The first nolongerhuman show was in 2007, in Portland at the now defunct Fez Ballroom. As strange as it may sound sixteen years later, when I started making music it had never occurred to me that I’d ever play in front of an audience. I was just a kid in a room full of keyboards and a stack of aggrotech CDs I’d been listening to since I was a teenager, not a performer. I had been posting songs I was making online and one day a local DJ sent me a message and asked if he could add it to his set. It was… weird to me because it also hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would dance to my music. The song he wanted to add was End Times. I hadn’t even written lyrics for it yet. I honestly don’t know if I had ever even planned to.
I became friends with a local DJ and promoter and one day he asked me to play a live show. I politely declined. Honestly, I was nervous as hell at the entire idea. Had he not been both my friend and a great salesman, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but eventually, I relented and agreed. I had no plan of action. None. I’m a one-person band, and imagining myself on stage alone in front of anyone was terrifying. I was to play with another local band, whom I didn’t know personally, but knew of and loved their music: fraqtured : sound.
I knew a few people locally and shortly found someone to play keyboard on stage. Well, I thought, at least I wouldn’t have to be up there alone. They too could share in the horror of my failure. We rehearsed. Relentlessly. At the time, I had only made a grand total of 24 minutes of music. We rehearsed it all. Over and over. Trust me when I say I’ll know the words of Our New World by heart until I die.
I had no idea what to wear on stage. That thought didn’t even occur to me until way too late when I was picking out almost my entire outfit from a local military surplus store. It seemed fitting at the time and I had no money to invest in “goth clothes.” A friend told me to get a sweatband. I remember thinking how hilarious that sounded. A guy in a tactical vest and a sweatband running around on stage. But it did suddenly dawn on me that wearing a bunch of tactical gear and running around under stage lights in the Oregon summer might be warm. She suggested a bandana and showed me this beautifully elegant way she’d learned to tie it around her wrist.
I’d never owned a bandana before. I didn’t even know where one acquires a bandana. This was from a time when Myspace was a thing and online shopping had yet to be taken over by “free 2-day shipping” as a standard. The internet tells me to check a craft store. Lo and behold, my local big box craft store sells bandanas. I buy one the day of the show and spend far too long wrapping it around my wrist the way my friend taught me.
The day of the show arrives. My keyboard player had experience on stage from a previous band and so he wasn’t at all nervous. I didn’t sleep. Didn’t eat that day. Just paced and chain-smoked cigarettes (again, it was a different time).
Arrived at the venue early and continued to pace and smoke, going over the lyrics in my head.
The set time was, if I recall correctly, 18 minutes. 4 songs.
Something happened at that first show; a switch flipped. When I walked on stage and saw the people out there ready to dance, ready to scream, ready to listen… I decided to be honest up there. If I was going to fail at this first show, I at least wanted to do it honestly. I write songs about my life and my feelings, and it felt dishonest to sing them to people with anything less than pure, total transparency. I felt at home.
That was the first show. There have been hundreds since, and while at each, it’s a new experience, the same things don’t change. I’ll be up there delivering real emotions. If I seem sad, I am. If I seem angry, it’s because I am. If I seem happy, it’s genuine. There is no stage “act;” what you see is how I feel.
The other constant you can always count on is that I will have a bandana, somewhere with me on stage. It’s become like my avatar. It has tied together broken gear in Philadelphia, been offered to drunk friends in Chicago, and cleaned up spilled beer in Mexico; it’s always there.
And that is why I’m proud to introduce the new nolongerhuman cockroach bandanas.
These will be available in my two favorite colors (white on black and a limited selection of black on dark grey), and are 100% cotton, size 22’x22’… in bandana speak, “the good kind.”
Sales will begin on Bandcamp Friday, February 3, 2023, with worldwide shipping.
Follow nolongerhuman on Bandcamp to get notified of when the bandanas go live.
And if you happen to be in Portland in February, you’ll be able to get one when I’ll be playing live once again with none other than that same band that was so kind, helpful, and humble at that first show: fraqtured : sound.
Call it a reunion, call it full circle. Regardless, I’ll be introducing new songs and playing some old songs… and I’ll be wearing a bandana.