August 18th, 2022 - read Jan Mercker's interview and article here.
I keep thinking that I'm going to wake up, and it will all have been a dream. A really cool, and amazingly thrilling, yet sad and poignant dream. But it really happened, the then and the now. And the Nor'easter album is here in my hand, and the amazing thing is that people are discovering this music we made long ago, and even more amazing that they can do so - from anywhere in the world.
It's hard to describe the intimacy of playing music with other people to non-musicians. It's a shared language, a shared experience, a bond somewhere in the Venn diagram between family, friends, and intimate partners. Even if you play the same song with the same people, it's often never quite the same thing. Long ago I realized I didn't really care to enter into that relationship with people that I didn't respect and love in some way shape or form. Life's too short and the gift of making music too precious to do otherwise. I've been lucky to have played with a lot of great musicians who were wonderful people, but pretty much everyone I spent any time playing music with are people I loved being around.
And perhaps none more so than Matt Bouley, Nor'easter's drummer. We played together off and on since we were 12. When we played we had an innate sensitivity to where each of us might be leading the jam, without words, sometimes without even eye contact, just a knowing grin of satisfaction after completing the hairpin turn. And when it came to Nor'easter, I may have written the songs, but Matt made them snap to life.
What we captured in Pat Mills' studio back in 1989 is about as well as any of us ever played those songs, including one jam that I'm so happy we got on tape. Thanks to the incredible engineering work of his fellow drummer and Calm producer Dustin Delage, I think Matt would be proud of the album, and deservedly so. I am too.
Calm Before the Storm is Matt's legacy, but it is our legacy - what he and Chris and I created and the skill level with which we did it. To have done such a thing when we were so young, with not one but two of my lifelong best friends - dudes who stood in at each other's weddings - feels miraculous too. That this pandemic project brought us back together tightly with our bassist Paul St. Amour, and Pat, and so many of our friends from "back in the day" is a gift unto itself. That Matt and the Turk aren't here to see it is a bit crushing. But I can at last rest easy knowing that we've given it our best shot, and given it to the world, and now it's time to find ways for more of the world to hear it.
So with deep gratitude to Janann Mercker for again doing a beautiful job conveying our story - my story - to our local community and beyond, here's the first interview I've done about our project (ironically, during a solo tour last week from Pittsburgh). Fittingly run by our local indie Loudoun Now, and appropriately titled too. I hope y'all enjoy it. I'm gonna take tonight to just breathe for a little while. It's been a long wild dream.