I don't really feel like blogging today but I've set a precedent by blogging every weekday. So here I am, honoring the precedent.
Leah posted a blog not too long ago where she just allowed people to ask her questions. I've done this before too, but since she has a ton more readers than me, she actually got quite a few questions submitted.
Well my pride is sometimes a glutton for punishment so let's try again and see how remotely interested people are in the things I fill my days with.
Ask me a question, any question, and I'll give you the best answer I can.
James asked: Would Quiet Company like to play with the band Guns of Navarone (Seth from Consider the Source) sometime soon?
I would definitely be interested in this. Paul, our manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the best person to talk to about setting something up. Consider The Source was one of my favorite bands in Austin and one of our favorite bands to play with. I was really sad to see them break up but I'm really glad to see Seth in another band. James is also one of the best drummers in town and easily one of the nicest people.
Leah asked: What has been the best day of your life? Worst day of your life? Most mediocre day of your life?
Best day is a tie, as I'm sure you knew it would be. The day I married you, and the day Harper was born were monumentally happy days. Those are the days where you're so full of joy you almost can't breathe. Worst day of my life was probably the day I almost committed suicide, sitting on the couch in my apartment with a knife for 2 hours, and trying to see any substantial reason to stick around. Obviously, I found a few. I don't know if I could remember a most mediocre day. That's what makes a day mediocre, right? Easily forgettable.
Mitch asked: What is your favorite part about being a father?
I've only been a dad for 7 months, so I fully expect to find a ton of new things to love about it, but I would probably say my favorite thing is getting to see her personality develop. I can't wait to see who she turns out to be as she becomes a more and more interesting person. I can already tell that Harper thinks she's pretty funny sometimes, which I find amazing.
Miss Alexandra asked: What is your weirdest Christmas memory?
When I was young I could always count on my grandparents (mom's side) to give me a badass Xmas gift. They set this precedent when they gave me all four Ninja Turtles one year, hidden inside a yellow TMNT suitcase (all of which I still have). But one year, I guess they had no clue what to get me, so at gift time I found myself seated in front of a large, flat package with my name on it. When it was my turn, I unwrapped a large, air brushed, framed picture of a Native American chief's head floating above some running horses. I didn't have the words to express myself then but what I meant to say is "What the fuck is this?" I just remember feeling completely disillusioned the rest of the day. My cousin, Trevor, got a knife. A knife!! And I got floating head chief. I'm sure you can imagine how this is so much more troubling to a 9 year old.
1a. How many guitars do you own?
I currently have 4 guitars. A Taylor 314 acoustic, a 1977 Gibson RD Custom, An American made Fender California Telecaster, and an Epiphone Sheraton. I play the Sheraton and the Tele the most.
1b. How many guitars are you currently wishing you owned?
I'm not terribly into guitars, past knowing how to play one and liking the ones I have. Least ways, I'm not always lusting after new ones. If I was filthy rich, I wouldn't say no to a Gibson ES-335, or some kind of customized, large bodied Telecaster.
2a. Which do you love more: Star Wars or Harry Potter?
2b. How difficult is it for you to answer the above question?Not as hard as you'd think, thanks to the prequels. I still love the hell out of Star Wars but I look at it as a two part question. 1. Who has the best quality of story in the cannon, meaning the core story, excluding the Expanded Universe (comics, cartoons, books, etc). The HP saga is amazing from the first page of The Sorcerer's Stone to the last page of The Deathly Hallows and the Star Wars saga is really only amazing in the final 3 episodes. 2. Which universe would I rather live in, or, would I rather be a Jedi or a wizard? As amazing as a lightsaber is, I could do a lot more damage with a wand. The game goes to Harry Potter, that veritable weapon of the gods.
What American geographic region do you prefer to tour in? To what extent does your answer depend on the fact that you're based out of Austin?
We've only done the southwest once but I think it was the most beautiful. Our shows were the best in the midwest or east coast though. Nowadays, I don't really like playing outside of Texas, though I would like to get back to our neighboring states. We may try to do that in the summer or something.
When was the last time you were super pumped about going to a show (as pumped as you would have been when you were a kid where you'd wait through shitty openers by the stage so you'd have a good view and then after the show, you'd ask for their setlist and for autographs), who was it, and does this type of mentality affect the way you play a show?
I don't know how long its been since I've felt like that, but the last show that I got really pumped about was probably a few months ago when David Bazan played. Leah and I went on a double date with Tommy and Betsy to see it. We ate rich people food beforehand. He was amazing and the show was like church for people who don't have any reason to go to church. I loved it and I felt a little like a fanboy when I handed one of the band members a copy of our record and asked him to give it to David. I don't know if he ever did or not. I assume not, because he never called and asked us to play with him.
Just this year, we've started getting people at the show that we don't know and who are just normal fans like real bands have and that has been amazing to me. I don't know if we have anyone that gets that crazy about us, in that they want our setlists and things like that. We've signed some autographs in our day but I doubt anyone gets nervous to talk to us. But I do try to put in 110% at every show in the hopes that one day people will be nerdy about us.
