The Woodsman’s Babe
PHOTO BY DAVE KRYSL
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
NEW WOODSMAN BIO
(MUSIC CRITICS, SKIP DOWN TO BODY OF WORK)
I do not live in the woods, nor do I occupy any significant length of time in or near any woods. The nearest woods to where I live are about two hours away (without traffic) and I rarely have any desire to drive that far away. However, I do enjoy the woods when I’m there, I actually did spend the winter of 2011 living in the woods in Massachusetts, which is where I experienced a pivotal existential crisis regarding music and my involvement within it. Up until that time, I deemed the music and songwriting I had involvement in to solely employ my managers, booking agents, record label staff as well as my band mates and I with a bijou purpose for influencing young angsty high schoolers. I did however manifest the idea for the creation of music in a personal and cathartic manner for the first time whilst I was in solitary in the middle of the night far off in the middle of the woods there in Massachusetts in the winter of 2011. Furthermore, at this time, I am not personally anyone’s babe and I am certainly not any woodsman’s babe, (I am not into that sort of thing, whatever that means) and this project is not focused around a distinct person who is identified as a woodsman's babe. I am Joe and I live in Los Angeles, CA.
Thus far I sense that I am off to a rough start with this bio, due to the fact that I’ve written a shameful amount of biographies over the last decade for myself as well as the seemingly countless musical, literary, and experimental visual projects I’ve undergone to be associated with.
Additionally, as much as I am trying to be new and make this interesting for you few people that read this, I admit, I do not want to write this, I’m kind of tired and have a bunch of other things to do today. At this point in which you are reading, is already my second attempt and a fifth draft, and has claimed an entire day, like four cups of Stumptown, and a deep wormhole of half a century old ragtime jazz videos on YouTube.
Okay, my mind is moving faster than my fingers can type words. Sorry I’ll try to get back to topic.
I forgot where I was… I don’t even know where to start, from the beginning? Should I be picking up from the last time I wrote out a bio?
Whatever, I suppose I’ll just riff this out and pontificate about my existential crisis I mentioned earlier.
It was there in the woods where I was high on the realization of what appeared to be freedom to claim a creative individual that has ability (exclusively with understanding that this new avenue or in my case, band, will only be cultivated by it’s required criteria consisting of persistence, motivation, calling in a lot of favors, capital and a lot of discipline with time allotment) to go anywhere and do anything.
Since I’m on this topic, as Sartre put it, “Freedom is existence, and in it existence precedes essence." This phrase signifies that what we do, how we behave and act in our life, determines our apparent "qualities." It isn’t that someone tells the truth because she is honest, but rather she defines herself as honest by telling the truth over and over again.
I KNOW TOO MUCH AND NOT ENOUGH. - Ginsberg
I was around 22 or 23 years old there in the woods, but I felt 100 in rock years meaning, I began full-time traveling and making music for a living when I was 17, and spent the previous several years making music that wasn’t resonating with my soul that expresses my apparent “qualities.” There were and are some insanely talented people out there creating their magnum opus at that prime age, and I felt time was slipping through my fingers. There is this hypothesis that people believe, (which I suppose l find solace in) that we as humans are capable of seeking deep inside our selves, further than our “roles” and find ourselves, contrast to being objective to the government, or corporations, or even society or being cast into “roles” you know, to be like a server, or a welder, or a parent, or a factory worker, a slave or to speak broadly, a miserable motherfucker in some workplace.
The beautiful thing is, not only was I aware of my liberty, but that I was afforded the luxury to manifest this project by way of being a hired gun or a tool (or to be more literal for the music critics — a working musician) in my previous musical project. Liberty is central and unique potentiality which constitutes us as human. I embrace and accept the idea of determination in correlation with individualism and choice, because I am my choice. I do not have the ability to choose. I do what I do, because I don’t have a choice. In other words, I have to make music. Furthermore, not only I create the particular music that I create, I, scratch that, WE, are condemned because we did not create ourselves. We must choose and act from within whatever situation we find ourselves.
Look at me, I’m getting off topic again. Oh my goodness gracious.
Umm at the risk of giving you the impression of delight in myself, or “smugness” I’ll try to account personal experiences with writing this record and blah blah blah cliché stuff.
I began writing music for this project in 2011. The songs under this current release have certainly taken on several materializations through given resources and influences and yada yada yada. The original conceit was one lots of vague story-telling, accessing and recounting blurry and buried memories of far off locations and people I shared moments with and of experiences that was transformative or lasting to me.
“You looked at me with love, in the city by the coast. You came in for a kiss, that’s when I felt this. We never got it right, we never got our timing right.”
