Random thoughts from an Aspergian Mind... aka this is what it's like to think like me

As I sit here in my room at a hotel near the Denver airport, I've been hard at work mulling over a few things that I probably shouldn't waste so much time and brain energy on:

1) How come the Brewers can take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers but go 0-3 against the Angels, who were mostly sans-Mike Trout?

2) As someone who is outspoken about his struggles with Asperger's/Autism, who enjoys researching/reading articles to help me (and probably moreso those around me) understand myself and my actions, and who is hoping to soon volunteer to help Autistic kids, how the fuck have I never heard of April being Autism Awareness Month until a week ago?!

Not doing so well with the awareness piece, ladies and gentleman... I have a vague memory of watching a Jon Stewart benefit but don't recall the specifics or a mention of an "Autism Awareness Month." But if we could get people to start seeing this in their children/students/etc. we could help a lot of kids (and parents/teachers/etc.) have a much easier go of it. I'm not full of regret or anything but I can't help but think of how different my life would've been if I had known I had Asperger's before 3-4 years ago.

3) Why the fuck did anyone listen to fun.?

Sorry, they came on an airport bar recently and jesus fuck... I don't think I've ever drank a $22 bourbon so fast... Of course, that was for a Knob Creek (double, but still a weak pour. Don't think it even filled up the measuring cup thingy all the way), so, yeah, airport pricing can go fuck itself...

4) How the fuck is there a band worse than fun.?

(Hint: they're called Grouplove, but take my word for it and don't look them up... Well, I guess that's not really a hint, it's just giving the answer but I didn't want you all to waste time, energy and your poor fucking ears trying to figure out/guess who it is...)

5) Buffalo Trace bourbon is delicious. OK, so this isn't a question, but still.

If this stuff cost $50 a bottle, I'd still splurge on some every now and again. At $25, it's a steal. I mean, I would never pay a penny more (wink. Just in case Buffalo Trace is listening... Then they would've seen the "wink." Damnit!). Though, full disclosure, my "house" bourbon is still Elijah Craig.

6) Is "Barbara Allen" my favorite traditional folk song?

My intro to this song is from the Bob Dylan Gaslight 1962 bootleg, which is hard as fuck to find something to link to online. But, there is a decent version on Youtube, which for some reason is cut off prematurely:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkOH7Rdfnkg

I can't believe a time existed (and a version of me) who played this tune at almost every show. Good times... I used to know hundreds of old folk songs. I wish I still did...

 7) I'm going to hate the upcoming Star Wars "The Rise of Skywalker" movie... Why will I still go see it?

I didn't like episodes 7 or 8 and the Solo movie was fucking dreadful (though "Solo" is immortalized by the marquee in my "LET'S GO OUT TONIGHT" MUSIC VIDEO) so I didn't have high hopes for it to begin with. But, after seeing the trailer, I'm out. Instead of moving forward with the new characters (Rey and Poe are both pretty fucking awesome, objectively), they are pulling dead people (literally and figuratively/in the Star Wars universe) back into the movie. Just let Rey and Poe be kickass and move on.

To be fair to episode 7, it was a fun watch despite the unimaginative script. And "Rogue One" is just a good movie. I wish we could've seen the rated-R cut as I have to imagine that was a fucking even more incredible movie.

8) Speaking of movies, when does "Hobbs and Shaw" come out?

This I could find easily on that ol' interwebs thing, but I'll just dream about how awesome it's gonna be instead. Fuck, Fast and Furious is awesome but these guys are seriously best in show when it comes to that world.

9) How do I make better drum sounds on my Moog Sub 37?

Again, something I could just look up but is more fun to spend hours fucking around with the knobs. So many knobs... I've lost entire days playing with sounds for literally no reason other than I like them and they sound cool. Now if only I could learn how to play a fucking keyboard. Not sure what the fuck the holdup is but for some reason keyboards make no sense to my brain. I think of things in terms of guitars since that's how I learned to play music so maybe that's it. Maybe my brain is like "fuck, this isn't anything like what we know. It's stupid and I hate it." Which sounds like pretty Aspergers-y and how I react to a lot of things, so probably.

10) When was the last time I sat and listened to Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5? And has anyone articulated more of the human experience in a musical piece ever? Maybe "Bold as Love" but that's probably it...

