Or: “Where Incontinence Goes to Celebrate, Then Die”
These are the facts:
I am Chris Milam. Chris Milam writes this blog. I write this blog about music. I write about songwriting, pop culture, and (if we’re lucky) football and (if we’re not) football. If you were to say, “the human who types the words and publishes them to this page is named Chris Milam, also, he’s the best,” you’d be speaking facts of unassailable truth and beauty and, also, we should meet sometime.
These are the facts.
But sometimes this space is hijacked by another Chris Milam. That Chris Milam doesn’t talk about music or songwriting or pop culture at large. He sprints in and self-promotes like a shameless goon and then runs away before anyone can catch him, shave him down, and teach him to speak. He makes music, then exploits this space to pass music along. If you were to say, “the human who types the words and publishes them to this page is named Chris Milam, also, he’s the worst,” you’d be speaking facts of unassailable truth and beauty and, also, we’ve probably met before.
Yesterday, in a historic meeting of the half-minds, the former caged the latter and sat him down for an interview. Here’s what transpired….
RockChris: ..Neither am I!
BlogChris: …but you are an attractive devil.
RockChris: You know what? I believe you.
BlogChris: But I am not a fan.
RockChris: Sure, that’s a given.
BlogChris: First question: why do you hijack this space? What gives, man?
RockChris: My first question is why you hijack this space. Why?
BlogChris: This is doomed.
RockChris: I hijack the space because it’s my space, bro. It’s my plane to kamikaze.
BlogChris: But it’s not. It’s not remotely.
RockChris: Sure it is. I make music, I share music. That’s what it’s there for.
BlogChris: Don’t you see a conflict of interest?
RockChris: Yeah, I do, and that’s why I’m here today. I want you to shut your mouth.
RockChris: Artists make music and critics talk about music. Artists don’t make music and talk about music. Artists make music and shut up about it.
BlogChris: Like magicians?
RockChris: Exactly like magicians. Music is magic, man. It just happens. There’s no thought process. Put the book down already. Stop it with your charts. Just feel, bro. Like the other day it was like 3:37AM and there was this thunderstorm, man, and all of a sudden lightning hit outside my window, like right outside my window, I thought it was coming for me. I thought I was hit. I wrote a song called “Zeus” about it. And you know what? Maybe I was hit. Maybe I was. Ever think about that?
RockChris: Wanna hear “Zeus”?
RockChris: Why not, man? It’s inspired. Hear it and feel it.
BlogChris: Just don’t write about it?
RockChris: Just don’t write about it.
BlogChris: You’re an inarticulate dweeb. And take your sunglasses off.
RockKris: Make me.
BlogChris: Did you just put a “K” in your name?
RockKris: Yeah, it’s something I’m trying out. “Kris” with a k. But it’s actually supposed to look like this on the page. Here, I’ll draw it.
(Fourteen minutes pass. RockKris slides a paper across the table. It shows a cartoon snake saying “bite me.” Punches thrown. Fight ensues. Chairs broken. Hair mussed. K removed.)
BlogChris: You know we need to work in tandem. I wrote recently about artists selling themselves instead of selling music. About fans buying a persona rather than engaging music. And you sit there and nod.
RockChris: Yep, I read that one. I thought you had a point. It’s about the music, man. Trust the art and not the artist. Totally. I dig.
BlogChris: And then you start posting YouTube Concerts from your bedroom.
BlogChris: So there’s kind of a contradiction there. You’re undermining my point.
RockChris: Not really, because it’s not my job to make your point. I’m just singing.
BlogChris: For serious?
RockChris: No, but here’s what happened. I got a little tired of traveling, took a little break from playing shows on the road, had a ton of new songs I wanted to share, so I thought it’d be a fun alternative. Like the man said, I contain multitudes.
BlogChris: Contain multitudes? What man? Whitman?
RockChris: Dude, Yoda said that. I just write the stuff and sing the stuff. It’s not my place to talk about it. That’s the critic’s job. And you’re the critic.
BlogChris: No, I’m you.
RockChris: Right, and you’re cramping my style. Nobody ever got anywhere thinking. You’re trying to do too many jobs. You’re messing up the natural order of things.
BlogChris: What’s that?
RockChris: It’s a multi-step process. It’s a delicate dance. It’s a multi-human promenade of lame. Check it:
Step 1: Artist sits in coffeehouse and twitters about the weather.
Step 2: Artist sits in another coffeehouse and blogs about how zany his friends are.
Step 3: Facebook rejoices.
Step 4: Artist slaps together some open chords at 4AM, drowning in spritzer.
Step 5: Artist posts to iMeem.
Step 6: World bows in deferential awe.
Step 7: Artist talks to critic about inspiration and talent.
Step 8: Critic writes that “you can hear the feeling,” or “you can feel the vibes being felt,” or “I feel the way hearing it makes me feel,” or something about hearings and feelings and what seventh grade dance it reminds him of.
RockChris: Right, do more of that. That’s the normal order. And you’re messing with it. Music is meant to be enjoyed, not considered.
BlogChris: Let’s do both. What are you listening to?
RockChris: I tell people O-Town but it’s really Josh Ritter. You?
BlogChris: I tell people Josh Ritter but it’s really O-Town.
RockChris: Wanna hear a song? It’s called “Snakkes.”
BlogChris: Isn’t that Norwegian for “see you later”?
RockChris: I don’t know, but it’s English for “rad.” Have you ever left the library and hung out with musicians, you joyless scribe?
BlogChris: I’ve left the library and seen you hang out with musicians. I’ve seen you groping around the Basement at midnight like a damn jester. I’ve seen you with your juice. I’ve seen your hats and your waltzes. I’ve heard your bit. Then I go home and sleep for days.
RockChris: I haven’t slept in years.
BlogChris: What would you dream of?
RockChris: Megan Fox in Transformers. You?
BlogChris: Megan Fox in life. Where were we?
RockChris: I never know.
(We watch the horizon and contemplate Megan Fox. Sheets of paper fly off the calendar. Men grow beards. Leaves change, then fall to the ground. Simon & Garfunkel reunite.)
BlogChris: Yeah, it is. But musicians talk about music. And people who love music talk about music. But they don’t talk about magic. I don’t hang out with magicians. I’m not nine.
RockChris: (unwrapping a dum-dum) Totally.
BlogChris: I try to write it here like I hear it out there.
RockChris: Let me get this straight: there’s a wonderful myth that everyone enjoys. And you sit here and type three days a week and prod that myth with a knicked blade and a pot of caffeine. You would’ve sat around in Greece, man, and you would’ve said the stars are gas. Gas!
BlogChris: Yeah, sure. They are.
RockChris: Idiot! You’re selling reality. But I don’t sell reality. I’m a mythmerchant. I would’ve said they’re beautiful. I would’ve said they’re yellow. I would’ve said they’re yellow and they shine for you. Woo-woo-woo. Doobey-doobey-doo. Then I would’ve eaten the fatted calf.
BlogChris: So we agree.
RockChris: That stars are beautiful? You kidding me?
BlogChris: Sure. That’s all I’m writing anyway.
RockChris: That’s all I’m singing anyway.
BlogChris: Wait…we’re saying the same thing?
RockChris: Christ. I think so.
(Nine minutes pass. Feet shuffle idly on the floor. RockChris paces around the room, hands on hips, exhaling dramatically. I bury my head in my hands and pray to a god I know longer recognize. What is truth? Is truth…truth??)
BlogChris: Where do we go from here?
RockChris: Somewhere new. Spain?
BlogChris: Fine. You drive.
RockChris: You make the playlist.