I’m going to present a chronology for the last week of Greystone Gardens. And when I say last I mean the most recent and the final. This is one of those posts I sometimes write because I don’t want to have the same conversation over and over again so I’m just going to lay out what happened.
Last Tuesday was our final practice before the show and only our third(?) practice of the month. In the five months of completely unnecessary downtime I’d started to feel that practice was a waste of my time, I know the songs inside and out, I was just showing up so the others could/would practice.
Because of Rob’s job we’d usually find out day-of that we’d be practicing late or not at all. Often this meant we practiced for two hours total in a given week, which doesn’t allow for real growth. I tried to fill the gap with auxiliary practice whenever possible and thus we ran into the other guessing game of Towelie not telling anyone if he was or wasn’t coming. If two hours a week with all of us was an annoying waste of time then an additional two hours with three of us wasn’t really much better. If I took just the time I spent on the train to and from these disappointments and put it to vocal exercise and songwriting, or talking to venues or anything else it at least would have felt like something got done instead of constant stagnation. Worst of all I got the impression everyone else was fine, when I talked about us being in a crisis and having to do something that’s the term that got used, to my existential frustration, that “Things will be fine.”
I’d stopped even having fun at practice because I don’t want us to be a basement hobby band and if all you do is get together when you can, with whoever shows up, and have fun then that’s all you are.
So last Tuesday on the way to Rob’s I was telling myself not to expect disappointment. I desperately wanted to be a good leader and kept any unhelpful emotions to myself before and during practice. When I got there and Towelie wasn’t there though, I told myself I’d run the set once and if he hadn’t shown up I would leave. I finally had that “last straw” feeling.
I had a textversation with Carla after exactly that happened, I told her all of this and she asked if I was quitting. I said I didn’t know how to answer that honestly. I didn’t want things to end, I still don’t, but if something isn’t working I’m not the kind to drag it out. She wanted to know what she had done wrong and I told her it wasn’t her fault, that I was sorry.
I talked to Rob on the phone that night too and had pretty much the same conversation. But at the end he implied I’d known all along that things would be this way, that I’d somehow agreed to it. Way back when he tried out for Hellcat Maggie he said it wouldn’t be his full time thing but once we started Greystone he and I had a million conversations about how we wanted the band to be successful, about how much he cared. I’d told him I was sorry too but after that comment I told him I was done.
And I have no idea what Towelie thought going into the show, I’ve long since given trying to communicate with him. My text log with him is a string of unanswered “are you coming to Rob’s today?” He talks with pride about not watching the video we made, about not reading this blog.
He said before he left for the Los Kung Fu tour that he cares about Greystone, and last summer when I was suicidal he implied he cared about me so I trust deep down he doesn’t mean to tank this band but like Dana said in Bojack Horseman “There’s no such thing as a deep down. You are your behaviour.”
I can’t keep a band going on the notion he wants to be a part of it if he won’t even be courteous. I didn’t expect him to be there to load gear on Friday or to even get in touch and I was right, in fact I laughed when Rob asked if anybody had heard from Towelie.
Saturday though was one more time I’ve said the last straw broke. I went to meet up with Amy downtown before loading out the gear with Ben. Towelie was with her. When I said I was leaving to load the gear he didn’t even think about coming with me. Not only taking me for granted but taking Ben for granted as well. Ben is just doing us a favour because he likes our band and he’s probably moved Towelie’s gear as much or more than Towelie himself has.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised after the show when I heard the band looked surprised when I said on stage that this was the last time we’d play together. And yet I really thought that the sense of doom I’d been feeling was apparent to everyone.
It was a great show though, cathartic as fuck, I had a blast. I thought I heard a comment about how I walked off stage but the fact is that was the end of the set as we planned it and we hadn’t rehearsed any encore. Actually we had tried but that last one, House To Myself, we agreed is our heaviest song with our biggest ending and no encore song could follow it. We wrote the set list a month ago, otherwise we’d have ended with Laugh Track, obviously.
After the show I was ecstatic, people told me it was great, bought me shots, and when they asked why we were breaking up I cheerily said it was just because of “personalities”. I gave away the last of the merch and the band all said we’d talk.
Which we haven’t. Again I shouldn’t be surprised, the core of the problem was communication and motivation so it makes sense but I had hoped someone would care enough to take initiative and rally the team.
While I’m bummed about it off-and-on I was elated at first. The stress of being five months behind was replaced by the feeling of being on day 1 of a new chapter. I’m jazzed to do a solo album right away.
It’s been a year of close friends becoming far-friends and not-friends. I’m not proud of how things are turning out, I know I’m the bad guy in a lot of people’s point of view, but I can’t give up now and start acting like a phony just to be liked. I have to stand up for myself and for what I believe in and if there’s no place for me in the world right now all I can hope is that people will look back later and say at least I had integrity.
I’d like for Greystone not to be over. I’m certain of that just as much as I’m certain I can’t stand another pointless practice, another no-show, another shrug about the future. And I’m certain that my journey as a songwriter is far from over no matter what.