Some of you may know the “arc” of my “music career,” some of you probably don’t. The long and short of it is that for a long time I have been a bit of a “lone wolf.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of musicians in my life. My music community isn’t nonexistent, it has consisted of my friends and the people that listen to my music and I am lucky and grateful for that. Roommates, friends, we go to each other’s shows and play on each others’ bills. Strangers who pass my albums along to each other or send me messages. It’s what kept me doing it.
On the “music industry” side of things, I never really fit in. The people that I met from that world often seemed disingenuous. They would talk about music using phrases like "that’s a good look" or occasionally throw in a casually bigoted comment. There I would be: this weird, queer, self-referential, sentimental songwriter and neither of us understood or cared for the other. So, for the past seven years, the music that I make has grown and changed along with the rest of me, but one thing has stayed constant. With brief exceptions I have continued to do mostly everything alone: touring, booking, making decisions, etc.
Anyway, when I found the Chris Gethard show, I was happy. There, right there in New York City: a show whose host/cast/fans were often so earnest that it hurt. Chris had a bit for awhile about how I didn’t want to be his friend, but what is funniest about it is what a good friend he has become to me.
Chris Gethard, who meets me at the barber shop after I get a haircut and eats sandwiches with me. Chris Gethard, the person who, when I laughingly told him, in the pit of a depressive episode, that I was waiting to go on medication until I could spot some ambiguous but indisputable sign that I had become completely non-functional told me “you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom.” My friend Chris, who I’m not supposed to be friends with. It’s fitting that this is who initially sent my music to my favorite record label for me.
Don Giovanni has been my favorite label partially because of their roster but more so because of who they are and how they work. They are genuine, outspoken, political. I truly think they are rare as a label in this capacity and I respect them immensely for it. From the beginning, they have made me feel seen and heard and I leave talks with them feeling excited about the things that I want to do together. The thing that I am doing with them right now is recording a band album that Marissa Paternoster is producing. That feels really great because Marissa is an incredible person and musician and I will learn a lot and try a lot of new things with her as a producer but also, not to get all cheesy about this, but similarly to when I started talking to Don Giovanni, when I met her I legitimately just felt like like she “got” me as a human. I feel excited to do things together.
I guess all that I’m trying to say is that this is really great for a lot of reasons. I’m clearly very excited to be working with my favorite label and also, I realized this morning that I don’t feel like a lone wolf anymore. !!!
We love you too, Mal.