Big Ass Art
March 21, 2018
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A Day In The Life

The diamond looks much smaller in person.” ~Ms. Merrywood

‘Tis true, ’tis true, ’tis true. Celebrities always do.” ~The Twin

The day-to-day existence of even the most eccentric rock star or celebrated of creative souls is probably mundane. This is certainly true for this minor cult artist. I generally scratch away my hours, locked-up in my apartment, trying to write or draw something that doesn’t totally suck, usually failing, and then starting the whole wretched cycle over again the following morning.

Since I work from home, weekdays, weekends, holidays, and even day and night tend to blend together in this artsy routine. AM and PM are typically delineated only by coffee and whiskey (ladies’ choice)… and then, seemingly out of nowhere, inspiration strikes and creative ideas, once aimless, start to coalesce into something that works, and all of that boring artistic plodding is suddenly worth it.

It’s because of the long, un-glamorous trail between those noteworthy spurts, that I tend to struggle with social media. As a result of a public demand for constant online entertainment, the days of the mysterious artist who hid under a rock for years and only emerged when they had something mind-blowing to share seem gone. Instead, we get blanketed with photos and posts of what so-and-so ate for breakfast, who they ate it with, etc., until everything, even the stuff that was once sacred and used to move our souls, becomes a corporate-sanctioned, reality TV soup… but I don’t have any opinions on the matter.

All rants aside, the exciting moments of my career as an artist are special. Precisely because they are so few and far between. These magic flashes are the ones that I want to share with the world, and it’s often difficult to have to wait the months, and sometimes years, for an album to be mixed, a film to be edited, or—as is recently the case—a board game to arrive from the manufacturer, before I can.

Recently, my American Murder Song writing partner, Saar Hendelman, and I offered a front row seat to aspects of our creative process to some of our most dedicated fans. Specifically, we hosted board game nights where a handful of willing souls could compete against Saar and I on a prototype version of our upcoming The Donner Party Board Game (the game won’t be available to the general public until late-June, but can be pre-ordered here). We also assembled a small band of brave mortals to sing on our next album.

I’m happy to share that the game night experiences were wonderful, even for this shut-in of a social media-fearing Grinch. Sure, I was the first to lose at each of our matches, but it was a thrill to be able to tabletop adventure a project that was twelve months in the making with those for whom it was made.

The studio session was no less successful. The chants, whispers, hoots, and warbles from our quintet of songbirds will be a featured part of our upcoming album (which will be released later this year). As a bonus: the admissions we charged for our game night and studio get-togethers are helping to fund the projects themselves. Double-bonus: if a budding Annie Wilkes was a part of these adventures, she was kind enough to leave her axe at home. Now that’s teamwork.

To everyone who participated in the above fun, thank you. It was an honor to share the experiences with you. To everyone else, there will more opportunities for communal mischief and merriment coming down the pike. For starters: to those in the Salt Lake City area, come join me for a 10-year anniversary screening of Repo! The Genetic Opera at the Tower Theatre on Saturday, May 26th.

For everybody, everybody else, if Saar and I were to offer a select number of board game nights with us during travel days on an upcoming tour, is that something for which you’d be interested in buying a ticket? If you’ve already played the game with us, is this something that you might recommend to a fellow fan? Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.

(Game Night photos by Beverly Hendelman; Studio photos by William Rot)

  • Deserae Ladouceur

    If the tour came to my part of canada then yes to all of it. I would be there for the tour and the game night ^.^

    • Messr. Night

      Sup, neighbour! Which province are you in?

      • Deserae Ladouceur

        Alberta lols its very rare for ppl to tour here

        • Messr. Night

          Ouch, no kidding. You’d have a better shot driving down to one of the states for a tour stop. At least you’re not in Saskatchewan, right? (bad joke, I know)

  • Elaine Little

    You know we will if you let us here in OKC . Just have to let us know the cost so we can save up and I can request time off work.

  • Rachel Uviktig

    Would most certainly game it up if given the opportunity!

  • Sarah Hazel

    If a board game night was offered near me, anywhere in Pennsylvania, I would be delighted to sell my soul to attend. I’m sure most fans feel the same way.

  • Arielle

    Social media is a bizarre animal. I have a love-hate relationship with it, which leans toward the former when I just accept that I’d feel lost without the knowledge of what my former high school “friends” made for dinner.
    I think offering game nights throughout the tour would be brilliant and a huge hit if you gentlemen have the energy for it! Without sounding too suggestive… South Florida would enjoy your company!

    • Ariel David Ramos

      I have a love-hate relationship with social media… I thank my family for that…

  • Heather Baker

    Sweet Lucifer Yes!

  • Ariel David Ramos

    I totally would love a board game night with u to guys!!! That would be so freaking amazing!!!!! Come to Houston and I’ll do it!

  • SquarePeg

    If you do a board game night in OKC the husband and I will be there. We’ll bring our best whiskey as well.

  • Hilary Nicole McNeill

    As someone who was a lucky participant of game night, I can both wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone and everyone while hoping to be able to buy a ticket to participate in future game nights as well!

    My sister and I are already itching to get our fingers (of meat) on our copy of the board game to be able to play again! We had so much fun at game night I know we’d love to play it with you both again!

  • Sara Shea Hurley

    Only a few times in my life so far have I read something that so concisely and accurately articulates what it’s like to be a working artist. Bravo. As a fellow artist working from home, never knowing what day or time it is unless I am booked somewhere, and struggling to be interesting on social media daily…I see you, and thank you for sharing the struggle. There’s something so validating in knowing that artists I love and respect deal with the same shit.
    If you do a board game night anywhere on the west coast, (I plan on attending all the shows over here) I would absolutely purchase a ticket to one of them, and would most likely get my cousin to as well.

  • Alexie Schauerte

    It appears, by the looks of the comments, that you have your answer. But I will add one more to the stack. If I can afford it, you know I will be there for a board game night.

  • Violet Switch

    Terrance (and Saar): Whenever you come to Florida, count myself and Nathan in for board games and Whiskey. We are avid board gamers who would love to throw some dice and sip some moonshine with you and Saar. <3 Much love! – Janelle

  • Harley Grey

    I would love to play a game with you as would Loki, one of our highlights last year was having a drink with you guys before the show, drinks and a game would be amazing!!

  • Kortney Bowen

    I must add, yes my dears you should defiantly add that as a ticket that would be awesome 😀

  • Marion Burke

    My partner and I, as well as several friends, would love to be able to do game night if you make that part of the tour! If you set it up, we will be there!

  • Kristy Jacobs

    Oh. My. Lucifer. Game night on tour? That would be ah-MAY-zing!

  • Shanonish

    Oh my. Yes, and please?

  • Brooke Violet

    Oh, Tender…. I do hope you know I’d most definitely buy a ticket to play with you….board games, that is. Yes, board games…. *Ahem*

  • Messr. Night

    The board game nights would be a fun concept. Though I do wonder how that feature would affect your scheduling? If games last longer than, say, 3 hours it may be difficult to manage them before/after performances. You weary souls will need sleep at SOME point on these travels! Lol! Don’t get me wrong, having a boardgame night with you guys would be kickass, I’d 100% pay for the chance. I’m just being a mother hen with knowing how these tours can take their toll on you guys. Maybe alternate between board game stops with bar hang-out stops to keep a bit of variety, depending on which are easier for you guys.

  • Alison Tighe

    A game night would be terrifically fun! I know my pal Nancy would enjoy the shenanigans and merriment as much as me. And we’re definitely very excited to see you guys in Pittsburgh again. Much love to you and Saar

  • Morgana Spake

    Not only would I recommend it to friends, I’d buy another ticket myself. I had a great time at the afternoon game and would love to do it again. (Btw, that picture is hilarious)

  • Malinda Wickham

    You know I would buy into a game night if offered. And I would most definitely recommend it to friends. I had such fun at the evening game session. It was great seeing you and Saar again.

  • Barbara Mehne

    I would like to add my voice to the chorus of ‘hells yes!’ regarding the game nights.

  • Tori Horenstein

    Having an opportunity to do a game night with you all on your tour would be amazing!

  • Stephen C

    Awesome explanation of the artistic process. Certainly all the end products have been edgy, inspiring, thought provoking, and masterful on many levels. Yes I would gladly pay for a board game night while on tour. I have pre-ordered the game already. I’m dying to hit the trail.

