It’s time for me and Nate to say goodbye to Lower Dens.
We’re proud of what we’ve done, and very lucky to have had so many people supporting us. Spiritually and physically, we, like, can not participate in the music industry any longer. We’re also old, enjoy being with our families, and have other goals in mind.
Thank you Sarah and Bonnie, Hardland Management, Ribbon Music, Sam Hunt, and our former bandmates, especially Geoff Graham, who helped to form this band and gave so much of himself to it in essential contributions and years of very hard work. Thank you to the many good people we’ve worked with over the past decade or so. We were very blessed in this regard. Thank you from me to Nate. Nate Nelson is the best person you could hope to work or play music with. He is also a great friend, and the best drummer I know. Please hire him and give him excellent medical coverage.
My plans for the immediate future involve writing about change, and working to facilitate change. [nerd alert] Lower Den’s “thematic arc”, a conceptual framework that I used to help write our albums, was about radical, equitable transformation of society. It’s what I really care about, which is why I was trying to write music about it in this rock band. There are other ways of life possible for humans. Since I was a kid, I’ve felt like our dominant culture, here in the US and maybe broadly in the West, is exactly backwards to the way many human beings naturally function, and that it’s killing us. I think criticism of that culture is vital to transformation. I’m naturally critical in a way that hasn’t served me well socially, but that I cling to nonetheless because it is constructive. It’s world-building. It’s meant to be collaborative. I’m like to criticize our society, and think about how to improve it, and I hope to connect with others who are similarly interested.
I learned this year that I’m Autistic/have ADHD. I have a name for it now, but it’s always been a part of my identity. When I talked about nerdy conceptual shit in interviews, etc., I inevitably got flack about being pretentious, which I just swallowed. I am a huge nerd with very strong opinions, because I am Autistic. Learning about it has freed me from lifelong self-hatred, and let me be myself. I’m letting myself make decisions about my life without measuring their viability in a society that does not try to make sense or benefit its members. What I want is to write, connect with other Autistics, and help create/improve/sustain real systems to facilitate change. With this, I’m deciding that I can and will.
On this site, I’ll also post band and personal photos, stock a store with rare LD/JH goods among other things, and release recordings and new music if I make it. I want to reclaim my relationship to music, like I had before the industry. I’m considering making a Twitch for Tetris, about which I am obsessed, and at which I am getting pretty decent. I might have guest authors or host conversations between others on relevant topics, probably mainly my weirdo artist spouse and other friends. I’m thinking right now about whether, with writing, I want to post ideas as they come, which is often in fragments, tying together various threads of ongoing conversation/thought trains with hashtags or something, or develop long, less frequent essay-type posts. Open to opinions.
I don’t currently have an income. I have cervical spinal stenosis with neurological issues and am disabled by it, though I’m in treatment that will possibly restore most functionality eventually knock wood. Regardless, I can’t currently work a regular job, I can’t get on disability because I’m married, and I’ve got some debts. I make ~$5k/yr from royalties and get the occasional publishing check. My spouse supports me but we’re going into debt. If you want to and can support me financially, I’ll have very cheap paid subscriptions plus a link to make one-time donations. Free subscriptions will have identical content to paid subscriptions. A lot of it will be public. I’m going to work hard on this space to make it living and real.
Thank you for caring about our band. Thank you to everyone who brought us or came with on tour. I’ve never felt alive as I did on stage. What an incredible fucking privilege. Especially thank you to all of the fans who came up after shows to share things from their personal lives with us, and to those who wanted to but were too shy (my people). I am still very humbled by some of the things you said in person and online, still thinking about what some of y’all are doing or dealing with. Thanks to all of you making a life you believe in, and all of you surviving right now in a world that does not yet value people. Believe in us. <3 J