April, 2009

Ballad of Sisyphus

Sisyphus. He is an interesting story.

See here’s the thing. I don’t like to write. There’s this introduction by Richard Bach on his book “Illusions” – i paraphrase…he talks about how difficult it is to write- how some thing or some idea swells up inside and tortures him up to a point that finally he must commit pen to paper. Well, that’s romanticizing things- but it’s a lovely excuse.

The myth of Sisyphus is pretty cool. Ever since I first read about it, it made sense. As you may or may not know, Sisyphus was punished by the Gods to push a rock up a hill, only to let it roll back down, so that he may push it back up again. Over and over again. For eternity.

This has been a perfect metaphor for the philosophers. Especially for the existentialists. And frankly, what better existential metaphor than this one to clarify that there is no value beyond the process.

Which brings me to the concept of the album. It has raised questions- why? why bother? what is the point? Record companies have shaped it’s existence. But music lovers have created its relevance.

When I grew up loving music and eventually wanted to make music, the album was the representation of everything you could possibly say in a given period of time. It was more than a statement. It was a completion of an idea. It was IT.

But things have changed much. The music business has changed much. And so, I won’t get into why the concept of the album changed so much. That is a whole other argument. And it’s not important for this one.

My argument is that albums are still important. They are still incredibly relevant.

For a musician growing up as I grew up, making the album was the ultimate pushing of the rock up the hill. It was THE GOAL, for bettter or for worse. And it represented something greater than what you were.

It’s different now. Musicians need to keep up with the times. They have to release a single to know there is an audience. They have to create music for the commercial to ensure the product sells. They have to do anything they can to make sure they can earn a living. And that is the paradox.

The gigantic freedom obtained from being released of the clutches of the record companies has resulted in a legitimization of a music industry that has taken us away from why we existed in the first place . And as a result… the rock got a lot bigger.

Having your say is not a given. Reaching your audience is not a given. Making your album is most definitely not a given- It’s expensive and not profitable.

But the thing is, Sisyphus needs a solid rock to push. As human beings, we always need to be connected to bigger concepts, no matter how many boring celebrity news articles we read. You see, Sisyphus doesn’t want a bunch of pebbles. He needs something tangible, concrete- something we can sink our teeth into.

And so albums will live. As will real rocks. No matter the pace or depth of technology. All of this development will negotiate a heck of a lot of how we interact and share information. But it won’t dictate how we truly change. Only the big rocks can do that.

What's In a Name?

It’s a fair and obvious question we get often- what the hell is a Lickpenny Loafer?? I suppose even some of our most loyal fans are in the dark. That’s ok- what is in a name anyway? Maybe some put more stock into such a thing than is necessary but for what it is worth there is a small backstory. It’s nothing elaborate but there are a couple of small things that did serve to inspire the name.   So here goes.

A Lickpenny Loafer is essentially a money-driven lazy bum.

I grew up hooked on O. Henry. Not the candy bar (although it aint too bad), but the writer. O. Henry was a pen name – William Sydney Porter is his real name. I thought he wrote the most wonderful short stories (still love them) and was enamoured with his writing style and technique. One of things he wrote really well was irony. He wove it in and out of his stories the way a magician pulls elephants out his hat. But perhaps not so offensively.

One of the stories I really liked (and still do) is one called “A Lickpenny Lover”. I won’t bore you (or ruin it for you if you ever come across it) with the plot but it is another one of his best, loaded with the usual charm. I love the characters in it as is often the case with his stories. I really like how he describes the fairly brief moments in time that is their interaction.

O. Henry matured as a writer while living in New York City. Many of his stories were published in something called the New York Sunday Magazine (I think). I remember reading something about him having to submit a new one weekly for which he was paid reasonably. While he may not have been as poor as Edgar Allen Poe, he was at least partially as susceptible to the bottle. So he mostly drank away his compensation. But perhaps more interestingly, while indulging himself at New York’s various watering holes, he would observe and sometimes meet many interesting characters. This is how O. Henry got many of the ideas for his stories. After all, these were the people of the city. Of his city.

So whether he was writing about the sincere stranger and the naive department store girl, or the desperate drifter, or two old friends who’d taken very different paths, or of course the two young lovers who knew the meaning without realizing it, he had created very ‘real’ people, inspired by actual people he had seen and observed, and maybe even like people you and I might have come across and yet not been aware of. That’s the thing- O. Henry knew that EVERYONE had a story.

So I guess that covers the first part. What about loafer? A loafer is a lazy bum.

Choosing to attempt some kind of music career, in whatever capacity, is fairly a long and rocky path. You can’t be lazy. Like any venture into art, you have to constantly try and find motivation and inspiration and stick to what you think you want to say. You can’t be motivated by money, because frankly, there really isn’t much to go around. If somewhere along the way, you can get back a little bit for your hard work, then great. But if its your main motivation, then it yields a short career filled with disappointment.

So a Lickpenny Loafer is a money-driven lazy bum. The name of this band is a constant reminder to us of why we’re truly in this and what it takes to keep going. Hey… a little irony never hurt :)


As you may or may not have noticed, our website has gone through some a reasonable overhaul.  The new version has many advantages.

Let me preface by saying that I think that while internet technology may have come extremely far, the ability to manipulate it, to deal with the back end, still seems to be a skill belonging to a minority.  But I think I’m wrong.  I think a lot of people  know what they’re doing now with websites- we just don’t seem to be included in that bunch.

Let me also say that anyone who actually runs their own website and has the smarts and patience to update it every day and constantly improve their knowledge of HTML code, is a remarkable person.  Man, that shit is hard.  We think, anyway.

Which brings us to the aforementioned changes.  Essentially, we made some changes to our site to allow for us to do two things:

1)  Create a flow of continuous “new” content that you guys can regularly check back in for,  and…

2)  Be able to update and upload that new content with relative ease.

Thanks to these changes we can now do these things much more easily.  With the power to quickly edit the site we will be making the following regular updates:

Announcement of shows, updates on any important news, uploading of pics and video from shows, a whole range of mp3 downloads of sketches and live songs.

Last but not least, the home page of our new site displays an ongoing blog of our developments that is automatically delivered directly into your email inbox (finally, no more manual emailing for us).  All you have to do is subscribe.

Thanks a bunch to Sharif and Faircube.  He is one of the remarkable people I described above.  A shout-out also goes out to our own Todd for helping start the process.