The greatest rock and roll band of all time is The Faces. I simply cannot follow the logic of anyone who says differently. Rod Stewart’s voice is raspy as hell and yet warm and forgiving; his notes bend, unreachable by the novice singer; his cadence and phrasing a perfect vibe for sitting with your headphones on as Ronnie Wood’s incredible guitar work shimmers on the left, pans to the right, screams out and plays against your inner ear. The Rolling Stones can’t touch The Faces. And there really shouldn’t be any argument there.
Music, incidentally, is all that really matters to me. And that’s Music, with a capital M. Those songs which reach into your soul and paste life lessons there; those lyrics which speak to your inner voice and beg for it to have something to say in return. Music is life. And my life? My life is my music.
It should go without saying that I do other things, mind you. It’s not like I’m sitting here writing and there’s music playing, although sometimes I do that and sometimes it’s exactly what I need to sustain the flow of the words; the arch of the sentences. But often when I’m writing in this manner, music disallows me to really concentrate on what I’d like to say. And so, in case you are wondering, I’m sitting in silence as I write this.
Right now, it is the beginning of November, to give you a clue into what the weather is like, at the very least. It’s cold outside. That kind of beginning-of-the-winter Cold when the wind blows hard against the windows, scraping the glass with rain. I never used to like going out in this weather. But a month of living on the streets in February in Oregon gave me the kind of thickened skin I’ve always desired and never acquired before last year. And now, like last night, for example, I simple stand with my scarf tied tightly around my neck; my sport coat buttoned once and once only; the rest of my clothes, layers upon layers underneath my outerwear; my green, wool Hanna Hat pulled low over my eyes and my hood up over my head. I have never been warmer in such a cold situation as I was last night, standing just outside the door of the restaurant, The Harp, smoking the half cigarette I had saved from earlier.
My teeth do chatter in this weather, however, that should be said. But simply not the way they used to. My legs shake and my back bends against the cold, but I am able to stand back up straight again when I notice myself at nearly a forty-five degree angle. And I stand there. And I smoke. And I don’t mind the Winter like I used to.
Or stood. Or smoked.
I never really know in what tense to write.
But, no matter. I will continue.
My name is inconsequential. That should be the first thing you know about me. You see, I have gone by many different names in my lifetime: Michael, Mike, Mickey, Mickey T, Michael Timothy, Mick, Miguel Timoteo, M.C. Guire, The Algorian Shore, The Supposed So. They’re all the same name, I suppose, but I’ve enjoyed thoroughly nearly every single one of them. And how. And how? Just. Why? Just because.
My town is Cleveland, Ohio. What a goddamn city. A brilliant downtown: not too big, not too small. I love Progressive Field and The Q and I love East 4th and House of Blues, even though the sound in there is pretty awful, or at least was when I saw The Mountain Goats there some years ago. They sounded terrible. They really did. No better than the time I saw just John Darnielle play without his band a few years back, when I didn’t live in Cleveland, Ohio, when I lived in Asheville, North Carolina.
I love Cleveland. I live, specifically, in Ohio City. It is on the near West Side, just East of Gordon Square, an arts district some twenty blocks from my apartment.
I live in a two bedroom, second story place and I do like it, I should say. It isn’t my favorite place I’ve ever lived but it’s warm in the wintertime and fucking hot in the summertime and really pretty big for just one person but I only pay three hundred dollars a month which is doable, even though I could probably live with a roommate or two in Tremont and pay between two and two fifty. But oh well. I enjoy living by myself most of the time. I can go to the bathroom with the door open and shower in the middle of the night and watch whatever I want to watch at any given time and go to sleep whenever and I’m not afraid I’ll miss some great time with a roommate and whoever else would be here. No, living alone is pretty nice. I wouldn’t trade it. At least for now.
As I said, music is pretty much my entire life. I’m a songwriter, first and foremost. And I’ve written over a hundred songs over the past five years; have recorded and released nearly all of them over the past three. I haven’t sold much of anything, really. But I play shows here and there and I think I’m within a two or three year future period of time where people might actually start to pay attention. I’m not really sure about that, obviously, but I think it’s important, as an artist, to have a good deal of faith in your work, even if that faith and confidence is sometimes misconstrued as ego or bombasticity. It’s both, I suppose, but I spent far too much time in my youth believing that I had very little to offer the world in terms of the concrete, or even in terms of friendship, really. I’ve gotten past all of that. And I have a selection of people in my past to thank for it, even if most of those people have disappeared from my day to day, or even my month to month. Yes, I haven’t seen some of my very best, dear old friends for years. And some of them? Some of them I miss terribly.
But oh well, I say. Oh well, indeed. Life is a funny thing when the mistakes you make are magnified by your lyrical content and the novellas you write…in my case, anyway. And it’s true that I’ve put a great deal of myself into what I’ve written since two thousand and eleven, for that was the year it all really began to crumble for me. Although, I will say outright that my breakdown was years in the making. Nothing so major as a full blown manic episode happens overnight. It takes years of placing the feelings of others over the feelings of yourself; years of selfish relationships and unrequited love; years of denying the circumstances which made up the turning points of your childhood. And when it all comes crashing down, it’s like your entire life is upon you all at once.
But goddamnit. Do I really want to be talking about all of this? I’m sure I don’t, really. I’m sure I don’t want to talk about any of it. And I haven’t, really. I really haven’t. Haven’t talked about those weeks leading up to the time I paced the streets for over a month in the wind and the rain on the streets of Portland, staying up all night wandering about looking for someone to bum cigarettes off of. Haven’t talked about those times on the street when I was sure I was being followed; being watched; being listened to. It was a tortured time for me. And I’m not so sure writing about it now will make too much of a difference. Because it’s in the past and I’ve come to terms with that past and have written off those weeks and months (and years), burying them in cryptic lyrics to songs with bright melodies and chipper harmonies; I’ve buried them in short novels without flow or meaning, just strange vignettes of corded hyperbole and slight misanthropic asides. I don’t think many people have read or listened to any of it. And that may very well be for the best.
But I don’t really know. That should and could and may very well be said over and over again in my writing. “I don’t know.” Because I don’t, you goddamn voyeur. You wretched pink bastard. You cheat! I don’t fuckin’ know a goddamn thing about what I should or could or may be saying as I’m just sitting here writing down whatever words come to mind as quickly as I can without misspelling a word, and when I do simply going back and letting spellcheck do the rest of the work for me. I don’t fucking know!
But maybe I’m being rash; maybe a bit dramatic. No, I know I am. Because this isn’t anything, is it? I mean, it’s nothing to me, I’m telling you. But if I can just get it all out – get it all down on paper – I can finally stop feeling like I’m alone in this world; like I’m just a fucking asshole who says stupid shit when he’s drunk and writes songs trying to trap people and places and occurrences in three or four minutes or in poems or blog posts or, dare I even attempt to say…novels. Because this won’t be one of those. This one is going to be short. Because what I really want to say – what this is really for – is all about The Faces.
They make me feel so much better.