My name is Grimm. I write songs and stories. I am shit at self-promotion. I sell records, WHICH YOU CAN buy at your fave online music retailers like itunes or amazon. Want to read my dumb jokes and foul-mouthed jibes at public figures? follow me on twitter. My extremely sweary political "essays"? Follow on facebook.
Dumpster-fire Days has arrived
So something weird happened. Something dropped out of me somewhere along the road, and I just didn't want to play anymore. A bunch of things went into the "why" of it, age, depression, even a bit of paranoia as to how and on which interstate I might finally crash and die. But one big factor, I realized after some months and rumination, was that I'd lost the confidence and maybe the "swagger" that go into, well, the ego it requires to stand in front of people and assume your words and notes are worth their time.
That's not a poor-me thing, mind you, and I'm not looking for kindly reassurance. It's just some self-analysis. We start playing rock & roll when we're young and utterly giddy to go out there and rage and belt on stage and make something in those sweaty live moments that people remember. But something had shifted in me, and the shift had transformed the righteous furious fun of playing for people into a lot of second-guessing. So I just kind of quietly stopped booking shows and, as I did, a lot of anxiety went away.
But then America went insane.
America went insane and at least some of the political stuff I'd worked into my songs over the years - a lot of the subtext or ragetext or whatever about how most people were good, we just needed to find our common bond again - seemed upended and I had to grapple with my premises all over again. More than anything, I had to figure out how to cope with the thing millions upon millions of us were coping with, which was impotence in the face of absolute horror done in our name. That had happened during the Iraq war, but something newer and older and even more insidious underwrote this new battery of crimes and chicanery and corruption and perfidy and xenophobia of American "leadership." It was a movement, a concentrated, sputum-flecked mobilization of the worst angels of our nature. They demanded conformity, homogeneity, fealty and demonized all who didn't shut up and toe the line.
It was fascism, and its dutiful, accessorized, red-capped members could dispute that all they wanted, but those of us who'd done the reading knew. It was, and remains, crystal clear if you've studied anything about revanchist conservative movements galvanized around kneejerk half-ideas of a purified Herrenvolk society. I'm not going to go too deep into these weeds, but if you've declared absolute fealty to a leader you consider infallible, if you declare all who dissent heretics and apostate, if you obsess about the dangerous "outsiders" coming to threaten your "values," if you demand all other aspects of government fall in line irrespective of law, if you declare the Great Mission of your Great People ordained by God, thus justifying every dark, violent, exclusionary machination - yeah, you can call all that "freedom" all you want but it's not. It's fascism. It's pure Dogpatch American fascism lined up behind the stupidest, shittiest human being imaginable and tragicomic at times, but its net effect has been the closest thing to smashing the best parts of a flawed republic as I have seen in my lifetime.
So how do you say "no"?
A lot of us marched. A lot of us joined organizations to protect our neighbors and to gird civil society against the daily onslaughts. It helps, by the way, and you should do it. It helps to go be around people who share your cause, not only to forward the cause but to not feel so alone and swamped by the tide. But in addition to that, I needed to yell. I needed to channel my yelling into to something that made the yelling more than just yelling. I needed to just do something to not feel so impotent and old and lost in the ominous, bloody tide. And put a big fucking beat to it. So I started writing songs again.
After three years, that yielded Dumpster-fire Days. And yeah, it is pretty focused in its subject matter. I didn't set out to write a "theme" record but, well, I guess we can call this an aural chronicle of a truly garbage epoch, if you want to be fancy about it. It's mostly just a rock record, but it's also shouting id into the face of the superego, because even my exhaustion and depression, I had to shout something. And I get that me shouting doesn't mean that much - I don't sell a lot of records - but please please please remember, if a lot of us do, they'll hear us. And it's not about hoping they do, it's about making them. That is what democracy sounds like.
The optimist's democrat likes to trot out the bromide "we have more in common than we have things that separate us," and I firmly do not believe that anymore, because we've seen proof. Too many in the kindly decent God-fearing "Heartland" of America now insist they are somehow more American than Americans, and they want my friends and neighbors dead, deported or beaten into line - I wrote an essay about this for the Des Moines Register - so I'm no longer interested in politely dancing around their feelings or their bullshit ideas of what patriotism is. They have proven, exhaustively, that it is no virtue in America in 2020 to be a Good German. And there are more of us than there are of them. There's millions upon millions of us, and we need to start acting like it. Dumpster-fire Days - if you have purchased it or intend to, thank you - is just some marching music for the way more important work we have ahead of us. The lot of us.
There's a better fucking world to be made.