Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop (Week 47)

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Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop is the most outlandish column on UTG. Written by Mr. Jayce, vocalist for Secret Secret Dino Club and all-round funny guy, this column isn’t as much about the music as it is the experiences people in the music industry have.

WARNING: This column does and will continue to contain content some readers may find offensive. If you don’t have a sense of humor, this column is probably not for you.

As I prepare to move all of my things across the country for good, it has been quite a process for my mind to handle. For my entire life so far, New York has been where I called home. I may not have been home that often through the last 5 years, but it’s always here waiting for me.

I live about three hours north of the city. So many people call where they live in NY “upstate” so I never really get into that debate of whether I am considered “upstate” or not. It’s been great being here with my family and the friends I have left that are still here. But the traveling has gotten a little overbearing for me and the people I write with.

I can remember when I first started doing the writing thing on my own. I was at a pretty low and confusing time of my life. My band was pretty much going to shit waiting for our album to be released. I was still pretty financially crippled from a van accident, among other unexpected money issues. I probably should have got a real job at this point. But I decided I would rather live like shit and really try to do the song writing thing.

Some friends in the music business were hooking me up with some writing sessions down in the city to help me get my foot in the door. The city was 3 hours away, which meant I had to drive or take the bus. I didn’t really have money for either of those things but I always somehow figured it out. A lot of times I would forge bus tickets. I would plan as many things in a row as I could so I could take the least amount of trips as possible and cost me the least amount of money. I would crash in various spots all over the 5 boroughs of NYC with friends, acquaintances and anyone that would let me stay. I was probably so annoying, and I owe so many people a place to crash.

So there I was making it work. I was basically living off of free lunches and food at meetings with music industry professionals. Usually the lunches led to more sessions too. But every day I would go to a session in a different studio and write a song with someone I had never met before. I was pretty awful at first. It’s hard to write with some people. Everyone has a different process, and thinks different things are cool. I would say the first maybe 10 sessions I did yielded no kind of results. The songs were garbage. I have no clue how I didn’t give up. I was pissed at myself for the songs sucking, and nervous about going in the next day and failing again. I also was exhausted from barely sleeping from all the weird situations I put myself in by sleeping at (sometimes) complete stranger’s houses. A few months into my foray in the writing world I got robbed at knifepoint on the street, so that was always in the back of my mind too.

When things were getting stale in NY, I had the opportunity to take a writing trip out to LA. A lot of people from NY had moved out there and it began feeling more like home. It was easier to get cooler sessions, and easier to feel comfortable in them. There’s a lot more room to breathe in LA. Years later, I have finally gotten the resources to make the move, and everything is going well.

Stick it out guys! The thing I hate most in the world is seeing people sell their instruments. It’s easy to give up and get a normal job and let music go. For every bad thing that happens to you while you are trying your best, something exponentially rewarding will happen to you when you least expect it.

Mr. Jayce

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Aaron

    I remember the first time I met you that you told me you literally had to go dumpster diving. I was like “I’m gonna support this fucking genius until I die.” Here I stay.