back in london now. hitched a ride yesterday with an old classmate of mine, *****. i've known her since, i don't know, grade two? not close friends anymore, but run into each other once in a while. interesting conversation. she's been through some shit. a lot of the same shit as me. still dealing with it. emotional issues. mental health. pain. alcohol. drugs. family problems. intelligence. life questions. i always find myself surprised relating to people i thought i had nothing in common with. she was always one of "them," in my eyes. the rich girls. proper family. old or new money, either way, they had it. law school. med school. phd-people. she should have had her life together by now. should be married. two kids, three. big old brick house in the money part of town. she was driving a mini-van, but it was filled with bags of clothes in the back. she's "mostly homeless," i think she said. i had a cigarette with her. i haven't had one in a week or two. it was a menthol. last one. nauseated, i was puking in my mouth for an hour of our drive. she chain-smoked, i felt sicker with each one. she was on her way to london for a meeting with her probation officer. a couple of times i thought to myself, "this isn't you," but it was. and it was me too. both of us, starting over. when you're 31 years old and you've been drunk and on drugs since you were 15 years old, you don't know how to be a sober adult. you never learned. you're again at the beginning. it's hard. how do you talk to people? how do you work? how do you live? when you're intelligent as well, well, fuck, it can be a nightmare. a lot of similar feelings, we both wished we could be dumbed down, so we wouldn't have to think so much. so many smart people go crazy, schizophrenia, alcoholism, this world can just be too much i guess, to handle, to hold. i insisted that she take my last ten dollars for gas. i got out of the van. sick, broken, cold, and optimistic...
that was yesterday.
today is today. woke up. cold. get to work ryan, get to work...
-saul williams has a new album available, produced by trent reznor, niggy tardust. click here for the download page.
-i may or may not be playing a show with dj vadim, yarah bravo, and abstract rude, at the alex p. keaton, on wed. nov. 7th. you may or may not be there. here is the flyer:
a lot of people have been talking lately about radiohead's new album, and their method of releasing it online. the pay-what-you-can download approach. you set your own price. it's an interesting idea, with others soon to follow suit. this is something tim and i have been doing since our first show, when we were hustling cdrs.
"we've got cds, come talk to us if you want one. if you want to give us money for it, or buy us a beer, that's cool. if you don't have any money or just don't feel like giving it to us, we don't really care. we'll give you one for free. i don't give a shit, come talk to me..."
it was never a conscious decision, really, it just sort of happened by accident. at our first gig we were talking, after burning/photocopying a bunch of cdrs...
"what should we charge for 'em?" "i don't know." "they're cdrs." "i just want people to hear our shit dude..."
so, later, on stage, half in the bag, at the end of our show, it was decided, completely by accident. "if you want a free cd come talk to me..."
we've been doing it ever since, even after we pressed "real" cds. with our t-shirts too.
"how much for a shirt?" "whatever you want to pay." "what do you mean?" "whatever it is worth to you, that is how much i want for it..."
last may in germany, opening up for dj vadim and them, i'd be standing at the merch table at the end of the night, beside vadim's tour manager. all of their stuff was priced (overpriced, i thought, but maybe that's just me thinking in canadian currency). he couldn't really believe my method, listening to me trying to explaining to these germans that they can decide their own price for my stuff. pay what you want. i gave away a few free ones. i took handfuls of change. i traded cds. some people paid five euros, ten euros, even 20, or 30 for a cd/shirt combo meal. he thought i was nuts. i just wanted to know that there were at least a few of our cds floating around in germany. i don't give a shit. some snowboarder cat in jena, germany, has an "ok cobra" t-shirt on right now. that's fucking cool to me.
i don't know if i'll ever make a living as a full-time artist. maybe one day. i would love it if it happened. if i could divide all of my time between making music, performing, acting, writing, painting, photography, travelling... well shit, i'd be a happy camper. (no, not true actually, it doesn't matter what i'm doing in life, i'll always be a bipolar fucking basket case, but whatever, i would love to not have to work a regular fucking job...) it's doubtful, but i'm okay with that. if i have to keep working, bartending, whatever it is, to fund my existence, so i can keep writing songs and poems and painting things and playing shows and whatever, i'm cool with that. it beats some shitty office gig i could be doing. i doubt it'll happen though, when people i know who have been putting out records for years are complaining that they're broke as shit, what hope is there for me? doesn't matter, it's what i love, how could i stop?
music is free now. it's been free for close to a decade. you can't sell it anymore.