David Strackany, also known as Paleo, is perhaps best known for The Song Diary, wherein he undertook the monumental effort of writing 365 songs in a single year. As an added bonus, he used a “half-size children’s guitar” while living out of his car and being essentially homeless.
The critics loved the effort, including then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who wrote Paleo a letter of congratulations. More congruous endorsements came from Paste Magazine, which called it “a streetfight of freakish prolificacy,” and Daytrotter’s Sean Moeller, who dubbed Paleo his influential site’s “Poet Laureate.” Since then, Paleo has worked with Okkervil River on a movie soundtrack and released four more albums, including this year’s obscure folkxperimental gem, Fruit of the Spirit.
In support of the new album, Paleo will play the Tin Can Ale House on June 28. Tickets are $6 at the door. In anticipation of the show, Paleo kindly provided us with a list of influences. Check it out below.
Poetic Memory: Paleo
1. Glenn Gould: I had never heard of this guy until a couple days ago. Me and the guys were in Bedford, Texas crashing after our show in Ft. Worth, and we NetFlixed a documentary on him. There is a touch that certain performers have that I’ve seen. It’s something I strive toward, and some of the best instrumentalists I know approach it as well. It’s a kind of submersion where the player’s fingers actually seem almost to dip into the instrument itself, their whole body becomes a string for every note, and you can’t tell anymore where the instrument ends and the performer begins. Glenn Gould is one of the best examples of this; and if you don’t believe in genius, watching him work might change your mind.
2. Bukowski, who I’m reading right now: By design, assholes aren’t supposed to be beautiful, but this guy Bukowski pulls it off. And it’s a cliche to like him as much as its a cliche to hate him; some people might complain he wasn’t exactly a respecter of women maybe, but I think the way he obsessed over them more than makes up for it. He wrote the playbook for standup comedians for the past 40 years, you know, and I’m willing to bet if there wasn’t a Bukowski, there would never have been any Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Louis CK. But I suppose speculation like that’s more or less pointless. Love him or hate him, he was honest, and in writing there is little that’s more important than that.
3. Dead people that I miss sometimes, but can’t really even remember anymore: When people die, it’s bound to change your perspective. I’ve never felt very much when people have died. I was upset, but I was always surprised at how small the feelings were compared to how big the change seemed to be. I mean, someone I knew had literally ceased to be. And yet, every time it happened, I had the same bewilderingly dull reaction to it. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Some people say we’re born knowing everything that could ever be known, and when we learn something for the first time, we’re really just remembering something, creating a door for a room that was already there. And in this way, perhaps this removed feeling I had was a hidden wisdom, an intuition trying to tell me something: that life and death weren’t what I thought they were, and that really I never again needed to be afraid. But I am.
4. Girls, those I know and don’t know, who I’ll never meet or never should have met, who’ve been dead a thousand years, who’ll be born a thousand years from now: It’s insane to think that the factor that determines gender is a random switch that gets switched somewhere toward the beginning of conception. And upon that coin, so much of the course of your entire life is plotted. The name they give you. The clothes they give you. The words that are used to describe you. The things they say you’ll be good at. And you take it and run with it as far as you can, but it always feels like you’re wearing shoes that are two sizes too small, that you shouldn’t be wearing shoes at all, but wings, bat wings, angel wings, anything that’d just get you up there and over all of this bullshit. And yet, the dance…slow or fast, it’s something you can’t do in the air, but on the ground, suffering the slog and sludge to try to take the most that you can be and fit it into the least that you can be. Because the skin don’t fit me either, but we make it worth it for one another, and everyone in between and outside that duality too. Everything in the universe is glued to everything in the universe.
Paleo on tour
6/28 – Tin Can Alehouse – San Diego, CA
6/29 – The Standard – Los Angeles, CA
6/30 – Origami Viinyl In-Store – Los Angeles, CA
7/03 – Starry Plough – Berkeley, CA
7/05 – Hotel Utah – San Francisco, CA
7/08 – Cafe Coda – Chico, CA
7/09 – Armadillo Music In-Store – Davis, CA
7/09 – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen – Davis, CA
7/12 – Luckey’s – Eugene, OR
7/23 – Backspace – Portland, OR
7/29 – Columbia City Theatre – Seattle, WA
7/30 – Visual Arts Collective – Boise, ID
7/31 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
8/02 – Firebrand – Gunnison, CO
8/04 – Hi-Dive – Denver, CO
8/05 – Trident Cafe – Boulder, CO
8/06 – Zodiac – Colorado Springs, CO
8/09 – Side Door – Omaha, NE
8/10 – Latitude 44 – Sioux Falls, SD
8/12 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI