Behind the music of "The Thief" | As Good As Dead
"Will you always play this song, even after you turn 30?" - Scotty V.
Scotty is right. "As Good As Dead", the first song on the album, is a snapshot of a time in my life where I was really searching for the meaning of my choices. It's not that I no longer search for meaning, of course. But turning 30 was, and is, a really interesting time to see yourself for what you've done. I originally wrote the song right after I decided to make a go at the music business and to be honest, I was very critical of myself because of it. Who am I to do such a thing? Isn't this all an exercise in Narcissism? Or worse?
Or am I forging a road that will be my own?
So many questions.
The title of the song is actually the line that birthed it. Some songs start that way. A friend and I were hanging out after a party in the wee hours of the morning after all the revelers had either passed out or scurried off to their beds. We were cleaning up and laughing about how we had suddenly felt like "the older guys" in the party scene in our late 20's, and yet here we were, our experience and knowledge had gained us nothing but janitor duty. I began waxing poetic about how tragic we were becoming and how I would never amount to anything, and how in my 27 years I had nothing to show for it, when my friend cut me off with, "I guess you're as good as dead." In a moment I realized how ridiculous I sounded.
However, I couldn't forget that line. It kept gnawing at me. Eventually, it worked itself out as a song.
Self deprecation has always been my drug of choice, but this time, with As Good As Dead, I was writing/riding a fine line between self introspection as well. "Self-deprospection", if you will. For some of us, 30 is almost mid-life. (Especially the way I was imbibing through my 20's.) I'm recognizing that. I'm having a mini-mid-life crisis, but I'm also burning for intimacy with the world around me. It's a layered mash-up of heavy themes and light-hearted asides.
Like someone avoiding a revealing question with an awkward laugh at a dinner party as all conversations take a breath at the same time. Now everyone is staring. Listening. Silence and avoiding eye contact are excruciating in an eternal pause. The question begins to answer itself through the room, eyebrows begin to raise, and just as an admission of guilt escapes the lips of the victim... unmedicated Grandpa bursts out from the back room in only his birthday suit and starts introducing himself as Santa.
If that's not an analogy of my awkward and forgotten 20's, I don't know what is.