Hello and welcome back to Indie music on Tap season 2 where we cover depression and how it affects any musicians around the world. We are wrapping up our second season with a book giveaway, we announced that last episode, and the contest is still open to receive a signed copy of More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of LA Punk, from Hachette books. Please just visit CHILLFILTR.com and click the promo link at the top of the page, or from the menu if you are on mobile. It is a fascinating read, very relevant to the divergent relationship between Roots, Punk, and Power-Pop, that we see in the modern musical landscape. The chapter from Louie Pérez of Los Lobos fame is one of the best, I think, at recreating a sense of what the 80s were like on the West Coast, and what a rich scene and sense of purpose there was among the Indie musicians of the time. Next episode we will announce the winners during the season finale.
NEW: Watch this episode as a vodcast on our Vimeo channel.
Today we are talking about how people get stuck, the importance of finding your own leadership, and how the way we define success for ourselves is everything. So - sometimes people get stuck. I've got an example - a friend of mine, we'll call him Tom. Now Tom is a very intelligent and academic person, well-educated, but the way that he is stuck is in the concept of victimhood. If we allow that our own personal image of self can and does lead reality in a meaningful way, then we have to admit that there might be an explanation there - that we create a pattern of finding exactly what we are looking for. Now if you get used to saying to yourself: people take advantage of me, so there's no point in trying too hard; or even more generally, that the deck is stacked against me, so I am probably going to lose - if you say that over and over again, over the course of a lifetime, you inevitably create situations where that is true. The simple equation is this: life presents problems that cannot be overcome; this is the best I can do; so I must be happy with the consequences. Except that I am not happy - so there is the rub. Either I need to find a way to be happy with less, or I need to create more opportunity for myself. So far so good; so where is the block?
It's all in the control. It's in the way we explain the past to ourselves. The difference is very simple: either we look at complications as an opportunity to learn about the complexity of life, and we continually refine our sense of analysis, or we throw up our hands and we call it bad luck. But we do have a choice; not in the way that we want of course, because there are always things that we can't change about our own life, but we can always control the way that we react. And most importantly, we can control the way that we frame things. I had a wonderful therapist in Beverly Hills once who told me: we are meaning-makers. We don't have to do that, but we want to because humans love a good story. But we need to be careful about what kinds of stories we tell ourselves, and we need to realize that we can change the meaning on our own. So back to Tom: he is obsessed with genetics. He tells himself that his genes are not particularly good, but not particularly bad; he certainly does not feel empowered by the knowledge that other things, like lifestyle choices can radically improve our prospects for longevity, beyond what we get from our genetic makeup. Tom doesn't want to hear that, because his story is that things don't work out for guys like him. He has okay genes because he deserves okay-ness; the story he has for himself has created this cycle of self-fulfilling mediocrity. In a sense, we get exactly what we expect from ourselves. And if we don't have a story that creates incentive for growth, alas, we don't grow. And then eventually we blame the world for not having handed us the spark we were looking for. And in the worst cases we blame others for that perceived tragedy.
Now I will admit, everyone is misunderstood. And Tom himself would say, look: these are all the things that have happened to me that were out of my control, and that set me back, and if you're saying that is all my fault then you don't understand me. That's what can be tricky about doing this kind of a reset, the idea that if the situation is fixable then you are to blame for not having fixed it already. But that's an empty path; most of all we need to be forgiving of ourselves. And I would also argue that sometimes we need to be in a certain state, for a certain period of time, for our spirituality to evolve. So we never have to blame ourselves for anything really, as long as we accept that we have the power to change the current moment. So Tom if you're listening, you don't have to feel guilty for being stuck. It happens to all of us. Just know that the day you decide that you deserve something different, and you are willing to be vulnerable to get there, good things can and will start to happen as a direct extension of that open sensibility. When we are closed we stayed closed, but when we are open, the universe can find us.
And now, our first song. This is one of our top posts for the busy month of October.
It is said that the cells in your body replace themselves every decade or so. After 11 albums, two EPs and 17 years as a singer-songwriter, Leeroy Stagger has been wondering if maybe the soul works the same way. Ten years sober, with two kids, he’s so far removed from the hard-living twenty-something who started on this musical path that they aren’t even the same person.
Strange Path is the name of Stagger’s newest album and book, and it outlines his unexpected route from the BC punk scene to southern-Alberta singer songwriter. It is the end result of a triple-album’s worth of scrapped demos, record label rejections, and an inward retreat towards his artistic core. Hey Hey! (Song For Gord) lays down a rollicking retrospective of life and love, as Stagger is ready to learn as much from success as he does from heartbreak. The barroom piano, the folk-rock pocket, and the lyrical catharses are all here, as Leeroy Stagger presents the road-wisdom he's pulled from a lifetime of struggling towards the light. Hey Hey! (Song For Gord) brims with the hard-won joy that sizzles at the heart of his recent renaissance, and sparkles with the sweet love of life itself.