party like it's my birthday aka.. eat whatever I want and pay the price...

Jeez, just a week after feeling dead to the world because of exhaustion from Disney World, now I feel dead to the world because of a multi-day bout of food poisoning and subsequent digestive issues. Fun stuff. Luckily, I did get to enjoy some of my birthday weekend/St. Patty's day, but not much. No green beer or Jameson shots for this guy. Of course, no one ever believes that you could be sick apart from drinking too much (as I've found out today) so that's been fun. Hey, I'll cop to drinking/partying too much when it happens but getting blamed for thinking a grocery store deli salad would be OK and being 100% wrong isn't really too much fun. Oh well, so it goes...

To be sure, I do have a few different digestive disorders I was playing fast and loose with. I am lactose-intolerant (I have no patience for lactose and won't tolerate it...). I have issues with too much gluten (was awesomely not an issue in Paris where the bread is oh-so-fucking-amazing). And sometimes (and this may have been a contributing factor as well) I eat too much really spicy food and make myself sick. I love spicy food (and like everyone in the world these days, Nashville Hot Chicken is my greatest crutch. Being in Portland, I only get chain-chicken or the like, but Seattle has one of my favorite chicken places in the world, which includes Nashville, called Sisters and Brothers) much to my stomach's dismay. Pair any of those issues with a bourbon or three and my nearly everyday stress and anxiety, and voila, welcome to Upset-Stomach City, population me (and the millions of others who suffer from some form of digestive issues).

So, I probably shouldn't have eaten pizza, grocery store deli macaroni salad, 3 big slices of cheddar cheese and a piece of chocolate pecan pie, but it was my birthday weekend and I was told I could have whatever I wanted; as long as I take a shitload of Lactaids. Oh yeah, and some chips and habanero and ghost pepper salsa. And some bourbon and beer. Not too smart. I ate and drank like I was 18 and paid the price... Getting even slightly older sucks...

Anyways, I'm going to eat some plain tuna, an egg and a piece of toast and fall asleep early. Birthdays are fun...

(dictated but not read)

Back from Disney World... aka so tired... so, so tired...

I would say I missed you all last week but I would be lying. I was at Disney World. Probably not the happiest place on Earth (an honor bestowed upon Charlize Theron's bed, not that I'd know) but certainly the most inhabited.

I'm so tired. So fucking tired. Disney is not a place for an Asperger's man (or woman). It's fucking overload central. But, I did it. It was fun. Not as fun as it could have been had I known you have to book all your FastPasses like a fucking month in advance or be more famous (saw a few famous people and they did not have to wait, but did sit in the same possibly pee-covered seats we did..)

For the record, my favorite ride was the Lyft ride back to airport. Close second was Thunder Mountain. Even closer third was Test Track. Kudos to EPCOT for actually having French people in the France part (at least for the food stand). Bonus, found out butterflies love MY TEAL "SOME GIRLS" T-SHIRT.

My favorite world was Toy Story Land (see photos below). Probably because it’s the Disney movies I’ve seen more than any other. When my brother was very young, every night before bed we would watch like twenty or thirty minutes of either “Toy Story” or “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” Like every night. Somehow, probably because my brother is so awesome, I never grew tired of either movie. Still love them both to this day.

Wish I had more for you but bourbon and bed are calling my name. Also, I haven't touched a guitar in over a week so I'm developing the shakes. Or, maybe that's just what happens when I'm around over-anxious kids for a week.. Who knows..

Last thing, shout out to the Hilton Buena Vista Palace as their hotel bar gives generous bourbon pours for an affordable price ($30 including tip for 2 Knob Creeks and a Woodford. Pretty fucking good for a hotel).

Good night...

(dictated but not read)

BW Toy Story Land 2.jpg
BW Toy Story Land 1.jpg

Death? aka what I should probably do before I die... Well, I've done most but still...

This week, I'm going to be much more direct and to the point (read: short). "Why?" you may ask. Well, it's because I'M GOING TO FUCKING DISNEY WORLD! Not right now, but I do have to do laundry so I can pack. I've never been and missed a couple chances growing up as we were not able to afford the trip back then. Plus, I wasn't really in the mood for all the kids and whatnot being a brooding, serious teenager. But, seeing as I'm now a grown-ass man who STILL has not been to any Disney property, I think the time has come to check this one off the old list; such that there were such a list in existence. What else would be on my all-time, do at least once in my lifetime list? Hmm...

The Fucking "Fuck Death" List (aka things I should probably do before I die)

#1. See Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden - DONE

You might notice that this superseded "have sex" and I mean it, hard. I grew up on Bruce, worshipped at the Sacred Church of Springsteen, studied at the Springsteen Technical Institute (or STI, as we called it... wait... Shit!), did my Master's Thesis (aka MY ALBUM "IN MY YOUTH, I'M GETTING OLD...") on Springsteen in the modern "throwback" era, finally sold my "best live performer in the world" stock in the past few years (sorry, Kanye's "Pablo" tour sealed the overtaking of the #1 spot for Mr. West), and have purchased so many copies of "Born to Run" over the years (on cassette, then CD, then enhanced CD, then vinyl, then CD/DVD box set, then remastered vinyl) that I finally just decided to get "Born to Run" tattooed on my arm to remind me for the rest of my life how impactful that album (and Bruce) truly is. There's nothing in my life (apart from my brother, sister and mother) that isn't a direct result of my love for that album. It sounds like hyperbole, but (perhaps unfortunately) it is closer to an understatement, seeing as it not only gave me many things in life, but life itself; after saving it on more than occasion (long story, kind of. Well, more weird and sad, I guess). Anyways, I wanted to see the best in the best place to see, well, almost anything, MSG. Knocked this one off the list over ten years ago ("Magic" tour, my third Bruce show overall) but the memories never fade, baby...

#2. Have sex - DONE

Also, one I knocked off the list about ten years ago. I actually did not have sex until I was out of High School. I made a decision early that I did not want to be stuck in fucking Horicon, WI any longer than I had to be. Most of my friends were quite a bit older than me. Each one was out of High School and had stuck around almost entirely because they "fell in love" (such that that can happen in High School) with a girl. "The easiest way to fall in love with a girl is to sleep with her," is what I was told. OK, simple enough. No sex, no falling in love, nothing to stop me from leaving Horicon and then Wisconsin when I wanted to. Needless to say, within weeks of being out of High School and moving to Madison, WI I checked this one off the list. Almost made me not want to leave Wisconsin (didn't know what I was missing...), but "Born to Run" and Woody Guthrie's "Bound for Glory" book wouldn't let me stay for anything. Plus, while I was in San Francisco for a month getting settled so she could then join me, that girl started fucking someone else... So, that made the decision a little easier as well.

#3A. Move to New York City - DONE

#3B. Play folk music at the Gaslight - n/a

#3C. Play folk music at the Cafe Wha? - DONE

OK, so I had to compromise, albeit only a little, on this one. After a few more months in San Francisco and a quick 9 months in Seattle, it was time. I had to go New York. I couldn't wait any longer. After all, Bob Dylan was signed and making albums at age 22 and I was soon turning 20. Time waits for no man. So, I missed the Gaslight by almost 40 years BUT the Wha? was still going strong. BUT, shit! They have a house band (who are fucking unbelievably amazing, by the way) and rarely host any other music. This could be a problem...

Maybe I'll tell the full story one day, but needless to say I got my buddy Jon (the crazy talented man WHO CAN BE FOUND HERE) and I a spot on an up-and-coming industry talent show night. Let's just say it was not the type of music they were hoping for. No, we weren't supposed to be there anyways, but two guys in boots with acoustic guitars, songs about "rambling" and more harmonica solos than you can shake a stick at, didn't go over well. To Jon's credit, he was good enough to warrant a meeting with the gal (who was affiliated with Sony) who ran the show. I was given no such meeting. Neither Jon nor I had the $10K she wanted to "mentor" us into the business anyways. But needless to say, for one night, and one night only, the Cafe Wha? was filled with folk music in all its glory... And to everyone's dismay... 

 

Anyhow, HERE IS THE VIDEO EVIDENCE (not sure why I decided to play in open D tuning.. Sorry for the flubbed chord as I only learned this song in that key the week of).

#4. Make a Rock N' Roll Record and Release it on Vinyl - DONE

Did that shit, BUY IT HERE. Didn't realize how much of a hassle it is to record to tape and master to vinyl, but Ed Brooks is a genius and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Figured if Ed could make R.E.M. sound good, I'd be OK. Just kidding, but Ed is the best Mastering technician in all the land. Still can't believe he's worked on my albums. I'm truly a blessed man to have done what I've done in my life.

#5. Get a "Thriller" Jacket and honor my second biggest hero, Michael Jackson - DONE

Done and done. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. I will always have the scar on my hand from the injury sustained while rehearsing my shitty versions of "Thriller" moves for this video. I can show it to you if I ever meet you and you give a shit. Some of my earliest memories are of "reenacting" Michael's "Thriller," "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Smooth Criminal," etc. Michael was my hero until I learned of Bruce, then he was my second hero; until I learned of Kanye, who was my #3 favorite hero until I finally bumped him above Bob Dylan. Michael settles in at #4 on my all-time list, which, coincidentally, is my favorite number (Brett Favre anyone?). So, he's got that going for him, which is nice...

