Chemical Warfare

Wednesday April 28th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

Yeesh, this thing is deeper than I thought. I felt a lot worse than yesterday, so I ended up sleeping most of the day away yet again. I’ve found that’s the best way to let this pass so I don’t bring anyone else down. When it gets like this, I don’t want to be around anybody.

I doubt if anyone wants to be around me either. I was supposed to go over to hang out at Mark Gumbinger’s house with some people from the Dead Air movie cast and brainstorm about the next project Mark wants to direct.. I’m flattered he asked and I would have gone but this was just not the night for it. I told him I’d take a rain check but I wasn’t coming.

What I did instead was force myself out of the rack, peel off my sweats and hop into the shower to scrub away whatever needed to be scrubbed and go outside for a walk. My post office is almost exactly a mile away and there’s a Subway about a half a mile past that, so I wanted to go mail out some CD orders and then scarf down some vegetables and water.

That had to be the most difficult walk I’ve ever taken. It seemed like it would never end as I squinted to hide from the bright sunlight which normally delights me. Not today. I did all I could to keep walking, but I felt one big ache and all I wanted to do was beam myself home and right back to bed. I’ve never been hung over, but this is how I‘d picture it to be.

My head was throbbing, my legs hurt, and the last thing I wanted was sunlight and fresh air anywhere near me. I made it to the post office and finished my business, but making it to the Subway felt like I walked to Siberia. I ordered a sub packed full with vegetables but no chips or soda and sat and ate as my body ached from what wasn’t that big of a walk.

I realize this is a chemical thing, and it is what it is. I can eat better and exercise more in the future, but there’s a chemical tweak that happens at times, and this is one of them. I’m actually in a good space about it, and know it will pass as it always does. This is about the only time I can think of that I’ve ever been this lucid in the middle of one of these funks.

I’ve been really close to doing something stupid many times in the past, only because it always seems so final and permanent while it’s happening. This is the first time I can look to the future and know it will be over and when that happens, I’ll be in a creative groove.

It actually feels like my mental toughness is growing stronger, especially now when I’ve been known to just curl up in the past. I finished that damn walk, even though it was a big struggle, and all I wanted to do the whole time was turn around and go right back to bed.

In a goofy way, it feels like I’m going through this so I can offer a helping hand to other people at some point who’ll go through this too. I certainly have first hand experience for a lot of years, and most of it was just plain ugly. This one’s ugly too, but inside it doesn’t feel nearly as bad because my mindset while it’s happening is as clear as it ever has been. It actually feels like I’m learning from it, and that’s never a bad thing. Maybe it took all of this time to finally let it leak through my thick skull so I don’t have to go through it again.

I was in full sweat when I got home so I took another shower and kept plowing ahead in my work. I couldn’t sleep much more if I tried, so I cranked out a ton of emails that I’d let pile up once again. That’s always a never ending chore, but I managed to make very good progress tonight. I actually don’t mind being alone, and it felt good to shrink that big pile.

A lot of my recent emails have been very complimentary about my new CD ‘Hard Luck Jollies’. I received an email from George Clinton’s manager saying she’d like one to give to George, and that was a thrill. I’m sure he’ll see the artwork done by Pedro Bell who did so many Funkadelic covers over the years, and there’s a cartoon drawn on the back cover that has a caricature of George and myself that Pedro threw in as a bonus with our deal.

This latest recording project is going to open up a whole new set of doors for me, much as my last CD did. I got it out later than most comics, but I did it right. I recorded it down in Louisville which had a professional sound person and paid extra to have it packaged in a way that made it look like I had a recording contract with a real label. It was worth it all.

There are now a few thousand of those scattered all over North America, but those who have them didn’t get ripped off. I’ve seen a few for sale on Ebay, and it always makes me laugh to see that. It makes me feel like I’ve made it. Maybe I’ll find one at a thrift store.

Hey, so what? I’ve seen countless Bill Cosby and George Carlin and most other famous comedians products for sale in the fifty cent bin. All I care about is that they buy one new from somewhere. Who they sell or give it to afterward is not my concern. In fact, it would be a dream come true to buy one at a thrift store for a buck and then resell it for full price.

I’ve received lots of play on XM/Sirius satellite radio and constantly hear people tell me they heard one of my cuts being played. I ended up selling those rights to Laughing Hyena Records, which now sells them in truck stops. I still own the material, but they’re now the sole owner of that particular recording of it forever. A deal’s a deal, and I’m fine with it.

That was a very successful first recording attempt in my opinion, and I’m very satisfied with all that came out of it. I gave a ton of them away, but I did sell quite a few as well. It got my name out in a good way, and I still have people tell me they pop it in occasionally and have a laugh, or give it to someone else to listen to. That’s the way to make it pay off.

At most, there were probably 200 people who saw that show that was recorded. I’d have a hard time estimating how many people have actually heard that CD since 2003, but I’ve got to believe it’s more than 200. It’s more than 200,000. Besides the set I did on the Late Late Show on CBS, that was THE most heard comedy set I’ve ever done, warts and all.

I already know this new one is much better. I’m always improving as a performer, but it also flows better than the last one did. I did a lot of the same bits, but they’re sharper with more punch lines and I know I’ve grown since the last one was recorded. That’s what this is all about. I want to grow with every project I do, but not only is this one better, I’ve got at least one and maybe two whole new ones already in the can. This helps cheer me up.

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