My website has been down for more than a year. That's ok cos I've also been down for more than a year.
But now, the road back. Seems appropriate to lay it all out in the fertile digital fields of this new site. Even if it ain't finished yet by a long shot, but you know, neither am I.
I've written more than 1500 songs. Some are good, some are ok and some are dogs.
As a journalist 20 years ago I would write about a thousand stories a year. Twenty-two stories every week.
So when I quit journalism there was a vacuum left behind and I had to fill it - with stories, yes, and gigs, but mostly with songs.
I didn't go lookiing for them. I rarely have to do that. They fall out of the ethers, they tumble out of a cloud or bounce off the top of someone else's head or smack me in the face when I enter or leave a room. I don't know why they do that. I walk around all day inside a cocoon of songs, mostly my songs and songs that are yet to be put down on paper. Writer's block is a totally foreign land to me.
That's mostly how I write songs. The old fashioned way. Pen and paper. Any paper long as it's clean. And any pencil or pen will do. Different materials lean you in one direction you might not have gone using other materials. Like a computer keyboard - that is strictly for tidying up lyrics - that's way down the end of the line. It's too square, too clean, too smooth, too organised an environment for me to come up with some original song on it.
This past six, eight months or longer, certainly since the end of 2018, I've been taking doctor's orders (and the orders of my wife and young daughters - 5 and 12) and trying to get my body if not fit then at least healthy. This is not as simple as it seems. Growing up on a Queensland farm in the 1960s and 70s I was assaulted by blends of poisons and chemicals and fumigants and fertilizing agents no human should be subjected to. Of course we know that now, but back in the day all that oily spray and gunk was just ickey. We didn't think it would bring us down to our knees over the ensuing decades. I've suffered chronic asthma for 47 years. That's a long time to contemplate a lot of stuff - which having a chronic illness naturally makes you do. For me I channeled it into art and sport, and then later into writing, into music.
So now in 2019 I'm trying to get to a place where I don't fall sick at the drop of a hat. So far it's working. Knock on wood. I used to get 'flu and bronchial illnesses and all kinds of ailments mainly to do with not being able to breathe several times a year. Like five or six times a year I would go down. Nothing to do but lie in bed and try to breathe for a week, two weeks at a time. Very often I would play concerts in that sickly condition - exhausted, fevered, sweating like a hog, spewing lyrics out over the swollen aching expanse of my tongue, hoping no one would care if I was less than 100 percent. But it takes its toll, this pressing on bullshit. You end up sounding like you got a wedge of sandpaper stuck in your throat. You can't think clearly, can't remember lyrics, it all falls apart song to song on a lit stage in front of rooms full of strangers. I would cancel maybe two concerts a year, but I should have canceled 20 or 25.
This past six months though, with some bizarre treatments, a lot of rest, a lot of meditation, and a lot of looking after myself I've not sick a single time since mid October 2018. That's seven months already - a personal record.
I've still been working - playing two or three concerts a month, and then spending my mornings at least writing songs, composing music, pitching songs for the 2020 Olympic Games, and a Seth Rogan movie, and an Audi ad in the US and a whole bunch of other stuff here in Germany and Europe.
2019 is all about high risk - high reward for me. The concerts are going better than ever - even if I'm playing fewer of them at the moment, or maybe because of. But I'm feeling better than ever. Singing and playing like a mofo. The studio work is improving out of sight and it seems inevitable that something will really click in soon. It's a great feeling to have your songs used in a movie, a tv show. That's where my overall focus is at for the long term. I love playing concerts. But in a decade or two from now I'd be full of regret if I didn't keep working on the song placements - the tv shows, the movies, even theatre shows.