Addendum! (front end): I’m afraid that this is starting to get blown up into this thing where I’m going around making grand sweeping statements about my life as if everyone should care – I’m not – I’m answering questions that interviewers are asking me, and I’m making a conscious decision to be as honest as possible about it, and I want to be as CLEAR as possible about that. All of this is coming from the answers that I’ve given to questions people have asked me – these are not manifestos – I’m just talking with people.
That said…
This is too long a thing to get into fully today, but suffice it say that in classic journalistic hissy-fit form, something I said about transitions has been turned into “retirement.” Here’s the bit on The Daily Swarm.
It’s true – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – doing this as a full-time thing, as wonderful as it is, has been a losing proposition for us for a while now. The crowds, while amazing, are mostly diminishing, the record sales, while appreciated, are a pretty weak percentage of what they were during the brief two year window in which we actually seemed to crack some sort of indie glass ceiling and make all ends meet and have a little left over to boot; and regarding other income streams that everyone likes to point to, I don’t sell my songs to commercials, and we keep our CD, LP, and t-shirt prices at $10.00 a piece. There’s no money in it for us anymore, and to maintain even a semblance of solvency, we have to keep up the same touring schedule that we and I have been keeping up for the last nearly twenty years – a touring schedule that even the most hardened in our community will tell you is exceptional.
The energy we have inside us is not as boundless as it once seemed, and the amount we have to expend each year becomes more and more of a drain for less and less pay off. These are simple facts – it’s not at all a “woe is me” type of complaint – in fact, it’s not even a complaint at all – anyone who’s seen us play in the last few months knows that we’re having as good a time doing it as we ever have, and from my side of things, I can tell you that we’re actually having MORE fun most of the time – but I’ve decided to be honest with interviewers who ask me about “the state of things,” because what’s the point in sugar coating the realities? As we all push toward forty, exactly how to go forward wisely, in a way that allows each of us to live a full life (and not die between rest stops on I-80), is something I need to think about, and I am thinking about it.
It’s true – there’s no way we can continue forever as we have – but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue in some other way.
The important part of what I said in the particular interview that was re-quoted without full context by Buzzgrinder, is that we’re completely booked through the end of 2010, but that yes – by next year, you will see some changes – it simply can’t go on like this forever; followed by “I’M SURE I’LL NEVER STOP MAKING MUSIC,” which is a statement I stand behind, but as I said in Spin a while ago (just to make sure you understand that this doesn’t come completely out of left field), pretty soon, I have to start figuring out what comes next.
One thing I don’t want to have happen, is to wake up turning 50, and have to just be starting this conversation then. I’m looking at things realistically, I’m looking ahead, I’m telling the truth about it, and I’m hoping to find the right way forward.
Oh, and I’ve got plenty of better songs to come…

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