Entry 1

This entry was written Wednesday, May 5.

My desk in my studio

I am the guitarist and a vocalist/songwriter in the rock band Mission of Burma. I am the keyboardist in the Alloy Orchestra, an unorthodox trio. I have been making my living in music since I moved to Boston in 1978. I am 52 years old.

I woke a bit thick-headed today—Mission of Burma’s new CD, ONoffON, was officially released yesterday, so last night I was a DJ at a club. It was fun spinning CDs/LPs/45s and cross-fading intergalactic Sun Ra organ solos into the 13th Floor Elevators, and the “Titles Theme” from The Triplets of Belleville into Missy Elliot. How many people actually listened, rather than just chatted away as they socialized? Some, anyway.

Today I mostly answered and wrote e-mails until I went to the gym. I travel a lot, and in both bands there is a lot of “sitting around.” It’s astonishing how little exercise is available in this kind of life (other than jumping around onstage with a guitar). So I’m trying to work the gym in as a regular thing. Feels good, really. Plus when I’m in there, no one can call me. …

The cover of our new album

Returned home and realized there seems to be some competition between Burma and Alloy for a certain weekend in September. Intense e-mails back and forth. This has never been a serious issue before, but with the new CD out, Burma is becoming more active. Despite the media attention given to Burma, Alloy makes more money for me (so far, anyway) and in a much more relaxed fashion. Alloy shows are generally calm and end early. Burma shows have a manic quality to them, with large-ish crowds, and end late. The two complement each other well. So I do my best to keep everything harmonious between the two bands. (I also have my piano/drums duo, the Binary System. We have two CDs out on Atavistic and are ready to record another one. But there’s no time to do it. Frustrating …)

Before dinner, I did an interview with a Seattle paper. It was pretty fun, as the guy knew Burma very well and also my other numerous projects. I generally enjoy doing interviews, but more than two a day gets to be a drain: One starts repeating oneself, and it becomes disturbing.

When we played the U.K. this April, Pete and Clint went on to do interviews in Hamburg (while I returned home to play some Alloy shows); they were holed up in a hotel doing interview after interview. That ain’t exactly my idea of a good time.

My son Chance, 15, came over this evening. We had dinner, then watched Timeline. A pretty good movie for a Hollywood flick, we both agreed. He and I are very similar—he seems to have all my (hopefully only good) traits and began composing and improvising when he was very young. He is pretty interested in filmmaking now, so I hire him to improve my Web site and pay him in memory cards for his digital video camera. Hmmm …. When I was a kid, I raked leaves and cut lawns. …