As a writer, it’s important to be tuned in not just to what other writers are doing around you, but also what other artists are doing. For instance, musical talent has always vexed me. I have performed in musicals, I have carried my fair share of tunes, and in my younger days, I attempted to learn saxophone, drums, guitar, bass guitar, and even flirted with the mandolin for a few years. I think perhaps that’s why I draw so much inspiration from music. Whether the muse strikes through lyrical imagery or tonal metaphor, music mystifies my brain.
Sometimes, I go to classical, or to motion picture soundtracks. For other projects, I lean into a genre that sets the mood for my concept. And most of the time, I go for something familiar. Lately, that’s been a very loud reclaiming of the music from my formative years – Blink-182. After their mainstream stint tapered in the early 2000s, I caught judgement from peers for enjoying Blink. That only drove my stubborn ass quietly back to their work for all my personal creative pursuits. I kept my fandom mostly to myself for over a decade. Hell, my wife (and partner of 7 years) didn’t realize how much I liked them until their new single EDGING dropped last fall!
When we started dating, she had a little turntable and a basket of vintage albums from her parents. We used to sit and drink wine and spin Billy Joel albums – the same ones I grew up listening to because he was my mom’s own coming-of-age favorite. So, enjoying a rainy day with vinyl turning at thirty-three rotations-per-minute has become a cherished pastime. And recent lifestyle changes have made it easier to slowly add to our record collection. In the past few months, that vinyl-hunting flame has been fanned by our close friend, Paul. I’d tell you more about him, but he’s too cool to contain to one sentence: a ‘no pants; all dreams,’ kind of guy. Suffice it to say, I’ve had more opportunities to share my music. And while there are some laid-back moments that don’t need to be throttled by Blink’s angsty rock poetry, there have been some days that demand such treatment! My closest friends have been all too happy to oblige.
I could go on for hours, but my point is that feeling free to share my music has opened a whole new channel of inspiration at Space Cadets Studios. If you’ve stumbled onto this post because you share an interest in Blink, I highly recommend the Ernie Ball-produced documentary Pursuit of Tone: Tom DeLonge. Two particular chestnuts of his wisdom got me thinking about how my work at Space Cadets Studios personifies that 'punk rock attitude.' So, while I wait for Blink's new album to drop (I thought yinz said SPRING 2023 - I'm dying, here!), please enjoy these three reasons Space Cadets Studios = punk rock:
1.) First off, there is no judgement of your art beyond the challenge, “Is this the most effective version of your story or idea?” Why? Because punk, by nature, is supposed to be judgement-free. While defining the genre in his Ernie Ball interview, Tom observes:
“Growing up in punk scene and being a part of the heritage of punk scene and being such a big part of that word, you will always get the kids that say ‘you left us,’ or ‘you’re not punk anymore,’ or ‘this is punk and that’s not punk.’ It’s something only you as an adult that went through it can look back and say, ‘Look, your passion is correct, but your definition is wrong. The punk rock ethos exists in a form where kids can adopt it and become unique, become individuals, and celebrate the fact that they’re outcasts. And the more of an outcast you become, the better you feel about yourself. You use it for the wrong way when you try to judge other people for not being something. You’re missing the point entirely!’”
2.) Secondly, just like the world’s favorite punk bands, Space Cadets Studios was originally founded by misfit teenagers in a basement. We filmed videos, made our own DVDs and t-shirts, and even did live shows: the video production equivalent of a garage band. While we're all "professionals" and "adults" now, SCS strives to maintain the free spirit of its youthful teenage founders.
3.) And last, but certainly not least: Tom drops another great quote that oozes not only punk rock, but also my own artistic philosophy. His stellar quote divulges, “The idea of even being on a record label would infuriate me… I don’t like to ask permission to go do art.” Bloody poetry! We are all creative beings in some capacity or other: The only permission you need to express yourself through art is your own permission.
If you’re a writer here looking for inspiration, I highly recommend some Vinyl Therapy. Dust off some old favorite albums (in any format): not individual songs. Pick a musician you love and do them the honor of listening to one album start to finish, without shuffle play. Appreciate the story they’re telling at that moment in their creative journey and see what it sparks in your own imagination.
*Shout-out to Dale, Sledge, Paul & Sacco for having the most positive influence on my taste in music and sound design.