For decades, 16 vocalist Cris Jerue has written lyrics about the consequences of bad behavior, bum brain chemistry and addiction. The end result of said behavior is that it's often tough to find a place to settle down. In his first ever post for the Deciblog, Jerue writes about the natural consequences of said behavior and the great lengths he's been willing to go to find a couch. -- jmn ---
When someone chooses to live the struggling artist lifestyle, whether it’s a musician, an actor, a writer or an actual struggling artist, they're committing the ultimate act of selfishness. It’s the intentional, self-serving act of an inconsiderate asshole trying to be something he’s not at someone else’s expense. I'm not the first and definitely not the last person to think that this is completely normal and that everyone should be accommodating but I am one of the worst. I've shown up unannounced on the doorsteps of unlucky family members or lady-friends numerous times, with zero consideration for whatever they've got going at the time, just so I can tour with 16 a couple times a year and they never turn me away. I’m one of those assholes. I have no home of my own; I rely on others to subsist.
Freeloading off women during the infant stages of success is nothing new: early in their musical careers, Johnny Cash was married to the very-patient baby maker Vivian Liberto. Jim Morrison made Pamela Courson go outside to get him alcohol and Kurt Cobain mooched off Tracy Marander for blankets and tar money. The only difference between these guys and myself, aside from their immense talent and radio-friendly tunes, is that they were in their early 20's... I'm in my early 40's. Success!
Here are my tips for those considering the ill-considered life of freeloading.
*** The search for the perfect musical accompaniment will be tough and you won't succeed at first try so always keep your bags packed with one foot out the door. My first suggestion would be to crawl back home to your parents’ house and jump into your old twin bed with those original Star Wars sheets. That's your best chance to find warmth, free room/board and an understanding of what you're doing to everyone. Even if you're a young, badass metal dickhead, you should try to find some compassion at this point or you'll implode quickly and all that sweet hair will fall out. If Mom’s not into the idea of having her unwashed, adult son laying around in her mostly-white house while he tries to "find himself," you should seek the caress of a friendly waitress(not one in a bikini) or a decent broad that answers phones in a cubicle.
You want someone who’s untouched, not unbridled. If you don't choose carefully, it could mean your instant eviction, maybe some incarceration and/or the murder-suicide of both of you.
If you’re desperate and it’s getting cold outside, can you handle the mayhem of living with a stripper who has a mania for attention, fast cash and multiple dicks? Probably not. Got a trampy ex-girlfriend that you still booty call who wouldn't mind a non-contributing roommate to complain about? Probably. Using an ex is the second best option because they’ll have a soft spot for you since they've already witnessed your downward spiral firsthand. Get humble and grovel anyway.
*** One of the secrets to being a great scrounger is to make yourself valuable to your sponsor, without being too obvious and never expecting a “thank you.” It could be something as simple as getting up early to iron her pretty blouses before she goes to work or doing the laundry and cleaning her catbox before she gets home. Or do some yard work; everyone hates that shit! Sweep something. Rake something and get a little dirty. It washes off. If you're an arrogant prick who doesn't want to help out around the house, watch your back. It takes a brave individual to ignore the grown-up in the room who's balancing her checkbook every night as you noodle away aimlessly on a First Act guitar. If you push them far enough, they will plan your disappearance.
Even your own flesh and bone will start to hate your guts if you've been sleeping on the couch, rent-free for two years and you've never taken out the trash or picked some weeds. If you really want to impress your bread and butter, do something drastic like scrubbing shower tile or re-painting a room. Since you're probably broke, ask them to buy the supplies and you'll do all the labor. Are you starving but can't cook? Ya, me too. Offer to set/clear the table then, do the dishes in exchange for a warm meal. It’s that simple.
If you're slothful and despise physical labor, you're going to have to find another way to reconfirm your worth. Maybe record her favorite horrible television shows, then sit down to actually watch them with her and start a conversation. You won’t break a sweat. Try finding her funny bone with some dirty jokes and your quirky personality if that's your thing. No heavy lifting there. How about perfecting your techniques in lovemaking and oral pleasure or the lost art of inducing female ejaculation? You'd be surprised how (for)giving a girl can be if you make her come a bunch of times every day. Be a vagician.
Of course, these tips are aimed at the unfortunate souls still stuck at home. They don’t really apply to the professional, lifer road dogs who tour constantly. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a musician on a bus or a stay-home musician who lives in the tool shed; you're going to want to take care of everyone in your family/crew to steer clear of all nonsense so you can fully concentrate on that fledgling fantasy of being something you're not. Good luck to you all.
Get in touch with Cris Jerue and 16.
16 will play a show in San Diego this weekend at The Shakedown SD to celebrate the release of Lost Tracts Of Time. Tickets are a measly seven bucks. Learn more here.
Copies of Lost Tracts Of Time are still available from Last Hurrah Records. Go buy one.