Do you know what my favorite book is?
It’s a novel called HERZOG by Saul Bellow. I mention it because—to me—it means exactly what THE FIELD RECORDINGS mean.
I won’t spoil the book for you, because I would like you to read it. Suffice it to say: HERZOG is about the limits of Human Empathy for other humans. It’s about thoughtful people, obsessed with creating a thoroughly logical and humane mode of living, who nevertheless continue to hurt the people they love, or the people around them, or themselves by genuflecting for those who will only ever hurt them in return.
The Moral, as I take it is this: Consider your actions—every action—against all the people around you. Call it the Math of Living, if you like. We will never be perfect, because to err is ETC., but as long as every action has some honest thought-work behind it, we can be deserving of sympathy.
This is—honestly—honestly—the only thing I’ve been able to figure out in my whole life.
And now here’s the point: THE FIELD RECORDINGS as you know it, are over. Jared has decided to quit.
But I wanted you to know that I tried my best to make everything we did a Considered Argument for your time, and—so my thinking goes—deserving of your sympathies.
That’s why I made all the artwork, that’s why we made our own videos, that’s why we printed a photobook, that’s why we dressed up, and that’s why whenever we wrote a song, it was on your side, so to speak, so that you would know someone was trying to be fair to you—not guardedly safe in Insincerity or calculated Cynicism.
To be small or act narrow, to be cynical about what we were doing, that wasn’t the point of the band—never. The songs were always about people: poor, blighted, displaced people dealing dumb-struck with a world that is crass & jagged & self-rewarding. They were all protest songs, of a kind, against a system we made ourselves. A system that manufactures alienation, a system that creates incentives for self-abuse, a system that sells solutions for unfulfillable promises & the few billion people who have now been raised on them.
And I have nothing but regrets, as you can imagine. I regret that we played our last show without my knowing it. I regret trying to work with all the people who took our money and our time and gave us nothing in return. I regret never getting the chance to tour or see our album on vinyl… mostly I regret how many years and how much effort I spent genuflecting for people who would only hurt me in return.
The other point of the band was to prove (at least to myself) that I could do whatever I really wanted to do. Music, video, painting, photographs—I wanted to try doing it all, so I did, learning as fast as I could. That’s what I can take away from this whole experience, whether or not it feels like Cold Comfort to me is beside the point. The point, again, is this: in spite of this life and this period in history, there are opportunities for everyone, everywhere.
As for the future: I can honestly say I don’t know. I do know I’m keeping the name and I might make my own album at home. I do know THE FIELD RECORDINGS will continue, somehow, in some shape, with some sound. The only thing I do know for sure is that I will finish the video for WE WILL BECOME STRANGERS FASTER NOW, if only because we spent almost a year making it.
As for the rest of the Funeral Business: Please keep checking back, as there will be more of it, I’m sure. But, if you feel like buying our album or a shirt—now that The Procession is rolling through the streets, hearse-quiet, as it were: Please know that any money made still goes to paying off studio & printing debts.
And, if anyone out there needs a singer, I’m available.
I would like to thank all the people who helped us—because despite the above, there were a lot of them: Steve Rodgers & The Space, Anthony Yacobellis & Al Levesque & Sub Rosa Party, Dave Zukauskus, everyone in Danbury & New Haven, Joe Pascarell & Ryan Ball, Travis Bell & Brent Ulrich, Farah Bear, Mike Skaggs, Alex Burnett & The Proud Flesh, Jeffrey & Emily Thunders, The Impossible Project, The Cavemen Go, Bob Reich, Michael Henry & KNTRLR & The Press, Karrie Bulger, Daphne & Rich Martin, The Oasis, Sean Patrick Murray, and everyone in New London, Sherman Krysher, Chris O’Connor, my family for giving us their home to use & all their help & support, and anyone who liked our music, saw us live & stayed for all of it, or came up to me after a set to talk. Thank You.
IN SHORT: COMPLACENCY IS OUT OF STYLE,