Experimentalist Podcast Writing Submission: Entry 013 / by Brandon Mitchell

"Boy oh boy. I tried really hard. Could I have tried harder? Nope." -- Ogle B Straight

I ALMOST DIDN’T put this episode out. I had a surgical maneuver performed on me in the last week and it sort of put me out of commission. Not completely. I could walk and talk, even still play these instruments. I just couldn’t really tell why I was doing any of these things. It was like amnesia except I knew who I was. I knew I had a schedule of items to work on and complete. Things like: practice scales, record a podcast, read the Korg SV-1 Manual, go to the gym and talk to a trainer, transfer X2 videos, practice for an upcoming open mic, research gardening techniques. This was all listed on a schedule of mine. I just couldn’t figure out why it was there. I had to first think back to the surgery.
    It was a house call. I didn’t set it up initially. It was my good friend Karsh McCabe. He stopped into town so that we could play a show for few brave people who were willing to risk their lives driving through the treacherous conditions of a snow storm that basically shut down the city of Richmond for a week. Karsh was coming from Chicago so he was used to this type of wintery disturbance. But, there were a couple of people from California who were blasted with ice and snow all the way from Tennessee. They were in even more of a rough situation when they attempted to clear the ice off the windshield with washer fluid because apparently in California there’s not much need to spend extra money on good cleaning liquid. They use water and it works fine in their stable weather conditions. One squirt of that in 15 degree wind instantly turned the entire windshield into a translucent sheet of marbled ice that became a panel of velcro to stick to the rapidly falling snow. They had to stop every 10 minutes to re-shave a postcard sized rectangle that they were using to see out of. But, they made it. I think everybody made it, but then again, the one’s who didn’t make it. . .I guess I assumed that they just decided not to come. I didn’t think that they could’ve been on their way and. . .I’ve probably got to make a few calls here. . .see if I can track these people down.
    Before the show, though, Karsh and I were rehearsing. It can be a tense couple of hours putting a two set show together the same day as the performance. And that IS how we do it. I’m guessing on this particular day that Karsh was feeling that something was off. We weren’t connecting or collaborating very well and the time was ticking away.  The performance probably ways a bit heavier on him since he had just traveled half way across the country through some dangerous situations and if this music was not on point, it would have been a giant blow to his time spent on this planet.
    About two hours prior to showtime, I believe he made a call. He was trying to get me scheduled for emergency surgery because there must have been some disconnect in the neural passageways in my brain. We tend to have an almost telepathic connection and that’s why we can play music and perform together with only a few hours of practice. But, on this particular day something wasn’t right. We were trying new songs and we couldn’t stay in time. We were trying new arrangements of old tunes and the notes we were playing sounded like hammers beating down on an armadillo’s shell or a chalkboard falling onto a room of kindergardeners. I was trying to push through and simultaneously feeling like everything would probably turn out fine, but Karsh had another plan. Call in the MD fix the problem at the source.
    So, we played the show. We made our way through the tunes and everyone had a nice, safe, warm and cozy time. The MD TW showed up the following day and possibly still performed the requested surgery. It’s tough to truly confirm because we were all put under heavy anesthesia for the operation. Karsh was gone by the time I came to. The MD left a rather confusing bill on my coffee table that I can’t tell if I owe a bunch of money for his services or if it’s all just put on some abstract tab. But, most of all I’m just left with this question as I look around at all the things that make up my life: These schedules and lists, these instruments, these pending plans and the question. . .Why?