Not gonna bother doing the usual album list crap. After all, those “what I’m listening to this week” posts are more accurate on that front [skipping it this week due to Christmas, even if I’m listening more to Danzig than any Christmas music].
Instead, I figured I’d rattle off some highlights and lowlights of 2013 by category.
First up, the shitty parts.
Late February: Overstrained/pulled left calf. Had to spend March and part of April sitting on my ass waiting for the fucker to heal.
July 2: Almost drowned during a kayaking trip. Or maybe, since things did indeed go black as I ran out of air and I was coughing up water as I came to post-rescue, I should say, “did drown, but got rescued in time.” I suppose this isn’t technically an injury per se, but it counts under “mishaps threatening physical health and/or continued existence.”
Mid-July: Tripped on a folded up construction sign stand, fell face-first on the sidewalk. Split lip, bruised cheekbone, skinned knee and palm, think I strained my hamstring too. General mess for 2-3 weeks, but at least I didn’t break my nose or any teeth.
Mid-October: Combo of pushing too hard at my beginner’s running clinic and moving jam spaces the next day [involving many trips up and down the stairs because god forbid I delegate the actual moving part to my dad or brother], which led to some sort of seriously fucked up tibialis [shin muscle on my left leg]. There was a week there when trying to flex my toes back meant a sensation of something sliding against the bone and a horrid squeaking noise. Think I tore it off a bit. Seems OK for the last month but intermittent aching means I’m still resting it and not running. Hope to be back at it in a slower, more cautious way some time in January.
Disappointment of the year: New Nine Inch Nails album. Mind you, 50% of that is how I’ve changed because NIN just doesn’t resonate with me anymore, but still. Yawn. Turns out my hope/prediction that I would be more impressed by the deep album cuts than by the lead singles was way off base.
Runner up: NIN live this November. Again, at least 50% of it is me: I had more fun at my guitar lesson that day working on getting the hang of the verse riffs in Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song And Dance.” But still. The show was ably performed over the course of 2 hours, but I was bored out of my tree within about three songs. Everyone else at Rogers Arena seemed to be having a great time, though.
Second runner up: Discovering the GNR Appetite For Destruction tab book I’ve had since I was a kid actually leaves out or screws up many of the funnest riffs on “Mr. Brownstone.” Fuck, guess I have to sort shit out by ear. I have a feeling I will find this to be the case on much of the rest of the songs too. At least the Use Your Illusion and GNR Lies books look to be fairly complete and accurate as far as I’ve gotten into trying to play that shit thus far.
Disasters averted: Let’s see here, some of these I’m probably best to not say anything about or I’ll be super vague.
Roller derby: Yeah, I know: Not everyone gets spiral fractures. Nonetheless, considering that as a kid I got my ankle broken at a roller rink, it’s probably for the best that after that busted lip episode from the sidewalk fall I decided that suddenly falling face-first into concrete seemed a much more… tangible… risk, and one that I wanted to not repeat, let alone any of the more serious injuries that are common in that sport. Hence, I never did get to the raw meat roller derby lessons, and I plan to sell the gear I got on eBay one of these days. [I have a ton of books, jewelry, etc., etc., that I also need to dispose of in this way, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.]
Other shit in that category that I won’t get into detail with: some business bullshit, also some personal disasters averted and toxic pests booted out of my life. Suffice to say that this has been a year of taking out the trash on multiple fronts.
Next up, happier stuff.
New guitar tally: 3: A Yamaha acoustic, a Gibson ES-175, and a Gibson ES-135. Still waiting on the right Les Paul Custom to show up on eBay, there is a contender but if I get it, it won’t be til at least next week so no longer 2013.
New or renewed skill sets: 3: learned to swim, relearned to bike, and finally learned guitar [had at least 3 prior attempts to learn guitar over the last 20 years, including lessons before but it never really clicked before, whereas now I’m playing about 2-3 hours a day].
maQLu releases: Well, Malfeasance is the big one, of course.
I also experimented with a couple podcasts but found the self-imposed deadlines too constricting for the way I work. Oh well. Lesson learned.
All in all, it was a pretty fertile year for writing and creating and getting a better sense of the direction I want to go, which I’ve blabbed about before, but the tl;dr version: moving into a more blues/”sleaze”/hard rock direction. Will still have some electronics, but it’s not going to be industrial or noise anymore.
Which I guess brings me to the subject of one of the compilations I was on this year, Necktar 2017 vol. 5: one of the last industrial/experimental tracks I released. I think I’d told Ed End, who’s organizing the collection, that I’d have something for him for the upcoming volume 6, but really, that’s just not where my head’s at, and the kind of music I’m writing now isn’t appropriate for the compilation. I do look forward to hearing volume 6 when it’s out in a month or so, I’m sure there’ll be some cool new noise on it, just none of mine.
