a perfect cycle

I move Labor Day weekend, all right! and it will be the seventh time in four years. I don’t have a real good reason to push on this time—the rent’s cheap and the place ain’t bad—but I do know this: every time I move, things change. New environments make new thoughts, and I escape routine even if only by laying my head someplace different. Too much of the rest of my surroundings (how I fill my time and the people I’m around) will be too familiar to say I’m starting over, but it’s still something else.

I will take the good things with me and build somewhere new, and the coming neighborhood and living space are fantastically gorgeous. The old-fashioned street lamps guide you to getting lost among the trees that don’t stop, crowding twisting streets and covering the hilly blocks where the houses are huge and hidden behind landscaped yards and overgrown boulevards. If New Orleans secretly moved to Minnesota, it would hide in Prospect Park.

A Perfect Circle was… what can I say. I structure my life around these experiences, and when they happen, I think they really happen, but when I reflect it seems too surreal to wrap in words, to package for vicariousness or even the reminiscence of a fellow observer. They sounded… brilliant. Wonderful. And I cannot be objective, cannot step outside my mind or emotion’s memory, cannot leave behind my body that flailed and glorified in a narrow space between rows then sneaked down closer to dance in an aisle, trembling from the sound and the fear I would be kicked back to your seat or out the door.

I cannot be reduced to journalese this is what they wore, this is where they stood, the scripted, clever things they said with the promise to return when what I sense is so much different, when I know… they’ll never leave. A live performance is just a show to see of what I carry inside, a manifestation and intensification of the already known.

I don’t remember how many new songs they played or the names of the old, yet it all seemed familiar, even the ones I didn’t know. Halfway through songs I’d never heard in my life… I was singing along. It reminds me of the time I tried capoeira—I sang songs I didn’t know in a language I couldn’t speak. …And I fit in. My voice made sense and I knew I was a part of That Thing Greater, contributing to the whole and even integral to the sound we made and the game we played.

Hearing the new material at the concert, and moving to it, participating in it, mouthing the words with my body aware of when it should break and pull back… I sang songs I didn’t know in a language I’ve been learning to speak the moment I first heard Tool and in the ones I discovered my own voice and worked to understand it. Perfect it, connect it. Make it make sense when so much out there doesn’t, and I’m still learning how to speak, how to write, how to sing, and I know I will never be done—2I will never be the master of the things that happen, not the experiences given to me or the ones I give to others. But this isn’t control I want. To be fixed is to be dead—stasis is a flat line.

How my saying this relates to you—to your experience or non-experience—depends on where you are. If you were there, then you know. If you missed them this time through, take comfort in the marks they’ve already left behind and know that more will come. If you don’t listen to A Perfect Circle… maybe you should.

To unnecessarily cover myself, the mention of Tool above is not an attempt to connect the two bands. I appreciate and respect their different sounds and directions. But I’m also not so uptight I’m not gonna recognize and admit that they interweave for me and complement each other. I could’ve just said “the moment I first heard Maynard,” but that’s not precise enough—so much of what Maynard is and does depends on the music that backs him and even stands in front of him.

Tool and A Perfect Circle are different bands, yes, but not wholly separate. They speak the same language, both vocally and musically—specific yet abstract, direct yet nebulous. I admire it and find it useful, even necessary, in my own work. And that’s… probably… quite obvious. Heh.

In related news, and as the ultimate ego-stroke, I discovered that deepsicks is at the top of the list when google looks for “Tool album art” due to the infamous The Next Tool Album Art? page. This is the search string that hauls in the most strangers. I don’t know whether these folk get confused and/or have a laugh then poke around, or just get pissed. To those of you I’ve deceived and dragged in, I welcome and assure you: I am not a complete jackass. Thank you for the infinite amusement at the expense of your time and endurance of the tongue-in-cheek mockery of one of the greatest bands of all time. I like them a lot, too.

Radiohead is next weekend. My heart be still.

Site News: Please give a warm welcome to archimago, the latest addition to deepsicks. This section will feature the pictures I take (“my photography?” um… I guess so…). Archimago launches with shots from three Wormwood dates, pictures from St. Vitas & Fake at a recent show in Minneapolis, and a few photos from Twelve Inches of Fargo. I promised some of these to people a long time ago—thanks for your patience in my initiation of this project which will undoubtedly grow as moments are captured and time permits.

Lastly, the price for TTE has been slashed, because… well… why not? You may now get The Teaching Emotion for a suggested donation of only $10. And that’s it. No shipping and packaging charges apply, and nor do additional fees if you use PayPal. I’m also reinstating my seriousness about accepting trades—of particular note are those with a reasonably high-traffic website or a considerably well-distributed zine who would take a copy for free in exchange for a posted or printed book review. Yep, I’m gettin’ creative, and you should, too—if you have ideas for trades, email me. To read up on the new $10 price and other “how to obtain” information, go here.