Because blogs are a stupid way to publish things you'd have to go down to the last post to see part I if you were inclined to do that. It's all reverse-like and this won't make a ton of sense unless you do, so do that if you're interested. This will wait.
Welcome back. When we parted, dear reader, I was about to fuck up a CD release party. Have you ever just been an asshole to end a relationship? This was about 1/3 that. It was another third self loathing and, I hope about a third love. Real, honest love. I mean that, I think.
I got the diabetes a couple years before. I was tired and in shitty shape and a little disappointed that it hadn't killed me. Some of the supernatural drinking stunts should have ended, though they hadn't. Some of the drugs should have lost their shine but . . . you know. I had a girl who seemed to like me a lot of the time and I was still thinking about one who didn't. I was, in short, a bit of a mess. And I was a coward.
I suspect some of our fears shape our lives more than almost anything else. That love I was talking about? I really loved Matt, Ron, Jay and Chad. Chad had been living off of this music thing for a while now. I got to see my favorite people every weekend, even if the job we were doing had turned into a pretty joyless thing for me. I resented having to play songs I wrote. That should be some sort of depression and anhedonia barometer right there. The day you get angry that someone loves a thing you made up is the day you should just look everyone square in the face and say "I'm not in the right head space to play music right now." The rub? If I don't go do the thing I always had done, no one would be in my life. That sounds like the irrational fears of someone depressed, but you gotta know, I was pretty intensely alone for about Three or four years after my time with Five Year Jacket died.
But it didn't die that night. It rattled and shook for a while, yet.
I went in to the Arcada in St. Charles thinking we would play the album and then we could hang out and talk to people and that they would like us and tell us how great we were and this thing I was doing without any joy would be second for once in my goddam life. Let me tell you the truth, finally:
I wanted to feel like someone liked me when I wasn't playing music.
Which was both sad and dumb. I'd done too little work on myself as a musician and almost none on myself as a person. I guess we all want to be loved for "ourselves", whatever the fuck that means. And me? I was gonna get all of that love I was hungry for in one night in September of 2003. I didn't much think about what anyone else had planned - which was that we would play and that we would make a party for everyone else outside the band and set ourselves aside again and give them their money's worth. Which is the right thing to do.
I, however, refused.
I played the album - which was only a few songs and then we played a couple more. My shoes were these weird, cordovan, second-hand wingtips that didn't fit. I was on an borrowed amp that was some sort of Solid State Peavey and I fucking hated the sound of it. I was hungover and most of the way toward being drunk again. And I don't remember in detail how it all played out. I know we did the short set and then took a break and I kinda dug in my heels and refused to play anymore. I told the band they could play without me. It was some sort of power thing, maybe. Maybe, if all I was gonna get for love was in these songs and what I brought to them I'd somehow prove that the songs needed me. I didn't wanna play "Laid" again. I didn't wanna go back up. I wanted someone to say something about me.
They said I was being a dick, and I was. I remember trying to explain it to Matt while he tried not to hit me in the alley behind the place. I remember how RD looked baffled by me. I remember letting people down. I remember that not being enough to get me on the stage again. I remember crying a lot.
I should have never gotten back on the stage as 5YJ ever again. A brave man would have known it was dead right then and would have said it. I've never been a brave man.
Whatever postscript followed, whatever gigs happened after I don't remember. I know of their existence though I don't know how many of them existed. I only know that the band died that night - at least for me.
And I'm the only one writing this.