Here we are, Folks! We made it! It’s the new world order exactly as we imagined it!
Were we right? Did we win?
OY. I’ve been sequestered in place for the past week and a half, working from home and trying to understand the best way to be human while moving forward through this very confusing time.
I haven’t been writing. I haven’t really been playing. It makes me worried sometimes. Other times I feel relieved and sip another martini.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Privileged and secure with my ongoing responsibilities of a day job that hasn’t been closed or canceled. But only 3 months ago, I wasn’t.
Up until February I was a musician struggling to get by in a local gig economy that was already stacked against us. San Francisco is a hard place to make a musical living. I guess anywhere is. With the recent passing and ensuing panic around AB5, coupled with the closing of local venues that had been around for years, musicians and independent artists started leaving the state of California in droves. Nashville, New Orleans, Austin…anywhere people still left their houses to see live shows had more hope than home did.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet, though I had been planning to for years. There was still something here for me. Community, collaboration, friends, family. My partner. The Redwoods. The ocean.
But I was losing money and living in my parents spare room and I was 39. I was too old for this shit. Still, I was privileged to have what I had.
So I seized an opportunity to jump back into a day job at a company I am proud to be a part of. It does its best to do the right thing by everyone, and that is the best I can hope for. Just like Gillian Welch sings “Never minded working hard, it was who I’m workin’ for.”
I was also privileged to have had that opportunity offered to me at just the right time. Skin-of-my-teeth time.
As lucky as I am, I can’t help feeling a bit like a defector. I couldn’t hack it in music. I just couldn’t hang. And still, my privilege sways in my face every day and all I can do is accept it and support my people as best I can.
If I was disheartened by the way our artistic communities were treated then, I am only held afloat by the remarkable resilience they have shown in the face of all of it. They keep fighting with technology and community and optimism and lean upon the online awareness they have built and maintain and it is breathtaking. I’m so proud to know them.
The service industry is another sore sight for me. The bars, restaurants, mom and pop shops that are unique to the Bay Area have shut and those who relied on what little they were making in that sector are out of jobs. A lot of them. Thousands. And there is so little available to them in the meantime.
My plan for now is to sit quietly, do my job, not force the creative energy when it’s not here, send my dollars to those churning out their souls on Facebook live, Zoom, Bandcamp (100% goes to music makers so go buy music!), and whatever other social media magic is going to come out of this.
Thank you for all of your support. There will be more music from me so stay tuned. Until then, stay safe, stay sane, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep 6 feet away from anyone you pass on your daily excursions. Here’s a sweet snip from two of my local favorite creators.