
Treatment involves identifying the most effective masking tracks and sounds as well as getting to a point where I do not have to rely on them on a nearly 24/7 as I have for months. There is actual sound therapy but more importantly there is a great deal of emphasis placed on identifying triggers, learning relaxation skills to reduce anxiety, and to bury The Ringing back into the background as we would the hum of a ceiling fan or whirring a desktop computer. One of the aspects I find most intriguing and attractive about her strategy is working on the “fear” of sound. I’ve developed a strange tick of sorts where I have physical reactions, a flinch as if someone is about to hit me, when I think the overall volume of a room is about to spike. If someone comes to me to ask even a simple question, I instinctively reach for my ear buds. I turn my bad ear away from sound. The deeper I dig into this rabbit hole the more I find that some of these behaviors can just make things worse so hopefully this doctor can provide some relief.
I’m told that her form of therapy, has shown some success and that many patients are not only able to resume “normal lives” but that musicians have been able to resume their very not-so-normal lives. haha Their lips to God’s ears right?
So you wanna book a show….
I had a random conversation with an Uber driver last week. (I’ve never gotten a ride from an introvert.)
Somehow we ended up discussing Houston’s live music scene but specifically how younger bands fit in. He used to play when he was younger but got frustrated and ended up leaving most of that life behind. He’s a tech guy now, drives Uber on the side, and picks up his bass once in a while. He said finding places to play was too much of a pain in the ass because either venues wanted his band to pay them in order to get on a bill or other bands didn’t want let his band or other “no-name” groups open for them. Now, his group could have been totally lame but I experienced this myself (of course, my bands could have been lame) and I’ve heard this from tons of bands in my life. We can’t all be lame can we? (sure we can. haha)
So where does a young band go? For that matter, where does a not-so-young band go when they don’t feel headlining is right for them?
I’ve been working with a couple of groups trying to get them an opening slot with some of the bands I know and artists they’ve referred me to and segments of our beloved community continue to confound and disappoint when it comes to this sort of thing.
I’m astounded that some venues still use this whole pay-to-play nonsense. Similarly, venues that place the full weight and responsibility of marketing and promotions upon the artist are simply wrong. Period. Music venues, like restaurants, recording studios, florists, bakeries, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and any other business on earth are responsible for their own advertising and marketing campaigns. Artists are obviously well-served by making all the noise they can about upcoming shows but venues don’t get to offload their own responsibilities. Don’t get me started on this. It’s too early.
However, to the bands that are hesitant to collaborate with other bands in order to produce a complete bill that can be presented to a venue because you don’t think the other band will “draw” or because the styles “don’t mesh” I say this: for shame. For shame!
Houston is full of great bands and venues that produce some really eclectic bills. MIEARS just wrapped up a whirlwind weekend with shows in Austin and Houston where she played with a variety of incredible groups that provided anything but a seamless soundscape.
Check out The Glass plays. They’ve explored everything from their own compelling original music to early soul in the form of a tribute show of sorts to The Commitments to their increasingly popular string of Soda Stereo gigs.
Have you guys seen the Discovery Green events held by Canned Acoustica?
Those big summer festivals are hardly full of the same style bands.
We’re all in this together. Remember where you came from. You were a 16-year-old looking to play to more than your buddies at school. You were 21 trying to get on a bill with a band a little higher up the ladder than you were then.
If you’ve got a show coming up and the venue hasn’t provided an opener let’s find one for you from the countless number of aspiring groups desperate to get out of their garages and onto a proper stage. Don’t worry about whether they “sound” like you. They’ll bring fans to hear you and you’ll fans will hear them and that’s nothing but awesome.
Attention all young and aspiring players: if you’ve got music streaming somewhere or a couple of YouTube videos, or hell, just a clip on your phone, send them to me, post them here, or share them to Cathedral Records’ Facebook page. Let’s see if we can’t match you up with someone in need of a band to round out an upcoming bill.
Bands of Houston – I’m looking for opening slots that need filling. I have one band in mind right now with one of the best records I’ve heard in a long time. You’ll be grateful you brought them in with you. These guys are not young or aspiring but this is their first proper record as they’ve all been in various other bands and projects around town. If you have slots, let me know so I can put you guys in touch.
Let’s work together people. We all want the same thing: a thriving, happy, collaborative, supportive community.
That’s it for today everyone.
Be Well and Kind,