On Sunday, Max played Dylan some James Rabbit songs and he seemed genuinely interested and excited. Marveling at the number of albums in folder after folder, he asked what we did with the albums when we were done with them:
"I hand it out to the people I'd been avoiding while I'd been doing the album"
This was especially true in the last years of high school and the first years of college, where James Rabbit would be my ticket out of having to do anything with anybody. Instead of hanging out with the gang at the coffee hut, I'd write songs about murderers and terrorists and bring a stack of CDs to school on Monday. But in the last few years it has blossomed into a full-blown obsession. This summer for example, you probably went to the beach in a swimsuit or got drunk with your friends in your sister's attic or drove a car to a Dam or Levy or played acoustic guitar for a room full of open mic nighters. This summer I sat in my backroom and did overdubs. It wasn't even an option to hang out with anybody. And things are at the point where I don't have anybody to get the albums out to. Now, don't get me wrong, there's no lack of people to talk to or spend time with; its just that now, as my life has metamorphosized, James Rabbit has become a secret.
I try to avoid talking to James Rabbit with people in day-to-day conversation because it seems like a topic that could un-endear me to someone really quickly. Its like certain people with politics or baseball, they could go on about it forever and never know that you weren't interested or notice that you have started to hate them. If you ever see the Artillery documentary, if Sterling ever finishes it, which he won't, so you won't, there's tapes and tapes full of him interviewing me and me talking about one million aspects of the band, from how I judge the 'session musicians' to the cover art, to the infinity reasons I have for not playing shows. If someone asks me a question about James Rabbit I just kind of picture it as an interview - and that during that interview I have to get the most mileage out of my answers, because this may be the only press I get. I get really into it and would probably end up sitting down with them and making them listen to five or six of my albums - in less of a 'here's my masterpiece' way and more like 'this is what I did in high school in lieu of girlfriends' kind of way- and so it doesn't happen. Not even my housemates know of the band or have heard it.
But for some reason, I go about my life expecting people to just KNOW. Like they just know about Columbus discovering America or how McDonalds is bad for you, its common knowledge. I'm delusional in the lamest way. At my most pathetic times I think of myself as someone like Lee Hazelwood or Harry Belafonte or David Bowie or someone whose released a zillion albums and is just kind of resting on their laurels, showing up at premieres and galas, and wondering why my housemates don't compliment me on "Vertigo Agogo" or "Sad Sad Coral Sea" more often. This would be okay if I hadn't actually recorded a zillion albums, if I was just playing a practical joke on people, at least mentally. But in my mind, I'm a sixty year old former superstar of the 60s, living off of the royalties of songs like "Pythagoras Love Triangle" and "The Ressurection of Al Capone", maybe releasing an album every once in a while so I can go promote it on Oprah. These things that I think, they are not real. And while the music that we make is not terrible, and certainly good, it is nowhere near the lofty things I think of us, no pulitzer prizes, no Genius awards.
These last six months have been chock full of musical doubts, and so it continues. In July or August, when I had Continental waving the white 'I'm done' flag, and passing out the first singles, I mailed a (very) few off to only close friends and got the most devestating reactions, which I dasn't try and remember. I became furious at my brother and at myself and at everything - we had set off on the most disasterous crusade ever, to ressurect college-failures-ourselves as the Love Drums Cavalry but came back only with sagging flags and unbloodied swords. You know that already though, and its up to us, in the less glorious moments of our history, to at least document this attempt and fucking release the album. So when the babe finally emerges from its too-long stay in the maternity ward of St. Martin hospital, we'll pass out flat, donut-like cigars to everybody. Its a boy.
And I have no idea when we'll practice. James Rabbit, by the way, has never had a band practice, we have 1-2 person rehearsals-for-recording that go like 'okay, its G, A minor, C' 'how do you want me to play it?' 'play it anyway but the way you just now played it... and we're rolling!'. And if more than one instrument is being played at a time, its either an accident or its just to test out some theory like "will this cowbell work with this tamborine part?' And I don't know when we'll get a guitarist, though I suppose that would probably come with practicing. I don't know if we'll ever be a band. I live and work in this Santa Cruz town and may be about to sign a lease that may trap me here until September and I don't want to practice songs that I don't care about any more.
Its important to note that I don't care about these songs after I release them out into the world. Or release them out into my backyard or wherever I abandon them to, I'm like a sea turtle or a seahorse or some sort of sea animal that spends a little bit of time with their young and then moves on to more pregnancies. And yes, its tragic that most of them get swallowed up by the food chain or die of broken hearts or obsolecence, but maybe one or two will survive to adulthood, and if even one or two get through, then the process of procreation is a success and the James Rabbit name will live on. Unfortunately, it will live on in the form of a young sea creature, who nobody takes seriously, except for Greenpeace. And seriously, fuck those hippies.
- Tyler Martin