God Only Knows.

So... just over a month from the release of my Image book 27, and things are kicking into gear somewhat.  I've done some interviews, I'll be signing some promotional stuff at New York Comicon in a few weeks, and things look decent so far.  The few advance reviews I've gotten have been very positive - but really, none of that matters until and unless people buy the book and dig it.  From a career perspective, it also matters if they talk about it.  But those are things I have little control over - the book's done, it looks great and reads as well as I was able to make it read, so that's that. The solicitation and cover for Issue 2 just came out.  I'm not sure whether I've posted this up here before, but here you go:

That, as is the case with the rest of the covers for the series, is the brilliant work of Scott Forbes.  As I mention above, this one will hit stores on December 8.  It's the issue of the series I'm most nervous about, for reasons that I'll discuss after it comes out.  I'm very proud of it, but it goes to some interesting places, and I hope readers go there with me.  It's the setup for the ride that comes in Issues 3 and 4 - like the anticipatory haul up that first big hill on a roller coaster before the insanity to follow.

Speaking of music (27's a music-related book, remember?), I had a gig last night with a few musicians I've been playing with for years and years.  One, my regular drummer, I've worked with for more than a decade, which is wild.  It was a jazz trio gig - me on guitar, along with bass and drums.  These are both musicians who have done almost everything a working musician in NYC can aspire to - they've toured on other people's dime, played gigantic venues, made notable recordings, hung out with famous artists (myself not included), just about everything except being massively famous themselves.  It should go without saying that they're also both amazing players.  I'm a little spoiled for musical talent living in New York City - there are musicians on every corner who would be the best player in their entire state if they lived almost anywhere else, who can sometimes go begging for work.  It's wild and wonderful at the same time.

Anyway, I love working with these guys - we don't have to think when we play, we just sort of follow each others' leads - all the cliches, I know.  They certainly elevate my playing, without any doubt whatsoever.  It's a blast.

But over the last few gigs, both guys mentioned to me separately that they're thinking of either quitting music or scaling it back to a huge degree.  It was sort of an "I'm getting older, and gigging is starting to be a chore that I don't want it to be" kind of sentiment.  That's some sobering business right there, and I'm still trying to process it.  I love music - I've been playing it since I was three and writing it pretty seriously for more than fifteen years.  Music has brought immense amounts of joy to my life.  I haven't done everything these guys I'm talking about have done, but I've done a lot - more than my share, even.  I can understand where my bandmates (and friends, of course) are coming from - dragging yourself out to some stupid party to play low-volume, accessible jazz isn't always the best gig in the world - but it just bums me out a little.  Music is music, and the idea that one day I might not get from it what I get today bothers me.  Music seems like it should transcend typical barriers to enjoyment.  I might get sick of playing the same song over and over again, but there are always new songs, and new ways of playing them.  But if it can happen to these guys...

I'll just keep playing shows and writing stories - we'll see how it goes.

Agree to Agree, Part One.

Strange Attractors