9 December 2009

day 152- when cowboys die, a drugstore tragedy in 3 acts
The last couple of weeks I've been meeting up with potential new musicians for the Drugstore ranch, as I see it as the only viable way to move forward and remain 'alive' as an artist. It's fitting that I'm doing it right at this most melancholic time of the year, when caught at the end of a deep glass of merriment wine, we find ourselves deep in reflection, and not without some sadness. As with every Drugstore situation, the complexities and psychological subtleties of our paths are beyond explanation, but today I will attempt to draw a line, so I can start to look forward to whatever is in store in the future. There has been a lot of speculation and some confusion, so I'm gonna give it to you just as it is.
A simple Drugstore tragedy in 3 acts:
act 1 - matt aulich
Matt is one seriously talented, sensitive musician. I've never had to explain how a song should go, where the next chord was, I'd only tell him very briefly what it was about and what it meant to me, and he would totally get it, and come up with the most beautiful parts. Matt would love to carry on working with Drugstore, but he lives in Tasmania.
Tasmania. Christ, that's a hell of a long way away.
He suggested we work online, use a server and all that - but, that's just not a great way to create music. I need musicians who will be nearby and push me out of the cave.
Matt has a young family to treasure and look after, and I hope much good music ahead of him, that we had to say goodbye, is a tragedy.
act 2 - mike chylinski
Mike is, as every Drugstore fan knows, an exceptional drummer, who has two rather rare qualities for a beat slicer: subtlety and good taste. It's hard to imagine anyone better suited to play our music, or a more special individual.
So, now you're ahead of me, thinking: "we get it - Mike's tragedy is that he lives in LA, right?" But, that's only half of it. Soon after the Dingwalls gig, Mike said he was willing to pay for his travel expenses. Still, one has to wonder how often was he going to be able to fly over here. Sadly, the real tragedy, is not that he lives in California, but that, even though we had a long 7 year gap, we still argue like cats and dogs. I hoped, genuinely hoped, that after such a long hiatus, we would get on better - but the truth is, we didn't. No point wasting time wondering whose fault it is, as I came to see that it's just our chemistry, and that cannot be helped. Mike's also setting up roots in LA with an adorable young wife and a new house, just hope he finds the right outlet for his amazing creativity. He deserves it.
My life is far from a sea of tranquility, but I really try to keep it an argument-free zone. So above all, and mostly for this reason, it is a tragedy that we had to say goodbye.
act 3 - daron robinson
Just before the Dingwalls gig, and realising that we were keen on continuing the band, Daron explained that he would only like to play the occasional, once in a blue moon reunion, and that he wanted to concentrate his efforts on writing commercial songs, where the hard cash is, as he is also trying to build up a nest for his young family. Before we slay the Dragon with our snobbish indie credibility, I think it's important that we accept that people should try to do in life whatever they think might make'em happy. It's as simple as that. If trying to write for Mastercard or Take That will enable Daron and his future family happiness, I can only wish him success, for it was a real joy and treat to have him in the band. The tragedy for me is not that we're losing a guitarist, as Radiohead wisely pointed out: 'Anyone can play guitar'. Nor that we're losing adorable company, for I'm sure the New Cowboys will bring their own brand of charm and humour to Drugstore. Daron's tragedy is one I believe, himself not to be aware of. You see, occasionally, when he sang, something rather unique happened. Something that doesn't happen very often with the vast majority of artists and bands out there, that we all think are so fucking cool, real, and oh so talented. When Daron sang, it rang true. You people have no idea how rare a thing this is. When someone sings and reveals something that they themselves are not aware of, we're confronted by real slices of humanity: touching, powerful, beautiful, and very, very special. In Drugstore, Daron had that perfect little spot, where occasionally, those beautiful little gems would glint in the darkness. I now wonder If I ever made him aware of how highly I rated that, no higher quality in my books, no higher pursuit or acclaim. You see, that little something that Robinson would sometimes deliver, was priceless. That we would not see that again, is a tragedy.
epilogue - monteiro and the new cowboys
So, as you can see, it was hardly a case of Monteiro Madness, going 'round chopping heads away as if there was no tomorrow. Indeed, the decision to find new collaborators is precisely because I completely believe there is a tomorrow for Drugstore; And the more I think about it the more it becomes clear that, although heartbreaking for some, it was not such a difficult choice after all, for as often in life, the real tough decisions are defined by circumstances themselves, and we're only acting upon them.
As for the delightful Mr. Ian Burdge and his army of string players, I'm sure they'll be gracing the Drugstore stage, whenever they're not too busy with the A-listers.
So, for now I will leave the ol' cowboys to rest, with a simple lullaby, and the though that I may have not loved them that well, but have as the years went by, grown to love them very profoundly, as people, and that is everlasting.
a lullaby to the cowboys gone by.


