Death Becomes Glad Habits
by Damian Weber
“Love Is What You Do”—This song drifts in on the air, and the vocals ride a high current in the jet stream in order to teach you something important.
The path she walked through open ground led directly to my feet
as if I’d birthed the beating heart that walked away from me
that walked away from me
And that important lesson:
When there is love all around you/ Love is what you do
When this dark surrounds you/ Love is what you do
Only a song could get away with saying something so simple, so direct, so beautiful, and true, that you would have to bury in a poem. This is a song that wants to teach us something with its direct call to live. An invocation to life, the song asks you to survive your pain.
Eyes wide open, partway shut/ you’ll be blinded just the same
Left there bleeding, both wrists cut/ and just yourself to blame
Do your best, try again/ with experience on your side
Some blood remains, your soul’s been stained/ survive the death of your pain
Survive your pain
This song is from the four-song Tyler EP by Glad Habits. Michael Joseph sings these beautiful, plaintive/joyful songs, and noise artist Jon Fulk fills them out with cello that sits perfectly underneath, fills up the room, and then soars out the rafters. It was recorded in the period before Michael Joseph had found and received a kidney transplant, as a way to mark the time, capture the time, one last time, while being very ill.
”For a time death was a huge inspiration to keep going and get it done,” said Matt Voyno, who produced the album. The album is named Tyler after the organ donor, in remembrance, celebration, and thanks.
This album breathes life and death, and little moments and lessons, and wisdom from beyond the grave (come back to teach us one last lesson—to live life).
“Family Trees”—This song is based on the play The Cherry Orchard. Michael said, “It really echoed a lot of what I was going through with my family and how I was feeling about myself at the time.”
Mothers weeping for her long lost gold
Hands like Jesus, nothing she can hold
I’m no better, I’m a feckless waif
Like my brother, I shut my eyes and wait
For nothing/ for something/ for anything
The song simply tells us to learn and change and grow and get better. It simply tells us:
learn this lesson, learn this lesson well
tame the demons, or be dragged down to hell
The lesson is to tame the demons, and it tells you directly, using the exact words, telling you exactly what you need to do—like a friend talking to a friend, giving way too much advice, but that’s OK because friends talking to friends are allowed to.
GLAD HABITS (gladhabits.bandcamp.com) are a duo from Brooklyn. Comprised of noise artist Jon Fulk and singer-songwriter Michael Joseph they have been working on their debut with producer Matt Voyno for the past two years. The Tyler EP is named after organ donor Tyler who helped Glad Habits singer Michael live and sing another day. This record was made during the time of Mike’s health issues and stands as a triumph of will, medicine, good luck, and great people. Glad Habits thanks Tyler and his family for helping us make music. We hope to honor him for years to come. Sign up to be an organ donor and save lives OrganDonor.gov/register.html
DAMIAN WEBER (damiandamiandamian.bandcamp.com) is a poet and musician living in BedStuy with his wife and daughter. His game is to remind his poet-musician friends that poetry comes first. Hell, write the lyrics before the song—the poet’s way. He’s been a big fan of Boog City since 2005 and thinks it’s the only cool thing going on in the city. His most recent books of poetry are Music Advice, and Corvettes Aren’t Cool, which he will mail you for free, if you ask. His most recent album, I Had To CYA, is on his bandcamp. He is dying to review your album, so please feel free to send him a link at firstname.lastname@example.org.