Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

...Is About Finished

I managed to find a little time here and there this weekend to work on the seventh song. Still need to finish the lyrics and lay down the vocal tracks, but it's close to finished. And I think I have an eighth song brewing in the back of my brain.

Back in the '90s when I put our a LOT of albums, I was almost always very busy with family and work. I pretty much had to steal a moment here or a half hour there to write and record new songs. I also got very good at using every free moment, when I wasn't able to actually do the physical work of recording, to mentally compose lyrics or a guitar part or what have you. I can quite clearly recall standing at the blackboard in my classroom and actually teaching and composing songs in my head simultaneously. It might not sound plausible, but I did it. That's how fanatical I was about music. Why? I don't know. When you're essentially unknown, it's best not to question why you feel the need to constantly create just one more song.

In the early 2000s I became much more consistently involved in playing within the confines of a band. And that, for some reason, tended to lessen my urge to write new material. I suppose that's because I channeled most of my creative energy into practicing and playing. Still, usually when a band I was in broke up, I managed to release a fairly hefty handful of new records...ALL ABOUT YOU, WASP 51!, I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE, DIFFERENT, and THIS IS YOUR BOOK OF KILLS, among a number of others. There was still work, and of course family, and I still had to sneak in the time I needed to scratch my musical itch. From 2008 through 2013, though, I think I finally (though thankfully not once and for all) came to the realization that I was losing the fight to justify in my mind the making of music for what I perceived to be an ever more indifferent and dwindling audience. From 2000 through 2013, I enjoyed a long period of belonging to some fun bands such as The Karl Rove, the Plague Dogs, Fear + Whiskey and, of course, three or four different incarnations of Book Of Kills, but I just couldn't find that old desire to write many new songs, and when I did the results weren't always 100% inspired, though I do think that THE PLEASURES OF SAYING GOODBYE and bits and pieces of TOWARD THE ESCAPE and the FEAR + WHISKEY anthology contain some pretty decent new compositions. 

In mid-2013, as Fear + Whiskey was expiring, I ended up in yet another (I guess very temporary) version of Book Of Kills with George Nipe III, Casey and Jane Firkin, and Pablo Olivieri. I also was privileged to be able to perform live (if shakily) one more time with the impossibly talented Brian Temples and Dusty Bugg. I don't know if jamming with all those folks got the juices flowing again or if I simply had so much creative energy dammed up inside that it eventually had to gush out. I think the fact that I have begun to finally, if slowly, make my old albums available through iTunes, CDBaby, Spotify, and numerous other online music stores and that they've finally, if slowly, begun to find a new audience must have had something to do with it. Regardless, I'm glad that I got the chance to make another album. I'd forgotten how much fun it was. I have no delusions about these sessions producing a "great" piece of art. I'm not even sure if what I'm doing is even remotely good, at least compared to the best stuff I produced in the past.

But it sure is nice to be alive when I'm immersed in making new music.