Hi everyone...This Kickstarter cd funding campaign began 40 days ago with the hope that fans & friends would buy into the concept, then feel that new music of mine was worth layin' down some hard-earned money for--before they heard it. So with that hope was a large amount of apprehension. Add to that the dark economy in Michigan and that I'd not released any new work since 2002 (except for "Motor City Serenade" with the Funk Brothers in 2006)---this was a very uncertain thing.
So to say this morning that I'm knocked out by the love and affirmation is to only speak to half my feeling and a quarter of my gratitude to you all. We not only made the goal but surpassed it! Great thanks to everyone in my audience. More than the money, the process brought ideas and ideals into clear focus about what it is I'm doing as a musician, who you are and what you want from me, what my songs are about and how they attempt to connect, and who we are as a community.
Although I'd read and researched quite a bit about the concept of crowdfunding and this site specifically, it remains a new idea, largely untested. As I've said, I do believe it's the future for artists to continue working, a necessary part of a musician's ongoing relationship with audience as it relates to creating new music. It's worked well for acts with a larger international profile, but requires true commitment and loyalty in the artist-fan relationship.
We'll soon be in touch with all of you who pledged for your addresses, T-shirt size, instructions for shows and of course getting you the cd--everything associated with fulfilling these rewards. I've tried to thank all of you privately, and will, but several of you were very encouraging with ideas at the very beginning of this process (hey np) and a couple of you used your jobs and status as radio & tv show hosts, tastemakers and journalists to let the public know about this--thanks for that.
I also want to briefly say something about why I continue to live and work here in Detroit, and what that consciously means each day to me. When I first heard Mitch Ryder, Levi Stubbs, David Ruffin, Aretha Franklin, The MC5 or Bob Seger as a young kid, it completely turned my head around about new ways to think, dress, and live. We've now taken that music--our music--into what was once called middle age without any loss of passion, excitement or interest. We’re only now able to prove, just like sculptors and painters and pilots and accountants and corporate executives, that you can get better at songwriting and performing as you get older.
If you're a musician and you're from Detroit, I think there really is a certain way we do things around here. Yea, it’s always been about attitude--Kid Rock's built an empire on attitude. It's how we wear what we wear, and how we take the stage. But it's also about forgiveness and tolerance and soul and love and avoiding the chasm between artist and image. It's about leaving a part of yourself on every stage you take and never faking it, whether you’re playing powerfully loud rock and roll or soft jazz. The pure life in the phrase “Kick out the jams, Motherf*%^r” surely led to the equally redemptive phrase of Bruce Springsteen’s, “It Ain’t No Sin To Be Glad You’re Alive.”
It's a phrase many of us live by. I am alive, and I’m more than glad, as hard as these times have been.
As a musician and songwriter, I work in the complimentary genres of Rock and Soul for several reasons. One idea says that this kind of music has stayed with us for so long and with such popularity because it says that all of us are at heart alike in love, longing, fear, hope and ambition. I embrace that idea, largely cuz it's true.
Soul is, for better or worse, about suffering, survival and then, an ornery optimism. It’s about scar tissue. Soul is faith when cynicism is easier. It's hangin’ in there when you've had it. It’s knowing we’re born to die, yet living with real passion. It's not necessarily about unconditional love, but it is about letting a person's character be your main source for your judgment of him or her. Al Green says that soul is "fearing no evil." Maybe that describes it best. It's a quality of heart, especially after you know all there is to fear. The late great Solomon Burke said he dreamed of writing a song that would do no less than save the world if everyone sang it.
The romantic aspects in my songs come from trying to find what's heroic when faced with any kind of unrelenting reality, whether it's no job, no money, cancer, loss, any unlivable situation that you must live with. Maybe just facing it is heroic. Everyone has their own moment of hardcore reality, where they see who they really are and what their life is really worth. I try and tell myself this: No one gets out alive. It's not like you're gonna do something so great or make so much money and you're then gonna get a reprieve from this sentence and live forever. So why not approach problems with a joyous heart, in touch with community, and the knowledge that it's just a brief trip through time.
Easier said than done. But looking into the abyss is no way to make a living. Music at its best should compel those that hear it toward some kind of physical change: learn more, have more compassion, become interested in its shared ideals, open up, dance your ass off, let it reach you, have some fun. Music is the one art form principally about feeling. I’ve seen this in action when playing at large venues, bars, weddings, wherever--the individual waking up to the community and a community alive, open and aware enough to welcome him or her into it. Which is what you've just done for me--I'll soon return the favor with music and shows.
Have a great 2011, and I'll talk to you soon.