I write songs not exactly to explore new territory, but because it is comfortable and cathartic. Come to think of it, music serves little to no purpose to me unless it’s cathartic. Critics could say, I’m not really a musicians musician, I’m more of just a writer and composer of simple yet sentimental songs (I’m just a singer of simple songs, I’m not a real political man.) My biggest hurdle is to overcome the consciousness of my place in the world of music. Through the cultivation of this record I realized I wasn’t going to, nor did I want to attempt to break new ground in music, or shred solos on the guitar, or discover a new chord or have my voice hit crazy notes or sing sentimental or profound lyrics that change the world. And once I came to terms with this informations, I realized that I’m fine with that. I am only here to write what I damn well please.
It’s not that I don’t desire to break ground or change the world with music or am afraid to go to those places. A "brave" person is simply someone who usually acts bravely. Each act contributes to defining us as we are, and at any moment we can begin to act differently and draw a different portrait of ourselves or I suppose sing a different song. The good thing for you and I, is there is always a possibility to change, to start making a different kind of choice in an art direction, or shit — life in widespread. Maybe we have the power of transforming our self indefinitely. Human reality identifies and defines itself by the ends which it pursues, rather than by alleged "causes" in the past.
So I had been chasing this sound from the beginning that was from a different era, and there just was no success for me. I felt that the best that I can be as a musician, is to get as close as I can possibly get to the guys that were making the music that inspired me to be a musician when I was a child, CSN, George Harrison, Tom Petty, The Band, Marshall Tucker, Traveling Wilbury’s et cetera.
I was mindful of my transcendental freedom, truth & beauty about 4 songs into this album, when I was living in a warehouse in the ghetto of East Los Angeles, while flying back and forth to Philadelphia/New York City for an ex whom I was with for a long time during these incredible formidable years that I met while touring with my previous metal band (which by the way I’d like to add was an embarrassingly long time ago to even be considered relevant now.) This whole experience led to my awareness of a more basic and literal art form and showed me that it was a good thing to let go of this weird impressionistic writing style I had developed over the previous 7 years (7 fucking years of online scholarly literary education, because I would only allow myself one-two courses a semester due to full-time touring the fucking planet in an era where internet, believe it or not wasn’t everywhere yet) while studying American Literature through online courses or as they call it “distance education.”
“I’m everywhere always, and you are always there.”
A line written for another ex from my past from the song "Everywhere Always."
SPOILER ALERT - Skip this paragraph to continue reading the bio.**
Unfortunately for everyone, myself included, I came to discover my true self and “voice” as they say, towards the end of the writing period of this record, in which I employ more literal lyrical content, historical literary intellect as well as references, my personal sense of humor, and… you guessed it, heartbreak! YAY. After I felt this record was done, I let go of my 1960s festishism and vernacular I had developed over the years, which was directly for this woodsman project. In the beginning, I thought that it catered to my image, my ego, and pain. So I had written so many songs, that I suppose simply didn’t cross the finish line in time, though I wish did, because they are my favorite songs I’ve ever written, but I guess I’ll hold off until the next album, so it gives me time to polish them and fine tune everything. So, conflicting love songs and hate songs are abound.
**Okay moving on:
So this record is and will be a historical piece to me because I don’t think I’ll write songs like this anymore. Meaning, my past era sound, impressionistic and nostalgic lyric writing style. I can’t believe I just called my album a historical piece. Whatever. You know what I mean, right?
It was at the very end of 2013 when I completely fell in love with someone. I fell really hard. I swear, I have never seen a more beautiful woman, inside and out. I mean, she was way out of my league, but I somehow caught her and I held on really tight. This woman has forever changed my life.
I got distracted by this woman that indirectly put woodsman on the back burner. I fell in love and, here we go again, this dismantled everything for me as a musician.
At this point of the bio, I will catch you up on my life - I was living in L.A. taking photographs, making videos, making great money, totally in love with the woman of my dreams, and not thinking about creating new music, but I was steadily releasing singles through a previous record label I was signed with. Yes, the same old songs that I had written as a whole for this record, but still not releasing the entire record. I had this one week in the summer, where I took my new lyrics that were intrinsically love songs, (which I had never really written before) and attempted to employ these new lyrics to these songs that were written the year prior. Shortly thereafter I had this intense conversation about existentialism and history with a friend and decided that those songs that I had written, should be left alone and not altered because they were written all together at a certain time in my life that documents a personal pivotal shift. And it was decided, the album was done. No more tweaking guitars or lyrics, and release it!
Alas! This record has arrived! Due to the fact it stood the test of time, as well as near demolition. Also I really wanted to just get these songs out in the public for fucks sake.
“Let me just keep this one memory.” From the song, "Brain Damage."
The purpose for my recorded music, and film, and literature, is so that memory can access linear history, for all time. That there is almost no history. What I mean is, these days if we want to watch something, listen to something, or shit, even acquire an education and learn something, all we have to do is grab our iPhone 6+’s and pull it up. It’s almost as if there is no depth, so maybe I’ve adapted my perspective of music to cater to the internets notions of zero lineage. Despite different roles and historical situations, we all have to be in the world, to labor and die here. These circumstances are everywhere recognizable; and subjective because they are lived and are nothing if we do not live them the way we choose to, which took me to a place that made me mentally self-aware in a time that I needed to learn it.
During the time I was sick from catching the love-bug, I had considered releasing these songs under a new moniker, by myself, with little to no marketing and PR or record label, but honestly I was too busy being in love to give a shit about anything else.
Which brings us to fall/winter of 2014.
I woke up one morning and the love of my life decided she needed to leave me. I drank myself to close demise for several consecutive months. I fell into some gnarly depression and I never really got over it. I probably never will. I still do not understand what happened. The woman I was eager to rearrange my life plans for, enter marriage and spend the rest of my life with, left me, out of the blue. I was a happy and healthy person up until that pivotal fucking moment. It was in anguish that I became conscious of my loneliness and to a small extent my freedom. Because when I again became aware of my freedom to do what I want and make myself to be whatever I want to be I realized I was going to have to bust my ass back from square one to do so. My being provokes anguish to the extent that I distrust myself and my own reactions in that situation.
1.) We must make some choices knowing that the consequences will have profound effects on others (like a commander sending his troops into battle)
2.) In choosing for ourselves we choose for all humankind.
I limit myself to a reliance on that which is within my power, my capability to influence. There were other things very important to me over which I had no control and in bad faith I am hiding the truth from myself. I must know the truth very exactly in order to conceal it more carefully, which I guess still feels like something close to self-decomposition.
“Come back, and let’s make up a goodbye, at least let’s pretend we had one.”
During this winter of paralyzing depression, it was difficult for me to get out of bed, eat, sleep, have motivation to do anything. I grabbed my laptop, laid there alone and began emailing friends in the music business to help me out. I found myself in a state of confusion, self-loathing, depression, anxiety, daily panic attacks, haunting memories, traumatic PTSD, all with a splash of determination to prevail. PREVAIL! Despite my feelings, I choose how to express them in action. My biggest hurdle is progressing forward because I for some reason have been embracing and indulging in my terrestrial self-pity.
I called up CI RECORDS, and BOOM! I’m finally getting around to release the album that’s been waiting patiently to be released. After re-reading and editing this, I can’t help but still perceive this bio to be verbatim regarding the last few years of my life in some singular, sermonizing way and have it bear anymore striking resemblance to the truth. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations you have no life, and maybe you’re willing to read on just a little further to wrap this up!
BODY OF WORK
I began writing these songs in 2011 in an effort to serve as a creative and cathartic purpose, which coincidentally was a contrast from my previous musical endeavors. Creating music really serves little purpose to me unless it’s cathartic. So given it’s been several years in the making, these songs hold a special and precious place to me because they served purpose for me in a transformative method, emotionally and intellectually. My ambition, aside from having an imaginative and cathartic passion, was to confront my sensuality of fear in loss. And that’s what I did with these songs. Sentimental, confessional, catharsis abound!
These songs are dominantly about people in my past that I at some point and in various capacities, loved, and under a myriad of states of affairs was forced to let go of. I found myself chasing “this sound” of a different period, which took me a prolonged time, (which I still admit I didn’t fully achieve) and this is solely because I wanted to discover on my own how to record, mix and find tone, simply just to learn and have the experience, but I quickly discovered that I would spend the rest of my life “mixing” until it’s done. Every time I open up a songs project file, I noticed that there was ALWAYS something that I could adjust.
This sound that I had in my head that was in congruence with a past era was what I had been wanting for this initial solo musical release because it seemed to fit so accurately with the idea of a person in our life that is also of a different time. I had no interest in creating music that resembled music of this era, I wanted the entire experience to sound clean, and big, but still rough around the edges. I believe there are definitely some fatalistic audio qualities sprinkled throughout the album, but in a way that doesn’t force a transformation to the listener and suggest abandonment. This project demanded that I take my time and work really hard on it, given the situation I was in and the resources that were available. Once my head was in the right place, the record method revealed itself, I tracked everything and spent my time chasing the feel to each song. I gave it my best shot as my first full-length release as a solo artist under this moniker.
2015 CI RECORDS
PRODUCED BY JACOB DURRET / ERIK WILBUR / JON GROSS / JOE LENGSON
MIXED & MASTERED BY JACOB DURRETT IN NASHVILLE, TN.