When 1339 Crowder’s End was just about to be released, I knew a major shift was to happen in my life.
I was working a full-time job in an office, making great money, which allowed me to produce the Work of Art that is Crowder’s End in its complete form (the record itself and its 36-page booklet). But then I knew I had to let go of that comfort.
It matters more to me, and made a lot more sense, to dedicate as much energy as I could to my career in the music business, than to be able to afford regular check-ups at the dentist. Or really expensive food. Or much, at all.
That was about a year and a half ago, and despite the very rough times, I’m still happier when I wake up everyday, because I know I’m putting my energy in the right place, and life just has this way of showing me it is indeed the right place.
Even if people say they’ll review the album and then they don’t.
Even if people say they’ll book you and then they don’t.
Even if people say they’ll come to the shows and then they don’t.
Even if people don’t pay for the album, and I’m nowhere near getting any of my money back, and yes it was my money, all from my own pocket.
Even if people don’t understand how much of a real job this is.
I come from a family of musicians, and when I would ask my mom and my dad and my step-dad about how things happened for them, I would be given the answer/pathway of musicians who were most active between, say, 1970 to 1995. A very wonderful 25 years for any musician who can say they were truly living of their craft.
But what do you do when it’s 2014?
Back in 1974, being a musician didn’t mean spending so much time behind a computer.
And money was so different back then, a dollar was worth so much more.
There’s the River of Life, and it’s about learning how and when to swim, and which rocks are good to hold on to.
When I was in school I studied languages. I didn’t go to school to learn how to book shows and organize events and promote my work and manage a band. I read books, but it’s never ’til you actually get down to business that you realize how much energy this is. Especially if you actually chose to drop out of school to focus on becoming an artist.
I just booked a tour of 12 days for my band and I. It’s honestly been the biggest endeavor I’ve taken on since the production of Crowder’s End, and a lot of things still need to be worked out for me to be satisfied. A lot more hours still, behind a computer. But I’m really proud of myself, and so is the band, and knowing how much of a positive and wonderful adventure this tour is going to be, the hard work is most definitely worth it. I can think that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’d much rather be behind my Wurly keyboard, but the facts stand thus: the tour is booked, I’ve made contact with bands from all these cities and I’m really looking forwards to meeting them and share the stage with them, and I’ve done it all by myself.
Because this is what you do when you begin your career as a musician in 2014. Before anything else, you learn to trust yourself, and know you can do everything that needs to be done.
It’s not about “living the Dream”, it’s about Creating the Reality.
So Steve Karp said to me the other day “It’s great that your show should be called Sex & Rock, because you’re like the incarnation of sex and rock”.
And I thought that was neat, not only because he’s a very fine saxophone player, but mostly because this guy doesn’t know me at all, only through my job as a bartender.
This guy doesn’t know me, and he just says that.
My work here is done. Sorta. No. But I know from this that I should just keep it up.
The Sex & Rock show is a celebration of the sexiness the music brings to its performers, and the sexiness it brings to you.
Breathe. Feel. Move. Release. Dance.
And maybe this show isn’t so much about what’s happening on stage, maybe it’s more about what’s going on inside you.
All bands will be dressed to kill and set out to thrill -lose yourself at the Sex & Rock dance on Saturday, February 15th, at Crobar.
The band and I are looking good, to say the least, and sounding better than ever. AND we’ll be playing new songs.
You can find a place, or you can make/carve/forge/dig a place.
You can follow or you can lead.
There is a tiny space between the spark and the wood.
We are all human beings, alive, and we all have a story, or many, according to perspective.
When I look at you, I see people who need to smile, and who need to dance. I can’t say I’m seeing much else, it doesn’t really matter, does it.
What do you do and where do you stand? I’m Alex Robshaw and I do what she does, and I’m standing right here.
Boxes, boxes, boxes.
And maybe I’m digging a grave, but at least I’m digging my own.
And in the meantime, I can still dance with you.
Life is about turning sentences around and re-evaluating words, and of course things never happen in any way close to what you may muse upon.
All I know is that the Art trusts me. The Art trusts me, and the Art needs me. It’s never let me down, so I know better than that.
A year ago you would have told me that a year from now things would be as they are, and I never would have believed you, ever.
I never thought I’d change bass players 3 times, and I never thought I’d play the sweetest venue ever in Toronto, and I never thought my first show in Ottawa would have been a full house; I never thought the awesomest girl I’ve never met would buy my album online and become my favorite girl in the world, I never thought it took so much for people to care, and I never thought people could care so much when they do.
I never knew what it meant for an artist to have fans, and now I get it.
I’ve met incredible musicians, fantastic visual artists, wickedly resourceful music-business folks, but fans are like beings of pure light that are bestowed upon you, pure light and bliss. And when I’m facing Despair, when she’s holding both of my hands and my toes and pulling my hair with her teeth, with her hook straight through my heart and my gut, the manifestation of a new fan is the spark, the rush of warmth or air or blood -whatever it is that brings me back from the cold place of Void.
Refusals, rejections or plain ignorance -they don’t matter. They’re actually really good. Great fuel to keep going. Crowder’s End is a masterpiece, and the greatest composers only gained recognition when they died, so that’s saying a lot about the way things work. This past year, my record has been ignored and rejected by blogs, radio stations, labels, festivals, etc. But Alex Robshaw and her world have been welcomed with open arms in so many individuals’ lives, and to them it means everything that she should be alive and keep creating her sonic stories -and here is where I choose to open my eyes. This is the Light I’m looking for, when I’m sitting at my Wurly and I’m playing the new Grooves. It matters to Robshaw that she matters to you, and this is what’s real and this is what’s true.
And I believe in you.
I’m in a place that’s completely new, but at least I’m in, and I listen.
Open to the Sounds and the Words. Open to what’s breathing into me.
It’s like an ocean that’s leaking drop by drop inside of me, an ocean or a potion.
There comes a point in Sonic Creation where the song is finished, and then it never truly is. A recording is the capture of a performance of a song, but the Song will forever evolve. And maybe one day you stop playing it, or maybe you’ll be playing it at every show for the next 30 years, and it’ll always sound a little better every time.
Nothing is finished so far, but there are new songs, and some are truly vibrant.
Image and Sound. Art.
Last time I said the second album felt like a maze; I’ve sat long enough at its entrance, waiting and feeling and listening, and now I’ve stood up, and I’ve started walking. Gab and Jules and Ben are right behind me, and I am very well aware that they trust me, and I know how important it is for me to listen properly. To the Music, to the Art, and to them of course. Ben likes to dance, Jules is a landscape artist, and Gab is learning my language. We think and stop thinking, and feel, always feel -how are we wearing the song right now, does it feel right? Getting there.
And we’ve still got a lot of time to spend together, just me and the songs.
But the Lights are clearing a single path now, and the Words are everywhere.
And I know where to find Desire.