Count Down From Seven

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.


it’s been a long time since I diaried. i am still struggling with the idea of Living To Blog. i hate the nagging voice that says, as I live me life day-to-day, “Blog ME! I’m an Interesting Event!”
fuck that. it can’t be healthy. anyway. here I am, to Update.

the time in the studio was hard, to say the least. now that i have some perspective on it, i can see what happened more clearly. we pulled up to the bottom of The Mountain on Sept 10th and were booked to live and record there until Sept 20th. i felt something odd right away, the minute we started driving up the zig-zaggity road. cue the music. it was JUST like the opening scene of the Shining. and the place, though it was beautiful, had a definite shining/agatha christie vibe. my head started to spoin a little. i couldn’t put my finger on it. the next morning i felt bizarre. here we were, in the lap of luxury with a private studio and ten days to record and make music, and all i wanted to do was escape. i just didn’t want to be there. the guys needed to get drums sounds and i had most of the day off, so instead of hanging out and getting myself acquainted with the facility and checking out the swimming pool and the woods and the fridge and the blah blah blah, i left. i just drove away. i drove the volvo down that mountain feeling like a bat out of hell. the nearest town was Woodstock, so there i went, found a yoga studio online, took a class and asked around for a cafe. and I got some tea and sat down and wrote and tried to figure out what the fuck was wrong with me, why i was so afraid. i still couldn’t put my finger on it. i drove back to the studio later that day and called a friend, and tried to figure it out. “Are you PMSing?” No, there’s no way, “What, what is it?” The best I could come up with was that I was just anxious and felt the pressure on my head, the pressure was too much to be contained within this superficial idyllic setting, and I hated the idea of being in close quarters with brian and these few other people with little contact to the outside world. that plus the fact that I felt weird about all the songs we were about to record they all seem too impersonal, and why are we up here at Major Label’s expense in the bajillion-dollar studio….is it necessary? do we need to be here? when the fuck did THIS happen? it felt strange, foreign, Not Right. i tried to sleep it off and Calm Myself. As the days went by and we worked and worked and recorded, i tried to shake it but I couldn’t fully. the days were packed, i would wake up and drive dwon to woodstock and do yoga and tea and then get back and we’d record from 2 til around 11 at night. work felt like a distraction, it was completly backwards. in good moments i could lose myself in some music-making, but not often. i felt like an alien in a strange land. the silence up there was deafening. i felt everything i wasn’t. not a Rock Star, not a Person Who Loves Nature and loves Getting Away, not a Musician who loves immersing myself in music and music all the time. i just felt like a mistake, mis-cast in some surreal play. the days wore on and i adjusted and tolerated but never felt at home, and i was glad to leave. i felt guilty for feeling that, for sure. ach, poor little major label recording artiste.

coming home, i faced the longest stretch of time off we’ve had in a while. piles of Shit To Do towered on my desk and i attacked them with a viscous fervor, cleaning and organizing like the OCD person i never was, or never had the luxury to be. it’s been nice to let myself off the songwriting hook, since i’m piano-less. there is a grand-sized space in my bedroom where the piano once stood, since it got shipped off to the various studios where we’ve been recording. we eased ourselves back into a rehearsal schedule, barely playing with each other and instead tending to our Real Lives and our relationships. everything is moving sort of slowly, but the future is barreling in. it’s a strange feeling. did i mention that i’ve been feeling really strange? we go into the studio about every other day now, recording vocals and polishing the tracks at sean and paul’s studio in cambridge. it feels like a job. it’s so much different form the first record when everything felt so do-or-die and immediate. this is so relaxed and easy and non-immediate. i wonder if it’s good or bad. it’s so odd to be going through this process sand simultaneously trying to write the introduction and notes to the sheet music for our last record. chronicling this whole experience from three years ago. the differences between then and my life now are so glaring and refuse to make any real sense of themselves. i just sat in the middle of my bare bedroom with the grand-sized hole and listened to the first 8 rough mixes of songs on my stereo. they sounded empty. is it me? the songs? the recording? my speakers? am i losing it? i hope i’m losing it. that way there’s a much better chance that that songs sound Brilliant and i’m just not noticing.

but music. i’ve been to some great shows in my few nights off. i went to see the white stripes, which was educational, and MIA, which was radical, and Antony and the Johnsons, which was above all…genius. he sings and my heart needs a chiropractor. that….and i went to see jaggery play ( and i am reminded again and again how the human voice can just transport you. it all makes me excited to tour again in october. the tour is going to be amazing, all of our friends on a bus together and an easy schedule with only 16 dates….how could it be that i’ve changed this much? i’m actually looking forward to going on tour, to get back to the grind. but the grind doesn’t seem like a grind, it seems like an opportunity, an escape from this, a chance to connect with the world again. the strangeness i’m feeling, it;s kind of a loneliness, i think. i have found some excellent new teas. white tea with blueberry. green tea with pear. it’s the Shit.

last night i made a major mistake and watched the movie “Seven”. i stayed up all night shaking and couldn’t get the images out of my head and finally asked my date to drive me home, where i didn’t get to sleep til four in the morning and awoke with waking nightmares in my head. i tried to remedy this by motivating to the store this afternoon and buying DVDs of “Pretty in Pink” and “The Dark Crystal”, which will hopefully sooth me and erase all traces of evil-knife-bondage-dildos and baptist serial killers from my sensitive brain. what the fuck? i experienced this same sort of trauma when i watched “requiem for a dream” about four years ago at my sister’s house over thanksgiving. i couldn’t talk to anyone normally for a day or two. it makes me think about how much we’re at the mercy of the incoming. what do i see, hear, experience just riding my bicycle to the store and back and how much garbage is in my head, the sirens, the poverty, the city and it’s callousness….wreaking havoc?

the woods are obviously not the answer. so?


p.s. book time
this is the book i’ve been reading lately, and it’s Amazing: “The Inner Game of Tennis” by W. Timothy Gallwey. It’s basically a Zen and the Art of Tennis book, applicable to anything in life but using tennis as a springboard to explain how our bodies instinctively learn and will perform at peak levels when left alone and not judged. don’t worry, the irony is not lost on me.

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