Discover more from From The Mixed Up Files of Mr. Matthew T. Schindler
Am I Normal?
What's an Open Mic?
Hello Faux Friends,
Before I get into my usual deluge of self-promoting non sequiturs, I must stop and say: “SCOTUS, don’t do that stupid thing you’re thinking about doing!” Dig?
Okay, “Am I Normal?” is a new song/recording that I released exclusively on BandCamp yesterday, just in time for BandCamp Friday, which is today.
This is a song that I’ve been tinkering with for at least 15 years, maybe longer. It lived on cassette tape for most of that time. Then, in November 2021, I figured it was time to take another crack at it. I fired up my iMac, opened GarageBand, plugged in my Yeti USB mic, convinced my daughter to sing a little bit, and now it exists as this version which you can play right here.
This is actually a 3 song (or 2.5?) suite comprised of “Force to Create,” “Dreams,” and “The Normal Way.” At the time I started writing it (2006-ish), I was living illegally in a warehouse in Northeast Minneapolis with a bunch of artists, creators, bandmates etc. (Big Up Tyler Street!) I think I paid 500 a month for 2,200 square feet. It was hotter than hell in the summer, damn cold in the winter, and you had to shower in a public bathroom adjacent to a cab company etc., but it was home and there was really a strong sense of community and support there. The way we were living was not the normal way, that is to say.
And here it is 2022 and I am a husband and a parent living in a townhouse and and and— I still don’t feel totally normal. I look normal as hell, but really, who is to say what is normal, what is accepted and why? Though the context has changed a bit, I think I can still sing the lyrics to “Am I Normal?” and not feel like a complete hypocrite. I hope you enjoy this jangle-hippie-folk freakout.
Speaking of townhouses. The place where I live in Irvine, California is called University Hills. It is an immaculately landscaped stucco jungle with swimming pools and nice men who come and dust away the spider webs from your window panes (this is actually happening presently and my beloved dog, Teenie, is losing her very mind). It is nice here.
There is an entertainment committee who put on shows and movie-in-the-park kinds of things here, and I was recently asked to serve as the host of a new “First Friday Open Mic” night for the community. Tonight is the first one! Pretty stoked, bra. Much to my surprise, a large poster was installed at the main entrance to the community to promote the event. My kids saw it as we were driving into Uhills the other day and they were like “Dad! You’re famous!” I corrected them, of course.
After we all got over the excitement of seeing the poster, my daughter asked “What’s an Open Mic?” I explained the Open Mic vibe and then told her about the first time I ever got up on stage and sang with a rock band. I was with my sister Gretchen at an Open Mic at UM-Duluth (in the Bull Pub), and a band called the Lobsters signed up to play. Alas1, their singer failed to arrive in time for their set, so they asked if anyone from the audience would come up and sing with them. I think I was in tenth grade at the time, and I was not shy2, so I jumped up on stage and we performed “Louie Louie” (in the style of the Kingsmen) and “Diane” (by Hüsker Dü). I was hooked after that—hooked on Rock and Roll and also the freewheeling energy that an Open Mic night can create. Community, creativity, vulnerability—all that jazz.
So tonight will be my first Open Mic night in some time. I’m excited to see what the kids in the hood bring. Strangely, this will also be my last night hosting this Open Mic event, because I will be living in San Diego on the first Friday of June 2022. That is to say, The Faux Jean clan is moving again! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I don’t live in Minneapolis anymore, (it’s already been 8 years?!) so San Diego seems weird—but it’s good weird. My wife, the Doctor of Philosophy, got a really neat3 job down there, and we’re heading south. I might learn to surf yet!
So this is happening. And as much as I dread moving, I’m excited to experience a new place and culture, maybe see a show at the Casbah. Maybe rock the Casbah at some point. Maybe get a job at the Casbah.
I’m one dad joke over the line, I better blast. I hope you enjoy this new recording.4
Peace my Faux Friends! I remain your humble servant &c.
When’s the last time you used “alas” in a sentence?
Straight up ham if I’m being honest.
Yes, I said neat.
And you thought I was being facetious when I said “my usual deluge of self-promoting non sequiturs.”