The cruel irony of book tour is that I go around talking about creativity when I myself am at my least creative. Tour leaves me underslept and exhausted, bereft of any kind of reliable routine or workspace, barely able to concentrate on a book… pretty much the opposite condition of the one I need to be in to sustain any kind of decent work.
Here’s musician Brian Eno on why he quit touring:
I noticed that touring — which is wonderful in some ways — is absolutely confining in other ways. It’s so difficult… you just can’t think about anything else. You try your hardest: You take books with you and word processors, and you’re definitely going to do something with the time. And you never do. It’s so easy for it to become your exclusive life, this one and a half hours every evening that you play. And I just thought, “I’m losing touch with what I really like doing.” What I really like doing is what I call Import and Export. I like taking ideas from one place and putting them into another place and seeing what happens when you do that. I think you could probably sum up nearly everything I’ve done under that umbrella. Understanding something that’s happening in painting, say, and then seeing how that applies to music. Or understanding something that’s happening in experimental music and seeing what that could be like if you used it as a base for popular music. It’s a research job, a lot of it. You spend a lot of time sitting around, fiddling around with things, quite undramatically, and finally something clicks into place and you think, ”Oh, thats really worth doing.” The time spent researching is a big part of it. I never imagined a pop star life that would’ve permitted that.
How wonderful it is, now, to be off the road, and back home, not just isolated in my bliss station, but surrounded by my favorite artists, my boys, six and four, who are churning out all sorts of wild work all day.
(Above: Owen photoshopping an album cover. Below: Jules’ comic of the Three Little Pigs.)