After my daughter was born, I got it in my head that I would die before she got old enough to remember me. I think this is a common-enough fear for parents. But what stuck with me was the thought that she might not remember my voice.
As an infant, and with her older brother before her, I sang her to sleep at night. There is something so fundamentally human about holding a child and singing it to sleep, and I thought that if there is any subconscious residue of our earliest lives, it must be bound up with the feeling of being held and sung to. I wanted, no matter what might happen to me, for my children to always have access to that.
Normal people, when taken with the same idea, might simply record themselves telling their children that they love them or some such thing, but what I did was I made this album.
I started playing drums in 1993 and played in metal bands until about 2001. I started moving around a lot then, from Austin to Houston to Los Angeles, and since I didn’t always have access to drums, I began playing guitar and messing around with electronic music, some of which I used to score films and recorded under the name Mission 13. In playing more guitar, I started writing songs, and kept it up, especially when life got the most difficult. When I write a song in darkness, it’s easier for me to embrace that and look ahead to a time when things will be better. It forces me to imagine, and when left alone with my imagination, I think optimistic things are better company than the opposite.
So when I became taken with this notion of my pending mortality, I started culling through these songs, and tried to find the album that best told the story I wanted to tell my children, if it wound up being, God forbid, the only thing I got to tell them that they remembered. The songs that found their way onto the record, then, revolve around this notion of darkness and light, and how in the darkness, we can also find ways to see light if we’re willing to look. I don’t mean that in a hokey, silver-lining way, because it’s hard freaking work to imagine a time when everything will not be as unbearable as it might be now. And it takes a lot of courage to stand on the threshold of something that could end in either tremendous success or calamitous failure, take a deep breath, and walk forward.
I think that’s what I wanted my children to know. I think it’s what the album says.