Of Time Lords & Rock and Roll
I received a message a few days ago, completely out of the blue:
“Okay. My girlfriend heard a song she believes is from you called “Fossildawn”. She’s been looking for it for almost 8 years now. And after only getting to hear it a handful of times it disappeared off the face of the earth. You’d really be doing me a solid if you actually reply to this. Was that your song? And where can she still listen to it?…”
Odd how you can unknowingly touch people isn’t it? A life of shadows that somehow reaches out into the void. The following text was written a few years ago, when I decided to quit any serious attempts at music making. It still prefaces my very lonely archival webpage at www.laroquephoto.com/jadeleary but I hadn’t read it since – why would I? It’s the sort of thing you spit out before moving on, mostly out of heartbreak. But I did today, after answering that message. It still rings incredibly true in spite of a few dated comments on streaming – I certainly can’t speak to those financial realities anymore.
Anyway, I thought it was worth posting here, if only to serve as a marker…and a fixed point in time.
Music was EVERYTHING.
I’d spend hours lounging in my bedroom, gazing at album covers, listening to the birth of entire universes, my mind unfolding to the rhythm of black, red and golden gods. Eventually, it came to define me. Disassociation became impossible, with no way to tell where one ended and the other began. This lasted for years and years…
Then photography took over. It was a gradual thing too, nothing dramatic or grandiose: it simply settled inside me, grew tendrils and began absorbing every waking moment. And slowly, without my even noticing, it pushed away the songs and silenced the music.
Not all of it mind you. I can still hear echoes: sometimes a couple of notes, a muddled riff; sometimes they even come fully formed and richly arranged, ready for transcription. But that’s just it you see… It’s the transcription that’s a bitch. Most days I just let it pass through me, I let it fade away knowing full well what I’m doing is akin to killing a muse softly. Along the way I lost the impulse — and I lost my grip on time.
“I’ve lost this magical ability to move inside the temporal rift…”
Time? Christ, I was once a Time Lord; I would multiply hours at will, suspend reality while I juggled work, life and music. That’s all gone. I’ve lost this magical ability to move inside the temporal rift and I now have little choice but to pick and choose, to select how I spend the wee amount of seconds I’m allotted. It’s all in fits and jumps too, everything erratic and decidedly out of my control. It’s like sliding down this huge mountain, desperately grabbing at branches, trying to stop the fall, knowing full well I can’t — and feeling the speed increasing with every passing moment.
In many ways, image making has become my buoy, my spaceship. Photography as TARDIS — kinda makes sense for an art form dedicated to stopping life in its tracks.
I also can’t dismiss a growing sense of lassitude eroding both my faith and my desire to create new music on a regular basis. When I look at the business end of things, these past couple of years have been dismal. My experience with DPulse Records went beyond anything I could’ve imagined… Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a single cent from my entire catalog in over two years. I fully realize this move coincided with cataclysmic changes in the industry, with a streaming model that makes it increasingly hard for small artists to make a dime from recordings alone.
But while I had already noticed diminishing returns when Magnatune moved to a subscription model, there were still some returns. I won’t blame or accuse anyone of anything, for all I know dems are the breaks… Ya know? But this simple fact remains: I didn’t see a single cent from a single sale of any albums or any songs from the first instant I signed on that dotted line. That’s plain old reality. And if nothing’s selling… Then no one’s listening… So what’s the point? Why should I devote even the tiniest amount of energy to screaming in a vacuum?
When all is said and done though, I figured I owed it to myself to at least present the work, for whatever it’s worth.
Now that I’m finally free of a record contract, that my albums have FINALLY been removed from the grip of third-parties, I figured it was time to build them a proper home — hence this mini-site. It’s not an ode to myself or some vainglorious attempt at relevance; just a repository, something to make sense of what I did over the years.
I doubt I’ll ever record a new album*. The idea of compiling several songs around a single concept implies a cohesion that can only come from a very condensed creative period, something I can no longer spare; that damn Time variable again. But new songs? Yeah, new songs I can do, new songs are a possibility. I’ve already populated the Singles section with a couple of tunes and I can see the pool growing over time. Erratically, as they come, without schedule and without pressure; just music for music’s sake and in whatever form it happens to take.
So this is it. You can listen, no holds barred; you can even download all of it for free. This is what I get to call my musical legacy I guess — like it or not.
Did I ever want to be a rock and roll star? Hell yeah I did. I longed for glitter and darkness with the best of them. But all things must pass. Nowadays if I had to choose… I’d settle for just being a Time Lord again.
*I did but through a photography project.