Well, this list could go on forever, so I'll skip to the part that relates to the intro:

#27. Go to Disney World - Almost Done

Later this week muthafuckers.

(dictated but not read)

Insomnia and what cures it, for me, at least... aka music. Top 5 albums I fall asleep to...

Figured I'd give you the music right off the fucking bat in case you're one of those people that can listen to music AND do anything else, like read, at the same time. For me, music is a solitary focus only but I hear I'm a little weird with shit like that...

Well, it's Monday night (or whenever the hell it is when you are reading this), so it's time for your weekly dose of ol' Bradley Wik. I found out recently that, apparently, I was the last person on the planet still using two spaces after a sentence while typing, so I'm trying to get used to using only one. Forgive me if I add extra ones here and there. Fucking old habits die hard. I've had to delete three in this short-ass first paragraph already...

But, last week was a fucking weird one for me. I had an enormous fucking blister on my thumb which made it damn near impossible to pick a guitar/record (bourbon helps with the pain), I tried to start going through and mixing some of the recordings I made last week only to find they were, for all intents and purposes, unusable, which pissed me off to no fucking end, so I just wanted to relax and watch some TV but football is gone, baseball hasn't yet started, so I binged seasons 5 and 6 of "VEEP" and fell in love with Jonah and Richard Splett all over again. Which was nice, for a while. Then, I had an Asperger's attack/breakdown over getting a new tattoo because I really wanted to get it this weekend but I am going to Disney World in less than a week and was paranoid about it getting infected on the water rides. But, I had already made up my mind to go get it which means I spoiled almost two entire days pouting/freaking out that I didn't get to do what I had already planned on doing even though it was entirely my fault as I had completely forgotten I was going to Disney World so soon after. It likely would've been fine anyways, but I already don't heal particularly quickly (bourbon doesn't help in this case) and generally have shit luck with vacations in the first place. It literally only delayed the new tattoo by a couple weeks but Asperger's is a bitch sometimes and loves to fuck up my days with nonsense...

But, what I really wanted to talk about today was insomnia and my top five albums to fall asleep to. So, no reason to keep blathering on about nonsensical things when I could be blathering on about semi-nonsensical things...

Insomnia and me

I think it started shortly after I turned 18. I had spent the past 9 years sharing a room with my little brother who was (and still is!) 8 1/2 years younger than me. You'd think it would be a bummer for a high schooler to share a room with an 8 year old but it was actually the opposite. My brother and I got along swimmingly (and still do). Of course, it's much easier for me to get along with someone who has excellent (and very similar) taste in music, movies, television and video games. We hung out a lot of the time and I had control of the stereo and TV, so he didn't really have many other options, but, he definitely could've hated listening to Outkast's "Stankonia" on repeat while playing NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast for life muthafuckers!) for hours on end. But, he didn't. He even choreographed one of his first karate test routines to the fucking White Stripes. I think he was 7 at the time. What can I say, kid's a badass and he knows good shit when he hears it.

Leaving home was semi-traumatic as I crave structure and routine. Leaving was the opposite (though, ironically, leaving/moving would become my new routine so staying in one place became the difficult thing) as it forced me to sleep in some place new, eat new food (food I had to cook), go to new stores, a new job, and move into a shitty, college rental house. It turned out to be amazing and I could've lived there forever with Jake and Quinn, but life had other plans for us all.  But, just uprooting everything was jarring for a kid with Asperger's. It didn't sit right and sleeping became difficult. I moved from Horicon, WI, population 3000 to a busy street in Madison, WI, population a billion as far as I was concerned. The street noise, which would eventually become my friend, was such a shock that I couldn't tune it out enough to sleep. For the first month or so in Madison, I think I slept maybe 3 or 4 hours a night. 9 years was a long normal that suddenly disappeared for me. After the initial Asperger's shock wore off, I needed to normalize it. Jake and Quinn listened to music (quite loudly, I might add) as they dozed off. It dawned on me that I could use music, my one true love, to help me adjust to new surroundings. My routine could be the wonderful music that made me feel human, comforted me and gave my life meaning. You see, with Asperger's and its lack of empathy, "human-ness" was hard to come by. I always felt an outsider, a stranger to even myself and someone who didn't understand how other humans interacted and felt so comfortable amongst each other. I didn't  get it. They clearly understood or had something I did not. But music bridged that gap. Suddenly, I could surround myself with people who had the same obsession I did. It made me feel connected to the rest of the world in a way I didn't before. It helped me understand how humans made contact amongst one another in a friendly way. I needed it to survive. Now, it could help me achieve one of the most basic human needs for survival: sleep. For years, I couldn't sleep without music playing. I may not use it every night anymore (as most nights I pass out on the couch watching TV after a handful of bourbons), but when I do, it puts me out like a baby. I can hit the sack and within 20 minutes be sleeping like a baby with the right record. Which brings me to...

My top 5 albums to fall asleep to

 

Honorable mentions: Jeff Buckley - Grace, Portishead - Eponymous, The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

Jeff Buckley's music has helped me in innumerable ways throughout my life, including saving it on more than one occasion, so it can occasionally be difficult to listen to passively enough to fall asleep. I've used it to soothe my soul on so many nights, but it's also kept me awake with its beauty on more than one occasion (whether by its pure musical magic or the memories it stirs in me) so I have to relegate it to honorable mention in this case.

Portishead is wonderful late night music. Unfortunately, it's also wonderful late night music for certain, R-rated things as well. So, it can't be counted on 100% to send me to slumberland as it sometimes sends me to excited land, which is not conducive to falling asleep.

The Gaslight Anthem's '59 Sound is like comfort food. It's not the most original, complex, inventive or brilliant album but it knows what it is and it does it fucking well. It's punk, Springsteen, storytelling and about as on the nose as a fucking handjob, but sometimes that's all you need.

Now, to the good stuff:

5. Palace Brothers - Days in the Wake

A record recommended to me by the kind (and musically-genius) folks at B-Sides records in Madison, WI. I came in for the Bonnie Prince Billy "I See a Darkness" record and they brought up his past projects and said I'd probably love this. They were right as fuck. I spent 6 months writing songs that could fit on the sequel to this album because it inspired me so much. The rawness, the honesty, the sometimes ridiculousness of it all were so beautiful. When I drink, I always play "I am a Cinematographer" and "I Send My Love to You" without fail. Just gorgeously raw music.

4. Neil Young - After the Gold Rush

 

This album isn't my favorite Neil Young album, it's not even in my top 3 (well, can be #3 depending on my mood and the day), but it has an effect on me that I cannot fully describe. It's calming and numbing (in a good way) and gets me out of my head in a way that is wonderful. I'll also never forget the night I drank, well, more than my fair share of wine and watched Arrested Development reruns until 3:30 am. I finally went to bed but needed to wind down from all the laughter. I popped this record on but being drunk, wasn't aware of the apparent volume. Turns out, my downstairs neighbor didn't appreciate the late night/early morning Neil Young; except maybe she did as she wrote me a letter saying to keep it down late at night unless I give her a call and invite her up for my late night "parties." If I wasn't with someone at the time, I probably would have. Other than that, I never had any interaction with my neighbors at that Portland apartment, though it was one of the last apartments that allowed smoking since it "had let people do it for so long, they couldn't ask them to stop now. Besides, they had extensive renovations to do (read: the apartments were shitty) so they'll deal with it then."

3. Joanna Newsom - Y's

This is such a strange album for me. My Asperger's brain struggles to figure this out. I don't have any clue how to make music like this and I keep trying to figure out how this came into existence. To me, it's like a crazy math riddle that I don't know the formula to. But, I love it. I love it so much. This vinyl is one of my most well-worn/loved. The CD didn't leave my Sony boombox for months and months on end when it first entered. I listened to this album incessantly on my iPod on the train to work when I live in NYC. Joanna has played some of my favorite live shows that I've ever seen. She truly is an artist in every sense of the word, and if you don't own the vinyl version of this, by God, sell your fucking children (or $20 or $30 worth of something else) to get it. You won't regret it. But, make sure you also get the CD so you can listen as you doze off to "Monkey and Bear." I rarely make it past "Monkey and Bear" when I play this late at night.

2. Bjork - Vespertine

"Homogenic" is far too upbeat and wonderous to fall asleep to. No, this is the album you need to whisk you away into a magical night of slumber and dreams. The majestic tone of this album set against those jagged but hypnotic soundscapes are just too much to fathom. Unlike "Y's" where my brain is trying to figure out the math, this just breaks my brain and it shuts off, in the best possible way when you're trying to turn off the day. If I make it to "Undo," I can't help but let a tear slip despite my eyes being tightly closed. If I could ever make a song like that (or anything on this album) I would immediately retire knowing I'd never achieve such heights again. Luckily for us, Bjork wasn't done reaching heights.

1. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire

This album puts me to sleep in the sadness, most nostalgic way possible. Back in Madison, WI when I was just figuring out the nocturnal magic of music, this was one of the first albums that lulled me to sleep. The reminiscing of high school times, which I was fresh out of, was too much, set against the pop-electronic rock concept while handing off singing duties/doing duets with an equally talented female was something I always wanted to dabble in. This album has all the teenage emotions a young person can handle: fleeting love, anger, lust, sadness, the feeling that somehow this is the best it will ever get, ambition, hope, youthful regret, the false permanence, underage drunkenness, etc. This album is likely not as good as I think it is (one of the 10-15 greatest albums ever made) but it means that much to me. I don't know why. It's just one of those time and place albums that is now so embedded and such a sense memory for all the emotions and experiences that time represents that it is indelibly a part of me. There's a sadness and a joy and a comfort in that. I like that this album keeps all that for me. I don't have to forget. I don't have to carry it with me. This album takes care of all that for me. I just have to place it, close the lid and let the lasers do the rest. That little piece of plastic keeps all that shit at a distance but within reach. God bless it. Thank you Stars for the countless nights that I've enjoyed sleep when I otherwise couldn't. It's a blessing and I cannot repay you enough for what you've given me. I once collapsed at work from lack of sleep, but then I found this album and it literally changed my life. Only a small number of records have done that and these sad, reminiscing kids from Canada did it. Congratulations. I'll probably die with this record on. Or "Born to Run" or "Bold as Love" or "Blood on the Tracks" or "Tonight's the Night" or "Grace" but it's crazy "Set Yourself on Fire" is even in that conversation...

(dictated but not read)

stars set yourself on fire.jpg

Tommy Wiseau, you sick genius... aka how did I get sucked into this? Also, haircuts are the worst. Am I right?

I did one of my least favorite things today: I got a haircut. I know that for some people they don’t mind getting a haircut; hell, they even enjoy it! But, alas, that is not I. My Asperger’s will not let me enjoy it. Why? Because I have a very hard time allowing people to touch my head, and I rarely like the haircuts I get because often I am too anxious about people about to touch my head that I give little direction and hope for the best. I’d like to think I’m not too picky, but it turns out I just hate the whole experience so much that however my hair comes out typically angers me since I had to go through this horrible process to get it there. Plus, I’m just fucking weird when it comes to my hair. I love to have it long, except I don’t. It’s always falling in my face and I have to use so much product to keep it away from my eye holes. But it does look good, so I often keep it long and complain about it constantly. Then, if I cut it short it feels better but I just wish it was long again. All of which is to say I’m very Asperger’s neurotic about my head/hair. The only time I accept people touching it is during sex or the run-up to sex. I’m generally a little too otherwise distracted and there isn’t enough blood left in my head to care, or something, I guess. Who knows? But outside of fucking, stay away from my head. Which is why it’s such a mind-fuck to get a haircut and let a stranger touch my head. I sometimes feel bad because not only am I normally terrible at small talk but bring in my head-touching anxiety and I normally sit in the chair silent trying not to make eye contact with anyone. I try to tip well to compensate for my strange behavior during the actual deed but I’ve started just warning the hair stylist ahead of time that I will probably seem very jovial and talkative until my head is being touched at which point I will clam up and try to get it over with by focusing on anything but what’s happening. This is the not so fun part of having Asperger’s… But, I did find a place in Portland (Brick and Mortar) and a stylist (Anna or Hannah, I think? Or something along those lines) who has given me my favorite two haircuts probably ever, so that’s good. But still, fuck Asperger’s sometimes…

But enough of that drudgery when shit like “The Neighbors” exists in the world:

Seriously, what the fuck? Tommy Wiseau is the now-infamous director of the worst movie ever (“The Room”) satirized in the recent film “The Disaster Artist.” That movie is crazy funny (if you love weird, cheesy movies) but this is next level shit. You can watch the WHOLE SERIES HERE ON YOUTUBE but I would warn you to take it slow with this as I’m not sure what would happen if you watched it all in one night. This shit will fuck with you and your perceptions of what television is and can be. Tommy Wiseau is at his most Tommy Wiseau, even actively showing/peddling his very own underwear line throughout the series. If somehow you made it through more than a few minutes of that, you will indeed concur, “what a day…”

In music this week, I rediscovered a song I used to perform live from time to time if I was bored or wanting to give the audience a very special treat: “THE MARINER’S REVENGE SONG” BY THE DECEMBERISTS. What a shanty tune! I love it. That whole “Picaresque” record was awesome and they put on some of my all-time favorite live shows, including a Thanksgiving show where they chased a man dressed up in a turkey suit through the audience while playing… fuck, some song. Can’t remember. But it was good times…

In Bradley’s random vinyl selection of the week (which I just invented yesterday when I was bored and wanted to do something besides watch TV now that I’ve finished “Russian Doll” and found out “Nailed It! Mexico” does not have Nicole Byer on it…), where I close my eyes and pull out an actual vinyl album (yes, hipsters, people actually play these things, not just collect them to look cool) to revisit. This week it was: Neil Young’s “On the Beach.” Not my favorite Neil Young record, that honor goes to “Tonight’s the Night,” but “REVOLUTION BLUES” rocks pretty fucking hard and “MOTION PICTURES” is pretty fucking fantastic. It’s so resigned and sentimental and hopeful and everything you’d want out of a Neil Young song, including a harmonica solo. I wonder what kind of harmonica Neil plays on this album. I used to be a Hohner blues man but have slowly moved into enemy (read: Lee Oskar) territory with their harps. If anyone knows the answer, comment or hit me up via the contact page. The one thing I will say is the Lee Oskar harmonica rack is a bit more stiff in the springs than it needs to be. But it works well when you get it in; that’s what she said…

Anyways, if you haven’t watched “Russian Doll,” quit your job immediately and watch the whole series in one sitting while eating almost an entire a Screamin’ Sicilian Mambo Italiano, drinking almost an entire bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed and falling asleep/passing out after four episodes only to wake up and rally at 2:45 AM Elliott Smith style to finish the series. I’ve heard that’s a good way to do it. I wouldn’t know, but that’s what an inside source told me in a dream, or in real life. Or, it was me. Fuck. I hate having “Inception” style dreams within dreams… Or am I in one now?

(dictated but not read)

Taxes, Music Videos and Albums... aka the highs and lows of music

Now that it’s everyone’s favorite time of the year, tax time, I’ve been reflecting on what I spent my money on to further my music career in 2018. 2018 was a strange year. So was 2017… But that’s another story. 2018 was the year I made not one but two MUSIC VIDEOS, which is by far my best memory of 2018. If I could make a music video for every song I write, I would. But alas, they’re also quite expensive (even with our director taking on the duties, ha!, I said “doody,” of production, casting, editing, and lighting supervisor/camera work on “Luckey.” Kevin Pietila is an amazing man) and require an immense amount of pre-production, scheduling and luck (who thought it would rain in July?). I’m not sure I’m the best actor (though, I did do a pretty good zombie, I must say…) but I know I had a blast throughout both shoots. It’s been the most fun I think I’ve had making something in years…

Albums are stressful. They’re not fun to make (at least in my experience) as they are so personal, require so much energy, thought, time (in rehearsals leading up to, actual recording time, mixing, stressing about the mixes until your ears fall off and you’ve picked apart everything only to realize you should trust your mixing engineer more since he’s good at this and I have Meniere’s Disease and don’t always hear things accurately, stressing about which songs to put on vs. leave off, stressing about the order of the tracklist, the album art, the weight of the vinyl for pressing and pretty much everything else…) and, again, money. No album has truly sounded 100% like I had hoped going in. Though I believe that to be an unachievable goal. Each one has “felt” the way I intended but nothing can ever be perfect, even when the goal is imperfection like on “In My Youth, I’m Getting Old…”

I’m doing something no musician should ever do. It’s bound to drive you insane, which has started I confess. It’s a bonafide way to make you hate yourself, question everything you do and take way too long… But, I’m writing, recording, producing, mixing and art directing my next couple albums. I want to control everything start to finish (except mastering because I’d be wasting my time and energy since Ed Brooks can make my music sound eons, I know, a measure of time, not quality, but still, eons better than I could ever even dream of) and finally make something exactly how I want to. I’ve started and stopped recording the songs three times now, each time restarting with some new songs and new sounds. I think I finally have the group of songs and the sounds where I want them and am ready to do it for a fourth and final time. It’ll be a record for those who suffer from depression, loneliness, have Asperger’s or some combination of those three. No, you don’t have to experience those things (and I hope you don’t, except Asperger’s as there are some pretty great upsides since I’m not too far out on the spectrum) to understand and love the record. There are beautiful songs, stories and soundscapes to take in as well. There are also ugly songs, stories and soundscapes to absorb. It’s the first of three self-recorded/produced/mixed albums I have planned, including a project I’ve wanted to do since I was 18, which by the demos has been described as fun-but-depressing-folk-space-pop…

Anyhow, I’m in Phoenix enjoying some time with amazing friends so why the fuck am I still blathering on??

(dictated but not read)

Asperger's and Cornhole... aka sometimes you have to make yourself braindead to sleep...

