When we were in the 9th grade my friend Scott Pejaver and I decided we were going to start an underground newspaper. Why not? We were already a couple of brown skinned, dorky attention whores, and this was just another in a series of “happenings” we orchestrated to entertain ourselves and our friends. We weren’t handsome or popular, Scott was a budding young actor and I hadn’t played the guitar long enough to be anything but a “bless your heart”, but damned if we couldn’t make a commotion with the best of them. We just thought stuff up and did it. On this occasion we went by the little bookstore on Poplar that was between White Station High school and his Grandmother’s house off of Mt. Moriah to purchase a $5 word processing program for his screaming 286 generic PC. We spent most afternoons after school at his Grandmother’s, with Katie feeding us pimento cheese sandwiches and plotting our capers. I will be the first to admit that most of our ideas were at best, dumb and at worst, just bad. This particular caper was a masterpiece of naive, anti-war, kid drivel we distributed to our friends via photocopy. We were shutdown and “banned” before a second issue. I hadn’t thought about this in years, until I found myself standing in front of a copy machine in the same Kinko’s (now Fedex Office) 25 years later.
I wrote some songs as a young dude, but they were always topical or parodies for a quick laugh, and nothing more. I wouldn’t write a serious song that I would share with anyone until I had nearly grown kids of my own. I guess I lacked the skill, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say that hadn’t already been said better. I have had a hot and cold romance with music over the years. I always come back to it. My son Vincent got the bug and has surpassed me in instrumental prowess. He’s a pretty amazing songwriter as well. Initially he had a lack of confidence in singing for demos or in front of people. In seeing him struggle with these insecurities, I had to face some of my own. Did I make him like this? What happened to the 14 year old who went to school in a shirt made from his childhood Noah’s ark curtains without giving a single fuck? My insecurity wasn’t singing but songwriting. I would write parts of songs then abandon them when they weren’t Dylan on the first draft. I had all kinds of excuses about what I was missing to get my own music off the ground. Meanwhile Vincent is figuring out how to make multitrack recordings on his iPod through pure trial and error. I was called out on bullshitting myself by a 14 year old.
What made a 40 year old man think of all that? I recently made my 2nd album in a derelict ’64 Cadillac on jack stands in my backyard. Its rough, raw and all me, for better or for worse. I decided to go all the way with the DIY theme and made photocopied covers glued to CD sleeves bought at the office store. The songs have a loose theme of stories being told in the Cadillac and have a narrative framework meant to mimic an episodic tv or radio show. Its almost like I’m 14 again parlaying my pennies into photocopies of a homemade newspaper with some big differences. Scott is gone, I spent years feeling like I would never escape the loneliness his absence left. Some days it feels like the hole was filled with indiscriminate and overwhelming self doubt about every creative endeavor I get into. Am I making an ass of myself? Probably. Do I care? Not on most days. Vincent is making awesome music and I’m doing the best I can, presented without apologies. Come out to one of my shows, I would be happy to share a copy of Sedan deVille Season 1 with you in all its photocopied, glue sticked glory. Hell, I don’t even mind if you snicker about me being too old for this shit.
Check out Vincent’s stuff:
Checkout Sedan deVIlle Season 1: