As many of you already know, Brave Combo turned 40 this year. And, of course, we’ve been milking this “breaking news” for its potential promo power, but it’s a bit of an awkward milestone. It is, for sure, a long time, in anyone’s book. One can do a lot of damage in 40 years. But it doesn’t have the wow factor of, say 25 years or 50 years. It’s not a particularly colorful or exciting number. I remember when I, myself, turned 40, I didn’t like it. Most people consider it the beginning of middle age, which means the beginning of old. 40 seemed a lot older than 39. I used to think artistic relevance was harder to achieve once you hit 40. That’s probably because change and revolution is embraced most passionately by youth. And pop culture, when I was young, was all about protest; challenging the status quo and shaking things up and stopping killing, rather than encouraging it. It was harder for people over 40 to get on board. They went through World War II and the Korean War, so the Vietnam War made sense to a lot of older folks. It seemed like a natural progression; normal stuff you have to do on occasion. But millions of people in their late teens and twenties would have nothing to do with it, partly because the draft was in effect, partly because it was cool to want peace, but also because technology now allowed American citizens at home to witness the brutality of war close-up, in real time. This began the process of everyone seeing our country in a different light. After World War II the United States couldn’t be more right. We saved the world. That’s a big deal. Sadly, it didn’t take long before everything went topsy-turvy. The hero of the planet morphed into the scary policeman of the planet, determined to assert control whenever and wherever. It’s tricky hanging on to those original honorable intentions. Whatever, back to Brave Combo turning 40, it’s probably no surprise, cause everyone knows how this feels, but I remember almost everything about the beginning of the band, including little bitty unimportant details, like where Tim’s answering machine was in his house or where we sat, eating apple dumplings, at a diner in downtown Tulsa and the name of the diner (Jerry’s) or what color suit Lyle wore when he worked at Penny’s or what the truck, which we borrowed to haul gear to our sixth gig (Ft. Worth Mayfest), looked like. I know it’s a cliché, but a bunch of BC’s past seems like yesterday or maybe last month. At the same time, it’s all a blur. In a way, I’ve never known what I was doing, so I can look at the past as a big foggy mystery which came into focus in bits and pieces over the years. Brave Combo was something, as it continues to be, which just sorta happened to us. So much has been out of our control, even to this day. It’s like we’ve always followed this magical fairy around with no idea where we were going or why. Our MO was pretty simple. Do well enough at any gig to be invited back. And over the decades we have usually been invited back, but many times we haven’t. We have certainly plowed through myriad terrible gigs, many with practically no one there to witness our suffering.
I was recently a guest on the Denton-based podcast, DON’T FEED THE ARTISTS, a show dedicated to independent artists, musicians, and pop culture characters. This particular podcast first airs on Tuesday, July 2. For more info please go to http://dontfeedtheartists.com.
We have been working on ten new tracks in the studio for a while and they are all finished! Some of them sound like traditional Brave Combo, but most of them don’t. All I know is that I’ve been tweaking (nitpicking) the hell out of a few of them and am ready to move on with my life. But, as well, I hope to have an accompanying video for each new recording and have been shooting stuff like crazy. Cool stuff, like water in the sink and spider webs and mannequins in shop windows. I am very, very good at creating more and more work for myself. I guess I just love being busy. That must be why I’m comfortable living with so many animals. They help keep me busy. Afternoons are great, though. Almost every critter takes a long nap. And they appear to go deep. If I wake them up, mid-nap, they’re always pretty out of it and will go right back to sleep, but it’s best to not even tempt them to wake up. I know I’ll get plenty of up-and-at-‘em time eventually, especially with the cats. Their nocturnal party kicks in around 10:00 every night and goes until, at least, 2:00 in the morning. I’m talking zooming through the house, climbing up the walls, flying from chair to chair, like a typical BC gig.
I mentioned this in May’s MACHINE’S PUMP, but a Carl Finch miniature (2 inches tall) has been created and is available to admire and/or paint. It’s me with my hat, playing an accordion, surrounded by cats. Pretty unmistakable. Check it out here on Etsy.
That’s all, for now. I have many things to do, cause I’m so very busy (see above paragraph). Can’t stop and smell the roses right now. Gotta mow down the grass instead and shoot some video of it. I don’t even know where any damn roses are, anyway. I made up a joke for the newsletter the other day, but it wasn’t all that funny and then I forgot it. Otherwise, I would be closing with a mediocre original joke. Lucky you. Have a fab whatever!