A few thoughts to wind down the year. As I type this I’m listening to Motörhead, sipping a dry vodka martini and pouring out a few drops for Lemmy, gone today at the age of 70.
2015 was an oddball for me. It feels like I spent a lot of it with my head down, just trying to keep grinding through whatever was occupying me at the time. I could have (should have) been more mindful perhaps, but fuck it: I had a lot of stuff on my plate, and an early meeting tomorrow, and a gig on Friday, and whatever. Anyway, I kept my head down. Nothing wrong with that; I laughed a lot, played a lot of music, and generally had a great time. But I stayed in my lane, and I didn't take many risks. That feels like a regret.
I think this is a balance many of us struggle with, and the truth is we’re lucky to struggle with it. Because the people who don’t struggle with how to allocate their energy between their desires and their responsibilities are usually the people who don’t have a choice. So I’m grateful for that choice, even if I took it for granted a lot in the last year.
I don’t know if or how Lemmy struggled with balancing his between desire and responsibility, but I suspect it didn’t feel that way to him. In everything the man did, he seemed like a person who was made for one thing, figured it out, and then did it to his dying breath. In one of his last interviews he was asked if he was afraid of dying. He said yes, but only because he felt like he wasn’t done playing shows and making records. Very matter of fact, and I loved that answer. In a lot of ways, it must have been nice to be Lemmy Kilmeister...but I know I’d never have the balls to live that way myself. Not all of us can be rock stars--real badasses who don’t give a single shit what the world thinks about them, good or bad. And not many of us are lucky enough to find out the one thing we want to do early in life, and then spend the rest of our lives doing it. Most of us have to try on a few pairs of shoes before we find the ones that fit. Not Lemmy. God bless him.
2015 felt a lot like a year when things kept jumping out to try and scare us. So I guess if I have a resolution for 2016, it is this: don’t be afraid. This includes my propensity to give in to bouts of anxiety that keep me in a crouch, waiting for everything to be perfect before I can come out into the world again. Planning to fight that one with all the discipline I can muster next year.
On Saturday January 2nd, Explone will ring in the new year with a show at the Tractor in Ballard. We’re really excited to play some new songs, and to release our new album Suicide Fences later this year. It’s the best work we’ve done, and now we want to go play it all over the place. In a world trying to drive itself crazy, I think we have a duty to get in the mix. Bring some solace to the right people, and maybe piss off the other right people. All for the best.
When people walking into public places and shooting them up is callously routine, when celebrity obsession makes utter nonsense headline-worthy, when the name of God (take your pick) is invoked to justify banishing immigrants fleeing some war-torn shithole, when we’re more and more capable of designing our own personal realities where our views and beliefs are never challenged but only reinforced, when the leading candidate from one of our two political parties is a reality TV star espousing nakedly bigoted ideas with an orange comb over, the life of a guy like Lemmy seems real as fuck and damned admirable. Rest in peace, you lucky bastard.
Happy New Year. Bring it on 2016.