Riker's Mailbox

Saturday, September 18, 2004


"Passin' the time like a joint I took too big a hit from"



Biggest thing in my life.

It's easy to say that, because I'm single right now.

But I digress, before I even make progress, no less.

I was disappointed by the prospect of being unable to play any gigs in the near future, due to my present obligations and priorities, but it seems that I can feel slightly less uneasy about it now. See, the source of my uneasiness came from the knowledge that I was the only thing keeping me from continuing to play out. Now, there's another factor to weigh which takes the blame right off me.

It would seem that Smutt Fest was the last public appearance, at least for quite a long time, of Joe Unglued.

Joe Farnsworth, my hetero life-partner and the namesake of Joe Unglued, is moving to California, like so many of my other best friends from RIT. The only difference is he's not working at Boeing like they are. Chances are, he'll end up on the left coast within a week or two, and within a month or two from then, we'll be seeing him on MTV2, mooning Carson Daly and rocking out like the devil was inside him.

I'm so glad about it, because Kane was too small for Joe Farnsworth. I'm sad, because I haven't clicked so well with another musician since the days of my first band, Absolute. And Joe and I, man, we wore the soles off our shoes as much as we wore our souls on our sleeves whenever we got on stage together. I'm jealous as hell, because this is the age, and the stage of my life, where I am so perfectly suited to just picking up my entire existence and displacing it, to experience the whole other world that is another part of this country, and I am already too tied down to do it. I know, it's mostly been my choice to get so tied down, but then there's also the issue of being so attached to my family. See, the one thing that is cool about not having a girlfriend right now is rendered moot by the fact that I can't just ship off and leave everybody Savino and Riker behind.

I guess I'll just have to get wealthy with a quickness, so I can go and visit all those guys out in them parts.

Meanwhile, I'm left here, now only in one band (and this doesn't mean that The Jones Effect is a consolation prize or anything - Eric and Josh are the best musicians I've ever met, and I am fortunate that they let me join up with them, despite the testament to mediocrity that is my bass playing), which is cool as all get-out, but for the fact that I need something else too. Being in The Jones Effect and being a part of Joe Unglued was fantastic because it provided a balance. I love being a frontman, which was a responsibility I shared with Joe; I do not love ALWAYS being a frontman. With Eric and Josh, I was able to sit back and let them take the band in its direction, and all I had to do was play my part. This was the contrast I'd been looking for, because I've always ended up being a frontman one way or another in my previous projects as well. Now, however, I'm no one's frontman, and after my experience with Joe, I don't want to play out by myself. Balance: upset.

Joe and I made what money we made, and gained what fans we have, by playing cover songs. We'd each written a handful of songs of our own, and played them infrequently at best. We always had the intention of writing songs together, as Joe Unglued, the Creative Bastards Who Make Their Own Rocking Music, but we never got around to it (for no damn reason, either). We've always had the heart to become an original creative body. To take a moment to be simultaneously complimentary and immodest, Joe and I have proven ourselves to be "smarter-than-your-average-bear talented" songwriters, or at least unique songwriters if nothing else. But the bars paid us to play songs people knew and liked already.

Anyway, I think Joe got tired of playing other peoples' songs while he knew he had music in him that couldn't be ignored forever. That's at least how I'm feeling about it. Whatever the real reason, Joe began recording music on a prolific scale and created what amounts to a full solo album of original material. And you know what? It's good. Really. Fucking. Good. It might not jump up and bite your ass with "look how awesome this is", but that's because of its great subtlety and nuance. It's the kind of thing you'll let play once from start to finish and say, "Yeah, that's good for someone who's not in the industry," then by the tenth time you've listened to it you realize that you didn't know shit about it the first time you listened. By that tenth time, it will all sound different, better, realer than anything you could find on the radio today. See what I'm talking about. And what else is cool, and will eventually lead me into my next train of thought, is that Joe's involving me in the process of making his album. He wants me to sing with him here and there, provide a little input from time to time. Makes me feel golden, lemme tell you.

On a slight side note, the only thing left for me to do is keep up with the Joeses, and record a solo album of my own. This is something I've wanted to do forever anyway, and now that Joe Unglued as a tangible entity is lying somewhere on an intangible pyre, the time has come for me to wipe the dust off long-ago-written lyrics and ideas and try to flesh out a bunch of my own musical musings. I'm off to a decent start, thanks heavily to Joe Farnsworth himself, with one track in the bag already, that features his magnificent drumming (next train of thought approaching). I'm glad he could be involved in my album as I am in his, just to further tie the ties between the two of us as partners in this whole shebang. Partly because it makes it easier to cope with the end of this stage of our musical partnership, and partly because I think it's good karma.

So, (next train of thought arrived) the next plan is to, after having both completed our solo albums, write an album together, like the Gods intended so long ago. Even if we have to do it from a distance... I'm gonna make it happen and we'll blow the lid off this piece. I don't care if I'm sending tapes via postal service (By the way, that's how the fantastic supergroup The Postal Service got their name; they thought it was fitting to name themselves after the medium by which they sent ideas back and forth to one another while writing their material in different cities) just to keep the channels of communication open.

Now, let me get one thing straight: Joe has that spark. He can do it on his own and be just fine. He has what it takes to make people notice and listen. He doesn't need anyone or anything else. He chose to include me in this journey despite that. For that I am obscenely grateful. But that aside, when Joe makes it big, let's just say there's a pair of coattails I'm riding straight to the top.

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