Okay, so firstly, before we get to any of my prepared remarks, it’s come to my attention that some of you out there think I’m the Hulk, the JadedPunkHulk, in fact. Now, for those of you who don’t know, JadedPunkHulk is a twitter persona that centers around caveman-esque articulation, capital letters and a barrage of clever shit talking of punk rock bands and people. Now, I AM playing a solo show in conjunction with the Jaded Punk Hulk and his organization, Jadedpunk.com at the Knitting Factory in New York’s Brooklyn borough on Monday the 12th of November. Also along for the ride are Jenny Owens Young, Kyle Kinane and the omnipresent and loveable Dave Hause. (If you live in the area, come to the show). That is about it. I’ve emailed with the Hulk (who uses green capital letters in email, which comes from an account registered to Bruce Banner, which is a nice touch) but that’s where it ends. The Hulk lives in NYC, and I live in Chicago. The Hulk listens to shit on Deathwish, and I don’t even really know what that is. The Hulk talks about how rad Converge is or was and all I know about Converge is that one time the Lawrence Arms coheadlined a festival with them in Vermont and the results were not pretty for us. In short, come on you lazy sacks of shit, do a little research before accusing me of having a fake identity (though it’s a nice way to seamlessly promote my upcoming solo show, I’ll give you that). I already have a fake identity, which is actually the subject of today’s prepared remarks, starting now:
As some of you regular readers of BSC (also known as my Dogs Of War for you new folks out there) may know, for the last few years I’ve dabbled in doing freelance copywriting work from out of my home to supplement our household income while I raise my small kids. I also write other things, like scripts, lyrics, TV show pitches, bios and press releases for rock and roll bands etc. It’s all terribly exciting and it’s all kept me on the very low end of stable and productive for the past four years while I’ve adjusted to life as a grown member of a family who takes care of little people who get really sad if I leave them for a long time. This has a lot to do with why I don’t do a whole dickton of touring anymore. It’s just simply not financially rewarding enough to justify making my kids and wife hate me. So, I stay home, don’t shave, dick around on the internet and crank out tiny bits of work for people as they approach me, all the while looking for different opportunities to do new and exciting things.
Well, all that changed this Monday when I got a job in an office. I now spend my days in a cube and have a key card and have to shit in a bathroom with a bunch of people who I’ll presumably keep running into all week. I have to take the train during rush hour. I have to run out and grab lunch and eat it at a desk and I have to shave and wear clothes that don’t have dicks on them, which is a huge adjustment, to say the least.
I also have money, which is nice, but I now have this secret, dual life and it’s so weird that I can’t really articulate it easily. I mean, I commute and go to a coffee machine and there are lunches with names on them in the fridge and my cube has nothing on the walls, but other people have cubes with signs on them that say shit like “my cube, my rules” and lots of pictures of them and their best friends, dorm style. Lots of the people in my office are either extremely peppy young women or slightly older men in black, collarless longsleeve shirts with lots of stuff in their hair. Everyone is very nice and no one has any idea that I am in the kind of band that I’m in, or really anything about me or any of the things I know about.
The few times that ‘my band’ has come up in conversation, it’s been like being at a family reunion or in line at Guitar Center. “Oh, Brendan’s in a band.” “Oh, you’re in a band? Cool. My brother is in a band. They’re, like, a space-funk kind of thing. They’re really good. Ever hear of Yngwie Malmsteen? Geddy Lee? Yeah, those guys are the best, right?” Me: “Yup…Pretty great.”
Then I go back to my cube and research things and write things and the level of satisfaction I get out of it is in direct proportion to how much the people who I’m writing or researching for like what I’ve done. This is in stark contrast to playing in the Lawrence Arms or typing this blog or writing scripts or making movies in that the ultimate reward is whether or not I like it. Of course, if other people like it too, that’s great and I love that, but there’s an internal barometer, which must be satisfied for me to be happy. If I write a song that I think is terrible, even if people like it, I’m not happy. If I write a song that I think is great, I’m happy, regardless.
At that office, it’s not like that. I have a desire to make things as cool as they can possibly be, but how cool can a proposal for a marketing account really ever be? No one’s gonna get my idea for getting more people who like Hot Wheels to drink Squirt tattooed on them, you know?
I’m interested in the work, but if someone says “oh, this is all wrong, I want this much dumber idea” my response is “okay, great. Let me work on it for you.” There’s no sense of pride or hurt in criticism. I just sit in a cube and work. For a lot of you, this is the life you’ve known ever since you graduated from college, but for me, this shit is brand new and it’s REALLY blowing my mind. I feel like a spy. “Oh man, THIS is what rush hour looks like.” “This is what people mean when they talk about staring at the clock/taking meetings/any number of various bits of jargon that sitting in a van for 20 years doesn’t teach you.” It’s a wild thing, man.
Weirdest is the bathroom. I never used to poo at school. You just don’t. Everyone in that bathroom is a highschool kid and they’re gonna mock you within an inch of your life if you’re caught blowing butt bubbles. In the world of rock and roll, everyone is stuck constantly pooping in various less-than-desirable locales, and most of them are places that, once you’re done pooping, you won’t set foot in again. This leads to a pretty cavalier “I’ll take any dump anywhere” kind of attitude.
But at my office? I was in there the other day and I thought I was alone. Things I was doing got loud and all of a sudden some poor sensitive soul flushed from down the way to protect either my feelings or their sensibilities. I suddenly found myself wanting desperately not to have to make any sort of contact with whoever it was. What a thing…Because I knew if we saw each other he’d always think of me as the guy with the loud dumps (keep in mind I’m new, so whoever it was would have either just met me that week or perhaps just be seeing me for the first time in that situation. Either way, bummmmmmmmer). Thankfully, other guy was more timid than me and did the right thing and just sat there in his putrescence while I washed my hands and hightailed it.
I wonder if any of the people in my new office read my blog. Hmmm.
Anyway, I’m going to Colorado next week, so expect sporadic updates from altitude. Love you guys.