I once made the mistake of putting ol' No. 5 on before bed to try and help relax my brain (you can see why going through this inane/insane list of questions I pose to myself and have to answer before moving on to the next one). I ended up spending the next 50 or so minutes getting so emotionally involved that I couldn't fall asleep for another 3 hours. Good times...

11) In this day and age of internets and things, why is NewsRadio not available online and more popular than it is (i.e. not at all)?

Holy shit! It is available on a thing called Crackle, whatever the fuck that is. They also have "The Critic" and "Bewitched." Oh, happy day!

Well, I now have some TV watching to get to, so fuck off. We'll talk next week.

(dictated but not read) 

NewsRadio pic.jpg

Baseball and Van Hagar aka... this is the shit that keeps me up late at night

Well, I finally got to see the one and only Mike Trout and man did he blow away my expectations. Unfortunately, I was in LA a few days early so the Angels were hosting the Rangers instead of my beloved Milwaukee Brewers (who they play the next few nights) but it was everything I could've wanted and then some. Trout not only saved a run on defense with his ridiculous arm but hit two home runs in a 3-1 Angels win. Basically, he won the game all by his fucking self. And he makes it look so easy. I can assure you that playing in the greatest league in the world shouldn't be so easy but it is for Trout. And the very next night all he did was respond to getting plunked by hitting a grand fucking slam during his next at bat. Magical. Just fucking magical. But this isn't a baseball blog (I'm not a big enough fan of math for that) so I digress...

Tonight, I'd like to address a rather touchy topic in the Rock N' Roll world: Van Hagar. First, a few facts about me. I was born in the late 80's and grew up in the 90's. I grew up with anything previous to the 90's being referred to as "classic rock." The first, and only, Van Halen record I heard on the radio was "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge." They say you never forget your first, and I still have fond memories of those songs. I didn't know any better. I didn't know they existed before this, and with another singer. I could only process those songs at face value. And look, I get that this was not anywhere near the peak of their powers. It wasn't even the best Van Hagar album. "5150" holds that title. Seriously, listen to THIS SHIT. But, it was the first one I heard. And, judged on its own merits, "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" is a damn good album. Is it "1984?" No, but that's not what I was judging it against in the early 90's as I was developing my musical taste. I judged it based on whether it rocked and the tunes were memorable. And they were. If you can set aside judgements based off comparisons, Van Hagar is actually pretty fucking awesome. Am I crazy or DOES "RIGHT NOW" ROCK PRETTY FUCKING HARD.

And look, I see the flip side. I had a friend whose hill he chose to die on was that Damn Yankees was way better than anything Ted Nugent did on his own. And again, Damn Yankees did rock. They did occasionally roll as well but they were not the steamroller of Rock N' Roll and sexual energy that Ted Nugent was. They, in fact, kind of sucked comparatively. But that's the key word, "comparatively." Had Styx, Night Ranger and, of course, Ted Nugent not existed previously, we would have been like "damn, those yankees can fucking rock it." But all we did was piddle on the parade since it was kind of schlocky 80's ballad-y type shit. But IS THIS WHERE MAEBY FROM "ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT" GOT HER NAMESAKE? We might never know...

But, back to Van Hagar, how is THIS SHIT NOT SUPPOSED TO MELT A RURAL WISCONSIN BOY'S 12 YEAR OLD HEART WHEN HE FINDS IT? Back in the day all these albums came via BMG music's 12 for 1 deal. I can't count how many times I signed up to get that promo and promptly quit the "club." I remember getting those letters/brochures and going through and checking off the albums I would get for my "free" CD's after I paid like $30 for the first one. I remember ordering some really random shit if there wasn't anything I wanted past the first 9 or 10. I got a Britney Spears album ("...Baby One More Time"), a Mandy Moore album ("So Real") and a Jennifer Lopez album ("On the 6," which coincidentally I would spend a fuckload of time on the 6 train when I lived on the upper, upper east side). I was also probably the only 10 year old who ever ordered a Bruce Hornsby record (though it was a mistake as I checked the box I thought was an Aerosmith live album but which turned out was not...). I think the most random album I ordered was still the Corrs "In Blue" as I had no clue what it was but had a vague idea of hearing a song of theirs once. But, of course, "BREATHLESS" KICKS FUCKING ASS. It was probably due to the hot girl on the cover. 10 or 11 year olds can be very easily won over. The album I wish I didn't lose when my mom lost her house was the New Radicals "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too." "YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU GIVE" IS UNDENIABLY BRILLIANT. What am I talking about anymore?