Sitting here, in Hermiston, OR, contemplating whether I feel motivated to write a new song, I’ve decided to flip channels; a favorite hobby of mine. Sometimes, having Asperger’s, I paralyze myself with too many thoughts, too many ideas, too many things I’d like to do, just too many words, honestly, that all I can do is watch TV. TV is the only way to turn my brain off. I like to mindlessly scour the stations for something interesting, or at least, less “less interesting” than what’s on the previous channel. What I’ve found tonight is… Cornhole Championships live from Jacksonville, FL (which seems like an oddly appropriate place for this…). Yep, we live in a country where people can make a living (God bless ‘em for this) throwing beanbags at a board with a hole in it some 30 feet away or whatever it is. The strange thing is, it was fucking captivating. I’ve been watching for the past hour and I’m sad it’s almost over. I can’t explain it other than it’s a quick, simple game that reminds me of growing up in Wisconsin. I know they play it everywhere but I grew up in Wisconsin so fuck it, that’s what it reminds me of. I even have a mini cornhole game at my apartment for when I feel bored/overwhelmed/anxious, like I do right now. I hate feeling like I’m simultaneously doing too much and not enough. I can’t explain it. Most small business owners (yes, being a musician is a business) would probably be able to commiserate. But, I often think myself into a self-deprecating, depressed, manic, walking-dead-like state and I don’t know how to stop. I’ve begun to realize when I’m doing it but I haven’t found the right answer to “un-stuck” myself. I’ve been able to recognize and modify my behavior with other Aspergersy things like: talking incessantly/saying the same things over and over about the same things (usually something I hate/love, like the state of the music industry and Open Mike Eagle), getting panicked by large crowds of people (unless they’re around because of me), not being able to do the same things the same way (like trying to shop at a new grocery store and setting down my basket and walking out since it’s hard to find the same 12 items I always buy), having a difficult time looking someone in the eye while I talk with them, etc. But this self-overwhelm is not an easy thing to overcome. Yes, therapy would help but I want to find someone I can work with for years to come and so I’ll wait for now, as I won’t live in Portland for too much longer. It was hard to even get on here and write this. Well, never mind, the cornhole championship tournament thing is done. A couple white guys beat a couple other white guys and four white guys beat four other white guys for the two and four person finals respectively. Oddly, they where earbuds the whole time. Seems like I’d rather play off the crowd than concentrate on a drunken pre-football game, but, then again, I’m a musician and I love the crowds. The energy warms my soul and feeds my delusions of being more important than I probably am. But, then again, I’ve had people tell me how much my music has affected their lives so maybe I have served a larger purpose and I’m grateful/honored to fill that role. Music has given me so much (read: everything) so I’m so excited to give back whatever I can to world, in regards to music and understanding of our own lives. It’s the highest compliment I can ever receive and I will always be overwhelmed by hearing it. It makes me want to write even more songs, write more personal songs, expand the sounds I use to record to reach new audiences, write “poppier” songs to make them more accessible to those who may not love my style of music but not sacrifice quality of storytelling, spend all my money making more AMAZING MUSIC VIDEOS to maximize appeal to the casual music fans who could use some more substantial music than what they’ll get on the radio or listening to the same things over and over on Spotify; and then I feel like I need to do even more things and what’s on ESPN2 now??? Oh, college gymnastics tournament. I’ll take it. The same way I cannot figure out how Jeff Buckley sings so heavenly, I cannot figure out how these girls defy gravity and the limitations of the human body to accomplish incredible things. I feel as though I’ve defied my own human body to create things I shouldn’t be able to with music/sound as I was given zero musical talent/human insight to begin this career with. Not sure my mental anguish compares to their physical but it’s probably close.. But that’s more than likely due to self-inflicted wounds. Who knows? But I don’t like thinking of these things… I think I’ll see if I can get enough wifi in the hotel to watch a few “Corner Gas” episodes so I can fall asleep…

(dictated but not read)

yep, this is a real sport on ESPN with announcers and everything.  yep…

yep, this is a real sport on ESPN with announcers and everything. yep…

is it the 90's or am I just drunk and flipping through youtube... aka... yes drunk youtube is the best...

Wanna go down a youtube rabbit hole with me? Too late… seems like there are better things to do besides watch:

“Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s live on Countdown

“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies (canadiens have an immaculate sense of humor)

seems like a 90’s night: “Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes

(that shit was so fucking amazing to experience for the first time and is pretty much just as amazing to experience like fucking 20 years later…)

“Hard to Explain” by the Strokes (what the fuck? Us kids didn’t know Television so this is the most amazing thing we had heard like this)

speaking of that shit: “Marquee Moon” by Television

speaking of bands influenced by Television: “You Only Get What You Give” by the New Radicals

the 90’s brought me to this, one of my favorites: “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai

and this: “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim

and this: “Protect Ya Neck” by Wu-Tang

by the way, “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” is amazing. It’s on Netflix, just sayin…

this is also from my childhood: “Jump” by Kris Kross

man, I miss Starter Jackets…

and with that same sample from “Paul’s Boutique,” “I Missed the Bus” by Kris Kross

and we go to a random scottish girl I have a mad crush on: “The Mother We Share” by Chvrches

“We Sink” by Chvrches at the Doug Fir in Portland, OR (I love playing the Doug Fir but fuck Portland)

“Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio

When was the last time you watched “Dangerous Minds?” It’s fucking awesome. Michelle Pfeiffer is so gorgeous and talented, I could watch it over and over…

Speaking of the 90’s, remember the Offspring: “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”

Oh yeah, the Offspring used to be pretty good: “Self-Esteem”

I only knew my biological father til I was 6 years old (and vaguely remember the physical/emotional abuse he put upon me, my mom and sister) so this song always hit me right in the fucking solar plexus: “Father of Mine” by Everclear (another Portland band) but I never heard from my father for the rest of my life (supposedly, he’s still alive in Phoenix. So Fuck Phoenix)

This autoplayed after the last song, so here you go: “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger

How many bourbons are recommended for a Monday night? 5? Sounds right.

Here’s the final song for tonight: “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon

Not sure how this popped up on my list but fuck yeah, the best music video ever… Now, I’m happy. That doesn’t happen often so I fucking love this…

(dictated but not read)

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Songs of the month... aka Women are fucking awesome; and so is bourbon...

As I sit here, trying to decide if I like Buffalo Trace bourbon and where it might fit in my family of bourbons (topped by Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace’s older, rye-ier brother), I realize that I cannot stop watching “Corner Gas;” that quirky, Canadian “Friends”-like show, except all the characters kind of hate-love each other. Brent’s mom is easily the worst character in the show, making her husband, Oscar, seem palatable by nature. Besides Brent, the main character, my favorite character is Hank, the dumb sidekick. He rarely is mean, cruel, sarcastic, vengeful, plotting or any of the other adjectives that describe literally everyone else. Anyways, maybe I do like Buffalo Trace as didn’t I already recommend “Corner Gas” on Amazon Prime? And when you’re finished with its 6 season, watch “Spaced.” My god, what an amazing show from the guys who did “Shaun of the Dead” (watch for some callbacks in “Shaun”), one of my favorite movies and my personal inspiration for my zombie character in the music video for “Let’s Go Out Tonight” along with “Thriller,” obviously. Wait, what am I talking about?



The past few weeks have been very trying for ‘ol Bradley Wik. I’m not sure what the root cause is but I’m sure it’s some degree of being back home in Portland, OR more the past month or the lack of motivation I’ve had to write/record new shit. It’s hard to describe what depression feels like but I’d say it feels sort of like be hungover everyday, with slightly less headaches. The malaise, the feeling of worthlessness, the stomach aches, the self-critique of being a lazy piece of shit, the counting down of hours until you can effectively put on your PJ’s, grab a glass of bourbon, lay in bed and watch reruns of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” until midnight then switching to BET for reruns of “Martin” until you pass out from exhaustion/booze. I always wonder how much should be attributed to the Asperger’s, how much to just plain ‘ol depression or how much to the lack of sleep/booze (Kanye advocated for the latter) over the years. Sound fun, right?



In good news, as I mentioned previously, I have my typewriter back in working order. It’s a Royal Quiet De Luxe (in case you give a shit about such things). It gives me such joy to peck away as I work through my backlog of songs that aren’t typed out yet. It’s been amazing to go back and read some of the lyrics from my folk songs. They’re equally entertaining and ridiculous and semi-autobiographical, somehow. I posted some a couple weeks ago, check it out HERE. I love to sit with a glass of bourbon (and sometimes a cigarette) and clack those keys. It’s a weirdly satisfying experience and a fun way to wallow in nostalgia.



Excuse the shitty quality (it’s not mine) but I couldn’t find a better clip of ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS EVER ON FAMILY GUY.



As far as music goes this week, I’ve been combing back through old Spotify playlists and here are the highlights:



“No Country” - The Jezabels



I’m not sure what to say other than this song get’s me misty eyed every time I put it on. The guitar flourishes sound like something I would write 99 times out of 100. I love trills and repeating lines. God bless Asperger’s, it makes music like math; which I also love.



“Antabus” - Makthaverskan



I think I spelled that right, jesus. Pure fun, and sadness. Incredible. “Fuck You. Fuck You.”



“We are what you say” - Dead Sara



Jesus fuck, what a fucking tune. Got to see Dead Sara not too long ago and motherfucker what a show. Incredible. I was fucking entertained from minute one until the high fives as she ran through the crowd at the end. Just fuck yeah.



“Cost of the Cold” - Joan Shelley



Fuck me sideways. Few people can pull off what Joan does on this song. I feel like I’m living in a different world while I listen to this. That’s the biggest compliment I can give. If a song can create an entire world where I can reside, without connection to my own reality for four minutes and not even realize that I’ve left. I hate coming back…



“Teeth” - Lisa Hannigan



There was a time (maybe I still do now upon revisiting) in which I led the coalition of those who found Lisa Hannigan to be the most attractive woman on the planet due to her combination of talent and beauty. This is such a Damien Rice-like tune that I can’t help but weep when I listen to it. I could listen to Lisa sing all day, every day; and look at her much the same. There’s a delicate pain and reactive anger in this tune I can’t get enough of. Not sure why I like that kind of thing, but boy, do I.



“Irene” - Courtney Marie Andrews



This song once saved my life. True story. I was driving back to Portland, OR from Boise, ID after a show and got caught in a snowstorm just outside Baker City, OR. I-84 went straight from drive-able to a fucking shitshow. I was sliding all over the road and could barely see. Of course, I didn’t have chains (growing up in WI, the city/state actually takes care of the roads and salts/clears the fucking roads). I was trapped between a couple semi-trucks so I could slow down or speed up too much as we weaved through the mountainous region, complete with various cliffs (remember: I will die by driving over a cliff. I’ve dreamt it so many times I know it to be true. It is my worst fear, but also a reality; but not on this day) and treacherous curves. Right before I got to this stretch of highway (which lasted about 100 miles and nearly 6 hours) I had set my Spotify to repeat on this song. Once I hit the rough patch, every time I reached to change the song, my car would swerve or I’d lose traction to remind me to fucking leave it be. I decided I would not go off the cliff or get run over by the semi-trucks who seemed intent on driving much faster than me but with far less control by focusing on this song and this song only until I was back into safety. Courtney Marie Andrews, without this song, I probably would’ve freaked out or made a driving mistake which could have led to my demise. Thank you.



“Ultrafluorescent” - Oshwa



Either I’m drunk or Squarespace’s spellcheck is fucking awful. It keeps flagging words I spell right motherfucker. I don’t get it.. But regardless, I can’t figure out why I like this song so much. I just do. I just do.



“Breakfast of Champions” - Rainer Maria



For those under 30, this is what the music of our teenage years sounded like. Perfectly beautiful, rough, melodic, angry, sad, hopeful and named after Kurt Vonnegut Jr. books. Brilliant. And one of the few bands from Wisconsin that kicked fucking ass. They were perfect for a moment and a place. And that moment is me and that place is wherever the fuck I am.



Just noticed every song is sung and/or written by women. Seems like I have a preference for my vocal presentations, songs and musical sensibilities. Anyone who thinks women don’t kick as much ass as (or more than) men can go fuck themselves. Just listen to these tunes and tell me different. Some of the best shit I’ve heard in the past couple years. I love it and I hope you enjoy these tunes. I don’t actually. I couldn’t care less, actually. God bless Asperger’s. God Bless Me. I think I’ve had enough pours to officially like Buffalo Trace bourbon by now. God Bless America.



(dictated but not read)

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Lonesome Crowded West aka... why the fuck am I still here?

I would spend my time writing a blog right now but I’m watching THIS DOCUMENTARY ON MODEST MOUSE’S “LONESOME CROWDED WEST” instead. I’m no longer a Pitchfork fan myself (though they did help me find artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Bonnie Prince Billy, the Flaming Lips, Cocteau Twins, etc.) but this is a good piece of work. Mostly it’s just old clips and a few new interviews but I’m obsessed as “Lonesome Crowded West” is one of my all-time favorite records to the point where my 8 year old brother would sing “Shit Luck” repeatedly as we played Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. back in the day. Sorry got to finish this shit. Note to self: I love everything Modest Mouse. They’re the reason I ended up spending a year and a half in Seattle (back when my rent was $500/month for a spot in Belltown. A pimp, a literal pimp, moved into my apartment after me and got arrested six months later for prostitution. But I loved that apartment. I could look at the Space Needle and the Monorail. The Monorail once broke down right in front of my fifth floor apartment and I opened the window and serenaded them with songs while they sat there for hours. I bet they loved it. Who doesn’t love Bob Dylan covers while you’re distraught, hungry and angry for paying to take a tram a mile or so that you could have just walked in the fucking first place? I also famously almost murdered someone there, see THESE BLOG POSTS) and I loved every minute of it. I took a bus (I didn’t own a car) out to Issaquah just to see it since I had heard/read so much about it but didn’t know what it felt like to be there. It was… fine… But I loved every minute of it. It was all more interesting than growing up in Horicon, WI where there is one traffic light which is only there to help keep the shift change at the John Deere factory from being too disruptive to the town since half of it worked there. The other half was at one of the six bars in the town of 3000 people. Now I’m just rambling when I should be watching that damn “Lonesome Crowded West” thing. Fuck…

Want to hear 18 year old Bradley Wik sing some fucking songs? aka being 18 and depressed is so much more hopeful/hopeless... aka 18 year olds are sooo dramatic...

I was bored/drunk and kicking around my old iTunes and found these. Oh, and I thought it was fucking Monday until about two hours ago when I was told that was not the case. So, sorry this is two days late but I didn’t know until two hours ago so fuck it. Stupid drinking holidays messing with my days… Anyhow, back in the day when I was a teenager, before I had status and before I had a pager, or something like that, I was a young ambitious singer/songwriter. I thought every feeling I felt was important and worth relaying to the world. Then I hit my Bob Dylan phase where I wrote songs that began with lines like:


There’s a black moonlight tear across her pale face

but the girl holding an iris feels oddly out of place

and the son of a preacher brings only disgrace

to his uncle selling honesty from a jar


Sooo… You know…


But, before that, I was a baby faced kid who typed out his lyrics on a royal quiet de luxe. Wait, I still do that… Shit. Well, I was baby faced and naive, so that counts for something. Some of the songs I wrote I still enjoy, including the two I will be sharing with you. The performance’s aren’t always brilliant and I’ve always had more confidence than skill as a singer, which shines through in these recordings. But, there is something here. An energy I love and don’t always have these days. I used to write like five or six songs per month (though most were shite/forgettable) but some weren’t terrible. You may think these are rough (they are) but I hope you can at least take in the emotion, the fears, the naivete, the conviction, the narcissism, the hope, the despair, the raw sexuality (OK maybe not that one) of these tunes. I haven’t heard these in years and have no reason to share them other than the fact that I’m drunk on a Monday/Wednesday (thanks New Years!) or whatever the fuck it is and I’m nostalgic. Anywho…


SONG FOR GOD


A song written about/for my first real girlfriend. Or at least about my first real pussy, or as it’s otherwise known: God. Just kidding (kind of) but reading back over the lyrics, I’m surprised I was as honest as I was. My favorite line:


There’s a picture on her arm that’s only a scar

a reminder of times when faith wasn’t all that she had left to dream of


She would get tattoos to cover the cutting scars she had. I would only later (and for different reasons) learn about that. I’m about to get my first tattoo to cover some scars from my bouts of dissociative behavior. Anyhow, this song makes me feel like I’m 18 and depressed which is so much more hopeful than being like 30 and depressed. Not sure why. I guess it’s probably more depressing to be young and sad than experienced and sad. Who knows… Speaking of…


too happy to ever be anything (a symphony that has never begun)


One of the most raw and honest songs I’ve ever written. I’m clearly struggling with my recently found (then lost) religion. Had a friend whose dad was a preacher. I really enjoyed his sermons until he said that all music should be in praise of God or it’s sinful. He lost me and I never felt comfortable with organized religion again. I desperately wanted something to believe in but realized it was music and not religion. Humans aren’t meant to interpret God, unless through pure beauty and art. Music is how I hear/know God and always be. Don’t get me started on Jesus, or else risk a long tirade about the absurdity of the new testament… Thank you for not getting me started. Anyways, listen to the songs and enjoy this rare peek into the very young and inexperienced and raw world of 18 year old Bradley Wik. Because I know you all give a shit… Well, I do, so fuck it..

(dictated but not read)

Titles and shit... aka I FUCKING LOVE OPEN MIKE EAGLE

Sorry I missed all y’all last week but it’s Christmastime and shit is busy. But, Jesus Fuck listen to this:

Like fucking seriously. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, stop listening to this. I think I broke my spotify by playing this on repeat for almost a week straight. My recommendations got all fucked up. On Friday, I was listening to this song and having a one man dance party for (no joke) three hours straight. God bless Asperger’s sometimes. I could have a heroin addiction instead of a music addiction, so it could be worse. Cheaper but worse. I guess all I’m trying to say is fucking listen to Open Mike Eagle. I remember someone telling me to check this guy out years ago and because I have… squirrel… Wait, what was I talking about?

Styx and Canadien Comedies... aka what a week

Jesus fuck I’m tired. Have all y’all seen “Corner Gas?”

If you haven’t (and are subscribed to Amazon Prime. Then again, who isn’t these days?) then you should check that motherfucking shit out. It’s my favorite “New Zealand new” show (aka new to me). It is a Canadian comedy about a small, small town. It’s comfortingly hilarious for someone who grew up in small-town Wisconsin. Go Dog river. If I had more to say this week, I would. But, I don’t. I’m exhausted as fuck. Thanks Vegas. Ended up even, so that’s a win. Would’ve bet on football had I been there last Sunday, so I’m glad I wasn’t. Though, would’ve bet against the Packers last week and for them this week, so I would’ve won. But, then again, they all say that when they lay no money down… Go Pack Go!! Support no matter what. That’s my job as a fan/owner and I’ll do it til I die. Wait, this local vodka sucks? The best local vodka is Crater Lake; not going to disparage any other brands (like Cascade Alchemy). I won’t as I “love” Oregon. Oh wait… But, seriously, Crater Lake’s hazelnut vodka is crazy delicious. Fuck, I love hazelnuts. Clearly I’m tired. I’m rambling about nothing.

My song of the week is:

“Renegade” - Styx

Fuck, this song rocks. It’s been stuck in my head all week for… no reason. Just love it. Wish I could sing like this fucker. But, alas, I am who I am. I get to sound sexy and fucked up and he gets to hit all the notes. Trade offs. But, how can you not feel energized by this tune? I can’t answer that as I am all in, balls deep.

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Vegas Baby!

Missed Monday’s post as I was in Vegas. And, if you’re blogging in Vegas, you’re not losing money, drinking too much and smoking in public (just like the good old days…) which would be a waste. Needless to say, I’m still tired/hungover even today so I’d like to introduce what I’ve been listening to when I need that last push at 2am.

Who else but:

Metallica - “Fuel”

Being a child of the mid 90’s, Metallica’s “Reload” was the first album that was released whilst I was an active Metallica fan so it, therefore, became the first Metallica album that was mine; if that makes sense. All the other older albums were already out and beloved but I was a part of this one. Sure, it doesn’t rank in the top 5 for Metallica albums but it was mine and I have fond memories of head-banging to this at middle school dances (because I had bothered the DJ enough to finally give up and play it. Poor guy doing middle school dances in Horicon, WI to a hundred or so horny boys and a hundred or so girls annoyed by our somewhat terrible taste in music as they just wanted to dance and I just wanted to hear the songs I wanted to hear. I slow danced to “November Rain” IN THE YEAR 2000. Seriously. That happened… And, of course, I had Michael Jordan cologne back then, of course. Thanks for making fun of that, Andy…) with my friends while the girls couldn’t run fast enough to the fringes of the dance floor. Then, I’d make sure to get the DJ to play “No Diggity” to get them back out. Strange times. I once orchestrated a walk-out from a dance if the DJ played the “YMCA” which, of course, he did. We only agreed to come back if they played “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica. I loved Metallica, what can I say? Slowly, Guns N’ Roses became my favorite artist (hard to get past some of the really racist shit he says on “G N’R Lies.” I try to always allow for a separation between artist and person but by golly, “One in a Million” is a doozy) then Bob Dylan and then Springsteen which has held until today. But, because of the Asperger’s, I get absurdly obsessed with artists or albums or songs and play them non-stop for months or years on end. I also have to consume everything they’ve ever done, one album at a time. That’s probably why I mark my life by albums as they encompass such a large space in my brain. Who knows? But, I do need another drink to get through. Hair of the dog. By the way, Guns N’ Roses cover of “Hair of the Dog” is amazing. “The Spaghetti Incident?” is truly a document of their brilliance as they plow through some pretty huge hits and murder every one, in the best possible way. They had so much swagger and confidence they could pull anything off, and did, until they imploded. Man… Although, Kurt Cobain baiting Axl at the MTV music awards is still one of the greatest TV moments of all time and shows Kurt’s balls as well. Great artists give no fucks. Jesus, what am I talking about? But, I did learn that the New York, New York hotel does have a pretty legit deli that makes a tasty (albeit a tad stringy) pastrami sandwich. It was so big and full of meat that it reminded me of that old Mitch Hedberg joke about the New York deli and how he orders a sandwich and the guy says “can I get you anything else?” and Mitch says “yeah, a loaf of bread and some other people.” It’s funnier when he tells it. Fuck, I’m rambling. Though, is there really anything else that I do?

(dictated but not read)

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Ummm... Where the fuck were you last week? Fuck you, I was busy too...

Sorry I missed last week. I was in Wisconsin hanging out with my amazing brother and his amazing girlfriend. They live up in Green Bay and we tore that shit up over the weekend. Shout out to Presidente for their habanero chicken, to Glass Nickel for their border to border pizza (insider tip: order beer not bourbon “neat”) and Player 2 in Appleton, WI for having the 4 player Pac-Man (my favorite multiplayer arcade game ever), Area 51, NBA Jam TE, Off-Road and other crazy awesome throwback arcade games. I think I lost at every game that day but you can at least watch me WIN SOME MARIO SPORTS GAMES HERE against the mighty MELON THE FELON on Twitch. I’m happy I could hold my own after all these years and not embarrass myself against my little brother. He’s so much smarter and more talented than me in every way except making music that it’s ridiculous. Well, it’s not really ridiculous, he’s just better. But, luckily, I’m still his older brother which gives me a small advantage when we compete. Someday that will go and I’ll just be older but I’ll take it as long as I can…

So, needless to say, I was having too much fun (and too much beer) to write all y’all last week. I would apologize but I already said “sorry” above and don’t actually give a shit.

I was going to write about the Green Bay Packers and how they saved their season tonight but, unfortunately, they fucking blew it. I know everyone will jump on the fire Mike McCarthy bandwagon which was already picking up steam, but I’d like to offer my two cents. And, since you’re reading this, you probably want my fucking two cents, so here it is: Mike McCarthy is a great football coach but has repeatedly, when the game or season is on the line, trusted his defense over Aaron Rodgers, which means either:

  1. Mike McCarthy is fucking insane

  2. Aaron Rodgers isn’t as good as we think he is

  3. Both Aaron and Mike know that the team sucks and Aaron has no one to throw to regardless

I remember the same “I can’t believe they have only won one Super Bowl” argument with Favre, which, again, was because the teams outside of ‘96 and ‘97 were shit. The difference was that Brett never gave you the opportunity to punt away the game. He would throw the game-winning or game-losing pass himself which is why I always felt he was the superior QB. He rarely put it in the defense or coach’s hands. He was gonna take the win or loss himself. That’s a true leader in my book. I frankly think both Aaron and Brett are prisoners of their own design. They are too good to get coaches or teammates fired so they get saddled with mediocre to bad talent for years. But, in defense of Rodgers, McCarthy has trusted his defense over Rodgers repeatedly since their Super Bowl win. Just think of 2014 against the Seahawks, not going for 2 in 2015 against the Cardinals, and even this year against the Seahawks and Vikings. Maybe the $30M man is good at football… Who knows, he might win you a game or two if you let him… Or maybe he’s not as good as we think. Russell Wilson doesn’t have as good of an offensive line or better receivers but he seems to get it done. Andrew Luck is never out of it no matter how far he falls behind and though he has T.Y. Hilton who is better than any of our WR’s, he doesn’t have much else. Just sayin…

Anyways, to this weeks music… I didn’t keep track of the daily weird song that was stuck in my head but since I was driving about 3 hours a day, I had plenty of time to become re-obsessed with certain songs that I played on repeat for miles and miles and miles and miles. Below are the songs an Asperger’s boy loved while driving past the flat, frozen landscapes for hours on end.

“ANTABUS” - MAKTHAVERSKAN

I just fucking love the lo-fi, weird, emo-punk feel of this tune. It just tugs at my heart-strings in a strange “fuck you” kind of way. There’s a sad, chaotic energy that I can’t get enough of. It’s the perfect winter driving song to get you through those boring ass miles upon miles.

“SET YOURSELF ON FIRE” - STARS

This is without a doubt one of my favorite albums ever. This song popped up on my Spotify “Your Daily Car Mix” and immediately melted my heart. If I could only listen to 10 records for the rest of my life, “Set Yourself on Fire” would be one of them. The title track here is a great summation of what you’ll get on the rest of the record: nostalgia, sadness, hope, sex, awkwardness and beauty. This record could technically be impetus of me marrying my wife as it made me desperately want a female singing partner. I’ve had a few but none have compared until her.

“GRACE CATHEDRAL PARK” - RED HOUSE PAINTERS

Another song off the Spotify “Your Daily Car Mix.” When I lived in San Francisco (in the Tenderloin when it was still a fucking disaster and a horrible, drug-infested neighborhood), I often walked up the hill to Grace Cathedral to sit in awe of its beauty, either inside or out. More often in as the Masonic lodge built of fucking marble and granite across the street freaked me the fuck out. Watching the tourists come in and take pictures and be awed by its immensity and grandeur was a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially given the fact that I had to kick crack heads out of the way to get into my apartment and endure the 3am fire alarms which were only to see if anyone would leave their doors unlocked so they could be robbed. Good times… Grace Cathedral was a respite from all that. It was amazing in the truest sense of the word and gave me a place to be. It’s rare that I felt the touch of God but this place most definitely allowed me that.

“THE GREAT SALT LAKE” - BAND OF HORSES

Nice reference to “the next Omaha.” Saddle Creek records was such a big influence on me growing up. Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Faint, etc. But, I saw Band of Horses open for Iron & Wine and was a fan ever since. I remember this song (in addition to “Funeral,” obviously) from that first show I saw them at in 2005 before they even had an album to sell. There was a magic about them. They loved the same bands I loved (i.e. the Strokes and Iron & Wine) and had a wonderful feel that the Fleet Foxes later stole. There’s a strange comfort that becomes me when I hear this album.

“BLUEBERRY BOAT” - THE FIERY FURNACES

OK, I’m weird. I know this. But, I fucking love this album. Just feel lucky I didn’t recommend all the “Green Typewriters” from “Dusk at Cubist Castle.”

That’s all folks… Dictated but not read.

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This week in Bradley Wik's fucking weird ass head... aka... what songs I've woken up to

Many thanks to all who came (physically and sexually) to the video release party last Friday Night. I had an amazing time and I’m sure you did too. I could listen to SARA MORRIS and BRIANNE KATHLEEN sing for days on end as they are so talented, and I want to thank them for performing. It was truly a magical night.

But, what I haven’t done in a while is not complain about my life, my depression, my Asperger’s, my Meniere’s disease, the Green Bay Packers or any number of other things, and simply share some music that I have been loving recently. I wanted to make this a bit different than I have in the past and I will be sharing the songs that were stuck in my head throughout the past week.

To clarify, every morning (more or less) I wake up with a very different and very random song stuck in my head. It could be due to a dream, but rarely one I remember. So, to me, they are the weirdest fucking songs and I have almost no clue where they come from. Probably from their penises and vaginas but that’s just a guess based on my life experience. I’ve been tracking these for, oh, I don’t know, only a week as I thought it might be entertaining to someone besides me. These songs seemingly come out of nowhere and may be the most random collection of tunes assembled on a Spotify playlist, which I’ll post below. For the blog, I’ll post the YouTube links as I know not everyone has Spotify, at least I think they don’t, who knows. I’m not sure what the kids do these day so fuck it…

Monday - “There’s Your Trouble” - Dixie Chicks

1998? Where the fuck did this come from? Maybe it was the impending election and some random thoughts back to when they were temporarily hated for going against George W., who in retrospect wasn’t actually that bad… Sadly, I miss W. Between the silliness and Will Ferrell’s impression, those were simpler and better times. Still, it’s funny to watch videos from a time that HD didn’t exist…

Tuesday - “Cars” - Gary Numan

Maybe I drunkenly forgot that I watched THIS ON FAMILY GUY but maybe I was just having an Asperger’s moment and loving Gary Numan (has acknowledged his own Asperger’s). Or, maybe since I had to drive a few hours on Tuesday the song invaded my psyche. Who knows. However it came, it was welcome and kicked off a Gary Numan-centric afternoon listening session which was well enjoyed by me.

Wednesday - “Mellowship Slinky in B Major” - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Told you this list would be all over the place. I don’t control my subconscious and what’s stuck in my head when I wake up, as illustrated by this song which I haven’t listened to or heard in years. And I mean years… Still it fucking rocks.

Thursday - “Can’t Help Falling in Love” - Elvis

My grandma famously (at least in our family) caught a scarf from none other than Elvis when she was both younger and still alive (God rest her amazing soul). She caught it simultaneously with her friend and for the next fifty years they alternated keeping it safe and secure. My grandma passed before her friend and her friend passed the scarf to her one last time before burying her with it. It was an incredibly gracious and emotional gesture at the funeral as my grandma loved nothing more than Elvis. She was a saint and my hero. I’ve met and shook hands with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan but it never would have, or could have, matched her meeting Elvis. Incredible things happen to incredible people. My grandma is the only person I’ve met who writes better letters than me. This blog doesn’t express my letter writing ability, though someday it might. But, she was a genius and I owe a lot to her. I still own her guitar. It was a Gibson lap steel from 1938. My grandmother was an incredible woman, as many grandmothers from that time were.

Friday - “Working for the Weekend” - Loverboy

If you want to hear the song you can skip the first 2:23 as it’s some real jerkoff, egotistical band bullshit. Sidenote: every Saturday while I shit I sing to myself “Everybody’s pooping on the weekend…” Try not to think of that next weekend when you’re pooping and playing on your phone. “Everybody’s pooping on the weekend.”

Saturday - “Rock with You” - Michael Jackson

MJ is my favorite artist ever although this is a pretty random song for me. I’m typically a “Bad” guy as that was the album I grew up with. My mom probably has photos and maybe video of me reenacting MJ’s dance moves from “Bad.” I would say it’s probably unflattering as how could anyone replicate what MJ could do, but then again, what can’t I do? I’m awesome as fuck. Also, MJ is always Michael Jackson to me and not Michael Jordan. He’s great but not MJ great.

Sunday - “My Slow Descent into Alcoholism” - The New Pornographers

Before it even started, I almost ruined my relationship with my wife over the New Pornographers. I was in a terrible place (which I still partially reside) and trying my best to ruin everything. I was supposed to go and meet this beautiful girl at a New Pornographers show. I heard she wasn’t gonna go with me because she liked someone else so I found out where she was going and got super fucked up and met her there while flirting shamelessly and making out with another girl. I eventually ended up puking in the bathroom, passing out in the back of a Subaru and showing up two hours late to work the next day, but somehow my future wife didn’t hate me. I still haven’t defeated my alcholistic roots but I’m much closer than I was back then. I’m still pissed that I missed out on a fight and a free hot dog afterwards. Long story…

Monday - “New York City Cops” - The Strokes

A song cut from the final album, but fucking hell was it was great. I had the early bootleg version which had “New York City Cops” on it so this was drilled into my head by the 1,000 consecutive listens only to be fucking confused by the “official” release. Words, they don’t make sense. But, I love this shit. My band used to rehearse at the same space in NYC as the Strokes did back in the day, aka 1999-2001. Wow, shitty comparison… But, I did get drunk and fuck as many girls or close to it… So, I have that going for me, which is nice.

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Music Video Notes and shit...

So, the Packers shat the bed once again. Just like last week, they had the chance to dethrone one of the best teams in the league and decided to fuck themselves over. I don't want to rant and rave about it (I've done that for at least 4 or 5 hours over the past 24 hours) but it's so goddamn frustrating to give games like this away. It's also weird that our defense is playing better than our offense, which has Aaron Fucking Rodgers. Color me confused as fuck. That's a phrase, right? Anyways, some good/music news...

Many thanks to Adobe and Teardrops (click HERE or on the image below):

And to Americana Daily (click HERE or on the image below):

For supporting the release of our newest music video for “Let’s Go Out Tonight.” Here’s a few thoughts I had about the making of the video:

“Turns out it’s not easy to make a zombie-themed music video.  From finding the right DP and makeup artist to bring our zombie rom-com to life, to finding the perfect “Thriller” looking house, the director and I digging a real grave in someone’s backyard (Oregon dirt is mostly clay with lots of rocks in it…), the 2+ hours of having alcohol-based makeup, since it was still raining in July (God bless Oregon), slathered on my face, neck and hands plus the 1+ hour of washing my skin with alcohol to get it back off, practicing “Thriller” dance moves in my apartment and injuring my hand so badly that I now have a scar for the rest of my life (long story), to all the overnight shoots, it wasn’t your typical music video.  I was buried underground for 20 minutes while we waited for the lighting, effects and weather to all play together for the perfect shot, and I loved it; which was good since that was only the first of many takes…

 

But, God bless Kevin Pietila, the director, since he had the vision and the passion to keep the cast and crew focused and performing at our best, not an easy task at 4 or 5am when everyone is starting to feel the lack of sleep and we’re trying to beat the light for one last shot. And God bless the crew, keeping the generators, lights, effects, makeup and playback going while moving everything in and out of tents due to the intermittent rain.  And the Holocene in Portland was great and patient as we shot for much longer than anticipated there.

 

And damn, did I look awesome in that “Thriller” jacket or what…”

NEW MUSIC VIDEO AND VIDEO RELEASE PARTY!!

AHHHH, REAL MONSTERS (anyone love that show as much as I do?)! Why do I say that?? You’ll find out if you check out the WORLD PREMIERE OF “LET’S GO OUT TONIGHT” THE MUSIC VIDEO AT SURVIVING THE GOLDEN AGE BY CLICKING HERE OR ON THE PICTURE:

Also, our music video release party will be held at the Lake Theater in Lake Oswego, OR Friday, November 9th. Music from Sara Morris, Brianne Kathleen and Bradley Wik will start at 8pm followed by commentary from director/writer of said videos, Kevin Pietila, before we show both “Lookin’ at Luckey” and “Let’s Go Out Tonight” on the BIG SCREEN!!! Fun is guaranteed to be had by all. Music, booze, amazing music videos, what else do you need?! Oh, a sexy host, you might say. Well, don’t you worry, Bradley will be there and may or may not take his pants off… Just sayin’…

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I'm playing a video release show in Portland, OR on Friday 11.9... aka everything sucks, unless it doesn't...

There are good days, and there are bad days. Sometimes, both in one day.  I started out having a good day but it has quickly turned into the opposite.  There's not even some event or something that happened that made it so; it just went shitty.  Maybe I was thinking about how Scott Hutchison killed himself and how inevitable that seemed.  Maybe I was thinking about Trump and all the bullshit (too many things to list) that goes along with that.  Maybe I was wondering why things were going well in my music career and tried to self-sabotage.  Who knows...  But, what I do know is that I try and remember the things I am grateful for in these moments.  There are innumerable things I can be happy about and I'm trying my damnedest these days to keep them in mind.


