Driving home at night on empty streets, ominous fog holds the tune in my headphones in a much tighter but gentler grip than my helmet does. Some nights I listen to Radiohead, Blonde Redhead, Muse, Switchfoot, My Morning Jacket, Black Keys or Crazy Horse. Anything that has intense guitar and drum presence, is gritty, and is also steeped in reverb. On less foggy occasions I like to get shamanic with Nakai Carlos or Lorain Fox and I might pretend I’m a low flying bird, carving out lanes of low lying sky in and/or under Hollywoodland.
I’m also a junkie for classical adagios, 70′s synth-organ rock by Mark Moulin, choral music and yogic-mantra-tantric-chanting. However I perceive my emotions to be pairing with the weather, I make my musical selection. I am by far no musical egotist. My selections are limited. Pandora is my Dj and even that is the trial version with commercial interruptions.
Almost any genre goes well with autumnal midnight racing. At this hour the less-than-crowded streets are mine and mine alone. I am the developer of the game. I am the designer of the dream. I am enveloped wholly in awe, racing home to my wife, Amazement. We snuggle so closely the two of us have become one. You know when you accidentally grab two spoons from the drawer because they’re pressed together so tight and neat? That’s us.
It’s a 20 minute commute from the studio space back to my room downtown. I take Rossmore through Hancock Park, privileged to putt my way through such an affluent area and for those few pot-hole-less blocks I belong there. And it’s the same when I’m cruising Koreatown. At every red light, I’m already home. That’s the beauty of being married to Amazement. You go everywhere together. We ride with our bewildered smiles behind the tinted shield of our space helmet. You get odd looks on a scooter. Motorcycles think you’re cute and post pub crawl drunkards like to prove they’re idiots at the core by blaring scooter hate from cracked back seat windows. I pay them little mind. I carry a secret that my life is great and no matter what judgment is cast upon me, it doesn’t divorce me from Amazement. Plus, with no gears to jostle thru, I know I’ll be the first one off the line and long gone before they can unlock the door to fall out and puke.
I love the commute as much as I love making the record, which is what the gurus, ministers and luminaries will remind you. The journey is about the journey. There will always be the road. Even the morning drive in dense traffic retains it’s privacy, speed, and total immersion in the elements. Wind, Air, Water, and a Fire inside propel us all forward making for an expanded experience of the path. I like that you can’t check your emails in this lane and there’s no GPS on board to tell you where to go. You can make all the illegal u-turns you want. You can also stop and start faster than anyone else on the road and the short-cuts are up to you. Of course, there are no seat belts and if you’re ever sideswiped, you better be wearing a jacket, not to mention be loose and limber. Road hurts. Period. Like Buddha said, There will always be suffering. I’ve only wrecked once after jamming on the brakes to see if I could make the bike skid. Needless to say it did what I wanted it to. It just wasn’t very graceful. But in that not-very comes the clarity of all that is.
Enjoy your journey. Enjoy your commute. It’s your movie even between takes. Acknowledge how incredible you are as walk to and from the set. Listen to music as much as you can. Especially while driving. Don’t text behind the wheel. But if and when you run a red light, you’ll not only want to be paying attention, you best wave to the camera. Because if you get your picture taken in that moment, or worse, sideswiped, I want everyone to see how much fun and humility one can possible have because you simple chose to do so.