I’m really unsure if anyone will give a shit about this, but I have to share or I will explode. So rather than burst into a million pieces of flesh, bone, and guts, I will instead talk about my feelings and experience, and hopefully that will keep me somewhat peaceful; and perhaps this story will entertain as my stories—regardless of intent—often do.
If you’ve known me over the past few years, you will most likely recall that for a time I had decidedly quit playing the saxophone. I sold all of my instruments and vowed never to play again. With my girlfriend, Sydney, I formed a project called “The Pizza Bats”, which was a departure from the saxophone and all that jazz.
It was refreshing to do nothing but sing and play guitar, which is sincerely what I always wanted to do. There’s a lot packed into why I couldn’t allow myself to pursue this dream before, but I won’t go into it now (although I am working on writing what may ultimately be a book about my discovery of all the many wondrous traumas I’ve sustained as I grow older, wiser, and sober).
If you know me at all today, you have probably realized that I am playing the saxophone again. And, since October of 2016, I’ve been pursuing saxophone playing as a street performer and making some kind of money doing it. By November of 2017, I had started playing on train cars, and I have a made a decent living doing it since.
Refining my style and my repertoire to suit a public audience of all ages, nationalities, social statuses, religions, and so on, I have now reached a point where I can make—even in the supposedly dry month of January—about $40 in an hour. During the Christmas season, that number is closer to $60, with the most I’ve made in an hour being $90.
Problematically, the traumas that I have associated with playing the saxophone for a living are deeper and more complex than I ever realized. And, now that playing saxophone is something that I have to do (rather than choose to do) to afford the costs of living, I am starting to feel just as I did when I quit playing the first time.
I have within me an unshakeable calling to become my songwriting self. I feel that this is what I’m supposed to be doing on this planet, and the more success that I find as a saxophone player, the sadder and more tortured I become internally. For this reason, it has been very hard for me spiritually to want to play professionally and to fully realize and/or promote a lot of my instrumental jazz projects.
Being dependent on the saxophone, I’m in quite a bind right now. But, I’m searching for some kind of salaried, creative position in the corporate world to pay for my cost of living, with the ultimate goal of being freed financially from having to play the saxophone. I am following the hunch that a good-paying job doing something creative—that isn’t necessarily music—will allow me some peace, as well as financing to professionally record and produce the songs that I have written (and am currently writing).
Sidenote: I think I would also really enjoy not living in a partitioned-off section of an old lady's living room in Queens.
I have well-attached my given name to being a jazz saxophone player, and therefore I’ve chosen to create a separate identity for my songwriting pursuits. That identity’s name is Pretty Mutant, and if you want to follow my progress as a songwriter/indie producer, I have created social media accounts across all platforms. So I invite you to follow me now @pmutantmusic to keep up with my songwriting pursuits, and I will be using that moniker for pretty much everything that isn’t saxophone.
In the meantime, I’ll still be playing on the subway cars as long as I have to to make a living, but know that ultimately I feel that this is not what I have been put on this Earth to do, and, despite my high degree of skill at playing the saxophone, it may be phased out entirely at some point in the future; I don't know.
That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned.