As my regular readers/friends/family members/acquaintances/co-workers/fellow Masons known, I am not much of a self-promoter. Oklahomans, a group I sheepishly sometimes admit I once belonged to, don’t like boasting and are sometimes almost pathologically polite and self-deprecating. A sometimes nice quality that keeps us from being Texans–that and a lack of ambition. Anyway, that’s why I create so much material and generally suck at telling people about it. I have this self-defeating idea sometimes that people don’t want to have art shoved down their throat, they want to discover it themselves, which in a way makes it partly theirs. I ought to know that’s stupid, since people regularly take the stuff forced on them by radio as if it’s good when some of it is worthless. And yet shoving people against the wall and saying “Hey, look at my stuff!” always feels to me like I’m being obnoxious, coercive, self-centered and narcissistic. It’s worse when I run into a person who has no problem bragging about his novel in progress, which is going to send him to heights of Olympian glory any day now, and I’m too sheepish to admit that I’ve written a few of them
That’s one of the reasons I let Stephanie do most of the promotion on “The Retributioners,” our hysterically funny if currently moribund Web show. But unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury in my novel-writing career, where I am forced all by my lonesome to look for agents and publishers in squeaky, mousy-voiced little query letters that rarely if ever show the sum of my talents. I’ve started this process again recently after parting ways with my literary agent and I’m getting used to the rejections all over again. Do you remember the scene at the beginning of “Paradise Lost” where dogs are eating out the bowels of one of the fallen angels? That’s what it feels like trying to sell a novel, just in case you’ve never tried it. Every time I run into a little failure with my ventures, though, I do an honorable thing–I simply start a new project. A new song, a new book or a new screenplay–before the sting of the rejection can hit. Believe me, this shit is starting to pile up, and I’m starting to think that I’m going to drop dead with mountains of work that nobody will ever read or hear or see. That leads to a more self-defeating attitude: Well, maybe everybody will get it when I’m dead and in the meantime I’ll stay happily anonymous.
Stupid, I know.
So, in the interest of promoting myself again, I’m going to focus a bit on my music in this post. As far as I know from my odometer readings (?) on this here WordPress site, I get approximately ZERO hits on my music. Really! I count maybe five click-throughs in the past year total. Maybe the stats page doesn’t count right. Could that possibly be it?
My first reaction to this silence was that my music must suck so bad nobody is polite enough to tell me. I took it like I took all the rejection of the book world: I’ve failed to make an impression, time to move on. I know I can’t sing well and my production is off, and my time-keeping is also a little messy. I finally sent out one tune to some friends to get their reactions. I’d say I got four positive reactions and two lukewarm reactions.
Then earlier this year I played all my stuff for an actual musician who said that, barring my bad time-keeping on the drum machine (a pet peeve of his) my stuff was certainly worthy of hearing, if not nominating for a Grammy. Then another musician seconded that, and then a third. So I tried an experiment–listening to it from other people’s computers. Turns out, a lot of the time I couldn’t open the files, which required users to download QuickTime. Could it be that nobody even had a chance to reject my stuff?
So now I ponder: Do I dare ask you, my dear readers, who came here seeking comedy and or Republican-bashing, to listen to my music one more time? If you are willing to, then I’m making the journey easier for you: I’ve finally opened up an account with Sound Cloud. This player is meant not just to share music but to be interactive–it allows users to make comments on parts of the tracks they don’t like. But the best thing for me is, it doesn’t require you to download files to your computer. You can just press the big, candy-like button here:
In the interest of space and a clean layout, I’ve moved all these Sound Cloud files to a new tab on my home page, which you can see at the top of the menu or which you can click on here. (You can also check out my Sound Cloud profile page, but I don’t like it as much because I can’t control the format or song order.) Not all my music is on Sound Cloud, just 13 of what I consider the best songs. If I start getting some decent hits, then I’ll upload more of the music, and if I get a lot of hits, I’m going to start going into promotion mode–sending out free MP3 files with my complete album “Time Traveling Humanist Mangled By Space Turbine” to anybody who requests it. Here’s a sample of the art work, created by my friend Corey Sanders: