2005.06.23 陰雨的週四午后

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Thursday 6/23/05 2:23pm Taipei at home

Listening to the new Nine Inch Nails album now and writing this journal on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Actually, I’m going to run off to the gym soon but I wanted to jot down a few lines just before I leave. I’ve been back for about a week now from my trips to Beijing and Singapore and have been trying to get settled in gearing up for the concert preparations. The sun has been out for most of this week in Taipei so it’s hot as heck. The heat is sticky and makes my hair frizzy and difficult to manage which drives me crazy. The heat coupled with the humidity also makes you lazy and not want to do anything but just sweat more. I heard it’s extremely hot in Beijing as well with temperatures nearing the 40’s. The unbearable heat…I’m off to the gym to sweat some more now. But there’s air conditioning there so…herein lies the irony. We go to sweat yet we turn on the AC to keep ourselves cool and less prone to sweat. What do we really want?

8:04pm Back at home from the gym and office

I’m home alone and it’s quiet except for the sound of the AC and, again, the new NIN album. There’s something very calming about this music although from the outside it appears to be violent and angry. The industrial-ness of it seems to make you feel like a machine with the drums and musical elements churning in rhythm to your brain waves. It somehow pacifies me and brings a certain kind of balance to my soul and world. Perhaps the world outside as we know it holds more dementia, violence and paranoia in comparison.

I’ve been feeling pretty good these days as I’m beginning to get on a new schedule and routine. I’m eating healthier, I’m working out more and starting to get back to my music and “core”. As my first concert approaches, I am starting to feel more and more anxious and stressed. I have begun working out again after taking a one-month plus hiatus from the gym. It feels good to get back into shape though I still have a long way to go. Lots of cardio and then weights afterwards is what I do about five days a week though I know I need to increase my workout intensity in order to get to where I want to be. I need to transform myself into a lean, mean, performing machine in less than two months. Of course, aside from the physical aspects, I also need to get back into my singing and playing. I haven’t been singing much lately though I do get to play my guitar every now and then. Musicians call playing skill and aptitude “chops” and, so, I definitely need to get my chops back and up to par. I’ll be playing a lot more than in the previous show so I need step up my practicing and get to where I used to be technically when I was in high school. When I was about 16 I used to play every single day (yes, even on the toilet) but now I play guitar only when I need to which is when I’m recording. Of course, when I was 16 I didn’t possess the musicianship I have now so it’s kind of give and take. Singing and vocals is another aspect that I need to greatly improve upon this time for the concert so it’s something I’ll be working on as well. My song set has always been very challenging as I have such a wide range of material to sing. Therefore, my work is cut out for me, as I need to have the stamina and power to jump from a soft ballad with falsetto to a high-energy up-tempo song and then to a very vocally abrasive rock song. Thanks goodness I don’t have to dance or else it would make things even more complicated!

This new tour and concert will be different than my previous concert although the focus will still be the music and interaction of the musicians on stage rather than delivering a “variety” show. I was happy with the fact that our Soul Power Tour held it’s own amidst the other more elaborate shows and that audiences enjoyed the music and the band. Coming from a western musical background, I’m used to simpler shows and concerts (though still very entertaining) that feature the music, band and singer rather than the stage design, elaborate costumes and antics onstage. I watched Madonna’s show a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of the fact that it had dancers and elaborate costumes and stage designs. The reason was because it was so well integrated and everything was done so beautifully and with finesse. Don’t get me wrong-I’m not against choreography, elaborate stage designs and costumes-but what I feel is that everything needs to be well integrated and not just thrown together. I feel that many shows now contain elements and segments that are just thrown in just for the sake of having it there. Maybe it’s to create a visual effect or to create a surprise or shock value but I feel there should always be a reason for everything. Therefore, when you watch a concert or show like that you leave with just a visual impression but no emotional response. Therefore, in this new show I’m trying to integrate more visual elements but the pre-requisite is that they must have meaning and “serve” the song and