Last year I took two months off work to go back home to Ontario (I was living in L.A at the time) and be alone in a cabin in nature to write an album. The impulse came about after an intense couple of years that involved recovery from a stint in hospital, a divorce, a death and a move to a new country. I didn’t know who I was anymore, but instinctively I knew that I needed to take life by the balls again and do something for myself in order to find out.
So I left my job in L.A, left the sweet guy I was seeing and isolated myself in a small house with a beautiful piano in the living room. I had my guitar, a bag of weed, my dog Mr. Peanut Butter and some books on meditation. I was ready for the sweet buttery waves of inspiration to pulse through me to create whatever it was I was going to create (hopefully my self).
The object of my procrastination was the piano in the living room. It was ornately decorated and seemed to have the spirit of some old robust man. I day dreamed about us speaking to one another- mostly I imagined this piano scorning me for all of the years that I had neglected the practice of music, and not recognized it for the essential part it played in my well being. I realized that the relationship to my own creativity was just that- a relationship, and to add to that, it was a romantic one.
I had neglected myself and my art and as a result it neglected me; just like a lover would have had I treated it with the same disregard. I hadn’t made anything not because inspiration never struck, but because I was too busy involved in my own life’s dramas to give anything back to that inspiration. What a terrible lover I had been!
I imagined the piano was speaking to me through melody and feeling- it was angry at me, it provoked me, and I imaged myself as a dancer, speaking back to it through a whirlwind of movement. Maybe we were on a first date, or maybe we were lovers seeing each other for the first time in years, or maybe we had spent life times together… I was writing the scene all down in my journal and before I knew it I had a beautiful idea for a short film on my hands.
Okay, okay, what does this have to do with my new song FRIENDS? Don’t worry, we are getting there!
I told my best girlfriend about the idea (she happens to be a dancer) and she loved it. She said lets make it! I said ‘Yes!’ of course, I was so excited that she wanted to be a part of it. But first I had to finish what I had started, my E.P!
While I was finishing my E.P my dancer friend told me that she had secured $20 000.00 to get the short film made. It was a miracle! We worked out that I would be one of the dancers in the film, she the other, and because of her keen interest in directing, this would be her directorial debut.
To my surprise, she decided that she wanted to shoot ten days after we heard the news about the money, which was ambitious because I’m not a trained dancer and I was in rehearsals 5 days a week for a play I was doing. I told her I would need at least two months for training. She refused. So I supplemented by lack of experience by taking three to four dance classes a day before and after rehearsals for the play to ready myself.
The day before we were to shoot, she called me to say that she, as director, had changed her mind about casting because she didn’t want to embarrass herself with my lack of skill. She took my name of the script, hired another actress and shot the film without me.
I was crushed.
My friends said ‘Sue her!’. But that felt like a waste of time. I was confused… Why was this happening? I had reformed so well… I was taking my creativity seriously again, giving it tons of love, time and attention…why was this one leaving me?
Then I imagined my great, big, provocative friend the Piano and saw his misgeivious grin widen as he asked me ‘What will you do now?’.
My best friend David Real was in a play last summer in Montreal called 'Asher Lev’, about a Jewish prodigy painter who crushes his family
when he becomes obsessed with images of the Christ. There is a great scene where Asher is being trained by a master painter but he is frustrated at him because he was painting a man whom he hated, but he was being polite about it. ‘Paint your hate!!’ he shouted at Asher.
So thats what I did. I painted my hate through song. I knew the only way to rise above the petty drama of what happened was just to make some art and move on. This wasn’t my first rodeo, the piano had taught me not to waste my time anymore and get to work. I heeded this lesson and wrote this funny little song, and Sam Coyle and I have teamed up again for the music video featuring two dancers and a piano that you can watch here.