On Leaving The Rooks, 2016 Project Updates, And What Comes Next: A Belated New Year's Round Up

New Year's is a crap holiday. And not because of some grandiose “Linear Time Is A Myth And Therefore The Notion Of A Standardized New Year Is Inherently Inaccurate” argument; In a very practical “my friends and I took a seven minute cab ride home from a party where we didn’t know a single person and the driver tried to charge us fifty dollars” kind of way.  Also, socialized pressure to get hammered and hook up and slap-dash together some kind of last-minute resolution for how to improve your life that is just flawed enough to be easily relatable when you’re inevitably hassled about it through the next weekend. That’s not great either.  

 

What I do like about New Year's is the byproduct of all that pressure, a now-institutionalized-but-otherwise-arbitrary reminder to reflect on and either (hopefully) reaffirm or (unfortunately) re-evaluate all those changes and realizations you’ve made across the last twelve months; the ones that are tougher to explain at the dinner party, the ones with the stray threads stretching back ever before the last time somebody made the awful suggestions to “just pay the $100 cover and then we can have a place to stay till the ball drops!” So with that in mind:

 

I spent the last two years of my college life and a little bit more than the first two post with my band The Rooks as my center, both in terms of creative and social outlet, as well as the motivation for most “Big Life Picture” decision making. Every choice, from housing to occupation to day-to-day routine was informed by and drove towards the potential long-term success of the group. During those four-and-change years, working with The Rooks provided me my first real opportunity (as someone who spent the earliest part of their musical life purely as a drummer) to explore songwriting, to delve deeper into music production, and at the time most notably, to perform on stages and in front of audiences that none of us had previously been exposed to. These were invaluable, life altering experiences across the board, for which I am incredibly grateful. Over the course of those four years, however, while my interests pulled closer to the songwriting, recording and production side of our music, another contingent of the group placed heavier and heavier emphasis on the performance side as a priority.

 

In large part because of that growing dissonance, in October of the past year I made the decision to leave The Rooks. As with any nearly half-a-decade-long relationship, the choice to step away was on many levels a conflicted one, but with a few months perspective on it I can say two things definitively:  I'm incredibly proud of my time with The Rooks and the music we made together.  I am also incredibly happy with my decision to leave. The first three years of being in The Rooks was a long process of discovering how to be a professional performer, how to build and sustain a life in service to and in constant pursuit of the next stage. This past year was a long process of discovering that was not the kind of life (musical or otherwise) I wanted to lead.

 

I bring this up here both because it feels necessary and important to acknowledge in some kind of public setting in order for both groups to move forwards, but also as a means of clarification: I may pop up every now and again in some of the band's releases, as there is still some leftover content including former members; but again, as of this past October, I am no longer affiliated with The Rooks as anything other than a fan. Definitely still stay tuned to them, though. They're a hell of a band, and I'm sure there's plenty of good shit to come. 

  

Some other "End of One Year/Start of Another" updates:

-My band Trot Fox is currently deep into the recording of some new music that will be rearing its head sometime in the not too distant future. No one is in any hurry to rush things, but I promise, there's some really great stuff in the works, and I can't wait to share it with you whenever we do. We'll also be stringing a few show runs together up and down the northeast, so if we're in your area, we'd love to have you come through for a show! 

 

-I'm also helping out with some additional production work on the tail end of the upcoming Josh The Word album. He and Myles Avery and Jared Paul and everyone else involved have been absolutely is killing it so far, and I'm really excited for you to hear how the whole thing wraps up.

 

-The last piece of the puzzle through the past bunch of months has been a renewed push on my solo work, which is started to take on a life of its own under the alias "Best Mann." I haven't quite gotten comfortable/uncomfortable enough with things to put them out into the world, but we can consider this some kind of warning shot/self-inflicted kick in the pants to have at least something together by next year's belated round up...

 

And that’s about all I’ve got, at least for here/for now. If you made it all the way through to this, I’m both surprised and appreciative. I’ll be doing my best through 2016 to stay a little more active with writing and updates and whatnot on the website, so stay tuned if that’s anything of interest. Hope you all are having a wonderful start to the New Year. 

 

To that, and whatever comes next,

-N