I've noticed this thing that seems to happen with a fair number of songwriters... They do their main music thing for a bunch of years and end up getting whatever respect and success they get. Then, they usually get married and start having kids. They disappear for a while... They they come out with a new record of songs "written from this new, more mature perspective" which includes things like marriage, settling down, having kids, watching one's own parents get older or pass away... You know, "the beginning of the middle period".
That record rarely does well.
[Because our culture doesn't like the idea of getting older... It would rather hear another song about anger-isolation-young love-confusion-freedom-who am I anyway?-etc. Culturally, it's like everyone dies or gets cryogenically frozen in their mid-twenties. But that's another blog entirely....]
Then, while digesting the dual bitter pill of 1) their increasing age and 2) the music industry's corresponding indifference, many of these songwriters let go of the notion that they will be forever young, dumb and stuck in a plush tour bus filled-to-bursting with whiskey, girlfriends-of-the-month, tight jeans and an XBox -- they let this go, and they write and quietly put out a kids record.
If they were formerly famous and still have a decent publicist, they might do an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air where they get introspective about their career, getting older, settling down, and having kids. They share an amusing anecdote about being a parent... how kids say the darndest things. Then they play a couple of tracks from their new kid record live for her, right there in the studio. The songs may or may not have choruses with double meanings. They might just literally be about Jell-O and PTA meeetings. Or they might even be trying to "work on two levels simultaneously" for both kids and adults.
Sometimes, this record does okay. If it does, it's probably because they were just trying to have fun and not take themselves so seriously. ...
I say all of this because this morning, I was thinking about how silly the music business is... How silly so many aspects of it really are. And I thought, as I do about once a month these days, about quitting music. But I quickly realized that I'd be miserable and it wouldn't work anyway. And it was then that I looked down and saw my companion and pal, Emma, looking up at me. And it hit me. Maybe I should write a dog record. I'll just skip the kid's record and make a dog record. A record for dogs. It could be huge. Potential song titles:
You probably think that I'm kidding.
John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light at Red Rocks.
CAN YOU HEAR ME
by John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light. Directed by David Dyster/Umbrella Brigade.