  • Krys Doty

    Social media is odd. I’m one of those people who like to know what’s going on it other peoples lives but only what they feel is important. But I myself only post about myself on Facebook and only when I feel like I have something to say, even if it’s just something stupid to make people laugh or smile. However if you’re a person who has a product or project that needs advertising, social media is the only real way to the word out these days. To be honest if it wasn’t for Facebook I would not have first learned about AMS. My first information about it came in the form of a post a friend commented on about the initial tour. Who knows if I would have heard about it any other way. I say post to social media when you can and/or want to. At this point you have a big enough fan base that the word of anything new will be spread around the world.

    As for the potential board game sessions during the next tour, I’d totally be there as long as the funds are available. I don’t get to have any game nights since most of my game playing friends live several hours away from me.

  • Heather Ann Dixon

    You sir are beginning to rival Santa for eavesdropping on conversations half-way across the country, you really are. When you announced that the board game would be a have-able(still waiting on belt buckles by the way) Christina and I said it should be the ‘extra special’ this year, to play(even just an abbreviated game) with the 2 of you. Then when you announced that you would do a game night for the anniversary fundraising efforts we crossed our fingers hoping it would prove profitable so we may perhaps have 1 game per state and now you are asking us about doing it. So can we please please please?!?!?
    We were also talking about Indy artists and the amount of Social they do or don’t do and why some do more than others. For example, you and Saar to each other; the 3 instas (you, Saar, and AMS) out put together compared to other artists we follow’s single page outputs and why the differences might be. Thank you for giving us this insight into your why’s on spotty, as you once put it, vomits onto social media.

  • Stephanie Zinone

    Hail Satan! I would drop everything for the chance!

  • Leeann Ready

    I would LOVE to play with you and Saar! I enjoyed the talking over drinks last year before you performed and I would very gladly play The Donner Party with you. I hope you’ll have it in MN!

  • Tammy J Fondren

    I so wish I could fly to Salt Lake to see the show on May 26! My girlfriend insisted I watch Repo and now I am hooked on everything! We are saving up to get the game and can’t wait to introduce it to our gaming friends.

  • Laurie Neufeld

    For some reason, Disqus marked my original comment as spam, and they’ve yet to “fix” it (six days, now). So I’ll try again: I love that you only share the special breadcrumbs with us in your Hansel forays into the creative woods. Hmmm, does that make Saar Gretel, or the cannibal witch in the candy hut? Uh, nevermind. Also, the amount of collaboration you invite between your murder family and the work in progress, whatever it may be, just makes it more exciting for everybody. It’s because of that lack of “rock star” attitude that the Murder Song madness continues to grow and mutate and gather more unsuspecting innocents into the fold. I think a game before the show would be way cool, but also kind of problematic, with the juggling of transportation, set up, tear down and venue accessibility. However, I imagine it would be feasible in a limited amount of dates, just like the Drinks with the Blood Trav’lers stop from last year. See you in Mormonland! (Oh, just as a personal anecdote – my friend Wolf, who attended the Feast last fall in SLC – is still happily involved with the lovely date he brought – so y’all are macabre matchmakers, in addition to all yer other talents.)

  • Mirabai

    If you travel through Florida anywhere within reasonable driving distance of where I live, I will 100% buy a ticket to play with you and drink some whiskey. As well as see the show, of course. Just down the street from my office is a coffee shop that has a large collection of board games. I’m planning to buy a copy of the Donner Party Game to leave there. Hopefully lots of new fans will discover your genius!

  • HarlequinnHatter

    I would so throw down for board game nights on a tour stop, as long as it was a stop I could get to, afford, and wasn’t in the way of already made plans!

  • Kate

    Hair! It’s back! And VERY blonde…. enjoy your work, sir, and be well. It all looks very satisfying, and that means a life well lived.

  • Mirabai

    I keep thinking about this next tour. There’s a theater in Gainesville, Fl, called the Hippodrome. It’s perfect for a multi-day run of your shows. They have lots of funky stuff going on there all the time. Check it out when you’re planning your next tour.

  • Diana Strange

    This is awesome!