Flat Line

Tonight I'm planning to head into the warehouse space where I teach guitar lessons and begin recording my vocals for the Ideal Home Music Library. It occurred to me just now that this month, September, is the 10 year mark for Reclinerland. Wow. Ten years ago this month our band the American Girls were dropped from our label. While the rest of the band members got cold feet and hightailed it back to Eugene, OR, I stayed up in Portland and started my own act. It's amazing to think of it. A few months after all that I borrowed my friend Eil's digital four-track machine and recorded songs for Reclinerland's first CD. I carried out those sessions alone, mostly, in an enormous warehouse on SE Oak St. I remember vividly the cold, late nights sitting crouched in a dark room among coiled masses of cables and microphones just winging it by myself. Eli helped on some sessions, but most of the time it was just me. I just closed my eyes and really got into the songs with no one sitting behind control room glass directing me. I had nothing but a digital four-track machine and a guitar.

My story is the same story, I realize, as thousands upon thousands of obscure aspiring singer/songwriters out there, but with one amazing difference: that I'm the one who experienced it. I can't tell you how mixed my feelings will be when I sit down to work tonight. I can already feel pangs of sadness in my chest.
Reclinerland has taken me across the US and back again. I've been abroad, I've met many musical luminaries, the names of whom I shall not drop here, and I've recorded 4 CDs of questionable quality. I've made amazing friends and written almost 100 songs.
And yet after all of the things I've been through these past 10 years doing Reclinerland, I'm going to end up right back where I started. Only this time, instead of sitting in a dark warehouse with a digital 4-track machine, mixing down to a DAT tape, I'll be sitting in a dark warehouse with a laptop. The technology has changed and the songwriting is better, but the situation is still the same. It's really startling when I think about it. Where did all of that time go? What have I been doing? What do I have to show for any of it? Who is listening? Where did my dream go? Some bands, you see, the very lucky few, look back at ten years and see an upward jagged climb to eventual success. The great majority of us, however, see a flat jagged line that ends up right where it began. It's all very profound for me, you understand. I'll be chewing on that for some time, I expect.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Reclinerland has almost flatlined. But it'll go out singing!