Wait, the Brewers are playing the Angels and MelonTheFelon is also streaming. Also, I need pizza. Bourbon is delicious but even better with pizza. Fuck being lactose-intolerant. Lactaid motherfuckers!

(dictated but not read)

van hagar fuck.jpg

umm... aka fuck Portland, love Modest Mouse and Mike Trout...

Well, at least this week I don't feel like shit. I am down in L.A. though so unfortunately this will be a brief one. I don't have much to say as I spent the past week eating soup and bread trying to not shit my pants. Fun. And not that shitty as fucking band who RUINED MY FUCKING 2012. Well, come to think of it, I guess they're the exact same amount of "fun." Food poisoning and Fun., what a pair. It's like looking a mirror. One's shit at music and everything they do and one is just shit. Or is it vice-versa? Separate but equal... too soon?

If I had anything interesting to say, now would be the time to say it. But I don’t. I’m just fucking tired. I’m probably going to be tired until I leave fucking shitty-ass Portland (even though I’m not there now). I do get to see Mike Trout play baseball in person on Friday for the first time in my life. I’m so excited. He’s like the fucking Bruce Springsteen of baseball but I’ve only watched from behind my television screen. I know it’ll likely be a normal Mike Trout game on Friday but that’s exactly what I want to see. Greatness in it’s average environment, being “average” great. Other than that, I’ve got some business to conduct and some friends to see. Have I mentioned that I’m so fucking tired??

Sorry all for the short post, but I’ve got to enjoy L.A. (mostly Anaheim) whilst I’m here and get my shit taken care of. Oh and get some fucking vitamin D, whatever that is (says the Pacific Northwesterner).

If you need a listening recommendation for the week, I’ll redo Bradley’s Vinyl Obsession of the week or whatever the fuck I called it last time. This week it’s Modest Mouse “The Moon and Antarctica.” The thing Modest Mouse does as well as anyone, if not better, is create atmospheres and moods with their music. Before Isaac even utters a word, you feel, see, smell, taste and hear the landscapes. It’s an incredible feat and he’s fucking incredible at bringing you into his world, into the world he wants you to see. “Lonesome Crowded West” will always be my favorite Modest Mouse album, hell, it got me to move to the Pacific Northwest all those years ago and once again (kind of, long story) more recently. I saw a quote from Isaac from some random interview where he stated he didn’t really like Portland but it was more or less where the car broke down and he ended up. I feel the exact fucking same way. It was a weird non-compromise/compromise between me and an ex-girlfriend that brought me to Portland and weird shit upon weird shit that kept me there. I swear someday I’ll write a book about my Portland experience and it’ll get a lot of “what the fuck”-s. It’s messed up. There’s lots of sex, drugs, Rock N’ Roll, some suicide, some attempted suicide, police involvement, blackmail, hospital bills, and on and on. You get the idea. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, nothing…

(dictated but not read)

Food poisoning blues aka... weekends seem to fucking hate me these days...

They say bad things come in threes... This was my third consecutive weekend that has been cut short/ruined. This time? Food poisoning... Turns out Trader Joe's Polenta does not last two weeks once opened, despite it looking/smelling like normal. Do not tempt fate and try to prove me wrong... Trust me...

That's how I spent Saturday night/Sunday morning, Sunday and Monday. Even today (which is Tuesday for me), I was finally able to eat soup and not feel like I had to poop my pants immediately. Good times...

Anyways, I'm gonna finish watching the Bucks-Rockets game, shower and hopefully fall asleep early. I can't keep wasting days being sick. This fucking sucks. I'm done with this shit; which is what my poor asshole has said multiple times...

But, the one benefit of being sick is I got to catch up on TV watching, so swings and roundabouts. The TV shows that got me through:

"At Home with Amy Sedaris"

What a fun, fucking weird show. So much silly fun. Great for when you need to turn your brain off.

"Derek"

Hadn't seen this show in years, but it is so fucking good. Maybe Gervais' best show, which is high praise since "The Office" is one of my favorite shows ever.

