Luminous City: Me and Machiavelli

I had resolved that I wasn’t going to write any more about the album until I had some form of distribution lined up. As far as that goes I’m still looking at Tunecore but am also considering CD Baby on the recommendation of certain fellow habitués of The Womb Forum. Decisions, decisions.

However, while cruising the Yesfans fora earlier today, I came across a fairly pointed argument in a thread about Roger Waters’ relationship, such as it may be, with his ex-bandmantes in Pink Floyd… which made me reconsider the methods I had taken to finish the album and in some sense brings me back to my first post on the subject.

Orbert writes, in response to the suggestion that to hold grudges is a somewhat childish action:

I don’t have any problem with grown men harboring bad feelings. Not in this case anyway. If someone says something bad about me, okay, whatever. If someone totally screws me out of the work I’ve done, and destroys the band I helped form and put 20 years of my life into, am I supposed to just say “Oh well. People make mistakes.” It was not a mistake; it was a deliberate and calculated series of acts designed to optimize his power to see his vision fulfilled, at the expense of everyone and everything else, including the very band that made any of it possible. He totally shat on everyone around him. Everyone else is being petty by not simply forgiving him and agreeing to work with him again?

And I started wondering to what extent I had emulated Waters in the course of following through with the @Fulcrum album and not inviting anyone else to take part in it. I could well have invited, for example, the bassist and drummer to have a boo at the old songbook– whether they would have said yes or no, or how long I would have had to wait on their schedules, I couldn’t even guess; I never asked.

You could be forgiven for thinking, does it even matter? The album isn’t even out yet, and you’re not famous, and if you keep chopping that tree down with a herring like you’ve been doing, and no one reads your blog, is it still a shitty thing to do, and you’re not famous anyway, you egoist, and for all you know none of the other musicians even care one way or the other, and by the way did I mention that you’re not famous, and–

No. I’m not famous. (Maybe only slightly notorious among a miniscule cross-section or two of the populace.) I have a few close friends, the best of whom is my wife of almost ten years; that’s all I require as far as companionship. To suggest that fame exempts one from behaving decently towards one another is self-evidently ludicrous. There are ripples even in a small pond, and to paraphrase the song, ripples never come back…. at least not in ways we can predict.

Consider this scenario:

When Ian Anderson first started to track the album that would become A, he enlisted the help of a few sessioneers, including Eddie Jobson on violin and keys, Mark Craney on kit… and Martin Barre from the day gig on guitar. That last inclusion might have pushed the album over an edge somewhere in the mind of some accounting department mook. When the record company convinced Anderson that the album should not be marketed as an Ian Anderson solo record but rather as a Jethro Tull album, Anderson effectively gave the sack to three musicians who had been with the band for quite a long time and had done nothing worse than not participate in the solo album-turned-Tull album. His own hand-wringing over the subject is documented; the reactions of Messrs. Barlow, Evans, and Palmer (well.. nowadays it would be Mme Palmer) are not, to the best of my knowledge.

To what extent we can consider that dismissal an honest mistake is an argument in which I am not prepared to engage, by virtue of the fact that I wasn’t there and I only have Anderson’s side of things.

Waters’ moves to have Rick Wright dismissed from Pink Floyd may have been honest, or not, depending on whether you’re talking to Waters or to Wright; but there was no mistaking his intentions. Gilmour and Mason shrewdly determined that Waters was going to dismantle Pink Floyd and rebuild it in his own image, by first getting rid of Wright, then Mason, and then, if need be, Gilmour. Gilmour and Mason were not willing to allow that to happen– they had invested too much of their time and effort over the years– and Waters wound up quitting instead, on the assumption that the true Floyd fans would follow the work of its chief auteur (there’s that word again) and dismiss anything the others might attempt as a Pink Fraud.

Which, as you knew it eventually must, brings me back to me.

Did I, in Orbert’s words, totally shit on everyone else, the way he accuses Waters of doing?

I would hate to think so. It seemed to me that the interest was simply no longer there, or rather that no one else shared my ongoing enthusiasm for the project. If that happened to be true, or if I was merely seeing what I wanted to see, I find myself unable to determine.


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