jaf said...

Thanks for sharing that Isabel. Sad, but life, as they say, moves on, much as we dig our heels in and fight it.

I think I agree with you about Daron's singing, and I just hope you can recapture the on-stage chemistry with the new cowboys.

I remember a gig at a firkin pub in Birmingham when you played "Sober" and everything just gelled perfectly. I remember seeing you and Daron exchanging a "what the fuck just happened?" look afterwards. I remember because me and my mate Andy did exactly the same thing in the audience to make sure we hadn't imagined it either.

Happy magical days. Here's looking forward to many more.

isabel monteiro said...

Hi J-
txh for that.
as far as having chemistry onstage - you have absolutely fuck all to fear, there will be some kinda of chemistry, spillage and some sort of good trouble even if I sing alongside a couple of anglepoise lamps - pretty sure of that. - but above all, I'm sure, some beautiful music too.

Diana said...

hi Isabel,

it was very nice of you to to publicly honor the guys!

clearing things up before moving forward is a good thing to do...

"the tide has turned" and I can't wait to see were it will lead Drugstore. good look on your quest for the new Drugsters!


Gilson D. said...

Just wanna wish luck, peace and inspiration!
Drugstore music it s been around as a cool/delicate soundtrack for memorable moments: when I left Sampa 10 years ago, when I lived in London and Carcassonne with an aussie girl that broke my heart so bad that I drank the whole hundred and something bottles of wine in the house that I was working...and for every magic moments in the streets of NYC these days...
...If you feel like crying, do it...'cause you can! menina bonita!

Anonymous said...

Following your band is turning out to be way more exciting and emotional than Eastenders!
Really moving track.
Once again, Isabel, thanks for sharing and good luck with the new cowboys.

isabel monteiro said...

Hi G - this meninabonita shared a tear or 2 while putting the track down - pathetic, isnt it?
Hi Mark - more exciting than the mitchells of albert square?! that's pretty funny! - hopefully, from this day forward, not quite as much shouting...

M.J. Nicholls said...

Bad news about Mike: I've enjoyed his contributions to Drugstore in the past.

Perhaps a clone, or his identical twin is available?

Best o' luck. Also enjoying this (surprisingly intimate) blog and your route to Drugstore globe-conquering greatness.

Anonymous said...

You're back
I Love your demos and this blog is awesome!
Please keep the dream alive

isabel monteiro said...

hey folks-
thanks for kindwords and all that stuff.
it's all good, as they say.
In the cave for the 3/4 days, preparing a few fun+ridiculous ideas for the 'xmas at the cave w/ drugstore'...

graeme said...

Jaf - that gig at the flapper & firkin in brum was awesome wasn't it? it's a great underground venue and we were treated to a wonderful night.

agree completely with daron - he did what i think graham coxon has done really successfully more recently - combined good subtle guitar playing with a not great but sobering honest voice which just fits wonderfully well with the moment.

looking forward to the new line up and a range of gigs (where you travel north of brum please...?)

isabel monteiro said...

Hey G-
Would include Brum, Rio and Venus, if at all possible, for any possible future gigs!
As for the other comm. on 'vocal abilities', monteiro discreetly silent.