Todd asked: How dare you love Harry Potter more than Star Wars!!!????!?!?!?!
Harry Potter has no Jar Jar Binks, no midiclorians, no General Grievous, and Harry would have definitely shot Greedo first.
Matt asked: What was the name of the first song you remember writing?
Rain, Rain, Go Away...Don't ask.
Seth asked: What is your favorite TV show/movie to hate?
I hate most reality TV. The Simple Life comes to mind, though there are certainly worse shows now. But that show showed the TV execs that you could glorify two mean spirited, ignorant, bitches with nothing to offer society other than an overly developed, delusion of entitlement, and America would eat them shitz up.
As far as movies go, has anyone seen Mission to Mars? Mortal Combat: Annihilation? The Brown Bunny? Twilight? Closer? All the Tim Burton Batman movies? Those are the movies where I left the theatre feeling really sad about the fact that I'll never get the previous 2 hours of my life back and losing a little bit of faith in humanity. Mission to Mars, Mortal Combat: Annihilation, The Brown Bunny, and Twilight are all just horribly made movies (bad acting, bad script, bad special effects, just everything bad). I also hate Twilight, Closer, and the Tim Burton Batman movies for moral reasons. Twilight, aside from being about a really lame version of vampires and having werewolves fall in love with babies, it teaches girls that its cool to be stalked. I liked how Green put it the other day, "Literacy should be an avenue towards personal growth or imagination, not empty-headed subversion of healthy relationship dynamics...Twilight teaches young girls that the story of your life is blank and meaningless if your boyfriend breaks up with you."
Closer just made me sick. I don't like infidelity, I especially don't like movies that make infidelity look like something that everyone takes part in. That, and the movie was boring as hell.
Tim Burton has, admittedly, never read a comic book, and that became very obvious in his "Batman" movies. I actually enjoy the first two that Burton directed, though the character in that movie is pretty far from being Batman. As a Batman fanboy, all I can do when I watch those movies are point out the huge flaws in the characters and the story. The 3rd and 4th movies that Burton produced were just the epitome of expensive, Hollywood tripe. Pure unadulterated kitsch. Artless tacky shit.
I totally remember that (floating Chief's head) picture. How awful...it hung above your bed for so long. What was with the Indian theme?
I don't know, you'll have to ask Mom. I remember it had something to do with the colors or design of my bed spread. To her, I guess they just screamed "accessorize with Native American crap!!" I told her I didn't want a Native American themed room but, as history shows us, she was not deterred. I also acquired a "dream catcher" at some point.
Ryan Ford asked: I think it's funny that in response to Matt's question you said, "Rain, Rain, Go Away...Don't ask." in a post that is supposed to be about asking you questions. So, with that being said: what's with the song Rain, Rain, Go Away?
Ha! I knew this would happen. I don't know what I can really say about my earliest work other than it was really awful. I started trying to write songs as soon as I knew 3 chords. There's nothing wrong with writing songs with 3 chords, provided that they are good songs. "Rain, Rain, Go Away" was a sad attempt by any standard, though. I was really obsessed with Christian hair metal bands like Bride, White Cross, and Petra, so my first song writing attempt was also my first (and last) attempt at a power ballad. Shortly after, however, I heard Weezer's "Undone" on the radio and my musical path was (miraculously) changed forever.
My mom said...
I have apologized for that Indian picture! How long will you be bitter over it?
Leah asked: What's your favorite present that I've given you?
Does our daughter count? Probably not. The Beatles Anthology was pretty badass. I was also a fan of your virginity. ZING!
What was your favorite song on the recent album?
I don't even know if I could pick one, but I'm inclined to say that "On Modern Men" "Well, The Truth is.." and "On Husbands & Wives" all turned out more or less exactly how I envisioned them. I'm also a big fan of "How To Fake Like You're Nice & Caring."
Are there any songs that have gotten a positive reception from fans that you are ironically not too fond of?
If I don't really love a song, I'm not going to put it out. So this isn't generally a problem for me. However, Tommy wasn't terribly pleased with how the recording of "Congratulations, Seth & Kara" came out and he fought hard to keep it off the record. I'm glad a put my foot down because it seems like almost every other review we get picks that song out as a highlight. Which just goes to show that I am super smart and Tommy is not. Nobody cares about your degree, college boy! Tommy never reads my blog, so I can talk shit about him all day and he'll never know. It also helps that Tommy doesn't know how to read.
Do you ever get sick of playing certain songs at shows?
I got sick of playing "The Beginning of Everything at the End of the World" just because I've never felt like it sounded that good live. I still love it on the record, though.
Have you ever written a song and then decided it was too personal to be part of the band's work, or is personal something you feel comfortable writing about?
I think that one of the things that has made Quiet Company an interesting band is that I make a conscious effort to never do that. To me, art is best when its deeply personal. I've written about politics a few times but I know there's no reason to give a shit about what I think of any of these yahoos in Washington or the drivel they spend their time on. However, the way I see it, if a normal person writes about their normal life and sings about the lessons they learn along the way to enlightenment, then that's something people can use. That's relatable.