Take, for instance, the fact that I have a second music video (our first off "In My Youth, I'm Getting Old..." can be viewed HERE) coming out on Halloween.  It's for "Let's Go Out Tonight" and the video is, well, I won't give it away, but it's related to the ghoulish holiday.  That's pretty fucking awesome.


I've gotten lots of love and support for these videos; again, which is awesome.


I'm playing a video release show (my first show in a couple months) at the Lake Theater in Lake Oswego, OR on Friday 11/9 at 8pm. 

 

The director will be there to talk about the videos and we will be playing the videos on the big screen for all in attendance; and for all those not in attendance, though they won't be able to see them since they're not fucking there...


I just started doing side work as a podcast producer and editor, and just started recording a podcast myself about my latest album and what goes into, from a songwriting and just fucking life standpoint, making an album.


I'm beginning work on my next album, which will be a solo endeavor the likes of which has never been heard.  This is the most honest and personal album I've ever written (which is amazing in and of itself as all my songs are true stories. It’s easier than trying to make shit up) as it includes many stories about my depression, alcoholism, having Asperger's, suicidal thoughts (which I struggle with every day), fucking "Inception" style dreams, and other things which I struggle with constantly.  The goal of this album is to help those who feel these things daily, but also feel alone in their struggles.  Your struggles are not singular, and trust me, I get it.  I hope these songs help normalize and make you feel better about said struggles.


So many good things and I still can hardly function.  Sometimes, just the weight of life is too much.  I try and stay positive in these moments and remember that my original goal was just to help one person with my music in the way that music helped me.  I've accomplished that many times over but it's addicting.  I just keep thinking of all the people who don't know who I am who could benefit from feeling less alone in the world.  Asperger's took my ability to feel "normal" but that's OK.  I wasn't meant to.  I was meant to help others understand themselves in a way they haven't before.  Even the fucked up are "normal" to the other members of the "fucked up” party.  You are not alone.  I once stabbed myself in the arm because I didn't think I was real.  I get it.  I still feel like that sometimes, but have found healthier ways to explore that.


Music is magic.  But it’s also a struggle. It's given me everything in my life, good and bad.  But, I don't begrudge it either way.  It is what it is.  As Vonnegut would say, "so it goes."  Whether you make music or support and enjoy it, you are part of the brotherhood and sisterhood of music.  We are all in this together and we are all fucked up in the best and worst ways.  We are here for each other in a way that a lot of people don't understand.  When we need a hand or a friend, we know where to go.  Music hasn't "fixed" me and it won't.  But, it's given me a sense of being and a place where I can feel less alone.  That's all I ever wanted from it and that's all I can ask for.  It's not a god, but it isn't far off.  Thank you, music, for all you've done for me.  I hope I can do the same with my music for at least a few of you out there...


(dictated but not read)

Mad at Kanye because Kanye is smarter than you? a.k.a. Kanye's White House Monologue

If you haven't seen the full video from Kanye's monologue during his Oval Office visit with Donald Trump, here you go:

Rapper Kanye West met Thursday with Donald Trump, telling the President in an Oval Office meeting before reporters why he supports the Republican. Language warning: This clip contains some profanity. #KanyeWest #CNN #News

I know how news is disseminated these days, in clips and soundbites, but it's important to ingest some things fully and without commentary or bias.  I've seen or heard so many "takes" already claiming Kanye's monologue was sad, was rambling, was incoherent, was profane, that Kanye doesn't represent how black people feel, and on and on.  Look, some of that may be true.  Kanye did touch on a lot of topics (I'll highlight some later, but again, watch the whole video before offering another unneeded take, like this one, into the world), he did drop a couple curse words and he sometimes switched lines of thought before finalizing his point.  But, he also never claimed to speak on behalf of all black people, made plenty of well-thought out points and once again proved he is always the smartest person in the room.  That's a softball setup for a Trump joke but that's not what this is about.


WHO DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING?  WELL, ME, I GUESS...


For anyone surprised by Kanye's monologue, I feel like taking them aside and just playing them the scene from Goodfellas, where Joe Pesci shoots Spider for talking back to him, over and over til Robert Deniro's "What's the matter with you? Huh?  What's the matter with you?" is seared into their skulls forever.

 

Of course this was outcome when probably the bravest, most outspoken artist in the world had a national audience and was sitting in THE F*%#ING WHITE HOUSE.  This could not have been teed up any better than my left-open Trump joke a few sentences ago.  Of course Kanye was going to seize the moment.  He clearly has a lot on his mind, and from the sounds of it, has ACTUALLY BEEN DOING SOMETHING ABOUT SOCIAL AND LOCAL ISSUES.


He mentions having meetings back in Chicago about gun violence, prison reform and school curriculums.  He's at the White House to discuss prison reform and to try sway the President's mind about "stop and frisk."  He's not just posting Twitter messages or videos about how outraged he is, he's talking with people and trying to get something done about it.  In fact, he's not outraged at all.  Multiple times he uses the words "empower" and "love."


He implores people to talk with people instead of making hasty decisions or judgements, explaining how he was misdiagnosed with Bipolar disorder when he was really just massively sleep-deprived and how that could have led to him developing dementia.

 

He reiterated the need for more mental health awareness and help for everyone, especially those who need to be "habilitated, not rehabilitated" since they never got the knowledge or help they needed to begin with.


It was clear these were not ideas that randomly popped into his head that he word-vomited out to the world.  These are things he is clearly passionate about and thinks about often and with great depth.  They may sound crazy grabbed as a snippet, but I understood each point he made and agreed with him more often than not.  For instance, it's true I don't really think a hydrogen-powered plane will replace Air Force One anytime soon, but I understand his overall point about wanting American companies to be leaders in industry and in designing innovative products.


I figured Kanye would give us a performance and I was not disappointed.  But, what I did not expect was for us to get a peek into the brain of genius.  Kanye is not just a "musical genius."  He is a plain, old, regular genius too. He said as much during the monologue and I believe him.  Listening to the way his thoughts formulated and how he articulated them, you can tell he's working on a different level than most of us and there was so much going on in his head he was trying to igure out how to get it all out.  It's sad that this is often lazily labeled "crazy."  Geniuses have been called "crazy" for as long as man has existed and consistently misunderstood them.  Of course some of his thoughts seem incomplete.  I'm sure he could talk for hours and hours (probably days and days) on each of the dozen or so topics he touched on but he knew people will only pay attention for so long so he kept it moving.  No one knows how to entertain better than Kanye but I don't think this was him posturing or just seeking attention.  I believe him.  I believe he truly believes in all these things.


A FEW THOUGHTS ON A FEW OF THE TOPICS HE BROUGHT UP


WELFARE:


Kanye mentions that welfare is a big reason why black people are typically Democrats.  He also points out that because jobs are hard to find, it can often be easier for people to have more kids to increase their income, which can cause its own set of issues.  Kanye mentions creating jobs, multiple times, as the first step to helping curb these issues.  

 

But, to his point about having more kids to gain income, he's right.  I've had more than a couple friends admit to me they had an extra kid to help with rent, or to move into a bigger or nicer apartment, or to help with a medical bill.  I remember asking my co-worker in New York City how she could afford a three-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.  The answer:  three kids and custody of a fourth.


WHY HE WEARS HIS MAGA HAT:


Kanye states that the hat gives him power.  And, it does.  He talks about the how people try to bully him out of wearing the hat, which he refuses to do; which, in itself, is empowering.  He talks about how it gave him "the balls" to negotiate a better deal with Adidas.  He talks about how wearing the hat reminds him that Trump is a positive male role-model for a guy without a lot positive male energy in his life.  That sounds pretty powerful to me.  I think he may be right.


MENTAL HEALTH:


I don't understand why, but it seems like people hate it when Kanye brings up mental health.  This makes no sense.  Everyone lauds Kendrick Lamar for discussing it but collectively roll their eyes when Kanye brings it up.  I don't like it and it's hypocritical.  If you don't like him, you don't like him.  Fine.  But, the more we can get people talking and learning about mental health, the better.  I didn't find out until I was 28 years old that I had Asperger's.  Having that news earlier could have changed a lot things (mostly relationships) in my life.  As Kanye says today, people need more access to and education around mental health.

 

He made a great point about "habilitation, not rehabilitation" when it comes to prisoners.  People who come out of prison typically don't come out with lots of money and opportunities coming at them left and right from potential employers.  I've never been to prison but I can't imagine it's positive for a person's psyche.  So, now you have someone who has had a traumatic event (and possibly many more beforehand) occur to them who have no money and little-to-no job prospects due a prison record.  It doesn't really put people in a position to succeed which, he says, puts people in a position to do illegal things and, ultimately, end up back in prison.  

 

Instead, Kanye recommends mental health care, job training and even different curriculums in schools to try and keep kids out of prison to begin with.  That all seems sensible enough to me.


IN SUMMATION


I think people often struggle with Kanye due to lack of understanding.  Perhaps it's because I have Asperger's (who knows?), but I often seem to relate to Kanye and understand his trains of thought better than most.  I find myself constantly explaining, and sometimes defending, him to others.  Ofttimes, they will concede they perhaps judged him too quickly and too harshly.  Other times, they say my explanation makes it worse. Who knows...  But, I just wanted to offer (yet another...) opinion to hopefully get you feeling more open and loving towards someone who is often misunderstood.  That's all Kanye is asking for; and he's right, as usual...