PAINT IT BLACKs Dan hat folgendes Blogupdate gepostet:
Wanted to thank everyone who came out to the shows in Austin last weekend. Although South by Southwest as an industry event is pretty terrible, there is so much crazy shit going on in and around town that is either peripherally related to SXSW, or not related to it at all, that the whole week ends up being pretty amazing. There are a ton of free parties with bands and DJ’s playing, and a lot of DIY shows with tons of touring bands that are really inexpensive. The Shirts for a Cure party that we played with Hot Water Music, Dead To Me, and Gaslight Anthem on Friday afternoon was really amazing and totally high-energy, especially considering that I think most of the people there had either just woken up or not slept at all. This was not a SXSW event, and that fact I think spotlights how much amazing stuff goes on that’s not officially connected to the showcases. Our friend Mark Beemer started Shirts for a Cure to raise money to improve access to breast cancer treatment for underprivileged women who don’t have health insurance. Access to health care is one of the most important domestic political issues in the U.S. today. You can find out more about Shirts for a Cure here: www.merchnow.com/shirtsforacure/ After that we headed over to the east side to the 1808 club to play a cool DIY show in a back yard with Municipal Waste, Annihilation Time, Sex/Vid, Iron Lung, and Clockcleaner. Also awesome. An hour after we played 1808 we ran over to Scoot Inn to play a show with Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Fucked Up, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Man Man, and Unsane. Especially cool was seeing John Brannon join Fucked Up on stage for 2 Negative Approach songs. Crazy!!!
So I thought it was maybe time to write a more personal update, instead of just "We’re playing here. Come check it out! Blah Blah Blah." I wanted to write a little bit more about what’s going on with us as a band, as individuals, just to share a little bit more about what Paint It Black is about and what we’re up to. Books are a major influence on the writing process, and I’m always crawling through some novel or other, fighting the impulse to come home from work and turn on the TV, to indulge in that American obsession with shutting our brains off when we’ve had a long day, or when we’d rather not face the darkness inside (or the darkness outside).
I’m finally finishing Marilynne Robinson’s "Housekeeping", which was admittedly really hard for me to get through. There’s not a lot of dialogue or action, and there are a lot of really long descriptive passages, and I tend to have very little patience for that. But if you can stick it out this book is well worth it. It’s a novel about isolation, the inevitability of loss, about being literally or emotionally orphaned, about being weird and unable to relate to those around you, and about being bound to other people by shared damage. Like pretty much everything in my life, it brings me full-circle back to music. Check this line from the book: "Every sorrow suggests a thousand songs, and every song recalls a thousand sorrows, and so they are infinite in number, and all the same." Devastating.
I also read an article this week about the relationship between famed short story author Raymond Carver and his editor and close friend Gordon Lish. Apparently, Lish cut a lot of stuff out of Carver’s stories before they made it to print, sometimes as much as 40 percent of the original text. Since a lot of critics focused their praise on Carver’s "minimalism," it’s hard to say whether his early successes are due to what Carver put in, what Lish took out, or to both in equal amounts. Carver began to resent this as time went on, and the two friends began to argue bitterly about the editing process. Ultimately this struggle ruined both their friendship, and their professional relationship. The whole mess raises a lot of questions about who gets credit for art, and how much credit is really owed to the people behind the scenes. Was Carver struggling with vanity? Shame? Bruised ego? We’ll never know, but it made me think a lot about the process of writing and recording an album. A lot of times, one person gets, or takes, most of the credit for a band’s musical output, but a finished song has as much to do with what gets edited out, and with how things get moved around and re-arranged. This process can take months and gets hammered out in endless band practices, discussions and arguments. And that’s all before you get to the studio. There’s a whole other process of inclusion and exclusion that goes on when the songs are being recorded, and depending on how hands-on a recording engineer or producer is, a lot can change there too. There’s the potential for a lot of conflict during all of this, and the only way it works well is if there’s mutual respect and love, and if you work hard on communicating. Paint It Black’s songs might all start out in my head, but the end result is the combination of all of us. That’s important to remember, especially for me.
By the way, I realize that all this talk about literature and the creative process might be really boring for a lot of people. I just wanted to try something new with this. Too often these opportunities for communication get wasted on superficial bullshit.
Anyway, everyone should check out our show listings. There’s a lot of new stuff scheduled, and we’re really excited. Our short tour with Strike Anywhere was an amazing time, and the shows were all great. Reaction to the new songs has been really exciting and we’re stoked to play more shows with more awesome bands.
So here’s a real dilemma I’m having: A lot of people have been asking me to write explanations for the new songs, like I did back when we put out C.V.A. I’m really ambivalent about this for a lot of reasons. On one hand, I think that spoon-feeding the meanings of all the lyrics to everyone seriously underestimates people’s intelligence. Also, as I get (sort of) better at this over time, a lot of times the lyrics are not just about one thing anymore, so even trying to write definitive explanations might be short-changing the meaning. On the other hand, I was heavily influenced by the early Ebullition Records releases, and a lot of the DIY hardcore and punk of the early to mid-90’s. A big part of that was the way those bands took their politics so fucking seriously, and took responsibility for that and didn’t hide behind ambiguity. A lot of those records had in-depth explanations along with each song. Nowadays I see so many bands trying to either avoid standing for anything in particular, or to hide what they’re about so that they don’t alienate any "potential fans." One thing to say about that: Fuck those cowards. They’re not hardcore, they’re traitors. So the question remains. Explanations or not? Feedback is welcomed.
One last thing. I’m heading out the door to Blacklisted’s record release show. Their new album "Heavier Than Heaven Lonelier Than God", is out now on Deathwish, and it is seriously amazing, one of the heaviest things I’ve heard in a long time. The lyrics are painfully honest and really cut to the bone, and the recording is just perfect. They took a few risks and they all paid off. I am seriously so proud of them. Go get this record.
Thanks for listening
-Dan / Paint It Black