Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things Right Now

I apologize that this blog has been devoid of updates for the last few weeks. I have nothing specific on my mind at this point, so I guess I'll just take this opportunity to divulge the shape of my current life.

I recently moved down to the base of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle into a pre-World-War-II brick building with plenty of old world charm. I like it here, I can walk to anywhere I need to go. Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound are just a short walk away, and I enjoy the sun and the sea breeze at the Olympic Sculpture Park down by the water. Kristie loves it because her work is just a short bus ride away and the bus stop is only a few steps from our front door. We've always dreamed of experiencing the hustle and bustle and the culture of city life, and I think we're finally feeling it. The suburbs seem like a distant memory of a time and place where we felt like we didn't really belong. Maybe someday we'll move back with kids in mind, but for now we are happy.

Summer in Seattle is refreshing. I always find it funny when Seattle-ites complain about the heat. It's like they're so used to complaining about the rain that they have nothing to talk about in the summer unless they complain about the sun. It'll be 75 degrees with a cool breeze and I'll hear them complain, "It's soooo hotttttt!" Seriously? Try enjoying Miami this time of year. I don't think I've ever been as uncomfortable, sticky and sweaty, as in Florida in the summer time. Seattle is the greatest place in the world to spend your summer and if you don't agree, I will fight you.
Portland and Vancouver are pretty good too.

But don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm a mountaineer, braving the terrain of our great state on a daily basis. Especially right now as I've just returned from tour. I suffer from some of the symptoms of Tour Mode. Tour Mode is a mental state that naturally takes precedence when a person who has spent much of recent years on tour returns to the road after a long break. As some of you know, we recently did a week with Owl City and Relient K, and on Saturday we head out to headline some shows on the way to some summer festivals. So I'm at home, still in Tour Mode, not knowing how to cope with this week in between. My symptoms are sleeping in, lack of direction, wearing only my underwear, strumming cliche chords on the guitar and overall laziness. All of these can be summed up in one symptom: Home Madness. 

Home Madness is different from Road Madness. Road Madness is what happens after about six weeks on tour, but can vary depending on the frequency of quality sleeping arrangements and overall tour hygiene. It's when the shows and towns start to blur, and when the artists start to lose focus of the real world. Every day becomes groundhog day, at which point it is tough to maintain any sense of conviction. After all, does whatever you do tonight matter if tomorrow night you'll be 3-5 hours away and have to do it all over again? Personal hygiene falls by the wayside, and the artist finds him/herself laughing uncontrollably at things completely irrelevant and un-hilarious. Garbage will fall out of the van when doors open, and nobody will have the conviction to pick it up. Instead we laugh with a glazed look in our eyes at disgusted onlookers. One symptom of Road Madness is the "Cobain." Its a blank expression; a glossy, tired look in an artists eye, usually as they stare at a point just past their peers heads. All in all, it can become a savage place on the road if the entire band and crew are suffering from acute Road Madness.

Home Madness, however, is the result of culture shock. It's the effect of an abrupt transition from road life to home life. On the road, you have to be somewhere every day; there are errands, schedules to keep and priorities to maintain. There is a daily purpose. Your mind forms a routine, and then suddenly the bottom falls out. You wake up in your bed at home and its 12:30pm, and you have nowhere to be. All your friends are at work and the world outside is alive with people who continue their routines. And you are inside, alone and completely forgotten. This might have something to do with the contrast from stage to van, or fantasy to reality (or ego to humility), which is another phenomenon deserving of research in itself. Either way, as Home Madness takes it's toll, you choose to spend your days inside in your underwear, watching TV and cursing the outdoors. This is where I am. You see, my mind is in Tour Mode and I have no routine here, I am not working on any projects, I have no where to be, and the song writing part of my brain is like a bike with a flat tire. So I sit and wait for Saturday, when my mind will once again ski down that familiar slope and feel the comfort in the groove that it creates for itself.

With that said, I've decided to combat my symptoms. I'm going to put clothes on, put my contacts in, and go walk down by the water. After all its a toasty 72 outside and I can't wait to hear people complain.


  1. I thought this was very interesting, especially since I will be going to college this fall and majoring in Music Management. Being a tour manager is one of the careers I've actually had in mind after I graduate college, and it was interesting reading about the different stages of that type of life - on the road, and off. I don't know if I'd be able to handle it...

  2. That's exactly what happens to me all the time I'm on tour, above all when you go out for a long period and you have short break in between everything changes and you lose your purpose. People keep their routines and they're like "can't go out cause I work tomorrow. Let's meet this weekend" but you know you're not gonna be there cause the weekend it's when you start working...

    That's the musician drama.

  3. hey Matt I was wondering if you could answer a question I had... I was wondering what the meaning/inspiration was behind the song "gravedigging". I've heard what other people have to say about it, and if it's not too much trouble, I'd love to hear from you on it. also, I'd like to say that I really enjoy your music, and it really inspires me.

    Thanks man!

  4. Hey Thomas,
    Gravedigging is about dying to yourself, or purposefully killing your sense of "self." It's filled with fatalistic suicide rhetoric which can confuse people, because people want to believe that I am not promoting suicide. They are right. I'm promoting the death of the metaphorical "self," not the physical self, and naturally, a good way to prep is to metaphorically dig your own grave.

  5. awesome! thanks for clearing that up!

  6. Hey Matt.
    What parts of your life with The Classic Crime is God most apparent? Most absent?
    Just curious what that looks like for a Christian living in between Road and Home Madness.