What are you most looking forward to in relation to Harper?
I'm looking forward to her running to greet me when I come home from work. I'm looking forward to seeing what she finds interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing what ways she establishes her uniqueness. I'm looking forward to her understanding my jokes and hopefully finding them funny. I'm looking forward to seeing who she finds love with. I'm looking forward to being a cool family that her friends will undoubtedly envy.
How will you explain to her why we don't celebrate holidays or practice religion when the rest of your family does?
I really feel like if you don't raise your kids to feel like they need saving, they won't feel like they do. When she gets old enough to realize that we're the black sheep, I'll just explain to her why you and I think religion is bad. I think our arguments are strong enough to stand on their own. I also plan on us teaching her to apply critical thinking to every aspect of her life, which I think will go a long way. Maybe we won't have to teach her though and she'll just inherit your insistent trait of always being the devil's advocate, so to speak.
At what age do you think it's okay for her to start dating?
I wouldn't think any earlier than 16.
Why am I so awesome?
Because you're beautiful, smart, funny, and strong. You're also driven, kind, and full of integrity.
Do songs come at you full force or do they start with a little melody/lyric and snowball into a whole song?
Melody and chords always come first and at virtually the same time. I don't know if that's how it works for other songwriters or not. I usually have a general idea of what I want the finished product to be, but things always evolve and develop once you start playing it as a band.
How much credit do you take for the finished version of songs ie what's the group process for creating a song?
Someone once told me that, legally, a song is comprised of lyrics, melody, and chords. I always write all of those parts so technically, I'm entitled to claim full credit for all the songs. That's how it has to be for me to be happy in a band. The other 3 guys definitely contribute a huge amount but they don't get writing credit.
If you could punch someone in the face over and over with no repercussion, who would it be?
Fred Phelps, Andrew Jackson, or those guys that write the Left Behind books.
If you were desperate for money, what type of band would you still not join, even if they were rolling in the cash?
I don't know if such a band exists. I'll play just about any kind of music for money. I even play in a praise & worship band from time to time. There are bands that I don't think I could join, just because I would have no clue what to do, like jazz or tejano bands. But I think the answer you're looking for is 3 Doors Down. They're just pathetic. I might still join them to take care of my family but I would definitely die a little inside every time I took the stage.
Is that...the silly putty...I bought you last week?
I'm assuming this is a reference but I don't know what the reference is to.
What is the answer: Pizza, Abe Lincoln, A Fruit Smoothie, or Slacks?
I've heard it said that pizza is like sex. Even when its not awesome, its still OK and if you didn't pay for it then you really can't complain.
If Harper decides to believe in Jesus (in her late teenage or young adult years), will you let her?
I don't see what I could do to stop her. However, I would challenge her decision with the same tenacity that I challenged my own. Religion only sticks when people decide that that one area of their life is off limits to critical examination, I think. If I've done my job right, then Harper will probably realize that it doesn't really make sense on her own.
Cameron McCasland said...
-How many Journeys Stickers do you still have?
You're a few days late with these questions, sir. But because its you, I'll answer them. I don't think I have any Journeys stickers left. There may still be some in some crevice at my parents house, but I don't know.
-While understanding your reasoning for leaving me in Nashville for your lovely bride, what do you feel you learned here, and how have you applied that to life?
This won't be a problem when you move here this year, but I learned a lot in Nashville. I learned that the people in Texas are, for better or worse, my favorite kind of people. I just feel like you can bullshit with people more here than anywhere else I've been. I can't really describe it but I certainly felt the difference when I arrived back here. I learned a lot about what I want out of life and what kind of person I don't want to be, which is equally important as learning what kind you do. I learned who my real friends were. I learned that Nashville is one of the worst cities to try and build a name for yourself musically. I learned that I love Kurt Vonnegut. I learned that there are no rules to life and that you can do whatever you want really, with respect to obvious consequences. I learned what its like to feel like you have no one to be accountable to and why its important to remain accountable to yourself. I learned or continued to learn what its like to be lonely, yet constantly surrounded by friends.
-What records, books, or films that may have moved you as a christian do you miss? While I know that good tunes is good tunes, It seems to me that the feeling behind them could wear off their luster.
Admitedly, I'm sure reading the Chronicles of Narnia to Harper will be different now than it would've been but overall, my change in station hasn't affected my opinions of any band that I actually care about. I still adore Starflyer 59, mewithoutYou, Luxury, Bleach, Switchfoot, Sixpence NTR, etc. One of the lyrics in an upcoming Quiet Company song is "I did find some tears when they played that song but for the four right chords I will play along. I have always been that way, it doesn't matter what the lyrics say." A weird possition to take for someone who cares as much about lyrics as I do, I admit, but what can you do?
Why don't you just shut the fuck up and talk about how awesome the iron man 2 trailer is?
I actually haven't seen it yet, but I mean to rectify this as soon as possible.