Oh, and I guess COMA Music Magazine’s GCS3 was out this spring, and an early version of “Tell Me” is on there. The version that’ll be on the next maQLu album will be rather different.
I pulled the experimental stuff I’d done last year from Bandcamp and Soundcloud because it’s not what I want the maQLu brand to be about going forward, but since I did want to keep some of it available, I set up a new Bandcamp for it: pyradraculea.bandcamp.com – there’s still a bunch of stuff from the podcasts that I haven’t gotten around to making cover art for and uploading, but it’ll eventually find its way there as well, and from now on if I do feel like making experimental or spoken word pieces, that’s where they’ll go. Same as if I ever did finish that symphony I’m working on [LOL… maybe some day… probably never…]
Favorite covers I did this year: Well, the #1 is my sludgy drop D version of Guns N Roses’ “14 Years” but I still haven’t gotten around to filming myself playing it, ditto the cover I’m working on of Faster Pussycat’s “Tattoo,” so for now here’s a couple from the podcasts:
Favorite original song I did this year: Again, it’s something I don’t have recorded/videoed & ready for ya, a song I wrote in August/September called “American Man” that will be on the next album. And everything from Malfeasance was actually done last year. So, here’s the first draft of “Liberation,” originally on the podcasts, but this will be on the next album too, with some modifications:
Favorite musical discoveries of the year [Not counting shit I listened to before but started listening to again, but I am counting stuff I was aware of but never actually heard til this year.]: Izzy Stradlin’s solo stuff, Jetboy, Crashdiet, Ayria, Fuck Buttons, DYM.
Favorite re-discoveries [ie, here’s the shit I listened to ages ago that I’m into again]: Bang Tango, L.A. Guns, Danko Jones, Amorphis, Crystal Pistol, Michael Monroe, Reverend Horton Heat.
Favorite books read this year:
[OK, the last 4 were more “ogled” than “read” but whatever.]
Things I swear by that aren’t one of my guitars: Newton running shoes, my Snark headstock tuner, Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings, cherry blossom or coconut scented body butter, hemp hand protector cream from the body shop [actually smells like maraschino cherries, not weed], and I remain addicted to sudoku on my iPad, though I’m working on quitting.
Favorite eBay acquisitions of the year that aren’t one of my guitars: I bought a couple of Izzy Stradlin’s picks from the 1991 Use Your Illusion tour, also one of Andy McCoy’s that I think is from a more recent incarnation of Hanoi Rocks.
Things I spent way too much time doing this year: See above re: sudoku. Also, listening to Adam Carolla’s podcast, though I often do now play scales or other guitar warm-ups while I listen to multitask.
Other changes made this year: Let’s see here… as my listening habits became less focussed on industrial and experimental stuff, I was feeling less and less connected to my radio show, the Vampire’s Ball. I debated killing the show, except I do like doing it every week, so instead I talked with my program director and we agreed to open up the format to a more eclectic playlist. Which is actually how the show started out in 2002. Full circle. I might be the only one happy with the addition of Faster Pussycat, Danko Jones, L.A. Guns, Izzy Stradlin, and their ilk to the Vampire’s Ball, but hey: my show, my rules. Dissidents are welcome to come to CiTR and do their own show if they don’t like my playlist [seriously – we still have a fair amount of open time slots, especially late night, and the more the merrier.] And so far no one’s sent me any roadkill hate mail about the new format.
Strange to say for the girl who wrote nasty/crazy shit like “Deep End,” Avenger, etc., but I’m actually more or less happy the last few months. A lot of negativity was slowly leeching out of me in the first half of the year, more of it was left to Leviathan [along with my favorite Ironman sunglasses] up in Sechelt Inlet the day I almost died, and almost all of what was left over seems to have melted away when I went to visit my dad’s family for a few days in September. Can’t say why on that last point, just that it seemed to reconnect me somehow with the music I was listening to when I was a kid wanting to make music some day, and that helped somehow. Or maybe Westjet’s baggage claim lost it for me, I dunno.
Anyway, I’m in a much better frame of mind with a much better outlook on life than I have been in probably 15 years and definitely much better than since well before 2008 when I started actually working on this project. Which of course raises the question of what the fuck am I gonna write about now, but I’m slowly figuring that out. Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn into a cheerful pop princess by any means.
Oh yeah, and I’m down 50 lbs since last Christmas. Which I haven’t made much commentary about on this blog but there ya have it. Would have been more if I’d managed to not get myself sidelined for the last 2.5 months and in March, but oh well. 2014’s coming.
Tried to think of the best song to sum up where I’m at right now, had a whole bunch of ideas, but then in one of those iTunes random play coincidence things where the perfect song comes up at the right moment, this just came up:
Michael Monroe: “Thrill Me”:
And there ya have it. Good riddance to 2013 after a few more days and hello to 2014.