How can I be a jam band? by Tim Cohen

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Tim Cohen, magic trick

I love playing music. I particularly enjoy being in a studio, surrounded by someone eles’s gidgety doo-dads and vintage this-and-that’s. There’s nothing standing between me and a fully orchestrated version of this tiny melody but time, a bit of mechanical skill, and some technical know-how. The studio is great for making songs, obviously. But there’s something else. Say I want to take this little melody and string it out along the high hung branches of a redwood forest, loop it throughout the low desert’s Saguaro cacti, skip it out across the placid ripples of a steamy, scummy pond in your grandfather’s backyard. I mean, we could go down to the basement, crank up the reverb, light some sage and play this little melody until Moses himself knocks on the door and tells us to stop. But in order to really give this little melody the life it deserves, we have to take it on the road. And when I say the road, I mean, the road.

And when we take it on the road, I don’t want to stand there and twitch out this little melody with precise infinite movements. I don’t want to think irritating thoughts when one of us misses a note here and there. And I don’t want to wonder what these pasty, bored looking eyes and ears in front of me are telling their respective brains to tell their blogs in the morning.

When we take it on the road, I want this little melody to swallow us whole, like a giant fictional whale. And I want to live inside the whale, dining on its bountiful fat, sleeping in its comfortable folds, and I want it to carry us across forests, oceans, deserts, and the sky, and set us down gently on a rickety wooden stage, in a grove of blossoming trees, in a mellifluous cartoon world. Because I love playing music, and in the thinking part of my heart, I know that music can bring us there one day. But first, we have to change the way we do things around here.

Number one: we have to forget everything that anyone has ever told us about our little melody. It doesnt’t sound like anything else, as hard as we try or we don’t try. That being said, pick up your instrument and play this little melody. Play it fast and play it slow. Play it with your eyes closed and open. Play it while blinking rapidly. Now let it bleed out of your instrument. Now play a thick, yogurty version of the melody, to try and stop the bleeding. Now spit it out with a hint of disgust, because yogurt is kind of gross. Now play it fast, three times. Now, play it without even hearing yourself. Listen to us, all of us, individually and together at once. Now, play.

Number two- We need an audience. Otherwise, we haven’t even left the basement. But we need people who enjoy the live music experience. I mean, they really love to dance. And hum, hum along. They spend their whole week waiting to feel the rush of rainbow colored fumes, the bleating and moaning of the living organism of music, its hot breath melting away their icey realities by the second. They are not the ones who read about this little melody in cold block print on a little white screen, and who listened to this little melody in little tiny lifeless speakers, and who only did so because someone else told them to. Those people, stay home. Live music is now an experience, and to appreciate this experience, you must be willing to Experience it. That means, leave everything else behind. Don’t stay connected to your expectations. Leap with us.

If we do this right, we can become something else. Isn’t that the thrill of life— change? I mean, boredom is all around us. Computers, televisions, tablets, smart phones. They are great, right? I would never go to war with technology. But those things are all boredom pills. That is to say, you take them to stave off the normalness of just being yourself. So let’s not settle for boredom pills, and lets not settle for just being ourselves. Lets make a little melody, and show our little melody that she can change. She can be anything; a flock of squawking birds, a dank sewer stream running fast through the bowels of the city, a Gothic architecture, a hungry whale. And lets take that little melody and make it big, big, so big until it dwarfs us mortals all. Until it makes us what we’ve always wanted to become; ruby-clad kings on the precipice of a great history, huge swaying trees in a Southern marsh, intoxicated venomous snakes emerging from a wicker basket, travellers in a cinematic adaptation of our own lives.

I love music. I love it without irony and without judgement. I want to know what it feels like to be inside it, to follow it on the wind, to taste it in my food, to feel it in my footsteps, every second of every day. And to this end, I have a request; If anyone can help me track down the jam band circuit of 2014, I think I can get started. I believe I can make this all happen. It’s been a long time coming. Additionally, I have this annoying little melody in my head and it won’t go away.

I want to be a jam band. Any leads? Shoot me an email.