My other real, everyday drug.
(Houndmouth @ The Bowery Ballroom, Thurs May 17, 2018)
It happens as soon as I wake up. What do I want to listen to this morning?
Sometimes I know right away — I instinctively know. Sometimes I dwell on it while making coffee before getting a shower.
Whatever choice I make… it is made for one reason. Either Do I feel like listening to [xyz] band/artist/playlist? Or, perhaps…
How do I feel?
Music can invoke emotions in a very individual way.
Feeling good, I might play comfort music or what I would consider fun, rocky or playful music (Weezer is a good example). That decision pretty much sits somewhere within me and — God knows how — just springs out. Sometimes it may be due to a dream I’ve had, it may be due to something that happened the day before or maybe something which is coming up that day. Or it is just random.
Sadness or general sulkiness brings out The Smiths. The Cure’s “Disintegration”.
Introspection…. perhaps I’ll turn to more rootsier music. Think Ryan Adams.
When I’m annoyed, I drift into a very different range. It will still be rock and pop, but it will shift to bands or artists like Oasis. A rebellion takes over the inside of my head.
When I feel even worse and drift into “I hate the world” mode…. why hello The Sex Pistols, Nirvana and goth bands from the 80’s. Luckily this mood is pretty rare.
Paul McCartney or John Lennon?
The above remains generally true, even today.
But for a while in my life, I suffered from what I guess I can now describe as a slightly Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde approach to a particular day: was I going to be Paul McCartney or John Lennon?
Maybe that’s bizarre, I don’t know. I grew up listening to The Beatles, and still do, and I listen to both of the solo output of Lennon and McCartney.
Paul is the fun loving, the cheeky Beatle. John is the rebel, the indifferent Beatle.
© Getty Images — Robert Whitaker
For the longest time, I actually used to think every morning…. which Beatle will I be today? Lennon? McCartney?
It became a musical obsession, waking up each morning. Not listening to their music, but figuring out perhaps how I’d approach my day.
Paul: “What’s the use of worrying? No use”.
John: “All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth”.
It would reflect on little things on how I’d spend time and do things each day. Crossing the road — I’d be John perhaps and do it with more bravado. I’d act more sarcastically to colleagues. Brittle. It wouldn’t be too hard to make me annoyed. I’d hide away in my office.
And with McCartney, I’d be gleeful, more likely to wander about to chat. My wife would joke that I’d even take on a sort of “Paul” accent. A kind of ‘hiya matey what are we gonna do today?’ type approach to every day. My door open.
It all depended on the morning, how I felt. The music. Whatever it was. Where was it going to lead me that day?
Am I George?
For a while, I started to just think that deciding whether I was John or Paul while putting on my cuff links every day was stupid.
Maybe I could be George?
George wasn’t really cheeky. He wasn’t aggressive. He was — or at least very much became — the spiritual Beatle. The one who wrote The Inner Light. All Things Must Pass.
So, I became obsessed with George.
No, I didn’t turn religious. I didn’t even become spiritual. The thing with George was he was happy with himself. He seemed to display an inner peace, a tranquility — a belief that we are here, we live and then we move on.
In his case, that might have been a belief that we moved on to somewhere else, I don’t know. I don’t share that but it doesn’t matter.
So… for a while I tried, no matter what music I listened to in the morning, I’d be George that day. Appreciate each day while living in it, take pleasure from the simple things in life. I started to take on the philosophy of minimalism. To not let so much interfere with the things that matter to me.
You can learn how to be you in time
So as a summary, for a while, I went through a period in life when I thought, every day: am I going to be John or Paul? And then I decided to just be George… because that was the better option.
I can’t remember what caused it. I just can’t. But one day, I woke up and it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. What I am f**king doing?
Don’t be any of them.
Just be you. Not John, Paul or George. You.
I still listen to music every morning. And yes, I still will pick music depending on my mood. All of that is completely normal. Music is, outside of my family and work, probably one of the biggest components of my life. There is rarely a moment I don’t think of or want to play music. As corny as it sounds, it is indeed the soundtrack to my life.
Every Friday morning I wake up with relish to see/hear what new music has been released on Spotify. On YouTube, I can mindlessly wander around watching and listening to music either by artists I know or YouTube recommended ones. When alone in a city, I’ll prefer to try to see a concert than go to a movie.
That’s just me.
I am me. I’m not Paul, I’m not John and I’m not George. I’m not perfect. I still get angry, I get frustrated, but I’m cheeky, I’m stupid and can be fun loving. But I also appreciate what I have. And, hey, I want to try to be a minimalist at the least.
So it will always be: morning, coffee, music, me.
And sorry Ringo.
Chris Garrod — May 2018
Originally published at commfailure.com on May 20, 2018.