2011 | It Was A Very Good Year
Happy New Year! Feeling good?
I didn't exactly go big for NYE this year, so no hangover for me, unless by "go big" you mean, "in bed by 12:01am" but more on that later.
What a wonderful year we had in 2011… it was very good year. It was a year of firsts. It was a year of accomplishment and it was a year of seeing vision fulfilled. Instead of blabbering on, month by month, highlight by highlight, endlessly about it, I've decided to break it down into a Q & A style, so you can read what parts appeal to you. Especially if "limiting time on the internet" is one of your New Year's resolutions.
So here goes. 2011 in 27 questions. (Arbitrary number, I know)
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Hmmm… I released an album, which was the big one. And played SxSW, which was another big one. And I toured solo, for the first time. And added to my family… more on that later.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well, some of them. I had resolved to release an album. And with the help of some very talented people, and all of you, mission accomplished. Getting to play SxSW was a surprise, actually. Which I thought, as a resolution, was kind of a shot in the dark, but what ended up happing was a surprise, unforeseen invitation, that, in turn, put the fire under the album deadline (big thanks to KC Turner and KFOG Radio). And some other business specific goals, which included finding a manager, which I ended up being told by a very reputable source may not be the best idea right now. I didn't however write a song a month (or even each week,) which is one resolution I will definitely revisit this year.
3. Did you discover any new music/artists?
Oh yes! And I'm newly converted to The Belle Brigade, Little Brave, Biffy Clyro, Lykke Li, Lila Nelson, YACHT, Anthony Hamilton, Cass McCombs, Mikal Cronin, The Horrors, Adrian Lux and many more (see my Spotify "Best of 2011).
It was a great year of music from some of my favorites like Bon Iver, Kanye, St. Vincent, Foster The People, and Adele… but I'm sure you know of those. I think they even made some playlists of PWALUR's. (People Who Actually Live Under Rocks).
4. Did any music influences die?
Although they didn't "die" per se, it was sad to see The White Stripes and LCD Soundsystem call it quits. I guess throwing in the towel while your ahead it important for the art, and I'm glad they made music in a way that never suffered a lack of inspiration.
But as a fan, I was bummed.
5. What countries did you visit?
Only Mexico, this year. But it was great. My wife and I took an anniversary trip down to Mexico City and proceeded to eat our way (this is how we travel) to San Miguel, Guanajuato and Sayulita. It was very relaxing and quite beautiful there. I could definitely see myself playing some shows down there, if only to go back. It's tacolicous.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
My time back that I wasted getting mad at people that stole from, lied to, or cheated me. Such a waste to let those things take up time and energy which is much more valuable that what was lost.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Although I have a terrible memory for specific dates, I do remember a few wonderful memories (even if I do have to check my Instagram timeline to be sure it was 2011), that made this year great. Like this, this, and this.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The Thief was the first time I'd committed to a recording and saw it through. I'd been through five different Producers before finding Liam McCormick and John Seeterlin, and it was quite a challenge to finally "put it down." Not so much the recording aspect, but the letting go and stop trying change or "fix" things is so many lessons… Something I'll be working on with each recording, I'm sure.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Uh… let's just say that I didn't make the music video I had hoped. Oh, and the 2nd Portland show was a surprise to say the least.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A lesser known fact: I was sick and almost lost my voice right before going in to cut the record. (It plagued me through SxSW, and I lost my voice completely 2 days before my first show in Austin.) We had to delay vocal recording for 8 days for me to recover and I've never drank more vitamins and throat coat in all of my life. On the bright side, our idea of smoking and whiskey to get a more gravely vocal tone wasn't needed.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
This guitar case. Even had to gate check it on a plane once. My guitar is unscathed after a West Coast Tour. Which was worth every penny.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Aside from rent in San Francisco, which I will never regret living in this beautiful city, my biggest expenditures were travel and the record (recording and duplication) for 2011. But what I would have spent on a Therapist without those however, seems to be almost a "write-off" worthy.
13. What did you get really excited about?
I got really excited about the CD Release party. A sold out show is always a thrill, but doing it in the intimate space of a home, was everything I had hoped it could be. A love fest.
Also, my open mic had it's 1 year anniversary and has become a huge success because of all the amazing musicians that make it happen. Something is really buzzing in the SF music scene and it's great to be a part of it.
That, and quitting my day job. I now make my living, making music. (EXCITING!)
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"No More Sunsets" was the song that carried the project to the ears of so many new friends. To think it was written from such a painful place and how much joy it has brought me to share it, is really what encapsulates this strange existence of being an artist.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter?Richer or poorer?
Very much happier. About the same. And probably… well, a little richer. (Referring to myself as rich in any monetary sense is just weird. However, when I'm in developing country, I feel very wealthy just to have what I need.)
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercise. Rode my bike, specifically. Thanks to my brother paying a bike forward to me, so now I'll be spinning my wheels much more this year, quite literally.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Having a short fuse. Losing mindless hours on the Internet.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
Back home in Manteca at my wife's parents house. We gathered around a table, laughed, and ate way more than we should. It was great. Small town Christmas's rule.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
Terriers. How this show was cancelled is a tragedy much in the same vein as Arrested Development. I guess it's just as much my fault as anyone's considering I don't have cable. Or TV. I Netflix and Apple TV everything.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I finally read Rum Diary. Loved it. Wish I had read more, but I spent a lot of time writing on my travels this year instead of reading.
21. What was your favorite local music from this year?
Flying Childers is great. They don't have a record yet, but trust me, it will be good. I'm also really enjoying Wolf Larsen (who, like myself, is giving part of her record sales to charity).
Not to mention, Megan Slankard. But you probably already know her by now.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I was hoping it would be the Muppets, but it wasn't. I liked seeing Kermit and co. again, but just didn't hit the laugh button as much as I was hoping. I did however really like Midnight In Paris. Woody Allen without being too Woody Allen.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34 on May 4th and went here for dinner (it was, how do you say, "Amazeballs?"), and to my favorite bar in the whole world, City Beer Store. (Which goes without saying was Amazeballs x10)
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I can't think of anything. Everything is happening at the right time, and I'd hate to get ahead of myself.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Fashion… hmm. My secret is to go to Banana Republic and buy something grey. With matching grey. Like an owl.
26. What kept you sane?
My wife. (applause) She is exactly the opposite of me in her outlook and talents although that leads to some very interesting exchanging of ideas (read: very, very interesting exchanging of ideas), she is a calming force and helps me see from a different, and most of the time better, perspective. I'm very blessed.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Everything will work out. Stay focused. Do right by people.
Welp... that does it. 2011 in a blogshell. Hope you enjoyed it. In closing I just want to say... Thank you.
Everything I have is because of hard work and good people.
So, thank you all for a very good year. Your support has meant so much to me and will continue to mean everything.
With love and gratitude,
Roem, Amber and...
the very best thing to happen in 2011...
I'm now a father to a baby boy.
(I'm grinning from ear to ear as I type this.)
Arlo Jude Baur