April 18, 2013, posted by Crumbs.


Machine Head

Martinez, CA, 3:15 AM, been up for an hour, can't sleep, laying in bed, and thinking. Thinking, and thinking, and thinking. McClain says I think too much, he might be right, so it's better that I write. So here I am, up and writing a General Journal.

I get these occasional bouts of sleeplessness or even insomnia. When this happens, I'll often get up and write... lyrics, music, journals, helps quiet my mind. I wrote the majority of lyrics for The Blackening at 5 AM in my kitchen during the recording of the album. Come home from tracking at midnight, go to sleep at 1 AM, wake up at 5 AM, write lyrics in my kitchen while the dawn came. That was my routine for 2 months.

That, and not sleeping in my bed.

My oldest son Zander (then-2 years old) would be sleeping in my "really comfortable" Eastern King bed with my then-pregnant wife Genevra. I'd be sleeping in his "really uncomfortable" Twin bed in his room. Not that I wanted to sleep in the Twin bed, but he'd only sleep in his bed for a couple hours, then sneak into our bed every night, and Zander was such a crazy sleeper, that after he crawled into our bed, sleep was literally impossible. There he'd be, the craziest sleeper in the world, tossing and turning all night, arms flailing, punching our faces during the night, his razor sharp baby-toe-nails scratching down our backs, I'd wake up with his whole body laying across my throat choking me, wondering why I was dreaming about being strangled, LOL, ... ah kids... gotta love 'em.

Yeah, the Twin bed was as good as it got back in November / December 2006, in fact it was heaven.

And for some reason now, that's always what my mind goes back to when I can't sleep, The Blackening period, and I like that thought. It's better than the other thought. It's better than the thought that used to be there

Back when I was a kid and I couldn't sleep, I'd lay in my bed, shade pulled down, and I'd hear the train off in the distance (I just heard a train laying in bed earlier and it triggered this memory), we lived near the train tracks and the BART (subway) station when I lived half way down the block on 810 Viddel St in San Lorenzo. I'd listen to that train getting closer and closer, and then it would finally pass. I'd listen for hours, sleepless, crying, the rain and the train.

I have bad memories of the train tracks.

I went back and visited those train tracks during the recording of The Burning Red, I don't know what I hoped to find, it was different than I remembered it. I sat there hoping to feel something, anything, but nothing ever came. I went back to my house off of Grant St. in Berkeley that afternoon and stated writing. The first line I wrote was "To whom it may concern"... I'm not sure why... it never got used cause it's such a random way to start a lyric, but ultimately the the lyrics that poured out of me that day became "From This Day". A heavy, deep, set of lyrics that I put over a sort-of pop melody. I've always admired artists who could pull that off, take a somber, depressing or fucked up lyric (ala - Robert Smith or Morrisey) and put it over a catchy melody so that people go around whistling this catchy hook, with a totally fucked up meaning.

A lot of people try and shit on that song (mainly for that god awful video with me dressed like a box of orange juice!) but the lyrics to that song came from a place of deep pain, of real pain. That song is what opened the floodgates for the song "Five" to come about. The wound had been picked open, now it was time to dig around through the maggots.

It's 5:15 AM now, I'm gonna try and go back to sleep. Sleep so that I can get up and "not" think, but enjoy, enjoy life.

Yesterday was a fucking frustrating day of demoing, went in with such high expectations and got almost nothing done, AGH!!

But it's a new day.

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