  7. Hey Hudson,
    To give that answer justice would take another blog post. I've written a few blog posts about God and I. If you like, you may read through those to get a picture of how God plays into what I do in The Classic Crime and why I do it.
    Hope that helps,

  8. This sounds very similar to what those of us who are stay at home mothers (or fathers)go through in the summer when school is out! Every week for about 9 months we do the same routine and then for about 2 1/2 months of summer, it all changes so drastically! Although I can't sit around in my under garments (those days are long gone!), I do sleep later (at least until 8am)and wander around kind of aimlessly. Like you, I at some point gather my senses together and opt for the walk!

  9. Hey Matt, i was looking at your reply to Thomas about Gravedigging and i was just thinking "yes now i can prove my youth leader wrong about Gravedigging being about literally committing suicide"! and since you said it.... now we can blast it out at our youth group!!!

  10. So, I'm not a member of myspace, so I thought I'd comment on your last TCC blog update. Unfortunately, it's pretty long, so I'm gonna do it in two comments.

    Well, I just wanna start out by saying that you guys are definitely one of my favorite bands. I’ve been a fan/listener of you since your first album dropped on Tooth and Nail. And, because I am quite familiar with your work, I thought that I’d actually take the time to give you some kinda reply regarding your last update! A few things regarding strictly music structure first.
    * I have greatly enjoyed your versatility and diverse sound. Even on Albatross you covered various styles and intensities, and I very much enjoyed that. Your EP obviously stretched your genre even further, and based on your last full length, I feel like you are a band that could/should appeal to and be musically relevant to fans of any kind of rock, from hardcore to pop, and even beyond.
    * I really enjoy some of the more creative structure you have put into your songs, i.e. “We All Look Elsewhere”. I really love how the “chorus” (From which the title is derived) is only played once in the song (within the first minuteish), and the song just seems to continue to swell from there into what functions almost as a bridge after the next verse that escalates through the entire song. A Really random and small comment, I know, but I really enjoyed this.
    *Although it was your brand of rock that got me into you guys in the first place and has kept me coming back, in all honesty, my favorite album of yours as far as a complete album is probably your EP. I found this raw, honest, beautiful, refreshing, and thought provoking, both musically and lyrically.
    *Your (Matt’s) voice, something I’m pretty sure will be on your next album regardless of any feedback you get! I just thought I’d say that you have one of the best sounding, most versatile voices that I’ve heard, from falsetto to screaming. You truly can do it all vocally. Or pretty close.
    *Grave digging: Galloping + Lead Solo x Tapping = Can’t really go wrong. You guys have some quality guitar work. Good bass work too. And tone i.e. Blisters and Coffee, Abracadavers.

    Dislikes: (Very few, very minor, but I figured I had to balance this out somehow. ;)

    *Drum intro to The Bitter Uprising just seemed a little out of genre/ out of place.
    *God and Drugs and Medisin seemed a little too cramped place one after the other in the flow of the album. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both of those songs (though I enjoyed others on the album even more), but they struck me as slightly similar, both musically and topically. Which as first seems like it could lend itself to one leading into the other. But I just think they should have been spread out more. But that’s just my preference. Other than that, I feel that you created a coherent, flowing piece with The Silver Cord.

  11. Now, as far as lyrics go...
    *You have honest, poetic, encouraging, motivating, and all around generally thought provoking lyrics. I enjoy your approach to writing, and I have been able to connect with many of your lyrics ever since your first album.
    *Now, I understand that giving any kind of suggestions towards lyrics is kinda sketchy. After all, as a songwriter, you don’t usually want to right a song just for the sake of writing a song, and when you do write, it can be very personal, which I totally understand. Asking someone to write good lyrics about your own suggestions is kinda like asking a plumber to write a book about farming. He may be able to do it, but it isn’t gonna be that great or resonate with the people it is suppose to. Weird analogy too. It’s way too late. Anywho. With that in mind though, I have to say that I have enjoyed reading your blog when I get a chance, and I have found the way you have addressed issues regarding your personal faith to be, in general, quite excellent. And I know that you do this some in your lyrics already, and I also get the fact that you are hesitant to be labeled a “Christian band”, which I totally can understand. Yet, I must say that the way you write about your personal beliefs in your blog is honest, inoffensive, and open minded. I believe that the way you lay out your thoughts is a way that is equally interesting and applicable to both non-Christians and Christians alike. I have sensed elements of skepticism, often later resolved through clear thinking, and I think that in that way you can bring skeptics and critics into a conversation in which they do not feel alienated, but where they can be understood and yet challenged. And I think that you can do this very powerfully through your lyrics too. So, personally, I would enjoy even more of this kind of thought in the form of lyrics.

    So yeah. I’m not really sure why I actually sat down and hacked out these thoughts. I saw your update on a news blurb on Indie Vision Music, so I read it. Normally, I wouldn’t really give feedback in this kind of situation, but I gave it a second thought, considering I am a big fan (or listener, if you prefer) and decided that, if nothing else, it would allow me to get some of my own thoughts out of my head. I still haven’t gotten a chance to see you guys live yet, which is sad! I had been planning on attending your concert at Station 4 in the Cities earlier this year, as that was the first time I had actually heard of you guys being in Minnesota. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t find a ride off campus that night! So I was pretty sad. I heard that it was a good concert though, from somebody else at school who went, as I found out later. But maybe you will make it to Minnesota sometime this next school year, so I can be down in the populated area of the state and catch you guys! Maybe even with your label mates and Minnesota natives Children 18:3! Hahaa! My own personal opinion on a concert that would be pretty sick. And props to you, if you actually read all this! God bless!