"Arrested Development"

Yeah, I had to watch the second half of season 5. I made it through season 4 so I can make it through anything. Maeby is funnier than ever but the rest of the show is so tired and I hate their seasons 4 and 5 thing of over-explaining the jokes, which aren't as sharp or as complicated to begin with. Seems like they went plot-heavy instead of zaniness, which is not to my liking. Disappointing but I'm glad it's over (it's over, right?!).

"Happy"

Just started this one, but it's much darker than I thought but very good so far. No spoilers!

"I'm Sorry"

Andrea Savage can do no wrong in my book. Wish Jason Mantzoukas could have been in the season but I'm sure it was a scheduling thing. That's the only thing that could have made season 2 better than it is. Well done, Andrea. Well done.

OK, not feeling great again. Bye for now.

(dictated but not read)

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…

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)

rainer maria look now look again.jpg

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?

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)

reload cover.jpg

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)

We used to be so full of hope, but it only weighed us down... aka well, that actually says it all...

Sitting here, in a hotel in downtown Minneapolis (I won't say which one but two trees are involved), I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the blessings I've been given in my life.  Here is a smart-assed, half-white, half-Native American, poor, depressed, borderline-alcoholic kid with Asperger's from Horicon, WI, population 3000, who was born with craniosynostosis, who has recorded and released two albums and played shows/traveled to every corner of this great country (current President and potential SCOTUS nominee, notwithstanding relative to the "great" part... Don't get me started... Thank you for not getting me started), and has now seen France as well, who has somehow married a beautiful, hard-working and brilliant woman, and is the proud owner of a cat.  Who would have guessed?  I'm probably not even halfway done and it's already been a BEAUTIFUL RIDE.  At 16, I honestly thought there was a good chance I'd work at the factory making Harley Davidson parts for the next 30 years like some of the guys there.  It was good work.  Those were tough, long days but the work was mostly mindless.  I got to dream about things like the Packers winning multiple Super Bowls with Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers, about the Brewers somehow besting the Cardinals and finally winning a World Series, about HOW BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED CHARLIZE THERON IS, about where we were going to get drunk on Saturday night; all the good things in life...


But, then I decided to pursue my one true love:  music.  And things got much more complicated.  I wish I wanted to be something more practical like, say, an accountant.  For that, you go to college, then take CPA classes, pass some certifications/tests and BOOM, you're an accountant.  Or, say, a welder.  Again, you go take classes, pass some certifications/tests and BOOM, you're a welder.  But there aren't any classes to become a successful musician.  There's no established plan or path to follow.  Everything you do is based on your gut and the hope that you're not wasting your time/money/energy/soul/youth/etc.  Every decision feels like the exact right thing and the exact wrong thing.  Every musical choice, every email or phone call, every show, every setlist, every recording, every t-shirt design, every press photo, every promoter you hire and even every blogpost.  It's all the best and the worst thing.  It's all worthwhile and a complete waste of time.  


So many people say the same thing when they find out I'm a musician (someday, I'll be famous enough to where they won't have to ask...):  "my (insert:  cousin, nephew, niece, brother, sister, best friend, neighbor) is a musician too."  And when they find my albums on iTunes or Spotify, it's:  "my (insert:  cousin, nephew, niece, brother, sister, best friend, neighbor) has an album too.  Isn't it great how easy it is to make one these days?  I've heard it's really cheap and easy to make an album now.  How much did your's cost?"  The answer is always shocking...


"All in?  $25-30K.  Which doesn't cover all the costs probably but that's a good ballpark, I guess."


"..."


My musician friends and I talk about this topic incessantly.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we put all of our time/money/energy/soul into something that will maybe break even or possibly lose money?  Because of the single strongest human motivator, and the single worst thing ever (see, that damn theme again.  Maybe it's just my "I GO TO EXTREMES" Asperger brain, but seems like this is just the fucking deal):  hope.


I have a line in a new, unreleased as of yet, song:  "We used to be so full of hope, but it only weighed us down..."


Hope is strong enough to make us do anything, against, or maybe because of, our better judgement.  It's the most powerful thing a person can have.  It can also be the most destructive.  I've nearly died twice because of it and the terrible hurt it can bring.  But, I'm also still alive because of it.  My life has a (thoroughly destructive) purpose because of it. It's why I can get through all the meaningless bullshit everyday and still have the wonderful night when I pick up a guitar.  It's why more nights than I should admit I drink myself to sleep trying to numb the hurt of all my broken and failed hopes.  But it's also why I get up and do it all again each day.  Some nights I wish I would lose all hope so I could get on with my life, but what kind of life would that be?  What would it look like?  What would I do?  Watch baseball and drink beer all day?  Would be fun for a while, but what about after that?  Sure, the Brewers are in the NLDS and the Cardinals can't knock us out this time, but even the World Series only takes you through October.  Then what?


