Studio Closeup #21

Happy Holidays Everyone! For some reason, even though we’re all staying home and zooming with our loved ones (right? Right? RIGHT?) this season, I've noticed an angsty fervor in general coming from everyone and everything, including me. Is it because we’re all collectively losing our shit? I think the extroverts in the world are having the toughest time with this lockdown. They must feel about this lockdown how I feel about having to be at a party and mingle. Every single day, all day. For an entire year. I just had an anxiety attack thinking about that.

I’ve been giving all this a lot of thought. There are no sports, concerts, movies, restauranting etc; in person socializing of any kind right now especially at a time when we all gather together to celebrate what we celebrate. It goes against everything we’ve ever done during this time and it’s all very weird. I’m in the extreme introvert hermit category with the occasional burst of extrovert when needed - usually requiring three months to recover from (well, at least a week in complete silence.) In my 48th year around the sun, I finally understand this frustrating aspect about myself and even *I* am going a little kooky-nut-face at times. The usual outlets and coping mechanisms we turn to to release our pent-up shit has been totally cut off. And that’s dangerous. Unfortunately, the winter holidays are usually very stressful, but this year is really different and I don’t think anyone really knows what to do with all this. This is the first time EVER in all of our lifetimes that we all have had to celebrate the holidays this way and we’re all divided on what’s right or wrong these days and I think these things are definitely a large part of this overall feeling of anything but happiness. For me, it continues to be a challenge to even want to “celebrate” anything right now.

Today’s Studio Closeup is a blast from the past because I wasn’t able to get anything even remotely presentable to show you this week. I admit I got sucked into this swirling energy vortex and I’m just concentrating on keeping all my shit together.

This is a slide of artwork for the lyrics of a tune written during Sweet Jelly days entitled “Larger Than Life”. A song written about folks who make others feel small and intimidated. I wrote a lot of songs while working in a corporate setting during this time. It feels like 12 lifetimes ago when I revisit all of this. Very surreal at the very least. You will hear Lance Dobersek’s beautiful guitar work on this tune. My singing is, uh, I’d rather not have anyone hear it but it’s all about the journey! And let’s keep in mind these were recorded at practices mainly for us all to listen to getting ready for a live gig. It was also the super early days in our tiny rock world. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Speaking of extrovert/introvert matters, in-between sets, I remember Aaron, Lance and I would scatter into opposite dark corners of the bars that we would play at during the set break, keeping a low profile hoping nobody would talk to us. Chad and Rob were usually really good at mingling. But I liken the three of us to androids powering down. I love singing and performing because you truly are in the moment of creating something, but that is also a complete overload for me and I'd rather play for 2-4 hours straight than take an intermission and have to get back to the place I was finally at at the end of the first set. Maybe that’s just me. 5-10 minutes to starting the second set, we’d all quietly gather at one table and get ready to pour it on again. Not sure how other bands take a break, but that’s how a band of visual artists do it. Quiet and stealthy-like.

Below, please enjoy a little bit of SWJ history between song and visual art. I’ve also included a quick snap of Aaron Johnson’s beautiful sheet music he assembled for all of us way back when.

And I really do hope everyone finds some peace this holiday season. Please keep well and stay strong everyone.

Song: Larger Than Life ~ Sweet Jelly 2001

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Visual art for the song "Larger Than Life" ~ Sweet Jelly 2001
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Sweet Jelly Nostalgia!