Seems like a terrible cycle.  Hope leads to excitement, which leads to disappointment, which leads to sadness, which leads back to hope.  What's a boy to do?  Sometimes it all comes together, like in the song "Lookin' at Luckey" and my new music video:


But sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes it goes horribly wrong.  Then what?  Hope.  It'll probably lead to sadness, again, but what if it doesn't?  What if this time is the one where everything goes right?  What if the right song hits the right ears and the right things happen?  Maybe, it could...  And that's the poison...


(Sorry, it's too late to proof read this.  Accept it as is...)

Umm, I got married... aka sorry that I'm not sorry about being lazy with the blog...

I apologize as I've been lazy as shit keeping up with this blog and (not) doing my YOUTUBE videos as promised but it turns out getting married and jet-setting off to Paris for a couple weeks will fuck up your schedule.  So, yes I am now officially married.  Even got the damn marriage license today which was conveniently approved on 9/11/2018 so 9/11 is now forever even more a part of my life.  For the record, we didn't get married on 9/11, that's just when the state of New York finally got around to verifying our claim of marriage.   Strange.  But, the actual wedding was my favorite ever.  Yes, I'm extremely fucking biased but there you have it.  We did it in Central Park in New York City and wore our fucking wedding clothes all day while we got pictures in the Park, the MoMA, at our dinner in Little Italy, and finally for (way too many) drinks back up around Columbus (fuck Columbus.  I'm half Native American for first time readers.  And legit half, not "my grandma was part Cherokee so I'm like 1/64th or something" Native American.) Circle.  Anyways, I'll talk more about this in future iterations.  But, immediately after that the fucking music video came out and I've been planning some things to go along with that AND the second music video, dun, dun, duun!  Oh, you didn't know there was a second music video?  Well... Fuck... Then... OK, now you do.  I guess it wasn't that dramatic except this one is even more crazy and wonderful.  I can't wait to release it to the world.  Same director as on "Lookin' at Luckey" so you know it's gonna be fucking awesome.  Kevin Pietila is a goddamn wizard with the music videos.  I wish I could hire him to make one for every song but I could definitely not afford that.  Fucking money always getting in the way...


Anyways, I'm sorry this is brief and I don't have a better update, but I assure you I will in two weeks.  Next week, I'm visiting my brother in Wisconsin so I'll have better things to do than make a video blog or put a lot of thought into writing one.  Namely, drink and watch the Packers game.  And no, don't ask me about this fucking Packers-Vikings game from last week...  Seriously, don't...  Jesus...  All I will say is that I think the "holding" aka guy is falling down and the lineman makes sure of such call against Lane Taylor on the Jimmy Graham TD is just as big a misstep as the phantom roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews III.  Either correct call would've ended the game in the Packers' favor.  Just sayin'...

Also, the past two weeks I've been repeatedly re-listening to the S-TOWN PODCAST for some reason.  I don't know why I'm obsessed with listening to it for a 6th or 7th time but that's fucking Asperger's for you; which John B definitely has.  Just sayin'...


Anyhow, if you haven't seen the video for Lookin' at Luckey yet, Jesus fuck it's awesome, so here it is:

Why the Good Doctor is Autism-racist (if that's a thing) and why House is much more realistic portrayal of Autism... aka Help an Aspy muthafucker out...

Bradley talks about being Injun Brad, Portland, OR, but mostly about what he thinks of the way people with Asperger's and Autism are portrayed in movies and television.  Bradley also gives some of his favorite (non-diagnosed) Asperger's/Autistic characters in TV and Film and explains why Rick and Morty may be the most important show on television for people with Asperger's and/or Autism.  Any reason to promote Rick and Morty is one Bradley will take, not that the show needs any advertisement at this point.  But, it does need to be recognized for its bravery in the field of Autism.  Thank you Rick for being a (semi) positive role model for us Aspy muthafuckers.  Thanks also to Dr. House and Han Solo, we are forever in your debt...